2:45 PM EST

Doc Hastings, R-WA 4th

Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, the Obama administration is once again attempting to block new energy production, keeping energy prices high and hurting middle class families. The Department of the Interior is proposing new regulations on the practice of hydraulic fracturing on Federal and tribal lands. These regulations, once implemented next year, will in all likelihood add new layers of red tape and lower energy production even further on Federal land.

For over 2 years, the Natural Resources Committee has conducted extensive oversight of the Obama administration's proposed regulations. We have held multiple hearings across the country and have heard from energy experts, tribal leaders, and State officials who have all had the same message: these are bad regulations that potentially destroy jobs and stifle American energy production.

According to one study, these new Federal regulations would cost nearly $350 million annually. As a consequence, the 1.7 million jobs that are currently supported by shale oil and natural gas production--a number, I might add, Mr. Chairman, that is expected to increase to 2.5 million by 2015--these jobs would be put in jeopardy. Even worse, these proposed regulations duplicate efforts already being carried out by States across the country.

Hydraulic fracturing has been safely and effectively regulated by States for decades. So the Obama administration's proposed regulations are unnecessary, they are redundant, and they simply waste precious time and money duplicating what is already being done successfully.

That is why two of our colleagues from Texas, Mr. Flores and Mr. Cuellar, introduced the bipartisan H.R. 2728, the Protecting States' Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act, before us today. This bill prohibits the Interior Department from enforcing duplicative hydraulic fracturing regulations in any State that already has regulations or will adopt regulations in the future and recognizes [Page: H7281]

States' authority to regulate this type

of activity.

The bill acknowledges that States are doing a good job and an effective job regulating this activity. And ironically, Mr. Chairman, officials from the Obama administration, itself, have admitted that there has not been one known case of groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing. The reason I mention this, Mr. Chairman, is because groundwater contamination is the argument most frequently used against this process.

The bill also recognizes that States are able to carefully craft regulations to meet the unique geological and hydrologic needs of their States. A one-size-fits-all regulatory structure, like this administration is trying to impose, will not work and is certainly not the answer.

I want to be very clear: this bill does not prevent the Federal Government from implementing baseline standards in States where none exist. This bill simply prevents the Federal Government from wasting time, money, and resources by imposing duplicative red tape on a process that is widely regarded as being properly regulated by the States.

I urge my colleagues to support this legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.

2:49 PM EST

Rush Holt, D-NJ 12th

Mr. HOLT. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 3 minutes.

I rise in opposition to this bill. Apparently, Mr. Chairman, the Republican majority believes that the greatest threat that Americans face from hydraulic fracturing today is too many regulations. They don't seem to be concerned about the danger posed to our drinking water supplies or the impacts of industrialization on our rural landscapes or the increased risk of earthquakes from wastewater injection or the emissions of methane or other noxious chemicals into the air or the identity of the mystery

chemicals being pumped underground nor the disposal of waste safely. Americans are concerned about these things, and so should we be.

The House Democrats are trying to do something about that. My colleagues and I have introduced an entire series of bills designed to address the very real impacts that fracking has on American communities: the BREATHE Act, by Mr. Polis; the SHARED Act, by Ms. Schakowsky; the CLEANER Act, by Mr. Cartwright; the FRESHER Act, also by Mr. Cartwright; and the FRAC Act, by Ms. DeGette. These are attempts to protect the air, the water, the land, and ensure

that people know what is being injected into the ground under their homes. The Republicans will not bring any of these bills to the floor, and I doubt they will because, according to the Republicans, the real threat is too many regulations.

This is preposterous, Mr. Chairman. Tell the people who want to know what chemicals are being injected under their homes that the real danger is that the Federal Government wants them to know. Tell the people who are seeing elevated levels of methane in their drinking water that the real danger is that the Federal Government wants to ensure that the wells are built better so they will not leak methane. Mr. Chairman, tell the people living next to the huge open pits of wastewater that the real

danger is the Federal Government wants to make sure that States have minimum standards.

Mr. Chairman, I am astonished that the sponsors of this bill and the leadership would even bring the bill to the floor. It will do nothing, absolutely nothing, to address any of the concerns that families have legitimately about the impacts of fracking in their communities. Worse than that, the bill will strip existing protections in place across the entire Nation.

It would eliminate the ability of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service to regulate oil and gas operations on their own lands. It would prevent the Fish and Wildlife Service from enforcing wildlife protection regulations under the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act--oh, yes, I know my colleagues will say, That is not true; read the bill--and any number of other laws everywhere across the country.

Now I would like to think that these are unintended consequences of a poorly drafted bill, but given past attacks on the Endangered Species Act and such, I think there is reason to suspect that this is an intended consequence.

They will say, This is about states' rights, but Democrats are actually focused on the American people's rights: their rights to clean air; their rights to clean water; to be free of hazardous waste; to know what is happening under their very feet.

I urge my colleagues to defeat this bill and to bring up legislation that will really deal with the health and safety of Americans across the country.

2:55 PM EST

Bill Flores, R-TX 17th

Mr. FLORES. I thank Chairman Hastings for his assistance in moving this legislation through his committee and the bill's co-lead, Mr. Cuellar.

I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on H.R. 2728 and support the American manufacturing renaissance, lower energy costs, and American jobs.

2:55 PM EST

Peter A. DeFazio, D-OR 4th

Mr. DeFAZIO. I thank the gentleman.

Mr. Chairman, now here, a group has done an assessment of the various State regulatory regimes, and as you can see, they vary tremendously. They think that the best is Maryland. There are others gathered toward the top, the middle, and then way down here at the bottom, you have Virginia.

Some States require comprehensive pressure testing of the casing. That is essential, particularly if you are going through the water table to get to the gas. If you get the leaks, then you destroy the water table. Some States don't require that. [Page: H7282]

Some States require that you contain the fluids that come back up, the waste products laden with toxic materials not only from the fluids but from the ground itself. Other States allow it to be in open pits.

Some States require disclosure of the chemicals that are used. Now how can you say there has been no contamination when there are contaminated wells in many places across the U.S.? Some of it has to do with baseline contamination with arsenic or other things, but if you don't know what they are sticking into the ground near your well or water table, you can't track what it is that was a baseline before and/or what is pollution that has resulted. We don't know that. So why not require disclosure

of the chemicals?

We are having a gold rush right now for fracking. It is not exactly like this is going to have an impact if we put in place a reasonable floor of Federal regulations. One Macondo, just one Macondo in this industry, one well that blows out in a large aquifer or some other disaster, and this whole thing is going to come grinding to a halt, and then you are going to see a strong push-back for strong regulations.

Quite frankly, I don't think that the regulations being proposed by this administration are stringent enough for a floor. They are probably above maybe some of these people on the bottom, but they are way below some of the best-performing States here.

Why should it be different State to State to State? What is it? Do we want to protect the above ground resources and not have open pits? Well, under this bill, if you have an open pit, it is on a flyway, migratory birds land there and die quickly, the Federal Government can't do anything about it. If that State allows open pits, we can't do anything about that. That is up to that State, and that is a fact. A number of States allow open pits.

We should have a regulatory regime where the Federal Government, on its lands, which belong to all the people of the United States, sets a reasonable floor for regulations. If a State like Maryland wants to go above good, solid regulations, well, then, good. But if someone else is a bad actor, and they want to drag it down, and they want to have open pits, they don't want to test the casing, they don't want to do other things that are absolutely essential to protect resources, then they can do

that on Federal lands?

It is bad enough that they are allowing people to do it on private lands and do it on their State lands. But these are Federal lands. We are going to require and should require a higher bar to protect the public, to protect the environment, to protect these precious resources and do this responsibly.

3:00 PM EST

Doug Lamborn, R-CO 5th

Mr. LAMBORN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of H.R. 2728, which came through the subcommittee I chair and which I am pleased to cosponsor.

This bipartisan legislation requires the Department of the Interior to defer to State regulations regarding hydraulic fracturing on Federal lands within the States.

These proposed Federal regulations will lead to more bureaucratic red tape that will further discourage energy producers from developing on Federal land.

The time period for approving a simple application for a permit to drill has only increased under President Obama. An energy producer can wait for nearly a year for a permit to be approved on Federal land, while in my home State of Colorado, it is only an average of 27 days.

The Federal regulations being proposed by the administration will add an entirely new layer of regulations to the already cumbersome Federal process. This will increase the cost of producing energy and does not help working American families.

The proposed Federal regulations also ignore the extensive work done by the States to regulate hydraulic fractures within their borders. Our committee has heard from numerous witnesses from Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and other States who have testified to the extensive process these States went through to draft their regulations, regulations that are very successful. No one can show where States are dropping the ball.

My home State of Colorado has been safely using hydraulic fracturing for over 40 years and has the toughest disclosure rule in the Nation. Even our Democratic Governor, John Hickenlooper, to his credit, believes that it is the State's responsibility to regulate the industry. The States know their own geology and water better than bureaucrats in Washington do.

This bill will eliminate Federal regulations that are unnecessary, burdensome, and expensive. Please support H.R. 2728.

3:02 PM EST

Rush Holt, D-NJ 12th

Mr. HOLT. Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Gene Green), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and someone who is as expert as anyone in this Chamber on oil and gas industry and regulations.

3:02 PM EST

Gene Green, D-TX 29th

Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. I thank my colleague. Although, I have to admit, sometimes I feel a little awkward listening to my colleagues' statements, but I am glad that report showed Texas is one of the more tougher States that regulates hydraulic fracturing.

Mr. Chairman, in the State of Texas, hydraulic fracturing has been a common practice for many years. The technique, combined with horizontal drilling, has made the idea of energy independence in the United States almost a reality.

Across the United States, the development of natural gas continues to power our economic engine and is the foundation of a manufacturing renaissance. Thus far, State agencies have done a great job of regulating hydraulic practices on State and private lands.

In Texas, the Railroad Commission--inappropriately named--has set a variety of standards that aim to protect the environment and allow for the development of this vital natural resource.

I am a firm believer in property rights and that whoever owns that land should have the right to regulate that land.

I would not support the Federal Government regulating the development of natural gas or the practice of hydraulic fracturing on State and/or private lands. More importantly, I cannot support the idea of legislation that would prevent the Federal Government from regulating Federal lands. Unfortunately, that is what this bill is asking us to do.

I understand and support the desire to develop our natural resources in the most economical way possible with as little bureaucratic red tape as possible. I know the significant advantage that the shale gas boom has provided our domestic petrochemical industry, various manufacturers, and a whole host of end-users.

Let's make sure, though, that the Department of the Interior does their job and does not have to transfer oversight of Federal lands to State lands. We need the Department of the Interior to allow resource development under Federal law.

I encourage my colleagues to oppose this bill. Hopefully, we will bring up a bill that will make the Department of the Interior actually let us produce on our Federal lands.

3:04 PM EST

Bill Flores, R-TX 17th

Mr. FLORES. Mr. Chairman, I am disappointed in my good friend from Texas' comments, especially in light of the fact that there are a significant number of jobs in his district and in [Page: H7283]

Texas that are powered by natural gas that comes from the shale energy revolution.

My friend from Texas undoubtedly knows that the Federal Government takes 10 times as long to issue a permit as does the State of Texas for energy activities, and I wouldn't want to have the Federal Government add another layer of complexity to that.

We are not plowing new ground with my bill. The Federal Government already defers to the States on the management of wildlife and water on Federal lands.

3:05 PM EST

Henry Cuellar, D-TX 28th

Mr. CUELLAR. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of H.R. 2728 with my good friend, Bill Flores, and, of course, our chairman also.

The U.S. has become the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas, surpassing Russia this year. The transformation of our energy production has rejuvenated our middle class by reviving core American industries and bringing blue-collar jobs back to U.S. soil.

In light of this new American energy revolution, we must ensure that we have a smarter and more focused approach to energy regulation.

This legislation would prevent the Interior Department from enforcing Federal rules related to hydraulic fracturing in States that already have existing oversight rules, like my State of Texas, and the Railroad Commission in my home State.

This legislation is not about more or less regulation. This bill helps our Federal Government work in a smarter and more cost-effective manner. We need to enable States to regulate their own lands--because they know it better--and not try to create a Federal one-size-fits-all approach.

This bill would untangle redundant regulation in States that have created their own regulations that address well design, location, water quality, emissions, wildlife protection, and health and safety.

I represent the Eagle Ford Shale area in Texas, which is one of the largest production areas in the United States. That shale has transformed my area,

whether it is Webb County, LaSalle, Atascosa, Wilson, or McMullen County. The other counties there have been transformed by Eagle Ford.

I also worked at the State for many years as a legislator, and I understand the Railroad Commission. I understand they also do a good job.

Therefore, the State of Texas has passed smart regulations by working directly with our communities and with our counties, with our industry, and is leading the Nation in establishing FracFocus, which informs all Texans what materials are used in the fracking activities.

The CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.

3:07 PM EST

Henry Cuellar, D-TX 28th

Mr. CUELLAR. Our State governments know their own land best. Let us improve how our government functions, empower our States to enforce their own laws on their own lands, and continue this energy growth that we have.

With that, I thank the chairman, Mr. Bill Flores, and also the ranking member, Mr. Holt, who allowed me to speak.

3:08 PM EST

Louie Gohmert Jr., R-TX 1st

Mr. GOHMERT. Mr. Chairman, I am very grateful to my dear friend, Bill Flores, and to Doc Hastings, chairman of our committee. I appreciate Mr. Cuellar's comments.

The truth is, we have been working on this for a long time, and Mr. Flores has gotten it here. This is fantastic because we need jobs in America. We need more of our own energy in America. This bill helps us do that.

I got into a discussion with one of our colleagues across the aisle who is now in the Senate, and I brought this up to him in previous years. If a State has a regulatory body that is addressing the issue, has cleaner air, cleaner water, is doing the job, then let them do it. Let's not add another layer of bureaucracy that takes away jobs. It slows the economy.

I am very grateful that it looks like we are going to pass a bill that creates jobs instead of these job-ending things that have been happening down the hall and down Pennsylvania Avenue.

So I applaud my colleague and I applaud my friends that support this bill. This is going to help America.

3:09 PM EST

Steve Daines, R-MT

Mr. DAINES. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of H.R. 2728, the Protecting States' Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act.

Hydraulic fracturing has been critical to the production of our rich Montana-Bakken oil. It is key not only to our State's economy but also to unlocking a valuable source of revenue for the Federal Government and our State. This helps fund our schools, our teachers, and our infrastructure in Montana.

Montana has smart, environmentally sensitive regulations of this process already in place. Like most Montanans, I love to hike, I love to hunt, I love to fish. We are the safeguards of the environment in Montana. We do not need bureaucrats in Washington telling us how to protect our lands in Montana. Yet the Obama administration has put more senseless barriers in place by stiffening the Federal restraint and red tape on this process.

Do you realize that Montana Indian tribes face over 50 percent unemployment? This rule could deny our Native Americans the independence that energy development on their lands can make possible. H.R. 2728 would ensure the Federal Government does not get in the way of responsible energy development on tribal land and throughout Montana. Washington, D.C., needs to look more like Montana, not the other way around.

The people of Montana and our country need a responsible energy plan that protects our environment and creates a better future for our kids. That means jobs and lower energy prices.

I urge passage of H.R. 2728.

3:11 PM EST

Steve Pearce, R-NM 2nd

Mr. PEARCE. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, natural gas is revitalizing American industries. It is revitalizing the middle class. That natural gas is being produced because we do a process called hydraulic fracturing.

My background is in oil and gas. I have seen the process my whole life. I have seen new technological innovations that keep us more safe, keep the process safe, protect the well bores, and protect the water.

So who would be against a process that is rebuilding American industries, that is rebuilding the job base of this country?

Sand sales you would not seem to identify with this particular process, and yet that is exactly why sand sales are soaring in the country and the production of chemicals is soaring--because of the use of this process called hydraulic fracturing.

It has been around for decades. New Mexico has safe drinking water, but we have also got plentiful jobs, and American consumers have lower costs of living, all because of a process.

The CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.

3:13 PM EST

Rush Holt, D-NJ 12th

Mr. HOLT. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 2 minutes.

It is traditional and appropriate in this country that matters dealing with health and safety, clean water, and clean air are handled at the interstate level, at the Federal level. This legislation would remove all sorts of regulations. Best practices that are designed to minimize the environmental impact [Page: H7284]

of oil and gas legislation for Bureau of Land Management practices would be gone.

It gets rid of requirements to protect sacred sites and historic properties. It would throw out the regulation that prevents occupancy within a quarter of a mile of designated fisheries. It would remove the regulation that you can't do any of these activities in the floodplain of the Yellowstone River, and on and on.

My colleague a moment ago talked about the booming industry in chemicals because of fracking. Yes, that brings up an interesting point about the difference in State regulations. We would hope that anybody in the drilling area would have access to the chemicals that are being injected into these wells under their very feet, under their homes.

[Time: 15:15]

But if you look at what some States allow now, they allow chemicals that are confidential, proprietary, undisclosed to be used, and they number in the dozens. Let's see. We have got here oxyalkylated phenol resins; we have terpenes and terpenoids; we have quaternary amines. These are all items that are held confidentially, proprietarily; and under this legislation that we are considering, a State could make sure that they are not disclosed.

I reserve the balance of my time.

3:16 PM EST

Scott Perry, R-PA 4th

Mr. PERRY. I would like to thank Chairman Hastings and Mr. Flores for bringing H.R. 2728 to the floor for this opportunity.

Mr. Chairman, I would just like to remind everybody that, although they might say, Why do we do this? Why is the rhetoric important? I mean, if we don't counter the kind of alternate reality that the other side often touts, people will think that that is reality. I will remind everybody in the room that the Federal Government and every State government has said that there has been not one accident--zero--referring to the aquifer regarding hydraulic fracking--not one.

People in Washington have never been to Dimock; they have never been to Renovo or to Tidioute or to Warren, Pennsylvania. They don't know anything about these places and what happens here, but yet they want to regulate us. The people who live there are the ones who are working there, and they have the greatest stake in protecting the environment.

Let me tell you what it has done for Pennsylvania: $750 million in road and infrastructure and improvements since 2008 has been provided by the gas industry. The average income is up $1,200 because of it; $1.8 billion in tax revenue has been generated by responsible shale development.

The CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.

3:17 PM EST

Scott Perry, R-PA 4th

Mr. PERRY. Ninety-six percent of the employment comes out of the Appalachian basin. That is in Pennsylvania. That is where we live. There has been a $650 savings per household per year because of it, and there are 232,000 associated jobs with an average pay of $83,305 a year.

Mr. Chairman, there is a list of agencies that these people must comply with for every single portion of this. I am going to run out of time, but I am going to run out of time just going through them, all right: the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the County Conservation District.

The CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has again expired.

3:17 PM EST

Scott Perry, R-PA 4th

Mr. PERRY. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, the Delaware River Basin Commission, the Pennsylvania Historic Museum Commission, and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Council.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, all of those chemicals that were noted on every job site are listed on a material safety data sheet, which is required by law.

3:18 PM EST

Rush Holt, D-NJ 12th

Mr. HOLT. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, my colleagues say that there have been no cases of contamination from the fracking, itself. What about leakage from poorly constructed wells? What about leakage from unlined pits? Are they prepared to claim that there has never been water contamination because of this? That is what the Bureau of Land Management regulations and rules get at--well construction, wastewater management, the threats to drinking water in neighboring communities. This legislation would gut--it would remove--any

possibility of such rules.

I reserve the balance of my time.

3:19 PM EST

Bill Flores, R-TX 17th

Mr. FLORES. I thank the gentleman for accepting the amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Flores).

The amendment was agreed to.

AMENDMENT NO. 3 OFFERED BY MR.

REED

The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 3 printed in part B of House Report 113-271.

3:19 PM EST

Blake Randolph Farenthold, R-TX 27th

Mr. FARENTHOLD. Mr. Chairman, we are producing more energy now than we have ever produced, and it is thanks to new technologies like hydraulic fracking for making that happen.

The Eagle Ford shale in the district I represent has created over 400,000 jobs and, roughly, $2.6 billion in salaries in a 13-county area. The benefits from this are not isolated. Shale has brought back rail, steel, plastics, sand, and manufacturing; and the average U.S. household's energy costs have gone way down. I have seen numbers as high as $1,200 less for energy bills. This technology isn't new. We have been using it in Texas for over 60 years. It is regulated by the Texas Railroad Commission,

and they do a great job.

All of these people with all of the scare tactics sometimes forget that, when hydraulic fracking is done, it is done a mile below or two miles below the water table. It is safe. It is well regulated by the State. It is good for the economy. It is turning the balance of trade. It is saving us money on energy. It is also creating an economic revival in this country. We have got to let States regulate it. I urge the support of this bill.

3:21 PM EST

Rush Holt, D-NJ 12th

Mr. HOLT. I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Chairman, here is a partial list of the Federal laws, rules, and regulations that could not be enforced were this bill to become law:

The Endangered Species Act; the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; the oil and gas operations in National Park Service units; the oil and gas operations in National Wildlife Refuges; the casing and cementing regulations, such as should have been applied in the Deepwater Horizon case; the wastewater management regulations; the plugging and abandonment regulations, in other words, when pits or wells are abandoned; the best management practices for oil and gas drilling on public lands; the timing limits

of when operations could be conducted with the least disruption to wildlife; the protections for sacred sites, historic trails, fisheries, and wetlands; and much more.

It has been sold as a states' rights bill that would only block the Bureau of Land Management's fracking

rules, but it would strip agencies on Federal lands of the authority to enforce almost every regulation on the books because any State that has any regulation that affects these activities means that none of these regulations could apply, that they would all be superseded by the State regulations. That is what the bill says.

As for whether there is any damage done, I would point my friends to this [Page: H7285]

picture. Maybe you have a little trouble seeing it, but, essentially, it shows burning tap water. No, this is not a staged picture. This happened in a residence. This is methane flaming because the water is full of methane.

Now, I know my colleagues will say, Oh, but that is not because of fracking. There must be some other reason. There must be.

They haven't found it. They have blamed it on all sorts of other things, but it happens where the fracking is occurring.

So this is a case in which the practice has gotten ahead of the science, in which the practice has gotten ahead of our regulations, in which it has gotten ahead of our understanding; and the idea to reduce regulations and understanding so that we could do it faster is preposterous. This is not the way you protect public health. This is not the way you protect public safety. It is not the way you stimulate the economy. It is false economy to proceed in disregard for the protection of the environment.

So, with that, Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to oppose H.R. 2728.

3:24 PM EST

Doc Hastings, R-WA 4th

Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, may I inquire as to how much time the gentleman from New Jersey has left if he is going to yield back.

The CHAIR. The gentleman from New Jersey has 4 minutes remaining.

3:24 PM EST

Doc Hastings, R-WA 4th

Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, may I inquire as to how much time the gentleman from New Jersey has left if he is going to yield back.

The CHAIR. The gentleman from New Jersey has 4 minutes remaining.

3:25 PM EST

Eric Cantor, R-VA 7th

Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman from Washington.

Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of the Protecting States' Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act.

Over the last 10 years, America has been experiencing a shale energy boom; and because of new technology in hydraulic fracturing, the development of energy resources has been environmentally friendly. While the technology that has made this boom possible is truly impressive, I want to take a moment and focus on the impact this boom is having on hardworking middle class families.

Many of these families are living paycheck to paycheck. Many have gone years without a meaningful raise, but powering their lights or heating their homes is not an optional expense. An unexpected rise in the monthly utility bill means less money for new school clothes, the college savings account, or even a night out at the movies. That is why it is so important that we pursue policies that lower energy costs. Hydraulic fracturing is one such policy.

A recent study found that, absent hydraulic fracturing, a family's home energy bills and other costs for goods and services would have been $1,200 higher last year. The study concludes that the continued production of our domestic energy resources could increase disposable household income--principally by lowering costs--by $800 over the next 2 years. This is the type of relief American families deserve.

But lower energy costs for working families is not the only benefit of hydraulic fracturing. The same study showed that the natural gas and shale oil industry contributed over 1.7 million jobs in 2012 alone. Going forward, it is predicted to add a total of 2.5 million jobs by 2015. These are good, well-paying jobs right here in America. For those who have been struggling to find work for months or, in some cases, for years, this kind of advancement in energy technology could allow these folks

to find work, to get back on their feet, and to provide for their families. It is no coincidence that areas of our country with active domestic energy production from hydraulic fracturing are experiencing lower levels of unemployment.

These benefits to working families are now under threat. They are under threat from newly proposed Federal regulations by this administration that would cost our economy jobs, keep energy bills from falling, and hinder our cause to become more energy secure.

State governments and local regulators have been very effective with implementing environmentally sound regulations to meet the specific geologic requirements of their States for over 60 years. This act will keep the Federal Government from imposing redundant regulations and needless red tape that will only raise the monthly utility bills of millions of American families and cost America new jobs.

The States and local regulators should be allowed to do this job without any Federal interference. I saw firsthand, when I accompanied my colleague from North Dakota, Kevin Cramer, to Williston, wellheads that were being drilled, and the last thing they need in that State, in that area, are the Federal regulators coming in to tell them how to drill a well.

This bill is an opportunity for the House to act in a bipartisan manner and show our constituents that we are serious about creating jobs, that we are serious about easing the burden of high energy costs, and are serious about strengthening our energy security.

I want to thank all of those involved and the chairman of the committee, as well as Congressman Bill Flores and the rest of Chairman Hastings' Natural Resources Committee, for their hard work and dedication to this issue for working middle class families. I also want to thank Chairman Lamar Smith and the Science Committee for their important contribution to this legislation.

I urge my colleagues in the House to support this legislation.

3:29 PM EST

Doc Hastings, R-WA 4th

Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. This is Groundhog Day, Mr. Chairman. I would say to my friend, now I have no more speakers whom I can foresee at all, so I am prepared to close if the gentleman doesn't repeat his last statement.

3:29 PM EST

Rush Holt, D-NJ 12th

Mr. HOLT. Mr. Chairman, in closing, when I showed the picture of the burning tap water, I saw expressions of incredulity from the other side of the aisle. Surely that can't be true; or if it is true, surely it is not because of fracking.

A Duke University study found that methane contamination was in 115 of 141 shallow residential drinking wells that they studied, six times higher than wells greater than a mile from the fracking operations. Now, it is hard to tell when you are deep in the ground where that methane is leaking and what other chemicals, undisclosed chemicals, are leaking with that methane.

There is something here that should be regulated, and this legislation would prevent such regulations. I urge a ``no'' vote, and I yield back the balance of my time.

3:30 PM EST

Doc Hastings, R-WA 4th

Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of the time.

The underlying bill, as has been mentioned several times, is about American jobs and American energy security.

Just last week, the International Energy Agency released its World Energy Outlook. In that report, they predicted that the U.S. would surpass Saudi Arabia and become the top oil producer in the world in only 2 more years. Now, this is great news for our economy, it is great news for American workers, it is great news for potential energy prices, and, Mr. Chairman, it is great news for our national security.

This recent boom in energy production would not be possible without the new technological advances of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Let me give you an example. In [Page: H7286]

the year 2000, shale gas, which is the prime area that you go after with hydraulic fracturing, provided just 1 percent of our Nation's natural gas supplies. Today, it is 25 percent. That number will only continue to grow.

While the White House is quick to take credit for this uptick in energy production, the truth is this increase is happening in spite of this administration's policies and not because of them. Because what has been well documented, all of the increase in energy production is happening on State and private lands, not on Federal lands. Currently, 93 percent of shale oil wells are located on private and State lands and only 7 percent on Federal lands. That simply means that there is a great potential

on Federal lands that are currently being ignored because of the regulatory hoops.

I suggest that if the Department of the Interior goes through with their regulations on fracking that would be duplicative of those States, it would only keep that 7 percent where it is rather than increasing. It seems to me, from a standpoint of policy for our country, it is best to be as energy secure as we can possibly be because that means that we are secure from a national security standpoint.

Finally, and certainly not least, that means that American jobs, good-paying American jobs, are creating the energy for the American consumer. That is what this bill is all about.

I urge my colleagues to support the legislation, and I yield back the balance of my time.

The CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized.

3:34 PM EST

Lamar S. Smith, R-TX 21st

Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 2 minutes.

Each week there is more good news about the benefits of the energy revolution underway across America. Whether it is the manufacturing renaissance spurred by affordable natural gas or the new opportunities for good-paying energy jobs, the benefits of the shale revolution can hardly be overstated. For that reason, I am happy to support H.R. 2728, a bill that seeks to prevent redundant Federal regulations where States already have environmental protections in place.

H.R. 2728 also incorporates legislation reported by the Science Committee--the Hydraulic Fracturing Study Improvement Act. Title II of this legislation holds the EPA accountable by requiring it to base its studies on the facts instead of worst-case scenarios that exist only in the EPA's imagination.

In its zeal to regulate, the EPA has rushed to link water contamination to hydraulic fracturing. It has made this claim in three high-profile cases, only to be forced to retract its statements after the facts have come out. The EPA's track record does not instill confidence in their ongoing studies of the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water.

The Science Committee has conducted numerous oversight hearings on EPA research. These efforts have revealed that the EPA's approach is to try to find problems without considering whether these problems would actually occur in the real world. Title II corrects this by requiring a real-world look at risk that gives an honest evaluation of probability. This will prevent the misuse of the EPA's studies by those simply looking for an excuse to scare people. Title II of this legislation will enhance

our ability to ensure continued safe and responsible production of America's natural energy resources.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

3:36 PM EST

Suzanne Bonamici, D-OR 1st

Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise in opposition to H.R. 2728, the Protecting States' Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act.

Title II of this act is a bill passed by the Science Committee, the EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Study Improvement Act. This is a piece of legislation that should not have been passed out of the committee.

First, title II contains provisions that designate the fracking study is a highly influential scientific assessment and requires EPA to follow its standard peer review protocols for such assessments. This language is unnecessary because EPA already considers the fracking study to be a highly influential scientific assessment.

Second, and importantly, unfortunately, this bill will obstruct EPA's ability to carry out its important work. The requirements of this bill may force the EPA to delay production of their final report on the effects of hydraulic fracturing on water quality. This bill could delay an important report that is based on a study that the EPA initiated more than 3 years ago. The study was reviewed and approved by the EPA's independent Science Advisory Board. The Science Advisory Board found the study

to be both appropriate and comprehensive. The American public should not have to wait any longer before they receive a scientific analysis of whether their water has been affected by hydraulic fracturing.

What I found troubling is that the Science Committee never got information from the Science Advisory Board, which validated the study, regarding its opinion about the bill, nor did we get comments from the EPA or any other experts. In fact, the bill never had a hearing. This bill effectively attempts to micromanage the EPA without a factual basis for doing so.

The bill requires the EPA to do an ad hoc risk analysis by requiring them to quantitatively estimate the probabilities, uncertainties, and consequences of impacts to drinking water from hydraulic fracturing; however, this was never a study that was set up to determine the risk effects of hydraulic fracturing. The study was meant to examine the science to determine if hydraulic fracturing operations have any effect on groundwater. By requiring an ad hoc risk analysis on a study that was not designed

to acquire the data necessary to do a risk analysis, the EPA would be forced to try to fit a round peg in a square hole.

What remains truly unclear is why this language is included when it is so unnecessary. If the current study were to find a link between fracking and groundwater contamination, then a full risk assessment will be required before the Agency can establish any regulations to address the issue.

What this bill is doing here is requiring a risk analysis simultaneously, and as part of, the very study that is meant to determine if there is a need for a risk analysis. These efforts to become involved in directing the specific details of scientific process are very troubling.

It appears that this bill is setting up the EPA to fail. If the EPA doesn't complete the study by the deadline, they have failed; and if the EPA completes the study but the ad hoc risk analysis is not as detailed as the bill's proponents expect, then they would have also failed. More importantly, their ad hoc risk analysis may taint the very accurate scientific data behind that analysis.

It is not in the public interest to have this study delayed any longer. Let the EPA complete their study. If the science shows the effects connecting hydraulic fracturing with contaminated groundwater, then we will let the EPA's long-established process of doing a risk assessment after such a study to be followed completely with all the I's dotted and T's crossed.

It is also difficult to understand how the proponents of the bill reconcile title II with title I. Title I clearly attempts to prevent the Federal Government from having oversight inspection or enforcement responsibility for hydraulic fracturing regulations. However, if the States are supposed to regulate, don't they need the science to support those regulations?

This study is designed to be the science that provides the Federal Government and the States with the information they will need to make policy choices about the effects of hydraulic fracturing on groundwater. By possibly delaying this study, we delay the ability of the States or the Federal Government to make prudent choices to protect the American public.

If you support hydraulic fracturing, delaying the study will not speed up the process of opening new areas of the country to hydraulic fracturing. Title II of H.R. 2728 will only delay an important scientific study and, ironically, may delay the development of new shale fields throughout the United States.

I urge my colleagues to vote against this legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.

3:41 PM EST

Lamar S. Smith, R-TX 21st

Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, on the way to yielding time to the gentlewoman from Wyoming, I want to [Page: H7287]

point out that the underlying bill, the science bill that is contained in the underlying bill, did pass by voice vote in the Science Committee.

I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Wyoming (Mrs. Lummis), who is also the chairman of the Energy Subcommittee on the Science Committee.

3:41 PM EST

Lamar S. Smith, R-TX 21st

Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, on the way to yielding time to the gentlewoman from Wyoming, I want to [Page: H7287]

point out that the underlying bill, the science bill that is contained in the underlying bill, did pass by voice vote in the Science Committee.

I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Wyoming (Mrs. Lummis), who is also the chairman of the Energy Subcommittee on the Science Committee.

3:41 PM EST

Cynthia Lummis, R-WY

Mrs. LUMMIS. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the right of State governments to regulate hydraulic fracturing. I am pleased that the bill before us also includes Chairman Lamar Smith's bill to ensure the integrity of Federal research into hydraulic fracturing.

Mr. Chairman, the EPA botched its study linking hydraulic fracturing to groundwater contamination in a 2011 report on groundwater in Pavillion, Wyoming. The report was so flawed that the EPA was forced to disavow their preliminary conclusion that hydraulic fracturing caused contamination in Pavillion.

The EPA's phoney preliminary conclusions were widely reported, altered national public perception, and the EPA did not back away until the damage was already done. Two years later, the EPA turned the study over to the State of Wyoming where it will undergo the scientific rigor it deserves.

Mr. Chairman, the question today is not whether hydraulic fracturing should be regulated. It should. But we shouldn't allow the Federal Government to regulate when States are already stepping up to the plate. My home State of Wyoming has been a leader in hydraulic fracturing regulation, so much so that even the Bureau of Land Management holds up Wyoming as a model.

What works for Wyoming might not work for Texas or Pennsylvania. The hydrology and the geology are different. Any State that assumes the responsibility of regulating hydraulic fracturing should be allowed to do so. Governors, legislators, and State regulators care about the well-being of the citizens in their State. More than that, who better to regulate the practice than those who live near the wells, who drink the groundwater, and who know the local geology, hydrology, and industries better

than anyone?

I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 2728.

3:43 PM EST

Suzanne Bonamici, D-OR 1st

Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

To clarify, there was opposition to the legislation in the Science Committee; however, there is no recorded vote.

I continue to reserve the balance of my time.

3:44 PM EST

Christopher C Collins, R-NY 27th

Mr. COLLINS of New York. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to speak today.

I want to speak out about the importance of the EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Study Improvement Act, legislation that makes up title II of the act.

The EPA is currently conducting a multiyear study on the relationship between hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and groundwater. This legislation will greatly improve the value of the EPA study by increasing transparency and requiring it to include an objective risk assessment.

[Time: 15:45]

Hydraulic fracturing has been studied over and over again. My home State of New York is a prime example of how studies can stall job creation.

In New York, a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing was enacted in 2008. Now, 5 years later, that moratorium is still in place because the New York Department of Environmental Conservation is conducting a study on the environmental impact of fracking. Yet, no details of this study have been revealed, and a date of completion has yet to be announced.

Now the EPA is trying to do a similar study, which will only further delay a practice that many States currently allow and are benefiting from.

Fracking represents one of the greatest opportunities for strengthening our Nation's energy security and spurring economic growth. If New York would allow fracking, 520 shale gas wells could sustain 62,000 new and needed jobs.

This legislation will increase transparency and accuracy in how the EPA reports on the study of hydraulic fracturing and will get rid of the need for duplicative studies, like the one being done in New York.

Additionally, the risk assessment requirement will turn the study into a useful tool for both scientists and decisionmakers. By providing decisionmakers with the data and information they need in order to become comfortable with fracking, we can help create jobs and further our Nation's energy independence.

3:46 PM EST

Suzanne Bonamici, D-OR 1st

Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chairman, in 2010, the Department of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act required the EPA to perform a study on the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and groundwater contamination. The final report is currently expected to be released in 2016.

EPA's proposed study plan was reviewed by the EPA Science Advisory Board. The Science Advisory Board determined that EPA's approach was generally appropriate and comprehensive. Further, the Science Advisory Board recommended that some analysis of risks be considered in the study, but a full risk assessment could add another 5 to 7 years to the expected release date.

The proponents of this legislation mischaracterize the EPA's study plan as flawed for failing to include a comprehensive risk assessment. That position is not consistent with the conclusions of the highly qualified scientists, researchers, and industry representatives who are members of the EPA's independent Science Advisory Board, and importantly, title II could delay the release of this very important study. I urge my colleagues to oppose this legislation.

I yield back the balance of my time.

3:47 PM EST

Lamar S. Smith, R-TX 21st

Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, we actually have two more individuals who will speak on this side, so if the gentlewoman from Oregon wants to reclaim some time after our next speaker, she is welcome to do so.

Meanwhile, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Weber) who is a distinguished member of the Science Committee.

3:48 PM EST

Randy Weber Sr., R-TX 14th

Mr. WEBER of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I thank Chairman Smith.

Texas has produced half of all new jobs in America in recent years. Even Time magazine noted how things are good in Texas. They call it maybe the future of America. The creation of many of these jobs in Texas would not be possible without hydraulic fracturing. Fracking is reaching previously untapped shale natural gas deposits, thereby increasing our Nation's natural gas supply and lowering the cost of energy for all Americans.

Seemingly unaware of all of the economic benefits of America's energy renaissance, the Obama administration has moved to regulate fracking on Federal lands and to spend millions of dollars in studies at the EPA, despite its safe usage in Texas for over 60 years.

The EPA is zero for three when it comes to hydraulic fracturing alarmism. Their allegations of groundwater contamination in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming all struck out after proper review and analysis.

That is why I support H.R. 2728, because it will leave the regulation of fracking up to the States. We care about our States more than any bureaucrat up in Washington, D.C., and one size doesn't fit all. Texas was environmentally friendly before being green was cool. This legislation also holds the EPA accountable to taxpayers by requiring that their multimillion-dollar study of hydraulic fracturing follow basic and widely agreed upon scientific processes. We have it right in Texas. They ought

to leave us alone, and we will help create jobs and get this economy moving again.

3:51 PM EST

Kevin Cramer, R-ND

Mr. CRAMER. I thank the chairman for his leadership on this important issue.

Mr. Chairman, the citizens of North Dakota sent me to Washington in large part to protect our thriving economy from the overreaching regulations, often based on faulty science, from destroying that very economy. In carrying out that charge, I get the opportunity to tell the North Dakota success story in Washington, with the hope that we can duplicate it around our country.

A major part of telling that story, of course, is talking about the successful regulation of hydraulic fracturing in our State.

Lynn Helms, the director of North Dakota's Department of Mineral Resources, testified in the Natural Resources Committee on this very issue, saying:

Our oil and gas rules are reviewed at least every 2 years through a public comment process. North Dakota regulations also address flow-back disposal, chemical disclosure, well construction, and well bore pressure testing and have reduced well bore failures from six per year to zero.

From six to zero--that is success at the State level.

In addition to the fact that any Federal hydraulic fracturing rule will be duplicative, the rules will be impractical to implement across the Nation, where environmental and geological circumstances are as diverse as the views in this Chamber.

North Dakota has gone from number nine to number two in oil production, and at the same time from number 38 to number 6 in economic success.

While the BLM is developing its hydraulic fracturing rules, the EPA is conducting studies on the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. A stated goal of the EPA study is to ask the question: What are possible impacts--I restate, possible impacts--of hydraulic fracturing fluids on drinking water? Even the EPA's independent advisers have raised questions, with one member stating:

There is no quantitative risk assessment included in EPA's research effort.

Despite, Mr. Chairman, no cases of hydraulic fracturing impacting drinking water resources, title II of this bill does not prevent the EPA from conducting such studies but ensures any such study done is held to the highest standards of review and risk assessment. I urge passage so that the Federal Government cannot impose its mediocrity on States' success.