FEEL FREE TO LISTEN TO THE HEARING.
We need to “move forward” with a working group in order to discover the best drilling practices for the safe extraction of shale gas, Jim Costa (D-CA), Chair of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources said at a June 4th oversight hearing on unconventional fuels and the potential of shale gas.
The hearing didn’t really resemble its title. Or rather, I couldn’t tell if “potential” referred to the benefits of shale gas or its potential for contaminating our groundwater. The hearing had an identity crisis. Though most of the questioning from the majority, Rep. Scott Borel (D-OK) excluded, focused on the chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing, the hearing lacked the chemical expertise in its witnesses to adequately answer most of their questions. The lone opponent to the current regulatory structure, Albert Appleton, also failed to add anything substantive regarding the fracturing process, but went on global warming rabbit trails. Surprise, surprise, Congress essentially wasted time and money trying to get at answers that nobody was really qualified to answer.
The hearing reached a low point when Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) forced Mike John to read from a list of chemicals that Chesapeake has disclosed to the sub-comittee. A reluctant Johns finally complied, but when it became obvious that more could be gained from reading a Greek lexicon aloud, Hinchey relented and tried to get John to admit that Benzene is found in their fracturing chemicals.
Perhaps the biggest reason for Government to not regulate the fraturing process is their inability to organize a hearing to get at real answers. Stay tuned.
To read the testimonies of each hearing witness, click on their name below.
Mr. Douglas Duncan
Associate Coordinator, Energy Resources Program
United States Geological Survey
Mr. Scott Kell
Ground Water Protection Council
Mr. Mike John
Vice President of Corporate Development and Government Relations, Eastern Division
Chesapeake Energy Corporation
Mr. Lynn Helms
Director, Oil and Gas Division
North Dakota Industrial Commission
Mr. Albert F. Appleton
Infrastructure and Environmental Consultant
Former Director of the New York City Water and Sewer System