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November 2013 Policy Study, Number 13-7


America Needs America's Energy


Energy, Environment, and Politics



Recently, Marianne Horinko, former Acting Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, now CEO of The Horinko Group, Washington, D.C., and I made presentations on the subject of “Energy, Environment, and Politics.” The presentations were the kick-off of the Mentoring Environment and Energy Together (MEET) Mentor-Protégé Program held at Devon Energy’s headquarters in Oklahoma City. Participants also visited a Devon Energy drilling and hydraulic fracturing well site.


This effort builds on The Horinko Group’s release of its comprehensive white paper on the current and future environmental, regulatory, and legal issues tied to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing and upon my book, America Needs America’s Energy: Creating Together the People’s Energy Plan.


“Over the past decade, natural gas has emerged as a key component of the United States’ energy supply. The availability and increase in supply has been attributed to non-traditional reserves unlocked by the technologies of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.”


Hydraulic fracturing has been in commercial use since the 1940s. It was used up until the late 1990s primarily for drilling conventional oil and gas wells. Since that time, hydraulic fracturing together with horizontal drilling has come to the forefront.


According to industry estimates, hydraulic fracturing has been applied to more than one million wells nationally since the 40s. Though there is an overall safe track record regarding the use of hydraulic fracturing, there are environmental concerns which the industry faces and must continue to address.


Four key components and examples coming from The Horinko Group’s white paper regarding the proper use of hydraulic fracturing are:

1) Adaptability and flexibility – regulation tailored to diversity across the country.
2) Transparency and reliance on sound science – research and regulation based on unbiased and sound science.
3) Innovative research – continued pursuit of creative solutions to environmental issues, especially as related to mitigating the burden on water resources and managing wastewater.
4) Collaboration – sharing of scientific, technical, economic, legal, and long-term planning information.


Strong economic opportunities are on the horizon because of the vast unconventional gas reserves. With that said, environmental concerns are, and should continue to be, addressed when it comes to air quality and atmospheric impacts, greenhouse gas emissions, water impacts such as water withdrawals and wastewater management, water recycling, and groundwater protection.




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