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Saturday, May 4, 2013



A Cranky Opinion Saturday post


Whenever there is new technology we lose something.  Spencer Tracy says in my favorite movie “Inherit The Wind,” “We can conquer the skies, but the birds will lose their majesty, and the clouds will smell of gasoline.” 

We rely on gasoline and are on the verge of possible self-sufficiency in gasoline production thanks to a new drilling technology…Fracking.

What do we lose with this new technology? 

Many experts say it is not safe.  Other experts say it is perfectly safe if done correctly.  Who is right? 

The experts who say it is not safe are generally working for environmentalists.  Environmentalists think anything new is a threat to the world as we know it.  They would like to see the elimination of the use of all fossil fuels.  Environmentalists fear destruction of the planet if any life form goes extinct, or if the worlds temperature rises three degrees.  They fear nuclear power, they fear carbon dioxide; they fear everything.  So should we believe the environmentalist’s experts?

The experts who claim Fracking is safe generally work for the oil companies.  They may have some incentive to prove this technique is safe.

Environmentalists say Fracking, which powers water and nasty chemicals into the ground to break up shale and allow oil and gas to be extracted (something like that) is dangerous.  Hmmm doesn’t sound very safe to me.  They claim this process will poison our water supply and even cause earthquakes.  Sounds like a reasonable fear to me.

The oil companies say don’t worry, the process is perfectly safe.  I guess they have much to lose if the process isn’t safe.  They could be sued for billions and billions of dollars.  It must be a safe process.  Except oil companies are smart, they might have shell companies responsible for the drilling and they could avoid many law suits.  The process might be safe if done right…sometimes oil companies don’t do everything right.

What to do, what to do?

Listen to environmentalists and all progress will grind to a halt.

Listen to the oil company experts and chance that the environmentalists are correct?

There is so much money to be made, this Fracking scares me.  So here is my opinion on this Cranky Opinion Saturday post:

I have no opinion*.  

Fracking is currently allowed in many areas; perhaps we should limit the process to areas where it is already active.  Monitor it, regulate it, and make sure we can hold the big oil companies responsible for any accidents.  Do not give up on a process that could keep us in oil until a better method of generating power is developed, but proceed slowly and cautiously until we prove the process is as safe as some experts claim.

The preceding has been the non-opinion of a Cranky Old Man and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.

*I know, but I really liked the title!


  1. Besides the earthquakes that seems to spring from areas of intense fracking....I think a major concern is the chemicals leaching into the surrounding aquifers.


    Kelly Park (extremely awesome wife of Scott Park)

  2. since they started fracking in the dfw area, there have been several earthquakes which we've never had before.

    safe for water supplies? i don't think so in the least.

  3. I agree completely--I have no opinion, either, but I like the title!!

  4. They want to start fracking in the Karoo here in South Africa. Scientists for and against - difficult to know who to believe or trust.

  5. Fracking will continue unabated until there is a deepwater horizon incident on land. Considering the magnitued of that, several states would have to go under. Since fracking earthquakes and fouled wells are spread all over the fracking territory, fracking won't stop until some dust bowl situation arises.

  6. It is good not to have opinions because then nobody can accuse you of making judgments.

    I always figure there are folks who know a lot more than I do can have opinions.

  7. Well, dammit, I don't know nuthin' but I do have an opinion.

    Based on life experience I am pretty sure that you cannot trust anything the OIl companies say. They are in it for the money....period. Also, the idea of our becoming independent of foreign oil sounds good but will only postpone the development of some alternative fuel which will be better for us and the planet. So on that basis I am agin' fracking.

    Also being a tree hugger, nature lover and worshiper of this amazing planet Earth, I tend to find a bit more truth in the positions of the environmentalists even if they sometimes go to extremes. I believe their motives to be purer and not totally motivated by greed.

    So, what to do about the fucking fracking? Hell...... I'd stop it if I could, but at least I hope they will regulate it, monitor it and keep it in hand. There, that's my opinion which, sadly will make no difference whatever but I feel better for having taken my stand.

    Great title, Joe...very Big subject...definitely not a laughing matter.Love, Lo

  8. Like you, I haven't made up my mind about fracking. I've heard horror stories but something needs to be done to increase our energy independence. But what's safe these days?

  9. Diversify.
    I read about this all the time, that businesses must diversify to ensure their survival. So the oil companies should be the ONES who are investing in solar, wind, hydro, exploring all the different venues of powering our greedy consumer world.
    Rather than dredging up the last bits of oil. And making a mess.

  10. Nobody loves Nature and the environment more than me. I spent my life exploring the wilderness, hiking, camping, fishing, and canoeing all the major North American rivers. I used to take wilderness survival trips in Canada and the USA, and I love the outdoors. I also love trees, and would never cut one down.

    I don't trust oil companies at all, and environmentalists are frackin' loons from outer space. I live on Earth, where I am an American. I fear reliance on Middle Eastern wackos far more than progress, and the Chinese are polluting the atmosphere more than the rest of the world nations combined. I would take my chance with progress.

  11. It's my understanding fracking has been done for the past 30+ years. It isn't entirely new. This tell me it CAN be done safely, but that woud require the oil companies to scrupulously follow rules. That's the rub. As BP showed us with their Gulf oil rig disaster, oil companies can pretty much get away with murder. They ABSOLUTELY can't be allowed to self-regulate. If we had real, hard-nosed inspectors who wouldn't give the oil companies a blank check to do as they wished, we could all win. Consumers would have crude oil to bridge where we are now and the new technology yet to be developed, oil companies could still make a fortune, and the environment could remain relatively unscathed.

    Unfortunately money trumps all else these days.


  12. I agree that the best approach is the slow and careful. But those who would be most compromised in lifestyle due to poor water quality or other environmental issues are usually poor and disenfranchised. They need the job and do not really understand that they may have a trade-off where their children may have greater cancers or asthma or whatever. I do not know the full story, but I never trust the guy with the opportunity to make the most money. I was watching the argument against grandfathering the oyster company in the national park...because why should we subsidize this guy with a lease? BUT NO ONE was complaining about the subsidies we give to oil companies.