On Friday, President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order (EO) called “Supporting Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources” (a copy of the EO is embedded below). The new EO is being touted as Obama’s EO on fracking—an attempt by Obama to coordinate the efforts of many federal agencies so the federal government will speak with one voice on the topic of hydraulic fracturing.
At the same time The White House was announcing President Obama’s new interagency working group on fracking last Friday, three executive branch agencies were making an announcement of their own. The Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior and Department of Energy all released their own press releases with nearly identical language (read it below). The release announces that the three agencies have formed a formal partnership “to coordinate and align all research associated with development of our nation’s abundant unconventional natural gas and oil resources.” That is, all three agencies will share research on shale gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, with an eye to how they can regulate it.
Kind of interesting that the anti-drilling Park Foundation has outted itself as one of the major funding sources of anti-fracking movement. An article in the Sunday Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin (and run in other Gannett newspapers) chronicles that the Park Foundation, a foundation started by Roy Park, media mogul, has funneled more than $3 million to anti-drilling groups since 2009. Energy in Depth has long exposed the Park Foundation, headquartered in Ithaca, NY as a major source of funding for anti-drilling groups. Apparently the mainstream media can no longer ignore this 800 pound gorilla in the room, and so has spun a story about how wonderful it is that the tiny Park Foundation is doing this bit of community work as an antidote to the evil, nasty behemoth drilling industry. Nice try MSM.
Forgive the editorial smirk, but MDN always enjoys reading about the status of fracking in Maryland because Maryland is the only place even more dysfunctional than New York (MDN’s home turf) when it comes to the issue of hydraulic fracturing. The Maryland General Assembly meets in session for 90 days each year to pass new legislation. The session for 2012 has just ended and several bills dealing with hydraulic fracturing did not receive enough support to come to a vote.
Anti-drilling “environmental” group PennFuture’s newly appointed President and CEO George Jugovic, formerly the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) southwest regional director, is wasting no time in going after the oil and gas industry. Current DEP Secretary Michael Krancer got the drilling industry to stop using municipal sewage treatment plants to process Marcellus drilling wastewater without so much as an edict or lawsuit. Conventional (non-Marcellus) gas drillers have now come under the scrutiny by PennFuture and other anti-drilling groups. They want conventional drillers to stop processing their drilling wastewater via treatment plants that discharge into rivers and waterways.
EXCO Resources was fined $160,000 last week by the federal Environmental Protection Agency for an incident that occurred at an injection well last year in western Pennsylvania.
The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: