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House GOP bill would thwart Interior’s ‘fracking’ regs

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc HastingsRichard (Doc) Norman HastingsCongress just resolved a 20-year debate over Neolithic remains Boehner hires new press secretary GOP plots new course on Endangered Species Act reform MORE (R-Wash.) and other GOP lawmakers are pushing legislation to block looming Interior Department regulations that govern the oil-and-gas “fracking” on public lands.

The bill is highly unlikely to become law but it signals ongoing GOP political pushback against the rules, which critics say are not needed and will create costly red tape.

The measure introduced Thursday by Rep. Bill FloresWilliam (Bill) Hose FloresThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Calls mount to start transition as Biden readies Cabinet picks Hillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones House approves measure condemning QAnon, but 17 Republicans vote against it MORE (R-Texas), Hastings and three others will be the subject of a July 25 House Natural Resources Committee hearing. It’s called the “Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act.”

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It would prevent Interior from enforcing regulations on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in states that that already have their own rules or permit requirements.

The bill explicitly says Interior must defer to state rules even if they are less restrictive than federal mandates.

GOP lawmakers and oil-and-gas industry groups say that state-level oversight of fracking – the method enabling the U.S. oil-and-gas production boom – protects the environment and public health.

But Interior officials, noting that some states have tougher oversight than others, say baseline federal standards are needed to oversee fracking in order to protect groundwater and other resources.

The federal rules, which are not yet final, would require disclosure of chemicals used in the fracking process, and also create standards around well integrity and management of so-called flowback water.

Interior Secretary Sally JewellSarah (Sally) Margaret JewellBiden leans on Obama-era appointees on climate OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA declines to tighten key air pollution standards | Despite risks to polar bears, Trump pushes ahead with oil exploration in Arctic | Biden to champion climate action in 2021 OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA proposes reapproving uses of pesticide linked to brain damage in children | Hispanic caucus unhappy with transition team treatment of Lujan Grisham | Schwarzenegger backs Nichols to lead EPA MORE, at a House hearing Wednesday, said Interior’s rule defers to states that have equal or more stringent oversight than the federal standards.