New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made headlines at the end of last year when he announced a ban on hydraulic fracking in his state. That was unquestionably a victory for environmentalists, but in neighboring Pennsylvania, however, fracking is still underway. This summer, I visited the northeastern region of the Keystone State to see what the the front lines of America's shale gas boom looks like.
ALBANY — The Cuomo administration announced Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State, ending years of uncertainty by concluding that the controversial method of extracting gas from deep underground could contaminate the state’s air and water and pose inestimable public-health risks.
Floating over the US Southwest is a cloud of methane the size of Delaware, writes Mike G - reflecting the release of almost 600,000 tonnes of the powerful greenhouse gas every year. Its origins? Coalbed gas production, fracking and horizontal drilling.
The hot spot happens to be above New Mexico's San Juan Basin, the most productive coalbed methane basin in North America.
When NASA researchers first saw data indicating a massive cloud of methane floating over the American Southwest, they found it so incredible that they dismissed it as an instrument error.
Advocates of high volume, slick water horizontal hydraulic fracturing, popularly known as fracking, often champion the catchphrase: “Drill a well, bring a soldier home!” This can be found on placards held by pro-frackers at demonstrations and on billboards across the United States. You can buy T-shirts and bumper stickers on eBay that picture a gun-toting soldier with the same slogan. After all, natural gas is supposedly “Clean, Abundant, American!” But fracking will not accomplish what they expect. Only a genuine peace would do that.
One icy morning in February 2012, Hillary Clinton’s plane touched down in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, which was just digging out from a fierce blizzard. Wrapped in a thick coat, the secretary of state descended the stairs to the snow-covered tarmac, where she and her aides piled into a motorcade bound for the presidential palace. That afternoon, they huddled with Bulgarian leaders, including prime minister Boyko Borissov, discussing everything from Syria’s bloody civil war to their joint search for loose nukes. But the focus of the talks was fracking.
Albert Einstein is rumored to have said that one cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that led to it. Yet this is precisely what we are now trying to do with climate change policy.
The Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, many environmental groups, and the oil and gas industry all tell us that the way to solve the problem created by fossil fuels is with more fossils fuels. We can do this, they claim, by using more natural gas, which is touted as a “clean” fuel— even a “green” fuel.