Senators Landrieu and Chambliss were recently extolling their bi-partisan support for getting natural gas out of US shale, in an “opinion contributor” in Politico.com a couple of days ago, here. They don’t want to hamper this burgeoning industry, and so have formed the Senate Natural Gas Caucus, intended to

… educate members of Congress and the public about energy and manufacturing issues related to natural gas and provide a forum for members to exchange ideas and influence national policy.

Landrieu and Chambliss are exuberant in their view of the promise of natural gas, saying that

Natural gas should be the bridge to a low-carbon energy future while playing a key role in developing the next generation of energy, such as solar and wind power.

This thinking is somewhat myopic, however, diminishing the importance of important things that we can, and must, accomplish without old or new energy sources (except the political and mental kind), such as developing appropriate types of land use/development tied to meaningful public transportation systems.

It’s ┬ádifficult to follow the basis of their saying that natural gas

is used as a raw material in lightweight cars, wind-power blades and solar panels.

Perhaps they mean that gas can be used in the production of these things, but other energy sources can, too.

The senators also note in the piece, in a kind of feint that many used to parsing such language will not miss, that natural gas in the US is

produced in accordance with the strictest environmental standards in the world

Making such a statement sounds good, but they provide no basis for it, and they ignore much of what has been taking place with respect to the Marcellus shale issues in New York State, and other places. Also, if this statement is true, we should ask why does the industry needs a full pass on any sort of oversight under the Underground Injection Control program (as discussed here)? This bypassing of previous legislation permits these companies to inject virtually anything they want into the subsurface.

Further, saying that these environmental standards are strict begs the question of whether and how the industry really is set up to follow them, and whether and how the mechanisms exist to enforce them.


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