Jul 25 2011

Fossil Fuels: The Energy of Today

Yahoo News is where I normally look for recent events. They have a page of news under the science section dedicated to energy. Just by quickly scrolling down the page there are two topics appear multiple times just over the weekend; gas/oil and EPA regulations are constantly in the news. One story about both oil and EPA regulations are the recent drafts of permits for drilling on the Artic Outer Continental Shelf by Shell and Concophillips just north of Alaska. The oil companies are optimistic that the first draft will lead to a second and finally to the permission to drill in region and to release air pollution. The drilling needs permits because they plan to release over 100 tons of air pollution each year. Alaskan government officials are also excited about the progress in permitting for the new drilling sites and believe that permitting is the main problem when trying to establish new drilling sites.

Although we have spent a lot of time in the past two weeks learning about alternatives to fossil fuels, by looking at this article and many others it is clear to see that the focus is still in carbon based fuel. Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski even talked about how she hopes the EPA will be able to handle the environmental activists. I believe that investing in alternatives to drilling for oil is not only about environmental activism, but is also about switching to a sustainable energy source for future economic reasons and human health as well.

 

I do find it slightly comforting that there are some hurtles that the oil companies have to jump through to gain the permits, but I still wonder if they are comparable to the kind of obstacles one would face trying to install an offshore wind farm. I understand that the impacts that the wind farm may have are still unknown, but I’m sure that there will been detrimental effects of the act of drilling, any potential oil spills, and the 100 tons of air pollution emitted per year.

To read this article click here.

 

On a more positive note, the EPA did decide to strengthen their regulations on mountain top mining water regulations in the Appalachian Mountains. Coal mining is known to have a detrimental effect on water quality and after over 60,000 comments from locals the EPA decided to put regulations in place to better the water quality. These regulations should improve the surface water as well as the environment and public health. Even with the stricter regulations though, coal will still be adding to the overall pollution of these areas.

This is an image of a stream near a coal mine.

 

To read this article click here.

All throughout the news the energy focus is still on fossil fuels and until we see a switch in focus of the general population and in the political world I doubt there will be a huge transition in our energy sources.

 

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