10 Years Later: Fracking and a Halliburton Loophole

This past Saturday, marked a critical 10th anniversary. But it was certainly zero to celebrate. Ten years ago, President George W. Bush sealed a Energy Policy Act of 2005. The hulk appetite check enclosed large giveaways for a hoary fuel, nuclear and ethanol industries and supposing usually token incentives for renewables and softened appetite efficiency. But a many barbarous square of a law was what is now ordinarily famous as a “Halliburton Loophole,” an gross regulatory grant that ushered in a catastrophic epoch of widespread oil and gas fracking that now grips a nation.


Fracking—the impassioned oil and gas descent routine that involves blustering millions of gallons of H2O churned with poisonous chemicals subterraneous during huge pressures to mangle detached subterranean rock—has exploded in a final decade. More than 270,000 wells have been fracked in 25 states via a nation. More than 10 million Americans live within a mile of a fracking site. This means that 10 million Americans—and truly many more—have been placed directly in harm’s way. Hundreds of peer-reviewed studies have connected fracking to critical tellurian health effects, including cancer, asthma and birth defects.

For this we can appreciate the Energy Policy Act of 2005, a law that binds a Halliburton Loophole. Named after Dick Cheney and a scandalous residence he led before apropos clamp president, a law (championed by Cheney and ashamed Enron owner Kenneth Lay, among others) categorically exempted fracking operations from pivotal supplies of a Safe Drinking Water Act. These exemptions from one of America’s many elemental environmental insurance laws supposing a oil and gas attention a shield it compulsory to rise a rarely polluting routine on a grand inhabitant scale.

One of a many discouraging repercussions is how fracking companies censor a essence of their poisonous H2O and chemical solutions pumped into a ground. Contamination of subterraneous celebration H2O sources from fracking fluids is a vivid hazard to open health and safety. Yet even doctors responding to fracking-related health complaints can’t entrance information on what sold chemicals their patients might have been unprotected to.

But a Halliburton Loophole wasn’t a usually fracking enabler in a Energy Policy Act. The act postulated a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) unconditional new management to substitute state and internal decision-making with courtesy to a citing of fracked gas pipelines and infrastructure. It also shifted to FERC attention slip and correspondence shortcoming for a National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, another pivotal law. This was same to putting a fox in assign of a hen house.

As it stands, FERC is wholly unaccountable to open will. It is unaccountable to Congress and even a White House. Commissioners are allocated to five-year terms and can do as they please. Until a law reigning in FERC is passed, a elect will continue to act as a rubber-stamp for a hoary fuel industry.

Additionally, a Energy Policy Act repealed an critical anti-monopoly law, a Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 (PUHCA). PUHCA safeguarded consumers from a overreach of a oil and gas attention and banks that did business with those companies. It prevented a arrangement of hulk state and informal appetite cartels that could manipulate appetite costs, rivet in profiteering and strive undue change over domestic debate. The Energy Policy Act eliminated many of this slip to FERC. Since then, a largest American appetite companies have grown significantly some-more absolute and spent roughly a billion dollars on sovereign lobbying, according to OpenSecrets.org.

The 10th anniversary of a Energy Policy Act is indeed a unhappy occasion, though it provides us with a developed event to reexamine a nation’s catastrophic routine of doubling-down on hoary fuels over a final decade, interjection to a impassioned routine of fracking. For a consequence of large Americans who are now pang health effects caused by fracking and a large some-more who will humour in a future, we contingency immediately diminish a coherence on oil and gas and spin decisively toward a truly clean, renewable appetite future.


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