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The latest from the Fracking War Front

As our energy guru Tyson Slocum just wrote, fracking is more than just a controversial method for extracting natural gas , it’s another weapon in the oil industries’ inside-coat-pocket-o-tricks. Yeah! As if we really needed another reason to dislike Big Oil.

"Tyson Slocum fracking"
Tyson Slocum debates fracking, Eagle Ford and the Safe Drinking Water Act on CNBC

Last week as industry executives gathered in Houston for a major global energy conference, the Houston Chronicle ran a front page story entitled, “Fracking foes put industry on the defensive,” which it then featured later on that day on the often turned to “FuelFix” blog. In it, reporter Brett Clanton writes: “Anyone scoring the ongoing debate over hydraulic fracturing would notice that critics of the controversial oil and natural gas extraction process have lately put a few points on the board.” He goes on to quote Public Citizen’s energy program director Tyson Slocum:

The next order of business is going to have to be holding politicians’ feet to the fire.

This is pretty much exactly what Slocum did last night in a debate with industry talking head John Killduff on CNBC regarding the oil industry’s push to use a form of fracking to access and exploit oil locked in shale rock in an area in Catalina, Texas, called Eagle Ford.

Slocum began by explaining that for each shale well that is made six million gallons of clean drinking water must be used. The water is loaded up with toxic chemicals, which the industry will not disclose and doesn’t have to because they are exempt under the Safe Drinking Water Act, and shot into the shale rock where 85 percent of it will remain. This brings about all kinds of problems and questions like, can you light your water on fire?

And yet, industry claims it’s totally safe:

Killduff: First of all, so — Texans love oil drilling. The fact is that — the industry has a great track record.

Slocum (interrupting): No! No it does not! It absolutely does not!

Not to my surprise Killduff continued and went in for the spin saying,  did what was expected, he tried to spin things:  in what was perhaps the most entertaining moments of the entire show:

Killduff: Come, on Tyson. We need this oil, and you know that. Yes, there needs to be a cop on the beat. I agree with you. There have been at least one or two accidents, but we are talking about a million barrels a day  . . .

Slocum: If the industry says that their process is so safe, then why are they afraid to have fracking be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act? We need to regulate this to insure that in our pursuit of today’s energy solutions, we don’t contaminate tomorrow’s drinking water supply.

Killduff: It’s overwhelmingly safe. On this one the oil industry has a good track record. They have a good track record in deep oil drilling except for BP.

Slocum: (laughing) that’s a BIG exception.

Killduff: You have to be rationale about exploiting these natural resources.

Slocum: We have to be rationale about clean drinking water.

And so the frackaholics saga continues. As Brett Clanton explains:

Legislation before Congress, known as the FRAC Act, would require more disclosures by oil companies on fluids used in hydraulic fracturing and bring the process under federal environmental laws, rather than leaving it to the states to regulate. After debuting in 2009, it was reintroduced in March, but it still faces an uncertain future.

Watch the entire CNBC “Fracking Wars” debate segment. Learn about natural gas extraction, which also involves fracking, and visit Public Citizen’s website for more about the controversial practice.

Want to take action to stop the madness? Tell your reps that they need to protect your drinking water !