In the Pipeline: 8/24/11

What if the government called a shortage but no one cared? Marcellus holds 41 times more gas and 339 times more petroleum than the Bush Administration estimated in 2002 Tri Today (8/23/11) reports: A recent U.S. Geological Survey study determined that the Marcellus shale contains about 84 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas and 3.4 billion barrels of recoverable natural gas liquids, much more than initial estimates indicated…Before this study released Tuesday, USGS Marcellus shale estimates compiled in 2002 projected about 2 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas to exist in the region. The new study indicates a more than 4,000 percent increase in anticipated production…”The increase in technically recoverable resource is due to new geological information and engineering data,” the study states. “As technological developments in producing unconventional resources have been significant in the last decade.”…The study was conducted in parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia…Locally, the shale’s location that includes being beneath the Mahoning Valley has been credited with urging V&M Star to build a $650 million expansion and Ultra Premium Oilfield Services to open a new factory in Brookfield. Those two projects are expected to add more than 500 local jobs, according to the companies.

Just come out and say it NYT, you hate poor people and want them to pay more for energy New York Times (8/24/11) reports: Hold a vial of pumped and processed oil to the light here, just before it enters the pipeline that one executive jokingly calls “the cash register,” and you can see a layer of watery sediment settled at the bottom…The vial contains diluted bitumen. What happens to it inside pipelines, 0.5 percent sediment content and all, is powering a controversy that spans the continent…Environmental and safety groups warn that diluted bitumen poses a greater risk of pipeline corrosion and spills than conventional fuel or the synthetic crude also produced from the Canadian oil sands. The oil and gas industry, bolstered by Canadian regulators and policymakers, blasts this claim as hyperbolic fearmongering…”The challenge we have is combating emotion with facts,” Alberta Energy Minister Ron Liepert said during an interview this month when asked about the safety charges leveled by critics of oil sands development, particularly the $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline…Liepert readily acknowledged, however, that few if any targeted studies of diluted bitumen’s corrosion risks are available to help him make the case for more oil sands development…”I guess we could” gather specific facts to help beat back conservationist attacks, he added. “It wouldn’t seem to me like a difficult thing to do.”…Yet at the Calgary headquarters of the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), the independent regulator of Alberta’s vast and lucrative oil sands resources, the very notion of studying how diluted bitumen affects pipeline safety struck senior officials as unnecessary.

If it’s not the BLM, it’s someone else — greenies are creating green jobs, but only particular kind: lawyers Wyoming Tribune (8/23/11) reports: Three environmental groups are suing the Bureau of Land Management in federal court over the recent leasing of two tracts of coal in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming…WildEarth Guardians, Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife filed a lawsuit Aug. 16 against the agency in federal court in Washington, D.C., over the environmental effects of the 350 million tons of coal contained in the tracts…The groups contend the BLM didn’t properly conduct its assessment of the environmental impacts of mining, transporting and burning the coal…The Belle Ayr North tract, which contains 221.7 million tons of coal, sold to a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Peabody Energy July 13. The Caballo West tract, which contains 130.1 million tons of coal, sold to a subsidiary of Abingdon, Va.-based Alpha Natural Resources Aug. 17…“Alpha and Peabody are coal companies, and we can’t expect them to look out for anything other than their bottom line,” said Adam Kron, staff attorney for Defenders of Wildlife, in a news release. “But BLM is a federal agency and a steward of our public lands and has no excuse for approving this reckless and short-sighted deal.”…The BLM didn’t return a request for comment Monday…The companies bid against each other for the two leases. Alpha’s $143.4 million bid for the Caballo West tract — at $1.10 a ton — set a record for the highest amount offered per ton in the basin. The tracts are between Alpha’s Belle Ayr mine and Peabody’s Caballo mine.

Steven Chu says we all win when we are more energy efficient, but what he fails to consider or understand is the efficient use of capital. For example, does the small business owner weatherize her plant because of a mandate or does she hire a new employee? Maybe she saves her money because she has no idea what the Obama Administration is going to do next Times and Democrat (8/23/11) reports: U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu says the entire community wins when people make their homes and businesses more energy efficient.
“You have more money in your pocket. You created jobs in your local community in making those retrofits and you created investments for the long-term future for yourself, your home and the United States,” Chu said Tuesday…Chu, co-winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize for physics, stopped by Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College for a summit designed to educate entrepreneurs on how the DOE supports small businesses…He noted the Department of Energy’s support for energy efficiency through loans and partnerships with states and organizations…”The Department of Energy is doing everything it can to partner with states,” Chu said. “We want to give you the tools so you will know exactly what you should be doing for the most efficient energy methods possible.”

All colleges need to do in order to reduce their carbon footprint is recycle the beer cans. That didn’t work? How about these hippy professors teach outside instead of air-conditioned classrooms? New York Times (8/23/11) reports: Colleges and universities across the country have quickly taken to measuring their environmental footprint: energy efficiency, consumption levels, renewable energy targets, number of green buildings, recycling rates, water use and even the prevalence of sustainability curriculums. But in this rush to go green, two of the three sustainability pillars have remained largely in shadow…“In the U.S., unlike much of the world, the organizing paradigm of sustainability [began] with an environmental orientation and then added on environmental justice and ecological economics,” said Paul Rowland, executive director of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), in a recent e-mail exchange. “This is a historical root that has been difficulty to shake.”…The recent profusion of university sustainability offices is perhaps best reflected in the rise in membership to AASHE, which has grown by more than 2,200 percent in the past five years, with more than three-quarters of campus sustainability positions created since 2007…David Orr, a self-described “loving critic of higher education” and professor and special assistant to the president at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, takes a more critical view of the situation. “Colleges and universities haven’t rigorously and energetically challenged their role in planetary deterioration,” said Dr. Orr. “They have been under-performers relative to the challenges humans are going to face and are already facing.”

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