The Brown Revolution
There is an energy revolution underway right now, but contrary to the ardent hopes and expectations of the greens, this one is a brown revolution.
In Noble County, Ohio, an area where the average annual income is less than $33,000, families are signing exploration leases with energy companies at $4,000 per acre, plus 19 percent royalties on oil and gas production. Such a massive cash infusion is already changing lives in this economically depressed region, and this is only the beginning.
Up to now, greens have been decidedly unhappy with this American shale gas revolution and the environmental threats it presents. They’re not wrong to be concerned: Ground water can be polluted; wastewater can be improperly disposed of; dangerous amounts of methane can be released into the atmosphere. There is evidence to support all of these fears.
But things are turning around. Americans can be very shrewd, and the people of Noble County, Ohio are better informed and better prepared than the Pennsylvanian hillfolk who opened their doors to strip-mining, mountain-shredding coal corporations decades ago, only to find their air polluted and livestock poisoned, with nary a government regulator in sight