mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
EPA Cries Wolf on Fracking

The Wall Street Journal reports that some of the objections being raised to hydraulic fracking have turned out to be quite overblown:

The Environmental Protection Agency has dropped its claim that an energy company contaminated drinking water in Texas, the third time in recent months that the agency has backtracked on high-profile local allegations linking natural-gas drilling and water pollution.

On Friday, the agency told a federal judge it withdrew an administrative order that alleged Range Resources Corp. had polluted water wells in a rural Texas county west of Fort Worth…

In addition to dropping the case in Texas, the EPA has agreed to substantial retesting of water in Wyoming after its methods were questioned. And in Pennsylvania, it has angered state officials by conducting its own analysis of well water—only to confirm the state’s finding that water once tainted by gas was safe.

Fracking is not a panacea, and it is still an emerging technology that needs to be refined. But it does not need frivolous and alarmist green regulators shutting it down on the basis of flimsy evidence. Keeping the greens sweet isn’t helping Democrats position President Obama for re-election: attacking one of the country’s best hopes for well paid blue collar jobs (to say nothing of cheap energy) on the basis of hysterical fears and spurious science is hardly the best way to win friends and influence people in 2012.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Mark Michael

    Re:”Fracking is not a panacea, and it is still an emerging technology that needs to be refined.”

    No. Actually, fracking has been used since the 1940s to get the last remaining oil from played-out wells. So it’s very well understood. What is new is combining horizontal drilling with fracking and very deep wells all in one well. Even here, horizontal drilling has been used for a long time. Also, it’s my understanding that the environmental issues have associated with fracking and horizontal drilling have been pretty well understood for a long time, too.

    What you have are the professional environmentalists trying to take advantage of the (understandable) lack of knowledge of the public about these issues. They hope to get away with it and delay or stop the exploitation of our vast deposits of shale natural gas and oil. They’re counting on the ignorance or connivance of the MSM in their deception.

    So far, they’ve been relatively successful, I’d say.

  • Bart Hall (Kansas, USA)

    I have a good friend, second-generation USDA bureaucrat and (formerly) fifth-generation Democrat. His agency-to-agency dealings with the EPA have so infuriated him that he now votes Republican.

    He and I both hope that one early action of a putative Romney administration will be to revoke Cabinet-level status for the EPA, overturn many of its most senseless regulations, and quite drastically reduce both its size and power.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    The EPA is an unconstitutional power grab by the Federal Government, as nowhere in the constitution is the Environment mentioned and so the 10th amendment applies “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This says that regulating the Environment is a power of the States and not the Federal Government.
    The Constitution was meant to limit the centralization and concentration of power in the Federal Government, retaining to the States all those things that they could perform, while leaving to the Federal Government only those authorities which only the Federal Government could perform.

  • Gerald Owens

    Radical environmentalism has yet to be seen as quite destructive of the blue model. The Democrats depend on the power of cutting up a pie so as to provide benefits to their constituency, including people who don’t grow that pie, while supporting a faction that is dedicated to SHRINKING the pie.

  • EvilBuzzard

    The Environmentalists succeeded! On a massive scale. They made the risk of doing business in this industry greater, chased out capital, avoided the economies of scale that would have made oil less expensive and prevented further emissions. If you can’t afford your gasoline, they win.

  • Felipe Pait

    Has the Journal ever seen an environment protection law it liked?

    Though there must be good and bad environmental law out there, as an engineer that some environment protection law is needed. If you are against all of them, as the Journal is to the best of my knowledge, it’s hard to take you seriously.

  • Everyman

    As we all recall so well, Felipe, the Journal was balls-to-the-wall opposed to dealing with polluted rivers and streams in our country, and equally against measures to improve air quality in places like Los Angeles and Houston. Or at least that’s to the best of your knowledge, which means that your knowledge is a bit buggy.

    It has long been admitted that Greenism is a religion in this country, and I was taught that the separation of church and state was intended to keep our political institutions from endorsing the beliefs of any orthodoxy, not just religion qua religion. So where is the lawsuit – federal case, for certain, challenging the lack of separation between our government and our Greens, and the outright endorsement by the former of the obsessive ideologies of the latter?

  • David Billington

    Some factual information on fracking may be found under the subhead Key Findings here:

    And here:

  • Kris

    “the third time in recent months that the agency has backtracked on high-profile local allegations linking natural-gas drilling and water pollution.”

    Each one of those “Oops!” has imposed a high cost on the companies involved and discouraged investment by other companies. What price will be paid by the “public servants” involved?

  • maulerman

    Science prevails! At least in Texas. The hash the EPA is making regarding its various proclamations on the dangers of fracking reflects just how much this issue is dependent on the specific areas in question, and why the best practice would be to let the states regulate fracking without EPA interference. If you want to see just how far behind the EPA is on this issue read what the Railroad Commission of Texas (the state regulator of oil and gas in Texas)determined over a year ago in a hearing where science and engineering prevailed over scare tactics.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service