Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Breakthrough for Natural Gas?

Several weeks ago, I watched the documentary "Gasland."  I have to say that I was both surprised and disturbed by the information provided in the film.  For example, I'd heard of the house where you could light the running water out of the faucet on fire, but I didn't realize that "Gasland" was the film that really focused on the possibilities of why that was happening.  And I will admit that I'd never really considered the process of obtaining natural gas.  I found that the film did a good job of not only explaining hydrofracking, but I thought that it was particularly helpful to learn about the exemptions from the various environmental safety laws (I've recently found and started reading a paper about energy company exemptions to U.S. environmental laws).

Today, I was checking out the Reason Magazine website, and I found a really interesting article on the front page about a possible solution to the problems associated with hydrofracking described in "Gasland."  What I appreciated about the article is that it didn't vilify those who are opposed to hydrofracking.  Instead, the author suggests that a new fracking process using petroleum, as opposed to water, might alleviate the problem of potentially contaminating ground water.  If that is proven to be true, then I think that we really should look to that possibility.

With that said, I do believe that the energy industries, particularly the oil and gas industries, should have the exemption that was given them during the Bush administration (and with the GOP controlled House and Senate) revoked.  Yes, we should offer some support to industries working to help reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources, and I am particularly fond of providing subsidies to renewable energy outfits (like we did at the beginning of the oil industry, and should eliminate now).  However, these outfits should always be subject to our environmental laws.  Let's hope that this new fracking process will prove to be much more environmentally friendly than the current process, and then get to extracting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I realize that reducing our dependence on foreign energy is a common phrase in today's popular discussions, but I think it would be more helpful (for you and you readers) to be precise. Are you talking about electricity, heating, or gasoline? I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think we import that much for electricity or heating, but we do import a lot of oil for gasoline. Much of that comes from Canada. I don't know exactly where my electricity comes from at home, do you? Is it gas, coal, hydro, or nuclear? It might be interesting to find out.