Friday, December 14, 2012

7 states want to sue for fracking-related air quality

The Washington Times is reporting that seven Atlantic states are threatening to sue the Environmental Protection Agency, seeking harsher air quality rules on the oil and gas industry and its most effective drilling method Hydraulic fracturing or "fracking".  The process involves pumping water-based solutions deep into the ground to force rocks to break apart and allow oil or natural gas to be removed.

It's a hot debate, with some saying that fracking could set the U.S. up for energy independence. On the other side are opponents like New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, the leader of the seven-state coalition that includes Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island. He tells the Times:

“Regulators have failed to require the industry to use available and cost-effective measures to control emissions from drilling sites...Our coalition is putting EPA on notice that we are prepared to sue to force action on curbing climate-change pollution from the oil and gas industry."

Opponents of fracking are concerned about air pollution, chemical exposure, water contamination even an increase in earthquakes. Health officials say that more research is needed before the U.S. boosts oil exploration.

“The question here is very simple,' said Seth B. Shonkoff, executive director of Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy. "Why would the United States dramatically increase the use of an energy extraction method without first ensuring that the trade-off is not the health of Americans in exchange for the energy demands of foreign nations?”

The industry meanwhile, touts the economic benefits insisting that U.S. oil and gas supplies can help the nation become energy independent in less than 20 years.


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