Why is Russian gas in Boston Harbor?

Staff Columnist

“Environmentalists’ war on fossil fuels helps Vladimir Putin.’ By Drew Johnson (In The Wall Street Journal, Tuesday March 13, 2018)

“A tanker arrived in Boston Harbor carrying natural gas that would keep residents’ homes warm for the rest of the winter.   The late-January delivery came from Siberia.  Why are some parts of America reliant on Russian natural gas, especially when domestic gas production has surged?”

We on Longboat Key are not/were not completely divorced from the subject of natural gas.  Rather simplified, we, the LBK Commission of an almost bygone era, were interested in the sand beneath the approaches to and the bottom of and the approaches from seaward to our harbor.  A foreign gas producer/exporter – not Russia – controlled the rights to the extraction/mining of sand beneath its approaches to offloading facilities, never built.  We, that LBK Commission had conducted two years worth of exploration for what we needed, beach-quality sand.  Our Consultant had identified a source.  Alas, it lay beneath the gas tankers approach route.  We negotiated with this foreign supplier, of natural gas, for permission/rights to mine sand from their route bottom.  As it developed the price of natural gas was falling.  At some point, then, the LBK market was falling.  The scheme never developed!  That same supplier lost interest in the Florida gulf coast as a market and our Town as a potential buyer of their beach-quality sand. We were quite up on such subjects in those days, bye and bye.  Others took over.  They even found such sand inland and moved it here by dump truck.  Imagine?

So, back to Mr. Johnson:  “The problem is entirely political.  In 2016 officials  in Massachusetts  and New Hampshire blocked financing for the $3 billion Access Northeast  Pipeline, which would have reliably  provided fuel to three New England states.  That same year a report from Massachusetts Attorney General  Maura Healey’s office  claimed the state could ‘maintain electric reliability’ without new infrastructure.  The Russian gas heating Boston homes this winter suggests otherwise.

Politicians are opposing pipeline projects to curry favor with increasingly radical environmentalists.  The activist group 350.org is organizing online campaigns to oppose every new coal, oil, and natural-gas project. Ggreenpeace claims it is time to leave fossil fuels ‘where they belong: in the ground.’  The Sierra Club is pushing the U.S. to abandon all fossil fuels, claiming the country is ready for 100% renewable energy.

These ideas might sound nice, but they would hurt America’s most vulnerable citizens.  Blocking natural-gas pipelines needlessly inflates  consumers’ energy bills and destabilizes the electrical grid.  Natural gas and coal are responsible for about 64% of America’s electrical power.  Only 15% comes from renewables.   Because of its relatively low price, natural gas is the primary energy source for half of American homes. Since 2006, when the fracking  revolution began, natural gas prices have dropped 27% for residential customers.

Forcing utilities to rely on far more expensive renewables would mean skyrocketing bills.  Families with low incomes would be forced to choose  between keeping the lights on  and putting food on the table.”

More:  “A 100% renewable future would likely be technologically impossible.  A 2017 analysis in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews concluded:  ‘In all individual cases and across the aggregated evidence, the case for feasibility is inadequate.’

The ultimate irony is that natural-gas pipelines help the environment.  With more pipelines, power plants could switch from coal to natural gas, which emits up to 60% less CO2.  Many have already switched, which explains why carbon emissions from power plants have dropped by 25% since 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  Emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas  that traps 30 times  as much  heat in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide does, have fallen 16% since 1990.  Natural-gas production has doubled in that period.

The anti-fossil-fuels campaign is neither realistic nor environmentally sound.”

Mr. Johnson is a senior scholar at the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.



Longboat Key News

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