What They’re Saying: Engineering Experts, Economists Confirm Fracturing’s Long, Clear Record of Environmental Safety

Experts say FRAC Act “will have a far-reaching effect on all Americans,” Will “curtail” job-creating domestic energy production

  • Hydraulic fracturing is a technology that has been proved by experience to be safe and effective
  • Years of evidence have demonstrated that the fracking process is safe
  • Decades of examination has shown that hydraulic fracturing is safe

States have knowledge to regulate hydraulic fracturing: “Over the more than 60 years of use and nearly 1 million wells that have been drilled in the United States with this process, hydraulic fracturing is a technology that has been proved by experience to be safe and effective. The EPA and state regulators have studied the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on underground drinking water sources and have found no confirmed evidence of any contamination of drinking water wells in connection with hydraulic fracturing operations. Should the EPA become the regulator for hydraulic fracturing, it and the administration with the stroke of a pen could almost overnight shut down the entire domestic oil and natural gas industry. This issue will have a far-reaching effect on all Americans. … It is the state regulators, not Washington bureaucrats, who have the knowledge of the local geology and geography of their respective regions to effectively regulate this process. (Shreveport Times, LOGA’s Don Briggs,9/28/10)

Decades of examination has shown that hydraulic fracturing is safe,” [Chesapeake Energy’s Brian] Grove said. “It has been studied, and found to be safe.” (Reading Eagle, 9/27/10)

Pa. Petroleum geologist: PA DEP “tightly regulates the use of hydraulic fracturing”: “The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection tightly regulates the use of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the technique that’s made it possible in recent years to reach large deposits of shale gas, and hydraulic fracturing is done at a considerable distance from any underground water resources. Safeguards also are in place to protect water systems from discharging drilling wastes. …Drilling also could be curtailed by a move in Congress to turn over the regulation of hydraulic fracturing from state governments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, since that would slow production and raise costs. … Let’s not squander this opportunity to build an affordable, low-carbon future with natural gas. (Post-Gazette, 9/22/10)

Because of fracture stimulation technologies, “the 30-year decline in oil production in the U.S. has been reversed”: “Multiple fracturing of the formation, injecting “slick water” into the shale and horizontal drilling all created successes no one could have imagined. … Independent producers have taken the technology developed to produce natural gas from shale and have been using it to produce oil from tight formations — with success. In fact, the trend has become so successful that the 30-year decline in oil production in the U.S. has been reversed. (San Angelo Standard Times, Alex Mills, 9/25/10)

Thanks to fracturing, “employers engage in bidding wars for workers” in North Dakota. “Sluggish economy? Not around here. In the windswept northwestern corner of North Dakota, an oil boom has pushed the local economy into overdrive. People are pouring in for jobs, with home builders pulling double shifts. … In Williston, jobs are so plentiful these days that employers engage in bidding wars for workers. Few here go without health insurance, said Mayor E. Ward Koeser. Fueling the town’s wealth is oil from the Bakken Shale deposit, which runs along the western edge of North Dakota. The deposit was discovered in 1951 but wasn’t economically feasible to extract until 2006. In 2009, the boom hit Williston. Help-wanted signs hang everywhere as employers jockey to fill 2,000 jobs in the city of 15,000. Oil-services giant Halliburton Co., now the biggest employer in town, recently trucked down 150 temporary housing units used in the Vancouver Winter Olympics. … Mr. Wehrman said his income had quadrupled over the past two years. (Wall Street Journal, 9/27/10)

Chief economist with NY’s Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council says “fracking process is safe”: “Years of evidence have demonstrated that the fracking process is safe. … The kind of domestic energy development we’re seeing in these Northeast shale deposits can be a plus in helping the nation out of the toughest economic downturn since the Great Depression. … Hydraulic fracturing technology has been safely and successfully used in the United States for decades. In addition to providing clean, affordable energy, fracking projects have created thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of new investment in communities. … Fracking helps extract clean-burning natural gas, which is essential for heating homes, fueling transportation and providing energy to American industry and small businesses. (Rochester Business Journal, 9/24/10)

Hydraulic fracturing is “West Virginia’s Pipeline to Prosperity”: “It’s a complete resurrection of all facets of the gas industry from central West Virginia up to central New York,” according to James Crews, managing director for Appalachian supply for major West Virginia gas mover Columbia Gas Transmission and president of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association. The resurrection is driven not so much by the Marcellus Shale we hear about every day, Crews said, as by the new technologies that made the Marcellus gas accessible: the hydraulic fracturing that breaks up hard rock to release gas and the horizontal drilling that extracts gas from larger areas with a smaller footprint and lower expense. (State Journal, 9/23/10)

A very strong regulatory regime”: Doug Houck is the spokesman for the one company that has used horizontal fracking in Michigan, EnCana. He says existing regulations will protect the environment. “It is a very strong regulatory regime in the state of Michigan.” (NPR, 9/28/10)

NPR (Yes! That NPR): “Natural Gas Fuels Economy In Pennsylvania”: “Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry is rapidly expanding, and the state may be on the verge of a decades-long drilling rush. Right now, most of the jobs are going to transient out-of-state workers, but that trend is providing a boost to pockets of Pennsylvania’s economy. For example, hotels in Williamsport, Pa., are doing well. The Holiday Inn Express has seen a 30 percent increase in guests over the past year. The vast majority of those customers are natural gas drillers who are in town to work on the hundreds of new wells in the surrounding area. … The same thing is happening across much of rural Pennsylvania, as drillers rush to tap into trillions of cubic feet of natural gas that, until recently, hadn’t been obtainable. (NPR, 9/21/10)

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