November 05, 2014 in Bloomberg Business Week
The drive to increase U.S. shale-gas production, so vital to our manufacturing revival, is running into heavy political flak from several quarters. Some oppose expanded use of carbon-based fuels—even reasonably clean fuels, such as natural gas; others are concerned primarily about the effects of “fracking;” and there is always the Nimby (Not in my back yard) crowd.
There’s not much anybody can say or do to satisfy the anticarbon brigades or Nimby crowd. Those with reservations about fracking, however, are a different matter. Most of these folks have sincere concerns about the effects of the shale-gas boom on their local communities. These concerns deserve thoughtful attention.
If the shale-gas revolution succumbs to politics, we have a lot to lose. As a recent report from the University of Michigan notes: “Managed properly, the availability of low-cost shale gas could catalyze a renaissance in U.S. manufacturing, revitalizing the chemical industry and enhancing the global competitiveness of energy-intensive manufacturing sectors such as aluminum, steel, paper, glass and food.”