The debate over natural gas development, or rather hydraulic fracturing, as the opposition to development has singled out this one short aspect of the process to oppose, is a relatively new occurrence. But, the question of what to do with our nation’s natural resources isn’t new by any means, and a quick history lessons reveals much of what is discussed in this new debate has been pondered and solved time and again.
It is within just this past decade that Americans really began debating the topic of natural gas and oil development in the public eye, most notably with the release of the very flawed film Gasland. The question of what should be done with our nation’s resources is age old, though, with debates between preservationists and conservationists dating back to Gifford Pinchot in the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. What’s most interesting is if we take a step back in time and look at what Pinchot represented, we find many of the same arguments today for the responsible development of our nation’s natural resources.