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New York Times; Oil and Gas Industry Sitting on 7,200 Drilling Permits

March 30, 2011

Greenwire and the New York Times are reporting that there are 7,200 drilling permits active on public lands in the United States and that an estimated 90% of these will be developed by fracking.

The fact that there is a permit does not mean drilling is imminent.  It’s only a part of the total picture and the first step in the process.  But it does show that the industry and the administration are invested and are targeting public lands using technology that has high potential to contaminate drinking water, release methane which is a potent greenhouse gas, and contribute to hazardous air pollution among the many other concerns surrounding unconventional natural gas hydraulic fracking.  All this before EPA studies are completed examining the process and it’s cumulative impacts to health and environment.

“I don’t see how the industry and their allies can maintain with a straight face this fiction that somehow the Obama administration is unduly restricting their access to public lands for drilling when they’re sitting on literally thousands of unused drilling permits,” said Dave Alberswerth, senior policy adviser on energy issues for the Wilderness Society and a former Interior Department official in the Clinton administration.

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