A Balanced Approach on Fracking From South Africa

From BDlive:
I SUPPOSE it is human nature in times of conflict to gravitate towards the extremes rather than the centre, for fear of making concessions that may strengthen the opposition’s argument. It is a great pity though, because there are precious few situations that are so starkly black or white.
Some or other shade of gray is invariably the correct course of action with the benefit of hindsight, and a willingness by both sides to compromise, or at least attempt to understand the other side’s position better, would get us there quicker. So it is when it comes to the question of whether the vast shale gas reserves that are believed to lie under the Karoo should be extracted, and especially whether we dare experiment with the hydraulic fracturing (fracking) technique that is in the process of turning the global energy sector on its head.
There are a few who would frack and be damned in the interests of turning a profit and there are others who fervently believe the economic stimulation, job creation and poverty alleviation potential of shale gas exploitation should override environmental concerns, just because human benefit must automatically take precedence over Karoo bossies.
Lined up on the other side of the great fracking divide are organisations such as Treasure the Karoo, which are so opposed to the thought of defiling the iconic Karoo landscape with drill rigs that they won’t even countenance exploration to establish how much gas is out there.
The reasonable, rational compromise is surely to proceed with caution, monitor all exploration activities closely, operate in a transparent manner to avoid allegations of corrupt deal-making, and avoid excessive risk-taking. Fortunately, that is the route the government has opted to follow, for which it should be praised, not threatened with lawsuits.
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