Fracking Benefits America

The media continues to publish stories denigrating fracking. My local paper has published three anti-fracking AP articles in the past few days.

While a few people have been disturbed by drilling near their homes, fracking has not caused any important environmental damage.

On the contrary, fracking has resulted in many benefits for Americans.

The two primary benefits have been:

  1. A resurgence in domestic oil production that has reduced oil imports, with concomitant benefits, such as improved balance of payments, less exposure to interruptions of oil supplies and new royalty and tax income for the states and federal government.
Chart from Wall Street Journal. Data from EIA
Chart from Wall Street Journal. Data from EIA

2. An abundance of natural gas has lowered costs to consumers and industry, which, has in turn, resulted in a revival of manufacturing, especially in the chemical industry.

Wellhead Natural Gas Prices $/Million Cubic Ft, From EIA
Wellhead Natural Gas Prices $/Million Cubic Ft, From EIA

It was only a few years ago that there was great consternation over ever increasing oil imports, and the fear that the United States would have to import natural gas due to dwindling supplies. Communities and environmentalists were up in arms over building natural gas import terminals.

Fracking has changed all that, in what can only be described as a technological revolution.

Natural gas prices were skyrocketing between 2002 and 2008, but plummeted to around $2 before easing back to around $3.50 per mcf, or million BTUs, where it’s likely to stay for the foreseeable future.

Fracking also promises to alter the natural gas supply worldwide, as countries, such as Argentina and China, begin to use fracking to increase domestic supplies of natural gas.

Europe, because of environmental pressure from Greens, has refused to use fracking to develop its natural gas supplies. It now appears as though Russia has been plotting with environmental groups to prevent fracking.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO General Secretary, said Russia is secretly working with environmental groups to prevent fracking so as to maintain its natural gas exports to Europe.

There are no proven instances where fracking has caused environmental damage … it hasn’t caused water to be contaminated with chemicals, and it hasn’t caused wells to be contaminated with natural gas.

Pavilion, Wyoming was the only location where the EPA had, what it considered, proof of well contamination, but its tests were flawed, and after retesting the EPA gave up. See EPA Strikes Out on Anti-Fracking Campaign, and Fracking Indictment.

Earthquakes have also been attributed to fracking, but, nearly all are temblors barely large enough to be felt.

The few quakes that have actually caused damage were the result of waste water injection … not fracking. All of the 109 earthquakes greater than 3.0 on the Richter scale in Oklahoma, during 2013, were from the disposal of waste water … not fracking.

Fracking uses large quantities of water, but the industry is developing ways to recycle water and possibly use alternatives to mitigate this problem, especially in areas where water isn’t plentiful.

Drilling multiple wells from the same pad has reduced the number of roads being built and the area being disturbed by drilling.

Some people have been disturbed by the drilling process, including truck traffic, and some communities have been inundated with large numbers of workers, but these are usually short term issues, frequently associated with rapid growth, rather than fracking.

Radical environmentalists have been trying to create fear among the public in an effort to stop fracking. Fear mongering has been behind many of the stories about fracking, where the story invariably asks: but what if wells aren’t inspected by the government? Or what if well casings break down? Or what if there are gas leaks in pipelines?

A typical example was a headline that ominously said: “Feds aren’t inspecting 4 in 10 higher risk wells.”

A more accurate headline would read: “Feds Inspect 60% of higher risk wells.”

And, of course, the article made no mention of whether any defects were found. I’m certain, if there had been defects, they would have been highlighted. Besides, a professionally done sampling program would achieve better results at lower cost.

Fracking’s record may not be spotless, but very few serious problems have been associated with the drilling process required for fracking, from building roads to waste water disposal … And none have actually been caused by fracking.

Fracking has been a blessing for America.

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