Send the Government Back to School

By: Peter M. Duncan

A new government report is asking for tougher standards for natural gas drilling and the American Petroleum Institute (API) is pushing back-citing current regulations and industry improvements that have been disregarded.

The API's comments  refute several government recommendations, and API's upstream director, Erik Milito, said, "The report failed to recognize the strong regulations and industry protections that are already in place."

Milito continued to say that he wished the group had acknowledged existing regulatory programs "and various steps taken by industry . . . which is committed to continuously improving."

Specifically, the API is pushing back against the group's argument that diesel fuel should not be used to drill for natural gas. (Diesel has historically been a key ingredient in the mixtures used deep underground to help break up shale rock and unlock natural gas.)

The API contends, "…diesel fuel is currently authorized for use as a permitted fracturing additive under federal law," and any changes would require new action by the Energy Department, slowing an already tedious permitting process.

It's always easier to pass the buck instead of doing your homework-you see it in cubicles across America every day. In this case the "homework" isn't difficult-its been tested, documented and published. It's time for the government to buckle down and get theirs done.