This week, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a series of roundtables to discuss natural gas and its role in the American economy. From infrastructure and LNG exports to environmental protection and best practices, the committee gathered an array of stakeholders to discuss all facets of development. As to be expected, shale was a major focal point throughout the hearings.
A new, comprehensive report from Gradient examines the risk of hydraulic fracturing impacting human health. Even by taking a conservative approach that by design overestimates risk, the report concludes that hydraulic fracturing fluids “are not expected to pose an adverse risk to human health” and that, in the event of a spill, natural processes would dilute fluids to “below levels of human health concerns.”
This week, a climate research organization, Climate Central, released a report, “Natural Gas and Climate Change” which comes to a somewhat obvious conclusion: we need more data on methane emissions. But if hydraulic fracturing opponents were hoping for a report that would support their dubious claim that methane emissions from natural gas are “massive,” they will be sorely disappointed.
As EID has reported in the past, developing natural gas from shale is fueling America’s chemical industry and a rebirth of U.S. manufacturing. But as a new report from the American Chemical Council highlights, the impact is actually being felt throughout our entire economy.
A review of funding provided to groups opposing hydraulic fracturing shows that NGOs and Foundations provided over $35 million in 2012 to groups working to block shale development which includes $100,000 for the creation of Gasland III before the second iteration of the pathos-driven film series is even released on HBO.
On Tuesday of this week (May 21), lawmakers in Springfield will be considering a historic compromise on hydraulic fracturing, which will pave the way for responsible development in Illinois and establish some of the strongest regulations in the country. Yet, despite an unprecedented level of support, a small yet vocal minority of ideological activists continues to think that the rules are inadequate and have somehow been “rushed.”
Unfortunately, some groups are still determined to draw attention to themselves by writing scary-sounding reports on water use and hydraulic fracturing, when the reality isn’t scary at all. Take the Boston-based “sustainability” group called Ceres and its “Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Stress: Growing Competitive Pressures for Water” report. EID takes a look at some of the biggest problems in that report.
This week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released a report stating that North American shale and oil sands development is “reaching all recesses of the global oil market” and, most importantly, displacing OPEC supplies. As the report continuously echoes, North America is altering the entire global energy equation and enabling the United States’ highest level of energy security in two decades, all while boosting our economy, creating jobs, and providing a resurgence in domestic manufacturing.
Last month, the EPA released its latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory, in which the agency significantly lowered its estimate of the amount of methane emissions from natural gas systems. But even with those dramatic revisions, EPA still has a long way to go to get this right.
A recent story in NPR’s State Impact focused on the results of one poorly phrased and misleading question out of several in a poll that ended up showing broad public support for natural gas development. One question suggested citizens of both Michigan and Pennsylvania desired moratoria on hydraulic fracturing, but other survey results contrasted sharply with this conclusion.
For years, opponents of hydraulic fracturing have perpetuated the claim that shale development is somehow “exempt” from federal laws. Far from being “exempt,” shale producers have been held to even higher standards, complying with overlapping federal and state regulations, and held accountable by state regulators who are far better equipped to oversee the process.
As issues like “local control” gain more media attention, it’s important we all recognize not just THAT states are the primary regulators of oil and gas development, but WHY that is and remains the case. It’s not because the federal government has skirted its responsibilities, and it’s not because of some grand conspiracy to keep local municipalities shut out of the process. It’s because, when it comes to oil and gas, experience matters.
The Marcellus shale continues to bring good news to Pennsylvania: high-paying jobs, royalty payments for families, and an affordable feedstock for American manufacturers. Unfortunately, as these benefits are realized by Commonwealth towns and counties, neighboring New York has been left to watch, waiting for these same benefits – much like the natural gas underground — to be brought to the surface. And as a new report highlights, those potential benefits are enormous.
In the ongoing conversation over America’s abundance of natural gas, one thing is becoming very clear: The continued development of our nation’s oil and natural gas resources is helping advance our economy where it matters most – in the pocketbooks of middle class Americans.
Earlier this week, a gaggle of activists published a report under their umbrella group – the Western Organization of Resource Council (WORC). The report, titled “Gone for Good,” strikes an expectedly dramatic tone about the water usage of oil and gas operations in the West.
One of the subjects that seems to have captivated the welter of reporters and bloggers now writing on shale, natural gas and climate on a fairly regularly basis is the infamous “methane leak” issue. How much of it is “leaking” from natural gas systems? At what rate does natural gas lose its greenhouse gas advantages under a scenario in which fugitive emissions continue to increase? New data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may not answer all of those questions in a comprehensive fashion, but they do strongly suggest that activists’ arguments about “the methane problem” for natural gas development are without merit.
Three years after the release of Gasland – a film panned by independent observers as “fundamentally dishonest” and a “polemic” – the main challenge for director Josh Fox in releasing Gasland Part II was manifest: Regain the public’s trust by discarding hyperbole and laying out the challenges and opportunities of shale development as they actually exist in the actual world. In short, do everything he did not do in Gasland. Unfortunately, Josh eschewed that path entirely with Gasland Part II, doubling down on the same old, tired talking points, and playing to his narrow base at the exclusion of all others.
A new study from researchers at Harvard University alleges that FracFocus “fails as a regulatory compliance tool.” Those of us who are actually familiar with the issues involved in fluid disclosure know that’s not true, but it seems the media saw a narrative too enticing to question: another alleged “failure” regarding hydraulic fracturing. Had reporters done a little research, the story would have been dramatically different.
Recently, the Denver Post’s environmental writer Bruce Finley took aim at two government agencies – the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission – over the state’s hydraulic fracturing fluid disclosure regulation. According to Finley’s story, the disclosure regulation’s intellectual property protections could deny doctors “information they need to treat patients and protect public health.”
This Sunday, Gasland Part II premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Here we provide a round-up and refresher of how the original film was received by select media, academics, and independent experts. Will the sequel address these problems, or just double down?
Before she was elected to the Boulder County Commission last year, Elise Jones was the executive director of the Colorado Environmental Coalition. But based on recent events, it seems Commissioner Jones may have forgotten she doesn’t work for the activists anymore.
This past week I attended the Society of Petroleum Engineers Unconventional Resources Conference in Houston, Tex., where petroleum engineers and geoscientists from around the world discussed cutting-edge advances in shale gas resource estimation techniques and development technologies. Throughout the discussions, one thing was abundantly clear: the shale revolution is just beginning, thanks in large part to technological advancements being implemented in the nation’s oil and natural gas fields.
The Associated Press has a must-read story from this weekend about how hydraulic fracturing is “shaking up world energy markets from Washington to Moscow to Beijing.” The premise is one we’ve covered here at EID before, but it simply cannot be overstated: developing natural gas from shale is not only an unquestionable economic and environmental winner for the United States, but also re-centering global energy markets away from Russia and the Middle East and toward the United States and North America.
This past week was not an enjoyable one for opponents of responsible shale development who, contrary to available evidence, have hoped that countries would ban hydraulic fracturing based on alleged environmental impacts. Most notably, the European Union’s (EU) chief scientific adviser is now expressing support for shale gas development, highlighting the proven safety record of production and the benefits it could deliver. This is in addition to countries across Europe waking up to the reality that the claims made in films like Gasland were intended to scare, not accurately inform.
On April 11, 2013 the FracFocus system celebrated its second birthday. During its first two years of operation, the system has been lauded as a highly effective means of providing the public with information about the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. Eleven states have already elected to use the system as their means of regulatory reporting and as many as eleven others are considering its use.
A recent University of Texas poll asked respondents what they thought about a variety of energy issues, not the least of which was hydraulic fracturing. Interestingly, the poll actually shows how anti-energy activists are losing in their misinformation campaign against responsible shale development.
Just a few months in, 2013 is proving to be a very frustrating year for ideologically motivated environmental activists seeking to ban hydraulic fracturing. Now, a new report from researchers at Harvard makes clear why activists’ efforts are failing — and will likely continue to do so.
A new report from the Potential Gas Committee (PGC) delivers yet another blow to Peak Oil enthusiasts, finding the United States holds a technically recoverable natural gas resource of 2,384 trillion cubic feet (tcf), which is actually 26 percent higher than any previous finding.
Having effectively lost the scientific debate over the safety of hydraulic fracturing and the environmental benefits to be gained from expanded shale development, groups opposed to natural gas production are now setting their activist sights on a new frontier: liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.
A new paper from scientists at Stanford, Cornell, and the University of California at Davis suggests the state of New York could generate all of its energy from three sources: wind, water, and solar. This also includes a large scale shift to hydrogen fuel cells (produced by “excess” renewable power generation) to allow for even New York’s transportation to run on renewable energy sources. But before you say, “That doesn’t sound possible,” don’t worry – other credible voices have already suggested as much.
A recent report from the Brookings Institution describes natural gas liquids (NGLs) as a “critical component of the industrial sector’s ability to take advantage of the U.S. hydrocarbon resurgence.” After all, these NGLs – such as ethane, butane, and propane – are important feedstocks used by America’s manufacturing industry, used to make everything from shampoo to textiles.
The Washington Post recently highlighted a growing trend that holds great economic promise for the United States. Specifically, the Post noted that European industry is moving to the United States to take advantage of lower energy costs, specifically clean-burning natural gas. Of course, this is just the latest in a series of economic good news attributable to the nation’s growth in oil and natural gas development from shale resources. Little wonder, then, why major U.S. investment banks are declaring that “energy is beginning to carry America.”
On January 10th, 1901, the Lucas No. 1 well made history when it began gushing oil in the town of Spindletop, Texas. It didn’t take long before the heretofore unassuming well was producing more than 100,000 barrels of oil per day, redefining production rates and catapulting Texas to the front stage of America’s new energy frontier.
A new poll out of North Carolina shows widespread support for hydraulic fracturing and increased energy development among voters throughout the state. The poll, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute (API), found 79 percent net support for increased production of domestic oil and natural gas, along with 60 percent net support for hydraulic fracturing. In fact, one third of voters in the Tar Heel State – 33 percent – say they “strongly support” hydraulic fracturing.
Activists opposed to responsible shale development have seized on an as-yet-unreleased U.S. Geological Survey report as “proof” that the hydraulic fracturing process causes the earth to shake off its axis. The problem, though, is that the U.S. Geological Survey didn’t actually make that link.
Open spaces are best preserved when landowners, including the state itself, are able to generate economic rent to pay the holding costs associated with that land. In Michigan, the Antrim Shale experience demonstrates, perhaps better than any other, the positive impact that the partnership between the natural gas industry and landowners has on water quality and overall land preservation.
While some media outlets fairly reported a story about the release of court records in a fabled and now settled case in Southwest Pennsylvania, others painted a picture of hidden contamination from hydraulic fracturing. The only thing being hidden, however, is what was ignored: the fact the plaintiffs agreed their health had not been impacted as they had previously alleged.
While these vehicles are unquestionably big, the vibrations they create are very small. That’s why scientists with state and federal agencies, experts in academia and the geologists and engineers of the oil and gas industry have reaffirmed the safety of vibroseis trucks many times.
Last year at the Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics conference, Paul Gallay of Riverkeeper stood up and proclaimed a litany of falsehoods about shale development, ranging from claims about smog to benzene concentrations – all of which he said were “facts,” even though they were not. Perhaps in keeping with that tradition, another prominent anti-shale voice – Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club – appeared at the conference this year.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s latest report on greenhouse gases (GHGs) shows a significant drop in methane emissions from natural gas development, as compared to EPA’s prior data. The latest reporting from EPA suggests methane emissions from petroleum and natural gas systems were 82.6 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2011. Last year, EPA’s GHG Inventory – which assessed data for 2010 – estimated that natural gas systems alone emitted more than 215 million metric tons, while petroleum systems added another 31 million metric tons.