Center for American Progress Gets Some Things Right, But a Lot of Things Wrong, In Registering Support For DeGette/Casey

Earlier today, left-leaning think tank Center For American Progress (CAP) issued a web memo praising legislation, coined the FRAC Act, that will impede the production of clean-buring American-made natural gas. Surprisingly, or maybe not, the memo omits some important facts. Below, we do our level best to clean some of that up for them.

As laid out in this Energy In Depth Issue Alert, CAP senior fellow Tom Kenworthy – a former journalist who has been recognized by the Sierra Club for his excellent reporting – mixes a couple things up in trying to structure a defense of what increasingly is becoming a difficult bill to defend.

Here’s a quick synopsis of Mr. Kenworthy’s a few of the errors made in the piece:

CAP writes: “Re-establishing federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing seems a sensible precaution.”

We respond: Hydraulic fracturing has never been under the direct jurisdiction of federal law, rendering inaccurate the suggestion that “[r]e-establishing” such regulation would be a “sensible precaution.”

CAP writes: “The oil and gas industry has recently begun a multimillion campaign to defend the practice against the new legislation, which would force the industry to disclose the chemicals it uses and would make fracking subject once again to the Safe Drinking Water Act.”

We respond: While appreciative of Mr. Kenworthy’s generous characterization of the Energy In Depth coalition, the suggestion that the DeGette/Casey legislation “would make fracking subject once again to the Safe Drinking Water Act” is, as we’ve shown, mistaken. So too is the CAP description of the DeGette/Casey bill as an effort to “force industry to disclose the chemicals it uses,” a notion premised on the idea that state regulators have no access to information related to the materials used in local fracturing operations. The truth is, states do have access to that information. Some of them even post it on the Internet.

CAP writes: “Fracking is used in most U.S. oil and gas wells and involves pumping a combination of water, sand, and chemicals under high pressure deep into rock formations that hold oil and gas.”

We respond: While this definition of hydraulic fracturing is technically accurate, the author’s insistence on lumping together “water, sand, and chemicals” implies that the concentrations of each must be in equal, or at least similar, parts. The reality of the situation is quite a bit different, as water and sand on average comprise 99.51% of the liquids and materials used in the fracturing process (see graphic on page 62 of this report, issued in April by the Ground Water Protection Council and the U.S. Department of Energy). “[C]hemicals,” the vast majority of which you can find in your cupboard or under your sink, make up less than one-half of one-percent of the total mixture.

NOTE: To view the full Issue Alert, click HERE.

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