While there are real risks associated with fracking, actual occurrences are rare, indicating that the stormy petrils are extrapolating those claims of faith beyond what science has demonstrated are the actual risks. For example, the Property and Environment Research Center has found:
- Water use: A fracking well uses somewhere between 2M and 5M gallons of water. Up to 80% of that water remains below the earth's surface. Yes, that does sound like a lot of water. However, New York City uses 5M gallons of water every 6 minutes. Yes, the western states are arid and there are some real concerns about water usage. However, developing water markets and defining property rights--not reiterating beliefs stated as fact--would lead to efficient water use in those states.
- Water contamination: Fracturing fluids could potentially contaminate groundwater, but there is little scientific evidence to support this claim. Three research studies--conducted by Duke University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Environmental Protection Agency--found zero evidence of fracking causing fluid contamination in local water sources. As for the claim that fracking causes methane leakage--a potential source of contamination--research also indicates the high methane levels discovered near fracking wells are either naturally occurring or are the product of poor well design. The former is attributable to Mother Nature--Gaia, the mother goddess of those who worship at the altar of environmentalism--and it's not good to mess with Mother Nature, as the ideologues claim. The latter is a problem that engineers can fix easily.
- Induced seismic activity: The stormy petrils terrify people with their oft-stated claim that fracking will cause devastating earthquakes. Theoretically, it is possible improper water disposal could cause seismic activity. However, seismologists believe it is highly unlikely that an earthquake caused by fracking would be significant. Instead, only people at rest would feel it.
Highlighting those risks and extrapolating them beyond what the science knows deflects attention away from the benefits associated with fracking. For example, North Dakota--whose unemployment rate ticked upward from 3% to 4% during the Great Recession--has been the epicenter of the fracking boom, as oil and gas production in North Dakota rose 58% between December 2007 and June 2009. In addition, IHS Global Insight claims that by 2020, fracking could yield an additional $417B to the U.S. economy and increase employment by ~3M jobs.
The bottom line? Faith without reason is as dangerous to discovethe truth as is reason without faith. Unfortunately for the stormy petrils who worship at the altar of environmentalism, their ideology keeps them from being able to integrate their faith with reason.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the Property and Environment Research Center's report, click on the following link:
"Risky Hydraulic Fracturing?"