Energy Environment Montana Politics Ryan Zinke

Secretary Zinke: Industries Lapdog

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Secretary Zinke continues to hand out favors to industry by repealing common-sense rules and regulations that protect public lands, drinking water, and people.

In what has been described as a “staggering” Friday news dump, “over the past two weeks, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke dumped a staggering number of pieces of trash on the American people.”

Right before the New Year, the Department of Interior under Zinke announced that it would repeal a 2015 rule that required oil and gas companies to disclose toxic chemicals they use in fracking fluids on federal public lands.

For those that aren’t familiar, fracking fluids tend to be a toxic slurry of chemicals mixed with water and sand that is then pumped into the ground used to crack the underlying shale, thus releasing more oil and natural gas.  Oil and gas companies have relentlessly lobbied to ensure that these toxic mixes of chemicals are not disclosed to the public, maintaining that they are ‘trade secrets.’ It is estimated that over 100 billion gallons of fracking fluids are pumped under the U.S. each year.  An analysis by Inside Energy explains some of the dangers of these chemical cocktails and that a lot of the impacts still remain unknown. What should be known is what are in these mixes for basic safety should a spill occur, groundwater gets contaminated, if field workers are exposed, or if first responders are called to an emergency.

The justification by Zinke’s Interior? They ‘believe it imposes administrative burdens and compliance costs that are not justified.’ Zinke missed the record profits made by these oil and gas companies during the last quarter or the news that the U.S. producing near record amounts of oil and gas under current regulations. Regulations that protect our public lands and drinking water, not to mention fracking workers.

For Zinke, though, it’s just another favor for the industry that fueled his political ascension at the expense of the rest of us and our outdoors. Not only did Zinke pat himself on the back for being industries lapdog at year’s end, he called his ‘conservation stewardship legacy, second only to Teddy Roosevelt’ in a press release.

That is not only laughable on its face, it’s just plain embarrassing.

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