Hydraulic Fracturing Necessary, Say Producers

Hydraulic fracturing is a necessary part of Oklahoma’s crude oil and natural gas industry, and federal attempts to add new restrictions to the technological process will have devastating effects on the state’s economy, said Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association Chairman Mike McDonald.
U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., Maurice Hinchey D-N.Y., and Jared Polis D-Colo., along with Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., in the Senate, introduce legislation seeking to impose new restrictions on hydraulic fracturing — an essential technique for extracting hard-to-reach domestic energy while limiting disturbance to land.
The proposed legislation would make drilling new oil and natural gas wells more difficult and more costly, limiting the number of wells drilled in Oklahoma and the amount of oil and natural gas the state produces. For the 2008 fiscal year, state proceeds from taxes on oil and natural gas production totaled more than $1 billion. With the inclusion of income taxes, ad valorem taxes, motor vehicle taxes and other state fees, oil and natural gas producers accounted for one out of every four tax dollars used to fund schools, build roads and provide healthcare.
“Hydraulic fracturing is a necessity to both the energy industry and the state of Oklahoma,” McDonald said. “Energy producers need it to produce the hard-to-reach oil and natural gas locked deep below our state. Our government, already facing a budget shortfall, needs it to ensure necessary state services are not diminished.”
Hydraulic fracturing — the injection of fluids at high pressure into underground rock formations to increase the flow of fossil fuels — is essential to the production of natural gas. In Oklahoma, exploration for natural gas accounts for 80 percent of the state’s energy production activity.
Regulations to protect groundwater during oil and natural gas production are in place in Oklahoma through the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Hydraulic fracturing has been in use for more than 50 years and a 2004 study conducted by EPA found that the practice posed “no threat” to underground drinking water supplies.
“From the loss of tax revenue to the loss of jobs, the restriction of hydraulic fracturing will have a disastrous effect on Oklahoma,” McDonald said.

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