Posted August 28, 2012
The headline of a Washington Post op-ed authored last week by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and hydraulic fracturing pioneer George P. Mitchell is close to the mark in framing the national debate over the development of natural gas from shale using fracking technology: “Fracking is too important to foul up.”
Bloomberg and Mitchell:
"The production of shale gas through fracking is the most significant development in the U.S. energy sector in generations, and it affords…benefits that people on both sides of the debate should welcome."
We agree, which is why America’s oil and natural gas companies are committed to safe and responsible development of a game-changing resource in terms of the country’s energy security and economy.
Bloomberg and Mitchell correctly note natural gas’ ability to reduce consumer and business costs as well as its environmental benefit – seen in reports that CO2 emissions have fallen to a 20-year low. They also cite the revitalization of U.S. manufacturing – as companies parlay energy savings from affordable natural gas into new growth, and as others directly support gas production with drilling equipment and materials, such as steel pipe. All result from safe, responsible natural gas development.
They write that state regulation of fracking can be better with greater transparency, optimized rules for well construction and operation, efforts to minimize water use, protection of groundwater, proper disposal of wastewater, the capture of methane that escapes during drilling and reducing the impact of development on roads, ecosystems and communities.
Industry agrees that states are best suited to regulate hydraulic fracturing and is working toward a number of the objectives mentioned by Bloomberg and Mitchell. It has developed a strong set of operational standards that cover everything from drilling and well casings to wastewater disposal, and it is constantly working to make them better. It supports the FracFocus.org chemical disclosure registry and working with states to improve their regulatory systems through the STRONGER organization. Companies are concerned with community outreach and have worked to repair damaged roads and built new ones to facilitate development. And the oil and natural gas industry is in the midst of developing a best practice document to help guide companies in effectively working with local communities and addressing local concerns.
Industry takes seriously its responsibility to get things right with fracking. With partners in communities and state and local government, it will continue to do so.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.