Archive for the ‘high energy costs’ Tag

Alaska Senate passes bill to advance gas project – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Alaska News   2 comments

Alaska Senate passes bill to advance gas project – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Alaska News.

Again, a project that is important to my town and to me personally. Alaska has waited for 35 years for the petroleum companies to build the natural gas pipeline that they promised us right after they completed the TransAlaska Pipeline. I get the market considerations. A pipeline from the Slope is expensive and for-profit companies want to make a profit. I “get” that.

Yet, Alaska is sitting on a monsterous sea of oil and natural gas that the petroleum companies continually say they want to access, but then they don’t. Some of these companies have been sitting on leases for 30 years, tying up proven gas and oil reserves and refusing the develop them. Sarah Palin forced some development at Point Thompson by calling the leases. She exercised her authority as the CEO of the State of Alaska corporation to demand production or set aside the leases. And, it worked, sort of. More oil production is “in the pipeline”, though the oil itself is not yet in the TAPS.

But gas … we’re still waiting. In the meantime, here in Fairbanks, we’re paying $4 a gallon for home diesel (it takes about 1200 gallons to heat a modern 1800 square foot home through six months of winter) and the EPA is demanding we ban wood burning to meet impossible PM 2.5 standards. The State is whispering that it may mandate homeowners switch to natural gas. There’s a plan underway to truck it from the North Slope. The Dalton Highway isn’t actually the most dangerous highway in America (that distinction may go to the Seward Highway on the Kenai Peninsula), but it isn’t a great idea and it’s expensive. It will save us about 6% on our $200 a month electric bill and 2% on our heating costs.

Fairbanksans struggle with this because Anchorage has had a “sweetheart” deal with natural gas producers in Cook Inlet that means you can heat a 2000 square foot home for less than $100 a month and most of that is administration fee. Now that Cook Inlet reserves are running low, it is a priority for Anchorage to access North Slope gas, but for 35 years, Fairbanks has been expected to struggle with high energy costs because Anchorage controls the Legislature and we didn’t have the votes to swing State ownership.

So, a natural gas line is  a necessity for Fairbanks and, again, because private interests won’t invest here because, my theory, they prefer to use Alaska as a future landbank and only access the resources when we’re desperate and will give them away virtually for free.

Popular Madness   1 comment

Ouch! I went to the gas station on Saturday morning fully intending to drive out to our cabin site with a full tank of gas.

$3.98 a gallon! This is for regular unleaded in the second largest city in Alaska. Alaska! Where the Trans-Alaska Pipeline runs just 10 miles from my house and the second-newest refinery in the nation (35 years old and counting) operates 15 miles from my house. Alaska, sitting on an ocean of oil. What the heck?!

You have probably had a similar experience. I hear Chicagoans are paying $4.36 a gallon. They deserve it more than I do.

What? Yeah. The main reason your gasoline prices and my gasoline prices are so stinking high can be found with a good look in the mirror in most American households. It’s not OPEC that’s screwing you. It’s you or your fellow Americans who support policies that block new drilling and the building of new refineries on American soil. You are the cause of high gasoline prices!

Tom Deweese of Canadian Free Press suggested that the real political parties in the United States are the NIMBYs (Not in My Back Yard) and the BANANAs (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything). These two political forces are driving the nation’s future by dictating the policy agendas of the Republicans and the Democrats. These are one variety of progressives who infest both major political parties and have far reaching effects.

I like to call these people collectively “the ostrich party”. They want towns to remain small, but they want homes of their own and jobs to support them. They want to build those homes in rural areas with beautiful vistas and clean air, but complain when someone else gets the same idea. They complain that a neighbor’s new home has blocked their view, never considering that their home blocked someone else’s open space. They want to be able to use their cell phones and computers wherever they go, but they support programs that lock away land to keep wilderness pristine, free of human development, power lines and, uh, cell towers.

There is something entirely ironic about a nation of three-car-garage homes that opposes filling stations, refineries and power plants. Our lovely, clean, well-ordered American landscape has no place for industry to make the things we need, but then we expect our policymakers to make those things work at a reasonable price.

This is the result of at least three decades of implementing the radical agendas of special interests like the Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy – rich powerful groups that have spent billions to push their policy of no growth, which they brand as Sustainable Development, through Congress and into our local communities. The news media and corporate commercials constantly barrage us with the “go green” message to indoctrinate the nation into a collective guilt complex because we need to use energy and grow food to eat.

Banning the building of things that have been termed “not green” sounds noble. Americans pack public meetings to express our outrage over plans to build a power plant in our community. If, as recently happened in Fairbanks, the public demands were to have one of those smelly polluting coal plants built to relieve our 27 per kilowatt hour electric bills, the local newspaper is deluged with comments from people who live elsewhere demanding to know why we’re so stupid. Don’t we know that breathing coal fumes will give a small percentage of the population asthma and possibly acserbate the COPD of elderly smokers in 30 years?

Don’t you know that cold will kill us this winter if we can’t afford to keep the power on? But what about the view of Denali (Mt. McKinley to the Outsiders)? We’ll destroy the view of that precious peak by wreathing it in pollution. I can live with smack-awesome winter sunsets to keep my modestly-sized home warm.

Modern American society is properly indignant with no responsibility for the consequences. We restricted our access to energy and our ability to process it into a useable form to the point where the cost of heating and cooling our homes, driving our cars, and flying our planes is spinning out of control.

Eighty-eight percent of the energy for America’s transportation, industry, government, and residential needs comes from oil, gas and coal. The nation shuts down without them! Except for a handful of House members, there is no drive in Congress to ease regulations to allow for domestic production and the Executive branch insists the only solution is the stop using energy … be “sustainable”.

Is freezing to death sustainable?

It then pretends to address the energy shortage with massive grants for “alternative energy,” like wind mills and solar cells. We have to get off our dependency on foreign oil, Barack Obama insists, as these alternative energy sources supply only about 1% of our energy needs with no signs of immediate improvement despite massive “investment”.

Just suggest to a green that the solution to reducing our dependency on foreign oil and lowering costs at the pump might be a few more oil wells on American soil and watch their blood pressure soar. Veins will start popping in their foreheads! Congress and federal agencies have banned oil activity on more than 300 million acres of onshore federal land and 460 million acres of offshore territory. The United States may well have the largest oil reserves in the world, but 67% of oil reserves and 40% of natural gas reserves are locked away on federal lands in the western states because environmentalists fear that drilling will damage ecosystems.

Such green scare-mongering is little more than bedtime terror stories told to frighten children. Technology allows for safe drilling, even in Alaska’s tundra wasteland of ANWR and the shallow Chukchi Sea.

Oh, but we don’t want oil wells in our back yards! Really? Are you that stupid? Maybe it comes from living through -50 (that’s below zero) every winter, but I’d be fine with seeing an oil wellhead pump on my way to work every day if it meant it didn’t cost me $7000 a winter to heat my home.

But access to the oil in the ground is just a small part of the problem. The spoiled brats packing the public meetings have created a much greater crisis than that.

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