No Need to Regulate Gas Fracking, Says Incoming Republican

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The Utah Republican who will oversee the Interior Department next year took time today to bash potential new disclosure rules that would require, for the first time, that companies practicing the controversial drilling method called hydraulic fracturing will have to say what’s in the nasty stew they are injecting near major freshwater aquifers, to extract the gas.

Disclosure would finally end the “Halliburton exemption” that Cheney won, allowing the gas industry to keep secret from the public what they use to inject into shale in order to force out natural gas. If the EPA and the Dept of the Interior are successful, gas fracking companies like Exxon and Halliburton would have to begin to account for any potentially harmful action they take that might affect water supplies, just like any other company does.

There has been widespread news of of tap water lighting on fire as a result of aquifers becoming polluted with fracking liquids in regions like Pennsylvania. Gasland, a documentary about fracking has mobilized people to its dangers.

Recently protesters in New York were able to force the state legislature to put a six-month moratorium on issuing new permits for gas fracking in New York’s portion of the Marcellus Shale, and investigating the dangers first. And it is not just New York state. Both the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency are saying that they are about to begin requiring disclosure of the composition of fracking fluids.

Between the two agencies, it looks increasingly likely that the gas fracking industry is finally going to be regulated, just like any other industry that wants to put mystery ingredients dangerously close to major freshwater aquifers.

But one party is sticking up for polluter rights.

Today, Representative Rob Bishop (R-Utah), the incoming Republican on the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee held a press conference to forbid disclosure because “there is no reason the federal government should impose additional regulations and red tape on our nation’s domestic energy producers.”

It is not too long ago that Cheney was telling us to coweri in terror, certain that some foreign brown A-rab would come over here and poison up our water. But I guess it doesn’t matter if an oil company does it.

Image: Gasland
Susan Kraemer@Twitter

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