Contrary to the president’s pledge to reduce government waste and make processes more efficient, the administration has announced plans for a new working group to study hydraulic fracturing, the process that has been used safely for over 60 years to extract natural gas from beneath the ground.
In January’s State of the Union Address, President Obama made light of the federal government’s incompetence and poor organization structure, stating, “Then there’s my favorite example: The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they’re in saltwater. I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.”
While it might take numerous government agencies to smoke a salmon, there are also too many cooks in the kitchen when it comes to the regulation of our nation’s energy supplies.
Recent technological advances in hydraulic fracturing, a process also known as fracking, have increased the recoverable supply, and lowered the price of natural gas. But the development of this abundant and now affordable U.S. energy source is getting caught up in red tape.
It is important to study and understand the potential safety and environmental impacts of the fracking process, but how many Agencies need to get into the act?
Congress authorized and provided funding to the EPA to study the issue. The Department of the Interior decided to pile on as well, and now the Department of Energy is getting in on the action. Adding another study to the mix will do little to prove anything and only serve to waste more government resources.