House teeing up on oil-and-gas permitting, fracking bills; White House immediately issues veto threats on both
posted at 6:01 pm on November 20, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
The Obama administration is unfailingly fond of implying that the credit for the United States’ growing energy production and lessened oil imports belongs to the effectiveness and the foresight of their domestic energy policies, the majority of our heightened energy-sector productivity is due to industry activity on state and private lands, while production on federal lands has actually declined. Innovations in hydraulic fracturing especially have been a major driver of the otherwise pathetically meager economic recovery we have witnessed over the past few years, but predictably, that hasn’t stopped the Obama administration from hovering the regulatory hammer over the burgeoning drilling practice — they aren’t ones to voluntarily cede opportunities for acquiring new authority, you know — and the House GOP is trying to get out in front of the administration on both the permitting and the regulatory fronts with a pair of new energy bills, via the National Journal:
Much of the debate scheduled for the House floor Wednesday will focus on legislation sponsored by Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, to block the Interior Department from regulating fracking on public lands where state regulations are already on the books. …
“We have a shale-energy revolution in this country and the federal government shouldn’t be doing anything to jeopardize that,” Flores told National Journal Daily. “This bill would put the power to regulate back into the hands of the people who do it best—the states.” …
“Imposing a ‘one-size-fits-all’ federal regulation on hydraulic fracturing would add costly and duplicative layers of red tape that would only stand in the way of increased American energy production,” Hastings said. …
The House will also vote Wednesday on legislation sponsored by Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., that would speed up the time it takes for companies to receive a permit to drill on federal lands and open up more federal lands to drilling.
The oil-and-gas permitting bill already passed with the House’s approval on Wednesday afternoon, and the fracking legislation is expected to easily pass the House as well — except that it probably won’t matter too much, because the White House has already issued their obligatory veto threats on both counts, via The Hill:
The White House is threatening to veto House GOP bills that would thwart Interior Department hydraulic fracturing rules and force regulators to speed up oil and gas drilling permits. …
The bill to block planned Interior Department regulation of the oil and gas extraction technique dubbed fracking would prevent Interior from ensuring that it occurs in a “safe and responsible manner,” the White House said.
“The bill, as reported, would undermine these efforts and instead require [Interior’s Bureau of Land Management] to defer to existing State regulations on hydraulic fracturing on Federal lands, regardless of the quality or comprehensiveness of the State regulations — thereby preventing consistent environmental protections,” the White House said of the bill sponsored by Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas).Interior is preparing rules, which would apply to fracking that occurs on federal and Indian lands, that force disclosure of chemicals used in the fracking process, and create standards around well integrity and management of so-called flowback water.
Yes, because heaven knows, federalism — ew — cannot possibly work for much of anything, can it? How could we depend on the states themselves to have the wherewithal to determine what is in their own best interests, i.e. bettering their own economies as well as safeguarding the environment? No way can they be entrusted with such a task! Nope, it’s all much better left up to the federal government’s top-down, politicized bureaucratizing. Duh.
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