There have been many new and terrible changes in Trump’s EPA within the last two years, but this week, some users noticed a significant change in the fracking section of the website. Republicans have been staunch supporters of hydrofracking for years. Now, they might actually be able to do something about it.
“The most obvious EPA website change from the report is the very title of the fracking page. Previously called ‘Natural Gas Extraction – Hydraulic Fracturing,’ the EPA webpage on fracking is now titled ‘Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas Development.'”
“One read on this change is that the EPA is looking to broaden the scope of the page to include additional methods to extract fossil fuels from within the earth. Another read on the matter is that it’s an effort to remove “Hydraulic Fracturing” or “fracking” from the lexicon — a term that has an increasingly negative connotation.”
Some critics say the web page now reads as if it’s selling the service to the fossil fuel industry. On the other hand, many progressive states have now banned fracking altogether. Although, a federal ruling on the issue would overturn those bans. New York banned hydrofracking years ago, under Governor Cuomo.
Only 21 states have passed laws allowing residents to sell pieces of their land to these gas companies. States like NY decided to pass an overall ban due to environmental concerns. It’s been documented that hydrofracking affects water sources, with companies all over the country contaminating various communities. In addition, drilling into plates in the ground actuallly causes them to shift, and several states that allow fracking suddenly had a spike in earthquakes. Since this practice is fairly new, it’s not as regulated as it should be. Many of those same companies won lawsuits stating that the polluted drinking water is not their fault. The issue came to national attention when environmentalist Josh Fox’s 2010 documentary Gasland showed residents lighting their water on fire.
Andrew Wheeler, the current head of Trump’s EPA, is a former coal lobbyist, which doesn’t spell good news. Wheller replaced Scott Pruitt, who, if you can remember that far back, managed to sue the EPA no less than 14 times… before he was chosen to head that particular branch of government by the Trump administration.
Another interesting change to the website is a section on “Convening stakeholders,” which highlights the EPA’s relationship with gas and fuel companies.
Of course, any fracking de-regulation will likely take a minute to pass through the house and senate, and can always be overturned by the next president. However, it remains to be seen how much damage this does to the environment in the meantime.