Frackaholics. Is natural gas our new best friend or, are we simply trading addictions?
T. Boone Pickens has abandoned wind, no thanks to the lack of proper incentives from the federal government. His next big idea, detailed in an environment360 blog post, is to revolutionize our highways and climate by pushing for a tax incentive that would help tractor trailer trucks make the conversion from diesel to compressed natural gas.
In theory, the plan is tempting. However, Fen Montaigne of environment360 consulted with Public Citizen’s energy program director Tyson Slocum who pointed out that:
. . . much of the natural gas Pickens is counting on to power the U.S. trucking industry will come from the hydro-fracturing, or fracking, of shales — a process in which a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals is forced at high pressure deep underground to free natural gas trapped in shale formations.
The problem is because fracking was given an exemption from the Clean Air Act during the Bush administration, we don’t know what chemicals are being used. We do know that these unknown chemicals are affecting the water tables and often health of residents in communities across the country where fracking is taking place.
Yesterday, The Hill broke word of a damning study by Cornell University that said that shale gas, which is obtained by hydraulic fracturing, would contribute more to greenhouse warming than coal over the next twenty years.
This is bad news for Obama. Raw Story pointed out that just weeks ago while giving a speech about energy at Georgetown University Obama said,
‘Recent innovations have given us the opportunity to tap large reserves — perhaps a century’s worth of reserves, a hundred years worth of reserves — in the shale under our feet,’
In the Huffington Post, Brendan DeMille just wrote:
Fracking, sadly, has been given the green light for now by the Obama administration . . . The Energy Information Administration currently estimates that the U.S. will rely on shale gas for roughly 45% of our energy needs by the year 2035.
Are we trading one bad addiction for another? Do we really want to become a nation of frackaholics?
Learn more about the unsafe and unregulated practice of fracking.