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Fracking Rush Threatens US Energy Security: Report

- Common Dreams staff

Despite gas industry claims that the natural gas extraction "revolution" will create energy security and affordable fuel for US consumers, fracking will in fact benefit those in the US very little, as the natural resource will most likely be shipped offshore to those who will "pay the highest price," according to a new report released Wednesday by Food and Water Watch. Additionally, there is far less oil and gas reserves to mine in the first place -- contrary to what industry leaders would have us believe.

(Image: FWW report) Market proposals by gas and oil companies revealed in the report will likely cause skyrocketing prices for US consumers and only vast amounts of pollution in the industry's wake.

The report U.S. Energy Insecurity: Why Fracking for Oil and Natural Gas is a False Solution shows that as of October 26, 2012 the Department of Energy has received 19 proposals from various US fossil fuel companies to export liquefied natural gas to foreign bidders. These companies stand to profit greatly by selling "huge amounts of natural gas overseas—as much as 40 percent of current U.S. consumption."

“The hype over fracking is giving Americans a false sense of energy security,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “The industry is making empty promises about U.S. energy security to prolong America’s destructive dependence on fossil fuels. At the same time, it is laying the groundwork to sell natural gas overseas to maximize profits. The gas will go wherever it can fetch the highest price—and right now that’s not the United States.”

Additionally, the report shows that natural gas resources will be far more scarce and difficult to extract than industry voices would like us to believe.

According to the group:

The industry is also misrepresenting U.S. natural gas and tight oil supplies. Its claims rely on uncertain estimates of shale gas resources and on allowing the oil and gas industry to drill not just throughout the Marcellus Shale and other shale plays, but also all along the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Even if the industry’s vision holds true, Food & Water Watch calculates that plans to create increased demand for U.S. natural gas translate to a supply of just 50 years and would require drilling hundreds of thousands of new shale gas wells.

Steve Horn at the Desmogblog wrote today:

[The Report] shows, contrary to industry claims, there aren't 100 years of unconventional oil and gas sitting below our feet, even if President Barack Obama said so in his 2012 State of the Union Address. Far from it, in fact. [...]

FWW crunched the numbers, estimating that there are, at most, half of the industry line, some 50 years of natural gas and much less of shale gas. This assumes the industry will be allowed to perform fracking in every desired crevice of the country. These are the same basins that advocates of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") claim would make the U.S. the "next Saudi Arabia."

The study also exposes the myth that low fuel prices at the pump will be achieved through the exploitation of US oil reserves. Not only does the US have far less oil than generous industry estimates claim, but that amount of potential production in the US would not lower prices, because the price of oil is set on a global market.

“Gas is no bridge fuel, and investing in the infrastructure to support this would make the U.S. dependent on dirty fossil fuels for several more decades and would sacrifice our health and communities to the industry’s thirst for profits. We need to ban fracking and remake our energy system now,” concluded Hauter.

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