A year ago, the shale gas opportunity was largely unknown outside of the industry. That is no longer the case. Recent technological advances have made affordable the development of vast domestic resources that provide a bridge to a low-carbon energy economy – because natural gas produces less than half as much carbon pollution as coal.
These resources can and should be developed with responsible production practices that minimize the impact on the landscape, water supply, and wildlife habitat. The industry should behave as a partner and not as an adversary of those working to ensure adequate safeguards for the environment and public health.
Where existing laws and regulations are too weak, they should be strengthened to reflect industry best practices. The industry should support requirements to fully disclose all the chemicals it is using in the hydraulic fracturing process. It should also support adequate funding, oversight and enforcement of regulations at the state level. As the oil spill in the Gulf demonstrated, shortcuts are unacceptable in protecting public health, safety, and the environment.
If developed and implemented sensibly, stronger regulations will enable the natural gas industry to produce the energy we need while protecting the drinking water we depend on. Properly harnessing the potential of these new gas supplies will go a long way toward protecting our future energy, economic and climate security.
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