Rendell’s criticism of fracking skepticism carries credibility

When Pennsylvania Democrats recently called for a moratorium on fracking, they got criticism from a source they might not have expected.

Former Gov. Ed Rendell, a longtime Democratic torchbearer, criticized the action as “ill-advised.”

Democrats had passed a resolution calling for an open-ended moratorium on fracking, the technique that drilling companies use to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formations.

While opponents of fracking call it an environmental menace, Rendell pointed out that thinking puts Democrats at odds with two of his past environmental protection secretaries John Hanger and Kathleen McGinty both of whom are running for governor.

“The two biggest environmentalists in the state, both running for governor, both approved of fracking, permitted it and moved on to put in place changes that have dramatically reformed the fracking process,” Rendell commented.

Rendell pointed out that fracking has created jobs and drawn economic investment into Pennsylvania.

These are not new points. But coming from a former Democratic governor who managed the state as the Marcellus Shale movement was blossoming, they carry greater credibility.

The environmental panic specialists need to drop the knee-jerk resistance to any economic activity that requires use of land, water, river, streams and forests and instead assess it fairly.

In an age of engineering capability far beyond that of just a couple decades ago, things that once were environmentally dangerous are now possible. The correct posture would be to feel cautious gratitude for economic misfortune than the woe-is-me that seems inbred in some. Pennsylvania can’t thrive in the future with that attitude.