Does Halliburton Have Something to Hide?
The E.P.A. subpoenaed nine drilling companies, including Halliburton, to find out exactly what chemicals they use for hydraulic fracturing. Eight of them, not including Halliburton, are cooperating and will provide the requested information by early December. Halliburton replied that it will “endeavor to complete its response” by the end of January. Does Halliburton think they are an exception to the rule? Oh, wait… they actually are the exception.
Apparently, the company thinks it is unreasonable for the E.P.A. to do its job and request information about chemicals that could be invading drinking water systems. Even after they’ve had a free pass for the last five years — thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (also known as the Halliburton loophole), allowing fracking to be exempt from the rules of the Safe Drinking Water Act — Dick Cheney’s old company seems to believe that it’s unreasonable to quickly provide information to the E.P.A. about its fracking chemicals.
Back in 2009, Congress provided the E.P.A. with almost $2 million to conduct research on the fracking process, presumably to determine its effects on the environment. The results aren’t expected until 2012. Why is it so difficult to practice the philosophy of safety first, and why must the process of information sharing be so agonizingly slow?
Halliburton, which is currently the subject of presidential commission hearings because of the Gulf spill, is certainly proficient in creating an air of mystery when it comes to disclosure. In an industry of drill first; ask questions later, Halliburton looks like they have something to hide. The E.P.A. has the muscle to demand they disclose their chemicals. Will that be enough to force Halliburton to comply, or will this drag on for several more months?
If someone wants to build a deck onto their house, the local ordinance would most-likely demand they comply with local building, zoning and safety laws. If there is no compliance, they do not receive a permit to build their deck. This happens BEFORE the deck is built. But, if a company like Halliburton wants to set up a drill in your neighbor’s back yard and inject a bunch of chemicals in the ground that could potentially enter the drinking water supply, it’s apparently no problem. Isn’t it time for Halliburton to disclose their chemicals?