Editorial: Yes, drill — for the facts

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Editorial: Yes, drill — for the facts

Postby Wilberforce » Fri Nov 11, 2016 6:52 pm

Editorial: Yes, drill — for the facts
Published 7:12 pm, Thursday, November 10, 2016


American energy policy could soon turn back to fossil fuels.


Will a new president and Congress deny the problems that become ever-more apparent?

Disasters, whether natural or man-made, don't care what political party you prefer, or whether you'd rather hug a derrick or a tree.

Just ask the residents and businesses of Cushing, Okla., where dozens of buildings were damaged this past Sunday by a 5.0 magnitude earthquake. It's the latest quake in a state that's been dubbed the earthquake capital of America.

Buildings cracked. Ceilings dropped. Bricks rained down on sidewalks from facades.

The reason?


Oh, the oil and gas industry will say these earthquakes weren't caused by high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing; that the wells from which oil and gas are extracted haven't been connected to the increasing seismic activity in states like Oklahoma. The responsibility for all those tremblors, we will hear, instead lies with deep wells into which the tens of millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals used in fracking are injected.

That's sort of like saying that there's no link between nuclear energy and the problem of where to store nuclear waste. Or that the smell wafting from a farm has nothing to do with cows, only what they leave behind.

Why are we writing about this now? Because following Tuesday's election, federal energy policy looks likely to take a 180-degree turn backward, dramatically changing America from a nation increasingly using clean, renewable energy to one determined to burn all the oil, gas, and coal it can.

President-elect Donald Trump wants to, in his words, "Unleash America's $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, plus hundreds of years in clean coal reserves." He calls for opening federal government lands to more oil, gas and coal leasing.

That means more of the problems associated with fossil fuels — more fracking waste fluids to dispose of, more greenhouse gasses, more air pollution. There is, we should note, no such thing at this time as commercial scale "clean coal," no matter how often politicians use the term.

There is not a word about clean, renewable energy in Mr. Trump's entire energy policy, and it received only passing mention in his speeches. Perhaps worse, Mr. Trump has mused that global warming is a hoax, perpetrated by China to disadvantage U.S. businesses.

This cavalier denial of science — and such evidence as disappearing shorelines and flooding in U.S. communities as sea levels rise — is astonishing in a person about to assume the presidency. Increasingly, the control of Congress is in the hands of politicians who believe the same — or at least are willing to legislate as if they believe it, for the sake of appeasing their constituents or campaign donors, regardless of the facts.

It's getting harder all the time, though, to deny the facts, especially when those facts are leaving roads and front yards underwater, and facades falling off buildings on Main Street, in some of the reddest of red states.

http://www.timesunion.com/tuplus-opinio ... 607160.php
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