Fear of Fracking Misplaced

Regarding your article “Fracking Fuss,” protestors need to educate themselves on the enormous benefits we receive from fracking and horizontal drilling.

We have progressed from being hopelessly dependent on foreign oil, which drained our economy and involved us needlessly in Middle East conflicts, to being a net exporter of oil in 2011, ending more than 60 years of net importing. U.S. natural gas production rose 75 percent from 1986 to 2012 and is now increasing at a much faster pace. Individual U.S. household incomes rose $1,200 last year due to lowered energy costs.

The book Comeback: America’s New Economic Boom projects that just the “upstream” fracking needs (i.e., those required to extract the oil and gas and transport it to a local transportation hub) will require about 3.5 million workers by the year 2035 and cumulative capital expenditure of over $5 trillion! When you include additional workers and capital needed to get the oil and gas from the local hubs to refineries and on to their final destinations, the economic boom will be staggering.

Overall, the boom in oil and natural gas production by fracking has brought great benefits to our environment. Adverse effects blamed on fracking have been isolated and anecdotal. On the positive side, the displacing of coal as fuel for electrical energy production has helped clear our air and water from coal plant pollution and extended the lives of all Americans.

Finally, this fear of fracking may all be a moot point. Recently a petroleum-based fracking fluid has been created that evaporates underground, obviating any groundwater pollution.

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