EN-09-3-Hydraulic Fracturing, Supporting Exemption for in the Safe Water Drinking Act

WHEREAS the practice of hydraulic fracturing is an important technology for the efficient development of natural gas reserves in much of Western Colorado’s tight sands and Southern Colorado’s coalbed geology and is necessary to make unconventional wells economically viable; and

WHEREAS many of the Western Slope counties in CLUB 20 have natural gas production; and

WHEREAS it is important to appropriately regulate the practice of hydraulic fracturing so as to ensure protection of groundwater supplies; and

WHEREAS Congress has assigned to the individual states the responsibility for regulating the practice of hydraulic fracturing, and the states have subsequently adopted comprehensive laws and regulations to protect the nation’s drinking water sources; and

WHEREAS the State of Colorado effectively regulates oil and gas exploration and production through the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) and the COGCC recently approved stricter oil and gas regulations which included regulations that require natural gas operators to disclose the chemicals used during the drilling, completion and hydraulic fracturing  processes; and

WHEREAS the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was never intended to grant to the federal government authority to regulate oil and gas drilling and production operations, and therefore Congress specifically exempted the practice of hydraulic fracturing from the scope of the SDWA; and
WHEREAS hydraulic fracturing has been used more than one million times over the last sixty (60) years without a single documented case of drinking water contamination; and

WHEREAS the U.S. EPA, under the Clinton, Bush, and Obama Administrations, has determined that hydraulic fracturing does not pose a threat to groundwater, and the past Energy Czar and past EPA Administrator stated in 1995 “There is no evidence that the hydraulic fracturing at issue has resulted in any contamination or endangerment of underground sources of drinking water (USDW). Repeated testing, conducted between May 1989 and March 1993 … failed to show any chemicals that would indicate the presence of fracturing fluids.” ; and

 WHEREAS proposals to remove the current exemption for hydraulic fracturing from the SWDA will result in:

  • additional federal oversight, which will, in turn, result in increased cost to industry (which will be passed along to consumers in the form of increased costs of energy), and reduced competitiveness of the domestic natural gas industry, which will encourage an increasing reliance on foreign energy supplies;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED CLUB 20 supports maintaining the ability of individual states to regulate the practice of hydraulic fracturing for the development of oil & gas resources and similarly supports the current exemption for hydraulic fracturing under the SDWA; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CLUB 20 supports the use of the best available technology by the oil and gas industry to minimize the possibility of accidental leakage or contamination of water in the hydraulic fracturing process.

 

Adopted 9/11/2010

Amended 4/1/2016