Republican Groups Tell Obama to Frack Public Lands and Abandon Federal Regulations
Aerial view of the Roan Plateau in western Colorado, taken on April 17, 2007. Natural gas and oil wells in the Rulison Field (part of the larger Piceance Basin energy development) cover the foreground at the base of the Plateau. Photo courtesy of EcoFlight / SkyTruth
The Republican Governors Association (RGA) along with the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) sent a sent a letter to President Obama today, telling him that the federal government should abandon a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposal to create more transparency for natural gas fracking operations.
The proposal that the RGA and RAGA are referring to was first pitched earlier this year, and would require fracking companies who operate on federal or Native American lands to disclose the chemicals used in the fracking process. A loophole in the proposal allows companies to disclose after the fracking process has already begun, meaning that there are no requirements for disclosure prior to drilling.
The strong and efficient track record of states to regulate oil and natural gas production—as well as the rule’s significant and destructive impacts on our states—should not be ignored, and needs to be taken into serious consideration …
The BLM’s proposed rule only will discourage exploration and production on federal and Indian lands, potentially costing the federal government—and states that share in federal royalties—billions of dollars in revenue. The BLM rule places sweeping new regulations on hydraulic fracturing and related operations without any demonstrated problems that might need to be addressed.
The BLM’s proposal:
- Adds significant and unnecessary costs to the production of oil and natural gas without assuring additional environmental protection;
- Includes numerous expensive and time-delaying measures such as cement bond logs that do not guarantee additional safety or effectiveness;
- Includes complicated permitting requirements that would further delay federal permitting times, which already may be measured in months or even years, compared with weeks for permits granted by states. This would discourage exploration and production on federal and Indian lands, leading to significant lost investment and employment for states with federal lands …
In sum—the RGA and RAGA believe that any regulations and standards should be left in the hands of the state, not the federal government. But they couldn’t be more wrong. According to the Sierra Club’s Fracking Regulatory Action Center, very few states have even proposed rules for the fracking industry, and even fewer have put rules into effect.
The argument that RGA and RAGA are trying to make is that the federal government should leave the issue to the states to decided, which is a very common theme among Republican politicians. They firmly believe that states should be in charge of what happens within their boundaries, which is completely understandable. And while the letter to the president may give the appearance of adhering to the Party platform of “limited federal government,” if you look beneath the surface the real motivation becomes clearly visible.
The letter to Obama is signed by two people—Republican Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt. Jindal has taken in more than $300,000 from the oil and gas industry, and Pruitt (mostly from his tenure in the OK State Senate) has taken in a little more than $7,000. And those two are just the current mouthpieces.
The letter that was sent this week is actually just a follow up to one sent several months ago by the RGA, sent and signed by Virginia’s Republican governor Bob McDonnell. McDonnell’s donations from the oil and gas industries put the others to shame, as he has taken in more than $3 million from the dirty energy sector during his tenure in politics.
And, according to the Sierra Club’s Fracking Regulatory Action Center, none of these states currently have rules proposed or pending or on the books to reign in the fracking industry.
The bottom line is that if rules do not come from the federal level, they will not come at all. History doesn’t lie, and the signatories of this letter have had more than enough time to craft rules for the industry, but they have failed.
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
Click here to sign a petition to tell the Bureau of Land Management to issue strong rules for federal fracking leases on public lands.
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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