Americans for Prosperity cheers ‘fracking’ bill

The conservative Americans for Prosperity is praising an effort in the House to limit the Obama administration’s power to regulate “fracking” on public lands.

The group’s manager of federal affairs, Christine Harbin Hanson, wrote to Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) on Monday to “applaud” his bill, which is scheduled to come up for a vote in the House this week.

“This legislation would assert states’ authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing and protect the natural gas revolution that is improving Americans’ access to affordable energy,” she wrote.

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“State agencies are better equipped to oversee hydraulic fracking than the federal government because they are more proximate to and understand the unique needs of the energy sector. Federal oversight would threaten this critical industry’s rapid progress.”

The legislation would block the Interior Department’s efforts to issue new rules for the controversial energy development method in states that have their own regulations. The federal rules, which are still in the works, would require that companies disclose the chemicals they use in the fracking process and set standards for water released to the surface as part of the operation.

Critics of the Interior Department’s effort say that states are best able to handle oversight of fracking operations.

Fracking, technically known as hydraulic fracturing, involves shooting jets of chemicals, sand and water into rock formations to release hyrdrocarbons.

The House Rules Committee is meeting on Monday evening to prepare the bill, known as the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act, for the House floor. The full chamber is scheduled to vote on the legislation on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the House is scheduled to vote on a separate bill, from Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), that would make it easier for oil and gas companies to get permits to drill on federal lands.