Support for fracking regulation drops even as Wyoming finds new groundwater pollution
In March, nearly two-thirds of Americans thought there should be more regulation of fracking. Now, only 56 percent do. This is not because of a slew of new, strict regulations.
Companies and industry groups, such as America’s Natural Gas Alliance in Washington, have sponsored advertisements that stress measures to protect the environment during drilling.
“The oil and gas industry have been blanketing the airwaves with ads that tout gas as our savior,” Kate Sinding, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York, said in an e-mail. “They’re using Big-Tobacco style smoke and mirrors messaging to deflect genuine concerns about the health threats.”
It’s not just voters that the natural gas industry is trying to woo. GigaOm reports on the industry’s effort to ally with renewable energy advocates — though it has a ways to go with NRDC, I think.
A representative from a natural gas trade group showed up at a renewable energy conference in San Francisco on Thursday to promote this message: you need us and we should be friends. …
“The takeaway here is that the [American Gas Association] is doing an outreach effort,” said Nancy Floyd, managing director of Nth Power and the moderator of the panel that included the AGA rep, after the panel discussion. “You can’t ignore what’s happening with natural gas.”
Indeed not. Such as the recent discovery that fracking fluid has once again been found in Wyoming groundwater.
A U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report found traces of methane, ethane and phenol in a monitoring well in rural Pavillion, Wyo., where residents say fracking has contaminated their drinking water.
Pavillion was thrust to the forefront of the fracking debate in December of 2011, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported finding groundwater contaminants in two wells there. That report, which drew harsh criticism from the natural-gas industry, represented the first time the U.S. government had made a connection between fracking and groundwater pollution.
Alisha Johnson, a spokeswoman with the EPA, told The Hill that the USGS findings are “generally consistent” with EPA’s earlier tests.
At least they know what they’re finding. Mother Jones notes that two-thirds of reports filed by fracking companies don’t reveal what’s in the fluid used in the process.
It’s almost enough to make a person want more regulation.
Update: The article originally read that two-thirds of companies don’t reveal the contents of fracking fluid. That has been corrected, in lines with this report.