Global Public Square featured a segment which began with effusive praise of a study conducted by BP, the environmentalist's favorite company. The U.S.A. is now number one in fossil fuel production. Fareed Zakaria spoke with Harvard Business School Professor, Michael Porter who is an advocate for America's 'self-sufficiency' with regards to our oil and gas needs. It was a six minute-long interview that took almost five minutes to address the dangers of hydraulic fracturing.
Zakaria gleefully explained that, much to the chagrin of environmentalists, we have now surpassed Saudi Arabia in oil production and Russia in natural gas, a fossil fuel nightmare scenario. His guest has a history of advocating for big polluters. They discuss how far we've come since 2005, when we were so dependent on foreign sources of oil and gas. It's a cause célèbre that we've realized the value and potential of unlocking shale to increase our production of oil and natural gas.
We didn't realize, back then, that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) was as valuable as it has become. Lest we forget, Dick Cheney managed to get the EPA off the backs of the fracking industry. If any industry in the country needs regulation, it’s the fracking industry, but thanks in large part to Dick Cheney, it’s exempt from having to follow the most important environmental laws on the books.
Back in 2005. President - excuse me Vice President - Cheney was hard at work doing what he did best: using his power as the second most powerful man in the country to protect his cronies in the oil business.
His former employer, Halliburton, wanted to get more involved in the emerging American fracking industry, but it faced a potential major roadblock in the form of a 1974 law called the Safe Water Drinking Act.
Cheney didn’t care about public safety but he did care about Halliburton’s bottom-line - after all, he was a big Halliburton stockholder when he became vice president - and so he joined the lobbying efforts to get Congress to carve out an exemption for fracking in the Safe Water Drinking Act.
Mr. Porter explained that the problem with fracking is the negative connotations associated with the word, due to bad press.
The word fracking is getting in the way here, in terms of people's reactions.
The enormous economic advantages that stem from lower energy prices and the nearly 3 million jobs created by the booming industry outshine the risks associated with fracking. Both Zakaria and Porter gush over the savings the boom has provided American families.
They briefly mention the concerns that come with fracking: the earthquakes, the flammable tap water and methane gasses released in the atmosphere. Porter claims that advances in technology will mitigate those harmful effects associated with production. The professor blames the media for not giving enough airtime to these vast improvements that will even curtail the earthquakes that go hand in hand with fracking.
There was absolutely no mention of its deleterious effects, which have undoubtedly exacerbated the negative impact that man has had on global climate change. All this boundless fracking and drilling are contributing to the warming of the planet, as the United States contributes far more of a carbon footprint per capita than any other country.
Porter's perspective is so one-sided, the viewer could easily think that fracking is virtually innocuous and we should only consider the dangers as a small price to pay for the benefits it provides. Zakaria is obviously bought and paid for by the sponsors from the oil and gas industry, so naturally, he will propitiously promote their propaganda.
Knowing that the EPA surrendered its ability to regulate the industry, one might feel justifiably nervous about fracking. But after watching Fareed's interview, you'd almost think that Cheney's policies weren't all that evil. But the reality is,
thanks to Dick Cheney’s Halliburton loophole, anyone who lives near a fracking site is one of the oil industry’s guinea pigs in a giant multi-decade fracking experiment. Call your local member of Congress right now and tell them that it’s time to say goodbye to the Bush years once and for all and close the Halliburton loopholes.