House told of risk of fracking on federal lands

Feb. 6, 2014 at 9:03 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Nick Lund, a manager from the National Parks Conservation Association, told House leaders hydraulic fracturing on federal lands "could harm park air quality."

The U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources heard testimony during an oversight hearing on what impact, if any, energy production would have on federal lands.

Lund, a conservation manager for the parks association, said giving energy companies access to federal lands would be risky without "careful planning." He said he recognized drilling technologies like hydraulic fracturing was stimulating U.S. oil and gas production, but worried about the environmental consequences.

"The production of oil and gas using hydraulic fracturing emits more pollutants than traditional methods, including hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, ozone and methane, and concentrations of these pollutants could harm park air quality, visibility and visitor health," he said in his Wednesday testimony.

Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., chairman of the subcommittee, said "burdensome regulations" were keeping federal land out of the hands of energy companies.

The American Petroleum Institute, the energy industry's lobby, said in a June report there's been a steady decline in oil and gas drilling on public lands since 2009.

Hydraulic fracturing, a process known also as fracking, is credited by the U.S. Energy Department with pushing oil and natural gas production in the United States to record levels.

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