sustainability

Fracking-free utopia

As Unlikely Hospitalist writes at The Lonely Conservative (a Syracuse-area blog)

Why are environmentalists so vehemently opposed to natural gas drilling?  In upstate New York these folks are a vocal, well organized, and well financed minority who seek to force their will on the populace.

Yesterday, however, a report entitled The Shale Gas Shock was released by the British Global Warming Policy Foundation. Highlights:

Shale gas was welcomed at first by environmentalists as a lower-carbon alternative to coal...However, as it became apparent that shale gas was a competitive threat to renewable energy as well as to coal, the green movement has turned against shale. Its criticism is fivefold:

The shale gas industry uses dangerous chemicals in the fracking process that might contaminate groundwater;

poorly cased wells allow gas to escape into underground aquifers;

waste water returning to the surface during production, contaminated with salt and radon, may pollute streams; 

the industry‘s use of water for fracking depletes a scarce resource;

the exploitation of shale gas damages amenity and landscape value.

How does this paper address these issues?  A quick summary:

  • The actual [slickwater] chemicals are used in many industrial and even domestic applications: polyacrylamide as a friction reducer, bromine, methanol and naphthalene as antimicrobials, hydrochloric acid and ethylene glycol as scale inhibitors, and butanol and ethylene glycol monobutyl ether as surfactants. At high dilution these are unlikely to pose a risk to human health in the event they reach groundwater (§45).
  • Groundwater contamination by fracking fluid is possible but unlikely if proper procedures are followed, and gas contamination of aquifers occurs naturally and has not usually been found to result from shale gas production (§s 46-52).
  • ...the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has tested the water in seven rivers to which treated waste water from gas wells is discharged and found not only no elevation in radioactivity but:

All samples were at or below background levels of radioactivity; and all samples showed levels below the federal drinking water standard for Radium 226 and 228. -- Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, 7 March 2011 (§s 53-55)

  • A single shale gas well uses in total about the same amount of water as a golf course uses in three weeks (§ 56).
  • The concrete, forest clearance, and visual impact of more than 50 wind turbines with equivalent energy output is gigantic by comparison [with landscape and habitat impact resulting from shale gas extraction] (§s 57-59).

We've blogged about fracking a few times; this post in particular is relevant here.

It would seem that if environmentalists are really interested in lowering CO2 emissions, then they 

would do well to heed the advice of Voltaire and not make the best the enemy of the good. Rapid decarbonisation using renewables is not just expensive and environmentally damaging, it is impossible. However, switching as much power generation from coal to gas as possible, and as much transport fuel from oil to gas as possible, would produce rapid and dramatic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.

But as we've also blogged about before, maybe those reductions in carbon dioxide emissions aren't really the point. Maybe arriving at a "sustainable" utopia is the point...but let's remember that utopia means not only "good place" but "no place."

The science is settled once again...

...this time on the unmitigated wonderfulness of CFLs—that is, if you accept the propaganda put out by, amongst others, NYSERDA and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County.  

Then again, maybe not so much.  Not new but worth a view, from 2008 (thanks, Tom):

Earlier this week from Europe:

Fears have been reignited about the safety of energy saving light bulbs after a group of scientists warned that they contain cancer causing chemicals.

Their report advises that the bulbs should not be left on for extended periods, particularly near someone’s head, as they emit poisonous materials when switched on.

Peter Braun, who carried out the tests at the Berlin's Alab Laboratory, said: “For such carcinogenic substances it is important they are kept as far away as possible from the human environment.”

The bulbs are already widely used in the UK following EU direction to phase out traditional incandescent lighting by the end of this year....

Read the rest.  And they're due to be required in this country by 2014.

And by all means see Chrissy's post at PoliNation for lots more information (you can get to PoliNation any time you want by heading over there to your right to the "Local Links" block and clicking the appropriate link. And as long as you're in the right sidebar anyway, here's a plug from One of Nine's Shameless Commerce Division—click on "Chrissy's Originals" for cool jewelry and photoshop services.  But I digress).

Both Chrissy and Sister Toldjah (in a post reassuringly entitled "The Grenade in Your Lamp") highly recommend an article at American Thinker, "The CFL Fraud," and there truly is a ton more information there.

Are we doomed to curly-fry light bulbs?  Not necessarily. A bill has been introduced, the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act, H.R. 91, but it appears to be languishing in committee at the moment.  Contact your House member and express your opinion.

This should sound frighteningly familiar

As we noted in an earlier post, "The town and city of Ithaca, the Town of Dryden and Tompkins County are all members of ICLEI."

For additional information on ICLEI, see "Do You Live In a One-World-Government ‘Sustainable’ Community Yet?"  A few points:

  • "ICLEI, or the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, was established in 1990 at the World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future, at the United Nations in New York."
  • "Sustainability” and ICLEI and United Nation’s Agenda 21, which was adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, are synonymous."

and best of all

  • "ICLEI member cities pay their annual dues using local taxpayer money, which is used to pay city employees who work to carry out ICLEI’s programs."

So what do we do about this? "The ICLEI membership is renewable annually. Go all-out Alinsky on this! Stop the renewal..."

And read the whole thing.
 
h/t David

Icky ICLEI

More goodies from today's Ithaca Journal, this time the "Guest Viewpoint:"

Local governments have led the effort in recent years to envision, accelerate and achieve strong climate protection goals. The 600 local governments that are members of a national network called ICLEI — Local Governments for Sustainability, have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 23 million tons in 2005 alone. This translates into about $600 million in annual cumulative savings, largely on energy expenditures. The town and city of Ithaca, the Town of Dryden and Tompkins County are all members of ICLEI.

[...]

Town of Dryden

* Energy efficiency upgrades at highway department completed.

* Geothermal system and high-efficiency lighting added to town hall facility.

* Provided funding for local residents to get energy audits.

* Sustainability planner hired (who is the person writing this piece--tvm)

* Energy coordinator to be hired in 2011.

* Sustainability planning process under way.

Sounds unimpeachably wonderful, doesn't it? Well, as many people who have been paying attention to the zoning and sustainability discussions (and, yes, they are connected as noted in an earlier post) in Dryden are aware, not so much. Poke around the ICLEI website, and then take a look at the "ICLEI Primer: Your Town and Freedom Threatened."  Sound familiar?

More "green" moonbattery (so to speak)

From Rich Terrell:

Brian Milligan drove a Mini Cooper Electric from London to Edinburgh in four days with nine stops for up to ten hours to recharge its batteries (using electricity produced with fossil fuels--tvm). A stage coach used to make the same journey in two days and two nights.

DRAC, Shelly, Redford, & Soros

Which of these things in the post title is not like the others?  Trick question.  They're all related.

DRAC is the Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition, a local group of folks who attend town meetings and so forth to express their opinion that fracking is bad (h/t Kathy).  Fair enough—they're certainly allowed to say what they think (as we are) and since the science on this doesn't appear to be settled, they provide a useful viewpoint.

But, as always when trying to get to the bottom of a tangled heap such as fracking, we should be asking cui bono, who benefits?  In answer to that question, the DRAC people and similar groups round up the usual suspects —the landowners who signed the leases, the fracking companies themselves as well as all of their suppliers, the nameless, faceless evil fat cats—you know the drill, so to speak.  But wait, there's more!—from the NY Post             (h/t Tom):

Shelly's $hale game    His law firm pushes gas-drill 'frack' suits

By BRENDAN SCOTT Post correspondent, Last Updated: 7:56 PM, January 17, 2011

ALBANY -- As Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver leads the fight to block a type of natural-gas drilling in New York, his private law firm is in other states trying to drum up multimillion-dollar lawsuits against the practice, The Post has found.

The speaker's massive Manhattan-based personal-injury law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, plans a pair of public forums this week in Pennsylvania and West Virginia to "listen to the concerns of the community, share information and discuss legal options" about the gas-exploration phenomenon known as "hydrofracking" or "fracking."....

Silver (D-Manhattan) -- citing risks of water contamination by chemical byproducts from the process -- has emerged as a leading foe to expanded natural-gas drilling, which proponents argue could improve New York's energy independence and revive upstate's long-stagnant economy.

Last month, former Gov. David Paterson extended an environmental review period after vetoing a six-month ban shepherded through the Assembly by Silver.

Drilling advocates, government watchdog groups and even some Democrats say Weitz & Luxenberg's anti-drilling push, which follows a similar forum last month in Pennsylvania, raises questions about the powerful speaker's independence on the high-stakes issue....

Silver has for years refused to detail exactly what he makes and what he does for the firm, even as it plays a key role in the state Trial Lawyers Association, one of Albany's most influential lobbying groups.

Silver refused to address questions about whether Weitz & Luxenberg's anti-drilling advocacy posed a conflict for him....

That sort of changes the complexion of the thing, doesn't it?

And then at American Thinker, heartache—to think that I used to like Robert Redford:

The movie Gasland came out of nowhere to slam the shale gas industry -- an industry that has already substantially brought down the price of natural gas throughout the nation, saving consumers and business untold billions of dollars in energy costs.  The natural gas boom spawned by technologies such as horizontal drilling and fracking have also enriched citizens and states that have reaped part of the bounty brought to the surface by these technologies. Gasland casts aspersions regarding the safety of these technologies, especially to the water tables [tvm note: Gasland was brought to Albany last spring by Barbara Lifton].... 

....Did Gasland really come out of nowhere, or did it benefit from the helping hands of George Soros?

Gasland was shown at the Sundance Film Festival -- that was the first step in its journey to make the bigtime (including the HBO screenings). Gasland got a major boost in prominence when it landed a coveted spot at Sundance....

...The Sundance Institute receives funding from  George Soros; furthermore, the Sundance Documentary Film Fund was formerly known as the Soros Documentary Fund. Soros and his Open Society Institute have given many millions of dollars to the Sundance Institute. The officials who run Sundance know their donors and their special interests.

According to the Capital Research Institute, Sundance founder Robert Redford "genuflected" before Soros when Open Society gave the Institute 5 million dollars in its latest "gift":

"Sundance Institute has supported documentary storytellers since its beginning. The recognition of that history by George Soros and the Open Society Institute, and the continuation of our relationship over time, speaks to our shared belief that culture-in this case documentary film-is having a profound impact in shaping progressive change."

Soros responded that he is interested in such movies because "documentary films raise awareness and inspire action."

That presumably includes action that help prevent us freeing ourselves from being dependent for our energy supplies on unfriendly nations....

Go to American Thinker to read the article in its entirety, as well as to find other pieces in the archives that contain more "interesting" information re: hydrofracking and the leftist agenda. 

Lastly, if you keep having the nagging feeling that there are even more dots to connect, that may be because there very likely are. Opposition to fracking...social zoning...sustainability....it seems as though it's always the same group, or groups, of people involved and zoning and sustainability are already quite explicitly linked by those on the left.

We always seem to be behind the curve, don't we? Time to catch up.

Just like a Silverado, no?

I really like the little hitch—would work great for pulling a camper over the Rockies, say, wouldn't it? wink

(h/t  Rich Terrell)

Optimists 2, Malthusians 0

From a Heritage Foundation blog and as a follow-up on an earlier post:

...I took him up on it, not because I knew much about Saudi oil production or the other “peak oil” arguments that global production was headed downward. I was just following a rule learned from a mentor and a friend, the economist Julian L. Simon.

As the leader of the Cornucopians, the optimists who believed there would always be abundant supplies of energy and other resources, Julian figured that betting was the best way to make his argument. Optimism, he found, didn’t make for cover stories and front-page headlines.

No matter how many cheery long-term statistics he produced, he couldn’t get as much attention as the gloomy Malthusians like Paul Ehrlich, the best-selling ecologist. Their forecasts of energy crises and resource shortages seemed not only newsier but also more intuitively correct. In a finite world with a growing population, wasn’t it logical to expect resources to become scarcer and more expensive?....

As they say, read the rest.

And in a related story...

This piece is connected to so many topics, I can't even think of all the ways this post should be tagged. From the Poughkeepsie Journal (h/t Thomas Lifson at American Thinker):

WICCOPEE — In a stunning reversal, the frequently lauded and taxpayer-funded SpectraWatt Inc. has told the state it will close its solar cell plant starting in March and lay off 117 workers.

....Created with nearly $100 million in private and public investments and announced in April 2009, SpectraWatt ramped up quickly, creating jobs in the midst of high unemployment. It began production by March this year and became one of the brightest new lights in the Hudson Valley economy. Now it has blinked, and may well go out.

....The company said, "This action is undertaken in response to deteriorating market conditions resulting from a harsher-than-usual European winter causing a large drop-off in demand for solar cells.....

Malthusian moonbats

An earlier post, "Dryden and sustainability," contained this "personal definition" of sustainability:

“A sustainable future demands hard choices and requires accepting limits on what we do including limiting human population.”

In case you might be inclined to buy into that last bit, you may want to see this:

(h/t Moonbattery)

Pages

Subscribe to sustainability