Congressman John Fleming, M.D., (LA-4) questioned Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at today’s meeting of the House Natural Resources Committee. The Department of the Interior is considering new regulations on hydraulic fracturing, a 60-year old proven technology that’s used to extract oil and gas. Fleming outlined the success and safety of hydrofracking and questioned the Department’s intention to impose new job-destroying regulations.  

Congressman Fleming told Secretary Salazar, “We’ve had an increase of close to 58,000 jobs just in 2009 alone. From 2008 to 2009 exploration companies invested over $11.5 billion and generated $642.3 million in state tax revenue. Tremendous job impact. Tremendous economic impact. And we’re talking about, of course, natural gas in shale formations and hydrofracking, which is necessary. It’s the only way we can get it out economically. Hydrofracking has been around for 60 years. The EPA took a look at it in 2005 and found absolutely no problems with it.” He added, “It is a regulated industry. It’s producing inexpensive energy and doing a great job. It is not harming people. And certainly I would say that the Solyndra affair has harmed more people than hydrofracking has in 60 years.” 

Fleming asked Salazar, “Why is it that now, in view of all this that I’ve stated, why do we have to go out and add more red tape and more regulations, when this country is in desperate need of jobs, good paying jobs, and lower energy costs?” 

Salazar said the issue of “wellbore integrity” is a reason for the Department of Interior to take action, however he and Director Bob Abbey of the Bureau of Land Management were not able to answer Congressman Fleming’s simplest and most fundamental hydrofracking question about the number of casing layers that are already used in drilling to protect water aquifers.

View Congressman Fleming’s full statement and questions at today’s hearing here.