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September 3, 2014

Quotes from UNT Prof. Adam Briggle that Undermine his Call for a Ban on Fracking in the City of Denton, Texas

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Last night I had the pleasure of taking part in a debate over the proposed ban on fracking in the City of Denton, Texas. My debate partner was Dr. Ed Ireland of the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council, and our opponents were Professor Adam Briggle of the University of North Texas, and Calvin Tillman, the former mayor of DISH, Texas.

My side was in favor of energy exploration and opposed to the ban on fracking.

During my research for the debate I found a number of articles by Prof. Briggle where he expressed sentiments that were often reasonable and that thus undermined his case for the fracking ban. I used a few of these quotes in last night’s debate, but not all of them.

Some folks have asked me for copies of those quotes, so I’m reproducing them here, with links to their sources.

From “Should Cities Ban Fracking?”,, 12/24/12

“People want energy, we generally ought to defend property rights, and the industry creates jobs, pays royalties, and generates tax revenue. Opportunity costs are real. When we ban a technology, we lose out on the good as well as the bad.”

“The mantra of ‘inherently unsafe’ is too simplistic to do justice to the ecology of goods involved in fracking.”

“The same could be said about any technology. Flu shots are mostly safe but still carry some inherent risks. So do electricity, lawnmowers, airplanes, processed foods, and pharmaceuticals. So does driving. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that nearly 34,000 people were killed in automobile accidents in 2009. . . . We have not banned driving, despite its being inherently dangerous, because safety is not the only thing we value.”

“I just keep thinking local fracking bans are less ideal and less principled than they seem.”

“And the most plausible world-without-fracking scenario would feature more coal, which means more mercury, fly ash, sulfates, and mountain-top removal.”

“This starts to sound like hypocritical NIMBY-ism.”

 “Longmont is being sued. The city is likely to lose.”


From “Let a Thousand Gas Wells Bloom”,, 7/6/12

“The best way to handle emerging problems is to make adjustments along the way. One example is the list of recommended technologies and practices for shale gas development compiled by the EPA. Through ongoing real-world experiments, the industry is learning and adopting new techniques and practices that can boost both economic and environmental performance.”

“ . . . in the long run, innovation brings about the greatest good for the greatest number. This is so, of course, only as long as we are free to try out new ideas.”

“In the documentary Gasland, director Josh Fox never says anything good about natural gas. . . . We ought not to tell a biased story about only the bad impacts of a new technology.”


From “Let Politics, Not Science, Decide the Fate of Fracking”,, 3/12/13

 “My perspective . . . . is mostly grounded in a moral conviction that humans should live more lightly on the planet and that we would be happier if we were not such slaves to the desires and institutionalized needs that drive our gluttonous energy consumption.”

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