Promoters of modern drilling and fracking celebrate the industry’s newfound ability to extract oil and natural gas from shale and other tight rock formations, calling it an energy “revolution,” a “paradigm-shifter,” a “rebirth” and a “game changer.” One recent report claims that North America might soon become “the new Middle East,” a net exporter of oil and natural gas. In April 2012, ConocoPhillips’s CEO at the time called shale gas a “blessing.”
But for whom is it really a blessing? Loose talk about domestic oil and natural gas abundance in order to justify and promote widespread drilling and fracking gives Americans a false sense of energy security. Hinging U.S. energy policy on fracking, and thus betting America’s future on the supposed abundance of oil and natural gas, would simply perpetuate America’s destructive dependence on the oil and gas industry. The only security that would be enjoyed is the security of the industry’s profits.