New York: the Enviro-Luddites’ Fracking Insanity

**Posted by Phineas

"Treasure map"
“Treasure map”

One of the things about the environmental Left that drives me most nuts is its resistance to reason and empirical fact. Global warming is a good example: what started as a theory many years ago, that the Earth is warming dangerously and the climate heading for disastrous changes because of the carbon dioxide Man has been adding to the air, has been shown time and again in recent years by empirical observation to be false. There has been no statistically significant warming since the mid-90s, the polar bears are not dying out, and prediction after prediction made by the warming alarmists has failed to pan out. But, in the face of overwhelming evidence that should at least cause strong skepticism, they cling bitterly to their computer models — which haven’t been right, yet.

Similarly with radical environmentalists who oppose any and all development of hydrocarbon resources (coal, oil, natural gas), no matter what the actual research shows of its safety, no matter the reasonable measures taken to protect the environment, and no matter –perhaps especially regardless of– the economic benefits to people.

Take hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for example. That’s the extraction of natural gas and oil by forcing water into cracks in underground rock formations and widening them to release the resources. New York State is one of the states sitting atop the Marcellus Shale formation, which has been estimated to hold immense reserves of natural gas. In an article in the June 17th print edition of National Review (1), Ian Tuttle talks about Governor Andrew Cuomo’s (D) Hamlet-like coy reticence (2) to develop the shale, in spite of the evident economic benefits from fracking for counties that have been hit hard by the “recovery” from the Great Recession and in spite of his own Health Department’s certification that fracking is safe. The article overall is worth reading, but one fact jumps out and that I want to share:

“Twenty-eight New York counties sit atop the Marcellus Shale, a natural gas bearing subterranean rock formation that also stretches across part of Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Geologists estimate that the entire region contains 489 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Given that a third of the Shale’s 55,000 square miles is in New York, the Empire State has access to a sizeable portion of that — certainly enough to supply much of its own in-state natural gas demand: a mere 1.1 trillion cubic feet each year.”

Think about that for a moment and let the implications sink in. Assuming for a moment that the natural gas is evenly spread throughout the Shale (I’m sure it isn’t, but what is there is substantial), there are roughly 163 trillion cubic feet of natural gas under New York, enough to meet the state’s needs for 140-150 years. Natural gas is cheap, clean fuel that could replace coal and oil in homes and businesses. Even if New York’s consumption suddenly doubled, there’s enough for decades, at least. And let’s not forget the the jobs created: in counties where fracking is underway, guys driving water trucks make $60,000 per year. I imagine New Yorkers would like to enjoy the cheap, safe fuel and the good-paying jobs, but their governor and their legislature have more important things in mind, like keeping the Green lobby happy.

New York isn’t the only state where this environmentalist madness has taken hold: my beloved California is sitting atop its own fracking pot of gold, but the Cult of Gaea is spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt (as well as campaign cash) to fight it here, too.

I can’t tell you how frustrating it is: the United States and many of her 50 states are in an economic mess, and yet radical environmentalists fight tooth and nail against one very powerful tool that can help rebuild prosperity, and they do it in the face of all evidence that the process is safe.

How much do you have to hate humanity to do that?

(1) Sorry, no direct link is available. The issue has a five-article section on resource development. I highly recommend buying it or hunting it up at your local library.
(2) Meaning he’s afraid to go against a legislature largely owned by the enviro-lobby, and he wants the lobby’s cash and campaign work for when he runs for president in 2016, what’s right for his state be damned.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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