No Real Benefits To Fracking

To The Reader’s Forum:

Rolland Kidder has written several articles to the op-ed pages in favor of what is commonly called “fracking,” or horizontal drilling for natural gas by fracturing rock and forcing a water-chemical mixture into the seams to release the trapped gas. He has alleged economic benefits of “fracking”, including more jobs, lower cost for consumers, and increased revenue for government coffers. Lately, Kidder espoused incentives for local governments who support development of “fracking,” including a “first right” to supplies.

Whoa! What is he thinking? First, the so-called benefits of jobs are short-lived unless one expects to drill until the end of time. Lower cost for consumers is the same argument used for gasoline, yet why does gasoline cost nearly $4 per gallon when there is no shortage of supply of crude oil anywhere? Funny how with gasoline the law of supply and demand fails. What makes natural gas any safer from the whim of those who control the markets (yes, the wonderful “free market”)? The tax income “benefit” is contingent on stable or increased cost of product and/or consumption, which creates an artificial “need” for more drilling or greater cost to consumers as supplies go down. Sounds more like a “Catch-22” to me. He also shares no concern for the cost to the health of people and the environment due to “fracking.”

Now, Kidder wants localities to become developers, too, and create rules that let localities hoard supplies at the expense of other citizens in the event of shortages – the “first right” rule. In reality, such a plan would create a permanent local government dependency and need to protect its investment. It also has divisive ends by pitting localities against one another. It’s just another “logical” idea to legitimate “fracking”. But, I suppose it is not unexpected coming from someone with close ties to the industry.

Come on folks, wake up to the charade. It was back in 1972, after the first “Earth Day”, that the terms “reduce, re-use and recycle” were in essence born to become part of our daily lexicon. While recycle is somewhat prevalent, re-use is not used much and reduce (consumption) is clearly not evident as noted by the Kidders of the world. It is way past time to promote efficiency, conservation and use of renewable energy if we want real economic as well as health “benefits.” If not now, when?

Paul L. Demler

Jamestown