Tuesday, November 9, 2010

EPA stands up to Halliburton on fracking fluid disclosure

When Pennsylvania's DEP asked natural gas drillers to disclose all the potentially harmful chemicals in their fracking fluids, the politically powerful oilfield services firm, Halliburton, growled and Pennsylvania's environmental watchdog rolled over.  But today, the federal EPA stood its ground.

As part of a congressionally mandated study of the fracking process--and its potential adverse impact on public water and public health--the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, on September 9, asked nine leading hydraulic fracturing service providers for the same information.

EPA said today that eight of the nine companies--all but Halliburton--have either compliled fully with the request or made "unconditional commitments to provide the information on an expeditious schedule."

Pennsylvania weakened its fracking fluid reporting requirements when Halliburton protested. The EPA didn't flinch. Instead, it issued a subpoena today requiring Halliburton to submit the information.

Don't expect Halliburton to comply. The corporation has an army of lawyers to fight the order and the comfort of knowing that a new Republican majority will rule the Houses of Representatives in January.

The GOP has been itching to dismantle many of the Obama Administration's environmental initiatives--especially those that interfere with standard operations in the oil, gas and coal industries. 

The EPA's subpoena to Halliburton may prove the to be the opening bell in what will be a multi-round, heavyweight slug-fest, stretching on for months and culminating only with the next Presidential Election.

Get a ringside seat and settle in for the show. It's going to be awesome.

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