Anti-Shale Gas – Anti-Fracking The case for more Effective Regulation

Anti-Shale Gas – Anti-Fracking The case for more Effective Regulation

There is so much negativity on shale and frackin, it is quite amazing.   You have the Gas Land movies who document all the POTENTIAL negatives of fracking.;  a big push by many environmental groups to stop fracking, likely as a result of low gas prices lead to poor economics for renewables;  and shale bashing all in the name of generating page hits, as pointed out in my previous blog.

I will agree that bad things CAN happen with fracking.   However, it is no different than bad things happening with cars.   Do we ban cars?   We have drunk drivers and now texting drivers, and odds of being in a serious accident as high as 30%.   Let us ban cars!   Why we don’t ban cars because of the many examples of safe driving and the amount of value it can add to society.   Because of these potentially bad outcomes of driving, we have regulations for driving from age limits, alcohol blood limits, stop lights, driving rules, etc…   Fracking has occurred for many years – over 40,000 wells in the US since 1990.   To say low natural gas price has not helped society is to deny reality.   As I noted in the previous blog since 2012, shale gas has added $283 billion to the economy. 

I will agree that there has been some bad incidents associated with fracking.   However, these bad incidents could have been easily avoided with EFFECTIVE regulations.   Government, in its raw form, is designed to control our vices. “Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices.” Thomas Paine.  

Bad eggs/actors will come and go no matter what the subject, from sports to academia, to government, to industry.   The system of checks and balances regulates and manages these bad eggs.  Fracking issues are not any different.   Effective regulations are needed.   As a society, we need to spend capital and time on the regulators and building logical rules and inspection processes.   We can take some of the $283 billion saved from fracking and add some “insurance” component to do more routine inspections of wells and in all parts of the life cycle of the well.  We need to hold accountable companies who break the rules.   The judicial system and all the loop holes of paying a fine and admitting no wrong-doing is a bunch of BS.   People justify this because of the cost it would have on the government to litigate it all the way.   I say, just add a law stating if found guilty, the company would also pay ALL the legal fees of the government.   I am not sure they would want to litigate all the way at that point.

There are many who fail to empathize with those farmers and land owners in the middle of nowhere.   Instead they want to stop them from seizing an opportunity to advance their lives in the name of the environment they do not live in.  These people now have the ability to advance their standards of living, not only for themselves, but for future generations.   It is almost like winning a lottery ticket.  As the winning lottery ticket, if you don’t manage it properly it will not bring much happiness.   People who are attempting to stop fracking need to also consider the people who are directly involved.

You can potentially know if someone is unbias when not many people will agree with their stance.   You can see my fellow industry friends have failed to support my push due to my insistence on effective regulation.   My fellow environmentalist friends don’t like that I point out society values that could balance out many of the negative environmental outcomes.  This is a potential problem with a truly opened democratic society which focuses on popularity.  You don’t always get the best outcomes if you go with the crowd.


Your Energy Consultant,

David K. Bellman


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