[Marxism] Asking the fox to guard the chicken coop

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 11 13:37:00 MDT 2011

August 10, 2011
Panel Seeks Stiffer Rules for Drilling of Gas Wells

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 
exploration company.

--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 
Owners Association.

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