Giuliani urges shale industry to fight ‘irrational’ public fear of fracking

  • Jon Hurdle
The gas industry should work to overcome misplaced fears of shale operations like this one in Pennsylvania, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said.

Marie Cusick/ StateImpact Pennsylvania

The gas industry should work to overcome misplaced fears of shale operations like this one in Pennsylvania, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said.

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani on Wednesday urged the natural gas industry to mount a public-relations campaign to overcome what he said was an irrational fear of fracking among some sections of the public.

Speaking to Pennsylvania industry professionals at the annual Shale Insight conference in Philadelphia, Giuliani said the industry is being held back by unfounded fears about the dangers of shale gas development, which he said had been fanned by some liberal media and “extreme” environmental groups.

“We have a PR problem. A lot of people dismiss the shale revolution,” he said. “They are irrationally afraid of it. We really do need a national effort to explain how relatively safe this process is.”

Giuliani drew parallels with the nuclear industry, which he said had shut down as a result of the Three Mile Island meltdown in 1979 despite the fact that no one had died in that incident. He also noted that France gets 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear power.

“No one has died from a nuclear accident in America ever,” he said. “We are afraid of nuclear power because of incorrect psychological reasons.”

The natural gas industry is “not being supported by the national government in the way that it should be,” he said.

Giuliani, whose law firm of Bracewell & Giuliani is a sponsor of the conference hosted by the Marcellus Shale Coalition, also called on the Obama administration to make it easier for U.S. shale gas producers to export overseas.

Even if world markets are currently oversupplied with liquefied natural gas, the U.S. should prepare to sell more gas to the rest of the world when markets recover, he said.

“It wouldn’t be a bad idea to permit some and have them ready for when the market turns,” he said. He predicted that demand for gas will rebound strongly in coming years.

He also argued that having the ability to export significant quantities of LNG boosts America’s geopolitical standing, and may have even deterred Russia from annexing Crimea. If Europe had been able to rely on gas from America rather than Russia, the prospect of losing the European market might have deterred Russia from its action in Crimea, Giuliani said.

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