My opinion regarding the following articles about mining for natural gas in the US: Marcellus Overview and Marcellus Enviro Impact.
Q: Would you be willing to sacrifice your immediate environment to attain an overall more sustainable energy supply? What are you willing to tradeoff? Do you consider the Marcellus shale deposits sustainable? Do you consider this situation to be similar to that with the Nantucket Sound offshore wind farm, where some members of the community perceive detriment to their local environment?
These natural gas stores are an energy source that is cleaner than coal, available immediately, and available domestically; therefore, the U.S. should pursue mining these deposits. Our country needs to take immediate action towards our energy consumption and pollution issues, and the Marcellus deposits represent a critical near-term solution.
The motto ‘grow local, buy local’ needs to expand beyond agriculture and farming to include fuel sources too. We need to realize that as our energy dependencies grow, viable local supplies will have to respond to the demand. Our domestic coal and oil industries need the support that a breakthrough in the domestic natural gas industry could provide. This support would be reaped through additional baseline energy availability, nationalistic measures of decreased international dependence and increased jobs, and an effective curb in pollution by potentially decreasing coal dependency. There is nothing sustainable about these deposits. They are simply an additional source of fuel, and fortunately they represent a cleaner burning fuel than has previously been found underneath our soil.
National parks were formed under the premise of national interest. Today our national interest needs to focus on extracting the natural gas from these deposits. Just because we haven’t claimed land in Texas as ‘protected,’ does not make it any ‘more right’ to drill there for oil. Therefore, it should not be any ‘more wrong’ to drill underneath national park land. I take the same perspective on Cape Wind, in that, we need to do all that we can now to implement cleaner energy sources for the future. All our efforts to curb energy consumption are negligible compared to the population growth of the Earth, so establishing mass renewable and cleaner energy sources now is essential.
I’m actually surprising myself as I write this, being a full-on proponent for conservation of land, nature, and all forms of life. However, I feel if we plan these projects accurately and take some pride in making minimal impact to the lands by fully-engaging in safe practices and restoration efforts, we will benefit from both the wealth of fuel and the continued beauty of the land.
Quotes from the articles:
"Natural gas generates electricity more efficiently than coal, with half the greenhouse gas emissions, fewer acid rain precursors and virtually free of many other troubling pollutants like mercury and particulates"
"After several years of experimentation, there were nearly 20 Marcellus wells in Pennsylvania in 2007, nearly 200 were drilled in 2008, and nearly 790 last year. The Marcellus industry, now made up of 67 companies—ranging from the world’s largest to some of the smallest energy players—has already drilled about 1,100 wells this year."
"To remind them, there are 260 million tons of abandoned waste coal in piles that mar about 8,500 acres across the state. And more than 5,510 miles of the state’s streams are impaired by discharges from 220,000 acres of abandoned coal mine lands, Pennsylvania’s worst water pollution problem."
Tom Ridge: “'commitment to the community' principles, promising to implement state-of-the-art environmental protection and to improve transparency and responsiveness."
Corporate Social Responsibility: "there also have been wastewater spills and conflicts with neighbors—for Range and for other drillers"
"Wirth has touted the natural gas from shale as a 'game-changer' that could help address global warming, but he says the industry’s inadequate response to land and water concerns have imperiled the fuel’s future as a bridge to a low-carbon future"
"National policy to cut greenhouse gases that would increase demand for natural gas in the energy marketplace, thereby enhancing its value."
"Current growth pace is not sustainable in a market that is likely to see little near-term demand growth."
"The horizontal drilling technique used in the shale gas industry could allow producers to choose well sites away from sensitive areas and reach the gas from a distance."
“No additional leasing involving surface disturbance can occur without significantly altering the ecological integrity and wild character of our state forest system.”