By Fareed Zakaria
"The entire shale fracking endeavor began as a somewhat quixotic, patriotic ambition within fledgling federal energy research programs. Scientists had long understood the geology of shales and knew there was gas to be had," write members of The Breakthrough Institute in the New York Times. "But everyone assumed it was unreachable. There’s a reason that the shale gas, tight sands gas, and other natural gas deposits that now make up half of U.S. gas production are still called “unconventional.” With domestic gas production on the decline in the 1970s and policymakers eager for alternatives to imported oil, shale gas was one of several such radical resource bases that federal geologists tried to tap."
"So much of the innovative work on shale gas was underwritten or led by federal agencies and laboratories, who later proved eager to share their results with George Mitchell in his quest to crack the Barnett shale in Texas. The energy industry, known as markedly less innovative than other sectors like health and IT, lived up to this reputation over the several decades. Fred Julander of the National Petroleum Council remembers “the Department of Energy was there with research funding when no one else was interested.”