It is time to finally put the pieces of a larger energy puzzle together —Michael Noll

Seen today on the WACE facebook page: an online comment the VDT declined to let appear. It was on Natural gas use expanding; station planned for Valdosta by Kay Harris, VDT, 22 July 2012. -jsq

There are some major problems with this article, but let’s first begin with the points one can agree with:

Mr. Putnam is correct when he says that natural gas is a much cleaner source of energy than coal and oil. It is also true that natural gas is a “bridge fuel” which can buy us time to develop new technologies. However, here are the points that are missing (or were glanced over) simply because we are, again, looking for a quick fix to our dependence on foreign oil, while doing little to address issues that really matter:

  1. Neither Mr. Putnam nor the VDT seem to fully understand or recognize the environmental damage fracking does. This new technology is not only responsible for our nation’s current natural gas surplus, but also comes at an enormous price to both people and the environment.
  2. Time and again we are talking about the need to become independent of foreign oil, yet little attention is paid to the need to conserve. Instead we continue to ‘live it up” and consume more energy per capita than any other western nation. If you are addicted to a “drug” (as in an overly consumptive lifestyle) hopping from marijuana to heroin won’t help your general problem.

It is time to finally put the pieces of a larger energy puzzle together because at the end of the day natural gas, too, is a finite source. But how will we ever get there when a) entities like Southern Company (i.e. Georgia Power) refuse to embrace truly clean sources of energy production like solar and wind, when b) people like Mr. Putnam and papers like the VDT only present a one-sided view of an important and complex issue, and when c) we, the consumers, refuse to accept our responsibilities in this whole mess as if we had a God given right to be wasteful?

-Michael Noll