The left’s war on fracking heats up

Since at least the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, liberals have made the end of domestic oil production the cornerstone of the environmental movement. As a result, hundreds of billions of barrels of oil have been left undeveloped causing hire gas prices and lost jobs. But at least the left allowed U.S. energy companies to continue developing our natural gas resources. Until now.

The Hill yesterday, and The New York Times today, report on a new study by Cornell University Professor Robert Howarth published in the journal Climatic Change. The paper, titled Methane and the Greenhouse-Gas Footprint of Natural Gasfrom Shale Formations, claims that the methane gas emitted through hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) not only negates whatever greenhouse gas emission advantage natural gas had over coal and oil, but may even make it a greater contributor to global warming.

This paper represents a new front in the left’s war on fracking. Already, the environmental movement has unconditionally embraced an anti-fracking movie titled Gasland that purports to prove that fracking  is turning drinking water into a flammable toxic hazard. There is no scientific evidence to support the movie's claims, but pressure from environmentalists did prompt the Environmental Protection Agency to begin a study in January.

The fracking process has been key to the growth of our domestic natural gas production. The Energy Information Administration 2011 Annual Energy Outlook estimates that there is 827 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural in shale resources that is now economical because of fracking. That is double the estimate of the 2010 report. Looking ahead, the EIA estimates that by 2035 45% of natural gas production could be from shale, thus shrinking net imports to just 1%.

But none of that natural gas production, or the lower energy prices and energy sector jobs, will occur if the left wins their new war on natural gas.

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