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Fracking debate stirs in U.S. House

May 9, 2013 at 7:59 AM

WASHINGTON, May 9 (UPI) -- The U.S. government has an obligation to ensure that oil and natural gas deposits are developed responsibly, a natural resource advocate testified.

The House Natural Resources Committee had an oversight hearing on regulations regarding hydraulic fracturing.

Washington Director for the Western Organization of Resource Councils Sara Kendall testified that federal regulators need to update rules to keep pace with state oil and natural gas agencies.

With more than 750 million acres of land under its jurisdiction, the Bureau of Land Management has an obligation to ensure that natural resources are developed responsibly, she said.

"BLM must update its rules and policies in many different areas if we want to ensure that, decades from now, the legacy of today's federal oil and gas development will be reclaimed land that is capable of supporting the agricultural economy our region has relied on since it was first settled," she testified.

Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said it was state governments that likely knew what was best in terms of regulatory policy, however.

"States are able to carefully craft regulations to meet the unique geologic and hydrologic needs of their states," he said. "Imposing a 'one size fits all' regulatory structure, as the Obama administration is attempting to do, will not work."

The industry says federal policies would be redundant and make the extraction industry too complex to be efficient.

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