Fracking phobia fails to frighten

Washington Times:
Even before a federal court ruling threw out the Obama administration’s hydraulic fracturing rule this week, foes of fracking were struggling to dig their way out of a hole after a string of policy and regulatory reversals.

Other environmental crusades targeting the oil and gas industry show signs of progress, but “fractivists” have absorbed a series of political and legal defeats that call into question whether the tactic once viewed as a surefire gusher will ever amount to more than fool’s gold.

The latest setback was delivered by U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl of the District of Wyoming, who ruled late Tuesday that the Interior Department exceeded its authority with its 2015 rule governing hydraulic fracturing, a widely used extraction technique used to separate oil and natural gas from rock. States have been the primary regulators.

The process has revolutionized world energy production patterns but has faced determined resistance from environmental groups arguing that fracking is either unproven or unsafe.

“Congress’ inability or unwillingness to pass a law desired by the executive branch does not default authority to the executive branch to act independently, regardless of whether hydraulic fracturing is good or bad for the environment or the citizens of the United States,” Judge Skavdahl wrote in his 27-page opinion.

The decision sideswiped a movement still reeling from another stinging court defeat. Six weeks earlier, the Colorado Supreme Court struck down fracking bans passed by two localities — Fort Collins and Longmont — ruling that state law regulating the industry trumps city and county ordinances.

Not even the Environmental Protection Agency has proved to be a reliable ally. In a long-awaited assessment on fracking and water quality released June 4, the EPA concluded that U.S. fracking activities are “carried out in a way that have not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources.”

Food & Water Watch, a leading anti-fracking group, accused the EPA of “injecting politics” into the study by doing the bidding of the fossil fuel industry.
The opposition to fracking  is based on fear more than science and that is their problem.  Fracking has been a proven technique for increasing the yield in certain wells since the 1940's.  What is new in the shale revolution is the use of directional drilling which allows the producer to focus on the strata that contains the most oil rather than having to punch more holes in the ground.

It is a more efficient way of recovering oil and gas.  It also would make no sense to do directional drilling into a water reservoir since they are looking for oil and gas.  That makes it harder for the fracking phobics to sell their fear.


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