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Why Are Taxpayers Giving $12 Million to an Industry that Made $36 Billion in 2Q11 Profits?

1 min. read

According to an article at E&E News, "The Department of Energy is spending $12.4 million on research projects designed to reduce the environmental risks of unconventional oil and gas production, such as shale gas production and hydraulic fracturing." These projects include:

*"A GE Global Research project to remove naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) from the wastewater created when "fracking" Marcellus Shale wells, preparing it for treatment.
*"A Colorado School of Mines project to improve treatment of drilling wastewater using a "membrane-based" system that could be adopted by industry."

Clearly, it's a good thing that there's research into how to make drilling for natural gas safer than it is now. The question is, why are we, the U.S. taxpayers, paying $12 million of our money to an extremely profitable profitable industry so they don't make a mess of our water supplies?

How profitable is this industry? According to this story, "The Big Five oil companies this week announced they had made a whopping $36 billion in profits in the second quarter of 2011."  Which means that $12 million is 1/3,000th of this industry's profits in the second quarter of 2011 alone. It seems like they could afford to spend a bit of that profit on ensuring that their activities don't harm our communities, wouldn't you say?