Cleaner energy • A new study indicates that drilling and fracking, a process that uses pressurized water and chemicals to get natural gas out of underground rocks, don't pollute the air with as much methane gas as environmental groups had feared. That is good news for all of us, especially for the natural gas industry, which provided most of the funding for the study. The results come close to earlier estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency: about 101 billion cubic feet of methane in 2012. The study looked at a small percentage of natural gas wells and focused only on methane leaks during the first stage of production. And it failed to consider the effects of fracking on our water supply. The process uses water to blast the rocks with chemicals. Millions of gallons are used; a small amount can be recycled. And the effects on groundwater are still being studied. Still, natural gas provides cleaner energy than coal. Better yet are renewable sources such as wind, solar and thermal energy.
A civil debate • Members of the Committee for Citizens' Communication in Davis County believes a place should exist where people can discuss controversial topics in a reasonable manner. That is, without yelling and name-calling. The idea is long overdue. At a series of public meetings, the group will get an idea of how many people are willing to engage in civil discourse. The committee is hosting monthly discussions called the Citizens Evening, with the third scheduled this week. The Citizens Evening is open to everyone, and people with a variety of viewpoints, from different party affiliations, economic situations, religions and ages are invited. This week's meeting will cover how Davis County government works. The previous two dealt with the proper role of government and what Utahns can do to be ready for potential crises. We hope residents take advantage of the opportunity.