Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fracking Critics Called Out for Outlandish Claims, Lack of Supporting Evidence

Two separate articles take fracktivists to task for some of their claims regarding hydraulic fracturing and the lack of persuasive evidence to back them up.

First, from Forbes:
Fracking, like any heavy industrial process, has real and potential impacts that must be mitigated and properly regulated.  Among those impacts are substantial water usage, damage to roads by heavy truck traffic, potential spillage of frac fluids and management of the chemicals used in the process.  Everyone acknowledges these and other possible issues, and like the global warming issue, there are well-intentioned people – in the industry, in responsible environmental groups, in government and the general public – working diligently to find the best approaches to minimize  impacts on the environment and the public.
But also like global warming, Fracking has become a money-raising and attention-grabbing boogeyman for all manner of nutcases, chicken littles and radicalized environmental organizations.  To hear these anti-fracking agitators tell it, Fracking is responsible for everything from killing Bermuda grass lawns to under-weight cattle to flaming water faucets in “Gasland” to elevated rates of breast cancer to earthquakes to destruction of entire ecosystems.  Noted anti-frack activist Yoko Ono was even quoted in the New York Times late last year as saying “Basically, if we don’t do something about it (Fracking), we’re all going to die.”
Yes, that’s a real thing.  John Lennon’s widow actually said that, and with meaning.  Imagine.
These sorts of wild allegations are invariably disproven upon investigation, but that is of little consequence, because those who make the most noise – and anti-Frackers, like climate alarmists, are quite loud – get the most attention from a news media that thrives on conflict.  So the allegations make lots of news and result in lots of calls and letters to policymakers who then feel the need to “do something”, even if that something is completely wrong-headed.  Meanwhile, the truth comes out weeks and months later, doesn’t make much news and doesn’t generate much messaging volume into policymaker offices around the country.
Read that whole article here.

And another article from Project Syndicate:
The net environmental effects of growing reliance on shale gas appear beneficial as well. The substitution of natural gas for coal has put the US on track to meet the Obama administration’s international commitment to reduce CO2 emissions 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. Gas is also better for local air quality, owing to the absence of the sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, mercury, and particulates emitted by burning coal. 
Yet environmentalists are overwhelmingly opposed to fracking, evidently for three reasons. None, however, is persuasive. 
First, fracking’s opponents worry that shale gas will displace renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. But the fact is that CO2 emissions cannot be reduced without cutting coal use, and shale gas is already displacing coal in the US. This is not speculation; it is happening now. Even if some cleaner source becomes viable later, we would still need natural gas as a bridge to get us from here to there. 
Put differently, if the world continues to build coal-fired power plants at the current rate, those plants will still be around in 2050, regardless of what other technologies become viable in the meantime. Solar power cannot stop those coal-fired plants from being built today. Natural gas can.
That whole article can be read by clicking here. 

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