“Setting the Record Straight: Hydraulic Fracturing and America’s Energy Revolution” is a strongly-worded report released last week by The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Republicans. It accuses the Obama Administration of waging war on oil and natural gas development. It also rejects the stance taken by many scientists that hydraulic fracturing is detrimental to the environment, and questions the rights of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate shale exploration activities.
Key findings of the report – as formulated by the authors – include the following statements:
- The United States is in the midst of an energy renaissance, as a result of the combination of two key techniques in oil and natural gas development: hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.
- From 2009 to 2013, there was a 6% fall in oil production and 28% fall in natural gas production on federal lands, while at the same time production on private lands increased dramatically. Most recent Bureau of Land Management (BLM) estimates show 90% of natural gas and 92% of oil on federal lands is either inaccessible or restricted.
- Environmental activists insist that hydraulic fracturing itself has a devastating impact on the environment, but decades of studies and empirical evidence have debunked these claims and proved otherwise.
- Hydraulic fracturing is extensively regulated by the states and has been for over sixty years. When it comes to regulating hydraulic fracturing and the oil and gas industry as a whole, states, not the federal government, are in the best position to create effective policies that address each state’s distinct regulatory needs.
- The Obama Administration and their far-left environmental allies are constantly attacking hydraulic fracturing in an attempt to blur the line between what is and what is not hydraulic fracturing, and to manufacture risks and associate them with the practice.
- More than all other federal agencies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the most active against domestic fossil fuel production through hydraulic fracturing. Since in many instances the Agency does not have the direct authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing, it is creatively using other avenues such as broad studies, baseless investigations, and associated regulations to make the practice so costly and burdensome, the process and development of the resources will no longer be viable.
- Over the last four years, the EPA has exceedingly abused its power in premeditated and concerted attacks on hydraulic fracturing highlighted in three specific cases: Dimock, Pennsylvania, Pavillion, Wyoming, and Parker County, Texas.
- Despite the Agency’s efforts and political agenda in all three cases, the facts led EPA to reverse course and end their investigations without the smoking gun they so hoped to manufacture.
- The EPA and Obama Administration also gained the support of a new ally, the EPA Office of Inspector General, who issued a report setting a dangerous precedent for EPA enforcement actions stating that the Agency can now halt any actions – by private citizens, businesses, and industries like oil and gas operations – based solely on their own made-up assumptions and contrived facts.
- Many of the Administration’s policies targeting hydraulic fracturing were laid out in a 2007 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which outlined the group’s favored regulatory agenda to attack domestic oil and natural gas development. The EPA and its far-left allies are accomplishing many of NRDC’s stated policy goals, often in response to sue-and-settle arrangements or through a similar friendly petition process.
- Deep pocket donors are among the most prominent activists with ties to the Administration’s efforts to phase out hydraulic fracturing. Major environmental organizations, such as the Sierra Club and the NRDC are at the forefront, coordinating with the EPA, initiating legal challenges to prompt federal action, and blurring the scientific literature with spurious studies.
- Over the course of environmentalists’ misinformation campaigns, many groups have taken hypocritical positions. One key example is the Sierra Club, who after years of embracing natural gas, suddenly rejected it only when the Club got a generous financial deal from partnering with solar company Sungevity, Inc. Notably, Sungevity has received millions in subsidies from the U.S. Department of Treasury and the company gives Sierra Club a hefty donation for every solar panel purchased.
- Among the most visible far-left activists carrying out the anti-fossil fuel agenda is billionaire Tom Steyer who has pledged over $100 million in campaign funds this year alone to leftist Democrats who support his agenda. Steyer was rumored to be in the running as President Obama’s Secretary of Energy and was supported for that position by Center for American Progress co-founder and current White House climate and energy counselor, John Podesta.
- One of the most recent illustrations of Hollywood anti-fracking activists’ hypocritical nature involved two film producers eager to accept Middle Eastern oil money to create an American anti-fracking film. Another is highlighted by anti-fossil fuel activist Leonardo DiCaprio who advocates for killing the fossil fuel industry, while riding around the world on yachts with an estimated fuel economy of one mile per gallon and paid for by oil rich Middle Eastern regimes.
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