Hydraulic fracturing has been done safely for years

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar left out a key point about hydraulic fracturing when he said it “can be” done safely and in an environmentally responsible way. The facts clearly show that it is being done safely in communities across this country every day. (“Interior could unveil gas ‘fracking’ rules within weeks,” Oct. 5). 

We have used hydraulic fracturing for more than 60 years on more than a million wells and we have an excellent safety record. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) have all examined the process and found it to be safe. 

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Hydraulic fracturing is subject to regulations at all levels of government that cover every aspect of the extraction process. At the federal level, hydraulic fracturing is subject to the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act, as well as other federal statutes.

Additionally, each gas-producing state has a regulatory agency that administers and enforces rules, which include everything from the review and approval of permits for drilling to water management and disposal, air emissions, wildlife impact, surface disturbance and more. State-level regulation is important because each region of the country has unique geological characteristics that require a customized drilling approach. And state-level regulation has proven to be effective over the past several decades.

To demonstrate our community’s commitment to transparency, America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) and a broad range of other industry participants are submitting data about the chemicals we use to FracFocus.org, a public, state-based database developed by GWPC and IOGCC. This state-led disclosure regime is applicable to public and private lands and was accomplished with minimal bureaucratic hurdles that can often bog down federal regulatory endeavors. 

The fact is, Americans don’t have to choose between environmental safety and the benefits that natural-gas development brings to our country. Natural gas is produced safely in communities across this country. And as a result, this clean, abundant and domestic energy resource can provide affordable and secure energy to American families for generations to come.

Washington, D.C.


Budget crisis is no excuse to defund the military 

From Rear Adm. Ernie Elliot, USN retired

Anti-war Democrats like Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank have been trying to defund our military for years (“Rep. Frank: Keeping troops in Iraq past withdrawal date ‘totally unacceptable,’ ” Oct. 4), so it’s no surprise they’re using today’s budget crisis to argue for more cuts to defense. Hopefully, Congress will listen to more moderate voices like Frank’s former colleague and now Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta who has explained these cuts would “devastate” our national security and put hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work.

Despite Frank’s protests, the defense budget is low by historical standards — just 16 percent of federal spending compared to a post-1976 average of 21 percent. The critical investment budget funding research and modernization — including replacement of equipment worn down or destroyed by more than 10 years of combat operations – is just over 1 percent of GDP. We’ve already cut, canceled or streamlined nearly $500 billion out of the Pentagon in recent years — that’s why experts are virtually unanimous that U.S. security cannot afford another trillion dollars in cuts to defense.

It is critical that further cuts to our defense budget specifically spell out what is being cut and what the impact will be to current and future capabilities. We have to reduce spending wherever possible, but it cannot be at the expense of our ability to deter war or successfully win a war if deterrence fails. It is incumbent upon every American to learn the facts and insist upon responsible budgeting and subsequent execution.

Villa Hills, Ky.


Rep. Frank: It’s about deference, not respect

From Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)

I acknowledge that my diction is not always the clearest, especially in hurried interviews between votes in the Speaker’s Lobby (“Friendly fire hits Boehner on Dodd-Frank reform law,” Oct. 13) so I can see how my comment about Newt Gingrich got a little garbled. My point is not that he is upset by the fact that he is not given the respect due him as “the intellectual free leader of the world” but rather that he is troubled by the lack of deference paid to him as the intellectual leader of the free world.

Washington, D.C.