“Is it any wonder some say “stop it all, right now?” because there is no basis for trust that these actions are not causing long term harm that the public has to pay to deal with, and that the economic benefit is limited to those who own the production companies?”
I strongly believe that considering “how bad is it?” (alongside “how good is it?”) is the perspective necessary to objectively assess a cost-benefit analysis. Human activity is fundamentally going to involve tradeoffs and errors, and it is imperative that good progress not be damned for not being perfect. It is equally imperative that any “progress” be keenly considered, and reconsidered continually as new information is gathered, in order to damn that which rightly should be (e.g. leaded gasoline). Considering “how bad is it?” not only sets up the “cost” side of any cost-benefit analysis, but on its own it also gives some insight into how much better we might reasonably be able to do without avoiding the activity entirely (e.g. thinking about spills of North Dakota fracking output — small but readily improvable). And it is exactly this perspective that I still consider best when looking at all other environmental-industrial issues (e.g. the California gas storage facility losing/venting/leaking practically *everything*).
I really like this article in particular since it highlights two additional, important points:
1) data acquisition is itself an imperfect human endeavor that can and must be improved over time
2) without sufficient, accurate data, no meaningful cost-benefit analysis can be made, nor can a valid conclusion be drawn (GIGO – garbage in, garbage out)!
But just because something is an imperfect human endeavor does not excuse gross ignorance of history and an utter lack of forethought, foresight, and imagination…
as [a place with government] rapidly began [something happening], the [a department of government] was overwhelmed and unprepared to [respond]
– This isn’t a fundamentally new problem, even if the specifics of a particular case might be. After thousands of years of human history and decades of modern government/bureaucracy, this should be a solved problem.
Pennsylvania’s DEP did not assume a presumption of liability for the gas drilling industry … didn’t have pre-drilling water tests to compare post-drilling results
– Seriously? <sarcasm>Too bad nothing like this has ever happened before and no one could have foreseen this as something to even watch for…</sarcasm>
At this point, there is no way to find out what happened with thousands of fracking water complaints except to go door-to-door and ask what happened with a complainant’s drinking water.
– … So go do that? We have census workers who basically do that (go door-to-door with a list of addresses to gather information).