Of course the gas industry says federal regulation of hydrofracking is unnecessary. And their lobbyists claim they’ve never caused a problem as proof (but will they swear to that under oath?), and despite clear evidence to the contrary.
There two basic reasons for having federal regulation (or, rather, re-regulation because federal regulation was suspended in 2005):
- First, there ought not be a patchwork of state regulations (except for additional safety components in states wanting to be more stringent than EPA). Otherwise, companies will be on an uneven, er, gas playing field. States that can’t muster appropriate regulations will be less expensive to operate in than others, and so that’s where the industry will focus, and that’s where environmental deterioration will be greatest.
- Second, the “bear in the closet” aspect: local enforcers of regulations have strength when they can truthfully say that they are implementing requirements because, if they don’t, they will get in trouble with the feds. Conversely, local enforcers who cannot refer to this federal “bear in the closet” can be more easily swayed by powerful moneyed interests, or their surrogates.