I’ve noticed lately that fracking seems to be getting more attention lately, in both positive and negative ways. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, has had its fair share of controversy over the last few years, but until recently it has largely simmered beneath the radar of the general public. If you asked the average schmoe what hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” was, they might have answered that frack (or “Frak”) is a euphemism used on some television shows to avoid using a naughtier “f” word.
A survey published this month found widespread support for energy credits, but also pretty widespread support for more regulation of fracking. So, apparently, people are starting to pay attention. The survey seems to be pretty solid. “The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for the National Journal and included 1,004 adults age 18 and older. Interviews were conducted May 17-20, 2012; margin of error was plus or minus 3.6 percentage points,” according to Ecology Today, which as you might imagine has a vested interest in the issue.
Ohio and neighboring Pennsylvania and West Virginia are in the epicenter of the fracking issue. Over the last five or so years, wells have been popping up all over the place, making some landowners (semi) rich and causing concern and/or outrage among some neighbors. Wells have been around for years, of course, but recently the fracking wells have drawn more attention, mostly negative.
Vermont became the first state to ban fracking earlier this month.
Fans of Akrondave, all five of you (up from three!), may recall earlier posts at this fine blog referring to the issue, including the temporary ban in Ohio on injection fracking waste byproduct into the ground near Youngstown because it was suspected of causing minor earthquakes in the area. In that particular post, I mentioned that I was a bit conflicted because this growing industry was creating jobs, and some pretty high-paying jobs.
Add to the mix that natural gas prices have dropped dramatically in the past year or so and you have fodder for a lively debate.
For the public good, I hope it doesn’t boil down to spin-laden charges of “job-killing government regulation” vs. “corporate greed.” How about we stand back and take a careful look at the real effects of fracking and its byproducts (such as the aforementioned injection wells), and if it appears to be reasonably safe and is reasonably regulated, then proceed with due caution. What’s the hurry? It’ll still be in the ground a million years from now.