This past Friday, the Obama administration once again took advantage of the “release late on Friday” news cycle trick to release President Barack Obama’s package of federal regulations on fracking that will govern a drilling technique driving America’s energy boom.
Ostensibly, the administration created the rules to guard against water pollution near drilling sites where water and chemicals are injected into shale deposits to break up underground pockets of oil and natural gas that can then be extracted and stored using proven conventional oil rigs.
As with everything Obama, industry experts are concerned that the true purpose of fracking regulation is not environmental protection but energy industry control and the “renewable” mantra that has shaped much of President Obama’s “War on Coal” environmental policy.
The task is simple. Relying on fad science and earth friendly hysteria, create and enforce rules designed to drive up the cost of drilling and destroy the economics of an extraction method.
In time, these rules are fine-tuned so they bite hard enough to scare away investment, create disincentives for innovation and drive up risk. This tried a true method transforms “the easy, safe and profitable” into “the hard, dangerous and costly.”
If this method is executed correctly it would represent another feather in the cap of President Obama’s environmental legacy – a legacy that includes the demonization of BP following the gulf oil spill, shutting down coal mines, designating millions of acres in Alaska as park land off-limits to energy development, spiking the Keystone pipeline and multiple failed billion dollar investments of taxpayer dollars in hybrid cars, solar panels and wind farms.
The Interior Department standards are already facing resistance from the energy sector and by environmental groups that say the standards don’t go far enough.
For their part, Republican senators are fighting back led Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK). The two have already introduced legislation to block the fracking rules from taking effect affirming instead that states have the sole authority to regulate fracking on federal lands.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell responded by saying she expects the rules to stick, that she believed the (fracking) standards are essential and that it is Interior’s job to oversee them. She was quick to add, “We’re confident right now that we’re doing the right thing for the American people.”