Ah, timing is everything. While we continue to see the Gulf of Mexico implode from BP’s ineptitude, a number of natural gas drilling companies have set their sites on the upper Delaware River in the hopes of extracting gas from Marcellus shale formations.
Needless to say, there are concerns that any drilling might foul the river and affect the entire basin.
But rest easy, Mr. and Mrs. America:
The drilling industry says the process is safe, resulting in no large-scale environmental impacts.
“I think we, as probably most in industry, feel that, while those concerns need to be addressed,” says Bryan Lastrapes of Shell, “we don’t think they are a problem.”
Oh…well, that certainly should put us all at ease. And by ‘those concerns need to be addressed’ they mean ‘we’ll need to fund some piss-ant ‘environmental center’ somewhere to get the hippies off our back so we can get down to serious business.
By the way, the process of extracting the oil is called ‘fracking‘. You BSG fans out there can feel free to use the term in clever ways to highlight our precarious situation.
UPDATE: Coincidentally, Slate.com put up an article about ‘extreme energy’ on Friday that I’ve just seen. The relevant bit on my little piece of heaven?
Natural gas is supposed to be an easy form of energy—it burns more cleanly than petroleum, and the United States has vast supplies. In recent years, discoveries of reserves locked in shale rock in Texas (the Barnett Shale) and in the Appalachians (the Marcellus Shale) have spurred a boom. But shale gas is also tough energy. The gas is produced via fracking—fracturing the rock with water and chemical solvents to loosen up the gas molecules. The environmental risk? The water mixed with solvents could filter into underground aquifers. Inconveniently, the Marcellus Shale overlaps with the watershed of the New York City region. And then there’s the matter of earthquakes. Last year, experts in Texas grew concerned when rare seismic activity was detected in areas where natural-gas drillers had been fracking.