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Future Energy Department head calls fracking a 'bridge' to clean energy

Is there such thing as a "bridge fuel" that will take the U.S. from a reliance on fossil fuels to renewable energy? A man named Ernest Moniz, a physicist at MIT, seems to think so, as Brad Plumer reports for the Washington Post.

And Moniz calls that bridge hydrofracking, the same thing that has spurred Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas drilling in South Texas, as well as the increase in 18-wheeler traffic and the inevitable oilfield accidents.

President Obama has tapped Moniz for the leadership post at the Energy Department, which has some groups worried, according to Plumer, precisely because Moniz thinks of fracking as a bridge.

If fracking is a bridge, environmental activist groups warn that carbon dioxide and methane - as well as the natural gas itself - will continue to cause damage to the earth's atmosphere. In other words, fracking might help us move away from coal, but it won't be a permanent solution.

On the other hand, natural gas is a cheaper alternative and better for the environment than coal. And fracking is an obvious boost to jobs in South Texas. So it's hard to say whether Ernest Moniz's nomination is a good or bad thing.

At least as far as the health of the South Texas oil and gas industry is concerned, given Moniz's Senate testimony - "natural gas can indeed play an important role over the next couple of decades in economically advancing a clean energy system" - it's probably good.

Source: Is fracking a 'bridge' to a clean-energy future? Ernest Moniz thinks so.

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