A policy blueprint released by the campaign of Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat running to represent North Dakota in the Senate, illustrates a growing split in the Democratic party by promising to defend hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) in the Bakken oil development fields from “burdensome Federal rulemaking.”
From Heitkamp’s plan:
North Dakota is blessed not only with an abundance of oil, but by our geology, where a mile-thick layer of clay underground separates oil from groundwater. The Environmental Protection Agency and Bureau of Land Management have taken a top-down approach over their previous reliance on regional recommendations. Heidi will serve as a watchdog to stop federal “one size fits all”
Many Democrats are reluctant to come out strongly against hydraulic fracturing because fracking has been a boon to the economies of swing states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. But the economy benefits haven’t stopped the Obama administration from proposing environmental regulations on fracking.
Many House Democrats have pushed for tougher regulations as well.
Heidi Heitkamp is running to replace Democrat Kent Conrad, who is retiring after 20 years in the Senate.