Local Greens on the Energy Defensive

While most (of any) attention often is placed on the Presidential race, Greens on the ground is where the action often is found. The Green Party (US) is made up of State Green Parties, many of which are themselves made up of Local Green Party chapters. It is at this Local level where the Four Pillars (Ecological Wisdom, Social Justice, Grassroots Democracy, Peace & Non-violence) are put into action.

In Oregon, local Greens are fighting a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal, the Jordan Cove Energy Project.

Perhaps the most significant setback is the state’s finding that the county hadn’t adequately addressed safety issues at the 170-acre project site; namely, that the terminal would sit atop a sand dune prone to liquefaction in the event of a major earthquake — a phenomenon similar to the ground turning into instant quicksand — and that it’s squarely in the middle of a tsunami hazard zone, which the state Department of Geology and Mineral Industries has expressly advised against, said James Nicita, co-chairman of the Pacific Green Party, which contributed arguments in the LUBA appeal.

LUBA rejected several portions of the hazards argument, but sustained at least part of the case, which will force the county to consider the risk, Nicita said.

“In the 1990s, (the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries) actually recommended to Coos County to zone hazardous facilities away from areas of high earthquake risk,” Nicita said. “Jordan Cove will say there’s an engineering solution to everything. We’ll see how this all plays out.”

In New York, the Chenango (County) Greens are all over a proposed natural gas drilling plan that involves “Hydrofracking”, a process that involves blasting vertically into the rock where the natural gas is trapped, releasing both the gas and at the same time toxic-laden water, which is brought to the surface to merge its carcinogenic properties into both running water and ground water.

From the Times Union, “Toxic Gas-Drilling Technique”

Most drilling states inject the tainted water back into the ground in areas where solid rock layers keep it isolated from drinking water, but the geology in New York and Pennsylvania makes that impossible.

Ensuring the water gets treated isn’t part of DEC’s permit review, so long as the end result complies with state laws that say it meets discharge standards.

Read the entire article, it is a classic case of deregulation gone wild in the energy sector with no care given to the health risks posed by such ventures. Also browse through the posts on the Chenango Greens website for more thoughts on this dangerous issue.


Republican gives away gas, gets top billing

In a piece at the Suburban Chicago News, Patrick Ferrell writes about Marty Ozinga III and his stunt of giving away free gas to motorists. For more than 10 paragraphs the article makes no mention of anyone else in the race. Finally, at the bottom of the article, two paragraphs that lay out Jason Wallace’s ideas for how to really deal with our nation’s energy future, and guess what? Unlike Ozinga, it doesn’t involve the destruction of Arctic habitats.


Alan Auguston: the Cost of Gas and Peak Oil

Green Party Congressional Candidate Alan Augustson (IL, CD-05) called upon all Presidential and other candidates to back off from promises of lower gasoline prices.

“Cheap gas is over,” said Augustson, who will be seeking to unseat the powerful Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) in November. “Any candidate who promises lower gas prices is making a false promise, plain and simple. It’s a cheap, obvious election gimmick. Don’t fall for it.”

In a communique to a number of online media outlets, Augustson contended that speculators and taxation amount to very little in determining the price of a gallon of gasoline. “Gas is expensive,” he said, “because the oil is running out. And that which remains is harder to find, harder to extract, harder to refine and harder to distribute.”

In fact, he said, gas prices would be even higher still if not for government subsidies.

“Whether you drive an SUV or ride a bike everywhere, you’re paying for gas,” Augustson said. “Your taxes pay for enormous subsidies to the energy industry. Without those subsidies, you’d see gasoline prices similar to what they pay in Europe.”

He speculated that gasoline prices might fall “maybe a quarter or so, just in time for the election. But they’ll snap right back to the upward trend, immediately afterward.”

Augustson’s solution to high gas prices? “Stop using gas. Take public transit if you have it. Get an electric vehicle — not a hybrid. Ride a bike. Walk. Move closer to work. Shop closer to home. Just stop driving. I know that’s not going to be a popular answer, but the truth seldom is.”

Alan Augustson, 44, is an economist, statistician and management consultant living in Chicago. He announced his candidacy for Congress in June of 2007.