“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” – CARL SAGAN
Carl Sagan, one of our great astronomers and scientists, saw life on Earth from a far-away perspective. Sagan explained the wonders of the universe in Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, looking at Earth as the “pale blue dot.”
What would Sagan say about the choices we face today? Sagan died in 1996 when he was 62 years old, leaving a legacy that inspires many today to learn and treasure scientific knowledge bridging generations.
What Oil & Gas calls natural gas was sold at first as a bridge fuel in the transition from coal to heat water and generate electricity. NG was supposed to be a temporary solution while solar and wind energy solutions were improved. By ignoring methane leaks from storage and transportation of NG, as proposed by the EPA, NG is now proposed as a permanent solution for the 21st century, a bridge to extinction.
To frack or not to frack
Is shale gas and oil a major driver of the recent increase in global atmospheric methane?
This is the key question for survival. The scientific answer is yes, according to a study published last August by Robert W. Howarth, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University.
There are two different sources of methane from natural gas, conventional and unconventional. Conventional NG is found in liquid reservoirs which are hard to find. Unconventional NG is easy to find using geological maps, but very difficult to extract from hard rock formations.
Conventional NG is extracted from vertical wells drilled into geologic formations in which the reservoir and fluid characteristics allow the natural gas to flow to the wellbore.
Unconventional NG is present in impermeable rock formations where gases are trapped. Extraction requires extreme pressure, water, chemicals, and sand to fracture the rock formations, and force the gases to flow to the wellhead.
Professor Howarth and his team found unique variations of methane molecules from shale gas, known as isotopes. These methane isotopes from shale NG and oil are causing increased global warming.
We are living on a hot planet suffering extreme weather with undeniable consequences. Our children are taking to the streets and the courts to protect their future. How can we turn our backs and ignore the climate emergency?
The only way to make sense out of this mess is to recognize the insanity of the current administration, and the 2020 presidential election. Trump is determined to stay in office. Shutting down the government, lying about billions of import tariffs on China products, and rolling back environmental protections seen as “burdensome” by oil and gas, is how Trump plans to win.
In January 2019 a Pennsylvania State Grand Jury heard testimony on environmental crimes in the Marcellus Shale NG fields. “Flaring of methane was so loud that it shook the walls of her home,” said a resident who has lived through “three years of hell.”
Hydraulic fracturing injects millions of gallons of water into geologic formations containing oil and gas. Wastewater is pumped deep underground in injection wells. What could go wrong?
Earthquake swarms from Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma, and deaths from drinking water pollution are what you get from fracking.
Frackers never learn
Last month, at the Pittsburgh Annual Shale Insight Conference, Trump repeated a fictional story about Harold Hamm, “Sir, he can take a straw and he can put it into the ground, and oil comes out. Other companies, they spend billions looking for oil …”
Our oil-based economy is at high risk. Fracking is a money pit. Without profits in the last 10 years and drilling expenses used as tax shelters, Americans must demand a U.S. ban on fracking. Ironically, Exxon opposes a ban, claiming it would hurt the U.S. economy.
Please call your congressional representatives and ask them to protect your family and help you oppose the EPA methane rollback, EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0757-0002 comments due November 25. The methane rollback would add the equivalent emissions to 52 coal power plants per year, it must be denied and replaced with a ban on fracking.
Dr. Luis Contreras