Wisconsin Congressman Proposes Ban on All Fracking on Public Land

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Washington D.C. President Obama recently announced new regulations for hydralic fraturing—otherwise known as fracking. They require companies to disclose what’s actually in the chemicals they use among other standards.
But one congressman says those regulation dont go far enough—he wants to ban fracking on all public land.

Some say it's a controversial way to get oil and gas—fracking—a process to inject high-pressure water and chemicals into rocks to release the gas inside.

Congressman Mark Pocan of Wisconsin says this process of getting energy is not safe.

"We know that the toxic mix of chemicals that goes into the ground, it’s part of the fracking process, has some areas contaminated ground water," said Pocan.

Pocan says this is a public safety issue, he says fracking causes methane to be released into the air. Also according to Pocan, the recent earthquakes in Oklahoma and Texas can be linked to fracking. Therefore Pocan wants to ban this practice on all public lands.

"Since 90-percent of our public lands are elgible to be leased for fracking now is the time to have something like that in place," said Pocan.

This bill is getting a lot of pushback though, mostly from House Republicans who say there's no link between the environmental concerns and fracking.

"There’s not a single instance where ground water contamination or drinking water contamination has been clearly linked to fracturing," said Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis.

Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis says her state was the first to implement its own standards. So far she says they have worked and that’s why she says she’s against this bill.

"It fails to acknowledge that states have had solid regulatory mechanisms in place in order to protect the subsurface and surface," said Lummis.

For Congressman Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, he believes states should have their own say on this.

"We ought to leave it to the states to do—it matters more to them they are closer to the issue, they understand the geography and geology," said Cramer.

Also piling on against this bill is Montata Congressman Ryan Zinke, "It’s going no where."

But Pocan says until there’s more certainty on how safe this process actually is—and what chemicals are actually going into the ground, he believes banning fracking is in the best interest for everyone.

"We want to have a ban in place until we can be certain those risks can be minimized," said Pocan.

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