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Even the Pro-Fossil-Fuel Washington Post Editorial Page Calls for Tighter Controls on Fracking

1 min. read

Will wonders never cease? Even the generally pro-fossil-fuels Washington Post editorial page is edging towards concern about fracking's negative impact on the environment.

...Nearly all the wells on federal land now use unconventional hydraulic fracturing techniques, known as fracking. These shifts demand oversight from government inspectors, particularly as rules come online for them to enforce. Of particular importance on federal lands are BLM efforts to strengthen well casings, deal with tainted wastewater and prevent the release of various gases, including methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

The BLM is supposed to sort out high-priority wells and inspect all of them. But the GAO found that, between 2009 and 2012, the regulators failed to inspect more than 2,100 of the 3,702 wells they had flagged as high-priority. Inspecting fewer than 60 percent of high-priority wells is not good enough. Meanwhile, inspectors in the field are often armed with obsolete marching orders because the BLM hasn’t updated some of its drilling standards in decades. And the agency has not coordinated enough with state governments to maximize the number of high-priority wells that get looked at by some authority — whether state or federal...

...the BLM isn’t off the hook. That it has not yet updated decades-old standards and coordinated with states indicates that it still is not deploying the resources it has as efficiently as it could. For the nation’s energy renaissance to really pay off, government regulators have to up their game.

For the fracking industry, when even allies like the Washington Post editorial page start raising concerns, perhaps it's time to listen and to start taking action?

Topics: Clean Economy