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Hydraulic Fracturing: Read (And Watch) All About It

Shale gas, hydraulic fracturing, jobs, revenues, energy security. There’s a lot of chatter these days about these important issues — especially just over the past few days.

While some maintain that hydraulic fracturing is a new technology and is not effectively regulated (or regulated at all), such claims are unsupported by the facts. Energy-producing states closely and tightly regulate this technology, which has been in use for more than 60 years. In fact, 9 out of 10 wells produced nationwide use this technology. And it’s never – not once – contaminated groundwater.

But what exactly is hydraulic fracturing and why is to so important to America’s long-term energy and economic security? Great question.

Are you a “visual” learner, or just interested in seeing exactly how the fracturing process actually works? Well, you’re in luck. Chesapeake Energy has produce an informative web video about this critical process. And the American Petroleum Institute (API) also has an excellent web video explaining the fracturing process, and the steps taken to ensure minimal environmental and land disturbance occurs. Both videos, and other helpful resources, are available on Energy In Depth’s multimedia page.

But despite this technology’s long and clear record of effectiveness and environmental safety, some in Washington are working to impede the production of homegrown, job-creating energy.

Fortunately, many leaders in Washington appreciate how vital fracturing is to the nation, how it’s well regulated by the states, and how it’s helping to create jobs and economic activity throughout the country. And they’re fighting hard to see that Washington does not strip states of their ability to manage and regulate this technology, knowing that jobs, economic growth and energy security are at risk.

In a recent Shreveport Times op-ed (which was cross-posted on EID’s blog) entitled “Misguided policies threaten job creation,” Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise – a member of the House Energy and Commerce – writes this:

“Thanks to fracturing, which has been safely used for 60 years, Louisiana’s energy industry created almost 33,000 jobs and generated $3.2 billion into our state’s economy.

“Some in Washington are even working to strip energy-producing states of their ability to regulate fracturing. Turning this authority over to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would threaten energy production altogether and could severely hurt job creation and economic activity at a time when we absolutely need it.

“Fracturing is not only a safe way of increasing our nation’s domestic energy supply, but it is a proven way to reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, create good American jobs and keep energy prices stable for struggling families, senior citizens and small businesses.”

Congressman Scalise has a strong congressional delegation partner in Congressman John Fleming, who’s be a fierce supporter of shale gas development enabled by hydraulic fracturing. The folks at The Hayride, a Louisiana policy and politics blog, noticed this strong partnership, too.

Under the headline “Scalise, Fleming, La. House To Waxman, Markey: Go Away And Leave Us Alone,” The Hayride reports:

While the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce awaits responses to letters it sent to natural gas producers as a precursor to hearings later this month on whether federal regulation is warranted on hydraulic fracturing, Louisiana’s congressional delegation and state legislators are taking a very vigorous and aggressive stance in fighting Washington’s attempts to interfere with the promise of the mammoth Haynesville Shale natural gas play and the coming energy boom it can mean for the state.

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