ICYMI: Hydraulic Fracturing a Key Cog in Delivering Jobs, Revenue and Clean-Energy Future for America

With so much talk in Washington these days from politicians about “plans” aimed at redirecting our struggling economy and putting Americans back to work, not as much attention has been paid to the incredible economic force that America’s oil and natural gas producers continue to bring to bear in so many regions across the country.

Unfortunately though, some leaders in Washington are working to advance misguided policies that seek to severely undercut producers’ ability to safely deliver the energy resources needed to fuel our economy. Naturally, the less energy produced, the fewer jobs created – and tougher it is to make good on the promise of America’s homegrown (and growing) energy potential.

Consider the potential consequences of the FRAC Act, which could strip energy-producing states of their ability to determine the regulatory landscape associated with hydraulic fracturing – a 60-year old technology that’s used to enhance energy production in 90 percent of the nation’s oil and natural gas wells.

While some opponents of responsible American energy production contend that Washington ought to step in and brush aside the authority and expertise of the states in this area, Energy In Depth continues to provide the facts, history and data needed to better understand and appreciate the record of achievement to which state officials continue to lay claim after 60 years of successful oversight.

In today’s Bismark Tribune, EID’s Lee Fuller shares some additional insight on this record:

Here are the actual facts: Fracturing has been used safely in the United States for more than 60 years, and has never in that time been directly regulated by the EPA. For decades, that responsibility has remained with states, which continue to compile a remarkable record of oversight and enforcement.

How good? In 60 years, not a single case of groundwater contamination has been credibly tied to hydraulic fracturing. Don’t believe us? Just ask the EPA — it confirmed as much to the U.S. Senate earlier this year.

Rep. Earl Pomeroy said recently that the “regulation of hydraulic fracturing is best left to the states,” and that new efforts to turn that authority over to the federal government “will do nothing to protect drinking water and will only serve to slow down development resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs and more imported oil.”

Sen. Byron Dorgan confirms that “hydraulic fracturing is not a problem,” noting there have been “many studies” that “show that it does not contaminate groundwater,” including one by the EPA in 2004.

Thanks to the Bakken Shale, North Dakota’s unemployment rate is currently at 3.6 percent. Compare that to the national rate of 9.5 percent. And what about the North Dakota budget? Thanks to the Bakken, it currently enjoys a surplus of $500 million.

Here’s what others are saying about oil and natural gas production enabled by tightly-regulated fracture stimulation technology:

ON FRACTURING’S RECORD OF SAFETY, ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS

  • Ph.D. in Geophysics says “Gas shale and hydraulic fracturing work for NY”: “No evidence directly connects injection of fracking fluid into shale with aquifer contamination. In 2004, the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency released a study finding no confirmed instances of drinking water contamination by fracking fluids in the ground. This finding is not surprising as fracking fluid is pumped through heavy, steel pipe surrounded by a concrete liner to formations thousands of feet below aquifers. (Hornell Evening Tribune, 9/7/10)
  • Surge in use of natural gas helping to lower emissions: “But now, thanks to greater geologic and scientific insight and developments in drilling and production techniques, producers are unlocking shale’s enormous potential. We don’t have to look overseas to realize the environmental and economic gains of relying on natural gas; huge shale gas reserves in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Appalachia are easily accessible – right here, right now. Shale gas has begun to tip the scales such that experts deem the boom a game-changer, the most significant energy innovation in years. (Houston Chronicle, 9/3/10)

ON JOB CREATION, ECONOMIC GROWTH

 

  • Gas boom economic engine for company: “When a Texas gas company hired Michael Pascuzzi’s earth-moving business to build two water impoundments, he sat down at his desk and cried. The family-owned company had been headed for bankruptcy. ‘We were real close to throwing in the towel,’ said Nicholas Pascuzzi Jr., Michael’s father and president of their McDonald-based company, New Dominion Construction. Marcellus shale saved the company, fresh evidence of how the commercial discovery of gas in the deep shale formation boosted the economy of Western Pennsylvania during a national recession.” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 9/8/10)
  • Gov. Rendell touts Shale’s economic potential during broadcast: “There is an economic upside here that is substantial,” Gov. Ed Rendell said on the Wednesday night show, which was part of a series of PCN programming on the Marcellus Shale. (Scranton Times-Tribune, 9/9/10)
  • “Atlas Energy Inc. is among those doing some hiring. The natural-gas producer, based in Moon Township, Pa., has added 160 workers this year, bringing its head count to 680. The company recently played host to a jobs fair at a Pittsburgh-area hotel, where a line to register spilled out of a ballroom and into the lobby.” (Wall Street Journal, 9/4/10)

ON EXANDED SUPPLIES OF AFFORDABLE, RELIABLE ENERGY

  • Marcellus Shale production data exceeds expectations: “Marcellus Shale gas wells in Northeast and Northcentral Pennsylvania led the state in natural gas production last year, exceeding even industry predictions about the promise of the gas-rich shale, according to well production data released for the first time by the state. In the 12 months between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010, the state’s 632 producing Marcellus wells released 180 billion cubic feet of gas – an amount that more than doubles Pennsylvania’s annual natural gas production from the years before the shale exploration began. … Matt Pitzarella, a spokesman for Range Resources, which reported a total production of about 35 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 402,000 barrels of natural gas liquids last year, said the report indicates what the industry believed, “which is that it is a very large natural gas discovery and could be one of the largest anywhere when it’s all said and done. It’s just going to take time.” (Scranton Times-Tribune, 9/9/10)
  • What peak oil? Why an oil glut is ahead: “Part of that surplus comes from increased oil and gas production, particularly from ongoing production in the non-OPEC countries (including the U.S., where a “shale gas boom” has created a natural-gas glut). … But as the summer driving season passes and students head back to school, awareness has gradually dawned that we may be looking at an oil surplus for years to come. (CNNMoney, 9/8/10)
  • Natural gas from shale rock promises energy revolution: “A new source of energy, shale gas promises to add significantly to the world’s energy reserves. … David Spigelmyer, vice-president of government relations at Chesapeake Energy said the firm’s gas extraction takes place a mile or more underground. “Groundwater rests between 300 and 500 feet and we have multiple layers of cement and steel to protect these freshwater aquifers,” he said. (BBC, 9/8/10)

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