Republicans to EPA: Leave ‘frac’ing’ to the states
July 27, 2010
Colorado House and Senate Republicans, including Randy Baumgardner of District 57, on Monday sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, demanding that regulation of the oil and gas industry be left in the hands of the states and not turned over to federal authorities.
Baumgardner’s district covers Grand County.
The EPA currently is collecting comments concerning its study of hydraulic fracturing, or frac’ing, a practice used in natural gas extraction that involves injection of large quantities of water, particulates and chemicals into the ground to enable hydrocarbons to flow to the surface.
A number of observers of the industry, including individuals and groups in Garfield County, have been calling for more openness concerning industry practices, particularly in the disclosure of exactly what chemicals are being injected into the ground.
The industry maintains it already discloses sufficient information, and that the recipes of its “frac’ing fluids” is proprietary.
The study is being conducted, at least in part, due to proposed legislation introduced last year that would have mandated complete disclosure of such chemicals.
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Under current regulations, disclosure of the chemicals is different in different states.
Colorado, which rewrote its regulations governing gas drilling issues in 2008, is believed to have one of the strictest set of regulations in the U.S.
Critics of the industry, however, say the rules still do not go far enough in terms of identifying the chemicals involved.
“The EPA shouldn’t stick its nose into the regulation of frac’ing or other oil and gas industry practices in states,” said Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, in the letter, dated July 26, 2010. “Once the EPA completes its study, states should maintain jurisdiction over oil and gas operations.”
“Oil and gas employers have already been barraged by new regulations in Colorado, making it harder for them to do business in the state, particularly during these tough economic times,” Renfroe added.
The letter urges the EPA to consult with state regulatory agencies in conducting the study, arguing that in Colorado the state’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission already has sufficient regulations concerning disclosure of potentially harmful chemicals.
The representatives’ letter scorns “one-size-fits-all” regulations as “ill-advised,” and declares, “Regardless of the results of the EPA study, states should retain regulatory control over the oil and gas industry.”
The letter is signed by 18 Republican state legislators.