Monday, May 13, 2013


Two new posts from The Lion:

  A recent study concluded the United States could become energy independent over the next 10 years.  The implications of this are staggering.  Our dependence on foreign oil would be reduced allowing us to completely re-assess our foreign policy goals in the Middle East.  It could add just the different perspective and motivation needed for a breakthrough in our approach to the Israeli/Palestinian question.  While China struggles to make deals to import more energy, we would find ourselves no longer held hostage by our energy partners.  Manufacturing could receive a huge boost.  Already, some companies are opening shuttered factories or building new ones because of the cheap cost of natural gas.  By building here, they save a fortune in transportation costs and can more easily respond to market trends.  Utilities are moving from coal-fired plants to plants using natural gas which is going to reduce greenhouse gases.  The push for building new nuclear energy plants will melt in the face of cheap energy produced domestically.  With American energy demands reduced, oil and gas produced in the Middle East, and other locations, becomes available to Europe reducing the stranglehold Russia has held over energy prices and public policy.  Russian gas giant Gasprom has been forced by this competition to dramatically reduce the price for its energy.  (reducing Putin's geo-political leverage over the European Union and encouraging the Union to stand with the U.S. vs. Russia on issues like Syria.)

     Yet, despite all of this sunshine and lollipops, there are those who want to crash this party and seize upon this windfall for their own greed and parochial interests.  The proposal, which would kill this golden energy goose, is to build facilities to liquefy the natural gas and then export it.

     The pressure to export natural gas is building and getting stronger by the day.  In the last few months, when proponents of exporting find their arguments foundering, a new wrinkle has been added.  Proponents are now crying there is a national security reason to export natural gas.  We could sell cheap natural gas to our allies thus shoring them up economically and establishing alliances which would benefit us in the case of conflict in various parts of the world.  This national security argument is the position of last resort when all else fails.

     There is no rocket science here.  Cheap natural gas means cheap domestic energy.  It means money back in American's pockets.  By focusing on the domestic market, America becomes an attractive place to open new plants and industries.  We reduce the pressure or desire for nuclear power and we use less coal.  Exporting natural gas will drive its price up simply under the concept of supply and demand.  It's cheap now because there's more supply than demand.  However, if you export it, demand rises, supply remains the same, and the price goes up here at home.  Proponents of export argue it would take years before there would be any upwards pressure on price, but it matters not.  Prices will go up.  America's competitive advantage slips away.  Utilities again find coal to be attractive.  Home energy bills rise.  No one denies prices will rise if it’s exported.  The only question is how high and how fast.

     For once, can't we do the right thing and crush corporate greed?  The exporters just see huge demand in foreign markets and care not one whit about domestic consequences.  Corporations have no allegiance to this nation...they are not Marx said they would sell the rope to be used to hang them.  They see a buck of profit and that's that.  Will we for once do what's in our own enlightened self interest and stop the corporate barbarians at our gates?

     This debate has not yet hit the national radar.  There is a proposal to build a liquefied natural gas depot in Louisiana and rumors of attempts to build at least 2 more.  This is not a done deal yet.  However, the interests behind export are powerful and they have already trotted out the national security argument knowing how easily Americans are frightened and how quickly they will roll over when confronted with a purported national security threat.

     I don't know the secret recipe which produces a clarion call to action resulting in a wave of American opinion breaking across the capital and sweeping away opponents.  What are the words or conditions which cause Americans, other than those who belong to the N.R.A., to demand their representatives actually do what is in the nation's best interest?  All I know is if we start exporting natural gas, the price goes up, our allies get a sweet deal, corporate America, which cares not one iota about America, makes huge profits and our children lose the chance to experience an America on the rise, independent of foreign energy pressure and able to act on principal rather than just real-politck.

     This is a call to arms and should you and your friends and neighbors take it up, we can envision a boon to this nation for years to come.  Should apathy prevail, this energy will be exported and America will have lost...Americans will have lost...and it's a loss we cannot reverse or recover from.   It's trite...a cliché...but it is up to you.


  1. Bernie, I thought you would want to know, if no one's told you yet. Gene Burns passed away this morning. It was just announced on KGO. We have lost a true gentleman and a gentle man.

    1. Bernie, thank-you for shining a light on natural gas and planned exports of LNG. It would appear that natural gas will be going the same way as Alaska crude, which is being refined on the West Coast and the fuel shipped off to China. The domestic abundance of natural gas had been a well kept secret until the excesses of fracking let the cat out of the bag. Reserves are found in every state.

      One interest sidebar, petroleum poor pre-war Germany purchased the technology to convert natural gas to gasoline and diesel from a U.S. firm. If used today, that old technology could make our country energy independent, just as it started Germany on that path in World War II.

      Radio dumbed down when it lost your voice, Bernie. We hope in the near future you will be back to help turn the tide. Sadly, there was an irreversible setback today with the loss of Gene Burns.