New Bill Would Potentially Allow Fracking Anywhere, Anyhow

A well for hydraulic fracturing in New York State; New York City Department of Environmental Protection

A new bill has just been introduced in the House of Representatives to ensure that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on public lands can never be regulated.

H.R. 2728 would only allow states to determine the rules of the game when it comes to monitoring and regulating fracking on public lands. Nevermind the fact that the federal government hasn’t even finalized what such regulations would look like. Nevermind the fact that this would constitute a race to the bottom for states to find the least amount of regulations possible to encourage oil and gas interests to come to their states. The most egregious part of this proposal is that the “no regulation” mantra would potentially include any regulations concerning WHERE the fracking would take place. If passed and signed into law, this bill would ostensibly allow fracking in wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, and even national parks. Fracking in Arches National Park? Well the federal government couldn’t stop it. Fracking in the Grand Canyon? The Department of the Interior wouldn’t have a say.

There are many other important considerations when it comes to fracking on public lands. At the Wilderness Society we want to make sure that any fracking is done responsibly, with reasonable transparency of any chemicals used and appropriate wastewater disposal. This bill would not allow the federal government to have a say in any of that, even though the lands where it would occur belong to all Americans. Making sure that any fracking takes into account wildlife habitats and sensitive lands is vital. We understand that balancing our energy needs with responsible conservation of our land and wildlife is a complicated issue. But telling the federal government that they can’t have a say in any of this is the wrong approach.


Click here for press release on the bill's hearing