Here is a bit of energy-use news to feel good about: Americans are using a lot less coal. In the first quarter of this year, the portion of the country’s electricity that came from coal was almost 20 percent less than in the same period last year. And overall, the Energy Information Administration predicts, coal consumption in the electric sector will decrease by 14 percent this year. Of course, there’s a reason for this, as Stephen Lacey explains at Climate Progress, and the reason is natural gas. Natural gas is cheap, cheap, cheap, so now we’re burning that instead of …
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) just released a draft [PDF] of its new rules for hydraulic fracturing on public lands. These rules were last revised in 1988, and they’re being updated to deal with the current fracking boom (the BLM says 90 percent of new wells going in on public land are using fracking). The rule update is also meant to show some smidgen of federal leadership on questions like “Should natural gas companies reveal what’s in fracking fluid?” and “How are we going to at least try and prevent this stuff from contaminating the water?” The BLM’s answers …
Fracking companies might be violating drilling rules all over the place, but in Pennsylvania, landowners who leased their property to gas companies likely have no idea. CNN Money reports: That’s because the state agency charged with regulating the wells — the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) — does not have to notify landowners if a violation is discovered. Even if landowners inquire about safety violations, DEP records are often too technical for the average person and incomplete.
Every week brings a new story about coal's decline in America. Here are two from last week.
Renewable Energy Magazine has a fantastic two-part interview with Michael Liebreich, the founder of New Energy Finance. (Part one; part two.) I guess I’ve just gotten accustomed to reading stupid, ideological crap about clean energy, so when I run across an informed, balanced perspective, I get unreasonably excited. Anyway, read the whole thing, but there’s one particular part I wanted to draw attention to, Liebreich’s answer to a question on natural gas. Pardon the long excerpt:
Because your Friday could use a little bleakness, here’s the trailer for Water Defense’s “Natural Gas Exxposed” video series, showing the toll that fracking takes on communities.
The folks who brought you the blockbuster protests against the Keystone XL pipeline are planning the largest-ever demonstration against natural-gas fracking.
Ryan Gosling may have saved a woman from a speeding car, but some of our other favorite stars are doing the next best thing: starring in an anti-fracking movie. Gus Van Sant is directing, and the cast includes Matt Damon, John Krasinski, Frances McDormand, probably Hal Holbrook — and, if you can get to Pittsburgh this weekend, maybe you.
Every year fossil fuels get six times as much money in subsidies from the U.S. government -- i.e. you, the taxpayer -- than renewable energy.