In the same week that Maryland’s fracking ban became law, Lusby, Maryland citizens were protesting Dominion Energy’s request to significantly increase the toxic chemical emissions expected from its new fracked gas export plant. A closer look at each issue highlights the challenges facing our climate as we weigh an age-old battle: profit versus the planet.
Were you one of the 750,000-plus BGE customers that got paid on Energy Savings Day to use less electricity during this sizzling hot summer? How cool is that? Lower your energy use and you get paid for doing the right thing. If you’d like to continue your savings streak from month-to-month, check out these five practical ways below to lower your BGE bill.
A commission set up to investigate the ins and outs of using hydraulic fracturing — or “fracking” — to extract natural gas in western Maryland is asking Gov. Martin O’Malley for four more months to complete the study, after the group determined that there was no way to “do the report right” in the allotted time. The commission also finds itself low on funds, since a measure that would require gas companies to foot the bill for the impact study died in the General Assembly.
O’Malley has yet to weigh in on the commission’s embattled situation, but a thorough, honest study of fracking and its effects is worth the time and money it takes, especially considering the harm it may or may not be doing to our water supply. In any event, we certainly shouldn’t be fracking the Marcellus Shale to pieces without one.
On the other hand, I wouldn’t have gas companies fund the study, as logical as it may seem. The commission may very well end up advising against fracking altogether, an outcome that becomes less viable the more gas company dollars are wrapped up in the study. This way when the study finds that fracking definitely does cause egregious harm to the environment, the gas companies can just pick up their bags and move further on down the line (yeah right — there’s no way we’re not getting fracked).
Gov. Martin O’Malley’s second try at offshore wind development died in the 2012 session of the Maryland general assembly, but it could get resurrected in a special session, if and when the governor calls one.
In the meantime, several economists have weighed in on Maryland’s energy prospects, and most have more-or-less endorsed the controversial natural-gas extraction process known as fracking (from “hydraulic-fracturing”), including Charles Ebinger, director of the Brookings Institution’s Energy Security Initiative, who has called it a more “economically viable” alternative to wind energy.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the old political adage “It’s the economy, stupid.” Well, perhaps we should start placing more emphasis on “stupid.” I mean, fracking’s economic viability is not really the issue, here, is it?
Can environmental concerns, and not just abstract and distant environmental concerns (we’re talking tap-water-you-can-set-on-fire environmental concerns!) — ever trump “the economy?” Or at least could our cost-benefit analyses start counting damage to the environment as a “cost,” even if it’s only to project how much more money will be spent purchasing bottled water?
To be fair, Frank Felder, an economics professor at Rutgers, admits that with fracking there’s “some risk to the water that has to be dealt with.” But, realistically, will those problems be “dealt with?” Who will be the ones dealing with them?
Courtesy Citybizlist – During Constellation Energy’s (NYSE:CEG) earnings call, chairman, president and CEO Mayo Shattuck III discussed the status of the pending merger with Exelon and the impact of hurricane Irene.
Portions of the transcript are below.
On the Merger with Exelon:
The FEC completed its review of the merger proxy which has been mailed to our shareholders in advance of the November 17 shareholder vote. Elsewhere on the regulatory front, we have received merger clearance from the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. We expect to hear from the New York State Public Service Commission this quarter. And in Maryland, the intervenor’s testimonies were filed with the Maryland PSC in mid-September. We carefully reviewed the testimonies and proposals and filed additional testimony in October. Today’s status conference will provide additional insight into the process. We’ve already reached the settlement with the PGM market monitor on market power issues.