The one item the “keep it in the ground” crowd can celebrate as good news for them (and bad for the rest of us) is the Obama administration’s arbitrary and disgraceful Arctic offshore drilling ban.
As Jazz Shaw at Hot Air wrote: “Barack Obama seems determined to leave some unpleasant going away presents for his successor on the domestic energy front.” Given that he didn’t think there would be any need to handicap his successor, it seems likely that Obama and his outgoing administration are just warming up.
The EPA has a lot of nerve imposing anything new between now and President-Elect Trump’s inauguration, given its egregious five-year mishandling of the Pavillion, Wyoming fracking groundwater controversy.
The Associated Press published a barely noticed November 10 story about its resolution (the Wyoming “Pavillion Groundwater Report Fact Sheet” is here; bolds are mine throughout this post):
WYOMING STUDY: FRACKING LIKELY NOT BEHIND WELL WATER PROBLEM
A final state report released Thursday on foul-smelling well water in Wyoming contradicts an EPA report from five years ago that ignited a national backlash when it suggested hydraulic fracturing was the cause of the contamination.
Bacteria were more likely to blame for the problem in Pavillion than the oil and gas drilling process known as fracking, officials with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality said after a two-year study that was hailed by fracking advocates.
“Today’s announcement from the Wyoming DEQ doesn’t just close the case on Pavillion, it’s a knockout blow for activists who have tried to use Pavillion as a key talking point for their ban-fracking agenda,” said Randy Hildreth, Colorado director of Energy in Depth …
Now here is where the fun starts. From the AP report:
The EPA announced in 2011 that fracking likely caused the groundwater problems in Pavillion, a community spread among dozens of gas wells owned by Denver-based Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. in the sparsely populated Wind River Basin.
The EPA draft report at the time stoked opposition to fracking, even as the process opened up major new oil and gas plays and drove down gasoline prices.
But guess what? The problem, as industry official Kathleen Sgamma noted at FoxNews.com on November 15, wasn’t fracking. It was with the EPA itself:
… (in 2011) EPA investigators drilled their own monitoring wells incorrectly, actually introducing contaminants which were later detected in water samples.
Based on those tainted samples, the EPA floated a loose theory that fracking could have been the cause. But the draft report could not “verify or refute” this theory.
… state regulators and other federal agencies including the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Geological Survey … found major problems with the EPA’s water-quality monitoring wells. But in response to criticism, EPA officials stonewalled and never submitted the draft report for peer review. The EPA dragged its feet until 2013, when it finally dropped the Pavillion case and handed the investigation over to the state experts at Wyoming’s Department of Environmental quality.
So the “state experts” got it right, and the supposedly superior people with Uncle Sam at the EPA got it wrong. The November 10 AP report notes: “Wyoming officials also called on the EPA in the report released Thursday to fill in and cap two wells it drilled to study groundwater in the Pavillion area.” I’d say that the least they can do. They should also reimburse the state for the $1 million it spent “building cisterns for 28 (area) property owners to store water obtained from elsewhere.”
The anti-fracking crowd lost big. They have no horror stories with even a shred of credibility. Someone should ask New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has banned fracking in the Empire State without rational justification, why he’s still refusing to allow Upstate New York its best opportunity for a desperately needed economic turnaround.
Is it any wonder Trump wants to put the wringers through the EPA and its’ band of overpaid, ideological driven, bureaucratic incompetents.
(Extract from Newsbusters article)