Shale Daily / NGI All News Access

Environmental Watchdog Official Touts Safety of Fracking

An official with a major New York-based environmental advocacy group said he supports the practice of hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracking) in the production of shale gas, and believes it can be done safely, despite what critics claim.

"Yes I do. I think in the vast majority of cases, if wells are constructed right and operated right, that hydraulic fracturing will not cause a problem," said Scott Anderson, senior policy advisor for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), during an interview on E&E TV's On Point program Wednesday.

"Our natural gas supplies would plummet precipitously without hydraulic fracturing. About 90% of gas wells in the United States are hydraulically fractured, and the shale gas that everyone talks about as being a large part of the future of natural gas production is absolutely dependent on fracturing in each case," he said.

Anderson agreed that hydrofracking is necessary to the nation's energy future. "At the Environmental Defense Fund we don't pick fuels. We are [a] realist, we recognize that fossil fuels will be around for a while, a long while most likely. We recognize that natural gas has some environmental advantages compared to other fossil fuels," he said.

Anderson also said he believes regulation of fracking should stay in the states' hands. "The states actually have a lot of knowledge and experience in regulating well construction and operation. We think that states have every reason to be able to tackle this issue [fracking] and do it well. We also think that if states fail in that and the federal government has to take over, the states will have no one but themselves to blame."

Anderson has some oil and back background. Prior to joining EDF, he was executive vice president and general counsel for the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association.

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