Natural gas exploration everywhere but on federal lands

Winningreen Issue Alert       A032910

Energy update:  natural gas exploration everywhere but on federal lands

By Gretchen Randall

:  March 29, 2010

Issue: Utah trumps the federal government by beginning to lease state lands for possible oil sands production to a Calgary based company, Earth Energy Resources.  This is in part reaction to the Obama administration’s decision to revoke federal oil and gas leases in Utah as well as a program to develop oil shale on federal lands begun under President Bush.

Natural gas has quickly become the newest supply stream for energy companies on lands not owned by the federal government.  New technology now allows the extraction of gas from shale deposits in areas of the northeast such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia, in north Texas and Louisiana.  The amount of natural gas in these deposits almost doubles the amount of natural gas reserves previously estimated for the U.S.

However, despite investments from many of the major companies such as Shell, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhilips there has been only delay from the federal government in allowing development on public land.  Concern about the technology of using large amounts of water to remove gas from shale has been used against its production.  However, Donald Siegel, professor of earth science at Syracuse University, writes that applying road-salt during the winter harm streams and rivers far more than could exploration of shale because it would occurs thousands of feet deep — far below our rivers and streams.

At the same time, a solar panel plant in Maryland is being shuttered by BP (beyond petroleum) and its  jobs are being transferred to China and India where BP acknowledges they can manufacture “cheaply.”   This despite the Obama administration’s plan to spend $30 billion annually from the stimulus bill and the $2.3 billion in tax credits allotted to clean energy manufacturing.

Comment: Thank goodness much of the current shale production is not on federal lands or production would be halted.
Maybe the U.S. should move to adopt the Canadian approach and give control of natural resources to the state where the resources are found instead of to the federal government.

Comment:  Depression-ridden Michigan which sits atop one of the country’s largest shale gas deposits would do well to follow Utah’s lead. shale_gas.pdf (1599 KB)

Background and links: To find more about fracturing in natural gas production, go to:  or read about its safety at:

Contact: Gretchen Randall
Winningreen LLC
Chicago, IL
Phone: 773-857-5086