Deroy Murdock: Fracked natural gas should be Left's fuel of choice
Imagine an energy source that reduces greenhouse gases, conserves water, and preserves natural habitat. It also creates manufacturing jobs, reduces income equality, and defunds sexists and homophobes. Liberals would scream for this fuel, right?
Wrong! Natural-gas fracking satisfies these liberal demands, in spades. Yet Leftists fight fracking, as if it were concocted by Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin at Dick Cheney's ranch.
"I don't see any place for fracking," Mayor Bill de Blasio, D, New York City, declared last week. Activist Yoko Ono claims: "Fracking kills."
These and other liberals are either grossly ignorant of or willfully blind toward the environmental and socio-economic benefits of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.
Leftists hyperventilate over so-called greenhouse gases, the alleged cause of their biggest bête noir, so-called "global warming." Luckily, fracking reduces greenhouse gases. As the EPA reports: "Compared to the average air emissions from coal-fired generation, natural gas produces half as much carbon dioxide, less than a third as much nitrogen oxides, and one percent as much sulfur oxides." Versus oil, natural gas emits 32 percent less CO2, 57.5 percent less NOx, and 99.17 percent less SOx.
Fracking conserves water. It takes just three gallons, on average, to yield 1 million British Thermal Units (BTUs) of energy from fracked gas. One needs 23 gallons to generate 1 million BTUs from coal, 15,800 gallons from corn ethanol, and a staggering 44,500 gallons from soy biodiesel.
Fracking preserves habitat. To fuel 1,000 households for one year, SAIC/RW Beck researchers concluded, natural gas companies use 0.4 acres of land. Coal needs 0.75 acres. Windmills consume six acres, while solar cells cover 8.4 acres.
Fracking creates jobs. In a May 2013 Manhattan Institute study, Diana Furchtgott-Roth and Andrew Gray explain that in frack-rich Pennsylvania, between 2007 and 2011, "Counties with more than 200 wells added jobs at a 7 percent annual rate." However, "Where there was no drilling, or only a few wells, the number of county jobs shrank by 3 percent."
Fracking curbs income inequality. According to the same paper, "Between 2007 and 2011, per-capita income rose by 19 percent in Pennsylvania counties with more than 200 wells…In counties without any hydrofracking wells, income went up by only 8 percent."
Fracking defunds sexists and homophobes. American natural gas revenues stay in the land of the free and the home of powerful women and 17 states that celebrate gay marriage. These dollars stay out of OPEC countries like Islamofascist Saudi Arabia (where burqa-clad women cannot drive) and Nigeria (where 14-year jail sentences await those in gay relationships, thanks to a brand-new law).
Despite these liberal dreams come true, Lefties fret over fracking's supposed danger to tap water. In fact, pipes extract gas from shale deposits some 5,000 feet beneath the water table. Multiple layers of steel and concrete isolate fracking fluids (99.5 percent water and sand; 0.5 percent chemicals) from groundwater at the birth of a typical well's 20- to 40-year productive life. After only about five days, fracking stops. Gas soon starts flowing into the heaters of American homes and the furnaces of U.S. factories.
Top Obamites reject today's baseless frackophobia.
"In no case have we made a definitive determination that the fracking process has caused chemicals to enter groundwater," Obama's former EPA chief Lisa Jackson told Fox News Channel on April 27, 2012.
"I still have not seen any evidence of fracking per se contaminating groundwater," Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told journalists last August.
Obama himself declared in Tuesday's State of the Union address, natural gas is "the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change."
If liberals sincerely want they say they want, they should cheer fracking.
Deroy Murdock is a Fox News contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.