By Gwen Lachelt
May 15, 2012
The picture is now clear.
The oil and gas industry is getting away with developing new rules for shale oil and gas development by amending the Pit Rule.
However, in a strange twist, Jami Bailey, the chair of New Mexico's oil and gas oversight agency, would not admit the 8,000 pages of testimony and exhibits put forward in the 17-day hearing held in 2007 to develop the Pit Rule. She claims this is a whole new rule. Industry claims they are simply amending the Pit Rule. How can they have it both ways? The travesty is unfolding this week in Santa Fe.
May 7, 2012
On Friday afternoon, the United States Department of Interior (DOI) released their proposed rules to govern hydraulic fracturing on public lands. Many of us in the environmental community eagerly anticipated the release of these rules because they signal the second clear indication of how the Obama Administration would regulate fracking. The Environmental Protection Agency had earlier released rules related to air emissions from natural gas facilities. Although most fracking regulation occurs at the state level, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management has jurisdiction over an enormous acreage and therefore sets the standard for how the states might approach the issue.
By Gwen Lachelt
May 4, 2012
Colorado State Representative Jerry Sonnenberg has introduced House Bill 1356 that would prohibit local governments from receiving state severance tax funds if they “in any way restrict or delay” oil and gas development.
This bill is all but dead but if you live in Colorado call your State Representative and Senator and urge them to vote no on HB 1356. Not only does this regressive legislation need to be killed before the 2012 legislative session ends this month but also Colorado needs to hear loud and clear that we don’t ever want to see the likes of this bill again.
May 3, 2012
We have been watching the demise of Chesapeake Energy (CHK) unfold. In addition to the news of $1.1 billion in unreported loans, Reuters has now exposed a $200 million hedge fund which Aubrey McClendon ran from the headquarters of Chesapeake Energy. This hedge fund invested in the same commodities that Chesapeake produces. Further, Senator Nelson has now called for an investigation by the Department of Justice to look into possible fraud and price manipulation.
The issues of corporate governance, potential fraud, the use of off balance sheet financing and the complexity of financial engineering has been nothing short of breathtaking. But I think we need to step back and examine the full import and implications of shale gas economics because Chesapeake may simply be a microcosm of a more systemic anomaly which is much broader and more problematic.
May 2, 2012
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