House Blocks Obama Administration’s Fracking Regulations

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In a bipartisan vote, the House of Representatives decided Wednesday to block White House regulations on fracking (hydraulic fracturing), citing the fact that States already regulate the practice and that an extra layer of Federal red tape will only slow America’s re-emerging oil and natural gas economy.

Supported by 12 Democrats and opposed by two Republicans, Wednesday’s 235-187 passage of H.R. 2728 represents an early symbolic defeat for President Barack Obama, who has proposed that fracking on Federal lands should be regulated by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The President has, of course, threatened to veto the bill, if it survives a more arduous trip through the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Prior to the vote, House Republicans said it doesn’t make sense for Obama to attempt to fix a policy that isn’t broken.

“Hydraulic fracturing has been safely and effectively regulated by States for decades. So the Obama Administration’s proposed regulations are unnecessary,” said Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee. “They’re redundant, and it simply wastes precious time and money duplicating what is already being done successfully.”

The bill specifically forbids the Department of the Interior from enforcing any Federal regulation on hydraulic fracturing on Federal lands, as well as on tribal lands that regulate the exploitation of their own mineral resources.

It also requires the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a study on the environmental impact of fracking that takes into account the efficacy of regulatory practices set in place by the States.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.