by Avi Davis
Andrew Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, announced on Wednesday that he will ban all forms of hydraulic fracturing in his state until further information can be obtain about health and environmental risks of the oil drilling process. The announcement came on exactly the same day that Russia announced emergency measures to shore up the ruble and to prevent the Russian economy tail spinning into collapse; as well as the day that it was announced that Cuba and the United States will re-commence diplomatic relations after a 53 year lull. Both of the latter events can be tied directly to the impact the fracking boom has had on the United States. The ruble has lost 20% of its value against the dollar after prices for oil collapsed under the weight of the global oil glut. Cuba, reliant on Venezuela for its energy needs and economic subsidies, faces consequences in the near future as the Venezuelan economy buckles as its oil fetches lower prices and the American market is saturated with domestic supplies of crude. Adrift, Cuba had little choice but to seek rapprochement with the United States.
But just as Cuomo was self righteously patting himself on the back for having stood up to the oil industry, there were dozens of newly minted millionaires in formerly lowly North Dakota cashing their checks at the bank ; and in nearby Pennsylvania there are farmers and ordinary landowners who are buying themselves mansions; The ordinary American citizen has not been passed by either. He has watched, astonished, as the cost of a tank of gas has plummeted by up to 30% over the past 12 months. Throughout the world the fracking revolution, which began only five years ago, is not only reviving the world economy; it is challenging the very economic viability of long term U.S. adversaries such as Russia, Venezuela and, yes, Cuba.
But nobody in the heart of Progressive America would seem to know any of this. For it seems that liberal elites in the State of New York, who have placed inordinate pressure on the Governor to thwart the fracking boom, this extraordinary progress and the optimism it has generated – opening the world to the idea that the oil resources of the Earth may be limitless – is all a chimera. They are certain that fracking is dangerous for the environment and costly to the health of anyone living near the vicinity of its wells.
Or are they?
For surely they know that hydraulic fracturing has been proven again and again to be safe – with no adverse health affects in the regions of the country in which it has been applied and at no significant environmental cost. And some of these reports come from the reliably skeptical Environmental Protection Agency itself. So as the fracking revolution rolls over the United States, reviving a moribund economy and injecting a much needed rush of adrenaline into our downcast national mood, the progressives of New York State don’t seem to be too happy about this unquestionable form of human progress. Rather they are quite determined to stand steadfast against it.
But surely they must know this: New York state sits astride the Marcellus Shale Formation, which contains one of the potentially richest sources of natural gas in the country – a resource that could power the state for several hundred years and provide employment to hundreds of thousands. Cuomo’s ban will be particularly devastating for poor New Yorkers, who can now be expected to struggle with high home heating bills due to expensive imported gas. If Cuomo and his progressive friends would like an idea of exactly how drilling for natural gas using fracking procedures could help the economy of New York State, perhaps they should should look no further than nearby Pennsylvania. There they will find, according to the American Petroleum Institute, energy companies who have generated more than $2.1 billion in state and local taxes since the fracking boom began. And according to state data, energy employment has more than doubled from 13,059 jobs in the first quarter of 2014 to 28, 229 in early 2014. The average salary for those jobs is $93,000 per year, which is $40,000 higher than the national average.
And then there are other benefits of the fracking boom. The United States has seen dramatic reductions in national carbon dioxide emissions, over the past six years – largely as a result of hydraulic fracturing, which allowed natural gas to become cheap and abundant, and mostly displacing dirtier, higher-emission coal in the generation mix. And lets not forget that hydraulic fracturing, and the similar techniques used for “tight oil” drilling, have actually allowed the United States to become the world’s leading oil producer in 2014 and will allow it to become completely oil independent by 2020 – which only strengthens the nation’s geo-political position.
Given this information there are few other conclusions at which to arrive other than the fact New York does not want more natural gas, because it does not want more energy; and it does not want more energy because it fears humans will use it to build more industry; and it does not want more industry because it does not want – wait for it – more human progress.
For you see more progress means more human development, which means more human intrusion on the natural environment. And that is the red line which our environmentalists and their progressive allies will not allow us to cross. Of course you will not hear the Sierra Club propound this philosophy out loud. But it is written all over their rather limp reasoning for an absolute ban on fracking.
So there you have it. The retrogressive progressives, determined, at any cost, to resist the juggernaut of fracking that is proving not only good for our economy, good for the environment but also good for maintaining U.S. dominance of the energy markets of the world. If the U.S. maintains this dominant position, this will be indeed be, not the century of American decline – as so often predicted by the liberal media – but potentially the greatest century of American achievement in history where the country reaches its economic zenith.
Its really just too bad that New York State will not be along for the ride.