Shale Development: A Gateway to America’s Energy Security and Job Creation
The untapped resources in Ohio’s Utica Shale are bringing huge opportunities, including job creation for Ohioans, and helping us move forward towards energy security. We cannot continue to rely on other nations—who do not have our country’s best interests in mind—for our energy supply here at home. We must recognize that we need American energy to solve America’s energy problem. We need to take advantage of the abundant natural resources, like the shale reserves in Ohio and across the rest of the country, which will help us to reduce our dependency on foreign energy.
Shale development will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs—including in the state of Ohio. A report issued in September 2011 by Kleinhenz & Associates on Ohio’s oil and natural gas industry indicates that “More than 204,000 jobs could be created or supported by 2015 due to exploration, leasing, drilling and connector pipeline construction for the Utica Shale reserve.” If we take advantage of our shale reserves we will make great progress towards achieving both goals. Using our own natural resources to supply our energy needs and putting our own American workers on the job to harvest those natural resources will set us on the right path towards both a more independent energy future, and a stronger economy.
The safest practices are best determined by sound science and numbers-based evidence. With so much at stake for job creation and energy security, it is critical we make reasoned, science-based decisions about how to manage the practices and processes involved in energy extraction, including hyrdaulic fracturing. They say there is safety in numbers, and in this case, I could not agree more.
Hydraulic fracturing certainly isn’t a new method of well completion. Since the 1940’s, the technology has been used by the oil and natural gas industry (among others) to extract untapped energy resources, like shale gas and petroleum, from far beneath the earth’s surface. Shale resources were once considered non-recoverable because of the high costs associated with production and a lack of a viable economic return on investment. The utilization of hydraulic fracturing has allowed for our energy producers to safely extricate resources from untapped formations to the tune of over 1.2 million wells completed using the process nationwide. These wells account for nearly 90% of America’s natural gas production.
Thanks to the use of this technology, our national production of natural gas is up 25 percent from 2004-06 levels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This has already helped the U.S. reduce dependence on imported fuels, lower energy bills, and cut state unemployment from North Dakota to Ohio.
It is the primary objective of every energy producer and any energy producing state to both utilize the abundance of our geological resources and remain good stewards of the environment. These are not competing objectives, nor should they be viewed as such. In working with regulatory bodies across the country, America’s energy producers & state regulators have taken a proactive approach in codifying and applying the industry’s best practices in all facets of production, including the well construction and completion processes. This has allowed for the safe and responsible development of our domestic oil and natural gas supply.
In addition to that, states have established stringent and comprehensive regulatory programs and requirements that further ensure safety and environment preservation. Effective and appropriate oversight is being implemented at the state level and should be encouraged moving forward.
The economic and energy security benefits of developing new American-made energy resources in shale formations across the country are very promising, but the threat of new federal regulations dampens this hope. With so much potential job creation and energy independence at stake, we should be taking a scientifically-backed, statistics and numbers-based approach to regulating energy production—not allowing a federal agency like the EPA or U.S. Department of Interior pick its own winners and losers through additional mandates and unfounded predictions. Given the effectiveness of current state-level regulations and oversight, we should continue relying on those state-level programs that are already in place.
Natural gas development is the next great leap in American-made energy production, energy security, and job creation in this country. In order to welcome this exciting opportunity, I believe we must focus on the two major steps I have discussed: first, block unwarranted attempts by the federal government to restrict natural gas production; second, encourage state agencies to continue working with the energy industry in establishing responsible practices that are effectively and rationally regulated. A state knows its own local geology and natural resources better than any federal agency does, and to stack federal policies on top of the current state-level regulations—that have proven to be rigorous and highly effective—is unacceptable and could stifle resource development and burden job creation. We must create an environment for the industry to thrive, not block it, and I will continue fighting in Congress on its behalf.
Congressman Steve Stivers is currently serving his first term as a Member of Congress and represents Ohio’s 15th Congressional District. A career soldier, Stivers has served over 27 years in the Ohio Army National Guard and holds the rank of Colonel.
For more information: http://stivers.house.gov/