Thank You, Hydraulic Fracturing: PA Generates Almost 50k Jobs This Year Alone Thanks to Safe, Well-Regulated, Responsible Natural Gas Development

The US economy is still weathering very difficult times. National unemployment is near double-digits and most economic metrics are not very favorable. And while millions of Americans have lost their jobs and are without work, in Pennsylvania – the Keystone State – almost 50,000 jobs have been created this year alone as a result of environmentally-sound natural gas production in the Marcellus Shale region. Without the energy production technique known as hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – these enormous amounts of job-creating energy could not be reached, produced, or delivered to communities and small businesses throughout the region.

Sunday’s Williamsport Sun-Gazette reported on this huge economic impact that natural gas production in Pennsylvania continues to have. Under the headline “Study: Gas jobs to number 48,000 this year,” the paper wrote this:

“A study by Penn State University on the development of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale paints a bright future for the region both in terms of the economy and job creation. The gas industry pumped $3.8 billion into the state’s economy, generated more than 29,000 jobs and produced $240 million in state and local taxes in 2008, according to the study, titled “An Emerging Giant: Prospects and Economic Impacts of Developing Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Play.” Those numbers are expected to be $3.8 billion, $400 million in taxes and 48,000 jobs for 2009, it said.”

But some do not favor natural gas production, despite layers of safeguards and environmental protection standards that have ensured that not a single case of groundwater contamination from fracking has occurred in its 60 year history. Despite this long, clear record of safety, a bill in Congress called the FRAC Act would effectively halt hydraulic fracturing and shale gas production at a time when good-paying jobs and economic development are most needed. It’s hard to believe, but US Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) is an author of one of these bills.

Mark Davidson, editorial director of natural gas markets for Platts, described potential effects the FRAC Act would have in yesterday’s Press & Sun-Bulletin:

“Davidson’s take on the FRAC Act debate: Regulations such as Hinchey’s could discourage drilling into the Marcellus and other formations and reduce production nationally by 10 percent to 20 percent.”

But what are energy producers doing to ensure that this fracturing process is done safely, as the record clearly shows? Kevin McCotter, director of corporate development at Chesapeake Energy Corporation, told the News Messenger this in an article entitled “Shale’s benefits detailed“:

“To prevent the possibility of contamination, McCotter said they use five or more layers of protection to isolate the well bore from an aquifer: surface casing, cementing it to seal it, production casing, also cemented to seal it; and production tubing. In some cases, additional casing and cement might be installed. ‘It’s never been an issue for us. The chances are very, very slim for any type of contamination,’ said McCotter. He noted the mud pits are used solely for fracturing water.”


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