These comments are submitted to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) on behalf of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and Energy In Depth (EID) with regard to issues raised at the May 23, 2013, ENR round table discussion regarding natural gas production.
IPAA represents the thousands of independent natural gas and oil explorers and producers, as well as the service and supply industries that support their efforts. Independent producers drill about 95 percent of American oil and natural gas wells, produce over 54 percent of American oil, and more than 85 percent of American natural gas. EID is a research, education and public outreach campaign focused on getting the facts out about the promise and potential of responsibly developing America’s onshore energy resource base – especially abundant sources of oil and natural gas from shale and other "tight" reservoirs across the country. It’s an effort that benefits directly from the support, guidance and technical insight of a broad segment of America’s oil and natural gas industry.
During the Committee round table, several issues were raised where the Committee solicited additional information. This document addresses the following:
1. Issues associated with hydraulic fracturing and drinking water contamination;
2. Regulatory "failures" and federal standards; and
3. Chemical disclosure and the role of FracFocus.
Hydraulic Fracturing and Drinking Water Contamination
The question of underground drinking water contamination from hydraulic fracturing is a settled issue; hydraulic fracturing has not caused underground drinking water contamination. However, professional environmental organizations – notably the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Sierra Club – continue to allege - 2 -
that fracturing not only poses a serious risk of contamination, but that the process has been linked to such contamination on numerous occasions. This is not based on scientific evidence (as the following examples will attest), but rather as one particular tool in a broader agenda to reduce or eliminate the development and use of natural gas.
Fracturing is a temporary part of natural gas development that has been effectively controlled by state-based well construction and completion regulations for decades. The following are but a handful of comments from a variety of experts, regulators, and analyses of hydraulic fracturing that speak directly to the question of whether the process contaminates drinking water aquifers...
Lee O. Fuller, Vice President of Government Relations - Independent Petroleum Association of America
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