Confronting America’s Persistent Energy Illiteracy
By Loren Steffy
Americans want more natural gas, but they don’t favor the hydraulic fracturing process used to produce it. That’s the findings of a recent University of Texas survey in which 80 percent of the respondents said they want the feds to push natural gas development.
Part of the reason for the disconnect, of course, is the anti-fracking campaigns of environmental groups who claim the drilling process taints groundwater, causes earthquakes and uses too much water. Much of the public discourse over fracking has focused on its potential impacts, with little discussion of the potential benefits.
Among the survey respondents who claimed a familiarity with fracking, only 38 percent said they supported it, a decline from 45 percent just a few months ago.
The survey points to a broader public misunderstanding of energy issues. While many who responded said they favored natural gas because it produced fewer carbon emissions than other fossil fuels, they didn’t seem to acknowledge that reaping those benefits requires widespread use of fracking.
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