Last week, Senator Manchin of West Virginia sent a letter to President Joe Biden, urging him to carefully consider the benefits of natural gas as Biden forms his energy policy: “Responsible production of natural gas and practices like hydraulic fracturing have improved our nation’s energy security while supporting the nearly 1.5 million hard working Americans the industry employs.”
Manchin highlights the role that the “shale revolution” played in America’s energy security and which resulted in the “U.S. becoming a net total energy exporter in 2019 for the first time in 67 years.”
The letter continues:
“The U.S. Geological Survey recently estimated that there are still 214 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable continuous resources of natural gas in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations alone. Responsible production of our abundant resources is critical. That includes using existing technologies and continuing to innovate new ways to reduce methane flaring and leaks from oil and gas systems and expanding our energy infrastructure and gathering lines to instead get that product to market. I also strongly support advancing carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration technologies, including for natural gas applications, to further reduce emissions.”
Well said, Senator Manchin.
The abundance of natural gas that fracking technology has allowed us to tap into is an important part of our energy mix. While some may wish to vilify any energy source that is not “renewable,” doing so undermines the effort to reduce carbon emissions and provide Americans a safe and secure energy grid.
Renewable energy technology is improving but is still far from being the viable option that many climate activists purport. Wind and solar energy only account for a small portion of our energy mix and are particularly vulnerable to changes in the weather.
Take the recent storm in Texas for example: frozen wind turbines have struggled to continue producing power and have contributed to the dangerous blackouts across the state. Thousands have been exposed to frigid cold without electricity to heat their homes. On the opposite end of the weather spectrum, solar panels in California struggled to produce enough electricity during a heat wave that hit the western U.S. states. The resulting blackouts exposed residents to extreme heat as well as other challenges.
Manchin is right: President Biden must recognize the important role that natural gas plays in our economy, natural security, and domestic energy production. The current halt on new fracking projects on federal lands is a concerning step by the Biden administration.
Biden has promised time and again to not ban fracking. Let’s hope he keeps that promise and does not further threaten the jobs of thousands of Americans as well as affordable, reliable energy for the country.