By allowing Cove Point Export Terminal to be built, the U.S. would be forfeiting energy independence and committing our world to runaway climate change. Despite warnings from climate scientists and world leaders to severely reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the fossil fuel industry wants to continue their usual carbon-polluting practices by building Export Terminals and shipping liquefied natural gas (LNG) overseas to the global energy market in search of more money that they don’t need. On July 13th, citizens and environmental organizations from across the country are headed to Washington D.C., to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) offices to say “no!” to these fracked gas exports.
Image © chesapeakeclimate
Here’s the process behind natural gas production––simplified––start to finish: Drill holes 15,000 feet into the ground, shoot chemicals in, break apart fissures in shale rock, extract natural gas, collect it in giant pipelines, pressurize the gas, pipe it toward the export terminal, liquefy the gas, load it onto giant tanks on giant ships, send it overseas.
Seems pretty simple, right? Unfortunately, this process doesn’t account for all the emissions, spills, leaks, and energy consumption associated with natural gas. When all is said and done, the emissions from export terminals like Cove Point will be equivalent to building 100 new coal plants or putting 78 million more cars on the road.
Image © Chesapeakeclimate
The gas being piped to Cove Point comes at an externalized cost, too. Way up in the fracking shalefields of Northeast Pennsylvania where the Cove Point gas is extracted, the health of the community members is being impacted and their pleas for help are being muffled. And let’s not forget the health of neighborhood residents of Cove Point who live only 850 feet away. These communities and the problems they experience are externalized costs often ignored by the industry, the public, and our government.
That’s not the future we want or need. On July 13th, movement leaders like Tim DeChristopher and Sandra Steingraber will stand alongside affected community members, concerned parents, students, professors, 350.org, Green America, Food and Water Watch, Waterkeeper Alliance and others in opposition to Cove Point and similar proposed sites across the country.
These sites bring with them emissions of cancer-causing chemicals and they would be connected via natural gas pipelines that slither through our landscapes, decimating our farmlands, ravaging our nature reserves, and partitioning our neighborhoods. Regardless of industry’s promises of “clean-burning natural gas,” these compressor stations, export terminals, and pipelines result in greater emissions than coal––there are no clean fossil fuels.
We’re already covering the places we love with fossil fuel infrastructure known for exploding, causing earthquakes, and leaking huge amounts of methane and particulate matter into the air––export terminals are no exception. They would further mutilate our natural world and stray from our path of a clean energy future. Not to mention, over time, the domestic price of gas could shoot prices up by 50 percent––so much for that lower gas cost argument, huh?
Image © Chesapeakeclimate
One of these proposed sites, Cove Point, is planned to be 65 miles from the White House on the Chesapeake Bay. It would be the first LNG export terminal located next to a residential neighborhood, and local residents are worried about accidents at the plant that could turn into major fires or life-threatening situations. On top of local spills and increased emissions, shipping gas over 6,000 miles to Asia provides ample chances for difficult-to-clean spilling disasters on the high seas.
The people of Cove Point, Appalachia, the Shalefields, and elsewhere are coming to say one thing to President Obama and the FERC that approves nearly all of the proposed fossil fuel infrastructure the industry throws their way: keep our natural gas in the ground where it belongs. If we want to transition to a clean energy economy, an all-of-the-above energy plan doesn’t cut it. We need to see immediate reductions in fossil fuel use as well as further renewable energy research and installations. Our President and these agencies should be working for us, not big oil and gas and other fossil fuel industries. We’re saying no to outdated fossil fuel infrastructure and saying yes to wind power, solar power, and investments in energy efficiency.
Putting our money into a renewable energy future will generate three times the jobs compared to dirty fossil fuels- and you can bet they’ll be safer. There’s no reason to build infrastructure if it’s going to be abandoned in twenty years or less. There’s no reason to impact communities like rural Northeast Pennsylvania by extracting gas in a dangerous way if we have cleaner methods of energy that benefit rather than destroy. If we work together to clean up our planet and protect the human rights of the world’s citizens, especially those impacted by our flawed energy infrastructure, not only are we improving the lives of those living today, but we are setting the stage for the clean energy leaders of tomorrow.