Pipelines are Destructive, Fracking Brings Contamination, and Climate Change Rules the Earth

by Duane Nichols on June 19, 2018

Methane is increasing in the atmosphere

Frackin ‘n Pipelines ‘Ain’t What Thar Cracked Up to Be, Then There’s Climate Change to Contend With

Letter to the Editor by Tom Bond, WVNews, June 16, 2018

West Virginia leaders have an unmatched talent for delicious, self-serving fantasy. Take the picture with the article “Atlantic Coast Pipeline construction begins with ground breaking in Lewis County.” Obviously unfamiliar hands on golden shovels, with a State Trooper arms akimbo in the background in case reality should pop up.

Born in Wheeling in the middle of the Civil War, West Virginia was conceived to deliver the coal of western Virginia to the Union through the new railroads. After emancipation, coal led directly to a new and more complicated kind of slavery. Company houses, company stores, scrip money, work from boyhood to death under horrible conditions devoid of safety rules. It lead to a war in southern West Virginia with a battle line miles long.

The money and the ideas came from out of state, and the capital gained went out of state to build industry elsewhere. The local benefit was marginal at best and it left behind broken communities, hills still collapsing today, bleeding red water. Where coalmining continues mountains are truncated, and huge areas of surface are essentially left useless, no longer able to produce the magnificent forest of the past.

Now extraction comes in a new form, fracking. The final result of fracking would be a regular pattern of well platforms, access roads and pipelines over much of the state, so from high altitude it will look like a pox on the earth. It would preclude future agriculture and forestry on those pox affected areas.

We desperately need jobs in West Virginia, so they claim jobs. But drilling is a mature industry requiring a small amount of highly skilled labor and huge investment. Several companies are advancing on automating drilling, so that only one man and robots can do the work. Once the well is drilled it only needs a small amount of labor to maintain, and the well lasts 6 to 8 years. Once the pipelines and compressors are in place only a few jobs are provided by them to take the gas to market, too.

Its present permutation of drilling, called fracking, involves harmful chemicals which are widely believed to be dangerous to people living in the area. Hundreds of scientific, peer reviewed research papers confirm it too.. It is true some don’t, about 20%, just enough to make the situation confusing. People and local doctors know, however.

Surface property is made less useful, and consequentially less valuable, which goes unrecognized by drillers, tax collectors and much of the public. What you work a lifetime to get is lost without compensation.

And there is the “great white elephant” in the room that can’t be gotten around. Carbon dioxide causes the temperature of the earth to rise, and so does methane lost into the atmosphere, even more. It is just as deadly as nuclear warfare, just slower. We don’t need to expand burning hydrocarbons, the investment should go to renewables. The blithe claim gas is a “transition” fuel is belied by the buildup of pipelines like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. It will have to be paid for by customers regardless of when a transition occurs, resulting in an very high rate of return, guaranteed by law. Great investment for big banks.

Citizens should callout the golden fantasy pushed by some commercial eager beavers. West Virginia needs good education to attract modern industry and a governmental plan to provide infrastructure. Then we could become more than a resource colony stripped of the goodies too cheap to be respected by other states.


See also:
Pennsylvania, for first time, sets methane requirements on natural gas wells | StateImpact Pennsylvania, June 7, 2018

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