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Sunday, August 11, 2013
More than six years ago, I retired from the natural gas and oil industry. I thought I had everything planned until I began worrying about my children’s and grandchildren’s future. Without clean, affordable, dependable, domestic energy, they will have a cold, dark future. If we have to depend on foreign powers for our energy, they won’t be free. My retirement was short — one day. A friend called out of the blue with a job offer, and I was back in the industry. Now with development of our shale reservoirs, we can be energy independent and won’t need OPEC.
In the George Washington National Forest debate, a big concern is horizontal drilling and fracking (hydraulic fracturing). Few know that fracking is a single or several-day event that occurs only once in the 30-plus year life of a typical well or that fracking is an engineered process injecting fluid or a gas under pressure deep underground to create a fracture (crack) in reservoir rock. This allows oil and gas to flow from the reservoir to the wellbore.
More than 1 million wells have been fracked since 1947 and no federal government agency has confirmed any contamination from the fracturing process, although there may be cases where drilling caused short-term contamination.
Lisa Jackson, former director of the Environmental Protection Agency, agrees that there has been no proven groundwater contamination from fracking. More than 90 percent of all natural gas wells drilled in the United States require fracking. Most people don’t know that without fracking, our domestic oil and gas industry would cease to exist. Don’t worry, our “friends” at OPEC or in Russia will gladly sell us oil and gas at their prices.
We know from basic engineering and underground observations that fracks cannot go up into groundwater. This isn’t theory or a study. I lived with my family in the middle of oil and gas fields where all of the wells were fracked. Our water well was fine. We never saw any of those dangerous fracking things that we now hear and read about. Our kids are all healthy. The most dangerous threat to our water is a neighbor’s unregulated water well.
The George Washington can be a great Eastern wilderness without development of any kind. It also can continue to be the beautiful multiuse forest it currently is. Regulations can protect roads and sensitive areas.
With the forest’s location on the edge of the Marcellus Shale, it will probably never be drilled. But should we take that option away from our children? Any forest plan must be based on sound science and engineering rather than fear and fallacy. We need energy to survive. Life without fracking is life without the fundamentals of life. Don’t we want the best for our children and grandchildren?
For more information, go to vanatgasfacts.org or justthefracksbook.com.
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