A rigged game

Here’s a thought. Why don’t we exempt the trucking industry from all traffic regulations?

If you think that is an idiotic suggestion and I hope no one is naive or self-interested enough to claim it isn’t why aren’t you outraged that this has actually been done for oil and gas regarding our federal environmental regulations?

Industry makes the narrowly accurate but highly misleading claim that they are not exempt from the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, etc. In fact they have bought themselves exemptions from key provisions of all of these laws with the end result that there is no meaningful federal regulation of this industry. Consider just one example, which is perhaps the most egregious and insidious of the lot, the misclassification of Oil & Gas wastes under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

EPA found that most of the samples of Oil & Gas wastes they analyzed contained one or more chemicals of concern, some at concentrations hundreds of times higher than acceptable. They also admitted that some of these chemicals were already being regulated as hazardous in other contexts. Nevertheless, they decided these wastes should be classified under RCRA as residual rather than hazardous. Their rationale? Properly regulating these wastes might lead to a 17% reduction in domestic production. Why haven’t all those who swear by free markets demanded that government take its big, fat thumb off the scales? Finally, EPA did not evaluate what impact this decision would have on public health or the environment; perhaps they would more honestly be called the Expediting Pollution Agency.

Adding insult to injury, oil and gas also gets huge, unjustifiable tax breaks and subsidies from the feds.

So why, among all the petitions which flood my inbox, isn’t the demand for an end to these harmful giveaways front and center? Without these distortions to the free market, shale gas, as well as some other fossil fuels, would not be economically viable. When will those opposed to all the harms Oil & Gas is getting away with go after this Achilles’ heel?

John Kesich


Submitted by Virtual Newsroom