Facts Are Awfully Stubborn Things

Those advocating against the safe development of clean-burning American natural gas received another major blow this week. While some opposed to responsible energy production rely on scare tactics, baseless charges, and urban legend to formulate their arguments (err, opinions), proponents of reducing America’s reliance on foreign and unstable regions of the world, by increasing the environmentally-sound production of domestic natural gas here at home through the strongly regulated process of hydraulic fracturing, continue to present fact-based information.

In separate letters-to-the-editor, Brad Gill, Executive Director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York, and Lee Fuller, Energy In Depth’s policy director, quickly corrected the record of mistruths that appeared in the Elmira Star Gazette.

  • Brad Gill: “Drilling and hydraulic fracturing are two distinct processes. Both have been performed safely in New York for decades. The impacts of hydraulic fracturing are already being scrutinized by the state Department of Environmental Conservation as it prepares an environmental impact statement on the process. … In addition, the fluid will not be stored in pits at the drill sites for long periods of time, and it will not “likely leech into the ground,” as the letter suggests. The DEC doesn’t allow it, and the oil and gas industry would never allow it. Suggesting either process will release acid or radiation into the environment or impact the ozone is just plain wrong. … My hope is that New Yorkers will remain engaged in the debate and base their opinions on the facts, data and science of credible sources.”


  • Lee Fuller: “To read Steve Coffman’s July 27 Guest Viewpoint on hydraulic fracturing is to understand why an energy technology that’s been around for 60 years, applied more than 1.3 million separate times, and deployed without a single incident of drinking water contamination finds itself under attack today. Chalk it up to misinformation. The writer blames hydraulic fracturing for everything from noise pollution to nuclear radioactivity. Along the way he claims that fracturing enjoys a special exemption under current law. Not a single one of these assertions is true. Here are the facts: Hydraulic fracturing has helped bring more than 600 trillion cubic feet of U.S. natural gas to American markets – gas that’s among the cleanest, most reliable and most tightly regulated energy sources available. And thanks to fracturing, we harvest that gas without having to drill as many wells – limiting our land disturbance, while producing a resource that promotes cleaner air, cleaner water and a healthier environment.”


But it’s not just independent experts and members of the industry that are delivering the facts. Recognizing the long, clear and proven regulatory and environmental record that hydraulic fracturing has, news outlets continue to weigh in, too.


  • The Dickinson Press, Editorial: “States should make ‘fracking’ rules … Eliminating hydraulic fracturing would eliminate the possibility of extracting most oil from the Bakken and Three Forks-Sanish oil formations. The process of fracturing is already the object of intense scrutiny in our state by the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources. The industry is correct that there has never been a problem with groundwater from fracturing in North Dakota. … So, in fact the chemicals used in fracturing are open to governmental review, just not the mix. Add to that there are two layers of steel and concrete and 2,000 feet of natural shell between oil shale and well water in North Dakota serves as a natural buffer, as well. Oil fields like the Bakken and Three Forks-Sanish hold unlimited economic potential for or state. Creating barriers that would eliminate extraction of oil and natural gas would certainly not be in the best interests, but neither is the catastrophic disaster that would be contaminating state aquifers. All oil producing states are not the same geologically and creating new one-size-fits-all national regulations doesn’t make sense.”
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