BCA Signs Multi-State Chamber of Commerce Energy Exploration Letter to EPA Administrator

The Business Council of Alabama has signed a multi-state organization letter urging U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to allow states to conduct their own hydraulic fracturing energy development policies.

The letter initiated by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce’s Energy Council was signed by BCA President and CEO William J. Canary and 16 other state chambers of commerce or their equivalent.

As part of its 2013 federal legislative agenda, the BCA supports basing environmental and energy legislation and regulation on sound scientific study and provide environmental safeguards without hindering economic development or imposing undue regulations on business.

The signatories represent organizations reinforcing a request that the EPA continue to allow states to regulate their own hydraulic fracturing and other energy development efforts. “We have all seen the benefits of the increase in oil and natural gas supply due to the growth of this unconventional development,” the letter states.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, uses high-pressure, underground liquid injection to move oil, natural gas, geothermal energy, and even water, into position for easy extraction.

The letter informs McCarthy that states are successfully managing their own energy development and any federal intervention that would disrupt local regulations will be opposed. The letter says states have different environmental issues that would make a blanket federal policy unworkable.

“We are concerned that federal oversight will be too difficult to manage with such a dichotomy of environmental issues in states as diverse as Colorado, Illinois, Texas, West Virginia and others,” the letter states. “The current structure also allows states the wherewithal to ban hydraulic fracturing within their borders if that is the perceived collective wish of the electorate.”

The letter, which was dated Friday and released Monday urges McCarthy, a presidential nominee, to reopen “critical fracking-related water contamination investigations in Pennsylvania, Wyoming and Texas.”

In June, the EPA said it would allow Wyoming to look at its own fracking issues. The EPA also said its own study won’t be released until 2016.

The letter urges the EPA not to develop additional rules “or otherwise usurp local expertise” that states use to protect their assets “in a manner that works best for them.”

“Finally, as we look forward to new technological advances in the hydraulic fracturing industry, the individual states are more than nimble enough to react and amend the regulatory models so they provide the appropriate protections for the land and its citizens,” the letter states.

A copy was forwarded to Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.