August 11, 2011
Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-9797
Katie Brown Katie_Brown@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-2160
Energy Panel Concludes Hydraulic Fracturing Major Part of US Energy Future
"As expected, any advisory panel coming out of Washington inevitably pushes for an increased regulatory agenda - this report is no different."
Washington, D.C. - Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, commented on the 90-day report submitted by the Natural Gas Subcommittee to the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB), which was released this morning.
"This report has only confirmed what we have known all along," Senator Inhofe said. "It notes that ‘natural gas is a cornerstone of the U.S. economy' and that it has 'brought lower prices, domestic jobs, and the prospect of enhanced national security due to the potential of substantial production growth.' It also correctly states that 'the risk of fracturing fluid leakage into drinking water sources through fractures made in deep shale reservoirs is remote.'
"However, as expected, any advisory panel coming out of Washington inevitably pushes for an increased regulatory agenda - this report is no different. And, of course, Energy Secretary Steven Chu already promised in a speech last year that 'we are going to have some regulation' on hydraulic fracturing. Well, we have seen the results of Washington's regulation on federal lands: it leads to less development, less jobs, and less economic growth. America became the largest producer of natural gas precisely because our immense shale deposits are located predominantly in areas of the country where states primarily regulate oil and gas development, not the federal government. In states like Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, and North Dakota, a virtual boom in natural gas and oil development is transforming America's energy outlook - all thanks to the absence of federal red tape.
"Instead of increasing the federal government's regulatory reach, we should be building on the success of states that have been efficiently and effectively regulating hydraulic fracturing for decades. Even Senator Cardin, a Democrat, said this year at a committee hearing that we can learn from states like Colorado and Oklahoma 'who have taken aggressive action to protect the public health of their citizens.'
"Why hinder the immense potential for natural gas development at a time when we most need it to help restore our ailing economy?"
The group's recommendations will go to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, whose department does not regulate natural-gas production. A second study is currently underway by the Environmental Protection Agency, which will be released within the next few years.