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Oil Lobby Chief Warns ‘You Fundamentally Can’t Regulate’ Fracking At All

By Rebecca Leber  

"Oil Lobby Chief Warns ‘You Fundamentally Can’t Regulate’ Fracking At All"

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The oil and gas industry has enjoyed relative freedom in hydraulic fracturing without much accountability for its climate pollution and chemical use.

Earlier this year, the Obama administration issued the first-ever national standards for air pollutants related to fracking on federal lands. The American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas lobbying arm, was even satisfied with the new rules, which still allowed companies to frack first and disclose later.

And that’s the way the industry wants it to be. At an event this week, API President Jack Gerard argued that there is no case for regulating the controversial drilling technique, suggesting companies should get free reign:

“You can’t be for the potential energy development in the United States and be against hydraulic fracturing,” Gerard said. “You fundamentally can’t regulate the very technology that has created the potential and deny the ability to use that in places where we can see job creation, revenue creation.

There is strong evidence for the need to scrutinize the fracking industry. The Obama administration’s new rules are just a small step in tackling problems, since it applies to only a portion of the U.S. natural gas supply and won’t regulate greenhouse gases. Hydrofracking poses a great risk for the future of the climate, since studies point to high levels of methane leakage, a greenhouse pollutant more potent than carbon. And thanks to exemptions from the Clean Water and Air Acts, as well as weak state-level rules, companies can avoid disclosure of chemicals that are injected near water wells.

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14 Responses to Oil Lobby Chief Warns ‘You Fundamentally Can’t Regulate’ Fracking At All

  1. BillD says:

    How does “regulating” mean “denying use” or even “being against?” Regulating simply means making rules that limit pollution and other enviromental damage. We should be able to agree that we need some rules for all extraction of fossil fuels and minerals, just as we need rules for hunting, fish, land development and forestry.

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    Gerard: “You can’t fundamentally deny…revenue creation”.

    Translation: “We are making money here. Get out of the way, chumps”.

    Time to stop getting pushed around by creatures like him.

  3. Joan Savage says:

    “Can’t” regulate?

    That view echoes railroad magnates who butted heads with Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as the magnates assumed the US economy was in the thrall of the railroads and the presidents should knuckle under.
    Eisenhower evened up the balance of transportation power with the interstate highway system, only to later lament the rise of the military-industrial complex, which by the way had gained exceptions from regulation, in the name of national security.
    We are still stuck with lasting pollution from non-regulation of military production. Chromium, radionuclides and perchlorate come to mind.

    Must learn from history!

  4. We need to step back and look at the big picture. Fracking is the symptom. Fossil fuel use is the disease. We shouldn’t allow fracking because it wrecks the immediate environment. More important, we shouldn’t keep using fossil fuels because they are wrecking the global environment.

  5. Margaret Diehl says:

    Car accidents cause 5x as much money damage per year and vastly more deaths, yet we have learned to accept it:nobody agitates for less driving, more public transportation because of accidents. Will climate change be different because individuals feel less control? I’m afraid this will only be the case if it can be done without making people deprived.

  6. Paul Klinkman says:

    Fracking uses hazardous chemicals. People with nearby wells have the right not to drink the fracking company’s toxic chemicals.

    Fracking apparently sets off earthquakes. Neighbors have as much right to compensation for disasters caused by fracking companies as they would if your neighbor pounded the ground until your basement wall cracked.

    When fracking causes “dry wells” all of the methane leaks out and changes the climate a bit more. Our government should sign an international protocol limiting national methane releases and paying for violations of the protocols. If fracking companies want to roll the dice and overfrack, they should pay the nation’s fines whenever they lose. In no time at all they’d learn to underfrack.

  7. Walter Stockhecker says:

    “You fundamentally can’t regulate the very technology that has created the potential and deny the ability to use that in places where we can see job creation, revenue creation.”

    EVEN IF IT ULTIMATELY KILLS MORE PEOPLE THAN IT EMPLOYS. BRILLIANT POLICY RECOMMENDATION.

  8. joe common says:

    what he means is, we can kill whatever and whoever we want and it’s not our fault.

  9. Greatgrandma Kat says:

    Fossil Fuel energy, If we all stopped using it they would stop producing it but how can we? We here know we have to, BUT, the transition to clean energy will only come when it is embraced by the majority of the worlds people. That fight is ongoing but will we win it before a lot of what we are fighting for is gone? Fracking is just the latest gold rush, promoted as the clean alternative to coal, but low price is what this country see’s, once again cheap fossil energy trumps common sense. It comes down to if we regulate it it will be more expensive. Haven’t you heard the U.S. will surpass Saudi Arabia in output of oil by 2013. And the beat goes on.

  10. wayne tusa says:

    Actually you can’t successfully regulate fracking. The technology is sufficiently primitive that irrespective of whatever the regulations might require – leaks and spills will still occur; air, surface water and groundwater contamination will still occur, health consequences will still occur and large scale land use impacts will still occur. And finally, given the rapidly escalating impacts associated with climate change we should not be exploiting a new carbon based fuel source..

  11. Ozonator says:

    Today’s fracking is tomorrow’s AGW earthquakes –

    “A). … 1). Regular qualitative predictions are US for “normal” catastrophic, violent AGW ecosystems (quakes to CMEs to toxic feticide) from the rotten EssoKochFox’s and their willing accomplices. CMEs will hit early and often, us and Jupiter, from the AGW sunspots blasted out of the nearside of the Sun along with stacked ridges of plasma and filaments with energies of M1 – X4+ or it could flatline. The Mexican ecosystem will be sucked/rocketed into extremist USA triggering major AGW quakes among Red States. North America will bounce between Asia and Europe sending tectonic pulses almost everywhere. … Even though crime doesn’t pay, anybody can arrest Marc “Mengele’ Morano for EssoKoch’s blank check blood money stored at Climate Depot. “‘Yes, we plead guilty … ‘… proudly … Climate Depot takes full responsibility for the fate of your children and grandchildren from any future man-made climate catastrophe” (“Australian PM warns skeptics ‘are too ‘dangerous to ignore’ and are ‘holding the world to ransom’”; By Marc ‘legal serial killer’ Morano, Climate Depot Editorial, whistlesuckers – perfuming the stink at icecap on or about 11/6/09). As a legal terrorist using nuke-sized AGW events with no military experience, “Climate Depot’s rebuttal to climate change/national security claims — Carbon taxes, UN treaties & cap-and-trade will not prevent wars!” (racketeering found on 11/11/12) (Marc ‘Mengele’ Morano whistle-sucker performing/perfuming the stink at climatedepot.com). … 2). It’s not the Mayans’ end of the world, “Republicans want you dead” (Looter Limbaugh) and thus “will … enjoy more wilderness” (Dr. Michael “Evil Inhofe” Crichton) as there EssoKochs are especially bad news for their investor’s neighbors and planet as they export free AGW waste that makes quake victims (thermometer proxies) for emissions accomplished … “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof” (Marcello Truzzi) and “real seismologists insist that predicting earthquakes is impossible” (“Italy Earthquake: Are Scientists Really Responsible for Deaths?”; uk.ibtimes.com, 9/20/11). Though not appearing to be on my mailing list, “Steve Hirdt, executive vice president at the Elias Sports Bureau and director of information for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” …. “just as scientists are constantly studying data on earthquake prediction, making them more accurate and more pristine, so too we are with the Redskins Rule”” (“Redskins Rule: Barack Obama’s victory over Mitt Romney tackles presidential predictor for its first loss”; By Rob Manker, Chicago Tribune reporter; chicagotribune.com, 11/7/12). …
    B). Including the odd chance of JJBAL Fireballs with each prediction, the specifics of the Giulaino – Gansu Model (11/18 – 24/12) of extreme AGW earthquake warnings (n= 27) among tectonic energy lines with individual predictions for regions (magnitude in Richters) are:
    1). Hawaii (5+) – Nevada (6+) – Evil Inhofe’s Oklahoma (7+) – Tennessee (6+) – Bermuda (5+);
    2). Canary Islands (3+) – Algeria (5+) – Italy (6+) – Albania (6+) – Turkey (6+) – Sea of Galilee (3+);
    3). Georgia (5+) – Armenia (6+) – Azerbaijan (5+) – northern Iran (6+);
    4). Uganda (5+) – Burundi (6+) – Tanzania (5+) – Malawi (6+) – Mozambique (5+); and
    5). Nauru (4+) – Bougainville (7+) – Admiralty Island (5+) – Palau (6+) – Luzon (7+) – Fujian (5+) – Anhui (4+). … C). GBRWE official experimental quake, volcano, and other models are US. … A correct for any of these concurrent earthquake models is anything within 0.5 Richters below given prediction and anything above the prediction for the region (within 100 miles, greater if people felt it). On the open ocean … 400 miles to … 2). standard, 2-weeks model – unless stated otherwise, ALL predictions get at least 2-weeks … 37). A correct in a fireball event is within 400 miles of a predicted tectonic (quake and/or volcano) region only under the standard 2-week model …
    D). Including the odd chance of JJBAL Fireballs with each prediction, warnings for the Pickerell Model (11/18 – 24/12) for qualitative AGW volcanic warnings (n=19) among tectonic energy lines with individual predictions for regions are:

    1). Montserrat (Soufriere Hills) – Guatemala (Pacaya, Santa Maria, Fuego) – Hawaii (Kilauea and West Maui) – Kamchatka (Shiveluch, Kliuchevskoi, Bezymianny, Karymsky);
    2). Vanuatu – New Britain (Ulawun and Rabaul) – Philippines (Bulusan and Taal); and
    3). Kenya – Burundi – Democratic Republic of Congo – Namibia” (GBRWE 11/18 – 24/12”s Extreme Planetary Warnings for Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Solar/Terrestrial Flares from Human Activities; Robert Rhodes, Supplemental; GBRWE 11/18 – 24/12, 11/17/12).

    • Ozonator says:

      AGW made correct predictions for M1+ X-ray class energy, sunspot increases, and Uganda, Sea of Galilee, and Canary Islands quakes. It appears extremist Republicans and Christians’ AGW exports have been initially more successful fracking the Sun than the lithosphere far outside of Africa.

      “Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012 … ANOTHER FAST-GROWING SUNSPOT: The sunspot number is increasing again. During the past 36 hours, active region AR1618 has more than quadrupled in size … more than 10 times wider than Earth. … movie from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the sunspot’s recent development … any eruptions will likely be Earth-directed” (“What’s up in Space”; Dr. Tony Phillips; spaceweather.com, 11/20/12).

      “IA. Analysis of Solar Active Regions and Activity from 20/2100Z to 21/2100Z: … The largest solar event of the period was an M3 event … and a CME … is expected to be Earth-directed … also produced an M1/1n flare … and a CME. … appears to have a slight Earthward component but the majority of ejecta is directed Eastward … A filament eruption occurred … does not appear to have a CME associated” (“Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity 21 November 2012”; Source: Space Weather Prediction Center, NOAA; spaceref.com, 11/21/12).

      Non-thinkprogress.org readers got the following non-AGW predictions –
      “Issued: 2012 Nov 17 2200 UTC … Joint USAF/NOAA Solar Geophysical Activity Report and Forecast SDF Number 322 Issued at 2200Z on 17 Nov 2012 …IB. Solar Activity Forecast: Solar activity is expected to be at low levels with a slight chance for moderate activity through the period (18-20 Nov)” (swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/forecasts/RSGA/1117RSGA.txt).

      Uganda was a correct AGW quake prediction. Within the 4.5 Richter minimum, the correct quake is – Magnitude Richters … Date … Region: ~15 miles from Rwanda, “4.9 … 2012/11/20 … LAKE EDWARD REGION, UGANDA” (earthquake.usgs.gov). Sea of Galilee was a correct AGW quake prediction. It was in the “Sea of Galilee (3+)” region under 11/18 – 24/12, 20 miles from the Sea of Galilee, met the 2.5 Richter minimum, and was in the 1st week of the standard 2-weeks model. From the good people with great maps at Centre Sismologique Euro-Méditerranéen European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre, the technically major quake: Date … Magnitude Richters … Region – “2012-11-18 … 3.2 … LEBANON – SYRIA REGION” (emsc-csem.org). Indirectly related to AGW, “’Earthquake’ In Gaza, Israel Carries Into Second Week”; Paresh Dave, Executive Director; neontommy.com, 11/20/12). Canary Islands was a correct AGW quake prediction. It was in the “Canary Islands (3+)” region under 11/18 – 24/12, met the 2.5 Richter minimum, and within the 1st week of the standard 2-week model. From the good people with great maps at Centre Sismologique Euro-Méditerranéen European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre, the technically major quake: Date … Magnitude Richters … Region – ““2012-11-22 … 2.5 … CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN REGION” (emsc-csem.org).

      It is all about money and power for the 1% aka you can’t trust your star to deniers who also help to deny gay life/rights in Uganda. But no sunblock for their M3 from plantation capitalism, “Sen. Inhofe, Heartland Institute to Present More than 15,000 Petitions Demanding Congress Rein in a ‘Rogue’ EPA” (PRWeb; sfgate.com, 11/19/12). “Solar Activity – Past, Present, Future … Posted on November 11, 2012 by Guest Blogger … by Dr. Leif Svalgaard … Sun is entering a period of low activity … Prediction of solar activity has a poor track record” (Tony Watts; whistlesuckers perfuming the stink at wattsupwiththat.com). May have meant ferry instead of seducing young scientists for a free lunch, “Anxiety … fractured fairy tales … Earthquakes … environmentalist fairy tales … eco fairy tales” (“DRIESSEN: Global warming hysteria will kill jobs”; By Paul Driessen, part of Marc ‘ Mengele’ Morano; perfuming the stink at washingtontimes.com, 11/18/19). Saying yes to cinder planet and cancer, “What Freedom Really Means … November 19, 2012 …burdensome regulation … to Big Oil is an indictment of liberty and freedom” (Rush ‘looter’ Limbaugh stink at rushlimbaugh.com).

    • Ozonator says:

      Admiralty Island was a correct AGW quake prediction. It was in the “Admiralty Island (5+)” region under 11/17 – 24/12, within 100 miles of Manus Island, exceeded the 4.5 Richter minimum, and in the 1st of the standard 2-weeks model. About to change to an even worse system since they are geologists, the mostly good people with unfriendly user web maps at the USGS reported with poorly colored numbers and letters, the technically major quake – Magnitude Richters … Date …Region: about 80 miles from Manus Island of the Admiralty Islands on which Lorengau is a city on Manus, “4.8 … 2012/11/23 … NEAR NORTH COAST OF NEW GUINEA, P.N.G.” … “194 km (120 miles) SW of Lorengau, Papua New Guinea” (earthquake.usgs.gov).

  12. Nowhere has fracking been done safely without environmental harm [to water, air, individuals' health, roads, etc.]. Entire communities are torn up in what often is a boom and bust scenario.

    In North Carolina, where a bill recently passed over the governor’s veto authorizes fracking, there is a newly anointed commission tasked with writing regulations. You see, NC doesn’t have an oil and gas history. So, who gets appointed to this commission? Right, you guessed it. Industry people and landmen who own thousands of acres of land that will get drilled. Uh huh; no conflict of interest there. But hold for the best part.

    There is a VERY important issue regarding hydraulic fracturing. If the shale is relatively close to the surface, as in less than 600 meters [about 1950 feet], the probability of water contamination increases greatly. The closer to the surface, the greater the odds of spoiling potable water forever. Yes, forever.

    Now here comes the ringer! In Lee, Chatham and Moore counties, the Cumnock formation of shale lies a mere 1000 feet beneath the surface. As you can well imagine, oil and gas companies are salivating at the thought of riches so close. Unfortunately, the shale rock formation rises gradually to come within 30 feet of the surface. Over a very large range, the shale rock lies within the aquifer. Let me repeat that. THE SHALE ACTUALLY PIERCES THE AQUIFER.

    What this means is that it’s only a matter of time until the water will be contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals. NO REGULATION can stop this! That’s right; the regulators can’t help in the slightest, even if they wanted to.

    So, it turns out that the API President is 100 percent right. Regulations don’t help at all. Just let big oil and the wildcatters do what they want. Doesn’t make a difference. In the end, air and water will be fouled; roads destroyed, taxes hiked to pay for cleanups. Happy birthday, America. Too bad Obama is asleep on the job!