Upton: Government should get out of energy boom’s way

Hydraulic fracturing technology has helped to set the stage for a national energy boom, but the federal government needs get out of its way, the chairman of the House Energy Committee said Thursday.

In remarks to the National Association of Manufacturers, Rep. Fred Upton said “fracking” advancements have put the United States in a position to lead the world in natural gas production.

“We now have a whole different theme on energy,” the Michigan Republican said. “We can be more competitive with the rest of the world."

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His remarks come as the Obama administration weighs new regulations on fracking, a drilling method involving high-pressure injections of water, chemicals and sand into shale formations to open seams that enable hydrocarbons to flow.

The proposed rules require energy companies to disclose chemicals used in the practice, which has raised fears of water and air pollution.


“We haven’t seen a single instance where groundwater has been contaminated by fracking — not one,” Upton said.

He also called upon the Obama administration to improve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, calling Canadians “our very best friends” in the push toward North American oil independence.

“They want to send as much as six million barrels a day from the oil sands in Alberta to the South, where we can refine,” he said, later adding, “We want to get out of the way, but we need to build the infrastructure.” 

The pipeline remains on hold while the administration decides whether to grant a cross-border permit for the project.