Americahas verse reserves of oil and gas. With advancement in miningtechnology, there are new ways of mining. Though economical, somelike the hydraulic fracturing method also degrade the environmentleading to various social issues.
Theindustry players like Halliburton use non-disclosure agreements toensure that they control available information about theiractivities. They use this when leasing property from people and alsowhen making out of court settlements to those affected by itsexploration activities. InEastern in Wyoming, we see the Locker family signing a non-disclosureagreement with an oil company when it provides them a settlement forcontaminating their water supply. The oil company also provides themwith a reverse osmosis system to purify their water. The system doesnot filter glycol ethers leading to Mrs. Locker falling ill. Thatcaused the lockers to break the non-disclosure agreement they hadwith the oil company.
Theindustries practice secrecy even with its staff
Theoil companies fail to disclose to their workforce the dangers of thematerials they use. When Josh Fox is in Garfield County, he meetswith DR. Theo Colborn, a former us EPA advisor. She states that theworkers, bosses, and supervisors of the various oil mining sites shevisits are not aware of the hazardous nature of the chemicals theyuse. They trust their employer and believe the chemicals are notharmful. Through this secrecy, the oil industries ensure that thestaff cannot inform the public about the hazardous nature of thechemicals used in oil and gas mining. The thus maintain secrecy
Theindustry hiding behind the fact that oil well-fracking chemicals asproprietary
Thefluid used in hydraulic fracture mining has over five hundreddifferent chemicals. Due to exceptions provide to the oil industry in2005 under vice president Dick Cheney, this fluid is consideredproprietary, and the oil and gas industries are not obliged todeclare its content. The companies in this field can thus continueusing the fluid despite it being toxic and carcinogen and fail todisclose this to the public.
Theindustry compromises regulatory bodies like the EnvironmentalProtection Agency.
Inthe documentary, Wilson Weston explains how interested partiescompromised a peer review. In 2004 he was part of a seven-member teamtasked with establishing whether the hazardous material was findingits way underground in one of the states.
Thepanel recommended that there was no need to conduct an investigationof that particular oil mining activity despite the fact thathazardous material registered in underground tests. Wilson objected.5of the 7 members of the peer review panel that authored the reporthad a conflict of interest and would benefit if the decision not toinvestigate. He wrote a letter to Congress objecting.
Thatshows that the industry has ties with influential government officialwhich it can use to bend the law to its favor and prevent the publicfrom knowing the truth about the dangerous materials it pumpsunderground during oil and gas mining.
Complicacyby the Environmental Protection Agency.
Accordingto Wilson Wilson, the EPA should be investigating important issues,but it is not. It is asleep on the wheel. This body ensures that theenvironment is clean.Complicacyis also because some members of the EPA panels may not beindependent. We see that in one of the peer review panel in whichWeston Wilson was on, 5 of the 7 members of the peer review boardthat authored a report against investigating potential pollution byan oil industry firm had a conflict of interest and would benefitfrom the decision.
Biasnessby the Energy task force
DickCheney formed the energy task force when he became vice president.They met 40 times with oil industry leaders and only once withenvironment groups. That may be an indication that the task forceinclined towards the interest of the oil companies. Dick Cheney onceheaded Halliburton and may have vested interest even after leaving itand becoming vice president.
Theenergy task forcepassedthe Halliburton loophole to the safe drinking water act. It allowsoil and gas drillers to inject known hazardous materials directlyinto the underground water. The 2005 Bush energy policy exempted oiland gas industry from the safe drinking water act. It also exemptsthem from the clean air act. Such policies made the governmentpowerless in controlling pollution concerning oil and gas companies.
DickCheney while heading the energy task force of 2001 convinced theBureau of Land Management to lease BLM land to oil and gas firms.That was a poor policy it resulting in oil and gas companiespolluting and harming wildlife.
Thegovernment has to legislate the oil and gas industry. It should passlegislation like the fract act by Diana DeGette and Maurice whichwould require disclosure of chemical additives used in the hydraulicfracturing fluid. That will make the oil and gas industry cautious ofwhat they release into the environment. Policy also will play a majorrole in shaping future US oil and gas supply (Houserand Mohan, 2014).
Houser,T., & Mohan, S. (2014). Fuelingup: The economic implications of America`s oil and gas boom.