Fracking Is Not a Solution
The gas industry promises to "do it right," but there is no such thing
November 29, 2011
Too many of America's government officials, nonprofit organizations, and private citizens are caught up in a futile effort to "manage" fracking, when we need to ban the practice altogether (as is already happening in parts of our nation and around the world).
"Fracking," and the entire process of shale gas extraction, is not the solution to our energy challenges, as the oil and gas industry portrays it to us; instead, it is scraping the bottom of the geological barrel, bringing unacceptable health, climate, and environmental consequences while delaying and distracting us from developing energy policies to ensure our children's future.
Marcellus Shale Protest advocates a total ban on shale gas extraction, instead of "regulation", because:
- Our scientific understanding is inadequate for responsible risk management. The environmental and health consequences of shale gas drilling are hard to measure, but pervasive and potentially irreversible. Proposed regulations address only those substances for which we already have criteria. The chemical mixture in "fracking fluid" is only one of many sources of environmental contamination; abandoned capped wells, after economic production ends, will be hazards for millennia to come--far longer than all human experience with concrete and steel.
- The industry's campaign of disinformation has hijacked public dialog. Citizens can't realistically appraise "risk-benefit" decisions when they are shouted-down by phony claims of imagined economic security and "energy independence," and while their actual experience (deteriorating health, destruction of property values, diversion of water and crop-land) is mocked and trivialized, and court cases remain sealed.
- Democratic institutions are being corrupted by industry money and power. Elected officials, university researchers and educators, consultants, and media outlets can't be relied upon to advocate for the public interest when they depend upon donations and revenues from industry.
- A false sense of urgency has been created. There is no near-term domestic demand for shale gas (which, ultimately, will be exported for higher margins to Asia). In truth, energy companies desperately need to prop up their accounting house-of-cards, of which "proven reserves" and "acreage held-by-production" are the foundation.
The gas industry promises to "do it right," when there is no such thing; and, in our current political climate, there is no chance of holding this industry accountable. Marcellus Shale Protest views the media fixation upon regulations and taxation as missing the point, and we continue to insist on a total ban as the only responsible public policy.