When discussions about the imperative to lower greenhouse gases turn to the subject of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, tensions get white hot. Opponents cite the horrors of gas and oil fracking — from flare-ups in upper respiratory ailments and skin rashes, to videos where water is set on fire coming directly from the tap due to the methane and other gases seeping out. Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry eager to capitalize on the bonanza, defend fracking as way to lower greenhouse gases and bolster the US economy by lessening the nation’s dependency on foreign energy. When done right, they argue, the technique is clean and safe. Truth be told, both sides need to dial back the rhetoric and find more balance.Peter C. Fusaro is Chairman of Global Change Associates, an energy and environmental consultancy in New York City. Throughout his career Peter has been involved in energy projects: he helped the Environmental Protection Agency take the lead out of gasoline, has co-written on EIS on LNG safety and siting, helped create the first energy efficiency programs for gas and electricity in NYC, worked on the development of the Toyota Prius, and worked on greenhouse gas emissions.
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