Why go backward?
The claim that “natural” gas is a sustainable energy solution is as misleading as it is shortsighted. Gas is still a fossil fuel, kin to coal, and thus still produces carbon emissions.
The effect of methane on the atmosphere is not as well understood as that of CO2, but early indications are that it is a potent greenhouse gas, and a great deal of methane is leaked throughout the extraction and refinement process. Not to mention, it is likely that all new gas coming into Washington state would be the result of fracking, bringing with it all of the well-documented human and environmental damage of that process.
Additionally, fuel prices have proven volatile in the past when global demand for natural gas has gone up. Consumers, not the utility companies, will bear the brunt of these inevitable increases.
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When truly clean energy is becoming more and more accessible by the day, why go backward by locking ourselves into the infrastructure for yet another fossil fuel for decades to come? Gas is not a bridge to clean energy; it is a wall against it.
Aimee R. Cervenka, Kirkland
Fracking is not the answer
Dan Kirschner, executive director of the Northwest Gas Association, in his Aug. 4 Op-Ed, stated that certain technology enhancements have unlocked vast reserves of North American natural gas, making it abundant and beneficial for our economy and the environment.
These “enhancements” are more commonly called hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Fracking makes it easier to get the gas out of the ground by using high-pressure water mixed with certain chemicals to break up the shale in which the gas is trapped.
But fracking has side effects. Banned in Maryland, New York and Vermont and linked to 585 earthquakes in Oklahoma in 2014, its chemical cocktail, including benzene, a known carcinogen, has contaminated ground water. Methane, a major component of natural gas, has also been known to leak during the fracking process. Methane traps 86 times more heat in the upper atmosphere than carbon dioxide. As such, fracked gas may be no better in climate terms than coal, the worst fossil fuel.
Fracked gas is not the answer to the war on carbon emissions. To have a livable planet, we must emphasize true renewable energy: wind, solar, energy efficiency and demphasizing energy from fossil fuels.