Smart regulations on fracking necessary

March 22, 2014 

The March 2 BND carried an editorial, "Energy in America: Going from good to great" by Nicolas Loris. However Loris's recommendations will lead to "Energy in America: Going from bad to worse." His so-called smart drilling technologies are being implemented without safeguards. Fracking and an aging natural gas pipeline system amount to a weapon of mass destruction controlled by fossil fools.

Natural gas gives off half the carbon pollution that coal does. So, gas could be a bridge to a clean energy future. But poorly implemented fracking operations and gas transport are releasing large amounts of methane (CO4). CO4 is 30 to 100 times worse than CO2 over time periods less than 100 years. Recent estimates show gas pipelines and infrastructure are leaking 50 percent more than previously thought. Leakage needs to be near zero if we are to avoid climate catastrophe.

The EPA needs to regulate natural gas through the entire pipeline from drilling to producing electricity. EPA regulations are currently the only tool being formulated to address carbon pollution from the power plants that cause 40 percent of our nation's CO2 emissions. Gov. Pat Quinn and Illinois must develop a strong plan to regulate them and meet EPA's standards.

There is a market-based solution proposed by conservative Republicans to help us kick the fossil fuel habit -- a revenue-neutral carbon fee and reimbursement. Sixty percent of American households would come out ahead. Smart EPA regs plus a price on carbon pollution would truly mean, "Energy in America: Going from good to great."

Ronald G. Trimmer

Granite City

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