Shale gas might just be the best thing since sliced bread. In addition to saving the environment and solving poverty, fracking–and the abundance of natural gas it produces–is doing its part to help solve America’s economic woes. While regular Via Meadia readers know that the fracking revolution has been generating good, well-paying jobs in the energy sector and beyond, a new WSJ report provides even more good news.According to the story, in response to declining natural gas prices Exxon Mobil is in the early stages of a multibillion-dollar expansion of a petrochemical plant in Houston that promises to create 10,000 construction jobs and an additional 350 permanent ones. To boot, the expanded plant will produce chemicals in high demand on international markets, boosting exports. From the story:
The move is the latest by a major energy and petrochemical company to profit from booming natural gas production in the U.S., which has rejuvenated the chemical manufacturing sector and fostered exports. Companies such as Dow Chemical Co. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC have also recently undertaken petrochemical projects made profitable by low natural gas prices.
One plant won’t be enough to pull the country out of our economic slump, but this trend is gaining momentum. If the ineptitude of the greens and the failure of blue have you down, Via Meadia suggests you keep an eye on the brown economy. Yes, like all mining and extractive techniques, fracking has drawbacks and needs an appropriate regulatory framework. But that said, the goal needs to be to figure out how fracking can work, not to come up with regulations designed to kill an industry that could give a new lease on life to the American dream.