Hoover on Drilling
The Hoover Institution's Richard Epstein has issued an opinion on fracking. And what he says may surprise you.
The Conservative-leaning institute's Epstein is not exactly a "drill baby drill" kind of guy. He acknowledges some risks with the technology, and says we should proceed with caution. But he says that, if we ban the practice altogether, we won't innovate enough to reduce the risks in the future. Here's an excerpt from his report:
The question that remains is what should be done with the residual risks of pollution? The question is of the utmost importance because at this point in time, much evidence points to serious risks of substantial water pollution from fracking. It would make little or no sense at all to encourage the willy-nilly use of new sources of energy, if they only aggravate the serious problems associated with fossil fuels. Now, the discussion turns less on shared social goals and more on sound regulatory technique. On this score, we must beware of any solution that simply condemns the new fracking technology on the ground that it will, without question, generate new forms of pollution. Of course it will, but so will other energy technologies, which is a point that most environmentalists refuse to grasp. The last people to trust on the regulatory front therefore are the committed environmental groups, whose one-dimensional view of the world can lead to the wrong conclusions.
Epstein goes on to say we should practice and refine these techniques in sparsely populated places like Wyoming and Texas, which sounds suspiciously like the "sacrifice zones" that some of the early Marcellus drilling enthusiasts talked about when problems surfaced in areas like Dimock. But having said that, the paper's interesting, and some of his conclusions surprised me.
- Category: Energy
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