Even the EDF supports fracking

November 28th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

While the still insist should be banned (until it is *proven* safe – an impossible test to ever meet), other green groups are less reactionary.

The United States Environmental Defence Fund is a non-partisan environmental group. So they are worried abotu the , not about getting elected to anything. They have over 700,000 members. Their achievements include getting DDT banned, the Safe Water Drinking Act, getting lead out of gasoline, banning ozone depleting CFCs, marine and ecosystem reserves and many more.

The EDF has blogged why they think that fracking overall is beneficial for the environment:

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is often called upon by those opposed to natural gas development to support a ban or moratorium on drilling.  They argue that fighting for tough regulations, as EDF is doing, helps ensure that natural gas development will take place.  Some of our friends in the environmental community have questioned why we are working on natural gas at all.  They suggest that we should simply oppose natural gas development, and focus solely on championing energy efficiency and renewables.  We understand these concerns, and respect the people who share them.  And for that reason, we want to be as clear as we can be as to why EDF is so deeply involved in championing strong regulation of natural gas.

Our view on natural gas is shaped by three basic facts.  First, hydraulic fracturing is already a common practice in the oil and gas industry.  Over 90 percent of new onshore oil and gas development taking place in the United States today involves some form of hydraulic fracturing, and shale gas accounts for a rapidly increasing percentage of total natural gas production—from 16% in 2009 to more than 30% today.  In short, hydraulic fracturing is not going away any time soon.

Second, this fight is about much more than the role that natural gas may play in the future of electricity supply in the United States.  Natural gas is currently playing an important role in driving out old coal plants, and we are glad to see these coal plants go.  On balance, we think substituting natural gas for coal can provide net environmental value, including a lower greenhouse gas footprint.

This is the hypocrisy of the Greens. They moan about job losses on the West Coast, at the same tide as they try to close mining down. They  complain our greenhouse gas emissions are too high, yet oppose fracking for natural gas.  Underneath the slick marketing, you have a fundamental belief system that any industry that use natural resources is wrong and must be stopped.

I reccently heard one person, who must be a Green member, advocate against trade that requires transporting of goods further than can be done on a bicycle. No, I am not kidding – this was in New Zealand.

Our analysis has led us to conclude that there are many ways to eliminate hazards and reduce risks from hydraulic fracturing and related ‘unconventional’ oil and gas production practices.  Strong rules that require these steps to be taken are needed, backed up by effective oversight and enforcement with the necessary financial and human resources to make these efforts real. 

There is where the debate should be.

Demand for natural gas is not going away, and neither is hydraulic fracturing.  We must be clear-eyed about this, and fight to protect public health and the environment from unacceptable impacts.  We must also work hard to put policies in place that ensure that natural gas serves as an enabler of renewable power generation, not an impediment to it.  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.

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.

This is the difference between a true environmental group, and between politicians who spout slogans to attract support, such as banning fracking.

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30 Responses to “Even the EDF supports fracking”

  1. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    I think its time that someone started to point out to all those who are unemployed – and the majority of who will vote green – that the reason they havent got a job is mostly due to groups like the greens.

    However i doubt that National will grab that opportunity – as they seem to be able to miss these chances to solidify their position.

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  2. Scott1 (357 comments) says:

    barry,
    you are assuming that people out of work (without hope of getting a new job soon) think in terms of economics.

    That might be true of the group that own the businesses that just made them unemployed but unless there is a direct conection (like them being a coal miner and the coal mine being shut down due to a carbon tax) the average unemployed person just wont get that argument. they will be more intrested in the one about the size of their benefit, those who are trying to help them fight the owners who decided they were not worthy of a job and things like that.

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  3. Ross12 (925 comments) says:

    The Greens demanded an inquiry into fracking –they got one. The result did not support their scare tactics so now Gareth is spouting off like a spoilt kid. Time for them to grow up.

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  4. David Garrett (5,102 comments) says:

    DPF: Excellent piece.

    Ross12: Quite right. As I pointed out the other day, this is exactly what they did when the PCE didn’t support their view on the use of 1080 – in fact she came out thoroughly endorsing it.

    I would wager that the Greens have zero industry insider knowledge on this issue; just propaganda from other equally poorly informed organizations.

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  5. flipper (3,261 comments) says:

    A few disparate observations….

    1. The EDF position is simewhat aged. They have been featured saying this on a Fox “Extra” TV filler for many months. BUT give them credit for telling the truth and noting that fracking occurs thousands of feet below water levels.

    2. The conclusions by Wright should be both praised and deplored. She is a red melon/green “war ” (against humanity)” activist :) in drag. The back-handed support of fracking is beneah contempt. If she was intellectually honest she would have backed fracking without weasel qualifications.

    3. This woman recently told the Parliamentary Select Committee examining the ETS Bill that she had NOT considered the nature of other nation’s “ETS” schemes when condemning the NZ changes and demonstrating her (and her equally silly staff) economic stupidity. And we take her advice seriously ?

    4. Time, also, to question the veracity of the red melons’ sworn/affirmed oaths when taking a seat in the Parfliament. Perjury?????

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  6. Tom Jackson (2,225 comments) says:

    So the Greens are wrong about one thing, and that somehow excuses a farmers’ government with an environmental record that is absolutely shameful.

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  7. Scott Chris (5,672 comments) says:

    So the Greens are wrong about one thing, and that somehow excuses a farmers’ government with an environmental record that is absolutely shameful.

    Not sure if banning fracking is at the top of the Green’s agenda, but David Farrar is certainly making an effort to make it seem so.

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  8. Monty (944 comments) says:

    I think the peice that sums this up is where david says [the greenies] have a fundamental belief system that any industry that use natural resources is wrong and must be stopped.

    Of course that is for everyone else. They talk abour renewable energy which is all welll and good, but then there is no replacement energy at this time that would provide fuel for the planes that Gareth flys around the country in for one cause or another.

    The other point is that the Greenies need a cause to survive. All their policies are fiscally impossible and irresponsible. But that is beside the point. At any given time they beed a cause for their existance. When one cause is proven to be a failure, (such as Banning GE, or biofuels for exampe) they simply find another cause to scare the gulible and stupid. Frackking is only the latest example of their long line of causes,

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  9. Paulus (2,289 comments) says:

    Fracking is all the farmer’s fault, or so the Greenpeace NZ Branch would have us believe, as well.
    The little Welsh boy is still unhappy that the opinion and review he demanded did not give him what he wanted.
    This is particularly, in the view that the Commissioner, whose own green credentials have been construed as suspect, did not do as the little boy wanted.
    He demanded the report – now he has got it – Little squeaky Gareth should now GET FRACKED.

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  10. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    Essentially what Gareth “Chicken Little” Hughes is demanding is that the govt proves that the the sky is not falling.

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  11. jims_whare (389 comments) says:

    I reccently heard one person, who must be a Green member, advocate against trade that requires transporting of goods further than can be done on a bicycle.

    Oh really? Well in this green dream land nirvana how do they expect the bicycles to be made that would be the only legal means of transport? Out of bamboot shoots?

    Would you be allowed to bolt two bikes together and build a carry tray between them in order to transport bulky goods?

    Would the rider be allowed to carry good in a back pack?

    I’d say that green supporter was a few spokes short of a bicycle wheel methinks.

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  12. Peter (1,468 comments) says:

    He appears to be having his arse handed to him on FrogBlog:

    http://blog.greens.org.nz/2012/11/27/fracking-report-is-a-red-flag-not-a-green-light-for-new-fracking-wells/

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  13. kiwi in america (2,321 comments) says:

    Tom Jackson

    The Greens are wrong about a lot of things and because their world view is so distorted, they want to ban a lot of things as per David’s famous post on the Greens Ban List http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/10/the_greens_banned_list.html

    If even half the items on the list were actually banned, NZ’s GDP would shrink and we’d be in a recession for years. The Greens would respond by printing money – something else that they are wrong about.

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  14. louie (78 comments) says:

    The commie announcer on National Radio this morning was using a phrase that was new to me – ‘social license’.
    Is this a new tool in the left’s arsenal? When you lose other arguments you insist something has a ‘social license’?
    Presumably to be dispensed by some guardian of the trough.

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  15. Tom Jackson (2,225 comments) says:

    The Greens are wrong about a lot of things and because their world view is so distorted, they want to ban a lot of things

    This is supposed to be a “right” blog, yet it’s commenters seem unwilling to force farmers and other polluters to pay for the externalities they impose on the environment and by extension the rest of us. Such externalities are paradigmatic cases of market inefficiencies, yet our market loving friends on Kiwiblog deem them of little importance. If you love runoff so much, we can arrange for it to be piped onto your section.

    Privatising the waterways would be preferable to the current solution, as farmers would then have to pay the owners of waterways if they wanted to dump shit in them. As it is, the public “owns” the waterways and we get jack from them.

    BTW GDP is a misleading statistic. We could increase it by reintroducing slavery, for example.

    (FTR – not a Green voter or supporter – I don’t vote).

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  16. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    I once saw an item on TV where the Greens were discussing their violence policy.

    They noted that in their previous session they had discussed preditors. That’s right – they had to discuss whether to ban cats from catching mice. Incidently, they decided not to.

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  17. Tom Jackson (2,225 comments) says:

    I think the peice that sums this up is where david says [the greenies] have a fundamental belief system that any industry that use natural resources is wrong and must be stopped.

    No they don’t. The only belief that unites environmentalists is that people should not be allowed to pollute without consequence. This unites libertarian environmentalists (those who think that everything should be privately owned) and as well as those who think that the natural world has some inherent value that we violate by exploiting it.

    Pollution used to be far worse before the environmental movement began. At root, it’s not about saving otters or rolling in dirt, but about stopping exploitation of the commons. This is something that everyone bar the exploiters has an interest in reducing.

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  18. kiwi in america (2,321 comments) says:

    Tom Jackson
    If all the Greens banged on about was things like dairy waste that would be a good thing but it goes beyond a clean environment. A cursory examination of the ban list reveals that the Greens (and many non voting environmentalists) are nanny state purists – they have become hijacked by extremists who see exaggerated threats in almost any activity or substance and they want to regulate it. Its why Patrick Moore, Greenpeace’s founder left – extremism. The Green movement know best and like all good lefties, they want the power of the State to regulate what THEY think is best for society because society is naughty and, like children, they don’t know what’s good for them. They wrap themselves in a shroud of profound sanctimony and are so divorced from economic reality that even when faced with the evidence that the implimentation of some of their pet schemes doesn’t work and has unintended consequences, they double down and carry on. Like I said, if all the policies on the environmentalists dream ban list were implimented, the private sector (where wealth is created that governments can tax to provide social services) would shrink to the point where tax revenue would plummet and the state would be in even less of a position to benefit society. Its about balancing economic growth and the environment in non mutually exclusive ways.

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  19. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    They complain our greenhouse gas emissions are too high, yet oppose fracking for natural gas.

    This comment shows about the same level of understanding as his comment about school zones. In New Zealand, Huntly is our only coal-fired plant. I’m unaware of the Greens opposing moves to convert this plant to natural gas, although an ever better move is to replace coal and natural gas altogether with renewables – 100% Pure, anyone?.

    More important is that the world’s leading scientists are increasingly telling us that we are headed for climate catastrophe with an average global temperature rise of 3 -5C this century! All fracking releases new natural gas emissions into the atmosphere – and fracking is overweight in methane, the most intensive GHG over the short term – is just more bad news for all who inhabit the earth.

    And a final point is this, the PCE’s report is a very qualified one and DPF’s spin on it is as mischievous as usual.

    My advice would be to not gloat too soon.

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  20. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    In New Zealand, Huntly is our only coal-fired plant. I’m unaware of the Greens opposing moves to convert this plant to natural gas,

    My understanding is that parts of it was converted to coal because we were running out of gas at the time.

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  21. RightNow (6,334 comments) says:

    Yay for fracking!

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  22. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    More important is that the world’s leading scientists are increasingly telling us that we are headed for climate catastrophe with an average global temperature rise of 3 -5C this century!

    Panic!

    Or we can do what is realistic and live with the consequences (if any).

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  23. David Garrett (5,102 comments) says:

    scrubone: Reminds of that slogan for Dunedin – sadly a spoof:

    “Dunedin – eagerly awaiting global warming”

    I’m afraid I just cant get all exercised about this issue when there isn’t a damn thing we can do about it…perhaps if I was Chinese…

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  24. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    David: but acording to Luc, our failure to get China to join us in bankrupting ourselves is part of our grand consipiracy to bankrupt china and other poor countries… or something.

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  25. Ross12 (925 comments) says:

    Luc –you and I will never agree on AGW but can you tell me if you agree with what the UN Climate chief ( Christina Figueres) is pushing at Doha this week. Do you agree with her vision ?

    http://e360.yale.edu/feature/un_climate_chief_christiana_figueres_talks_making_progress_on_eve_of_doha/2593/#.UK05kQ6CU1g.twitter

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  26. flipper (3,261 comments) says:

    That poimpus, self important red melon lister, recently copped it between the eyeballs, when a colleague of mine, R.C.E.Wyndham, wrote to Graham from Oxford, UK sending a timely reminder that he (Graham. K) (and the red melons, whose leader has a Phud in the study of Jim Anderton) are really silly little (but dangerous) people. Rupert Wyndham told Graham:

    “Mr. Graham, you say:

    ” * Many people oppose any debate with Lord Monckton on the grounds that the intellectual merit of a discussion would suffer. I have no comment to make on that judgement . *”

    “You have just commented. Let’s too get to the real reason for the Greens’ avoidance of open debate – er, with Monckton or anyone else. It is that, on the few occasions on which they have summoned up the courage to do so, they have invariably been eviscerated. I was at one such debate myself in London, involving such illuminati from your side as Prof. Mike Hulme. It was embarrassing albeit, from my perspective, an enjoyable example of shadenfreude.

    “Your comment relating to the ‘precautionary principle’ is illuminating. It has always seemed to me that the ‘principle’ is a rather sanctimonious contrivance that allows people of your claimed persuasion to continue to engage in the delightful task of self-preening without the need to temper this indulgence with any obligation to think. I make no comment on what might have been the condition of mankind had this foolishness prevailed throughout human history.

    RW
    “PS In passing, I use the word ‘claimed’ because, to be frank, I do not believe that it is intellectually possible to promote Green claims with honesty of purpose.”

    Rupert has summed the red melons and their fellow-travellers to a T, has he not? :)

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  27. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    @scrubone

    but acording to Luc, our failure to get China to join us in bankrupting ourselves is part of our grand consipiracy to bankrupt china and other poor countries… or something.

    I know you struggle to make sense at the best of times but this is one of your standouts!

    @Ross12 (249) Says:
    November 28th, 2012 at 10:55 am

    One can but live in hope, Ross.

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  28. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Love oil, love roads and love my Chevy.

    However there are muppets in the Taranaki Resource Council who didn’t require resource consent for fracking until 2011.

    No consent for an industrial process – thiis just wrong given the shit you have to do to get building consent.

    http://nowoccupy.blogspot.com/2012/11/parliamentary-commissioner-on-fracking.html

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  29. wat dabney (3,422 comments) says:

    Tom Jackson,

    I think you are entirely mistaken. It is axiomatic that farmers and other polluters should pay for their externalities.

    The point of this thread is that the negative externalities of fracking are very modest when performed at the high standards which a First World country like New Zealand would require. This is in contrast to what the lying, self-service green fascist movement tells everyone.

    And the benefits of fracking are simply enormous.

    If the Greens were serious about the environment they would welcome the fact that fracking will be taking place where environmental standards are highest. As it is, they would completely oppose such exemplary exploitation, leaving Third World countries to be despoiled to provide our energy needs.

    Remember, with the Greens it’s never about the environment.

    BTW GDP is a misleading statistic. We could increase it by reintroducing slavery, for example.

    In fact GDP would decrease if this were to happen. It’s just a twist on the well-known example of the man who marries his housekeeper and thereby reduces GDP (she’s still doing the same work, but now for free.)

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  30. wat dabney (3,422 comments) says:

    Luc,

    More important is that the world’s leading scientists are increasingly telling us that we are headed for climate catastrophe with an average global temperature rise of 3 -5C this century!

    Yawn.

    It’s a busted flush mate. Give it up. Time to face facts.

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