Energy independence allows us much more freedom of action to defend ourselves. It also improves the U.S. trade balance. It creates a huge number of jobs. The penalty? Tremors and spills when the stuff is taken to market. When we use natural gas, not only do we promote continental independence, and not only do we produce more jobs, but we also make the skies cleaner. No, that's not necessarily a win, but it is less of a loss than if we continue importing oil from Middle Eastern and Latin American nations that are unfriendly to us and can use the money to arm our enemies. I know fracking has consequences, but they are nowhere near as impactful as the consequences of, say, coal, which the Sierra Club says causes 20,000 deaths a year. Believe me, I think that every coal plant should be turned into a natural gas plant, but that would generate too much economic hardship.
But before we eliminate fracking, let's stop the strip-mining and end the black lung and stop the acid rain and mercury that come from coal. Why isn't that the focus? Sure, it would be terrific to power surface fuels with solar or wind, but that's not practical. We can hook them in to the grid, and we can use as many electric cars as we can make. But we also have to be cognizant that the technology isn't yet here that would enable us all to take part in that in a cheap and clean fashion. So I read these kinds of stories and I say, "Here we go again." It's another assault on oil and natural gas -- like the last one, which was about the hazards of methane release, and the one before, the film Gasland, which talks about water contamination. Sure, these are all bad. But, in a world where energy extraction will always be evil, American fossil fuels -- particularly natural gas -- is a heck of a lot less evil than the others.