Patrick Barron has been a consultant to the banking industry since 1985. He teaches Bank Management Simulation at the Graduate School of Banking, University of Wisconsin, Madison and Austrian Economics at the University of Iowa. He has contributed a weekly essay in the Austrian vein to The Bulletin, Philadelphia since 2006. As president of the Right Approach Group, which offers free market solutions to current economic problem, he has spoken at economic conferences at the EU Parliament offices in Brussels, Belgium and Strasbourg, France.
Re: Trump fracking boom imperils landscape of the American West
Thanks for the very informative and uplifting report of the success of increased drilling on federal lands. Frankly, I doubt that my conclusion is the one that you expected, but there is no hiding the fact that under President Trump the US is becoming a world energy powerhouse. Try as best they could, your reporters could not disguise the vast economic benefits to all parties from opening these sparsely populated lands to normal economic development. Sure, they tried to generate concern over the sage grouse population decline (thirty percent in the last two years), but they never connected the cause and effect dots between that decline and opening these areas to oil and gas development, perhaps because there is no connection. Even if there is a connection, surely the vast human benefits, well documented by your reporters, should ameliorate that concern to some extent. The only other attempt to generate the reader's outrage fell flat; i.e., that some of the drilling was "just east" of the Big Horn National Forest and "next to" Hovenweep National Monument. There will always be something that is "just east" or "next to" some already protected area. Of course, water is always a big issue in the West, but your reporters found no broad based concern by local landowners. Some were concerned and others were not. Let the locals figure it out.