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tv   [untitled]    May 31, 2012 2:30pm-3:00pm EDT

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thank you you all for allowing us to have the pause as go votes. the next series of votes is around 5:30. we'll be halfway done at that point. right? pursuant to committee rules, all witnesses do freed to be sworn in before they testify. so as i call us back in order, if you would please stand and raise your right hands. do you solemnly swear or affirm the testimony you are about to give to this committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? thank you. all witnesses replied in the affirmative. i'll ask you to limit your testimony to around five minutes. most have been around this
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before. mr. kranser obviously a few hours on on this. you'll see clock in front of you, a kick kwoundown. be as close to that as you possibly can. ms. product marc rodmary, you c >> thank you. i very much appreciate the opportunity to be here today and talk to you about state regulatory programs for hydraulic fracturing. i am the oil and gas direct earn in the state of oklahoma. i'm the director of well and gas conservation division of the oklahoma corporation commission. we are the agency that reg lates well and gas drilling and production operations in the state of oklahoma. i'm also here talking to be as a member of the board of stronger, currently serving as chairman of that board, and a member of the board of the ground order protection council as well. i'm going to talk a little about a couple of the programs that those organizations have underway that are address kg hydraulic fracturing issues.
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i do want to emphasize, though, how whether or not it is for everybody to understand states do regulate hydraulic fracturing. just how they go about regulating is documented in the stronger reports that i'll describe in a little more detail shortly. but those programs that the states administer have been around for many years. they are comprehensive. they are continually improving, and i think you can summarize them by saying they're strong, they're responsive, they're flexible and they're adaptive, and for all of those reason, i believe they're effective in ensures that hydraulic fracturing operations are conducted safely. now, the states do face challenges. many of those challenges are associated with the development of new technologies, the use of hydraulic fracturing in different places and in different ways than it's been used in the past. so tln is no doubt there are
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issues associated with hydraulic fracturing in today's environment. i will say the nature of those challenges varies from state to state. i can also say that states are acting to address those issues in a way that is fitting to their specific circumstances. i'll just give you an example for oklahoma. in oklahoma, the ramp-up in horizontal drilling and hydraulic froshing activity in oklahoma within the last decade occurred during a period of severe drought. we faced serious issues about the sources of waefrt for hydraulic fracturing operations. we also needed to do what we could to encourage recycling of the flowback waters from hydraulic fracturing operations to minimize the demand on our fresh water resources. for that reason, we had to take another look at our regulations for the management of produced waters. in oil and gas operations.
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for many years we had prohibited, basically, pits used to store produced waters. those had been phased out decades ago. but now we in a situation where we needed to accommodate the temporary storage of flowback waters in pits see that that water could be used in future hydraulic fracturing operations and we could save our fresh water resources. to address the issue, the corporation commission worked with the industry and other interested parties to develop new rules for the large pits used to store flow back waters on a temporary basis so they could be re-used and recycled. there are more examples from other states about what issues they face and how they have addressed those issues in the stronger reports. i'll just refer you to those. stronger is, as the chairman said, a stakeholder process. the board of stronger, all of the guidelines development work
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groups all the review teams that stronger puts together are stakeholder bodies that include representatives of state regulatory program, industry and environmental organizations. in the last few years, stronger has developed guidelines for state hydraulic regulations and conducted reviews of state hydraulic fracturing programs. we've done these reviews in pennsylvania, ohio, oklahoma, louisiana, colorado and arkansas, and we are open to doing reviews in other states as they volunteer. what the guidelines and the reviews do is help the states benchmark their regulatory programs and identify areas for improvement. and the process works. if you look back over the history of stronger, stronger does do follow-up reviews to see how states have responded to the recommendations they make, and over time, when strong hear done follow-up review, we've seen that fully 75% of the
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recommendations have already been met at the time of the follow-up reviews and others were in process. so the states do take these reviews seriously, in oklahoma, for instance, we've already -- we did receive recommendations which were welcome to us about how we could strengthen our program under the hydraulic fracturing guidelines that stronger put together. we've amended a couple rules. also worked with our legislature and our governor to address some of the funding and staffing issues that arose in recent years, especially during the budget crisis, we've all been struggling through. so we have taken those recommendations from the stronger review seriously and have acted to address those recommendations. we've also recently adopted a chemical disclosure rule and here's where i wanted to talk about frack focus. recently frac folk sis another example of what the states are accomplishing by work together and with the stakeholders to address the issues that have
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arisen. frac focus was put together on very short -- on very short time frame bip the ground water protection council and the interstate oil and gas compact -- two organizations that represent the oil and gas producing states. as well as ground water protection council includes the drinking water program administrators as well. since that system went into effect last april, april of 2011, over 18,000 wells have been posted to that site, with full information about the chemical constituents of the frac fluids. the new rule in oklahoma is similar to rooms that have been adopted in six or seven other states. the rule will require the posting of the chemical information on hydraulic fracturing operations in oklahoma to the frac focus website. we're trying to make sure that
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information is available to the public. thank you very much. >> thank you. mr. mckey? >> thank you, mr. chairman. members of the committee. appreciate the opportunity to be able to take a couple minutes on this. my name is michael mckey. i'm a county commissioner in utah. my primary focus as a county commission over the years has been relating to public lands issues and the international resources specifically the extractive industry on our natural resource development. in our county today we have approximately 6,000 active owl and gas wells, approximately 65% of the natural gas produced in the state of utah comes from the area that i live out there in the county. the industry has provided many families with very good jobs, above average paying salaries. it's a waif life, because way of life. 50% the job, 60% comes from the extracting industry. i'm concerned about
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overregulation. i'm concerned about the stifling effect that overreach has on investment and the economy. in regards to the new fracking proposed rules, i'm concerned that the federal government trying to fix something that is not broke. it isn't even limping's in my ten years as county commissioner i have never heard of one valid violation or concern with hydraulic fracturing. this includes the fluids used, depth, methods of injection or any other concern involved with fracturing. we do not have that problem. it's not a new technology but a process that has been responsibly used for over 60 years. hydraulic fracturing is a safe, well-tested technology that has enabled the u.s. to develop unconventional natural gas and increase reserves to over a 100-year supply. fracturing has been performed in over 1 million wells with an
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exemplary safety record. 90% of the well utilize hydraulic fracturing. high drawl ig drilling and fracturing allows operators to produce ten times the amount of energy drilling kwu r fewer than 1/10 the number of wells. burning cleaner energy and more of it drilling fewer holes to get to it. regulatory decisions such as hydraulic fracturing are best made at the state level, and not regulated by a federal bureaucracy far removed from the issue. this is why individual states can better tailor to their specific needs since they have the experience and understanding of the hydrology infrastructure and other factor, you need to each producing basin. state regulators understand the needs of the communities that they regulate much better than a far-removed federal government and also have the specific technical expertise, resource, and experience.
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on march 14, 2012, now former director bob abbey testified in the senate that there has ban shift in oil and gas production to private lands to the east and to the south where there is lesser amounts of federal mineral estate. we have seen investment from public lands to other areas. of course, fracturing is because this is part of the concern we have, is this shift of investment that can happen from this. only 15% of my county is privately owned. these decisions can have a tremendous affect on the entire west where we have vast holdings of public lands. adding additional burdens to development on federal lands could have an adverse effect of forcing operators to shift investment ways from my state and public areas depriving our citizens of needed jons a jobs income. according to api, accounts for
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nearly 4 million jobs. more than $385 billion to the national economy. oil and gas royalties on public lands are a significant revenue source for the federal government, the state of utah and to the counties from where it comes. in 2008 there were over $200 million of mineral released money collected from my county alone. shell gas and hydraulic fraction hab single-handedly turned the united states from a nation of declining gas production to one of rising production. if i could just, let me add one, and i will complete with this. i was approached by tribal attorneys, an issue they have as well. oil and gas producing indian tribe, very much against the proposed rule as some members of this subcommittee may be aware, the new indian tribe represents within the boundaries of the count any utah. the tribe is one of the nation's
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largest oil and gas, natural gas producing indian tribes. the proposal would steerly impact the development of tribal minerals in the county, yet despite this fact, they failed to comply with its legal obligation and duchlt toy consult with impacted indian tribes. the proposed rule will kill tribal jobs in oil and gas industry. the limits failed to work with the tribe regarding the proposed rule. in summary, local governments, many mineral producing states and affected indian tribes are all very concerned with this very ill-advised, unneeded and redundant rule and i would be happy to answer questions. thank you. >> thank you. i would like to enter into the record the consent a letter from national conference of american indians outlining some of the things you just said there. >> mr. chairman? >> yes, sir. >> without objecting, i would ask for similar courtesy.
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i ask that at this time an response to mr. kranser's testimony this morning from our colleague mr. waxman. be entered into the record. i also ask that a similar response rebutting mr. kranser's characterization from the sierra club cited this morning also be entered into the record at this time. >> no objection. >> i thank you the chairman. >> mr. howard? >> thank you, mr. chairman. my name is robert. a member of cornell kufrt since 198 5. i'm here as an individual. the opinion ice express are informed by me research conducted at cornell. i've worked on the consequences of environment pollution including the effects of oil and ga gas development since the mid-1970s. i was invited to present that information on the consequences of hydraulic fracturing and i'll
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try to briefly do so. hydraulic fraction sb not new, we just heard. the process existed for decades but its existed in a small scale using small volumes of water. what is up in is the combination of high precision directional drilling. the new combination uses 50 to 100 times more water than was ever used in fracturing until a decade or so ago. 5 million gallons or so per well. this new technology has indeed opened up new resources from shell gas and others. the technology is very, very new. i want to stress that. as a result, the science of understanding what the consequences are is also very, very new. for contest, half of all the shall gas developed in the world has been produced in the last three years. a new technology. the science is new. in terms of pure review literature on what the environmental consequences are, it's almost all in the last
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year. the very first papers were published 14 months ago. so the science is snu. it's very rapidly changing. i'll try to give awe sense of that today. one issue is surface water pollution. very briefly, i want to say there's good evidence that 450i drawlic fracturing in this new form contaminated surface waters. one of the major ways is through improper waste disposal through sewage treatment plants. the city of pittsburgh had a serious water quality problem from that with bromides entering their system. it's now outlawed in pennsylvania but not in the some other states. we still don't really have good alternatives for disposing of the hydraulic waste in much of the country. ground water contamination appears to be a big issue. the science behind that is very iffy at the moment. a lot of the information is not publicly available, making the signs difficult. the u.s. protection agency is undertaking a long detailed
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study on that and i think most scientists would say we should hold off and see what they come up with but certainly anecdotal of a problem and i could talk more if people would like. excellent evidence of methane con tam'sation from hydraulic fracturing in wells well documented in pennsylvania. local air pollution is an issue, and there are two that i'll point to. one is benzene, admitted from routinely hydraulic fracturing and the state of texas routinely reports values that are hazardous, sometimes at near acutely lethal doses. pennsylvania reports much lower concentration so far, but they are concentrations which, in my opinion, pose a significant cancer risk from chronic exposure. we have a big problem from ozone pollution from i drawlic fracturing. methane and other karn carbons released into the atmosphere, seeing large amounts of ozone pollution in western states
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where it's almost never been seen as a problem before. so say in the winter in by wyoming, utah and colorado higher than los angeles or new york city. undoubtedly a direct relation to hydraulic fracturing. my own research has been on the role of methane release from shall gas and thousand effects the greenhouse. we published the very, very first analysis of that 13.5 months ago. our conclusion was because meth sthain 105 fold more powerful than greenhouse gas over the time period of 20 years after emission, that methane, leakage, even at small rates is a serious greenhouse gas concern, giving shall gas a larger footprint than other fossil fuels. i'll come back to that in a minute. i want to briefly mention one other issue, and radon in gas supplies. radon is a gas that's carcinogenic, the major
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xpoeshlger of ionized radiation in the united states currently. a roost exposure getting radon into the homes and shall gas, at least from marcellus shall far greater than conventional natural gas has been. something i think deserves a lot more attention and vut scrutiny, more attention that poses a significant public health risk underprintered so far. i believe the federal agencies have a central role in regulating oil and gas development particularly but in this unconventional oil and gas by volume hydraulic fracturing. the issues involved are complex. the technologies are new. they're continually evolving at the scientific issues are difficult. from my experience, interacting with agencies, scientists in many statesened many federal agencies over the last 35 years i believe most lack the
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technical expertise to deal with these complex issues. finally i would note that pollution from unconventional oil and gas in water and air and in pipelines moves across state state lines. so there's clearly a role for federal involvement. i'd like to take just a final minute if i could. to briefly respond to the written testimony of my fellow witnesses. in the written testimony i've heard of he's very critical of our work on greenhouse gas. i'd like to set the record straight on that. written an addendum to my testimony to do so. i'd also like to ask the committee to take into formal part of the record this paper methane emissions from natural gas stations which we wrote at the request in february which our work is compared with all other studies that have been
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done on this topic. >> without objection. >> our estimates of methane emissions for the first. most of the information is available on from industry sources. it's poorly documented. we called for direct independent studies that is starting to happen. the first now is now being pb lished by a university of colorado scientists. it shows us we are conservative and low. the methane emissions are worse than we said. my time is over. thank you very much for the opportunity to talk with you today. >> thank you. thank you for the opportunity to be here. not sure when the last time washington, d.c. saw a duel out in front of the congressional officers. me and my colleague might have to have one after this. in all seriousness, we in pennsylvania have a comprehensive program to
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regulate what is not a new activity in pennsylvania oil and gas exploration and hydraulic fracturing. we've been doing it for about 60 years. each year is different. pennsylvania is not the same as oklahoma. it's not the same as texas. it's even even is same as new york. we have regulations regarding well casing and cement for the drilling process. we have regulation for water handling and surface water. we have regulations for air impact. short-term air impact studies. long-term impact studies. one of the things that was mentioned by the professor, the sewage treatment plant in pittsburgh. the states are very capable, agile and know enough about what's going on in their backyard to take the appropriate steps. my colleague at the end testified about stronger, stronger did review pennsylvania's regulations in 2010. those regulations were reviewed
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very well. just recently this may a report followed up on that that brought it current. that report concluded that there was compelling case of pennsylvania's oversight of oil and gas regulation has been effective. we have ap brand new statute in pennsylvania proving the a ji till of the state to act which brought on some new requirements regarding set backs. regarding disclosure we have one of the most forward thinking advanced disclosure provisions of any state in the union. for the first time ever requiring disclosure to medical professionals. and i heard what the professor said about the methane study and his methane study and his criticism of my criticism of it. i just have to note that i'll have to take a number and get in line for the folks that are critiquing the professor's report. that's part of the academic process and that's all fair. that's what we should be doing.
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i do have to take some exception to some of the points. atmospheric benzene levels near quote some drilling sights. they're not mentioned in this testimony. i'm not sure what he's talk about with respect to chronic exposure and so forth. that's a toxicologist purview. the report that there's been several reported contamination of drinking waters by frak fluids in pennsylvania is not true.c fluids in pennsylvania is not true. not even the duke study crew a connection between any frac fluids being in the water in pennsylvania and methane migration let me remind everybody, methane migration has been a creature in pennsylvania for generations. it's probably been a creature in other states as well. any drilling if it's not done right can cause contamination or can cause methane migration.
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that's why in pennsylvania we have our well casing and cementing regulations that we put into place because we knew with our geology was like and we knew what was necessary on the floor. and i would agree with what the professor says that this area is complex. it is evolving. it is difficult. that's reason the states should be on top of regulating. the states know how to react to those things. it's a prechb record in pennsylvania. we know the science in the states. we're not idiots in the states compared to the federal government, for example, who knows everything. that's not the way it works. i would take a little bit of a discussion point with the ranking member. the way environmental regulation works in this country is primarily based on state delegation. state running with the ball to regulate environmental matters in terms of hydraulic fracturing, i falk about it in my testimony, the history is clear. the federal government has never indicated an interest, any
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administration, any congress, any epa in regulating hydraulic fracturing until all of a sudden now there's a huge interest to get into it from various different aspects. that's all born out in the history of the safe drinking water act. that's all born out in the bipartisan 2005 energy policy act which did nothing more than restate what the long standing policy had been with respect the safe drinking water acts nonregulation of fracking. with that i look forward to some more discussion. >> thank you for that. i yield to myself for just a moment. i want to bring a quick prop. this a shale rock. and for those of you that are state regulators you're very, very aware of it. sometimes we lose track of the fact. when we're talking about pulling out oil and natural gas, many people are used to conventional wells with a pocket of oil or a pocket of gas there. the gas or the oil is not around this.
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it's inside of this. how it gets pulled out in this process is technology that is impressive in the way that it's done. to drill down, to put a well a mile deep sometimes two miles long underground through this rock just like this solid rock to frac it with water and with some props and pull out of this oil or gas is revolutionary. this is why we have such a tremendous supply online. we're pulling energy out of rocks. not out of a pool. not around this, from this. so it is somewhat a revolution, i understand that. it's not new in the past couple of years. in 2005 congress was very specific on this. that epa had regulatory oversight on it only if it had diesel fuels in the fracking fluid. my question is for any of you, why has this become such an
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issue dealing with fracking right now? in the last couple years, why has there been such a rise in so many areas about fracking? i know this is an opinion guess for you. >> as i stressed in my testimony the ability to get that fantastic resource out of the shale, you're right, it is incredible technology, but it is new technology. it was developed first in texas somewhat in oklahoma in the south areas which are very different than what's going on now. >> right now there's been an incredible shift on it. this has been known for several years since 2005 legislation on it. why right now has there been such a rush to it. has there been some new breakthrough the epa administrator has told us repeatedly they have not found from epa a single site of ground water contamination from ground
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water fracking. >> i believe the epa probably said they're not aware where the action of the fracking led to water contamination. there are multiple publicly known cases where there's water contamination associated with the development of shale gas or other types. >> you're talking about from the surface? >> no. including from wells. there's a documented incidence of at least 1% perhaps up to 6% of well failure. >> here's what i know typically. there have been some very public cases of this from the epa in the past year and half. the epasses they begin testing the wells and later that was just methane that's naturally occurring. most recently on may 11th of this year in pennsylvania epa quietly released what was initially a panic to say that frac fluids have caused all this they've come back and said we were wrong. this was n a


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