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Cramer: Energy Bill Will Restore States' Rights on Hydraulic Fracturing

Aug 5, 2013
Press Release

Today Congressman Kevin Cramer announced the Natural Resources Committee favorably reported to the House a bill he sponsors giving states first authority over hydraulic fracturing. The Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act requires the Department of the Interior to defer to state regulations, permitting, and guidance for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands within any given state’s boundaries. An amendment to protect tribal nations from being forced to follow federal hydraulic fracturing regulations on their land was also approved.

“This legislation would remove the federal government’s constant threats of imposing its mediocrity on North Dakota’s excellence,” said Cramer. “In North Dakota our developers and regulators are successfully working together every day to responsibly produce fuel and goods for the nation. Just this week a UND professor published a letter noting our state has “an excellent geological setting for fracking”, and giving our state and local governments credit for proactively monitoring groundwater. North Dakota’s track record of safe oil extraction is exhibit A when it comes to the need for this bill.”

Now approved by the committee, the Cramer-sponsored bill will receive a vote on the House floor as soon as it is placed on the legislative calendar. Similar legislation introduced by Senator Hoeven is pending in the Senate.

“It is my hope the momentum of our bill in the House can provide some encouragement to do the same in the Senate,” Cramer added. “Congress is shining the spotlight on North Dakota’s success to serve as a model for what is possible in the rest of the nation. We are showing the way to energy security.”

Currently states are responsible for regulating oil and natural gas development related to hydraulic fracturing. On May 16, the Obama administration released its proposal to create the first-ever regulation of hydraulic fracturing at the federal level. An economic analysis conducted by the economics firm John Dunham & Associates estimates a cost of $253,800 per well would be placed on energy producers and consumers if proposed federal hydraulic fracturing rules were implemented.

University of North Dakota professor Scott Korom penned a letter on July 28 concluding “with our unique geology and a proactive regulatory framework, properly enforced, fracking in the Bakken/Three Forks Formations does not put our groundwater at serious risk.”

In a hearing on the bill, Cramer called attention to North Dakota’s high air and water quality when he questioned witnesses.

“In North Dakota we meet all ambient air quality standards, we have some of the cleanest water in the country, and we have some of the richest topsoil in the world we use to feed hungry people,” he said.

Cramer also examined the EPA’s ongoing hydraulic fracturing investigation at a joint hearing of two Science, Space and Technology Committees on July 24. The lack of transparency associated with the results of EPA research studies is harmful to energy development, he said.

Congressman Cramer is a member of the Natural Resources Committee, including the Energy and Mineral Resources and Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittees.