Our state has been blessed, some say. Possibly cursed, say some others. I’m talking about the abundant gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale. Cursed because of issues during Extraction, Transportation & Consumption.
Extraction is also known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking. When chemicals are forced into the ground, they contaminate the water table, affecting the well water of rural townships. As the gas is forced out & captured, there are leaks. Leaks that affect the local air quality and detrimental to the health & property values. The same methane leaks are an important contributor to climate change, worse even than carbon dioxide.
Transportation of fracked gas is typically by pipelines. Pipelines that are known to leak or explode, with cleanup expenses left to the taxpayers. Rights for these pipelines, going thru wetlands, woodlands and private property, are gained via eminent domain in the name of public utility. but are really for private gain by fossil fuel companies. Permit applications are shoddy, and fragmented construction begins in communities with the least resistance. Communities are not compensated for the devastation, nor the liability.
There are several pipeline developments, all headed to or through the greater Philadelphia area – the Mariner East 2 pipeline slated to carry fracked gas liquids from west to east, ending up in nearby Delaware County, and destined for export, to be made into plastic bags in Europe. How does this qualify the pipeline builders to claim in the courts that they’re a public utility?
Then there’s the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline destined to travel north to south, going through farmland in Lancaster County. And the PennEast pipeline thru Bucks County into New Jersey. And smaller segments across the Delaware River (which supplies the drinking water for 15M people), and into the Pinelands in South Jersey.
Which leads us to …Consumption. The pipeline going thru the Pinelands is headed to a gas power plant, where the fracked gas will be burned to generate electricity. Much like the SEPTA gas plant locally in Nicetown that 350 Philly and others are fighting. Advertised as clean burning at point of ignition, the industry ignores the devastation left in its wake.
Once you realize that natural gas is the same as methane, and that methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than even carbon dioxide (86 times), you’ll agree, it’s no longer clean burning.
Who’s doing this extraction, transportation & building up the large scale demand for fracked gas? The same companies behind the Dakota Access Pipeline:
Who’s funding these companies?
And many of us thru our personal accounts, our investments and our retirement plans.
It’s time to #divest and #reinvest all of our funds into clean energy from #solar and #wind, and leave the Marcellus Shale reserves resting safely underground.
Initially presented at Indivisible NW Philly meeting on March 12 2017, and published here.