Solar Tribune

Climate Change Policy: Fossil Fuel Regulation

When it comes to addressing climate change, the typical top culprit identified is fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are energy sources that are found naturally underground after having spent thousands or even millions of years being created and trapping energy sources that can be extracted when burned, but in addition to releasing the energy the combustion process is noteworthy for releasing the trapped carbon and other greenhouse gases. As such, extracting, refining, and utilizing fossil fuels is a significant source of climate change and certain policies have sought to cut straight to the point by regulation where fossil fuels can or can’t be extracted, how (if at all) they are allowed to be burned for fuel, and other restrictions.

Key examples of strategies for fossil fuel regulation include the following:


Banning Fracking of Oil and Gas

Fracking Oil - Free photo on Pixabay

What is it: Fracking, the shorthand commonly used for hydraulic fracturing, was developed in recent years as a new way to extract oil and gas from the Earth that was more effective at reaching certain fossil fuel reserves that were previously not technically or economically recoverable. Fracking is able to retrieve oil and gas from shale or other forms of tight geologies (meaning they were impermeable to traditional extraction methods), but it’s increasingly come under fire for the hazards it poses to nearby water systems, the risk that it may lead to an increase in seismic activity, the resultant air pollution, and the tendency it has to lead to methane flaring and leaks (methane being the most potent greenhouse gas commonly found in the oil and gas industry). For all of these ills of fracking, many policies and policymakers have sought to outright ban the use of fracking to reach oil and gas, or at the very least limit where fracking is allowed or put tighter regulations on the fracking process via environmental regulations.

Is it enacted anywhere: As of 2019, fracking is banned in Oregon and Washington, while it is restricted in Florida.

In Favor of Banning Fracking of Oil and Gas:

“Zero Hour looks towards legislation to ban fracking and other policies that ultimately keep fossil fuels in the ground. It is known that fracking causes harm, is dangerous for water and people, and is contributing significantly to climate change. We’ve seen effective legislation before so we know it’s possible. One example is in New York State where legislators reclassified the process of fracking as using hazardous waste, effectively banning fracking in the state. Federally, we’ll be pushing for Congress to pass H.R.5857 – Fracking Ban Act introduced by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. We know that climate change is caused by burning fossil fuels, so any legislation that supports ending that practice is legislation that we support.”- Zanagee Artis, Co-Founder of Zero Hour

Against Banning Fracking of Oil and Gas:

“[A fracking ban] would be a far reaching proposal that would undermine AMerican national and energy security to the detriment of the American people. We would be very concerned about those kinds of proposals coming out of the Biden Administration.”- Mike Sommers, Chief Executive at the American Petroleum Institute

Read more:

Fracking 101 – NRDC

Economic and National Security Impacts of a Hydraulic Fracturing Ban – U.S. Department of Energy

What If…Hydraulic Fracturing Was Banned? – Global Energy Institute

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