Friday, June 13, 2014
"The environmental movement is actually made up of many separate philosophies concerning all our environmental problems - real and imagined. It is probably safe to say that the biggest single issue would center around the use of fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels does result in the emission of "harmful" by products. The biggest single problem emission would be carbon dioxide (CO2). They will assure you that CO2 is absolutely an Earth destroying element. They will not remind you that CO2 is also the lifeblood of our planet. OOPS! Ask any plant if it would prefer less CO2 in the atmosphere and we cannot repeat, in polite society, what the plants would tell you to do with that suggestion. The environmentalists would have you believe that we can "eliminate" our use of fossil fuels. We need a little reality check on that one. In reality, that is totally impossible. Hydro power would be by far the most practical of the renewable resources, but with little hope for expansion because of environmental opposition! ( Having fished below power generating dams on the lower Susquehanna I can guarantee you that the fish view these plants as big mixer/blenders.) The next most popular choice would be wind power. So, let's have a little reality check on that one. Let's start with a fossil fuel plant that puts out 1000 megawatts. On average it would take a windmill farm covering 2000 square miles to produce 1000 megawatts. That electricity would cost a homeowner two to three times what the electricity from the fossil fuel plant would cost. And I almost hate to mention that with the price of natural gas so cheap (thanks to hydraulic fracturing) that difference will most likely increase. The windmill energy will also need a fossil fuel back up system for when the wind isn't cooperating. How many time have you seen windmills not turning ! The 1000 megawatts will supply roughly 100,000 homes with electricity. If you average 100,000 homes on 1/2 acre lots, those homes will cover 78 square miles. So, we need 2000 square miles of windmills to supply electricity for 78 square miles of homes - and we still need the fossil fuel plant for non windy days. It's a little embarrassing to point out that those windmill farms also have some disadvantages beyond the huge amount of land they require. They are very visual. They are prone to fatal bird strikes. They are noisy. They provide much more expensive electricity. And, did I mention they are very visual - in many cases easily from fifty miles away. California today is just as well known for its windmill "junkyards" as it is for its windmill farms. If by any chance your mind jumped over to solar instead of wind, you should know that ( another reality check ) the problems get much worse. We do need to continue R&D to find affordable and practical renewable energy sources. R&D ( mostly industry financed ) led to the development of hydraulic fracturing, which in turn has led to an absolute revolution in our energy situation as a nation. That revolution has destroyed the predictions of the environmentalist leaders. Rachel Carson, Paul Ehrlich, Al Gore, etc., now all reduced to buffalo chips ! But it will be R&D that will, if ever, develop a practical renewable fuel. It might even be that R&D will develop a totally clean way to burn coal. Maybe we shouldn't go there."
First and foremost, I would like to thank the SCLOC for allowing me the opportunity to run this blog. I also wish to thank my grandfather, Neil Vitale, for providing me with the knowledge necessary to do so, while he is keeping busy from sunrise to sunset on the farm. With that being said, I'm very excited about undertaking this project, and look forward to lending a hand to The Coalition in any way that I can. My interest in natural gas development in New York State began in the late summer of 2010, when I realized that if the drilling industry were to come into New York, particularly in Steuben County, I might not have to watch my neighbors lose their farms, and I might not have to leave my community in order to secure a decently paying career. I, along with my grandfather, began to write opinion editorials to the newspaper on the subject of hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale. Eventually, I found myself testifying at the DEC hearings in Dansville, and speaking at a large landowners rally in Albany. Running this blog is another small way in which I will continue to fight the good fight. My next post will feature an opinion editorial by Jeff Heller on the subject of "green energy". He takes the subject out of the lecture halls and takes it into the real world, and as always, hits the nail on the head.