President Obama says "the potential for natural gas is enormous." And the Economist notes this week that America's independent oil and natural gas producers "have brought about a [shale gas] revolution."
This historic breakthrough has helped put our nation on more secure economic and energy security footing, and has dramatically bolstered America's competitive edge in the global energy marketplace.
The once-recent and very real notion that unfriendly, unstable nations -- Russia, Iran and Venezuela -- were scheming to create an Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries-like global cartel for natural gas have been shattered.
The chapter in U.S. history about our nation importing natural gas from foreign markets is now closed. And at a time when leaders in Washington are "pivoting" to focus on job creation -- with nearly 14 million Americans out of work -- our nation's oil and natural gas industry is creating tens of thousands of good-paying jobs and generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the government.
And at its core is something called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" -- a technology that's been responsibly deployed more than 1.1 million times over the past 60 years in the United States -- that's allowing this all to happen.
Yet, despite this overwhelmingly positive progress -- particularly in states like Texas, North Dakota, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Arkansas -- many who oppose the responsible development of American oil and natural gas are currently engaged in a sustained campaign to misinform the public, the media and elected officials about the facts on fracturing.
That campaign was certainly on display this week, with an anti-shale advocacy group working shoulder to shoulder with the New York Times to produce a story claiming that fracturing contaminated a water well in West Virginia nearly 30 years ago.
Yet, by its own admission, the advocacy group conceded that "it is unclear" how fracturing fluids could have accessed the well in question, and went as far to acknowledge that "it is possible that another stage of the drilling process [and not hydraulic fracturing] caused the problem."
Remarkably, or perhaps not, the Times reporter wasn't quite as careful with his description, stating in his piece that fracturing "in fact" caused the contamination.
Despite the Times and other anti-oil and natural gas allies playing fast and loose with the facts, a broad chorus of science-based information continues to come in about fracturing's long and clear record of environmental safety.
Earlier this week, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper -- a Democrat, and trained petroleum geologist -- said the Times' series is "full of misinformation and distortions of facts," and that it's "not based on science."
He added: "Everybody in this room understands that hydraulic fracturing doesn't connect to the groundwater." Too bad the Times reporter wasn't among those in the room.
Hickenlooper isn't alone. Obama's Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Lisa Jackson, echoed these facts to Congress in May, telling a U.S. House panel that "I'm not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water."
And last week, Rebecca Wodder -- Obama's nominee for a post at the Interior Department -- told the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that "like Administrator Jackson, I am not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water."
That statement was delivered only one day after Wodder refused to retract a previous statement in which she declared that fracturing "pollutes groundwater and streams."
While some special interest groups and the reporters they've captured remain focused on manufacturing "public anxiety" about baseless hydraulic fracturing-related claims, as Hickenlooper said, and denying our nation access to abundant, job-creating American oil and natural gas resources, the facts about fracturing continue to speak for themselves.
But why let facts get in the way of a really good story?
Lee O. Fuller is executive director of Energy In Depth, a Washington, D.C.-based coalition of independent oil and natural gas producers.