Interior secretary: State fracking oversight just isn’t good enough for me

posted at 2:01 pm on June 26, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

There are few things that can make me quite as outrageously perturbed as the unmitigated gall of a big-government bureaucrat presuming that he knows better than everybody else. I often make the case that when it comes to energy-and-environment issues specifically, big government is an especially poor steward in which to place your environmental faith, as inefficiency and incomplete knowledge tend to compromise their many “well-meaning” activities and instead directly cause environmental degradation. And hey, here’s a perfect example of just the sort of infuriating, unadulterated baloney I’m talking about, straight from Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on the administration’s upcoming fracking regulations.

State level oversight of hydraulic fracturing or fracking is not sufficient and criticism leveled at the Obama administration for its proposed rules is not valid, Salazar told Reuters in an interview. …

“There are some who are saying that it’s not something we ought to do, it should be left up to the states. That’s not good enough for me because states are at very different level, some have zero, some have decent rules.”

The Obama administration unveiled long-awaited rules in May to bolster oversight on public lands of oil and natural gas drilling using fracking technology, running into criticism it was creating a duplicate layer of bureaucracy and infringing on states’ rights. …

“Shale gas has provided the United States the opportunity to have 100 years of supply that is domestically produced. If we are going to develop natural gas from shale, it has to be done in a safe and responsible manner,” Salazar said…

Yes, Secretary Salazar — because those stupid, shortsighted states couldn’t possibly have their own best interests at heart, and couldn’t possibly possess the knowledge to steward their own resources, and couldn’t possibly survive without your completely dispassionate federal wisdom. Please, condescend to tell everyone what to do and apply the same top-down prescription to every individual situation so we can all sleep more soundly at night, not having to worry about figmental ecological emergencies.

The Obama administration is constantly justifying their ever-increasing regulatory agenda by claiming that “we need to make sure things are being done in a safe and responsible manner.” But has the federal government ever been able to prove that states are not able to effectively handle their own fracking business? No, the federal government merely needs to placate the powerful, well-monied, frack-hating environmental lobby.

They really are stuck between a rock and hard place on issues like fracking and the Keystone pipeline — how to make it look like they support private-sector projects that would undeniably bring much-needed jobs and economic growth to the country, but avoid rousing the ire of the highly vocal green movement? But nothing justifies their power-grab-happy tendency to undermine federalism at every available turn.


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