Vets4Energy defends fracking amid federal efforts to curtail extraction process

A fracking operation
A fracking operation | Contributed photo

Because the process of hydraulic fracturing is said to create more energy and in the end reduces carbon emissions in the U.S., the federal government should not want to ban it, retired U.S. Army Capt. James McCormick, program director of Vets4Energy, said.

Specifically, hydraulic fracturing, also called "fracking," “has given America a new place in the world,” McCormick told TI Daily News, concerning the process, which entails the injection of fluid – such as a water, sand and chemicals mixture -- into shale beds at high pressure to free up petroleum energy resources, such as oil or natural gas.

Fracking, which has significantly boosted domestic oil production and helped drive down gas prices in the U.S., has become increasingly controversial over environmental concerns. But McCormick, one of the leaders at Vets4Energy, a group that advocates for energy policies to sustain America’s security, touted its benefits.

“As a new energy superpower, we’re not only helping drop the price of oil to record lows, but accessing huge new stores of clean-burning natural gas. And that has now made us the global leader in the reduction of carbon emissions,” McCormick, a three-time Purple Heart recipient who served in Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, said.

Foreign enemies, in particular, are reeling from the positive results associated with fracking, McCormick said.

“The economic benefits hydraulic fracturing provides us at home is one thing, but the more important result is how our new energy leadership position is taking power and funds away from our enemies, and the killers like ISIS, who use funds from oil against America and our allies,” McCormick, who also testified recently in support of the process during an EPA Science Advisory Board Hearing, said.

“Hydraulic fracturing has given freedom a new power over these regimes, and as an American soldier, that is a power I will always fight to keep,” McCormick said.

And because of these benefits, McCormick isn’t quite sure why the federal government wants to ban fracking.

Last week in Wyoming, a federal ruling was handed down that appears to lean toward the fracking industry. 

U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl ruled June 21 that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) doesn’t have the authority to establish rules over fracking on federal and Indian lands. In fact, Skavdahl said Congress had not granted BLM the power to make fracking rules. Skavdahl subsequently chose to exclude the practice from federal oversight.

Skavdahl, an Obama apointee, has been traveling down this road since at least last summer, when he initially blocked the BLM rules, which included a requirement that companies drilling for natural gas and oil reveal the chemicals they use in the fracking process, required barriers between wells and water zones, and created recovered wastewater storage protocols, among other items. The regulations have been stayed since that ruling.

In his recent ruling, the judge said he wasn’t determining whether fracking was good or bad for the environment, but whether Congress delegated legal authority to the U.S. Department of Interior, of which BLM is a bureau, to regulate hydraulic fracturing.

“It has not,” Skavdahl said. “The court finds the intent of Congress is clear, so that is the end of the matter.”

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Bureau of Land Management Vets4Energy

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