Fracking rightRichard Treadgold | August 18, 2012
It hasn’t happened for a while, but today I agree with Nick Smith.
What he says about fracking confirms my impression that his position on global warming since the Nats took power has been constrained more by his cabinet obligations publicly to support government policy than by his lack of understanding of the scientific facts, for he shows himself perfectly capable of examining these, and on the topic of global warming surely he has examined them. But I digress.
Smith has an article in last Monday’s Herald, Fracking the sensible choice for NZ, in which he destroys the Green’s jittery arguments against fracking in the extraction of underground resources.
It’s a pleasure to read and, giving information about the true extent of both fracking and minor earth tremors caused by human activity, puts the absurd fracking “controversy” into perspective.
The Greens, with their emotionally-charged attack on the “new” environmental evil of fracking, have elevated the technique into our national consciousness. But this campaign, though as well funded as their other campaigns, has been just as distorted and free of objective content and once again plucks mercilessly at the public uninformed fear nerve.
Not unexpectedly, they argue from a position of non-interference in the natural world. Mother Nature is always pristine and never changes. For fear of environmental damage, they would do almost nothing, no matter how remote the possibility of damage. But for fear of disaster, they actually would do nothing.
Don’t mention nuclear power. Cheap, endless, reliable, safe nuclear power. New Zealand is not constructed from electrons, neutrons and protons, as it’s “nuclear free.” But I digress.
Here are some illuminating comments from Nick Smith’s article on fracking.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, has been used in New Zealand for decades … used to develop geothermal energy fields and to enhance oil and gas recovery in the petroleum industry … similar to “well stimulation” in the water industry… Fracking involves water being pumped at high pressure down a well to open up gaps so it is easier to extract the water, steam, gas or oil… The alternative to fracking in these tight geological formations is to drill a lot more wells. This uses a lot more energy, creates potentially greater environmental problems… Lots of small earthquakes are [already] triggered by constructing pile foundations for buildings, bridges and wharves… The lubricants have a toxicity similar to dish washing liquid… The argument here is not that fracking is risk-free but rather that the risks are manageable.
The Greens abandon reason to champion renewable energy, claiming it’ll create 100,000 jobs, only to seek a ban on fracking that would kill off geothermal projects – a large proportion of their renewable potential.
I’m happy to say that the “new” Nick Smith agrees, and I agree with him when he concludes:
Fracking may have too many letters in common with our favourite swear word, but it is the least of New Zealand’s environmental worries.
I support the tradition of reserving “swear” words for special situations and ignoring them at other times.
In the same way I have opposed or ignored Nick Smith for a long time, but find I support him when he is scientific and reasonable.