The US gas industry “is playing catch-up” in persuading the public that hydraulic fracturing is not harmful to the environment or human health, the CEO of Breitling Energy said Tuesday, warning that future supply is threatened unless drillers seize control of the message.
Chris Faulkner, president and CEO of the Texas-based independent, said the industry “has the facts on our side, but our opponents have done a very good job in selling their fiction.”
“We are still in the first inning of a very long baseball game, and for the first time it is important to understand that there are still states like New York, which has put a moratorium on fracking,” Faulkner said Tuesday at the Natural Gas Roundtable in Washington.
He said that rather than relying on impersonal media campaigns, industry officials need to take their message to the grassroots level, meeting with local residents, government officials and business owners who may have the wrong idea about the impact of fracking and other drilling-related activities.
“We need to get out information. We need to work from the bottom up, not taking out full page ads in The Wall Street Journal about how great things are and how great energy is. I don’t think people believe that.”
Faulkner said such an effort could bear fruit in New York, where he said 70,000 landowners have filed suit against the state in an effort to compel the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo to end its five-year ban on fracking. Cuomo is awaiting the findings of a supplemental environmental impact statement before deciding whether to move forward with regulations on fracking that would allow drillers to extract gas from the state’s portion of the Marcellus Shale.
“They get what the economy in North Dakota looks like,” he said, invoking the benefits of the Bakken Shale drilling boom. “They are saying New York needs help. It needs more jobs. These people are saying, ‘Let fracking be done in New York.’ ”
Despite ongoing resistance to fracking in the US, companies from Japan and elsewhere are moving factories to North America because of the availability of low-cost gas, Faulkner said.
Article Author: Rodney White