- The Washington Times - Monday, August 12, 2013

As his nation mulls whether to embrace fracking, British Prime Minister David Cameron has launched a full-throated endorsement of the drilling process that’s revolutionized the American energy landscape.

In a lengthy column for the Daily Telegraph on Monday, Mr. Cameron urges his countrymen to embrace fracking and the economic benefits, jobs and energy security that come with it.

“Fracking has become a national debate in Britain — and it’s one that I’m determined to win,” he said. “If we don’t back this technology, we will miss a massive opportunity to help families with their bills and make our country more competitive. Without it, we could lose ground in the tough global race … I want to set out why I support it — and deal with the worst of the myths at the same time.”

Just as in the U.S., fracking critics across the pond argue that the process — the use of water, sand and chemicals to break apart underground rock and release trapped natural gas — is a danger to drinking water supplies. They also assert that fracking, which in just a few years has turned the U.S. into one of the world’s top oil and gas producers, will damage the British countryside.

Mr. Cameron dismissed both of those arguments while also pointing to reports that show Britain has as much as 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas under its feet and could create as many as 74,000 jobs by beginning to extract it through fracking.

“We must make the case that fracking is safe. International evidence shows there is no reason why the process should cause contamination of water supplies or other environmental damage, if properly regulated,” he wrote.

“And the regulatory system in this country is one of the most stringent in the world. If any shale gas well were to pose a risk of pollution, then we have all the powers we need to close it down.”