[Marxism] Asking the fox to guard the chicken coop
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 11 13:37:00 MDT 2011
August 10, 2011
Panel Seeks Stiffer Rules for Drilling of Gas Wells
By ROBBIE BROWN and IAN URBINA
A federal Department of Energy panel issued recommendations on
Thursday for improving the safety and environmental impact of
drilling in shale formations for natural gas.
In a report on the drilling technique known as hydraulic
fracturing, or fracking, that is used currently in most oil and
gas wells, the seven-member Natural Gas Subcommittee called for
better tracking and more careful disposal of the waste that comes
up from wells, stricter standards on air pollution and greenhouse
gases associated with drilling, and the creation of a federal
database so the public can better monitor drilling operations.
In January, an advisory board to the Department of Energy said
that it planned to conduct an analysis of natural gas development.
After The New York Times published starting in February a series
of articles and internal Environmental Protection Agency documents
revealing legal and environmental concerns among the agency’s
enforcement lawyers about natural gas drilling, President Obama
asked Steven Chu, the energy secretary, in May to produce an
advisory report within 90 days on ways to improve the oversight of
natural gas drilling.
However, the committee has been criticized by all sides since its
creation. In three separate letters, 57 New York lawmakers, 28
scientists, and representatives from more than 100 environmental
groups cited concerns about the industry ties held by six members
of the seven-person panel, including Mr. Deutch, who sits on the
board of Cheniere Energy, a company that has plans to export
liquefied natural gas.
Administration Stacks Panel With Big Oil and Gas
The Obama administration panel named May 5 to study hydraulic
fracturing, a natural gas drilling technique that injects
thousands of gallons of chemical-laced water into the ground, is
dominated by oil and gas industry professionals.
Notably, the panel does not include citizens from communities
concerned about the damage to health, water and private property
posed by the surge in natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
The new panel’s seven members include:
--Panel chair John Deutch, a former director of the Central
Intelligence Agency, now on the board of Cheniere Energy, Inc., a
Houston-based liquified natural gas company that, according to
Forbes Magazine online, paid Deutch about $882,000 from 2006
through 2009. During a stint on the board of Schlumberger Ltd.,
one of the world’s three largest hydraulic fracturing companies,
Deutch received about $563,000 in 2006 and 2007, according to Forbes.
--Stephen Holditch, head of the petroleum engineering department
at Texas A&M University and a leader in the field of hydraulic
fracturing designs, first at Shell Oil, later as head of his own
firm, acquired by Schlumberger in 1997. Today, he is engineering
committee chairman at Matador Resources, a Dallas oil and gas
--Mark Zoback, a geophysics professor at Stanford and senior
advisor to Baker Hughes, Inc., a Houston-based oilfield services
company engaged in hydraulic fracturing. Zoback is chair of
GeoMechanics International, a consulting firm that advises on
various oil and gas drilling problems and that was acquired by
Baker Hughes in 2008.
--Kathleen McGinty, chair of the White House Council on
Environmental Quality during the Clinton administration and a
former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental
Protection, now senior vice president of Weston Solutions, Inc.,
which consults for the oil and gas industry, including leading
natural gas driller Chesapeake Energy, and a director of NRG
Energy, a Princeton, N.J., wholesale power generation company
whose assets include more than two dozen natural gas power companies.
--Susan Tierney, assistant secretary of the Energy department
under President Clinton, now managing principal of Analysis Group,
which consults for utilities that use natural gas and for the
Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, the natural gas
pipeline industry association.
--Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Prize, a
1991 book about the oil industry, and co-founder, chairman and
executive vice president of IHS CERA, originally called Cambridge
Energy Research Associates, acquired in 2004 by IHS, an
international consulting firm whose clients include the oil,
natural gas, coal, power and clean energy communities.
The panel’s environmental representative is Fred Krupp, president
of Environmental Defense Fund, a New York-based nonprofit that
focuses on environmental issues. Scott Anderson, EDF’s senior
policy advisor for energy and spokesman on hydraulic fracturing is
a member of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, which
opposes extending the federal Safe Drinking Water Act to hydraulic
fracturing. The commission website asserts that fracking “needs no
further study." Anderson is a former executive vice president and
general counsel for the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty
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