NSPE Position Statement No. 1759
Approved: July 2010
Latest Revision: April 2014
The National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) represents licensed Professional Engineers and promotes the ethical and competent practice of engineering, advocates licensure, and enhances the image and well-being of its members.
It is the position of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) that the United States must continue developing natural gas and the associated infrastructure as part of its energy program. Energy independence remains an important component of our national long-range energy security, since our natural gas primarily comes from North America.
Recent advances in shale gas extraction technology have dramatically increased the domestic reserves available for production. The technique involves horizontal drilling and injecting at high pressure volumes of fluids and proppants to stimulate the reservoir. This technique is known as hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing has raised environmental concerns, resulting in an ongoing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) analysis to study the long-term impacts to the public’s potable water aquifers. NSPE recommends that the EPA and other regulators complete their studies of hydraulic fracturing as expeditiously as possible, and if it is determined to be safe and not harmful to the environment, to allow gas production to proceed.
Natural gas fuels our homes, factories, and power plants. It is also increasingly important to the national transportation and infrastructure sector. Research on natural gas technologies is therefore needed to ensure continuing supplies in the future. NSPE recommends funding for research and development of natural gas technologies for the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation, and the National Science Foundation.
NSPE supports commercial development of hydraulic fracturing, as long as it is performed in a manner that minimizes risks to the environment and does not jeopardize potable water supplies, which is consistent with the professional engineer’s obligation to hold paramount the public health, safety, and welfare.
NSPE takes positions on public policy issues of interest to our members. Our members come from all engineering disciplines and practice in the areas of government, industry, construction, higher education, and private practice. Regardless of expertise, practice area, or the communities we serve, it is our firm belief that the nation's interests are best served for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare by positioning Professional Engineers where their skills can be utilized. To this end, licensed Professional Engineers play a vital role in the design, construction, operation, management, regulation, and development of natural gas resources.