Responsible energy production would seem to have an obvious positive roadmap; have energy companies include environmental groups in guiding pollution standards and participating in studies about natural gas extraction.
But for entrenched constituencies, that is unacceptable.
Hydraulic fracturing - fracking - has been around since the 1940s, it's actually far safer today than it was in the past, but it has replaced nuclear power as ground zero in the anti-science culture war and now various groups claim it causes ill health, cancer and even that it may cause the earth to deflate. Fracking is a lot more popular than in the past, and that can lead to more things that can go wrong, but making the precautionary principle a trump card in all business means we can't drive cars or plug in a toaster. Some common sense is warranted.
Toward that end, the Center for Sustainable Shale Development, based in Pittsburgh, was created. It is a coalition of energy companies and environmental groups designed to draft and support standards that will protect air and water from pollution in the Appalachian region. That's win-win. Pennsylvania was the first state to embrace oil when it was new (thanks for not sticking us with a Whale Oil future, Titusville) so it is fitting they embrace modern natural gas - it is cleaner than coal, it has kept energy costs down even while the population and income goes up, and these are union jobs in a union state.
The Center would like to be even more inclusive but a number of environmental groups are not having it.
Why would they not want to help? An obvious reason would be that compromise and being part of the solution is a direct threat to the fundraising of extremist groups like Sierra Club, which stays in business portraying energy as evil and who must bounce from cause to cause as once-lauded ideas are vilified (see ethanol, which was never a good idea to anyone but environmentalists) after being adopted. Natural gas was once promoted by environmental groups as well.
Green lipstick on a pig?
The environmental groups critical of this industry-environmental initiative say it's because the 15 standards drafted by The Center are voluntary and corporations will ignore them. These people have never sat in an actual corporate boardroom so they think all people in business are some variation of Scrooge McDuck, cackling while they sit on a pile of money and smoke cigars. The wave of 'green' initiatives in America in the business sector before the economic collapse were done by corporations populated by people who care about the environment, not because the government made them do it. Likewise, this initiative was done by moderates who see a lot of common ground in a health standard that isn't simply an excuse to promote anti-science and anti-business beliefs.
Obviously, there are extremists on both sides. Some regard any additional compromise as unnecessary because state and federal standards are already strict - they believe the companies in the center are just caving in to 'eco-nuts' who will never be satisfied anyway. If not overt hostility like that, the majority view is still cautionary. As Kevin Begos of Associated Press notes, the fact that 4 of the largest 10 companies in Pennsylvania have joined the initiative means 6 have not.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Pseudoscience Creeping Into Your Conference? A Case In GMOs And Glyphosate
- My Thoughts On The LIGO-VIRGO Result
- Henri Poincaré Predicted The Existence Of Gravitational Waves As Early As June 5, 1905
- Are Dark Matter Scientists About To Prove Its Existence?
- Gravitational Waves? Watch the LIGO press conference at 10:30 Eastern.
- Beyond Diamonds And Gems: The World's Rarest Minerals
- 36 Million Americans Cook In The Nude
- "Hi Dan, I referrred to what described in https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/page/ligos-ifo . From that..."
- "It's to be remembered that the Irish had small kingdoms in Wales and Cornwall as well as Scotland..."
- "Thank you for this comment.Raymond Poincaré (1860-1934) was the first cousin of Henri Poincaré..."
- "I like the argument on how evolving the entertainment technology are, the human being still enjoy..."
- "The power flux (power per unit area) of plane gravitational waves can be derived from Einstein's..."
- Fluorine: The Element From Hell
- Beard Microbiology: Grubby Hipsters May Be On To Something
- Water Tops the List of Health Concerns for Competitive Eaters
- Natural Flavors Are More Radioactive Than Artificial Ones.
- Bariatric Surgery Beneficial Even for Older People
- Opiates No Better at Easing Knee Osteoarthritis Pain
- Speech disorder called apraxia can progress to neurodegenerative disease
- Market integration could help offset climate-related food insecurity
- What values are important to scientists?
- Drones for research: DePaul University archaeologist to explain UAV use at Fifa
- Does living near an oil or natural gas well affect your drinking water?