EARTHblog » Aaron Mintzes
December 6, 2011
Much of the refrain we hear from the House Majority in D.C. over the government’s proper regulatory role over fracking emphasizes local control. Too often the rhetoric references faceless and unaccountable Washington bureaucrats imposing a one-size-fits-all solution that stifles innovation and efficiency. Beyond the mere rhetoric, we often here fracking proponents argue that local geology calls for local regulation. That is, those elected and regulatory officials closest to and most familiar with the geological differences between, say Texas and Colorado, are best equipped to design a regulatory regime to fit.
Curious then, what we see from the Keystone state. The state legislature in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is debating a pair of industry-supported bills designed to remove a municipality’s zoning power to curb drilling operations. Instead, faceless and unaccountable Harrisburg bureaucrats will decide where, when, and how many drilling wells will appear near schools, hospitals, and senior centers in small townships all over Pennsylvania.
November 17, 2011
Yesterday, I attend a hearing hosted by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment. The hearing allowed members of Congress and government bureaucrats to discuss concerns about the potential for water contamination from fracking and the right regulatory regime to prevent it.
The specter of contamination arises out of a concern that the high- pressure injection of a mixture of water, sand, and toxic chemicals might migrate in to underground sources of drinking water.
For this reason, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is undertaking a study of this issue due out in 2014.