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Fraaack, what?

27 Nov 2019 | OP ED Watch

The Heartland Institute says fracking is great for the economy and the environment, based on a White House Council of Economic Advisors study that the extraction of oil and natural gas by hydraulic fracturing is saving Americans $203 billion a year in energy costs, $2500 per family. Moreover, by replacing less efficient fuels, it has “led to greater environmental progress in the United States than in the European Union, which exercises more government control and has more stringent emissions policies.” So guess what form of energy environmentalists hate? Right. All of them. But fracking, like nuclear, they hate most of all because it’s a practical solution to a problem they say is urgent. Weird.

Fracking has been subject to the most amazing criticisms, from the debunked one about flammable tap water (it’s flammable because there’s gas in the ground already) to it causing earthquakes. But the real problem with it, we suspect, is that it works. For one thing, it’s helping turn the United States into an energy superpower instead of an importer at the mercy of foreign tyrants and international upheaval. And we can’t have that.

For another, it lets us make incremental progress on a problem to which at least some alarmists want an apocalyptic solution with such fervor that one is permitted to wonder whether the destruction of the bourgeois lifestyle isn’t the real goal and the climate crisis just a handy excuse. (After all, the deep greens have been calling for the former since long before they thought of the latter.)

Finally, and it’s the one place where they might be able to construct something resembling a logical argument, fracking does allow us to produce and hence consume hydrocarbon energy, and if you believe CO2 is the control knob on the global temperature then you oppose anything that does so. From that point of view, the fact that it’s saving people money is bad because we want energy to be expensive even if politicians committed to that outcome are both baffled and horrified when they achieve it.

Suppose we grant that argument. Well, if you hate fracking so much why don’t you support nuclear? See apocalypse above.

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