Hydraulic Fracturing Legislation, A Perennial Washington Favorite

Congress is on its five-week summer recess and it seems like a good time to tally up the progress of this Congress on hydraulic fracturing. For several years senators and representatives on one side of the issue have been calling for stricter regulation; the other side has been arguing for regulation by the states rather than the federal government.

  • In May Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) introduced H.R.1921, Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act of 2013 (the FRAC Act of 2013).  The bill would amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to repeal the exemption from restrictions on underground injection of fluids or propping agents granted to oil, gas, or geothermal production activities. Rep. DeGette has introduced versions of this legislation in each Congress since 2008.
  • In June Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) introduced H.R.2513, Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands Act. The Act would give states the sole authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing on any land within a state’s boundaries.
  • In June Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) introduced H.R. 2825, Closing Loopholes and Ending Arbitrary and Needless Evasion of Regulations Act of 2013, which would require regulation of wastes associated with the exploration, development, or production of crude oil, natural gas, or geothermal energy under the Solid Waste Disposal Act.
  • In July, Rep. Smith, Lamar [TX-21] introduced  H.R.2850, EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Study Improvement Act. The bill would require EPA to conduct a peer review before issuing an interim or final reports regarding its hydraulic fracturing study.
  • Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) last week introduced H.R. 2983 to require water testing at hydraulic fracturing sites. The “Safe Hydration Is an American Right in Energy Development Act,” or SHARED Act, would amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to require groundwater testing and make results public before hydraulic fracturing.

Senators have also introduced a few bills dealing with hydraulic fracturing:

  • In February Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT) introduced the Climate Protection Act of 2013, S. 332. The bill would remove the exemption of oil and gas operations from the Safe Drinking Water Act and add other restrictions to underground injection.
  • In June Sen. Robert Casey, Jr (D-PA) introduced S. 1135 , the  FRAC Act. He has introduced this legislation in each Congress since 2009. It mirrors the House bill.
  • Also in June, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) introduced S. 1234,  Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands Act. He has introduced similar bills in prior Congresses. The bill would clarify that the states have sole authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing within state boundaries.

Stay tuned but don’t hold your breath! This blog will report if any legislation appears likely to make it through both houses of Congress later this year. Chances of any of this legislation making it to the President’s desk are slim.

Last 5 posts by Edie Allison

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