Obama’s Latest Executive Order Forms "Fracking" Oversight Group

By:  Brian Koenig
04/17/2012
       
Obama’s Latest Executive Order Forms "Fracking" Oversight Group

President Obama drew praise from the energy industry on Friday after issuing an executive order to amend federal oversight procedures of hydraulic fracturing — commonly known as "fracking" — which injects water, sand, and chemicals deep underground to release vast quantities of fuel. The order creates an "interagency working group" that directs 12 federal agencies to collaborate in bolstering "safe and responsible unconventional domestic natural gas development."

 
 

 President Obama drew praise from the energy industry on Friday after issuing an executive order to amend federal oversight procedures of hydraulic fracturing — commonly known as "fracking" — which injects water, sand, and chemicals deep underground to release vast quantities of fuel. The order creates an "interagency working group" that directs 12 federal agencies to collaborate in bolstering "safe and responsible unconventional domestic natural gas development."

 
Included in the group of federal collaborators are the departments of Energy, Defense, Commerce, Interior, Agriculture, Transportation, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services, as well as the National Economic Council, Council on Environmental Quality, Office of Management and Budget, Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The executive order states, in part:
 
While natural gas production is carried out by private firms, and states are the primary regulators of onshore oil and gas activities, the federal government has an important role to play by regulating oil and gas activities on public and Indian trust lands, encouraging greater use of natural gas in transportation, supporting research and development aimed at improving the safety of natural gas development and transportation activities, and setting sensible, cost-effective public health and environmental standards to implement federal law and augment state safeguards.
 
The EPA plans to issue a report later this year that focuses on the environmental safety of fracking, and many experts predict the report will undoubtedly promote new restrictions on the drilling method. 
 
New environmental rules and ongoing pressure from federal regulators have posed serious concerns for the energy industry. Presidential contenders and congressional Republicans have castigated Obama for overlapping government regulations that have threatened to slow production. Consequently, critics contend that the President is seeking to combat such claims with Friday’s announcement.
 
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