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IPAMS Sets the Record Straight on NPR: Hydraulic Fracturing is “A Very Safe Process; Regulated Heavily”

Last week, Kathleen Sgamma – government affairs director at the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States (IPAMS) and key Energy In Depth partner – appeared National Public Radio’s (NPR) “Science Friday” segment to discuss the critical and heavily regulated energy technique known as hydraulic fracturing, which is responsible for unlocking huge amounts of clean-burning, job-creating natural gas supplies that were once believed to be out of reach.

Hosted by “veteran National NPR science correspondent and award-winning TV journalist Ira Flatow,” Ms. Sgamma appeared alongside Oil & Gas Accountability Project’s (OGAP) Gwen Lachelt, an ardent opponent of safe, responsible, 21st century shale gas production and self-described “community organizer by trade.”

Below are key experts of Ms. Sgamma’s interview, which can be heard by clicking HERE:

But it’s important to note that before we do that fracturing process, we’ve cemented and cased that well bore. So there’s a steel pipe that runs the length of that well, there’s cement around that to ensure that nothing can go from the well bore to any adjacent layers or into an aquifer. So it’s a very safe process. It’s been used over 60 years and over a million wells throughout the United States.

States heavily regulate every process involved with fracturing or with drilling a well. So if there is an accident, there are measures in place to make sure that’s cleaned up and that to handle that. We work very hard to ensure the environmental impact is very minimal.

The EPA under the Clinton, Bush and now the Obama administration has repeated that there have been no cases of contamination of drinking water from hydraulic fracturing. And state regulators in all of the states that have oil and gas development have also made that point.

We’ve been developing natural gas and oil for in this country for over 150 years, the last 60 of which we’ve been using hydraulic fracturing with an exemplary safety record.

On a well site, you have all of the Material Safety Data Sheets for every chemical that is contained on that site. … If you would like a list [of fracking materials], everything is disclosed. Pennsylvania and New York state environmental departments both have comprehensive lists of chemicals. The Ground Water Protection Council … also publishes a list of the chemicals used. And certainly in the event of an accident, those Material Safety Data Sheets are handed to responders and are on sites exactly for that reason. And the specifics are available to regulators who are responsible for ensuring that it’s environmentally sound.

There’s been no case of contamination of drinking water from fracturing in its 60-year history. And as for disclosure and regulation, the states who have oil and gas, already regulate the process very heavily. … It’s regulated heavily today.” 

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