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The Meaning of the California Gas Blowout – Markets Rule

So while we contemplate wind farms and solar arrays, we remain married to an antiquated infrastructure that lets us do what we have done for centuries: extracting energy by burning carbon.  ~~~ Newsweek

Although people are being sickened and forced to evacuate their homes, obviously, the climate impacts of the California gas blowout in what is now a ghost town known as Porter Ranch are the most significant.

The gas leak from this one site is equivalent to 25% of California’s total daily greenhouse gas emissions!

But the root cause of the gas blowout is the same as the failure that allowed a developer to build a new community adjacent to a massive gas storage facility.

You see, we don’t need any of that Socialistic government land use planning and job killing Red Tape regulations.

The so called “free market” rules – and corporate profits and private property rights trump any notion of the public interest, the recommendations of planners and scientists, and environmental concerns – by a long shot and every single time.

We’re certain that the good people of Seneca Lake NY understand all that.

Newsweek nails it: in the gas industry’s own terms:

markets rule

Supply and demand and corporate profits have ruled since the Reagan era dismantling began.

We are reaping the whirlwind.

And we did have a fit of schadenfreude, noting the involvement of Toll Brothers developers.

Toll Brothers, the upscale developer that has built much of the land here, promises potential residents they will “relax within open, natural spaces and live within a true community”.

Until very recently, you would have had to do a considerable amount of Internet sleuthing to discover that Porter Ranch, home to 30,000 people, is not exactly the pristine, quasi-rural paradise promised by its developers and boosters. The hills that frame its Instagram-ready backdrop also cradle the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility, a parcel of 3,600 acres in which the Southern California Gas Company has turned 115 defunct oil wells into an underground warehouse that can hold 80 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

In NJ, environmental laws and regulations not only allow they promote and subsidize new housing development on landfills and toxic “brownfields”, even Superfund sites.

We don’t have any old oil and gas storage sites to build on, but we do allow development on old coal gasification sites.

And we allow gas pipelines to be built through Karst formations, highly prone to subsidence and sinkhole collapse.

How much worse can it get?

[PS – a well casing failed – all well casings fail over time. There are 400 underground gas storage facilities and hundreds of thousands of gas wells. We’re fracked.


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