On Friday, President Barack Obama responded to mounting pressure from advocacy groups representing the concerns of millions of people that have already been or are about to be affected by fracking. In case you haven’t heard, hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is an untested and unregulated procedure used to blast natural gas from deep inside the Earth and, as I have blogged about before, it’s a dangerous addiction, the too-good-to-be-true answer to our energy woes.
Don’t get Public Citizen wrong on this– we LOVE the idea of cleaner burning energy. However, as Tyson Slocum, Public Citizen’s energy director explained to Fen Montaigne, senior editor of the Yale Environment 360 blog not that long ago:
“I think natural gas has huge advantages if extracted in clean ways, and that is going to entail federal regulation,” Slocum said. “The national security issue of importing 65 percent of our oil is significant. But so are issues of drinking water contamination in a large number of states.”
So, Obama made a move. As reported by John M. Broder of the New York Times, Obama reached out to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, instructing him to create a panel to look into how to make fracking safer and cleaner, see here. What remains to be seen is whether or not an advisory board that lacks representation from any true civic grassroots advocacy group will produce recommendations that adequately protect consumers.