City Journal Spring 2014

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James Panero
The View from Marcellus « Back to Story

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this is stupid
Upstate NY's economy is dire and has been for a while. Fracking could save this state from the sort of things happening in California, bankrupted cities etc. Enviromentalists consistently block real 'progress. Very tired of it.
Oh Claire
All about the radioactive boogeyman and ad hominem attacks. What an idiotic post.
Oh James Panero
You seen to have forgotten to mention the NORM ( naturally occurring radioactive waste) oops! Maybe that is best left underground.
We surely all love NORM as much as we love fracking.
What an idiotic piece. Which company paid you to write this?
this is the real deal. WHEN DOES DETRIOT GET WITH THE PROGRAM
A well written article....
thank you for this article, I don't know much about fracking, but I do know that is one of the few positive things happening in the USA these days. Over here in France, they won't even do a "study" to see if it is environmentally possible. And France is sitting on tons of natural gas. Thanks to the "greens".
Perhaps water restoration can be another great boon? There are many companies out there with cutting edge technology by Americans who can purify the fracking water, what is our government doing with them?
let Hollywood and rich liberals rot while America stays on the edge of leading the world.
While there may be dangers to fracking, if the government could get out of the special interest business and into the helping the people business, maybe we could get real consensus to help all.
Gerrit van Tonder August 20, 2013 at 10:39 PM
Fracking can be a game changer for South Africa or an environmental disaster. This video shows both sides of the story http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnlScyEH7_Y&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DOnlScyEH7_Y&nomobile=1
James,
Give the anti-drillers a headache by presenting an alternative to hydro-fracking that removes most of their propaganda's traction. Don't need water for fracking! Use the technology of propane/pentane/butane fracking which uses those recoverable hydrocarbons to frack without leaving any biocides or other toxic chemicals deep underground to worry about and no contaminated water to dispose of. Now being used in the Eagleford effectively.
Seven billion dollars you say? Well, that means I won't be building my own backyard natural gas liquefaction facility then.
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Of course those things cost bags of money. They're handling stupendous quantities of natural gas. But the relevant figure isn't how much they cost but how much profit they'll generate and I think we can safely assume that the people building natural gas export facilities have a pretty good idea that they'll be making a profit.
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The substantiation for my assertion that "we'll have abundant supplies to use domestically and to sell to foreign buyers" is substantiated by the vastness of the yet-to-be drilled, but accessible, resources.
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Oh, and the amount of export that's permitted will increase the supply of natural gas since it'll acts as an increase in demand. The more customers you've got the more reason you have to expand. You do understand that demand creates supply, right?
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By the way, you seem to have overlooked the vast supplies of shale gas-rich areas outside the U.S. I mentioned.
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You do understand that the most frantic efforts of the enviro-left won't stop India or China or much of anyone from fracking for natural gas just as soon and as fast as they're able. Fracked cheap, natural gas gives the U.S. a significant advantage in international trade so our trade partners, and competitors, are highly incentivized to get more natural gas where ever they can. First they'll buy it from us but once their own supplies come in, produced by American fracking equipment, staffed by American fracking experts, they'll shift over to domestic supplies. After all, they have to if they want to remain trade competitive with the U.S.
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I look forward to the tack you're on resulting in a hard grounding and total dismasting. That's what happens when you ignore the chart and sail the course dictated by your conceits.
Perhaps he should stick with art. His research is shallow, and his conclusions suspect.
Allen, the export facilities are extremely expensive to construct, with prices averaging roughly $7 billion per facility. It should be quite obvious to anyone that companies would not be building $7 billion export facilities if exporting was a short term prospect. Either way, your statement that "we'll have abundant supplies to use domestically and to sell to foreign buyers" is completely unsubstantiated, as it must be because you have no idea how much exporting will be permitted by the US government. I'll maintain my tack.
Hey Jerome, while you were busy coming up with a transparently obvious means to deflate the optimism that a cheap, plentiful, long-lasting supply of natural gas, via fracking, promises shale gas deposits have continued to be found.
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Looks like England has its own quite nice deposits but so does France, Germany, Russia, China, India, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and gosh, just oodles of other countries. Google "shale gas deposits worldwide". Comes with pictures and everything.
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Now the U.S. does lead in the development of both fracking resources and fracking equipment, and we have a well-developed natural gas distribution network so we'll have abundant supplies to use domestically and to sell to foreign buyers. At least until they develop their fracking resources. Using American equipment, hiring American's to do much of the work initially and buying the specialized fracking equipment without which they can't obtain all that nice natural gas.
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Gee, I'm just not feeling particularly down about the future of fracking. Why don't you try a different tack?
Jerome....And why do you think the gas companies want to
Export the gas? Could it be because there are
liberal policies that restrict the building of
facilities to use gas in our own country!
The problem with this article is it (purposefully?) ignores exporting. In fact the word export doesn’t even appear once in this story. The TRUTH is shale gas producers are highly focused on exporting all this gas, have petitioned the government to develop export infrastructure, and several of those requests have recently been approved by the government. So forget about the lower costs of shale gas in the PricewaterhouseCoopers report. The low price is a temporary phenomenon due to the fact that the US has abundant production capacity, but does not currently have the necessary export facilities for sufficient amounts of natural gas and it will take time to build out the necessary export infrastructure. This is causing a temporary oversupply which is pushing down prices. When the export infrastructure, which is already being built, is in place an immense portion of the shale gas will be exported to other countries around the world whose natural gas costs are much higher than in the US. So can also forget about 1 million domestic manufacturing jobs by 2025, and you can certainly forget about American households saving anything on their heat and electricity bills thanks to shale gas. We are risking our water supplies, ruining our lands, tearing down mountains for the sand, and for what? So gas companies can export all of the shale gas to other countries to earn a profit not for America, but for their shareholders. Don’t let the temporarily low cost of natural gas fool you. That will all change in 2 years when they start to export the natural gas to other countries, and that is exactly the reason this author completely fails to mention it.
Where can I get a Yes to Hydrofracking sign. I am tired of seeing the NO to Hydrofracking. Can't find them.
I have an open mind on this subject, I don't know enough to have a firm opinion. One subject this did not discuss is the possibility of fracking causing earthquakes. This omission hurts the credibility of his other arguments in my view. If he omitted that, what else is he omitting?
Yes it is great and years from now after the oil companies have made their billions, we will wonder why all of our ground water is now undrinkable.
Given all the great benefits and high profits, making sure fracking is completely non-polluting is easy, right?

No need to dump the frack fluid in sewers or rivers because lots of truck drivers can be hired to drive tanker trucks of frack fluid from well to well and the impurities trucked to processing plants that completely neutralize it, and well casing can be completely safely sealed.

And being very safe will create good middle class jobs of highly competent workers committed to being completely safe and protecting the environment - the gas is so abundant and cheap that safety is not going to make fracking unprofitable.
The fact that the author is not a scientist and interviewed no scientists when researching his theory that "fracking is good" speaks volumes. Objective? Not.
Hey Producer get a life

The gas is treated locally in amine plants,
these plants are moved around as needed.
The gas then enters the consumer pipeline, to heat your house DA. Treated per spec with any hazardous elements removed.
Educate yourself, if your living on this earth, you are a consumer..
S Texas gringo
We seem to forget that these wells are short-lived, much like the analogy of shaking up a can of soda before opening it. The yield from these sources is far too small in comparison to the damages. We can live without money, we can't live without water.
A clearly written report of a complex tech issue, wherever one stands on it. Rare.
The Left thrives on victomhood. It's disgusting to see the no-nothing celebrities jump on another cause to show the world how much they've been wronged. Doesn't matter that the gas is much cleaner than oil or coal. With a compliant media by their side, they just spew propaganda and the public just laps it up.
the Sierra Club loved natural gas in 2005 when it was $12 to $14. They thought renewables could compete. They hate it at $3.50. simple as that
"Environmentalists" are just terrorists who wear green............
Response to John Marchese - stories like the one you complain about in this article are virtually all the anti-fracking industries have - like the guy who lights his water on fire. Lefties LOVE ridiculous stories. Why the sudden turn?
it's not my plan to be ignorant. i always saw that the gas goes to refineries, perhaps it doesn't need any. i'm not finding a definitive answer, perhaps you can help. my idea is to place generators at the gas pad and get rid of the trucks. transport the energy through the grid, but i always thought it needed refining before burning.
are my other facts wrong, is there a study about effects to our glacial lakes?
btw i'm not rich i live in the finger lakes and have boated and fished all these waters for generations. we do have agriculture and manufacturing and the depiction of an area destitute except for third world tourism is wrong as you can walk from NYC to get here.
Maybe Mr Panero should stick to his stock and trade ( writing about art ), as in investigative reporter, he's a dupe and a fraud.
I worked for George Mitchell in the early 80's, a true visionary. He always thought ten years ahead of everyone else. I am proud to have known him.
To "theproducer" natural gas is not refined...even fracked oil needs very little refining...learn your facts.
Classic case where uninformed NIMBY orientated rich unintentionally deprive the poor of jobs and or cheaper energy so that they, in their jet setting comfort can tell their friends that they are "saving he world"
what fracking will do to the deep glacial lakes of upstate NY is anybodies guess. The fluid is not just sand and water. i think it will stratify and create dead zones. Also, the gas will not be piped from the ground to the furnace it goes through something called refining, in Louisiana.
i could go on but there is no need for th luddites are the pro fracking believers and will be unswayed by science while they cling to outdated technology.
Regarding Mr Cuomo's reversal, here in conservoland, we nominally live in a democracy, and of Yoko Ono can turn public opinion, then, per democracy, Mr Cuomo must listen; the alternative is that Mr Cuomo or the next person, ignores the will of the people.

In conservoland, much environmentalism is pure fear, high anxiety, coupled with (copulating with?) junk science;

but beyond fear, and Luddism, is the intentional and stated desire to reverse modernism, and return to some invented and imagined pre-lapsarian never-existed Edenic innocence, end technology, live green and small, in cities, worship Gaia ( piffle to separation of Church and State) undo modern medicine, return to herbalist primitive folklore lifestyle medicine, demonize medical advances as elitist, ration out early death for seniors whose lives can be extended, and return to tribalism. This was once called Social Darwinism, only the (politically) strong survive.

It only took two generations for this to come to power.

The entirety of the last two hundred years of modernism is now in the crucible of ignorance and junk science and fear. and resentment.

All pretty fragile really.



Nice article, and a welcome relief to the opposing point of view.
An article about the importance of fracking to New York City is here: http://trotskyschildren.blogspot.com/2013/03/luddites-against-fracking.html
New Yorkers have always been among the world's best energy customers. One thing is for sure, with their life choices, they will keep buying the stuff.
Mr. Panero might just be the most credulous reporter ever. His purported on-the-ground reporting in Pennsylvania has the intelligence level and critical faculties of an eight-year-old. His belief in the views of the fracking interests borders on idiocy. The anecdote late in the piece about the landowner bringing donuts to the drilling rig -- told by a drilling rig worker but not confirmed by the landowner -- is all you need to read to know that this is not a journalist at work, but a dupe.
A society that doesn't base its decisions on rational science deserves the poverty that it gets - and those opposed to fracking deserve to be impoverished. Look at New York State - it is being depopulated, two Congressional seats lost in the last census. Democrats may like this, because it means more power for New York City, but really, where is all this going?

One can only hope that in places like California, as the wealthy, exclusively white environmentals become outnumbered people will come to their senses. Because, walking away from this tremendous resource is simply insanity, especially in New York State, which has NOTHING else going economically - except maybe tourism, a third world industry.

People will sooner or later turn to fracking - there is no other alternative, except maybe nuclear, and the fools have already doomed that industry. Prosperity means nothing to wealthy environmentalists, but for most people, fracking equals prosperity.
Water used is purified and filtered. It isn't dumped dirty back into streams. Environmental extremists are just flat wrong in their opposition to this technology.
And yes, I live near fracking. No exploding toilets.
Fracking is the brave, new frontier for lefty hysterics.

Anthropogenic global warming has fallen on hard times politically, it's old news which is to say it's no longer a thrilling topic of conversation or, as is the case with lefty issue, hectoring which means the mention of anthropogenic global warming now results in a rolling of eyes instead of the interest it previously drew. Everybody's heard about it so if you're not "in" you react with boredom and the conversation skids to a halt.

Fracking, by contrast is new and new is interesting and lefties once again have, or hope they have, a topic that makes them centers of interest and possessors of cutting edge news and, they assume, the moral high ground.

So the anti-fracking lefties relentlessly bombard all who'll listen with this exciting new opportunity for lefties to take on their rightful role as society's proper leaders, moral exemplars provided you don't look too close at their motivations and hypocrisy and courageous warriors against the forces of darkness that crouch in their collective closet.

But I think lefties will fail. The prospect of cheap natural gas has just too much in the way of upside to it to give much credence to lefty complaints. Then there's the fact that without exception lefty issues turn out to be supported by lies, misrepresentations, omissions and egregious inflations.
This story seems balanced but leaves out some of the most questionable aspects of shale extraction methods:

The amount of water required
The wastewater produced
Where does it go?
What’s in it?
Does some of it get into surface water (streams, rivers, groundwater)? How much?
Where is it treated and how thorough is the treatment?
The potential for inducing seismic activity

I could go on. Enormous amounts of sand for the drilling is shipped out of Wisconsin. That’s another environmental issue, plus the amount of carbon burned shipping it to wellheads. Then there’s truck traffic in rural areas, noise, flaring… Maybe you could look again more closely.
Your view from Marcellus seems a bit distorted. See also http://riskandpolicy.org/hydraulic-fracturing-risk/ for a different perspective. For yet another perspective with a longer historical time frame, also look at the risks of injection wells, in general, e.g., at http://riskandpolicy.org/injection-wells-risk/ .
jgury-
Excellent contribution, I think. It certainly provides credible observations of potential causation. Not causation, though. I appreciate the additional source data so that I will be able to see any continuing development of the research they are doing.
So I guess this Duke University study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is just more environmental extremism about fracking and water contamination.
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/06/19/1221635110.abstract
Andrew Cuomo is a misguided tyrant.
Beautiful.