The true facts on natural gas

Published Oct 30, 2013 at 5:55 am (Updated Oct 29, 2013 at 4:30 pm)

The League of Women Voters is at it again on natural gas development: getting into an issue it doesn’t understand, and bringing a significant bias against it. The Almanac’s Oct. 16 story on the group’s recent meeting in Mt. Lebanon presented evidence of the group’s one-sided view of Marcellus Shale drilling.

Let’s first debunk several statements made during the presentation:

The majority of flowback water from hydraulic fracturing operations is recycled. It is not sent to injection wells.

Water and chemicals used in those operations does not “leak” into water supplies.

The amount and concentrations of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations for every well in Pennsylvania is disclosed on You can look it up.

Hydraulic fracturing is not “new.” It has been taking place since 1949, with more than two million wells successfully fractured across the U.S. since that time.

Claims about potential increases in breast cancer in a six-county area in Texas are not true, according to the Texas Cancer Registry and Chandini Portteus, vice president of research for the Susan B. Komen Foundation.

Drinking water samples are collected and analyzed from wells within 2,500 feet of a well prior to drilling in Pennsylvania. It’s the law.

Let’s also look at just a few important facts that were left out:

The U.S. is the only country in the world that is currently meeting the 1997 Kyoto Protocol for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, having rolled those emissions back to 1994 levels, thanks to the increased use of natural gas for power generation.

The natural gas industry is providing hundreds of thousands of good jobs in Pennsylvania and billions in tax payments to state and local governments.

Unprecedented economic growth is occurring in regions across the state, directly attributable to new natural gas production. Example: Washington County’s per capita personal income increased from $29,138 in 2001 to $46,237 in 2011. It is now almost 10 percent higher than the state average.

Consumers in Pennsylvania are paying approximately $550 less per year in utility bills, also directly tied to Marcellus Shale natural gas production.

The U.S. will surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia this year to become the largest oil and natural gas producer in the world. That means greater energy security for our nation for future generations and less reliance on importing energy from hostile nations.

It is very unfortunate that the League of Women Voters continues to misrepresent an industry that is putting Pennsylvania at the forefront of safe and clean energy development in the United States.

Louis D. D’Amico

Wexford, PA

(D’Amico is the president/executive director of the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association.)

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