The Politics Of American Energy Independence

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS re...

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS report showing extent of Marcellus Formation shale (in gray shading). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday’s Washington Times posted a story about a Marcellus Shale gas-drilling study released earlier this month by the State University of New York at Buffalo’s Shale Resources and Society Institute. 

The article reports:

Released earlier this month, the report concludes that Pennsylvania regulators have done an effective job cutting down on environmental incidents within the state’s burgeoning natural-gas industry, a sector driven almost entirelyby hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the controversial practice of using water, sand and chemicals to crack deep underground rock and release huge quantities of natural gas.

Its authors, including SUNY-Buffalo employee and institute Director John P. Martin, have come under increasing fire from critics who say they’ve spun figures from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection in order to cast a favorable light on fracking and the companies that employ it.

Fracking is the technique that will give America access to its vast natural gas resources, which could easily lead to energy independence for America. It is opposed by radical environmentalists who want to turn to renewable sources of energy rather than carbon based sources. Unfortunately, our current economy is based on carbon sources and barring some miracle fuel invented in the private sector (where free market forces can allow the competition to determine the best product), an abrupt transition to green energy would be very cumbersome and painful for all Americans.

The article further reports:

Only 25 of the 845 environmental events in Pennsylvania from 2008 through August 2011 were considered “major” incidents. They included land spills, site-restoration failures and well blowouts.

Critics contend that the study glosses over the fact that the number of major events shot up from one in 2008 to 10 in 2011. As a percentage of wells drilled, that equates to 0.6 events per 1,000 wells in 2008, and 0.8 events per 1,000 wells drilled in 2011.

All forms of energy have risks and downsides–I reported on April 30 that a recent study showed that windmills cause global warming (rightwinggranny.com). We know that windmills are a danger to certain birds. Man has been looking for the perpetual motion machine for a long time. It doesn’t exist–either in machine form or in energy form. Energy independence is a national security issue as well as an environmental issue. It’s time to grow up, face the facts, and get on with making America energy independent.

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