U.S. policy still ignores fossil fuel dangers
Nardone said that she is worried by the potentially enormous volume of LNG exports, as well as the environmental damage from all the fracking that would be necessary just to satisfy export demand.
Pointing out that she was raised near the coal fields of northeastern Pennsylvania, where she acquired a less-than-welcome familiarity with “orange streams and dead rivers,” Nardone said she now lives in the midst of fracking fields developed near her home in Half Moon Township, Pennsylvania.
Those fracking operations, she said, are daily reminders that U.S. energy policy does not remotely acknowledge the perils of relentlessly strong support for “dirty, dangerous, fossil fuels.”
“Even without the methane leaks from fracking and distribution pipelines,” Nardone warned, “climate scientists are predicting a temperature increase of 6 degrees Centigrade in the next 50 years. So, all this gas development — besides dwarfing investment in wind and solar and other renewables — is a sure sign that the risks to our world are still not being taken as seriously as they have to be if we’re going to survive.”
Why do they all want to export LNG?
As a lack of project funding or state-level permissions could thwart many, or most, of the proposed export projects, it’s probably not very likely that the U.S. will eventually export all the LNG for which companies have requested DOE licenses.
So why are so many companies lining up for export licenses?
Deborah Rogers, executive director of the Fort Worth, Texas-based Energy Policy Forum, said that “fracking companies have to find a way to sell their gas at higher prices.”
“Their reserves of free cash have been practically nonexistent since 2009 and they’ve been bleeding money [to pay for drilling easements and infrastructure build-outs]. Meanwhile, the price of gas is around $4.50 here, but — in Europe — the price is nearly twice as high; in China it’s almost three times as high,” Rogers told MintPress.
The price spread is huge, Rogers explained, because the U.S. is the only country where the price of gas doesn’t fluctuate in step with the price of crude oil.
“The increase in gas production since fracking really took off in 2006 has kept the price low — regardless of any increase in the price of oil,” she said.
In a statement to MintPress, Ross Eisenberg, vice president of Energy and Resources Policy for the National Association of Manufacturers, said “virtually all credible economists” believe that the U.S. has enough shale gas to ensure “an affordable and abundant [gas] supply while still allowing for exports.”