Hydraulic Fracturing

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  1. Energy Industry: Emails: EPA's Pruitt cozy with fossil fuel industry

    In this Feb. 21, 2017 file photo, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks in Washington. While Oklahoma’s attorney general, emails show that new Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt was in frequent contact with fossil fuel companies and special interest groups working to undermine federal efforts to curb planet-warming carbon emissions. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) WASHINGTON (AP) — While serving as Oklahoma's attorney general, new Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt coordinated closely with fossil-fuel companies and special interest groups working to undermine federal efforts to curb planet-warming carbon emissions, newly released emails show. More than 7,500 pages were released under court order Tuesday evening after an Oklahoma judge ruled that Pruitt had been illegally withholding his correspondence, which is public record under state law, for the last two years. Pruitt's office was forced to release the emails after he was sued by the Center for Media and Democracy, a left-leaning advocacy group. Other emails are still being held back pending further review by the judge. The Republican-dominated Senate voted on Friday to confirm President Donald Trump's pick to lead EPA. Democrats had sought to delay the vote on Pruitt's confirmation until the requested emails were released, but Republican leaders used their slim majority to push Pruitt through. The emails show Pruitt and his staff coordinating their legal strategy with oil and gas industry executives and conservative advocacy groups funded by those profiting from fossil fuels, including the billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch. While serving as Oklahoma's elected state lawyer for the last six years, Pruitt sued federal agencies more than a dozen times to challenge stricter environmental regulations. Among the emails is a series of 2013 exchanges between Pruitt's staff and Richard Moskowitz, general counsel for the Washington-based American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers. The lawyer detailed the industry's plan to seek waivers from the federal rules boosting the use of renewable fuels and asked Pruitt to make a specific legal argument under air pollution regulations known as the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The email was copied to Thomas Bates, then Pruitt's first assistant attorney general. "We think it would be most effective for Oklahoma to file a separate waiver petition that emphasizes 'severe environmental harm,' as this argument is more credible coming from a state with primary responsibility for achieving and maintaining attainment with the NAAQS," Moskowitz wrote. Moskowitz's email was then forwarded to Pruitt's deputy solicitor general, P. Clayton Eubanks, who replied that he knew little about the federal Renewable Fuel Standard and asked for further instructions about what the trade group wanted them to do. "I think it is safe to say that AG Pruitt has an interest in the issue," Eubanks wrote. "Hopefully I haven't missed the boat too much on these questions but I want to make sure I fully understand what Oklahoma's role will be." Now working at EPA, Pruitt did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. Environmentalists cited Pruitt's close ties to the fossil fuel industry in opposing his nomination. Like Trump, Pruitt has questioned the validity of scientific studies showing the Earth is warming and that carbon emissions from human activity are the primary cause. As attorney general, Pruitt's office joined a GOP-led multi-state lawsuit seeking to overturn President Barack Obama's plan to limit emissions from coal-fired power plants. During his confirmation hearing last month, Senate Democrats pressed Pruitt on political donations he had raised from energy companies such as Exxon Mobil and Devon Energy, including "dark money" funneled to groups not required to disclose their donors. Pruitt's staff was also in close contact with the American Legislative Exchange Council and Americans for Prosperity to coordinate opposition to new EPA regulations. Oil industry giant Exxon Mobil is a major donor to ALEC, while AFP is closely linked to Koch Industries, which owns petroleum pipelines. In another exchange of emails from 2013, executives from Devon, an Oklahoma City-based oil and gas company, asked Pruitt to send an official state response to new regulations on hydraulic fracturing proposed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The company provided a draft letter for Pruitt's signature, addressed to the White House office that reviews regulations. "Our goal is to have input to (the office) with a goal of its directing BLM to completely do away with the present thrust," wrote William Whitsitt, an executive vice president at Devon. Brent Rockwood, another Devon executive, chimed in with suggested edits and additions for Pruitt's filing. "Thank you for your guidance and assistance in getting this letter out," Eubanks, the deputy solicitor general, later emailed Rockwood. Melissa McLawhorn Houston, Pruitt's chief of staff, emailed a Devon executive in November 2013 asking whether it would be possible for her to take her sons to a posh restaurant at the top of the company's 50-story headquarters building. She wrote that they were "dressed like tourists" and had no plans to eat. Allen Wright, Devon's vice president for government affairs, quickly responded by having his assistant arrange a personal escort for Houston, who later followed up by inviting the executive out to lunch. "You are so sweet!" Houston responded to Wright. "Thank you again so much for your help on this! Very sweet and you'll be making 2 little boys very happy!" In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Houston insisted she wasn't asking for a favor, but rather was just emailing a longtime acquaintance out of concern her family might not be appropriately dressed. She said they ended up not going and that her sons have still not made it to the top of Devon Tower. Asked about a separate email confirming an appointment for her at the building a few days later, Houston said she had no specific recollection of what that visit was about. "I've been to Devon several times," Houston said, adding that she likes the gelato sold in the lobby.

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    Fri, 24 Feb 2017

  2. Renewable Energy: Democrats propose doubling Nevada's renewable energy target

    Democratic lawmakers are proposing legislation to move Nevada away from fossil fuels more quickly than planned.

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    Thu, 16 Feb 2017

  3. Oil and Gas: FBI, IRS raid Texas state senator's San Antonio office

    Federal agents have raided the office of a Democratic state Senator from San Antonio with close ties to a scandal ridden oil field services company.

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    Fri, 17 Feb 2017

  4. Oil and Gas: Bill exempts some fracking chemicals from records requests

    Legislation that would exempt certain chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing from public disclosure is advancing in the Virginia General Assembly.

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    Wed, 8 Feb 2017

  1. Oil and Gas: Protesters rally in front of State House to oppose fracking

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    Fri, 3 Feb 2017

  2. Another win for statewide regulation of hydraulic fracturing

    Colorado has joined a growing list of states that prohibit municipalities from banning hydraulic fracturing .  

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    Fri, 13 May 2016

  3. Hydraulic fracturing stymied in Canadian East

    Hydraulic fracturing remains stymied in two of Canada’s Atlantic provinces. New Brunswick has extended indefinitely a moratorium on the completion technique imposed in 2014. And an independent panel appointed that year to assess hydraulic fracturing in Newfoundland and Labrador has refused to ...

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    Tue, 31 May 2016

  4. Sanders: Ban hydraulic fracturing nationwide

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), seeking to become the Democratic Party’s candidate in this year’s presidential election, has called for a nationwide ban on hydraulic fracturing .

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    Tue, 12 Apr 2016

  5. Gazprom Neft conducts 30-stage hydraulic fracturing operation

    PJSC Gazprom Neft said it completed a 30-stage hydraulic fracturing operation in Russia’s Yuzhno-Priobskoye field. 

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    Mon, 18 Jul 2016

  6. Global hydraulic fracturing market projected to continue growth

    Transparency Market Research has released a new market report titled " Hydraulic Fracturing Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth Trends, and Forecast, 2014 – 2022" that says the global hydraulic fracturing market stood at 21.34 MHHP in 2013 and is expected to reach 33.97 MHHP by ...

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    Fri, 26 Jun 2015

  7. Report: Hydraulic fracturing market worth $90.55B by 2020

    The global hydraulic fracturing market is expected to reach US$90.55 billion by 2020, according to a new report by Grand View Research Inc. Hydraulic fracturing enables easier crude oil and natural gas extraction from unconventional reserves such as coalbed methane, shale formations, and tight ...

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    Mon, 22 Feb 2016

  8. Oil and Gas: Bill exempts some fracking chemicals from records requests

    Certain chemicals pumped underground during hydraulic fracturing would be exempt from public records requests under a bill advancing in the Virginia Legislature.

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    Sat, 14 Jan 2017

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