By Alan Septoff
January 19, 2011
Last week, Sharon Wilson blogged about Range Resources willful blindness to the EPA's charge that it had contaminated a Texas aquifer. Basically, despite EPA confronting the company with evidence of its pollution, Range had sent a letter to EPA thanking the agency for agreeing that Range wasn't responsible for pollution.
Yesterday, the other shoe dropped. Sharon has the full story over at Bluedaze, including context and links.
In short, the Department of Justice backed up the EPA's emergency order against Range Resources by filing a complaint in federal district court.
By Alan Septoff
January 18, 2011
Well, at least we can credit Darrell Issa with the courage of his convictions.
Our friends at OMB Watch brought to our attention that Darrell Issa, the new chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has
"promised to publicly release responses he receives from 150 companies, trade groups and think tanks that he asked to compile wish lists of regulations they would like rolled back." -- from The Hill, "Oversight head to release business requests for regulation rollbacks", 1/10/2011
We'll be watching this list closely.
Communities and the environment rely upon federal oversight, present and future, to force resource extraction companies to account for the public good (to a greater or lesser degree, depending upon regulatory effectiveness) when operating. Without government oversight, these companies will and do simply ignore what's in the public interest. And, sometimes, even with it.
By Lauren Pagel
January 18, 2011
Yesterday, 46 Democrats from the House of Representatives sent a letter to Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that supports Interior s move towards public disclosure of fracturing chemicals for oil and gas operations on public lands. This letter stands in contrast to the 32 House members that signed a letter urging Interior to put off regulations until after the EPA hydraulic fracturing study has been completed.
As a first step in regulating what happens with oil and gas production on our public lands lands that are owned by you and me disclosure is a no-brainer, from my perspective. Regardless of what the findings of the EPA study might be, citizens deserve to know what chemicals are being by companies operating on lands that are part of our national heritage.
I hope the Interior Department stays true to its mission to protect public lands and the waters contained within them and moves forward with strong disclosure provisions. In addition to disclosure of chemicals involved in hydraulic fracturing, the Interior Department should lead the way by instituting the most stringent regulations for the entire lifecycle of oil and gas production. DoI should require that companies operating on public lands adhere to best practices to protect air, land and water resources.
By Alan Septoff
January 14, 2011
From our friends at the West Virginia Surface Owners' Rights Association:
Interim Committee Advances Marcellus Shale Legislation
Earlier this week, Subcommittee A of the Joint Judiciary Committee advanced a bill establishing a new regulatory program for gas wells utilizing horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Although the committee advanced the bill without a recommendation for passage by the full legislature, this keeps the bill alive. (You can read more here, here and here.) It also means the legislature will have two comprehensive bills to consider. The DEP has finalized its legislation and acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has signed off on the package (although it will not be a governor's bill and Tomblin did not mention it in the State of the State address).
January 5, 2011
Range Resources lives in an alternate universe where saying something makes it true no matter the facts. Range wrote a letter where they claim the EPA met with them and agreed that they were not responsible for the garden hose turned flamethrower in Parker County. Okay, I ll play: if saying something makes it true, then I m a ballerina.
The EPA was clear when they gave Texans an early Christmas present by issuing an emergency order to protect families in southern Parker County, Texas, west of Fort Worth in the Barnett Shale gas field. The EPA would not take this action lightly, especially in Texas. Their investigation was thorough and included isotopic fingerprinting and a detailed timeline where the finger points directly at Range Resources.
After four months of investigating, the Texas Railroad Commission couldn t say how the gas got in the well water. It took the EPA two months of investigating to determine Range was responsible. But Gene Powell an industry apologist who writes the Powell Barnett Newsletter that even industry calls pro-industry did a quickie investigation and figured it all out in just five days!