Hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, involves pumping huge volumes of water, sand and chemicals underground to split open rocks to allow oil and gas to flow. Improved technology has allowed energy companies to gain access to huge stores of natural gas underneath states from Wyoming to New York but has raised widespread concerns that it might lead to groundwater contamination and even earthquakes.
A draft rule issued this spring would require companies that drill for oil and natural gas on federal lands to publicly disclose the chemicals used in fracking operations. A final rule is expected next year.
Lamborn said his permitting bill would reduce federal "red tape" and cut down on "frivolous lawsuits that act as stumbling blocks to job creation and energy development."
Democrats and environmental groups called the bill a handout to the big oil companies and said it would gut important environmental protections and stifle efforts by the public to intervene in drilling decisions.
Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, called the energy bills a waste of time, since they were unlikely to be taken up in the Democratic-controlled Senate and faced veto threats from Obama.
Hoyer called the energy bills "the fiddle on which we are playing while Rome is burning," adding that the bills "distract and delay this body's critical attention to the issues of critical concern to all Americans," including adoption of a federal budget and passage of a farm bill and immigration overhaul.
Flores called the fracking bill an important step to reaffirm states' rights to determine energy production, as well as a way to create jobs.
Because of fracking and other techniques, the U.S. could be "energy secure" by 2020, Flores said. "This is a goal we should pursue, just as we did in the 1960s to put a man on the moon."
Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., said state rules on fracking vary widely.
"That's why it's important that the Interior Department put in place a regulatory floor of safety measures to assure that there are at least minimal protections in place on all public lands in all states," he said.