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

BHI: US rig count falls 6 units to 857

07/17/2015 The US drilling rig count fell 6 units to reach 857 during the week ended July 17, essentially cancelling out the last 3 weeks’ worth of gains, acc...

Aussie, Timor-Leste regulators terminate Timor Gap permit

07/17/2015 Regulators in Australia and Timor-Leste have now formally terminated Timor Gap production-sharing contract JPDA 06-103, which leaves Australian com...

Husky begins production at Rush Lake heavy oil project

07/17/2015 Husky Energy Inc., Calgary, reported startup of production from its Rush Lake heavy oil thermal project in Saskatchewan, some 8 weeks after startup...

Nexen pipeline leaks 5,000 cu m of emulsion in Alberta

07/17/2015 Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) reported that a Nexen Energy ULC pipeline has leaked 5,000 cu m of emulsion—a mixture of bitumen, produced water, an...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil prices drops below $51/bbl

07/17/2015 Light, sweet crude oil prices for August delivery dropped modestly to settle at just under $51/bbl on the New York July 16, but Brent crude oil Aug...

API: US petroleum demand rose in June, second quarter

07/16/2015 Total US petroleum deliveries, a measure of demand, increased 4.2% from June 2014 to average 19.6 million b/d last month. In the second quarter, de...

ConocoPhillips plans further capex reduction for deepwater exploration

07/16/2015 ConocoPhillips reported plans to further reduce its capital expenditures for deepwater exploration, with the “most significant reductions” coming f...

DOE official: LNG exports could be limited by silt-clogged waterways, ports

07/16/2015 Silt, which is increasingly filling US waterways and ports, potentially could limit US LNG exports if it is not dredged soon, a top US Department o...

Fitch notes increase in energy-default rate

07/16/2015 Recent actions of two exploration and production companies have pushed the trailing 12-month energy default rate among issuers of high-yield bonds ...
White Papers

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Wed, Oct 7, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.

register:WEBCAST


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

When Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors

register:WEBCAST


Driving Growth and Efficiency with Deep Insights into Operational Data

Wed, Aug 19, 2015

Capitalizing on today’s momentum in Oil & Gas requires operational excellence based on a clear view of what your business data is telling you. Which is why nearly half* of oil and gas companies have deployed SAP HANA or have it on their roadmap.

Join SAP and Red Hat to learn more about using data to drive process improvements and identify new opportunities with the SAP HANA platform running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This webinar will also show how your choice of infrastructure impacts the performance of core business applications and your ability to achieve data-driven insights quickly and reliably.

*48% use SAP, http://go.sap.com/solution/industry/oil-gas.html

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

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