States should regulate hydraulic fracturing
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Winningreen Issue Alert
States — not federal bureaucrats— should regulate hydraulic fracturing
By Gretchen Randall
Date: December 12, 2011
Issue: For over sixty years, states have regulated the oil and gas industry in each state including hydraulic fracturing or fracking which is the technology that allows oil and natural gas to be released from shale rock. During the fracking process, water and additives are pumped into the well under high pressure thereby opening cracks in the shale formation to allow the gas or oil to escape. Sand is then added to hold open the cracks in the rock.
Now, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing rules for air quality and wastewater that have the industry worried. Originally an EPA study was to be issued at the end of 2012 with no definitive actions taken until at least a year later. Instead, the EPA now will finalize a rule on air emissions from fracking by next April.
The Western Energy Alliance which represents oil and gas producers in the western states argues for state regulation instead of federal intervention saying that the geology is different from region to region so that a one-size-fits-all rule is not workable and would just add another layer of bureaucracy. The Alliance notes that about 90 percent of the wells in the West use fracking so much of the energy industry would be affected by a new rule.
The Alliance projects that by 2020 wells in six producing states in the West will produce as much oil and gas as we currently import from Russia, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Algeria, Nigeria and Columbia combined. Continued investment in energy production in the West is projected to add about 70,000 additional jobs by 2020.
Comment: “I’m not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water, although there are investigations ongoing,” Lisa Jackson, EPA administrator told a U.S. House Oversight committe on May 24, 2011.
Comment: It is not that there are any tangible risks from fracking as it is now regulated by the states. The problem the Obama administration has with energy is . . . energy. They don’t want any.
Background and links: California is already seeing the loss of jobs and tax revenue due to the Obama administration’s rule tightening on drilling permits. According to the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, the delays in issuing permits for drilling have cost California $1 billion in lost investments, 6000 jobs and $49 million in state and local tax revenue. http://www.calwatchdog.com/2011/11/07/obama-epa-commits-political-frackicide-in-ca/
To learn more about the fracking process, go to: http://www.hydraulicfracturing.com
Contact: Gretchen Randall