Hydraulic fracturing strengthened America. Banning it would weaken us

Will the new Governor of New York uphold former Governor Cuomo’s moratorium on hydraulic fracturing? There are all kinds of motivations regarding these kinds of moratoriums, and they are all illegal because they violate private property rights. How can you take the property right of the minerals in the ground away from the landowner justifiably? How would that be different from going on to a property and saying, “You can’t use your farm to grow corn or wheat or oats”? Any farmer denied the ability to sell his crops loses the value of his land and therefore his property rights.

The combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, and North Dakota has added tens of thousands of high-paying jobs to those state economies in recent years. And, of course, all that oil and natural gas production has filled state bank accounts with loads of cash. We tend to have short memories, so a lot of people have forgotten about America’s bleak energy outlook not all that long ago. The shale revolution changed everything for the better. And the biggest change wasn’t just for the oil and natural gas industry or the states where jobs were created. We have all enjoyed big benefits from petroleum produced from shale rock formations.

Remove the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing and the US would not be the largest oil and natural gas producer on the planet. Oh, far from it. A fair estimate is that America would be producing somewhere on the range of about 3.5 million barrels of oil a day (instead of 11.3 million) while importing about 15 million barrels a day. Prior to the shale revolution US natural gas production had been declining rapidly, dropping to about 18 TCF per year in 2005. Without natural gas from shale that decline would likely have continued to somewhere around 10 TCF per year (instead of 33.5 TCF). These numbers are so big, and the economic implications are so broad it’s difficult to contemplate the difference between the two scenarios.

Without the US shale revolution the entire global economy and the geopolitical structure would be different—and not in a good way. The US trade deficit would be economically crippling because of all the US dollars flowing out of the country to keep our economy moving. Rival countries such as Russian, Iran, and China would be economic powerhouses by virtue of producing the world’s most important resources that would have been in steep decline. What would oil cost today? There is no way to know for sure, but if we followed the trend lines, pre-shale, it seems likely the price of a barrel of oil would probably be north of $300 a barrel. Five hundred or even $600 dollars a barrel is not inconceivable. The price of a gallon of gasoline in the US would have been upwards of $8.00 a gallon.


The people who claim they are most concerned about so-called “catastrophic man-caused climate change” don’t actually live like it’s a concern at all. These people, including many Hollywood personalities, preach to the rest of us, “We have to use less energy!” And by “we” they mean “you”. Eco-activist doom-and-gloomers tend to have the biggest carbon footprint of anyone. (Keep in mind, the term “carbon footprint” itself is an intentional linguistic deception to vilify carbon dioxide.)

Leonardo DiCaprio is a leader among celebrity activists. Leo is so concerned about climate change that he owns four homes. In 2019 he took 20 trips around the world on private jets. Al Gore has a huge home in Nashville and another in Montecito California. In 2006 his Nashville home used 221,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which is 20 times the national average of 10,656 kilo-watt-hours! Clear Energy Alliance produced an excellent short video on Gore’s stunning hypocrisy, which has actually gotten worse even has he has become more strident as a hater of fossil fuels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D2bbZlw95Y&t

Neil Young has spent his life making music. He’s gotten fabulously wealthy selling that music on oil-based records, tapes, and DVDs. (Today’s streaming services also use large quantities of oil, natural gas and coal). But now he sings songs asking his fans to give up the resource that has made him a household name. Not surprisingly, Young is a heavy user of hydrocarbon energy as he travels the world, singing songs while demonizing the energy resources that enable him to be a traveling musician/singer. Neil and Leo are just two of many. How many celebrity hypocrites are there? There’s no way to know the exact number, but since climate change has become a central pole supporting the tent of the hard left, it’s safe to say the percentage is high. My guess would be 90 percent or more.


You would think that politicians are a step ahead of entertainers in being informed. Ok, I’m kidding. Who wouldn’t agree that most politicians care more about pleasing their activist base than actually understanding what’s true? Therefore, some of the most ill-informed people are politicians. Sadly, many of them are willfully blind to reality. This is especially true when it comes to energy.

Mark Mathis, producer of movie Fractured, which tells the whole energy story accurately, has presented the picture of energy reality to hundreds of audiences. He’s also testified before the US Congress on the dangers of environmental extremist groups. His experience has been that when it comes to energy education, most people are eager to understand what’s really going on. However, he’s found that politicians, in many cases, are not. They are only interested in what a given position on an energy issue will mean to those who keep them in power. Mathis says, “These politicians are really interested in only one thing and that is getting re-elected. They will say whatever they need to say to please those people who provide the funds for their campaigns. They are not highly motivated to learn something complex like energy and environmental issues.”

Mark Mathis’ film, Fractured, shines a bright light on a wide variety of critically important energy issues. Government agencies unconstitutionally taking away private property rights is one. Politicians not understanding important concepts such as energy density is another. The impossibility of running our world on wind and solar power is a third. And, of course, Mark’s film spends a lot of time talking about how corruption of language has been used to deceive people about the importance of energy in our daily lives. The energy clarity presented in Fractured as well (as the more than 100 short videos Mark has produced for Clear Energy Alliance) is something every concerned citizen should know. If more people understood energy reality there’s no way Americans would tolerate such nonsense as a president needlessly shutting down the Keystone pipeline, or members of Congress talking about the “Green New Deal” as if it was possible or even rational. Clearly there are some exceptions to the corrupt leadership currently occupying the DC Swamp. There are some good people in Congress who are informed and trying to make good decisions, but they are the exception to the rule.

But there is good news. As people are watching our nation be torn down because of nonsensical policies on multiple fronts they are beginning to become alarmed. I am confident that the mid-term elections of November 2022 will bring a new breed of conservative politician to the House of Representatives. They will gain a large majority and select a Speaker of The House who will be able to cast a proper light on the abuse of American taxpayers, the energy producers, and the property rights and free speech rights being destroyed by liberal politicians. They are presently unconstitutionally abusing a wide range of civil liberties. Their ill-conceived policies threaten to wreck the economy, not to mention freedom itself. It is all part of their effort to gain control of our lives. The control of our energy, the foundation of everything in the modern world, is central to their plan. We must not let it happen.

Portions of this essay were excerpted from a transcript of the movie FRACTURED with permission of its producer Mark Mathis. The movie is available at ClearEnergyAlliance.com. It could prove to be the most enlightening 90 minutes you could spend in front of a computer screen.

  • CFACT Senior Science Analyst Jay Lehr has authored more than 1,000 magazine and journal articles and 36 books. Jay’s new book A Hitchhikers Journey Through Climate Change written with Teri Ciccone is now available on Kindle and Amazon.

The post Hydraulic fracturing strengthened America. Banning it would weaken us was first published by the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), and is republished here with permission. Please support their efforts.

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