Last week’s MDN poll asked about the hot button question of whether or not you think the EPA should have a role in investigating water contamination in Dimock, PA. Although our weekly MDN polls often get criticized by anti-drillers, the MDN audience does not always think the way editor Jim Willis does! This week’s poll is evidence. More of you think the EPA has a role than those of us who don’t think so (including Jim). Here are the results:
Should the federal EPA investigate the Dimock, PA water contamination case?
Yes (52%, 142 Votes)
No (44%, 120 Votes)
Not sure (4%, 11 Votes)
Total Voters: 273
This Week’s Poll: Is President Obama Now a Fracking Shale Gas Supporter?
Just last week MDN wrote a “rant” about the out-of-control Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and their latest attempt to smear hydraulic fracturing by inserting themselves into an investigation at Dimock, PA (see this MDN Weekly Update). EPA wants to control oil and gas drilling in this country, and their illicit ticket to ride is by trying to find at least one case where fracking has resulted in chemical contamination of ground water supplies. They’re looking for just a single case (of out an estimated 19,000 wells that will be fracked this year). Just a single, solitary case out of the hundreds of thousands of wells that have been fracked going back 50 years. Anything! Of course even if the EPA were to find a single case, it would still be statistically zero, but oh what a hatchet job the environmental extremists and media could do with a single case!
So MDN found it amusing, and we’re sure the EPA was apoplectic, when President Obama essentially said in his State of the Union address this past week that fracking is good and will result in 600,000 jobs (see this MDN story). But MDN is also suspicious of election year conversions. Most pro-drilling organizations and landowner coalitions have hailed Obama’s words in his speech, and since, as turning a corner. It’s given new hope to landowners in New York State that perhaps Gov. Andrew Cuomo will now have enough political cover to move forward with lifting the moratorium in that state (“hey, Obama says it’s OK).
MDN remains a hardened skeptic. “Show me the money!” Or in this case, “Show me you’re serious!” How can the President prove he is serious about shale gas drilling and his stated support of fracking? The first thing he can do is tell the EPA to butt out of Dimock. It is his EPA. The EPA, like it or not, is an arm of the presidency. It is an agency in the Executive branch of government. That means Obama is the boss. If he wanted to, he could tell Lisa Jackson to quit fiddling around in Dimock. Second, while he’s at it, he could tell Lisa to end the multi-year study of fracking the EPA is currently conducting. Fracking has been studied to death already—the EPA will learn nothing new. But the not-so-subtle threat is that the EPA will gin up enough suspect data to make a grab at regulating oil and gas drilling through the back door by controlling fracking. And where there’s a threat of government interference, there’s uncertainty, and where’s there’s uncertainty, companies are slow to invest and move forward. And when companies are slow to invest and move forward, less business is done and fewer jobs are created. Fracking is already heavily regulated in the individual states where it’s used. We don’t need the EPA usurping the states and adding yet another layer of regulation, smothering the industry.
Although oil is not natural gas, the two are closely tied together. Fracking has resulted in an unprecedented renaissance of oil drilling in our own country—witness the miracle of the Bakken fields of North Dakota. ND now has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and has had the lowest unemployment for what, going on two years now? Why? Fracking. ND is producing boatloads of oil. One of the ways to get oil from where it’s drilled to where it needs to be processed and sold is via pipeline. Obama effectively killed the Keystone XL pipeline that would have come from Canada, and along the way, would have gone through the Bakken and taken that oil, along with cheap Canadian oil, and transported it to the Midwest and the Gulf Coast. Want to prove your serious about fracking Mr. Obama? Reverse course and grant the permits to allow the Keystone pipeline to be built. That would be a huge way to show you’re serious about fracking and energy production in this country.
Saying something and doing something are two different things. We’ll take Obama’s statements supporting shale gas drilling and fracking, but it would be so much better if his actions backed up his words. Don’t hold your breath.
What do you think? Is Obama now a genuine convert and supporter of fracking and shale gas? Or is this just an election year stunt to get votes? Register your vote in this week’s poll along the right side of any page.
Below are the most recent “top 5” lists and the calendar of Marcellus-related events for the next two weeks.
Jim Willis, Editor
P.S. MDN is working on a new permits report that will be published soon (in February). Keep watching MDN for details in the coming weeks. This new report is better than the last by orders of magnitude!