Lawmakers call for investigation of hydraulic fracturing

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Oct. 18 -- Five members of Congress have written the US Environmental Protection Agency seeking investigation of the regulation of hydraulic fracturing, a request that an industry spokesman said was politically motivated.

"This appears to be pure politics," said Bill Whitsitt, president of the Domestic Petroleum Council, Washington, DC. "This is a nonissue about a nonproblem."

Halliburton Co. is one of three US companies that dominate the hydraulic fracturing market. US Vice-Pres. Dick Cheney spent 5 years as chief executive and chairman of Halliburton.

In separate requests, four Democrats and one independent asked EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt to investigate the practice.

Reps. Mark Udall and Diana DeGette, both Democrats from Colorado, also called for congressional hearings. Sens. James M. Jeffords (I-Vt.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) asked Leavitt to explain why the EPA was not monitoring fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) questioned whether "political considerations improperly influenced" an EPA study completed in June that found fracturing in coalbed methane fields did not threaten drinking water. Waxman and DeGette are on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping liquids underground at high pressure; some of the fluids remain in the subsurface. The lawmakers cited concerns that these liquids contain hazardous chemicals and could contaminate groundwater.

Previous investigations by the EPA and others have found no environmental damage associated with hydraulic fracturing, Whitsitt said.

Currently, state governments regulate the practice through permitting programs. States also have underground injection control (UIC) programs to manage liquid wastes and the reinjection of produced waters.

The National Petroleum Council estimates that 60-80% of all gas wells drilled in the next decade will require fracturing. The American Society of Petroleum Geologists opposes strict federal environmental regulation of fracturing.

Hydraulic fracturing has been an issue for years stemming from litigation that started in the mid-1990s when the Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation (LEAF) petitioned the EPA to require Alabama to regulate hydraulic fracturing under the UIC program. EPA rejected LEAF, saying Congress never intended for UIC to cover hydraulic fracturing.

Fearing continued litigation, industry associations pushed for a legislative resolution of the issue. The House adopted a provision under comprehensive energy legislation to prevent hydraulic fracturing from being regulated under the EPA UIC program. The legislation has not been passed.

Related Articles

Mexico uses PSCs in first Round One step

12/19/2014 Mexico is offering production-sharing contracts to companies incorporated in the country for exploration of 14 shallow-water areas in Round One bid...

BASF, Gazprom cancel asset swap

12/19/2014

BASF and OAO Gazprom have agreed not to complete an asset swap that was scheduled for yearend.

Wintershall hikes estimates of recoverable resources for Maria field

12/18/2014 Wintershall Holding GMBH reported higher recoverable resource estimates for the Maria field in the Norwegian Sea. The revised estimate is 180 milli...

Moody’s: Mid-term elections dim federal fracing regulation prospects

12/18/2014 Results of 2014’s congressional elections have reduced the prospect of the federal government enacting its own hydraulic fracturing regulations, Mo...

MEG Energy cuts capital spending for 2015 to $305 million (Can.) from $1.2 billion

12/18/2014

MEG Energy Corp., Calgary, is reducing its 2015 capital spending plans to $305 million (Can.) from the original budget of $1.2 billion.

Severance tax would backfire, Pennsylvania association leaders warn

12/17/2014 Enacting a severance tax aimed at Pennsylvania’s unconventional natural gas activity would substantially harm the commonwealth beyond the industry ...

New York state moves to ban hydraulic fracturing

12/17/2014 High-volume hydraulic fracturing will be banned in the state of New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration announced Dec. 17, citing health risks...

Rumaila to ramp up production 50% by end of decade

12/17/2014 The Rumaila Operating Organization (ROO)—a partnership of South Oil Co., BP PLC, PetroChina Co. Ltd., and Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization (...

Norway production declined in November, NPD says

12/17/2014

Norway’s liquids production averaged 1.939 million b/d in November, about 1% less than October, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate reported.

White Papers

AVEVA NET Accesses and Manages the Digital Asset

Global demand for new process plants, power plants and infrastructure is increasing steadily with the ...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Approach for the Digital Asset

To meet the requirements for leaner project execution and more efficient operations while transferring...
Sponsored by

Diversification - the technology aspects

In tough times, businesses seek to diversify into adjacent markets or to apply their skills and resour...
Sponsored by

Engineering & Design for Lean Construction

Modern marketing rhetoric claims that, in order to cut out expensive costs and reduce risks during the...
Sponsored by

Object Lessons - Why control of engineering design at the object level is essential for efficient project execution

Whatever the task, there is usually only one way to do it right and many more to do it wrong. In the c...
Sponsored by

Plant Design for Lean Construction - at your fingertips

One area which can provide improvements to the adoption of Lean principles is the application of mobil...
Sponsored by

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts


On Demand

Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.

register:WEBCAST


Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.

register:WEBCAST


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.

register:WEBCAST


US HYDROCARBON EXPORTS Part 3 — LNG

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.

register:WEBCAST


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected