House Democrats are pushing the Obama administration to issue tough guidance for fracking in the United States.
Top Democrats from the Energy and Commerce Committee and its Oversight subcommittee said Friday in a letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget that the guidance for hydraulic fracturing operations in oil and gas operations are overdue.
They said producers need to be reigned in by Environmental Protection Agency rules and guidelines.
“Diesel fuel is toxic and should not be used in fracking without careful environmental review under the Safe Drinking Water Act,” Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) told OMB Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell in the letter, as reported by The Hill.
“We urge you to review EPA’s guidance expeditiously so that the agency can finalize strong, clear guidance for permit writers for the remaining cases in which drilling companies opt to use hydraulic fracturing fluids containing diesel fuel.”
Fracking has boosted U.S. oil and gas production dramatically. The United States is now a net exporter of natural gas. Experts projected a few years ago that the U.S. would have to import 64 percent of its natural gas needs by 2035. But exports of LNG have started, due in no small part to the “shale gas revolution” in the United States.
Fracking involves shooting high-pressured jets of water, sand and chemicals into rock formations to release trapped hydrocarbons.
U.S. production equaled 22 million barrels a day of oil, natural gas and related fuels in July, according to the EIA and the International Energy Agency.
U.S. imports of natural gas and crude oil have fallen 32% and 15% respectively in the past five years.
The EPA drew up guidance for fracking that used diesel in September, and sent it over to the OMB for a final interagency review, The Hill said.
“We urge you to finalize this long overdue guidance expeditiously and to reject any industry efforts to weaken or delay it,” the lawmakers wrote on Friday.
The OMB has 90 days to review the guidance before releasing it to the public, according to The Hill.