By on November 5, 2015

Hydraulic_Fracturing-Related_Activities

Imagine growing up in the modern day world and having no future.

No education. No upward mobility. No right to pursue a better life beyond just a few crumbs of financial sustenance.

This is the reality in most Arab countries and former Soviet republics. It’s a world where opportunities are almost non-existent and certain cliques and clans determine who has the exclusive right to get ahead.

I grew up traveling the world in a family business — the food import business, to be exact. I have learned that in the West there is a tendency to believe folks can overcome Herculean odds in the pursuit of that better life, whatever and wherever it may be.

That opportunity just isn’t there in these places where even geniuses can be damned to a life of a terminally squalid environment. It’s a shame. But what if instead of investing billions of dollars in armaments and other forms of support to these idiotic regimes, we tipped the scales of supply and demand a bit in favor of the billions of little guys and little girls?

Let me explain.

Marsh Arabs

It’s been no secret that the Saudi regime has targeted American oil companies that rely on fracking. The unofficial belief is that this behavior will also hurt Iran and a few other governments that hate our culture and foreign policy. Good reasons. Bad reasons. Doesn’t matter. The truth is in a global market as critical as oil, the United States doesn’t have any true friends, just competitors.

The same is true for everyone else whether they are a progressive country like our neighbors up north, or a pseudo-religious fascist nutcase of a government that would gladly murder millions of innocent souls if they could get away with it.

Oil is the one and only worldly good that gives power to governments that produce nothing but poverty and cronyism. If the love of money is the root of all evil, then our reliance on overseas oil is what gives these scumbags the means to use our money to make life miserable for far too many folks who just want to be left alone.

Am I simplifying this? Yes, but I don’t feel like any of the nuances really take away from the fact that we still contribute trillions of dollars to the propping up of regimes that really aren’t worth our wallets. I won’t even mention the death toll we help create by feeding thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of everyday citizens into the madness that comes with giving the worst regimes in the world all the weapons they will ever need — and then some.

I believe the common citizen will be better in the long run if the oppressors aren’t given as many bullets and tanks. There is no shortage of steps towards realizing that outcome. Since fracking is often considered to be the biggest threat to regimes that despise our existence, perhaps we should look at diverting our Pax Americana foreign policy that stabilizes these brutal regimes. I believe we should look at diverting those resources and investing them back into an American oil industry that has made a giant leap towards making the United States more independent.

In a matter of only seven years, our oil and gas production has increased by more than 400 percent thanks to fracking. It makes up for nearly half our overall gas and oil production, with thousands of proven reserves waiting to be tapped. Maybe we should consider subsidizing fracking in much the same way as we subsidize farms? I don’t have the ultimate answer, but like a lot of you, I would love to see the day when our money no longer goes towards the Arab dictatorships and the Russian mafia.

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170 Comments on “Should Americans Fund Fracking?...”


  • avatar
    deanst

    Seven years ago America was asked if they wanted a pipeline from Canada which would supply them with all the oil they could possibly need.

    Canada is still waiting for an answer.

    • 0 avatar
      callmeishmael

      If Canada was refining those tar sands into oil and sell that oil in America you’d be right. Canada is offering us the opportunity to do all of the literal dirty work and send back nice, clean money. The oil will be sold on the open market.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Most of the money wouldn’t flow back to Canada. It would disappear into tax havens and re-appear wherever oil billionaires congregate (I guarantee that’s not Lloydminster Saskatchewan).

        • 0 avatar
          dash riprock

          Or the profits may be returned in part to the shareholders of the oil/pipeline/services company. pensioners, pension plans etc.

          The profitability of the oil and gas industry fuels the lifestyles of a lot of Canadians and Americans even though they do not work directly or indirectly in that industry.

      • 0 avatar
        dash riprock

        and anti oil sands groups in Canada say they would not be so opposed to Keystone if the oil was refined here creating all those “dirty work jobs”.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I wish to have nothing to do with Alberta’s tar sands mining adventure, it’s an environmental nightmare.

      Tell you what, instead of digging up the tar sands, using vast quantities of natural gas and water to make sour crude oil out of it, sending it to a refinery where yet more natural gas and electricity is required to make it into gasoline, how about just sending the natural gas to one of the nearby electric plants, and we can use it to make enough electricity to power my car farther than that gallon of gasoline would move an equivalent gasoline powered car.

      • 0 avatar
        dash riprock

        Tell you what, lets shut down the oil sands, the Califonia heavy oil industry, fracking etc.

        The environmental argument is too strong and is not going away.

        Instead lets all rely on (mostly) non democratic countries for the supply of oil. Worst case scenario if there is a threat to its supply the US can always send its bombs and troops over there to secure supply.

        A nice clean war is much preferred over dirty oil sands and refineries.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Canadians could ship the tar sands oil to their own Pacific coast, except that other Canadians don’t want it. Last I checked, the distance from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia is a lot shorter than it is to Houston.

      • 0 avatar
        dash riprock

        Yes there has been a lot of opposition to pipelines to the Coast. Interestingly enough there has been a lot of money flow up from the US to environmental groups in BC to fight the pipelines(or in reality any project including a hydroelectric dam and LNG). Foundations based on the fortunes created by Hewlett Packard, Rubbermaid etc have heavily funded these mostly fear based campaigns. Guessing they have looked around their own Country and judged it to be just fine and they can now work on other Countries. Maybe they will have the same success as the US has had in exporting their own brand of democracy

        Part of the opposition is based upon the concept that BC would bear the brunt of any environmental damage while Alberta/Saskatchewan would garner most of the economic benefiits

      • 0 avatar
        chuckrs

        Pch101

        Laying a pipeline across the Rockies is a lot more work than heading south to an interconnect with an existing pipeline network.

        Here’s an article on problems with pipelines from big (like XL) to small (urban residential distribution). It is from an engineering society publication but easily accessible to non-techies and well documented.

        http://www.tbp.org/pubs/Features/W15Bell.pdf

        This issue doesn’t have much to do with fracking but documents some of the dangers of ignoring infrastructure upgrades, maintenance and repair.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Opposition to the pipeline comes from BC residents who don’t want it for the same reasons that some Americans don’t want Keystone. Blaming Americans for a Canadian political disagreement is a cop out — if Canada wants a pipeline to a port, then it can have one without routing it through the US.

          • 0 avatar
            dash riprock

            And what are those reasons?

            And yes we can have a pipeline to Port. There is an National Energy Board review underway.

            There is no doubt that american foundations have been a heavy donors to environmental groups and have helped run campaigns based on fear and misrepresentation. I meekly suggest that in their own country there are many festering issues that could benefit from their largesse. Perhaps they could work to shut down the California heavy oil industry. Maybe campaign against tesla using graphite from Chinese mines.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The point remains that if Canadians want a pipeline that badly, then they can route it through Canada. The fact that they can’t convince Canadians of this is Canada’s problem.

            Blaming the US is an old Canadian habit, I know, but Canada should take responsibility for its failure to persuade its own citizens of the alleged virtues of this idea. If anything, it would make more sense to get the oil into the Pacific instead of the Gulf of Mexico, as the Asians will pay more for it.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            “The point remains that if Canadians want a pipeline that badly,”

            Canadians in the abstract don’t want anything. SOME Canadians want a pipeline, some don’t. Ditto for Americans. Given two free countries, the obvious optimal solution is readily available. Unfortunately, given totalitarian ones, it’s not.

        • 0 avatar
          dash riprock

          The opposition is mainly based around tankers that will carry the oil from the pipeline to market. The Exxon Valdez is consistently mentioned as a almost guaranteed example of our future.

          • 0 avatar
            VCplayer

            “The opposition is mainly based around tankers that will carry the oil from the pipeline to market. The Exxon Valdez is consistently mentioned as a almost guaranteed example of our future.”

            I kind of resent this sentiment because it causes more problems than it solves. (And I realize it isn’t your sentiment).

            We’ve managed to ship ridiculous amounts of oil all over the world without more than a few major problems for decades now. There’s zero reason why adequate regulation can’t minimize the risk to acceptable levels. Outright opposition either ends in a failing effort or in other, less efficient logistical avenues.

            The oil must flow.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      No canada just asked the US to suspend their app, not sure why but heard it on the news yesterday, I think the US said no to that. I thought the pipeline was to get to New Orleans and the oil would be exported am I wrong on that assumption?

      • 0 avatar
        Chi-One

        Seth:

        The XL would run to the big storage terminal in OK. Keystone asked to pull its permit because the thinking is the administration will deny it right before the big intn’l climate conference in December where the Prez will announce it. Keystone would prefer to wait until after the ’16 election in hopes of a more favorable administration then.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      A moose might be upset, and some people in Prius vehicles are here to ensure we rely on terrorist-funding oil instead.

      Because moose.

    • 0 avatar

      The oil industry doesn’t need any money. They are still subsidized in the billions of dollars. Better we should put the money towards hastening a more permanent, renewable solution.

      On the low tech side of that: In the northeast, there are plenty of homes–including mine and probably the majority–that rely on oil heat. And many of these homes, including mine, were built with minimal or no insulation (mine, built in ’57, has no insulation in the walls; it has good roof insulation because I put it there when I had to do a new roof). If money is going to flow anywhere outside of research and the market, let it flow into zero-interest, lengthy loans for insulating all these houses.

      And at this point, there’s no excuse for building a house that needs a big furnace to get through the winter. I have a neighbor here in Lexington, Massachusetts whose ample home has naught but a wood stove and passive solar architecture (which added little to the cost of building).

      Oil companies don’t need to be encouraged to frack. They’re doing enough of it that natural gas has reduced coal’s share of electricity generation from 50 to less than 40 percent, in around a decade. That’s major.

    • 0 avatar
      Trichobezoar

      No, Oil’s time has passed. Behold, Solar Power has finally come down from “astronomically priced” to “competitive with oil and natural gas”

      http://assets.bwbx.io/images/iQYuKSosjb3U/v1/-1x-1.jpg

      Saudis are oversupplying now because they know their time is up. OPEC nations have desperately been building Western-style universities and trying to diversify their economies to prepare for what comes next.

      In the mean time, just continue to use up their dwindling reserves of cheap oil, and sit on our tar sands as reserves that might come in handy after WWIII. They’ve had a good sprint, but we’ll win in the long run as long as we take the high road.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Governments don’t create poverty, fertilized ova do.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      :Sigh: Human beings are a resource to be cultivated, not a cost on a ledger. It’s exactly that outlook that creates poverty.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “Human beings are a resource to be cultivated”

        I’ve been saying that for years since our stupids all got obese: biodiesel!

      • 0 avatar

        @jeff Weimer

        There are 7,500,000,000 humans on the planet. Ever hear of the law of diminishing returns? And let me assure you, even in our own country, millions of these existing humans are not being cultivated. I used to live in a mixed neighborhood in northeast Washington DC. You could just feel the difference between the kids with solidly middle class white parents and the kids with working class African American parents.

        And in manh parts of the world, resouces are so scarce that violence ensues. Why do you think the Hutus and the Tutsis were killing each other in Rwanda?

        • 0 avatar

          Because of tribal divides cultivated by former colonial powers, with a bit of class warfare thrown in for seasoning?

          http://worldnews.about.com/od/africa/a/hutututsiconflicthistory.htm

          Just couldn’t resist reading this without popping in.

  • avatar
    jimmy2x

    I could be wrong, but thought that the proposed pipeline was straight to shipping outlets in New Orleans and would not increase our supply. In any case a pipeline is a better alternative than shipping via train.

    • 0 avatar
      VCplayer

      The money that the construction and maintenance of the pipeline would bring in isn’t worth it on its own? It isn’t like the US is being asked to pay for anything.

      “Hey, I have a plan to make $100. Help me out and you can have $10.”

      “Sure, why not?”

      The pipeline is really just a stand-in for concerns about the general environmental effects of fracking. It’s a symbolic issue at this point.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    If the government were going to subsidize anything, it might start with nationwide high speed rail. That would improve productivity, lower auto traffic and associated road infrastructure costs, and reduce the enormous carbon footprint of commercial aviation. In addition, the environmental risks associated with oil extraction and its transportation would also be greatly minimized. It would also be a good idea to protect the electrical grid more fully against threats from terrorism.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      How is high speed rail going to get me to the grocery store, my furniture delivered, kids to school, or get me door to door to work?

      I guess if I travel between major downtown depots high speed rail would be just great…3 times a year.

    • 0 avatar
      mchan1

      I’d venture to say that most Americans could care less about high speed rail, much less a nationwide version.
      The rail system is great IF one lives in a busy metropolis/urban areas like those in New England or the mid Atlantic states or California. It will help reduce traffic but how much is up for debate.

      It won’t help if the population increases in areas with limited land or people buy more cars than they need (i.e. 2 person household having 4 vehicles). Come visit NE or the mid-Atlantic states areas like NY/NJ/MD and you’ll see that.

      For places like the South/SW, vehicles are needed for daily transportation.

      A good high speed rail service would be good IF people traveled a lot (i.e. lower CA area up to WA to Canadian border). New England has the NE corridor line from Boston to Wash DC and the high speed Acela line is Not so good despite having high speed trains. Why? Amtrak ‘forgot’ to consider upgrading the railway ‘infrastructure as a whole’ such as the rails to optimize the use of those trains. You pay more (~double the price!) but save ~1 hour for high speed service (so a 7hr trip becomes a 6hr trip) which is a joke and slap in the face for travelers!

      Read the various reports about the rail line services in the U.S. and notice that the NE Corridor service is the [only] profitable Amtrak service… barely, as it’s having financially issues like the rest of the rail line services. Lots of debt no thanks to the Big Dig project in Boston!

      • 0 avatar

        Accela is really half way to high speed amtrak did not have the budget to realign the rails for true high speed. This would take major government funding as the Boston DC route passes thru some of the most expensive real estate in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      @Jeff,

      If you are intending high speed rail to replace Aviation for passenger use dream on. My Google-fu has found a ceiling of 180mph with 125 – 150 being more realistic. A typical commercial aircraft will cruise at ~550mph; Taking the kids from Chicago to Orlando to go to Disney takes 2 1/2 hours by air. Assuming the rail makes no stops; has a direct beeline (like aircraft do) and travels at 150 mph you are looking at 9 1/2 hours of travel time. realistically though that path won’t be a beeline and the train will stop (Nashville, Atlanta, etc); so you’re getting closer to parity with driving (16 1/2 hours if only stopping for fuel).

      What would such rail cost? Amtrack is a subsidized non-high speed rail and it already costs more to use than air travel for many destinations and its far more expensive and time consuming than driving yourself. That’s not even considering the massive infrastructure cost to build out and maintain rail that’s good enough to support sustained 125+ speeds. Those tickets won’t be cheap even with a subsidy. I know some of the cost is due to low ridership; I just don’t think increased interest will be enough considering the massive time savings the aviation industry offers.

      I support high speed rail and would like to see it developed; but I don’t see it as a viable alternative to air travel.

      @Toad,

      High speed rail; should it be cost effective enough will be a boon for non-passenger industries like shipping goods.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        High speed rail is more like 220MPH+.

        Your comment suggests that you don’t understand how the flying busus actually work. If you live in a hub city like Atlanta or Chicago, you can ignore this — but, for those of us who live in the rest of the country, we waste a lot of time waiting in line for security and waiting for connecting flights.

        Whet you run the numbers far the average door-to-door speed for an airline flight, my average speed is aroun 200mph door to door, for my usual 2000 mile trip from flyover country to Silicon Valley.

        It takes about 3 hours to get to Chicago via airliner and catch my connecting flight, which is about the same as what it wound take to drive.

        Airlines *could* be much faster, because the peak speeds are higher. But they’re not, and I can’t even get a window seat — much less restructure the industry to better serve my needs.

        High speed rail could be quite competitive in this case, if the security ritual were faster and if it went from city center to city center (which is were I usually need to go an business anyway).

        • 0 avatar
          Frylock350

          I do live in a hub city (Chicago). High speed rail would have virtually the same issue where you’d need to travel to the nearest rail depot. Then there still the fact that the aircraft will travel nonstop to your destination if you book the right flight. Using my example of Chicago to Orlando its trivially easy to get nonstop flights. The aircraft will also take a direct beeline meaning the 550mph speed is used to traverse the shortest possible distance. Arriving at the departure airport to pulling away from the destination in my rental is typically a span of 6 hours. I know this time from experience. All of the proposed high speed rail I’ve seen involves lots of stops for the same route. Stops at Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah and Jacksonville before reaching Orlando. How long will rail security take? How long will the stops take? How many extra miles versus air need to be traveled?

          Driving is the best choice for all trips under 250 miles. Beyond that the aircraft’s speed more than compensates for TSA, etc.

          Btw, want a window seat? Fly southwest and get in the A boarding group. You won’t have an issue. I’m an aisle seat guy myself.

        • 0 avatar

          Rail really should take the place of regional flight. The number of flights flying under 1000 miles in the US every day is staggering heck even the number going less then 600 is amazing. I fly short flights almost every month high speed rail would be much better. Currently due to budget constraints amtrak can’t run the profitable NE corridor for the less expensive rates it should. It also can’t upgrade the lines.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Frylock350,
        Your travel times don’t reflect reality with high speed rail, as I do travel TGVs quite often from Paris to Agen, in the south of France.

        To fly from Paris to Bordeaux is just over one hour (70min). Now you must get from Paris to Charles De Gaulle, this takes time. First you need to catch the Metro to a RER station to go to Charles De Gaulle.

        One hour already gone. Then you must have your baggage and check in one hour early. Now we are at 2 hours and still in (near) Paris.

        Once you get to Bordeaux and land you lose half an hour for baggage claim. You then must get from Mergnac Airport to St Jean to catch a train to Agen. Another hour. It’s a 45min ride on a Teoz or TGV to Agen.

        The TGV will depart from Montparnasse, it takes half an hour to get to Montparnasse using the Metro, then a two and a half hour ride to Bordeaux, that is the centre of Bordeaux, more or less. Then 45 minutes later Agen.

        So, to travel Paris > Agen by flying takes four and a half hours. Using the TGV and rail takes three and three quarter hours and it’s far more relaxing and less stressful, with ample room to sit and spread out with scenery.

        The distance travelled is Paris > Bordeaux > Agen is around 800km or 500 miles or so.

        Unless the make VFTs faster I do believe any trip up to 1 000 miles would be competitive with air travel and far more comfortable.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Frylock350,
          My flying time is incorrect, add another hour to that time, the bus/cab from Mergnac to St Jean, takes around an hour. French traffic can be even slower.

        • 0 avatar
          Frylock350

          @BigAl,

          I was considering rail in the US. Europe is a different animal that I have no experience with. You can consider my opinions/observations to be about the US transportation market.

          Your post doesn’t really highlight that high speed rail is faster, it highlights the fact that you didn’t fly to Agen. A direct flight from Paris to Agen would be faster (assuming it exists). Most of the proposed rail destinations for high speed rail in the US also have airports.

          I see high speed rail’s value in the 250-500 mile trip. Under 250 and driving nearly always wins. Rail from NYC to Boston or from Chicago to Milwaukee make sense. Using it for a 1000 trip doesn’t.
          Out of curiosity how is the to/from regarding the rail depot. You mention the difficulty getting to/from airports; how about from the trains?

          @shaker,
          I wasn’t referring to it as a problem. I was highlighting the incredible speed in which we can cross half the USA. It was quite the first world sentence though.

          @319583076,
          Are you being pedantic about the fact that the Earth is round so by definition the flight path is curved or are you being pedantic about the fact that flights are often not literally point to point because of air traffic control, GPS fixes, and such. Flights might bend the line a bit, but they do not zig zag.

          @RideHeight,
          The reason Disney theme parks are where they are is climate, California’s Mediterranean climate and Florida’s subtropical climate mean the parks can be open year round. Illinois has a theme park (six flags) and its closed for a significant portion of the year.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        Commercial aircraft do not fly point-to-point, or “beeline” between destinations. This information is widely available and trivial to find.

        Don’t let information get in the way of your opinions, however.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      Rail is good for transporting material any distance and transporting people in congested urban areas like the BosWash corridor. Its an uneconomic pipedream otherwise. Just acquiring the necessary rights of way for high speed rail looks like an insurmountable barrier.

      • 0 avatar
        mchan1

        High speed rail is basically best for Congested urban areas that would use them the most.

        The infrastructure is already there for the NE corridor line. The problem is funding to upgrade basically the ENTIRE track system to take advantage of the high speed trains that are already present.

        Boston’s Amtrak is basically saddled with Debt from the Big Dig project which should’ve never happened but that’s what the politicians did >:(

        • 0 avatar
          VCplayer

          At least the Boston Olympics died a quick death. I don’t know if the city would have ever recovered from that. The local resentment sure wouldn’t have.

        • 0 avatar
          chuckrs

          The BosWash corridor upgrade will involve new rights of way, eminent domain and costs that will be like the Big Dig redux. As well, even if by magic you could get rail systems that could work at high speeds on upgraded existing track, it would be an uncomfortable ride due to cornering acceleration. You can’t upgrade human physiology. Same thing that that will keep the hyperloop an interesting thought exercise.

          • 0 avatar
            varinki

            You can get around the curves faster by tilting the carriages into the curve.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_Class_390

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            “Taking the kids from Chicago to Orlando to go to Disney takes 2 1/2 hours by air.”

            A “first-world” problem, to be sure.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Given that Disney is the family entertainment equivalent of McDonalds I am amazed there’s been no Midwest outpost established.

            There’s PLENTY of space in Illinois.

  • avatar
    ksmo

    I grew up in a little rural PA “community” of about a 12-15 homes along the Allegheny river.

    This was about 20 years ago. A company came in and did a bunch of fracking in the area.

    Ruined everyone’s well water. You literally couldn’t even do laundry in it. For a few years, we had to bring in drinking water in 5 gallon jugs. The residents resisted the company, but of course got little because nobody had the means to fight them, really.

    Yeah, I’m sure it’s all different now and that was old tech, etc. Uh huh.

    I’d support initiatives that reduce our dependence on oil, period. That’s the real problem, not what country the oil comes from. We need to rethink our entire way of life, really, and how we build communities. Sprawling suburbs that require long commutes on congested highways is an inefficient way to live. Our whole way of life is based on cheap fuels that are non-renewable. So what we need, I think, is a paradigm shift, not new ways to get oil to power a 15-mpg SUV.

    Anyway, in answer to your question, no. Not with you on this one. Fracking basically ruined the area where I grew up.

    By the way, did I enter the correct URL? Is this TTAC?

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      Your Allegheny River community is in the middle of the world’s first oilfield, which means that the water table has been repeatedly punctured for the past 150 years and has long since been ruined. Water floods and gas floods in the shallow sands, not to mention the nitroglycerine fracturing that characterized well completion for the hundred years previous to the advent of hydrofracturing, might conceivably be part of the problem. Well plugging in your area used to be done simply by pulling the casing and letting the well eventually cave in on itself. Why blame the most recent round? That’s the only one that’s ever been done with any degree of environmental oversight in northwestern Pennsylvania.

      • 0 avatar
        ksmo

        I’m familiar with basic history of the area, but perhaps not on the level you are. All I can say is that our water was excellent before hydrofracking came to the area. Shortly after it did, the water was ruined. More than one similar story in that general area. You may be right about environmental oversight being better today than any time in history. Based on my experience, it’s still quite inadequate. On paper, sounds great. I’m just going on what I experienced first-hand.

        • 0 avatar
          rocketrodeo

          Impact to the water table is typically done on the first day or two of drilling, during the process known as spudding, as the well pierces the topmost strata and is then sealed off from surface water. Hydrology is extremely local, and can be just as easily disturbed by your neighbor drilling a new water well. It usually settles down again in a matter of months if not weeks. BTW, I previously worked with the Allegheny National Forest’s oil, gas, and mineral program to help them stay in compliance with federal laws. Or tried, anyway. Where on the Allegheny were you?

      • 0 avatar
        50merc

        Thank you for providing a fact-based response, Rocketrodeo. There is so much misinformation, propaganda, apocrypha and urban mythology about oil and gas production. A modern well can protect drinking water sources by using three million pounds of steel casing and cement. And the well goes thousands of feet deep, far below water sources.

        Then there’s the High Speed Rail fantasy, and the silly fearmongering that has made the Keystone Pipeline a bugagoo. Rational discourse has left the house. But Saudi Arabia is entertained.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          I have been backpacking in the ANF since I was 18 years old…I am now 58.

          I have seen the impact of the recent OGM development there…yes, there are plenty of old wells and pipeline still everywhere, but the number of new forest roads (with the erosion they cause and the local despoilment of runs and streams), the number of trucks on those roads, the dust, the invasive species they all bring, giant, clearcut 7-acre wellheads/pads you come upon not 150 yards from the North Country Scenic Trail…it’s a real invasion.

          I have been there literally hundreds of times, and I drink the water in those runs and springs…I have to select my sources, see what’s upstream/uphill, purify it, so I see the changes in individual water sources over those 40 years. The long-term damage to the water is in addition to the short-term damage cause by bulldozed roads carrying VERY heavy loads of gravel, sand, concrete…much of which is sourced from gravel and sand pits created…again, that you stumble upon in what used to be close-to-pristine second-growth forest and stream meadow areas.

          The drilling, well design, casing…it may all be done to regulations, but the supporting activities are really high-impact.

          • 0 avatar
            rocketrodeo

            I have long said that the ANF is historically the most heavily exploited industrial forest in the US. When you look at the breadth of industries that have used its resources (oil and gas, hardwood and softwood logging, wood chemicals, tanneries, hydropower) it’s amazing that it can still encompass recreational values that support both motorized rec and wilderness users — that success is shown by you using the terms “pristine” and “second growth” in the same sentence. And it occupies a strange ecological niche where harsh climate and poor soil combined with controversial even-age forest management (i.e., clearcutting) results in some of the highest-value timber in the world. It turns out that money really does grow on trees when those trees are furniture-grade black cherry. The North Country Trail transits some of the most intense oil and gas exploitation ever seen in the eastern US, more than 130 years ago, and the concurrent forest products mining was just as severe. Twenty years ago I could take you through a mature stand and show you where the chemical wood loggers made their huge slash windrows just by the species of trees — shade-tolerant trees like maple grew up through the slash piles while the sun-loving cherry grew in the clearings between piles. Eastern forests show amazing resiliency in their ability to recover from a level of environmental devastation that’s nearly unimaginable to today’s forest visitors.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      Dense urban living is “efficient” but its also a horrible way to live. Crime becomes an issue; personal space and privacy suffer; and the cost of living goes up (unless you want to live in a gang-controlled area). I’ll take my suburb with its quietness, affordability, low crime rate and personal space. One man’s “sprawl” is another mans privacy and space.

      I also power my 22-mpg truck with ethanol; not oil. Subsidize that. The vast majority of our car fleet either can or can easily be modified to run on it.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Steven, I agree that inequality and war are evils worth fighting. I respectfully disagree with your conclusion that permanently destroying our continent’s irreplaceable lifeblood of ground water is the best way to combat it.

      •The best way to reduce our destructive involvement in Middle Eastern wars and dictatorships is just that — to reduce it. We can start with blocking the destructive influence of American oil-company and Israeli lobbyists that distorts our policies in that direction needlessly. This would also offer the side benefit of reducing our toll of mangled young Americans and improving our image abroad by getting us out of the wedding-bombing and torture industries.

      •The best way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil is by reducing our consumption of it. This can be achieved through a multi-pronged national strategy similar to the one already being pursued by Germany, which has made a huge economically motivated investment to take a big, big lead over us in wind and solar technology, thereby creating the prospect of thousands of high-paying jobs (presumably for displaced Volkswagen workers).

      •The best way to reduce inequality in our country is by reversing 35 years of legislation that has systematically increased it. The way to start this process is by legislating a reduced role for the direct injection of money into political campaigns, as virtually every other First World nation in the world does, and as we used to do.

      I believe you are are sincere in your motivations, but you’ve fallen victim to the same siren song that every vested business interest always sings to win our consent for measures that profit them while destroying what belongs to all of us: “It’ll create jobs!” Read “The Lorax.” Lot of very adult wisdom in there.

      • 0 avatar
        VCplayer

        “I respectfully disagree with your conclusion that permanently destroying our continent’s irreplaceable lifeblood of ground water is the best way to combat it.”

        The goal is kind of to get the oil without messing up the water. You can argue about the success of that of course, but saying that its a direct tradeoff is hyperbole.

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          VC, we can gamble that we can succeed in preserving our groundwater more often than we fail. But much like “environmentally responsible surface mining,” the technique is inherently fraught with hazards. And anytime it fails, you can’t put the toxic toothpaste back in the underground tube. I would submit the cost/benefit ratio is something to be considered very, very seriously.

          • 0 avatar
            VCplayer

            @tonycd

            I agree a lot more than I disagree with you. I think instead of trying to fight fracking’s existence we need to just have better regulation and supervision of the process. Outright opposing fracking is a losing fight.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      The fact that fracking is experiencing explosive growth in the past 5/10 years, and they’re offering “blood money” to property owners to sign away their rights (even for wells that *may* run under their property) speaks to an industry that knows that it may soon be subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act (The “Halliburton Exemption” can’t last forever), so they’re trying to get more of the “camel into the tent” before then. Establishing themselves as a linchpin in local economies will make legislation against them much harder.

      So, the only answer to curb the excess (unfortunately) is to levy taxes and fees on the industry to enforce pollution violations and infrastructure damage that they will inevitably cause, and also divert some of those taxes into alternative energy efforts – make alternatives more affordable.

      “Balance” for now, with a shift towards long-term sustainability.

  • avatar
    Dirk Stigler

    As a general rule, government should avoid subsidizing things or interfering with market outcomes unless there’s a really compelling reason to do so (where “compelling” does not mean “because some starry-eyed people really want to, because reasons.”)

    That said, I agree with the points made about oil dictatorships, but that’s an argument for ending foreign aid (or making it dependent on meeting standards of democracy and respect for human rights), not engaging in massive and inevitably price-raising distortion of our domestic oil market.

    In any case, as it currently exists, fracking operates as an automatic corrective to high oil prices, because it is a more expensive extraction method than drilling, but still cheap enough to result in reasonable gas prices. It has, for example, put a serious hurting on Putin’s budget for attacking his neighbors. We really want both drilling and fracking available because the competition creates self-correcting energy prices at the consumer end.

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      You are mixing up terms. Fracking is not an alternative to drilling. Hydrofracturing is a completion technique that is a component of the drilling and production process. Fracking is the preferred method of completion in tight sands and shales. Not a new process, but the fact that it has been coupled with the advent of multiple horizontal completions from a single pad into deep sands–which has required innovation on many fronts, including leasing–is what has made it such a dramatically productive process.

      • 0 avatar
        VW16v

        Fracking lobbiest have spent hundreds of millions dollars to keep the world from knowing of the NEW chemicals used for fracking. This is a new technology when oil companies cannot even submit what they are putting into the ground.

        • 0 avatar
          rocketrodeo

          Have you considered that it might be their competitors from whom they would want to protect their intellectual property? Every field requires unique chemistry. The chemicals are known. The proprietary combinations aren’t and shouldn’t be. Let’s not forget the TARGETS for all this drilling and fracking could hardly be less toxic.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    No. Subsidizing Fracking will remove the flexibility to increase or decrease production as market forces dictate. It will promote more reckless drilling as the subsidy becomes the reason to drill. At some point, the government will be forced to act to limit supply and then will have to pay for *not* drilling in order to keep the capacity *to* drill if needed. A bad idea full of unintended consequences.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    Hydrofracturing has become so politicized that it probably is no longer possible to make it part of progressive energy policy. The ironic part of this is that this completion technique has become an umbrella term for the entire drilling and completion process, and the level of ignorance spread by well-meaning environmentalists about what it does or doesn’t do, or can and cannot do, is on par with climate denial. Whether or not we like it, we are stuck with it because we are committed to natural gas as a medium-term replacement for coal for power generation and the Marcellus and Utica shale plays won’t last forever. At a certain price point, the Bakken Shale becomes an attractive target again. At another price point, the tar sands become attractive again. These are really just the tip of the iceberg since it’s primarily North America where tight-sand production has been implemented so far. That leaves a lot of territory around the world yet to be tested.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      An economy based purely on the extraction/exploitation of finite resources is fragile and short-sighted.

      The money spent to frack for gas/oil is purely for the short-term, while developing the resources for rare-earths and PV panel materials will be much more added-value and will have the same effect of reducing our need for foreign sources of, and fossil fuels in general.

      And we won’t need to divert cropland to feed our desire for long commutes when advancements in tech will make the alternatives not only possible, but preferable.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Nearly everything government subsidizes results in hugely negative consequences upon society as a whole (there are rare exceptions which are true, quantifiable outliers).

    Let’s just consider some of those things that government subsidizes currently, and I’ll let the B&B run with & weigh the pros vs the cons of those subsidies upon the economy, health of Americans (and non-Americans, for that matter), and society as a whole:

    Corn
    Sugar
    Hogs
    Ethanol
    Prisons
    Healthcare (A to Z, doctors visits to pharmaceuticals)
    Green energy
    Housing
    3rd generation poverty
    etc., etc., etc.

    mmmm mmmmm tasty subsidies, harming society, and increasing adverse costs or shifting costs around, leading to incredibly expensive, harmful, inefficient externalities, at the expense of most, to the enrichment of a few.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      DW, no mention of caddy’s well done, as for your post it really comes down to Americans want things to be cheap, gas is dirt cheap compare to the rest of the world, Food is dirt cheap compared to the rest of the world, You have me on jails, no idea why we have so many folks in jail, maybe it is because we have so many guns in the country. Folks bitch and moan when gas is $3.50 a gallon because the SUV only gets 15 miles MPG, they bitch and moan when meat prices go up but we still toss away tons and tons of food a day here. I am not a fan of the fracking pipeline because as I understand it, it has more downside vs. upside for the USA. Most subsidiaries help the regular joe, Sugar, farm, and housing. Unless the people of the country are willing to pay more to get healthily , or fuel efficient we will continue doing business as it is done today.

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        We have so many in prison because we arrest and jail folks for stupid things like marijuana possession.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Our criminal justice system has been essentially perverted, in part due to the extremely politically powerful for-profit prison building/prison administration complex, where as many as 50% of Americans incarcerated at any given time are incarcerated for excessive terms for non-violent criminal infractions such as possession of drugs, low-level traffic offenses, and even failure to pay fines & sanctions previously imposed by courts (mainly due to inability to pay).

          It’s all a sick, Orwellian, cruel joke.

      • 0 avatar
        Kendahl

        US prisons are full because of the war on drugs not because of the availability of firearms.

        Suppressing drug availability through enforcement hasn’t worked any better than did alcohol prohibition ninety years ago. Back then, the country realized its mistake after thirteen years and reversed policy. We are barely beginning to do this with drugs.

        I’ve noticed a correlation between crime rates and gun control. Restrictions are minimal in areas with little crime while control is strict in high crime areas. (Cause-and-effect is limited to gun control as a response to crime.) There is a complaint that the violence in high crime areas is enabled by firearms that flow in from areas with little gun control. The complainers refuse to acknowledge that crime remains low in the source areas despite the availability of firearms.

    • 0 avatar
      GermanReliabilityMyth

      Thanks, DW, for serving up all the sarcasm I wanted to provide. I’d like to offer a second helping, though.

      I live in North Dakota, which is bad enough, and have been here the last 7+ years, even before things took off in “the oil patch.” Which lends me a unique perspective in having watched the whole thing go to pot from the start. Suffice it to say, a lot of problems resulted, arguably more than the extraction taxes covered. COL went through the roof and the state crowed about how individual income and employment rates increased while the elderly and those on fixed incomes got priced out of their homes. Nevermind the fact that that data was horribly skewed. In the mean time, our infrastructure took a beating, crime rose with the population of mouth breathers and now problems like human trafficking and drugs are big enough problems they can’t even be ignored. Federal involvement with task forces to address the above has become the end result.

      Now that the Saudis grabbed us by the short hairs, oil wells are being abandoned en masse, pipelines are being neglected and no one can find the fly-by-nite companies who laid out the (too small) bond for them after evaporating in less than half a year. So, now we’ve got oil spills bubbling up almost every other day and the people stuck footing the bill is, you guessed it, the State of ND. Yet somehow our elected officials still want to bend over to appease oil interests (that’s a whole other issue).

      If that’s the price for the ‘Murica synonymous with cheap oil, screw that, it’s not worth it. Some things are worth more than affordable gas. This whole thing has become a disaster and the only one who saved us was the Saudis tightening the screws. I’ll pay more for gas if I have to and try to live more sustainably if it means I don’t have to watch half of my home state become a Superfund site. Which brings me to my next question…anyone want to buy a Dodge Ram for cheap?

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Flying on a 757 while eating Doritos or Sunchips, drinking a high fructose corn syrup laden beverage, getting more obese, having to give oneself an insulin injection, taking a Chantix and Lipitor, while surfing oligopoly (or monopoly) FCC licensed internet on an Intel-“incentivized” powered tablet, with a cargo load full of commercial parcels to be delivered, underneath the floorboards, while being attended to by stewardesses and airport workers (many of whom have huge % of wages/salaries/benefits paid for by taxpayers rather than their official “employer”), as you land at and pull up to the airport terminal is an apt metaphor.

      Whether you’re left, right or center, a plethora of links laying out the FUBAR SNAFU BOHICA mess of subsidies existant:

      Farm subsidies
      Milking taxpayers

      As crop prices fall, farmers grow subsidies instead
      Feb 14th 2015 | WASHINGTON, DC

      http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21643191-crop-prices-fall-farmers-grow-subsidies-instead-milking-taxpayers

      The 8 Biggest Corporate Welfare Recipients in America (Boeing is #1 at over 18 billion per annum)

      http://www.cheatsheet.com/business/high-on-the-hog-the-top-8-corporate-welfare-recipients.html/?a=viewall

      Fossil Fuel Subsidies: Overview
      http://priceofoil.org/fossil-fuel-subsidies/

      Agricultural Subsidy Programs
      http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/AgriculturalSubsidyPrograms.html

      Direct Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Energy in Fiscal Year 2013
      Release date: March 12, 2015
      Revised: March 23, 2015 (revision)

      http://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/

      10 Corporations Receiving Massive Public Subsidies From Taxpayers

      http://mic.com/articles/85101/10-corporations-receiving-massive-public-subsidies-from-taxpayers
      http://www.cheatsheet.com/business/high-on-the-hog-the-top-8-corporate-welfare-recipients.html/?a=viewall

      Posted on April 8, 2013 | Posted in Press Statements
      Big Pharma Pockets $711 Billion in Profits by Price-Gouging Taxpayers and Seniors
      http://healthcareforamericanow.org/2013/04/08/pharma-711-billion-profits-price-gouging-seniors/

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      “Nearly everything government subsidizes results in hugely negative consequences upon society as a whole (there are rare exceptions which are true, quantifiable outliers).”

      This “government is the problem” line has been furiously sold to us for decades, and ironically, private interests have profited massively at our expense because they’ve succeeded in making us believe it. How about these “products of government subsidies”:

      •Streets
      •Sewers
      •Water pipes
      •Public education
      •Police and fire protection
      •Parks
      •Regulation of financial markets

      These are not “anomalies” — they’re the shared endeavors we agree, through the mechanism of government, to share responsibility for maintaining through the more sophisticated version of pass-the-hat we know as “taxes.”

      Ironically, some of the worst evils in today’s society have resulted from the privatization for profit of functions better handled by government — like for-profit private prisons, or the abdication of government responsibility for regulating financial markets. Government can be the very BEST way to get many things done. It just gets maligned because it’s not the most profitable to commercial interests.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        1st, public infrastructure falls into the exception category, which I carved out (it’s just too bad that taxpayers pay on the order of multiples more for that often shoddy infrastructure as designed & put out for bid by government officials as could otherwise be the case – think Big Dig in Boston).

        2nd, I wouldn’t exactly be anxious to hold out the following government subsidized programs as shining examples of success stories in efficiency, effectiveness or quality in the context of public spending as appropriated by bureaucrats:

        • Roads
        • Public education
        •Police and fire protection
        •Parks
        •Regulation of financial markets

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          You miss the point, DW. Without government, we wouldn’t HAVE them, period. Except for corporate toll roads, private drives and private police forces inside gated communities, parks if you can pay the membership fees, and private schools that deny a poor kid any education at all.

          Do you want to live in an America that provides the basics of civilized living only to the upper middle class and the rich? If you think we have chaos and exploitation now, wait a few years. Then see how much you enjoy walking the streets and interacting with the rabble in the America this kind of thinking is already in the process of shaping. We’re on the way to becoming a Third World shooting gallery, and this is much of the reason why.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree with your last point but its not because of police, park service, and public education (unless you argue its because of the unsustainable debt they create, then I grant partial credit).

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The state – at least in developed/developing nations – essentially is forced into building out large scale infrastructure, for reasons of sheer scale and the inability of private sector firms to obtain a decent ROI (without a corollary taxing power, which the state also conveniently has).

            This doesn’t necessitate that the state always, or even often, builds out such infrastructure in an even remotely logical, efficient and/or prudent manner (I’d argue just the opposite is often the case).

  • avatar
    Joss

    Who sells the World all the tanks, war planes & bullets?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    You have to admit that Fracking makes us look like we’re freaking desperate to find every last drop of black gold that we can. Like an alcoholic laying on his back with an empty bottle of Jack Daniels praying that the verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyy last drop lands in the back of his throat.

    • 0 avatar
      ksmo

      Humans in general seem to be pretty loathe to make tough decisions that are wise in the long term but involve pain in the short term.

      I think all it would really take to make an impact is a lot of people making small changes.

      For instance, I try to ride my bike to the grocery store if the weather is good. I have a cargo trailer behind it, and can ride a few miles to the store and back.

      Is it easier to take my car? Sure. Do I have to make more small trips on a bike? Yes. But think if 50% of folks that lived within 5 miles of a grocery store rode their bike 25% of the time instead of driving. How much gasoline would that save per year if tens of millions of people did that? It’s not a cost issue to me, as I can easily afford the gas to drive. It’s about burning fuel that’s a limited resource when I can ride a bike that uses no petroleum at all to operate. Why waste the gas?

      The sad thing is, I’ve never once seen another person on a bike at my grocery store. Sadly, nobody really cares about being frugal with fuel, because it’s cheap.

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        Is your time valuable to you? Mine is. I’ll take my truck 100% of my grocery trips. I try to minimize these trips to once every other week. Why? I’m a parent, I’d rather spend my time being a present father then pedaling myself back and forth to the supermarket. Every last person who pontificates about using alternatives to the personal automobile forgets the value of TIME.

        FWIW I don’t look at fuel as disposable I look it as an expense I have to pay to keep my time. It’s not that I don’t care is that I’ve prioritized my time at home. I use E85 exclusively at home and try my best to find it when travelling. I do combine trips and before becoming a father I did use mass transit for most of my commuting needs. When my kids are older I’ll go back to it.

        • 0 avatar
          ksmo

          Time does have value. My 6 year old (yep, parent here too, familiar with the concepts involved) loves to ride with me, so this allows me to spend time with her, do something fun (Trek Transport cargo bike), and use less resources. Also, exercise is something most Americans can also use a bit more of, judging by what I see out in public…I include myself in this. Why spend time in a gym alone when I can work out with my kiddo AND go to the grocery store at the same time. Actually pretty time efficient, if you ask me. I’m accomplishing multiple things at once.

          You can be active and do outdoor activities while being a present father. Actually, one could argue that when your kids are young is the best time to set a good example, not after they are older. They learn the most by watching you when they are fairly young.

          You’re assuming that time spent riding a bike is time wasted. I beg to differ. Many benefits to it. Personal fitness, family time if you do it with kiddos, less waste of natural resources, etc.

          I’ll take a bike ride with my daughter over driving to the store to save time so I can sit on my couch and watch TV with her later.

          Speaking of kids, you and I will be gone someday, and they will still be here. I’d like to think that me being a glutton and taking the easy road didn’t leave them with far less resources in the future, decreasing their quality of life after I’ve long been reduced to worm food or ash.

          • 0 avatar
            Frylock350

            @ksmo,

            Good post! I wasnt trying to say that bike riding is useless. I personally consider all time in transit from point a to point b to be a waste, so minimizing it is my goal. The best way is to reduce the number of trips and to use the fastest method conveyance available. I personally don’t take my toddler to the store, why subject them to the boring chores of adulthood? She can play with mom while I shop or vice versa. I totally agree that bike rides are good family fun, I just prefer they be in my suburban side streets or load them in the truck and drive a to a local trail through the forest preserves as opposed to sharing the road with traffic on a thoroughfare (never mind the safety issues involved with that). I’m not a TV addict, I’m an outdoorsman, particularly when water and fish are involved. That’s a passion I hope to share and pass on. To me being a present father is spending as much time as possible with your attention focused on your child. Presence isn’t just physical, I know too many parents who watch TV or the all important sports game rather than turn it off and play with their kids. Am I giving her my time and attention when I’m pushing a cart around grabbing peppers and lettuce whilst ensuring she’s near me and safe? Tagging along for errands doesn’t count. I’ll drive to minimize the time so we can get home, read books, play, throw the ball, etc. Who says I’m rushing home to turn the idiot box on? :). I’m rushing home so I can spend more quality time with her.

            I do think conserving is important, my home is fully lit by LED, all my appliances are energy efficient, I’m an avid recycler, I buy a renewable fuel for my vehicle, I contribute to preservation funds, etc. We just draw our line in different places in the sand.

    • 0 avatar
      50merc

      And fertilizer makes farmers look like they are freaking desperate to grow all the crops they can.

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      Yeah, not a measure of desperation. Think of it as a paradigm shift. It isn’t fracking per se that’s new; it’s the combination of hydrofracturing with multiple horizontal completions that is the real innovation. It’s incredibly productive, and we’ve only seen the beginning of its deployment. It’s not just the flood of new oil and gas production that is driving prices down. It’s the prospect of its wide — worldwide, not just in North America — deployment that is causing what I think are structural changes to the market. It means that it will be decades until we see a spike in fuel prices like we saw in the past five years, since a steady natural rise in prices will bring a dozen new Bakken fields online as the market requires them. If you believed in peak oil theory, you need to realize that fracking has effectively pushed peak oil back a generation, because the market has surely realized this already.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        “If you believed in peak oil theory, you need to realize that fracking has effectively pushed peak oil back a generation, because the market has surely realized this already.”

        And may God help us.

  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    It would be amusing, if it were not such a tragedy, to read the comments indicating that we shouldn’t do the pipeline because we’d be handling someone else’s dirty oil or we’d make some company richer or the money will go into tax havens or that all the oil will just end up in the world marketplace. Or that we need high speed rail.

    I’m sure we’re going to hear every reason in the world why we shouldn’t develop our own oil supply or help a good neighbor further develop theirs.

    So, in general, most of the comments I see here and most of the comments I expect to see here is or will be why we shouldn’t do anything.

    What we’ve been doing is working so well… Hasn’t it?

    What is to say we couldn’t legislate that oil produced here is used here instead of going to that world market? We could of course do that.

    I paid $1.85 for gas this morning and that’s only because OPEC wants to kill our fracking business. Why? Because it’s impacting the world market and driving the price down. Our fracking is damaging their income so they’ve driven down the cost to try to put fracking out of business. If they’re successful we’ll think back to $4 or $5 a gallon gas and pine for “the good old days.”

    That’s a good reason to support any notion about fracking. I’d commit a tax dollar or two to that. I’d take the fracking crew lunch. Whatever makes OPEC suffer I’m for.

    The best reason: The radical groups that want us dead are being financed by oil. We ought to put a stop to that no matter what we have to do.

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      Fracking technology, rather than fracking itself, puts an upper limit on the price of oil. OPEC cannot kill fracking. The most they can do is put it on hold until prices rise enough to make it financially viable once more.

  • avatar
    banjopanther

    You can make a plea for the importance of having domestic energy all you want, it won’t change that fracking is a mostly junk bond financed ponzi scheme, a desperate short-lived hustle that makes no sense economically, in spite of the lies designed to spur investment. We can’t pay back the money we already “borrowed”, much less borrow more just to keep this racket going for a bit longer (6 years at current rates… reported reserves are wildly overestimated). Fracking wells decline at a rate of about 50% after the first year, and don’t last much more than 5. This is an industry that has no future. It’s about to implode and I would rather not bail it out. It’s not unlike the sub-prime loan boom that went bust and took many Americans with it. The truth is that they are running out of suckers to swindle. The sooner we adapt to a process of managed contraction, the better. Oil imports will reduced anyway if we do nothing. Middle East oil is depleting, and they need it too, as does a growing China. Yes, it’s a shame that we will never again have the opportunities available to those who lived in the age of cheap energy, but this is reality, and it’s non-negotiable. Also it’s a little late to complain about the Saudis.

  • avatar
    ksmo

    One thing I haven’t seen talked about that maybe some of you that are smarter or more educated on the issue than me can opine on…

    Why be in such a hurry to tap out our domestic energy reserves?

    Wouldn’t it make sense to drain the other guys dry first? Let the middle east pump all their oil out of the ground while we sit on ours. Down the road, as supplies dwindle, the value of what we’ve saved in the ground will be far higher.

    Doesn’t seem to make much sense to me to pump all of ours out at dirt cheap prices. If I had a stockpile of a valuable resource that had stable demand, I’d bank it for the day when my competitors ran out of supply. Mine would be worth a lot more at that point than when everyone was selling the same thing.

    This may be a myopic and naive view, hence I’m posting it here to be educated on the subject.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      I agree with this; though I do think some tapping is required just to advance technology and to allow the threat of American production to limit prices. But I’d much rather use up everyone else’s resources.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      We can sit on it, but the end result will be that some other country provides the capital to extract it. We’re already at the point where the Fed is pretending there isn’t inflation because we wouldn’t be able to make debt maintenance payments on our debt with our total tax receipts if there was a real interest rate. The time to start managing our resources intelligently is now, if it wasn’t at least a decade ago. Many of the problems that dominate headlines today are the result of choices made fifty years ago to use other people’s oil first.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Wouldn’t lessening our reliance on oil accomplish the same thing? We drive huge vehicles, build huge McMansions, and shun electric cars, bicycles and walkable and bikeable urban living with good public transit development. We need to change our lifestyle, not frack!

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I’ll take fracking and the freedom to live as I please, but thanks for playing.

      • 0 avatar
        ksmo

        CJ, That’s a short term ideology. Just think if the generations that came before us had thought more about what was good for the future vs. what was comfortable for them in the immediate term.

        Also, the whole freedom to use resources as I please thing was great when there were half a billion people on the planet. We’re heading toward 7.5 billion right now. The earth can sustain about half that long-term, from best estimates. So we’re running at a net deficit of resources right now. Taking fish out of the water faster than they can reproduce, etc, etc. Best science we have indicates the Earth can sustain somewhere around 3.5 billion indefinitely, max. More than that, you start a spiral downhill where the entire ecosystem is gradually degraded severely.

        Agree with Super.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          If previous generations were as stupid as the AGW cult, they’d have perished. People made the best of what they had,something we should emulate.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            The USA was established as the “great” country that it is based upon the exploitation of abundant natural resources, and human rights (eliminating the indigenous people, slavery, immigrants toiling in the industrialist’s mega-factories and railroads).

            Oh, yeah, we also established a “Democracy” that allowed all of this to happen.

            We stand on the shoulders of giants, indeed.

            When we finally start to get in inkling of what “Democracy” truly means, the fear that it will upset the delicate balance of what we’ve “built” suddenly turns the concept of “all men are created equal” into “Marxism”.

            Oy Vey.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Hutt, would you rather have lived your life elsewhere?

            We’re 96% pan troglodytes, whaddaya want?

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            RH – Yes, I’m LUCKY to be able to enjoy the fruits of what has come before me.

            But, with that, I must learn from the lessons of the past, and be a (small) part of the future.

            We have to realize that the “light that burns twice as bright, burns half as long… and we have burned so very, very brightly.” (One of my favorite movie quotes).

            So, do we continue “business as usual”, or build on what we’ve learned to make a better world?

            THAT will be the legacy of a true America.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Hutt, uncontrolled human breeding takes the future out of all our hands. The global South is already encroaching upon the last citadels of human rights and progress, even in countries that *didn’t* stupidly import hordes of its people for agricultural labor.

            I wouldn’t feel overly responsible for any future legacy, who will be literate and leisured enough to ever ponder it?

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            RH – We can’t “put the toothpaste back in the tube” when it comes to the population/demographic shift.

            Luckily (or not, I guess) by the time that the poop hits the air motivator, I’ll be in an urn (or a landfill) somewhere.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        CJ is fracking right!

        Bad puns aside, I’m not riding a bicycle to work 40 miles away. I am not going to haul pallets on a third-world rickshaw.

        If that option works for you, do it. A one-size-fits-all option never really fits most people. Forcing them to fit into it is sheer lunacy.

        • 0 avatar
          dolorean

          Matador, CJ spouts the Breitbart mantra of hate anything that smacks of the left and wrap it in FREEEEEEEdom!

          Yes, hauling pallets is the height of motorized transport. If that was all it was, we’d have a lot more oil and no need to spew dangerous and unpredictable chemicals into the ground water. Even Oklahoma finally had to admit that it’s 2000% increase in earthquakes over the last five years is directly related to fracking. But hey, you figured it out. It’s all about how to get you on a bicycle.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      Lets start small people, moms and dads on the car pool school pickup lines turn off your cars, do not just let them ideal for ten minutes , running into 7/11 to get the paper or more likely a scratch off ticket turn off the car, hey mister police officer turn off you car while your just parked there , small steps people.

      • 0 avatar
        ksmo

        Good point. People make acting responsibly sound like it’s a choice between living a good lifestyle or living in a cardboard box in poverty.

        It isn’t. Nobody is saying walk everywhere, ride your bike everywhere, stop driving. At least I’m not.

        I’m saying maybe walk or ride a bike to the store for 5 or 10% of trips instead of never. Make an attempt to minimize vehicle use. Plan stops along a route instead of numerous small trips. Walk inside instead of idling in a drive thru for 5 or 10 minutes.

        It’s not some huge life killing deal to make an attempt to be less wasteful. I think the average person could make some small sacrifices to try to be more efficient with natural resources. That’s all.

        • 0 avatar
          Superdessucke

          I am glad there are some true patriots on this Board. If there was a flag icon, I’d put it here. Responsible living and commuting is what’s going to make this Nation great once again.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The only way to rid the world of oil kleptocracies is to find a substitute for oil. Neither increases in supplies from other sources nor conservation are going to fix it.

    We found a substitute for salt — refrigeration — that doesn’t even resemble salt in any way yet managed to replace it. We need to do the same for oil.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    You don’t need oil to murder and oppress your population, as millions who die in Africa of starvation under despotic regimes has shown.

    The fact is, suffering and oppression is the natural state of human existence. We should be thankful our founders created a system designed to limit the power of government and enshrine personal liberty and free markets. Too many of us seem to be willing to exchange our property rights and liberty for the latest “free” bobble the government dangles in front of us.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      “Free markets” have an insatiable desire for natural resources, Africa is a treasure-trove of these resources, and despots thrive on the money that our desires feed them.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    There are a couple of counter arguments to Steven Lang’s thesis in this article:

    — 1 —
    There’s a finite amount of hydrocarbons on earth. Fracking let’s us get to more of it, which in great in terms of maintaining the status quo for an extra few decades (in exchange for environmental/climate damage). But holding this fact in mind changes the calculus at a deep level.

    With this in mind, it makes sense to save our oil and NG for later. Let the countries that don’t like us very much sell their oil to us now for short term gain, and then we can use our oil after we’ve used up theirs.

    It’s a bit cold blooded, especially with respect to the oppressed people, but it does guard American interests over the long run.

    BTW, the actions of Iran are fascinating wten viewed thraugh this lens, because they appear to be planning for this. The idea that nuclear electric power generation is of even more strategic value to them than nuclear weapons makes sense, if you ask what they’re going to do after oil. If they can make their own energy, they’ll be a regional power player after the oil states sell all of their oil and become just a shadow of what they once were.

    — 2 —
    Demand destruction.

    We can accomplish a lot of what Steven Long suggested by using less oil. Every time someone replaces a gasoline car for for an EV, we no longer need oil to run that car until it ends up in the junk yard – it’ll be run off of a mix of coal, nuclear, hydro, wind, and solar — with the mix being determined by your local power grid. Those are all domestic power sources.

    If we don’t need the oil, those countries that don’t like us very much will lose a lot of their economic power.

    EVs aren’t all this to all people at the moment but, if everyone who has second “commuter car” swapped them for EVs, that would probably be enough to move the oil market. And that choice will get a lot easier with the 200-mile generation of EVs coming out in the next year or two (Leaf 2.0, Bolt, Model 3).

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      A former co-worker called thermodynamics an accounting course for engineers in which you account for energy. All you folks who look to electric cars as a panacea are doing the thermodynamic equivalent of single entry bookkeeping. You take the credit but forget the debit side of things.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        If you’ll read my comment, you’ll see that I list the electric power generation mix.

        “…[the car will] be run off of a mix of coal, nuclear, hydro, wind, and solar — with the mix being determined by your local power grid. Those are all domestic power sources.”

        No violation of thermodynamics there.

        Since this article is mostly about geopolitics, I didn’t feel the need to explain thermodynamics – and, instead, alluded to the energy accounting that you speak of.

        There is a mistake in my comment in that I forgot to mention natural gas, which is a big and growing part of the electrical generation mix (displacing coal) due to the low price. And NG is cheap because of fracking.

        The point is that, with an EV, it’s agtostic about its fuel source, and ttat most of our electric power generation mix is domestically sourced fuel. I clearly did not forget to account for the fuel used by electric generating plants when pointing that out.

        If you want to be aa thermodynamic pedant, you might paint out that I forget to bring up the increase in entropy that occurs because of running heat engines. Sure, but I’m holding gasoline engines and EVs to the same standard here, and pointing out the geopolitical advantages of using different fuel sources. If you want to talk about the theory of heat engines and the Carnot Cycle, I can do that – I just didn’t explicitly include it in my argument because I thought it was a little off topic.

        There are ignorant EV advocates out there who believe it’s a pannacea, but you’ll note than I didn’t claim EVs were a replacement for all or even most gas cars. I pointed out one specific use case that is within the capabilities of today’s EVs (and more comfortably within the capabilities of the next generation of EV) where EVs can save a lot of gasoline. I didn’t say that we should be using EVs for long haul trucking. I didn’t say that contractors who use their pickup trucks for work should suddenly start towing heavy equipment around with Leafs. I said that, if people who have a second car used for short-distance commuting were to trade them in for EVs, that we as a nation could save a lot of gasoline. For instance, my wife and I live in the midwest and own a Prius and a minivan. We have two kids now, so we take the van on roadtrips. So, we could replace our Prius with a Leaf 2.0 with no lifestyle tradeoffs whatsoever. If everyone in a similar situation did the same, we would so a lot of gasoline and import less of it.

        I like having my ideas tested and challenged, but please read what I actually wrote, instead of arguing with your friend’s straw man, mm kay?

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          P.S. If you’re interested in a thermodynamic view of the USA’s energy situation, see:
          https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/

          If you like thermodynamics, you’ll be gratified to see that the “rejected energy” that is pumped out in to the environment from car radiators (for non-EVs), and steam condensers of all kinds (including those which power EVs) are included.

          I,m suggesting that a small decrease in the petroleum usage could move the price of oil quite a bit. The price of oil is notoriously inelastic in the short term.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            I bought a 2015 Volt, fully aware that it’s no panacea, but a direction that we must go.

            Most cars cannot recover energy from braking, the Volt can.

            If all cars, garbage trucks, delivery vans, mail trucks, etc. could do this, we could make a significant dent in our fossil fuel use – yes, there are downsides to the EV, but these can be worked out moving forward.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “The unofficial belief is that this behavior will also hurt Iran and a few other governments that hate our culture and foreign policy”

    Steve this is so much more intricate than “hurt Iran”. Per the clowns at CNBC, while the Iranian regime was budgeted for $100/bbl, their production costs are still low at $10-15/bbl. Puts a squeeze on them for sure, but that’s not stopping them from becoming the no 2 if not no 1 Arab/Persian player in the region. Not to mention the obvious economic implications of the oil price on the Neo Soviet Union who what remains of the West is now challenging in proxy wars in Ukraine and Syria. Speaking of foreign policy whose has been worse, Putin’s or the President’s? The Administration directly destabilized Ukraine, Libya, and Egypt, while indirectly stoking the flames of Syria and supplying ISIS “accidentally” of course. Forget hearings, I want charges. They impeached Clinton for far, far, less and the fact NOTHING happens to obviously incompetent if not treasonous people says to me the game is already over.

    “The Iranian government developed a budget based on oil at $100 barrel. Petroleum accounts for 80 percent of Iran’s exports, according to the CIA World Factbook.”

    “Another plus for Iran is that it only costs the National Iranian Oil Company between $10 and $15 to produce a barrel of oil, so even now, the energy business is still profitable.”

    http://www.cnbc.com/2014/12/01/falling-oil-hurts-irans-hand-in-nuclear-talks.html

    “The Islamic State has released a new video in which it brags that it recovered weapons and supplies that the U.S. military intended to deliver to Kurdish fighters, who are locked in a fight with the militants over control of the Syrian border town of Kobane.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2014/10/21/u-s-accidentally-delivered-weapons-to-the-islamic-state-by-airdrop-militants-allege/

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Your avatar!?

      I am going to miss the easy-to-spot red/white biohazard warning.

      I may change avatars in alliance with you…who’s a bigger pr!ck than Les Grossman?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Wow a lot of feedback on an avatar.

        Lets see now who is a major prick…

        Krugman
        Obama
        Axlerod
        H. Clinton
        B. Clinton (despite his entertainment)
        Sanders
        The Bernank
        Mr Yellen
        Fischer
        Dimon
        J.J. Lew
        Geithner
        Trump (entertaining as he may be)
        J Bush
        G Bush
        Papa Bush
        Boehner
        Ryan
        Buffet
        Soros
        Koch Bros
        Zuckerberg
        Maher
        J Stewart
        Lauer
        Fallon
        Maddow

        Ok now for bonus points tell me: 1. how many criminals are on this list and 2. how many statists are on this list?

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          That’s quite the list.

          You forgot Roger Smith, Hank Paulson, Angelo Mozilo, Hank Greenberg, Johann de Nysschen, Bob Nardelli, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Roger Ailes, Warren Hypocrite Buffet, Charlie Hypocrite Munger, Bernie Madoff, The Green River Killer, and Charles Manson.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I tried to stick to living pricks, and while I did get Buffet I don’t know how I forget Mozilo. I truly wonder how he is still alive, he burned everyone. Nardelli is a good one too I missed. I would leave out Madoff as he was actually prosecuted for some reason and JdN just bc he may be a fool but doesn’t strike me as a prick.

            I also like how you just tossed two serial killers in at the end. Nice work.

        • 0 avatar
          Steven Lang

          Thank God my name isn’t on it.

          Then again, I do sell used cars. Hmmmmm….

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I very much doubt it would ever be warranted, but even if it was you’ve got some catch up work to do in order to be equated with the sociopathic or sycophantic scum of this society.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Well…this touched a nerve. This casting about for emotional feedback is fishing for results in the same reaction as if the doctor hammered at the Babinski reflex!

    And if I may be so critical yet as kind as possible, this story is a tad on the idiotic simpleton side. There is a great deal more at play here in the supporting of oil nations…even IF in the long run they are hateful or want us, and anybody else, destroyed.
    There is a global power play at work. It is a complex game of power and alliances. If you are against my enemy…you can be my temporary friend.
    Hell…this happens on the smallest of family alliances in my own Italian famly! If it ain’t oil, it might be mom and dad’s income and will.Perhaps the vacation home.

    The commodity OIL can be replaced with water or gold or whatever other damned worldly need is the greatest demand of the moment.

    Silly….grow up and face the fact life is an ugly game of survival.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    To answer the headline question: No. Fracking has already proven itself unsafe in multiple ways, including poisoning ground water and creating instability in sub-surface geology.

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    Fracking has proven to be an unsafe method of oil production with a lot of undesirable side effects like contaminating ground water, earthquakes and other problems. How about subsidizing renewable energy instead?

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Why subsidize fracking, when domestic solar and wind are so much more attractive?

    Why not have the true costs of imported oil (i.e., 3 wars in the last 25 years) reflected in a tax on imported oil?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree with the call to solar but would point out the currency of the nation is effectively backed by oil. Until this changes, gov’t will spend or sacrifice nearly anything to protect it.

    • 0 avatar
      VCplayer

      “Why subsidize fracking, when domestic solar and wind are so much more attractive?”

      I’m not in favor of subsidizing fracking, but I dislike solar and wind as alternative sources. The amount of power/land area is simply not very good. We’re either losing farmland or destroying the environment to construct solar/wind farms.

      I’m fine with putting panels on top of buildings, but that’s only ever going to be supplemental power, and I have a lot of concerns about the cost effectiveness. We need to spend our money on solutions that work.

      “Why not have the true costs of imported oil (i.e., 3 wars in the last 25 years) reflected in a tax on imported oil?”

      Well, ultimately because we’re a country that hates hard decisions. Practically though, taxing any oil is a good way to make sure that your economy is inefficient. Plus all of the diplomatic consequences of such a move.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        That’s a bit of a false dilemma. When allocated correctly, farmland can be used for both crop and wind energy production. The largest wind farm in my neck of the woods is on pasture that’s too rocky and steep for crops, and the dairy cows graze within 20 feet of the wind towers.

        • 0 avatar
          VCplayer

          I mean, that’s true, but it still isn’t going to solve the power issue. 300 million Americans are only ever going to use more.

          I would love for us to expand nuclear power. There are real concerns, but we know how to manage them, and the technology is old enough at this point that we know what not to do.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            +1. Nuclear power is, watt for watt, the least deadly source of power.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            What the fuku?

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            …The problem being that when it does “fuku” up, nuclear power does so in a very unmistakeable and incredibly media-present way. As opposed to coal, which kills much slower.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The economic consequences of Chernobyl was one of the major factors in the fall of the Soviet Union. Japan was already in poor economic shape but Fukushima will be their complete undoing over time, mark my words. A similar event in this nation would do us in at this point. The current generation of nuclear power which exists here is an accident waiting to happen, not to mention 40 years of waste already produced from each plant. From a safety POV everything built prior to 1980 should have been immediately shut down after Fukushima, especially the 21 or so GE BWR plants. Given the true nature of Fed (as a credit bailout mechanism) money should be printed just for the decommissioning process. In the event of an accident this is what would happen anyway.

            I’ve read newer type breeder reactors produce much less waste and are less of a risk. I don’t know how true this is but it would be an alternative to the circa 1960 garbage we are currently still using.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            We need more and newer nuclear reactors. You can’t shut current plats down without replacements. They produce 20% of the nations power. We should be building something similar to the third gen EPR reactors in Europe. Maybe we can wait for fourth gen reactors, because they will supposedly be more economical than the $12 billion third gen reactors. If we start building some now, they would be on line by 2030.

          • 0 avatar
            VCplayer

            @28-Cars-Later

            Chernobyl was a combination of terrible reactor design and the blatant violation of safety protocols. What went wrong there would never happen in a western design, because the Soviet design was really, really stupid. Western reactors have never been designed so poorly.

            Fukushima happened due to a perfect storm of multiple disasters occurring simultaneously that overwhelmed the safety protocols that were in place. Even then, it was a relatively minor disaster given how bad it could’ve been—no where near as bad as Chernobyl.

            More modern designs actually deal with the problems that caused the Fukushima disaster through a variety of methods. I’m not against replacing older reactors, but we’ve had this technology for a long time now and we understand how to use it safely.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I wish I knew more about reactor designs to play counterpoint to this, but alas I do not. There are many theories on Fukushima and as much as the Japanese were responsible for placing the diesel generators below ground what ultimately failed was the illusion of safe nuclear power in the West. I can remember having conversations with Westinghouse Nuclear employees (whose campus is located next to where I worked) who talked trash on the sh*tty Soviet design. Then a very mature GE design goes tits up… Oops. I can tell you what happened would have been less severe had the design been PWR vs the BWR which was installed. I also have another fact to share, the GE BWR design was particularly effective in making weapons grade plutonium and also to produce MOX fuel. I have read the real reason that model of reactor was installed in Japan was to create fuel for a secret Japanese nuclear weapons program. This model can also create and use MOX fuel which the Japanese were doing in Unit 3 the day of its explosion.

            Nuclear is dangerous enough to be in limited use at this stage in the game and reactors older than X should be summarily shut down. If other reactors can be developed which do not have such severe side effects (eg Thorium reactors) than I am all for it.

            “One possible method to reduce the enrichment of the surplus of weapons-grade plutonium is to
            irradiate mixed oxide fuels (MOX) in commercial nuclear reactors like the boiling water reactors built by General Electric.”

            http://www.osti.gov/scitech/servlets/purl/677201

            “Unlike the other five reactor units, reactor 3 ran on mixed core, containing both uranium fuel and mixed uranium and plutonium oxide, or MOX fuel (with the core comprising ~6% MOX fuel[37]), during a loss of cooling accident in a subcritical reactor MOX fuel will not behave differently from UOX fuel. The key difference between plutonium-239 and uranium-235 is that plutonium emits fewer delayed neutrons than uranium when it undergoes fission.[38]”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_nuclear_disaster_(Unit_3_Reactor)

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I would note that the US has already had its nuclear disaster; I live about 50 miles away from it and note that two of the three reactors are still in operation. I live within about 25 miles of two other nuclear plants; one east and one west of me while a third is about 35-40 northeast of me. I’m fully aware of the potentials, but I would also note that every one of them is at least in a relatively stable location, geologically speaking. In fact, I’ve lived within about 30 miles of a nuclear reactor one way or another for most of my life, including actually being involved in the manufacture of such for several years.

            That said, most existing reactors today are at or near their designed retirement age and some are past it; using upgrades to control and safety systems to extend their working lives. It’s time to find something better and I personally believe that something better already exists in at least two different forms–Pebble Bed and Thorium reactors. Not to mention the many different renewable sources which are just coming online.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            We will have to see what happens with Fermi in SE Michigan. Detroit Edison’s proposal for Fermi III was approved in May of this year. Because natural gas prices are low, and they building wind farms, they have no immediate plans to build Fermi III. According to Detroit Edison, they could have it built in six years. It’s a $10 billion project though.

      • 0 avatar
        ckb

        ” We’re either losing farmland or destroying the environment to construct solar/wind farms. ”

        Uhhh…you should take a second look. I realize its not the same across the nation but the solar panels covering 1/3 of my roof generate 110% of the electricity I use. The entire southwest has more than enough roof space to generate everything it needs from solar. Yeah yeah, storage. Battery costs are going down about 6%/year. Within 5 years I expect to see a whole house battery that lasts 2 weeks.

        And its not like windmills are blowing crops over. The footprint for a windmill is about the same as an oil well and there are plenty of those scattered across farms.

        You know what destroys the environment? Removing millions of acres of forest to get coal out of a pit and the hundreds of oil spills each year that don’t get reported.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          I drive past windmills which comfortably cohabit with corn and beans every time I leave town.

          The farmer gets ta diversify his income, at the expense of having to drive the combine around the pylons, a couple of times a year.

          Photovoltaics shades the land unhernath the panel, so that’s different. But wind coexists with agriculture out here in the midwest very nicely.

        • 0 avatar
          VCplayer

          @ckb

          That’s awesome for the southwest (well, the ones who don’t live in high-rises). Hopefully some of that electricity can go towards fixing the water problem out there. If that region can subsist on solar that’s great.

          Energy use is only going to keep increasing though, and there just isn’t enough space for solar panels in the long term.

          Windmills are limited to areas where wind is constant, and you have some other concerns too. You probably don’t want them in areas with endangered bird species (they kill those), and they do take away land from farmers—it adds up when you start talking about powering the nation that way.

          I’m not arguing that wind and solar don’t work in the right circumstances, I’m more concerned with spending subsidies on it. If we’re going to spend government funds, it should be for maximum yield, and I just don’t think they provide the best bang-for-buck.

          They make us feel good about the problem though. That does have its own value.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            I won’t say that wind towers (and solar farms) don’t kill birds, because they do, but coal kills about 7.9 million a year. Feral and domestic cats account for 1.4-3.7 billion bird deaths a year, according to the Nature Communications journal. Using the bird-killer argument is only valid if you’re also prepared to exterminate every feral cat in the world.

            Also, the amount that farmers get for the 1-2 acres that’s required to put up a wind tower is (most of the time) significantly higher than the local land price. Given the choice, 9 out of 10 farmers will take the money.

            Source: am farmer.

  • avatar
    Brett Woods

    Just a reminder to read about how the main country of the middle east (Persia) had its democratically elected government (Mossadegh) overthrown by european/american oil barons who installed a fascist puppet (Shah) that suppressed the cultural and economic development of the populace while the resource revenue was siphoned away.

    Reasonable opposition was squashed for two generations. Only violence and religious extremism worked to get any sort of public autonomy. The satellite desert tribal kings were also co-opted and set up by the foreign companies. It’s still a struggle going on today. You don’t think those Yemenis are psycho baddasses do you? Look at GDP figure for Yemen, look at population number, then look at median income. Look at proportion of GDP going to education, health care, and housing.

    The only reason we are being force fed about increasing our local production is….

    It’s not so you and me get anything cheaper. When those local kids wrest away production as they are doing now they’ll sell the shite for half the price. All you and me see from Fracking is sinkholes, tainted water animals won’t drink, barren landscapes where trees don’t grow, and a clean-up bill when the hose heads vanish.

  • avatar
    itsgotahemi

    Your pic of fracking is quite misleading. The Hanesville Shale in North Louisiana starts at about 10,500 ft and goes to 15,000. So looking at your picture with a standard 14 ft tall tractor trailor you depict the fracking to start at about 6 to 8 times the tractor height. In reality in would be about 800 to 1000 times.

    Just looking at the math.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    A lot of excellent responses. Let me add a few thoughts that are probably a bit off the usual course of US vs THEM.

    1. It’s going to take a variety of energy sources and technologies to make the western world less reliant on OPEC and Russian oil. Fracking happens to be the strongest one for now as it relates to cars. But that doesn’t mean battery, wind, solar, coal, natural gas, recyclables, and other sources won’t be big players. Technology has an amazing way of making minor resources into enduring ones.

    2. For now though, the growth in oil production that’s attributable to fracking has been just plain amazing. If the information below is true, we’re really on the cusp of becoming a major force in the oil markets.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intelligence/2015/04/01/how-much-u-s-oil-and-gas-comes-from-fracking/

    3. The big fear that I have with the current scenario is having big oil companies buy out most of our fracking infrastructure and then essentially tapering out supply so that the market can once again be manipulated by those who want locked in long-term profits above all else.

    http://www.investopedia.com/articles/markets/080814/fracking-cant-happen-without-these-companies.asp

    The Middle East has one democracy of six million people and badly administered dictatorships with well over three hundred million people. Other than providing humanitarian aid and engaging in trade, we shouldn’t be actively involved in the affairs of dictators.

    Religious fascism is a very real thing and although the overwhelming majority of people in the region just want to be left alone, there are far too many nutjobs that want to cause havoc. Us feeding them weapons does make us complicit in promoting their death and suffering, which is why she should try to pursue greater energy independence.

    If these idiots want to fight a Sunni/Shia war, fine. But other than protecting local refugees and supporting our allies who are getting blowback from this greater war (Israel, Turkey, Kurds), we shouldn’t have a dog in this fight. We have already armed far too many sick dogs in this region.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Your views on Middle East policy could use a bit of nuance.

      We don’t support the Saudis because we like them, but because they have well-located real estate. One of the reasons that it is well-located is because of its proximity to the Russians, who remain a threat even though they are now a secondary power. (It would have been nice if the Iraq War had provided the US with another power base in the region, but that obviously didn’t go so well…) Of course, all of the oil beneath it provides another compelling reason to care about KSA.

      Foreign policy isn’t about loving everyone. World peace is best left to Miss America.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      If major companies buy up the infrastructure and then reduce supply to increase the price of oil, they will merely invite more fracking and wildcatting. If it doesn’t work for OPEC, it won’t work for companies that are much smaller than OPEC.

    • 0 avatar
      olddavid

      I do not want to comment on your global advice, just on the Canadian aspect. I made a very good living for many years loaning money to the crazies in Alberta who were on the front lines of that industry. When I started the benchmark was $30/bbl. Above that and everyone bought new equipment and hired everyone with a pulse. Below $30 and the lawyers were paid and all the hardware repo’ed in the ensuing liquidation. Then when the big players decided the sands could be profitable, they became the new employer of the workforce and the peaks and valleys were eased. Fleet orders that were once for 15-20 trucks became 200-300 and people learned exactly what Johnson Controls controlled. And, how to pronounce Schlumberger. My perception has always been that in order for Canada to cease being a bit player/coattail wanna-be to the U.S, they will need to invest in value-added infrastructure. They need to vertically integrate the petroleum industry and create everything from gasoline to plastics. Until they do they will always be a resource extractor with the attendant boom and bust cycles. As to your suggestion for more subsidy of the oil industry? I can only shake my head. We have to be more innovative than that. I am at a loss for suggestions but damn near everything done so far has been abject failure. When the desperation of a people is so great that they no longer fear death, everyone has failed. Who doesn’t want to see their grandchildren prosper? Who doesn’t want to enjoy the fruits of a well earned retirement? The inmates of the asylum have seized the podium, but there are 10 “normals” for every one of them. How to encourage things like the breakthrough of Tunisia? I am not much longer for this mortal coil, but smarter people need to be empowered somehow to take this head-on. We rebuilt the entire world after WWII. Surely this, while mind bogglingly intricate, is achievable?

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Steve, one of the reasons Mitchell Energy and other small energy companies were able to get hydraulic fracturing started was that it was relatively easy for them to get the resulting natural gas to paying customers. Pipelines, suppliers, drilling rigs, mineral rights, regulatory process, etc. were all present in Texas. Even if big companies buy up and shut down small companies, all the people and knowledge exist to build new small companies next time energy prices go up.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Americans already fund fracking through special depletion methods, domestic production deductions, and other tax incentives, which bear little resemblance to any accounting theory. Federal taxes are rising again, partly due to oil production in the US so I’m not necessarily opposed to tax relief if it stimulates GDP.

    Rather than funding fracking, the US should mandate renewable bio oil in gasoline. No more ethanol garbage. Domestic renewable oil blending, until we get the economies of scale we need. Never gonna happen because OPEC would lose their minds, but it would be a nice policy without too many negative consequences.

  • avatar
    George B

    Steve, I’m convinced that the best United States energy policy would be no energy policy at all. Zero. Combining hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling occurred first here in North Texas independent of government action. In contrast, the federal government has attempted to fund everything from coal synthetic fuels to solar and the one thing all these efforts have in common is they’ve been spectacular wastes of money. The federal government truly has the reverse Midas touch.

    Oil companies that have stayed in business through many decades are built with some balance between upstream operations, getting crude oil out of the ground, and downstream operations, making products out of crude oil. If the Saudi’s want flood the market with inexpensive oil, you let them. Focus making money by refining that oil into products consumers want.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Fracking appears to be perfectly capable of funding itself.

  • avatar
    makuribu

    Fracking is uneconomical and very short term. The side effects are earthquakes and unexplainably explosive crude oil. I don’t think it’s something you want to use as an economic weapon against the Saudis.
    Go for renewables instead.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “Go for renewables instead.”

      Can poop be fuel? I know fat can.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        “The energy content of dry stool is about 2.3 x 10^7 J/kg…”

        http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2010/ph240/cash2/

        The methane that accumulates at waste treatment plants is usually just burned off. In the future I could see us looking upon that as quaintly as we do the dumping of “useless” kerosene by-product (aka gasoline) into the river back in the 1800s.

        The early settlers in my area used dried buffalo chips as fuel until they could get enough trees planted. Everything old is new again.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    1st world living requires lots of power and all power sources do environmental damage. Nevertheless, because we are wealthy the environment in the US and Canada is clean and well-protected. We are threatened by too much food more so than dirty air or water, despite some environmental “disasters” and resulting hysteria by the hysterically-inclined.

    North America is awash in hydrocarbons, as some of us have been saying for years in the face of the peak oil “denialists.” If oil ever becomes too expensive, nuclear power is essentially unlimited and so, therefore, is energy. There is no crisis. Some people openly bemoan the abundance of oil and gas and the death of the chicken little “peak oil” propaganda because it hurts their agenda.

    People who want more government and government/corporate power sharing always create a crisis when they don’t have a real one to exploit. The current man made CATASTROPHIC global warming hysteria is the next myth that will die. In the meantime, it serves the same purpose. Give them the power, so they can save you. Kim Jung Whomever tells his people they have to submit to his power in order to save them from the foreign enemy. It is an age-old technique.

    As for the Saudis, they will be despots whether rich or poor. That is how humanity behaves when given power. Our nation was created in reaction to this reality on the principles of individual sovereignty and the diffusion of power. Despite the college professor narrative that we actually pay them to teach our children, America is not an evil country that needs to be saved by the left.

    Despite our errors, bad deeds and sins, we have given more freedom and more opportunity to more people than any nation in history and we have done as much or more than any nation in history to protect, defend, and spread freedom to the rest of the world. Most free nations today owe us a debt in that regard, though most have forgotten or discounted it. If we want to continue to protect freedom, we need to start at home.

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