Concerns of the public about the extraction, processing, transportation, distribution, storage, and other aspects of the energy industries (oil, gas, coal, hydro, and nuclear) have increased greatly since some concerns were expressed at the beginning of the seventeenth century.
At first, these concerns dealt mainly with health and safety. Later, economic considerations, particularly resource depletion, led to demands for conservation. Only since the late 1960’s have concerns regarding the environment become predominant. Public concerns have found expression in political, and more recently judicial, pressure on the industry.
In response, the industry has little choice but to become more open to outside inspection of contentious procedures and techniques, as well as to become more involved in education about science and technology at all levels.