There is a steady flow of news these days about the drawbacks of our energy "system." The bad news seems to flow like...greenhouse gas, or even coal ash during a downpour.
America's natural gas reserves are increasing as more and more deposits are found. The catch: fracking is often needed for extraction of the gas. That means pumping water into the ground, and then pumping it back out. Then dumping it into the wild. Ooops.
The feds seem unable to deal with fracking but New York State is looking at some rules. Of course, that will raise the price of natural gas. Nature provides no free lunch, no free energy.
A KICK IN THE ASH MSM giant "Sixty Minutes" just did a number on coal ash, one of those inconvenient truths about burning all the cheap coal we love so much here in the U.S. We are second only to China in the coal-burning sweepstakes. I've blogged about the Chinese putting the stuff into wallboard and selling here in the U.S. to bad effect. And there's that inconvenient coal ash torrent of last winter in Tennessee. I suggest we use the coal ash to make furniture for the staff and offices of the Congress members and state pols who constantly argue for more coal burning.
Those Tennessee folks are clever, they're now hauling ash to Alabama. The coal ash spill clean-up will cost well over a billion dollars which will be paid for by TVA's customers. That would be the same TVA that did nothing to prevent the coal ash problem for years, until it was too late. Very important to control costs, and disregard future environmental problems. That's how the market system works when nobody's regulating the results, even though TVA is NOT a profit-making business.
But coal ash is now being noticed. South Carolina seems to have a little arsenic problem, for example.
After all this, it's not clear if the EPA will issue regs on coal ash, its storage and its re-use. Coal has many powerful friends in the Senate.
In the interest of fairness, the petroleum folk shave own little disaster leaking into the ocean, down under. It has not yet reached the proportions of the Exxon Valdez. Here's the wikipedia summary of that spill and its effects.