GOP moves to block Obama’s fracking regs

GOP moves to block Obama’s fracking regs
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Republicans on Friday roundly rejected the Obama administration’s rules for hydraulic fracturing on federal land and pledged to fight them.

The GOP warned that the regulations will hamper the nation’s economic recovery that has been bolstered by the boom in natural gas and oil production, much of which depends on fracking.

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“America’s energy boom is one of the best things going for our economy, and keeping it going should be one of the federal government’s top priorities,” Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBreaking the impasse on shutdown, border security McCarthy, allies retaliate against Freedom Caucus leader House vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King MORE (R-Ohio) said in a statement.

“Instead, the Obama administration is so eager to appease radical environmentalists that it is regulating a process that is already properly regulated.”

Boehner promised to “do all we can” to stop attempts to impede the energy boom, including the fracking rules.

In 2013, the House voted to prohibit federal officials from regulating fracking on federal land in states that already regulate it.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthySteve King fundraising off controversy surrounding white supremacy comments House rejects GOP measure to pay workers but not open government McCarthy, allies retaliate against Freedom Caucus leader MORE (R-Calif.) said leaders will “explore legislative options” to fight the rule.

In the Senate, Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced a bill with 26 Republican co-sponsors that would block implementation of the fracking rules.

“The Obama administration’s rule on hydraulic fracturing adds unnecessary, duplicative red tape that will in turn make it more costly and arduous for our nation to pursue energy security,” Inhofe said in a statement.

“There is no logical reason to add a new layer of top-down bureaucratic regulation that duplicates what is already being done effectively by the states,” he added.

The rules announced Friday set standards for well construction, disclosure of chemicals used and disposal of waste fluid.

Democrats and environmentalists were also unhappy with the rules, saying they do not sufficiently restrict fracking.

“Instead of offering clarity and protecting our resources, today’s rule lets industry off the hook,” said Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee. “Rather than raising the bar, the [Bureau of Land Management] settled for the lowest common denominator.”

A coalition of five environmental groups called the rules “toothless.”

Actor Mark Ruffalo, who sits on the board of Americans Against Fracking, said Obama should have banned the procedure altogether.

“The Obama administration has devised fracking regulations that are nothing more then a giveaway to the oil and gas industry,” he said.

“This fracking rule is merely a continuation of Obama’s harmful all-of-the-above energy policy that emphasizes natural gas development over protection of public health and the environment,” said Kate DeAngelis, a campaign leader at Friends of the Earth.

Speaking with reporters Friday, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said she assumed some Republicans wouldn’t like the rule.

“While there may be comments coming from elected officials, we expect that these rules will in fact stick,” she said.

Jewell called the political reaction “not surprising” but expressed confidence that the Interior Department is doing what’s right.