WSJ: Top Obama Environment Advisor Gave Full Confidence to Current Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations

Important facts related to the safety and necessity of hydraulic fracturing are beginning to surface in respected, mainstream media outlets — and for advocates of clean-burning, affordable natural gas, it comes at a great time.

In a Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones article today, reporter Ian Talley notes that Carol Browner, the current president’s top environmental advisor and President Clinton’s EPA Administrator in the 90s, penned a letter more than a decade ago in which she identified hydraulic fracturing as a safe and increasingly critical tool for bringing reserves of tough-to-reach natural gas to market. The Journal reports:

Under Carol Browner, currently President Barack Obama’s energy and climate czar, the EPA in the mid-1990s decided that federal regulation was unnecessary. “There is no evidence that the hydraulic fracturing at issue has resulted in any contamination or endangerment of underground sources of drinking water,” Browner wrote in 1995 as head of the EPA in a letter rejecting federal oversight of a potentially precedent-setting case in Alabama.

In that same letter, Browner also sought to remind the recipient – in this case, an environmental lawyer from Florida – that EPA’s reading of the law leaves very little doubt on the question of whether the agency should exert federal control over hydraulic fracturing, or even whether it’d be able to do so given its mandate and staff resources:

EPA does not regulate – and does not believe it is legally required to regulate – the hydraulic fracturing of methane gas production wells.”

Academics are weighing in, too. Texas A&M professor David Burnett said this:

“Outlawing fracturing is like outlawing the trucking … It would just kill…a major part of what makes our country run.”

Burnett, who also serves as the director of technology for the Global Petroleum Research Institute, and is working closely on recycling fracturing waters in Texas’ Barnett Shale region, added this:

It is just amazing how people are trying to choose sides without knowing the facts. I don’t care about somebody being against oil and gas if they have their facts right. It’s just incredible.”

Facts are stubborn things, it’s been written many times – but not as stubborn as those who seek to distort them.

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