Alex Epstein Exposes Josh Fox’s Gasland II as Anti-All Technology

Living is risky. In 2011, for example, 123,000 people in the United States died from unintentional injuries, including 35,000 from motor vehicle accidents and 27,000 from falls (figures rounded). But we don’t quit driving because some people die in car accidents, and we don’t quit walking or using ladders because some people die from falls.

Engaging in any activity entails some kind and degree of risk. And the activity of producing energy is no exception.

The breakthrough technologies of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract oil and natural gas from deep underground are remarkably effective and, relative to countless other activities, remarkably safe. Fracking in the United States has made possible dramatic increases in the production of natural gas, which millions of Americans use to heat their homes, cook their food, and generate their electricity. As for safety, the most recent federal study of fracking found no evidence that it contaminated drinking water in the study area, western Pennsylvania; nor has any other objective study found substantial harms from fracking.

But Josh Fox, director of the anti-fracking “documentary” Gasland II, is not interested in an objective appraisal of the technology. He is interested in smearing fracking and slandering frackers.

Thankfully, Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress, writing for Forbes, corrects many of Fox’s distortions. I will let Epstein and others address Fox’s various factual errors; here I want to focus on a profound insight that Epstein has into Fox’s general approach:

This is a blueprint for opposing any technology. For example, Fox could make Carland, which could show car crashes and then blame all of them on “Big Auto.” Then it could argue that because car crashes are possible, we don’t need cars.

To take Epstein’s point further: Every single piece of technology we use could be condemned by Fox’s approach, for every one of them involves the use of raw materials and energy to create and (often) to use the product. All of the plastics, metals, and fibers we use for everything from computers to cameras to bicycles come from resources buried in the ground or growing on top of it. Likewise, the electricity used to manufacture and operate these items comes from power generated by use of natural resources. It is simply impossible to produce anything without accepting some risk.

Shame on Fox for smearing this life-serving technology and the heros who develop and employ it. And kudos to Epstein for exposing Fox’s fraudulent claims and anti-technology—thus anti-life—premises.

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  • Anonymous

    ‘And the activity of producing energy is no exception.’
    Yes, but producing energy from nuclear power entails less risk than any other.

    • Anonymous

      to mike,i’m cool with that. in bad neighborhoods,you have to be straight up,fox wouldn’t last a night.

    • Anonymous

      yes.

  • SteveMGD

    ‘And the activity of producing energy is no exception.’
    Yes, but producing energy from nuclear power entails less risk than any other.

    • StewartMorrison

      to mike,i’m cool with that. in bad neighborhoods,you have to be straight up,fox wouldn’t last a night.

    • StewartMorrison

      yes.

  • Anonymous

    josh fox is anti american and an all out lying piece of opportunistic bull crpper. he has no realiable science behind his half truths,or his outright lies! this little boy should be in a jail cell instead his posh hollywood home,paid for from morons who believe his drivel. he’s not trying to ‘save the planet’ he’s looking to get rich on the nieve,and that’s when it hurts me,economicaly,easy for his ilk to say i can live on expensive mideast,hang a fag a day oil,instead of the safe and proven for over sixty years of fracking, that has no real proven measure of polluting any water source,it can’t. fracking occurs miles below any water table.he is simply riding the tide of the ignorant,and making money from the ‘fad’ of today.he is hurtful,greedy and should if he any conscience,which he obviously doesn’t,ought to be selling cow manure,which i’m sure he has a huge inventory.

    • Mike Kevitt

      I ain’t read any of Fox’s stuff yet, but unless he’s caused real harm thru fraud, he probably shouldn’t be in jail, maybe just jiving in an unheated shack in a bad neighborhood.

  • StewartMorrison

    josh fox is anti american and an all out lying piece of opportunistic bull crpper. he has no realiable science behind his half truths,or his outright lies! this little boy should be in a jail cell instead his posh hollywood home,paid for from morons who believe his drivel. he’s not trying to ‘save the planet’ he’s looking to get rich on the nieve,and that’s when it hurts me,economicaly,easy for his ilk to say i can live on expensive mideast,hang a fag a day oil,instead of the safe and proven for over sixty years of fracking, that has no real proven measure of polluting any water source,it can’t. fracking occurs miles below any water table.he is simply riding the tide of the ignorant,and making money from the ‘fad’ of today.he is hurtful,greedy and should if he any conscience,which he obviously doesn’t,ought to be selling cow manure,which i’m sure he has a huge inventory.

    • Mike Kevitt

      I ain’t read any of Fox’s stuff yet, but unless he’s caused real harm thru fraud, he probably shouldn’t be in jail, maybe just jiving in an unheated shack in a bad neighborhood.

  • Mike Kevitt

    I guess saying ‘shame on Fox’ is good enough for now, as long as we’re mostly free to frack for oil. If we lose that freedom, well, shame on Fox, but we’ll have to go a LOT farther with other entities who will be of a criminal nature.

  • Mike Kevitt

    I guess saying ‘shame on Fox’ is good enough for now, as long as we’re mostly free to frack for oil. If we lose that freedom, well, shame on Fox, but we’ll have to go a LOT farther with other entities who will be of a criminal nature.

  • Anonymous

    Does Fox ever use computers to write and distribute this hate propaganda? They seem to be in a contradiction.

    • David Blankenau

      Does Fox ever use a car, or an Iphone, or any appliances in his home? Has he ever needed the services of a hospital or underwent a surgical procedure? Has he ever used electricity? Has he ever used ANY product that has been developed over the last 150 years?

      People like Josh Fox and Bill McKibben (the nation’s leading anti-energy nutcase – er, fanatic) are drenched in contradiction and hypocrisy and don’t even know it (or worse, they DO know but don’t care).

      • Anonymous

        I have noticed most people don’t worry about contradictions in their personal codes of ethics. A lot of people are even openly proud of them. The word “denial” is almost a religion.

  • trimmerman

    Does Fox ever use computers to write and distribute this hate propaganda? They seem to be in a contradiction.

    • David Blankenau

      Does Fox ever use a car, or an Iphone, or any appliances in his home? Has he ever needed the services of a hospital or underwent a surgical procedure? Has he ever used electricity? Has he ever used ANY product that has been developed over the last 150 years?

      People like Josh Fox and Bill McKibben (the nation’s leading anti-energy nutcase – er, fanatic) are drenched in contradiction and hypocrisy and don’t even know it (or worse, they DO know but don’t care).

      • trimmerman

        I have noticed most people don’t worry about contradictions in their personal codes of ethics. A lot of people are even openly proud of them. The word “denial” is almost a religion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/avneet.paul Avneet Paul

    Really vital piece. Alex Epstein is doing fabulous work. Good job !

  • http://www.facebook.com/avneet.paul Avneet Paul

    Really vital piece. Alex Epstein is doing fabulous work. Good job !

  • xerocky

    Fox and his ilk have no interest in energy on either end of the spectrum. They’re only interested in seeing the United States become poor.