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The Environmental Defense Fund Comes Out In Support Of Fracking

Rob Wile in Business Insider 9/12/2012

The Environmental Defense Fund's chief counsel has written a blog post detailing the non-profit's support for hydraulic fracturing of natural gas.

The EDF is well known for pouring money into global warming, clean air and oil spill cleanup fights.

In the case of fracking, Brownstein says, it mainly comes down to eliminating coal.

"We fear that those who oppose all natural gas production everywhere are, in effect, making it harder for the U.S. economy to wean itself from dirty coal," he said.

The fund's Mark Brownstein lays out three reasons to back natgas:

  • Fracking is already a common, widespread practice
  • On balance, they'd rather see natural gas-powered electricity plans than coal-powered ones. "We are glad to see these coal plants go," he says. Plus, natural gas is the feedstock for chemicals, pharmaceuticals and fertilizer, and for direct heating and cooling
  • Any potential hazards can be regulated. "Effective oversight and enforcement with the necessary financial and human resources [can] make [regulations] real.

He closes thusly:

Natural gas production can never be made entirely safe; like any intensive industrial activity, it involves risks. But having studied the issue closely, we are convinced that if tough rules, oversight and penalties for noncompliance are put in place, these risks become manageable.

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