EPA

UPDATES

Augst 30, 2015: new methane rules, The Atlantic; this might be a good time to review The Great Oxygen Event: the free oxygen reacted with atmospheric methane, a greenhouse gas, greatly reducing its concentration and triggering the Huronian glaciation, possibly the longest snowball Earth episode in the Earth's history.

August 30, 2015: EPA will ignore federal judge; will enforce new rules on nation's waterways; no one seems to care that EPA will ignore federal judge;

December 18, 2012:
  • BLM rules on hydraulic fracking on federal lands to be released in early 2013; source: Director's Cut
  • EPA guidance on hydraulic fracking with diesel to be released in early 2013; source: Director's Cut
December 19, 2011:  EPA moving to expand regulatory role to move toward "sustainability," code for pro-wind/solar rulings and kill fossil fuel. This is not rocket science.

December 8, 2011: the beginning of the end.

November 26, 2011: We will know by next July, 2012, whether the EPA will ban fracking. My hunch is that fracking will be severely restricted, to the point that the Bakken drilling will come to an end. In case the link is broken, this is the story in the Bismarck Tribune in which Lynn Helms (NDIC) suggests that the EPA will ban fracking as early as January 2012.

June 23, 2011: EPA selects Killdeer, Dunn County, as test site.

May 27, 2011: Michigan issues new fracking regulations.

May 26, 2011: EPA -- No evidence of ground water contamination due to fracking.

April 30, 2011: How long will it be before Obama kills the oil industry in North Dakota?

April 27, 2011: This is how the EPA will take control of regulating hydraulic fracking -- regulating diesel fluid in fracturing. [That link no longer works, but this updated story will provide the background.]

April 25, 2011: EPA takes control of two coal-powered utility plants in North Dakota.

April 23, 2011: EPA's draft "response" regarding fracking will be released in mid-May.

April 11, 2011: See the April 1, 2011 story below -- the Pitt professor was fired, or resigned; it looks like he was the April fool.

April 1, 2011: I guess this was his April Fool's joke -- that fracking puts carcinogenic agents into drinking water. The professor has backed off, rescinded, and apologized for his remarks, but he still maintains fracking is a serious environmental concern.  So much for science; same goes for global warming.
University of Pittsburgh assistant professor Conrad (Dan) Volz issued a report on March 21 to scientists and the U.S. EPA claiming that natural gas industry is dumping carcinogenic agents into drinking water.
But just two days after a group of professionals reviewed the “report,” Volz backtracked somewhat: apologizing, issuing a revised report, and explaining that numerous references he used in the report were incorrect and/or misstated.
March 2, 2011: Great response to NY Times article on risks of fracking.

February 23, 2011: West Virginia runs out of time to pass bill regulating development of the Marcellus.

February 13, 2011: North Dakota House has passed a bill that would allow the state to step in if EPA rules to regulate fracking. Still requires Senate action and governor signature. If it comes to that: state vs Feds, it would end up in US Supreme Court, no doubt. In the meantime, I'm sure ND could find a friendly appellate judge to insure an injunction (to allow continued fracking) is placed while the issue is sorted out in court.  It does help to have a state law in place before regulations are written; precedence sometimes wins in court.

February 10, 2011: Odds are that the EPA will do a retroactive study of fracking in the Bakken. It will be political, environmental, but not scientific.

February 10, 2011: Time line for EPA action; EPA submits draft plan to its scientific advisory board which will review it March 7 - 8, 2011.

February 4, 2011: Natural gas fracking in the Marcellus will make huge impact on West Virginia economy. Two more senators to take on the EPA if "push comes to shove." Unfortunately, I'm starting to see a trend here. Laws are passed; regulations are written; and waivers are given to friends. This is scary.

February 1, 2011: Anti-oil Congressional democrats allege fracking companies injected diesel into the ground without permits; ground water was never contaminated. (Link will be broken. Google story, Waxman.)

January 26, 2011: The regional EPA administrator has Texas very, very nervous.  He is a self-described activist.

January 19, 2011: NDIC tries to educate North Dakotans about hydraulic fracking and ground water.

January 9, 2011: EPA to delay oil and gas permitting in Montana.

January 6, 2011: I don't see this as good news. The administration has said they want a fight. They want an easy win early on to show their base they are still relevant after the 2010 shellacking at the polls. The good news: nat gas, not oil, in their sights.

December 26, 2010Nothing new in this article; just another reminder of EPA's scheme to regulate hydraulic fracking.

December 24, 2010: Merry Christmas. From the LA Times, page AA2: The EPA announced Thursday (yesterday) that it was taking the unprecedented step of directly issuing air permits to Texas industries, citing the state's unwillingness to comply with greenhouse gas regulations that take effect January 2, 2011. EPA officials indicated they were taking over Clear Air Act permits for greenhouse gas emissions because "officials in Texas have made clear ... they have no intention of implementing this portion of the federal air-permitting program.

December 3, 2010: Department of Interior exploring ways to regulate hydraulic fracking on federal lands.

November 30, 2010: Pennsylvania bans hydraulic fracking in state forests (back in October).

November 30, 2010: New York State halts hydraulic fracking.

November 29, 2010: US State Dept supports fracking worldwide.

November 24, 2010: ND officials worried about second frac spill. They should be concerned; the EPA will be all over this.

November 23, 2010: EPA sets rules for storing CO2 underground. This is one more step toward EPA setting rules for fracking. Some folks see both issues as states' rights issues; if there is no pushback on this, it is only logical to assume the EPA continues down the road to issue fracking rules. One possibility: the federal law concerning water safety had one exception; I do not know how specific / narrow that exception was, but it had to do with drilling oil. Most likely, that exception does not include CO2 sequestration.

 November 18, 2010: Poor ethanol 15% labeling will lead to problems. Recipe for disaster. Can only be used in automobiles new than 2007.

November 17, 2010: EPA selects a University of Wyoming professor to join its 48-member Science Advisory Board (although I have difficulty putting "science" and "EPA" in the same sentence). She will be on a committee to study coastal issues, not hydraulic fracking where she is most knowledgeable.

November 16, 2010: EPA "reaches out" to nine companies involved in hydraulic fracturing.

November 16, 2010: Halliburton has started posting information regarding fracking fluids at its site.

November 15, 2010: Halliburton frac fluid fully from food industry. Incredible.

November 10, 2010: EPA subpoenas HAL for fracking fluids data; eight (8) other companies provided data voluntarily.

October 28, 2010: EPA -- Halloween scare.

October 18, 2010: Sugar beets and fracking.

September 16, 2010: More bad news. How do you prove a negative?

September 12, 2010: EPA could expand oversight to all facets of oil industry, not just fracking.

September 10, 2010: New York state public hearing on EPA and fracking. This isn't even about chemicals. This is about the whole issue of fracking -- folks say drilling has resulted in methane in their drinking water. This is not good.

September 9, 2010: EPA requests information from service companies (e.g., Halliburton, Schlumberger) on chemicals used in shale-gas fracturing. It's just a matter of time, folks.

August 30, 2010: Wyoming will do what EPA wants to do -- remove all confidentiality regarding how wells are drilled. Six-month confidentiality will also be more strictly enforced. I would assume operators may sue regarding confidentiality of their processes and special sauces.

August 13, 2010: EPA forced to delay hearing.

July 29, 2010: Congress drops plans to regulate fracking (for now). EPA study is due by 2010 at which time EPA could impose own rules or Congress could re-address the issue.

July 22, 2010: The state of Pennsylvania has its own budget crisis and impasse. It's hard to believe the state would welcome EPA shutting down its energy industry.

July 22, 2010: Environmentalists based in Harrisburg, PA, are leading the charge to have the EPA regulate fracking in Pennsylvania as well as across the nation. It should be noted that the city of Harrisburg is in so much debt, bankruptcy (though illegal) is being considered. Shutting down the Marcellus in Pennsylvania, somehow doesn't make sense.  Be that as it may.

July 21, 2010: The writing is on the wall. This is a lengthy article but very, very good. Take every "alarming" or "scary" data point, whether true or not, verified or not, and put them into a talking paper and hand it to a Congressman, and how could they not want to get involved, especially after what happened in the gulf. No oil boom in North Dakota has lasted more than a few years before there was a "bust." This "boom and bust" cycle was generally tied to the economic cycle, but this time, the boom that should last 20 to 30 years is likely to be curtailed by policy out of Washington.

July 15, 2010: North Dakota representative and others are now beginning to take the threat seriously that the EPA will shut down horizontal drilling. Is it too late? Could their be a moratorium on ALL drilling, not just horizontal drilling?

July 14, 2010: tangentially related to the EPA, is the Delaware River Basin Commission which is also trying to decide whether to maintain its moratorium on drilling/fracking. My hunch: if the state commission is seen as being lax by the EPA, the EPA will step in and take over. EPA rules and regulations likely to be national, not local.  
  
Original Post

Some folks are still under the illusion that the EPA and fracking can co-exist. The most recent comment I received took this paragraph from the EPA Website:
Based on the information collected and reviewed, EPA has concluded that the injection of hydraulic fracturing fluids into coalbed methane wells poses little or no threat to USDWs and does not justify additional study at this time. This decision is consistent with the process outlined in the April, 2001 Final, in which EPA indicated that it would determine whether further investigation was needed after analyzing the Phase I information. Specifically, EPA determined that it would not continue into Phase II of the study if the investigation found that no hazardous constituents were used in fracturing fluids, hydraulic fracturing did not increase the hydraulic connection between previously isolated formations, and reported incidents of water quality degradation were attributed to other, more plausible causes. 
I guess that's why the EPA is now studying the issue, has four meetings planned, and has "a plan" written and ready to go:
WASHINGTON, DC, June 21, 2010 (as in last week) -- The US Environmental Protection Agency has scheduled four public meetings on its proposed study of the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and its potential impacts on drinking water supplies.

The meetings will be held July 8 in Fort Worth; July 13 in Denver; July 22 in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania; and Aug. 12 in Binghampton, New York. EPA said it will accept comments on the proposed study at the meetings. Stakeholders planning to attend a meeting are asked to register at least 72 hr in advance.

The meetings will provide information about the proposed study’s scope and design, EPA said in a June 18 announcement. It said it sought guidance from its independent science advisory board to support initial planning and guide the plan’s development. 
All I can say is this: a) either the EPA is inconsistent; or, b) it is wasting taxpayer money studying a issue it says is a non-issue. I've long forgotten the difference between Phase I and Phase II, and exactly what phase the EPA is in. I know I'm out of phase with regard to the EPA.