Today, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (CO-1) issued the following statement in response to the Department of Interior's release of a draft rule regarding hydraulic fracturing -- or "fracking" -- on public lands. Rep. DeGette is the author and lead sponsor of the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act (FRAC Act) and a leading advocate for safe and responsible natural gas development.
"The draft rule proposed today regarding fracking on public lands is a good first step in establishing national standards. As fracking operations continue to grow across the country, a patchwork system of state and local rules and regulations does not grant communities or industry the certainty they need, as we as a nation begin to tap into our vast natural gas resources.
"Unfortunately, unlike the initial draft circulated in February, this proposed rule has left me deeply concerned about its ability to adequately protect our communities and our citizens.
"While the guidelines for well integrity and water management are strong, the requirements for disclosure are seriously inadequate. Though largely regarded as one of the most fundamental aspects of safe and responsible natural gas development, disclosure, under this proposed rule, is not even required until after the fracking process is completed.
"We're all seeking common-sense solutions to ensure the safety of natural gas production, but with all due respect, requiring disclosure after fracking has already occurred seems less common-sense and more "closing the door after the horse has left the barn.'
"Colorado has historically benefitted greatly from a strong energy economy. Our state's vast natural gas reserves offer the promise of new jobs, new energy, and a stronger economy for the long-term. But it would truly be a devil's bargain if the price we pay for oil and gas jobs is the health of our families and the integrity of our precious public lands."