Until last year, the 17-mile stretch of road between this forsaken South Texas village and the county seat of Carrizo Springs was a patchwork of derelict gasoline stations and rusting warehouses.
Now the region is in the hottest new oil play in the country, with giant oil terminals and sprawling RV parks replacing fields of mesquite. More than a dozen companies plan to drill up to 3,000 wells around here in the next 12 months.
The Texas field, known as the Eagle Ford, is just one of about 20 new onshore oil fields that advocates say could collectively increase the nation’s oil output by 25 percent within a decade — without the dangers of drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico or the delicate coastal areas off Alaska.
Great news, right? Well, now for the politics. We will have to use a process that is currently under attack by the left and the enviros.
There is only one catch: the oil from the Eagle Ford and similar fields of tightly packed rock can be extracted only by using hydraulic fracturing, a method that uses a high-pressure mix of water, sand and hazardous chemicals to blast through the rocks to release the oil inside.
The technique, also called fracking, has been widely used in the last decade to unlock vast new fields of natural gas, but drillers only recently figured out how to release large quantities of oil, which flows less easily through rock than gas. As evidence mounts that fracking poses risks to water supplies, the federal government and regulators in various states are considering tighter regulations on it.
At a U.S. House Oversight Committee hearing yesterday, President Barack Obama’s EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, admitted the environmental risk of hydraulic fracturing is practically nonexistent.
“I’m not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water, although there are investigations ongoing,” she said.
Sen. James Inhofe, ranking member on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, commended Jackson’s honesty.
“I have great respect for Lisa Jackson and I always appreciate her honesty,” he said in a statement. “Although we disagree on most issues, when you ask her a question she gives you an honest answer. Over the past two years, I have asked various Obama Administration officials if they know of a single confirmed case of groundwater contamination from these fracked formations and every time the answer is no. Lisa Jackson’s statement today that she does not know of any proven case of water contamination further demonstrates that States are regulating hydraulic fracturing effectively and efficiently, and there is no need for the federal government to step in.”
We have a full tank of energy, folks, it is the will to go get it where the needle is on “E”.