New York Times On Hydrofracturing: The ‘Facts’ Loophole

By November 5, 2009Energy, Regulations

On November 2, The New York Times ran an editorial denouncing the lack of federal regulation of the use of hydrofracturing technology to develop shale natural gas, “The Halliburton Loophole.” Waving around the Halliburton and Dick Cheney boogie-men is what passes for argument for the Times these days, and apparently the Times mistakes state regulation with no regulation.

In any case, the editorial was just wrong. EnergyInDepth, an alliance of natural gas producers, rebutted the opinion piece with facts.

One-part revisionist history, one-part direct advocacy on behalf of the FRAC Act, the piece adopts a familiar tactic among opponents of responsible energy development: Break off legitimate debate, scurry off to the closest, safest corner, and commence launch of ad hominem attacks upon those with whom you disagree. This section is typical of the piece:

Among the many dubious provisions in the 2005 energy bill was one dubbed the Halliburton loophole, which was inserted at the behest of — you guessed it — then-Vice President Dick Cheney … It stripped the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to regulate … hydraulic fracturing.

Quite a story to tell: Unfortunately, not a single bit of it is true. Hydraulic fracturing has never been regulated nationally by EPA – not today, not before the bipartisan 2005 energy bill passed (supported by then-Sen. Barack Obama), not at any point during the 35-year run of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

That’s just the start.

We wait for the correction.

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