John Stossel: Being against fracking is the latest cause for silly people
Celebrities are now upset about fracking, the injection of chemicals into the ground to crack rocks to release oil and gas. With everyone saying they want alternatives to foreign oil, I'd think celebrities would love fracking.
I'd be wrong. Lady Gaga, Yoko Ono and their group, Artists Against Fracking, don't feel the love. Yoko sang, "Don't frack me!" on TV.
Stopping fracking is the latest cause of the silly people. They succeeded in getting scientifically ignorant politicians to ban fracking in New York, Maryland and Vermont.
Hollywood gave an Oscar to "Gasland," a documentary that suggests fracking will shove gas into some people's drinking water, so the water will burn. It's true that some water contains so much natural gas that you can light it.
But another documentary, "FrackNation," shows that gas got into plumbing long before fracking came. There's gas in the earth. That's why it's called "natural gas." Some gets into well water. Environmental officials investigated the flames shown in "Gasland" and concluded that the pollution had nothing to do with fracking.
"FrackNation" director Phelim McAleer tried to confront "Gasland" director Josh Fox about this, but Fox wouldn't answer his questions. Instead, he demanded to know whom McAleer works for. He also turned down my invitations to publicly debate fracking. Many activists don't like to answer questions that don't fit their narrative.
Even some homeowners who filed a lawsuit claiming that their water was poisoned by fracking weren't happy to learn that their water is safe. I'd think they would be delighted, but "FrackNation" shows a couple reacting with outrage when environmental officials test their water and find it clean.
The real story on fracking, say scientists, is that the risks are small and the rewards immense. Fracking lowered the price of natural gas so much that Americans heat our homes for less, and manufacturing that once left America has returned. For those concerned about global warming, burning gas instead of oil or coal reduces CO2 emissions.
"Skeptical Environmentalist" author Bjorn Lomborg points out that "green" Europe promised to reduce emissions, but "only managed to cut half of what you guys accidentally happened to do when you stumbled on fracking."
Still, the process sounds dangerous. It requires chemicals and explosions. So fracking is now scapegoated for the usual litany of things that peasants feared when threatened with curses centuries ago: livestock dying, bad crop yields, children born with deformities.
None of it is backed by scientific evidence. Even environmentalists who usually are too cautious (by my standards) see little danger. President Obama's first EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, told Congress that the EPA cannot show "that the fracking process has caused chemicals to enter groundwater."
One of the more outlandish fears is that fracking will cause earthquakes. Silly people at MSNBC say fracking creates "a skyrocketing number of earthquakes." Yes, cracking rocks does cause vibrations. But then, so does construction with dynamite or jackhammers - not to mention trucks on the highway.
Time and again, as humans make a good-faith effort to find new, cleaner ways to produce the energy a growing population needs, environmentalists find a reason - often very small or non-existent - that makes the new method unacceptable.
They say coal is dirty and normal oil production might overheat the planet. Hydroelectric dams kill fish. Nuclear plants could suffer meltdowns. Windmills kill birds.
Some won't be happy unless we go back to what we did before industrialization: burn lots of trees and die young.
Nothing is completely risk-free. Companies make mistakes. Chemical spills happen.
But those risks are manageable. They are also far preferable to the risk of paying more for energy - thereby killing opportunities for the poor.
So far, most regulators outside New York, Maryland and Vermont have ignored the silly people. So thanks to fracking, Americans pay less for heat (and everything else), the economy is helped, new jobs get created, we create less greenhouse gas, and for the first time since the 19th century, America may become a net exporter of energy.
Good things happen if the silly people can't convince all politicians to ban progress.
John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed."
To improve the chance of seeing your comment posted here or published in the New Hampshire Union Leader:
- Identify yourself. Accounts using fake or incomplete names are suspended regardless of the quality of posts.
- Say something new, stay on topic, keep it short.
- Links to outside URLs are discouraged, if used they should be on topic.
- Avoid comments in bad taste, write well, avoid using all capital letters
- Don't cite facts about individuals or businesses without providing a means to verify the claim
- If you see an objectionable comment please click the "Report Abuse" button and be sure to tell us why.
Note: Comments are the opinion of the respective poster and not of the publisher.
The "China syndrome" hasn't happened either in all these years of nuclear energy. The anti-fracking craze is another case of gadflies seizing on any excuse, kindling any fear, and using any weapon including their own celebrity, to control the work of achievers. And the Northern Pass proves that, if we listen to them and embrace "sustainable" solar, wind, and hydro power, that they will always find different gripes when the new projects get going. The goal is not what they say the goal is today; the goal is for them to get ever-increasing political power over the people who actually produce our energy.
March 15, 2013 8:04 am
Mike Redding said:
I love fresh drinking water.
March 15, 2013 8:17 am
WAYNE STANLEY said:
BANANA - Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything. The low information voters will continue to believe anything as long as it fits their agenda.
March 15, 2013 9:02 am
Trent Palmer said:
Ah, the China syndrome. After Chernobyl and Fukushima one wonders how receptive the Ukrainians, Russians and Japanese are to Spike's "everyone is out to get the achievers and into my pocket" explanation for every topic under the sun.
March 15, 2013 10:15 am
Rick Mitchell said:
Anti-fracking is just another emotional anti-growth, anti-capital, anti-market, anti-freedom response that is the hallmark of authoritarian, busybody left.
March 15, 2013 10:39 am
Michael Raleigh said:
Oh those silly people at Scientific American may not agree with the renowned journalist Stossel. Apparently progress to Stossel requires poisoning our ground water and warming our planet in order to feed our insatiable appetite for petroleum. Once again after reading this column the only person I find to be silly is the author. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=are-fracking-wastewater-wells-poisoning-ground-beneath-our-feeth
March 15, 2013 1:02 pm
Ken Johnson said:
Michael R. I'm sure you heat your house with just a fireplace and take your bicycle to work.
March 15, 2013 5:05 pm
Chris Kofer said:
The environmentally entitled extreme right....
March 15, 2013 5:07 pm
Paul Fleming said:
Mr. Johnson, who says Mr. Redding works? Mr. Redding???
March 15, 2013 5:09 pm
Poor Trent Palmer was given the impression that capitalism constituted a guarantee against all mishaps. Thus, two nuclear accidents (and Chernobyl was more an indictment of management under Sovietism) constitute "proof" that capitalism doesn't work. And does he have any proof that the command-and-control approach does work, or works better? Doesn't matter...We've got to act now!
March 15, 2013 6:03 pm
Trent Palmer said:
Really Spike, that's what you took away from my two sentences? I can't imagine a better illustration of the (deadly accurate) charge so many people have made against you that you never respond to what posters write but rather a crazy strawman you create for them.
March 15, 2013 6:41 pm
Emanual Ford said:
Paul Flaming One, what's this great job you have in TN that you had to move 1000 miles for and can never stop reminding everyone about? Does it pay more than your 99 weeks of UE checks in NH did? Come on Paulie, inquiring minds want to know.
March 15, 2013 7:42 pm
mike maroni said:
really spike, and who are you really, other than another ignorant ranter, with no clue about the real world. at least you speak out that are willing to help destroy the earth for your selfishness. at least you are so rich and beyaond calamity that you are ok with the less fortunate to suffer. ...man, i can not believe the people who read this nutcase paper AND agree with the bull that is put out there. anti-american, anti-christian, anti -human. you should be ashamed of yourself.
March 15, 2013 8:15 pm
Bob Lake said:
Today's corporations are killing us. Literally, killing us. Today's children will die younger than their parents. Disease is everywhere. And what is so funny is that there are people are there who are so brain dead that support them. If there is civilization here in 100 years, I wonder what they might say about us.
March 15, 2013 8:24 pm
Paul Sylvia said:
Heh. Bob, in 100 years folks will worship a large statue which they will refer to as 'The Big BL'. We are Devo...
March 16, 2013 6:41 am
Ken Johnson said:
P Fleming.. I notice Mike R hasn't responded yet. He must be sleeping late after a hard week at the office. It's good to see Bob Lake is up and at it. Have to hand it to those EBT card holders. They don't let the grass grow under their feet...they just smoke it.
March 16, 2013 8:29 am
Len Cannon said:
If North Dakota, Texas and Pennsylvannia were all of a sudden the three "must have" states in order for multi-millionaire Pelosi and her commerades to take back the House, fracking would be right up there with giving blood to the Red Cross and volunteering for the Peace Corps or Americore or Citiyear or what ever they call it now.
March 16, 2013 8:47 am
Peter Hudson said:
Hey Mr. Lake,I know what the future generations would say about us... "Boy they sure spent us into slavery..."
March 16, 2013 6:22 pm
mike maroni said:
len cannon are you so rifht that you are a nazi? heil sir! people like you are what is wrong with this nation. i am sorry for the blunt comment, but you sir are so wrong in everything you say. so, so , pitifully wrong.
March 16, 2013 6:28 pm
Peter Gosselin said:
No one wants undue harm to the enviroment. That said, unless anti-frackers can provide proof of the harm they fear...then those fears will not be taken seriously.
March 18, 2013 4:42 pm
Post a comment
© Union Leader Corp.