The cost of fracking
July 23, 2012 Leave a comment
Been hearing a lot about fracking and our energy future from various sources lately. Most intriguingly, it seems to allow us to produce energy at roughly half the financial cost of coal with way less carbon emissions as well. All win. That does mean, of course, that fracking is going to keep happening no matter what. It’s simply too good to pass up. That said, the potential costs to our environment are really quite serious. Does anybody really want benzene, etc., in their groundwater? So, here’s the thing… let’s frack, because, economically, there’s no way we’re going to stop it; but make sure we regulate the hell out if it to keep our environment safe. It fracking really does offer so much cost benefit over coal, presumably we can make it really safe and still have a huge cost benefit. Just throwing semi-random number around here, but if under low regulation we’re getting natural gas at .5 the cost of coal and we can get highly regulated, environmentally friendly as possible natural gas at .6, that seems like an absolute no-brainer (and, I’m guessing based on nothing, that it wouldn’t even really increase the financial costs that much). Of course, there’s a lot of people who would like that extra .1 from low regulation to go into their pockets.
Of all the issues my class discussed in Public Policy last semester, the closest we had to consensus on anything was that, yes, we should allow fracking, but we should regulate it much more carefully and thoroughly. So, let’s do that.