The informative post This Fracking problem: Chasing the solution to this controversial mining issue by Jonathan R. Matias of Poseidon Sciences is closed to comments, so I am opening up a place for people to discuss the issues it raises.
I live in Western PA, where the issue of drilling into the Marcellus Shale is especially important. No doubt there is economic opportunity, but the downside goes beyond the environmental problems that Poseidon Sciences mentions. We have also had some fairly serious explosions and fires. Those are bad enough in rural areas, but imagine if they happened in an open lot in Pittsburgh or its suburbs.
Poseidon’s position on this matter? I am neither pro nor con to fracking. I think fracking is essential to our country’s energy independence and the continued employment of a whole lot of people during these dire economic times; the industry estimates 280,000 are employed or will be employed. But, I also think the industry must allay the legitimate fears of the public quickly by solving the issue and finding an alternative option to improve the system. I am sure you are thinking that sitting on the fence on this fracking problem is not a healthy thing to do. I neither relish the ire of the Pennsylvanians nor like being at the very bottom of the list in an oil industry event (not that I have ever been on any invitation list; not yet anyway).
I think he hits the nail on the head here. There’s plenty of money to be made from the Marcellus Shale, and a healthy economy is important to society. But those who extract the resources have an obligation to treat the concerns of their fellow citizens with respect, even when those concerns are voiced in anger. When important sources of fresh water are threatened and questions of public and workplace safety are illuminated by explosions, those issues need to be addressed with diligence.
Whether Poseidon Science’s solution is the best one has yet to be shown, but I like the company’s attitude. I hope the other companies in the industry look to Mr. Matias as a leader rather than placing him at “the bottom of the list in an oil industry event.”