SJR 14: Urging Congress not to remove the exemption for hydraulic fracturing from the provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
00 SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 14 01 Urging Congress not to remove the exemption for hydraulic fracturing from the 02 provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act. 03 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 04 WHEREAS the United States Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 05 U.S.C. 300h) to ensure the protection of the nation's drinking water resources; and 06 WHEREAS, after the enactment of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Environmental 07 Protection Agency never interpreted hydraulic fracturing as constituting "underground 08 injection" under the Safe Drinking Water Act; and 09 WHEREAS the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held, in 10 Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation v. United States Environmental Protection 11 Agency, 118 F.3d 1467 (11th Cir. 1997), that hydraulic fracturing constituted "underground 12 injection" under the Safe Drinking Water Act; and 13 WHEREAS, in 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency published a final report 14 that summarized a study evaluating the potential threat to underground sources of drinking 15 water from hydraulic fracturing of coalbed methane production wells that concluded that 16 "additional or further study is not warranted at this time" and that "the injection of hydraulic
01 fracturing fluids into [coal bed methane] wells poses minimal threat to [underground sources 02 of drinking water]"; and 03 WHEREAS the United States Congress, in the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005, 04 explicitly exempted hydraulic fracturing from the provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act; 05 and 06 WHEREAS the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission conducted a survey of 07 oil and gas producing states that found no known cases of groundwater contamination 08 associated with hydraulic fracturing; and 09 WHEREAS hydraulic fracturing is now, and has been for decades, a common method 10 used by the oil and gas industry in all of the member states of the Interstate Oil and Gas 11 Compact Commission in exploration and production activities, without causing groundwater 12 damage; and 13 WHEREAS, each year, approximately 35,000 wells are hydraulically fractured in the 14 United States and, since the technique's inception, close to 1,000,000 wells have been 15 hydraulically fractured in the United States, with no known harm to groundwater; and 16 WHEREAS the regulation of oil and gas exploration and production activities, 17 including hydraulic fracturing, has traditionally been the province of the states; and 18 WHEREAS the Safe Drinking Water Act was never intended to grant to the federal 19 government authority to regulate oil and gas drilling and production operations such as 20 hydraulic fracturing under the Underground Injection Control program; and 21 WHEREAS the member states of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission 22 have adopted comprehensive laws and regulations to protect the nation's drinking water 23 resources and have trained personnel to effectively regulate oil and gas exploration and 24 production; and 25 WHEREAS production of coal seam natural gas, natural gas from shale formations, 26 and natural gas from tight conventional reservoirs is increasingly important to the domestic 27 natural gas supply and will be even more important in the future; and 28 WHEREAS regulation of hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act on 29 Alaska's North Slope or in Cook Inlet is unwarranted because these areas do not serve as 30 sources of underground potable water; and 31 WHEREAS hydraulic fracturing plays a major role in the development of oil and gas
01 resources and, thus, in the absence of evidence that such fracturing has damaged the 02 environment, should not be limited; and 03 WHEREAS regulation of hydraulic fracturing as a category of underground injection 04 under the Safe Drinking Water Act will impose significant administrative costs on the state 05 and substantially increase the cost of drilling oil and gas wells, with no resulting 06 environmental benefits; and 07 WHEREAS regulation of hydraulic fracturing as a category of underground injection 08 under the Safe Drinking Water Act will increase energy costs to the consumer; 09 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature hereby declares its support for 10 maintaining the exemption of hydraulic fracturing from the provisions of the Safe Drinking 11 Water Act and urges the United States Congress not to pass legislation that will remove the 12 exemption for hydraulic fracturing. 13 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Barack Obama, President of 14 the United States; the Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Vice-President of the United States and 15 President of the U.S. Senate; and the Honorable Lisa Murkowski and the Honorable Mark 16 Begich, U.S. Senators, and the Honorable Don Young, U.S. Representative, members of the 17 Alaska delegation in Congress.