Congressional Natural Gas Caucus to Salazar: Back Off on Fracking Regs

According to The Hill, 32 lawmakers have written to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar urging his department to hold off on regulation of hydraulic fracturing until more safety studies can be done. EPA is currently studying fracking impacts in response to reports of water and air contamination. As previously mentioned on this blog, fracking was exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act – which generally frowns on pumping industrial chemicals into the water table – by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Plains Justice recently produced a report for Dakota Resource Council recommending improvements to North Dakota state law to protect people who live near fracking operations. We’re also getting involved in analyzing legal options for individuals directly affected by oil and gas operations in North Dakota.

And of course we’re still waiting to hear from the Congressional Safe Drinking Water Caucus (just kidding – there isn’t one).

The full text of the House letter:

The Honorable Ken Salazar
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Mr. Secretary:

As members of the Congressional Natural Gas Caucus, we write to express our concerns about reports that the Department of the Interior may seek to impose new regulations on the natural gas extraction process on federal lands and urge you to not institute any new regulatory burdens before the completion of the 2010-2012 Environmental Protection Agency study on hydraulic fracturing.

In the Fiscal Year 2010 budget report, the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Conference Committee identified the need for a focused study on the hydraulic fracturing process. As it now stands, EPA has issued voluntary information requests to national and regional hydraulic fracturing service providers and has yet to fully review or even gather all the data necessary to complete the Congressionally-directed study.

We also would note that the vast majority of scientific evidence shows hydraulic fracturing to be safe, less resource-intensive for the environment than traditional methods, and properly managed and regulated at the state level. Consequently, hastily proposed regulatory burdens on natural gas will increase energy costs for consumers, suppress job creation in a promising energy sector, and hinder our nation’s ability to become more energy independent.

We entrust that you will proceed in a manner that respects the legislative process and yields to the Congressionally-directed study that the Environmental Protection Agency is currently conducting. Our Caucus looks forward to working with you on this issue during the 112th Congress.


Tim Murphy (R-PA), Co-Chair, Natural Gas Caucus
Dan Boren (D-OK), Co-Chair, Natural Gas Caucus
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO)
John Shadegg (R-AZ)
Lee Terry (R-NE)
Dan Burton (R-IN)
Frank Lucas (R-OK)
Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)
Jim Costa (D-CA)
Christopher Lee (R-NY)
Jason Altmire (D-PA)
Kevin Brady (R-TX)
John Fleming (R-LA)
John Sullivan (R-OK)
Bill Shuster (R-PA)
Sue Myrick (R-NC)
Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)
Mark Critz (D-PA)
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Thaddeus McCotter(R-MI)
Denny Rehberg (R-MT)
Mike Conaway (R-TX)
Tom Cole (R-OK)
Gene Green (D-TX)
Wally Herger (R-CA)
Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Mike Coffman (R-CO)
Ralph Hall (R-TX)
Mike Ross (D-AR)

This entry was posted in Dakota Resource Council, Hydraulic fracturing, North Dakota, Plains Justice and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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