1. NATURAL GAS: EPA posts frack rules without explanation, and industry cries foul (01/19/2011)

Mike Soraghan, E&E reporter

Forget tedious public comment periods or dry Federal Register notices.

U.S. EPA, it turns out, can change the rules simply by quietly posting new language on a back page of its website.

That is what Matt Armstrong found out. A lawyer who closely follows the issue of “hydraulic fracturing,” he was poking around on the EPA website last June and was stunned when he realized the agency had added new language requiring drillers to get permits if they are going to fracture with diesel fuel.

“One day, a new tab appeared that said ‘regulation.’ Curiosity got the better of me, so I clicked it,” said Armstrong, who represents energy companies at the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani. “It was a truly extraordinary moment.”

Federal agencies usually change policies with a multistep process that begins with the Federal Register and does not end for a year or more.

But the fracturing permit change happened without so much as a press release…

….

That is when the change appeared on the EPA’s website, with no explanation.

Click here to read IPAA’s court filing.

Click here to read EPA’s court filing.

See the rest of the article.

http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2011/01/19/1

Then posted by the NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/01/19/19greenwire-epa-posts-frack-rules-without-explanation-oil-30043.html

Ops

E&E News PM
January 20, 2011

Mike Soraghan, E&E reporter

U.S. EPA is contesting reports that it changed the rules for hydraulic fracturing without notice or comment.

Industry groups protested and filed a legal action against EPA after it posted information on its website explaining how hydraulic fracturing would be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act when diesel is mixed into the fracturing fluid. They said the language imposed new rules on the industry without proper process, making it difficult to comply (Greenwire, Jan. 19).

But EPA officials say they were simply restating existing law.

Source for full article:  http://www.elp.com/index/from-the-wires/wire_news_display/1343293149.html

While the original article was picked up by several large news papers I was unable to find any major news papers that picked up the second article.

I question some the facts in both of these articles, but they both underline the unrest centered around hydraulic fracturing.  Almost every week I find more groups of people who are opposed to fracking because they think it is going to contaminate their drinking water. Most people believe that their drinking water is somehow in communication with anything put into the ground regardless of depth. The misconception can be planted squarely at the feet of a recent documentary that will go unnamed because of the way Google works.

It appears that people in the Williston Basin have a better understanding of how fluids migrate underground, but that will not be enough to keep hydraulic fracturing legal. Josh Fox plans to make another documentary, and his goal is to ban fracking across the entire country (min 13:18 of video).  Originally I didn’t think he was much of a threat because there is no science to back what he is saying, but people are very gullible when they are being told their heath is in danger. He is also becoming quite a good public speaker.

If you are knowledgeable on the subject of hydraulic fracturing it is worth your time to convey that information to those around you. Without fracking this is no Bakken, and no oil development in the Williston Basin. If the federal government decides it needs to impose bans on fracking it could cause serious problems for our region as well as the rest of the country. Last night’s state of the union made me realize that bans on fracking are not outside the realm of possibility when the current administration is making a push for 80% renewable fuels by 2030.  While I’m not opposed to seeing more renewable energy it does seem likely that poor decisions could be made with good intentions.

Filed under: BakkenEnergyNatural Gas

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