News stories about hydraulic fracturing often highlight unsubstantiated statements of activists opposed to the practice regardless of the scientific evidence undermining their position.
So it was heartening to note that recent public opinion polling shows more Americans support shale oil and gas development than oppose it, and by a considerable margin.
Similarly, it’s encouraging to see the Obama administration express unqualified support for natural gas from shale. As I have discussed in this space before, cleaner-burning natural gas is an energy source that is fueling economic growth, reviving American manufacturing, and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
Energy in Depth has done a laudable job compiling statements from President Obama and his top aides expressing their appreciation for natural gas as well as their confidence that America’s energy resources can be produced safely and responsibly.
EID also offers a pamphlet for download and distribution that contains many of the same comments – from the president saying “we need to encourage” shale gas development to cabinet officers noting that hydraulic fracturing has long been done safely and with minimal environmental impact.
I’ll also note that other influential policymakers are coming to the same conclusion.
In the United Kingdom, energy minister Michael Fallon recently announced that a government research body will soon publish a report declaring hydraulic fracturing safe and that it poses no risk of water contamination.
Those statements contribute to our public dialogue about energy policy because they are backed by sound science. It’s great to see facts getting a hearing on both sides of the Atlantic.
Compare those comments to the scientifically unsupportable accusations that continue to be leveled by certain activist groups. Food and Water Watch, for instance, says of hydraulic fracturing: “Should drillers start fracking near your home, [it] can kill you.” The Sierra Club accuses hydraulic fracturing of “destroying landscapes and endangering the health of families.”
Groups like these should take note and ask what President Obama and his energy and environmental advisors understand that they don’t. Even better, they should look more closely at our industry’s technologies and track record to see that every day we are proving we can meet the energy challenges of the future in a safe, secure, and responsible way.