Wyden: Build on Bipartisan Commitment to Improving Safety and Environmental Impacts of Natural Gas Production

May 23, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today encouraged industry leaders, environmentalists and members on both sides of the aisle to build on a commitment made today to work collaboratively to improve domestic production of natural gas, in the committee’s third roundtable discussion on natural gas issues. 

Industry representatives, including leaders from Exxon Mobile, Noble Energy and Anadarko, as well as environmentalists representing the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Groundwater Protection Council agreed on the importance of cooperating on solutions, especially to improve the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing and to reduce gas flaring to the fullest possible extent.

“Today, we heard from leaders in the natural gas industry, from the environmental community and committee members on both sides of the aisle, all of whom agree we must continue to work, using a bipartisan approach, to address the concerns associated with increased natural gas production,” Wyden said. “There are substantial environmental questions here, but there’s no difference of opinion, at least in the Senate, that this is something where we need to try to find common ground. I think there’s a real opportunity for progress.”

Wyden pointed to Texas, where less than half of a percent of shale gas is burned off, or flared, as a potential model for other areas, where up to 30 percent of gas is flared. In addition to addressing fracking disclosure and flaring, Wyden emphasized the importance of finding the best practices to limit methane emissions and find ways to better manage water resources in areas where development is taking place.

Today’s discussion completed the committee’s series of three natural gas roundtables, which allowed a broad group of stakeholders to exchange ideas in a less formal setting on the many issues facing the country as a result of increased natural gas production, including pipeline infrastructure and transportation, domestic supply and exports and best practices and environmental concerns in the extraction of natural gas from shale.

Wyden has pledged to continue discussions with colleagues and stakeholders to find ways to incorporate and advance ideas and suggestions that surfaced in the roundtables.