February 29, 2012

Congressman Holden Voted To Deregulate Fracking, Now Says ‘We Need To Keep An Eye On It’

Congressman Holden Voted To Deregulate Fracking, Now Says 'We Need To Keep An Eye On It'
Congressman Tim Holden (D-PA)
Last weekend, Congressman Tim Holden sat down for an interview with the Sam Lesante Show to talk about an array of issues facing voters. Holden, a member of the pro-big business Blue Dog coalition of Democrats, faces a primary challenge from the left in his recently redistricted seat in eastern Pennsylvania.

At one point during the discussion, Lesante brought up the controversial horizontal natural gas drilling method known as fracking. Pennslyvania’s Marcellus Shale formation has lured a number of fracking companies to the state. After heavy lobbying, the legislature recently passed a law that removes the right of state cities to prohibit companies from coming in and drilling, while allowing fracking companies to still refuse to disclose some chemicals used in the process.

Holden, who has said his energy policy is simply “drill everywhere,” moderated his response. He compared the process to coal, and said, “We need to keep an eye on it, make sure that we’re regulating, to make sure we’re not contaminating our wells, our streams.” Watch it:

One problem: in 2005, Holden voted for the Energy Bill that exempted the fracking process from federal oversight by removing such drilling methods from the Safe Drinking Water Act. The exemption is known as the “Halliburton loophole” because oil and gas interests lobbies heavily to create it. Holden may be calibrating his position on fracking since being redistricted into a more Democratic seat.

Oil and gas interests have donated over $400,000 to Holden over the course of his career.