High energy costs have only compounded our country’s economic struggles. Fortunately, an alternative to costly foreign energy has emerged: Hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a. fracking, is a promising technique that can provide both cheaper energy production and job creation.

Heritage Foundation expert Nick Loris dispels four common myths concerning fracking:

Myth #1: Hydraulic fracturing threatens underground water sources and has led to the contamination of drinking water.

Fact: Hydraulic fracturing is subject to both federal and state regulations, and there have been no instances of fracking causing contamination of drinking water.

Myth #2: The chemicals used in the fracking process are foreign chemicals that industry hides from the public.

Fact: Fracking fluid, made primarily of sand and water, uses a small percentage of chemicals that have common household applications and are regulated by the state.

Myth #3: Wastewater from hydraulic fracturing is dangerous and unregulated.

Fact: Companies dispose of, and recycle, wastewater using many different methods, all of which are compliant with existing federal and state laws.

Myth #4: Fracking causes earthquakes.

Fact: The fracking process itself does not cause earthquakes; in rare instances, the use of underground injection wells (for storage) has caused earthquakes. Induced seismic activity from many underground energy activities is not a new phenomenon and has been closely monitored by the Department of Energy.

Fracking, when regulated correctly, is a safe and necessary means of energy production and job creation in the United States, Loris argues:

 Yale Graduates Energy Study Group calculated that in 2010 alone, the consumer surplus (the consumer savings or gain from reductions in price) from shale gas production was worth over $100 billion. The technological one-two punch of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has created a remarkable energy boom and created hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S. The possibility of continuously low natural gas prices is turning the United States into a prime destination for chemical companies and other businesses that rely on abundant amounts of natural gas.

While fracking has helped to alleviate the insurmountable foreign energy prices, there are still many critics.

But these facts prove that it is a safe and reliable means for energy production. Through the combined efforts of entrepreneurs and state regulators, fracking has the potential to be the highlight of the 21st century global quest for affordable energy. Congress simply has to ensure the federal government doesn’t interfere with this new industry.

Do you think fracking will allow for reliable energy production on American land?

Comments (31)

William Key - September 7, 2012

The oil and gas production level is so much deeper than the fresh water table they would need to use nuclear bombs to affect it. Fracking has been going on for quite some time out here in the Permian Basin and there have been some instances of contaminated water but it was found to be due to the cementing much higher in the well being faulty.

Richard & Aniece McCulloch - September 7, 2012

Yes, we agree, that fracking will allow for reliable energy production on American soil……if we get the government off our backs!!!!

J.D. - September 7, 2012

NO! it isn;t worth the gamble of a pipe burst/leak
to spoil any land or water way. This thick/tar like unit
it would destroy all it touched. Why not try other avenues first?
Close the Borders, Raise imports: Barrel of oil = barrel
of wheat. No, cheap imported junk,Made In USA
means MORE jobs. America FIRST

Jim Johnson - September 7, 2012

Fracking not only has the ability to produce reliable energy, but huge amounts of it also. If the Administration had a viable energy plan and allowed fracking on federal land we would be on the way to energy independence already. Green energy is great, but after our investing billions of taxpayer dollars it has proven itself to not be viable or reliable as an energy source. We need an energy plan that works, not one that fits a personal agenda, and fracking offers that.

Tom - September 7, 2012

The term fracking is misleading! Natural gas and oil wells have always been fracked! They were vertical wells, the new element is the ability to drill horizontally after drilling several feet vertically.

Jon Lohmer - September 7, 2012

Most “energy” companies are “international”. It is in their best interest to maintain high energy prices – partly due to the loss of value of the U.S. Dollar (Government printing). These companies are “capitalistic” in that their primary function is to earn money. Just as much of the Alaskan Pipeline oil went to Asia, so new oil/gas will be sold to the highest bidder. We may not be directly dependent on foreign oil, but we will be constrained by global energy prices.

Fred Yates - September 7, 2012

This is old technology, not new. It has been happening for over 35 years that I personally know of. My wife’s brother talked about it in mid ’80s. Why can’t anybody ever tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

Fracking is a good way to remove the majority of the remaining oil. But more importantly, drill in the Gulf where we have oil. Dump Obama, not the oil fields.

DGSymmank - September 7, 2012

Indeed it will. I can attest to this from personal experience with fracking done on an 20 year old oil well which has increased its production many fold without any problem to our water well.

Kristine Michael - September 7, 2012

This was an interesting and informative analysis on the myths about fracking. I have read this elsewhere as well that fracking does NOT contaminate aquifers as it is so much deeper and there is an impermeable layer between. But facts are an inconvenient truth to those who are either environmental extremists or anti-American and do not want us to be energy independent. This country has the resources and does not need to be buying oil from countries that are not our friends.

Joe - September 7, 2012

Fracking has been around for years, there is nothing new about it other than the process has been improved.

Mr Greg Wofford - September 7, 2012

Fracking is not a new technology. It has been improved but I remember seeing fracking crews a well locations back in the 1980’s. I was working on a survey crew at the time locating and setting locations for oil and gas wells. The major innovation seems to be in horizontal drilling as far as I know that was not used or prevalent at the time.

RR McGrew - September 7, 2012

Oil/gas production that requires fracking uses fresh water which is already in short supply since our underground supply is already being drawn down by city and agriculture water withdrawal from our aquifers. What do we use when there is no unpoluted water? Can we reclaim/purify the fracking water? How? Cost? Capacity?

Bob - September 7, 2012

I’m all for the concept but have reservations about the possible negative effects on the ecosystem. Go full steam ahead but monitor the unproven parameters closely just like we do with nuclear energy.

William DePierri - September 7, 2012


Mike - September 7, 2012

I am sure fracking will allow for reliable energy production in America. I live in Fort Worth which has been a hub for the rapid expansion of natural gas production from the Barnett Shale using the time honored fracking technique (decades old) combined with the relatively new and totally amazing horizontal techniques. Many thanks to the oil and gas industry for pioneering the use of these techniques for the benefit of the entire world, frankly. No thanks at all to the luddites who are pursuing a selfish agenda in trying to stop this revolution in energy production on specious grounds.

K. Selvig - September 8, 2012

It’s only a matter of time before there are instances of fracking being linked definitively to groundwater contamination. Whenever I hear the argument made that it has not been shown to be harmful, I always think of MBTE. It took years before its leaking into drinking sources caused it to be banned across the country . Of course it was too late for the people who were affected by the contamination. And the billions of dollars it will cost to clean up the mess will ultimately be charged to taxpayers or through higher costs at the pump.
No, I do not think fracking is a reliable answer to our energy problem.

christina Welton - September 8, 2012

Please keep up the good work of fracking to help counteract one of Obama’s many attempts at undermining and diminishing America’s greatness to prepare for his dream of the Communist one-world so-called utopian government with him being one of the eventual leaders of the world!

Gary Nusbaum - September 8, 2012

The left wing “environmentalists” complain about anything that increases our domestic supply. Hydraulic fracking, as opposed to the use of traditional explosive charges, is really nothing new conceptually, and uses the same essential materials used in common drilling muds.
Fact is, if tomorrow a brand new energy source were discovered that was low cost, 100% “environmentally safe”, available in commercial quantities and fungible the leftists would rush to invent a reason why it should it should be regulated out of practical existence.

M. J. Castro - September 8, 2012

Fraccing and horizontal drillng are great examples of American ingenuity by the private sector!

Sally Vose - September 8, 2012

Fracking will definitely allow for reliable energy production, as well as affordable energy for all Americans. Who knows, possibly able to sell to other countries? Certainly not unless this current administration is voted out of office. The EPA needs to be disbanded, as well.

James Swygard - September 8, 2012

The radical environmentalists in our country will do everything they can to shut down using any and all of our natural resources. It is a part of the Marxist playbook to destroy capitalism in the United States. The timber, coal, fishing, hydro-power, and oil industries are prime examples.

R. K. Smith - September 8, 2012

Absolutely, let’s get with the program, we’ve wasted too much time already, now we need to get to work producing.

Charles J. Hayes - September 8, 2012

Yeppi! This is our last chance to extract Government from those areas in our life where private individuals and private business can flourish. Virtually everything touched by Obama and his henchmen in the Senate has done nothing to improve our economy, independence, or dignity.

Jim - September 8, 2012

Carbon Credits are a scam, and they do nothing to lesson global warming. They are like trading thin air, people used to go to jail for such schemes. They are trying to control CO2. CO2 along with O2 is the life source of this planet, Every living thing either uses CO2 or produces it. The Planet Earth would be totally dead without it. Humans could not exist. Carbon credits are the biggest dumbest scam that ever existed. They need to be declared illegal now, before they cause another collapse in our economy. They will absoluty increase the price of everything a citizen does.
Stop these fools now. It is nothing but a flim flam scam for a few to become very rich for producing and contributing Nothing at all.

Terry Branham - September 8, 2012

absolutely, drill baby drill
we need Oil independence for our economy and our national security.

Hal Schmidt - September 9, 2012

I have been working in the oil and gas industry for over 50 years and am still very active, I know that hydraulic fracturing has been used with out any problems since the 1960’s. The media is unreliable as a source for truth and honesty. Out right lies and sensational rumors and stories are spread by the press and the uninformed. The public is still as Mr. Barnum stated many years ago “a sucker (fool) is born every minute” and the world is populated with many of them.

Ben Willis - September 9, 2012

I worked as a pipeline inspector on projects in Rifle,CO, I am coservative in my views but there might be information on the concerns of the land owners in CO and North Dakota on their ground water being taminated by the fracking techniques

Randall Hale - September 9, 2012

Fracking is good. Especially fracking using hydrocarbon materials instead of water which combine with the product and are not wasted or needing to be recycled.

G. C. Sozio - September 10, 2012

Despite the so-called expert opinions, there have been too many instances of environmental pollution to assume that regulation can protect property and health. The only way to protect property and health is to require catastrophic liability insurance of such a magnitude that a BP magnitude oil spill fracking event will have enough money to pay all health claims, property damage claims and property value losses.

This should apply to all extraction industries as national policy. No adequate liability insurance; no permit.

Robert Bigelow - September 10, 2012

It is rediculous that we not take advantage of our own energy sources and reduce our dependence on the Middle East who would “stick it to us” as much as they can. I am in favor of fracking.

Robert Seklemian - September 12, 2012

The application of horizontal drilling to fracking certainly can provide a very large, reliable and safe production of energy from our public and private lands.

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