Pennsylvania DEP Secretary Defends States' Ability to Regulate Hydraulic Fracturing

Congressional hearing explores federal oversight options for fracking process

States where hydraulic fracturing is taking place are properly overseeing the activity and do not need federal interference, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) secretary Mike Krancer told members of Congress on Nov. 16.

Krancer testified before the U.S. House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. The group is part of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and called the hearing to focus on states' wastewater handling and regulations.

"It is total fiction that sewage treatment plants are discharging these 'terrible' waste products into the waterways," Krancer said. "The question here is whether the states are capable, and the states are doing a good job."

Because each state has unique geography, topography and geology, a federal "one-size-fits-all" approach to regulation would be "unwise, duplicative and unnecessary," Krancer testified.

He said there have been more than 1.2 million wells used for hydraulic fracturing across the nation in the past 60 years, and neither the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency nor state regulatory agencies have seen any documented cases of fracking causing contamination of drinking water supplies.

Krancer credited Pennsylvania's regulatory program and oversight of natural gas activities with protecting the state’s surface and groundwater.

"The shale gas here is abundant, available, domestic, clean and cheap, and is already transforming our economy by creating tens of thousands of jobs and lower energy prices," Krancer said.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

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