State College Resident Testifies Before House Natural Resources Committee on Environmental Law

April 25, 2018
Press Release
Thompson introduces Melissa Hamsher to discuss her work with permitting natural gas projects in Appalachia

WASHINGTONU.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson today welcomed a State College constituent to testify before the House Natural Resources Committee on the impact of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Melissa Hamsher is Vice President of Environmental, Health, Safety, and Regulation at Eclipse Resources Corporation. Before working in the private sector, Hamsher worked at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for six years as an engineer in the Bureau of Oil and Gas Management.

She testified before the Committee during an oversight hearing titled: “The Weaponization of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Implications of Environmental Lawfare” in the Longworth House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Eclipse, which is headquartered in Pennsylvania, has focused on the responsible development of natural gas fields in southeastern Ohio.

Hamsher underscored Eclipe’s dedication to environmental stewardship and noted that it was a pioneer in voluntarily submitting environmental information and chemical usage to the public. Read her full testimony here.

Enacted in 1970, NEPA established a formalized federal environmental review process for major federal actions. At the time, few other environmental safeguards were in place.

Although originally intended to increase awareness regarding the effects of federal actions on the environment, NEPA’s vague and ambiguous language has exposed the federal government to excessive litigation and resulted in perverse outcomes for agencies, the environment, and taxpayers.

“I am pleased that Ms. Hamsher could testify before the House Natural Resources Committee today and share her real-world experience with how NEPA is being co-opted to stop, delay, and restrict federal land use,” Rep. Thompson said. “These actions are contrary to the spirit of the law and effectively deny local school districts, private landowners, and the U.S. treasury payments that would otherwise be derived from resource production on federal lands. I am grateful to Ms. Hamsher for sharing her unique perspective in this arena, especially since she has experience working both in the private and public sectors.”