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« Somewhat less brutal | Main | Not reassuring »

Apr 17, 2011

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David Boyd

This natural gas that has been discovered is a gift. It is a game-changer. It possibly means decades of cheap energy that is cleaner than anything we have now while at the same time changing Middle East dynamics.

The potential of it is so great that there is no reason to rush into anything. Lawmakers in Raleigh have plenty of time to make sure this is done right - that the state benefits and that property owners benefit. This is all so new that there is no reason to think that the technology won't improve and that these concerns about chemicals pumped into the ground along with water can be eased.

We all need to settle down and be grown up about this. Both sides.

Account Deleted

What's not reassuring is that a person in the fight already has told me that our state may position itself with weak oversight laws in an effort to lure the activity here. The rational is that there are a limited number of drill rigs in the country. Texas, Pa, Ohio have proven reserves. Ours are not proven yet. So in order to lure the activity here (fulfilling the mantra of "jobs, jobs" even though the jobs will go to outside interests), our officials might decide to make NC "more attractive to this type of activity" as one said in the committee meeting this week.

When my friend David Boyd talks about calming down, I agree with him on the whole about the need for an adult, rational conversation.

But I submit that NC's water resources will not defend themselves and as one person who grew up being told to love and appreciate NC's natural beauty I think I will stand up and defend at all costs the non-renewable water resources in our state from, yes, corporate interests who want to make a short term profit. I'll do the same when they come to drill for oil off the shore of our Emerald Coast.

So Gillespie's bill so far is doing the right thing in calling for studies and hearings and scientific examination.

The question in a year or two years from now is will the political status quo at that future point heed the information or not?

Account Deleted

And I have to agree with Ed that it is nonsensical for the News and Record to not have this story online. Their Raleigh reporter is one of their last remaining strengths and if his stories can't drive traffic to the website then I guess we will be stuck with the criminal of the day dominating the main portion of the site each day.

Steve Harrison

"This is all so new that there is no reason to think that the technology won't improve and that these concerns about chemicals pumped into the ground along with water can be eased."

It's not as new as you think, David. And as far as the improvements to technology. it's been demonstrated time and time again, in the absence of regulatory requirements or widespread public concern, industry will simply not voluntarily pursue costly remediation efforts.

And as far as treating the tainted water that results from this process, let's not forget the recent complaints from local elected officials about how costly it will be to upgrade water treatment plants to comply with stormwater runoff rules.

If Guilford County can't properly filter out those nutrients/toxins, then what are the odds any of our state's facilities, much less those in Lee, Chatham and Moore, will be able to successfully clean the millions of gallons of briny, toxic sludge
that fracking will leave us?

David Boyd

Steve, this is not big bad business versus the environment. It's juvenile to frame it that way. We're all going to benefit from this natural gas in numerous ways. To get hysterical at this stage is probably counterproductive. You will be better served to argue for a rational approach that takes into account the rights of property owners, the interests of the state and the protection of groundwater.

Andrew Brod

It's interesting how frequently cautious opposition to something like this gets branded "juvenile," "hysterical," or "a scare campaign"?

Perhaps I'm wrong about Steve, but I don't see anything in his comments to suggest he opposes "a rational approach that takes into account the rights of property owners, the interests of the state and the protection of groundwater."

But if pejoratives are a must, then I'm happy to join in. It's extremely naive, verging on stupid, to think that without regulation "we're all going to benefit from this natural gas in numerous ways." It's extremely naive, verging on stupid, to believe that industry will unilaterally monitor and clean itself up without the heavy hand of regulation looking over its shoulder. It'd be great if we lived in that libertarian paradise, but we don't.

David Boyd

It is stupid, not verging, to read a comment like, "Lawmakers in Raleigh have plenty of time to make sure this is done right - that the state benefits and that property owners benefit," and to presume one is opposed to regulation in this instance.

Andrew Brod

Okay then, that's kind of my point. You're not being stupid and opposing all regulation. But neither are others being "juvenile" or "hysterical" because they wonder if there will be sufficient regulation. That's hardly an unreasonable concern.

You're not the only one interested in a rational approach to this issue.

Andrew Brod

"...because they wonder if there will be sufficient regulation."

...or appropriate study prior to authorization.

Bill Bush

NC has a long history of supplying cheqp labor to industry. Think textiles and furniture. Think how that turned out. If all we have to sell now is our land, you can predict, based on past performance, what will happen to that. Retail politics is ongoing. I no longer subscribe to the polite fiction that campaign donations do not influence votes.

Steve Harrison


"Perhaps I'm wrong about Steve"

You're not, professor. I'm concerned about property owners, the State, and our water resources. And before this saga is finished, those of us who are trying to discover and expose all the negative consequences of this process will likely be called worse than "juvenile" and "hysterical".

That doesn't mean crap like that doesn't piss me off, David. But I'm trying real hard to be all grown up and stuff.


glenwoodobserver

Plenty to be scared about, but yes, too early to be hysterical. I'm trying to think of a time in recent memory where the extractive industries have been "grown-up" players when it comes to protecting public health, natural resources, and workers. Really, I'm thinking real hard. Nothing. Not sure it is in their DNA. And David, sorry, not everyone thinks natural gas is the "gift" that will save us.

Ed Cone

Beware of the lack of nuance in a block of text...I think everyone in this thread is saying much the same thing, with of course plenty of room for differences in emphasis.

There is what looks like junk science on the anti-fracking side -- see the earlier post under this tag on the allegations that fracking is the cause of earthquakes -- and there is credulity about the kind-heartedness of the extraction industry...

...but I think most of us understand the promise of relatively inexpensive, domestically-produced fuel, and also are sensitive to the environmental costs and the dangers of corner-cutting by big business.

So lets quit calling each other names and push for some serious due diligence on fracking.

I'm fascinated by the leases already signed -- what companies are involved? What's their record on environmental issue?

David Boyd

The gift is cheap, plentiful, clean, domestic energy. All those dollars that now go elsewhere in search of something to keep the lights on, now stay here. Imagine the power shifts in the world if the U.S. were energy independent. Or even a bit less energy dependent. If I were you, and I were opposed to fracking, I'd ask Saudi Arabia for funding. They have more to lose than anyone.

I believe the concerns voiced by those opposed to fracking in its current form are valid. However, I would prefer our attitude to be how do we address those concerns instead of that we are opposed to this process at any cost. Same goes for industry.

Andrew Brod

Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya...

David Boyd

http://futures.tradingcharts.com/chart/NG/M

Grant

Clean. Safe. Too cheap to meter.

RBM

This is all so new that there is no reason to think that the technology won't improve and that these concerns about chemicals pumped into the ground along with water can be eased. - Dave Boyd

From ROCKMAN with 30+ years o/g drilling experience (who's not actually anonymous):

IMHO I don't think we'll see much more improvement in the technology. While drilling and frac methods have greatly improved I see little potential for much change at this point. Prices have seen some improvement over the last year. Continued improvements will allow more SG completions. But it should be noted that the major players in all the SG are still the public companies that remain focused on reserve base increases as much or more than profits.

It may be valuable for NC to note public/private status of NG producers - when that bridge is crossed.

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