Council on Foreign Relations: Safe Fracking Looks Cheap

The public battle over fracking tends to emphasize extremes: some say that shale gas can’t be developed safely; others say that new regulation would kill the industry. But a third set of observers (myself included) has claimed that smart new rules would boost costs only marginally, while building public acceptance for drilling. A new study from the International Energy Agency (IEA) adds serious support to this middle way.

The study, “Golden Rules for a Golden Age of Gas”, is worth reading in its entirety – it’s a great assessment of the environmental challenges involved in developing unconventional gas and of ways to address them. What jumps out at me, though, is how the authors have gone beyond the usual hand-waving claims about how steps to ensure safe drilling shouldn’t be too expensive. Instead, they’d actually done some concrete cost estimates.  MORE

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