Geoscience Policy Monthly Review
november 2013

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Legislation loosening hydraulic fracturing restrictions passes House

On November 20, the House of Representatives passed legislation limiting federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing in states where regulations already exist. Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) released their companion bills, H.R. 2728 and S. 1743, in anticipation of new Bureau of Land Management rules further regulating hydraulic fracturing. The draft rules have received more than a million comments and would potentially require companies to disclose the chemical composition of their fracturing fluids, as well as increase standards for borehole integrity.

Proponents of H.R. 2728 and S. 1743 argue that the bills will only protect states from superfluous regulation, while allowing the federal government to impose regulations in states without existing frameworks. Opponents of the legislation argue that if approved, the bills will exempt states from other important legislation including the Endangered Species Act.

Sources: Department of the Interior, Government Printing Office