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Professor argues for federal oversight of fracking

Michael Krancer, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, argued against federal regulation of natural gas drilling during testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Bloomberg reports.

The “hydraulic fracturing,” or “fracking,” method of natural gas extraction employed in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region has proven controversial. It uses chemically treated water to free gas trapped in underground shale formations.

Robert Howarth, a professor of ecology and environmental biology at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, testified before the committee that the method releases benzene and ozone into the atmosphere and can pollute surface water.

Benzene, commonly used as part of the fracking process, is a known carcinogen, meaning that it can cause cancer.

Representatives of gas-producing states including Pennsylvania gave prepared remarks to committee members voicing their opposition to federal government oversight and their support of regulation on the state level. They argued that state regulation can be customized to the geology and weather conditions in each production area.

“The states are light-years ahead of the federal government in terms of experience and know-how about their own individual states and about the science and technique of hydraulic fracturing,” Krancer said.

But Howarth argued that air and water pollution from natural gas and oil production using hydraulic fracturing moves across state lines, so the drilling should be regulated by the federal government.

Lopez McHugh is investigating Marcellus Shale injuries. If you have significant injuries, you may want to contact an attorney for a free evaluation.

See the Bloomberg story here: