By William F. Shughart II - 12/10/14 07:54 PM EST ****** OPED in THE HILL
Everyone nowadays seems to either love or hate “fracking” for oil and natural gas in U.S. shale formations.
But fracking enjoys an enviable safety record. After all, a large fraction of it is done a mile underground. Not much, if any, evidence of groundwater contamination has been found at fracking sites.
Following the lame-duck Senate’s defeat of a bill that would have authorized construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, attention has shifted to concerns about transporting crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken shale and oil sands in Alberta to U.S. refineries, many of which are located on the Texas and Louisiana coast.
Refineries located on the East Coast and in California would also obtain feedstock were it not for the bottleneck created by the Jones Act (passed in 1920), which prohibits shipments of cargoes (including crude oil) from one U.S. port to another unless on an American-flagged vessel crewed largely by American sailors.
With the severe constraint on ocean-going oil tankers and limited pipeline capacity, shipping oil via railroad tanker cars is the only viable option. No longer relics...