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Minutes left: Comment to DOE by 4:30 pm today

January 24, 2013

UPDATE (9 pm): By the end of the comment period earlier today, our movement delivered over 200,000 comments to the Department of Energy! This is a tremendous outpouring of intelligent critique and political will. It expresses our collective determination as a movement to oppose corruption and to protect our water, air, impacted communities, our health, our climate, and our sustainable future.

To comment to the Department of Energy (DOE) yourself in these last moments hour before their 4:30 pm comment deadline (Thursday, January 24th), send your email to <fergas@hq.doe.gov>, and <LNGStudy@hq.doe.gov>, now.  For background and more links to help you weigh on on opposing the DOE permitting (“flipping”) 19 Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) import terminals into export terminals to ship shale gas overseas, use this link.

Below is a comment sent today by from Protecting Our Waters leader Alex Bomstein:

To the Department of Energy:

All proposals to build in LNG export infrastructure should be denied, for both economic and environmental reasons.  Such infrastructure is tied to the fate of fracking in Pennsylvania and the Marcellus shale region, which is rending apart communities and changing the rural character of much of the region.  While there may be something of a boom right now, fossil fuel extraction repeats and perpetuates the boom/bust cycle that has been devastating for much of Appalachia and other areas.

You direct comments to be “limited to the results and conclusions of these independent analyses on the factors evaluated.”  The studies focused on economics, but took a remarkably blinkered approach to economic impacts, equating total dollars now with the welfare of Americans.  The NERA report notably stated “This study addresses only the net economic effects of natural gas price changes and improved export revenues, not their distribution.”  The studies’ economic analyses should have included analysis of the actual impact on the ground to both the economics and actual welfare (well being) of the people living with fracking in their backyards, and those downstream from them.  The absence of such analysis gives a skewed and incomplete perspective on the benefits and drawbacks of building LNG export infrastructure.

Another failure in the economic analyses was the omission of the opportunity cost of investing in energy infrastructure that will last far beyond the lifetime of this transitory fossil fuel boom–renewable energy infrastructure.

The reports also fail in their economic analyses in refusing to discuss the economic externalities, largely falling on citizens of the Unites States, from the fracking industry’s devastation of the natural landscape (which has a huge economic value, unmeasured here), health impacts (injuries, illnesses, and death), destabilization of shale country communities, and future abandonment of those same communities, which will then need taxpayer support as other poor areas do.

I have omitted discussion of the health and environmental harms because of the narrow scope of your request for comments, but it suffices to say that natural gas extraction, and fracking in particular, have a well-documented history of causing extreme environmental dangers, through greenhouse gas emissions, air, water, and land pollution, earthquakes, and more.  Understanding of the macroeconomics of LNG exports alone is not enough to evaluate whether something like this should be built; but even on their own terms, the analyses are incomplete and fail to inform the Department of Energy.

Thank you for considering my comments.

Sincerely,
Alex Bomstein

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One Comment
  1. January 24, 2013 6:26 pm

    what’s up with the 4:30 deadline?

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