Saturday, September 02, 2017

An Alternative View of 'Natural Gas' - By Gina Sonder of Arlington MA

U.S. Natural Gas Consumption by Sector (Credit: US EIA) Click to Enlarge.
Thomas Kiley, president and CEO of Northeast Gas Association (NGA), is handsomely paid to champion the use of the nonrenewable source of fuel euphemistically called "natural gas," so when he writes a guest commentary titled "A balanced approach to energy depends on natural gas" (Aug. 3, 2017), which GateHouse News publishes in our local paper, it should be read as part of NGA's yearlong campaign to promote the use of this methane intense hydrocarbon gas in the Commonwealth.

It is free advertisement for the gas industry, pretending to be news and opinion.  (I called the paper in early August to ask why this was considered "commentary" and, aside from my "local" paper, where else this piece was published, but, as of this writing, my call has not been returned.  Since publication, the person in charge has been in touch with the writer.)

Methane gas is not a "bridge" fuel.  It is not a "clean" or "green" fuel.  It has become the popular regional fossil fuel for both homeowners ("in Massachusetts from 38 percent in 1990 to 51 percent now") and large-scale electricity-related businesses because of its current low price and the convenience of the system's existing distribution network.

But don't be fooled.

Because Massachusetts imports its gas from outside of the Bay State, fracking, flaring, chemical waste, earthquakes, and poisoned groundwater aren't in the state's environmental-impact equation; so NGA is espousing half-truths as it campaigns to expand the gas network and claim that "gas is good for the commonwealth" -- so good that it will "help [our state] to attain mandated environmental and emission goals by 2050," despite the negative impacts elsewhere.

Kiley's industry relies on the power grid to invest in gas -- more LNG imports to Boston, more interstate pipelines from Pennsylvania, increased imports to supply the power stations that until recently burned coal -- so that rate-payers can be dependent on this form of fossil fuel for the next 30 years and, thus, hinder our necessary transition to more local, sustainable, and truly renewable forms of energy, such as solar, no matter what it means for our future.

National regulatory and financial policies still favor the fossil-fuel industry, and with the current administration that favoritism is expanding.  Renewable alternatives have increased significantly in the Commonwealth, with 13 percent of electricity generation coming from nearly 200 local solar, bio-mass, and wind-power plants.

With continued legislative and citizen support, the state can achieve 100-percent electricity generation at competitive rates by 2035, and all other sectors powered by renewable sources by 2050.  We urgently need to push for policies and lifestyle choices which have a positive impact on global climate disruption.

There are no borders when it comes to climate.

Read more at An Alternative View of 'Natural Gas' - By Gina Sonder of Arlington MA

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