You've probably never heard of either hydraulic fracturing or Steve Heare, but odds are good that you will soon be hearing a lot in the Mainstream Media about both of them.
Hydraulic fracturing - aka "hydro fracking" - is an old technology used for six decades in places like Oklahoma and Texas to get to oil and natural gas deposits that would otherwise be unreachable by injecting water into adjoining rock formations.
Hydraulic fracturing is also now being used extensively in New York and Pennsylvania to tap into one of the world's largest natural gas deposits, the Marcellus Shale.
Estimates of as much as 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas make the Marcellus Shale, which also extends into Maryland, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia, an invaluable natural resource that could make genuine energy independence a reality for the U.S.
Already the initial drilling of Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania is causing an economic boom in small Pennsylvania towns that have been in dire economic straits for decades. Public support for expanding Marcellus Shale exploration and production is growing there, as well as in New York.
But that's exactly why environmentalists and their liberal Democrat allies in Congress, the media, the non-profit advocacy communities, and the universities are targeting hydraulic fracturing for elimination, seeking to turn it into the next hook for nationwide environmental fear-mongering.
They claim - with virtually no credible evidence to back it up - that hydraulic fracturing represents a dire threat to the drinking water millions of Americans in places like New York City and Philadelphia must depend upon every day.
Their chosen vehicle for now is the proposed Safe Drinking Water Act revisions that would fo the first time put EPA in charge of regulating - i.e. stopping - hydraulic fracturing nationwide. Regulation is now focused primarily on state government agencies.
That's where Steve Heare enters this picture He's EPA's director of drinking water protection division, so he knows a thing or two about protecting drinking water. During a conference of state officials this week, Heare said this:
"I have no information that states aren't doing a good job already." He also said, acording to Fox Business News, that, despite claims by environmental organizations, he hadn't seen any documented cases that the hydro-fracking process was contaminating water supplies.
That comment puts Heare square in the cross-hairs of environmentalist crusaders and extremists who are determined to put an end to Marcellus Shale exploration and development, even if it costs hundreds of thousands of jobs and denies trillions of cubic feet of natural gas that could heat and cool millions of American homes for decades to come.
Hydraulic fracturing is far from an unknown to others at EPA besides Heare. The agency has issued multiple reports and assessents on the technology over the years. But don't expect the fanatics leading the environmental crusade against the Marcellus Shale to be confused by such facts.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-CA, for example, is holding hearings on the "safety" of hydraulic fracturing because he just wants to get the facts to insure that “As we use this technology in more parts of the country on a much larger scale, we must ensure that we are not creating new environmental and public health problems.”
Waxman might want to consider talking to former EPA Director Carole Browner, who is now President Obama's "environmental czar." Way back in 1995, Browner wrote this letter indicating that EPA had found no problems with hydraulic fracturing in the type of case now being cited by environmentalists as grounds for new federal regulation or outright banning of the technology.
For more information on the issue, check out these links from Energy in Depth, especially the last one, which is a graphic illustration of exactly what is in the water used in hydraulic fracturing:
Fact Sheet: HF Opponents Say the Darndest Things
Issue Alert: When Gummy Bears Attack
Graphic: What’s In Frac Fluids?