Fracking, a blessing?
Or another distraction
From a green future?
I am going to use environmental ethics theory to investigate a case related to the natural gas industry. I think it would be interesting to explore the industry specifically through an environmental lens, which incorporates both utilitarian and deontological theories.
Natural gas extraction has many economic, environmental, and societal effects. There has been controversy regarding everything from water contamination to increased number of sexual assaults in towns with an influx of industry workers. Regulation is also a highly contested issue. Some people argue it is under regulated, some people argue the opposite. Pennsylvania passed a bill entirely focused on natural gas extraction last year. New York has banned it entirely. For the moment I am considering writing about the Halliburton Loophole.
The Halliburton Loophole is a law that exempts oil and gas producers from certain parts of the Safe Drinking Water Act. It is called the Halliburton Loophole because it was signed into law when Dick Cheney, the former CEO of Halliburton, was vice president of the US. (Halliburton is an oil and gas company.) Through this specific case, my paper would analyze the environmental consequences versus economic benefits from the resulting industry behavior.
The EPA has made efforts to minimize the freedom the Halliburton Loophole gives oil and gas companies. This article, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-01/epa-shrinking-halliburton-loophole-threatens-obama-gas-pledge.html, explains the federal efforts to do so, as well as continued rule evasion by the industry. It makes me wonder how unbiased oil and gas regulation ever can be. And if the industry itself has extreme influence over its own regulation, it doesn’t look to good for the rest of us.