Enormous natural gas deposits in Northeast strike terror in the hearts of environmentalists.
USGS Ups The Ante On Shale
Posted 08/25/2011 07:01 PM ET
Power: Despite efforts in the
media and Congress to shut it down through fear and falsehoods, a new
estimate of America's most promising energy source portends even more
gas, oil — and jobs.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced Tuesday that the
Marcellus Shale formation that straddles the northeastern United States
may hold a staggering 84 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of recoverable
natural gas, up significantly from the last official government estimate
of 2 tcf made in 2002.
The USGS said the estimate came from new information about the
gas-rich formation underlying New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West
Virginia, and from technical improvements in how wells are drilled and
the gas is extracted.
Those who argue that the world is running out of fossil energy are
wrong once again. They ignore the fact our resources are limited only by
our imagination and the will to develop them.
The 84 trillion tcf figure is the mean of a range of possible gas
volumes. There's a 95% chance that the formation has 43 tcf of gas and a
5% chance it may hold as much as 144 tcf. In addition, the formation
may hold anywhere from 1.5 billion to 6.1 billion barrels of natural gas
This news strikes terror in the hearts of environmentalists, and
government ideologues simply cannot handle shale gas and the prospect of
what it holds for the American future. Shale gas doesn't require a
government subsidy like wind and solar energy do; it is profitable,
abundant and versatile in that it can be used to power the grid and as a
Unable to attack natural gas itself, the cleanest burning of the
fossil fuels, greenies and their sycophants in the media and government
have attacked the safety of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," the
method used to extract the oil and gas trapped in the prehistoric porous
rock. It poses dangers to the water supply, they insist.
The New York Times in particular has run a series of articles filled
with hyperbole and questionable sourcing, particularly one by Ian
Urbina. It claims shale gas and the fracking process has been
"oversold," the fluids injected into the rock are full of icky stuff and
the wastewater produced is "often laced with highly corrosive salts,
carcinogens like benzene and radioactive elements like radium."
mixture used to fracture shale is in fact a benign blend of 90% water,
9.5% sand and 0.5% chemicals such as the sodium chloride of table salt
and the citric acid of the orange juice you had for breakfast. It can
take up to 2.1 million gallons of water to clean the solar panels per
megawatt of electricity vs. an estimated 1.8 million gallons per
megawatt of oil shale.
Shale formations in which fracking is employed are thousands of feet
deep; drinking water aquifers are generally only a hundred feet deep.
Between them is solid rock. A 2010 Pennsylvania Department of
Environmental Protection report concluded that "no groundwater pollution
or disruption of underground sources of drinking water has been
attributed to hydraulic fracturing of deep gas formations."
Earlier this year, Democrats opposed to domestic energy development
introduced the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals
(FRAC) Act designed to put fracking, already well-regulated at the state
level, under the regulatory authority of an EPA already killing the
economy by regulation.
Researchers at Penn State say the Marcellus Shale has already created
44,000 jobs in Pennsylvania and added $4 billion to the economy in
2009, plus 13,000 jobs in West Virginia and $1 billion to the economy
there. Further development could mean almost 300,000 new jobs and $25
billion added to the regional economy over the next decade.
Maybe President Obama can drive his armored, fossil-fuel-powered
Canada-made bus from Martha's Vineyard through the Marcellus on his way
back to energy- and imagination-deprived Washington, D.C.
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