Thursday, January 17, 2013
To Frack or Not to Frack: That is the Question?
A new industry has evolved over the past decade or so, called “Fracking” (definition: it is a process of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers deep within the earth). This method of capturing natural gas from shale, is gaining a vast source of valuable energy which could make the U.S.A. a natural gas exporter to the rest of the world. The resulting boom is transforming the American energy landscape. In certain areas of our depressed economy, the states that have encouraged “fracking” have been booming (No. Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas etc.) economically. Of course, with any successful discovery of a natural resource, the “environmental wacko’s” have come out of the woodwork to try to throw roadblocks in the way of exploring for this very valuable and affordable product, that is situated in abundance right here in our own country.
These perpetual naysayer’s of progress have come up with a litany of mistaken concerns trying to scare public officials into not giving the okay to drill for shale gas. The major charge these so-called “tree huggers” put forth is that “fracking” creates cracks in the rock formation that allows chemicals to leach into sources of fresh water. The fallacy of that argument is that the average shale formation is thousands of feet underground, while the average drinking well or acquifer, is a few hundred feet deep.
Another fear put forth by the environmentalists is that “fracking” releases toxic or radioactive chemicals. The reality is that 99.5% of the fluid injected into fracturing the rock, is water and sand. The chemicals range from the benign such as citric acid (which is found in soda pop), to benzene. Most states have laws on the books to make the drilling companies comply with the strict rules relating to the use and disposal of the chemicals.
Other scenarios put forth by the environmental lobby to create a “doom and gloom” atmosphere in the minds of the public, is that “fracking” causes cancer, earthquakes, pollution from trucks transporting the gas, or that shale exploration is unregulated. Most all of these wild claims have no merit or scientific facts to back them up, as all new industries will have growing pains due to the progress it has brought to the state or area.
With all the scrutiny that this new energy source commands, the companies must make its production safe for the public, and they must make the case that “fracking” is a safe, inexpensive and valuable source of energy, which it is.
Since the environmentalists were an important source of political aid for Obama, the new industry might have to overcome some hurdles that the Obama Administration might try to impose on them, in order to appease the fanatics who are against all types of fossil fuel exploration, no matter how beneficial it is to the financial condition of the country. This process, along with the vast amounts of untapped oil and coal deposits still locked up by the Obama energy policies, could, if left to be explored and captured, could help us out of the financial bind that we find ourselves in at the present time. Common sense seems to be the exception rather than the rule that drives this Admistration’s energy policies.
Conservative commentary by Chuck Lehmann