Last night the House of Representatives passed a payroll tax bill, but at the same time they took Americans’ health and safety hostage. They used a bill Congress feels it must pass to jam through two riders that would weaken protections against polluters.
One rider would allow industrial facilities to release more mercury, lead, and other toxins into the air we breathe. The other would enable the Keystone XL pipeline to go through the American Heartland without the environmental and safety review the White House deemed necessary. Keep reading →
“EPA Reports Fracking Polluted Drinking Water.”
This headline exploded across the country last week following the Environmental Protection Agency’s report that fracking was the cause behind polluted drinking water in Pavillion, Wyoming. At face value, this appeared to be a major setback for fracking–and the momentum behind shale gas–as claims of ground water pollution are the loudest and most prevalent arguments against the practice. As conclusive as those headlines might have appeared, there are several aspects particular to the situation at Pavillion that will likely prove controversial enough to delay major legislation or regulation for the entire fracking industry in the near future. Keep reading →
According to the United Nations Population Fund, the Earth’s seven billionth person was born today, a large milestone not only in number but in the effects it will have on our planet’s resources. If that person consumes water like an American, before leaving this earth, he or she will have used more than 4.3 million gallons of water, perhaps Earth’s most precious resource. Water has no alternatives; there is no substitute for its role in energy, agriculture and basic life necessities. It is as unique as it is indispensable.
As necessary as water is, this fuel remains taken for granted. While populations continue to expand and financial belts continue to tighten, political leaders and communities must become more engaged to find unique solutions for the continued reliability of water delivery. The coming decades will yield water crises in portions of the globe previously immune to such challenges. Government commitment has to be clear, like H2O itself. Keep reading →
Cities have always set the pace for human progress. From the Greek polis and medieval cities to contemporary megacities like Mexico City, Shanghai and New York, cities have traditionally been the center of art and culture, trade and industry, science and technology. Some 50 percent of global economic output is generated in the world’s 600 biggest cities alone. Yet the negative effects of progress have also been most evident in cities: noise, over-crowding, environmental pollution and traffic congestion.
In the past cities were the exceptional oases of human civilization. Today they are the norm. Two hundred years ago, only three percent of the world’s population lived in cities. Today the total has grown to over half, and the trend is accelerating. Urban problems have also kept pace with this growth. Cities now produce 80 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and consume 75 percent of all energy produced. Keep reading →
As a cleaner and more versatile energy source than traditional fossil fuels, natural gas is primed to become one of the world’s most commonly used resources. But for natural gas to realize its promise, attention must be paid to the aging infrastructure that supports it – the complex maze of millions of miles of pipeline, above and underground.
We can’t simply build new pipelines in one fell swoop. Instead, we need to use advanced inspection technology to assess pipeline integrity and prioritize infrastructure projects, helping to spread out costs. The industry should take advantage of early-warning systems that use sophisticated inspection technologies to detect the formation of minor integrity issues, like corrosion or erosion, before they compromise the system. Keep reading →
America faces a series of significant challenges regarding how we produce and use energy over the next several decades. Our current energy system undermines our national security, is economically unstable, and environmentally unsustainable.
Although the recession has reduced energy demand, in the longer term the US is expected to see a 20% increase in total energy demand and a 30% increase in electricity demand by 2035. Keep reading →
We just ended a month during which our nation observed the 8th anniversary of the August 2003 Blackout (more than 50 million consumers affected and more than $6 billions in losses), the 6th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (more than 1800 deaths and over $150 billions in economic losses), and the Aug. 1, 2007 collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis (killing 13 and disrupting traffic and the local economy for a year) – that is in addition to the hundreds of black-outs, water main breaks and daily traffic gridlocks.
These events have stimulated growing public awareness of the necessity for accelerated programs of replacement, rehabilitation and new investment in the US infrastructure. Keep reading →
News flash: Halliburton exec becomes (presumably) world’s first fracking-fluid imbiber.
Don’t Do This at Home, Boys and Girls Keep reading →
With more than 30 years of experience in the industry, I recognize that there is a negative stigma that accompanies big oil and gas corporations; and with occurrences like BP’s Gulf oil spill, it is often self-inflicted. The perception that oil and gas companies foster a mentality of pump, pump, pump to get the resource out of the ground and move on also rouses a tremendous amount of discontent amongst locals and naysayers, as well as opponents of exploration.
My tenure in the industry spans three decades. I founded Hettinger Welding in 1978 and served as its CEO for nearly 30 years. I am proud to state that Hettinger had grown from a small but mighty team to over 1,400 employees and a 200 million plus dollar annual market share, solidifying its place as one of the largest oil and gas construction firms in the western United States. In 2008, I retired from Hettinger and now serve as Chairman and Chief Operations Officer of High Plains Gas, Inc., an emerging owner and operator that procures, produces and markets natural gas without potentially environmentally harmful fracking practices. Keep reading →
At this time of partisan wrangling in Congress, energy efficiency stands as a rare issue that crosses party lines to garner bipartisan consensus.
That comes as no surprise to efficiency advocates, who know that energy-efficiency programs are one of our best national investments. By lowering energy costs, they return more money to the economy than they cost taxpayers. Keep reading →