By CBS Investigates Intern Dana Sherne
At least nine members of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission are oil and gas industry lobbyists or executives, according to an investigation by ProPublica.
The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission is a 38-state agency charged with conserving domestic oil and natural gas "while protecting health, safety and the environment," according to the commission's website. Members of the commission include governors of the oil and gas producing states, as well as representatives and associate representatives appointed by the governors.
ProPublica reported that although most of the members are from state energy or environmental regulatory departments, representatives or associate representatives from at least seven states are industry executives or energy lobbyists. But for example, West Virginia's official representative is Joseph Pettey of Pettey Oilfield Services, Inc; Kentucky's official representative is William Daugherty of NGAS (formerly Daugherty Petroleum); and Ohio's associate representative is Tom Stewart, a lobbyist for the oil and gas industry, according to the commission's website.
The commission's main activities, including conducting research and recommending courses of action to public officials, take place in small committees. The membership of these committees is confidential, a spokeswoman told ProPublica.
As part of their research, the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission noted in a 2002 study that the controversial gas extraction process known as "hydraulic fracturing" caused "no documented harm to groundwater" in the 28 states surveyed. Last month,