Yes, but…

The usually sober and sensible business writer,Joe Nocera, writing in the Grey Lady’s op ed pages, suggests that the destruction of remaining potable water supplies in the Northeast United States iddy biddy “alleged environmental problems” associated with gas-extraction-by-fracturing, or “fracking” (presumably referring to the term for “garbage” from Battlestar Galactica) is really quite minor and can be easily solved with proper first-rate drilling methods and robust local regulation.
I simply wonder what Joe is smoking country Nocera is living in… surely, it is not the USA of 2011, where every corner will be cut and every regulator will be bought (or if not bought, their superiors will be bought, or theirs…)
We can simply no longer trust American industry, especially the extraction industry (see Gulf Coast) with anything, let alone something “novel” with a proven record of environmental disaster. BTW, let me disclose my bias: I live in New York City, and I drink water, and use it for other things like cooking, bathing, watering plants and putting out the occasional fire.
I fully understand that natural gas whose extraction will destroy my city’s potable water will be immensely profitable for someone, and hence, business writers are supposed to like it. But enough already. Our electrical grid and delivery systems are insanely antiquated, and things like wind power were held up for years because they would interfere with the view from Ted Kennedy’s yacht. Plus, the internet, which is usually touted as “green”… which did not exist just two decades ago… uses around three per cent of American electricity… and we think up new ways to waste energy all the time! And Japan just showed us what a good idea nuclear energy is.
So… it’s about time we changed the game… greed is NOT good. Growth is NOT the answer… as if we were actually going to have any. Making due and making better quality lives with what we have already… or better still, more with less… that should be the goal. Really– the problem is mind-set– that of the kind Nocera is advocating, that somehow we must always have MORE, damn the cost– in a world where we have hit peak oil, and the limits of the natural world have come crashing against the insatiable appetite of industrial capitalism. And NO– natural gas that has even a possibility of destroying the nation’s largest city’s most important water-shed cannot be defined as the answer to any question other than “how do you commit mass suicide?”
Honestly… Katrina… Fukushima… Deepwater Horizon… Bhopal… Chernobyl… ENOUGH. We are just not good enough at making sure things work right to trust profit-driven fiends hellbent on making money with our very drinking water.
This isn’t a hard one.