By Bob Ferris
The most recent elections sting all of us who care about the environment and the future of the planet like rock salt gingerly applied to an open wound. Part of that sting is the peril we face when anti-scientific types like James Inhofe (at right) and Ted Cruz are considered for important and knowledge-based leadership roles in the Senate. And part of it comes from the dual democratic insult of voter suppression and the fact that 88 percent of these votes did not come from the folks who will be most impacted longest by the decisions in these two committees far into the future—the youth of America—who did not fully participate in this decision. I am very bullish on science-driven decision making and also the democratic process so these developments above bother me significantly.
These two factors are also at play in the Coos Bay LNG process as well. For instance on the science end, it has been argued that liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a so-called “bridge fuel” that helps us get from a fuel that is worse to a better, cleaner fuel on our pathway off fossil-fuels all together. This is a nice concept but it seems in this instance that it is a little like a bartender switching an intoxicated patron from bourbon to beer only to find that the imbiber is using that beer to make boilermakers. A bridge fuel is only a bridge fuel if there is a concrete plan for this fuel to displace other, more damaging fuels. There is no such plan, ergo LNG is not a bridge fuel for this and other reasons. And while LNG produces less in the way of acid rain components than coal it is still a carbon-based fossil fuel that contributes to climate change and ocean acidification.
In terms of the democratic insults of this project there are many starting with the potential condemnation of private lands for the pipelines and reduction of pipeline safety measures in rural areas where the potential loss of “significant life” is lower. But the one that is currently sticking in my craw is the process that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is using to collect comments. It is purposely and artificially complicated. Therefore, it is exclusionary favoring those who would help turn this country into a resource colony (read: Third World Country) for China and other competing/job displacing economies and creating a barrier to country-folk most impacted or put at risk by this project.
If you are like me and have a little left-over election angst that keeps you edgy during the day and awake at night, my suggestion is that you follow this link below and fight your way through this complicated and ridiculous process to send FERC and others who would ignore science and an open democratic process a clear message: We believe that 1) climate change is real and needs to be addressed rather than ignored; 2) the rights of rural people should be considered; 3) the profits of the few—especially foreign interests—should not be more important than the impacts to those US citizens that will be affected by fracking, suffer from climate change, or lose their jobs through giving further competitive advantage to rapacious economies overseas.
And when you are done please recycle. Share this action with others and give them the opportunity to start the process of personal healing by taking positive and informed action. Thank you for your help!