More Renewables, Not Less Fracking

Fracking is a nonissue in Santa Barbara because it hasn’t been shown to be effective in increasing oil production. In fact, there are only a handful of oil fields in all of California where low-volume fracking has proven to be effective. So Measure P would be a nonissue if it weren’t for the fact that the measure also bans some routine well production and maintenance practices that have been used safely for decades. The measure appears to have been cleverly crafted by oil-industry foes to take advantage of the fracking hysteria, and many well-intentioned people have been duped.

The recent boom in oil drilling is the direct result of the high price of oil, which is of course due to the high demand for oil. So if demand is reduced or eliminated, the price will drop, and oil production and associated carbon emissions will be reduced or eliminated. And the best way to reduce demand is to make fossil fuels obsolete through development of large-scale renewable energy sources. Substantial work remains to make this a reality, however, due to some pesky laws that hinder such development — the laws of physics. The anti-fracking activists are well intentioned, but we would all be much better served by activists who roll up their sleeves and get to work in the classroom and in the lab, solving real problems to make large-scale availability of renewable energy a reality.

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