Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Federal Government Decides to Stack the Deck Against Fracking

National Review includes Kathryn Hartnett White's excellent article about hydraulic fracturing "Fracas About Fracking"

A particular quote to remember while reading Ms. White's article is this one from the President's speech in October to Latino voters (via Allahpundit and The Weekly Standard):
"In a radio interview that aired on Univision on Monday, Mr. Obama sought to assure Hispanics that he would push an immigration overhaul after the midterm elections, despite fierce Republican opposition.
“If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us"
 The administration appears to be following up on its stated aim to punish its enemies as the EPA attacks hydraulic fracking and sets up an "endangered" lizard to halt drilling in Texas.  What will these efforts damage.  

Kathleen Hartnett White summarizes in "Fracas About Fracking" in National Review Online:
Fracking is one of several new ways to get at the ample resources remaining after natural pressure subsides. 
In these ways, human ingenuity, catalyzed by market dynamics, has foiled predictions of irreversible decline in domestic oil and natural-gas resources. Official estimates of the amount of recoverable oil and natural gas have soared. Last year, global natural-gas supplies rose 40 percent. From 2010 to 2011, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) doubled its estimate of recoverable natural gas in the U.S. The EIA increased its estimate of Texas’s natural-gas reserves by 70 percent between 2005 and 2008, and Texas also is doing prolific fracking in oil: Producers now have access to 2 billion barrels in the Wolfberry formation in the Permian Basin. The Eagle Ford fields in South Texas increased oil production fourfold in the first ten months of 2010. And the Haynesville-Bossier fields, straddling Texas’s border with Louisiana, increased reserves of natural gas by 9.4 trillion cubic feet while increasing production twelvefold. 
The EIA also believes that natural gas in the Marcellus formation of New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia contains more BTUs of energy than do the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. Drilling is well under way in Pennsylvania, where 141,000 new jobs in the “gas patch” have been created in the last few years. New York has declined to accept its energy wealth and instead imposed a de facto moratorium on fracking, pending the completion of an environmental-impact statement — thus deferring the creation of hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs.
 Driven by the administration's apparent desire to drive up gas prices and punish states like Texas that have had the audacity to both vote against the Obama machine and be successful during economic hard times the EPA has mounted an offensive on the oil industry which will seriously damage the US economy if successful.  There is an EPA study in the works that appears to be designed to ignore the long history of success with hydraulic fracking and make it victim to the EPA's environmental fanaticism.
The EPA study has some other serious defects. It will cherry-pick only four wells, out of hundreds of thousands, for full forensic analysis, and it has excluded representatives of state regulatory agencies — which have six decades of experience in regulating this practice, which began in 1948 — from its review panel. Nor do the researchers seem aware of the difference between, on one hand, models of the assumed effects of hydraulic fracturing and, on the other, physical measurements of the results of hundreds of actual fracking treatments. To learn the fundamentals of this issue, the EPA would have to bother to speak with experts on the technology.
The study seems designed to substantiate a predetermined conclusion: that hydraulic fracturing poses grave risks. Therefore the EPA must either assert regulatory control on all drilling using this technology, or issue a “temporary” moratorium — as in the aftermath of the 2010 Gulf spill — until further study is complete. If fracking is delayed or discontinued, massive resources will remain untapped, hundreds of thousands of jobs will not be created, and billions of dollars of potential federal, state, and local tax revenues will be lost.
There is an old joke that says: 
"A recession is when you are out of a job.  A depression is when I am out of a job."  
 It may be time to create a depression among elected officials supporting the Green agenda and caution among the electoral survivors.

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