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unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Obama Administration Agrees to Review Drilling Regulations

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View John McManus's blog posts
16 December 2009, 12:07 PM
Administration settles Earthjustice suit over air pollution
Photo: BLM

The tens of thousands of new oil and gas wells that have popped up in the U.S. over the last decade—especially in the Rocky Mountain states—have created lots of air pollution. Much of it comes from the engines used to pump and compress the oil and gas or from leaks around the wells and pipelines. This air pollution makes skies smoggier, hazier, more toxic to breathe and alters the climate.

In New Mexico, some gas wells produce hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs. At low levels, hydrogen sulfide can cause difficulty breathing and headaches. At high levels, it can be lethal.

In western Wyoming and metropolitan Denver, oil and gas drilling is linked to rising smog levels, haze in wilderness areas and national parks, and to climate change.

Earthjustice filed a lawsuit against the Bush administration to force it to update the air pollution regulations with modern, state of the art technology to minimize the pollution. The Obama administration inherited this lawsuit and quickly recognized that Earthjustice was right. So they settled the case and have promised to do a fresh review with an eye towards getting newer, cleaner technology into the field.

Very informative and trustworthy blog. Please keep updating with great posts like this one. I have booked marked your site and am about to email it to a few friends of mine that I know would enjoy reading omegle sohbet

Very informative and trustworthy blog. Please keep updating with great posts like this one. I have booked marked your site and am about to email it to a few friends of mine that I know would enjoy reading
omegle sohbet

Yes there is lots of oil in the US, and it's a huge liability - especially the oil shale that constitutes most of that quantity. And that substance is a liability, not an asset. It represents a tremendous amount of carbon that was slowly sequestered from the atmosphere over hundreds of millions of years. Liberating all that carbon back into the air over a few decades would be catastrophic.

This doesn't have to do with "not in my backyard." It has to do with the fact that coal, oil, and gas are NONRENEWABLE resources. Back in the 1970's we knew we needed to develop renewable resources and the science and technology are there. I'm not talking about nuclear power. There are lots of alternatives. Drilling in our own backyard is not the only way, not the best way, not the way at all. When did we get the idea that we must "meet our energy needs" anyway? As if having central heating or A/C at 73 degrees is an absolute? What are the real basic necessities? Go live in a third world country for awhile and you'll find out a lot about necessities. We can live very simply if we need to. In this country, we use more energy than any other place on earth. That is CONSUMPTION. And that is using up what cannot be replaced! Where do we think we will go after that? What will we do then? Miraculously and spontaneously find a way to get back to sustainable living when all we know is how to rape the earth? We will destroy our planet and ourselves. Nonsustainable living is simply mad.

Yes, we need to get away from oil as a primary energy source ASAP. We're way behind on that. But for now we have no real choice. There are huge reserves in the plains states stretching into Canada, and ample amounts elsewhere. We are wasting untold billions by buying foreign oil at highly inflated prices when we could be drilling for it here at home at a fraction of the cost. And we can do it relatively cleanly, but the industry and government need watchdogs to keep them honest. To say that "oil is simply not there anymore" is ridiculous, and with new technologies such as horizontal drilling, most of it is now very accessible.

You are incorrect about there being 'relatively clean' ways of extracting 'huge reserves' of oil and natural gas. Go to and the articles about gas drilling in Scientific American and Propublica. Take some time to read these, because once you have understood the details, you will see this issue much differently. I applaud your interest and passion.

Anonymously re-asserting that we can drill our way out of our oil (and climate) crisis is about as stupid as I can imagine.

How did this person arrive here and reach these conclusions? The comment is totally off-base and oddly warped, seems to me.

We have no such reserves of oil, and easy oil is history in this country. Gas may be hopeful, but oil is simply not there anymore. We've spent it all with our profligate stupidity.

This person makes no sense.

Here we go with the not in my back yard routine. Sure, just kep buying the oil from the Arabs and pay through the nose while they buy it for ten cents and a quarter a gallon because we are supporting them paying the high price for it. Instead of drilling in our own back yards where we have more oil then all the Arab countries combined and would be able to get it cheap for every one again. All the brainy people again without a lick of common sense opening their big mouths without engaging their brains!

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