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Sullivan says federal fracking oversight unnecessary

April 28, 2010
Oklahoma Congressman John Sullivan, along with Arkansas Democrat Mike Ross, called on their fellow lawmakers to resist efforts to increase federal regulation on hydraulic fracturing.

In a letter (click here to download a copy) to Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Sullivan said state regulatory agencies are the most appropriate  regulatory bodies to oversee hydraulic fracturing.

From Reuters:

State governments, not the federal government, are now responsible for regulating the drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing. Natural gas producers are worried that federal regulation could hinder extraction of gas from shale rock formations, which account for 15 percent to 20 percent of U.S. output of natural gas.

Demand for natural gas has grown as electric utilities build gas-fired power plants that emit much less carbon dioxide than coal generators.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee is investigating hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, and some lawmakers are pushing legislation to regulate the practice.

Two committee members, Representatives John Sullivan, a Republican from Oklahoma, and Arkansas Democrat Mike Ross, said the panel would be short-sighted to pass a bill putting fracking under U.S. safe drinking water law before the Environmental Protection Agency completes a study of the drilling technique which is expected to take two years.

Allowing the EPA to oversee fracking "would add burdensome and unnecessary regulatory requirements to the drilling and completion of oil and gas wells which could result in increasing costs of producing domestic natural gas resources," the lawmakers said in a letter to Representative Henry Waxman, the energy committee's chairman.

"We believe that state regulatory agencies are the most appropriate regulatory bodies to provide oversight and protection of hydrologically and environmentally sensitive localities as they relate to hydraulic fracturing," they said.
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