In a memo sent to Republicans lawmakers Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said the House will take up a bill, the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act, in the coming weeks that would restrict the Obama administration’s ability to impose duplicative regulations on fracking on federal and tribal lands.
“The working middle class is struggling under the weight of increased energy costs, all while the United States has enough natural gas and newly discoverable oil finds to meet our energy needs for almost a century,” Cantor told Republicans. “We must focus on expanding our energy production in an environmentally friendly way to lower the price of energy for all Americans. This is why we will consider [Rep.] Bill Flores’ [R-TX] bill, which would prohibit the Obama administration from regulating fracking in any state where the activity is already regulated.
Flores’ measure, HR 2728, passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee in late July, mostly along party lines (23-15). The legislation would bar the Interior Department from enforcing federal fracking in any state that already has regulations, and recognizes states’ authority to regulate this type of activity.
The measure is supported by Republicans, state regulators and the oil and gas industry, but opposed by Democrats and environmentalists.
Energy is a “pocketbook issue” for millions of Americans, Cantor said. “According to the research firm IHS Global Insight, shale energy production, which could not be done successfully without hydraulic fracturing, has created billions of dollars in additional revenues for federal, state and local governments, helped American consumers save an average of $926 annually per household, and supported more than 1.75 million jobs in 2012,” the House leader said.
“Throughout the fall, House Republicans will continue to bring environmentally friendly energy legislation like this to the floor to bring down the cost of energy, create jobs for the middle class, and make the United States more energy independent,” Cantor noted.
A draft rule to regulate fracking at the federal level was issued by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in May (see Shale Daily, May 20). It would require oil and gas operators to disclose the chemical fluids used during fracking operations, and to address wastewater that returns to the surface after the process is completed.
The BLM said it is working closely with the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission “so that operators may report chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations to BLM through the existing FracFocus.org website [hosted by the two organizations], which is already well established and used by many states.”
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