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Hydraulic fracturing scare tactics ignore facts of environmental safety

November 18, 2011
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

"DEP: No Cases of Fracking Contamination" (Nov. 3) was right on-point. Too many scare tactics and too few facts have long made up the bulk of the anti-hydraulic fracturing camp's rhetoric.

With some estimates calculating the amount of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale at 500 trillion cubic feet, the field, one of the largest in North America, has the potential to power our country for decades. It could also help local economies see a much-needed influx of billions of dollars, money that would translate directly into jobs and indirectly to the strengthening of other local sectors.

That hydraulic fracturing has not been known to adversely affect the quality of any drinking water was confirmed in the congressional testimony of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson earlier this year. Jackson said she was "not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water."

In fact, chemical contamination of drinking water during natural gas drilling is made nearly impossible by the fact that drilling through the water table doesn't involve the use of any chemicals - only water, air or clay. And after the drilling process is complete, drillers install steel and cement casing for protection.

For more than 60 years, hydraulic fracturing has strictly been regulated at both the state and federal levels. Its advantages for the nation and those local communities with shale-rich land are numerous.

It's time naysayers stepped back and allowed progress to benefit those who need it most.

Thomas J. Pyle, president

Institute for Energy Research

Washington, D.C.

 
 

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