U.S. Energy Secretary: Shale Gas Is Green & Good For The Economy
Take it from the man who knows, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz: Fracking for natural gas is climate-friendly, environmentally safe and economically stimulating. Which is just what America and New York need.
Moniz speaks not just as the nation’s top energy official, but as a nuclear physicist, a former MIT professor and the coauthor of an exhaustive 2011 report on the future of natural gas production in the U.S. In a meeting with the Daily News Editorial Board, he explained the numerous reasons why President Obama embraces fracking as a key part of his strategy for tackling global warming and creating jobs.
The President’s endorsement contrasts markedly with Gov. Cuomo’s dithering over whether to green-light fracking in upstate New York . Under pressure from fracking opponents, the governor awaits yet one more report on fracking dangers, this one to be delivered by his health commissioner, Dr. Nirav Shah.
Fracking — short for hydraulic fracturing — is a drilling technique that pumps chemically treated water deep into the ground at high pressure, cracks the surrounding rock and releases pockets of natural gas. The technology has opened vast U.S. reserves to feasible drilling. Gas production has boomed, creating thousands of jobs and driving prices to historic lows. But opponents have stoked fears that fracking will pollute water, foul the air and even trigger earthquakes.
To Moniz, these risks are readily managed.
Protecting water quality, he says, is a straightforward matter of properly encasing wells in concrete to avoid leaks, and of carefully handling fracking fluids . Operators can easily minimize methane leaks to the atmosphere.
“You know what to do,” Moniz said. “You know how to complete a well. You know how to capture methane.”
What critics too often ignore are the huge environmental upsides of natural gas, by far the cleanest-burning fossil fuel — meaning less asthma-inducing smog and half as much planet-warming carbon dioxide as coal. As electric power companies have converted from coal to gas, the country’s overall carbon output declined by 12% over the past five years.
“It’s been a big contributor to our carbon reduction,” Moniz said.