Whether you believe Pennsylvania's shale gas is a curse, or an opportunity, one thing is certain: the energy industry will be extracting it.
Here's another certainty regarding the energy industry: without adequate oversight, well-funded enforcement, and elimination of cozy relationships, it will successfully push the true cost of energy extraction's environmental risk onto communities who will pay the price of polluted land, property, drinking water, and health.
That's why Halliburton pushed through a 2005 exemption in the Safe Drinking Water Act to allow hydraulic fracturers of gas wells like those in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale, and 90% of all gas wells nationwide to hide from the public the toxics they use.
This wisdom about the energy industry is a lesson learned from hard, hard, HARD won experience.
It's why members of Congress from Pennsylvania, New York, Colorado and around the country introduced the FRAC Act: to close Halliburton's loophole and require full disclosure of drilling toxics to the public and most importantly, the communities where they are used.
It's why the state of Wyoming in October, after years of inaction, finally required full public disclosure of drilling toxics (under some duress).
And unfortunately, it's why, in the wake of these small steps in the right direction, Halliburton pressured the state of Pennsylvania to weaken its proposed drilling toxics disclosure rule so that Halliburton (and others) can still hide their toxics and still not be held accountable for the damage they cause.
What is unclear: why, despite all the evidence, despite the action of a state with much more experience dealing with the energy extraction industry, the state of Pennsylvania sided against their own citizens and with Halliburton. Halliburton, on behalf of the energy industry, has once again told regulators “trust us“. And, against all evidence and their responsibility to protect the people, Pennsylvania state regulators have once again acquiesced.
[h/t EnviroPolitics Blog]