Oil and Gas Drilling

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For over four decades Rep. Eshoo has opposed reckless oil and gas drilling, dating back to her service on the San Mateo Board of Supervisors when she was appointed to the Board of Control established after the Santa Barbara Oil Spill.

Keystone XL Pipeline

The Keystone XL pipeline is a proposed 2,000-mile pipeline that would transport tar sands oil, one of the dirtiest fuel sources on earth, from Alberta, Canada to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico for export. Rep. Eshoo opposes the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline after hearing testimony of experts at the Committee she serves on. It will harm our climate without providing any of the promised energy security or drop in prices at the pump.

Because it is a dirtier-burning fuel that is difficult to extract, tar sands oil generates up to 30 percent more carbon pollution than conventional oil on a life-cycle basis. Expanding tar sands production and consumption will drastically increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at a time when we should be taking all steps to cut GHG emissions. Additionally, transporting Canadian tar sands oil 2,000 miles across the United States puts our landscape at risk of a catastrophic spill. In March 2013, a pipeline under a suburban neighborhood in Arkansas burst and spilled 5,000 barrels of oil, forcing people to flee their homes. In Marshall, Michigan, cleanup is still ongoing after a spill of 800,000 gallons in 2010, which is expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Proponents of the pipeline argue that America should be welcoming this fuel source from a friendly neighbor in Canada. However, most if not all of the oil transported through the pipeline will be sold into the lucrative international market, and will not be returned for American domestic use. There are currently several pipelines that carry oil from Canada to the United States, but the Keystone XL project is designed to move the oil to the Gulf of Mexico. Rep. Eshoo and other members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have repeatedly asked for assurances that some of the oil transported through the pipeline be sold in the U.S. market, but their requests have been rebuffed.

Click here to read Rep. Eshoo’s op-ed in the San Jose Mercury News on May 16, 2013 about the empty promises of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)

Rep. Eshoo has always believed it would be a grave mistake to scar one of the last pristine landscapes in the United States for a temporary and limited supply of oil. The U.S. Geological Service estimates the oil recovered from ANWR over twenty years would represent less than a one year U.S. supply and would take 10 years to begin to reach the market. At its peak, drilling would produce less than three percent of U.S. oil consumption and, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, would save less than 4 cents per gallon for 20 years.

Rep. Eshoo is a cosponsor of H.R. 139, the Udall-Eisenhower Arctic Wilderness Act, which would make the ANWR a wilderness area, forever protecting it from development.


Hydraulic Fracturing (“Fracking”)

The recent discovery of vast natural gas resources embedded in shale formations under the United States has caused a boom in the extraction method of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” Fracking involves tens of thousands of gallons of water, sand and chemicals being injected at high pressure into underground rock formations to blast them open. Rep. Eshoo believes that development of new oil and gas resources can and should be done in a responsible way, and she supports several pieces of legislation that would ensure that fracking cannot continue unless it is safe for the environment and human health.

Fracking often occurs near underground water sources, but the Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempts this industry from requirements in the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). No other industry has a similar exemption. Rep. Eshoo is a cosponsor of H.R. 1921, the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act, which repeals the oil and gas industry’s SDWA exemption; ensures that drinking water supplies are protected; requires the public disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluids; and allows safe fracking operations to continue.

Rep. Eshoo also is a cosponsor of H.R. 1175, the FRESHER Act and H.R. 1152, the BREATHE Act in the 113th Congress. These two important bills would close loopholes in the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act that allow the oil and gas industry to avoid regulations that protect human health and the environment. Together, these bills would protect the American people from the harmful effects of oil and gas drilling and ensure that these industries are subject to the same rules as every other industry.

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