Industry accused of deceiving politicians and public on fracking

Fracking has become a highly debated topic in recent years. It’s a practice that carries with it environmental consequences. For this reason, Energy in Depth may have spun their information noted on their documents sent to a Allegheny City Council to lease mineral rights for gas drilling under Deer Lakes Park.

This was claimed by the non-partisan group Public Accountability Initiative after reviewing these documents to find that only one of the studies was actually peer-reviewed and explicitly addressed health concerns. However, it was completed by the industry. Energy in Depth countered, saying that anti-fracking supporters try to align research with their argument in order to deceive. (Wait whattt???)

Both sides of the issue sometimes manipulate information; however, the oil industry does a bit more a tampering. Studies performed by anti-fracking activists are grounded in research and those who were contributed to the study have their names listed. On the other side, the oil industry made a study in 2013 that claimed that children do not have a higher risk of getting cancer by being near fracking wells. Well, the time interval was so short that cancer could not have possibly formed.

I cannot say that the oil industry has a lot of support for their manipulated information. Most of their documents were not even reviewed and one study was from the 1990s before the shale boom even started. Not only that, most of their documents conflict with a large majority of studies that indicate negative impacts of fracking. So, they soon have to face the public and the council they deceived and well they should.

– Huy D.

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New Fracking Rules From Federal Government

The federal government once again taking the American Indian lands and this time it is not for farmers, instead it is for fracking. Though, doing so would make some people go into their rage mode again, so they came up with this “new rules” that was announced to “support safe and responsible hydraulic fracturing on public and American Indian lands.” The U.S. Department of the Interior stated that it would help improve ways to protect ground water. By adding and updating the regulations from 30 plus years ago they believe that it will help protect the chemicals from getting into groundwater. Even though the federal government stated that they would have that new rules taking effect in June there is still no information about what those new rules are yet. Knowing this the Republicans is trying to do something about this “over-restrictive” regulation. As usual, they are trying to limit the federal government power to regulate the fracking.

“Four years of research and public involvement went into developing the rules”, Interior stated. This is a part of what my group proposed in our senior project on how to improve fracking. We proposed that a committee to be created to conduct research about fracking. They would research about the effects of fracking, ways to prevent, and more efficient ways to better the fracking method. I’m interested on what the effects that those “new rules” that the federal government will release later on in summer.

-“Interior Department Issues Rule to Ensure ‘Safe’ Fracking in Indian Country

*Phiseth O.

Is Fracking Risky or Not?

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Hydraulic fracturing, the current most advanced and efficient method of getting oil and natural gas out of the deep rock. The method is to use pressure to forcefully push tons of gallons of water, which is mixed with sand and other chemicals, through layers of deep rocks where the oil and natural gas are. Some people claim that it’s risky, while others think that it’s not, the truth is, no one is certain.

Recently congressional Democrats sent out their investigation to states that are natural gas or oil producers. They wanted to know if the states regulate the oil and gas waste well as many people are really concern about the potential risks of fracking. As it turned out, not many regulations are made to enforce fracking.

State like New York take caution and become the second in the U.S. to ban hydraulic fracturing. There are people who support the idea, and there are others that don’t. Many researches claim that there’s no evidence of fracturing led to contamination, while others claim that there’s always possibility.

“Some scientists say there hasn’t been enough research” and I do agree with them. Hydraulic fracturing is new and not a lot of regulations are made to protect the public yet. There maybe no sign of risks right now, but there is the possibility. Nothing is perfect or certain.

-“Congressional Democrats seek to step up fracking oversight

*Phiseth O.

Oil Industry Fights Back on Fracking Bans

Many cities nationwide have imposed bans on the oil practice of fracking while some others have set a multi-year suspension on fracking. Now, the oil industry has begun its assault on removing these bans.

The oil industry says it is the state’s power to ban fracking and not the municipality’s. However, residents have voted for the bans and the industry, in response, sued the cities who initiated the bans. One such city is Longmont, Colorado where in July, a district court judge threw out the ban but the city plans to appeal.

The oil industry hopes to wear down cities through lengthy court battles by forcing them to use up too money. Some cities have already buckled to this tactic such as Lafayette, Colorado. Longmont plans to continue the ban despite the legal battle; the oil industry will do the same in hopes that it will be able to reach the estimated 500 million dollars of natural gas under the town.

If these legal battles continue, then appeal after appeal could make its way to the Supreme Court where a precedent could then be set for the power of local districts. This battle could decide whether these districts can ban a practice of an industry if the residents there are against it, in their rights as property owners (who decide how they want to live). On the other hand, the battle could go in favor of the industry and that these practices will continue to be in the discretion of the states, on the basis of present law and that the industry would provide for national prosperity.

– Huy D.

New York Set to Ban Fracking

In light of health issues and questionable economic benefits, New York governor, Andrew Cuomo and his administration is set to ban fracking. The decision rests in the hands of environmental commissioner, Joe Martens and health commissioner, Howard Zucker who are ready to make a decision banning the practice after the next environmental impact study.

Fracking has generated billions of dollars and reduced energy bills but there has been great opposition to the practice by people against the air and water pollution that it produces. Also, Marten notes that despite the the great amount of money generated, the economic viability of the project is worse than thought. The factors to that being the low cost of oil, high cost of industry oversight, and water supply protections.

Although the oil industry is disappointed at New York’s ban, they can still look to Pennsylvania for their drilling. However, there is already a noticeable ripple effect in motion as cities across the nation are banning fracking. New York can likely start this same effect among the states so who is to say that Pennsylvania will not follow suit. If environmental impacts (and their cost to clean them) outweighs the benefits of fracking, Pennsylvania would seem likely to ban it as well, then where would the industry go?

As of now, the public seems untouched by the environmental issue and more concerned about their financial status so they will be more willing to support the industry but there will be a time when a new line emerges: How can you argue against global warming; I’m sweating now, today, where I live.

– Huy D.

New Fracking Bans Inhibits Energy Boom

Many cities across the country have imposed bans on fracking. Fracking, being the process of shooting a mix of pressurized water, sand and chemicals to loosen rock and extract the gas and “tight-oil”.

In Ohio, the cities of Broadview Heights, Mansfield, Oberlin, Athens and Yellow Springs have imposed bans. In California, the counties of San Benito, Santa Cruz and Mendocino as well as Los Angeles (in process of imposing a ban) have imposed bans. However, the spotlight is on Texas.

Most of the attention is on the town of Denton. It sits on top of the Barnett Shale Formation, an area with great amounts of natural gas. However, the city has chosen to impose a ban. This ban has caused a court battle between Denton and the Texas General Land Office (which owns thirteen million acres of land and uses the resources in it to fund education) as well as Denton against the Texas Oil and Gas Association. This ban has also conflicted with the Texas Railroad Commission, the body that governs the oil and gas industry.

Though fracking is thought to have some connection to earthquakes, that connection is not definite. On that note, I would support fracking (as long as it has no direct or indirect connection to earthquakes). The increase of domestic energy production has created many jobs so on this issue of energy production (with the use of fracking), I would agree with Hilary Clinton in her statement. “It is crucial we put in place smart regulations and enforce them including deciding not to drill when the risks to local communities, landscapes and ecosystems are just too high. Natural gas can play an important bridge role in the transition to a cleaner, greener economy” (Hilary Clinton).

– Huy D.