Two Defenses of Fracking

Two members of petroleum associations have recently taken to the blogosphere to defend fracking from the fracktivists who are trying to stop it.

The first comes from Brad Gill of Hamburg, Erie County, who serves as executive director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association:

Say the words “hydraulic fracturing” to pretty much any news consumer in New York state and you’re bound to get a reaction. Whether it’s a shudder or a sigh, people react to the words, even if there’s no understanding of what they actually mean.Hydraulic fracturing has created controversy in New York mainly due to a very deep level of misunderstanding. Setting the record straight, hydraulic fracturing isn’t new, it’s not an industry, it’s not a drilling technique. Simply put, hydraulic fracturing is a process that has been integral to drilling for natural gas, oil, water, even granite for more than 50 years. Within the past 10 years, advances in technology have made hydraulic fracturing even more productive and trusted. Water, sand and diluted chemicals ( are used in the process, which is heavily regulated in New York.
A forthcoming lecture on Medaille College’s Buffalo campus attempts to compare impacts from hydraulic fracturing to industrial waste disposal issues that contaminated the Love Canal in the late 1960s.
More than one self-proclaimed environmentalist has pointed to the recent health issues in Le Roy and tried (unsuccessfully) to link nearby gas wells as culprits. The flaming faucet in the feature filmGasland has become the rally point for activists even though Colorado officials concluded drilling had nothing to do with the methane in that person’s tap water. They reached that conclusion two years before the film came out. Methane in well water is very common; the Eternal Flame in Erie County’s Chestnut Ridge Park is proof it is created by nature.
Yes, by now several readers are rolling their eyes, wringing their hands and are otherwise indignant. Consider this: virtually any industry carries risk to workers, consumers and the environment. A high standard for service delivery, stringent regulation, transparency and commitment keeps modern practitioners honest. Academic institutions and business think tanks have released independent studies attesting to the environmental safety and economic benefits linked to an enhanced natural gas industry in New York state.
As reasonable minds will conclude, facts are facts, and science, in the words of visual artist Jenny Holzer, operates under discoverable laws.
Allowing the natural gas industry to fully utilize a long-standing process will provide safer, cleaner domestic energy to the United States, and invigorate a sluggish state economy.

The second comes from David A. Galt, executive director of the Montana Petroleum Association:

As a native Montanan awaiting the next spring hatch, I care a great deal about our state's water resources. As executive director of the Montana Petroleum Association, I understand how hydraulic fracturing makes it possible for the oil and natural gas industry to be an economic pacesetter in Montana.
I want to respond to inaccurate information that has been circulated by some people who do not understand this advanced technology and the safeguards in place.
Hydraulic fracturing is not new. It's been used safely for more than 60 years in more than one million wells to produce oil and clean-burning natural gas and reduce our dependence on foreign energy. It's opened up opportunities and possibilities for places like "the Bakken" in eastern Montana.
Critics claim hydraulic fracturing is exempt from environmental regulations. Not true. Montana and other states successfully have overseen the safety of hydraulic fracturing activity within their borders for decades.
But misinformation persists. Some environmentalists say that hydraulic fracturing impacts drinking water. The truth is that more than 1.2 million wells have been hydraulically fractured nationwide, and there is not a single confirmed case of water contamination. Two assessments by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1995 and 2004 back this up. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson testified before a Congressional committee in 2011 that she is unaware of a single case where hydraulic fracturing has impacted water
A study from the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin released in February 2012 reached the same conclusion: "Hydraulic fracturing of shale formations to extract natural gas has no direct connection to reports of groundwater contamination." Yet a few people continue to ignore the science and latch onto misrepresentations of facts.
Opponents also claim the EPA linked water contamination to hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania, Wyoming and Texas. What they don't tell you? Scientific evidence in those cases later forced the agency to reverse itself. Yet what's cited as truth is the EPA's original misinformation.
A writer recently made an emotional plea to the Montana Land Board to stop all hydraulic fracturing on Montana State Trust Lands, citing a fear of water contamination. Most wells drilled in Montana today involve some level of hydraulic fracturing. As there have been no reports linking water contamination to these wells, halting oil and gas production on state lands would make no sense. Not only do these operations provide thousands of jobs for Montana residents, but oil and gas development generates millions of dollars for our children's education each year. Our schools were enriched by more than $26.8 million from oil and gas from public lands in 2010 alone.
When I was a boy, I fished Big Spring Creek, the Judith River, and many other rivers and creeks in central Montana. Many folks in Montana's petroleum industry choose to live here for the opportunity to fish, hunt and enjoy Montana's great outdoors. And because we prize the resources, we continue to apply the best science and technology available — while also developing new technologies — to explore and produce energy in a way that is safe and responsible.

These articles show how the oil and gas industry continues their organized assault on the anti-fracking movement.

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