The Dernogalizer

July 27, 2010

Reid Unveils Weak Energy Bill

Filed under: energy,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 10:16 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Harry Reid has unveiled his weak energy bill that can muster the 60 votes to break the filibuster.  Absent from it is a price on carbon, climate provisions, and a Renewable Energy Standard.  Here is the 24 page summary.

Now that there aren’t some good provisions, it’s just they feel like baby steps compared to the problem we’re trying to solve.  The good parts are…

1.  A section on new regulations for offshore drilling to prevent another massive oil spill like the one we just had.

2.  A transportation section that included $400 million for accelerating electric and plug-in vehicles, along with their infrastruction.

3.  A section on Home star, which is a $5 billion dollar energy efficiency measure to help retrofit homes across the county.

4.  A section on increasing the oil spill liability cap up to $5 billion dollars.

5.  A section on fixing the Land and Water Conservation fund, which is good bill, but environmentalists rightly wonder what it’s doing in an energy bill.

The bad part is a title in the transportation section on incentives for natural gas vehicles, which is as laughable as the money we’ve thrown corn ethanol.

So like I said, most of this stuff is good, but none of it is bold.  In fact, I’m disappointed that there aren’t more baby steps included that could add up to something significant.  A few things that come to my mind is Building Star, A Green Energy Bank, and Bernie Sander’s solar bill.  A big step would be a strong RES.

June 25, 2010

Weekly Mulch: As risks for oil and gas grow, USSF offers change

Filed under: environment — Matt Dernoga @ 11:33 pm

The following is a cross-post from the Media Consortium’s Weekly Mulch on the environmental problems from  extracting natural gas.

Weekly Mulch: As risks for oil and gas grow, USSF offers change

By Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium Blogger

BP oil has been spilling into the Gulf of Mexico for more than two months, and while attention has focused there, deepwater oil drilling is just one of many risky methods of energy extraction that industry is pursuing. Gasland, Josh Fox’s documentary about the effects of hydrofracking, a new technique for extracting natural gas, was broadcast this week on HBO. In the film, Fox travels across the country visiting families whose water has turned toxic since gas companies began drilling in their area. (more…)

March 29, 2010

NY Times on Hydraulic Fracturing

Filed under: energy,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 12:03 am
Tags: ,

Check out the NY Time’s editorial on natural gas and hydraulic fracturing.  The EPA definitely needs to look into this.  For my opinions on natural gas, see here and here.

Finding Natural Gas, Safely

The Environmental Protection Agency will soon begin a much-needed study of the effects on water quality and public health of a method of extracting natural gas called hydraulic fracturing. An E.P.A. investigation in 2004 was rightly seen as superficial and skewed toward industry, which provided much of the underlying data. This one must be comprehensive and transparent.

It must also be swift. The search for natural gas has widened beyond the usual venues like Texas and the Rocky Mountain West to Pennsylvania and New York State, site of a vast deposit called the Marcellus Shale.

Hydraulic fracturing involves blasting water, sand and chemicals into underground formations to unlock the gas. The technique has been implicated in a growing number of water pollution cases. New York State has been forced to review plans to allow exploratory drilling upstate, including New York City’s watershed, because of fears that an accidental release of toxic chemicals could poison the water supply for millions of people.

Representative Maurice Hinchey, a Democrat from New York, had inserted a provision in a spending bill urging the E.P.A to undertake the study. Mr. Hinchey is also the co-author, with Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, of a bill that would force industry to disclose the chemicals it uses and require regulation of the process under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Industry has publicly endorsed the E.P.A. review and expressed confidence that it will show that hydraulic fracturing is, in the words of the American Petroleum Institute, a “safe and well-understood technology” that has allowed access to huge new supplies of natural gas.

At the same time, industry opposes the DeGette-Hinchey bill, claiming that the chemicals it uses are proprietary secrets and that new regulations would deter production. Mr. Hinchey and Ms. DeGette should stick to their guns. It’s important to enlarge the nation’s supply of natural gas, a relatively clean fuel. But where public health is an issue, federal oversight is plainly required.

February 24, 2010

Energy & Commerce Committee Investigates Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing

Filed under: environment,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 5:19 pm
Tags: ,

This post is a little late, but important nonetheless considering the growing influence of natural gas in the energy mix and climate debate.
WASHINGTON, DC — Chairman Henry A. Waxman and Subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey today sent letters to eight oil and gas companies that use hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and natural gas from unconventional sources in the United States.  The Committee is requesting information on the chemicals used in fracturing fluids and the potential impact of the practice on the environment and human health.

Hydraulic fracturing could help us unlock vast domestic natural gas reserves once thought unattainable, strengthening America’s energy independence and reducing carbon emissions,” said Chairman Waxman.  “As we use this technology in more parts of the country on a much larger scale, we must ensure that we are not creating new environmental and public health problems.  This investigation will help us better understand the potential risks this technology poses to drinking water supplies and the environment, and whether Congress needs to act to minimize those risks.”

Natural gas can play a very important role in our clean energy future, provided that it is produced in a safe and sustainable way,” said Subcommittee Chairman Markey.  “By getting more information from the industry about hydraulic fracturing practices, Congress can help ensure that development of this important resource moves forward in a manner that does not harm the environment.”

As Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in the last Congress, Rep. Waxman requested and received information from the largest hydraulic fracturing companies – Halliburton, BJ Services, and Schlumberger – on the chemicals used in their fracturing fluids. According to this data, two of these companies used diesel fuel in their fracturing fluids between 2005 and 2007, potentially violating a voluntary agreement with EPA to cease using diesel.  Halliburton reported using more than 807,000 gallons of seven diesel-based fluids.  BJ Services reported using 2,500 gallons of diesel-based fluids in several fracturing jobs.  Halliburton and BJ Services also indicated that they used other chemicals – such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene – that could pose environmental risks in their fracturing fluids.

Today Chairmen Waxman and Markey sent letters seeking additional information from Halliburton, BJ Services, and Schlumberger on these and related issues.  The Chairmen requested similar information from five smaller fracturing companies that comprise a growing share of the market:  Frac Tech Services, Superior Well Services, Universal Well Services, Sanjel Corporation, and Calfrac Well Services.

In addition, the Chairmen sent a memo to Members of the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment detailing the background on the issue, including EPA’s recent work on hydraulic fracturing, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s investigative findings, and the need for additional oversight and investigation.

The letters and the memo are available on the Committee on Energy and Commerce’s website at this link.

February 7, 2010

Connecticut Gas Plant Explosion

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 4:36 pm
Tags: ,

I want to post an update that a gas plant in Middletown Connecticut has recently exploded, presumably when a gas line caught fire during testing.  At least two people have been reported dead.  I want to recommend readers check out Caroline Howe’s post on this, she is a climate activist who lives in Connecticut.  Here is an excerpt from her post…

“Fossil fuels are not safe. They are not safe for our planet, they are not safe for our communities, and they are not safe for the workers inside of their power plants. This is not the first power plant explosion, this will not be the last. It is time for America to commit to a clean and safe energy economy – where our friends and neighbors can work in green jobs that give good wages and safe working environments. My heart and prayers are with the workers at the Kleen Energy Plant and with their families — and with the future of our nation to not face such a tragedy again.”

Another post is in the Daily Beast, and Enviroknow

Media coverage in Hartford Courant

June 6, 2009

Natural Gas

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 11:22 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Part 2

This is my second post in a 3 part series about what role natural gas can play in a low carbon sustainable future, and what role it should play.  Part 1 is right here.  This post is going to explore the reasoning against and for natural gas use.

I will cover the environmental/social justice, carbon emissions, and national security arguments surrounding natural gas.

Environmental/Social Justice/Carbon Emissions: So it turns out, natural gas drilling is exempt from clean water laws.  Thank you Vice President Cheney.  Apparently natural gas companies do not have to disclose the chemicals they are using in a drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, where millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals are injected at a very high pressure down and across into horizontally drilled wells.  This causes the rock layer underground such as shale to crack,  and the natural gas from the shale flows up from the well since the sand particles injected hold open the fissures.  Hey, I wonder what happens to the chemicals?  Apparently gas drilling has degraded water in hundreds of wells in Colorado alone.  Ohio had it’s own report on contmination problems from the drilling of natural gas.  Another fear from drilling and the pipelines that carry the gas is of an explosion.  In fact, Ohio has it’s own report of a drilling related explosion.  Here is how Pro Publica described it…

A spark ignited the natural gas that had collected in the basement of Richard and Thelma Payne’s suburban Cleveland home, shattering windows, blowing doors 20 feet from their hinges and igniting a small fire in a violent flash. The Paynes were jolted out of bed, and their house lifted clear off the ground.  Fearing another explosion, firefighters evacuated 19 homes in the small town of Bainbridge. Somehow, gas had seeped into the drinking water aquifer and then migrated up through the plumbing.”

For a good graph of all the natural gas accidents that have occurred state by state, check here.

What’s the counter-argument? Well, if you’re the Natural Gas Industry, you would point to the regulations natural gas does have.  But who trusts the suppliers to tell you that natural gas is clean?  The above information clearly shows it’s not clean.  The legitimate argument you would get from the part of the environmental community that is pro-natural gas(or apathetic about natural gas), would be to compare the extraction process of natural gas to oil drilling, or to how we extract and store our coal.  I know many could consider the effects of mountaintop removal to be worse.  The implications of oil spills are also pretty daunting.  Coal slurry dam disasters can be absolutely devastating.  The counter-argument regarding extraction would be that compared to coal mining and oil drilling, natural gas extraction is the lesser of the evils.

What about emissions? This again depends what you’re comparing the natural gas to.  I would consider this a valid source, since although it’s on the natural gas industry’s page, the source they’re taking this emissions profile from is the Energy Information Administration(EIA).  It’s also along the lines of what I’ve read from both pro and anti natural gas sources.

Fossil Fuel Emission Levels
– Pounds per Billion Btu of Energy Input
Pollutant Natural Gas Oil Coal
Carbon Dioxide 117,000 164,000 208,000
Carbon Monoxide 40 33 208
Nitrogen Oxides 92 448 457
Sulfur Dioxide 1 1,122 2,591
Particulates 7 84 2,744
Mercury 0.000 0.007 0.016
Source: EIA – Natural Gas Issues and Trends 1998

As you can see natural gas has about 56-57% of the CO2 emissions of coal, and 71% of oil.  Carbon Monoxide is comparable to oil, and far less than coal.  Nitrogen Oxide is another greenhouse gas, and is far less concentrated in natural gas than coal and oil.  When it comes to sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, and mercury, natural gas is far cleaner.  So this is how one could look at the glass half-full for natural gas.  On the other hand, with greenhouse emissions that at best are 50% of coal(which is extremely dirty), I wouldn’t exactly call natural gas a clean fuel.  The issue we run into again though is that in a country that’s nearly 50% dependent on coal, we could have a World War 2 style effort to produce clean renewable energy, and it would still take a considerable amount of time to displace the coal.  The same goes for coal intensive developing countries such as China and India.  Time we don’t have.  The argument can be made, and it has been made, that while we’re adding renewables to the mix, we need to also increase our use of natural gas in order to displace coal so that we can more dramatically reduce emissions.  In fact, there is considerable evidence that Britain is going to double it’s Kyoto targets, and achieve a 23% reduction below 1990 levels by 2012 in emissions, largely because it switched to natural gas from coal.  Of course there were measures to increase usage of renewables and to have a smarter transportation system, but natural gas was a significant factor in this achievement.

The LNG Exception? One big outlier in all of this emissions data is the additional environmental damage and life-cycle pollution of Liquefied Natural Gas(LNG).  Here, natural gas is frozen to -260 degrees to become a liquid, and then shipped on giant tankers, often halfway around the world to countries that use it.  This is what we import.  According to a study by the Carnegie Mellon Institute, when you take into account the full life-cycle of carbon dioxide emissions of coal versus LNG, their total CO2 emissions are “comparable”.  I quote that since I want to add context and say that according to their findings, LNG has 89% of the carbon dioxide of coal, although that isn’t mentioned, so you’ve got to pull out a handy calculator.  It’s also worth noting that this is only taking into account carbon dioxide emissions, and not nitrogen oxide emissions, which is also a greenhouse gas.  If you note the chart above, you’ll see that if you take NO2 into account for the full life-cycle, the greenhouse emissions comparison of the life-cycles of LNG and coal won’t be quite as close.  The important thing to take away from this information on LNG is that it’s considerably dirtier than ordinary natural gas, and can approach the pollution of coal.  Whether or not you call them “comparable” depends on your criteria.  Coal is still dirtier, but not by as much as it was before we accounted for LNG.  When it comes to transportation, the US Department of Energy says LNG that’s used for our transportation needs doesn’t save energy use or greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy Independence!(or not?) One of the things that natural gas advocates say is that that the US has large supplies of natural gas, and that we can use natural gas to help us become energy independent by using it in our cars.  It’s very interesting then to note a natural gas analysis all the way out to 2030 by the Energy Information Administration.  Two very telling charts are on page 8, which show natural gas supplies by region in the world, and by country in 2008.  Let me rank them by region.  In order of trillion cubic feet we’ve got the Middle East with 2549, Eurasia with 2020, Africa with 490, Asia with 415, North America with 283, Central and South America with 262, and Europe with 167.  The other chart shows the US currently has 3.4% of the world’s natural gas reserves.  That should sound familiar to our current oil dilemma.  Additionally, if you look at natural gas production over the last 30 years, you’ll see that even as our demand has increased, our production levels have remained the same.  Compare that with what’s a steady increase in our natural gas imports, and take a look at who we’re getting those imports from.  Then glance back up at which regions of the world have most of the remaining supplies.

This information leads to one conclusion regarding our national security.  If we dramatically increase US natural gas consumption(and even if it only holds steady), we’re inevitably going to be importing more and more of our natural gas each year from the countries around the world that we’re trying to become energy independent from when it comes to oil.  Additionally, this imported gas would be in the form of LNG, which means it would be more polluting than the dry domestic natural gas.  This raises 2 concerns.  The first is that on our current course, we’re going to have the same dependency problems with natural gas with currently have with oil.  The second is that the idea of replacing coal with natural gas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions sounds good, until you’re importing LNG and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions you’ve cut is far less than anticipated or desired.

So, to sum up what this part 2 analysis has brought to light…

Extraction/Social Justice? At worst drilling for natural gas is just as bad as coal and oil.  At best, it’s dirty and can harm communities, but not as dirty as coal or oil, and won’t cause as much harm to communities as coal.

Carbon Emissions? Natural gas is 56% as carbon intensive as coal, 71% of oil,  and has less emissions in other important areas as well such as NO2, sulfur, and mercury.  However, when you bring LNG into the equation and calculate for lifecycle emissions,  you’re no better than oil for transportation, and marginally better than coal for baseload power.

International Security? US natural gas production is reaching its limits, our imports are increasing as our demand goes up, and the parts of the world which have the natural gas do not like us.  This means increased use of natural gas will not solve our energy independence problem.

Stay tuned for my verdict on the role of natural gas, what it will be, and what it should be, in PART 3.

May 31, 2009

Natural Gas

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 5:41 pm
Tags: ,

Part 1

I think a lot of people including environmentalists differ on the value of natural gas in a carbon constrained future.  What role if any should natural gas play in our efforts to reduce carbon emissions?  Some people call natural gas “clean”.  T Boone Pickens has a plan to replace the oil used for our cars with “clean burning” natural gas.  If you look at a bus powered by natural gas drive by, it says “clean natural gas” on the outside.  People argue natural gas is less carbon intensive than coal, but how much less?  There are different forms of natural gas too, including Liquified Natural Gas(LNG).  How much of a difference does that make in the environmental impact of natural gas versus coal or oil?   What impact does the extraction of natural gas have on the environment?

This is going to be the first and shortest part of a 3 part series of posts about natural gas.  The post will show the contrast in the environmental community when it comes to the role of natural gas.  The next post will investigate the facts hidden amongst all the smoke and mirrors, and look at the proclaimed facts of natural gas from an environmental and national security standpoint.  The last post will be my opinion on the matter, which will reference information from the previous posts.

I’ve been thinking about the role of natural gas for awhile now, ever since I saw the T Boone Pickens commercials.  At the Powershift 2009 conference I was at, I attended an informational session about natural gas.   It was very useful, however all the facts were brought to me by groups strongly opposed to the use of natural gas.  What’s finally convinced me to write this series is two posts I saw on different environmental blogs.  One was talking about the havoc being wrought by the third fossil fuel.  The other discussed the incredible potential for the current natural gas plants we have to supplant 93% of coal power in the country.  Completely different stories from completely dedicated environmentalists.

Here’s a couple key paragraphs from the anti-natural gas writer

“An imported fossil fuel originating in the same regions of the world as large oil reserves, LNG is extracted through essentially the same procedures used for oil drilling.  Victims of LNG extraction include salmon runs and gray whale habitat around Russia’s Sakhalin Island, and the rainforest ecosystems of the Peruvian Amazon.  Natural gas extracted from these and other parts of the globe is then super-cooled to liquid form and shipped by tanker to energy-hungry countries where it is re-gasified and pumped through underground pipelines to the plant where it will finally be burned for fuel.  This long, energy-intensive process increases the carbon footprint of LNG considerably.  According to Oregon Department of Energy, LNG shipped from far enough away comes with a carbon footprint approximately equal to that of coal.”

“Those of us in the frontline zone of natural gas’ expansion need the national and international climate movements to realize that the third fossil has the potential to wreck almost as much devastation as oil or coal.  It certainly won’t even get us close to carbon neutrality.  As Congress and the Obama Administration finally take a hard look at (maybe….someday) implementing meaningful climate policy, we’re already seeing how agrofuel giants, the nuclear industry, carbon traders, and others will try to turn any climate policy into just another economic opportunity for polluters.  The false solutions energy giants will try to use to preserve themselves are already many and varied.  You can add the third fossil fuel to that list.”

And from the pro-gas writer..

If we never built another gas-fired power plant, but simply increased the annual capacity factor of the gas fleet up to the coal fleet’s 68% capacity factor, it would generate an additional 1,845,485,000 MWh, effectively displacing 93% of our coal fleet without the construction of a single new power plant.  Looking at the comparative CO2-signatures of those two fleets, that would reduce total power sector CO2 emissions by 37%. Since the power sector is responsible for 42% of U.S. CO2 emissions, that implies a 16% reduction in total U.S. CO2 emissions, just from changing generator dispatch order.  That’s a massive opportunity. What would it take to get there?”

“Of course this isn’t a panacea. You can’t get to the end game only with gas any more than you can get to the end game only with solar. It’ll take a lot of steps. But what’s fascinating about this analysis is that the gas fleet is uniquely able to quickly and—at least initially—quite cheaply make a huge dent in our CO2 emissions. It’s a tool we ought to use, and we ought to examine our proposed CO2 regulations carefully to make sure it gets put to use. Free allowances to coal plants don’t get you there …”

**Update 6/6/09**: Part 2 is here

March 18, 2009

Palin’s Pipedream

Filed under: energy — Matt Dernoga @ 3:56 pm
Tags: , ,

I want to preface this post by saying that I’m not taking a position one way or the other whether having a 4o billion dollar natural gas pipeline in Alaska is a good idea.  I would rather us take that 40 billion and invest it in renewables, but that’s an argument for another day.  However, I read a fascinating article today about how unlikely it is that such a pipeline is ever going to happen.  Additionally incredible is that the article lays the blame very convincingly at the feet of Sarah Palin, even though she can’t stop talking about how she’s building a natural gas pipeline.  Turns out that was a lie.  I’d also like to note that the writer of this article is clearly biased against Sarah Palin, and makes that very clear all throughout the article.  I’m also biased against her, which is why I find this latest debacle hilarious.  However, when the writer is laying out the facts, they are pretty damning.  It’s pretty long, 5 pages, but I highly suggest you read the whole thing and judge yourself.  ARTICLE


“Forget “Drill, baby, drill.” Sarah Palin says she’s building a $40 billion gas pipeline, which even President Obama wants. The only problem: It isn’t there. And it’s her fault.”

“To many outside of Alaska, it may therefore come as a surprise to learn that not only does such a pipeline not exist, but—even as Alaska’s deep winter darkness gives way to the first light of spring—the prospect that it will be built within Sarah Palin’s lifetime grows dimmer by the day.

“To many outside of Alaska, it may therefore come as a surprise to learn that not only does such a pipeline not exist, but—even as Alaska’s deep winter darkness gives way to the first light of spring—the prospect that it will be built within Sarah Palin’s lifetime grows dimmer by the day.”

“As Mike Hawker, the Republican co-chairman of Alaska’s House Finance Committee, told me one night in Juneau not long ago, “The only thing standing in the way of an Alaska gas pipeline is the Sarah Palin administration.””

“How better to defang the industry that had ruled Alaska like a colonial master for 40 years than to make sure its major players would be no more than spectators at the state’s next grand pageant, the building of a new pipeline that would carry natural gas from Alaska’s North Slope to what Palin called the “hungry markets” of the Lower 48?

In her zeal, however, Palin overlooked one salient fact: It was Alaska’s three largest oil producers—Exxon Mobil Corp., BP, and ConocoPhillips Co.—that controlled the natural gas the new pipeline would need if it were ever to pump anything more than hot air.

By writing the rules in a way that excluded the oil companies from the process, Palin—although she gained the short-term approval-rating points that made her seem attractive to McCain last summer—all but assured that the “largest private-sector infrastructure project in North America” would never be anything more than her personal field of dreams.”

I hope she runs for President in 2012, it would all but ensure another 4 years for Obama.

March 3, 2009

Tar Sands Column

Filed under: Climate Change,Dernoga — Matt Dernoga @ 8:08 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

So I have a column in the Diamondback today. I want to correct a couple of small things that the editors changed. I put “tar sands” everytime I discussed them, but they were changed to “oil sands” for some reason. Other thing is when I mention natural gas is being used to extract the oil from the sands, I say I would rather us be using that natural gas to replace coal plants because it is cleaner than coal. For the record I do recognize natural gas is not clean and not what we should be pursuing, I just would rather us burn it to replace coal rather than burn it to extract tar sands oil.

Energy: A tar-nished reputation

Matt Dernoga

Issue date: 3/3/09 Section: Opinion

Last week, President Barack Obama met with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss energy. The United States and Canada share the largest energy trade partnership in the world, with Canada supplying the United States with more oil and natural gas than any other country. A major point of interest has been the Canadian oil sands, from which Canada is extracting increasing amounts of oil to export to the U.S.

There has been a lot of talk from Obama regarding climate change, environmental protection and clean energy. This has concerned the Canadian government, which wants any climate agreements to exempt their oil sands from regulation. What was Obama’s reaction to this? He folded faster than a caffeinated origamist and agreed that the U.S. and Canada should work together to make the extraction and burning of the oil from the oil sands “clean.” I’ve also heard the tobacco companies are working on a healthy cigarette.

Oil sands production is the dirtiest on Earth. Thousands of acres of forests in Alberta have to be destroyed to get to the oil, and then vast amounts of natural gas need to be used to separate the oil from the sand and clay. The waste from this flows into waterways as toxic sludge. Then we burn the oil. Ironically, since natural gas is used to extract the oil, less of it is shipped from Canada to the U.S.. where it could be used to replace some coal plants and meet America’s growing energy needs. I’d prefer renewables, but natural gas is far cleaner.

This laundry list of environmental crimes is why a Catholic bishop whose diocese includes part of the oil sands released a harsh letter to Canadian oil companies and government leaders. After going into depth about the environmental liabilities I listed above, he concludes that “any one of the above destruction effects provokes moral concern, but it is when the damaging effects are all added together that the moral legitimacy of oil sands production is challenged.”

While Obama and Harper have been tap dancing around oil sands, Mexico has announced one of the boldest plans from developing countries in addressing climate change. A couple of months ago, they put forth an initiative to halve emissions below 2002 levels by 2050 through investments in alternative energy sources and a cap and trade system that puts a price on pollution. They’re working to convert coal and oil plants to natural gas, upgrading their bus fleets and providing strong incentives for forest preservation.

Here’s an idea. Instead of getting tarnished by Canada and shown up by Mexico, Obama should forge a new kind of energy partnership with our neighbors. Negotiate a North American regional climate agreement that eliminates tariffs for clean energy technologies and the products used to make them. At the same time, put a price on pollution from trade that reflects the true cost of activities such as the use of the Canadian oil sands. Share the money generated from this price tag, and use it to invest in new technologies to create jobs, rather than wasting money on trying to make the oil sands clean.

Matt Dernoga is a junior government and politics major. He can be reached at

Create a free website or blog at