EID Reinforces the Imperative to Continue to “Let states handle fracking” Effectively

As the debate over responsible oil and natural gas development continues, particularly as it relates to the 60 year old process called hydraulic fracturing – the critical technology used more than 1.1 million times nationally in energy-producing states without ever impacting groundwater – Energy In Depth remains at the tip of the spear. In a Casper Star-Tribune letter to the editor today, EID’s executive director Lee Fuller writes this under the headline “Let states handle fracking”:

Tom Doll, supervisor of Wyoming’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, understands that hydraulic fracturing is an effective, environmentally sound and critical energy production technology. “The Commission has regulated hydraulic fracturing since 1954,” Mr. Doll, a petroleum engineer, has said. “Contrary to what has recently been in the press, the Commission has no documented cases of hydraulic fracturing negatively impacting ground water.”

What does Mr. Doll think about a one-size-fits all Washington, D.C., takeover of hydraulic fracturing currently being pursued by some in Congress? “We feel that we should administer our rules and regulate [fracturing] and we don’t need the help of the federal government in this regard,” Doll says, adding that states are “doing a good job.”

Wyoming, and a host of other energy-producing states, are doing a good job of regulating fracturing. Fracturing has been used to stimulate oil and natural gas production in more than 1.1 million wells since it came into commercial use in 1949 and it has never impacted or contaminated groundwater. The EPA, top state environmental regulators and a host of independent academics and energy experts have also confirmed this fact.

Mr. Fuller’s comments follow similar comments from the top energy production watchdog in North Dakota. This from the Minot Daily Times over the weekend:

The Industrial Commission and the Department of Mineral Resources have made it no secret that we don’t think the EPA should regulate hydraulic fracturing. This is a way for the average citizen of North Dakota, if they feel that way or if they feel the opposite way, to voice their opinions to EPA,” Lynn Helms [director of the Department of Mineral Resources] said.

You see, individual states are best positioned and situated to regulate fracturing, as state regulators have the best ‘know-how’ of local and regional geology. And energy-producing states are taking commonsense steps to ensure that this process is tightly and effectively regulated. This from the Associated Press under the headline “Arkanasas board set to create rule on fracking

Commission Director Larry Bengal says under the Arkansas rule, the operator would report the specific names and concentrations of the chemicals used during fracking. That information would be on the commission’s website. The rule also would require operators to provide information before starting the fracking process to prove that well casings can withstand pressure and won’t leak.

The hydraulic fracturing process uses millions of gallons of water, mixed with chemicals and sand, which are pumped at high pressure thousands of feet underground to create fissures in the rock — known as shale — and release the gas. According to the Oil and Gas Commission’s website, 99.5 percent of fracking fluid is sand and water. But small amounts of chemicals also are used to reduce bacteria buildup in the well, reduce friction and prevent corrosion.

This is a story of American ingenuity, driven by technological advancements. The results? Expanded access to reliable supplies of homegrown oil and natural gas and tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs at a time when they’re most needed. Here’s what they’re saying:

  • Bakken used as model for other oil plays. Associated Press. “Know-how gained from North Dakota’s once-perplexing Bakken shale formation is being used to exploit other onerous oil plays across the globe. Pushed by high crude prices, companies in just four years have nearly perfected technology to tap oil trapped in a thin layer of dense rock nearly two miles beneath the surface in western North Dakota. Unlocking the Bakken using advanced horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques has propelled the state from the nation’s ninth-largest oil producer in 2006 to its fourth-largest today. A record number of rigs are piercing the state’s oil patch.
  • New firm opens, plans to employ 140 people. Williamsport Sun-Gazette. “Meadville-based Universal Well Services Inc., a natural gas and oil well services company, has opened a new facility on Arch Street and has plans to hire 140 people within the next 12 months. Already on staff here are 70 employees, according to Bob Garland, senior technical adviser at Universal’s corporate office. The company brought some employees from its existing facilities, but most of the individuals hired here are locals, he said. “We are attempting to hire locals as much as we can because that is important,” Garland said.
  • Marcellus Shale Brings Promise Of New Jobs To Region. WPXI-TV. “Experts are predicting the Marcellus Shale industry will be around in western Pennsylvania for at least the next 50 years and thousands of people will be needed to work here. On Friday, educators met at Waynesburg University to figure out how to give students the education they need to get those jobs. “We are talking to the superintendents of schools and counselors about an energy education looks like,” said Barbara Kirby of Waynesburg University. … The Marcellus Shale is booming. … A recent Penn State University study shows the impact of Marcellus drilling jobs in Pennsylvania. The numbers have increased every year and will reach an estimated 107,000 jobs in 2010.
  • DeSoto library pays off bond two years early. Shreveport Times. “The Library Board of Control recently authorized the payoff of a 2002 property tax that funded construction of new library branch buildings in Pelican and Stonewall. Paying the slightly more than $1 million left in the bond issue saved taxpayers $410,000 in interest. The bonds officially will be paid Nov. 15. “We have saved a lot of money,” board President Katherine Freeman said. Construction is under way on a new branch location in Logansport. But it’s being paid with cash on hand. The library board, like other governing entities in the parish, has the extra money because of the development connected to the Haynesville Shale.
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