Welcome to BOBscaping!

No thanks Secretary Perry

The local newspapers published an Op-Ed by the US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, “It's time to build an Appalachia energy hub” with the main theme being, “The (Pittsburgh, Pa.) region needs one like the hub in Texas to benefit fully from its gas resources.”

Secretary Perry goes on to say, “NGLs can be separated into familiar products like propane for heating or grilling, or less familiar commodities like ethane, which is a key feedstock for the petrochemical and plastics industries that make products we use every day.”

According to a public health expert, this new ethane cracker plant north of Pittsburgh, Pa. will create air pollution equivalent to adding 40,000 automobiles to the roads in that county.

According to a public health expert, this new ethane cracker plant north of Pittsburgh, Pa. will create air pollution equivalent to adding 40,000 automobiles to the roads in that county.

Rick Perry sounds like the Once-ler in THE LORAX the way he paints this new industrial future for our Pittsburgh tri-state area. No surprise there, he’s part of an administration that’s in the process of rapidly expanding drilling in national parks, offshore from your favorite beach, and even pristine areas like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where seismic testing will soon begin. Also, controversial compressed air seismic testing has now been approved off our coastlines.

Marcellus shale drilling and fracking came to this rural neighborhood in our county in a big way. Being “ The Energy Capital of the East ” sounds better than it looks or smells!

Marcellus shale drilling and fracking came to this rural neighborhood in our county in a big way. Being “The Energy Capital of the East” sounds better than it looks or smells!

He speaks of “protecting our environment” while scores of national environmental regulations have been scuttled over the past two years, flying in the face of common sense and dire warnings about adding any more air pollution, especially since our region already has compromised air quality. Pittsburgh’s smoky past could easily return as a smoggy future.

Energy secretary Perry praises ethane production, while neighbors living close to ethane processing in our county often curse it, or move away.

Energy secretary Perry praises ethane production, while neighbors living close to ethane processing in our county often curse it, or move away.

And then there’s all that toxic wastewater from fracking, one million or more gallons per well, the industry’s biggest problem (and ours). Saltier than ocean water and often laced with radioactive Ra226 and heavy metals. Hard to believe it was getting dumped into our rivers ten years ago, after very little processing at sewage plants. Same river our tapwater originates.

Huge, leaky pits full of toxic frac wastewater followed the fracking into our county.

Huge, leaky pits full of toxic frac wastewater followed the fracking into our county.

What’s also missing from his tainted logic is how stingy these shale layers are in yielding his prized gas liquids. One drilling exec revealed in a recent earnings call that the “sweet spots” may all be drilled-out in another 5 years, and let’s not forget how fast production from these unconventional wells collapses. The financials of many gas producers are like a house of cards, making them desperate to lure investors. Long term jobs are mostly pipe dreams since most labor is in the build-out phases of gas plants and pipelines.

Bleeding gas out of a stingy rock leads to rapid production declines.

Bleeding gas out of a stingy rock leads to rapid production declines.

So Mr. Perry, keep your fracking hubs in Texas, I would like to see us pursue a more sensible future in renewables, cleaner air, pure water (as guaranteed by the Pa. Constitution) and better health prospects for everyone, especially the youngest and oldest, who will suffer most from your plan’s increased pollution. It’s not worth becoming a third world extraction zone just to increase exports while internalizing the great personal costs to our populace. Been there, done that.

Bob

Our region is still adversely affected by lingering acid mine drainage from coal extraction.

Our region is still adversely affected by lingering acid mine drainage from coal extraction.


Footnote:

The Lorax is a children's book written by Dr. Seuss and first published in 1971. It chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax, who speaks for the trees against the Once-ler.

The book is commonly recognized as a fable concerning the danger corporate greed poses to nature, using the literary element of personification to give life to industry as the Once-ler and the environment as the Lorax.

The Lorax was Dr. Seuss's personal favorite of his books. He was able to create a story addressing economic and environmental issues without it being dull.

"The Lorax," he once explained, "came out of me being angry. In The Lorax I was out to attack what I think are evil things and let the chips fall where they might.” Source

Clint Eastwood daylilies

Its a Hockey Night in Pittsburgh