Heartland Institute Gets It Right on Natural Gas

Heartland Institute policy analyst Tim Benson – a former colleague of mine – published an excellent article this week documenting the economic benefits of hydraulic fracturing and natural gas. Summarizing a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report regarding the state of Ohio, Benson observes natural gas production and use through the hydraulic fracturing (fracking) process created $9.9 billion in Ohio gross domestic product and 114,000 Ohio jobs since 2009. Substantial economic benefits have also accrued throughout the United States.

The beauty of the natural gas revolution – a dramatic increase in natural gas production and use due to advances in fracking and horizontal drilling technologie

The Lake Erie shore and all of Ohio have benefited economically and environmentally from natural gas.

The Lake Erie shore and all of Ohio have benefited economically and environmentally from natural gas.

s during the past decade – is dramatic environmental gains have been attained in an economically productive manner. With the United States leading the world in growth rates for natural gas production and usage, we have reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions more than any nation in the world. The old catch-22 asking whether it is better to have affordable energy or a greener environment no longer applies. Natural gas is not only cost-competitive with coal power, it is also a very green energy source.

If people on the political left retain any doubts about the environmental benefits of natural gas, they need only heed the words of President Obama: “[T]he fact that we’re transitioning from coal to natural gas means less greenhouse gases. … We’ve got to live in the real world.”

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton agrees. As she notes in her energy policy fact sheet: “Domestically produced natural gas has played a critical role in reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants. US CO2 emissions in 2015 reached their lowest level in 20 years due in large part to a shift from coal to natural power generation, helping to put the US in a strong negotiating position at the Paris climate conference.”

Free marketers and the political left agree, natural gas is good for the economy and good for the environment.

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