Today's News / Environmental and Occupational Health

Fracking foes oppose likely Secretary of Energy pick

Dr. Ernest Moniz has close ties to oil and gas industry

President Obama’s rumored pick for Secretary Energy is drawing loud “boos” from a coalition of anti-fracking groups, who say the appointment of Dr. Ernest Moniz would be “a major step backwards” in addressing the problems caused by climate change.

Americans Against Fracking is urging Obama to reconsider his selection. The Massachusetts Institution of Technology (MIT) physics professor has been an outspoken proponent of hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of obtaining natural gas also known as “fracking.” Moniz is director of MIT’s Energy Initiative, whose founding members include Shell, Saudi Aramco, ENI and BP Technology Ventures, Inc.

“You don’t have to be a nuclear physicist to know that hydraulic fracturing is no answer to our nation’s energy needs, yet President Obama is poised to appoint one who also happens to be a cheerleader for this polluting process,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter.

In testimony before Congress in July of 2011, Moniz referred to the environmental risks of fracking as being “challenging but manageable." Those risks include potential contamination of groundwater aquifers with drilling fluids or natural gas.

According to, an industry website, the wells used in fracking have layers of cement and steel casing to prevent groundwater leaks. Additionally, “most wells are monitored with state of the art equipment.” As for airborne emissions, the site says they fall under state and federal limits, and that the industry is working with the EPA to define New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) that will further reduce emissions.

In his State of the Union speech, the president pledged to address the increasing threat of climate change – something made worse by natural gas extraction processes,” according to Americans Against Fracking. “In addition to the carbon dioxide emitted from burning natural gas, significant amounts of methane leak as new wells are fracked and as natural gas is transported. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, about 33 times more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide over 100 years, and about 70 to 100 times more potent than carbon dioxide over 20 years according to a 2009 study published in Science Magazine.”

Together, Food & Water Watch and CREDO have collected almost 125,000 signatures to petitions urging the president to reconsider his rumored appointment.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

4/21/15 2:00 pm EDT

The Safety Selfie: It’s time to take a “snap shot” of your safety program and contemplate what others see

We all know perception is reality and that people perceive things differently. As a safety manager, your perception of your safety program almost certainly differs from that of your workers and your managers. We will use our “Safety Selfies” to expose weaknesses, real and perceived, and to talk about how best to make improvements.

ISHN Magazine


2015 April

Check out ISHN's April issue, which features content about lockout-tagout, heat stress, hearing protection and more!

Table Of Contents Subscribe


M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - January 2015



For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. 



Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.