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EPA Is Bashed Over Fracking

Congressman says federal agency can’t wait to regulate

March 25, 2011

PITTSBURGH - At least one Pennsylvania congressman will not support the FRAC Act this year, as Republican Bill Shuster said federal officials will stop natural gas drilling if they can.

Referring to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Shuster said, "If the EPA can regulate fracking, they will come in here and shut everything down."

Shuster made his comments at the Marcellus Midstream Conference and Exhibition in Pittsburgh this week. The convention drew natural gas drillers, pipeline builders and other related business representatives from as far away as Utah, Colorado, Texas and Norway.

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Congressman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., speaks during the Marcellus Midstream Conference and Exhibition in Pittsburgh this week.

Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., and Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., have reintroduced the bill formally known as the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, or FRAC Act. Similar legislation that calls for the EPA to regulate the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, failed to pass in the last Congress.

The bill would:

Shuster said drilling regulations should be left up to the individual states. Furthermore, he not only opposes the FRAC Act, but said, "Bureaucrats in the Army Corps of Engineers are now trying to regulate the natural gas industry."

"We won't stand for it," he said of the corps' work.

"If the public pushback on this industry is strong, you are going to see regulations you don't like," Shuster warned the gas industry leaders.

Shuster, however, said he appreciates the concerns of Pennsylvania residents regarding gas activity, noting, "The coal companies came through here and destroyed our land and left behind acid mine drainage. People are very suspicious of energy production in Pennsylvania."

However, Shuster thanked the gas industry leaders for their commitments because he believes the business can "reinvigorate Pennsylvania."

As for the potential fracking regulations, officials with Chesapeake Energy said about 99.5 percent of the 5.6 million gallons of fluid used to hydraulically fracture one of their typical Marcellus Shale natural gas well consists of water and sand.

According to Chesapeake, the company's most common fracking solution contains 0.5 percent worth of chemicals. These include:

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