House Republicans Want Gas Drilling Industry Reps on DOE Subcommittee
Republicans in the House are stacking a key newly formed committee in favor of the shale gas industry, overriding attempts by New York Representative Maurice Hinchey to eliminate the pro-industry bias. The Republicans are calling for one third of all the members of the Department of Energy’s Natural Gas Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board to be shale gas industry representatives.
New York House Dems Maurice Hinchey and Nita Lowey proposed an amendment that would eliminate this bias. Unfortunately it was voted down by the Republican majority in a party-line vote. Hinchey calls the language in the Fiscal Year 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations bill “a blatant attempt to rig the decisions of the panel in favor of industry and against the safety and security of our environment, drinking water and public health.”
That’s worth repeating.
Hinchey’s blog post highlights the panel’s financial conflicts of interest:
“Federal advisory boards are supposed to be unbiased, impartial bodies that advise our agencies, but almost everyone who currently serves on the shale gas advisory panel has direct financial ties to the oil and shale gas industry. Now the Republican majority is calling for an even greater bias by requiring that one-third of the panel work directly on behalf of the shale gas industries. This isn’t an honest effort to give industry a seat at the table. Instead, it’s a blatant attempt to rig the decisions of the panel in favor of industry and against the safety and security of our environment, drinking water and public health.”
In his blog post, Hinchey cites the recent Duke University study linking methane contamination and fracking, and Chesapeake Energy’s April 20th blowout in the Susquehanna River watershed, among the reasons the public needs protection from the gas industry.