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EDITORIAL: Fracking flop

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EPA report undercuts hysterical claims leveled against gas production

  • By THE WASHINGTON TIMES The Washington Times Friday, July 27, 2012
  • The anti-affordable energy crowd has suffered another setback. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday released the results of extensive testing that found nothing toxic in the water in Dimock, Pa. That’s the town where the anti-drilling documentary “Gasland” filmed dramatic images of a homeowner lighting his tap water on fire.

    The film blamed the strange occurrence on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a procedure that uses a pressurized mixture to extract natural gas from shale rock formations. It argued the process had polluted the nearby ground water. Liberals were so thrilled by the hit job that they awarded it a special jury prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

    According to the EPA’s study, drilling is the not the root of the problems in Dimock. The agency sampled the well water at 61 homes and found health concerns in only five of them. The substances found include arsenic, barium and manganese, all of which are naturally occurring.

    The inconvenient truth for self-styled environmental activists who’ve been protesting fracking operations is that natural gas’ abundance in the United States is a threat to trendy energy sources like wind and solar. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, domestic natural gas production increased 24 percent between 2006 and 2011. As more gas was extracted from the ground, prices dropped 72 percent, making it far less expensive for consumers to heat their homes during the winter and power their appliances throughout the year.

    For the affordable energy industry, fracking is critical because it makes it possible to draw natural gas and oil from difficult rock formations. Without it, large pools of untapped energy would be kept off-limits. That’s exactly what anti-progress liberals want. Cheap, abundant, affordable and sensible choices like coal, natural gas and petroleum encourage energy independence based on domestic production.

    Cheap energy is vital to the manufacturing sector, lowering the overall cost of goods which increases consumption. That drives economic growth and prosperity, but it does so without government involvement, direction and stimulus. By contrast, the left promotes the power sources of the past, windmills and sun power, because they cannot stand on their own without governmental support. Windmills don’t work if there’s no breeze, and solar panels don’t generate any electricity after sundown. As a result, they can only compete if speed bumps are placed in the way of oil and natural gas production. That’s why the left has put the smear campaign against fracking in high gear.

    Unfortunately, much of the damage has already been done. Those who watched the documentary about flaming tap water aren’t likely to come across an obscure, 725-page report posted on EPA’s website. Regardless, they ought to know that fracking is here to stay. That’s good news for those of us who prefer cheap power to the overpriced alternatives.

    The Washington Times

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