Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-9797
David Lungren David_Lungren@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-5642
Secretary Chu Admits More Regulation Coming On Hydraulic Fracturing
Chu Says,"We are going to have some regulation going on that."
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Just one week after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new study on hydraulic fracturing, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu on Monday said in a speech at Georgetown, "Fracking can be polluting if done irresponsibly. We are going to have some regulation going on that. It can be done, but the industry has to demonstrate to the public that it can be done responsibly."
U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today responded to Sec. Chu's remarks:
"The bottom line for Secretary Chu and the Administration is that hydraulic fracturing is a safe production technique that is thoroughly regulated by the states. We have a 60 year history to prove it.
"Also, it seems that, based on Secretary Chu's comments, the Administration is working backwards. It has just initiated a comprehensive study on fracking, yet Secretary Chu has already decided that fracking is bad. This leaves me to ask: Based on what?
"As EPA moves forward with its fracking study, the agency, and Secretary Chu, must examine all the issues objectively with a central fact in mind, which is that hydraulic fracturing has been used safely for decades. This isn't just my view. I also asked top Administration officials last December if they were aware of a single case of contamination from hydraulic fracturing, and they said ‘no'.
"The Administration also must be mindful of the fact that fracturing has helped strengthen America's energy security by allowing responsible production of domestic natural gas, resulting in the creation of millions of good-paying jobs. So it must tread carefully here to ensure that this safe production technique can continue to be used to meet our growing energy needs."
During a December 8, 2009 Senate EPW Committee hearing on "Federal Drinking Water Programs," three Obama administration officials testified that they were unaware of a single documented case of hydraulic fracturing contamination. Senator Inhofe asked officials from the EPA and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) if they were aware of any documented cases of hydraulic fracturing contamination. None of the three witnesses could provide a single example. Testifying before the EPW Committee today was Peter Silva, Assistant Administrator for Water, Environmental Protection Agency, Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, Environmental Protection Agency, and Matthew Larsen, Associate Director for Water, U.S. Geological Survey.