Fracking Gains Political Acceptance

Posted by - Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Any innovative changes to the ways in which drillers extract any natural resource that can be turned into energy have to be deemed safe before they get the political “okay-to-go.” This requires a “license to operate” after voters are convinced that their health and safety won't be put at risk in order for a company to make money.

Lately, the natural gas and oil industry has been under scrutiny for their controversial methods used to extract oil and gas from tight rock formations.

However, fracking is slowly but surely become politically acceptable and natural gas is now known as the cleanest of the fossil fuels.

Extracting trapped natural gas from shale formations (via fracking) has become an extremely popular and an amazingly rewarding method contributing greatly to America's goals of energy independence.

In the year 2000, shale gas contributed a mere one percent to natural gas supplies in the U.S. Presently, it is about to surpass 30 percent.

Natural gas invites the opportunity for American companies to create thousands of good jobs, create sustainable proft from exporting hundreds-of-thousands of cubic feet in gas (to be used as energy), while lowering domestic energy costs for individuals and industrial users as well.

Policy-makers are expressing an earnest desire for American energy dependence so long as the environment and American people are protected from harm in the process.

Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke has commented on feasibility for clean-energy within the natural gas realm:

"We need to hold the industry to safety standards, set sensitive places off limits, and keep contaminants out of our air and water. Only government safeguards can achieve those protections. Industry has already proven that it will not police itself," Beinecke wrote.

Nonetheless, policymakers and the industry are taking no chances. A huge confidence-building exercise is underway at national, regional and international levels to assure voters fracking can be done safely, without harming communities and sensitive landscapes, and without adding to the greenhouse effect.

Drillers and policymakers alike are making a valiant effort in practicing and ensuring safe shale drilling; tackling serious issues by paying attention to government and regulator recommendations.

The EU report concluded "neither on the European level nor on the national level have we noticed significant gaps in the current legislative framework when it comes to regulating the current level of shale gas activities...the activities relating to exploration/exploitation of shale gas are already subject to EU and national laws and regulations" including directives on drinking water and chemicals ("Final Report on Unconventional Gas in Europe", Nov 2011).

Nonetheless, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has convened a meeting in March to discuss shale safeguards and plans to publish "golden rules for the gold age of gas" in May, the agency's chief economist Fatih Birol told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The good news is that science research proves that natural gas burns cleaner than oil does, so the increase in shale gas could be a positive thing for the environment.

Although the word 'fracking' itself tends to send a negative message, politicians are finding it easier to gain public approval by using less aggressive, more neutral vernacular. In the recent State of the Union Address, President Obama referred to "new technologies" instead of directly using the 'f-word' when discussing great opportunities within the natural gas industry and domestic shale formations.

These simple and subtle changes – wording the process differently and really paying attention to health and safety matters – are truly helping policymakers go the extra mile when it comes to gaining political approval for these "new technologies."

It appears as though hydraulic fracturing has taken some giant leaps in gaining the social and political acceptance necessary to successfully follow through with plans for natural gas to secure its position in dominating the American energy sector.

Wall Street Journal's Liam Denning explains why politicians are warming up to the benefits of fracking in this video clip:

"Benefits are far too high for people to walk away from this..." - Liam Denning

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