First, Sandy, yes fracking could cause some seismic instability, but the other major problems are contamination of the ground water and long-term continuing addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere from the burning of the natural gas retrieved.
Second, the U.S. was making quite a bit of progress toward efficient solar cells based on government funded research programs to a number of universities. As soon as George Bush, the younger, got into office all of those projects were pulled from the universities and redistributed to petroleum companies. It’s amazing how fast they died.
Third, don’t kid yourself, solar and wind are exceedingly successful at competing with carbon based energy sources in Europe and even Hawaii. I don’t blame the petroleum companies for consistently bad-mouthing these energy sources since they are direct competitors, however, I’m sure that within twenty years we’ll be getting almost all our energy from solar, wind, and nuclear. We’ll still continue extracting oil but only as a raw material for plastics and other organic compounds.