“Domestic” Does Not Necessarily Mean “Renewable”

Texas Ethanol Bill Uses Semantics To Lipstick The Shale Gas Pig   

Using “alternative” as bridge label, a bipartisan group of misguided Texas congressmen have decided to redefine the term “Renewable” as it applies in the Federal Renewable Fuels Standards Act to include ethanol from fracked shale gas. Last time I checked, natural gas was a fossil fuel, and shale gas was considered an extreme fossil fuel.

The legislation, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Pete Olson of Texas, is examined in Bill Would Let Natural Gas-Based Ethanol Qualify As Renewable by Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Chron.com, May 16, 2013:

Olson’s bill responds to commercial interest in producing ethanol from natural gas, amid questions about the ability to efficiently and cost effectively to transform plant material into ethanol that can be blended into fuel.”  

Seems like fancy footwork to me, designed to make shale gas drillers even more money while postponing, and possibly precluding, a national sustainable energy policy. Nevertheless, the bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Jim Costa, D-California. “…And the pair have lined up more than a dozen other co-sponsors,” according to Dlouhy.

If this all seems vaguely familiar it’s because in 2011, then PA DEP Secretary Michael Krancer tried unsuccessfully to label shale gas as a “renewable” resource but thankfully local journalist, Jim Martin of The Erie Times-News picked it up and reported on it in DEP Secretary, In Erie, Calls Marcellus Shale ‘A Blessing Under Our Feet’.

The War On Renewables

According to Dlouhy at Chron.com, “Olson said his idea makes sense, since one of the major aims of the renewable fuel standard was to reduce the United States’ need for imported oil.

Except, Olson’s brand of ethanol just isn’t renewable. It’s derived from a finite fossil resource. Basically, these people would redefine “renewable” to mean “not foreign,” and if you don’t happen to pay attention to Texas feedstock business news, you might have missed it. By putting a carbon intensive shale gas byproduct on level footing with sustainably produced ethanol from renewable sources like switchgrass, landfills and livestock operations, Olson’s bill would set a precarious, if not dangerous, precedent.

The Renewable Fuels Association has insisted that any bid to add fossil fuels to the standard is misguided. Fossil fuels, the trade group insists, have no place in a renewable mandate,’ reports Dlouhy.

Cutting tax credits and slashing federal subsidies for real renewable energy is bad enough, especially when dangerous atmospheric carbon thresholds have recently been crossed, as reported in Earth’s Carbon Dioxide Levels to Hit 400 ppm by Russell McLendon in Mother Nature Network. And especially when our best bet is renewables. Really. Read more in Charts: The Smart Money Is on Renewable Energy by Tim McDonnell, MotherJones, April 22, 2013, and be sure share the link with any doubters you might know.

Earth Guardians Caught Up In The War On Science

Stooping to a new low, O&G interests in Colorado are conducting a none too gentle takedown of middle school students in a Denver area school district who belong to the environmental group, Earth Guardians. In Teacher and Principal Pressured to Resign Over Students’ Presentation About Fracking, Jacob Devaney of The Huffington Post, reports on May 13, 2013 that Earth Guardians is “an organization started and run by youth (most under 13 years old) whose mission is, ‘…to educate and assist youth in becoming active caretakers of our precious earth, and to empower them in becoming outspoken environmental leaders, both locally and globally.’ ”

Well, from an industry that would also love to see the U.S. Forest Service slap a muzzle on Smokey The Bear, I suppose we should expect nothing less. Read more in Forest Service Inflamed by Brooklyn Anti-Fracking Artist’s Smokey the Bear by Sydney Brownstone, Village Voice, May 7, 2013, and please remember…

Only You Can Prevent Faucet Fires!


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One Response to ““Domestic” Does Not Necessarily Mean “Renewable””

  1. SB1171 Would Nearly Double Renewable Energy In Pennsylvania | Keep Tap Water Safe Says:

    […] time I checked, natural gas was not considered a renewable in Pennsylvania, though in Texas the classification gets a little […]

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