Weekly Columns

Despite modern advances in energy development and our country’s abundance of natural resources, we still lack a responsible approach to meeting our energy needs. 

A strategy for the future should embrace renewable forms of energy, but also the safe usage of the vast amount of traditional fuels with which we have been blessed.  If it’s American, we need to be using it safely and responsibly. 

No single source alone is the answer, but one of the most promising sources is natural gas and oil produced by hydraulic fracturing. 

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, has been on the rise in the U.S. as innovation and technology have been put to use in recent years, including in a large geologic formation known as the “Fayetteville Shale” in Arkansas. Natural gas extracted from shale rock provides a clean source of electricity for millions of Americans. 

Along with easing our energy crunch, hydraulic fracturing is a boon for our economy. According to a study by the University of Arkansas, more than $12.4 billion was added to our economy from fracking in Arkansas over a three year period. The study found that this energy production provided jobs for at least 22,000 Arkansans, increased pay, and led to secondary small business and manufacturing jobs across the state.  

As proven in Arkansas, we can extract this natural gas in a safe manner. Fracking is an important, commonsense component of comprehensive energy strategy. 

Clearly hydraulic fracturing offers many benefits, leaving opponents little ammunition with which to attack. For that reason, opponents have relied on a campaign of misinformation and scare tactics to cloud the debate. 

That’s why several of my colleagues and I on the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee released a report recently to shine a light on the truth behind the science and economic benefits of hydraulic fracturing. 

The report documents a concerted effort by fracking opponents, including many within the Obama administration, to mislead the American people about the benefits and safety of fracking. It debunks claims that fracking has a devastating impact on the environment with empirical evidence and outlines how states have safely regulated the process for decades. 

If the Obama administration has its way, the power to regulate fracking will be stripped from states and turned over to the federal government, where it would be regulated out of existence. 

The only way the administration and their allies can achieve this power grab is by manufacturing risks about fracking. Our report details how federal agencies, especially the EPA, have attempted to use studies, misinformation, and baseless investigations to make this energy production so costly and burdensome that it would no longer be viable. Despite the Agency’s efforts and political agenda, time and time again the Administration has failed to uncover the smoking gun it hoped to manufacture. 

Fracking is revolutionizing our energy industry, creating well-paying jobs, and driving down costs for all Americans. We cannot let the false claims and misinformation go unexposed. My colleagues and I will continue to shine a light on these tactics and set the record straight on the true benefits of energy produced right here in our country.