47th Annual AAPG-SPE Eastern Section Joint Meeting

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Introducing a New Tool for Discussing the Complex Interactions of Petroleum Production and the Environment


Concern about the environmental, climatic and public health risks of the energy sector has grown with the decade-long expansion of oil and gas production using hydraulic fracturing of horizontal wells. People are now debating whether oil and natural gas are essential to modern life and what their role should be in the future. Strong and divergent views about oil and gas production and use reflect complex interactions of economics, politics, public health, even expectations for the distant future. Amid a flurry of potentially polarized news and opinion provided by the 24-hour media cycle, state and local decision makers seek understandable information from neutral sources. The American Geosciences Institute, an association of varied geoscientist organizations, has a long history of providing accurate, unbiased information about human interactions with earth systems, from groundwater to landslides, and their impacts on the environment. This year the American Geosciences Institute has updated it 2003 publication, “Petroleum and the Environment” as a web-hosted series of two dozen fact sheets on major elements of the modern petroleum industry, from land use to methane emissions, induced seismicity and oil refining. The sheets explain complexities and uncertainties of the issues and make the information accessible through clear writing, a series of interlinked webpages and many free references. The American Geosciences Institute aims to make this user-friendly and search engine-optimized reference suite a trusted source of information about modern issues in petroleum and the environment.