Radical environmentalists are urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to heavily regulate or ban hydraulic fracturing (also known as “fracking”), the process employed to extract shale oil and natural gas from underground sources, which could undermine a thriving part of the post-recession economy.
The fracking boom has been one of the success stories in an otherwise tepid American economy, which is still trying to recover five years after a deep recession. Just last month Bloomberg Businessweek covered a recent study by IHS CERA that showed the significant economic benefits of fracking.
“In 2012, the energy boom supported 2.1 million jobs, added almost $75 billion in federal and state revenues, contributed $283 billion to the gross domestic product and lifted household income by more than $1,200,” noted Bloomberg Businessweek. “The competitive advantage for U.S. manufacturers from lower fuel prices will raise industrial production by 3.5 percent by the end of the decade, said the report from CERA, which provides business advice for energy companies.”
The Wall Street Journal noted last week that the United States is “overtaking Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas,” producing the “equivalent of about 22 million barrels a day of oil, natural gas and related fuels in July” compared to the 21.8 million barrels produced by our former Cold War foe.
But the EPA’s proclivity for regulation could threaten the boom, which is why 20 state chambers of commerce sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, urging the anti-business regulatory agency to leave fracking regulation to the states.
“We are writing to you as state chambers of commerce where high-volume, hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling occurs within our individual state borders,” wrote the officials from the 20 state chambers of commerce, including Alaska, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
“As you may know, Illinois recently became a new member of the club of states that have promulgated rules and/or passed legislative regulations ensuring that hydraulic fracturing is employed safely, transparently and with a continued commitment to environmental protection,” they noted. “In that light we wanted to reinforce a request that US EPA continue to allow state regulators to take the lead on hydraulic fracturing related regulations.”
“We all have seen the benefits of the increase in oil and natural gas supply due to the growth of this unconventional development,” they continued. “In addition, after years of activity in many states, it is clear that state regulatory efforts have enabled the country to enjoy the tremendous economic growth and job creation generated from this relatively new energy production, while also ensuring environmental protection is not compromised.”
The state chambers of commerce agree that “common sense” regulations are necessary to ensure that the environment is being protected. But the oppose any new regulations handed down from the federal government, noting that each state requires regulation to fit their own needs, not the one-size fits all approach that the EPA would likely take.
“We are concerned that federal oversight will be too difficult to manage with such a dichotomy of environmental issues in states as diverse as Colorado, Illinois, Texas, West Virginia and others,” they explained.
“We have a great new resource of energy, it is being done in a regulated environment that protects our air,land and water quality and it creates millions of quality jobs for Americans from sea to shining sea,” they added. “We hope you’ll agree that.”
The full letter from the state chambers of commerce is available below.
H/T: Sean Hackbarth