House Passes Congressman Smith Bill to Improve EPA's Hydraulic Fracturing Study
The House of Representatives approved the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act (H.R. 2728) to limit duplicative federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing where the states already have environmental protections in place. The bill, which protects American jobs and promotes American energy production, passed by a vote of 235-187.
Included in H.R. 2728 is a provision authored by me as the Science Committee Chairman that ensures the EPA’s ongoing hydraulic fracturing study is based on realistic risk assessments rather than “what ifs” and “worst case” scenarios. In 2011, the EPA initiated a massive, multi-year study into the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water sources. But the EPA’s study has been criticized by the agency’s own science advisors for ignoring the current regulatory process and not producing realistic results.
The EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Study Improvement Act, Title II of H.R. 2728, enhances the credibility of the EPA’s work on hydraulic fracturing and our ability to ensure continued safe and responsible production of America’s vast energy resources. The bill was approved by the Science Committee by voice vote in August, and is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Each week, there is more good news about the benefits of the energy revolution underway across America. Whether it’s the manufacturing renaissance spurred by affordable natural gas, or the new opportunities for good-paying energy jobs, the benefits of the shale gas revolution can hardly be overstated.
But some ignore these benefits and only focus on ways to shut down production. In its zeal to regulate, the EPA too often has rushed to link water contamination to hydraulic fracturing. It has made this claim in three high profile cases, only to be forced to retract its statements after the facts came out.
This legislation holds the EPA accountable by requiring the agency to provide context for any identified risks. This will maximize the study’s utility to both scientists and decision-makers. And it will limit the possibility that findings will be misinterpreted or misused by those who are simply looking for an excuse for additional regulation.