Blow It Out… Your Gas

Call Your Senators – Oppose Efforts to Repeal the BLM Methane Flaring Rule

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The splash of light in the center of North America at night, seen from space, shines like the opposite of a black eye. It doesn’t mark a big city or conglomeration of cities like the other light spots across the continent. In fact, it’s coming from where there are few cities at all.

The bright spot is the oil patch in and around the Badlands in western North Dakota. It’s flaring of natural gas from oil rigs.

It’s also cash disappearing, literally, into thin air. 

It’s the potential for thousands of jobs going up in smoke. 

It’s a resource that could help our nation be less dependent on foreign energy sources. 

It’s the atmosphere being polluted by dangerous methane and other toxins from an industry that comes in, tramples over a state’s public lands and ultimately leaves with millions and millions more in its stained pockets. Some of those millions make their way into the re-election coffers of members of Congress.

These are members of Congress who – surprise, surprise – want to repeal the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Methane and Natural Gas Waste Reduction Rule that curbs flaring and venting on public lands.

Methane and Natural Gas Waste Reduction Rule

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Flaring refers to burning off natural gas that is a byproduct of fracking, and venting to releasing natural gas into the atmosphere.

The BLM finalized the rule near the end of President Obama’s term. It’s intended to, “…help curb waste of our nation’s natural gas supplies; reduce harmful air pollution, including greenhouse gases; and provide a fair return on public resources for federal taxpayers, Tribes, and States.”

Sounds reasonable. 

But the oil and gas industry doesn’t think so. It argues that forcing oil extractors to update equipment and technologies to capture and distribute the natural gas will be too costly and ultimately will make them less likely to keep extracting oil.

Balderdash. Ballyhoo. Bullpucky. 

If there’s oil to be got, those companies will be here to get it. They just don’t want to spend the money. Instead, they’d rather keep sending ours up in flames, along with public health and the health of the planet.

And members of Congress – mostly Republican, but a few Democrats, too – want to help them by repealing the Methane Flaring and Natural Gas Waste Reduction Rule. 

Money

Speaking of money…

Natural gas is a valuable fuel source. According to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

An in-depth analysis by ICF International estimates that fugitive and vented losses from oil and natural gas operations on federal and tribal lands amounted to over 65 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 2013. This gas would be worth nearly $330 million at current prices.

That’s $330 million of a TAXPAYER-OWNED resource that will go back to being burned off and released into the atmosphere by private, for-profit businesses. Taxpayers get ZERO return.

The EDF also reported that, “Nationwide the U.S. loses about $2 billion worth of natural gas every year through methane leaks and intentional releases (like venting) throughout the oil and gas system.”

Jobs

The methane mitigation industry has been putting people to work in high-paying jobs, according to a study commissioned by the EDF and conducted by Datu Research, an international firm created by Duke University analysts.

story about the research at naturalgasintel.com says, 

…many of the methane mitigation companies have developed effective

technologies and services to capture unburned natural gas. The services

“create new, well-paying American jobs for skilled workers, save industry

over $1 billion in lost product and reduce air pollution.

“These are highly skilled jobs with good pay,” said Datu President Marcy Lowe “and they are not likely to be outsourced.”

Sounds like the kind of jobs we want in this country. 

Health

Natural gas flaring and venting puts toxic chemicals into the air that we and our children and grandchildren breathe. 

Multiple sources discuss the negative health impacts of carcinogens, metals like arsenic, sour gases, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and methane released through flaring and venting of natural gas. Autoimmune problems, asthma and other respiratory illnesses, cancer and premature death are a few of the related health issues that are often mentioned.

Arsenic. Carcinogens. Cancer. Premature death. These are ugly words, especially in the context of preventable activities.

Climate Costs

Then there’s methane.

Methane is a big part of natural gas. When it’s released into the atmosphere, it’s a greenhouse gas that accelerates global warming. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, cited in a piece in Scientific American, said methane warms Earth 86 times more than CO2. The negatives of CO2 in relation to atmospheric degradation are well documented.

So Congress says…

Congress wants to repeal the Methane Flaring and Natural Gas Waste Reduction Rule, anyway. Right now, it’s easier than usual to do so because of what’s called the Congressional Review Act. This act allows Congress to repeal or overturn rules issued by federal agencies within a certain time period. An FAQ about the Congressional Review Act states:

Because of the structure of the periods during which Congress can take 

action under the CRA, there may be a period at the beginning of each 

new Administration during which rules issued near the end of the previous

Administration would be eligible for consideration under the CRA.

In layman’s terms, this means this Congress can repeal or overturn rules released near the end of President Barak Obama’s term. And they’re doing it like crazy. 

The worst part of the CRA? A rule repealed under this law cannot be implemented again in “substantially the same form.” Ever. Over and out.

One Democrat who apparently is still “wavering” on how she’ll vote regarding the repeal of this rule is Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who is from my home state.

Badlands, Bad Mojo

I grew up in the Badlands of North Dakota.

I’ll never forget the gazillion stars and planets, satellites sailing along under the Milky Way, trailing across the dark night sky. I’d lie on my back in the campground across the Little Missouri River from the Burning Hills Amphitheater, watching in anticipation for the nightly fireworks that blasted over the crowd at the end of every Medora Musical performance.

Those stars are harder to see these days, thanks to the air and light pollution from the flaring of natural gas on public lands in North Dakota and elsewhere. If Congress repeals this rule, it’ll be harder yet, and the negative impacts will be felt well beyond the borders of my state.

Call Your Senators

Wherever you are, call your senators (here’s a list). In North Dakota: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, 202-224-2043, and Sen. John Hoeven, 202-224-2551.

Tell them to vote against air pollution, dangerous hydrocarbons, lost jobs and wasted funds. Tell them to vote against repeal of the BLM Methane and Natural Gas Waste Reduction Rule.

In short, tell them to blow it out…. The gas.

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No Chance, the President

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“It’s a good garden and a healthy one,” he says when asked about a flailing U.S. economy. “Its trees are healthy and so are its shrubs and flowers…. I agree with the President:  everything in it will grow strong in due course.”

His interviewer, a late-night TV talk show host, believes Chance is speaking figuratively; the audience does as well, both those in the studio and millions more across the country. They all take him for a brilliant man who advises the president on economic policy.

He’s not.

Continue reading “No Chance, the President”

Who is Behind “North Dakotans for Comprehensive Energy Solutions”?

As the North Dakota Senate considers a two-year moratorium on wind energy development, a definitive answer remains elusive.

A group that calls itself North Dakotans for Comprehensive Energy Solutions has a campaign under way in North Dakota that suggests it is an advocate for more wind energy development in the state. 

More wind power development in North Dakota? Sign me up! I love wind energy, and I believe we should have more wind generation in our state.

But wait…

Continue reading “Who is Behind “North Dakotans for Comprehensive Energy Solutions”?”

Green Assault

While we gawk at the Executive, the Legislative is decimating environmental protections.

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Safe drinking water. Clean air. Wild lands that maintain plant and animal diversity. The very health of the planet itself.

They were all here, in great shape and in abundance before any of us arrived. In my judgment, they should all be here when we turn things over to our children and grandchildren.

If you agree, start paying attention. Not to the broad executive order strokes of 45, but to the details of what’s happening in Congress.

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Jobs? All It Takes is a Huge Setta Ball… Gags. Trump’s got ’em!

Recent gag orders from the White House? Two words: Freakin’. Brilliant.

Them recent gag orders from the White House – I’ve but two words:

Freakin’. Brilliant.

The Don – that’s what I call Prezdint Trump – said he’d create jobs, right? Well, lemme tell ya, the ping pong ball, tennis ball, cord an’ handkerchief manufacturers of the good ol’ USA are tip-toein’ across their shop floors on this day. Effin’ A!

’Cordin’ to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the zecutive branch employed 2.079 million people in 2014. That’s a whole lotta folks to gag.

What’s ‘at? Nah, heard it from someone. Red cap. Awesome guy. Who you think has time to be lookin up that kinda crap, anyhow?

Movin on, then….

Way I see it, there’s two good ways to do it – either stuff ol’-fashioned handkerchiefs in their mouths or use ball gags. 

The hankies, they come in red, white or blue, but I think we should stick with red. And the ball gags – ya know what they are, right?

No?

Graphic of blue handkerchief with words on it - "Gag 'em, Donny boy!"Say, uh, maybe we should stop right there. You queasy ’bout kinky bedroom stuff? No? Well… OK, then.

You’ll see ’em in movies with torture scenes, sometimes. They’re ping pong or tennis sized balls that get put in people’s mouths. You know, to keep ’em quiet. The balls are attached to cords that go around the back of their heads so they don’t pop out. 

Ever seen “Pulp Fiction”? Yeah, now ya know what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

Never seen one in real life myself, but they’re out there. Heard that from the #RedHatter, too. An’ lotsa other people. Important people. Smart people.

There’s a buncha websites that sell ’em pretty cheap. So I hear. I never looked, myself, ya understand.

You can even go on that YouTube for step-by-step instructions to make ’em yerself. All you need are ping pong balls for small-mouthed feds and tennis balls for big-mouthed feds. (Personally, I don’t see much use for the ping-pong balls; all feds have big mouths, way I see it.) You can use the same kinds of cords for either.

Huh? No, heard that from a different fella.

Yeah, he was wearin a red hat, too. What’s that got to do with anything this side of the Rio?

Anyway, back to bidness… 2.1 million federal workers to gag. At least. 

That’s a crap-ton a ping pong balls, tennis balls, cords and hankies, right? And someone’s gonna need to make ’em all. Wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, we got ourselves a crap-ton of jobs! Great jobs, too. Best jobs created in decades! Created ever!

Say again?

Not true. Fact is, that kinda stuff usually come from overseas or those people to the south. But Prezdint Trump’s got that figured, too – build a wall an’ tariff the heck outta all of ’em. Keep those jobs at home, dammit!

An’ it’s gitten better ever’ day.

I hear the Don’s got a plan to hire regular folks to chase down those nasty federal workers – you know, the ones with years of experience and knowledge we don’t need – hog tie ’em, fit ’em for gags and hold ’em hostage. The Gag Squad’s gonna be an offshoot of the group that’ll soon be roundin’ up immigrants. 

Why? Well, jeez. We don’t want ’em sharin’ information with taxpayers. Duh. Never mind the taxpayers are the ones paid for it.

I mean, National Park Service, ’Vironmental Protection Agency, Health an’ Human Services, Ag Department? Radical socialist libtards, ever’ last one of ’em!

Don’t want ’em sayin’ anything based on their version of facts, especially the science-y stuff. The new Department of Untested Malarkey & Balderdash (DUMB) isn’t quite up and runnin’ yet. Not sure on the name, but no matter. Once that’s goin’ full bore, we’ll be disprovin’ all the baloney those lyin’ elites spew with real facts.

Come again? “Alternative?” There’s nothin’ alternative bout em, there, Sweet Cheeks. Them there’s the facts. Eff-aye-see-tee-ess. FACTS.

To get DUMB off the ground, first we gotta get ridda all the gagged agencies and employees. That’s well under way with new federal department heads takin’ apart agencies they been picked to lead. I’ll say it again – Freakin’! Brilliant!

Once that’s done, them jobs can be used for more regular folks to create DUMB social media, DUMB blog posts, DUMB press releases, DUMB public advisories and the like. 

There’s been a few flies in the ointment, a-course. Take them idiots who started Twitter accounts like @BadHombreLandsNPS, @AltNATParkService and @RogueNASA. Fourteen accounts, pages or sites so far, I hear. They need to be rounded up an’ gagged, too. Never fear; they will be. 

Where the heck’s Koresh an McVeigh when ya need ’em. Right?

Worried about big gov-ment staying big or getting bigger? Don’t be. DUMB won’t have as many employees as will be gone from the gagged agencies. Even when you add in the Gag Squad jobs, there still won’t be as many people sucklin’ on the government… well, you know. Take that to the bank. So I hear, from lotsa people. Great people. Smartest people in gov-ment. Ever.

Not only is ol’ Don Trump creating jobs, he’s cuttin’ gov-ment down, too. In more ways than one.

Plus, no way Trump’s gonna stop at three or four piddlin’ agencies. If ya wanna be great, ya gotta go all the way. Won’t be long before we need even more gags, which means more ping pong balls, tennis balls, cords an’ hankies. Red ones. 

An’ even more jobs! Damn right! 

The Prezdint was right all ’long. WINNIN’!

No. I aint gonna answer no more questions from the likes a you.

Like I said, just three words:

Absolutely. Freakin’. Brilliant.

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© Martin C. Fredricks IV, 2017




 

Exiled on Broadway / But We Are the Champions, My Friends

It could have been subconscious at work. Or it might have been a happy accident, since I’d been listening to The Stones the day before and it was still queued up. Or maybe, just maybe, it was providence. / As I turned east from University Drive onto 7thAvenue North on Saturday, January 21, headed for the Fargo, N.D., edition of the Women’s March, the stereo was kickin’ out “Pass the Wine” full blast. 

Sometimes things don’t work out the way you want / I don’t know if I’m gonna laugh or cry… / But listen, I’ll tell you / I’m glad to be alive and kickin’ / I’m glad to hear my heart’s still tickin’ / So pass me the wine, baby, and let’s make some love. – The Rolling Stones, “Pass the Wine” from “Exile on Main St.”

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It could have been subconscious at work. Or it might have been a happy accident, since I’d been listening to The Stones the day before and it was still queued up. Or maybe, just maybe, it was providence.

Continue reading “Exiled on Broadway / But We Are the Champions, My Friends”

Phases of Learning

One evening last week my 6-year-old daughter and I ran out to Dairy Queen to get treats and bring them home for everyone. It was around 6:30, and as we drove east on 17th Avenue it was still fairly light outside but the moon was already visible. It was nearly full; it was full a night or so later.

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Pops References

No one has called me “Pops” to my face yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

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A young colleague recently showed me a graphic meant to accompany a client’s social media post. It dealt with clean water in underdeveloped areas. Prominently featured was a blue bus. I shook my head. “Makes me think of Jim Morrison,” I said, assuming the underlying narcotic use suggestion was obvious. “We don’t wanna go there.”

I could have been speaking Swahili. Blank look. “Who?”

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Carson Wentz – “The Dakota Kid”?

The great ones have nicknames.

Peyton Manning was and forever will be “The Sheriff.” Brett Favre is “The Gunslinger.” And despite the drubbing the Pittsburgh Steelers took at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles this past weekend, “Big Ben” Roethlisberger rightfully commands the respect of defenses across the National Football League.

So here’s a thought….

The Dakota Kid-2The great ones have nicknames.

Peyton Manning was and forever will be “The Sheriff.” Brett Favre is “The Gunslinger.” And despite the drubbing the Pittsburgh Steelers took at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles this past weekend, “Big Ben” Roethlisberger rightfully commands the respect of defenses across the National Football League.

So here’s a thought:

Continue reading “Carson Wentz – “The Dakota Kid”?”

Me, Mark & the White Robin

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A few days ago while on my midday walk with the dogs, when I was on the 1700 block of 15th Street South, I saw what looked like an albino robin.

Can’t be, I thought to myself. I took a double take and watched the bird and several robins fly down from the branch he was on toward the driveway of a nearby house. Must be a white dove, I said out loud. Even if that were the case, it would have been pretty unusual in this area. I’ve never seen an all-white dove in the Dakotas or Minnesota; they’re all grey.

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