Krancer (Once Again) Tells Washington To "Back Off"
Last month, StateImpact Pennsylvania detailed Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer’s adverse relationship with the federal government:
When the EPA began an investigation of whether or not the water in Dimock, Susquehanna County was safe to drink, Krancer essentially told EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson she didn’t know what she was talking about.
“We realize and recognize that EPA is very new to all of this and the EPA’s understanding of the facts and science behind this activity is rudimentary,” he wrote. “Fortunately, Pennsylvania is not new to all of this and we have a long history of experience at overseeing and regulating oil and natural gas extraction activities in our state, including hydraulic fracturing.”
…Sitting in his Harrisburg office, Krancer said the EPA doesn’t always trust the state’s judgment. “It’s amazing to me sometimes how stupid the EPA has discovered we became as of January 19, 2011,” he said, pointing to the date the Republican Corbett Administration took control. “And I continue to say that. It is somewhat frustrating because I do have 2,600 of the best experts on the planet…and I think sometimes my federal partners don’t recognize that.”
Yesterday, Krancer took that message directly to Washington, telling a House committee the federal government needs to “back off” of drilling oversight, and let states take the lead.
At one point, Democrat Gerry Connolly compared Krancer’s states-first stance to the arguments segregated states made against federal integration efforts in the 1950s. Politico reported on the exchange:
A heated exchange unfolded after Krancer stated his initial position on the federal government’s role.
“I don’t think the issue is whether the federal government has a role [to regulate fracking],” Krancer said. “The issue is whether the federal government should have a pre-emptive role. It should not. … The question is a fundamental one: Are you in a better place in Washington to tell us what to do?”
Connolly responded: “Those are the same kinds of arguments that were used for generations. If we were talking 40 to 50 years ago about Jim Crow laws in the South and civil rights, we wouldn’t have heard testimony at this table.”
This is the second time in eight months that Krancer has testified before a House panel. His November appearance had confrontational moments, too, though Jim Crow laws were never references.
Here’s some video from yesterday’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing, which, it’s worth pointing out, certainly had a loaded agenda. The hearing was titled “Rhetoric vs. Reality, Part II: Assessing the Impact of New Federal Red Tape on Hydraulic Fracturing and American Energy Independence”