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Frack On

by on October 23, 2012

Drilling’s fun just for the heck of it. Getting to play with adult-sized Tonka vehicles is a blast, what with all the engine rumbling and displaced dirt. Putting massive things where they once weren’t only grows in fun as the sandbox gets larger.

But we don’t need to breach the crust just to show the Earth who’s boss. We can fuel much of the stuff we’ve built on the surface with what’s a few stories down, as New York’s lethargy can be overcome by underground vitality: 

A new industry report anticipates natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale will climb ever higher.

In their latest research, analysts from GlobalData, a London-based firm, predict that gross production from one of the country’s fastest growing plays is set to reach 4.8 billions of cubic feet equivalent (bcfe) in 2015 before finally stabilizing in 2020 at 7,7 bcfe.

The technical term is “a lot.” On a related note, there are a lot of states that could better their economic situations if only they look downward:

The natural gas-rich shale formation that runs through New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. According to GlobalData, gross production from the play exploded from 80.2 bcfe in 2009 to 1,1 bcfe in 2011.

There is boundless energy underfoot that can be accessed through an amazing technique whose advantages improve our lives at a discount. Naturally, it is opposed by pro-science people who promote hysterical unsubstantiated rumors in lieu of research:

Hydraulic fracturing, or “hydrofracking”, is a process that has sparked controversy across the world, due to potential risks including ground water contamination and the compromise of air quality.

The Marcellus Shale runs through New York and Pennsylvania, amongst other states, and while numerous wells have been drilled across the latter, opposition from the public and some political figures in New York led to the initiation of a drilling moratorium in November 2010 — a freeze on fracking that currently remains in place.

Why let our neighbors have all the jobs and energy? If they start pulling energy from the dirt and New York doesn’t, only a rather imposing fence above ground will keep eager potential employees from following the fracking out of state. For now, the Keystone State is also the empire of natural gas acquisition:

Drilling activity in the Marcellus Shale mainly takes place in Pennsylvania. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources the number of drilling permits issued there stood at 11,772 as of March 9, 2012.

What would be different between the states aside from oppressive politicians that have decided that the risks of having a civilization aren’t worth it? One ruling entity is slowing down progress without a case in what can best be classified as an embodiment of government in action:

Hydrofracking has come under fire for environmental and safety concerns, landowners, oil and gas companies and related businesses wait as New York State Department of Environmental Conservation culls through tens of thousands of public comments before issuing hydraulic fracturing permits. The DEC review is expected to be complete by year-end.

It’s so nice that they consider letting people obtain a product that directly and indirectly combats unemployment while literally fueling our lives. Some economic progress is bigger than elections, as how energy-packed North Dakota defies Obamanomics by bringing it someplace more useful than under rocks.

The government does have a role; sadly, it’s usually perversely manifested in the form of screwing up opportunities. Regulations should serve as a framework for punishment in cases of accidents or carelessness, not an obstacle to ever getting the drills started.

Absence of intervention remains the state’s best hope. The right office holders will not be a pain to those trying to implement progress, as it takes bold leaders to stand still. Conversely, the surest way to face dire consequences life is to try living life without them. First comes frequent brownouts.

Voters must accept that they’re legally adults by virtue of being able to cast ballots for candidates who recognize that everything involves tradeoffs. We can keep the power going by ignoring risible claims that fracking will cause the Earth to shake and your water to ignite. Such truther-type beliefs are the domain of holders who choose to reside in the dark, which is where they belong if they want the benefits of a comfortable lifestyle without permitting digging for juice.

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