John Stossel
Celebrities are now upset about fracking, the injection of chemicals into the ground to crack rocks to release oil and gas. With everyone saying they want alternatives to foreign oil, I'd think celebrities would love fracking.

I'd be wrong. Lady Gaga, Yoko Ono and their group, Artists Against Fracking, don't feel the love. Yoko sang, "Don't frack me!" on TV.

Stopping fracking is the latest cause of the silly people. They succeeded in getting scientifically ignorant politicians to ban fracking in New York, Maryland and Vermont.

Hollywood gave an Oscar to Gasland, a documentary that suggests fracking will shove gas into some people's drinking water, so the water will burn. It's true that some water contains so much natural gas that you can light it.

But another documentary, FrackNation, shows that gas got into plumbing long before fracking came. There's gas in the earth. That's why it's called "natural gas." Some gets into well water. Environmental officials investigated the flames shown in Gasland and concluded that the pollution had nothing to do with fracking.

FrackNation director Phelim McAleer tried to confront Gasland director Josh Fox about this, but Fox wouldn't answer his questions. Instead, he demanded to know whom McAleer works for. He also turned down my invitations to publicly debate fracking. Many activists don't like to answer questions that don't fit their narrative.

Even some homeowners who filed a lawsuit claiming that their water was poisoned by fracking weren't happy to learn that their water is safe. I'd think they would be delighted, but FrackNation shows a couple reacting with outrage when environmental officials test their water and find it clean.

The real story on fracking, say scientists, is that the risks are small and the rewards immense. Fracking lowered the price of natural gas so much that Americans heat our homes for less, and manufacturing that once left America has returned. For those concerned about global warming, burning gas instead of oil or coal reduces CO2 emissions.

Skeptical Environmentalist author Bjorn Lomborg points out that "green" Europe promised to reduce emissions, but "only managed to cut half of what you guys accidentally happened to do when you stumbled on fracking."

Still, the process sounds dangerous. It requires chemicals and explosions. So fracking is now scapegoated for the usual litany of things that peasants feared when threatened with curses centuries ago: livestock dying, bad crop yields, children born with deformities.


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate