The Top 5 Lies About Fracking

Explosions, poisons, pollution, cancer, and global warming all considered.

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They conclude that air quality damages from all natural gas production in the state amounted to between $7.2 million and $32 million in 2011. By contrast, the four largest coal-fired electricity generation plants in the state were the sources of nearly $1.5 billion in damages in 2008. The whole natural gas industry is responsible for just 2 percent of Pennsylvania's smog-causing volatile organic compounds, 5 percent of its nitrogen oxides, and 1 percent of the small particulates emitted by all industry in the state in 2008. (The RAND researchers could not get comparable 2011 data for the total air-pollution damage, so they used the closest year with available information.) That's not nothing, but converting just one coal-fired plant to burn natural gas would do far more to improve Pennsylvania's air quality than shutting down the state's entire gas industry.

Falsehood 4: Fracking causes cancer. The FWW letter hints at this, but the most incendiary claim along these lines was made by Josh Fox in his short "emergency film," The Sky Is Pink (2012). Fox intones, "In Texas, as throughout the United States, cancer rates fell. Except in one place: in the Barnett Shale. The five counties where there was the most drilling saw a rise in breast cancer throughout the counties."

The claim is entirely specious. Fox apparently based his lightly sourced assertion on a single newspaper article. Even that article garbled the data, reporting that six counties in the western Dallas-Fort Worth area have the highest rates of invasive breast cancer in Texas, rising all the way from 58.7 cases per 100,000 people in 2005 to about 60.7 per 100,000 in 2008. Typically breast cancer rates are reported as per 100,000 women, which would roughly double the rates cited in the article to 117.4 and 121.4. Meanwhile, the incidence of breast cancer among all Texas women hovered around 116 per 100,000 between 2005 and 2009. The U.S. rate was 125.7 per 100,000 women.

To fact-check Fox's claims, the Associated Press turned to two Texas researchers, Simon Craddock Lee, a professor of medical anthropology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and David Risser, an epidemiologist with the Texas Cancer Registry. Both said that there was no evidence of an increase in breast cancer in the counties cited by Fox.

Falsehood 5: Natural gas is worse than coal. This particular claim was launched in 2011 with a hastily cobbled-together study by three anti-fracking researchers at Cornell. Their argument is that leaking methane, whose global warming potential is much greater than that of carbon dioxide, more than entirely offsets whatever reductions in carbon dioxide emissions would be achieved by, for example, switching from coal to gas to generate electricity. The FWW letter claims that calling natural gas "clean" energy is "misleading," but unlike the Cornell researchers the group concedes that burning natural gas "emits half as much carbon dioxide as coal."

The FWW came much closer to the truth than the Cornell crew did. A comprehensive analysis published in November 2012 by researchers associated with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that "the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity generated from Barnett Shale gas extracted in 2009 were found to be very similar to conventional natural gas and less than half those of coal-fired electricity generation." With respect to global warming, producing and burning natural gas from fracked wells is much better than burning coal.

Make no mistake: Any industrial process can go awry, usually through human error. And not everybody is a saint: Venal people will try short cuts that end up harming the innocent. When mistakes are made or short cuts taken, the culprits should be punished and the victims fully compensated for their losses. 

But don't assume those villains are the norm. Over 500,000 gas wells are currently operating in the United States. Most of them manage to avoid blowing up houses, poisoning drinking water, making it hard to breathe, causing cancer, or being worse than coal.

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  • Warrren||

    Dooooooom first!

  • Anonimouse||

    Still pushing Internet porn? Heard its lucrative

  • John||

    The greens were in love with natural gas right up until it became clear we had a lot of it and it was actually a viable fuel. Then, they hated it. At this point, the entire environmental movement needs to be banished from the public debate. Everyone sensible person should just ignore them. When they start being about the environment instead of just stopping anything that produces prosperity, they can come back to the political conversation. But as long as the entire movement is run by fanatics and exists for the purpose of shutting down the national economy, I see no reason why anyone would pay attention to them.

  • Sevo||

    Once in the past golden age, man lived in harmony with mother nature.
    But the development of technology led to the sins of prosperity and ease.
    Unless we repent, we are facing a rapture and only the most organic will be saved!
    Oh, and this is not a religion! Most certainly not! It is based on science!

  • John||

    Listening to the environmental movement on environmental issues is no better and may in fact be worse than listening to faith healers on health care issues. At least faith healing has been shown to have a placebo effect. That is more than I can say for the Greens.

  • Tony||

    Mindless blather. You're going to believe what you want to believe no matter what, and all you need is a some bullshit insults about how environmentalism is a religion.

    You know what I don't want to believe? That the global environment is being disastrously harmed by human activity. I would be overjoyed if that weren't true. You are failing to establish motive except for some flimsy name-calling bullshit.

  • John||

    That the global environment is being disastrously harmed by human activity.

    And the world is part of a cycle of life and death and will some day be destroyed by Vishnu. I am become death, destroyer of worlds.

    At least older religions have better sets of morality and wrote interesting texts. The Greens don't even have that.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 7.5.13 @ 1:53PM |#
    "You're going to believe what you want to believe no matter what, and all you need is a some bullshit insults about how environmentalism is a religion."

    Shithead, I got your number:
    "Unless we repent, we are facing a rapture and only the most organic will be saved!
    Oh, and this is not a religion! Most certainly not! It is based on science!"

  • John Galt||

    "...and all you need is a some bullshit insults about how environmentalism is a religion."

    Environmentalism is more of a fringe cult religion than simply a "religion."

    It's unfortunate you despise sound Scientific Method so badly that you don't understand that your blind faith in what is not proven, or can not be proven, leaves you deeply religious and little else.

  • Duncan20903||

    From time to time I wonder how the people of Greenland feel about all the people that want to save their icecap from melting. Couldn't we just move it to New England or something if they don't like it?

  • John Galt||

    As long as we don't move it here to the American Taiga. Our Summers over the last decade and half have become shorter, and shorter, to the point we barely have enough warm days to grow radishes.

    "Anthropogenic Global Warming" my ass. More like Gore-Bull warming. What a hoax!

  • PD Quig||

    Oh, would that be the SCIENTIFIC METHOD that tells us that we should all just shut up and go with the 'consensus'? You dumb motherf*cker: science has nothing to do with consensus. The consensus of scientists 50 years ago was that we were about to enter another ice age. The consensus of scientists 500 years ago was the the sun revolved around the moon. If the global warming science is so settled, why did they edit the NOAA temperature database without retaining the original data points? Why do the high priests refuse to share their data and methods so that they can truly be peer-reviewed? Why has global warming stopped for 16 years despite dramatic increases in CO2?

    You either don't know dick about actual scientific methodology or you don't know dick about what the global warming alarmists have been doing to protect their cash cow, government-funded narrative.

    Dumbass.

  • limeduck10||

    The consensus of scientists 50 years ago was that we were entering another ice age, until scientific evidence showed that we were not going to because of global warming.

    What's this conspiracy theory about database tampering?

  • dinkster||

    How many energy slaves do you consume per day Tony? Do you even know what I'm talking about? Give me some spreadsheets about how much fucking better than the rest of us you are.

  • Tony||

    I'm no better than anyone else when it comes to energy consumption. When it comes to appreciating reliable sources and not being a total fucking idiot--a different story.

  • Tony||

    Because we have to live in the environment, and energy industry interests have demonstrated a clear lack of concern for the environment.

  • John||

    But at least the industries have a concern for something and produce something. Greens in contrast are not even concerned about the environment and are flat out contemptuous of human life. Greens are responsible for the sickness and death of millions in Africa from malaria. That genocide alone should prevent them from having a voice. We don't give a voice to Nazis do we? Well, African lives count too and the people whose policies murdered millions of Africans should not be listened to about anything.

    Beyond that, the Greens have consistently advocated policies that are bad for the environment and resulted in the destruction of forests and huge amounts of habitat due to lack of proper management.

    The Greens are just slightly above the Nazis and Communists in terms of morality and number of deaths they have caused.

  • Tony||

    flat out contemptuous of human life.

    Since the whole point of environmentalism is to maintain a healthy environment for human beings, this doesn't make much sense.

    You're too dumb to be believed, and yes this definitely was an appropriate time to bring in the Nazis. So what if the world's scientific community is right and you're wrong, and you're advocating doing nothing inevitably leads to more deaths than Hitler could imagine in his wildest dreams? How many Hitlers does that make you?

  • John||

    Since the whole point of environmentalism is to maintain a healthy environment for human beings, this doesn't make much sense.

    That is not true. The greens pushed through a ban of DDT even though they knew it would result in millions of deaths. They just didn't care.

    The Greens also push compulsory population control and have pushed indigenous populations off of their lands in places like Brazil in the name of the environment.

    The Greens hate people. It is nothing but a murderous death cult.

  • Tony||

    It is the opinion of approximately two pro-DDT activists that you are parroting. Nobody have never imposed a ban on DDT in Africa, Rachel Carson never advocated for one, and DDT is, in fact, bad for human health, while there are other ways to kill mosquito. The reasonable opinion on DDT is that it is effective but should be used sparingly. That perfectly reasonable sentiment is what you're calling worse than Hitler because some guy said it once and you don't like environmentalists.

  • John||

    All lies Tony. The US at the behest of the greens used development aid to get DDT banned all over Africa. The greens killed millions of people thanks to that stunt.

    And lets not forget how they prevented golden rice from being introduced causing millions of kids to go blind.

    Why do you want associate yourself with people with so much blood on their hands tony?

  • John Galt||

    The zealots of the Environmentalist religion are hard core Malthusian misanthropes.

    The murder of innocents as population reduction mechanism may not give them a sensation of guilt, but it does inspire them to initiate themselves into one hell of a lot of gleeful mental masturbation.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Since the whole point of environmentalism is to maintain a healthy environment for human beings, this doesn't make much sense.

    Wrong.

    The whole point of environmentalism is to somehow save the environment FROM humans. And somehow this always seems to involve transferring vast amounts of wealth from productive peoples to poor folks in Africa or somesuch (funds which never make it to their "intended" recipient, but in to the pockets of people who run companies like Solyndra.

    The greens are a death cult, and reveal themselves time and again as frauds who really don't give a shit at all about measurable harm to the environment. They're happy to kill animals (and humans) when it means that they can be assured that their schemes are in place, the environment be damned.

    So shut the fuck up.

  • John Galt||

    Nazis, Communists, Fascists, just like you and your fellow Environmental evangelists, all turned your back on science in favor of politically motivated pseudo-science.

    The outcome to date, a couple hundred million people murdered.

    That's some particularly horrific "environmental" progress.

    There's absolutely no reason to believe the outcome will be any different just because you're doing it.

  • limeduck10||

    Whaaaaat!? Wow, our country really is filled with nut jobs... I'm assuming you're from America right?

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 7.5.13 @ 1:51PM |#
    "Because we have to live in the environment, and energy industry interests have demonstrated a clear lack of concern for the environment."

    So have you, shithead. It's just a new religion.

  • val||

    Saw this Josh Fox on the Daily Show and a few others promoting his film. He seemed to have two main talking points:

    A) The methane leakage thing, and how it relates to the total emissions cost.

    B) Poorly built/engineered wells and casings, which are already beginning to fail causing increased leakage and contamination risks.

  • John||

    Methane is only a problematic emission if you believe in the AGW religion. Since I don't, I don't care.

    B) Poorly built/engineered wells and casings, which are already beginning to fail causing increased leakage and contamination risks.

    Contamination from what? Methane? If so see above. If it is something else, then I would like to hear it and how that risk is any greater than the risk from any other well.

  • Tony||

    So you deny the physical process known as the greenhouse effect? Or that methane and CO2 are greenhouse gases? Or that they exist? What is it exactly that you feel you are entitled to deny?

    That's a nice little circle of self-affirming bullshit you've got going on there.

  • John||

    Tony, I deny that human produced gases are driving the climate. The fact is the world hasn't significantly warmed for over 15 years despite concentrations of human greenhouse gases increasing. And nothing in the climate models can account for this. When the models can't account for observations, they are no good and the theory behind them is wrong. That is how science works, or at least how it works where religious fanatics are not trying to subvert it.

    If your concern is greenhouse gases, you are a religious fanatic and have no place in the public debate. It is really that simple.

    Moreover, even if one bought into your little superstition, lowering US emissions will have no effect on the overall climate. Since the world can't be controlled, the cake is already baked. Nothing the US does is going to change. Greenhouse cases are therefore an irrelevant consideration.

  • Tony||

    Usually it's the religious fanatics who excommunicate heretics. Maybe you should reconsider your lame, tired accusation and think about exactly how empirically you are approaching the situation.

    Lame, debunked talking point about about no warming in 15 years. How do you explain the rise in average temperatures up to the point of the supposed plateau? Even that talking point you regurgitate so dutifully doesn't say, "thus there has been no warming." The relevant timescales are of several decades, not a cherry-picked 15 years. We've seen the warmest years on record, year after year, over that time. You don't know what you're talking about because you get your information from political talking heads and not scientific sources. That should exclude you from being considered a serious person in this debate.

    And then we have the "fuck it" fallback. It probably is too late to stop many of the negative effects of climate change. But that doesn't mean we should make the problem as bad as possible because "fuck it." Where did you get that from? The Exxon-Mobil 3-day seminar on environmental ethics?

  • John||

    How do you explain the rise in average temperatures up to the point of the supposed plateau?

    Because the climate changes on its own. They have never been able to prove that rise was any larger than rises in the past. That is what the climate gate emails showed. It showed them lying about past climate to make the current rise seem out of the ordinary. They can't prove the current rise was anything unnatural and thus don't have a case.

    t probably is too late to stop many of the negative effects of climate change. But that doesn't mean we should make the problem as bad as possible because "fuck it

    If the actions will not result in anything positive, you don't do them. You only demand action because you are a religious fanatic who thinks doing them is an end in itself. This is why the Greens and people like you who support them have no place in any policy discussion. You want to do things so that you feel good not because they are rational or will do any good. Religious considerations have no place in a scientific discussion.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The relevant timescales are of several decades, not a cherry-picked 15 years.

    Because I say so!

    Lame, debunked talking point about about no warming in 15 years.

    Lame and debunked because I SAY SO.

    Hilarious. When you have nothing, claim everything is nothing and nothing is everything.

  • Tony||

    You are welcome to go to Google and figure out for yourself why they are lame debunked cherry-picking nonsense talking points. I know you won't. The science is settled: CO2 is not a greenhouse gas! And Santa is real!

  • Cytotoxic||

    I don't think I will because that's your job retard. You're making the (BS) claim.

  • Sud1||

    " relevant timescales are of several decades, not a cherry-picked 15 years"

    No, the relevant time scales are billions of years, of which we have data for only the blink of a geological eye. There is an alpine forest at the bottom of Greenland ice for a reason, and it has nothing to do with anthropogenic global warming/climate change/ pc term du jour, but does make for fascinating cocktail banter among the liberal arts majors in LA/SF/Aspen/Manhattan

  • ||

    The relevant timescales are of several decades, not a cherry-picked 15 years.

    It's hilariously ironic, then, that most analyses showing precipitous warming begin during a historic cool period.

    To say nothing of the fact that global temperature data of sufficient accuracy for relevant analysis wasn't even possible 100 years ago, and wasn't really practical until well into the space age. 15 years constitutes a major portion of the time for which we have data sufficient for analysis. I can guarantee that if the past 15 years showed warming of .015 degrees C, you would not be lecturing us on the insufficiency of 15 years of cherry picked data to demonstrate a trend. But then, you're a disingenuous cunt, so nobody expects anything more. Any serious discussion is wasted on you.

  • Ballz||

    How do you explain the rise in average temperatures up to the point of the supposed plateau?

    giant ball of fire in the sky?

  • Tony||

    Yeah, they've thought of that.

  • Tony||

    And realize that 15 year plateau refers only to surface temperatures. Most people think the extra warming has gone to the deep ocean, but the mechanism isn't fully understood.

    John: "Isn't fully understood??! That makes me right about everything!"

  • John||

    Most people think the extra warming has gone to the deep ocean

    With absolutely no proof. Most people think God or Allah created the world. I don't want to base policy on that assumption either.

  • Tony||

    What about the rise in even surface temperature heat up to that point? 15-year plateau doesn't mean no warming!

  • Cytotoxic||

    Come back when you found that missing heat. That's called 'evidence'. FIND IT OR STFU.

  • Tony||

    Why don't you cough up some evidence that the observed warming was caused by something other than human activity.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Shithead doesn't understand what a 'null hypothesis' is or how the scientific methods works. Quelle surprise!

  • JWatts||

    Yes, but he's got appeal to authority down pat.

  • Tony||

    You're so fucking dumb it's painful. You are making a positive claim: that observed warming is not caused by human activity despite decades of evidence that it is. So either go get a Nobel for overturning established science or shut the fuck up about things you have only the slightest FOX News level understanding of.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 7.5.13 @ 2:23PM |#
    "Why don't you cough up some evidence that the observed warming was caused by something other than human activity."

    Those goal posts are really hard to push, aren't they, shithead?

  • Snidely Whiplash||

    "They [the study's authors] find that during the past decade, of the excess energy trapped by the anthropogenic greenhouse effect that has gone into warming the ocean, 30 percent of it has contributed to warming the deep ocean."

    http://phys.org/news/2013-07-d.....ocean.html

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 7.5.13 @ 2:15PM |#
    "And realize that 15 year plateau refers only to surface temperatures. Most people think the extra warming..."

    WHAT "extra warming" shithead? The warming that didn't happen?

  • Rhino||

    "isn't fully understood," which is a great basis for economically damaging policies. Maybe you should promote policies that will make people's lives harder until you actually understand what's going on.

  • Duncan20903||

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    Are not!

  • ||

    John: "Isn't fully understood??! That makes me right about everything!"

    It's somewhat ironic that you are actually relying on exactly the same argument to underpin your contention that we should arrest human development on the precautionary principle. Then again, your capacity for projection never ceases to amaze.

  • Libertarius||

    Methane gas is a natural element, so all your protesting allegedly in the name of nature is actually against nature.

    You guys always confuse the metaphysically-given with the manmade. In this instance, your equivocation is that of smuggling in the presumption that methane gas (or any element) is an evil product of evil capitalism.

    The greenies have sunk below the level of the Reefer Madness propagandists, to using the metaphysically-given (IOW, the environment) to hide from yourselves and your victims that yours is the worship of mindless stagnation, enslavement, and death.

    Environmentalism is just another mask for the nihilism which defines the new left.

  • Ballz||

    "man made methane" teehee

  • Tony||

    Everything is natural. That astounding insight does not imply that turning what is a liquid or solid into a gas and pumping it into the atmosphere will have no environmental effects.

  • limeduck10||

    Man, I only took a couple classes about global warming and environmental science and I've already forgotten half of it. But looking around at this sad forum clearly shows me that the experience still makes me a god damn fucking expert compared to these people.

    I salute you for you effort, but I wouldn't even bother with these fuckin fuck up retards

    Cheers

  • val||

    Yup it all seemed to revolve around methane. In that promo, at least, he didn't bring up any other chemicals that Ron talks about in this article.

    Contamination meant, methane was leaking into ground water reservoirs from failed casings. Allegedly.

    re: AGW religion; don't beleive in the alarmist claims either, however I don't completely discount that green houses gases can contribute to climate patterns and shifts. The question for me is more quantifying the amounts and costs.

    But I would not as easily dismiss, if true, hundreds, and very soon thousands, of wells leaking methane into the atmosphere. We have some idea on the carbon cycle, and how it gets reabsorbed into the biosphere, are there similar mechanisms for methane?

  • John||

    Methane is leaking out of swamps and cows and humans and every other animal all over the world as we speak. It is difficult to imagine how even a few thousand leaking wells would make a difference on a global scale.

  • Warrren||

    Ahh, there goes some right now!

  • val||

    Yes I'm aware that methane is quite common. As usual quantifying new source's contribution and its impacts is the real challenge.

    But if you allow for a minute that there is leakage from many of these wells (and I'm not sure that's true), then even you should probably have some threshold in mind, where we should at least begin discussing on how to mitigate the leaks. Maybe its just a questions of better engineering or materials?

  • Rhino||

    how about the people effected sue for restitution of damages. If wells leak often enough, the price of natural gas will go up to the point where it is no longer viable as an energy source. But if it is safe, or at least safe to a level acceptable to society(not govt bureaucrats), then we should be able to take full advantage of it. The only way to truly know is through the price system of the free market.

  • John Galt||

    Stop! Reality is not an option!

  • Ron Bailey||

    v: Then he's not against "fracking" per se, he's against natural gas production.

    If one is concerned about AGW, methane leakage is an issue, but most recent studies find that it's considerably less than the Howarth et al. study estimated.

  • val||

    meh, I think he is just pro Josh Fox's wallet. He reminds me of Al Gore's pseudo-scientific approach, except instead of hockey stick curve power point slides, he has flaming garden hoses.

  • BahiaBob||

    The amount of Methane emitted into the atmosphere by industrial sources is miniscule when compared to the amount produced by human and animal waste elimination and the eruption of volcanoes. Also it is the same equation for Carbon Dioxide. That is what blows big holes in the environmentalist's cult theories and pontification like the 'Gasland' hoax.

  • Sunken Idaho||

    Watched the documentary "FrackNation". Phelim McAleer tried multiple times to talk Josh Fox who ran from him like, well, like somebody with something to hide.

  • Anvil||

    What else are you supposed to do when someone confronts you with facts that contradict your claims?

    Fox is sly, like a politician.

  • Brett L||

    6) "Just the Tip"

  • Tony||

    The (funding-starved) science on fracking is settled!

  • Cytotoxic||

    Funding starved = my side can't find evidence to support its political program.

  • Tony||

    If a process for providing cheap energy was environmentally benign, what possible reason would be have to be against it or to develop a political controversy about it?

    There are clear financial interests on one side, but I struggle to figure out what you think environmentalists' motive is.

  • Cytotoxic||

    To further serve Gaia, the One True God. Again, that you live and breath the delusion that your side is pure as the driven snow is demonstration only of what a retard you are.

  • ||

    I struggle to figure out what you think environmentalists' motive is

    Power & control... + money for some.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 7.5.13 @ 2:24PM |#
    "If a process for providing cheap energy was environmentally benign, what possible reason would be have to be against it or to develop a political controversy about it?"

    I got your number, shithead:
    "Unless we repent, we are facing a rapture and only the most organic will be saved!
    Oh, and this is not a religion! Most certainly not! It is based on science!"

  • Tony||

    So none of you got anything?

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 7.5.13 @ 5:20PM |#
    "So none of you got anything?"

    Can't read, shithead? Got plenty:
    "Unless we repent, we are facing a rapture and only the most organic will be saved!
    Oh, and this is not a religion! Most certainly not! It is based on science!"

  • BahiaBob||

    When you call other posters names and slime them, you are displaying your true self and that your opinion has no basis in fact and is pure conjecture. When you can't produce factual information to counter the argument, you reveal yourself as a fraud.

  • MoMark||

    Tony, I am confused. As an environmentalist even you would admit that your solutions to reduce carbon emissions are only marginal, and if the population doubles and then doubles again “What difference does it make!” if we reduce emissions 20-30% in this country. And I don’t hear much from libs on population control as a more viable solution, why?

  • Tony||

    My preferred solutions are not marginal, but I'm not supreme dictator of the world, sad to say.

    The best I can hope for is that I'm wrong about there not being a hell so that the Koch brothers (who've dumped something like $60 million into deniar propaganda) will have somewhere to go when they die.

  • BahiaBob||

    Again you wax infantile as you are obviously angry over your precarious opinion and cult of environmentalism. Blaming the Koch brothers is very telling and reveals that your agenda is most probably driven by Gore, Soros and their minion.

  • John Galt||

    Just think of it this way. If none of us really had anything, then compared to you we'd only only have a million times more than you.

  • ||

    There are clear financial interests on one side, but I struggle to figure out what you think environmentalists' motive is.

    Al Gore is on the cusp of becoming the first "climate billionaire". As it turns out, funneling money to the "right" companies, keeping abusive regulatory burdens on the "wrong" ones, and turning industrial emissions into commodities has its financial benefits as well.

    You reveal your true motives here though:

    environmentally benign

    There is no "environmentally benign" form of energy production, from dung fires to nuclear reactors. The methods of energy production you would prefer to subsidize are the farthest possible thing from "environmentally benign", from the rare earths stripped from the depths of China they rely on, to the millions of fowl they butcher every year. Human beings living on earth affect its environment, as do tigers, frogs, worms and mold. Your alleged quest for the "environmentally benign" method of energy production is a red herring. There isn't one. All you're really interested in is controlling what methods of energy production are available.

  • Sevo||

    "Al Gore is on the cusp of becoming the first "climate billionaire". As it turns out, funneling money to the "right" companies, keeping abusive regulatory burdens on the "wrong" ones, and turning industrial emissions into commodities has its financial benefits as well."

    And Elon Musk is doing his best to follow.
    ------------------------------
    "Your alleged quest for the "environmentally benign" method of energy production is a red herring. There isn't one. All you're really interested in is controlling what methods of energy production are available."

    Not sure.
    Shithead is not real bright, shall we say. Pretty sure shithead is simply repeating what the brain-dead 'friends' say. It's doubtful that he concept of cost/benefit is something that shithead can even conceptualize in metric terms.

  • JD the elder||

    The worst I've seen was a claim that fracking could actually cause (or at least worsen) earthquakes. That at least seems to be a fringe view that most anti-fracking people distance themselves from. But every week, they're out there in the square, yelling about how awful fracking is. I kind of want to get into an argument with one and ask him what the hell we SHOULD do for energy instead - I'm perfectly ready to believe that fracking has its issues, but the question should not be "is fracking perfect?" but "is it better than our other choices?"

  • hotsy totsy||

    They won't get it. They feel the answer is "live simply so that others may simply live". THAT puritan crap.

    People who have the potential to control their own destiny by making money are hard to dominate by "progressive" interests.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    I frac for a living, and the earthquake claim is one of the few claims they make that has some basis in reality.

    However, it seems that fracing might reduce stresses gradually, rather than all at once; several 2.0 quakes are better than one 6.0 quake. And even those are pretty rare; so rare that the previous sentence can't be proven.

    The strongest claim that the anti-frac crowd has is on the water use. They could make some headway there if they'd abandon the stupid shit. That, and (as the article mentioned) make sure that the wells are drilled and cemented properly in the first place.

    Hint, by the way: natural gas providers hate it when methane is uncontrollably released from their wells. That is product that they do not receive payment for. Believe it or not, they try to avoid that.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    Well, that, plus they don't want to risk killing people. They actually do have ethics. Drilling companies have been known to fire service providers who get involved in automobile accidents on the way to location. One accident is forgivable, but if you even look like you're establishing a pattern of behavior, you're gone. They really do take safety seriously.

  • Sevo||

    NO! People who work to deliver energy are really people?!
    At one time in the past when I was directing truck traffic at a terminal, I really did try to avoid running over people. Fact!

  • ||

    Unpossible. Everybody knows that the only motivation anyone has for not going on a murderous rampage, preferably using industrial processes to maximize the carnage, is our precious, precious regulatory state.

  • dinkster||

    My father was oil industry for 30 years. I would say that the ethics question is hit or miss. Depends on the size of the company really.

  • Ron Bailey||

    JD: correct - antis don't understand the concept of trade-offs.

  • ||

    Falsehood 2: Fracking fluid "could seep into groundwater and poison drinking water." (The underlining is the FWW's.)

    The text may originally have had the underlining, but it's not showing up in the article.

    Falsehood 3: Fracking increases air pollution.

    I've seen people try to rebut the fact that fracking has lower emissions by saying that when it screws up the amount of gasses released is many times what happens from other sources, and thus it is still worse overall. Is there anything to those claims?

  • Mark22||

    What does "when it screws up" and "worse overall" mean? You can screw up any technology badly, just look at Fukushima and Deepwater Horizon. You can "screw up" manufacturing solar cells or have the heat transfer oil leak from a thermal solar power plant. "When it screws up" is an unanswerable objection; it's also meaningless.

  • ||

    Thanks for ignoring all the other words in my question that explains I'm talking about emissions and the idea that mistakes made while fracking make fracking's overall greenhouse gas contribution more than that of other sources despite it's lower emissions when done properly. If you're going to play the selective illiterate, do it elsewhere.

  • Alien Invader||

    dude, chill. Cut back on the caffeine, or whatever it is. He's pretty much on the mark. They're just trying to fog the airways (again) on you.

    No, emissions from gas wells are not "worse overall", even when it "screws up".

    To even get fracked wells into the running for emissions, compared to (for example) a coal plant, somebody would have to drive around, create gas wells, and then just vent them direct to the atmosphere. And even then, I'm not sure they'd really make a strong showing.

    Having worked in the electric power industry I can tell you. Coal is very nasty stuff to burn. Oil is somewhat better, but not much better.

    Only the heavier, longer chain gasses such as used for propane gas, can even begin to start putting out the kinds of contaminants that are released when coal and oil are burned. Because only the longer chain gasses tend to carry similar types of contaminants (like nitrogen and sulfur which lead to NOx and SOx). But these longer chain gasses are heavier (so they tend to settle out quickly), and they are typically a rather small portion of the output of any gas well.

    There is no way natural gas fracking can be "worse overall" for the environment than coal or fuel oil, even if the gas wells are "all screwed up".

  • PapayaSF||

    It is true that methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2, however (IIRC) it doesn't stay in the atmosphere as long. If one wants to limit the greenhouse effect, it makes more sense to concentrate on the gases that have the most effect, are easiest to control, and don't have any upside. (E.g., more CO2 seems to be encouraging plant growth around the world, which seems to be helping to keep temperatures down, while more methane doesn't have any good effects AFAIK.)

  • albo||

    Pennsylvania has thousands of fracked wells that have been dug within the last 5 years. And we're not any more of a post-apocalyptic hellhole than were were before that. Except West Philly. Ever since that area's hereditary royalty left it for the lights of Bel-Air, it's been getting worse.

  • John Galt||

    I'll tell you what's wrong with America. It isn't fracking. Not even close. It's the political royalty.

  • Mark22||

    An environmentalist was telling about all the dangerous chemicals fracking fluid contains, including "silicon dioxide". He then pointed at a material data sheet that indicated that it was "harmful" and required eye protection, dust mask, and gloves. Of course, silicon dioxide is more commonly known as "sand"...

  • Brett L||

    And hydrogen hydroxide aka DHMO is also deadly if you breathe too much of it.

  • JWatts||

    Well, according to the article 99.5% of fracking fluid is a solution of dihydrogen monoxide mixed with silicon dioxide.

    It's a good thing that the EU has protected itself from this kind of dangerous chemical contaminates through the judicious use of the precautionary principle.

  • John Galt||

    "... dihydrogen monoxide mixed with silicon dioxide."

    In other words water and sand.

    Say it just right, like the zealots and evangelists of the Environmentalist religion do, and they become deadly poison.

    Ok, let's all chant:

    Dihydrogen monoxide and silicon dioxide!
    Dihydrogen monoxide and silicon dioxide!
    The evil corporations make us died!

  • ||

    Lol, perhaps you're not familiar with this bit of satire: http://dhmo.org/

  • John Galt||

    If I were to confess, I may admit I helped perpetuate the satire. But, only with hopes it would help bring the badly misguided to their senses.

    Of course, in the end, helping the misguided was a complete failure. It did however serve to give a chuckle to those possessing even a minimal degree of common sense.

    Sadly, by the way, even a minimal degree of common sense, is a rare thing these days.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    People fucking freak out over MSDS's. I like to point out that the Jack Daniel's distillery has an MSDS for Jack Daniel's. Toxic, flammable, mutagenic, and awesome.

  • John Galt||

    Spend your life seeking out toxicity and you'll find it in every thing and every place.

  • Sevo||

    John Galt| 7.5.13 @ 8:03PM |#
    'Spend your life seeking out toxicity and you'll be a politician with a cause or that trailer-trash lawyer'
    Just suggesting...

  • alittlesense||

    But....literally hundreds of thousands of people are spending the entire holiday weekend cavorting on huge stretches of silicon dioxide, right next to a mammoth source of DHMO! Think of the chidren!

  • InlineSkate||

    Doesn't matter in the mind of an environmentalist. All data that doesn't match a pre-set conclusion is obviously funded by evul rethuglican kochorashuns who hate clean environments and poor people.

  • John Galt||

    "The president gets it, ..."

    Prove it!!

  • ||

    #5 is especially absurd, given how nasty coal is. A coal power plant's ash pile is more radioactive than the contaminated zone at Fukushima.

    The normal operation of a coal-fired power plant releases more radiation than the Three Mile Island nuclear accident did on a day to day basis.

    If natural gas is WORSE than coal, we'd see big zones around natural gas fields where people die instantly...

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  • Ballz||

    electric cars run on coal

  • kentek||

    About the chemicals-
    After water the #1 chemical they use in fracking is also used in making ice cream: guar gum. Most of it comes from India and the Indians are making a lot of money as its cost has increased to about $2K per ton.

    About methane in water:
    There are many places on earth where methane naturally migrates to the water table. Can be caused by earth quakes.

  • T Clark||

    So what is the substance of this article. First - the liberal Obama administration is supportive of fracking. Even the EPA and Environmental Defence Fund seem to be taking a balanced approach. There seems to be a general recognition that the benefits of more natural gas outweigh the negative consequences. But there are four guys who are misrepresenting the facts - Josh Fox and three guys at Cornell. Where's the story?

    Since the facts don't match the magazine's ideological bias, Mr. Bailey or his editors call it "The Top 5 Lies About Fracking," and then throw it out as red meat to their slobbering attack dog commentors.

    It doesn't bother me to read the propaganda that comes out in these pages, but I just wish you wouldn't call it "Reason."

  • triclops||

    So what is the substance of your comment?
    First you make simple observations about the content of the article, then you insult the readers, and tie it up with a neat little bow that is the "for a magazine called"reason" chestnut"...
    What great point do you think you made?

  • T Clark||

    I don't think it's a great point, but I think the substance of my comment was clear, whether or not you agree with it. Here are the facts Mr. Bailey has presented. Four people without any particular importance to the fracking debate have presented what he considers unsupported attacks on the industry. He knows there is significant interest in fracking from across the political spectrum, so ,in order to misrepresent the content of the article, it is called "The Top Five Lies About Fracking." And it works - read the comments to the article - typical anti-environmentalist bile.

    It's not an insult to point out that what they call "reason" is really propaganda. The two are mutually exclusive. This is a common occurance in this magazine. It is reasonable for me to point that out.

  • triclops||

    "Slobbering attack dog commentators"was your insult, not your played out joke about reason.
    And Fox's documentary is well known, it was nominated for an academy award, and the sequel is on HBO. And I had heard three of the five myths several times before this article. Maybe you just need to be more well read, or your rebuttal is the biggest misrepresentation. Hmm...

  • Sevo||

    Seems T Clark decided defending his claims wasn't worth it.

  • Sevo||

    ..."in order to misrepresent the content of the article, it is called "The Top Five Lies About Fracking." And it works - read the comments to the article - typical anti-environmentalist bile."

    That's a hell of a straw-grasper you have there; high end from Williams Sonoma?

  • PD Quig||

    Fox is a f*cking lying sack of sh*t. And a thug, to boot. Like most liberal pukes.

    The movie FrackNation thoroughly debunks each and every one of his first movie's ludicrous claims. Thoroughly. When confronted at an event by FrackNation's producer, Fox resorts to having the producer thrown out of the event and the thugs actually try to steal his equipment!

    Fox is a classic POS propagandist for the brain-dead environmentalist religion. They don't care about science, they care about control and money.

  • Tony||

    Whereas the global oil industry just cares about making the world a better place.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Whereas the global oil industry just cares about making the world a better place.

    The global oil industry? There's no such thing. Sounds like some petroleum-sogged Bildeburg Group tinfoil hat boogeyman for your cult, Tony.

    Seriously, are we really going to lump, say, GAZPROM, MidAmerican, and Aramco into the same category from point of view of ethics, technology, best practices, environmental sensitivity, and transparency? I hope not, because that would be incredibly stupid Tony. Its like pretending that since Apple, Lenovo, and Asus all make computers, they're one evil company perfectly aligned to fuck all computer buyers and baby seals everywhere.

    Bizarre the carbon cult is.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 7.8.13 @ 3:16PM |#
    "Whereas the global oil industry just cares about making the world a better place."

    Yeah, and an ignoramus like shithead never hear of the invisible hand, right, shithead? Do I have your number, shithead?

  • timbo||

    The president doesn't get shit. If he thought there were political gain in stomping out fossil fuels all together, he would try it for the votes. I don't think that moron gets anything when it comes to economics or misleading climate chance hysteria.

  • TAP Management||

    Environmental regulators disagree with claims made in Gasland and Gasland Part II. Here's why: http://energyindepth.org/natio.....f-gasland/

  • Sevo||

    Pull quotes, please?
    Really don't want to scroll through X pages to see if I can find your point.

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  • Sevo||

    ^?

  • ||

    Fact: many hundreds of gag-order settlements have been paid by gas drillers to landowners. This means only one thing, there were damages to property which gas companies do not want anyone to know about.
    The detrimental effects of fugitive methane -- huge amounts are wasted -- are irrefutably NOT cleaner than coal (a pathetic standard, why aren't we comparing to solar?). Constantly flaring fracked gas emissions are so immense that we here in Binghamton NY can see the glow at night all the way from Pennsylvania.
    Regardless, when huge amounts of contaminated fracking water are sequestered below ground, even if the well casings don't leak, we still have the MAJOR problem of not enough water to support life on earth!
    Furthermore, comprehensive economic analyses unquestionably show that the costs of fracking far exceed any short-term benefits. Multi-national corporate gas entities don't care about U.S.A.
    So why would thousands of property owners object to the possibility of some gas money? Motive is what legal proceedings look at: for a few people it is all about the quick buck; for the vast majority fracking is a preposterous idea that threatens our way of life.

  • Sevo||

    OK, becky, we got the innuendo. Any evidence or do we just take you as one more enviro-ignoramus?

  • NEPA||

    The point that the quality of the well casings cannot be considered as part of fracking is semantically correct, but it is not operationally correct. Your reductionist approach is simply a theoretical dismissal of an understudied process involving man, machines, money and natural systems. Industrial processes parked in people's backyards involve higher risks, and we owe it to ourselves (and those whose backyards the process sits in) to investigate thoroughly before deeming such processes safe.

  • Sevo||

    RED HERRING ALERT!
    NEPA| 7.9.13 @ 2:26PM |#
    "The point that the quality of the well casings cannot be considered as part of fracking is semantically correct, but it is not operationally correct."
    Wrong. It is correct any way you chose to lie about it.

    "Your reductionist approach is simply a theoretical dismissal of an understudied process involving man, machines, money and natural systems. Industrial processes parked in people's backyards involve higher risks, and we owe it to ourselves (and those whose backyards the process sits in) to investigate thoroughly before deeming such processes safe."
    Did you have a point, or just a red herring about it 'needs more study'?

  • NEPA||

    The evidence I see is that well casings are poorly maintained, and since well casings quality impacts the safety of the system, fracking as a whole is not safe. My point (poorly made) is that to try to excuse these fracking incidents because there root cause was well casings and not the injection/chemicals themselves is misleading. The entire process is all fracking.

  • limeduck10||

    Wait, so is this article the five biggest lies?

  • Polo Ralph Lauren outlet||

    The president gets it, but a lot of activists don't. To help bring them around, I thought I'd take a look at some of the misleading claims made by opponents of fracking. Fortunately I just got a fundraising letter from fine folks at foodandwaterwatch (FWW) urging me to sign and send in a petition to the president to ban fracking. The letter is a nice compendium of anti-fracking scaremongering.
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  • jao1||

    This whole article has a bias from a person who's Institute and Foundation is funded by the Petroleum Institute. So how can anyone take him seriously when he is so slanted with the people who fund his agenda. ( The Greenpeace project, "exxonsecrets.org" identifies the Reason Foundation, the CEI (where Bailey is an adjunct fellow) and the Cato Institute (where he is an adjunct scholar) as receiving funding from the U.S. Petroleum industry.[2])

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