natural gas

Welcome to the asylum...

...these people are crazy like a fox.

Hmmm....in the Elmira Star-Gazette but not the (print) Ithaca Journal.  I'm sure it's only because it's not a local story:

A Virginia-based energy company is planning to build an $800 million natural gas-fired power plant near Asylum Township in Bradford County.

The company, Moxie Energy, wants to capitalize on the Northern Tier's natural gas resources and the skilled workforce that has developed around the natural gas drilling industry that's taking hold in the area...

[....] The power plants will be fueled only by natural gas, with no diesel oil back-up, the company says. They will not require water source typically used for cooling needs...

Of course, it kinda is a local story, but one you're not hearing much about these days...from winter 2010:

Jim Houghton

In Cornell's new combined heat and power plant, turbines fired by natural gas will generate electricity, then waste heat from the turbines will make steam to produce even more. Exhaust from the steam turbines is still hot enough to circulate through underground tunnels and warm radiators all over the campus. 

Imagine all these silly people thinking that natural gas is clean burning and that there's lots of it (h/t Tom wink).

Shale shocka from our moral and intellectual superiors

The back page of the "Life" section of today's Ithaca Journal has a full-page ad (and those don't come cheap—paid for by "Social Ventures") with the header " Our Water Is Their Future." It consists of four quotes and a "what you can do " section, just to get your activist juices flowing.

From Sandra Steingraber (whose book was brandished by the lead singer of a rather weird band at an unsuspecting audience at Dryden Dairy Day in June during a tirade against BGH (bovine growth hormone)—that didn't sit well with the folks from the Grange): "Fracking is the biggest threat to children's environmental health that we've ever encountered..."  In the background is a tug-at-the-heartstrings photo of children holding hands with Cayuga Lake behind them. A couple of things come to mind...

Fracking is the environmental threat du jour.  It may well (no pun intended) turn out to be the equivalent of environmentalists'-sweetheart Rachel Carson's DDT.  That turned out well for all the children around the world who have died of malaria as a result of her crusade, didn't it?  And all those kids in that photo by the lake?  How many of them will still be in this area after age 18?  Not many, I suspect.  As a parent of children ranging in age from 34 to 14, I can tell you this: they don't hang around and they go where the jobs are and temp jobs at Cornell (and while local institutions of higher learning may have protected us from economic buffeting so far, they probably won't forever) aren't sufficient inducement to keep them here for any length of time.  Of course, once the "sustainability" folks get their way and none of us have cars, the inability to leave may stem that particular tide.

And by the way, Sandra Steingraber is in "good" company:

Over the years, In These Times has published the work of a wide range of noted writers, including fiction by Alice Walker and Kurt Vonnegut; reporting by Clinton speechwriter David Kusnet, former New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan, and current Salon Editor-in-Chief Joan Walsh; and political commentary by former presidential candidate George McGovern, environmentalist Sandra Steingraber, the late Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, novelists Barbara Kingsolver and Dorothy Allison, and a number of contemporary members of the House of Representatives who contribute to the magazine’s “House Call” column.

From Robert Howarth: "Shale gas has the largest greenhouse gas footprint of any fossil fuel..." We've said it before and we'll say it again—there's a lot of disagreement on this particular point. And while anti-anti-frackers (I won't call them pro-frackers—it's not necessarily the same thing) are always portrayed as being in the pockets of evil Big Gas, anti-frackers are never painted as having any ulterior motives—pure as the driven snow are they. So you may want to see Joe Nocera's op ed in the NYT as well as South of 5 and 20's post for some perspective on Mr. Howarth's objectivity.

From Tony Ingraffea: "A record of 1 blowout every 1000 wells and 1 cement failure every 20 wells, with tens of thousands of wells planned for New York, means the possibility of blowouts in your neighborhood and the ruin of your water supply..."  Another example of "it's a fact that it's a possibility."  And as Nocera points out in his NYT column

The truth is, every problem associated with drilling for natural gas is solvable. The technology exists to prevent most methane from escaping, for instance. Strong state regulation will help ensure environmentally safe wells. And so on. Somewhat to my surprise, this view was seconded by Abrahm Lustgarten, a reporter for ProPublica who has probably written more stories about the dangers of fracking than anyone. In a comment posted online to my Tuesday column, he wrote that while the environmental issues were real, they “can be readily addressed by the employment of best drilling practices, technological investment, and rigorous regulatory oversight.”

From Dr. Adam Law: "Permitting hydraulic fracturing is like conducting a medical experiment using members of our community as subjects..."  I put it to you that forbidding hydraulic fracturing (as well as other forms of energy development) is like conducting a social experiment using local communities in an experiment to see what the desired end, the de-development of society à la John Holdren, will look like. It's not just a coinkidinky that the anti-frackers sound an awful lot like the "sustainability" folks, who sound an awful lot like the local town and county planners, who sound like the local "social justice" folks and so on.  It's because they're all working off essentially the same blueprint for creating heaven right here in our backyard.  Ain't it grand? 

The six-point activist list at the bottom of the ad includes references to Walter Hang's (who spoke at Left Forum 2011 and Left Forum 2010) company, Toxics Targeting (no agenda there. of course), as well as NYPIRG.  But wait...aren't these various state PIRGs just nice, neutral organizations of energetic young people who come to your door in the summer with petitions and pleas for money? Um, not so much.  You may be interested to know, for instance, that the U.S.’ largest Marxist organization, Democratic Socialists of America, has a new national director, Maria Svart, who cut her post-college teeth as a campus organizer with the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group.  Just sayin'.

All of life is a risk; but right now, we appear to be suffering the tyranny, not of the majority, but of the most vocal, who also seem to be the most risk-averse of all.  As Joe Nocera wound up his piece on the Marcellus Shale

...those of you who live near this tremendous resource have two choices. You can play the Not-In-My-Backyard card, employing environmental scare tactics to fight attempts to drill for that gas.

Or you can embrace the idea that America needs the Marcellus Shale, accept the inconvenience that the drilling will bring, but insist that it be done properly...

Let's not make the best the enemy of the good.

This "top ten" list supercedes Letterman...

...although that wouldn't be difficult.

In an article reprinted in the Herald Examiner (published in Freeville), via Village Squared:

This paper provides ten reasons why natural gas continues to gain market share and why it will be a key fuel of the future.

Natural gas saves consumers money.

If it's not going to be nuclear, it's got to be gas.

Natural gas is abundant and the globalization of the gas market is accelerating.

Unconventional gas is driving unconventional oil production

Unconventional oil production is stimulating the U.S. petrochemical sector and global oil production.

The United States's huge gas production capability, and its vast gas infrastructure, make it uniquely well positioned to take advantage of the shift to natural gas.

Increasing regulatory pressure on the coal sector is leading electricity generators to switch to natural gas.

Low-cost natural gas means lower-cost electricity.

Two key trends—decarbonization and urbanization—favor increased use of natural gas.

Global electricity demand is growing rapidly.

Read the rest. An earlier related post is here.

The reprint from the Manhattan Institute makea a nice counterpoint to moonbattery:

47 Groups Call on Cuomo

for Statewide Fracking Ban



....Last week, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released its recommendations on fracking, allowing the practice in most areas of the state outside of the New York City and Syracuse watersheds. The DEC’s plan, which informed Governor Cuomo’s decision, leaves many New Yorkers without equal protection from the environmental and public health risks associated with fracking, and still exposes New York City and Syracuse residents to many impacts of shale gas drilling, including toxic air emissions.

“The DEC’s recommendations on fracking will turn many areas of New York into sacrifice zones...

....Under the DEC’s plan, thousands of new wells will be drilled across New York, using billions of gallons of fresh water, and industrializing rural communities across the state....

....“Governor Cuomo got it wrong when he said fracking can be done safely,” said Claire Sandberg, Executive Director of Frack Action. “Not only does this practice carry an unacceptable level of risk, but there is no rationale for drilling when we know that the promises of limitless energy and continuous economic growth are not borne out by the facts.”

....“Fracked natural gas is a dirty fuel that will make global warming worse,” said Alex Moore, dirty fuels campaigner, Friends of the Earth. “Governor Cuomo should put clean water and a safe environment ahead of gas company profits.”...

....A recent investigative series by The New York Times found that the natural gas industry has exaggerated the economic benefits of fracking, while downplaying its risks to public health and the environment....

Read the whole thing.

There's so much hysteria in this piece it's hard to know where to begin dealing with it all, but many of these claims have been addressed in earlier posts—try putting in "fracking" or "shale gas" or "gas drilling" or "natural gas" in the search box at the top right of this page and you'll get a list of at least some of them. Also take a look at The Lonely Conservative and South of 5 and 20 which cover the fracking controversy in CNY extensively.

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