Transportation Department Helps EPA Attack Hydraulic Fracturing
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Here’s another example of a mixed message coming from the administration that touts an all-of-the-above energy policy
The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently reinterpreted a rule to go after trucks that deliver materials to oil and natural gas drilling sites that use hydraulic fracturing. The Washington Free Beacon reports:
The new interpretation of the rule would remove a “waiting time exemption” for trucks at drilling-sites, making any time they spend on-site count toward their 11-hour work limit. Because oil and gas drilling sites are often located in remote areas, sometimes without paved roads, and because of the unpredictable nature of the work, it is often necessary for trucks to say on-site for more than 11 hours.
This wasn’t a change that blankets the entire trucking industry; it happens to hit truckers servicing oil and gas rigs. In the rulemaking notice, DOT specifically targeted trucks that move water and sand, two primary materials needed to extract oil and gas from shale using hydraulic fracturing:
A significant increase in oil and gas drilling operations in many States has resulted in a major increase in [commercial motor vehicle] traffic to move the oilfield equipment, and to transport large quantities of supplies, such as water and sand, to the sites.
Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA), who spoke to the Free Beacon, accused the administration of reinterpreting this new rule because it wants to “curtail our domestic production.”
He might have a point. It appears that if one agency can’t succeed in putting up road blocks to shale energy, another one makes an attempt. Earlier this year, EPA tried to scare the public that hydraulic fracturing could contaminate drinking water in Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wyoming, but then backed off. Now, DOT gets into the act by going after trucks servicing oil and gas rigs.
It’s frustrating to watch multiple agencies unfairly attack a technology that's creating jobs and improving America's energy security. America is experiencing an energy boom because of hydraulic fracturing. Instead of impeding it, the federal government should be doing all it can to support it.