GOP lawmakers press for exemption from proposed fracking rule

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Fracking has been credited with driving the domestic shale oil and gas boom. The drilling method involves injecting a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals into tight-rock formations to access hydrocarbons buried deep underground.

It has invited concerns from public health and environmental groups about water pollution. They want stronger regulation to keep pace with the technology as it’s become more widely used by drillers in recent years.

The Interior Department's draft rule would establish requirements aimed at addressing such issues. It would impose standards for well integrity, for managing a byproduct called "flowback water" and for disclosing chemicals used in the process.

Fracking boosters, however, contends that the method is safe and that there’s no conclusive evidence of the method contaminating groundwater. The drilling industry, along with its largely Republican allies in Congress, wants states to continue regulating fracking.

The Wyoming lawmakers said state rules could be applied to federal lands rather than imposing a new federal standard.

“Public land states, such as Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, and Utah, currently enforce their own hydraulic fracturing regulations, including regulations requiring the disclosure of hydraulic fracturing constituents. These state regulations not only apply to private and state lands, but also apply or could be applied to Federal public lands within the states’ respective borders,” the lawmakers said.