There’s been a bountiful array of headlines regarding the recent report released by the Federal Energy Department regarding shale gas development. The headlines are mainly divided into two types: 1) those that highlight concerns with the subcommittee on natural gas members’ affiliations and 2) those that highlight the report’s content (namely, environment-related).
The New York Times headline for the Energy Department’s report falls into the latter category. The content covers both topics, though. Ian Urbina co-authored this article, and he very briefly lays out the media and industry relationship over the past few months. It’s a good read. A short read.
There are a myriad of concerns regarding the make-up of the members on the Fed’s shale gas subcommittee. These are widely known. An interesting question, just from a dog’s point of view, is, “Why does the committee begin with the conclusion that shale gas ought to be developed?”
There is no actual discussion of the question of whether unconventional shale gas development should be occurring in the first place. Similarly to the PA Governor Tom Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, the Federal government has also succeeded in soliciting industry bulldogs to give them regulations on how to manage the SPCA. So to speak.
So, shale gas development is here to stay. Thankfully, the Feds did include some important notes about pollution and contamination, but… they lack luster, and they are a day late and a dollar short.
By lack luster, here is what I mean… the last line of the NYTimes article reads, “[The report] also described contamination of drinking water from fracking chemicals as improbable but refers to the risk of gas migrating into aquifers as a greater source of concern needing further study.”
The committee’s report, if John Deutch had been taking our words to heart, would have stated, “Contamination from frack fluid and gas migration into aquifers and waterways has proven to occur and lack of remedy is of known concern both above and below the surface. Therefore, shale gas development should immediately cease. The industry must figure out how to account for, remedy, and prevent any and all risks related to all known processes involved in unconventional shale gas development before it can entertain resuming said activities.”