Two Texas Congressmen Are Pushing to Strip the Feds of the Power to Regulate Fracking

Categories: Environment

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Monica Fuentes
According to the natural gas industry, states are doing a really, really great job of keeping a tough eye on the natural gas industry.

"State regulators have done an awfully good job," says the CEO of one energy company. "States are doing a good job of regulating hydraulic fracturing," adds the manager of another. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce writes, "We prefer regulation be done at the state level, not federal," and America's Natural Gas Alliance, a trade group, tells us that "States lead the day-to-day oversight of natural gas development because they have the on-the-ground personnel and expertise to safeguard local air, land and water."

Now, two U.S. House member from Texas -- Republican Bill Flores and Democrat Henry Cuellar -- have co-sponsored a bill that would give the states even more power to regulate fracking. Their proposal essentially bans the federal government from regulating the practice "in any state that already has regulations."

The bill has already passed the House. It's now on its way to the Senate.

Flores and Cuellar argue that the federal government is currently just making life harder for the natural gas industry, while the states say the drillers are really nice and creating lots of jobs. The lawmakers also claim that the federal government is lacking some basic regulatory skills. "States are able to carefully craft environmentally responsible regulations to meet the unique geologic and hydrologic needs of their states," they say.

OK, but here's a hypothetical scenario: What if a state happens to have fracking regulations that aren't very strong? Would the federal government still not be allowed to come in and check on federal land? This bill doesn't address that scenario. Also, there have been many reports claiming that states have in fact been doing a terrible job of regulating fracking (See: "State Oil and Gas Regulators Are Spread Too Thin to Do Their Jobs"). This all raises the obvious question: Does the natural gas industry truly enjoy being regulated by the states, or is it just pretending to like the states because the states are easy?

All of the big-name environmental groups say it's the latter

Greenpeace, the National Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and about 50 other NGOs signed an open letter to Cuellar and Flores detailing a number of serious criticisms of the bill. They say that the proposal would place federal land under a disorganized patchwork of weak state regulations, that the bill would prevent the EPA from studying the effects of fracking and that it would also allow the natural gas industry to hide any potential risks that drilling might pose to drinking water supplies. "The bill is completely indifferent to how well -- or poorly -- state regulatory programs protect surface and groundwater, wildlife habitat, recreational areas, and the public," the letter says.

Brantley's own reporting has similarly found that Texas isn't so tough on frackers. Last year, a Parker County resident named Steve Lipsky noticed that his water had become flammable shortly after Range Resources stimulated a natural gas well nearby. The EPA at first stepped in to issue an endangerment order against Range. But state regulators then held a trial and sided with Range.

So if this bill basses, perhaps expect to hear more of those types of stories, but without the EPA-stepping-in part.

Here is the full letter that the environment groups signed opposing the Cuellar/Flores bill, H.R. 2728:

Opposition Letter to HR 2728

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56 comments
rusknative
rusknative

fracking leads to more business for Planned Parenthood!!

roo_ster
roo_ster

These days, the Luddites are more likely to have law degrees and work at a non-profit than to work with their hands in a factory.

pak152
pak152

'people have been fracing for over sixty-five years.

Opponents of fracing have capitalized on this failure. They are all too eager to portray the science as unknown, the technologies as untried, the practitioners unschooled and unpracticed.

But the fact is that today’s extraordinary achievements were made possible by innovators and practitioners emulating and improving on the science and techniques of their predecessors—mentors and heroes who had been fracing wells throughout the world for over half a century."

- See more at: http://industrialprogress.com/2013/11/19/advancements-through-15-years-of-fracturing-published-49-years-ago/#sthash.rx8kQSqe.dpuf

pak152
pak152

from the AP (not FNC)
" In the debate over natural gas drilling, the companies are often the ones accused of twisting the facts. But scientists say opponents sometimes mislead the public, too.

Critics of fracking often raise alarms about groundwater pollution, air pollution, and cancer risks, and there are still many uncertainties. But some of the claims have little — or nothing— to back them."
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/experts-some-fracking-critics-use-bad-science

ebailey75057
ebailey75057

Here in Texas the lawmakers are in bed with the Oil and Gas industry.  Regulation is already an  afterthought and a joke. 

Watched Fox news last night and they had a report on the recent numerous earthquakes occuring near Azle, Texas.  They interviewed a TCU professor who you would think would be from the Geological department, Nope   FOX news thought it would be prudent to interview a professor from TCU's Energy department.  The professor simply stated 'All is well Good Citizens. Nothing to worry about here.  Never mind those bothersome earthquakes."

Comical, Joseph Goebbels would have been proud 

I am against this bill. 

Let the bashing begin.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

I think Texas should have the rightful authority to weigh in on the regulation of New York's Transit Authority, as well as the administration of D.C. schools.

and all toilets in Utah.

In fact, nothing should be left to the states.  The Tenth Amendment should be completely neutered by the General Welfare Clause or the grandaddy of the all, the Interstate Commerce Act.  

After all, you can't trust "those" rubes to protect themselves.  They just live there.

ebailey75057
ebailey75057

Yes Fracking may have well been going on for 60+ years,  but not at this level.

"But the fact is that today’s extraordinary achievements were made possible by innovators and practitioners emulating and improving on the science and techniques of their predecessors—mentors and heroes who had been fracing wells throughout the world for over half a century."

Heroes?  More accurately businessmen motivated by greed who will deny, deny, deny, and lie about the hazards regarding fracking for as long as they can until its proven their methods of extraction are harmful. 

One has to ask regarding the legal settlements to families affected by fracking is the frackers insist on gag orders being written into the settlement?  If fracking is ALL so safe, why are there any settlments in the first place and second why the insistence; by the frackers,  on muzzling families regarding what the settlment was about and what it entailed, even going so far as to require the families minors to be held accountable to the agreement.

This indicates there is something not being disclosed to the public regarding fracking.

pak152
pak152

@plainsman1ah yes Anthony Ingraffea

"This past weekend, the Casper Star-Tribune published what they probably thought was an “exclusive” op-ed from anti-fracking activist Tony Ingraffea.  As it turns out, it’s largely a direct cut-and-paste job from his thoroughly debunked New York Times op ed that ran back in July. To sneak it past the editors, Ingraffea’s PR team reordered a few paragraphs, made a few tweaks to phrasing here and there, and then gave it a new title."
http://energyindepth.org/mtn-states/ingraffeas-copy-and-paste-op-ed-for-the-casper-star-tribune/

"Stanford University’s Energy Modeling Forum (EMF) released report showing that shale gas development does not spell climate disaster, and will in fact help reduce air pollution and pump $70 billion per year into the economy. Eager to jump on the climate story, anti-fracking folks such as Joe Romm of Climate Progress typed up a post declaring that a “major study projects no long term benefits,” while John Upton of Grist wrote, “Fracking won’t fix the climate.”"
http://energyindepth.org/national/stanford-report-shows-hydraulic-fracturing-opponents-are-still-wrong/

"One of those activists was Tony Ingraffea, the Cornell professor who co-authored an infamous 2011 study on the same topic that used many unwarranted assumptions in order to arrive at a high methane leakage rate for shale gas development. Indeed, the assumptions were so bad they seemed consciously misleading.  Ingraffea’s response to the EDF study (which he blasted out to the press a few minutes before the embargo was lifted on the study) was a cornucopia of misleading theories, scripted talking points, and outright science denial."
http://energyindepth.org/national/edf-emissions-study-howarth-v-ingraffea/

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@plainsman1 

so what's the body count?

And why is New York a HUGE consumer of sale gas but does not allow the drilling of it?

And domestic production just passed consumption.  We're free of our dependence on other countries.  Wanna return to that relationship?

Or do you advocate harnessing the surf?

And what do you tell the youth, who are 40% unemployed, who have gone to the oil and gas fields for jobs?

You might as well be in favor of a heartland state like Nebraska seceding so they can be a boutique country, living off the surrounding states whilst lamenting their environmental rudeness.  Works for Sweden.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@ebailey75057 

they should interviewed someone from the journalism department.

fracquestions
fracquestions

@holmantx There you go pretending to think again! Air and water do not stay within state lines. Food production does not stay within state lines. Until those things happen the federal government is THE proper authority to regulate the oil and gas industry, which has always been frauds, con-men and liars.

We are about to get the most restrictive ordinance of ANY city in the US here in Dallas, and the pro-drilling people are screaming like banshees because they are realizing that the concerns over health and safety, property values and the environment are winning out over their pursuit of corporate profits and shareholder equity. In Dallas, even Mayor Rawlings and Councilmen Kadane and Allen are now acknowledging that there is no gas to be found in Dallas because the Washita fault along the original riverbed of the Trinity River prevents migration of gas east of the original river channel, and those guys are all very pro-drilling!

But, it is a complete fool who believes the RCT or TCEQ is competent, fair, objective and honest. Those agencies are staffed with people from the oil and gas industry, which is why they never find problems even when those problems are staring them in the face. It is why those mental midgets, abetted by Neanderthals like you, hate the EPA and do not want an objective investigation of anything. Fascists are like that - they want to tell us what is good for us and what we should know rather than allowing science to investigate and determine the truth.

On December 11, the Dallas City Council is scheduled to vote on a new gas drilling ordinance and the recommendations of the CPC are restrictive. That is why the industry opposes them. They do not want an ordinance that protects citizens. They prefer one that caters to industry. Well guess what! You are about to lose and the door to drilling in Dallas is about to be slammed shut! It only took us five years to get to this point, but we finally got here.

pak152
pak152

"This indicates there is something not being disclosed to the public regarding fracking." actually there is quite a lot that is disclosed to the public especially about the chemicals.

FracFocus Chemical Disclosure Registry
http://fracfocus.org/

" If fracking is ALL so safe" who said it is "ALL so safe" only a fool would claim that?

pak152
pak152

@ebailey75057"why are there any settlments in the first place and second why the insistence; by the frackers,  on muzzling families regarding what the settlment was about and what it entailed" 

apparently you are unaware that when it comes to lawsuits all companies look at the cost to defend the suit. and rather than litigate constantly they offer the plaintiffs a settlement that in many cases is much cheaper than actually fighting the suit. NDAs are also part of the process. you want the money then you agree to keep quiet about the settlement and don't go complaining. Now the plaintiffs who have accepted the offer have decided that they would much rather have the money.

pak152
pak152

@plainsman1 @pak152 and there is something that center for industrial progress has said is false? shall we talk about who supports the anti-frackers or the duplicitous nature of the Sierra Club et al.

pak152
pak152

@plainsman1 @pak152 and your point is what? where is the AP (not exactly known to be conservative or pro-oil) incorrect. nice website but grist is not exactly as pure as Caesar's wife

ebailey75057
ebailey75057

@pak152

Local Channel 4 Fox news

He was from the energy insitutue

ebailey75057
ebailey75057

Believe a Jouranlism professor would have had more accurate information regarding the earthqukes than the talking Oil and Gas mouth piece they chose from the Energy department.  Really unbiased reporting FOX news.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@fracquestions @holmantx

So what doesn't cross state lines?  Education?  Name one.

New York State does not allow high-volume hydrofracking for natural gas in its Marcellus shale. Should the Feds get on their ass about that?  Of course, Pennsylvania would object since they sell to NIMBY New York their shale gas.

Or should the Constitution just be suspended in the Red States?  

See if you get your head around this. We are all environmentalists.  Ours is but a call for a utilitarian as opposed to abolitionist approach to hazardous substances used or created by technology. It is irrational, by implication, if not explicitly, the twin notions of both a vision of a "Natural State" with intrinsic rights to impede the activities of man, combined with your hysterical fears of environmental poisons, disproportionate to the threat and dismissive of their associated benefits.  We haven’t lost 50,000 this year to exploding wells as in traffic accidents.  But do we need NTSA?  

Energy extraction is VITAL to the health of the nation, so temper your inner abolitionist.  That’s all I am asking.  Otherwise you are nothing more than another goofy handwringer, dodging imaginary frogs raining from the skies. 

You will not win this argument because in the end, you only hurt the ones you purport to protect.  

States Rights remain supreme over a limited federal governance. 

Unless, of course, you like the NSA, IRS and Obamacare for your own good, and all the liars that come with it.


ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@schermbeck @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul  

More like no drilling ordinance.  Please see my comments below to dallas.drilling.wordpress.

BTW, I am using my real name.  When the DO switched to this new blog software it assigned the name "Paul" to someone else.  Therefor, I made up this moniker.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@dallasdrilling.wordpress.com @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul  

Well, Pavlov's stimulus/reflex response theory is proved once again.

I truly would like to have a discussion with you on this subject.  However, based upon your posts and responses to date, I have reached the conclusion that expecting that to happen does meet the readily accepted definition of insanity.

I will, though, continue to hope that someday you might explain to us how you expect to sustain our current society in the absence of hydrocarbons.  Is there a method of hydrocarbon extraction that would meet your criteria for adequate environmental protection?

Are you aware that hydrocarbons, especially natural gas, are used for much more than the production of electricity and transport fuels?

ebailey75057
ebailey75057

@pak152

" If fracking is ALL so safe" who said it is "ALL so safe" only a fool would claim that?

I believe you elected yourself as the poster child for the Pro fracking group. 

ebailey75057
ebailey75057

@pak152

But you tell us fracking is perfectly safe.   Again why a lawsuit to a Pennsylvania family that required even their children to be gagged for life?  

http://rt.com/usa/gag-order-children-fracking-settlement-982/

Are you not even curious as to why?  Or are you a sheep and content in keeping your head buried in the sand and accept everything big business tell you?  

Your willing to gamble people's lives and health for profits?   

pak152
pak152

@ebailey75057was it Dr. Morgan?
"Dr. Ken Morgan obtained degrees in geology, environmental engineering and resource management before starting his career as a professor at TCU in 1978."

He is also the Director of TCU¹s new School of Geology, Energy and The Environment.

http://www.energyinstitute.tcu.edu/about-2/about/

so if it was him sounds like the local channel talked to the right person

pak152
pak152

@ebailey75057 ah yes classic alinsky tactics. attack the individual, call into question who they work for while at the same time offering nothing credible to the discussion.

ebailey75057
ebailey75057

@pak152

you reference energyindepth.org?

"It's a website created by a trade group for the gas industry -- the "Independent Petroleum Association of America" (IPAA) -- and a public relations firm"

And I'm sure this website is'nt biased in any way.

ebailey75057
ebailey75057

@pak152

You reference energyindepth.org

 It's a website created by a trade group for the gas industry -- the "Independent Petroleum Association of America" (IPAA) -- and a public relations firm.

Would hardly call ths website unbiased.

pak152
pak152

"These are the reasons why the federal government is the only reasonable arbiter of health and safety." yeah just like they did with Obamacare.

pak152
pak152

@fracquestions "Water flows around the world" so could you explain to me how the water contained Crate Lake flows around the world?

ebailey75057
ebailey75057

@holmantx

Can't argue with you there but that leads us into discussions regarding the NSA and a whole other bag of worms. 

ebailey75057
ebailey75057

Pak152,

You really want to allow the corrupt Texas state government free reign on this?  Very naive.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@ebailey75057

When a strict interpretation of the Constitution, according to the fixed rules which govern the interpretation of laws, is abandoned, and the theoretical opinions of individuals are allowed to control its meaning, we have no longer a Constitution; we are under the government of individual men, who for the time being have power to declare what the Constitution is, according to their own views of what it ought to mean.  Dred Scott v. Sandford , 60 U.S 393 (1857) (Justice Curtis dissenting).

pak152
pak152

@ebailey75057"Believe there was a confrontation regarding which entity reigns supreme about 150 years" wow! and here I thought that kerfuffle was all about ending slavery
but do go back and reread the 10th amendment

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@ebailey75057 

and here I thought was over slavery.

fracquestions
fracquestions

@holmantx Well, since you have a reading comprehension problem I will state it again.

Water flows around the world. It does not stay within a single state, or even a small group of states. Tracers added to water wells in the United States have been found in Africa and Europe.

Air flows across state and international boundaries every day. It is not isolated within a single state or small group of states.

Food production from California, Texas or Kansas is shipped across the country and around the world. Food tainted by pollution from oil and gas drilling affects the entire world health.

These are the reasons why the federal government is the only reasonable arbiter of health and safety. I am sorry that you seem to miss understanding that point. You prefer to label us as "environmentalists" or "abolitionists" or whatever. I prefer to label us as either "the living" or "the dead." I realize it is a minor distinction, but it should be one around which most sane, rational people can wrap their heads.

ebailey75057
ebailey75057

@Holmantx

"States Rights remain supreme over a limited federal governance"

Believe there was a confrontation regarding which entity reigns supreme about 150 years ago that decided that argument.   That confrontation; as well as the SCOTUS, decided Federal trumps States rights.

Just saying

pak152
pak152

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @dallasdrilling.wordpress.com have to agree with PRKAP's assessment of dallasdrilling. throw TxSharon into the mix and you would cover all the anti- bases
if you are opposed to hydraulic fracturing (a proven technology) as well as O&G are you willing to abandon those things that are created from either natural gas or oil?


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