Back to top

Just the Fracts Discussion

Top 5 Reasons Fracking Regulations Are Whack

Good environmental risk analysis asks several questions. What (if any) is the environmental problem? How does it compare to the problems arising from alternative means of energy production? And how can the risks be mitigated? All forms of energy resource extraction and production, even green energy, have its risks. For instance, a giant solar power plant in California uses 350,000 mirrors to focus the sun’s heat on boilers atop a tower to create air temperatures of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. During the testing phase, workers found dozens of dead birds, from peregrine falcons to sparrows, scattered around the site. The current approach to mitigating hydraulic fracturing’s risks is the same technique used for other oil and gas drilling techniques: bans, moratoria, or top-down command-and-control regulations overseen by a bureaucratic state government agency. What are some potential advantages and disadvantages of this type of regulatory regime?


The bureaucrats often do not have the necessary understanding to make the regulations. They can be captured by special interests. They do not bear the costs of regulation. They create barriers to entry and thus lower competition and raise cost to the consumer. They provide legal shielding for companies that stay within the regulations. It is hard to think of any benefits such a system has over a free-market approach.