Tag: hydrofrack

Hydrofracturing Produces Jobs, Energy, Wealth, Parasitic Lawsuits

Reporting on shale gas and hydrofracturing, the public radio program Marketplace Morning Report today captures the classic American phenomenon at work: Innovation creates opportunity, investment and wealth, and trial lawyers follow with bogus, hyped, shake-down lawsuits.

From “Fracking employs plenty of lawyers“:

Sarah Gardner: The U.S. is awash in natural gas. But the latest drilling technology that’s made the glut possible isn’t winning any popularity awards. “Fracking” involves a high pressure cocktail of water, chemicals and sand injected into shale rock — deep underground. Gas companies are drilling wells from Pennsylvania to Wyoming, and it doesn’t always go smoothly.

Richard Lippes: There have been explosions of homes, there’s a lot of people who can now actually light their water.

Not winning any popularity awards? Too bad this worthy report starts with such a clunker. Every job that hydofracturing creates wins a popularity award with the worker. Every stream of income from a producing well wins a popularity award with the property owner. Every hundred million dollars of tax revenue wins a popularity award with the taxpayers and citizens of a state.

As for the assertion from Lippes, the trial lawyer, that there are many who can now actually light their water? It’s false, a claim that’s supposed to inflame NIMBY sentiment against natural gas development and scare up clients. One scene of a fellow lighting water in his kitchen sink appeared in the agitprop film, “Gasland,” but the claims about fiery faucets have since been refuted and the entire movie debunked.

The Marketplace report also covers that activities of New York lawsuit engine Marc Bern, who specializes in environmental claims. Next up? The class-action lawsuit. Bern declares: “Wherever there is shale and there is natural gas trapped underneath, there will be litigation.” Isn’t that the sad truth. Just as where there is any creation of wealth in the U.S. economy, there will be trial lawyers. The more wealth, the more lawyers, which makes shale natural gas such a tempting target.

“Trial,” the monthly magazine of the American Association for Justice, hyped environmental litigation in its March issue, “Poisoned wells: dangers of natural gas drilling,” a piece authored by another plaintiffs’ attorney, William S. Friedlander. Environmental activists and litigators often team up in campaigns against energy, both exaggerating the risks to increase their potential income via membership dues or settlements, respectively.

Do we want a prosperous society, a growing economy, and a strong manufacturing base fueled by affordable natural gas, or do we want an elite class of trial lawyers and winners of the litigation lottery? (continue reading…)

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’60 Minutes’, Hydrofracturing, and Cowboys Beat Giants

“60 Minutes” ran a segment Sunday on the growth of natural gas production in the United States thanks to hydrofracturing; the technology uses pressurized fluids to crack shale formations deep underground to release the gas. Given the CBS program’s tendency to sensationalize, we were a little surprised to see industry representatives make such positive comments about the piece, “Energy: The Pros and Cons of Shale Gas Drilling: Emerging Energy Source Burns Cleaner Than Coal, Could Reduce U.S. Dependence On Foreign Oil.”

As The Times-Leader of Wilkes-Barre reported in “TV report focuses on gas drilling”:

Chris Tucker, of EnergyInDepth.org, an organization that promotes the benefits of natural gas drilling, said the segment was “fairly balanced,” although the show didn’t get everything right.

“I think they did a great job of telling the story of real people, everyday people, all across the country whose lives have changed for the better thanks to the development of this clean, American resource,” Tucker said.

“They didn’t quite get it right when they attempted to venture into the regulatory history of hydraulic fracturing. The reality is that fracturing technology is among the most thoroughly regulated procedures that takes place at the wellsite, which is a big reason why it’s been able to compile such a solid record of safety and performance over the past 60 years of commercial use.”

The most heated debates over hydrofracking are occurring in Pennsylvania and New York, regions where the Marcellus Shale formation is being developed (less so in New York). Critics often claim methane contaminates water wells and even causes explosions. A “60 Minutes” scene showed a man lighting a flame while filling a water jug from his well. But, as Travis Windle of the Marcellus Shale Coalition points out in the Times-Leader story, “Pennsylvania has a long and well-documented history of naturally occurring methane entering private water wells. ‘It will take private water well standards and fact-based reporting on pre-existing methane in water wells from shallow sources of contamination to demonstrate how safe shale gas development is,’ he said.” (continue reading…)

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The Link: Natural Gas and Manufacturing Jobs

President Obama visited Youngstown, Ohio, in mid-May to promote the Administration’s economic policies, pointing to the stimulus bill’s success in encouraging investment and job creation. To illustrate his argument, he appeared at V&M Star, a manufacturing of steel tubular goods, embarking on a $650 million expansion.

In the President’s remarks, he hailed the new railroad spur that encouraged the company’s expansion.

So as a result of this investment, V&M Star’s parent company decided to invest $650 million of its own money — its own money — (applause) — to build a new one-million-square-foot mill right here in Youngstown, the largest industrial plant built in the valley since GM built its plant over in Lordstown in the 1960s.  Think about that — biggest investment since the 1960s — 50 years.  (Applause.)  So right here, in the heart of the old steel corridor, where some never thought we’d see an investment like this again, they’re placing a bet on American manufacturing and on this community.

And that bet is going to pay off for 400 construction jobs once they break ground this summer; 350 new manufacturing jobs once the mill comes online, which doubles the current workforce.

Infrastructure investment is critical to the manufacturing sector, of course. It was one of the key elements of a Milken Institute study, “Jobs for America: Investments and Policies for Economic Growth and Competitiveness,” sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers.

But there better be an economic reason to justify the infrastructure, some underlying demand that inspires the investment. Unfortunately, President Obama made only one passing reference to the basic reason for V&M Star’s expansion — natural gas, that is, shale gas, that is, the Marcellus Shale, made accessible by hydrofracturing technology.

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held at V&M Star the end of June, and the local newspaper, The Vindicator, reported on the event. From “V&M Star’s $650m expansion gets rolling“:

Philippe Crouzet, chairman of the Vallourec Management Board, praised the private- and public-sector cooperation that made V&M’s expansion possible. [Vallourec is the French parent company.]

“Every aspect of our endeavor is coming together remarkably well,” Crouzet said. “There was an unprecedented collaboration between elected leaders, government professionals and the business community.”

The expansion will allow V&M Star to respond to the growing demands of its natural-gas customers in the Marcellus Shale, Crouzet said. The shale, a natural-gas formation the size of Greece located under Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Ohio, could contain as much as 489 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas.

“We are building the future in a market that has great opportunities,” Crouzet said. “V&M is well-positioned to serve as a bridge between this demand and supply.”

In case there was any doubt about the connection between economic activity, jobs and the Marcellus Shale, the American Petroleum Institute has released a new study that documents the value of natural gas. From the news release, “New Study Finds Natural Gas in Marcellus Shale Region Worth 280,000 Jobs, $6 Billion in Government Revenue“: (continue reading…)

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