Tiny Pennsylvania Land Trust Is Tempted by Marcellus Shale Gas Riches: Gas developers would pay the land trust at least $15 million to drill on its acres. The group's divided board is taking a wait-and-see approach for now.
Its about the North Branch Land Trust with 11.000 acres and one of its preserves in on top of a sweet spot for gas. As the article suggests:
Wait and see may not be a bad move with all the uncertainty and the fact that the gas isn't going away.
Although carbon released by fossil fuels or biofuels has an equivalent impact on the atmosphere, there are important differences. In the case of fossil fuels, the release of carbon results in an irreversible flow of carbon from the fossil fuel stock to the biosphere resulting in a net permanent addition to the total amount in the biosphere. For biomass, by contrast, the amount of carbon in the biosphere has not changed. This lack of equivalence is not without consequence. Only the form has changed as carbon moves over time from being captured in the biomass to being released into the atmosphere, from where it might once again be able to be recaptured in biomass. Thus, the release of fossil fuel emissions is, in principle, completely irreversible whereas biomass emissions are reversible and can be returned to biomass.Its well worth the read.
I am getting this question - why do we need to develop bioenergy in PA since we sitting on a wealth of shale natural gas? My answer is a clear - we need multiple energy sources; one source won't solve all our problems. I also won't get into the fossil fuel energy vs renewable energy debate. However, if you convinced that natural gas will solve our problems take a look at this review. Its starts off:
" While there is the possibility that shale gas will allow US natural gas supplies to increase for a few years (or even 10 or 15 years), natural gas is only about one-fourth of US fossil fuel use, so it would be very difficult to ramp it up enough to meet all of these needs."Then the article details a litany of points:1. The US is a natural gas importer. It does not produce as much natural gas as it consumes.
2. The US supply pattern for natural gas has been quite irregular over the years.
3. In the absence of shale gas, EIA's forecast for US natural gas production would be a decline over the next 25 years.
4. The production of Canada, the US's largest source of imports, is declining as its own use is rising.
5. The much publicized report from the Potential Gas Committee relates to "resources". Much of these resources may prove to be too expensive, or not technically feasible, to extract.
6. If Texas experience serves as an example, shale production starts dropping fairly quickly after it starts.
7. Shale gas drillers appear to need higher prices than are currently available to make production of shale gas profitable.
8. High (and volatile) prices tend to depress natural gas consumption for industrial use and for heating buildings.
9. The amount of oil and coal consumption that needs to be replaced is huge in relationship to natural gas consumption.
10. There are a number of outstanding environmental questions.
Some of them are self explanatory. Read the article for more explantion. I think the issue of technology and extraction costs as we go deeper in the earth is big one. Its sobering, but adds to my ammunition when people ask me that question next time.
Abstract: Non-native species can cause the loss of biological diversity (i.e., genetic, species, and ecosystem diversity) and threaten the well-being of humans when they become invasive. In some cases, however, they can also provide conservation benefits. We examined the ways in which non-native species currently contribute to conservation objectives. These include, for example, providing habitat or food resources to rare species, serving as functional substitutes for extinct taxa, and providing desirable ecosystem functions. We speculate that non-native species might contribute to achieving conservation goals in the future because they may be more likely than native species to persist and provide ecosystem services in areas where climate and land use are changing rapidly and because they may evolve into new and endemic taxa. The management of non-native species and their potential integration into conservation plans depends on how conservation goals are set in the future. A fraction of non-native species will continue to cause biological and economic damage, and substantial uncertainty surrounds the potential future effects of all non-native species. Nevertheless, we predict the proportion of non-native species that are viewed as benign or even desirable will slowly increase over time as their potential contributions to society and to achieving conservation objectives become well recognized and realized.
It comes down to what we want ecosystems to look like. To quote from the review:
Rather than try to restore ecosystems to their pre-industrial states, Carroll argues, conservation biologists should manage the evolution of species to make ecosystems resilient. If a vine starts to spread across a new habitat, for example, conservation biologists can help native insects to evolve mouthparts that allow them to devour the vines more quickly. Rather than signaling defeat, Carroll sees conciliation biology as a way to reach more sustainable outcomes in a human-dominated world.
Its good to see a Hanger not hanging up (excuse the pun) the game but remaining active. Another slam on the article here. I'll leave it to you to decide but seems like some slack journalism.
Now let's examine the strange omission from the article of the independent review of Pennsylvania's hydraulic fracturing regulatory program done by STRONGER (see http://www.strongerinc.org/).
Our brief century of freedom from disease has given us the delusion that we are separate from nature, somehow hovering above the world in which we live. So we no longer think it worthwhile to spend our money studying the species around us (better to search for life in outer space). And we accept the loss of forests and wetlands, not thinking that it may translate in time to the loss of our own families and friends.
Read the full piece here.
I'm wondering how many forest landowners getting royalty checks will say - "now I don't need income from timber? What is pretty clear is that gas has taken employees from the logging a forestry workforce. I hear many situations where workers go to the gas industry, not only because of the downturn in the the forest sector, but because they pay better. Do you blame them? I think this is something our lawmakers should be looking into. The question for them is how we maintain a viable forest industry in PA. We still have some of the most valuable forests in the world but we should be thinking about its future."Say hello to Pennsylvania's nouveau riche -- the Marcellus "shalionaires." It's better than any milk checks we ever got," said Bednarski, 52, of Avella, whose family has owned the farm since 1932. Today, he sells hay and breeds heifers. "It made farming more fun." Bednarski sold his 50 dairy cows when his family began receiving royalty checks in January 2010 from a lease his mother signed 11 years ago.