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The oil and gas industry’s victory lap

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By Aaron Mintzes

September 12, 2011

On Friday, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Minerals and Energy had a hearing on the job creation effect of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

I remember the Energy Policy Act of 2005 as the controversial legislation negotiated behind closed doors with Halliburton on one side and Vice President Cheney on the other. One of the reasons why many of us felt like that law carried the specter of a sweetheart deal for Vice President Cheney’s former employer is Section 390- the provision describing categorical exclusions (CXs). That is, drilling activities that are exempted from the standard environmental review process.

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Tagged with: house natural resources committee, categorical exclusions, energy policy act, jobs


Texas proposes fracking disclosure rules with Texas size loopholes

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By Aaron Mintzes

September 1, 2011

A couple days ago, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) issued its proposed new rules purporting to regulate the disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. Sunlight is the best disinfectant and Earthworks Oil and Gas Accountability Project is closely monitoring state and federal efforts to reveal the hazardous ingredients contained in fracking fluids.

The Texas rules are terrible. Let me list the ways:

  1. application
  2. covered chemicals
  3. trade secret loophole.

To begin, these rules have only prospective application. Just last year, the RRC issued 15,466 permits of which 85% use hydraulic fracturing. This means that the roughly 13,000 wells permitted in 2010 do not have to disclose anything. Next, the industry only need disclose chemicals initially and intentionally placed in the fracking fluid. This absolves them from any additional toxic substances absorbed in to the fracking fluid as it travels underground or gets swept up in the flowback. Part of our concern is not just what Halliburton wants to put in the fracking fluid, but how those chemicals react with the hazardous or radioactive elements already in the ground that are disturbed by these high pressure injections.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, disclosure, railroad commission


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