Energy companies and media are touting an “energy revolution” with drilling for shale gas. This “renaissance” has claimed it will liberate America and create energy independence.

However, it’s not that simple. With the low cost of natural gas in the US, neighbors of oil and gas operations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Arkansas have noticed a decline in gas drilling and processing activity in 2013. Some researchers believe that the shale play might have already have peaked and be on the decline. Neighbors are standing idly by wondering if they are able to pick up the pieces of their everyday lives that have been so dramatically impacted by the gas drilling invasion.  Was the boom all it promised to be?  Did we already bust?

OR should neighbors hunker down and prepare for an all out frenzy? Is industry just taking a moment to assess the market and then go gangbusters?

For the US to profit off the oil and gas drilling, we would have to liquify the gas and export it.  The U.S. is intrinsically connected to the global energy market and will continue to be impacted by decisions made abroad. True independence seems a long shot… images

While the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports are planned for the countries that want U.S. gas, prime exports may include countries that we have no free trade agreements with. The department of energy is responsible for permitting LNG terminals and determining export relationships. Some energy hawks are calling for full open trade and getting rid of tiresome regulation on exporting gas.  Considering that the gas industry is exempt from many of the domestic environmental and public safety regulations in the US, providing an international pass for them could wreak havoc on developing economies and environments around the world.

Debates continue to rage about gas profitability, domestic policy and consumer prices. Will LNG exports raise domestic prices? This seems unclear.

Or better yet, how about providing medical care, purchasing desecrated farms, homes and property of those neighbors that have endured the gas boom by suffering from poor air quality, health complications and polluted water and land.

While industry and the government hatch plans for export, neighbors stand by wondering if drilling will come back online as it has in the past few years. Will they have to continue to sacrifice their homes, health and American Dreams for the possibility of energy independence?