None of it is backed by scientific evidence. Even environmentalists who usually are too cautious (by my standards) see little danger. President Obama's first EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, told Congress that the EPA cannot show "that the fracking process has caused chemicals to enter groundwater."
One of the more outlandish fears is that fracking will cause earthquakes. Silly people at MSNBC say fracking creates "a skyrocketing number of earthquakes." Yes, cracking rocks does cause vibrations. But then, so does construction with dynamite or jackhammers -- not to mention trucks on the highway.
Time and again, as humans make a good-faith effort to find new, cleaner ways to produce the energy a growing population needs, environmentalists find a reason -- often very small or non-existent -- that makes the new method unacceptable.
They say coal is dirty and normal oil production might overheat the planet. Hydroelectric dams kill fish. Nuclear plants could suffer meltdowns. Windmills kill birds.
Some won't be happy unless we go back to what we did before industrialization: burn lots of trees and die young.
Nothing is completely risk-free. Companies make mistakes. Chemical spills happen.
But those risks are manageable. They are also far preferable to the risk of paying more for energy -- thereby killing opportunities for the poor.
So far, most regulators outside New York, Maryland and Vermont have ignored the silly people. So thanks to fracking, Americans pay less for heat (and everything else), the economy is helped, new jobs get created, we create less greenhouse gas, and for the first time since the 19th century, America may become a net exporter of energy.
Good things happen if the silly people can't convince all politicians to ban progress.
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