It’s Not Just That Wall That is Great: China Aggressively Expanding Shale Gas Production, As Leaders in U.S. Work to Erect Roadblocks

China’s rapacious appetite for economic growth, job creation and overall global dominance is no secret, nor is its playbook for achieving those goals. Affordable, stable supplies of energy – more than anything else – are the foundation of strong and competitive economies. Leaders in China understands this full-well, and is moving forward aggressively – with the help of the White House – to put their nation a path toward prosperity and unmatched growth.

While shale gas has been termed a “game-changer” in the United States, this clean-burning resource is also making waves in the global energy markets. In a report today from People’s Daily Online, under the headline “Sinopec to boost unconventional gas production capacity by 2015,” the news outlet reports this:

Sinopec Group (Sinopec), the country’s second-largest oil company, plans to increase its unconventional gas production capacity to more than 2.5 billion cubic meters annually by the end of 2015, a move in line with China’s efforts to diversify its energy mix.

Sinopec will speed up the development of unconventional gas including shale gas and coalbed methane during the central government’s 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-15).

Development of unconventional oil and gas will become an important growth engine for the company’s business in the next five to 10 years, the company said in a statement on its website Tuesday.

The report highlights the critical role American-created hydraulic fracturing technologies will be for the Chinese to unlock their shale gas reserves and the role those resources will play in fueling its economic future:

Analysts said using more advanced foreign technology in the sector would accelerate the exploitation of China’s gas reserves.

Tight gas is natural gas contained in rock that must be fractured or broken open before it can flow easily to production wells.

Use of unconventional gas would be an effective substitute to meet China’s rising natural gas demand, said analysts.

You see, at the same time the White House is lending a hand to the Chinese to help tap their job-creating shale gas reserves, some in Congress (and other out-of-the-mainstream advocacy groups) are working to make it more difficult – or altogether impossible – for American energy resources to be safely leveraged into jobs, security and competitiveness. Hard to believe, isn’t it.

Maurice Hinchey, a senior member of the U.S. House whose district encompasses much of the Marcellus Shale along New York’s southern tier, is working feverishly – along with Rep. Dianna DeGette (Colo.) and Sen. Bob Casey (Pa.) – to effectively strip energy-producing states of their ability to regulate fracturing. Their bill – the FRAC Act – would for the first time in the history of the Safe Drinking Water Act give the EPA in Washington outright authority to regulate (not to mention permit) every aspect of the fracture stimulation process.

How come? Glad you asked. Are energy-producing states – who tightly regulated this practice – not pulling their weight? Not according to the EPA’s water regulator, and growing chorus of congressional Democrats, Republicans and governors.

Would there be any added environmental benefit should the FRAC Act become law? Afraid not.

But don’t these FRAC Act-backers just want to know what fluids are used in the process? Well, that’s already well-known, actually – 99.5 percent water and everyday playground sand, along with other additives commonly found in ice cream, gummy bears and peanut butter (scary stuff, huh).

The aim of the FRAC Act is not to make our water resources any cleaner or more secure. It’s aims is to make domestic energy production more burdensome.

China understands the benefits to stable and affordable energy supplies. If you do as well, then send Congress a message that the FRAC Act will cost jobs, increases our foreign energy dependence and put America in a weaker position in the global economy.

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