Fox, meet henhouse

The Energy Department-appointed task force also recommends that drillers disclose the mix of chemicals they’re injecting into the shale to free up gas. In fact, it’s a laundry list of recommendations for voluntary compliance, and since the task force was dominated by the very industry it’s examining, it’s very unlikely to any regulations or legislation will come out of this. Well, we all know how well regulatory capture worked in the Japanese nuclear power industry, so why wouldn’t it work for this?

Natural-gas companies risk causing serious environmental damage from hydraulic fracturing unless they commit to the best engineering practices, a task force named by Energy Secretary Steven Chu concluded.

Regulations to protect public health will work best when drillers embrace techniques that avoid “undesirable consequences,” according to a draft report today by a subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. The increased use of fracturing, or fracking, which forces water and chemicals into rock, raises the potential for a “serious problem,” the panel found.

The report offered recommendations for companies such as Chesapeake Energy Inc. and Southwestern Energy Co. (SWN) to follow, and guidelines for state regulators that oversee drilling.

“While many states and several federal agencies regulate aspects of these operations, the efficacy of the regulations is far from clear,” according to the report. “Effective action requires both strong regulation and a shale-gas industry in which all participating companies are committed to continuous improvement.”

The Washington-based Environmental Working Group, which advocates for clean air and water, questioned the findings of a panel it said was dominated by the gas industry.

[…] To resolve the concerns, the panel recommended creating an industry organization “dedicated to continuous improvement” of practices, such as measuring and reporting air pollution, minimizing water use and improving well casing and cementing. The subcommittee urged reducing emissions of ozone precursors and called for a national database at a start-up cost of $20 million to link sources of public information on fracking.

Yes, because industry organizations have done such a bang-up job to date in protecting the public in virtually every market. Oh wait, I think I was still dreaming…

5 thoughts on “Fox, meet henhouse

  1. In our corporatocracy where each corporation is recognized by the courts as a ‘human being’ with the right to spend as much campaign money as they would like to buy our politicians; and with no transparency or accountability as to what they spend or on whom, why wouldn’t “we the people” come out on the short end of the stick every time?

  2. Imhotep is exactly right, our nation’s government is now a fully-owned subsidiary of the corporations who fund campaigns.

  3. It would be interesting to see Steven Chu resign with cause — and name some names, declare he will work for what really needs to be done.

    But he won’t. You’ve heard of regulatory capture? Obama does that to his appointees and even other elected Dems on behalf of the big corporations he favors. Chu will not “diss” this president, even tho’ he damn well ought to be dissed by just about sentient being and his actions dissected by those who know what’s really going on.

    This outcome, btw, is similar to what happened to Brave Sen. Obama’s “efforts” to protect Illinois residents from radiation leaks into their water sources from an Exelon reactor.

    He said, on the presidential primary campaign trail that he worked to do something strong; in reality, he began with a strong statement, worked with R’s on the senate committee and it got softer, then met with the nuclear power industry people and it became self-regulation. Based on in-place guidelines.

    I couldn’t find the NYTimes article, but this is a copy of it from a google cache.

    Obama’s work on health care expansion as an IL senator is also similar to this path. He was given the task to give him more cred; he announced he was in favor of health care for every IL resident; and ended up…doing squat, but the health insurance industry was on his side…then. Sound familiar? Except by the time he ran for president, he did say he wanted health insurance reform, but no mandates…. Insurers needed mandates, and they got them.

  4. Here in West Virginia, the Highlands Conservancy had to go to a federal court to get the state to carry out their own plans to clean up abandoned mines that were left for 50 years to pour out contaminated water. The coal companies abandoned the mines and went out of business (tell Mr Romney that a corporate person can do that after the real people have extracted all the money) without making any effort to reclaim or clean up the earth or streams. The state was supposed to take over, but even they wouldn’t do it to protect the people. Even at this, the plan only apples to a small portion of the abandoned mines. There are also hundreds of abandoned oil and gas wells. Just put these shale gas wells on the bottom of the list.

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