ICYMI – ND governor to EPA: “We can regulate fracturing very well, thank you very much”
“Environmentally sound” natural gas production bringing “a lot of jobs to the area”
Gov. Hoeven tells EPA that N.D. can handle fracturing
By Rebecca Beitsch
May 16, 2010
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.
Fracturing, or “fracking,” involves pumping water and sand at high pressures to two miles beneath the surface using a series of pipes. The microseismic stimulations from the process loosen up oil tucked into crevices of the Bakken formation. But the concern lies in both in the process’ interaction with groundwater and what happens to the wastewater once the process is completed.
The message Hoeven wants to send to the EPA is “we can regulate fracturing very well, thank you very much.”
Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources, said he is opposed to the potential regulations, not because they would drastically change the process, but rather because he believes drilling through fracking would have to be abandoned until the new regulations were in place.
“I don’t expect more stringent rules, but I do expect a two- to three-year stoppage in North Dakota while the rules get put in place, and that’s a lot of unemployed people,” Helms said.
Helms said fracking is environmentally sound because of all the safeguards in place.
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Life on a Drilling Rig
By Ryan Coyle
May 19, 2010
Natural gas drilling is changing the landscape of the northern tier in many ways.
At 4:30 p.m. most people are wrapping up the work day. Rick Woodbeck of Towanda is just getting started. Woodbeck is a natural gas driller with Chesapeake Energy. A roughneck, as they are called. He drills into the Marcellus shale gas deposits miles below the surface of the earth.
“I was in the Army National Guard and I came back from Iraq. Instead of going to sit behind a desk I decided to try something different and I had a friend who was on a rig. He told me about it and got me an interview. A couple weeks later I started out on a drilling rig,” Woodbeck said.
Woodbeck has been working on gas rigs for nearly three-and-a-half years and when the opportunity came to work close to home with Chesapeake, he couldn’t turn it down.
“I feel pretty good working at home. Still being able to see friends and be with my wife or family. So it’s a pretty good feeling,” the roughneck said.
“The pay is good. It’s better than probably most jobs you’re going to find in the area,” Woodbeck added. That’s one of the reasons why he is happy to see drilling coming to the northern tier.
“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.