Well, well, well, apparently all that money spent by the natural gas "fracking" industry to convince people that what they do is safe, and not in need of any further regulation, isn't working.
Going to see George Phydias Mitchell feels kind of like a pilgrimage. It was Mitchell who in the 1990s, as the wildcatting boss of Mitchell Energy & Development, pioneered the oil and gas drilling techniques now known as “fracking.”
So it was surprising to hear Mitchell say yesterday that he is in favor of more government regulation of fracking. “The administration is trying to tighten up controls,” he told me. “I think It’s a good idea. They should have very strict controls. The Department of Energy should do it.”
So why does Mitchell think fracking needs to be controlled? “Because if they don’t do it right there could be trouble,” he says. There’s no excuse not to get it right. “There are good techniques to make it safe that should be followed properly,” he says. But, the smaller, independent drillers, “are wild.”
“It’s tough to control these independents. If they do something wrong and dangerous, they should punish them,” Mitchell says.
Again, this is not an environmentalist group or anyone else with an anti-fracking agenda. To the contrary, this is the man "credited with pioneering the economic extraction of shale gas," who "[graduated] first in his class in petroleum engineering," and who built his independent oil and gas company "into a Fortune 500 company." In other words, George Phydias Mitchell knows exactly what he's talking about, and everyone should be listening to him.