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Please enjoy the rest of this article.
What does government interference mean to the fossil fuel and nuclear energy industries?
- Fewer jobs
- Greater foreign fuel dependency
- Weaker economy.
Has Obama cost Americans prosperity? You bet he has!
While we try to revitalize energy as an industry to sustain and create more jobs—good jobs in the US, we must remember that government interference in fracking, as an example, may destroy the gas industry even before it helps America. Coal is already in the President’s scope sights. We know he hates oil and nuclear. Unless a good wind comes by, this President will never have anything to offer for revitalization in the energy sector. Yet, making oil a winner for the US would do wonders for the people and for the economy.
The irony is that if anything positive occurs in fossil fuels while Obama is President, it will be because somebody else is responsible. Here we are at election time, and President Obama, the chameleon, will sacrifice his ideology briefly if necessary. If there is anything out there that would make him look better, the President knows how to play chameleon with the best of them and he will make sure he gets credit for the very things he secretly abhors and quietly eliminates.
Many Americans are concerned about the newness of fracking shale for natural gas. There is the often discussed potential for toxic petroleum hydrocarbons in the air near the wells, including benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene. Nobody wants these to poison our land. I have read many reports suggesting fracking is safe and that the dangers are overstated. I am pleased with these reports and unlike many of the President’s statements against fossil fuels, nobody is expected to win a Pinocchio award for the expert’s opinions on fracking.
In fairness to those who know fracking is safe, the fact is that hydrofracking (fracturing rock with a water based solution to release energy) is not a new technique at all. Those of us in the shale areas of Pennsylvania and other states think it is new but this is not the case. The process of fracking has been used as a major approach for extracting energy from wells for over 100 years. In fact, it has been used in more than a million wells. Fracking the Marcellus and other shale deposits, however is a bit different than the fracking of the past. The difference is that the fracking process was used in the past after the main portion of the oil or natural gas was already collected. Fracking provides a means of revitalizing such a well. Once a well that had been very productive was near empty, the fracking was applied to help flush the remaining portion of the trapped energy to the surface for capture. Today, with the shale formations, fracking is used in the very beginning and throughout the process to gain access to the trapped energy in the shale rocks.
It is good news for all of us who wish to live long lives that fracking has been used for so long, and though not completely harmless, as burning coal in my living room for heat, when I was a child was not completely harmless, it is a process that will clearly not be as dangerous to human life as the naysayers would suggest. By the way, there must always be a balance. The EPA, however, is not where any Americans should look for a balanced solution.
I do worry that gas and oil are extracted safely for the industry workers, and for the American people. Yet, as much as I worry, I would never give the EPA the right to make the final determination on fracking or no-fracking, because, from my observations, the EPA cares mostly about bugs and plants and fungi and very little about the continuation of the human race.
Statistics suggest that individuals who live within a half-mile of a fracking site have been at risk for developing serious health complications compared to those who live further away. We need good energy and I am convinced that we can make the fracking environment even safer, and since that is what we all want, it will happen. We do not need the EPA for that! I am not a proponent of excessive regulations. However, even petroleum experts believe that there must be robust enforcement provisions and national standards for the fracking industry to ensure that there are meaningful incentives for companies to follow the law. Nobody is interested in an unhealthy benzene ridden environment.
The fact is that the wells in the past ten years operate mostly without incident but the goal must be no incidents and all precautions to create zero incidents must be taken. The reflexive action of the EPA to cancel out fracking as a potential means to create virtually unlimited supplies of energy is not what is needed today. On the other hand a carte blanch to the oil and gas industry is also not in the public interest.
Obviously, nobody wants anything negative to happen. Our worst problem would be to have no energy to heat our homes and drive our vehicles. Yet, like conservatives and progressives alike, I am still very concerned about this potential threat. So, rather than support the Obama Administration’s EPA that would deem just one candle burning innocent beeswax, as a pollutant, instead we must continue to make sense out of all the data, and we must assure the safety of all those connected to the industry as well as those who drink the water and breathe the air.
For example, I would suggest that instead of giving hundreds of millions to Solyndra and other FOB’s (Friends of Obama), we should begin to give grants to research universities to help us figure out how to better grab all the toxins from fracking sites before they even have a chance to hurt the water or the air. Benzene is a bad item that we must learn to control. So, we must focus on it and beat it! We sent a man to the moon; we should be able to safely mine for energy.
Kathleen Sgamma, Director of Government & Public Affairs, Western Energy Alliance thinks the states already provide the balance necessary to gain energy from fracking, and do it safely. She offers these thoughts as reported by the Energy National Journal:
“The idea that the federal government does a better job protecting the environment than the states is a false premise. A far removed federal bureaucracy unfamiliar with local conditions and needs is rarely the best entity to ensure environmental needs are balanced with economic growth and job creation. Historical context and a basic understanding of global economics shows the viability of such a balance, as wealthy societies are those best positioned to ensure environmental protection.
“The natural gas industry is already heavily regulated at every level of government. In addition, companies go above and beyond legal requirements to reduce emissions and protect air quality, and states already are effectively regulating air emissions. In fact, the recent oil and natural gas sector rules announced last week by the EPA largely follow what states and companies are already doing to reduce emissions and capture methane. However, now companies will have to spend a lot of time and money proving to EPA that they’re doing something they’ve already been doing.”
While proving they are performing well to the EPA, they also must watch out that the EPA does not pick a few random drillers and crucify them as “examples,” and as a raw display of EPA power. We learned in the recent past that such talk is not out of line for the EPA, and thankfully it cost Al Armendariz his job. This EPA official oversaw federal EPA enforcement in five states and he has a major anti-fossil fuel bias. I believe in countervailing powers but from my vantage point, the states are the best determinant of what is good for the states.
The EPA, if it survives in any form should be an optional advisory board to the states and nothing more. The EPA has shown it is more than willing to take all the power from the people and businesses and that is simply not fair. If there is to be an EPA in the future, I would recommend that it be less than 5% of its current size of 10,000 employees with no enforcement power whatsoever. I would have no problem with the shrunken EPA coming up with lines of thinking, presenting them to the states, and then it would be up to the states to adopt or reject them.
Drill Baby, Drill!
Is Obama the drilling king? Ask him! Recently the Obama Administration has been taking credit for a lot of things that it has not done or in which it has been marginally involved. Often it takes credit for things about which it is vehemently opposed if it will help the Emperor’s election chances. One claim often repeated in Obama stump speeches, is that there is more drilling now, than in the Bush days. I keep bringing this up because the President keeps taking credit for things he has not done.
Obama does not have his finger on the pulse of energy in this country but he surely does have his finger on the switch that keeps America dependent on “foreign” oil. Obama has the energy switch turned off by default as he continually says “no” to any increased “domestic” new drilling that is not under current contract. Additionally, he single handedly killed the prospect of jobs by shutting down the Canadian Keystone Pipeline deal. The Keystone pipeline is the biggest joke of his Administration. This is a major blemish on Obama’s record and on his documented ability to tell the truth.
The good news is that the Energy Industry in America is actually prepared; as soon as we can get rid ourselves of President Obama and the far left members of Congress, to create an industry that will give plenty of Americans plenty of high paying jobs. The RRR Revitalize Energy strategy can take hold as soon as we have a change in leadership.
Energy has risks
There is no question that energy is a potentially dangerous force no matter where it originates or where it is consumed. One of my favorite sayings is that “Nothing in life worth having is easy.” So, before we say that only the environment is important and no amount of energy that we can have should ever subvert the environment, please remember that your exhalant—CO2, from your use of oxygen (air), has been declared a nasty greenhouse gas by the EPA, and worthy of regulation.
At the extreme, this means that if you breathe, you should consider leading a shorter life so Mother Nature is less impacted by your breath, even if it is not bad breath. Thank the EPA for that! Whatever credibility the EPA has, it is diminished by such asinine policy. The EPA is also responsible for tripling the cost and lowering the effectiveness of asthma inhalers by 50% or more. Asthmatic children have died trying to suck medicine from their ineffective EPA approved inhalers while highly functional over the counter inhalers have been banned—just like the 100 watt light bulb and the 16 OZ beverage in NYC. The EPA simply is not concerned about human life. A tsetse fly saved, however; or a minnow; now you’re talking!
If all you have to heat your home is coal, and its smoke creates some noxious gases in the air, should you choose to freeze to death to avoid coal use so you can spare Mother Nature any pain? Because fracking leaks methane from the rocks, and the chemical cocktail used to crack the rocks may contain various forms of benzene, which are definitely cancerous, should such natural gas operations be cut off? The plastic in the plastic bottles we regularly use contain some bad chemicals also. Is it time to give up on bottled water?
The question for today is can we live without energy? Surely, any issues in the fracking process, including toxic gas and toxic liquid releases and all sources of pollutants should be tracked down and eliminated so we do not poison our world. We are all for that. But, we can’t raise the price of energy so high that we die of disease or by freezing to death just to make the earth more pure overnight. All things in moderation and in time!
There is no question that energy from all sources and to all sources has risks and has had risks from time immemorial. Such an innocent act as rubbing two stones together to create a camp fire or a fire in a fireplace has risks as does any fire. And, the smoke from the fire is always toxic. And, maybe those toasted marshmallows aren’t so good for your health either. Considering that gaining the energy from most fuels requires some form of fire in order to produce the energy in usable form, danger and risk are always present in all energy situations. Thank God we are learning more and more about energy every day. Should we use no energy? Even our human exhale process produces things the EPA would ban? If the EPA could ban you and me, and everybody other than President Obama, would they do so?
There are inherent dangers with all fuels during exploration, extraction, transportation, and use. Are the risks worth the rewards? Do heat, light, and convenience appliances trump a perfectly clean environment? Last time I checked, we live longer than our parents and our parents’ parents. Has energy helped us achieve longevity or has it shortened our lives?
The fact is that there is no place on the energy train where it is completely safe. Tankers, for example, which carry oil and gas to our country from enemy outposts, may spill over the ocean or at port, and pipelines that carry oil and gas may spring leaks. Gas tanks in the millions of automobiles across the world carry a very volatile fuel and when used, each vehicle engine explodes small portions of this injected fuel to cause the pistons in the cylinders to move and to create a rotation in the engines for the vehicle to be able to move. This is all complicated and dangerous stuff. Is it bad?
Just the other day, a pickup truck in California at a McDonald’s drive-through blew up with a blast of flames. The propane gas cylinder in the back of the truck, on the way to a family barbecue exploded creating a major issue. Should all energy be outlawed by the EPA because of this?
Some say horse drawn wagons were an issue before autos took over the roads because the animals might get startled and create an accident which might harm the riders or passers-by. Additionally, the horses or oxen or mules have a documented tendency to produce methane or another gas, perhaps even SO2 that could make travelling in a buggy behind the animals a potentially unpleasant if not flammable and hazardous experience. Why can we not be practical about our use of energy? Well, the EPA is not interested in anything practical when it thinks it can outlaw your very right to breathe.
What about wind energy?
No matter how electricity is produced, high voltage wires must be used to transport the energy to our homes and factories. Wind turns turbines in the air and converts kinetic energy into electricity. Wind power can result in birds being killed as well as the wind force being too strong for the turbines with a risk of producing too much electricity. A number of incidents of fire have been reported, and they say when these 30-story or taller wind-mill structures burn, local firefighters can do very little to battle the blazes. Should we outlaw the wind?
Should we outlaw water?
If you can find the right environment, nothing is as effective as hydroelectricity that is produced by moving water. It currently supplies between 15 and 20 percent of the world’s electricity. By its very movement, the water in streams is cleansed of diseases that would otherwise love to sit around in stagnant pools waiting for the opportunity to infect a passerby. Water is by far the most popular renewable energy resource. One might ask why we are not doing more in this regard. Yet, even this has risks as its end product is high voltage electricity, which has its own set of issues. How do we get it to your home?
Should Old King Coal lose its merry old soul?
What about Coal? Obama has already declared that King Coal is not only dead, it is disgusting. Yet, this extremely combustible black rock that is mined from the ground, still supplies the most electricity of all sources in the world. Coal is the king for at least 26% of the world’s energy, and it produces more than 50 percent of the world’s electricity, and a ton (figuratively speaking) of that black rock is in North America. Ask Big John and Sixteen Ton Tennessee Ernie Ford!
Coal is dangerous and risky as are all energy sources. I can recall being a patient in St Luke’s Miners Memorial Hospital in Coaldale PA a year and a half ago as the 33 Chilean miners were saved thousands of miles away. It was riveting. It was also ironic that I was in a “Miners Hospital,” as my roommate and I watched 24/7 as the miners were on display on all the networks. This was one of the few mine disasters that have had positive outcomes. Yet, should we ban coal as Obama plans to do?
When I grew up we had a kitchen coal stove and a Heatrola stove in the dining room that handled the rest of the house. We thanked God that we had enough coal to keep these guys going in the cold Pennsylvania winters of yore.
Heatrola Coal Stove – A DiningRoom Mainstay
Coal is clearly dangerous in terms of mining and then, though we have burned it for many years, there are those environmentalists who are warm in their own surrounds, who would swear we are better off freezing to death than using coal. Yes, coal is a pollutant for miners and for those that burn it and for those who breathe in the chimney fumes. Some statistics say that coal-fired power plants shorten nearly 24,000 lives a year in the United States, including 2,800 from lung cancer. No statistics show the death rate for no heat in the winter. Clearly, the coal stats as presented are terrible and we ought to figure out how to make this better. Shutting off the lights and the heat and bringing frozen bodies from homes after the winter to the undertaker in the spring is not the answer. Not having energy will not help us solve this problem and it would clearly cause more deaths than the number caused by using coal energy effectively.
Let the Sun produce our energy
Besides politicians enriching their incompetent friends (cronies) who know nothing about solar energy but who bought into the solar industry government-provided profit bonanza, no prevarication of fact is more dangerous than the notion that the sun will make us all energy free. How many millionaire-making Solyndra’s can the US treasury support? What a hoax unless we figure out how to line everybody’s roof with solar panels and have some coal fired electricity plant backing it all up. And, maybe even that will not work! Who knows? Should we pay Obama supporters just in case it does? Why not give the bucks to the smartest people in research institutions that we have in America so they can figure out what the right way really is? If they cheat us, let’s all be prepared to send them to jail.
Solar energy is not 100% safe. With solar energy, accidents also occur during the installation of panels and other risks are similar to handling any other power equipment. Solar heating can also cause fire or steam burns. Solar panels are produced using processes that depend on the burning of fossil fuels. So this is the primary environmental impact though it is also an issue when the solar facility needs to dispose of discarded solar panels.
Nothing is missed by energy hating environmentalists as they claim there is also a big land grab in place as solar farms require a substantial amount of land and this may disturb plant and animal habitats. The question I keep asking is “Should we elect to freeze in the winter rather than disturb the eco system a scintilla?” Is a scintilla too much? Will any amount of human comfort be too much for the environmentalist? Please do not ask the EPA!
Can biology help solve the energy crisis?
Bio-fuels/masses are getting more and more play recently and they may be a nice solution to garbage disposal in the future. Theoretically they utilize all kinds of plant, animal, and even human waste to yield power, heat, steam, and fuel. Long term, in my opinion, this technology offers greater promise as a disposal methodology more than a panacea for energy. Because power is produced and must be transported, there are the usual risks but none particularly related to the bio–processes themselves.
There is also a type of bio-technology called biodiesel, which does carry more risk since it produces a fuel, which is highly combustible. This fuel must then be treated with the same kid gloves as any other combustible fuel. Ethanol of course is a bio fuel and it has the same inherent risks as gasoline.
Is natural gas really natural?
Natural gas is found in nature and is a major source of fuel and feedstock for fertilizers. Drilling and transporting natural gas has dangers in leaks and fires, regardless of whether it is in pipelines, tankers, train cars, gas container trucks, or shipping tankers. It is colorless and odorless and so an odor is added to it so we know if it is leaking. Gas explosions from leaks do occur. Another danger is carbon monoxide poisoning. Heating oil furnaces and diesel vehicles have similar risks to natural gas in addition to not burning as cleanly. Oil trucks must deliver the oil to the home, and that presents another risk.
Why can’t Yellowstone National Park power America?
Another source of fuel that has been abandoned by science just recently is geothermal. Who knows if it will make a comeback? The geo notion is an attempt to harvest the energy from the middle of the earth. There had been two major geothermal projects in the U.S. and Europe and both have been permanently shut down after officials said geothermal energy extraction may cause earthquakes. Case closed.
Can you be nuked without a nuke?
We are all aware of the tsunami caused nuclear meltdown in Japan; the Chernobyl USSR Disaster; the Three Mile Island problem in Pennsylvania and other near nuclear disasters. Like all fueled energy sources, nuclear is dangerous for sure but, just like fracking, it can be made safe as we get smarter and more careful in our implementations. Can any energy be really safe? Should the EPA ban energy or should we Americans choose to exploit all forms of energy sources, including nuclear, into a successful industry and keep it all safe. I vote for the latter.
All energy helps but also has inherent risks
The fact is that it is hard to not look at all of the many energy sources and wonder exactly what risks are inherent in their use. As noted above, nothing in life worth having is easy, and energy surely is one of those items. Nobody who wants to live can say we do not need energy. Yet there is no perfect energy source.
If you are looking for a risk-free life, it may be best to check into heaven early if possible rather than attempting to live on this risk-laden earth. In other words, we live with risks all the time, and so not drilling for oil because there are risks or not burning coal because there are risks is ridiculous. It is ridiculous because freezing to death and not having power to keep your food safe from disease in the refrigerator is the most ridiculous notion of all.
The RRR plan has identified thirteen specific notions that if properly handled would result in a better America. One of these is the topic of this article, “revitalize energy.” In no other time in our history has the US ever been poised better to capitalize on its natural resources to get out of the funk that we are in and move on to prosperity for all. Will there be risks? Yes, there will be risks; but there are risks even in going outside on a sunny day.
This is a good time to be looking for success. If the President were looking for energy success, he would have found it already. Unfortunately he is driven as an ideologue by environmental extremists, who want to deny all Americans the opportunity for a better life if not the realization of the full American Dream! If we can get a new President who is in tune with energy and America’s needs and we can keep the environmental extremists in check, in less than ten years, the US can produce well over two million new high paying energy jobs and we can become net exporters of energy. We have to want it enough to fight for it.
America has wealth beyond dreams that can be realized in the next five to ten years if we can get the energy nay-sayers out of the way. Most see at least a million jobs but I see even more from a revitalized energy industry in this country. While we bask in warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer, a ton of jobs will come with a sincere and honest and real can-do energy focus. Meanwhile, we can work on the rest of the RRR plan for economic recovery and job creation at the proper pace.
Revitalizing energy in the US will happen when government gets its foot off the decelerator!
Congressional reports show that the combined recoverable natural gas, oil and coal endowment in America is huge. In fact, it is the largest on earth, bar-none. You can play “Name that energy country” and you will find the US of A on the top of the energy list. It is unfortunate that today’s President suggests the total we have is just 2% of the world’s reserves. That was once the case but the President knows he is wrong when he quotes those numbers. Maybe it helps his ideology agenda. We are actually the big guy both in energy and in armed forces strength. That is not too shabby if we can get leadership other than the guys now in charge that know how to deal with that fact.
We would all be able to benefit from our untapped energy if our President would permit us to tap it judiciously. We have so much resource under the ground that we can meet our country’s need for oil and gas for the rest of the century; and this century has just begun. In that total, I am not even including shale oil, which once we learn how to do harmless fracking, will take us out a hundred or more additional years.
So, why should we not use our own oil to replace all imported oil from the Persian Gulf and from Hugo Chavez for at least the next fifty years? We will have a ton left if needed when by then cars won’t be called cars and they will probably be running on something other than gasoline.
There is already a jobs bonanza going on in the states that do not pay homage to Obama and instead, they use their own private energy resources for the greater good of their states. These states have grown jobs many fold just in the last decade. I am talking about North Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Texas, and Alaska. A friend of mine, Joe Demmeck from Houston, Texas, just today told me that Houston is not in recession. Would that not be nice if we could all say that about our surrounds?
Texas doesn’t take crap from anybody, and if the truth be known, they probably would be better off seceding if that were only possible. But America would lose from the secession because Texans know how to be Americans. How about a net of 40% of American jobs coming from Texas?
The name for a tough guy is a roughneck in Wyoming’s Jonah Fields. Give that guy a high school diploma and he or she can command a $100,000 per year job. Most would say that is worth getting up and going to work for!
Instead of $100,000, would it be better to get $15,000 from the government being a loyal Obama disciple while crunching up potato chips as a couch potato? Why not pick up a hundred grand a year job rather than play suck-up to the government? The best statisticians suggest that because of private drilling, nine out of eleven of the fastest growing jobs in America are in the oil and gas sector. I see well over two million jobs if we can get Obama’s foot off the brake sooner than later—like maybe November?
What would it be like if America were permitted by the government to be the world leader in energy again? Revitalizing energy can go a long way into revitalizing the US economy and giving Americans great jobs. Why should we wait?
Brian Kelly is a business owner and former assistant professor at Marywood University; he and his wife live in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Kelly is running for Senate in his state and believes limited government brings liberty and freedom.
About Brian Kelly
Brian Kelly is a business owner and former assistant professor at Marywood University; he and his wife, Pat live in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Kelly ran for COngress and for the US Senate in his state and he believes limited government brings liberty and freedom. Brian's 48th book is titled, Saving America, The How-To Book. It is available at www.checkoutking.com and www.itjungle.com.