George Mitchell, who Susan Phillips calls “the Godfather of Fracking”, appears to agree with me about the need to push the small independent fracking companies out of the market:
And Mitchell wants stiff regulation of drillers, especially small, independent players.
“I’ve had too much experience running independents,” Mitchell says. “They’re wild people. You just can’t control them. And if it doesn’t do it right, penalize the oil and gas people. Get tough with them.”
Few ideas are more beloved in American politics than small business, but there’s nothing to like about small fracking companies. In Act 13, Republicans passed bonding requirements that are way too low to cover the cost of an environmental disaster for a small company. Republicans basically promised to bail out small frackers on the clean up costs of a blowout.
Taxpayers and the environment are going to be a lot better off if we pass bonding requirements high enough to restrict fracking to a handful of huge well-capitalized firms who can pay all their own cleanup costs, and who have the capital to comply with stricter regulations and pay high severance taxes.