Long Large-Diameter Pipelines for Marcellus Gas will Strangle West Virginia

by S. Tom Bond on November 10, 2016

Installed Price for New Electricity Generation

Global Warming is the Most Serious Environmental Impact of Natural Gas Pipelines

Commentary by S. Tom Bond, Retired Chemistry Professor & Resident Farmer, Jane Lew, Lewis County, WV

Natural gas pipelines encourage fracking, which puts carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, resulting in more global warming. There are many other environmental problems, too, which will be touched on here. The alternative is renewable energy, which is undergoing an exponential expansion, that is a continuing increase, both in technology and acceptance.

The EPA estimates the U. S. greenhouse emissions totaled 6,870,000,000 metric tons in 2014.1 All but 9 percent of greenhouse gases, is carbon dioxide (hereafter designated CO2) and methane. The methane is a far worse green house gas than CO2. Of the sources of greenhouse gas, 9 percent are attributed to agriculture, and the rest to use of carbon compounds for energy.

On the other hand, half the new electrical generating capacity in the world last year was renewable. 99% of the new generating capacity in the U. S. for the first quarter of this year was renewable.2 One of the most advertised benefits of gas is that it provides jobs. But to increase electrical generating capacity, using renewable creates three jobs, compared too only one for gas providing the same amount of electrical energy. New jobs in solar alone exceeded new jobs in oil and gas extraction for the first time in March 20163. Jobs go to both men and women. Renewable workers usually sleep at home at night and are not exposed to explosions and dangerous chemicals.

Chemicals are a problem in the unconventional oil and gas industry, often referred to as “fracking.” This practice involving horizontal drilling and an extensive array of chemicals to prevent bacterial growth, prevent corrosion, lubricate the solution to penetrate shale, and other functions. It is sold as proprietary chemicals, based on their claimed function, and no one from the formulator to the driller knows anything about toxicity. Anecdotal claims of damage to health have been with fracking since the beginning, but slippery law has allowed use ignorant of toxicity to continue largely unchecked.

Toxicity studies are expensive, but a body of peer reviewed science is developing. Air, water and skin contact toxicity have been shown to occur. The Yale School of Public Health examined more than 1,000 chemicals that may be released by fracking. 80 percent were not properly researched for toxicity. Of the remaining 119 compounds, 55 were identified as confirmed or possible carcinogens, and 20 of those are linked to increased risk for leukemia or lymphoma4.

At about the same time The Pennsylvania Medical Society, with16,000-members, has called for a moratorium on new shale gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania. Its 300-member House of Delegates unanimously approved the motion. The past president of the American Public Health Association was the author of the resolution5. This move was based on the body of research mentioned in the previous paragraph 6,7,8 and very extensive clinical experience.

Building big pipelines certainly encourages fracking with concomitant contamination of air and water and causes disease, particularly among the young, old and sick.

The politics of pipelines and fracking involve a a pair of interesting financial benefits for the loaning bank: very large loans to one legal entity, so no middleman banks to disperse it to businessmen, farmers and consumers, and a very large and widely dispersed set of final payers – the gas purchasing population. A businessman friend tells me the “plus” for cost-plus utilities is about 14 percent. Interest on their loans is a business expense, and the more their expenses, the more the 14 percent is. They will get their money. Elimination of the middleman bankers makes several percent for the big banks.

Pipelines are being built on the prospect of good money for the banks and utilities in spite of the fact that fracking companies now are having hard times. About half have failed9. There is much talk of a “shakeout,” that stronger companies will survive, because there is no alternative to gas. Much electrical generation with gas is now done by coal pants which had a built in provision to use gas to boost maximum output. New electrical generating plants using gas primarily must be built, and several are started, but many facilities using renewables are, too10. If you read investment news, it is much less sure about the gas future than company and political statements.

Pipelines and fracking have no conscience at all. They go by schools, close to homes and through our little remaining wilderness. The only value they honor is increased income. Their timeline reaches infinity in about seven years, but is only strong for around two years. Personnel in the corporations changes rapidly, and investors can flow in or out in a matter of months. The objective is to “get mine now, the furture can take care of itself.”

Investors and top managers take no health risk or property loss risk. These are put off on the people living in the area and the workers. It is effectively a hue scheme to convert countryside into semi-desert which can be reclaimed for forest, but because of uncertain water and chemical contamination must forever depend on public water for humans and livestock. Selling the long future for a decade or two of a product that is abundant in other parts of the world. The size of reserves is a dicey thing, especially in the U. S., but we have enough experience now to see what it does to land and people.

Pipelines in Appalachia will go over very rough land. If the Stonewall Gathering Pipeline south of Weston is any example, miserable reclamation will result. They can be dug by using a second machine with a cable to the one that is doing the digging to keep it from falling down hill. These men should receive hazardous duty pay. But the machines that are usually used to reclaim the right of way can not go on the steep slopes. If it is to be done with machines, a large number of access roads must be built over very rough and rocky slopes. The ditches used to divert water prevent heavily loaded truck from being towed up and down the slopes like the digging machines. Consequently, reclamation materials, straw and seed, must be carried up by hand and spread by hand. This is simply not done.

Many places on the Stonewall Gathering Pipeline never had any reclamation, although it is a year past due. FERC should sent a light airplane with a photographer, or a drone with camera out to look at it, because this is likely to be true of any pipeline built in Appalachia.

The most important thing: pipelines are bad for the environment because they encourage global warming. This is the defining issue of the times. Humans have caused many other threats to the environment, such as plastic waste on land and in the ocean, development that causes fast runoff and floods, drained wetlands, soil exhaustion, deforestation, and more. We have other threats basically political in nature, such as nuclear war, chemical and biological warfare. And still other threats, such as occurrence of new diseases, like Zika.

But the most sure is global warming. It can not be avoided without serious changes in the way we get energy. The demand for energy increases, particularly in developing nations, and provision of hydrocarbons for burning has become a concentrated power center. Power centers have great political power, and wish to preserve their privilege.

The issue then, is how to prevent warming to such a degree life becomes miserable or impossible. Wasting huge sums of money building facilities to be paid for by the public to protract burning hydrocarbons is foolish. It would better be spent to insulate and develop sources of energy that would not surely cook the planet.

Pipelines encourage the wrong path of energy development.

References  — See the Comments below.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

S. Tom Bond November 10, 2016 at 11:37 am

Long Large-Diameter Pipelines for Marcellus Gas will Strangle West Virginia

Commentary by S. Tom Bond, Resident Farmer, Lewis County, WV, November 10, 2016


1. https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/us-greenhouse-gas-inventory-report-1990-2014

2. https://cleantechnica.com/2016/06/09/new-us-solar-accounts-64-new-electric-generating-capacity/

See also https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/25/renewables-made-up-half-of-net-electricity-capacity-added-last-year?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=KIITG+series+2016&utm_term=198093&subid=16266730&CMP=ema-60

3. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-25/clean-energy-jobs-surpass-oil-drilling-for-first-time-in-u-s

4. https://publichealth.yale.edu/news/article.aspx?id=13714

5. http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2016/10/27/Doctors-group-calls-for-moratorium-on-fracking-in-Pennsylvania/stories/201610270226

See also http://www.readingeagle.com/news/article/editorial-demand-for-fracking-moratorium-has-merit

6. https://www.nrdc.org/media/2014/141216

7. http://www.psr.org/environment-and-health/environmental-health-policy-institute/hydraulic-fracking.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

8. http://www.philly.com/philly/health/20150116_Pa__studies_link_fracking_with_health_problems.html

9. http://www.economist.com/news/business/21694522-rising-oil-prices-will-not-quickly-rescue-beleaguered-shale-industry-duc-and-cover

10. http://www.power-eng.com/new-projects.html

See also: http://www.FrackCheckWV.net


WJHG News November 14, 2016 at 7:25 pm

Police arrest 14 gas pipeline protesters in north Florida

News Report of WJHG, Gainesville, FL,  November 14, 2016

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Police have arrested 14 protesters near the north Florida construction site for a segment of a 516-mile-long natural gas pipeline that is being built through three Southeastern states.

The Gainesville Sun reports that the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office made the arrests on Saturday, including one man who had locked himself to a truck that was delivering water.

Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Manning says all of the people arrested were interfering with the truck getting to the work site, and that the charges included disorderly conduct and trespassing.

The Sabal Trail pipeline project is a joint effort by Spectra Energy, Duke Energy and Florida Power & Light.

It will carry natural gas from Alabama, through Georgia, into Florida.

(Many environmentally sensitive locations will be disturbed. dgn)

Source: http://www.wjhg.com/content/news/Police-arrest-14-gas-pipeline-protesters-in-north-Florida-401074345.html

See also: http://www.FrackCheckWV.net


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