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SoVaNow.com / February 27, 2013Dear Viewpoint,
I just finished reading the Feb. 20, guest commentary piece, “Myths of energy independence”, and want to offer some comments.
The first sentence of the second paragraph states that fracking is an unregulated process. I could not believe that fracking was unregulated after over 60 years of use and with all the environmental regulations in the United States. I wanted to confirm this statement so I went to the EPA’s web site and found that fracking is regulated (but not specifically) as part of Oil and Gas Extraction’s Effluent guidelines and standards (40CFR Part 435).
Fracking is also regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act in the Underground Injection Control’s standards (40 CFR Parts 144, 145, 146, 147, and 148). It also is covered by the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Oil and Natural Gas Production and Natural Gas Transmission and Storage (40CFR Part 63). Additionally, fracking is subject to the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act. Obviously this was not enough regulation, so Wyoming, Michigan, and Texas have created some fracking-specific regulations for their states. These states’ regulations deal with reporting the contents of the fracking fluid.
The fifth and sixth paragraphs describe the American Clean Energy Agenda solutions for energy in the US. Unfortunately this reads like a plea for world peace (desirable, but not happening anytime soon). Energy from wind is not competitive in the marketplace (even with the current federal subsidy). Solar energy is a little better as prices have fallen in recent years, but after sunset and on cloudy days solar does not work very well.
Additionally, I have not read or heard of any massive energy storage devices for those times when the wind does not blow or it is dark. Lacking suitable energy storage capacity we will still need the same amount of fossil fuel-fired generation (coal, gas, oil), nuclear generation, and hydro-electric generation to back up wind and solar when they are unable to generate electricity. I did not mention geothermal, which sounds like a good idea, but is limited in its current use and drilling and exploration for deep resources is very expensive.
The authors also have a problem with allowing natural gas to be exported. The Energy Information Administration studied exporting natural gas and their report analyzed more than a dozen scenarios for U.S. production and exports of natural gas and “across all these scenarios, the U.S. was projected to gain net economic benefits”.
Frankly, I am surprised that “Myths of Energy Independence” was printed in The Sun. The first sentence of the second paragraph was so outrageous that someone should have taken notice.