MSC in the Times-Leader: Drillers dedicated to transparency

The Times Leader’s Dec. 16 editorial (“End the secrecy regarding drilling”) advances a narrative that is fundamentally unsupported by the facts, suggesting that natural gas producers are secretive and “tight-lipped.” The truth, however, is that our industry is continually taking steps to enhance and increase transparency across all of our operations, particularly on the issue of hydraulic fracturing.

First, readers should know that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson has testified before Congress that hydraulic fracturing – a tightly regulated, 60-year-old production process – has never impacted groundwater.

As relates to disclosing the fluids used in the fracturing process, which are made up of more than 99.5 percent water and sand and less than 0.5 percent of other additives, our industry is required to provide the state Department of Environmental Protection with the exact additives and volumes used. Indeed, DEP lists the entire universe of additives on its website. But our industry understands that it can, and must, do more. In fact, our members have proactively taken action to list this information, well by well, on the Groundwater Protection Council’s database, reinforcing our commitment to safe development, environmental stewardship and transparency.

At the same time, we’re working closely with regulators and the public to ensure the safe and responsible development of job-creating American natural gas. Yet misguided legislation, such as the FRAC Act, represents a top-down, one-size-fits-all “Washington solution” in search of a problem that will simply not provide any added environmental safeguards.

The Marcellus Shale represents a historic opportunity for our region, the commonwealth and our nation – it’s one that we have to get right. We need common-sense regulatory policies, not duplicative and unnecessary red tape, to build upon the positive progress we’re continuing to make.

Steve Forde
Policy and communications director
Marcellus Shale Coalition

NOTE: Click HERE to view this letter online.