Fracking solution rests on state, federal laws

OlympiaApril 23, 2014 

If stopping shipments of ceramic proppants through Olympia’s port would end fracking, I would be all for it. But it wouldn’t make any difference.

Not even the EPA or the Bureau of Land Management can stop fracking without federal legislation. The 2005 Halliburton Loophole exempted fracking from significant EPA regulation, and Congress recently affirmed their position by voting 235-187 on HB 2728 to restrict federal regulations on fracking.

Stopping cargo at Olympia’s port would only steer it to other ports. Remember the military equipment protests of 2006-07? When the extra police presence became unaffordable, the cargo just moved from Olympia to Aberdeen and Tacoma.

Even if all U.S. ports stopped handling proppants, international shippers would move their cargo to Mexican or Canadian ports, then truck it into the U.S. Local family wage jobs, port revenue and state and local taxes would be lost, with no environmental gains.

Jobs and revenue would move elsewhere, but the oil and gas industry would still import proppants.

And as the proppants themselves don’t constitute a safety risk to dock workers or the community, how could the port legally turn away this cargo? Instead of vilifying the Port of Olympia, Port Commissioners Barner, McGregor and (formerly) Davis, ILWU Local 47, and the longshoremen who handle this legal cargo, concerned citizens need to focus on making fracking illegal, or highly regulated.

And that requires state and federal legislation. Electing state and federal representatives who will vote for environmental regulation is the solution.

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