Heartland Institute Releases Major Energy Policy Study on Hydraulic Fracturing

By: Sunshine State News | Posted: November 19, 2013 3:55 AM

Vast reserves of oil and natural gas have been known to exist in shale formations throughout the United States for decades, but extracting these resources was not economically viable until the advent of "smart drilling" technology -- the combination of horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing techniques, and computer-assisted underground monitoring. Fracking has transformed the way oil and natural gas are produced in the U.S.

The dramatic success of fracking has attracted the attention of environmental groups, who have raised concerns about the impact this new technique could have on the environment, including concerns about groundwater contamination, water consumption, wastewater disposal, earthquakes, and greenhouse gas emissions. They are taking advantage of the public’s limited understanding of the smart drilling process, limited knowledge of geology, and lack of knowledge of current federal and state regulations on oil and gas production.

In "Hydraulic Fracturing: A Game-Changer for Energy and Economies," a new policy study from The Heartland Institute, Heartland Research Fellow Isaac Orr explains the advantages and disadvantages of smart drilling and the alternatives so that a better-informed discussion takes place.

To read the entire policy study, click here

“Despite the misleading theatrics seen in the movie 'Gasland,'” Orr writes, “there has yet to be a confirmed case of hydraulic fracturing contaminating drinking water. There are consequences and risks associated with the production of unconventional oil and natural gas, but the costs are vastly outweighed by the benefits.”

For policymakers and those they represent, Orr reviews the background and potential of hydraulic fracturing in the United States and then puts that potential in the context of the supply of and demand for oil and gas. He addresses the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing, both positive and negative, as well as public safety issues that have been raised by activists, such as potential harm to drinking water supplies. And he discusses how oil and gas production is regulated at the state and national levels and discusses the proper interaction of these two levels of government.

“Hydraulic fracturing can be done in a safe and environmentally responsible manner,” Orr concludes. “State governments have done a commendable job working with environmental and industry leaders to craft legislation that protects the environment while permitting oil and gas production to move forward. Federal regulations would be duplicative, resulting in higher costs without significantly increasing environmental protections.”

Comments (3)

10:31PM NOV 19TH 2013
until I saw the draft saying $8334, I accept ...that...my cousin woz realie erning money in their spare time on-line.. there uncles cousin had bean doing this less than seven months and recently cleared the dept on their villa and got a new McLaren F1. read

8:23AM NOV 19TH 2013
"Orr writes, “there has yet to be a confirmed case of hydraulic fracturing contaminating drinking water. "

Then why won't the industry agree to each company putting in a chemical marker with their fracking chemicals so it can be proven whether or not it's their chemicals showing up in water people are claiming are contaminated after fracking came to town?

Oh, and "smart drilling"? LOL Nice try. But smart drilling would be drilling for a finite resource without contaminating another, even more important finite resource. Or worse, rendering the majority of the water used to frack each well unrecoverable. It can be done. But it will take regulations. From the federal government too. Look at Texas or Colorado to see why. The "industry" knew long ago they needed to get a grip on water use or they'd be regulated and even held a water use symposium in Texas about it. But yet they haven't regulated themselves. And in some areas (like North Dakota), they're finding a well will require 4 times as much water over it's life than what they used initially to frack it.

Is that water use and waste sustainable? In a country that adds another 10,000 people to the dinner table night after night? In a country where state's already fight over water? Where some areas have to choose between water for farmers or water for fisheries? And in other areas where they have to rely on what they flush to meet their drinking water needs? Among other things.

Otherwise gotta love the irony when people whine about our government investing in alternative energy research because it isn't immediately fruitful then turn around and praise the technology that brought us fracking, (and "clean coal"). If it weren't for the government's investment decades ago and over decades, in research, we may not have either "smart drilling" or the ability to construct "clean coal" plants.
8:50AM NOV 19TH 2013
Letting each State regulate the industry is fine- except for the water. But if we can address their water use, and require them like most other industries to adhere to the Clean Water Act, then maybe additional regulations wouldn't be needed.

IMO, water in the state of Texas or any other state, is important enough to our country as a whole that it should be somewhat regulated on the federal level.

Besides, how conservative is it for us to save 10 cents a gallon on oil or gas today if it makes water scarcer and more expensive tomorrow?

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