Thompson Joins House Natural Resources Committee Ohio Field Hearing on Natural Gas Development, Administration’s Regulatory Overreach

Feb 27, 2012 Issues: Energy, Marcellus Shale

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson today joined the House Natural Resource Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources for a field hearing in Steubenville, Ohio entitled, “Natural Gas--America’s New Energy Opportunity: Creating Jobs, Energy and Community Growth.”  The hearing focused on the economic benefits of natural gas development, the successful track record of states in overseeing hydraulic fracturing, and also explored the Bureau of Land Management’s recent draft regulations on hydraulic fracturing that could significantly stifle continued development.  Members of the Committee heard testimony from numerous local businesses, industry groups, and academic and research institutions.

“Hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas shale formations has unlocked previously inaccessible and vast new energy supplies which has lowered energy costs in regions across the country, including in my home state of Pennsylvania and here in Ohio, offering new incentives for more businesses to locate their operations here in the U.S. and new economic fortune and added jobs to our local communities,” said Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, a member of the Subcommittee.  “This energy development on state and private lands – regulated at the state level – has flourished, and today’s hearing goes to show what’s possible in terms of energy production and job creation when the federal government is not there to interfere.”

“The United States is blessed with some of the richest and largest natural gas shale fields in the world. The Marcellus Shale, Barnett Shale and Bakken Formation are all previously unproductive areas that are now extraordinarily new productive gas and oil fields because of hydraulic fracturing – a process that is now used in more than 90% of oil and gas production wells,” said Subcommittee Chairman Doug Lamborn. “By encouraging policies that provide regulatory certainty for the energy industry and foster the development of natural gas, there is the potential for all communities to enjoy these same benefits from energy production.”


Jack Pounds, President of Ohio’s Chemistry Technology Council, declared that, “with the emergence of Ohio’s vast shale gas reserves...Ohio’s chemical industry is about to experience a ‘renaissance’…The opportunities for Ohioans to benefit from sensible development of our shale resources represent once in a life time opportunity.”

Roland “Butch” Taylor Jr., Business Manager for United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 396 spoke about the increased economic activity and jobs for union members in Ohio thanks to natural gas production noting that, “Since 2008 economic development project announcements have resulted in an impressive $1.5 billion investments, 5,098 new jobs and 7,840 maintained/retained jobs.” 

Dr. Robert Chase, Marietta College, Department of Petroleum Engineering and Geology, who has been teaching courses in natural gas engineering for 37 years noted, “The nearly 4 million acres of land that have been leased in Ohio potentially represents 25,000 horizontal wells that could be drilled...for a total investment of nearly $125 billion.”  Chase continued to speak about the potential job creation, “The surge in drilling activity should result in a significant drop in the unemployment rate in Ohio.”  Finally, Dr. Chase noted that, “There are no data to substantiate the claims made in Gas Land that hydraulic fracturing contaminates groundwater...In fact, a recent study released by the University of Texas affirms the fact that it does not contaminate groundwater.”

Richard Simmiers, Chief, Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management, spoke to the credibility of current state regulators and noted, “Stimulation by hydraulic fracturing has been a routine part of completing most Ohio oil and gas wells in Ohio since 1951,” and continued to remind the Subcommittee that, “Ohio has not identified a single groundwater contamination incident linked to the specific practice of hydraulic fracturing.”