Monday, June 27, 2016

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By Nancy Thorner –  

 On Monday, June 20, The Heartland Institute hosted a rare opportunity to hear one of the nation’s acknowledged leading conservatives, Stephen Moore, speak on his new book, Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy, which flies in the face of the nation’s political and media love affair with climate change. The luncheon event was held at The Union League Club, in the Loop in downtown Chicago. 

Heartland is known globally for its work debunking myths about human-caused climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels – in short, that global warming is driven by human activity and a warming planet is, on whole, beneficial. Fossil fuels constitute the lifeblood of the modern world, having ushered in the Industrial Revolution, but continue to be vilified by global warming alarmists.

In his book, Moore, with co-author Kathleen Hartnett White, make an unapologetic case for fossil fuels. They argue that if fossil fuel energy is supplanted by “green” alternatives for political reasons, humanity will take a giant step backwards and the planet will be less safe, less clean, and less free.

Moore’s Background

Moore is a Chicago boy, having graduated from New Trier High School in 1978. After various stops at conservative outlets and organizations – including one he started, the Club for Growth –Moore is now a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Heritage, where he focuses on advancing public policies that increase the rate of economic growth to help the United States retain its position as the global economic superpower. He also works on budget, fiscal and monetary policy, and showcases states that get their fiscal houses in order.

As an economist, Moore said he was influenced by two great economists of the last 50 years: (1) Julian Simon, who was proven to be right, when in 1980 he disputed those in this country and worldwide who claimed the earth’s natural resources were becoming so scarce they would become even costlier, and (2) Arthur Laffer, who triggered a world-wide tax-cutting movement in the 1980’s, when in the Reagan administration he recommended tax cuts to stimulate the economy. Moore is currently an economic advisor for the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

Moore’s Discussion

Moore believes that if our energy resources were utilized the way they were meant to be used, this nation would become energy independent in the near future, turning us into the Saudi Arabia of the next century.

Positive benefits from the development of our energy resources include the following, according to Moore:

  • Creating jobs by the millions.
  • Creating good jobs with good pay.
  • Reduce trade deficits.

As far as the value of oil, gas, and coal under U.S. public land:

  • Over the next 20 years, with current technology, this nation could have available $50 trillion worth of oil, gas, and coal.
  • The federal government could raise $4 trillion by leasing federal land for exploration. With a deficit of $20 trillion, $4 trillion would be tidy sum toward reducing our deficit.

Republicans have a great opportunity to gain the upper hand in the energy struggle, but they haven’t done a good job. The major donors to the Democrat Party are the unions (the teachers union dominates here in Illinois) and lunatic green movements funded, in part, by billionaire Tom Steyer of California, who is an environmental advisor to the Obama administration. Green groups want to keep coal and oil in the ground by stopping drilling and coal mining. Republicans need to drive a wedge between those who traditionally support the Democratic Party by getting out the message that “we (Republicans) are the ones who are trying to save your jobs.”

Moore and Harold Hamm

Moore said he was influenced by the story of billionaire industrialist Harold Hamm, who left home when young because there wasn’t money enough to feed all 14 children … and Hamm was 13th in line. Hamm now owns most of the energy resources in North Dakota. Invited by Hamm eight years ago to travel to North Dakota, Moore was amazed to see what was happening in the state. “Wildcatters” like Hamm had developed fracking and horizontal drilling. The code was cracked to find more natural resources, which put America way ahead of the rest of the world – yet no government was involved in this development.

As Chairman and CEO of Continental Resources, the fortune of pioneering oilman Hamm peaked at nearly $19 billion in 2014, but has since been reduced to $11 billion when oil prices plunged. Hamm does remain bullish for the future, however, and expects a new boom to come. Hamm expects $60 oil again, and says America will double output again.

Moore said he believes that if not for the shale and gas revolution, Obama wouldn’t have been elected. But that doesn’t keep Obama from running around the country falsely proclaiming how we are running out of oil and gas. As Moore stated, “We are running into it, not out of it, through fracking and horizontal drilling.”

Vilification of Coal and Oil

Even if global warming was scientifically indisputable and here to stay, Moore said, it could not be stopped by shutting down sources of American energy. In Virginia where Moore lives, EPA regulations on coal have shut down entire towns. These once-vibrant communities have been replaced by unemployment lines.

And what is to be done about China and India where there are plans to construct 500 new coal plants, Moore asked? For every one coal plant shut down in this nation, 10 new ones are being added in China and India – and they use coal technology much dirtier than here in the U.S. Compared to 50 years ago, this nation’s emissions have been reduced more than any other country in the world, but that is still not enough for the greens. Climate alarmists continue to spread their unwarranted fear to a somewhat gullible public.

It comes as no surprise that children are being told that coal and oil must be replaced by so-called “green energy” to prevent Mother Earth from heating up and being inhabitable. This indoctrination is now standard practice in the public schools from K – 12th grade. It’s difficult to talk about global warming at the college level. The new thing with kids is to believe it’s cool to go with windmills and solar power. Moore asks this question when meeting with children: “Where does your electric power come from?” Most often the response is: “It comes out of the socket.”

Sources of Power in U.S.

Well over 90% of this nation’s electrical power comes from four sources, ranked in order: natural gas, coal, nuclear, and hydro power. Wind comes in at a measly 4.7% and Solar at 0.6%. Combined, coal and natural gas supply about 70 percent of this nation’s electrical power. If a global warming catastrophe were really upon us, nuclear power would be the way to go. It is a clean and safe form of energy which gets the most bang for the buck. Yet the public has been turned against nuclear power through bad publicity over unfortunate nuclear events.

According to Moore, we are witnessing a war on energy. Presently this nation’s economic growth is pathetic, at less than 2 percent. Energy independence and tax reform could quickly increase this nation’s growth to 4 percent, but this will have to wait until the next Republican president.

Natural gas was described as a wonder fuel – it’s abundant – it’s made in America – and it’s clean energy.

Introductory Comments made by Jim Lakely

Jim Lakely, in describing the five issues covered by The Heartland Institute, spoke about the environment as being the issue Heartland is most known for. Accordingly, Heartland is a target of the eco-Left for not embracing climate alarmism and declaring that the science is not settled.

The most recent development is how ExxonMobil is being accused of misleading the public on climate change. The corporation is being sued by the attorneys general of the Virgin Islands, New York, Massachusetts and 14 other states. Likewise, The Competitive Enterprise Institute is now fighting a subpoena that requests a decade’s worth of communications, emails, statements, drafts, and other documents regarding CEI’s work on climate change and energy policy. Although The Heartland Institute is mentioned in all the lawsuits, it has yet to receive a subpoena in what amounts to a fishing expedition to silence those who do not subscribe to Obama’s stance on Climate Change.

 

Several weeks ago the occasion arose to view the screening of Josh del Sol’s powerful and gripping award-winning documentary, “Take Back Your Power.” View here the official trailer of “Take Back Your Power,” winner of the 2013 Aware Guide Transformational Film of the Year and the IndieFest Annual Humanitarian Award.

Synopsis: The 2013 NSA spying scandal exposed vast programs to monitor your personal communications. Now, energy utilities and governments are reaching into your own home, through fast-tracked “smart” meters and spy-ready technology. But what if you have a choice? At stake is in-home surveillance, increased bills, emerging health risks and more hacking vulnerabilities.

Defining the issue:  A “Smart Grid” is an electricity distribution network that utilizes “Smart Meters”.  A “Smart Meter” is a wireless or hard-wired two-way communication device that connects your home or business and broadcasts your personal information and energy use habits to the electric grid company.  Current analog meters have been safely used for decades and they still work.

“Smart,” a buzz word for something good or superior, as in “smart” meters, are being installed all around the world to implement the smart grid for UN Agenda 21, even though electromagnetic radiation is a killer.  Check out this video explaining the dangers of electromagnetic radiation.

In 2009 millions of households across America were taking a first step into the world of the “smart grid,” as their power companies installed meters that can tell them how much electricity they are using hour by hour — and sometimes, appliance by appliance.

But not everyone was happy about it.  In California many customers were in open revolt back, as they remain today, when Pacific Gas & Electric, which distributes power to Northern and Central California, installed four million meters in households and businesses.  Since 2009 six million more have been installed.

Power companies claim the meters will allow utilities to vary the price charged to their customers by the hour to correspond to what those utilities are paying for energy in the wholesale market, resulting in consumers saving money.   Not so according to California Pacific Gas & Electric customers who complained their meters were running too fast and were charging them for energy they hadn’t used.   Many customers also found it unfair they had to begin paying immediately for the new meters through higher rates.  Meters cost the utility roughly $220 apiece, including installation, savings that could be years away for customers.

ComEd Accelerating Smart Meter Deployment in Illinois

ComEd, although lagging behind other states, is accelerating the deployment of Smart Meters here in Illinois even while the largest Massachusetts electric utility has declared Smart Meters as “irrational.” ComEd is presently beginning the process of installing digital electric meters throughout its northern Illinois service territory. Thorner has been informed that a ComEd representative will be meeting with the Village Manager in Lake Bluff during the coming week.

The Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2011, enacted over Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto, handed ComEd annual rate hikes over a decade in return for a $2.6 billion initiative to modernize its local grid and install a smart meter system.  Accordingly, Com Ed will be installing smart meters for all customers over a 10-year period, even though provisions within the federal 2005 Energy Policy Act state that:  “Each electric utility…shall provide each customer requesting a time-based rate with a time-based meter…”  The implication being is that Smart Meters are not required for all!

In accordance with the 2011 state law, per a February, 2014 decision made by the Illinois Commerce Commission, ComEd customers might shortly expect the following (In actuality, ComEd ratepayers have been paying for smart meters since January, 2013.):

  • Customers who refuse to have smart meters installed will be charged $21.53 a month.
  • If customers make the decision to refuse a (smart) meter now and incur monthly charges associated with this choice, it should be with full knowledge that this refusal is simply deferring the inevitable.

EMF Exposure

Common sources of electromagnetic or EMF exposure — called today’s new pollution — include smart meters, cell and cordless phones, cell towers, wi-fi, indoor wiring, CFL’s, overhead power lines, and more.  Smart meters have been designated as the most recent danger.  The smart meter ComEd is installing here in Illinois are similar to those already installed in other states. The installation of a so-called ‘smart grid’ allows a ComEd smart meter to transmit data on your household energy usage wirelessly to ComEd. Eventually this might result in the expansion of installing smart meters on each household appliance within your home, to individually transmit the usage data to the smart meter.

Documented here is a Powercor Smart Meter being checked in Australia on Sept. 17, 2013, which spikes off the scale of what is safe for humans to be exposed to.

Smart meters:  Health and Fire/Explosion Complaints

Already seen is a direct correlation between increasing health complaints in neighborhoods where smart meters have been installed, not only in this nation, but all over the world.  If you care about your health you must watch this insightful interview with Dr. Dietreich Klinghardt, MD from “Take Back Your Power.”  

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies wireless radiation as a 2B carcinogen, based on studies liking wireless radiation to brain tumors.  The list ofsymptoms related by those having smart meter are numerous.  Several include:  Sleep problems; Stress, agitation, anxiety, irritability; Headaches, sharp pain or pressure in the head; and ringing in the ears, ear pain, high pitched ringing.

One of the most striking observations in viewing Josh del Sol’s “Take Back your Power” was a live blood analysis where observable effects could be seen after exposure to smart meters, even among those who had no symptoms to speak of.

If you are still not convinced that the Telecom industry has been given full authority to deploy wireless technologies that damage our DNA, hopefully this account of a mother, Virginia Farver, who lost her son from GBM-Glioblastoma Multiforme Brain Cancer on October 11, 2008 to microwave frequencies received while a graduate student at San Diego State University, will dispel your skepticism.  Ms. Farver, in looking into the death of her son, found there were two sites on the SDSU Campus where HPWREN Networks (High Performance Wireless Research and Educational Network) were located. These Grids are located on many college campuses across the US and other Countries, forming a World Grid.  One of the HPWREN towers was on top of the Communications Building which towers above Nasatir Hall, and the other on top of the KPBS News Station on campus.  Both were within 1/4 mile of each other, with locations on the highest points on campus. Professors told Ms. Farver that her son would spend long hours in Nasatir Hall, Room 131.  As a TA he would meet students, grade papers, and be in this room on weekends studying.  There were five other brain cancer death victims besides Rick Farver, four having resided in Nasatir Hall, either in Room 131 or in an adjoining room that faced the HPWREN cell tower.  It would seem irrational to call these brain cancer cluster deaths on the SDSU Campus a coincidental happening.

Besides documented health problems, there are also numerous accounts of smart meter fires and explosions. The following is a compilation of reports from the US, Australia and Canada about fires, explosions or burned out appliances due to Smart Meter installations.  The US Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) is a federal agency that will take complaints on utility smart meters from all US states.  Among the many accounts:  On 2/7/2014 thirty residents were displaced by an electrical fire in Bensalem, Pa.   In Lakeland, Florida smart meters overheat, catch fire and melt as related in the following article on Jan. 15, 2004.

More About Smart Meter

For the most up-to-date information about Smart Meters and the Smart Grid in Illinois, visit Naperville Smart Meter Awareness.

Smart Grid planning is behind schedule.  Why?  Because Ameren needs rate hikes.  Read more HERE. The Smart Grid was NOT supposed to lead to rate hikes, but when smart meters were installed in the Naperville area, utility bills did increase.

Here is a partial list of Illinois General Assembly politicians who were paid by Com-Ed or Ameren prior to passing SB 1652 & HB 3036 to raise energy rates and revamp the grid.  These so-called monetary “bribes” possibly account for the lack of response from Illinois legislators when alerting them to smart meters and the well documented dangers they present to Illinois’ rate payers.  ComEd, based in Chicago, is a powerful and politically connected company and knows how to get what it wants.

Ways to “Take Back Your Power”

  • Post signs on your analog meter and on your front door:  ATTENTION:  DO NOT INSTALL SMART METER
  • If at home and an installer arrives, firmly tell him/her that you do not want a smart meter and instruct him/her to leave your property.
  • Alert your neighborhood if you see an installer in your area.
  • Call ComEd’s deployment department at 866-368-8326, telling them you do not consent to having your analog meter replaced by a Smart Meter, nor will you pay the refusal fee of $21.53 per month.
  • Follow up with a certified letter to Mr. Tom Przytulski, Commonwealth Edison, 3 Lincoln Center, Oak Brook Terrace, Illinois 60181, and copy your city manager or mayor.
  • Call your state and Federal Representatives to protest ComEd’s installation of Smart Meters.

ComEd plans to install 4 million smart meters across northern Illinois according to the following deployment schedule.

We the people have to take a stand together, Say NO to ComEd.  Do not sucker for costly “Opt-Out” programs.  IT’S EXTORTION!  Utility companies have blind-sided their customers with digital meters that are harmful, dangerous, invasive and unlawful.  What’s at stake is our basic right to life, health, choice and freedom itself.
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General Assembly Should Not Override Governor’s Veto of Smart Meter Legislation
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By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold –

As expected, the President stuck to his talking points in Tuesday night’s second presidential debate without anything to back them up. But how could his approach have been any different? Obama’s failed record speaks for itself. But to Obama, if distortions of his dismal four-year record are repeated often enough, without deviating from the script, they will resonate with voters and stick in their minds come election time. But will this approach work? The second presidential debate on Tuesday, October 16 seems to have engendered a different result.

In a championship fight, the challenger can’t win on points. He needs a knockout! In a split decision, the champion prevails. In the first debate, Governor Romney was the clear champion, in what the boxing world would call a TKO – Technical Knockout. When the contender can’t count to ten on his own, the referee counts for him. In the second debate, Romney stayed on his feet, punched and counterpunched. Obama tried to regain the belt, but failed to knock Romney to the mat. He didn’t even win on points, unless “Talking” points count.

When people act like victims, they often become victims. That’s how it works in the schoolyard or on the job. When our ambassador to Libya was killed, and the consulate burned and looted, the President and his representatives apologized for the act of a phony movie producer, and failed to defend the basic international law, not to mention our founding principles. Our embassies are legally on United States soil. We have a right to defend them from within, with force if necessary, and the host nation has an obligation to defend them from without.

He failed to denounce terrorism, as though that word freezes his tongue to the roof of his mouth. On or off the record, he has never denounced sectarian violence, as though that would offend the sectarians. Those apologies, which continued well after the facts were known, say that we were the victim in Libya, and invite further attacks. How do you “offend” someone who wants to kill you? Why would you care?

The victim mentality went a step further when a question about Libya was asked during the 2nd presidential debate. CNN debate moderator, Candy Crowley, quickly stepped forward and out of her official moderator role to defend Obama, from what she perceived as a Romney attempt to victimize Obama, when Romney suggested the President had failed to call the Benghazi attack a” terror” attack in the Rose Garden on the day after 9/11, or for many days thereafter. The next day Obama was no longer a victim when Crowley had to walk back her untimely and uncalled statement and admit that Romney had been correct in his debate analysis.

According to an article by Dave Boyer published in the Washington Times on Thursday, October 18, Obama has yet to confirm the “terrorist” act in Libya, as he attempts to avoid the stench and the fall out from the 9/11 consulate attack.

If you believe the Obama campaign in its ongoing effort to win over women voters, Governor Romney doesn’t care about women or their votes. Translated, this means Romney is against abortions, or at least averse to paying for them with borrowed money. Ask yourself, “How many women do I know who have had an abortion?” Then ask, “How many women do I know who are looking for work or whose husbands or children are looking for work?” Instead, women are concerned with the economy and the welfare of themselves and their families, such as the increase of food prices at the grocery store, how much it costs to fill up their vehicles, and the inability of recent college graduates to find jobs. That’s why 51% of women got in step with Romney after the first debate.

How ironic that the Obama campaign should accuse Romney of a so-called war on women. A former aide to the Obama administration once called the White House “hostile” to female employees. Anita Dunn, who recently served as Obama’s moderator during debate prep, was also the former White House communications director. Dunn was quoted in Ron Suskind’s book Confidence Men as saying, “This place would be in court for a hostile workplace … because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women.”

Consider the question asked about tax policy. Once again President Obama repeated his claim that Governor Romney and the Republicans refuse to make the rich “pay a dime” to offset the deficit. Obviously, that’s not what either the Republicans nor Governor Romney said, before, during or after the debate. In fact, the “rich” pay the vast bulk of the income tax collected. The top 1% of earners pay 40%, and the top 10% pay over 80%.

The President wants to take more from the big pieces of the pie and distribute them to those with smaller pieces. But it’s always “THE pie,” as if it is the same pie yesterday, today and forever! Governor Romney’s plan would keep the same distribution of taxes at the present level, but structure it so that the makers and shakers of the economy have an incentive to make the “pie” bigger, and keep more of the “pie” they make grow. Everybody, including the government, would get bigger pieces. We need this incentive to move forward, unlike the paltry, one-time tax breaks the President would grant for hiring veterans, windmills on the rooftops, or whatever.

On energy Policy, the President countered Governor Romney by stating that oil and gas production is at an all-time high. Romney accurately responded that the growth is from drilling on private land, and that leases for government land have declined 40% under the current administration, and no new permits have been issued in the Gulf (all permits approved by this administration were initiated under President Bush.) When challenged over the drop in permits, the President dodged by repeating his claim that oil production is up, this time louder, and in Romney’s face.

Unfortunately neither candidate brought up the fact the the EPA is actively trying to shut down “fracking” operations and coal mining. Over 20% of our electric generation capacity is threatened with shutdown because they are older facilities which use coal. The pipeline from Canadian oil fields to refineries in Texas was blocked by the President, and replaced with a segment (along with 19 other pipelines) from Kansas southward. Nobody said it, but this is “The Pipeline From Nowhere.”

It is amazing that Obama’s approval ratings remain so high among the American people. One thing the two presidential debates have so far indicated is that the millions of dollars Obama spent on ads, prior to the two debate to define Romney as an unacceptable presidential candidates, seems to have represented Democratic campaign money thrown down the drain. Through his two debate appearances, Romney was elevated to an equal footing with Obama by the American people. Many asked themselves, “Where is this mean, uncaring rich person that we saw portrayed on our TV’s day-after-day?”

Romney spoke and was heard. Hopefully enough of the American people will have heard and will decide that four more years of Obama would give this nation and its people more misery with further deterioration of jobs and economic wealth, especially among the middle class. If Obama should win another four-year term, this nation might never be able to recover from the consequences of continuing Obama’s already failed policies, let alone all the executive orders and mandates he would issue as a run-around Congress to put in place the “share the wealth” philosophy that he so fervently embraces.

Obama likes to say “Everybody should have a fair shot.” What, exactly, is a “fair shot.” The only solution he offers is to tax the rich and give to the poor. Cut up the big pieces of pie and stick them to the smaller pieces. This is a destructive solution. It’s like the “bounty system” recently scandalizing the NFL, where the strategy was to injure the good players so that the weaker players would have a “fair shot” at the championship. That worked well, didn’t it.

Posted initially at Illinois Review on Monday, October 22.

First published in Illinois Review on September 27, 2012:

An Associated Press article by Kevin Bego, Decades of federal dollars helped fuel gas boom, describes how government subsidies and tax breaks preceded the breakthrough called “fracking” which allows natural gas to be extracted from deep shale deposits economically, so economically that natural gas prices have been reduced by over 60% in the last three years.

It is evident that Kevin Bego wrote his article while keeping in mind the President’s highly charged statement, “You didn’t build that,” which is not quite true.

These gas deposits, 3000 feet deep or more in solid, non-porous rock, were thought to be unusable. Yet engineers and scientists in the industry persevered for more than twenty years, developing fracking technology to this end.

New natural gas discoveries in shale rock formations and rapid technological advances to recover the gas have benefited regional economics where production is taking place and have improved the U.S. domestic energy outlook.

Dr. Michell T. Baer, currently the director of Office of Oil and Gas Analysis within the Office of Policy and International Affairs at the Department of Energy, in 2009 related how domestic shale rock formations alone could meet our nation’s natural gas usage for many years at current consumption levels.

The cost to the taxpayers to subsidize natural gas extraction, beginning in 1980, was about $100 million in direct subsidies, and $10 billion in tax breaks. As a result of this research, the wellhead price of natural gas has fallen from approximately $10/1000 cf in 2001 to the current price of of $3/1000 cf. The annual consumption of natural gas in the US was 24 trillion cf in 2004. Simple math shows that the net savings to US consumers is over $154 billion a year.

Not a bad return on investment. US taxpayers recover the entire cost of 30 years of investment each month.  Most businesses in the boom years of the 90’s would relish a two-year payback, and a 9 month payback would probably involve something shady.

Compare this to the negative payback of the President’s “investment” in roads and bailing out states with unsustainable public employee’s benefits, or the $80 billion lavished to save the UAW in Detroit (described by the President as “saving GM”)

Not all that long ago the fracturing process threatened to derail the industry through lawsuits filed by radical environmental activist groups claiming that hydraulic fracturing resulted in groundwater contamination.

This claim lost traction when earlier in June of this year Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and President Barack Obama’s science adviser, John P. Holden, testified separately before Congress that there has never been a single proven case of contaminated drinking water due to hydraulic fracturing.  The process has been employed more than one million times since the 1940’s.

Now radical environmental activist groups, in a continuing effort to derail the industry, have shifted their angst-ridden concern from contaminated drinking water to air quality, claiming that natural gas wells emit volatile organic compounds (VOSs) which could threaten public health for those who live nearby, especially those downwind of a hydraulic fracturing site.

Not unlike prior claims of water contamination, the air quality assertion is likewise exaggerated.

The following articles support what EPA Administrator LIsa Jackson finally admitted at the June Energy Commerce House Committee meeting.

1. No Adverse Health Effects from Natural Gas Drilling in Fort Worth in which the study concluded natural gas drilling sites release pollutants that are of low toxicity and do not reach levels that cause adverse health effects.

2.  Highest Incidence Rates of Total Nonfatal Occupational Illness Cases, 2010 in which, according to a table from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, among the 25 top industries with the highest rates of occupational illness, oil and gas industry work — upwards to 60 to 70 hours per week, year round — on hydraulic fracturing sites, ranks below pet stores and outerwear manufacturing.

3.  Data Show Public Health Impacts from Natural Gas Production Overstated where in a post for the Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance, a toxicologist reported indicated that between 200 and 2009 when natural gas development increased more than 2,000 at Barnett Shale –one of the largest onshore natural gas fields in North America – nearby residents experienced improvement in key health indicators.   

Where do we go in the future? Technology exists to power vehicles with liquefied natural gas, easy to transport, nearly as efficient, gallon for gallon, as gasoline, and can be refueled as quickly.

LNG burns with as much as 90% less pollutants emitted by gasoline, and with up to 40% less greenhouse gas (higher hydrogen/carbon ratio). With increased consumption, we can expect the price of natural gas to rise, but the benefits are manifold.

There is another source of natural gas which goes largely unrecognized – the oceans. The chief component of natural gas is methane, which forms a solid compound with ordinary water, called “clathrates” at great depths and cold temperatures of the sea. Methane is continuously emitted by organic compounds in the sea floor, and trapped in this ice-like form. The amount of methane trapped in this fashion is almost unimaginable. It is at least twice the amount of hydrocarbon fuel in all other forms.

If a way can be found to extract this trapped natural gas safely and effectively, we could stop mining coal and importing oil. It is theoretically safer to extract it than to leave it lay in the depths. Volcanic activity, earthquakes or undersea landslides could disturb methane ice, causing a massive release of methane into the atmosphere – a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. This has, in fact, occurred many times in geological history, resulting in intense global warming.

What the future might hold for fracking, or any other energy source such as coal and oil, are dependent on three themes that run throughout Ten Principles of Energy Policy published in August 15, 2008 by Joseph Bast, CEO, Heartland Institute.   Although written four years ago, the themes are as true today as they were back in 2008 and will continue to determine our energy policy for years to come.  They will even ultimately determine whether the potential of fracking is realized.

Energy issues are often environmental issues, and vice versa. Restrictions on access to energy are often defended in the name of environmental protection.

Newspaper stories and advocacy spin are often at odds with sound science and facts.

Markets usually do a better job than governments at giving consumers what they want and directing capital and other scarce resources to their best and most efficient uses.