Marcellus Development, Hydraulic Fracturing Helping to Deliver Positive Economic News, Jobs to Appalachia

The production of clean-burning, American shale gas, enabled by the 60-year old critical energy technology called hydraulic fracturing, is not only helping to drive down energy prices for families and small businesses that are struggling through this economic downturn, but this safe and effectively-regulated homegrown energy production continues to represent a shining light of economic activity in an otherwise downtrodden economy.

Last week, we blogged about the nearly 350 jobs directly tied to responsible natural gas production from the Marcellus shale that are now en route to the struggling Ohio river valley. And this week comes word of yet another round of uplifting economic news from northeastern Ohio.

The Associated Press pipes in the good news via an item filed today:

An oil-and-gas pipe maker says it plans to open a new facility close to the Marcellus Shale natural gas reserve beneath Appalachia. TMK IPSCO said Tuesday it has signed a lease on a building where it plans to produce up to 100,000 tons of threaded pipe annually. The building is in Brookfield, Ohio, about 60 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. TMK IPSCO said it expects to begin operations there in the coming months. The company says up to 120 people could eventually be employed there. President and CEO Vicki Avril says the new facility is in direct response to the growing demand for infrastructure at Marcellus Shale well sites.

In Trumbull County, where the unemployment rate was recently as high as almost 14 percent, this uptick in economic activity is a welcome development to most, but not necessarily to all. Truth is, some folks continue to oppose the production of clean-burning, American natural gas on the grounds that hydraulic fracturing is not adequately regulated by the states. But these arguments continue to fall on the opposite side of the facts, especially as it relates to hydraulic fracturing’s long, clear and unmistakable record of safety.

Energy In Depth’s Lee Fuller appeared in two major, regional papers in just the past few days, responding to mischaracterizations about fracturing.

In the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Fuller writes:

Readers should also be aware that earlier this week, a top EPA drinking-water official stated the same thing — suggesting further that states, and not the federal government, are best positioned to regulate this critical technology in a way that balances the imperative of responsible energy exploration with the safeguarding of our environment.

And in the Wilkes-Barre (PA) Times Leader, Fuller notes:

Your readers should know that a top EPA official responsible for drinking water regulation recently said that “State regulators are doing a good job overseeing hydrofracking and there’s no evidence the process causes water contamination.”

Geoff Styles, an environmental consultant with an MBA and a chemical engineering degree to boot, blogs on Energy Collective about hydraulic fracturing, dispelling baseless attacks on this critical, safe and effective 60-year energy technology. In his post, Styles writes:

The key fact from the perspective of fracking safety is that the deepest of these aquifers lies no more than about 500 ft. below the surface, and typically less than a couple of hundred feet down. By contrast, the Marcellus Shale is found thousands of feet down–in many areas more than a mile below-ground–with a thickness of 250 feet or less. In addition, the gas-bearing layers are sealed in by impermeable rock, or the gas would eventually have migrated somewhere else. In other words, the shale gas reservoirs are isolated by geology and depth from the shallower layers where our underground drinking water is found.

Closing strongly, Styles adds:

The real choice here isn’t between energy and drinking water, as critics imply, but between tapping an abundant source of lower-emission domestic energy and what looked like a perpetually-increasing reliance on imported natural gas just a few years ago.

If you’re like us, and support producing more job-creating energy here at home – and agree with the EPA’s top drinking water regulator that states are effectively regulating fracturing – then send Washington the message to call off the unnecessary attacks on fracturing.

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