Please, US, Don't Blow It on Shale Gas

'Fracking' can be an energy revolution: David Brooks
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2011 12:59 PM CDT
Please, US, Don't Blow It on Shale Gas
A drilling rig explores for shale gas in the eastern Polish village of Grzebowilk. America needs to ramp up its own exploration, writes David Brooks.   (Getty Images)

David Brooks jumps on the the "fracking" bandwagon in a big way today, writing in the New York Times that "it would be a crime if we squandered this blessing." Fracking is the controversial method of extracting natural gas from shale. As Brooks sees it, the US is sitting on what may be a 100-year supply of clean energy that can not only reduce our dependence on coal and oil but help us transition to the day when solar and wind power can play more of a role. Plus, it could create "hundreds of thousands of new jobs" in hard-hit areas such as western Pennsylvania and Ohio.

"Like every energy source, fracking has its dangers," writes Brooks. "The process involves injecting large amounts of water and chemicals deep underground. If done right, this should not contaminate freshwater supplies, but rogue companies have screwed up and there have been instances of contamination." With proper regulation, problems like these can be handled. But the fight over fracking has devolved in classic left-vs-right fashion into one that is "dehumanizing to each side," writes Brooks. We need "balance," or this opportunity will be missed. (More natural gas stories.)

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