From Sandy Buchanan of Ohio Citizen Action:
CLEVELAND – “Yesterday, newspapers coast-to-coast ran a story declaring the end of conflict over hydraulic fracturing operations by oil and gas drillers. One headline read, ‘Both sides agree on tough new fracking standards.’ Another read, ‘Fracking companies, environmentalists and philanthropies join forces.’ A third read, ‘Oil, gas companies and environmentalists agree on new fracking standards.’
“In truth, this deal in no way represents the interests or agreement of the people being harmed by fracking in Ohio.”
As described by the Associated Press,
“Some of the nation’s biggest oil and gas companies have made peace with environmentalists, agreeing to a voluntary set of tough new standards for fracking in the Northeast that could lead to a major expansion of drilling. . . . In this case, drilling and pipeline companies will be encouraged to submit to an independent review of their operations. If they are found to be abiding by a list of stringent measures to protect the air and water from pollution, they will receive the blessing of the new Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale Development, created by environmentalists and the energy industry. . . .The project will cover Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio — where a frenzy of drilling is under way in the huge, gas-rich Marcellus and Utica Shale formations — as well as New York and other states in the East that have put a hold on new drilling.”
The story behind the headlines collapses almost immediately:
Who is in on this deal?
Christine Todd Whitman, for example, was the U.S. EPA Administrator under President George Bush. In that role, she paved the way for the notorious 2005 “Halliburton loophole” by conducting a 2001-2004 study of hydraulic fracturing and drinking water. The report concluded that, while fracking fluids are toxic and someof these toxic fluids remain in the ground, ”injection of hydraulic fracturing fluids into coal bed methane wells poses little or no threat” to drinking water supplies and “does not justify additional studyat this time.”Citing this study, Congress passed and PresidentBush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempting fracking from the SafeDrinking Water Act, called the “Halliburton loophole.”
Another purportedly neutral board member is Paul O’Neill, who was Secretary of the Treasury under President George Bush. Before arriving in Washington, however, O’Neill had a different job, Chief Executive Officer of ALCOA, a notorious extractive polluter.O’Neill is also on the board of the RAND Corporation think-tank in Santa Monica, California. Oil and gas drillers, working under the umbrella of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, paid the RAND Corporation to hold a conference on December 14, 2011, to promote the idea of injecting toxic coal mine waste water under pressure into hydraulic fracturing wells.”
— Sandy Buchanan, Executive Director, Ohio Citizen Action
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.