Issue Alert: U.S. House hearing today on massive energy potential of America’s shale regions

Key roll hydraulic fracturing plays in safely delivering that energy to American people.

In just a few minutes, at 10 am EST, the House Natural Resources subcommittee on energy and mineral resources will convene a hearing titled “Unconventional Fuels, Part I:  Shale Gas Potential.” There have been suggestions that Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), author of legislation last Congress designed to bring safe fracturing activities to a halt, will be holding a news conference immediately after the hearing to share with the press her timetable for re-introducing that legislation in the 111th Congress.

Testifying before this panel today will be:

Mr. Douglas Duncan

Associate Coordinator, Energy Resources Program

United States Geological Survey

Mr. Scott Kell (testimony can be found here)


Ground Water Protection Council

Mr. Mike John (testimony can be found here)

Vice President of Corporate Development and Government Relations, Eastern Division

Chesapeake Energy Corporation

Mr. Lynn Helms

Director, Oil and Gas Division

North Dakota Industrial Commission

Mr. Albert F. Appleton

Infrastructure and Environmental Consultant

Former Director of the New York City Water and Sewer System

GWPC Studies (April, May ‘09)


The Subcommittee will be taking a closer look at two recent studies authored by the Ground Water Protection Council and funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The first report, published in April and titled “Modern Shale Gas Development in the United States: A Primer,” concludes that technologies such as hydraulic fracturing allow us to “produce more natural gas from the shale formations” across the United States with “less disturbance of surface environments” – all while “protecting and conserving water resources.”

The second report, released just last week, takes a more thorough and focused look at how individual states are regulating and overseeing the practice of energy development, finding the process “is managed best at the state level where regional and local conditions are understood.”

Study Excerpts (May ‘09)

  • The “regulation of oil and gas field activities is managed best at the state level where regional and local conditions are understood and where regulations can be tailored to fit the needs of the local environment.”
  • “Current state regulation of oil and gas activities is environmentally proactive and preventive.”
  • “The only alternative to fracturing the producing formations in reservoirs with low permeability would be to drill more wells in an area.”
  • It is “not unreasonable to conclude that the risk of fracture fluid intrusion into ground water from hydraulic fracturing … could be considered very low.”
  • “Based on over 60 years of practical application and a lack of evidence to the contrary, there isnothing to indicate that when couple with appropriate well construction, the practice of hydraulic fracturing in deep formations endangers ground water.”
  • “There is also a lack of demonstrated evidence that hydraulic fracturing conducted in many shallower formations presents a substantial risk of endangerment to ground water.”



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