A recent NPR story about fracking and natural gas is worth listening to. It focuses on New York states decision to allow drilling in the Marcellus Shale in 85% of the state, after years of refusing to allow the practice. The Marcellus Shale some two miles under Pennsylvania and New York state is thought to contain more total energy than all of Saudi Arabia. In Pennsylvania, some 140,000 jobs have been created in the past two years, and many more could be created in New York, where there are nearly 1 million unemployed persons. The NPR report repeats what we have long known — that fracking and horizontal drilling dont pose any more danger now then in the previous 70 years, where fracking has been used in hundreds of thousands of wells. The report shows that the negative reaction to fracking in places like New York comes simply from the fact that people dont like to see new industrial activity in their regions, even if it means more and better jobs for their neighbors, and from simple fear of the unknown. The environmentalist hysteria in reaction to fracking has been self-defeating, because people are slowly waking up to the fact the fear of fracking is unfounded, while the potential gains to society are historic. Crying wolf at every opportunity is never a good strategy in the long run. Rational cost benefit analysis and rigorous application of scientific method, on the other hand, are good strategies in the long run, and both favor every effort to bring the bounty of Americas natural resources home to its working families.

-Mario Loyola