Up | December 08, 2012
>>> good morning from new york. i'm chris hayes . egyptian nupts report that president morsi will issue a law giving judicial immunity to the military as it quells protests there. demonstrators are marching in cairo to protest his attempt to push through a new constitution written by his allies. charlie crist the former governor of florida announced late friday he's officially joining the democratic party . right now i'm joined by dave roshlgts a staff writer covering energy and policy, tanya fields, dan dicker, author of oil he's endless bid, taming the unreliable price of oil to secure our economy, a cnbc contributor and union blake director of strirmtal affairs for hometown energy group, independent energy consulting firm with clients in the oil and gas industry . republican senator rand paul of kentucky on wenz lambbaased the actress ashley judd report considering a run for senate there. he said her opposition to one industry in particular would doom her candidacy.
>> she's way damn to liberal for our country and state. she hateses or big heest industry, coal. good luck bringing the i hate coal message to kentucky .
>> it shows a misunderstanding of his own state's economy. according to data from the bureau of economic analysis , mining is only the 13th largest industry in kentucky by gdp. manufacturing is at the top of the list. if you go by jobs, mining is anl 15th in the state. health care is at the top of list with eight times the number of workers. paul's claiming are flat wrong, but they show a deep anxiety and defensiveness about the coal industry on the wane in america . today coal provides a third of the power down from nearly half four years ago. coal-burning power plants are shuting down across the country. there's a war on coal as you may have heard during the campaign, but the aggressors aren't bureaucra bureaucrats but it's natural gas . specifically the technology radically transformed natural gas production something called hydraulic fracturing or fracking. the name is opaque but the goal is simple. tens of thousands of feet below the surface there are deposits of natural gas trapped up within giant rock formations. fracking lets energy companies drill down to release the gas. that process has fundamentally revolutionized america 's energy economy in a few years. the average annual price of natural gas is less than half what it was in 2008 . large swaths of the united states from colorado to texas to ohio to upup state new york have massive natural gas reserves making them right for fracking. rhetts rebel based on concerns about health and the safety of the process. those battles may decide the course of america 's energy economy over the next century. i think there's a real mismatch between the amount of -- between the scale of the change happens in america right now because of the fracking boom and the amount of intense con stern nation, debate, and politics around the local level on the amount of coverage it gets naturally. it happens under the radar. natural gas , the natural gas revolution that's happening right now is -- you're someone that works in the energy sector. you're a trader in the energy secreta sector. it's transforming it.
>> it's new. you need to say that clearly. it's in its absolute infancy. deep fracking they're doing now really only began in 2007 in texas, and it's been moved quickly into the major place. so we've gotten at a very strange kind of movement in the time line of fracking. it's run almost haphazardly in three different directions from the industry, which has gone into a land grabow nan.
>> and much regulation and oversight. i'm not saying what's been done has been badly done. most of it has been well-done, but there's bad examples of bad wells fracked out there. what it is is it's going at a break neck pace trying to capture what is what you say is a book that's just begun.
>> dave, i guess at the top line you say, look, there's this huge, plentiful source of energy . here's the president talking about fracking and its promise in ohio in july.
>> not only are we blessed with incredible natural gas resources that are now accessible because of new technologies, but natural gas actually burns cleaner than some other fossil fuels and is an ideal fuel energy source that we potentially can use for the next 100 years. there are a lot of folks right now that are engaging in hydraulic fracking doing it safely. the problem is we haven't established clear guidelines for how to do it safely and informed the public so that neighbors know what's going on. you know, your family, you can make sure that any industry that's operating in your area, that they're being responsible.
>> yeah. part of the fracking being so new, like you said, especially deep fracking being so new is there's a lot we don't know about it. it does burn cleaner than coal in power plants . that's pretty uncontested, but if you go look at the methane released by fracking and by transporting this stuff through pipeline there's a lot of methane released, and it's a powerful greenhouse gas in terms of co2. the balance of climate change between natural gas and coal is still somewhat a question mark . it looks based on most science we have now cleaner than coal, but we just don't know. we don't know a lot about the local impacts and how long these prices stay low or how long the wells last. there's a lot wi don't know about it, and it's moving so quickly. i think that's why you see a lot of of this.
>> there's a lot of fear.
>> and you're someone who is familiar with this. you live in upstate. you consulted for the oil and gas industry and you're a toxicologist, right? what are the fears you hear, and what's yue feeling about how people are understanding the process?
>> people are not understanding the process at at all. the information is out there. the industry has been doing this for a while. they have the information, but the problem is a lot of people don't believe what the industry says. so even if the industry --
>> which is not ridiculous. let me just say it for the record, right? this is just as a basic kind of -- i think you're right. what ends up happening is you get this debate, right? the natural gas company says x and a group of activists say y, and i as a third party entering into this, i say the natural gas company has hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars on x being the case. i'm going to view it a little skeptically.
>> i understand what you're saying, but if you want a solution to a problem, sometimes you have to look within. the industry has spent a lot of years doing research on a lot of of these issues. you go to spe. they do an annual conference , and they have a lot of information there, a lot of reports about health issues, about water issues. problem is, again, nobody wants to believe what the industry is saying. so you have the environmentalists putting their reports out, and then you have the industry saying, well, we don't want to believe what you're saying either. we're at a really bad impasse. at some point we have to come together and decide what is and what is not.
>> the people don't -- you say they don't believe what the industry is saying, as if we were all inherently naturally skeptics if there's not a history to lend to that. we have people in towns whose water is flammable, whose livestock are delivering calfs and breeds that die before the year is over. disproportionately two instances before there was fracking, right? this country has a long history in terms of the industry dominating and saying one thing, and people actually putting their trust that what they say is the truth and turning around sxending up with billions of dollars in public health issues degradation of their environment, disinvestment of their local economic development . of course, i wouldn't believe what you said. you're asking the fox to watch the henhouse essentially. so there is a lot of investment in telling people, you know -- not telling them anything, right? chemicals are looked at like trade secrets , so you put tons of chemicals potentially into the water table, and you're not telling them because it could help the competition.
>> look. there are real environmental challenges with fracking. they are real. they are measurable. we are getting a handle on these, but the idea that they are infecting water tables is a bit overwrought. we've had 40,000 fracked in the country. the epa has has found one example of some sort of water table activity in wyoming. even they're not sure about that one. it seems the water table -- now, a greenhouse gas effect of loose methane, that's real. in terms of water that'sle coming up, recyclable water that's coming up at brine after the process is real. we have to separate what's real from the fake ones. you know what i'm saying?
>> let's do that. i think there's a bunch of stuff on the table, right? it's a complicated process, and it's a scary process in the fact that these are areas that, you know, west texas is used to energy extraction, right? southeast pennsylvania is not necessarily used to it or upstate new york , right? you have this it industry coming in. i want to step through these different risks because i think there are risks and there's a mix of anecdotal fear and they're grounded reason to be skeptical about a lot of processes. let's sort of dive deep into that right after we take this break. how does this