On the other side of the fracking debate

To the Editor:

I would like to begin by saying that the topic of fracking should not be viewed as a liberal or conservative issue; this is something that surpasses party politics.

I’m currently finishing up my senior year at the State University of New York at Albany and I can only humbly offer my perspective on the new natural gas boom that has been occurring over the past few years. Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is viewed among environmentalists as a death sentence for our ecosystem and the beginning of a dependency that can last for the next 80 years.

On the other side, we have those profiting from natural gas, hailing alternative energy as the inconsequential savior to our woes. However, both sides greatly exaggerate their position.

True, gas can be an economic game changer for the U.S in terms of jobs and material benefit. But by not drilling, we not only diminish our potential, we are also strengthening Gazprom’s distribution monopoly over gas and OPEC’s place on the world stage.

In essence, we are instilling an out-of-sight out-of-mind mentality.

If only the fact was that by not drilling, we will somehow leap into a flawless renewable utopia and the whole world will follow suit. This is not the case; wouldn’t we all prefer a world solely dependent on renewable energy? Of course. But, realistically our present circumstance doesn’t permit this to be a reality technologically, or economically.

However, gas can be the stepping stone to a brighter future. In terms of the risks that follow fracking, everything humanity does to further its potential is followed by risks. We do our best to minimize them, but nothing we do is inconsequential.

Even implementing eco-friendly energy sources will present its fair share of obstacles. Humanity has recovered from far worse devastation than whatever risks fracking presents. The benefits that follow far surpass any harm that it entails.

Thomas Casey