Energy expert: "Drilling should slow" until we know it is safe

Philip K. Verleger, Jr. is an expert in energy markets. He served as a Senior Staff Economist on President Ford’s Council of Economic Advisers and Director of the Office of Energy Policy at the U.S. Treasury in President Carter’s administration. He is now publisher of the The Petroleum Economics Monthly and the David E. Mitchell/EnCana Professor of Management at the University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business.

Dr. Verleger recently penned a guest commentary in the Glenwood Springs, Colorado Post Independent. His commentary discussed plans to drill in a retirement community in western Colorado. Dr. Verleger writes that the plan " an unnecessary tragedy." He says, "Clearly, there is no need to rush ahead with drilling on Battlement Mesa when the United States has such a large surplus of gas. Drilling should slow until the EPA and others can determine whether the procedures used to develop the gas, “frac'ing,” are having the negative impacts to health attributed to them. If they do the problem must be solved."

Wise words. We need to know that the operations are safe, and we also need to give regulators the time to update regulations and ensure vigorous enforcement, something now lacking across the country.