Skip to comments.Let Politics, Not Science, Decide the Fate of Fracking
Posted on 03/13/2013 8:15:52 AM PDT by Sir Napsalot
For more than four years, New York has had a moratorium on fracking, the controversial technique for extracting natural gas. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has long insisted that science, not politics, will dictate his decision about whether to lift the ban, and his administration has missed several self-imposed deadlines as they gather more scientific input. In fact, the State Assembly just approved a two-year extension of the moratorium until there is conclusive scientific evidence on environmental and health risks. Reportedly, this most recent delay stemmed from Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who convinced Cuomo to wait for results from an ongoing study in Pennsylvania.
All of this goes to show that fracking, like most environmental controversies, is being treated as a scientific issue. This is understandable, because important questions surround the process of injecting millions of gallons of water laced with chemicals (some of them not publicly identified) deep into the earth to make natural gas embedded in shale formations accessible. What, for example, does this do to groundwater and air quality?
The weight of these questions is enough to make you think that crafting policy is a matter of getting the science right. And indeed both sides of the debate proclaim, Let the science decide!
But I actually think politics, not science, should dictate outcomes, because the larger questions at stake with fracking are about values: How much risk is acceptable? How do we weigh competing goods? What is the proper place of humans in nature? In short, what kind of world do we want to live in and pass down to our children? These questions are not reducible to science..... That decision depends on how we want to balance the goals of safety, community character, and access to mineral rights.
(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...
Right off the pages of Rand’s Anthem.
Politics is deciding the fact of fracking particularly in New York.
This sudden shift tells me we are about to hear that studies reveal fracking is actually not a threat to the environment.
Does this apply to “climate change”?
Oh wait. Everything is decided by politics, not science and certainly not the rule of law.
Politics is deciding it here in PA too, though not as the Left would like (Democrat politicians are walking around drooling just at the thought of all the new revenue streams)
Let's also add in the need for heating oil in the winter to the list of aesthetic priorities.
Recommendation from Slate: Just let this guy decide what is best.
To the left, it is their roadmap (to a totalitarian dystopia).
It's the "deep into the earth" that strikes me. Maybe I'm mistaken, but I wasn't aware the groundwater was present at the depths these fracking companies operate. Below is an image from wikipedia indicating the fracking is below aquifer levels.
Meanwhile, the Dakotas get richer as New York gets poorer.
Influx of people into the rich Dakotas makes it a real (somewhat real?) possibility of Alaska v2.
Since we’re substituting science as a determining factor with considerations we personally think are worthy, I’m going to propose we decide based on economics.
How about this one. Let’s decide based on private property rights. You know, freedom.
Yup. You nailed it. From the author of the article:
I happen to share that perspective. I believe that going to such extremes to prolong our addiction to fossil fuels is a grave mistake.
Oh, I get it...when it concerns global warming, then we must rely on the scientists to tell us what to do. But when it comes to energy exploration, we must rely on the politicians to tell us what to do. Yeah, that’s great logic. (snicker)
this is an insane, dishonest standard. You can never prove the negative, ie. that there is "conclusive scientific evidence" that there are no environmental or health risks. It's a impossible hurdle. The burden is on those who would claim there ARE environmental and health risks and if they can't prove that to a reasonable degree of certainty then you go ahead and extract the gas.
According to my vast research on earthquakes (I saw the movie Earthquake with Charlton Heston), since there’s a fault line, shouldn’t one side of the fault line have all the layers shifted in one direction or other?
Environmentalists have been stopping energy development in this country for decades. They need to shut up, as they don’t know what they’re talking about.
Now that we have abundant natural gas available the envorimentalists reveal their true agenda. They are hard core leftest radicals that want to cripple our country anyway they can. It is not about fracing, it is about freedom.
CO2 is food for plants and they love it.
I was on my first Frac Job in 1971 and fracing is nothing new. The only thing new is the frac jobs are much larger than in the past. The first frac job in the United States was in 1947 and since then over one million wells have been fraced. That is enough data to show this is a safe procedure.
Fracing is safe when done with a properly designed casing and fracing program. The EPA has yet to confirm one contamination of ground water by fracking. The area of contamination is if “fly by night” operators cut corners on expense and dispose of frac water on the surface. Fine the hell out of them and put them in jail and this will not happen.
The author’s errors in his thinking:
“Just imagine where we would be without Rachel Carson alerting us to the dangers of DDT.”
Thanks to Rachel Carson more people in the world died from poverty and disease due to unneccessary reductions in the use of DDT, than could have been harmed by it’s use.
“On the other hand, fracking may cause irreversible harm to watersheds.”
Is the author just ignorant or lying. Fracking occurs below the watertable.
“On the Barnett Shale in north Texas, air pollution from drilling and fracking is a big concern.”
Which he then follows in the next paragraph with admissions that while claims have been made about that concern, indepedent studies have shown it is not a concern.
“The real question, then, is when to start playing politics with science. Should we do so before or after we have committed to fracking? If it is before action, we avoid harms but incur opportunity coststake it from those New Yorkers who would like to start collecting royalties. If it is after action, we get the benefits but also the actual coststake it from those who have seen a dozen pump trucks belching diesel fumes for weeks at a time near their kids schools.”
Is there any actual fracking site located within proximity to any school??? Let him produce the evidence, or did he just hear it from the Chavez loving RFKennedy, who would of course prefer NY state subsidized imported heating oil from Venezuela over locally produced natural gas.
“Sandra Steingraber (who provided seed funding for New Yorkers Against Fracking and has been hailed by the Sierra Club as the new Rachel Carson) and other environmentalists seeking a permanent ban in New York say that the right time to study fracking is before fracking begins. They might say the same about wind farms. But wind farms fit better into their ideal about what kind of world we should build, so they will quickly believe that science has conferred its blessing on any proposed wind project. Fracking, on the other hand, could never be studied enough to make them accept it.”
So he admits his environmental activist friends can never be satisfied about fracking, no matter what the science says, and they will simultaneously remain hypocrites about any environmental concerns about wind farms. At least that much he is honest about.
So what is his real point?
“I happen to share that perspective. I believe that going to such extremes to prolong our addiction to fossil fuels is a grave mistake.”
“Addiction to fossil fuels” is itself neither an economic or a scientific term, it is 100% a political term. The world is not “addicted to fossil fuels”, it very simply and very rightly believes it should not spend more money, in any economy, for energy, than what science and the marketplace determines are the most economic energy resources. That is not an “addiction”. When science and the marketplace demonstrate, together, economically fantastic alternatives to “fossil fuels”, it will take no political direction for energy markets to start switching to them.
But are fossil fuels his real problem? No.
“My perspective is partly based on scientific evidence. But it is mostly grounded in a moral conviction that humans should live more lightly on the planet and that we would be happier if we were not such slaves to the desires and institutionalized needs that drive our gluttonous energy consumption.”
“Gluttonous energy consumption” is his real problem. What is really “enery consumption” about? It’s about saving humans from the drudgery of hard labor. It’s about lighting, heating and cooling our homes, offices and factories. It’s about the extension of the electronic age into the information technology age. It’s about shrinking massively the time and distance the average person can travel in an economical fashion. It’s about the expansion of trade worldwide, making almost anything produced anywhere available anywhere else. And it’s about a dozen other ways that humans’ “gluttonous energy consumption” has lifted societies from subsistence to improved standards of living in every economic class.
In other words, the author is really against human progress, for it is hard to imagine the progress of the last 200 years without our so-called “gluttonous consumption of energy”. Next time he wants to travel, from/to the U.S. east coast to/from the U.S. west coast, I suggest he ride a horse, or better yet walk.