From an article in Forbes by energy reporter Christopher Helman:
A group of Yale economics graduates...recently set out to do a cost-benefit analysis, valuing and balancing the pros against the cons. They’ve released their findings in a paper called “The Arithmetic of Shale Gas.”...
Consider that back in 2008, before the shale boom really took off, the nominal price of natural gas (that is, the price at the Henry Hub in Louisiana) averaged $7.97 per mcf. In 2011, the price averaged $3.95 per mcf. Multiply that price drop of $4.02 per mcf by the 25.6 trillion cubic feet the country consumed in 2008 and you find that thanks to the shale boom, America is paying $103 billion a year less for natural gas. (With gas prices falling even further since 2011, in 2012 the benefit will be even greater.)...
But it’s not enough to just look at the benefits. What about the costs?...
Despite any evidence showing that drilling and fracking cause spills or pollution with any frequency [although the authors of the report searched for such evidence, they found none], the authors decided to calculate the costs for a scenario that assumes 100 spills a year out of 10,000 new wells drilled each year. They figure that if 5,000 gallons of polluted frack water were to spill into a field, the cost to scrape up a hypothetical 5,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and dispose of it at an offsite landfill would be on the order of $2.5 million. Furthermore, if a potable water well were polluted by fracking, the cost to haul in a potable water supply and drill a new water well would be about $5,000. Given 100 incidents in a year, the clean-up costs associated with fracking accidents would be roughly $250 million.
Comparing this $250 million a year in damages against the $100 billion in savings, and “economic benefits, as estimated in as limited methodology as is reasonable, exceed costs to the community by 400-to-1.”
Benefits of four hundred to one--and yet for four years the Obama administration has treated hydraulic fracturing with either indifference or hostility.
A vote for Romney would represent a vote for all kinds of things. A certain decency. Suspicion of big government. Tax reform. Yet as Romney made clear during his big speech on energy the other day, it would also represent a vote for cleaner, cheaper energy.
Lord. November 6 can't come soon enough.