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API: Let’s Base DRBC Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing on Sound Science

DRBC HearingStephanie Meadows
Upstream Manager, American Petroleum Institute


API’s Stephanie Meadows testifies at the DRBC hearing asking the DRBC to base their decisions on hydraulic fracturing on sound science not accusations.

Good evening DRBC Commissioners and Staff.

My name is Stephanie Meadows.  I am a Manager in the Upstream Department of the American Petroleum Institute.  I have been working on hydraulic fracturing issues for API since 2008.

Let me start out by making something clear – Our top priority is to provide energy in a safe, technologically sound way with the least possible impact on the environment.  Our members take their responsibility to the surrounding communities seriously and we work with federal and state agencies to develop design standards, recommended practices, and guidance that will improve operational integrity and regulatory processes across the board.

sound science

It is important to note that within the current Vision Statement of this Commission, it states that comprehensive watershed management will be accomplished by “basing decisions on sound science.”

Therefore, the DRBC’s final decision on high volume hydraulic fracturing must be grounded in the science.  While both the Commission and critics continue to contend that the stimulation process can pollute and will pollute water resources, that accusation is simply not grounded in the science” – or to be more clear – “that is not what the sound science shows.”

In the proposed rulemaking, the Commission relies heavily on two specific studies to make its claims of the risks and vulnerabilities associated with fracturing – the New York’s SGEIS and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s hydraulic fracturing/ water resources study.

In response, there are a series of recent reputable studies, by no fewer than seven government agencies and several academic institutions, which support the conclusion that hydraulic fracturing is not a major threat to drinking water. In 2017, a Natural Resources Defense Council-funded Duke University study and a United States Geological Survey (USGS) study found fracturing is not contaminating groundwater in West Virginia and significant portions of the Eagle Ford, Fayetteville and Haynesville shale plays, respectively.

sound science

EPA’s own 6 year, $30 million study was unable to draw a significant correlation between hydraulic fracturing and impaired water resources.  The bottom-line?  Fracturing activities have not led to widespread systemic impacts.  Where it has been suggested that “fracturing can or might cause impacts under certain conditions” we stress that those potential impacts have been addressed for years by what I call the three-legged stool — which consists of:

  1. ever improving industry practices (including individual company management practices)
  2. robust state regulatory programs, and
  3. Federal regulations.

As a standard setting organization, API has a primary role as a stable leg of this stool.  We have developed a series of hydraulic fracturing recommended practices, originally published in 2011 and revised in 2015 — these can be found on our website.

It this powerful combination of activities — all working together to provide an effective structure that allows for the essential development of the nation’s oil and natural gas resources while protecting the environment.

The Commission should recognize the existing studies, federal and state regulations, industry best practices, significant technology and engineering advancements in hydraulic fracturing that allow for safe and responsible energy development with a smaller environmental footprint and necessary protections for communities.

It has worked for the nation and it can work for the Delaware River Basin.

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11 thoughts on “API: Let’s Base DRBC Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing on Sound Science

  1. We have 21 Consent Orders from the DEP faulting the Oil and Gas Industry in my State of Pa. since 2006 for water contamination
    and we have 301, so far, DEP Determination Letters faulting the Gas Industry for water contamination in Pa..

    We have thousands of DEP Violations on this Industry in Pa. and millions in fines.

    This is some of the science showing the risks of this toxic industry.

    Here is a 2010 Video of our DEP John Hanger revealing the contamination of 18 or more water wells and the horrors dealing with the Gas Industry.

      • John Hanger retracted his statements after the scientific testing was done and it was revealed the water from Victoria Switzers water well was contaminated from cars leaking fluids in the junk yard above her well. As well as a fuel oil delivery truck that spilled 3000 gallons of heating oil in the nearby creek. It was also decided not to build a water pipeline from Montrose by the PA-DEP when they decided they wrongly jumped the gun when it was revealed that fracking had not yet taken place…

    • Vera, let’s get serious. The technology has changed and gotten better since 2006, some of the surface spills were measured in gallons and cleaned up in minutes, and there are thousands of wells in PA with zero violations.

      The SRBC has been monitoring the river since 2010 with more than 50 sample stations on line all the time, and has found no correlation between natural gas development and pollution. Read their report: the largest area of contaminated water is due to run-off from coal mining residue.

      The Rural Conservancy reports that 40% of the fresh water wells in PA, which serve about 3 million people, fail to meet one or more Federal Clean Water standards. Now there’s a problem worth fixing.

      Enough with the scare tactics.

      • No scare tactic here… There was a frac out under my property here in Lenox Township. I have 25.9mg of sodium in my drinking water and sinkholes in my driveway. Trees sinking in my yard. DEP for the last 21 months have given me all kinds of stupid excuses. The gas company saying we Didn’t do it… Well 4 to 6 weeks after they drilled my ground opened up. My home is falling apart… I can’t even find an attorney.

          • I have NO reason to lie. This is my home…all I have left of my late husband. Can’t leave my Granddaughters play in my front yard. Haven’t drank my water in over 20 months 25.9 mg of sodium. Come have a drink. No one will help. There is drilling mud in these sinkholes…Been told by several different gas people it’s drilling mud. I have part of a plastic bag with the remains of the bag still in the ground..Marked VAUGHNS. Google it. There was a FRAC OUT under my property. GOOGLE it. This is the last thing I ever wanted to happen to me or anyone else. My property value the way it is Is -0. Cabot was to be a good neighbor. DEP is to keep US safe. So WHAT happened here??? Come see …213 Bartholomew Rd Kingsley.

  2. Please see my recent paper – A review [analysis and evaluation] of regulatory and governmental scientific peer reviews shows that Hydraulic Fracturing [HF[ does not pose an environmental and/or health threat – when practiced according to sound engineering principles.

    Goodwin, R.W. “COMMENTARY: EPA and Peer Review Science – Environmental Evaluation Hydraulic Fracturing [Part II]”; Energy Central September 13, 2016

  3. But, but, but, …. the science has been “settled” by the histrionics of Vera, Mark Ruffalo, and other ” OMNIPOTENT and ALL KNOWING” eco-extremists and Hollywood Elites, especially ones who never graduated high school (I’m looking at you, Leo DeCaprio!) that fossil fuels are bad!, bad!, bad!
    Oddly enough, the same individuals still use fossil fuels everyday, some to feed their opulent lives and egos.
    I only ask for a few of these “leaders” to actually “walk the walk” and promote alternative forms of energy which truly do not rely on the existence of fossil fuels in the first place. They also should honestly note the downsides of such “green” technology since no system is perfect. If they can do that, then they are at least worth listening to. Otherwise, it’s all unnecessary background noise which should be ignored. Plus, being ignored is their “kryptonite”. 🙂

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