New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced recently that he would back ‘responsible’ extraction of natural gas by fracking. An article written by Bloomberg and hydraulic fracturing technologies pioneer George P. Mitchell and posted on the Washington Post website says, “The production of shale gas through fracking is the most significant development in the U.S. energy sector in generations, and it affords major benefits that people on both sides of the debate should welcome.”

They go on to explain the usefulness fracking, done responsibly, can have on the economy, energy costs, U.S. dependence on coal, and renewable power opportunities for the electricity grid.

“Fracking for natural gas can be as good for our environment as it is for our economy and our wallets, but only if done responsibly,” wrote Bloomberg and Mitchell. “Safely fracking can mean healthier communities, a cleaner environment and a reliable domestic energy supply right now.”

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Bloomberg Philanthropies, which supports new ideas and innovation, gave $6 million to the Environmental Defense Fund to help develop safe and simple regulations on fracking. The money will also be used to minimize the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing.

“We can frack safely if we frack sensibly,” wrote Bloomberg and Mitchell. The debate on fracking is far from over, but having a high-ranking government official backing the work of the natural gas industry a step in the right direction.

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