Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, took the lead on a bipartisan letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson expressing concern that EPA is expanding its definition of diesel fuels in its draft permitting guidance for oil and natural gas hydraulic fracturing activities in an effort to gain more federal control over the hydraulic fracturing process. Senators joining Inhofe on the letter include Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia).
Senator Inhofe: "EPA's draft guidance is yet another example of how this administration continues to move ahead using every means possible to gain more federal control over hydraulic fracturing. We've already seen in three separate cases, EPA's self proclaimed philosophy of 'crucifying' American energy producers; now, EPA is attacking hydraulic fracturing by another route in its efforts to expand the definition of 'diesel fuels.' States have been regulating the process safely and efficiently for 60 years and those states that use the practice the most have the economic benefits to show for it - just look at Oklahoma. EPA is clearly overreaching in this case; it needs to stop trying to impede domestic energy production and let states keep up the good work."
Senator Murkowski: "Congress made clear in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that it's the states that are responsible for regulating hydraulic fracturing within their borders, and that the EPA has a very limited role. This EPA has constantly pushed to expand its reach beyond what the law allows, and that seems to be what the agency is attempting to do here by using a vague definition of 'diesel fuels.' What we need is an EPA that works with the states, instead of always working against them."
Hydraulic fracturing is excluded from EPA regulation under the Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), except when diesel fuel is used. Even then, under Energy Policy Act, Congress gave EPA very narrow optional authority to regulate 'diesel fuel' under UIC program if the Agency deems it necessary. Through its draft guidance, EPA is attempting to broaden the definition of diesel fuel in order to increase the chance that the federal government can step in to stifle hydraulic fracturing.
Last December, Senator Inhofe, along with Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), John Hoeven (R-North Dakota) and Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) sent a bipartisan letter to the EPA expressing concern about the approach the agency was taking with its draft guidance. The Senators said that EPA's plan could have serious effects on states' primacy as well as create burdensome permitting requirements that could have widespread implications for oil and gas development across the country.