The Obama administration is moving toward bring disclosure into the sordid business of fracking so that people know what chemicals are being used and which may eventually end up in their water supply. But Republicans are aghast – aghast I say! – that this action may cut into corporate profits.
In December, Sec. of the Interior Ken Salazar held public hearings on the issue of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to increase the output of natural gas wells.
NRDC’s Executive Director, Peter Lehner, participated on a panel and highlighted critical issues: some locations that are too sensitive, and where the environmental risks are too high, should be off limits; wherever there is drilling, comprehensive best management practices should be required; and renewable energy and energy efficiency must be a critical part of our energy plan.
Peter, a former state official, also pointed out why federal regulations are so important. Most federal environmental programs are actually administered by the states, take into account local conditions, and rely on local regulators to know the local industry. Having state-tailored regulations is not inconsistent with having a federal standard, and having that federal standard assures citizens of different states that they are treated the same way, with the same standards, as elsewhere.
Secretary Salazar announced at this forum that the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management will be considering a policy regarding disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. This would be a great step and provide the public with crucial information about chemicals used on public land and in split estate circumstances (where private landowners live above federally-managed oil and gas resources). This is important because hydraulic fracturing chemicals are implicated in drinking water contamination and other environmental harms.
Notice that last bit. Secretary Salazar said the BLM is considering requiring disclosure of fracking chemicals. This sent Congressman Doc Hastings of Washington into a tizzy. He sent Sec. Salazar a letter (pdf) saying that this could not stand because disclosing the chemicals used in fracking would threaten thousands of jobs.
Dear Mr. Secretary:
The comments made yesterday by yourself [sic] and Presidential Advisor Carol Browner at the Departmental forum on hydraulic fracturing are deeply concerning. The distinct implication is that the Administration has already decided to move forward with a plan to increase permitting requirement on federal land with a policy that would threaten thousands of jobs, deepen the federal deficit through reduced revenues, and harm natural gas development and our nation’s energy security.
Wow. Ken Salazar and Carol Browner must really hate America, huh?
I guess Congressman Hastings hasn’t heard that Wyoming already has these requirements. So does Arkansas.
This is just another example in a long, long list of examples of Republicans putting the profit margins of their corporate benefactors over the health and safety of American citizens.
I’m just sayin’…