An essay by Dryden physician Michael Niziol, MD

The Immorality of No Frack


Let's face it—we all use fossil fuels. There is no argument there. Some of the most vociferous people I have met are environmentalists deprived of their fossil fuels. Whereas I don’t heat my bedroom and keep my home at 60 degrees in the winter I note that most environmentalists keep their homes at a comfy 66 degrees or higher. Ironically many of them have air conditioning for the summer as well.  All it takes is a quick drive through Ithaca to realize that 90% of the people are using cars for transportation.  The fact of the matter is not many environmentalists have “Gone Amish” (too much work).  So there is no argument  - we all consume fossil fuels.

There is also no argument with respect to obtaining fossil fuels. This process requires mechanical systems operated by humans. Such systems are subject to failure. This is clearly evidenced by recent events in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, the North Sea and Nigeria.

These two facts would have no bearing on our current situation were it not for the reality that we now have the potential to develop local energy resources. This ability to extract local energy coupled with the refusal to do so because of risk develops a moral dichotomy for those who continue to consume fossil fuels. So let's just be clear about what “No Frackers” are saying. They are indicating that they are going to continue to consume fossil fuels and that since obtaining these fuels does involve some risk they expect the poor and disenfranchised people in other parts of the world to assume that risk, but not them.  When one also couples this with the fact that we are expending immense amounts of energy to transport fossil fuels from around the world to our local area one can only arrive at one conclusion.

The desire to expend immense amounts of energy to import fossil fuels developed thousands of miles away from where they will be utilized, coupled with the desire to make the poor and disenfranchised people of the world take risk with their environments but not ours while we continue to lead extravagant lifestyles burning these fuels is the zenith of moral hypocrisy.

Michael Niziol, MD

Copyright 9/15/2011
Posted by permission of the author