Saturday, August 3, 2013

Obama wants to develop natural gas resources "without putting the health & safety of our citizens at risk." Too late

America loves its toys..the bigger, faster, more powerful, and higher tech the better...

SUVs fill massive highways running 24/7; Office buildings light the night sky with electric neon flash; moving bill boards  blink and flicker - TVs, Computers, IPads, cellphones and Game-boys... Over 313,000,000 Americans can;t handle the idea of being alone with themselves - instead, we have to be tuned out, plugged in, and focused on anything and everything except actually relating to each other (and we wonder why we have a divisive culture).

But as the people demand newer, bigger and better, the corporate owned energy providers demand less regulation, less safety and more tax dollars ...Delivery systems are old and decrepit and technology continues to be based on fossil fuels except we are losing easily and safely accessible fossil fuels.

Jimmy Carter tried to start us on the path of renewable energy and off of our over-dependence on fossil fuels in the 1970's - setting up grants for technology expansion and creation, tax incentives and programs to re-sell energy back to energy companies if produced by renewable resources.  To show his support for renewables, he had solar panels installed on the White House.

When Reagan, king of the neo-con neo-liberals - beholden to oil companies, automobile companies and military interests - took control, he pulled the solar panels and killed the programs.

Europe, Australia, South America and Asia have worked towards alternative and renewable energy for years, while the US has tried to ignore the technology.  Major oil companies, the auto industry, energy companies, coal interests and natural gas interests have poured millions into buying legislation, killing support and working against renewable technology and production (included in their efforts is the war on climate change education, legislation and acceptance of scientific facts - keeping the deniers denying reality).


Since the election of Barack Obama, in 2008, environmentalists, activists and globally aware citizens around the world have been waiting for the president to finally...FINALLY address the huge gaseous dinosaur in the room - That incredibly loud human stomp on the planet to include CO2 and other toxic emissions into the air, water and land.

In 2012,  State of the Union, President Obama addressed his new plans for energy:

Full State of the Union, 2013 (Transcript)

In that speech, he states:

"Today, no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy.  After years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to control our own energy future.  We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years.  (Applause.)  We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas, and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar -- with tens of thousands of good American jobs to show for it.  We produce more natural gas than ever before -- and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it.  And over the last four years, our emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our planet have actually fallen...."

..."  Now, in the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence.  We need to encourage that.  And that’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.  (Applause.)  That’s got to be part of an all-of-the-above plan.  But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and our water.
In fact, much of our new-found energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together.  So tonight, I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good.  If a nonpartisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we.  Let’s take their advice and free our families and businesses from the painful spikes in gas prices we’ve put up with for far too long..."
And  again in June, 2013, in a speech discussing his "climate change plan", President Obama renewed his calls to cut CO2 emissions and to move towards "cleaner" energy sources to include....natural gas:

June 25, 2013, Georgetown University - Climate Change Plan (Transcript)

After waxing poetic about the beauty of the planet ..."beautiful; breathtaking; a glowing marble of blue oceans, and green forests, and brown mountains brushed with white clouds, rising over the surface of the moon," The President began speaking of Climate Change and its effects we are now seeing and what we can expect in the future..

"...And around the same time we began exploring space, scientists were studying changes taking place in the Earth’s atmosphere.  Now, scientists had known since the 1800s that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide trap heat, and that burning fossil fuels release those gases into the air.  That wasn’t news. But in the late 1950s, the National Weather Service began measuring the levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, with the worry that rising levels might someday disrupt the fragile balance that makes our planet so hospitable.  And what they’ve found, year after year, is that the levels of carbon pollution in our atmosphere have increased dramatically.

That science, accumulated and reviewed over decades, tells us that our planet is changing in ways that will have profound impacts on all of humankind.

The 12 warmest years in recorded history have all come in the last 15 years.  Last year, temperatures in some areas of the ocean reached record highs, and ice in the Arctic shrank to its smallest size on record -- faster than most models had predicted it would.  These are facts.

Now, we know that no single weather event is caused solely by climate change.  Droughts and fires and floods, they go back to ancient times.  But we also know that in a world that’s warmer than it used to be, all weather events are affected by a warming planet.  The fact that sea level in New York, in New York Harbor, are now a foot higher than a century ago -- that didn’t cause Hurricane Sandy, but it certainly contributed to the destruction that left large parts of our mightiest city dark and underwater.

The potential impacts go beyond rising sea levels.  Here at home, 2012 was the warmest year in our history.  Midwest farms were parched by the worst drought since the Dust Bowl, and then drenched by the wettest spring on record.  Western wildfires scorched an area larger than the state of Maryland.  Just last week, a heat wave in Alaska shot temperatures into the 90s.

And we know that the costs of these events can be measured in lost lives and lost livelihoods, lost homes, lost businesses, hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency services and disaster relief.  In fact, those who are already feeling the effects of climate change don’t have time to deny it -- they’re busy dealing with it.  Firefighters are braving longer wildfire seasons, and states and federal governments have to figure out how to budget for that.  I had to sit on a meeting with the Department of Interior and Agriculture and some of the rest of my team just to figure out how we're going to pay for more and more expensive fire seasons.

Farmers see crops wilted one year, washed away the next; and the higher food prices get passed on to you, the American consumer.  Mountain communities worry about what smaller snowpacks will mean for tourism -- and then, families at the bottom of the mountains wonder what it will mean for their drinking water.  Americans across the country are already paying the price of inaction in insurance premiums, state and local taxes, and the costs of rebuilding and disaster relief.

So the question is not whether we need to act.  The overwhelming judgment of science -- of chemistry and physics and millions of measurements -- has put all that to rest.  Ninety-seven percent of scientists, including, by the way, some who originally disputed the data, have now put that to rest.  They've acknowledged the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it.

So the question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late.  And how we answer will have a profound impact on the world that we leave behind not just to you, but to your children and to your grandchildren.

As a President, as a father, and as an American, I’m here to say we need to act.  (Applause.)

I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that’s beyond fixing.  And that’s why, today, I'm announcing a new national climate action plan, and I'm here to enlist your generation's help in keeping the United States of America a leader -- a global leader -- in the fight against climate change.  ..."
As he states in his speech, that plan includes the use of that "safe, Cheap"  natural gas ...

"...Now, even as we’re producing more domestic oil, we’re also producing more cleaner-burning natural gas than any other country on Earth.  And, again, sometimes there are disputes about natural gas, but let me say this:  We should strengthen our position as the top natural gas producer because, in the medium term at least, it not only can provide safe, cheap power, but it can also help reduce our carbon emissions.
Federally supported technology has helped our businesses drill more effectively and extract more gas.  And now, we'll keep working with the industry to make drilling safer and cleaner, to make sure that we're not seeing methane emissions, and to put people to work modernizing our natural gas infrastructure so that we can power more homes and businesses with cleaner energy.

The bottom line is natural gas is creating jobs.  It's lowering many families' heat and power bills.  And it's the transition fuel that can power our economy with less carbon pollution even as our businesses work to develop and then deploy more of the technology required for the even cleaner energy economy of the future. ..."
Yep, we all know natural gas use emits less CO2 than that good ol' American "Clean Coal"  ; And that natural gas is safe and clean and all -American perfection... Just ask the America's Natural Gas Alliance or Energy From Shale, an organization supported by corporations getting wealthy off fracking and natural gas, they will tell you it is the BEST!


Or just ask real people........ Ask the citizens of Dryden, NY, or the citizens of Ohio and Pennsylvania (specifically Dimock), or the citizens of Pavillion, Wyoming, or the Western Slope of Colorado, or the state of North Dakota, or Virginia, or West Virginia, or Texas.  They can tell you all about fire in the well - real fire in the water well, that is.  How water from  the tap can burn bright as a candle and how their carbon monoxide detectors go off all the time - Not intermittently - ALL the time.  How the EPA was doing investigations that were finding issues with the drinking water and land contamination until they were called off

Or ask the environmentalists around the nation who are sounding the alarm about fracking and the dangers it poses to the people and to the environment.

But, it isn't just fracking... Scientific American has released  an article concerning research on the leaks in natural gas delivery systems in major cities.

Currently the team (Robert Jackson, a scientist at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, and Nathan Phillips OF Boston University) is mapping the potentially hazardous leaks in the natural gas lines under and throughout Washington, DC. ..Right under President Obama and his "Climate Action Plan".

Over 1200 miles of pipeline in Washington, DC.  A delivery system of pipes that are made up 419 miles of cast iron, about 100 miles of unprotected steel and the rest are plastic and coated steel merging together around the city - old with new back to old, creating the natural gas delivery in an Eastern seaboard  city built much like most of the major cities along the eastern seaboard.

From the article:

"... The team was replicating an experiment they did last year in Boston. There, as in D.C., they drove a car equipped with special sensors, made by the Santa Clara, Calif., company Picarro Inc., that detected and mapped leaks from the aging pipeline systems underlying the city.
Although the results for the District of Columbia are not final, preliminary numbers indicate that the nation's capital has thousands of leaks from its natural gas distribution system. It has a number of leaks per road mile similar to that of Boston, but has about twice as many miles of road, said Jackson.

The district also appears to have bigger leaks than Boston's, he said. In Boston, the researchers counted 3,356 leaks. They also determined whether leaks were from natural gas pipes or more natural sources, such as landfills, where it is created by decaying garbage.

Since methane has different ratios of carbon isotopes in it, instruments can determine whether methane is coming from a fossil fuel source or from a landfill or a wetland...."
Remembering that methane is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, it appears Washington, DC, like every other major city, is leaking lots of gas...greenhouse gas its natural gas pipelines.  Expanding its use isn't going to eliminate the health and safety issues caused by fracking or the already leaking pipelines.

"We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years, and my administration will take every possible action to ... America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk." (State of the Union, 2013, Transcript)

Unfortunately, it appears the President hasn't been paying attention to environmentalists, citizens or scientists when it comes to natural gas....maybe he can be forced to pay attention when the report comes out next year on the methane gas leaks under his own feet.

Cross posted on

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