Another left narrative bites the dust and this time, by the agency considered to be the equivalent of an environmental Pontiff, the Environmental Protection Agency.
Hydraulic fracking is still a relatively new technology (as it relates to using it for shale gas deposits). Most people would not have heard of it 10 years earlier, but now it is common. Environmental groups aided by Democrat politicians have been successful in banning fracking in counties and municipalities across the country. New York banned it statewide based on hysterical nonsense about the lack of a good economic impact and it supposed harm to the environment.
First on the economic front, The American Enterprise Institute says the economic impact has been very positive:
The direct benefit of increasing oil and gas production includes the value of increased production attributable to the technology. In 2011, the USA produced 8,500,983 million cubic feet of natural gas from shale gas wells. Taking an average price of $4.24 per thousand cubic feet, that’s a value of about $36 billion, due to shale gas alone.
This increase in value produced can also increase the number of people employed directly in production and delivery activities. These numbers will often be pointed to in political debates. In an economy with full employment, such an increase would not be considered a ‘benefit’ per se, but a state such as New York with a high unemployment rate of 8.2 might wish to weigh the potential employment effects when evaluating the merits of a moratorium. At its peak in 1980, the oil and gas extraction sector supported 267,000 employees, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. As more easily tapped oil reserves grew scarcer and domestic oil production gradually declined over the following two decades, so did employment, with the number of employees in oil and gas extraction shrinking by over 50 percent to 118,400 in 2003. Since 2003, however, there has been a steady upward climb in employment, slowing only slightly during 2009 and reaching 198,400 by December 2012 – over a 67 percent increase. As other industries have sputtered in the a”ermath of the 2008 recession, oil and gas has been a remarkably bright spot in the US economy, with employment at the end of 2012 at its highest since 1987.
The study, more than four years in the making, said the EPA has found no signs of “widespread, systemic” drinking water pollution from hydraulic fracturing. That conclusion dramatically runs afoul of one of the great green crusades of the past half-decade, which has portrayed the oil- and gas-extraction technique as a creator of fouled drinking water wells and flame-shooting faucets.
Thursday’s congressionally mandated EPA report, a compilation of past studies, found isolated incidents in which water pollution was attributable to the use of fracking. But it failed to back up the idea that fracking poses a major threat to water supplies, contradicting years of activists’ warnings dramatized by images of burning tap water in the Oscar-nominated documentary “Gasland.”
Those images have helped fuel a brush fire of grassroots resistance against fracking, a technology that has fostered energy booms in states like Pennsylvania and North Dakota while prompting authorities to ban the practice in places like New York state, Pittsburgh and even Denton, Texas.
Of course, President Obama didn’t even wait for the release of this study from the EPA before implementing new restrictions on fracking like he did in March. With all his emphasis on getting away from oil, one can only surmise the reason the President won’t openly endorse fracking despite the evidence of its benefits is due to the support he gets from environmental groups.
It will be interesting to see what he does next.DONATE
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