Posted March 7, 2016
You know, because of the broad benefits of the U.S. energy revolution – including higher domestic production, more energy security, lower costs for consumers and manufacturers – energy as an issue hasn’t been the kind of election-year focal point it might be if the country instead was staring at energy scarcity, higher costs and growing insecurity in the world – basically, America’s energy reality before the shale energy revolution launched by safe hydraulic fracturing and modern horizontal drilling.
That’s fine. We gladly welcome the new energy reality: America as the world’s No. 1 oil and natural gas producer, consumers with more disposable income thanks to lower gasoline and energy costs and businesses looking to locate and expand in the United States because abundant, more affordable energy.
This new American energy reality is what made negative talk about fracking during Sunday night’s Democratic presidential debate – Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders voiced unequivocal opposition – more than a little off-key.
Unassailable is the fact that the U.S. finds itself in stronger positions – in terms of energy, economics and global security – largely because of safe and responsible fracking. Consider:
- Hydraulic fracturing has been used for 67 years, with more than 2 million wells developed since the late 1940s.
- About 35,000 oil and natural gas wells are hydraulically fractured a year – the reason vast U.S. oil and gas reserves located in shale and other tight-rock formations are now accessible. Shale natural gas is projected to account for 50 percent of the gas produced in the U.S. by 2035.
- Fracking is safe. API has helped develop a slate of standards and best practices designed to protect the environment and the communities where drilling activity occurs. In EPA’s landmark, five-year, $31 million hydraulic fracturing study, the agency found no evidence that fracking has led to “widespread, systemic impacts” on U.S. drinking water resources. The FracFocus.org chemical disclosure registry provides information on fracking fluid used in nearly 56,000 wells.
Safe fracking is a key engine driving America’s new prosperity and security. This prosperity, this opportunity, is benefiting communities – especially in states like Colorado, Pennsylvania and Ohio (all key battleground states this year), supporting more than 2 million jobs, boosting the economy and providing individual households an additional $1,200 in disposable income, thanks to lower energy costs. Candidates talk about creating incentives for manufacturing. They should start with policies that ensure the continued availability of affordable domestic energy, which is literally fueling an American manufacturing resurgence.
In all of these ways, fracking represents American progress that should not be wasted – progress for consumers, for America’s security and for the environment. Rejecting fracking would mean retreat for the United States on each of those fronts. Louis Finkel, API executive vice president for governmental affairs:
“The American people understand that shutting down U.S. production would make the United States less competitive, more reliant on foreign sources of energy and disrupt the geopolitical advantages that hydraulic fracturing delivers to our allies abroad. U.S. leadership and those on the campaign trail are accountable to the American people, and U.S. consumers would be hurt by such anti-consumer policies.”
Let’s not squander the American energy opportunity, created and being advanced by safe hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. In this election year, Americans should learn more about energy policy and the ways their votes can influence that policy here, at Vote4Energy.com.
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.