NYT: Environmental Defense Fund is OK with Fracking

An interesting editorial in the New York Times authored by Joe Nocera, a business writer for the NYT, begins this way:

Fracking isn’t going away.

To put it another way, the technique of hydraulic fracturing, used to extract natural gas from once-impossible-to-get-at reservoirs like the Marcellus Shale that lies beneath New York and Pennsylvania, has more than proved its value. At this point, shale gas, as it’s called, makes up more than 30 percent of the country’s natural gas supply, up from 2 percent in 2001 — a figure that is sure to keep rising. Fracking’s enemies can stamp their feet all they want, but that gas is too important to leave it in the ground.*

In the editorial, Mr. Nocera praises the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and its president Fred Krupp as being hardheaded and practical when it comes to environmental issues—not swayed by politics and hysteria but beholden only to science and hard data. Mr. Krupp and the EDF, unlike many environmental organizations, are OK with fracking and natural gas as a bridge fuel to the environmentalist renewable energy nirvana future:

When I spoke to him recently, Krupp didn’t back away from the idea that domestic natural gas could be the “bridge fuel” that helps bring us toward a renewable energy future. Unlike others in the environmental movement, he and his colleagues at the Environmental Defense Fund don’t want to shut down fracking; rather, their goal is to work with the states where most of the shale gas lies and help devise smart regulations that would make fracking environmentally safer.

But, of course, not all drillers can be counted on to drill responsibly, which is why regulation is so critical. “Wouldn’t it be better,” I asked Krupp, “for fracking to be regulated by the federal government rather than by the states? Wouldn’t that mean better, more uniform regulation and tougher enforcement?”

Krupp frowned. “Given the dysfunction in D.C., a state-by-state approach will be more effective,” he said. “We need to focus on getting the rules right, and complied with, in the 14 states which have 85 percent of the onshore gas reserves.”

Here’s hoping that the anti-frackers someday join him.*

Hmmm. Who would’ve thought you could get such brutal honesty from the New York Times? Perhaps NYT writer Ian Urbina should read his own newspaper a little more often and talk to the EDF before he writes his next screed on the evils of shale gas drilling.

*New York Times (Feb 27, 2012) – How to Extract Gas Responsibly