The Sierra Club is already trying to slow the gas rush, which began in Texas and has expanded to Pennsylvania, Colorado and other states. It’s started a nationwide “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign to push for more regulation on an industry it describes as “Dirty, Dangerous and Run Amok.”
“We need to avoid replacing one set of problems with a new but very different set of problems,” said Michael Brune, the Sierra Club’s executive director, referring to coal and natural gas. Investing in green energy makes more economic and environmental sense, he said.
The Sierra Club knows natural gas will be a part of the nation’s energy future. “How much a part is a big fight right now,” Brune said.
Such arguments have resonated with many environmental groups, and with actors and musicians who are lending their star power to anti-drilling efforts.
The Hollywood film Promised Land is scheduled for release in December, starring Matt Damon, with a story line about drilling from best-selling novelist Dave Eggers. But even before its release, critics pounced on the fact that some financing for the project came from a company in the United Arab Emirates — a country that stands to lose money if the U.S. gets more of its energy needs at home.
Brune agreed that “you have to acknowledge that there are benefits to home-grown energy.”
Critics say many states haven’t been tough enough on the industry, which has objected to the idea of national drilling regulations. Some state officials oppose such proposals, too.
“Yes, we are concerned,” said Patrick Henderson, energy executive for Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett. “Upwards of 10 federal agencies are seeking to put their proverbial nose under the tent with regard to oil and gas development.” He added that federal intrusion “is a surefire way to impede job growth. We’ll be vigilant of proposed federal rulemakings.”