- Chelsea Green Publishing - http://www.chelseagreen.com/blogs -

A Liquified Natural Gas Terminal Near You!

There is a phenomenon I call “civic Novocain.” I experience this numbing when faced with local newspaper articles about the raging internal debate over my town’s purchase of the hydroelectric dam. I want to know about it, and certainly I should be conversant in the details, but the most I’ve gleaned is that there is a raging internal debate over my town’s purchase of the hydroelectric dam. It is a feeling reminiscent of returning home from having a tooth filled: I am standing in front of the open refrigerator door, milk carton to my lips, poised to enjoy a cold swallow, but my mouth flatly rejects the offer. This is never attractive.

So it has been with federal energy policy and the debate over liquefied natural gas (LNG). I don’t believe that I’m alone in having read the article about Tucker Carlson’s ongoing bow-tie saga in Sunday’s New York Times over the many articles which dealt head-on with the urgency of energy policies. China’s growing energy appetite, for example, includes a pretty strong taste for natural gas, a commodity that it has preliminarily agreed to buy in conjunction with oil from Iran for a trifling $70 billion. Ignorance in the face of such numbers is exceedingly unattractive, more so, for sure, than milk dripping off my shirt and onto the floor.

The United States has a pretty healthy appetite for LNG, too, which is only growing in the name of diversification, and, oddly, non-reliance on foreign sources of energy (the largest reserves of natural gas can be found in Qatar, Iran, Russia, Angola, Yemen, and Algeria). On June 15 the Senate voted to give federal regulators authority over the location of LNG terminals (as opposed to the states that will host them), fearing that lengthy approval processes by individual states would trip-up the economy. There is a lot of time, money, and political muscle being invested in an extremely finite resource. Why? Read the excellent reports on this byThe Los Angeles Times [1], andThe Environmental News Network [2]. Check out Julian Darley’s book High Noon for Natural Gas for the whole story.

Did you know that:

-Natural Gas (NG) is the second most important energy source after oil;
-In the U.S. alone, NG is used to supply 20% of all electricity and 60% of all home heating;
-NG is absolutely critical to the manufacture of agricultural fertilizers;
-In the U.S. the NG supply is at critically low levels, and early in 2003 we came within days of blackouts and heating shutdowns;
-Matt Simmons, the world’s foremost private energy banker, is now warning that economic growth in the U.S. is under threat due to the looming NG crisis?