The Bush administration is championing natural gas as the answer to America’s domestic energy needs, despite reservations from the usual batch of freedom-haters about its cost, reliability, and safety. Proponents point out that natural gas is cheaper, less polluting, and more abundant than oil — and, oh yeah, a huge business opportunity. Major energy companies are pursuing over $100 billion in gas-production projects worldwide. But worries remain. Given the current hubbub over dependence on foreign sources of energy, it’s notable that the big natural-gas reserves are in countries like Qatar, Yemen, Iran, and Russia. And communities being targeted for off-loading of liquefied natural gas worry that an accident or terrorist attack could turn terminals or tankers into humongous fireballs; one study found that such a fire would cause second-degree burns on people nearly a mile away.
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