By Bruce Baizel
September 26, 2012
We have released a national report about state enforcement of oil and gas regulations. The national report examines the current state of oil and gas enforcement in Colorado, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.
This report arose from discussions with oil and gas agency decision-makers, inspectors, members of multi-stakeholder oil and gas organizations, former management-level industry employees, oil and gas and environment attorneys, members of conservation organizations, and representatives of academic institutions - all around the question of what makes enforcement effective.
September 24, 2012
The debate over shale gas often focuses on staid things like price per million cubic foot, corporate governance, and production figures. Then there’s the human side, the growing number of people nationwide whose lives have been forever changed by the rush to drill. Their views are expressed not in spreadsheets, but in tragically true stories of poor health and polluted water and air.
Last week in Philadelphia, hundreds of citizens, activists, and energy and environmental experts gathered to voice Shale Gas Outrage over the heavy burdens being placed on communities and the environment. Philadelphia was one stop in the journey to Stop the Frack Attack, kicked off by Washington, DC, Columbus, OH, and Albany, NY, and followed soon by Harrisburg, PA and many other places.
September 14, 2012
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is set to consider rare earth mineral legislation possibly as soon as this month. The bill, S. 1113, the Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2012, resulted from careful negotiations between the committee’s chairman and ranking member incorporating many ideas offered by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Senator Mark Udall (D-CO). Bipartisanship is at a premium in this town and the value of producing sensible and balanced policy is worth more than the minerals this bill intends to promote.
S. 1113 directs the Secretary of Interior to designate 10 critical minerals and develop and implement a series of studies and comprehensive regulatory reviews related to every aspect of the public input and environmental permitting process. This includes requiring the Secretary to create specific performance metrics designed to measure reductions in permit times for each stage of critical mineral mining operations. Studies are good. And government efficiency is too. The problem is that heavy-handed mandated reductions in permit approval times will reduce the ability of communities impacted by mining to voice their concerns.
By Alan Septoff
September 7, 2012
Whatever the overall merits of President Obama's speech last night, it made one thing clear: the President has lost his way on natural gas.
Obama -- in declaring his goal to foster the creation of 600,000 natural gas jobs by the end of his second term -- effectively hammered the last nail in the coffin of the pretense that natural gas (i.e. shale gas) is a "bridge" to a clean energy economy.
August 31, 2012
We all know the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission already has and will continue to have a dramatic effect on our elections. Even if we don’t follow politics but live in any swing state, we know the effect well: more political ads, more vitriol, more mud and negativity, less disclosure, accountability, and honesty. Citizens United tells us that corporations are people and money is speech.