MDN Weekly Update – Dec 4, 2011: Should Renewable Energy be Required?

poll resultsMDN decided to “take the current pulse” of our readers to see what you think, at this point in time, about the relative safety of hydraulic fracturing. The poll, after only seven days, resulted in the third highest ever number of voters for any MDN poll. A clear majority of MDN readers believes that fracking does not endanger public health.

Does hydraulic fracturing as it is practiced today endanger public health?

No (58%, 231 Votes)
Yes (35%, 141 Votes)
Not sure (7%, 29 Votes)

Total Voters: 401

What about renewable energy?

MDN editor Jim Willis attended one of the final New York DEC hearings in New York City this past week (see this story for the “raw” coverage, and this story for my final thoughts). One the sentiments echoed again and again was that now is the time for renewable energy. Actor Mark Rufalo said at the hearing that, “We want renewable energy now and we will fight for it,” with thunderous applause from the almost-all anti-drilling audience. MDN has made this point again and again: An ideology that fossil fuels are evil and that only renewable energy sources should be used going forward is the at the very core of opposition to natural gas drilling. That ideology was on full display this past Wednesday at the hearing.

I believe it’s a dangerously naive ideology. Our world is no where near the point where wind and solar can take over from natural gas and oil. Not even close. Such a thing will not be possible for at least the next several generations. Someday? Maybe! And hooray if it happens. But arbitrarily declaring “now is the time” and forcing our country to use renewables will have the effect of forcing us back to the stone ages—something those who advocate for it somehow ignore.

If renewables can compete, economically, in the free marketplace and win—I think that’s great. Problem is, right now they can’t. Not without heavy subsidies and frankly not without the heavy hand of government forcing people to use renewable sources. I would call forcing people to use renewable sources a form of fascism (look it up Occupy people, before you bellow about my use of terminology).

But perhaps you think I’m wrong. I’d like to know what you think. Should the government require at least some use of renewable energy sources in an attempt to “push it along” and encourage adoption? Or should the government leave well enough alone? Vote on the right side of any page in the site.

Below are the most recent “top 5” lists and the calendar of Marcellus related events for the next two weeks.

Happy reading,
Jim Willis, Editor

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