CA hugely benefits from fracking boom that drives enviros nuts

by Chris Reed | October 30, 2014 8:15 am

Gas+PricesHaving seen a gallon of gas drop to $3.09 at a Valero or two — after a summer in which gas prices fell instead of their usual habit[1] of increasing in July and August — I think it’s beyond obvious to note that Californians are huge beneficiaries of the shale/fracking boom driving U.S. oil production higher and higher. This oil renaissance is one of the biggest economic stories in the world. This is from the New York Times[2]:

HOUSTON — Falling gasoline prices have sent oil company stocks tumbling, but oil experts say the boom in American energy production shows no signs of slowing down, keeping the market flush with crude and gasoline prices low.

Even after a drop of as much as 25 percent in oil prices since early summer, several government and private reports say that it would take a drop of $10 to $20 a barrel more — to as low as $60 a barrel — to slow production even modestly. …

The Energy Department this week reported that only 4 percent of shale production in North Dakota, Texas and other states needed an oil price above $80 a barrel for producers to break even on investments. One reason is that improved efficiencies in hydraulic fracturing and other modern production techniques have increased the output of each new well month after month in recent years.

Did you note the matter-of-fact, hysteria-free way the NYT refers to fracking? Quite pleasant compared with California’s newspapers, where all enviro reporters with one exception never even mention[3] that the Obama administration considers it safe. Or that the environmental movement basically didn’t say squat about hydraulic fracturing — using underground water cannons to blast away rock and access oil and natural gas reserves — for the first 60 years it was used.

Only when fracking became far more efficient (and cleaner) in the past six or seven years has it emerged as something greens love to hate — and even then the greenest president in history won’t buy in.

Fracking: Sit back and enjoy the CA freakout

So as the U.S. oil boom continues, California residents who like good news and who don’t like the quasi-religious extremism of many environmentalists will have to listen to evidence-free wailing from people who benefit enormously from fracking. They’ll shout themselves hoarse about its evils and pursue local bans[4], as seen in various communities around the state.

This would normally annoy me because I think fracking is being slandered and that it would be great for California. But I’m now doubtful it will ever come to pass in a major way in a place where the green religion is so strong. Anyone who started a petition drive for an anti-fracking California ballot initiative would have millions of dollars quickly pouring in from the usual billionaire lefties. I’m surprised some lefty consultant doesn’t start up such a drive without even having a client first; it wouldn’t take long to find a deep-pockets patron.

So instead, I will choose to enjoy the discomfiture of CA greens as fracking continues to be one of the world’s great economic phenomena, despite their stern and pious disapproval. Outside of California, billionaire lefties don’t stand a chance against public opinion (very, very, very pro-cheap energy) and Big Oil. Schadenfreude is going to be fun.

But I will also enjoy the CA green freakout because the longer that fracking goes on without anything close to a Love Canal-level enviro disaster, the tougher it will be for the public to take seriously the sky-is-falling rhetoric from fracking haters.

The traditional, much dirtier, much less efficient version of hydraulic fracturing that was used from the 1940s until 2006 or so didn’t lead to a Love Canal. If one happened now, it would in goofy ways be akin to a religious miracle.

  1. usual habit:
  2. New York Times:
  3. never even mention:
  4. pursue local bans:

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