EPA, diesel, fracking, and transparency: a clarification.

By Lauren Pagel

January 28, 2011

Last week, I blogged about the EPA using its authority under the 2005 Energy Policy Act to regulate the use of diesel in hydraulic fracturing, and used a Greenwire story published in the New York Times on the issue to highlight the issue.

While the EPA is within its authority under current law to regulate the use of diesel in fracking as part of the current regulations for Class II wells under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), I do feel that the EPA could have gone about its announcement around this issue in a way that was more transparent.

By adding language to their website without an official announcement, the EPA kept the public and industry in the dark about something that did not and should not have been kept a secret.

It would have been in the public interest (and would have created far less controversy) if the EPA had created a participatory process with a public announcement regarding the regulation of diesel fuel used for hydraulic fracturing.

It would also have been in the public interest for the EPA to have begun to deal with this issue back in 2005 when the Energy Policy Act was passed and their regulatory authority to regulate this practice was made clear.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, hydraulic fracturing, new york times, greenwire

Gas industry attempts snow job in Ohio

By Nadia Steinzor

January 27, 2011

Much of the time, a winter storm keeps people snug at home but apparently not in Ohio when gas development is at stake. Nearly 300 residents and elected officials in Canton (Stark County) turned out last week for a debate on the issue. Even in a state with a long history of digging and drilling for fossil fuels, modern-day gas extraction is clearly something worth learning about.

And also worrying about, as industry trains its sights on both the Marcellus and the even deeper Utica shale, and newly elected Governor Kasich openly hopes that gas will be an answer to his budgetary prayers.

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Tagged with: drilling, marcellus shale, ohio, gas

The New Mexico Roadrunner

By Gwen Lachelt

January 26, 2011

Not only is the Roadrunner the state bird but also it s just a really cool critter. My office in Albuquerque has a stunning view of the Sandia Mountains and is close to city open space so I have the pleasure of watching roadrunners quite a bit from my office window.  Roadrunners are both striking and comical (not unlike the legislative session at times).  They d rather run than fly - they ve been clocked at speeds of 17 mph. And they catch and eat rattlesnakes. So I m naming my New Mexico blog postings in honor of the Roadrunner and in the spirit of keeping the coyote at bay!
A lot of our OGAP work on energy issues in the Land of Enchantment takes place 50 miles north of the Duke City in the City Different, Santa Fe. The state capitol, also known as the Roundhouse, as well as the state departments governing oil and gas and energy impacts, are located in Santa Fe.
I ve spent a considerable part of the past eight years running to Santa Fe and sitting in a hearing room with one small corner window participating in and witnessing the development of new safeguards to protect New Mexico s water, land, air and public health from oil and gas drilling and fracking. The 2011 New Mexico Legislative Session began last Tuesday with threats from the new Governor to throw out modest oil and gas protections like the Pit Rule. Neither striking nor comical, we take this threat seriously and will do all we can to keep New Mexico s common sense drilling rules in place.
I hope you ll join me in standing up for New Mexico s working farms, ranches, neighborhoods, public and tribal lands by following our blog and action alerts, writing and calling the Governor and legislators, coming to the Roundhouse for important committee hearings and supporting our work to uphold important safeguards like the Pit Rule.

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Tagged with: fracking, new mexico, pit rule, governor martinez, roadrunner

State of the Union reaction: natural gas is not clean energy

By Lauren Pagel

January 26, 2011

I was heartened by the President s desire to end the massive subsidies we currently dole out to the oil industry, and invest in renewable energy. While we attempt to wean ourselves from all dirty energy sources, we need to end the subsidies, close the loopholes and institute policies that regulates fossil fuels in a way that best protects our communities and water resources.  

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Tagged with: natural gas, climate change, obama, greenhouse gas emissions, subsidies, president obama, state of the union, renewable energy, sotu

Montana Disclosure: Common sense safeguard and critical next step for the Treasure State

By Jennifer Goldman

January 25, 2011

Montanans deserve simply to know what chemicals the oil and gas industry are injecting underground and storing on the surface near our homes and water wells. That is why our Montana lawmakers should move forward to require the disclosure of hydraulic fracturing fluids.

Montana s Senate Bill 86 sponsored by Senator Bob Hawks does just that and will be heard by our Senate Natural Resources Committee on January 21st.

The oil and gas industry often relies on silly technicalities to claim that we have nothing to worry about in regards to fracturing and that toxic chemicals used in the process needn t be disclosed or tracked by the public.

To say that fracturing is not to blame for incidents of water contamination is to rely on distinctions that don t make a difference. Distinctions like: it wasn t the fracturing that poisoned a landowner s water well it was weak gas well casing. Montanans and anyone working on farms or ranches know that almost everything is interrelated and connected. The well casing in an oil or gas well must withstand drilling and high-pressured frack jobs in order to keep the toxics in the pipe. Fracturing fluids are important part of the overall picture when considering the fate of all the toxics used and disposed of during the life of an oil or gas well.

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Tagged with: hydraulic fracturing, disclosure, montana

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