An examination of the pros and cons and the unknowns of the shale revolution, bringing much-needed light to the hot topic of fracking.
Raimi (Energy Policy/Univ. of Michigan) is a research associate at Resources for the Future, an organization that focuses on natural resource and environmental issues. In his first book, the author aims to address the most important issues of the debate surrounding hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as it is commonly called, and he draws on the expertise of state regulators, environmental lawyers, leaders in the gas and oil industry, working scientists, and academics. In addition, he traveled widely around the United States, talking to people who live near fracking sites. The result is a highly readable account with straightforward explanations of what is involved in extracting oil and gas from shale. Numerous simple black-and-white charts and tables back up the narrative, and each chapter concludes with a brief summary of the issues covered. These include the mechanics of fracking, its effects on the environment and the health of those living nearby or working at a drill site, the risk of earthquakes, the effect on the economy and on climate change, and the manner in which the industry is regulated. The take-home message is that the shale revolution is here to stay and that neither proponents nor opponents have all the right answers. As Raimi makes clear, there are no easy answers to some of the complex issues involved. The final chapter gives the book a personal touch, as the author reveals the feelings of people living close to fracking sites. From his conversations with them, he concludes that they may not like the noise, dirt, traffic, and changes to their landscapes, but the money and the jobs are generally welcomed.
A deft, fair analysis that clarifies the issues for both the general public and concerned policymakers.