Despite Huge Spike in Jobless Claims, Environmentally Sound Hydraulic Fracturing Continues to Create Tens of Thousands of Jobs

The national economy continues to struggle, and families, small businesses and communities across the nation remain under the thumb of unacceptably high local unemployment rates. The Associated Press reports yesterday that “The number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week by the largest amount in three months.” The AP notes that “Applications for unemployment benefits rose to 471,000 last week, up by 25,000 from the previous week …. It was the first increase in five weeks and the biggest jump since a gain of 40,000 in February.”

We all recognize that our economy, as a whole, is far from out of the woods and on its way to a full recovery. But despite this economic downturn, there is positive news – especially as it relates to job creation – in energy-producing regions of the country.

Here’s just a glimpse of this week’s positive economic (not to mention national security) news created by homegrown energy production enable by the 60-year energy stimulation technology called hydraulic fracturing – which is supported by a majority of Americans and is helping to drive down energy costs for struggling families:

Marcellus shale creates jobs: “The mile-deep Marcellus shale formation covers all or part of seven states and is estimated to contain enough gas to handle the country’s needs for decades. “We felt we needed to hold a meeting like this for a long time,” said Katy Klaber, executive director of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a trade group representing drillers and other companies. “We hear the macroeconomic view about the thousands of jobs created by Marcellus shale drilling, but these examples show that someone locally has a job due to the Marcellus impact.” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 5/20/10)

Life on a Drilling Rig: “Natural gas drilling is changing the landscape of the northern tier in many ways. … Rick Woodbeck of Towanda is just getting started. After a quick bite to eat with his co-workers they’re off to the job site. …He drills into the Marcellus shale gas deposits miles below the surface of the earth. … “I believe it’s a good thing. The economy is not doing well right now. It did bring a lot of jobs to the area. Restaurants are doing better. Just the local economy is overall better,” Woodbeck said. Not only that, he is seeing more people from the area getting these types of jobs. Six guys on his crew work the rig and four are from Pennsylvania. “There’s more jobs. I see more and more local guys on the rigs,” said Woodbeck.” (WNEP-TV, 5/19/10)

Potential New Jobs in Indian Country: “New jobs on the horizon have many people excited about a potential economic upswing in Montana’s Indian Country. … They offered updates on many new projects on Montana reservations, such as a contract with a Chinese company to build communications equipment in Montana. Another hope on the horizon is to tap into the Bakken shale oil formation. “When you look at the hidden Bakken oil wells producing huge amounts of some of the best crude in the world and now they’re moving on our reservation,” Ft. Peck Tribal Councilman Stoney Anketell said.” (KULR-TV, 5/19/10)

Shale coalition president promotes drilling’s economic benefits: “The president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition on Monday told regional community leaders that development of the Marcellus Shale not only will help the economy on a large scale, but it’s just as important to recognize the effects on the area business owners and the area job market. Kathryn Klaber, who was hired four months ago as the first president of the fledgling coalition, said it was formed in 2008 to advance responsible development of natural gas from the geological formation that lies more than a mile below a good portion of the state.” (Wilkes Barre Times-Leader, 5/21/10)

Oil and gas production is blessing our state: “Maybe it seems like an odd time to celebrate oil and gas exploration, what with a BP well spewing hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. But we in Michigan should do just that — celebrate. Bonus payments from an auction of state-owned gas and oil rights this month hit $178 million — more than eight times the record set in 1981, and just $12 million short of the total for all such sales, combined, since 1929. And that money will be reinvested in Michigan public land and recreation.” (Midland Daily News, Op-Ed, 5/16/10)

Oil, Gas Lease prices raising hopes for Local Economic Boom: “Record prices for oil and gas lease rights have raised hopes in one local county of an economic boom. A site in Pioneer township in Missaukee County could determine if the county is going to get a lot busier in the near future. The hopes are that Encana Natural Gas will go ahead with the site, install a pipeline and start producing natural gas.” (9&10 News (MI), 5/12/10)

But despite the overwhelming and undeniable positive economic impact American energy production is having throughout the country, some in Washington – and in local and state governments – remain committed to slowing, or altogether stopping, this progress. How so, and why? Hydraulic fracturing – the critical technology used to stimulate homegrown energy in 9 out of 10 wells nationwide – is the tool that allows America’s producers to reach reserves that would otherwise be unreachable.

So rather than going directly after the carpenter, some are committed to going after his or her tools through proposing layers of unnecessary, duplicative and bureaucratic layers of regulations that would make energy production more difficult, without adding any additional environmental benefit.

But what are elected officials who actually understand this process, as well as other energy experts, saying about these misguided efforts to impede job-creating American energy production? We’re glad you asked.

North Dakota Governor John Hoeven: “Gov. John Hoeven has had a series of meetings with Environmental Protection Agency leaders as the agency moves forward with a process that could end in its regulation of an oil drilling process known as fracturing. The EPA is now studying the effect the process has on ground and drinking water and could potentially use the authority granted in the Clean Water Act to take over the permitting process from the states. … The message Hoeven wants to send to the EPA is “we can regulate fracturing very well, thank you very much.” (Bismarck Tribune, 5/16/10)

IOGA-NY’s Brad Gill: “Oil and gas companies are not “exempt” from the Safe Drinking Water Act. The act was never intended to regulate hydraulic fracturing. In addition, the federal government already regulates many aspects of drilling operations, including truck emissions and wastewater disposal. The state of New York does so as well, with requirements far exceeding those at the federal level.” (Syracuse Post-Standard, 5/14/10)

Marcellus Shale Coalition’s Kathryn Klaber: “The recent shale gas boom has been called a “game changer” in the North American energy picture. It promises to deliver abundant, cheap natural gas for decades to come. Utility companies are counting on it to generate electricity with half the greenhouse emissions of coal, while gas producers are touting it as the truck fuel of the future. … “Hydraulic fracturing has been going on in this country for 60 years. It is not new and there have been no confirmed cases of groundwater impacts from hydraulic fracturing,” said Kathryn Klaber, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a Pennsylvania-based industry group.” (Globe and Mail, 5/17/10)

Shepstone Management Co.’s Thomas Shepstone: “Natural gas drilling is not only environmentally responsible, but essential to health.  There is, despite all the hysterical statements made by opponents, not one example of gas-well fracking polluting a water supply. Opposition to gas drilling is largely speculation and fear-mongering by those who would have the rest us do nothing to improve our lot, while they live off money inherited  or made elsewhere. … Gas drilling is good for us, good for our health and good for the environment we treasure. We cannot save our environment by standing still. It is only responsible development that generates the wealth required to protect resources. Gas drilling is responsible and it will save our environment.” (Wayne Independent, 5/16/10)

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