Shale Is Truly a Bipartisan Issue

A new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Energy Project — co-chaired by former Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Trent Lott (R-MS) — reveals what many of us have known for some time: the development of natural gas from shale is a boon for job creation and is generating enormous benefits for consumers in the form of lower energy costs.

At EID we’re always happy to discuss how developing oil and natural gas from shale is good for the economy and energy security. But in this case, we’ll let BPC do most of the talking. From the BPC release:

  • “New domestic natural gas supplies,” said Co-Chairs Dorgan and Lott, “could have a transformative effect on U.S. energy policy, our economy and our energy security…It is critical that this resource be developed responsibly so that we can gain these benefits.” (BPC release; Jan. 19, 2012)
  • “Long-term lower prices for natural gas, should they continue, can bring appreciable economic benefits to many average residential electricity consumers, to key gas-intensive industries, and to the broader economy,” according to Dorgan and Lott. (BPC release; Jan. 19, 2012)
  • “The BPC report finds that natural gas supply could support as much as 100 years of domestic gas demand at present levels of consumption. Natural gas extraction from shale formations has exhibited rapid growth, and currently comprises approximately one quarter of total U.S. natural gas production.” (BPC release; Jan. 19, 2012)
  • “The report also shows that employment in oil and natural gas extraction and support services is up 11 percent since October 2008 (pre-recession) according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.” (BPC release; Jan. 19, 2012)
  • Dorgan and Lott: “Shale oil and gas development is helping to alter America’s energy equation, boosting domestic production, and in the case of oil, reducing imports.” (BPC release; Jan. 19, 2012)
  • “Industry has issued its own standards and best practices, and states have been adapting or updating regulations and participating in a voluntary program for review of state regulatory processes.” (BPC release; Jan. 19, 2012)
  • “Lower natural gas prices could reduce costs for integrating intermittent renewable power generation, and offer an opportunity for co-location of natural gas and renewable facilities.” (BPC release; Jan. 19, 2012)

The full report expands on these benefits in greater detail, but it’s absolutely worth highlighting what the BPC Energy Project offers as its opening statement about the assessment:

The outlook for North America’s natural gas supply has improved dramatically in recent years as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies have made it possible to commercially develop tight and shale gas reserves. These shale gas basins are located in diverse geographical areas, including Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, Texas and Louisiana. Effective and responsible development and use of these newly accessible resources provide an enormous opportunity for the United States and has the potential to fundamentally improve our nation’s economic and energy security.

It’s worth noting, too, that the members of BPC’s Energy Project represent a diverse set of interests and backgrounds. Membership includes President Obama’s former National Security Adviser (General James Jones, USMC (Ret.)), former EPA administrator William Reilly, and representatives from companies and organizations like Booz Allen Hamiltion, the Arkansas Public Service Commission, BNSF Railway Company, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), and the American Council on Renewable Energy. Also represented: Ralph Cavanaugh, the Energy Program Director for none other than Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

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