U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, issued the following remarks after his legislative report language was included in House Appropriations bills to grant the American public and other federal agencies time to review and comment on additional study findings involving the natural gas mining practice known as hydraulic fracturing:
“This month, Americans from coast to coast celebrated our nation’s sovereignty. And while we are fortunate to live free from oppression, I cannot help but feel that on some fronts the fight for autonomy is still ongoing, specifically the struggle to gain our energy independence. Although we have the resources and capabilities in our own backyard, we remain chained to unstable countries to meet our energy needs.
“For instance, we should embrace the natural gas shale that recently has become open for production through hydraulic fracturing. This technology grants us access to a greater energy supply which translates into lower costs for our businesses, consumers and families.
“However, when politically-motivated stories ricochet through government, Members of Congress and bureaucrats tend to do one of two things: nothing or overreact. Not surprisingly, more government regulation is being called for to police hydraulic fracturing.
“The substantial benefits of hydraulic fracturing are too important to ignore. The practice provides American jobs and clean energy while reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Not to mention this procedure has been conducted widely within our borders for decades.
“Although the possible environmental hazards posed by hydraulic fracturing should not be ignored, I believe that these vulnerabilities should be further studied. Conversely, rather than giving a government agency, largely unaccountable to the American people, unilateral regulatory control of a substantial portion of our natural resources and national energy, Congress and the American people should first be allowed to weigh in and make the decision on whether further regulation is necessary.
“I have worked tirelessly with my colleagues in the House on ways to lessen our dependence on foreign energy sources. Most recently, through my work on the Appropriations Committee, we have included legislative report language that will allow the public and other federal agencies time to review and comment on additional study findings involving hydraulic fracturing.
“The path to American energy independence can be found in our own backyard; we must take advantage of the resources and capabilities—such as hydraulic fracturing—that are readily available within our borders. By doing so, we can break our firm reliance on unstable nations to meet our energy needs and spur much-needed economic growth at home.”
U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, represents the 5th Congressional District and serves on the House Appropriations Committee.