What’s Been Around Longer: Hydraulic Fracturing, Medicare or Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea?

It seems to have become fashionable in some anti-energy circles these days to refer to hydraulic fracturing as a “new” technology – it’s a parallel reality that seems to be growing in population by the day. The truth is, however, that fracturing has been around for decades — more than six of them, in fact. And while this critical tool stimulates oil and gas production in 9 out of 10 wells nationwide, and has been safely used over 1.1 million times, it has never been proven to contaminate groundwater. Not once in 60 years.

A recent Abington (PA) Journal Correspondent highlights fracturing’s long and productive history of safely accessing and producing homegrown energy. This from the article entitled “DEP: Fracking used since 1948 in Pa.”:

Despite controversy over hydraulic fracturing in natural gas drilling operations, the process isn’t particularly unique, according to Scott Perry, deputy director of the Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Oil and Gas. Fracking has been used by the oil and gas industry since 1948, and in the drilling in Pennsylvania since then.

He said … that there has never been a case of fracking fluid causing direct contamination of groundwater. The fluid makes up one half to one percent of the total volume of a fracking operation, said Perry, with the remainder being comprised of sand and water.

And thanks to this time-tested technology, the United States now has nearly 100 years supply of clean-burning, job-creating natural gas. Bloomberg reports this week that US energy secretary Steven Chu believes that “New natural-gas drilling technologies may have doubled U.S. reserves of the fuel.”

And in a Harrisonburg (VA) Daily News Record op-ed today, David Banks writes this about safe, environmentally responsible shale gas production enable by hydraulic fracturing under the headline “Drilling A Resource, Not A Risk”:

Yet environmental lobbies are trying to ban production, both here and elsewhere, claiming that a process being used to recover the natural gas poses a risk to drinking water resources.

Known as hydraulic fracturing, the process involves injecting a mixture of water, chemicals and sand under high pressure to break through the shale and reach the natural gas. It has been used safely in oil and natural gas production for the past 60 years, and has never resulted in any confirmed cases of groundwater pollution. Fact is, groundwater is separated from the gas-bearing shale by hundreds of feet of thick rock.

Although geologists have known about Marcellus Shale gas for decades, its recovery only became economically feasible a few years ago after a technique was found for drilling horizontally into the rock, which enables a single well to reach more natural gas.

That technique, developed to gain access to natural gas in the Barnett Shale in northern Texas, is now being used in shale-gas production around the country. As a result, experts say, the gas that can be unlocked from these formations will last more than 100 years.

Help keep the commonsense and effective hydraulic fracturing regulations in place with the states by telling Congress to kill the FRAC Act so that this misguided bill doesn’t kill good-paying American jobs.

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