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Are environmentalists helping or hurting our economy?

I am all for protecting the environment but today individuals who consider themselves environmentalists seems to have increased their power over decisions which need to be made for the betterment of our economy.  We have a department in the federal government that is devoted to protecting the environment.  It is called the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and this is a great thing but decisions are sometimes made based on opinion or policy not the facts.

There are cases where there are environmental issues based on actions of businesses or individuals and this agency responds to issues where the environment has been damaged.  The agency takes action and fines the businesses or individuals responsible for the issues.  The objective of the agency is an honorable one but decisions made should be based on the facts.  One such example is environmental concerns regarding the Keystone Pipeline.  New technology has been developed to access our oil and gas reserves for which some environmentalists have concerns over the process being used.  The concern involves the potential of damaging the water table and this is a valid concern but the concern must be backed with verifiable proof that the water table has been damaged in areas where the process is being used.

There have been a number of studies over several years and the latest report from the State Department indicates there is no connection between the fracking process and issues of water table damage.  Several areas have been using this process and there have been no issues with the water table.  It is understood that water tables may be or have had damage but there is no evidence the fracking process is responsible.  It appears environmentalists at the EPA and around the country do not want our energy reserves to be accessed or accessed with the fracking process.

Other countries of the world are accessing their energy reserves through similar or the same methods now being used in parts of the country to access their energy supply.  We have long had an energy problem within this country and it makes sense that we as a country should access these resources to help our country become more energy independent.  It has been stated that our known energy reserves today far exceed the supply in Saudi Arabia and if we were to tap into these reserves prices would drop.  Whenever the supply of any product increases there is typically a drop in price.

It is understood that accessing our energy reserves on government property requires the signing of lease agreements but along with that there needs to be permits to actually start development operations.  The location of the pipeline has also changed based on agreements with states where the pipeline will be constructed.  This apparently has not been enough to sway either the environmentalists outside of government and inside of government.  Some statements have been made related to establishing operations to access these reserves involve stating that it would take years to get operations producing.  These statements may or may not be true but if they are why are the decisions being made to eliminate the bottleneck of government processes to start us on the road to improving our energy resources.  If the statements are not true then the reason appears to be an unwillingness of some not all environmentalists to accept the data that the process being used poses no environmental concerns.

It is true things can happen but you do not stop a process simply for the reason you have concerns over the potential for environmental damage.  Environmentalists need to concentrate on the positives of accessing our reserves through the fracking process while not disregarding potential environmental issues.  The key is to have plans in place on what would be done if an environmental incident occurs.  Every business must plan for incidents and be prepared to take any necessary action to address them.




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Dennis AuBuchon

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