Natural Gas Exploration in Georgia?

by Scott Tolleson, Director, Member Services & Government Affairs

The Coosa River Basin Initiative (CRBI) continues its efforts to limit access to natural gas reserves in the Conasauga Shale of northwest Georgia by asking the State of Georgia to preemptively regulate drilling practices that include hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.”  CRBI is conducting town hall meetings and attending city council and county commission meetings throughout northern Georgia in its efforts to sharply control an industry that does not even operate in Georgia today.    On November 14th, the CRBI attended the Summerville’s City Council meeting and asked the city to pass a resolution aimed at pressuring state lawmakers to update the current law that regulates the oil and natural gas industry in Georgia. The resolution contains language that expresses opinion presented as facts, and includes inflammatory language such as, “oil and natural gas exploration present a clear and present danger to the quality of life in our rural communities as well as our groundwater and surface water resources.”  These statements ignore the proven safety record of the oil and natural industry and findings by multiple government agencies.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a study of approximately 30,000 oil and natural gas wells that were “fracked” between 2006 and 2012 and found no incidents of “fracking” fluids in ground water.  The EPA concluded that “fracking” had not led to widespread, systematic impacts on drinking sources in the United States.”   As natural gas providers, we know the benefits that clean, affordable, secure, reliable and available sources of natural gas can provide.  Natural gas prices are at 15-year lows and that reduces the cost of heating our homes, running our businesses and fueling our factories.  Georgia continues to be named as one of the best states in which to do business, and low energy costs remain a key factor of job creation.    As we hone our skills as natural gas “ambassadors,” it’s important to recognize and effectively address efforts to severely limit access to this important fuel.  Whether it is limiting access to oil and natural gas reserves or blocking construction of pipelines, these needless battles only lead to higher costs for consumers and create hurdles to economic development.    If CRBI or other organizations approach your city or town, please contact Scott Tolleson at 404-218-1749 or sstolleson@gasauthority.com to obtain the facts about “fracking.”