Hydraulic fracturing legislation not needed

By Don Stowers
A new report from the Colorado School of Mines’ Potential Gas Committee concludes that the United States is sitting atop natural gas reserves much larger than previously thought – more than 2,000 tcf, according to the committee, or nearly 100 years worth of production.

This expanded forecast is due mainly to the discoveries of large reserves of gas in America’s shale regions, including the Marcellus in Northern Appalachia, the Barnett in North Texas, the Woodford in Oklahoma, the Fayetteville in Arkansas, the Haynesville in Louisiana and Texas, and several others. The upward revision represents the largest jump in resource estimates in the 44-year history of the report.

Unfortunately, we may not be able to recover much of this newly discovered clean-burning natural gas. In a move that studies suggest could result in thousands of lost jobs, billions in taxpayer revenue, and massive amounts of energy left in the ground, Congress has introduced legislation that, if passed, will impose new restrictions on a safe and commonly used recovery technique known as hydraulic fracturing, which is a critical well stimulation technology.

Hydraulic fracturing has been used for more than 60 years to access and increase oil and gas production of resources that otherwise would have remained trapped under miles of rock. It’s also been regulated by state agencies for at least that long.

Now, members of Congress who apparently believe that hydraulic fracturing is unsafe and unregulated want to require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate hydraulic fracturing as a form of underground injection under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Doing so would place an unnecessary financial burden on a critical American industry without any tangible environmental benefit. Hydraulic fracturing has been aggressively regulated by the states and the process has an impressive record of safety and performance. Imposing an additional burden on companies that employ the technique could conceivably result in the loss of thousands of jobs, billions of dollars in taxpayer revenue, and leave massive amounts of energy in the ground.

Your thoughts….