They are scruffy up-by-their-bootstraps characters, but the wildcatters who harnessed untried technology to pull natural gas from dense shale deposits have revolutionized the energy industry in classic American style, says Gregory Zuckerman, author of The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters.
In a talk on campus Monday afternoon The Wall Street Journal writer said the sometimes brash upstarts who developed fracking when major oil companies said it wouldn’t work, opened the door to energy security for America.
“Really my book is very much about American persistence and stubbornness,” Zuckerman said. “Through their effort they changed their company and the country and even the world.”
Zuckerman acknowledged the environmental concerns around fracking, but contended that they can be mitigated. The oil industry is not going to walk away from such large deposits of natural gas, so it would be wiser to work them, he said.
“I argue that we should be working with and putting press on oil and gas companies to improve the way they get this oil and gas through fracking, as opposed to condemning them,” he said.
President Jim Doti included Zuckerman’s book on his summer list of recommended reading to students this year and invited the author to speak on campus. Following the talk, Doti presented Zuckerman with The Presidential Medal for Distinguished Contributions to Business Journalism and Writing.
“These are the kinds of writers that we want to lift up to the world,” Doti said.