Floor speech on the latest federal research into hydraulic fracturing, upcoming Natural Gas Caucus field hearing

July 23, 2013


“Mr. Speaker, on Sunday the Washington Times reported and I quote: “The leading federal research effort into the controversial drilling method known as fracking has turned up no evidence so far linking the process to water contamination — a connection continually drawn by many environmentalist critics along with some Democrats in Congress,” end of quote.

The report continues, stating the “Department of Energy research, being conducted at a Marcellus Shale natural gas well in western Pennsylvania, thus far has shown that chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing practice have stayed thousands of feet below drinking-water supplies.”

Additionally, in April, a determination made by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection found that fracking is not to blame for high methane levels in drinking water in communities in northern Pennsylvania. 

Mr. Speaker, U.S. oil and gas producers would pay an additional $345 million/year—or an average $96,913/well—under the US Bureau of Land Management’s amended proposed federal onshore hydraulic fracturing regulations.

According to the report, the amended proposal’s estimated costs still exceed the $100 million threshold requiring an economic assessment by the Bureau of Land Management.

While changes the Department of the Interior made following comments from producers, environmental organizations, and other stakeholders included elimination of a requirement to regulate well maintenance; much more consideration must be given to these burdensome regulations.

Local scientists and regulators know the geology where natural gas extraction occurs.   They know the industry. The know how to balance good science and manage the industry’s expansion – without thwarting innovation and growth.

Local economies – including many in my district – are booming due to the natural gas industry.  The model that is making this possible is once based on stringent regulations at the state level – not the heavy hand of the federal government. 
Later this week, the bipartisan Congressional Natural Gas Caucus will hold a field hearing, “The Economic Impacts of Shale Production,” at Penn College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  The caucus will receive testimony from local officials and community leaders concerning the economic impacts of natural gas production.

We must promote best practices, sound science, and do our very best as communities to manage this rapid growth and promote this industry that is offering prosperity to so many Americans.

I yield back."