In The Pipeline 8/2/11

Environmental groups, eager to increase the price of energy for Americans, urge NJ Governor Christie to ban fracking New Jersey News (8/1/11) reports: Twenty-four environmental organizations submitted a letter to Gov. Chris Christie on Monday asking him to sign legislation prohibiting the use of hydraulic fracturing for the purpose of natural gas exploration or production in New Jersey…The Legislature approved the proposal (S-2576/A-3313) by a large majority on June 29 and sent it to Christie for consideration…Natural gas drilling is proceeding in Pennsylvania in the Marcellus Shale, a deep geologic formation that underlies much of Pennsylvania and a portion of New York, including areas located within the Delaware River Basin. Utica Shale, now also being explored by energy companies, is located beneath the Marcellus and can be found in northwestern New Jersey…While no drilling in underway, environmentalists fear it could begin in the Utica Shale in the future…Drillers must use hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to force the gas out of the tight shale formations. Fracking can cause water and air pollution, and water depletion due to the million of gallons of water required to frack. It also can lead to the degradation of streams, landscapes and habitat due to large scale of natural gas development.

Marcellus Shale is an unstoppable force for job creation and energy production Wall Street Journal (8/2/11) reports: On the edge of the Mahoning River, where once stood dozens of blast furnaces, more than 400 workers are constructing what long has been considered unthinkable: a new $650 million steel plant…When complete, it will stand 10 stories tall, occupy one million square feet and make a half million tons of seamless steel tubes used in “fracking” or drilling for natural gas in shale basins…France’s Vallourec & Mannesmann Holdings Inc., one of the world’s largest makers of steel tubes for the energy market, has decided to build the plant here next to an existing facility for two main reasons. Youngstown has an experienced steelmaking work force and the city is at the door of the Marcellus Shale, a natural-gas basin beneath New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio…”We’re confident we can get this built and running quickly and when we do, there will be a growing marketplace,” says Joel Mastervich, who runs the company’s existing Youngstown plant, the V&M Star. The company, a unit of Vallourec SA, also has operations in Houston and other North American cities…The shale market is partly responsible for expansion at other steelmakers, as well. U.S. Steel Corp. is investing $95 million to expand and upgrade its plant in Lorain, Ohio, which makes tubular steel. Timken Co. is spending about $50 million to upgrade its plants in Canton, Ohio…The steel and shale-gas industries are symbiotic to some degree. Shale drilling, with its network of horizontal pipes, consumes huge amounts of steel tubes and pipe. Steel also is needed to build rigs and excavators for extracting gas.

Simple English translation of Rep. Honda’s energy  efficiency mandate bill, “Electronics makers and electronics users are too stupid to make good choices about energy efficiency and that’s why I’m here to tell them what to do.” The Hill (8/2/11) reports: Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) will introduce a bill on Monday to make electronic devices more energy efficient…Honda’s bill is attempting to take aim at the explosion of iPods, iPads, smartphones, gaming consoles and other electronic devices that are fast becoming a new dilemma for groups trying to save energy and control greenhouse gasses…“This proliferation of electronic devices, if not made more energy efficient, will undermine efforts to increase energy security and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases responsible for global warming,” Honda said…The Smart Electronics Act would require the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency to assess the potential for adding electronics such as cellphones, gaming consoles and MP3 players to the Energy Star program, which designates energy efficient devices…The Energy Department and the EPA would also have to issue a report on the global growth of electronics usage and energy consumption…The bill would create a new “smart” designation for devices that are designed to limit their energy consumption and impact on the electricity grid.

And he doesn’t even mention that moving biofuels through a war zone can be dangerous, too, since the real Taliban is different than the green Taliban Wall Street Journal (8/2/11) reports: Although few realize it, the military is just as susceptible to fads and political correctness as any other government agency. Thus, in response to prodding from the executive branch, both the Air Force and Navy have announced plans to get half their fuel from “renewable resources” by 2020…”We have already tested the F-18 Hornet on biofuels, the Green Hornet,” Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus explained in a speech last year. “The biofuel it used was made from camelina, a member of the mustard family. . . . [T]he Marines, who are not known as leaders of the environmental movement, have embraced this wholeheartedly.”…There are good reasons to consider powering forward bases and combat vehicles with something other than gasoline. Studies have shown that while the army can purchase gasoline for $1 a gallon, it costs $400 to deliver that gallon to the front in Afghanistan. In Iraq and Afghanistan, one soldier or civilian was killed for every 24 fuel convoys. But are biofuels the answer?…The military’s flirtation with green energy began a decade ago when the Department of Defense started taking advice from environmental guru Amory Lovins. In his 1976 book, “Soft Energy Path,” Mr. Lovins proposed getting one-third of our fuel oil from domestic crops. We could do this, he said, by building a distillery complex only 10 times the size of the combined beer and wine industries’ complexes.

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