Frack-enstein

Here be dragons

You unlock this door with the key of imagination.  Follow along with contributor Cicero Romanus:

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid
 
Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”  Today, “informercials” worthy of a Dr. Goebbels award for best propaganda film, such as Gasland, have introduced fear of “Frack-enstein” into the debate about natural gas development by hydraulic fracturing in New York State and throughout the United States.  Opponents of development offer exaggerated claims of dangers to our water and environment to halt development.  It is with that background that the following was written to demonstrate there is real need for fear, but for energy independence and national security if development does not take place.
 
In May, the Governor of New York, responding to vocal pressure from within his own party and from environmentalists backed off on his stance that New York should have well regulated hydraulic fracturing natural gas development without local or “home rule” option.  He signed a bill into law that gave every local jurisdiction authority to regulate or ban the practice.
 
In response, several companies in the energy industry sued New York State for the value of the leases they had already purchased in New York State.  In addition, one company announced a new energy surcharge that would be imposed on customers in New York State, because the state had the ability to produce energy resources but would not do so in its own backyard.  Other companies soon followed.  One company spokesman said, “New York has chosen genteel poverty over economic jobs and growth.  May they be happy in the path they have chosen.  We will turn to other states that welcome business, value good jobs, and are more economically realistic.”
 
In June, Iran announced that it had successfully built a number of nuclear weapons and that henceforth Iran must be respected as a member of the “nuclear club.”  The President of Iran also said that Israel must disappear from the face of the Earth.  He said that Iran had the necessary missiles to deliver their nuclear weapons on Israel and even to reach the vital interests of western powers.  Asked about “mutual assured destruction,” he proclaimed that if necessary Iranians would become nuclear martyrs to wipe out the Israeli state.
 
The following month, Iran began holding “naval exercises” in the Straits of Hormuz, through which passes much of the western world’s and the United States’ crude oil supply.  Iranian ships effectively blocked the channel.  In one effort to clear the channel a U.S. destroyer was rammed by an Iranian gunboat and severely damaged with some loss of U.S. lives.  Iran claimed that any effort to clear the channel would be regarded by Iran as an act of war.  The President of Iran reminded the nations of the world that Iran was now a nuclear power.
 
With the oil supply through the Straits blocked off, the price of gasoline and home heating oil in the U.S. began to spike upward sharply.  Gasoline by late summer was at five dollars a gallon, that is when supplies could be found.  People who remembered the oil embargo during the Jimmy Carter years re-lived the shortages.
 
By August, small amounts of oil had been released from the national strategic reserve.  However, this offered no long term solution and the bulk of the reserve had to be held to be sure the U.S. military could operate in potential wartime.
 
In September, the U.S. economy, bedeviled by fuel shortages impacting the transportation of products and people, began to severely contract.  Prices rose rapidly, supplies did not make it to grocery stores or work places on time.  With a lack of fuel, some business began reducing their work forces.  Blackouts and brownouts began occurring.  Operators of the U.S. electric grid said they could no longer keep the grid on all of the time in all of the U.S. and began a program of pre-scheduled “rolling blackouts.”
 
In October, the President of the United States was told by Iran that they would reopen the Straits if “satisfactory conditions were negotiated honoring the aspirations of the Islamic peoples and which limited the U.S. ability to interfere.”  The President was invited to go to Teheran to negotiate.  A weak U.S. President, extolling the virtues of negotiation, accepted and was received in Teheran, accompanied by only the limited delegation allowed by Iran.
 
Iran offered to reopen the Straits if the United States abandoned all support and defense of Israel and gave Iran a “free hand” in dealing with Israel, the U.S. military was reduced by 90% and all aircraft carriers were scrapped, all prisoners at Guantanamo and those accused in relation to the World Trade Center released, and if the U.S. would accept Sharia law as the supreme law in any of its towns or cities with an Islamic majority.
 
The U.S. government considered its options, including its military options.  The President of Iran made clear that Iran could and would use its nuclear weapons if defied and would suffer any retaliation meted out, going instead to paradise.  The U.S. inventoried its fuel resources at home.  The pipeline that could have brought natural gas from Canada had been delayed and could not be built quickly enough.  Drilling in the Arctic reserves would take time.  Overriding local and state laws, adopting an energy policy that would make national security paramount, could not be done because the President said he would veto any such law.  Small package nuclear reactors were considered, but also could not be built or installed in time.  Nothing could be done in a timely manner.
 
The President determined that the Iranian terms must and should be met.  “The United States must understand the aspirations of Islamic people and the people of Iran and conform our actions to their needs.  While we still of course support Israel, they will be on their own in matters of their defense,” he said, reading from a teleprompter during a nationally televised address.
 
In November, the incumbent president lost every state in the union, carrying only the District of Columbia by a narrow margin.  With U.S. military power greatly diminished, the era of the United States as a super power came to an end.  Since nuclear blackmail had been successful, Iran continued to repeat it, while other nations, no longer in fear of U.S. military power expropriated U.S. interests across the world.  North Korea invaded South Korea.
 
In December, while the outgoing president was still in office, Iran made impossible demands on Israel and when they were rejected, launched a nuclear attack.  Israel was largely obliterated, but retained enough nuclear weapons and capacity to respond in kind.  The resulting fallout spread into the atmosphere and truly poisoned water and crops around the world.  The world faced famine.  The radiation level in the Straits was so high that most of the world’s oil supply was now cut off from immediate shipment.
 
The incoming president said he would do all in his power to develop domestic resources but pointed out that the rebuild would take several years at a minimum.  Into the resulting power vacuum stepped China, now the world’s only superpower.
 
Every great empire and nation state eventually declines and falls.  If you were a typical Roman in the third century, would you have anticipated the decline and fall of Rome?  Consider whether energy dependence could be the cause of the decline and fall of the United States, the achilles heel that allows the very destruction of our way of life if not our very national existence.
 
 
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