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Energy & the Law

Fracking: Safe and Essential or an Environmental Hazard?

Posted in Hydraulic Fracturing

If you were wondering whether the debate over the safety and effectiveness of hydraulic fracturing has entered our national conciousness, check this out: 


In a serious approach to the issue, the opinion magazine National Review recently joined in the conversation in a piece by Kevin Williamson, The Truth About Fracking – What the Protestors Don’t Know.  The focus is on the Marcellus Shale, but his thesis applies everywhere there is horizontal drilling and fracking.  These days, that is a lot of places. 

Among his observations:

  •  The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection receives high marks for competence and its application of common sense in regulating the handling of frack water.
  • On the other hand is the fear that the EPA will adopt a top-down, one-size-fits-all aproach to fracking and frack-fluid regulation, ignoring the differences in geology and other factors in different producing areas.
  • The industry is addressing the troublesome aspects of fracking.  Frack water is being treated in innovative ways by companies like TerraAqua Resource Management. 
  • Producers like Fort Worth-based Range Resources are recognized for responsible environmental practices and efforts to minmize the impact of drilling on local communities.   
  • George Mitchell, and not your federal government, gets the credit for having the vision, conducting the research, and taking the enormous financial risks necessary to develop modern fracking techniques.
  • He reveals distortions of fact presented in Gasland, the documentary allleging that a Colorado farmer’s tap water caught fire because of fracking. In fact, tap water in that community has been catching fire since at least the 1930’s.
  • Natural gas development is responsible for thousands of new jobs in areas that need them, a fact that we Texans and our neighbors in Louisiana and Oklahoma have known for decades.