No form of energy–not solar, wind, hydropower, obviously not coal or oil–comes without environmental tradeoffs.
One promising new energy source–a vast supplies of natural gas, trapped in shale deep beneath the earth’s surface–is getting renewed scrutiny these days, and for good reason.
While natural gas is often called a “bridge” to a clean energy future, critics are bombing the bridge with a frack attack, says energy policy analyst Kevin Book of Clearview Energy Partners.
Book was referring to the drumbeat of questions being raised by environmentalists, community activists, reporters and members of Congress about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a process during which water, chemicals and sand are pumped underground at high pressure to cause tiny fissures in rock and force natural gas to the surface.
In the weeks ahead, new pressures will come from activist shareholders of a dozen energy companies. They’ve filed shareholder resolutions asking the companies to take a hard look at fracking and its risk, and they will raise the issue at annual shareholder meetings. [click to continue…]