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Government aided shale gas growth

A recent column by Hoppy Kercheval wrongly states that the revolution in shale development was the product of the “free market.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

Federal investments and involvement in the development of shale extraction technologies span three decades.

In fact, the first successful multi-fracture horizontal drilling play was in Wayne County, West Virginia in 1986 through a public-private partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy.

Two engineers at the federal Morgantown Energy Research Center (now NETL) patented two early techniques for directional shale drilling that helped pave the way to large-scale shale development.

If we look at most modern technologies - the Internet, Geographic positioning systems, magnetic resonance imaging, jet engines, microwaves, transistors, etc - they came largely because of large-scale government investment along with private sector collaboration.

The government has also played in pivotal role in developing nuclear energy and subsidizing coal and renewable energy.

Instead of constantly demonizing government, we should use it to make our country strong and build shared prosperity.

Ted Boettner

Charleston

Boettner is executive director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy


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