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Energy Edge

EPA Versus Greens, Fracking Edition

January 15, 2014

EPA Versus Greens, Fracking Edition

The brewing battle between environmentalists and President Obama over fracking is ramping up.

In a letter to Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is seeking to address concerns about the agency's policies and actions around the controversial drilling technology called fracking. Beinecke wasn't happy with that letter, according to EnergyWire.

 

Grassroots environmentalists first launched the war against fracking a few years ago, and it's taken hold in many parts of the country. Now, major environmental groups with big Washington footprints are getting more critical of the process.

This is a troubling trend for the natural-gas industry, which once considered many of these groups its allies.

It may not bode well for the Democratic Party either, whose policymakers risk alienating a key constituent group and triggering divisions within the party if they mishandle—politically and policy-wise—this issue of fracking.

Meanwhile, it is a testament to the power of grassroots environmentalism.

Amy Harder
@AmyAHarder
aharder@nationaljournal.com

TOP ENERGY NEWS

By Clare Foran (@ckmarie) and Ben Geman (@Ben_Geman)

CITIES BOOST WORK ON OIL-TRAIN SAFETY AS PRODUCTION SURGES. Municipal officials nationwide are working on how to handle potential accidents involving trains carrying crude oil.

  • Our take: Pressure on the Transportation Department to strengthen safety standards for tank cars grows by the day, and lawmakers say the agency is moving too slowly.

HOEVEN WEIGHS LEGISLATION TO FAST-TRACK RAIL-SAFETY RULE. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., may propose legislation if the Department of Transportation fails to expedite a rulemaking to strengthen safety standards for rail-car construction.

EPA VOWS ACTION ON FRACKING RULES, POLICY. The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking to assure environmentalists that it hasn't dropped the ball on oversight of hydraulic fracturing.

WHITE HOUSE: CLIMATE POLICY INTACT DESPITE GOP RIDER. A GOP-backed provision in the new $1 trillion federal spending bill does not kneecap President Obama's bid to largely end U.S. support for building coal plants overseas despite adding new restrictions, administration officials say.

OBAMA MAY MAKE ENVIRONMENTAL CONCESSIONS TO ADVANCE TRADE DEAL. Environmentalists say that the White House is poised to abandon international environmental protections to secure passage for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

TRANSCANADA EXEC: THERE'S NO PLAN B ON KEYSTONE XL. TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said that strong market demand for the pipeline means the project must go forward.

U.S. TO ACHIEVE ENERGY INDEPENDENCE BY 2035. Thanks to booming oil and natural gas production, the U.S. is on track to become energy independent by 2035, according to an analysis by BP.

AL GORE: GEOENGINEERING TO COUNTER WARMING IS 'UTTERLY MAD.' The former vice president takes an extremely dim view of undertaking massive projects to manipulate the environment to counteract global warming, such as spreading particles in the atmosphere to deflect some sunlight.

GLOBAL INVESTMENT IN RENEWABLES DECLINES. The decline in 2013 marks the second-consecutive year that investment decreased in the clean-energy sector, a trend largely driven by European cutbacks in support for renewables.

EPA SAYS MINING COULD HARM ALASKA'S BRISTOL BAY REGION. A new EPA study finds that potential large-scale copper and gold mining in Alaska's Bristol Bay region could devastate the world's largest sockeye salmon run and harm Alaskan Native residents.

U.S. CHAMBER MAKES PUSH FOR ENERGY EXPORTS. The Chamber of Commerce signaled strong support for expanded crude-oil and natural-gas shipments abroad at an event Wednesday.

HAPPENING TOMORROW

SENATE NOMINATIONS MARKUP. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will convene to consider the nominations for a number of high-ranking Energy and Interior Department posts, including Michael Connor to be deputy Interior secretary and Elizabeth Robinson to be Energy undersecretary.

CLIMATE AGENDA HEARING. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee holds a hearing to review the president's climate action plan with testimony from Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy.

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