Editor Greg Ettling's "For Openers" column offers thoughts on the new EPA director and more.

Gov. Mike Leavitt
Just before press time, the word came that Utah governor Mike Leavitt has been nominated by President Bush to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Leavitt will go before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in the first major step in the confirmation process to replace Christine Todd Whitman, who resigned the post earlier this year. The timing of the move means Leavitt likely will have to suffer through the indignity of being a political football. The 2004 election campaign is heat-ing up and the Democrats – in their current state, such as it is – surely will use this issue as an excuse to attack the current ad-ministration. We’ll hear the usual noisy tripe from the extreme left about how “this means the end of the world for our children” because, well, that’s what they do. (Ask far-left wingers about the origins of the EPA; few will know it was created on Nixon’s watch.) But, while the most noise always comes from the extremists – on either side – the real work gets done in the middle, and Leavitt has a pretty good record there. He’s a three-term western governor with a lot of experience with environmental issues and a reputation for pragmatism. And his stance that most matters should be dealt with more at the state level and less at the federal level is welcomed. Adding a little spice to the topic is real possibility that the EPA may soon become a cabinet-level agency, meaning Leavitt could become the nation’s very first Secretary of the Environment.

In Memoriam

Kermit Janssen, former well products marketing manager at CertainTeed Corp., passed away in July. Janssen was issued several patents for casing and well screens. He was honored by the National Ground Water Association with the 2000 Manufacturer’s Div-ision Special Recognition Award for his lifetime of contributions to the water well industry. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

This old rig sits on a Ford chassis. Photo courtesy of David Wright.

Rig Mounting

A recent National Driller Web poll (www.drilleronline.com) asked, “How many trucks did your longest-lasting rig wear out?” The results:

1 truck – 23 percent

2 trucks – 17 percent

3 trucks – 15 percent

4 trucks – 9 percent

5 trucks – 7 percent

6 trucks – 5 percent

7 trucks – 4 percent

8 trucks – 7 percent

More than 8 trucks – 13 percent

There are a good many ways to look at those numbers; every rig and truck has its own story. I just can’t get past the “More than 8 trucks” category. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on there, but I will suggest that those drillers going through that many trucks might want to consider being a tad bit more discriminating when selecting their next truck. That being said, I’m also sure there are plenty of pre-WWII rigs that have been meticulously maintained and have outlived their trucks quite naturally (If you have one of those, we’d love to hear about it).

Coming Next Month

Your October issue ofNational Drillerwill feature articles addressing monitoring wells, pumps, drill rigs, geotechnical investigations, water treatment, pricing strategies, drilling accessories and, of course, a whole bunch more. That’s why you’ve made – and kept –National Drillerthe best-read publication in the industry.