Last week, the world got a preview of America's new post Citizens United petro plutocracy with the oil lords flexing their political muscles like oil soaked body builders pumped up on a steroid drip of campaign dollars. It was all about fracking. The petro tycoons first orchestrated the forced resignation of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) top frack patch enforcer, then adeptly forced the same cowed agency to stall its release of a damaging scientific study on fracking and finally strong armed the Interior Department to open America's public lands to gas companies without prior disclosure of their frack chemicals.By Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
From its inception, hydrofracking has been an outlaw enterprise. The industry was born in a provision drafted in secret by oilman Dick Cheney's clandestine energy task force specifically exempting it from the Safe Drinking Water Act, a shale fracking method devised and patented by Cheney's former company Halliburton. The Vice President's henchmen then rammed the exemption though a supplicant post 9/11 Congress. Rough and tumble competition among fracking companies have turned the frack fields from North Dakota to Pennsylvania into modern Dodge Cities. Regulatory capture has given some of the industry's worst actors de facto immunity from their criminal behavior. In states like Pennsylvania and West Virginia, the fracking industry has flourished through habitual law breaking, including illegal dumping of horrendous toxins into public sewage treatment plants utterly unequipped to treat those poisons, using substandard casing protocols that regularly contaminate people's groundwater with carcinogenic benzene and explosive methane, and illegally filling streams to build roads, pipelines and drill pads. These species of habitual lawbreakers require the protection of crooked politicians and captive agencies to insulate criminal companies from the consequences of their illegal behavior. Oil companies are experts at using campaign contributions to purchase this class of government cooperation.