Left-wing activists are blocking a budding U.S. energy resource

At the Washington Examiner:

In a year clouded by worries over jobs, budget deficits, and energy costs, rapid advancements in domestic natural gas production have offered a ray of hope.

Innovations in horizontal drilling and a procedure known as hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking") allow us to more efficiently and safely extract the gas trapped in our nation's vast shale deposits. But shale gas extraction is under assault...
...Fracking opponents have bombarded the media with claims that the process contaminates groundwater, propels global warming, and even causes earthquakes.
Governmental or independent scientific authorities have discounted each of these assertions. But agenda-driven ideologues can't be swayed by facts. Instead, they have pursued a campaign straight out of the Activism 101 playbook.
A 2010 documentary, "Gasland," painted a profoundly misleading picture of natural gas extraction. Energized by the movie and its sympathetic media coverage, activists lobbied cities and towns to pass local laws banning or limiting fracking.
More than 100 cities as large as Pittsburgh and towns as small as Dryden, N.Y., have adopted such laws. Some face legal challenges. For example, an energy exploration company, which has invested more than $5 million in the Dryden area, has sued the town, arguing New York state law supersedes such local rules.
At the state level, both New York and New Jersey have banned fracking until more studies are done. Advocates for plaintiffs with groundwater contamination suits have urged New York legislators to create a strict liability standard for such legal actions.
And not to be left out, the New York attorney general has sued to stop a Pennsylvania-based commission from issuing proposed rules on fracking...
...Clear legal standards, tailored to the unique needs of each state, will encourage growth and investment in shale gas extraction. Businesses involved in shale gas, however, also must do their part.
Activists have sown the seeds of suspicion effectively, and one careless mistake or shortcut in the development process could be catastrophic for fracking's future...