Report: EPA having trouble keeping up with the hydraulic-fracturing boom

posted at 6:41 pm on October 9, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

Whatever would we do without the august, dispassionate wisdom of the Environmental Protection Agency keeping a watchful paternalistic eye on the many activities of us ignoble profit-seekers? …Prosper, probably. As it is, the EPA never tires of finding new excuses for their expanded involvement in an ever-wider range of private-sector endeavors, nor of further limiting private-property owners’ available uses of their own land (which is distinctly odd, because nobody but nobody has a more vested interest in preserving the quality of a resource than the person who owns said resource — but, not to worry, President Obama has assured us that green energy is “not a socialist plot,” so, there’s that).

A newly-released report from the Government Accountability Office attests to the ‘challenges’ the EPA is facing in regulating the currently-going-gangbusters-but-retarded-by-red-tape oil-and-gas industry enabled by the spreading use of hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a. “fracking” (I know, I know — news flash — private-sector business tends to grow and move faster than federal bureaucracy, go figure). From The Hill:

“Officials at EPA reported that conducting inspection and enforcement activities for oil and gas development from unconventional reservoirs is challenging due to limited information, as well as the dispersed nature of the industry and the rapid pace of development,” the report states.

Problems facing EPA include a frequent lack of “baseline” water-quality data that makes it hard to gauge alleged groundwater contamination, and overall difficulty tracking the development boom, the report states.

For instance, the report notes that it’s tough to inspect the large number of new well sites in Ohio, where the Utica shale play is attracting development, because EPA “generally does not receive information about new wells or their location.”

The EPA doesn’t typically take too kindly to limits on their authority. I can almost see them rubbing their hands together in anticipation of finding new-and-exciting reasons to write more top-down regulations now, except that all of these alleged cases of dangerous “groundwater contamination” the environmentalists like to use as justification for said regulations, have miraculously failed to materialize into anything definitive, despite fracking being a decades-old technological practice.

The EPA has steadily increased their workforce and budget over time, and like any good never-miss-an-opportunity-to-metastasize federal body, would always like to find a reason to grow their green crusade — but how much will ever be enough? And why is lumbering, top-down federal oversight ever a good idea when you want to get anything done?

This type of report is precisely why Mitt Romney’s plan for more state sovereignty in oil-and-gas drilling determination is such a good idea — the EPA will always and necessarily be operating via an ideological tear, but when states compete and people can see the demonstrably successful-or-failing results of particular policies and regulations and American businesses won’t have to deal with quite so much bureaucratic red tape, everybody wins.


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EPA will come out with a report on fracking in January, which will probably claim jurisdiction over the practice on private lands.

Stay tuned…

Akzed on October 9, 2012 at 6:44 PM

BOOM-ishop!

PolAgnostic on October 9, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Once any moratorium is over and rules are in place, the result will be a lengthy red-tape process for each and every fracture treatment.

Akzed on October 9, 2012 at 6:48 PM

EPA will be scaled back in its duty’s come January. Their jurisdiction will wane.

Bmore on October 9, 2012 at 6:50 PM

The best thing that could come from the EPA would be for Romney to not appoint a secretary and the House to cut off their funding.

wildcat72 on October 9, 2012 at 6:53 PM

I’m sure they’ll find a way to strangle it anyway.

Philly on October 9, 2012 at 6:53 PM

OT – Watching Kirsten Powers nuke Barry and Co. for the latest update on Benghazi, which states that the streets were quiet and Stevens had just escorted guests out of the consulate when the attack occurred suddenly. There were more than 200 recorded security incidents there in the year prior to the attack.

This administration needs to be fired, and now.

Philly on October 9, 2012 at 6:56 PM

“…because EPA “generally does not receive information about new wells or their location.”

Suck on it…!

Seven Percent Solution on October 9, 2012 at 7:00 PM

Fracking: one less thing for the EPA to muck up…

Especially after January 20th, 2013…

Khun Joe on October 9, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Apparently, you have to be an active pot smoker to appreciate “Green Energy”!!!

landlines on October 9, 2012 at 7:03 PM

Report: EPA having trouble keeping up with the hydraulic-fracturing boom…
…yeah, some good jobs and some significant amounts of energy are being created IN SPITE OF the EPA’s massive efforts to stop both.

TeaPartyNation on October 9, 2012 at 7:07 PM

Report: EPA having trouble keeping up with the hydraulic-fracturing boom
=============

MeanWhile Mittens weighs in on the EPA………………..

Romney Touts Less Farm Regulation in Iowa
Published on Oct 9, 2012 by AssociatedPress
********************************************

GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney campaigned in Van Meter, Iowa Tuesday. He told the crowd that he would loosen regulations on farms, if elected. (Oct. 9)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yfzHyW-jmY&feature=youtu.be

canopfor on October 9, 2012 at 7:09 PM

and like any good never-miss-an-opportunity-to-metastasize federal body

I like your writing style, Erika.

John the Libertarian on October 9, 2012 at 7:18 PM

OT – Watching Kirsten Powers nuke Barry and Co. for the latest update on Benghazi, which states that the streets were quiet and Stevens had just escorted guests out of the consulate when the attack occurred suddenly. There were more than 200 recorded security incidents there in the year prior to the attack.

This administration needs to be fired, and now.

Philly on October 9, 2012 at 6:56 PM

It has been a pleasure watching Kirsten over the years evolve from a libtard to a thinking person. Perhaps being around actual conservatives has altered her view on things.

Special Forces Grunt on October 9, 2012 at 7:44 PM

sort of a sparse comment section for such a good article…should we drag over a couple of trolls and their polls?

KOOLAID2 on October 9, 2012 at 8:01 PM

This type of report is precisely why Mitt Romney’s plan for more state sovereignty in oil-and-gas drilling determination is such a good idea

Here’s an idea: Why don’t we just cut the amount of money the EPA gets and let them decide which environmental issues they want to drop if they want to continue to go after fracking or anything else? Obama has shown us the way, with his policies of deliberately ignoring the laws he doesn’t like, so there’s obviously no legal requirement that the government has to do all the law allows it to do.

but, not to worry, President Obama has assured us that green energy is “not a socialist plot,” so, there’s that

It’s just an amazing coincidence that it produces the exact same results as socialism.

Socratease on October 9, 2012 at 8:09 PM

the epa is only one source of eco-freak pressure. someone will come up with a nano-assay for some hydrocarbon and declare that anyting about 10 nanoliters per liter will cause three armed children

then the big foundation $$$$$$$$$$ come in, with the Trial Lawyers and the ever eager progressive press corps to slime, slime and litigate fracking to death

the autism/vaccine link is a useful model

charlatans in the name of science destroying our future

r keller on October 9, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Officials at EPA reported that conducting inspection and enforcement activities for oil and gas development from unconventional reservoirs is challenging due to limited information

Ummmm…..hello? State oil and gas commissions have all of that data online these days. And there are a myriad of private companies that compile and make available (for a fee, of course) all of that data in easily downloadable/searchable databases. I work in the Barnett Shale play in north Texas, and I can pull up all of that data in a flash.

Excuses, excuses.

iurockhead on October 9, 2012 at 9:02 PM

where the Utica shale play is attracting development, because EPA “generally does not receive information about new wells or their location.”

I agree w/ lurockhead above. The EPA is a group of dumb ass lunkheads that have never been to a drill site, much less realize any sort of divine providence to regulate them.

Shut down the whole agency for incompetence, Mitt.

gonnjos on October 9, 2012 at 9:29 PM

Speaking of the EPA:

EPA Sued Over Heinous Experiments on Humans
http://nlpc.org/stories/2012/09/25/epa-sued-over-heinous-experiments-humans

john.frank on October 9, 2012 at 9:49 PM

Not only the EPA but here’s a list that needs to be studied and the dead wood eliminated.

http://www.usa.gov/directory/federal/index.shtml

mixplix on October 9, 2012 at 9:53 PM

Romney had better fire everybody, and I do mean everybody, in the EPA on January 20. If not, the permanent Dems, who make up 90% or more of the staff, will continue this nonsense until told to cease and desist, and even after that. Remember what a time Porter Goss had with the permanent staff at the CIA?

Those guys are all Dem/lib, and need to be put on the street the first day. Make them go get a real freaking job – find out what it’s like for the rest of us.

jclittlep on October 9, 2012 at 9:54 PM

A newly-released report from the Government Accountability Office attests to the ‘challenges’ the EPA is facing in regulating the currently-going-gangbusters-but-retarded-by-red-tape oil-and-gas industry enabled by the spreading use of hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a. “fracking”

So…. the EPA is overwhelmed? Wasn’t that the goal of Cloward-Piven, to overwhelm the system?

Hey Barry….. kind of sucks when your own schemes are turned around and used on you, doesn’t it? You commie jackass.

UltimateBob on October 10, 2012 at 12:32 AM

Problems facing EPA include a frequent lack of “baseline” water-quality data that makes it hard to gauge alleged groundwater contamination,…

If they lack baseline data, how can they claim pollution? Obviously, they cannot. It’s all an agenda; a lie. Furthermore, I’m sure that their lack of baseline data is not just in the shale plays, but is likely nation-wide (with a few exceptions). An entire body of law, perversions of government, intrusions into the fundamental fabric of human lives – all created ex nihilo.

Shut it down, and give the responsibility back to the States.

ss396 on October 10, 2012 at 1:10 AM

Here’s a fun example of the law of unintended consequences:

Because of the moratorium on drilling on government lands, the availability of helium (you know…the sun’s made out of it) has plummeted. Helium is usually recovered during traditional well-drilling. But since fracking is what’s become the fastest growing, and we can’t get enough regular drilling going in this country any more, not enough helium.

Hard to get balloons; hard on scientists, etc. I actually had the party store manager say to me that they were just waiting for the price to equalize to the availability and when that happens, the helium would be available again.

It was absolutely precious. He thought it was a good thing, a relief, finally, the price would come up so he could get helium in his store again. It never occurred to him that because drilling had been squelched by the government, he was going to pay through the nose for helium for a long time to come.

winoceros on October 10, 2012 at 7:09 AM

The EPA is busy trying to connect fracking with snail darters.

Dasher on October 10, 2012 at 9:54 AM

I agree w/ lurockhead above. The EPA is a group of dumb ass lunkheads that have never been to a drill site, much less realize any sort of divine providence to regulate them.

Shut down the whole agency for incompetence, Mitt.

gonnjos on October 9, 2012 at 9:29 PM

Actually, my plan for the EPA fits in well with Mitt’s comment about shrinking government by attrition. I suggested over a year ago that the best way to deal with the EPA is for the Executive Branch (in charge of administration offices) to relocate all of their offices to Prudoe Bay, Alaska to be closer to the environment they wish to protect! Of course, moving expenses and housing wouldn’t be covered, nor transportation to and from… so it would get a little expensive… and cold… so very cold…

I have a feeling the EPA would voluntarily shrink overnight! Nothing like cold to cause some government shrinkage! :)

dominigan on October 10, 2012 at 10:22 AM

Hey, oil and gas industry! Ride right through ‘em, they’re demoralized as hell!

RebeccaH on October 10, 2012 at 4:15 PM