EARTHWORKS

What President Obama should have said about natural gas.

Lauren Pagel's avatar
By Lauren Pagel

November 5, 2010

In the aftermath of the election this week, President Obama made remarks that struck fear in the hearts of communities facing natural gas extraction in their backyards.

"We've got, I think, broad agreement that we've got terrific natural gas resources in this country. Are we doing everything we can to develop those?" was the question President Obama asked.

The question he SHOULD have been asking is (find out after the jump):

In the aftermath of the election this week, President Obama made remarks that struck fear in the hearts of communities facing natural gas extraction in their backyards.

"We've got, I think, broad agreement that we've got terrific natural gas resources in this country. Are we doing everything we can to develop those?" was the question President Obama asked.

The question he SHOULD have been asking is:

"We've got terrific natural gas resources in this country, coupled with an abysmal regulatory system. How can we drill for natural gas in appropriate places while protecting public health, water and landowner rights?"

Democrats and Republicans alike are advocating for increased natural gas production and incentives to transition from coal or oil to energy from natural gas. Domestic oil and gas production has already had a devastating impact on communities across the country, from Dimock, PA to Pavillion, WY because of lax regulations and the litany of exemptions the oil and gas industry receives from our most important environmental laws.

Can President Obama really advocate increased natural gas production when the industry is currently exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, parts of the Clean Water Act, our nations hazardous waste and clean up laws (RCRA and CERCLA), in addition to the National Environmental Policy Act and the law that informs communities of toxic releases (EPCRA)?

We hope that the President will follow the lead of his own Environmental Protection Agency, which has been actively investigating the drilling industry's track record across the country and highlighting places, like Wyoming and Texas (a by no means comprehensive list), where problems exist. We also hope that he will avoid the tactics of the Bush administration and leave the EPA's scientists to reach policy conclusions based on the evidence, rather than succumb to the industry lobbying that is partially responsible for the current woeful state of drilling oversight and the state and federal level.

President Obama's remarks were a reaction to a question regarding things he may be able to work on with the new Republican House of Representatives. Gas patch communities from around the country hope that the President, along with Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate will fix the broken oil and gas drilling regulatory regime, or risk further contamination of water, air and land in over 30 states.

Tagged with: pavillion, obama, hydraulic fracturing, halliburton, fracking, dimock

comments powered by Disqus

On Twitter

Report sets out path to #fracking in Md. baltimoresun.com/features/green… @TBWheeler
@kate_sheppard What if the pig is named Roger Ailes?

On Facebook