Park Service Director Pulls Back Criticism of Hydraulic Fracturing

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 30: U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) leaves the House floor after a vote on a budget continuing resolution that would fund the federal government but postpone the implementation of the Affordable Care Act for one year at the U.S. Capitol September 30, 2013 in Washington, DC. If House Republicans do not find common ground with President Obama and Senate Democrats on the federal budget by midnight, segments of the federal government will close, hundreds of thousands of workers would be furloughed without pay and millions more would be asked to work for no pay. 
National Journal
Clare Foran
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Clare Foran
Nov. 27, 2013, 1:58 a.m.

The Na­tion­al Park Ser­vice is with­draw­ing pub­lic com­ments sub­mit­ted in re­sponse to a draft pro­pos­al of reg­u­la­tions for hy­draul­ic frac­tur­ing, or frack­ing, pro­posed by the Bur­eau of Land Man­age­ment fol­low­ing con­ser­vat­ive at­tacks that the com­ments, which cri­ti­cized the drilling tech­nique as a pos­sible health and en­vir­on­ment­al haz­ard, were un­foun­ded, ac­cord­ing to The Hill.

When NPS form­ally com­men­ted on the BLM’s pro­posed frack­ing rule in Au­gust the agency cited an op-ed writ­ten by Cor­nell Uni­versity Pro­fess­or An­thony In­graf­fea, which raised the pos­sib­il­ity that frack­ing is a con­trib­ut­or to glob­al warm­ing be­cause it re­leases meth­ane gas.

This sparked push­back from oil and gas in­dustry groups and con­ser­vat­ive law­makers who charged that the op-ed was spec­u­lat­ive rather than sci­entif­ic. In Septem­ber, Rep. Rob Bish­op, R-Utah, chair­man of the House Pub­lic Lands and En­vir­on­ment­al Reg­u­la­tion Sub­com­mit­tee, wrote to Park Ser­vice Dir­ect­or Jonath­an Jar­vis call­ing the com­ments in­con­sist­ent with the agency’s sci­entif­ic-in­teg­rity policy and ask­ing the dir­ect­or to de­fend the re­sponse.

In mid-Novem­ber, Jar­vis wrote to Bish­op with no­tice that the park ser­vice is form­ally with­draw­ing its pre­vi­ous com­ments on the rule.

Jar­vis claims, in the let­ter, that the agency did not in­ten­ded to sub­mit the com­ments and that they were not prop­erly vet­ted in­tern­ally.

Bish­op re­spon­ded to the news with an at­tack on the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“This thinly veiled at­tempt to vil­i­fy en­ergy pro­duc­tion and hy­draul­ic frac­tur­ing on our pub­lic lands il­lus­trates a shared agenda between the ad­min­is­tra­tion and anti-en­ergy spe­cial-in­terest groups,” Bish­op com­men­ted in a state­ment, adding: “I’m pleased that Dir­ect­or Jar­vis will res­cind the com­ments and hope that, mov­ing for­ward, the NPS will dir­ect their ef­forts to­ward pro­mot­ing the re­spons­ible use of our di­verse lands and re­sources and away from mis­lead­ing the Amer­ic­an people.”

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