The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2728 on Wednesday, the Protecting States' Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act, which would protect the rights of state regulatory agencies to regulate the oil and natural gas industry within their state and on federal lands.
The bill is authored by Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, and co-authored by Henry Cuellar, D-Texas. Flores represents a district that stretches from Austin to Waco to College Station, and Cuellar's district goes from the southern border of Texas to San Antonio.
The bipartisan bill — which passed 235 to 187 — prohibits the Interior Department from enforcing federal hydraulic fracturing regulation in any state that already has regulations, and it recognizes states' authority to regulate this type of activity. The bill does not prevent the federal government from implementing baseline standards in states where none exist.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, offered an amendment that passed requiring the Interior Secretary to review all state hydraulic fracturing activity and issue a report to Congress.
Another amendment that passed will require each state to submit to the BLM its regulations regarding hydraulic fracturing and the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.
Cuellar and Lee were the only Democrats from Texas to vote for the bill. Texas Democrats who voted against H.R. 2728 were Joaquin Castro, of San Antonio; Lloyd Doggett, of Austin; Pete Gallego, of San Antonio; Al Green, of Houston; Gene Green, of Houston; Ruben Hinojosa, of Edinburg; Eddie Bernice Johnson, of Dallas; Beto O'Rourke, of El Paso; Mark Veasey, of Dallas; and Flemon Vela, of Brownsville.
All Texas Republicans voted for the bill.
President Obama said he will veto the bill if it passes the Senate.
Alex Mills is President of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. The opinions expressed are solely of the author.