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The bursting of the fracking bubble has nothing to do with environmentalists, but they have deliberately put themselves in the spotlight. Hydraulic fracturing has dire impacts on water, air, land, human health, livestock welfare, wildlife, and climate.
Hundreds of local anti-fracking groups have sprung up across the country in recent years. Often created by ordinary citizens who suddenly found their wells dirty, their cattle sick, or their children with headaches and nosebleeds. All of this as a result of the nearby hydraulic stimulation operations.
Often times, it is difficult for environmental scientists to document such impacts, due to deliberate efforts by industry to prevent studies and publications (for example, requesting confidentiality agreements when complaints are resolved with cash settlements); in fact, industry spokesmen continue to deny that fracking is responsible for any environmental or health problems. The industry despises environmentalists. But the motive for this article is not hurt or revenge susceptibilities.
This is all business. Environmentalists are mere useful scapegoats - By blaming environmentalists for the bursting of the fracking bubble, public attention will be diverted from the industry's malpractices. But even more useful, telling the most receptive members of Congress that the drop in oil and gas production rates is caused by anti-fracking, alarmists, anti-business environmentalists, will propitiate a new scenario of calls to roll back the local, state and national laws. The likely response of Congress will be Poor you! how can we help you? What do you think of some exemptions in the acts of cleaning the air and water? Maybe priority of local fracking legislation with a more industry-friendly national standard? Would you like some drilling contracts on millions of acres of federal land as a snack, while you wait? Are you at home.
The industry has a lot to gain by portraying itself as a victim of powerful environmental interests. But will this maneuver start a new round of growth in oil and gas production? This possibility is remotely possible, as there are still billions of tons of low-grade hydrocarbon resources trapped under American soil. But, don't count on it. It takes money to drill, even if it's other people's money. As the quality of the available resources decreases, the amount of money needed to produce each increment of energy from those resources grows. The industry will have to find and convince a new group of investors, which will likely be difficult as shale gas and oil production follow the trend of heading south. Coping with debt burdens has been relatively easy due to very low interest rates; Maintaining debt burdens has been relatively easy due to very low interest rates; If the Federal Reserve decides to let indices rise again, it could be a stake in the heart of the industry.
In one way or another, the current fracking bubble may be the last gasp of growth in US oil and gas production.
The industry offensive will have much less effect if the mainstream media prominently and repeatedly publish good analyzes of what is happening in the geology of the fracking fields and the balance sheets of drilling companies; and if public officials understand and talk about the real reasons for the loss and decline in US oil and gas production.
Both developments could be facilitated by the work of the EIA. The recent Agency report was an excellent first step. The EIA works for Americans, and not for the oil and gas industry. When people's interests and those of industry diverge, it is clear where the Agency's loyalties must rest. This is an open plea to Agency officials: Please follow the evidence and tell public officials and Americans the true story of what is happening and how the national fracking boom is going to explode. You are the authority that everyone looks to.