Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is a process through which fluid is injected into deep underground shale deposits in order to release the natural gas contained within. President Obama strictly limited the amount of fracking that could be done on federal land, but now President Trump is trying to change that.
Trump has ordered the EPA to consider repealing Obama’s Clean Water Rule, and will soon seek to undo the Clean Power Plan, the coal leasing moratorium for federal land and other climate and environmental regulations.
Attorneys said the Interior Department and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have been reviewing rules as part of a White House directive on reducing unnecessary and burdensome regulations.
Naturally Trump’s actions have done nothing to dislodge environmentalists from their default state of outrage.
“This disturbing decision highlights Trump’s desire to leave our beautiful public lands utterly unprotected from oil industry exploitation,” Michael Saul, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “Backing away from these modest rules is doubly dangerous given the administration’s reckless plans to ramp up fracking and drilling on public lands across America.”
Opposition to fracking seems to be based mostly on a dishonest “documentary” film called Gasland and the general desire among the greens to thwart any progress in the development of hydrocarbon energy sources.
The move comes as little surprise. The rule was a top target of the oil and natural gas industry as well as Republicans – all key allies to Trump.
The rule set standards in three areas for federal-land fracking: integrity of well casing, storage of waste fluids and public disclosure of the chemicals used.
It was written in part to respond to suspicion and anger from the public regarding the controversial oil and gas extraction technique, which has grown exponentially and been behind the boom in domestic energy production and resulting low prices.
Opponents have even tried to block infrastructure plans to make natural gas easier to export. Their gripes appear to be less about the alleged localized hazards of fracking—invented by Josh Fox in Gasland—than they are about the big boogeyman, global warming.
Once Interior finalizes its action to rescind the rule, it could be subject to litigation, including from environmental groups, states or others affected.
There’s no doubt there will be litigation. Tying every initiative up in court seems to be the left’s M.O. for the foreseeable future.