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By Sebastian Loredo

Junior, GW

Fracking: Here To Stay

The global energy landscape is going through a transitionary period that is seeing the end of oil dominance and the rise of natural gas. Natural gas, acquired through hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’, is quickly becoming the largest energy source in the United States. It has made the United States’ more independent from foreign energy sources, while also having a significant economic impact. Proposing a ban on fracking is short-sighted and dangerous. The benefits vastly outweigh the consequences and any administration that supports a ban on fracking is dooming the United States to a future of foreign energy dependence, reckless foreign policy and economic stagnation.

Climate Impact

Fracking is the energy source of today, as it produces 50% less CO₂ emissions compared to Oil and is significantly better than coal. Despite the United States having the largest coal reserves in the world, coal is being phased out in favor of natural gas. The widespread prevalence of natural gas allows for extensive fracking while simultaneously lowering CO₂ emissions. Minimal regulations have allowed isolated incidents to occur at various fracking sites, but this can be amended with appropriate regulation. Incorporating fracking into the United States’ energy plan is integral to pursuing a cleaner future and allows for the next administration to push the appropriate legislation, not only to prevent hazardous fracking-related accidents, but also to pursue a future our children can enjoy both in terms of quality-of-life and economic prosperity.

Economic Impact

Undeniably, the largest potential impact of natural gas is on the American economy. The industry had resulted in hundreds of thousands of jobs and has allowed the United States to surpass energy producing giants like Russia and Saudi Arabia in total energy production. Energy independence ensures that the United States is not compelled to act to safekeep foreign oil fields, while also allowing the United States to reap the benefits of shipping, producing and liquifying natural gas. Further, fracking has led to a significant drop in energy prices for the average American. The next administration would be dangerously incompetent to ban fracking in the face of its numerous economic benefits.

Regulation

Current regulation is unsatisfactory for properly preventing wastewater incidents and other unfavorable side effects of fracking. Despite its many benefits, natural gas extraction creates waste that must be properly handled and disposed of. Current regulation is ineffective and sometimes even completely ignores the dangers of fracking. Introducing common sense regulation will ensure that fracking is not only hugely beneficial to the national economy but also local communities. Regulation is not mutually exclusive with fracking, the two are necessary for the long term stability and application of fracking.

The Next Step

The next administration must support the natural gas industry through a mixture of safety regulations and political support to usher in the new era of American energy development. Banning fracking would be disastrous for the American economy, populace and future. There is no question, a fracking ban would be a disastrous policy action for the next administration to enact. Supporting fracking means supporting a cleaner environment, a better economy and stronger American future.        

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