Rep. Henry Waxman seems obsessed by fracturing concerns

Oklahoman Published: July 26, 2010
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Energy industry executives knew the Obama administration would play havoc with their ability to supply oil and natural gas. And this was before the Gulf oil disaster that led to the petty pace of offshore drilling moratorium edicts.

Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy and Devon Energy have been summoned by a congressional committee examining hydraulic fracturing. They're in good company: Others on the summons list include ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips.

Hydraulic fracturing's effect on water supplies has been examined for years and likely will be until the last syllable of this administration's executive orders is written. Tomorrow and tomorrow can't come soon enough for energy executives.

No adverse impact from fracturing has been proven. Shaking up rock through fracturing is essential for releasing natural gas from shale formations; natural gas is essential for transitioning power generation away from coal. Gas is also key (along with offshore oil drilling) in reducing dependence on foreign supplies.

Nevertheless, some poor players in Congress won't let the fracturing issue die a dusty death. California U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman seems obsessed by it. Yet natural gas is a relatively green, clean and abundant fuel.

We hope Waxman isn't on a witch hunt. Yet we're not encouraged by his antics when insurance firms made accounting adjustments following passage of Obamacare. Then, Waxman waxed indignant and demanded answers. It was all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Perhaps the fracturing probe will also be a brief candle. Waxman's strutting and fretting, though, appears to be a drama with no final act.


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