John Kerry, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman Hired by Drillers
Oil companies and industry groups have summoned the three Senators to instruct them on how to re-write the long-awaited climate and energy bill.
ConocoPhillips, BP and Shell Oil Co are demanding that states, rather than federal government, regulate shale gas drilling methods because they know it’s cheaper to buy state officials. States are known to be more lenient on allowing hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which pollutes the water.
The big oil want a bill their way and they want it now.
“Within a couple weeks after the Easter break we hope to unveil a bill,” said the ever-complying Graham.
Lieberman, on the other hand, wants to dress the bill as even more environmental-friendly as the Big Oil have you believe. He is aiming to have the bill introduced on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22. He gets a kick out of that sort of things!
“The longer we’ve talked about it, the more momentum we’ve gotten, but that won’t last forever, so we need to bring this thing to a conclusion,” Graham said.
Water Contamination from Shale Gas Drilling. Source. Image may be subject to copyright. “The major concern with shale gas drilling is the chemicals used in the process. Because the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempted hydraulic fracturing from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, shale gas drillers don’t have to disclose what chemicals they use.” Gas drilling companies maintain that the gas drilling technique they use, called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is safe. However, based on observation of the drinking water in numerous drilling areas, and the fate of many people who live near the drilling rigs, who are afflicted with serious health conditions, we know that fracking contaminates groundwater with dangerous chemicals.
Meanwhile, ten Senators from coastal states issued a statement Thursday saying they won’t support a climate and energy bill if it permits a large expansion of offshore oil and natural gas drilling. [How large is a little expansion?]
Senator Robert Casey, a Democrat, has vowed to defeat any move that provide states with regulatory powers.
“If that kind of provision were in it, that would be an area where I would want to spend a good deal of time either altering it or removing it,” Casey told reporters.
“Kerry, the lead proponent of the bill, needs every vote he can get as it will likely face opposition from lawmakers in states whose economies depend heavily on fossil fuels.” Reuters said.
The oil companies are demanding that information concerning the chemical composition of fracking fluids should be kept secret and revealed to doctors or health officials only when necessary to save human life.
Further, the oil industry is pushing for large scale expansions in offshore drilling in the bill.
“Bruce Josten, a vice president at the Chamber of Commerce, told reporters he understood that the offshore oil part of the bill would set up two levels for states to say whether they want to participate in expanded oil drilling.” Reuters reported.
“The first would give states the opportunity to say whether they wanted to have new offshore oil drilling from their coasts up to 35 miles out.”
“A second level would let them veto drilling from 35 to 75 miles out, but Josten said this was still in discussion stages and he has not seen specific legislative language on any proposals.”
The House of Representatives passed a climate bill in June 2009, which heavily relies on the doomed carbon emissions trade system, however the bill has little support to pass in the Senate.