Michael Bloomberg Gives Fracking Qualified Endorsement; Donates $6 Million To Drilling Research
As New York State weighs allowing hydraulic fracturing within its borders, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is entering the fracking debate. He penned an opinion piece pushing for safer drilling, and then put his money where his mouth is by donating $6 million to an effort aimed at researching safer drilling practices.
The Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Independent takes his typical “both sides have a point” approach in a Washington Post opinion column, ticking off drilling’s benefits and risks.
In Bloomberg’s “plus” column: domestic drilling has lowered energy bills, creating jobs and providing an alternative fuel source to coal. (Bloomberg has donated $50 million to a campaign aimed at transitioning the country away from coal.)
Bloomberg – and co-author George Mitchell – then call for tighter regulations and standards:
We will encourage better state regulation of fracking around five key principles:
Disclosing all chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process;
Optimizing rules for well construction and operation;
Minimizing water consumption, protecting groundwater and ensuring proper disposal of wastewater;
Improving air pollution controls, including capturing leaking methane, a potent greenhouse gas; and
Reducing the impact on roads, ecosystems and communities.
The billionaire media mogul’s philanthropic fund announced a three-year grant for the Environmental Defense Fund, which Bloomberg said would be used to push a centrist view on the much-debated technique used with natural-gas drilling.
“The environmentalists who oppose all fracking are wrong, and the drillers who claim that regulation will kill the industry are wrong,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “What we need to do is make sure that the gas is extracted carefully and in the right places, and that has to be done through strong, responsible regulation. And that’s what our work with EDF is all about.”