On June 26th, the Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands (FRESH) Act was reintroduced in the Senate by Sen. Inhofe (R-OK), and in the House of Representatives by Rep. Gohmert (R-TX). As the previous bill did, it gives states sole authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing, including on federal lands.

Republicans and industry have long asserted that states are best suited to oversee hydraulic fracturing because they have done so effectively for decades, and employ regulators that have developed expertise on the practice. They further argue that federal rules would be duplicative, and are not flexible enough to address geological differences among states. Environmental groups contend that the hydraulic fracturing process used today is different from the process employed in previous decades. They further argue that the recently released Interior Department draft rule regulating the practice on federal lands, which requires chemical disclosure and institutes rules for managing flowback water, is not stringent enough. Significantly, however, these groups cannot credibly argue that states are not updating their drilling and hydraulic fracturing regulations. Numerous states have developed, or are developing strict environmental regulations governing hydraulic fracturing.  For instance, as discussed in Fracking Insider’s State Update 23, Illinois recent promulgated one of the most stringent hydraulic fracturing regulations in the country.

with assistance from Andrew McNamee