tv [untitled] May 31, 2012 3:00pm-3:30pm EDT
there has been a shift that occurred here. let me move on to a couple of areas as well. >> one case, the methane contamination is clearly as a result of the hydraulic fracturing of the shales. it's unambiguous. >> we'll have to if you can pull that for us, we'll receive that as well. epa has disagreed on several of those. methane is a naturally occurring substance that does move as well. i'd like to say the same thing on this as well. geology the statement in utah, in pennsylvania and oklahoma? same rock, same depth of water, same soils are things the same in all three of your states underground? >> no. absolutely not.
why all this attention? there was a great article about this called everythingoff heard about fossil fuels may be wrong. it's in the new america foundation. it's all about what he thinks why all this attention has grown. natural gas which used to be viewed as maybe a bridge fuel, a fossil fuel for people who don't like fossil fuel could hold their nose and get through could be the fuel of the century. that has caused some cognitive disdense among some interest groups ere go the push back. >> you've seen and there's a shift of investment out of the west to the east i assume you mean out of the lands and there is a fear that you have that you're about to lose the potential of getting energy is it because you're running out of
energy underground in your area? what would be the reason that there's this sense of investment moving away from your area? >> first of all, there's a tremendous resource of energy in our area. as i mentioned there's 111 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. an immense of oil, oil shale. all these different resources. it's not because a lack of opportunity. there's enough to help us with great energy independence. public policy definitely makes these changes. we have seen investment shift just because of a public policy. >> what do you mean? >> the policy having do deal with leases, those different types of policies that come out of to management this is just another example. when it comes much easier to invest on private lands compared to public lands, in my county as i may have mentioned only 15% of my county is privately held in
the west much of our land is public lands. if we take that opportunity off the table, what are we going to the national security and the opportunities of energy independence when we have unneeded, redun tant policies. to more of the specific question, at least out in our area, most of our wells are at least a mile deep. some of them would go a couple miles deep. we're not dealing with shale gas. that's why again i think it's valuable that these decisions are made on state levels. when you have a one size fit all regulation, i visited with consultants and some of the proposed rules to make absolutely no sense at all, there's not time for that here today. the states best handle these kind of policies. >> thank you. >> i thank the chair and welcome
to our panel. >> i had to be at a funeral this morning after a close friend and i did not hear your testimony and i had it described to me. but if i understand correctly your testimony in essence says based on your experience in pennsylvania, you believe the other 49 states can also live with pure state regulation we don't need federal regulation in this particular enterprise, is that an accurate characterization of your testimony? >> i'm sorry. that's probably based on my experience in pennsylvania, pennsylvania is very well to regulate fracking. based on my experience with the environmental council of the states, my experience with other colleagues of mine that do this work, i'm convinced they can do it in their states. it's not done in every state. that's why we have groups like stronger that help us do this as
states. it sounds like pennsylvania has a robust framework. you feel it works very well in pennsylvania. is that not correct? >> that is correct. i invite you to visit pennsylvania and show you firsthand how it works. i went to hollywood in pennsylvania. be glad to do it. are you in a position to testify based on imperical evidence that the other 49 states are as robust as pennsylvania. >> i don't know how to respond to it it's not a 49 state issue. other states, many other state dos not do fracking at all. the ones that do do it have a track record that indicate they can do it.
oklahoma, texas, west virginia, ohio, et cetera. even if they don't have an existing prom now they as states and i can this as my experience as a state regulator are in the best position to know their states, know what to do and get the regulatory plan that they need in their state. >> but you would concede at least as an intellectual could see that will could be a state where fracking is occurring that is not as robust and diligent as pennsylvania. >> i could concede that sasquatch is in the woods. >> this is my time. and the point is you don't have expertise with respect to the other states. you do with pennsylvania. >> that's a red herring you don't either. >> the issue here is whether or not the federal government has a role. you've testified you think it should not have a role. >> no, i don't think the issue is whether the federal government has a role.
the issue is whether the federal government should have a preeventive role. i'm here to say it should not have a preemptive role. it should be a role in which we discuss things together. i often communicate with my counterpart at region three. the question on the table is the fundamental one, ranking member who is in the better place. are you in the better place in washington to tell oklahoma what to do. are you in the better place no washington to tell us in pennsylvania what to do. >> thank you. i would simply say those are the same kinds of arguments that have been used for generations against federal involvement. if we were talking 40, 45 years ago about for example jim crow laws in the south and civil rights movement we would have heard testimony -- >> with all -- >> it is my time. mr. chairman, i insist that committee rules be adhered to.
this is my time and i gave you the benefit of the doubt and allowed you to answer as you wish. it's now my time. and i believe that that philosophy is in error. i don't share it. >> that philosophy fuzz enacted -- >> mr. chairman, i encyst on order. >> allow the member to speak. >> i thank you, mr. chairman. i believe that the philosophy that there's no role for the federal government or never be a prepemptive role for the federal government has been proved false by history. that's what this hearing was designed to do. i don't share the philosophy. the fact that you had a good experience in pennsylvania i don't believe can be extrapolated to the rest of the country. as you've indicated you don't have the expertise to say here at this table under oath that you are satisfied based on imperical evidence that all of the other states involved have similar robust regimes of regulatory regimes.
dr. howard, you talked about methane, help us understand, what's wrong with methane. cows exhibit methane. >> at least 39% or methane pollution comes from fracking. >> why do we ka ir? >> it is an incredibly powerful greenhouse gas. it's a low hanging fruit to address global warming. if we get methane under control we are far better along than co 2. i can go into more detail on that. it is a major contributor to ground level ozone. i mentioned that in my statement. ground level ozone already causes 30,000 premature deaths in the united states every year. >> methane in and of itself is not a danger except for the global warming part. >> methane is not toxic. >> but it helps create increased level of ozone.
>> it leads to increased level of ozone. >> ozone is a danger. >> it's elise is benzene. >> is ozone regulated. >> it is. >> seismic events. >> there's been an rt quake of earthquakes, a large number of small earthquakes in several places, ohio, oklahoma. the u.s. geological survey after a thorough study has attributed this to disposal of frac return waste into ground disposal wells
that's changed the geology in such a way as to increase that earthquake risk. i should point out the industry is moving to getting oil rather than gas out of the shale. the relative prices of the two and the largest oil reserves in shale are in the central valley of california and in the los angeles basin. >> we do have great differences of opinion as to where we're going with this. when i'm back home in western pennsylvania there's a great deal of concern about federal government again getting involved in areas where those people in those states don't really think they should be. why now? what's going on that all of a
sudden the epa has to get involved in fracking. this isn't new. it's 60 years old. it's been going on for a long time. we're talking about eight times the empire state building one on top of the other it's that far below the surface. this isn't right at the surface. i get concerned about that. we hear about this new technology. i know there's great innovation in the horizontal drilling. why now? what's going on that it's this public concern? and what brought it about? >> it harkens back to the article that i just mentioned that i'd be happy to provide the committee. also i do believe and i think madison wrote about this in the federalist papers, there's a tendency of power to want more power. so that may be part of what's going on here as well. >> okay.
>> you have to keep in mind that some people are labeling all kinds of issues associated with oil and gas drilling and production as hydraulic fracturing. there are certainly some issues associated with the rapid development on oil and gas in areas where it has not occurred before. we've seen that happen in various parts of the country. it's happened in certain areas of oklahoma. >> this has been around for 60 years. we never had this degree of concern before. there's a large swath of marcellus shale through pennsylvania. why this little town and why not some of the other areas? >> if you're asking me, i could talk for an hour about democratic and i won't. the state had been taking care of issues in dimmic from an enforcement standpoint for a
long time. all of a sudden the epa for reasons i have no idea decided to come in as a big brother or a white knight or whatever to come in and do whatever testing and start supplying water to families. as the representative correctly pointed out, it was interesting the reports of no health impact would always come out on a friday afternoon at about 4:00 and then they would die many the press. there's been four rounds of sampling and four nothingings and the representative was very interested in that. even at mid course they had spent $1 million already out of the superfund response fund which certainly could have gone a long way in northeastern pennsylvania on a lot of superfund response projects. >> they tested 59 wells and found nothing that indicated that the fracking was causing any problems. >> they found no health impacts whatsoever. remember when they came into the town many the first place they never made a connection between hydraulic fracturing and what it is they were looking for. i asked them specifically.
>> i think all of us are concerned sound science i'm in favor of. political science i wonder. a lol of this is as a result of you don't succeed at first try again. i'm wondering where we're going with this and at what point does the epa walk away from this. the question does come down and always in this town we talked about it, when is it that the federal government lets the state take care of himself. >> i've never been compared to jim crow, let's remember the history is the federal
government has never shown an interest whatever administration, whatever congress, whatever epa that's what the safe drinking water act was about. that's what the 2005 energy policy act was about. that was a bipartisan act in which ken salazar and the current president of the united states voted for. >> i would think that right now this great abundance and the accessiblity and affordability of natural gas has had a great influence on a green agenda that was supposed to be the bridge to get us there. we're not taking advantage to put ourselves in the best position to take care of ourselves economically. why in the world would we continue to keep the government's foot on the throat of the great opportunities of jobs of this country and the
revenue that could be produced. i know i'm out of time. i know it's frustrating. we'll keep working on it and try to get to the bottom of it. thank you. >> thank you. >> exxonmobil put together a graph. this shows drilling. about 100 feet under you'll typically hit the ground water. to protect the ground water there's multiple levels of concrete and steel casing. this is true in conventional wells that hit a pool of oil or gas and a reservoir of oil and gas swelt when hydraulic fracking is used. is that an accurate statement? >> yes. generally the way -- the way the fresh water resources are
protected. >> similar risks exist from how we've been producing oil and gas since the civil war. >> we've had -- >> obviously some technical improvements. >> we've had casing and cementing requirements for oil and gas wells for many decades. they've actually evolved and improved over the years. but a basic principal throughout the history of regulation has been we case the well through the fresh water zone to isolate. >> so when you frac a well, you're quite a bit below the water table. it's a couple hundred feet in oklahoma. >> it varies. >> you're talking hundreds of feet, not thousands of feet.
>> it can be it can be very deep. typically you're right. >> the local regulators have a good understanding. so when you're fracking you're traditionally much, much, much deeper. the chance of something migrating up through the rock and going up two miles just defies common sense that's an issue. let me go on to -- and visit with mr. mckey.
this is costing -- i assume there's a cost associated with this not just with jobs, is that correct? >> yes, that's correct. this was a study that was just released that shows that the investment on every well is about $6 million in utah. and so when we -- you know, there's the mineral lease royalti royalties, the jobs. >> when land is leased from the federal government you pay a bonus to get the lease. you buy the lease. >> that's correct. >> from everything that's produced the federal government gets a royalty. we get a percentage of all the money and all that oil and gas and so forth that we could use to pay for roads and highways, that we can bring into the federal government to help balance the budget. it's a source of income we're losing as a federal government. >> absolutely. let me give an example. recently six leases were
reinstated i believe it's about 6,000 acres. the right to lease on those lands it cost the bidders $46.6 for 6,000 acres. there's a royalty that comes into the federal government that's a sharing formula with the states. that's a tremendous source of revenue. i indicated there were over $200 million of federal mineral lease royalties coming out of my county. >> i sit on the transportation and infrastructure committee. one of the ways we're looking for maintaining our deteriorating infrastructure, roads, bridges is using that royalty money. those delays are costing the american people in not just dollars and cents but in much needed repairs, but even the safety of our highway system. >> let me go on to mr. kranzer. are you familiar with the statement of the former region six epa director.
he says it was the epa's goal -- or he wanted to crucify the oil and gas industry. do you see that as actually happening? >> you don't really want to lead me into that discussion, do you? >> i'm from texas. he was our epa guy. >> i met al once. i only know what i red in the papers. >> do you feel like the epa is targeting? do you get a feeling that they're targeting the oil and gas industry unfairly? >> well, i try to keep my eye on my own court and what we're doing. i do see permit delays. i talked about the rocket docket for historic regulations in air compared to the snail docket for getting permits done. >> i must say i'm out of time. thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you, pan. >> we're going to do just a
couple minutes of questioning. for the three state regulators i need some clarification. new guidance has been released by epa dealing with the diesel fuel issues and involvement obviously there's been oversight process for frabing in states. what i'm interested in for you on how you're interpreting that. how it's working through the guidance dealing with diesel fuels and fracking and expanding the definition of diesel fuels. does that make sense? >> i know this is in process. how is that going? >> it is in process. it does not directly apply to the state of oklahoma because we administer the uic program for oil and gas operations under section 1425 of the safe drinking water act. and so we have a little bit different framework but we are looking at it closely because there's no doubt that epa will
be coming to visit with us about how we address the various elements that are in that guidance. there are some key issues in there that concern us we are putting our comments together and we will be submitting those. >> is it your assumption that guidance will become a rule or probably just a piece won't affect private areas. >> we are concerned the epa will implement it as if it were a rule. >> rule or not they apply it the same. >> yes. >> were you talking about the blm rule or the diesel fracking? >> diesel fracking permit. >> let me say first that i don't believe that's going to be an issue in pennsylvania. there's no information that we have that diesel fuel is being used for fracking. epa does have primacy of the program in pennsylvania we just don't do a lot of uic disposal.
you hit the nail on the head. we have to keep an eye on how that diesel fuel does. >> epa is trying to redefine what's a diesel fuel. that conversation is ongoing. how are you processing that at this point? >> we're watching it very carefully. it is the proverbial nose in the camel's tent. the 2005 energy policy act did exclude fracking with diesel fuel. we all know that. if you define diesel fuel to be everything you've gone beyond what the law intended and acted illegally to boot. >> one quick last question. the comment about earthquakes and oklahoma based on fracking, are you aware of earthquakes in oklahoma based on the frac'ing itself. >> we are working with seismologists at the university of oklahoma and the oklahoma geological survey to study the
possible connection between earthquakes and various types of oil and gas operations. any statements made that there's been some kind of conclusive link are premature. >> are earthquakes in oklahoma common? >> yes. we live in a skies mickly active area and the records show that. >> thank you. i yield to the ranking member for three minutes as well. >> i thank the chair. mr. mckey i was chairman of my local county before i came here. i appreciate your service. i think oklahoma is very important. do i understand you that the
regulation had served as an impediment to job creation in your community. >> that is correct. >> what is the unemployment rate? >> today it's about 4%. however, when the downturn in the economy happened we didn't know there was a recession going on as far as what we were feeling until we had new policies that came in and almost overnight we lost a number of jobs because of new policies. >> but at 4.1%. >> today it's good.
>> what percentage of your county is federal or controlled land? >> i know we're only 15% privately held. i believe it's about 59% that's blm. i think 16.5% and a little bit of state institutional properties. >> do you have any idea on that federal land how many leases have in fact been or permits have been granted but not utilized? >> i know there's a fairly strong backlog on the bidding process. >> in some case it's a utilization issue that some have been granted and not used. >> what i've been told is it's very difficult because sometimes these permits show up in the
category as though they've been issued but they're still waiting for the government to finalize what they're -- they get held up. >> obviously one of the things we've been talking about is air pollution. whether it can be attributed to fracking or whatever. yours is largely a rural county, is it not? >> it is. >> we would expect in a rural county normally clean air. how does your county stack up in that regard? >> we do have over all our air quality is good with the exception of winter ozone. i would like to touch on that. >> certainly. >> if i could disagree with my colleague to the left here. he indicated fracturing was causing the winter ozone issue. i have personally have been very involved with this issu