We Have a “Fracking” Choice for Energy Autonomy
Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to “frack” with? Huh? I had heard but not understood the term “fracking” until I read a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. Fracking is the process of pumping water, sand or chemicals into the earth at high pressures to displace or dislodge oil or natural gas from rock formations deep in the ground.
The story I read starts with a rancher in the midst of a historic Texas drought facing choices about watering his stock or “fracking” for oil:
Darrell Brownlow, another cattle rancher, says that if the economically depressed region has to choose between the two, the choice should be simple.
Mr. Brownlow, who has a Ph.D. in geochemistry, says it takes 407 million gallons to irrigate 640 acres and grow about $200,000 worth of corn on the arid land. The same amount of water, he says, could be used to frack enough wells to generate $2.5 billion worth of oil. “No water, no frack, no wealth,” says Mr. Brownlow, who has leased his cattle ranch for oil exploration.
Is there any question about how the rancher and America could benefit from fracking?
For any average person the choice seems clear and simple – fracking for oil takes less water than ranching or farming, and results in increased revenue. For farmers, ranchers, or people just wanting to better themselves through land investments, the choice to look at fracking is obvious.
Does this mean we should stop farming, stop raising cattle and plug the ground with wells and rigs to hopefully find oil or gas? No! It would be foolish to assume that farmers and ranchers would all want to do that. Also, not every piece of land has oil and gas underneath it. We need cattle and crops to feed our nation. We also need fuel for survival and our national security.
In America we are supposed to have the right to pursue happiness, and an income, by making choices about what we do for work. Should big government, along with regulatory agencies like EPA and environmentalists, be allowed to tell farmers and ranchers what they are allowed to do on their private property? Of course not.
Big government has interfered with jobs and energy creation in the past. In 1973 a lawsuit was brought under the National Environmental Policy Act, supported by the Department of Energy and the EPA, against the building of the Tellico dam in Tennessee. A biologist from the University of Tennessee said that building the dam might alter the habitat for the snail darter fish and it could become extinct. The lawsuits and controversy dragged out until President Carter approved a bill on September 25, 1979 to allow the dam to operate after $100M had already been spent. The fish was relocated and is doing just fine!
Was there an impact on the citizens? YES. According to then Senator Howard Baker from Tennessee in a speech on the floor of the Senate,
In the midst of a national energy crisis, the snail darter demands that we scuttle a project that would produce 200 million kilowatt hours of hydroelectric power and save an estimated 15 million gallons of oil.
Imagine, too, how many jobs were in jeopardy because of these fish delays. But the rest of the story is interesting in hindsight. As it turns out, Baker and proponents of the dam overstated the estimates of energy creation. For those who worried about the damage and the extinction of the snail darter, they over estimated the negative impact of the dam. By 1984, the snail darter was taken off the endangered species list. Biologists successfully transplanted the fish and the existence of the snail darter is no longer in question.
The question is whether government should involve itself in a commercial endeavor? Government’s role is not to search for or create energy, that’s not in the constitution. In this case and countless others there is proof that government and politicians on all sides make mistakes with your money. Can you say Solyndra?
Private sector investors, who must be certain when risking their own money on fracking or anything else they create, should run these initiatives. Taxpayer money will not then be at risk and political debates on funding such projects can end.
More Oil Than We Can Consume – The Fracking Truth
The biggest problem in America’s recovery today is the stagnant growth of private sector jobs. So what would more freedom to frack mean for helping economic and jobs growth? Are there examples of that potential?
From the Wall Street Journal: Less than three years after its discovery, the Eagle Ford oil field here already accounts for 6% of South Texas’s economic output and supports 12,000 full-time jobs, according to a study by the University of Texas at San Antonio earlier this year…
Yes there is great potential, but the government is looming over this potential like a tornado!
In a report from CBS News on December 8, 2011 from Cheyenne, Wyoming, the EPA is announcing that fracking “may be to blame for causing groundwater pollution.”
MAY BE TO BLAME! This is an allegation being made by the EPA.
According to Sen. James Inhofe, the study was “not based on sound science but rather on political science. Its findings are premature, given that the Agency has not gone through the necessary peer-review process, and there are still serious outstanding questions regarding EPA’s data and methodology,” the Oklahoma Republican is quoted as saying.
Is this an isolated fracking case? No.
The issue has been highly contentious in New York, where some upstate residents and politicians argue that the gas industry will bring desperately needed jobs while others demand a ban on fracking to protect water supplies. New York regulators haven’t issued permits for gas drilling with high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale since they began an extensive environmental review in 2008.
How many jobs could have been created over the last three years if politicians and regulators had not intervened?
The current government with their relentless pursuit of regulations and day-to-day oversight of our choices is crushing our pursuit of happiness, freedom, and jobs. You do have a choice, a monumental choice, in the 2012 election. Do you want politicians who give unlimited regulatory power to agencies that slander industries? Do you want politicians in states like New York to kill job creation and energy autonomy by allowing uncontrolled regulators to deny permits that would create jobs?
Washington insiders and politicians at all levels are to blame, and they will continue to compromise our nation’s principles to get your support. Crippling environmental regulations and failed energy policies have cost us our energy autonomy and prosperity. It is time to put people who will stop this madness into office. It is time for real change now!
Take action. Support, contribute, campaign, call your friends, but most of all, help get out the vote that will change the direction of the United States of America.
 Snail Darter Controversy – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snail_darter_controversy
 The New York Times - http://www.nytimes.com/1984/07/08/us/us-to-downgrade-status-of-snail-darter.html