Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

December 15, 2013

Forum: Fracking, more harm than good

By Bill Hansen and John McDonald

The Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council has concluded that horizontal hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, should be banned. It poses a threat to the global environment and should be stopped immediately, everywhere.

All methods of mining the earth for fossil fuels cause damage to the environment. However, fracking is one of the most damaging of all. Currently, the state of Michigan endorses fracking “if it is done right.” But more regulations with better enforcement only pushes us further toward reliance on dirty fossil fuels that threaten our environment and human health.

Technologies such as fracking, tar sands processing and off-shore drilling are some of the more risky methods that have been devised to deceive us into believing that fossil fuels are inexhaustible. Fracking facilitates this deception.

A popular idea is that natural gas can serve as a bridge to cleaner sources of energy in the future. However, this ignores the economic reality that as long as natural gas and oil can be produced at a lower cost than clean energy, through exploitation of natural resources at no cost to the fracking industry, the incentive to develop clean energy is severely challenged.

How can we justify to future generations the squandering of millions of gallons of water for each well drilled when pure, uncontaminated water is becoming ever more scarce? Currently, fracking is not even subject to federal Environmental Protection Agency clean water regulations. And fracking, by adding to current CO2 levels, actually contributes to one of the greatest problems facing the continued existence of life on our planet, global warming.

If fracking had to pay for the natural resources it damages, natural gas would not be cheap. We cannot allow horizontal fracking to further devastate our vital natural resources. Water and air are held in common and belong to all people. It is in our common interest to vigilantly protect them. To that end NMEAC supports an immediate ban on fracking so our world can move as swiftly as possible from dependence on dirty fossil fuels to a clean energy environment.

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