The Supporting Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources Executive Order seeks to create what amounts to a Presidential super committee that will oversee the regulation and development of the ‘unconventional’ natural gas industry for the purpose of ensuring a long-term natural gas supply for the United States, as well as to do so in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.
Excerpts (Read the complete E.O.):The target of the legislation is what many believe is the unrestricted and out-of-control drilling practices of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a process which blasts water, sand and chemicals underground to stimulate the release of natural gas. Fracking has led to health concerns from environmentalists and others for its potential to pollute the air and contaminate drinking water. Some theories also suggest that fracturing may raise the likelihood of earthquakes in areas like the central United States, an argument that many scientists agree is plausible.
While natural gas production is carried out by private firms, and States are the primary regulators of onshore oil and gas activities, the Federal Government has an important role to play by regulating oil and gas activities on public and Indian trust lands, encouraging greater use of natural gas in transportation, supporting research and development aimed at improving the safety of natural gas development and transportation activities, and setting sensible, cost-effective public health and environmental standards to implement Federal law and augment State safeguards.
Because efforts to promote safe, responsible, and efficient development of unconventional domestic natural gas resources are underway at a number of executive departments and agencies (agencies), close interagency coordination is important for effective implementation of these programs and activities. To formalize and promote ongoing interagency coordination, this order establishes a high-level, interagency working group that will facilitate coordinated Administration policy efforts to support safe and responsible unconventional domestic natural gas development.