Fossil fuel’s enemies have written some extraordinarily unfair and distorted garbage about the fossil fuel industry. But a New Jersey newspaper published one of the most egregious smears I have seen. In a Hunterdon County Democrat letter, PennEast pipeline can be traced to 2005 energy bill, an opponent of the PennEast Pipeline company’s proposed natural gas pipeline through portions of Pennsylvania and New Jersey wrote, in part:
Among the many dubious provisions in the 2005 energy bill was one dubbed the Halliburton loophole . . .
This loophole stripped the EPA of its authority to regulate [read, stymie] a drilling process called hydraulic fracturing which was invented by Halliburton.
This fracking process . . . has created a "mother load" of natural gas, which is the impetus for such a pipeline in the first place.
Ergo ... If you voted Bush-Cheney, then you in essence voted for the pipeline along with all the other cockamamie Bush-Cheney policies; and now, like the mess in Iraq and the ISIS threat, the chickens have come home to roost with this pipeline. Elections do have consequences.
I left these comments, slightly edited:
Fossil fuels and the industry that delivers that energy to us, including the fracking and pipeline industries, have vastly improved the environment, fueling the transformation of Earth from a dangerous, hazard-filled place to a healthier, safer industrial place for humans. The ongoing steady and dramatic improvement in the human condition that the fossil fuel industry has fueled across the globe in the last 150 years or so is a moral achievement of historic and unprecedented proportions. This vast progress has been given new impetus by the mighty contribution in recent years of the amazing technology of hydraulic fracturing that has unlocked vast new sources of energy from shale.
ISIS, on the other hand, is a branch of an evil, religiously-inspired movement that seeks to roll back industrial society and civilization into a new Dark Age of theocratic tyranny, destitution, and superstition. Hydraulic Fracturing and ISIS could not be more opposite, from the perspective of human well-being as the standard of moral evaluation. Equating the two is like equating food and poison.
I’m no Bush fan. He’s the reason I switched from Republican to Independent. But we should be thankful for the “Halliburton loophole.” Without that “loophole,” the EPA may very possibly have strangled the important hydraulic fracturing revolution in its crib. (Then again, given the lack of evidence to support the rantings of the anti-science crowd that fracking poses a threat to groundwater, maybe not.)
To equate the death-spreading ISIS with the tremendous human life-giving benefits of hydraulic fracturing and pipelines—and by extension the men and women working in these vital and virtuous industries—is not just irrational. It is morally despicable.
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