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August 3, 2013

Updated Empower States Act Introduced in Senate

Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) has filed an updated version of the Empower States Act, a measure that would put states first in the regulation of hydraulic fracturing.  The bill also would allow states to regulate oil and gas development on Bureau of Land Management lands if the state has laws and regulations in place that are protective of health and the environment.  The measure is being cosponsored by Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and David Vitter (R-La.). According to a statement by Hoeven, “
 “The Empower States Act drives home the importance of states in the effort to develop affordable energy supplies from domestic resources, which helps to create good jobs and economic opportunity for the American people[.] “States have a long and respected record of effectively regulating oil and gas development, including hydraulic fracturing, with good environmental stewardship.”
The Empower States Act helps to ensure that states retain the right to manage oil and gas production and gives them the ability to develop hydraulic fracturing rules and to respond first to any violation.  …  [T]he individual states are the first and best responders to oil and gas issues because they know their land and have a stake in protecting their environment. States have been successful in developing oil and gas production with good environmental stewardship, he said. The American Petroleum Institute has expressed its support for the Empower States Act:
 “New shale discoveries and advanced technologies have fueled an energy revolution that is revitalizing job creation and promoting economic growth across the country.  For over 60 years, state agencies have established a track record of successful oversight over hydraulic fracturing, promoting safe and responsible development of America’s oil and natural gas resources.  The Empower States Act preserves the leading role of state regulators who have the experience and geological knowledge to accomplish their mission. “This legislation recognizes that an unnecessary and duplicative layer of federal restrictions would pose a needless cost to taxpayers, could slow domestic energy production, and interfere with environmental stewardship by the states. At a time when clean-burning natural gas is helping to cut carbon emissions and lower energy costs, we should preserve the ability of states to provide effective leadership toward a more secure energy future.”


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