Have “frackers” overplayed their hand?

It’s been fascinating to watch the debate over fracking develop in recent months. Companies who have been touting the benefits of shale gas and its growing importance for  the US energy portfolio are been throw a curve ball. According to the New York Times, (June 29,2011) and following a series of articles published by the newspaper on that topic, lawmakers are now calling for investigations about doubts concerning the “costs associated with shale gas and the reliability of company reserve estimates.”[1]

Suddenly what just a few days ago seemed like a great opportunity has given politicians pause especially in light of the fact that NY state pension funds  for  example seem to have invested heavily in shale gas companies  to the amount of $ 1 billion!

The fight is just beginning but doubt has been planted in the minds of citizens and politicians alike.  Doubt is a very strong weapon. Climate Change naysayers have relied heavily on just that to stall a credible plan to building sustainability in the United States.

The counter argument is that the United States must become as independent as possible from energy imports from the Middle East. The recent upheaval  in the Middle East though impressive has not wreaked havoc on oil supply.   At the cost of destroying the drinking water supply of the East Coast  is not worth the price of the “independence” that gas companies are dangling as enticement.

Energy conservation and retrofitting would be the first significant step in reducing foreign oil imports and reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well.

[1] The New York Times, Lawmakers Seek Inquiry of Natural Gas Industry, Concerns over Costs and Safety of Drilling, by Ian Urbina, June 29, 2011.

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