Wed May 2, 2012

Fracking the Focus of Congressional Hearing at Colorado Capitol

Colorado Fifth District Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is holding a hearing this morning in Denver on proposed federal regulations governing the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing.

In his state of the union speech earlier this year, President Obama called for companies to disclose the chemicals they're using to frack oil and gas wells on federal land. His Interior Department has reportedly been drafting a rule that will address this and add some new regulations.

Lamborn and other House Republicans argue states, not the federal government, should regulate fracking, as Colorado recently did. The subcommittee Lamborn chairs will hold an "oversight hearing" on the issue at the Colorado Capitol this morning starting at 9 AM.

It’s just the latest clash over proposed rules cracking down on fracking at both the federal level and in Colorado, as I told KUNC Host Nathan Heffel on Morning Edition this morning.

You can have a listen here:

As I mention in the piece, there's been a good deal of controversy over this expected draft rule, even though most people haven't even seen it yet.

For instance, the Colorado-based Western Energy Alliance issued a press release Tuesday calling the rules duplicative. Here is an excerpt from testimony the group's Kathleen Sgamma will give at Rep. Lamborn's hearing.

"The Department of the Interior’s (DOI) latest plans to add redundant regulations on federal lands is the extension of a philosophy that the federal government knows best and must insert its control wherever and whenever it can. This is a mindset that continues to deny the fact that the states are the proper place to regulate, as they are closer to the communities and have an appreciation of the multiplicity of factors that affect an area."

For his part, Interior Sec. Ken Salazar commended the steps states like Colorado and Wyoming have taken to regulate fracking during an interview this week with David Brancaccio of the Marketplace Morning Report.

But Salazar said it's his job to make sure that the process is being done "right" across the country, adding only that the new draft rule on disclosure would come soon.

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