Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has given the USA and world centuries of new petroleum supplies, lowered energy prices for manufacturers, motorists and consumers, and altered geopolitics for the Middle East, Russia and Venezuela. New natural gas supplies provide low-cost petrochemical feed stocks, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by fueling electrical generating plants – which you’d think would be good news for climate alarmists.
But naturally, those who inhabit environmentalism’s loonier fringes have gone into overdrive. They used to support natural gas. However, now that they’ve shut down many American coal mines and coal-burning power plants, they’re against it.
In shale-rich Colorado, they’re upset that the state supreme court overturned several local fracking bans. So Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development collected signatures on petitions to have several anti-fracking “citizen initiatives” put on the November election ballots. To them, anything promoting or allowing fossil fuels is “extreme.”
With great hoopla, CREED delivered hundreds of boxes to Colorado’s Secretary of State. Lots of boxes, in a clever PR stunt – but most of them almost empty, and holding only a few thousand more signatures than the 98,492 required to get on the ballot, with thousands likely to be invalidated.
One frack-hater sounded relieved, saying he’d rather see the initiatives kept off the ballot than be “crushed” in the elections. That indeed would be the likely result. Most Coloradans want the benefits fracking brings, know the alleged health and environmental impacts are exaggerated or fabricated, and realize the CREED petitions fracture common sense and truly ethical energy policies.
Fractured common sense and ethics also mean hypocrisy. Local control is vital, CREED insists – but only if communities oppose fracking. Never if they want fracking, ethanol-free gasoline or affordable coal-based electricity for poor, minority and blue collar families. Never if locals don’t want bird-butchering wind turbines in their neighborhoods. Never if they don’t want oil replaced by biofuels grown on millions of acres that used to be croplands, forests, grasslands and rainforests.
The anti-fracking petitions also violate private property rights, the bedrock of America’s wealth creating free enterprise system. They endow us with the freedom to work hard to obtain and retain a residence, car, farm, business, college fund or retirement nest egg. They are protected by our Constitution, which holds that no one can be deprived of property without “due process of law” and “just compensation.”
If anti-fracking fringe groups get their way, property rights could become just a fond memory. If their schemes catch on, these fundamental rights could become endangered far more widely.