Regulation for Fracking in Pennsylvania

In an open letter to the President of the United States, more than 100 organizations detailed the benefits of natural gas on national security and the environment.

The shale gas and oil revolution in America today has been good news for job creation, economic growth and energy security, and it promises hundreds of thousands of more new jobs, billions of dollars more in revenue to governments, and vast supplies of domestic, affordable and clean-burning energy for generations to come.

It has already significantly reduced costs of energy, including for home heating for millions of American consumers, for electricity production, and for many manufacturers who use natural gas as a fuel or raw material. We urge you to continue to support the development of this vital energy source here in the United States and also support the hydraulic fracturing technology that is indispensable to making its development possible.

The importance of hydraulic fracturing has grown with the recent discovery of promising shale gas and oil plays around the country. It has been employed in more than one million wells for more than 60 years with a proven track record for safety. Studies by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2004) and the Ground Water Protection Council (2009) have attested to the safety of the hydraulic fracturing process. In July, U.S. Bureau of Land Management Director Robert Abbey said, “We have not seen any impacts to groundwater as a result of hydraulic fracturing.” And the U.S. Department of Energy’s Shale Gas Production Subcommittee recently said in its initial 90-day report, it “shares the prevailing view that the risk of fracturing fluid leakage into drinking water sources through fractures made in deep shale reservoirs is remote.”

Effective state and federal regulations are in place to ensure this track record continues. However, state regulators have the primary responsibility to conduct inspections, oversee well construction, test wells, track well plugging, and monitor the fracturing process itself. Because they understand the regional and local geological conditions, they are in the best position to protect groundwater and drinking water sources. Industry also has strong incentives to maintain a high level of environmental performance, and it has worked hard to review and improve its operations and communications with the public – for example, by establishing new standards and industry practices and working to increase disclosure of chemicals contained in fracturing fluids.

Natural gas is an enormously versatile fuel that helps power our nation and enhances its energy security. There is huge potential to expand development, which can strengthen our nation’s economic recovery and put people back to work. Without hydraulic fracturing, that potential will not be realized, and we will not enjoy the tremendous economic and job creation benefits our nation’s abundant supplies of natural gas can provide. Government policies must encourage the continued investment in new energy development and allow it to proceed efficiently. Hydraulic fracturing is of critical importance to the success of both oil and natural gas production here at home, and the industry is committed to ensuring that it will continue to be employed in a safe and responsible manner.