LNG Facilities & Exports
Currently there are at least 15 applications for liquefied-natural-gas (LNG) export facilities in the U.S. pending before the federal government. These applications, along with already approved exports, would have the capacity to move over 40 percent of the U.S. annual production of natural gas to foreign countries. The gas companies want the exports overseas because they can sell the gas for more than 4 times the price as they can capture here in the U.S and at present there is a glut of gas in this country and so unless the industry sells it overseas they won’t get their immediate cash sale reward.
Expert reports and data demonstrate that while LNG exports generate generous profits for the gas drillers and export companies, all other sectors of our country’s economy are in decline. In other words, LNG exports only benefit the gas industry. Similarly, LNG exports, while creating some jobs in the gas industry, many temporary, creates a net job loss effect for the country. In fact, LNG exports could result in the net loss of as many as 270,000 jobs per year in our country.
The Environmental Cost
It is almost daily that new research emerges showing the harms of shale gas for our communities, our country and our earth. Among the most recent scientific findings is that as much as 9% of the methane -- one of the most potent greenhouse gases known to man -- produced while drilling for gas is lost to the atmosphere. That 9% coupled with all the methane emitted during the transport of gas through pipelines, storage and use of the gas means that shale gas is a more potent contributor to climate change than any other fossil fuel – 105 times more potent than carbon dioxide if you look over a 20 year period when it is the most crucial that we reduce damaging emissions.
The unparalleled level of harm to drinking water, air quality, food supplies, and people’s health that result from ongoing and increasing levels of drilling and fracking for shale gas bring high price tags for the United States economy and taxpayers. Not only do our communities lose out on life’s basic needs – air, water, food and health – but we as taxpayers have to pay the upfront and long-term financial burden of these harms, including the necessary clean up and health care costs.
The deforestation, land compaction, wetlands destruction, and increased earthquake potential inflicted by shale gas development means increased flooding and flood ravaged homes and communities; it means increased erosion of public and private lands; it means the fear and harm of an earthquake where it happens; it means lost fishing, hunting, boating, birding and all the jobs they generate. And of course someone has to pay for all this harm – that someone is the public in the form of emergency services, taxes, hazard mitigation, and more national debt.
Transforming our country into one dependent on shale gas instead of oil and coal brings with it a hefty price tag – by some estimates it will cost as much as $700 billion. Recent estimates from the United States Geological Survey of the volume of undiscovered Marcellus Shale gas that may be recoverable is an average 84 trillion cubic feet. At the current U.S. consumption rate of 24 trillion cubic feet per year , chasing after this gas, and incurring all of the harm shale drilling and fracking brings, will only give an additional 3 ½ years of supply. Other estimates that include gas which is proved, probable and recoverable calculate all U.S. natural gas as supporting only 11 to 21 years of energy at this consumption rate. The timeline for infrastructure replacement gets further shortened as LNG exports increase.
Isn’t it just smarter to pay this bill once? And put in place the infrastructure needed for sustainable energy sources like solar, wind, geothermal and so on?
May 1, 2013 Representative Kowalko asked for a hearing on HB 54, a bill that would have prevented construction of LNG facilities in Delaware's coastal zone. At the end of the hearing the bill was tabled. It is unknown when it may be revived for consideration. A copy of Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper's testimony, is provided below.