What is the fracking debate really about? I recently received a random email from a fracktivist calling me an "idiot." Curious as to what was on this site visitor's mind, I sent a return email and "complimented" them on their "politeness."Side note: I admit, I don't really get to interact with fracktivists very often and the ones I do are amateurs. You know, the Gasland brand. The Taylor Swifts of the energy debate (sorry Ms. Swift).

I was really interested in this individual's thoughts.

After a few exchanged emails it was obvious our dialogue was not moving forward. To her, GMS is "trash" and we are all ignorant to real science. But...but, something this person wrote reminded me of what this debate is really about when you pull back the fracking veneer.

She expounded, "Our planet is in trouble because of fossil fuels and we need to stop using them...."

Ultimately, this is what's on the mind of the fracktivist and it governs how they approach the debate and their multi-layered argument.

Let's not fool ourselves into believing that we are just debating "fracking." Hydraulic fracturing is only one battle front that we must engage on as we try to make this nation independent from foreign oil.

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Comment by Ted Croft on February 23, 2013 at 7:05pm

Too true William.

However, In her pursuit of the bicycle, the seeds, the resources to install the garden, they all had to have been manufactured, grown, watered (well drawn by hand we hope) by some process in the consumer chain that involved some use of some aspect of the hydrocarbon footprint.

Your suggestions of personal introspection are spot on. Tough choices to be sure. We do have to start somewhere. It is not and will not be an easy answer.

Being made aware of the issue and thinking about what is now and will always be important is always a good start.

Comment by William Ladd on February 23, 2013 at 6:15pm

"She expounded, "our planet is in trouble because of fossil fuels and we need to stop using them....."


This person must ride a bike or walk to whever she needs to go. She also must raise a huge garden to avoid using trucks delivering to her grocery store.


She certainly cannot be a serious and astute thinking person to really believe these words.  I will agree with her that humans have contaminated much of the earth needlessly however. And there is much waste of natural resources. No question about that.


WE as an  educated specie need to look at ourselves and decide what is the best path to take for every one of us to have a good life.  Greed needs to be abolished! We have to make choices! Choices that will not smash certain groups down to benefit other groups.






Comment by Bob Jenness on February 15, 2013 at 5:48am

I would observe that the root of this "problem" is that we've all become too easily polarized, probably from watching how our elected representatives waste our time and money by arguing rather than governing.  If we could get away from believing that the other camp is the evil empire, we could see that "all of the above" is the only inevitable strategy for either the free or regulated markets.  Growth depends on cheap energy, and the more sources, the better.  Environmental protection depends on very high quality technical work, and the more competition (and regulation, too), the better for that, too.  Would BP have fessed and paid up for Deepwater Horizon if there were no alternatives available to the world?  Would the drillers aspire to Aviation quality levels if they were in posession of the monopoly they try to establish by agressive leasing practices?  Would Boeing have been able to build aux power for the dreamliner using petroleum instead of batteries that came from the alternative energy field (oh, yeah, they can't seem to master either one yet:-)?  

By the way, lest we think horizontal drilling is our financial savior, note that the technology development time curve for it was much shorter than the drilling, infrastructure, and production timeframe.  The real threat could be Methane Hydrate technology, which could put both us and the swifties on the skids before some of us are leased and producing.

Comment by Dion Warr on February 14, 2013 at 2:16pm


Maybe you shouldn't have invoked Ms. Swift.  The "Swifties" will now come after you for the mere mention of her name in a less than a positively glowing and completely supportive manner, and that's a whole other different group with which you might not want to become engaged.


Come to think about it, maybe the better metaphor is to refer to fracktivists as the "Swifties" of the energy debate.


Irrespective of the thousands of members who engage in this debate and others on your forums (with all manner of POV) in a more or less civil discourse, the fact that there may be at least "one" who may not wholeheartedly embrace fracktivism serves as reason for fracktivists to throw out the whole proverbial GMS barrel, as it were.


Of course if you were to erect shrines to Josh Fox and post pictures of yourself pining at devotional photos of the trinity of Ruffalo, Krasinski and Damon, your penance may be reduced somewhat.


Shalers may not let you live it down, though.

Comment by Ted Croft on February 14, 2013 at 11:53am


I have had more than a couple of opportunities to "debate" with those who are somewhat 'idealistic' in their concerns about the direction related to our reliance on 'fossil fuels'. My typical response is usally that they have identified a problem with the world's current state of affairs. That is great. But what is their solution to the problem?

This is where they all seem to fall on their swords. The answers given are ready for use and on the tips of the tongues. Solar, wind, electric cars, etc. The latest I received from Ms. Vera Scroggins was that to the effect of "they need to find some other way to fill the world's energy needs without harming the environment". Who is 'they' and how are 'they' going to fund this lofty goal? No answer with specific points of anything that looks like a plan is ever given.

Everything available today has a huge price to pay in the energy, resource, etc. footprint. Be it hazardous material generation, cost,  or just general pollution. Yes, I agree that the sources of energy  we have now are all environmentally intrusive in one fashion or another. However, for us to be able to fund that altruistic ideal of zero environmental impact, we have to start with what we now have to work. Hopefully we will finally come to agree on that which will give us the best bang for the buck. Which, in my opinion, would probably the Natural Gas industry based on the current comparative impact situations for all the useable forms of energy humanity, in general, now employs.

I realise I am probably preaching to the choir here but felt I needed to get my nickel's worth in on the subject. Thanks for the soap box.

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