Mountain States

Attention Colorado: This Fracking Advice Came From NEW YORK CITY!

Last week, Amy Mall of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which is headquartered in New York City, had the audacity to tell Coloradans how we should conduct oil and gas development in our state.

Remember those Pace Picante commercials from years back? Well, salsa from New York City is about as ripe for mockery as advice on hydraulic fracturing from a state that has effectively banned hydraulic fracturing (while at the same time relying on hydraulically fractured natural gas from other states to heat their homes and clean up the air in the Big Apple).

Mall (who, to be fair, works out of the NRDC’s posh Washington, DC, office) stated in her blog post that “Colorado needs to be honest about the risks of fracking” and claimed that our regulations “are still not strong enough to ensure that Colorado residents have the protections from oil and gas development in their communities that they need and deserve.”

She then proceeded to justify these claims by arguing that “the industry’s rhetoric in Colorado is based on attempts to obfuscate the threats and discredit those who try to bring the truth to light.”

In reality, it’s the NRDC that “needs to be honest” about the fact that it’s not just industry calling out anti-fracking groups for spreading misinformation – the Obama White House has consistently rebuffed their baseless claims and strongly affirmed the safety of fracking. Just a few examples:

Sally Jewell, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior: “Fracking has been done safely for many, many years.”

Ernest Moniz, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy: “I think the issues in terms of the environmental footprint of hydraulic fracturing are manageable.”

Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the U.S. EPA: “There’s nothing inherently dangerous in fracking that sound engineering practices can’t accomplish.”

Further, the folks at NRDC should be honest about the fact that they continually try to mislead the public into believing the oil and gas industry is “an unregulated free for all” because – as Amy Mall alleges in her blog post – the law is full of so-called “loopholes.” But NRDC’s rhetoric is flatly contradicted by the professional judgment of the state and federal officials who actually regulate and monitor oil and gas development. For example, a 2009 report issued by the Ground Water Protection Council and the U.S. Department of Energy not only concluded that hydraulic fracturing is “safe and effective,” it also found oil and gas development is “regulated under a complex set of federal, state, and local laws that address every aspect of exploration and operation.”

Finally the NRDC should just be honest about what it really wants – and it isn’t “stronger rules” as they always claim.  Take for instance, what happened in Illinois.  The NRDC originally backed the state’s fracking laws, which the group helped to write, but have since declared them to be “too weak.” In fact, it turns out that they were pushing for a moratorium at the same time they were supporting the regulatory bill.  It’s no wonder that the Illinois AFL-CIO and the state’s manufacturers recently called out anti-fracking groups – like the NRDC – for using “desperate political wrangling” to back out of the agreement they reached with organized labor, the business community and others to allow responsible energy development to proceed in Illinois.

So the NRDC, which has been willfully dishonest about regulations (even the ones it helps to write), is now lecturing Coloradans about the importance of honesty. Worse, NRDC claims our regulations aren’t good enough, even though other states and even the federal government are looking to Colorado for ideas on how to toughen their own rules.

But, hey, we’re willing to overlook all of the NRDC’s hypocrisy and condescension because it comes from NEW YORK CITY!

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