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Chambers of Commerce want fracking oversight left to states

A drilling rig in the Marcellus Shale (Photo by WCN 24/7 via Creative Commons)

A drilling rig in the Marcellus Shale (Photo by WCN 24/7 via Creative Commons)

Calling shale gas a “great new resource of energy” that “creates millions of quality jobs,” Chambers of Commerce in 17 states are calling on the EPA to leave fracking oversight to state regulators.

In a letter sent to Administrator Gina McCarthy on September 20, the group points to Illinois as an example of states that have “passed legislative regulations ensuring that hydraulic fracturing is employed safely, transparently and with a continued commitment to environmental protection.”

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed the rules into law in June, following a monthslong process involving environmental groups, industry leaders and lawmakers. While the measure had broad support, some environmental groups opposed the bill and are still seeking a moratorium on drilling.

The letter cites individual differences among states make uniform federal regulations problematic, and also notes that “the current structure” enables states to ban the practice “if that is the perceived collective wish of the electorate.”

“Common sense, effective regulations are necessary to govern the use of hydraulic fracturing and we have embraced this responsibility through regulation particular to the unique characteristics of our respective states,” the letter reads. “This is why we oppose any new federal intervention that would disrupt the regulatory frameworks of the states.”

The letter was signed by Chamber leaders in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, North Dakota, Kansas, and 10 other states outside the Midwest.

You can read the letter in its entirety here.

Editor’s note – an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that 20 states had signed on to the letter. The correct number is 17.

Comments (2)

Federal Laws are important to regulate where it applies US Wide. But states need flexibility to add laws that apply to areas within itself that are Unique. Home Rule! Majority Rule!

By David Mumbulo on Oct 6, 2013

Federal rules also apply when cross-border effects such as pollution migration or other risks effect wider areas than a state. MN and WI suffer from ND coal burning and the New England lakes suffered badly from PA and OH coal-burning caused acid rain. the EPAs approach to drinking water regulations is a model to consider – baseline federal regs can be added to at a state’s discretion, and here add in removed on petition.

By Dave Paulson on Oct 9, 2013