Saturday, July 21, 2012

AASG fact sheet on hydraulic fracturing

AASG released a Fact Sheet on hydraulic fracturing.  The conclusions follow below.

 State geological surveys are important sources of information and expertise related to subsurface geology, water resources, and energy. AASG members regularly monitor and discuss issues related to hydraulic fracturing. Several state surveys have been engaged in investigations of potential freshwater contamination that may have been caused by recent hydraulic fracturing-related activities; others are undertaking research on, and providing information about, hydraulic fracturing. The following points constitute AASG’s position on hydraulic fracturing:

• AASG advocates that comprehensive public information based on sound science and open processes be utilized when formulating energy and environmental policy. We encourage a balanced, independent, fact-based analysis of controversies regarding natural resource development.

• AASG supports and encourages the disclosure of hydraulic fracturing fluids and chemical additives on FracFocus, the hydraulic fracturing chemical registry website, developed by the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) and the Groundwater Protection Council (GWPC).

• AASG advocates for better understanding and scientific documentation of our subsurface geology and aquifers, which will result in improved geologic models to help all parties avoid problems that might occur during drilling and hydraulic fracturing activities of oil or gas reservoirs, especially in new fields. This will allow safer and enhanced production of oil and gas.

• AASG is committed to protecting the nation’s public safety and the natural environment, including groundwater and surface-water resources. AASG supports the wise and prudent production of oil and gas resources to help fulfill the nation’s energy needs.

• AASG recognizes the economic and social importance, and the abundance, of oil and gas resources that only can be recovered if reservoir rocks are hydraulically fractured.

• AASG maintains that state oil and gas regulatory agencies are best equipped, through statutory authority, expertise, and experience, to ensure that hydraulic fracturing and all other operations associated with oil and natural gas development proceed in a manner that protects the natural environment, including public safety as well as groundwater and surface-water resources.

• AASG recognizes that the environmental record of hydraulic fracturing activities over the past 60 years has been overwhelmingly positive. AASG also maintains that operators who do not follow regulatory requirements should be appropriately sanctioned and, where appropriate, barred from conducting further oil and gas operations.

• AASG notes that geologic data generally show a significant vertical separation between most oil and natural gas reservoirs targeted for hydraulic fracturing and the shallower freshwater aquifers. In areas where targets of hydraulic fracturing are comparatively close to freshwater aquifers, thorough geologic characterization of the area is warranted and even greater caution should be exercised by operators and regulatory agencies.

• AASG recognizes the fast pace of recent drilling for oil and natural gas and the associated hydraulic fracturing activities. AASG suggests that caution and careful attention to community relations be exercised by operators, contractors, and regulators in the design, review, approval, documentation, implementation, and verification of plans for the drilling, completion, stimulation and production of oil and gas wells.

• AASG encourages continuing work to acquire and maintain local pre-drilling water quality assessment and ongoing information on groundwater quality, and recommends that casing and cementing operations in hydraulically fractured wells be carefully documented by operators, contractors, and regulators.

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