GOP lawmakers are pushing legislation to block Interior Department regulations on hydraulic fracturing. The bill was introduced by Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) on Thursday.
The Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources is set to hold a legislative hearing on Thursday, July 25, on the bill known as HR 2728, or the “Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act.” The act would prevent the Interior Department from enforcing fracking regulations in states that already have regulations in place.
The Republican-proposed HR 2728 “explicitly states Interior must defer to state rules even if they are less restrictive than federal mandates,” The Hill reports.
On Wednesday, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell responded to Republican and industry opponents of the proposed federal regulations. She explained that federal standards are needed for fracking on public land because states’ regulations vary extensively, and some states have very lax, or no, rules regarding a dangerous process that has caused the pollution of water tables across the country.
“If state standards meet or exceed the federal standards, we will be going with the state or tribal standards… In many cases, the standards don’t exist or are variable within states, and so we felt that they needed to be modernized on federal lands,” Jewell told the House panel.
Republicans and industry members have been up in arms about the suggestion of federal rules regarding the highly dangerous and ecologically unfriendly process of fracking. Oil and gas industry advocates have described HR 2728 as a bill to “protect state rights, American jobs and American energy production.”
The proposed federal rules are not final, but would require companies to disclose the chemicals used in their fracking processes, and would “create standards around well integrity and management of so-called flowback water.”
Alisha is a writer and researcher for Ring of Fire.