Fracking Fight Goes Regulatory

An update on the long-running battle over disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing by the oil and gas industry, from the AP courtesy the Durango Herald:

The fight over hydraulic fracturing fell into [Interior Secretary Ken] Salazar’s hands late last year after Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November. The GOP victory effectively ended Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette’s bid to regulate fracking fluids.

The Denver Democrat helped round up 45 others for a letter in support of Salazar last week. Salazar hinted late last year that the Interior Department might order gas drillers to disclose the content of their fracking fluids…

The letter was a response to a Jan. 4 letter from 32 others – including Denver-area Republican Mike Coffman – that asked Salazar to put on hold any plans to regulate fracking fluids.

…[Coffman’s] letter was sent before Cortez Republican Scott Tipton joined Congress, but Tipton thinks states are doing a good job of keeping fracking safe, said his spokesman, Josh Green.

The issue of frac’ing and its effects on water quality and public health in drilling areas is one of the most hotly-contested political issues in the state, as a search of our archives makes clear. It’s worth noting that Scott Tipton’s predecessor John Salazar was a little intransigent on the issue while in Congress, but at least had agreed to support federal studies on the matter in contrast to Tipton’s wholesale rejection of a federal role. This story is correct that in the GOP-controlled 112th Congress, the issue is legislatively dead–enter, potentially, Ken Salazar and the regulatory authority of the Interior Department.

And judging by the weeping and gnashing of teeth from the energy industry after the EPA got authority to regulate carbon dioxide in court, the outcry from the industry if Ken Salazar asks them to disclose their secretive frac’ing brews is sure to be very noisy.

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