All the world's a "fracking" stage, and all the men and women merely players

Seems like everyone is jumping onto the “Fracking” bandwagon. 

In an earlier blog we talked about the US Department of Energy’s entrance into the “Fracking” fray with Secretary Steven Chu appointing an Energy Advisory Board subcommittee on natural gas, led by former CIA director John Deutch, who plan to have recommendations on the table in the next few weeks.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the other federal agency looking at the environmental impact of drilling for huge volumes of shale gas, but EPA doesn’t plan to release its initial findings until 2012 at the earliest. Nevertheless, this week they unveiled proposals to regulate air pollution from oil and gas operations, taking aim for the first time at the fast-growing practice of hydraulic fracturing.

Environmental activists say the regulations would mark the first significant steps taken by the EPA since 1985 to control harmful emissions released during production and transport of oil and gas, and the Texas Oil and Gas Association is already characterizing the proposed rules as an “overreach.”

The EPA’s suggested regulations fit into four categories, including new emissions standards for (1) volatile organic compounds (VOCs), (2) sulfur dioxide, (3) air toxics during oil and gas production, and (4) air toxics for natural gas transmission and storage.

The EPA expects the following emissions reductions would result if the new standards were fully implemented:

  • VOCs: 540,000 tons, or industry-wide reduction of 25 percent
  • Methane: 3.4 million tons, which is equal to 65 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, or a reduction of about 26 percent
  • Air Toxics: 38,000 tons, a reduction of nearly 30 percent.

Now Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter has put together the Eagle Ford Task Force, whose top concerns include:

  • Protecting water resources while tapping into millions of gallons to help shake oil and gas out of tight shale formations
  • Waging good community relations via public education of how the oil and gas industry will operate in the area
  • Listening and working with concerns of locals citizens concerning noise levels and wear and tear on county roads and state highways
  • Developing a well-trained, technical workforce to fill thousands of entry-level jobs with starting pay of $60,000
  • Exercising stewardship over the area’s natural resources while balancing environmental concerns with cost-effective regulatory practices

Individuals named to the task force include:

  • Stephen Ingram, Halliburton Technology Manager
  • Brian Frederick, southern unit vice president of for the east division, Houston, of DCP Midstream, a gatherer and processor of natural gas
  • Trey Scott, founder of Trinity Minerals Management of San Antonio
  • Leodoro Martinez, executive director of the Middle Rio Grande Development Council, Cotulla.
  • Webb County Commissioner Jaime Canales, Precinct 4, Laredo.
  • Teresa Carrillo, Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club executive member and Eagle Ford landowner.
  • James E. Craddock, senior vice president of drilling and production operations, Rosetta Resources, Houston.
  • Erasmo Yarrito, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Rio Grande Water Master, Harlingen.
  • Steve Ellis, senior division counsel, EOG Resources, Corpus Christi.
  • Dewitt County Judge Daryl Fowler, Cuero.
  • Anna Galo, vice president, ANB Cattle Company, Laredo.
  • Mike Mahoney, Evergreen Underground Water Conservation District, general manager, Pleasanton.
  • James Max Moudy, senior client service manager, MWH Global, Inc., Houston.
  • Mary Beth Simmons, senior staff reservoir engineer, Shell Exploration and Production Co., Houston.
  • Terry Retzloff, founder, TR Measurement Witnessing, Campbellton.
  • Greg Brazaitis, vice president government affairs, Energy Transfer, Houston.
  • Glynis Strause, dean of institutional advancement, Coast Bend College, Beeville.
  • Susan Spratlen, senior director of corporate communications and public affairs, Pioneer Natural Resources, Dallas.
  • Chris Winland, Good Company Associates; University of Texas at San Antonio, interim director, San Antonio Clean Energy Incubator, Austin/San Antonio.
  • Paul Woodard, president, J&M Premier Services, Palestine.

 It will be interesting to see what kind of a production this cast of thousands puts on.