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Parker Kellam

My thoughts on the piece, are similar to so many others above. I had really only ever heard of the negative impacts of fracking, and had you asked me earlier this week, I probably would have told you I'd be very against it. This article did a good job of laying out the positive externalities while still addressing the negative as well. There are a few things I am still fuzzy on though, so I am interested to see where the class discussion goes tomorrow, to grasp the concept better.


After reading the article I genuinely see shale gas as great example of a transition away from coal that can be answered if it is productive or harmful with the response "It depends". Reading the article I kept seeing the headlines of each section on negative impacts and was waiting for the paper to mention an extremely negative impact of the giant shift to shale but for each externality if they were handled properly all the negative sides were pretty negligent on a personal level. But because of this focus on private costs when talking about the externalities is where I'm genuinely concerned. With their magnitude and social costs associated with fracking most likely being larger than the private costs I think more research needs to be done on the externalities and whether or not the costs created by those externalities on a social level are worth less than the economic expansion.

Jones Veith

In my freshman year Environmental Studies class, our big project and presentation were on hydraulic fracturing. Essentially, the conclusions we came to were about the same as the Mason article. Of course, our work was at an 18 year old level, however, we essentially concluded that more research was needed before we could make an accurate judgement on fracking. Mason et al. referenced this as the report characterized the data on the negative externalities as insufficient. Despite this insufficiency, I think the externality that will impede fracking's progress is the potential for it to create birth defects. From a legislative standpoint, I believe something involving women and children has the potential to receive the most attention in Congress. This negative externality aside, I believe the positive externalities -- as articulated in Mason et al. -- have great magnitude. I think the biggest question that fracking will present, however, is the potential problems in boom towns. Since Mason et al. mentioned crime, sociological, and post-boom issues, it will be interesting to see how these shape the political landscape going forward. Specifically, voters in post industrial America (states like PA) were a key to Donald Trump's election. Further, many of these voters focused on how crime had increased in their towns and states. If a natural gas boom produces post-boom affects, then outcomes similar to the 2017 election could be seen in greater magnitudes.

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