No more fracking rules, Meis tells panel
The federal government should not supplant the states in regulating hydraulic fracturing, Mesa County Commissioner Craig Meis told a congressional field hearing Wednesday.
A “one-size-fits-all approach of the federal government is a recipe for epic failure,” Meis testified, according to his prepared comments to the energy subcommittee hearing in Denver.
States already are dealing effectively with hydraulic fracturing and can take into account the differing conditions of the basins in which oil and gas are found.
Hydraulic fracturing is the practice of injecting water, sand and other substances, some of them proprietary, into shales and tight sands to free the oil and natural gas trapped deep below the surface.
Critics have said they fear hydraulic fracturing poses a threat to groundwater.
Hydraulic fracturing is a 60-year-old technology most recently employed to free natural gas in populous states such as Pennsylvania and New York.
“We should have guessed that the hysteria would hit a new high-water mark” when hydraulic fracturing was employed near the population centers of those states, Meis said.
Colorado’s reaction after going through the “fracking hysteria” was to take on “the dubious honor of being the most regulated state in the U.S. when it comes to hydraulic fracturing,” Meis said.
Taking into account other state and local regulations, “We may very well be the most regulated state for the oil and gas industry,” Meis said.
Meis cited a 2004 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study that found little or no threat to groundwater from the injection of hydraulic fracturing fluid into coalbed methane wells.
“When a very technical industry like oil and gas is hiring more governmental affairs, public relations and environmental compliance staff than they are engineers and scientists,” Meis said, “we should probably be asking ourselves what are the real cost/benefits to the rules and regulations already on the books rather than figuring out new ways to create additional ones.”