One of the most prominent reasons that alternative energy resources are becoming increasingly important is not necessarily for the environment, but to become independent of foreign oil resources abroad. These resources often come from the Middle East, where the relations with the United States are not exactly the most friendly. Furthermore, striking this dependence in the butt would lead to a greater trust in the resources found within the country, and a greater trust of the country itself. It is no secret that these countries from where the US is getting oil is known for terrorism, the same terrorists that have attacked the US in the past. Becoming independent from these countries is a step in the right direction, and as we can see, the dependence on oil from the middle east is steadily decreasing.
One of the best conceptual means to alternative energy is fracking, and make sure it is clear that this is only conceptual. The actual way that fracking is completed is harmful to the environment in a plethora of ways, but for the sake of this blog, please ignore them. It is important to focus on the potential of fracking, so that we can work our way towards a cleaner way of fracking. According to CNN Money on March 24, 2016, the United States received just 3% of its energy from natural gas, specifically from fracking. This miniscule amount did not add up to anything; however it was a step in the right direction. To grasp the concept of how fracking has grown to become more dependent on foreign oil, take a look at the picture below.
Clearly there is a clear increase in fracking frequency in the United States, and it must be for a reason. Natural gas is an excellent alternative to oil, and is one step closer to completely renewable resources. Furthermore, a way to get even more money out of fracking would be taxing the gas companies per well, or per barrel.
According to StateImpact, a member of National Public Radio, a severance tax would be an excellent way to gain excess funds for the state, as well as discourage people from creating more wells. This tax, although might seem counterproductive, would give producers more incentive to work with gas than oil because the tax is less. Working toward even more renewable resources would decrease this tax indefinitely to have a 0% severance tax.
One aspect to fracking that I was unaware of was the political dispute involved with fracking. According to the New York Times on February 9, 2016, there were many million-dollar donors for the 2016 presidential election. When scrutinizing these donors, you can see that there are many “individuals” that gain all of their money from fracking. Most people do not see that these individuals associated with fracking were endorsing presidential candidates; however, if one begins to look up some of the candidates, you will find there are many. If you are interested in looking at these individuals, click here.
This means that people are giving money to politicians to help put forward fracking. This may have been good because it would have increased the amount of funding brought into the sector; at the same time, it could be negative because there could be less regulations on the process causing a greater negative impact on the environment.
If evaluating the regulations on fracking, there seems to be a loophole in the system. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 may seem like a good plan; however regulations are only present if diesel fuel is used in the fracking fluid. Thankfully, President Obama saw this loophole and set a course to close it during his presidency. According to the New York Times on March 20, 2016, the legislation put in place was not just to set the regulations, but also to encourage the companies to set their own regulations.
Hopefully, greater regulation on fracking will create enough incentive for companies to start working in a more clean fashion, which will enable more fracking. This enables more fracking because less people will be opposed to it, specifically those concerned about the environment.