Rural landowners are often deceived into thinking that the sale of the extraction rights to the shale gas under their property will provide effortless bounty and security. There are some nasty consequences of selling those subsurface rights. The article below is not news to anyone who has browsed this site. But if you need to be reminded, read on.
Here is yet another example of how our representative government is failing to protect the common good and serve the interests of We the People:
If the agency allows pollution and bars challenges to its rulings, who or what is it protecting?
The Philadelphia City Council approved the plan to build a Liquid Natural Gas Plant. This is the keystone of a project to bring PA natural gas to the world energy market when the long view says we should keep it in the ground for the sake of the planet and the interests of most PA citizens.
The promise of a revenue stream prompted the decision. Like so many energy decisions we make daily, this one has a cost to future generations that we can ignore for the moment. Who will notice or be able to measure the incremental impact on climate deterioration? For Philadelphia it a freebee – a simple vote “yes” yields an economic benefit.
But it also paves the way for a chain reaction of accelerated fracking, more pipelines, and cheap fossil fuel and indestructible plastic waste. All of these have long-term adverse impact on Pennsylvania residents and longer-term impacts on global progress toward a sustainable energy system.
Our state and federal government provide both cash and less obvious forms of support for the fossil fuel industry. Among these is the privilege of degrading the environment, acquiring right-of-way through eminent domain, and destructively using infrastructure built at public expense without direct compensation to those affected.
The current PSE Quarterly documents some of the ways quality of life is harmed by extraction operations.
Burning trash is not the answer to energy. You probably knew that, but just to bolster your understanding of the local consequences, here’s an article from the Guardian.
The Falls Township supervisors did the right thing despite the prospect of being sued by Elcon. They voted unanimously to deny Elcon’s application.
Any applicant has the right to seek relief from the courts, and Elcon is no exception. Their decision to do so will be based on a number of considerations:
- The cost in time and money.
- The prospect of prevailing.
- Collateral decisions by PA DEP.
- The costs of complying with construction codes and a hostile enforcement body.
- Ongoing citizen opposition.
Environmental organizations should now prepare to put their money behind Falls should there be litigation. It’s not just the Elcon matter. At issue is the constitutional right of townships to act to protect the environment. Prevailing in a litigation will discourage those who wish to dismiss locals who oppose such things as pipelines, fracking, and other dangerous uses of land.
The Trump Administration is loath to admit that climate change is real and is man-made. I was surprised to see this article in WaPo this morning. One can only hope that the weather extremes and related human catastrophes have become too horrendous for denial to persist as a viable strategy for fossil-backed politicians.
I should not need to explain why this is relevant to fracking, but I will. Fracking and the pipelines that bring its products to market disrupt the lives of those in their path, damage air quality, pollute the water, and consume precious freshwater resources. Energy producers seek to justify the use of our government’s sovereign powers (land condemnation, permitting for pollution, etc.) on the basis that it is a public necessity akin to highways and railroads. Clearly, this is not the case in Pennsylvania. There is a glut of natural gas produced and distributed by thousands of existing wells and about 50,000 miles of existing pipelines. Moreover, the products produced by the extraction of this fossil energy will produce MORE GLOBAL WARMING. And, because they are so cheap, they will discourage the development and deployment of renewable energy.
Read more at the Washington Post.
“The 2018 edition of the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking updates the rapidly expanding evidence indicating harm to health from fracking and methane infrastructure.”