The Energy Department-appointed task force also recommends that drillers disclose the mix of chemicals they're injecting into the shale to free up gas. In fact, it's a laundry list of recommendations for voluntary compliance, and since the task force was dominated by the very industry it's examining, it's very unlikely to any regulations or legislation will come out of this. Well, we all know how well regulatory capture worked in the Japanese nuclear power industry, so why wouldn't it work for this?
Natural-gas companies risk causing serious environmental damage from hydraulic fracturing unless they commit to the best engineering practices, a task force named by Energy Secretary Steven Chu concluded.
Regulations to protect public health will work best when drillers embrace techniques that avoid “undesirable consequences,” according to a draft report today by a subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. The increased use of fracturing, or fracking, which forces water and chemicals into rock, raises the potential for a “serious problem,” the panel found.
The report offered recommendations for companies such as Chesapeake Energy Inc. and Southwestern Energy Co. (SWN) to follow, and guidelines for state regulators that oversee drilling.
“While many states and several federal agencies regulate aspects of these operations, the efficacy of the regulations is far from clear,” according to the report. “Effective action requires both strong regulation and a shale-gas industry in which all participating companies are committed to continuous improvement.”
The Washington-based Environmental Working Group, which advocates for clean air and water, questioned the findings of a panel it said was dominated by the gas industry.
[...] To resolve the concerns, the panel recommended creating an industry organization “dedicated to continuous improvement” of practices, such as measuring and reporting air pollution, minimizing water use and improving well casing and cementing. The subcommittee urged reducing emissions of ozone precursors and called for a national database at a start-up cost of $20 million to link sources of public information on fracking.
Yes, because industry organizations have done such a bang-up job to date in protecting the public in virtually every market. Oh wait, I think I was still dreaming...