The other day I had a post about fracking and the increase in U.S. production of oil. A liberal troll in comments insisted that fracking had nothing to do with this, which shows once again that liberals are by and large know-nothings.
Fracking has led to oil booms in North Dakota, Texas and elsewhere. Here in West Virginia and throughout the Appalachians, fracking yields natural gas (particularly the wet natural gas that can be turned into a cheaper-than-oil feedstock for plastic – bwa ha ha).
The Independent Petroleum Association of America, through its Energy In Depth web site, has linked fracking to something that is the greatest fear of environmentalists throughout the world: Prosperity.
From its EID blog:
Intuitively, it’s always made sense that states that actively and responsibly develop their homegrown energy resources tend to do a bit better economically than states that, for reasons of either geology or politics, do not. But a new study released this week and reported on by the Wall Street Journal suggests that the gap between the two is fairly extraordinary – and widening, thanks in large part to the serious boost that shale development is providing to states and their citizens that would otherwise be high and dry because of this economy.
Overall, the study found that seven out of the top 10 states surveyed that saw rises in household income during the current recession were states in which oil and natural gas development is a significant contributor to that state’s economy.
This graph, taken from the study lays in pretty clear detail the top performing states (and in DC’s case, non-states) in the context of overall increases in household income. Of course, it’s pretty obvious why DC tops the list here (recessions are a great time to be doing government work!), but take a look at the states that follow: all but Iowa and Hawaii are major oil and gas producing states.
That’s the chart at the top. D.C. has government, Hawaii has tourism (Obama warned CEOs to stay out of its chief competitor, Las Vegas) and Iowa has corn subsidies.
EID had this update:
An article published in today’s New York Times further highlights the economic growth that natural gas production is spurring in communities across the country. The article focuses on Houston, Texas and its resurgence from the recession thanks, in large part, to increased natural gas production from shale:
Powered by a rise in oil prices and a shale exploration boom, Houston is the first major metropolitan region to regain all of the jobs it lost in the recession. The region added about 76,000 jobs last year, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, and is on pace to pick up tens of thousands more this year.
Last year, 1.8 million square feet of commercial space was vacuumed up, and real estate brokers expect the same or greater this year. “No question, it’s energy,” said Jim Arket a senior vice president at Grubb & Ellis in Houston. “That’s been the multiplier of Houston.”
Houston’s growing? Jobs for Jim Withem!
So for real productivity and growth that is not based on government or a service industry, on must turn to fracking. Other states frack and did not make the list – Pennsylvania comes to mind – and the growth is pathetically small. But from Chester to Ravenswood, West Virginia’s western front is seeing economic activity it has not witnessed in at least a generation.
Naturally environmentalists hate it. Using the cover of “investigate journalism,” Lena Groeger of the lefty Pro Publica site wrote:
From Gung-Ho to Uh-Oh: Charting the Government’s Moves on Fracking
Fracking has only recently become a household word, but government involvement with the drilling technique goes back decades. President Obama has championed the potential of natural gas drilling combined with more regulation. While there has been mounting evidence of water contamination, few regulations have been implemented. The graphic below traces officials’ moves – and levels of caution – over time.
Her history of fracking began at an interesting point with a non-fracking event:
1969 The government detonates a 43-kiloton nuclear bomb deep underground in an effort to get at natural gas deposits in Colorado. The gas unlocked by “Project Rulison” is deemed too radioactive to use.
Then she hopped to 1976.
But EID gave the industry side to supplement that “investigative journalism” chart:
1947: First well receives hydraulic fracturing treatment to stimulate natural gas development (Grant County, Kan.).
1950s: Hydraulic fracturing is used for the first time in Canada (Cardium oil field in central Alberta).
November 1974: Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is signed into law. Establishes new standards and regulations to protect underground sources of drinking water (USDW). Despite having been utilized commercially for a quarter century, hydraulic fracturing was never considered for regulation under SDWA.
And on and on – more in depth.
Her last three items are from 2011:
October The EPA announces a plan to issue new national rules for fracking wastewater. The process is still in its early stages, and the EPA is currently simply soliciting input.
November In response to a petition by environmental groups, the EPA agrees to develop rules requiring companies to test and submit data on the chemicals they use for fracking. Again the rules are not yet set.
December An EPA draft report concludes that contaminants in Pavillion, Wyoming most likely seeped up from gas wells, scientifically linking water contamination to fracking for the first time.
From the industry:
October 2011: Louisiana’s rules for hydraulic fracturing fluid disclosure go into effect (see page 3064 of this document).
December 2011: EPA issues a draft report on water quality in Pavillion that, despite no independent scientific review, alleges that hydraulic fracturing was “likely” the cause of water contamination in the area. Numerous state officials and regulators criticize the report as inherently flawed. Meanwhile, Colorado implements new rules requiring disclosure for hydraulic fracturing fluids, and Texas regulators approve their own disclosure law. Both Colorado and Texas utilize the FracFocus website for implementation of their laws.
January 2012: In his State of the Union address, President Obama issues strong support for developing natural gas from shale, noting that his administration will “take every possible action to safely develop this energy” in order to create “more than 600,000 jobs” by the end of the decade. “The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy,” the President added.
February 2012: Two months after releasing its draft report on Pavillion, the EPA backtracks its initial (and inflammatory) claim that hydraulic fracturing “likely” caused water contamination. At a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, EPA Region 8 administrator Jim Martin says: “We make clear that the causal link [of water contamination] to hydraulic fracturing has not been demonstrated conclusively,” adding that EPA’s draft report “should not be assumed to apply to fracturing in other geologic settings.” President Obama, in his FY 2013 budget, requests additional funds for the EPA to expand its own mandate for its hydraulic fracturing study, a mandate that goes beyond what was authorized by Congress. Two days later, during a hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says of hydraulic fracturing (subs. req’d): “From my point of view, it can be done safely and it has been done safely.”
What has happened is the Obama administration came in and put a socialist in charge of EPA who is hastily trying to come up with a rationalization of shutting down fracking. In a second term she will succeed. The most likely outcome is that whatever actual dangers there are from fracking will be lost among the tons of junk science EPA will generate. Climatology is so out. Anti-fracking hydrology is in.
As for Pro-Publica, I thought journalism – particularly “investigative journalism” – was more than regurgitating government talking points. I make no bones about being conservative and this blog being opinion, not journalism. I am as skeptical of government as I am of industry.
But time has taught me to be even more skeptical to the point of opposing environmentalists who oppose seemingly all productive activity and have yet to propose any new industry that is not heavily subsidized by the government.
In light of such a reputation, I can only conclude that environmentalists are less concerned about water quality than they are afraid that prosperity will return at long last to pockets of poverty in rural America. Heaven help us if less than one-third of the economy of West Virginia were generated by food stamps and like government pity payments.
It’s an Obama world.
Obama mocks drilling for oil – pushes green algae instead
Barack Obama admitted Thursday that he didn’t have any clear solutions to the surging gas prices. However, he did propose using algae to bring down the price.
The Examiner reported:
“We’re making new investments in the development of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel that’s actually made from a plant-like substance, algae – you’ve got a bunch of algae out here,” Obama said at the University of Miami today. “If we can figure out how to make energy out of that, we’ll be doing alright. Believe it or not, we could replace up to 17 percent of the oil we import for transportation with this fuel that we can grow right here in America.”
And, Investor’s Business Daily reported yesterday on the biggest lies from Obama’s energy speech. Here’s one:
“The U.S. consumes more than a fifth of the world’s oil. But we only have 2% of the world’s oil reserves.”
Fact: Obama constantly refers to this statistic to buttress his claim that “we can’t drill our way to lower gas prices.” The argument goes that since the U.S. supply is limited, it won’t ever make a difference to world prices.
Subscribe to the IBD Editorials Podcast It’s bogus. New exploration and drilling technologies have uncovered vast amounts of recoverable oil.
In fact, the U.S. has a mind-boggling 1.4 trillion barrels of oil, enough to “fuel the present needs in the U.S. for around 250 years,” according to the Institute for Energy Research. The problem is the government has put most of this supply off limits.
Read the rest here.