Diary

Obama vs US Energy

A formation of Marcellus Shale, estimated to hold approximately 500 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, has been discovered in Pennsylvania. How significant of a find it this?

I am glad you asked. From The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register:

Based upon the U.S. energy information, Consol Energy and CNX Gas Corp. spokeswoman Laural Ziemba said 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas would be enough to do the following, based on current U.S. consumption rates:

  • satisfy total U.S. natural gas demand for 22 years;
  • satisfy total U.S. residential natural gas demand for 101 years;
  • heat 43.1 million U.S. homes for 153 years; and
  • satisfy West Virginia and Pennsylvania natural gas demand for 1,908 years.

Chesapeake Energy spokeswoman Jacque Bland said m 500 trillion cubic feet of gas could heat all U.S. homes, roughly 130 million of them, for more than 46 years.

Finding a resource like this should be considered good news. However, we cannot be excited until it is clear what regulations the Obama Administration establishes regarding “fracking”, the method used to tap into this energy source and increasingly under attack by the environmentalists. An example found in the comment section of the previous article:

 The REAL question is; Can WV afford the environmental costs? How many wells, aquifers and rivers have to be contaminated before people learn this drilling is still an experiment, something they have only done on MS for 7 years at the most? We are the lab rats. Also, that these projections of the volume of gas are only that, guesses. Fact of the matter is that these gas wells decline super fast, something like 25% the first year, and barely producing anything after 7 years, just like the Barnett Shale. My question is can you save WV from this environmental destruction?

Let’s face it, President Obama is not a friend of US energy his environmentalist constituents oppose. Remember AEG.

American Electric Power, announced it would be retiring or down-sizing 11 coal power plants to comply with EPA regulations. In doing so, 600 jobs will be lost worth approximately $40 million in wages. Michael G Morris, AEP President, said in a statement:

 We support regulations that achieve long-term environmental benefits while protecting customers, the economy and the reliability of the electric grid, but the cumulative impacts of the EPA’s current regulatory path have been vastly underestimated, particularly in Midwest states dependent on coal to fuel their economies.

He also said EPA’s proposals represented “unrealistic compliance time-lines,”  with more time and flexibility, AEP could meet the EPA’s environmental goals in a way that “will cost our customers less and will prevent permanent premature job losses.”

The EPA was quick to defend their regulations. In an Email by Roy Seneca, an EPA press officer said:

These long-overdue Clean Air Act standards will slash hazardous emissions of mercury and other acid gases, preventing thousands of asthma and heart attacks and premature deaths..Utilities have known for decades that these standards — which are still in the proposal stage and have a built-in three-year compliance timeline, have been coming for decades. They also know that they are free to approach [the] EPA with serious, fact-based compliance plans, and that state governments also have the ability under the law to seek more time for plants in their jurisdictions. The standards leverage existing American-made pollution control technologies that are already deployed at over half of the nation’s coal- and oil-fired power plants — and will result in thousands of jobs across the country as workers install the technologies at plants.”

Nice statement by the EPA but they lose credibility in the last sentence.  AEP agrees some jobs are being created for the installation of the new equipment but as stated above the result is a net loss of 600 jobs.

It okay , it is not like the country is faced with high unemployment (9.1%), those people losing their jobs will find new ones quickly. There must be a McDonald’s opening somewhere, after all they were responsible for half of the 54,000 jobs created last month. 

But I digress.

AEP also states the new regulations will be the cause of higher prices for electricity.  It is calculated that customers will face rate increases of more than 35 percent.

In hearings the EPA admits it will cost the industry $11 billion a year to comply with the regulations and they speculate the regulations brings as much as $140 billion in health benefits and save 17,000 lives. This from the same people who are calculating  the jobs gained from green energy.

Does any of this surprise you?

It shouldn’t. The President said as a candidate he would go after the coal industry: