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IN THE NEWS: Our View: Bishop right in fracking tiff

December 5, 2013
In The News

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By Editorial Board, Standard-Examiner

Score one for U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop in a battle with the feds.

Our local U.S. House member took the National Park Service to task for its attempt to rely on an opinion piece, rather than scientific data, as evidence for alleged methane leakage rates from oil and gas.

Last week, the NPS admitted it had erred. Jon Jarvis, Park Service director, asked that the claims be withdrawn from the record. Jarvis added that the NPS broke its own rules on appropriate review before presenting data. "The handling of these comments was contrary to National Park Service protocol and the staff that sent the comments was not clear on the appropriate review procedures. We have taken steps to ensure that all staff is informed of and follow appropriate review procedures for the handling of all future correspondence," Jarvis wrote Bishop in a letter.


Regardless of one's opinion on fracking and its effect on the environment, Bishop was right to take issue with the NPS and push for a retraction. The congressman has noted that according to the Environmental Protection Agency, in the past 23 years methane emissions from natural gas systems have dropped by 11 percent. He also was quick to note that the claim in the New York Times opinion piece, from Anthony R. Ingraffea, has been disputed by many scientists and challenged by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Fracking is a procedure in which natural gas is extracted through the injection of fluid into the ground to fracture shale. It has increased dramatically in the United States in recent years. Supporters tout it as a method for the U.S. to be energy independent. Opponents claim that the procedure which involves blasting fluid into the earth, can harm water sources. 

It is important though, that the feds use reputable sources when making claims. Rep. Bishop was right to call the NPS out.