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Critics question U.S. federal role in fracking

Aug. 23, 2013 at 10:03 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Petroleum trade associations in the United State said federal proposals for regulating hydraulic fracturing undermines state authorities.

The Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Western Energy Alliance announced they submitted formal comments to the U.S. Department of Interior on energy oversight.

WEA Vice President of Public Affairs Kathleen Sgamma said the federal government has failed to show state authorities aren't up to the task of regulating their own energy sectors.

"DOI already struggles to meet its current obligations, and has neither the resources nor the expertise to implement this very prescriptive, complex rule," she said in a statement.

Friday is the deadline for submitting public comments on hydraulic fracturing on public lands. Critics of the controversial drilling practice, dubbed fracking, say a federal role is needed to ensure the environment is protected

Sgamma said fracking critics are hyping the environmental threat. Her counterpart, IPAA President Barry Russell, said federal oversight undermines state authority.

"Our federal system has vested the states with the authority to ensure that development of energy sources is safe and responsible," he said in a statement Thursday.

Fracking has led to oil and natural gas production increases in the United States. Oil production is such that imports of foreign oil are at record lows. The government is processing applications for natural gas exports.

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