Friday, May 24, 2013

Senate ENR Committee Forum On NatGas Shale Development

May 23: The Senate Energy & Natural Resources (ENR) Committee, Chaired by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), with Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), held its second NatGas forum -- this one focused on Shale Development: Best Practices and Environmental Concerns. Witnesses at the forum included representatives from: XTO Energy Inc.; Noble Energy, Inc.; Anadarko; EQT Corporation; Environmental Defense Fund; Natural Resources Defense Council; Sierra Club; Texas Railroad Commission; Bureau of Land Management; Baker Hughes; Halliburton; West Virginia Environmental Council; Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission; Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission; and U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. Both Senators Wyden and Murkowski delivered opening statements.
    In an release, Chairman Wyden encouraged industry leaders, environmentalists and members on both sides of the aisle to build on a commitment made at the meeting to work collaboratively to improve domestic production of natural gas. He said, "Today, we heard from leaders in the natural gas industry, from the environmental community and committee members on both sides of the aisle, all of whom agree we must continue to work, using a bipartisan approach, to address the concerns associated with increased natural gas production. There are substantial environmental questions here, but there's no difference of opinion, at least in the Senate, that this is something where we need to try to find common ground. I think there's a real opportunity for progress."
    Chairman Wyden pointed to Texas, where less than half of a percent of shale gas is burned off, or flared, as a potential model for other areas, where up to 30 percent of gas is flared. In addition to addressing fracking disclosure and flaring, Wyden emphasized the importance of finding the best practices to limit methane emissions and find ways to better manage water resources in areas where development is taking place. Wyden has pledged to continue discussions with colleagues and stakeholders to find ways to incorporate and advance ideas and suggestions that surfaced in the roundtables.

    Senator Murkowski said, ". . .the shale gas boom has clearly been a game changer for our country. It's allowed us to access an abundant, affordable and clean source of domestic energy. The potential benefits to our economy are clear and we should do everything we can to make sure we don't mess it up. I support strong regulation of gas production, but I continue to believe that the states are best positioned to address and respond to environmental and other community concerns within their borders. This resource is too important to our future economic development and energy security to move forward in any other way."    

    The meeting completed the committee's series of three natural gas roundtables, which allowed a broad group of stakeholders to exchange ideas in a less formal setting on the many issues facing the country as a result of increased natural gas production, including pipeline infrastructure and transportation, domestic supply and exports and best practices and environmental concerns in the extraction of natural gas from shale.

    Access the NatGas Forum3 website for links to all testimony, opening statements and a webcast (click here). Access a release on the forum from Sen. Wyden (click here). Access a release on the hearing from Sen. Murkowski (click here). Access the NatGas Forum1 website for links to all testimony, opening statements and a webcast (click here). Access the NatGas Forum2 website for links to all testimony, opening statements and a webcast (click here).  [#Energy/NatGas, #Energy/LNG]

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