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March 31, 2014

Abundant Energy Supply Strangled by Environmentally Driven Regulations

  Canada Free Press

By Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh

The Committee on Energy and Commerce convened on March 25, 2014 to hear testimony on H.R. 6, the “Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act,” introduced by Rep. Cory Gardner. This bill was precipitated by the Energy Information Administration’s statement that “America’s natural gas has been raising since 2006. EIA projects such increases to continue through 2040, and expects domestic production of natural gas to remain well above domestic demand.”

Besides job creation at home, “constructing and running the LNG export facilities and additional energy industry jobs as natural gas producers expand their output to meet the increase in demand,” Chairman Upton believes that H.R. 6 would help Ukraine and Eastern and Central European countries who are dependent on Russian natural gas. Russia would have less “leverage over these nations” and prices of LNG would come down.Chairman Fred Upton believes that our natural gas surplus is needed by “our allies around the world” and we should engage in “a mutually beneficial trade in liquefied natural gas (LNG).” In his opinion, federal policy has not yet “adjusted to the new reality of American energy abundance, and in fact Obama administration red tape often stands in the way of the potential benefits of the energy boom.”

The Hoover Institution agreed that “the hydrocarbon boom in the United States has been driven by fracking.” Shale-gas production through fracking in North Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York accounts for 44 percent of total U.S. natural gas output.

Predictions in the 1970s indicating that America would run out of natural gas were wrong. Even the production of oil fell (1990-2008), increasing our oil dependency on imports from unstable and hostile nations. The International Energy Agency reported that in 2013 U.S. production of crude oil increased by 991,000 barrels a day and oil imports declined by 16 percent.Obama administration slows or prevents drilling on federal lands by delaying and denying permits

Newsmax.com wrote that “America produced an average of about 12.1 million barrels of crude oil, natural gas liquids, and biofuels a day in 2013 – that’s 300,000 barrels a day more than Saudi Arabia and 1.6 million more than Russia, the two previous leaders.”

Gary D. Libecap, Economics professor at the University of California and research fellow at Hoover Institution, said that “fracking and natural gas production have been good for the economy, good for democracies worldwide, and good for the environment.” Environmentalists would probably disagree since complaints have been lodged with the EPA about the deleterious effects on soil and ground water from fracking and horizontal drilling.

Energy experts believe that the Obama administration slows or prevents drilling on federal lands by delaying and denying permits. Consequently, production on federal lands fell 23 percent since 2007. According to the Institute for Policy Innovation, the federal government owns 28 percent of U.S. land, 62 percent in Alaska and 47 percent in 11 western states.

The current administration chooses instead to concentrate on very expensive and insufficient wind and solar energy generation, particularly solar. In addition to the 34 failed green companies funded with taxpayer dollars, of which Solyndra was the poster child of a $535 million colossal failure, the Aqua Caliente Solar Project in Yuma, Arizona takes the top spot with $967 million in federal loans. Yuma has an unemployment rate of 26.1 percent. So far, the Yuma project created 10 permanent jobs. When completed at the end of this year, the solar facility will have 16 permanent employees. It will only cost taxpayers $60.4 million per job creation.

Fracking on the other hand, creates real jobs and helps towns like Midland, Texas to increase per capita income three times the national average and to reduce unemployment to a low 2.9 percent, while extracting oil which is needed to produce energy and to run our large economy.

Because the current administration believes that carbon pollution drives climate change, the proposed budget for FY 2015 includes a $1 billion Climate Resilience Fund to fight man-made (anthropogenic) global warming. Our electricity generation from “dirty” coal will then be curtailed by EPA’s expensive job-killing and coal fire-plant closing regulations and we will be stuck with huge electric bills and potential shortages. 

Our way of life depends on electricity - lights, refrigerators, air conditioning, furnaces, computers, internet, radios, TVs, ATMs, banks, grocery stores, cell phones, chargers, medical devices, life support systems, operating rooms, gas pumps, electric cars, plants, farms, refineries, water purification, sewer systems – 68 percent is generated by fossil fuels, 20 percent by nuclear, and 7 percent by hydro power.

According to the Energy Information Agency (EIA), net energy generation from coal has dropped from 49 percent in 2007 to 37 percent in 2012. Right now, the shortage is partly offset by increases in natural gas.

EPA’s retrofitting regulations and the requirement to use non-existent carbon capture technology, has resulted in coal fire plant closures. This prompted Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the Chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, to propose an amendment to H.R. 3826  that would make sure that EPA’s standards for all types of new power plants use existing technology.  Rep. Smith said, “By requiring carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology that doesn’t even exist, the EPA’s new power plant proposal effectively bans new coal power. There is no coal power plant anywhere in the world that can meet the EPA’s radical proposal.”

Robert Romano explained that “largely as a result of coal plant closures, overall electricity generation in the U.S. has dropped from 4.005 trillion kWh in 2007 to 3.89 trillion kWh in 2012, meanwhile end use has only decreased from 3.89 trillion kWh to just 3.832 trillion kWh. The difference between electricity generation and end use, or implied spare capacity, has dropped from 115 billion kWh to 58 billion kWh from 2007-2012.” This decrease of 50 percent is troublesome - steady demand would cause eventual brownouts.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), approximately 11.5 million American homes use wood burning stoves for heat. EPA issued new rules on emissions of particles and gases released from residential wood stoves and other wood-fired heaters built after 2015 and the rules will be more stringent in five years.  EPA “estimates that 85,695 wood stoves will be manufactured and sold in 2015.”

The airborne particulates allowed change from 15 micrograms per cubic meter to 12. Bob Adelman put it in proper perspective, “Secondhand tobacco smoke in a closed-car exposes a person to 3,000-4,000 micrograms of particulates per cubic meter.”  According to John Crouch of the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, particulate pollution from wood burning stoves often occurs because consumers use insufficiently dried wood.

I wrote about cook stoves in my book, “U.N. Agenda 21: Environmental Piracy.” The drive to replace cook stoves with “clean cook stoves” with chimneys came from the United Nations and translated into grants of $100,000 to $750,000 awarded by the Department of Energy through the “Clean Biomass Cook stove Technologies” initiative.  The grants were intended to help 100 million households in third world countries by 2020.

Two studies evaluated the “clean cook stoves” and found that they delivered the same amount of measured pollution as the previous stoves. RESPIRA (Randomized Exposure Study of Pollution Indoors) showed improved air quality but not overall health.  “Up in Smoke,” a much larger study from MIT showed same amount of measured pollution and no significant change in overall health. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is forging ahead with studies in Ghana, Nepal, and Kenya in spite of the two studies’ results.

Power grid failure: Solar flare, EMP, cyber, or terrorist attack

Should our power grid fail because of a solar flare, EMP, cyber, or terrorist attack, we will experience a civilization setback and population demise that is hard to fathom. While our administration concentrates on environmental issues, on April 16, 2013, terrorists attacked a power substation near San Jose, California as reported by theWall Street Journal on February 5, 2014.  The fact that this very important piece of information was not reported by the media until a year later is disturbing.

Terrorists cut fiber optic cables and destroyed 17 transformers by causing them to leak oil coolant, resulting in overheating and failure. The targeted attack which lasted one hour indicated that the terrorists were very knowledgeable. The repairs took 27 days. Those maintaining the grid were able to reroute power and avoid blackouts.

Electricity is delivered to us through “a complex, interconnected system of power lines, substations, and transformers called the power grid. The entire United States is divided into just three separate grid segments: East, West, and Texas.” (Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek)

Billions are spent on “climate change prevention,” and on expensive smart meters that endanger and harm our health and attack our privacy, while our complex grid is easy prey to sabotage and attacks, protected only by cameras and chain link fences. It is not just that electricity prices must “necessarily skyrocket,” as our President promised, our grid is a sitting duck to potential attacks, and our energy production is being reduced significantly by overly stringent EPA regulations.


 

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