“In truth, celebrities are rich, and they use far more energy and resources than anyone else. There’s this grass-roots NIMBY revolt against fracking,” said Michael Shellenberger, who heads the Breakthrough Institute, a nonpartisan Oakland-based environmental think tank that is releasing a report this month on the environmental benefits of natural gas.
Critics of drilling largely welcome the support from celebrities. Biologist Sandra Steingraber, speaking for the group New Yorkers Against Fracking, said the support helps to “elevate the voices of this grassroots movement in contrast to the millions of dollars spent by the gas industry.”
Many self-labeled “fractivists” say drilling ruins drinking water and farms – think the fictional disaster spun in the Matt Damon vehicle “Promised Land” – and makes no sense, since it’s possible to quickly transform our society to one that’s powered by clean, renewable energy such as wind and solar.
Yet the boom has created jobs, reduced imports of oil and gas, and lowered energy bills. In contrast with Baldwin’s claim, local landowners have received billions of dollars in royalties, and the typical royalty of 18.75 percent is higher than what many novelists, actors or musicians are paid.
Pennsylvania dairy farmer Shawn Georgetti said he was struggling before signing a gas lease. Now, he’s been able to buy better and more fuel-efficient equipment and says the drilling hasn’t caused any problems. “It’s a lot more fun to farm,” he said.
As for Fox’s claim about the ease of shifting to wind, solar and hydropower, “if that was true, we’d be doing it,” said Stephen Ansolabehere, a Harvard University professor who has studied public attitudes toward renewable energy. “People think wind and solar are cheap; it’s just not right. They see what the prices are, and the support drops.”<< previous 1 2 3 4 next >>