Fracking, the Larger Picture

Why is there organized opposition to fracking?

That is a difficult question to answer when one considers the great benefits derived from fracking.

We only need to look back a few years, less than a decade, to see what fracking has accomplished.

A few years ago natural gas was priced at $13 per million BTUs.

The United States was running out of natural gas, and terminals were being built to import natural gas from the Mideast, putting more of our eggs in that basket, and increasing our dependence on the Mideast.

Powerful groups were opposed to building import terminals, on the basis they would be a danger to any community near them.

It was only a few years ago that oil production in the United States was in decline, necessitating the import of ever larger quantities of oil.

People decried importing oil from countries many considered to be our enemies.

We were paying these countries billions of dollars for their oil and worsening our balance of payments.

Fracking has upended all of this.

Today, natural gas is priced at around $3 or $4 per million BTUs.

The United States, as well as Canada, has a supply of natural gas that can last at least 100 years.

Natural gas is becoming an important transportation fuel, replacing oil imported from the Mideast.

Fracking has reversed the decline in oil production, so that we and Canada together, are likely to become energy independent.

Fracking has created millions of jobs, perhaps over 2 million new jobs in an economy bereft of jobs.

The surplus of natural gas is creating a manufacturing revival. Chemical plants that were moving overseas, along with their jobs, are moving back to the United States.

Fracking has resulted in millions of dollars in new tax revenues.

Natural gas produced by fracking is displacing coal, that some think is a dirty source of electricity.

Increased Oil & Natural Gas Production. From EIA
Increased Oil & Natural Gas Production. From EIA

 

And yet a militant few oppose fracking.

It’s understandable that a homeowner would be upset when he suddenly finds a drill rig nearby, even if it’s only there for a few months.

But why is there organized opposition to fracking, exploiting the homeowner who is suddenly faced with a drill rig nearby, and the uninformed who are afraid fracking could harm the environment?

Here, we have a resource, i.e., natural gas, that will benefit nearly everyone in the United States, coupled with increasing supplies of oil that reduce, if not eliminate, our need to import oil from unfriendly countries … yet fracking is seen as evil by the militant few.

The militant few claim that fracking will contaminate water supplies, poison the land and trigger earthquakes.  The Sierra Club has declared war on natural gas.

Photo from August, 1980 issue of National Geographic Magazine
Photo from August, 1980 issue of National Geographic Magazine

 

All their claims have been disproven, yet the militant few continue to produce movies depicting calamities, issue press releases hyping the occasional accident and clamor for regulations that will put an end to fracking.

Typical is the claim that fracking caused natural gas to contaminate wells, but this picture, printed by the National Geographic in 1980, disproves the claim.

Even the EPA has backed away from the claim that fracking contaminates water supplies. The EPA, for example, abandoned its claim that fracking in Pavilion, Wyoming contaminated water wells.

There is no rational reason to prohibit fracking, yet New York State made fracking illegal and Colorado may vote to prohibit fracking. Frightened people are easily mobilized to vote against activities that frighten them.

In effect, these militants want the United States to once again be dependent on foreign countries, many of whom hate the United States, for oil and natural gas.

In effect these militants want to kill the jobs already created by fracking.

And, these militants want the United States to be deprived of the new manufacturing jobs that would result from large supplies of inexpensive natural gas.

Why do the militant few want to harm the United States, and their fellow Americans?

 

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0 thoughts on “Fracking, the Larger Picture

  1. Donn, you know the answer to your first question. The CORE opposition to fracking derives from the fact that it DOES deliver abundant natural gas at low price. As you say, cleaner gas replaces coal. But gas also is a serious competitor to “green” energy sources such as wind and solar, and it makes it more difficult to convince the public to give up fossil fuels in favor of these other energy sources. Those who totally oppose fossil fuels view gas as weakening their rationale for change.

    Personally, I view natural gas as a desirable link between coal, which I think we should use less of, and “greener” energy sources, which I think we eventually have to embrace more than we do now.

    • Thanks for your comment.
      I also believe the core opposition comes from those who think global warming is caused by CO2 emissions.
      Whether wind and solar make economic sense is another question.

  2. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

  3. The Middle East, Russia and South America do not want America to drill. The anti drillers are funded by them because they want to keep us dependent on their oil and natural gas. George Soros funded the Tides Foundation that spent 2 million dollars in upstate NY alone to shut down drilling. He owns a lease on a large natural gas deposit in New Guineau.

    • Thanks for your comments and new information.
      I’m not personally aware of George Soros’ actions, so people will need to verify them separately if interested.

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