What Those Opposed to Gas Drilling Really Fear

Dave McCurdy is president and CEO of the American Gas Association. He’s also a former congressman (Democrat) from Oklahoma. In an interview with the Washington Times, he minces no words and says what MDN has been saying all along: Those opposed to shale gas drilling are motivated by an ideology, a preference for renewable energy. McCurdy points out what they really fear is that renewables can’t compete with natural gas based on economics. So that ideology and fear leads them to oppose natural gas.

The path to a national energy policy based largely on natural gas is becoming clearer as economic turmoil and rising oil prices cause lawmakers to take a second look at the clean-burning fuel trapped in underground rock, American Gas Association President and CEO Dave McCurdy said Tuesday.

In a wide-ranging interview, the one-time Democratic congressman from Oklahoma argued that the nation needs an “all-in” approach to break its addiction to foreign oil. He also decried the “fuel wars” that sometimes erupt between those who favor renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, and others who believe natural gas, nuclear power and coal have a big role to play in the future.

“If you have a growing economy, this doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game,” Mr. McCurdy told editors and reporters at The Washington Times. “The pie is going to get larger. Consumer demand is going to increase.”

With the discovery of vast quantities of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale region, which stretches from upstate New York south into Kentucky, Mr. McCurdy said the fuel has the potential to become the “foundation” of American energy. Critics contend hydraulic fracturing – the use of water, sand and chemicals to free gas in the Marcellus Shale – is a threat to water supplies and will pollute nearby waterways.

But what those opponents truly fear, he said, is a free market competition between gas and renewable fuels.

“I think a lot of their concern, or their opposition, is a little less about the risk of the actual production [of natural gas] than it is the potential disadvantage that renewables have from a cost standpoint,” he said.*

Read the rest of this excellent interview by following the link below.

*The Washington Times (Sep 20, 2011) – Using natural gas the only ‘good news story’

  • Spoken like a true pol, who has not a single clue about what those of us out in the real world are actually experiencing and really, truly care about. This is what I honestly fear about gas extraction, which is largely based on the Wozniak and Rohulich experience with a century of coal extraction: losing the home I grew up in and my surrounding land. Having my hometown of Bobtown once again transformed into an industrial zone, which is incompatible with my current lifestyle as a writer and tech company owner. We can’t count on PADEP to protect us from this new industry since, in all the years of its exustence, it never lifted a finger to protect us from the coal barons, or even the chump change small coal operators. And I will keep fighting and writing to protect what I have. So there! 

  • Anonymous

    Ms Wosniak , I can truly understand your feelings about exploration.Sometimes the discomfort of few out weigh the benefits of many. We live in a world dependent on foreign oil and cheap Chinese made products. Almost all our manufacturing jobs gone to Mexico and over seas.Our country is in a tailspin economically. What do you suppose we do with this new resource? Not exploit it?  I’m listening and truly understand your frustration and concern about drilling. But we must tap this resource and get this economy rolling again. We must be good stewards of our land yet create jobs and use this gas in new ways to get off foreign products.I’m listening, since your a writer, you certainly must have a plan of your own in mind.

  • Anonymous

    This is the president and CEO of the American Gas Association??  What a jerk! 

  • Anonymous

    The congressman is really saying an often repeated turn of phrase that applies to government spending:  follow the money…  The feds have subsidized the “green” energy industry so heavily that the technologies won’t sustain themselves without said subsidizing, and now that their horse has lost the race, viable options are to be removed from the table – i.e. oil and gas get demonized.  If I could write the playbook, the feds would regulate enough to keep the playing field level, keep the right folks accountable for their actions, and otherwise, stay out of the way and let the patch do what it does best:  make energy, create jobs, and prosper.

  • Anonymous

    I would refer you to most any history of energy and economics textbook. ALL energy is subsidized or else we would never be able to invest in the huge startup cost involved in switching primary energy sources. Timber, coal, oil, nuclear, solar, wind, natural gas have all been subsidized to an enormous degree. Cherry picking data to support an argument lowers the value of the good discourse we have on this site.

  • Anonymous

    If cheap shale gas is to be “the foundation of American energy”, then the energy companies want to sell this foundation out from under us — not very patriotic of them.  To increase profits, they are moving to build or convert plants to liquify NG and ship it overseas.  Once they start, the price of NG will no longer be decoupled from the price of oil and rise to world prices.  What is more, selling it abroad will decrease the degree of energy independence that shale gas could provide.

  • Anonymous

    Touche’ samburke15.  While you’re dead on that all energy production efforts have been subsidized to varying degrees, the fact still remains that the natural gas deposits that the people of the Marcellus have been blessed with are possibly the greatest hope for the prosperity, well-being, convenience, and long-term economic growth of the entire region.  I’m looking at bringing the Marcellus gas to market from the perspective  that it’s a low-hanging fruit, proven technology, sustainable from the private sector, and the infrastructure for it’s distribution are more in place than other energy producing technologies.  Be well, sir. 

  • Regina1959

    If you don’t have good drinking water, all the money in the world will not be enough to keep you alive. Humans, and all living things on this earth, need good water to survive. Once contaminated, your home values will be going down. We in the Catskills do not want to loose our good drinking water.

  • Not the point of this article Regina. You assume, wrongly, that fracking pollutes water. I’m saying people use these sorts of arguments to prop up their real reasons: opposition to fossil fuels. You may honestly think that fracking pollutes water–and if you do, that’s a good conversation for us to have. What’s your evidence? And so on. And I’m saying at the end of the day, when the evidence shows it does not pollute, then we can start talking about the true, underlying reasons that the “movement” people have against natural gas–and honestly, it’s not pollution!