Featured StoryThe unusually warm and dry weather across more than half of the United States has resulted in one of the worst droughts in U.S. history. Much has been made about how the crisis will affect crops and cattle, but it could also alter oil production and prices.
With nearly 64% of the contiguous United States in a drought, the highest percentage since the U.S. Drought Monitor began recording such data in 2000, the economic repercussions are searing.
To date, 2012 has already surpassed 2011's $12 billion in drought losses, and this year is on pace to rival the droughts of 1980 and 1988, which endured losses worth a current value of $56 billion and $78 billion, respectively.
According to 70 years' worth of data studied by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, weather (from heat waves to cold spells to droughts) can cause up to a 1.7% rise or fall each year in the U.S. economy's gross domestic product.
Farmers and agricultural companies have been voicing concerns, now oil and gas companies are speaking up.
With farmers trying to hold on to every ounce of water they find, oil companies don't know how they will get the water needed to drill into their oil fields.
"Water is the key to unlocking oil and gas. We take it for granted," in the U.S., said Chris Faulkner, president and chief executive officer of Breitling Oil & Gas, which has numerous operations in several of the new shale regions.
oil and gas industry
Oil and Gas Companies: What this EPA Official Doesn't Understand
Government bureaucrats really need to stop talking when there's a camera present; otherwise, they might just get caught telling the truth about their agenda when the tape resurfaces.
Enter Dr. Alfredo Armendariz, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regional administrator for Region 6, a region that oversees environmental regulations for energy companies in Louisiana, Arkansas, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma.
Turns out, Armendariz doesn't like oil and gas shale production, and he's quite the history buff.
Joel Gehrke in Washington explains:
"Al Armendariz, a regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, explained in 2010 that he understands the EPA policy to be to "crucify" a few oil and gas companies to get the rest of the industry to comply with the laws.
"I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement," Armendariz said during a meeting in 2010. "It's kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean: they'd go into little Turkish towns somewhere, they'd find the first five guys they'd run into, and they'd crucify them and then, you know, that town was really easy to manage over the next few years."
Armendariz said that by finding companies that are "not compliant with the law and you make examples of them," the EPA could maximize its enforcement capability with limited resources. He added that "fines can get very high very quickly, and that's what these companies respond to.""
Let's forget the reference to killing dissidents for a second. That's a whole different therapy session.
There are a few important points that need to be addressed about this sort of rhetoric.
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