Daniel B. Markind, Esq.
Weir and Partners, LLP
Actions of some environmentalists relating to natural gas are making our world, and our children’s world, less safe, less secure and less environmentally friendly.
Ten years after the start of the shale revolution, the United States reached the height of absurdity. A tanker named the Gaselys docked in Boston Harbor this weekend carrying natural gas. New England needs this gas because it refuses to allow the buildout of our interstate natural gas pipeline system. The Gaselys carried liquefied natural gas from – Russia.
You read that correctly. Despite being just a few hours away from the most prolific natural gas fields in the world in Northeastern Pennsylvania, New England needs to obtain natural gas shipped on the high seas from gas wells in Russia.
Absolutely everything about this picture is wrong. The gas could have been produced in Pennsylvania under American environmental regulations overseen by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Instead it was produced in the Arctic eco-system overseen by the Russians.
The gas could have been transported a few hundred miles along newly built gas pipelines that are extraordinarily safe (though not 100%, nothing is). Instead, the gas was shipped thousands of miles over the ocean in tankers of unknown quality and safety.
New England residents could have developed a secure, domestic supply of natural gas at affordable prices. Instead, New England has a completely unreliable supply of natural gas at possibly the highest prices in the world. It is astounding that any business would even consider locating in New England. Boston made the cut of the final 20 cities competing for Amazon’s new headquarters. How Amazon seriously could consider setting up operations there is beyond me.
Finally, the money used to purchase the gas could have gone to American companies who employ American workers and pay royalties to American landowners. Instead, the money went to – Vladimir Putin. And it’s not a one-time thing. There will be other Russian gas shipments to Boston in the upcoming weeks.
The reason for all of this, of course, is that the shortsighted politicians in New York and New England refuse to allow construction of the pipelines needed to move the gas from the Marcellus Region to New England. These politicians claim they are preserving the environment and combatting climate change. They are doing the opposite.
Most of the power plants in New England can use either oil or natural gas. Usually the price of natural gas makes it the preferred fuel. With the price spikes affecting New England this winter, those plants have switched to oil, a much dirtier burning fuel.
In addition, New England politicians and “environmentalists” applauded as New England’s nuclear power plants shut down. The Pilgrim Nuclear Plant in Massachusetts is the only one left. It will close by June, 2019. No one knows how that power supply (about 4.1% of Massachusetts’s total) will be made up.
In 2014, Vermonters cheered when the Yankee Nuclear Plant closed. “Enviros” assured everyone that the balance would be offset from cleaner renewables. No such luck. After years of decline, New England’s CO2 emissions rose 5%.
There is no delicate way to put this. The actions of the “environmental community” relating to natural gas are making our world, and our children’s world, less safe, less secure and less environmentally friendly.
If these “environmentalists” have an honest plan to power America’s needs, please show it to us. Do we really need to import Russian gas before they present us with a real plan to run our nation in 2018? How about even by 2038? Anyone who loves the environment knows there are trade-offs. Which ones would our “environmentalists” make?
I know these posts are read in the United States Senate, so I will ask the Senators who receive them to forward this to Massachusetts Senators Warren and Markey with one question. What are you trying to accomplish?
Energy is not a play toy. We’re not in a university classroom where you can pontificate with no real world consequences. This is the real world.
Your constituents’ money is going to Russia. Your CO2 emissions are rising. Your oceans and bays are filling with gas tankers. Your state and region are becoming less competitive. As American dollars flow into Vladimir Putin’s pockets, please help us understand what you are doing.