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Should the Oil and Gas Industry Be Allowed to Intentionally Contaminate Drinking Water Supplies? We Don't Think So.

2 min. read

According to this story, even Wyoming's state government, which frequently acts like a wholly-owned subsidiary of extractive industries, doesn't think it's a good idea to intentionally contaminate drinking water supplies.  The Billings Gazette reports, "The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality in a Feb. 11 letter opposed a plan by Encana Oil and Gas to pump water from its oil and gas wells deep into the Madison geological formation." What's the message here? That Wyoming only wants contamination of aquifers to happen accidentally, not intentionally? It's puzzling, but at least Wyoming's not totally abdicating all responsibility to safeguard public health.

Contrast that with this sobering news of industry lobbyists flocking to demand NO reasonable standards on fracking whatsoever.

The [oil and gas] industry has been to Capitol Hill several times recently to make the case for less federal regulation, arguing state-level oversight will be sufficient to protect public safety. A PowerPoint presentation attached to the Feb. 15 meeting echoes the state-level regulation request, adding that the “environmental record is excellent” with compliance of “state requirements” on federal lands.

Many in the oil-and-gas production industry applauded the withdrawal of the first proposal, saying it would have been costly to implement.

We hope the administration will recognize the strong oversight provided by existing state and federal regulations and take sufficient time to review the many thoughtful comments provided by the oil and natural gas industry and others,” said Jack Gerard, the president and chief executive of the American Petroleum Institute, in a statement last month.

“Conflicting or duplicative federal requirements would delay development of abundant domestic oil and natural gas and threaten jobs and revenue to the federal treasury, without providing additional environmental protection.”

Environmental groups disagree, and are pressuring the White House to set strict rules.

So, let's see, should we simply trust the oil and gas industry to do the right thing with our public lands and our water supplies, or should we carefully (and strongly) regulate them? It should go without saying that we strongly prefer the second option.