Shale Gas Reserves Could Reignite U.S. Economy

By: Drew Nelson, EDF's Clean Energy Project Manager

Yesterday, Bloomberg News produced a comprehensive article on shale gas and the hydraulic fracturing process used to tap it.  The article provides some interesting history on how hydraulic fracturing has gone from a fringe technology practiced by only a few innovators to a widespread technology that, along with horizontal drilling, led to the current shale gas boom.  It also highlights the fact that expanding U.S. shale gas production will play an important role in the U.S. economy and provide potential wins to local economies, local air quality, and the global climate system.  However, as EDF President Fred Krupp points out in the article, these wins will only materialize IF the U.S. produces shale gas “in the right way.” 

The article highlights EDF’s role on the front lines of ensuring that shale gas is produced in the right way, which we believe should include, among others:

– Comprehensive disclosure of hydraulic fracturing chemicals (significantly, a Chesapeake Energy spokesman notes in the story that industry’s failure to disclose that information has led to a lack of trust by the public and slowed down industry efforts to expand drilling);
– Modernization of rules for well construction and operation;
– Systems-based management of wastes and water;
– State and national standards for improving air quality and reducing climate impacts; and
– Minimization of land use and community impacts from natural gas development.

It is important for the natural gas industry to realize that business as usual isn’t going to cut it and EDF will continue to work with responsible gas companies to get the rules right.  Stay tuned.

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