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PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Institute Experts React to 10-Year Fracking Ban in Oregon

May 2, 2017

"Oregon’s legislature is sprinting down the road to stupidity out of misplaced fear fracking is harming drinking water and causing air pollution." - H. Sterling Burnett

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The Oregon House of Representatives last week passed a 10-year ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil and natural gas. Oregon currently has no fracking wells in operation, but the U.S. Geological Survey has said there is potential to extract gas from coal beds in the Willamette Valley. The ban is now awaiting action in the Oregon Senate.

The following statements from environment and energy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Media Specialist Billy Aouste at and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 847/445-7554.

“Oregon’s legislature is sprinting down the road to stupidity out of misplaced fear fracking is harming drinking water and causing air pollution. If this moratorium passes, it will violate people’s property rights and undermine the nation’s energy security, all for no logical reason. No study, government or academic, has found evidence fracking is harming groundwater or causing significant air pollution, yet the Oregon legislature is being led by the nose by environmental chicken-little activists who deny the science in pursuit of anti-fossil fuel ideology.”

H. Sterling Burnett
Research Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News

“The Oregon House action prohibiting shale development through fracking is a particularly disappointing development. Shale development is occurring right now in many regions of the country safely and efficiently with no damage to water supplies and no resulting water shortages. The anti-fracking movement is simply anti-fossil-fuels, is myopic, and hurts real people in real time.

“President Trump’s America First Energy Plan calls for developing all of our vast fossil fuel resources, and that includes those in Oregon. The president’s vision of an economy driven by energy development with resulting employment at high wages, industrial development, energy security, and fiscal benefits in reducing the national debt and an improved ‘human environment’ is a model for every state, including Oregon. The ‘do without’ ideology of the Sierra Club and other environmental groups must be rejected by the Oregon Senate in favor of the people of Oregon.”

Fred Palmer
Senior Fellow, Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute

“Because the science firmly and overwhelmingly shows fracking to be safe and not a systemic threat to groundwater – nor does it cause cancer, asthma, or birth defects (as is claimed by the anti-human, environmental Left) – I’ll assume that the Oregon House’s decision to vote for this bill was purely for superstitious reasons. It’s the only logical explanation, because there is no scientific justification for banning an industry that has created billions upon billions of dollars in new wealth and is single-handedly responsible for 63 percent of the drop in U.S. carbon emissions over the past decade, according to the International Energy Agency.

“Never mind that this industry can improve the state’s economy and bring in sorely needed jobs and tax revenue. The ban gives a bunch of clueless tree huggers the willies, so the entire state gets to suffer. Historian Paul Johnson once wrote that modern environmentalism is ‘emotionalism masquerading as science.’ That is certainly proving to be the case in Oregon, and the House has decided to be swept along in hysteria.”

Tim Benson
Policy Analyst
The Heartland Institute

“The House of Representatives in Oregon enacting a 10-year ban on fracking for fear of water contamination – just days after a new study from Duke University found fracking was not contaminating groundwater supplies – is like buying tickets to see Elvis after he was found deceased. Common sense has left the building.

“This was a political decision, not a scientific one. Because Oregon is unlikely to ever have hydraulic fracturing in the state – and therefore unlikely to ever reap the tax revenues of oil and gas development like California has – it was an easy decision for politicians looking to score points at the expense of science.

“A 10-year ban is better than a permanent ban, but it will be used as a ‘model’ and political cover for initiating similarly bad policy throughout the country.”

Isaac Orr
Research Fellow, Energy and Environment Policy
The Heartland Institute

Article Tags
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
Frederick D. Palmer is a policy advisor for energy and climate at The Heartland Institute.
Tim Benson joined The Heartland Institute in September 2015 as a policy analyst in the Government Relations Department. @HeartlandGR
Isaac Orr is a policy fellow at the Center of the American Experiment on mining and energy issues and a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute. @thefrackingguy

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