Federal fracking legislation unnecessary

So let’s see. The Environmental Protection Agency under both a Democratic and a Republican president found no threat to domestic drinking water from the gas industry practice of hydraulic fracturing.

Additionally, states already have the authority to regulate activities such as fracking, and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission just adopted tough new drilling regulations that require companies to maintain an inventory of chemicals they use in fracking that can be made available to the state if there is suspected contamination.

Despite this, however, Colorado’s 1st District congresswoman, Diana DeGette, plans to reintroduce legislation to establish federal regulation of fracking.

Hydraulic fracturing — also known as fracking — is used to open up formations containing oil and especially natural gas, and allow drilling companies to recover more of the minerals.

DeGette’s bill would repeal the oil and gas industry’s exemption for fracking under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Despite the EPA reports from the Clinton and Bush administration, and even though there have been no documented cases of fracking contaminating drinking water, a DeGette spokeswoman said legislation is needed because there is anecdotal evidence of people becoming sick as a result of fracking.

And that’s enough to justify federal regulations? This from a Democratic congresswoman who attacked President George W. Bush for ignoring science.

We’re glad to see that 3rd District Congressman John Salazar, whose district actually contains oil and gas drilling, is wavering on whether to support the bill. We hope he reaches the same conclusion that we have: With the new state regulations in place and just beginning to work, and with little evidence to support the claims that fracking harms drinking water, there is no need for the federal regulation that DeGette is pushing.


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