Home > Uncategorized > Of Fracking and the Republican Agenda

Of Fracking and the Republican Agenda

I want to touch briefly on two important things I just read –

I am busy today, so this will be too long for a tweet but not meaty enough for a blog post.

1. Who Killed the DRBC Nov. 21 Fracking Vote?

I was in NY City yesterday at Occupy Wall Street’s Day of Action when the decision was announced.

But, based on all the press releases in my inbox declaring victory today, I’ll assume that it’s common knowledge that the DRBC cancelled the November 21 vote to lift the fracking moratorium.

So the question now becomes: why and how did that come about?

It is plausible that it is due to intervention by the the Obama Administration (state’s were split 2-2, with Obama the deciding vote).

Thus far, the Obama Administration’s role at DRBC has largely remained below the radar screen.

Which is exactly why I wrote:

[Update: 11/15/11 – Bob Jordan of the Asbury Park Press covers the story: Groups push for state fracking ban. But Obama is the swing vote, not Christie. NY and Delaware are likely to oppose. PA Gov. and Christie already have openly supported fracking. Just like the Keytone tar sands pipeline, all forms of “extreme carbon energy” must be stopped, or as Jim Hansen says: “it’s game over for the climate” – end update.]

And thus far, fracking has been discussed primarily as a water resource issue, not a global warming issue.

So, the failures to engage fracking as a global warming issue and to hold the Obama Administration accountable are exactly why I asked a question of the 350.org representative at the Nov. 14 Trenton press conference held by NJ ENGO’s (a question that surprisingly was objected to and almost blocked by the host of the press conference).

In asking my set up question, I wanted to provide an opportunity for the regional representative of 350.org to link the DRBC Vote with global warming activism and the Obama Keystone XL tar sands pipeline decision.

And this is why I linked the two projects (Keystone & DRBC) and put the primary focus on Obama and federal policy (national issues) in this post:

Obama in the Crosshairs Again on DRBC Vote To Lift Fracking Moratorium

And this also is why I wrote last December to complain about the Obama policy decision to allow the US Army Corps to be the federal lead on the DRBC. (see: Obama Backs the Frack).

This move cut EPA out of the loop, a pro-fracking policy decision which Obama got very little if any criticism for.

Bottom line

It remains to be seen whether both the Keystone and the DRBC moves are merely cynical delays for political purposes.

This is my sense at the time, given:

  • the silence thus far on anyone stepping up to explain the DRBC delay;
  • the fact that the State Department is still downplaying the scope of review of Keystone; and
  • no one in Obama Admin has opposed Keystone – or DRBC -or said anything other than to support both.

2. Republicans are at War with the Environnment and Clean Energy

In the “Excuse me while my head explodes” department, Matt Eliot of Environment NJ has an Op-ed running today – in of all places, the Morris Daily Record – titled: Cutting pollution and promoting clean energy should never be a partisan issue


Anyone who would characterize Gov. Christie’s policy on clean energy as a “mixed bag” is either not paying attention or pulling punches for political reasons.

And why are calls for bipartisanship now begin made, just when the Republican Party itself, as a Party – at the federal and state levels – is SO BLATENTLY attacking environmental and clean energy policy?

And why is this written just at the point in time when this is becoming OBVIOUS to the public?

This “bipartisan” idea is a fool’s errand (or worse).

The Republican party is attacking the environment and energy for 2 reasons:

1) ideological (they hate government and regulation) and

2) a warped set of priorities – when policy conflicts emerge (as they often do), Republicans seek to please their corporate paymasters and protect their private profits, over protecting the public interest.


(ps – and of course I realize that many Democrats are driven by the same corporate interests)

[Update: a reader optimistically suggests that maybe Obama “plans to do the right thing after the election[when] there’s no more need for corporate contributions”.

This is a fantasy that we reply to as follows:

If the Obama team finally “gets it”, then why would Obama be:

  • supporting expanded drilling in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico,
  • issuing federal leases and permits for energy extraction from western lands at record rates (and sending critics to prison
  • doing little on regulation of GHG; and
  • expanding wars for oil and gas pipelines in the Middle east?

And after the election, those corporate interests just don’t go away.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
  1. scott olson
    November 18th, 2011 at 16:22 | #1

    Hey Bill, in Matt’s defense on ONE issue, I believe the “mixed bag” does NOT refer to Gov Christie’s policies, but instead the state of the state on energy policy (giving positive credit to the legislature). Read these key phrases in that section again:

    “Governor Christie has released…that, unfortunately, significantly scales back our renewable energy goals…provides few new ideas to…reduce energy demand…offers no strategy to help us get off oil in our cars and trucks. Worse yet, it actually increases our dependence on fossil fuels…To make matters worse, the Christie Administration is working as we speak to end our participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)…To their credit, legislative leaders in New Jersey are trying to hold the line and defend the very policies that have made us a clean energy leader…”

    I think his premise is right – clean water, air and energy SHOULD NOT be a partisan issue – as I’m fond of saying, “Everybody benefits from clean water” (and air and energy!)


  2. November 18th, 2011 at 16:55 | #2

    @scott olson
    Scott – while I don’t agree, that’s a very fair point in defense of Matt’s assessment of the Christie record. I just think it is wrong to equivocate on that.

    However, on the larger political issue, you have to abandon the “nonpartisan” ideal from the actual real.

    Whether or not the environment should be a partisan issue or not is irrelevant in a time when it is so obviously rampantly partisan – and one side (party) is doing the lion’s share of the attacks.

  1. No trackbacks yet.
You must be logged in to post a comment.