Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Shale energy production and environmental protection are not incompatable

In a recent Baltimore Sun article one of my colleagues, finance professor Dan Ervin, makes the excellent observation that the enviros tendency to assume that new fossil fuel technologies -- fracking, for example -- are inherently environmentally destructive is a straw man argument.  He suggests that oil and gas industries should mimic the successful strategy employed by the nuclear industry over the last several decades:
I believe oil and gas companies could learn some important lessons from the U.S. nuclear industry, which has made the safe operation of nuclear plants its most important task. After the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, the nuclear industry adopted the axiom, "An accident anywhere is an accident everywhere," reflecting its concern that one major local accident could derail nuclear power worldwide. It instituted a strong safety culture, rooted in benchmarking with stringent safety and performance standards, continuous learning, information sharing among nuclear companies, and constant training of power-plant operators.
His informative article is worth a read, and can be found here.