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Economic transformation of US “Rust Belt” trumps fiercely-debated environmental concerns

Even as fracking is a hot environmental issue nationwide, it has become an economic game-changer for decaying Midwestern cities. 

The powerful environmental movement against unconventional and controversial drilling methods called fracking has not withstood the wave of economic concerns in the US Midwest. Although outcomes of this existential confrontation may be quite different in other regions of the country — and the world — there seems to be no turning back in states like Ohio.

The New York Times appears to have captured the essence of the Ohio story: “Although that [environmental] danger worries environmentalists here as well, there has been much less opposition because residents are so desperate for the kind of economic growth that fracking can bring, regardless of whatever the risks.”

Of course, this regional transformation is playing out on a macro national and global stage. Other parts of the US — the Dakotas, for example — are also in the midst of an energy boom based largely on the new drilling technology. The net result is that the US is well on its way to becoming an energy exporter with obvious global economic and political ramifications.