The United States has pioneered shale gas production with great economic benefit, resulting in more efficient and affordable energy, lower greenhouse emissions rates, and increased energy security. In pursuit of cleaner sources of energy to satisfy the demands of the US and the world, shale gas has become a more economical fuel source. With total pollution impacts lower than that of coal and oil, proper shale gas production has the opportunity to provide affordable and efficient sources of electricity and transportation fuel for homes and businesses in the United States and around the world.
The United States currently consumes oil, gas and coal resources at a rate higher than almost every nation, and it is well understood that the American standard of energy consumption is well beyond the capacity of the earth to sustain. We will force environmental devastation if we continue to use fossil fuels at the rate we currently burn coal and oil. While natural gas does not provide a long term solution to the world’s dependence on fossil fuels, It offers a significantly more efficient and economically affordable replacement for coal and crude tar oils, and leads America closer to energy independence.
It is important that the environmental impacts of shale gas production be fully understood, in addition to the human and animal health risks associated with possible air and water pollution. Removing the existing loopholes and exemptions from disclosure of information about gas development practices are critical in providing transparency to the energy and electricity industry. A cleaner source of energy can reduce our contributions to global climate change, though we must maintain safe production processes to ensure minimal environmental impact.
Communities must establish strict environmental guidelines to protect our families and neighbors, and ensure that gas development activities do not bring air, water or ground pollution into our back yards. At safe distances from homes and farms, efficient gas production activities have significantly lower environmental impacts compared with current coal and oil production practices. To wean the United States off its dependence on dirty fossil fuels, we must transition to cleaner sources for electricity generation and transportation fuels. Efficiency in energy production will allow us to reduce our emissions rates, support economic development and equitable access to fuel, and improve energy security for the near and long term.
Advances in the production practices of shale gas development have recently made the sandstone economically viable enough to extract gas from. Horizontal drilling practices combined with hydraulic fracturing allow gas to be safely extracted from the abundant reserves across the nation, and the successful production efforts have encouraged countries around the world to explore production of shale gas in order to increase their energy efficiency, domestic security and independence.
By keeping our homes, farms, businesses and wildlife away from gas development activities, we can continue to decrease our consumption of dirty coal and oil, and move towards more efficient and sustainable gas resources in the transition to carbon-neutral renewable energies.