EARTHWORKS’ Oil and Gas Accountability Project issues a press release earlier calling on the Sub Committee to be transparent.
Here is the latest development…
For Immediate Release
June 15, 2010
Mike Morosi (Hinchey) – (202) 225-6335
Matt Dennis (Lowey) – (202) 225-6506
On a Party Line Vote, Committee Rejects Lowey-Hinchey Amendment to Make Shale Gas Panel Unbiased and Impartial
“It is outrageous that the Republican majority opposed our common-sense effort to ensure members of federal advisory boards are unbiased and without conflicts of interest,” said Lowey. “Allowing the shale gas industry to put a thumb on the scale of this board makes it more likely that the decisions it makes will focus more on profits and less on the safety of our water sources, Americans’ health, and environmental preservation.”
“Federal advisory boards are supposed to be unbiased, impartial bodies that advise our agencies, but almost everyone who currently serves on the shale gas advisory panel has direct financial ties to the oil and shale gas industry,” said Hinchey. “Now the Republican majority is calling for an even greater bias by requiring that one-third of the panel work directly on behalf of the shale gas industries. This isn’t an honest effort to give industry a seat at the table. Instead, it’s a blatant attempt to rig the decisions of the panel in favor of industry and against the safety and security of our environment, drinking water and public health.”
A number of recent reports and incidents are raising serious concerns about hydraulic fracturing. A study by researchers at Duke University found a statistically significant correlation between methane contamination of drinking water wells and their proximity to shale gas drilling sites. On April 20th of this year thousands of gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluid spilled into the Susquehanna River watershed, following a major fracking well blowout in Leroy Township, PA.
The text of the amendment, which was rejected on a party line vote follows:
Pages 99 and 100, strike ‘‘The Committee is concerned that the selected panel members will not adequately represent industry perspectives, and therefore will not foster a spirit of partnership among industry, environmental, and governmental parties. In order to strengthen these partnerships and industry support for any subsequent recommendations, no less than one-third of panel members should be industry representatives who actively work in the shale gas industry. Further, the” and insert ”The”.
About Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
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It looks like the Dallas Gas Drilling Task Force may be headed in the same direction. The task force member selection committee interviewed the first set of 10 candidates on Tuesday 6/14. My impressions are that five of the candidates are solidly in favor of the drilling industry (Brian "Patrick" Shaw, Bruce Bullock, Scott Deatherage, John McCall, Jon C. Napper). Two more appear to have some ties favoring the industry, Frank Lopez due to the American Lung Association – Chesapeake Energy relationship and Margaret Keliher who stated a concern for economic development. Two of three remaining candidates so far interviewed, Cherelle Blazer and Marc McCord, are involved in local environmental groups. The remaining candidate is Dr. David Sterling who studies public health and toxicology. My guess is that Dr. Sterling is admirably committed to academic integrity, but the rigors of science may prevent him from inferring relationships between public health issues and gas drilling simply because atmospheric emissions are largely unmonitored and fracking fluid toxins remain undisclosed.
If seven of the 10 candidates so far interviewed do indeed support gas drilling, then hopes are slim for a task force not biased in their favor. The 10 remaining candidates are scheduled to be interviewed at 2pm Tuesday 6/21 in City Hall room 6ES.
Your assessment of Dr. Sterling is right on. I heard him speak at UNT and, although I know he is concerned about gas drilling and the toxins' effects on public health, he was non committal and not at all helpful.
Typical. Only BBO's run for these offices–it's all arranged by the local junta!