NJ Paper: ‘Ban fracking in New Jersey? / Premature — at best’

At least once New Jersey media outlet knows what banning fracking is all about.

The Press of Atlantic City editortializes:

We wish we knew the answers to the questions surrounding “fracking” – or the hydraulic fracturing of rock formations to extract natural gas.

Is it an environmental debacle waiting to happen (or already happening)? The process produces vast quantities of contaminated wastewater that can pollute drinking-water aquifers.

Or is the plentiful, cheap natural gas produced by fracking a key component of America’s energy future? Already, natural gas extracted from the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania has driven down gas prices in New Jersey. That’s certainly welcome.

The key questions: Is fracking worth the environmental risks? Can those risks be mitigated by better fracking methods?

We don’t know the answers. In fact, there appear to be no authoritative answers to those questions. Two massive federal studies are under way. Until those studies are completed, this is just a heated debate between self-interested groups on either side of the issue.

However, this much is clear. In the words of Larry Ragonese, the spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection: “There is no frackable shale in New Jersey that can produce energy.”

So why, you may ask, is the Legislature once again pursuing a fracking ban in New Jersey?

There is really only one answer to that question: To score points with New Jersey’s increasingly vocal and powerful environmental lobby…

Read the entire editorial.

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