For over a century, the energy industry has been a tremendous source of jobs, and a major driver of economic growth in Texas. It has retained its place in the Texas economy because of continued innovation, which has resulted in energy production evolving from simply drilling a hole in the ground and watching the oil gush towards the sky to a very complex operation that utilizes advanced technologies to extract each barrel from the ground. This continued innovation has enabled areas of mature energy production to have a new lease on life and continue producing energy - and preserving jobs – that would otherwise not have been produced. It has also enabled production in areas that you simply couldn’t produce energy from previously.
One of the most significant innovations in energy production has been hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as “fracking.” Fracking is a process that is used to release oil or natural gas by cracking underground rock formations, and provides access to oil and gas in areas that do not easily produce them or where conventional methods have historically failed. It has been in use since the 1940s, and recent advancements in drilling technology have caused it to become one of the primary methods for retrieving natural gas – particularly within the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale here in Texas.
The result of this technological innovation has been lowered costs for American families, the creation of good-paying American jobs, and progress towards the goal of American energy independence. When it comes to lowering costs for American families, according to a report issued by the Yale Graduates Energy Study Group, increased shale gas production enabled consumers to enjoy over $100 billion in savings on the price of goods and services in 2010 alone. On the job creation front, Moody’s Analytics recently estimated that shale gas production has created one million jobs since 2002. And, furthering the goal of American energy independence, Citigroup economists and analysts issued a report estimating that fracking could cause U.S. oil production to climb by more than a third by 2015.
One million jobs, over $100 billion in savings, and oil production increased by a third sounds like results of a successful energy policy to most Americans, but not to the Obama Administration and their environmental extremist allies. Rather than embrace this source of enhanced energy production and job creation here in the United States and in Texas, President Obama’s environmental extremist allies want a wholesale federal takeover of fracking regulations, replacing the conventional state regulators, and want to shut down fracking in the name of water contamination prevention. However, there is simply not the justification for such a takeover. The current system of letting states regulate fracking is working, despite the rhetoric one might hear. Even President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency Director Lisa Jackson agrees, as she testified in a May 2011 hearing in the United State Senate that she wasn’t aware, “of any proven case where the fracking process itself affected water.”
As the representative of Texas’ 23rd District, I want to see more jobs and more energy production come to the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale. That’s why I’ve fought so hard against the Obama Administration’s anti-American energy agenda. We need to pursue proven energy policies that allow Texas to continue producing energy and creating jobs, not those that gamble with taxpayer money on “investments” in companies like Solyndra.
This column was written by U.S. Rep. Francisco Canseco.