What They’re Saying: Hydraulic Fracturing, American Shale Gas Creating “Boom in Blue-Collar Jobs”

EID On The Record, and With the Facts

Associated Press: “Fracturing has a long and clear record of safely leveraging otherwise unreachable homegrown, clean-burning, job-creating energy reserves,” said Lee Fuller, the head of Energy In Depth, a Washington-based coalition of natural gas and oil producers. In response to environmental concerns, Fuller said the industry has been drawing up standards for well casings and how to best handle the fluids in wells. He said efforts in Congress to regulate fracking should be halted until the EPA study was completed.” (3/18/10)

Wall Street Journal: “Lee Fuller, head of the petroleum-industry group Energy In Depth, said that if the review “is based on objective, scientific analysis, it will serve as an opportunity to highlight the host of steps taken at every wellsite that make certain groundwater is properly protected.” (3/19/10)

The Oklahoman: “An oil and gas industry group has proposed tabling legislation that would give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate fracturing until the EPA completes its study. Lee Fuller, executive director of Energy in Depth, said further regulation of hydraulic fracturing could hamper domestic energy production and job growth. … “Hydraulic fracturing is one of the U.S. oil and gas industry’s crowning achievements, enabling us to produce energy supplies at enormous depths with surgical precision and unrivaled environmental safety records,” said Fuller. “And, simply put, new innovations are making these technologies better and better by the day.” (3/19/10)

Buffalo News, LTE: “Hydraulic fracturing issues are already answered … All processes related to natural gas exploration and extraction are regulated by the states which, because of their vast geological differences, can do a more thorough job. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency would never be able to regulate these processes efficiently or cost-effectively. In fact, Steve Heare, director of EPA’s drinking water protection office, recently said states are “doing a good job already” regulating hydraulic fracturing, adding that there is no evidence that suggests the process contaminates water.” (IOGA-NY’s Brad Gill, 3/22/10)

E&E News/New York Times: “Industry also welcomed the new study, saying it would prove claims that fracturing technology is safe. “Assuming the study’s methodology is technically sound, its evaluations are science-based, and its conclusions are peer-reviewed, there’s really only one credible outcome this project can produce,” said Chris Tucker, a spokesman for the industry-backed group Energy in Depth. “And — spoiler alert — it’s not the one that opponents of responsible shale gas exploration are clamoring for.” (3/18/10)

Wilkes-Barre (PA) Times Leader, LTE: “Natural gas industry called well-regulated … The reality is that 99.5 percent of that solution is made up of clean water and playground sand, with much of the remainder comprised of materials such as guar gum – which might sound scary, but is actually found in products such as peanut butter and ice cream. As for the activist’s charge that the natural gas industry isn’t regulated under federal law? Wastewater treatment is covered by the federal Clean Water Act; for wastewater disposal, it’s the Safe Drinking Water Act; and just for good measure, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandates the full disclosure of materials used in the process.” (EID’s Chris Tucker, 3/20/10)

Local, State, Fed. Officials: Shale Gas a “Powerful Engine of Economic Growth”

The Hill: “Congressmen defend ‘fracking’ as House panel investigates drilling technique … Boren and Murphy defended the technique and pointed to studies that did not find a any link to groundwater contamination. They added that the materials used are “well known to those who regulate the process and are managed in a way that eliminates vitually any risk of those components coming into contact with shallow reservoirs bearing potable water.” “At the time of unprecedented economic uncertainty, and in a year in which four million Americans lost their jobs, shale gas exploration represents a proven and powerful engine of economic growth – and one this Congress idles at the peril of those it represents.” (3/15/10)

Sunbury (PA) Daily Item: “Yaw: Gas boom highly controlled … State Sen. Gene Yaw, R-23, of Williamsport, said that while environmental activists have been inflaming fears about the perceived dangers from frack water used to extract natural gas in the Marcellus Shale region, a more pressing concern may be effectively managing the influx billions in tax revenue the drilling will bring the Commonwealth. … He said that the fracking process is widely used across the country, and with drilling under way in the Marcellus shale region, there is little evidence that it poses any serious threat. … A Penn State study estimated that when local taxes are included, the government revenue from drilling will hit $2 billion for the period of 2008 through 2010. … Gas drilling has been “the savior of the family farm” in the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania, because of the lucrative gas leases for property owners.” (3/19/10)

Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette: “Marcellus will create thousands of jobs, forum speakers say … [Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli] set the stage by pointing out that Chemung County’s unemployment rate is 9.4 percent, which he said ranks 27th out of 62 counties in New York state. “This is an opportunity for this county and this region to be reborn,” he said. “We can do it and we can do it safely and we can make this a better place to live and work.” (3/19/10)

Fracturing Helping to Bring Jobs, Economic Growth to the Nation’s “Poorest” Regions

Billings Gazette
: “Potential oil play in state excites industry … For decades, these formations in eastern Wyoming remained technically unrecoverable. But with national oil prices expected to average more than $80 per barrel through 2010 and average $85 in 2011, and huge leaps in drilling and completion technologies, there’s a rush on mineral leasing from Cheyenne to north of Douglas. “Landmen are more active in southeast portions of the state that haven’t seen oil and gas activity in a long time,” said Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission supervisor Tom Doll. Places including Goshen and Platte counties — among Wyoming’s poorest — could see some significant drilling activity for the first time in decades, Doll said.” (3/17/10)

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Report: Local capital investment created, retained about 16000 jobs … Mr. Yablonsky said 25 of the 44 companies that invested significant capital in the region were energy companies or related industries that had come in to the area or expanded locally because of the natural gas located in the Marcellus Shale Ray N. Walker Jr., a senior vice president of Range Resources, of Fort Worth, Texas, said his company moved him here to open a Marcellus Shale office in Southpointe. Since he unlocked the door in January 2007 the office has grown to employ 200 people locally and 310 across the state. Mr. Walker said there were 55,000 people in Pennsylvania employed in industries involved in the extraction of the natural gas and he predicted that number to double by the end of this year.” (3/18/10)

Wilkes-Barre (PA) Times Leader: “Drilling likely to generate variety of labor positions; 75 percent of gas production workforce composed of unskilled, semi-skilled jobs … If natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale is as successful as energy companies and landowners hope, the companies likely will need to hire more employees to man wells, perform testing for and oversee the drilling of new ones and monitor their operations. “The jobs associated with natural gas drilling are well-paying jobs,” said Doug Hock, spokesman for Calgary-based Encana Energy, which has its U.S. headquarters in Denver, Colo. Salaries even for less-skilled positions generally range between $60,000 and $70,000, Hock said.” (3/22/10)

Philadelphia Inquirer: “Marcellus Shale sends short-line railroad booming … ‘I didn’t even know about the sand when I came in here. I just wanted the railway,’ said Myles, 65, a fourth-generation railroader from Exton. … Almost all of that is sand used in hydraulic fracturing, the process that shatters the dense Marcellus Shale under high pressure to unlock its stores of natural gas. The gas industry’s huge appetite for what is known as “frack sand” has spurred a rebirth for the struggling railroad, whose previous operator gave up just before the gas boom. … “I’m an entrepreneur, and I have a vision for this operation,” Myles said. “I’ve put a lot of people to work here, and I’m going to put a lot more to work.” (3/22/10)

Academics, Experts Say Fracturing, Shale Gas Could Spur “Boom in Blue-Collar Jobs”

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “This rush to develop the Marcellus region, which has an abundance of the fossil fuel 6,000 feet below much of the state, could lead to an influx of new companies in Western Pennsylvania to take advantage of low-cost energy and a boom in blue-collar jobs, the experts said. “This region will become self-sufficient in terms of energy. There’s enough natural gas in the Marcellus to power this state for 180 years,” said Kent Moors, director of Duquesne University’s Energy Policy Research Group. … “I don’t think fracking bothers the water table because it’s performed well below the water table,” [Lester Lave, a Carnegie Mellon University professor and co-director of the university’s Electricity Industry Center] said. … “I don’t think we will run into a lot of water problems.” (3/17/10)

Buffalo News, Op-Ed: “We must take full advantage of Marcellus Shale … Thanks to the use of new drilling techniques combined with a decades-old process known as hydraulic fracturing, energy companies are now able to access deposits of shale gas that were considered out of reach a few years ago. … Shale gas provides a significant boost for the economy, with thousands of new jobs, tax revenue for state and local governments, and income for property owners. … There have not been any documented cases of ground water contamination from hydraulic fracturing, according to Steve Heare, director of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Drinking Water Protection Division.” (David Copley, petroleum geologist, 3/15/10)

Binghamton (NY) Press & Star Bulletin, Op-Ed: “The Coming Age of Natural Gas … Heretofore unimagined technologies have now thrust themselves upon human history that will permit the safe extraction of this relatively clean domestic energy resource from the tight grip of the earth. The sheer abundance will also provide long-term downward price pressure on energy making the structural shift even more compelling. Miraculously America sits atop much of those resources and the fruits of that extraction will once again help propel America to energy prosperity and security. Dominant global competitive advantage, jobs, tax revenue and prosperity may result for many generations to come.” (Scott Cline, petroleum engineering PhD, 3/16/10)

The Daily Caller, Op-Ed: “Fracking for a better tomorrow … Technological innovation is one of America’s hallmarks. And our world-leading domestic natural gas industry is one of the best examples. It is puzzling then why some oppose new shale gas production here in the U.S., even when we possess the best and safest technology to recover some of the earth’s most prolific gas reserves. Fortunately, at a time when the U.S. is in dire need of jump-starting its economy, a triumphant story has managed to unfold—the re-emergence of natural gas and hydraulic fracturing. … Hydraulic fracturing is an environmentally safe, highly efficient method to increase America’s domestic energy production. And second, natural gas is the bridge to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.” (Dr. Michael Economides, professor at the Cullen College of Engineering, University of Houston, 3/19/10)

Wilkes-Barre (PA) Times Leader: “Larry Milliken, director of Energy Programs at Lackawanna College, said that industry wide, jobs in the gas and oil drilling industry pay about 20 percent better than the same types of jobs in other industries. “Around here, there are an awful lot of jobs in the $9- to $14-per-hour range. Jobs in the oil and gas industry tend to start in the $18-per-hour range and go up from there,” Milliken said. A petroleum engineer might earn $40,000 to $45,000 teaching at a college or university, but working in the field for a gas or oil company, the engineer could make close to $90,000, he said. The average technician in the natural gas industry can expect to earn about $30 per hour, which equates to an annual salary of about $60,000. A starting technician with a two-year degree can expect to earn $18 to $20 to start, amounting to a salary near $40,000, Milliken said.” (3/22/10)

Philadelphia Inquirer: “Sudden, serendipitous growth like this is not uncommon in the Marcellus region, where suppliers of housing, food, gravel, spare parts, and transportation are experiencing a stunning demand for their services, the indirect effect of billions of dollars flowing into gas extraction. The full economic effect of the natural-gas boom is only beginning to be understood, said Timothy W. Kelsey, a Pennsylvania State University economist. According to a study by the Pennsylvania Economy League, the oil and gas business was a $7 billion industry in Pennsylvania before the Marcellus frenzy. Kelsey anticipates that compared with those of the shale-gas booms in Texas and Arkansas, which began earlier, the effects will filter out broadly across the economy. “It could be a very big number,” he said.” (3/21/10)

Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette: “If the Marcellus Shale development in the Southern Tier of New York follows the pattern of the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania, then the region could be looking at thousands of new jobs being created over the next few years. “For a rural region, folks, that is significant,” one of the speakers said Friday at the Chemung County Chamber of Commerce’s 17th annual Economic Forum at the Holiday Inn-Riverview in Elmira. The speaker was Larry Michael, executive director for Workforce and Economic Development at the Pennsylvania College of Technology. … He said his center’s study estimated that by 2013 the Marcellus Shale operations will create about 4,000 new jobs in the Northern Tier alone, and between 8,000 and 10,000 jobs combined in the Northern Tier and central Pennsylvania. … “The numbers are just staggering, absolutely staggering,” he said.” (3/19/10)

Newspapers Tout Shale Gas, “Will Create Thousands of Stable, High-Paying Jobs”

Houston Chronicle, Editorial: “The natural gas story … Jobs, jobs, jobs: Expanding the use of natural gas in this country will create thousands of stable, high-paying jobs in the exploration, extraction, marketing, transmission and construction areas. That is not to mention the multiplier effects in service sector areas such as restaurants, entertainment and lodging that promise thousands more jobs.” (3/13/10)

Washington Examiner, Editorial: “Obama’s EPA stifles new energy gains … Jackson forgot to mention “concerns” about hydraulic fracturing come only from environmental groups seeking to stop all uses of fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas. Jackson’s announcement followed the Washington premiere of the anti-fossil fuel “GasLand” propagandamentary produced by some of these same groups. Two more facts Jackson didn’t mention: Never in the 60-year history of hydraulic fracturing has it been linked to a single proven public health threat to water quality; and the EPA has already studied hydraulic fracturing, most recently in 2004, when it found no threat. Clearly, this new study is about stopping fossil fuel development, not protecting public health.” (3/19/10)

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Editorial: “Already Appalachia’s largest coal producer, Consol knows energy-market opportunity when it sees it — and seizes it. … The deal bodes well for the Pittsburgh region’s economy — and for greater U.S. reliance on domestic energy sources. Best of all, it bodes well for an American future as bright as all the lights Consol can help power — today and for years to come. As long as government doesn’t tax away the profit motive, that is.” (3/22/10)

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