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Institutional Choices for Regulating Oil and Gas Wells

On Tuesday, February 12, 2013, Hudson Institute released a report examining congressional bills to broaden federal oversight of the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing (HF).

HF revolutionized U.S. energy development. Natural gas production boomed. America’s manufacturers and consumers, in turn, benefited from lower prices. Past predictions of the U.S. becoming a major natural gas importer gave way to debates on how much, if any, should be exported.

The boom also sparked a debate on the proper role of the federal government in regulating a drilling technology that had been largely subject to state-level oversight. At the time, Congress was thought to consider bills, collectively referred to as the FRAC Act, and other measures that would greatly expand the EPA’s authority over HF-related oil and gas drilling.

The report’s author, Hudson Institute Visiting Fellow Lee Lane, led a panel discussion on its findings and the key related questions facing policymakers, such as:

  • What are the benefits of continued robust shale gas development?
  • Are the assumptions underlying the federal preemption effort sound?
  • If enacted, would current proposals in Congress promote more efficient and safer energy development?
  • Are there other ways in which the federal government might help state regulators to do a better job?

Chris DeMuth Panelist

Distinguished Fellow, Hudson Institute, former administrator of OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and editor-in-chief of Regulation

Natalie Tawil Panelist

Analyst, Congressional Budget Office

Lee Lane Moderator

Hudson Institute Visiting Fellow

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