Fracking — not just for Battlestar Galactica nerds any longer.
Colloquial for “hydraulic fracturing,” fracking is a process of forcing water deep into oil shale to bring up natural gas. Combined with horizontal drilling (that is, and I’m not making any of this up, drilling somewhat sideways to avoid topside damage), fracking promises to be the next big breakthrough in energy development.
Just so long as government doesn’t mess it up.
Well, there’s debate about this. Gasland, a recent documentary, cited numerous examples of contaminated well water. And yet, last week Judge Nancy Freudenthal reversed federal government regulations against fracking, dismissing Gasland-promoted harms as “speculative.”
Not according to science writer Ronald Bailey, who has argued that fracking itself is harmless. Things can go wrong in any industrial process, and in cases where substantial damage has occurred because of negligence or incompetence, major judgments against energy companies have been awarded to their victims.
Just as things are supposed to go, in a free society.
But folks leaning to the left prefer the “precautionary principle,” at least when it comes to business. “[T]he new reality,” according to a Washington Examiner editorial, is that “those who are now seeking to stop history — or at least the development of new energy technologies — are liberals, led by President Obama.”
Had the Examiner used “progressive” instead of “liberals,” the irony of today’s Progressives being against progress might have unearthed one of this age’s sadder political truths.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.