A propose liquefied natural gas port off the coast of New Jersey has drawn an opposition op-ed by a Fairleigh Dickinson University Adjunct Environmental Studies professor. Liz Roberts column, Natural gas port a potential disaster for Jersey Shore, provides a litany of horrors that would result from the construction of this port, named St Ambrose.
The article is full of vague references to potentialities from an "impact on shipping lanes and the proposed offshore windmills" to the emission of "greenhouse gases that will contribute to turn normal hurricanes into monsters more threatening than Hurricane Sandy was" to the "interference in mating, thus resulting in smaller and smaller generations of various fish species." That's just a sampler, and this ridiculous article is really not worth reading.
My comments, however, are:
Natural gas is a boon to the environment. It powers our heating systems, stoves for cooking, electricity that cools and illuminates our homes and buildings. In the future, natural gas will someday power our cars for transportation.
Natural gas, as well as other fossil fuels, powers our technological industrial civilization that has enabled humans to protect themselves against the hostile natural elements, including the inevitable natural disasters like hurricanes, droughts, blizzards, cold and heat waves, and flooding rains that have always plagued humans, and always will. Development of reliable, cheap, concentrated energy sources like natural gas, coal, oil, nuclear and hydroelectric have transformed the hostile natural environment into a liveable human environment. They have enabled man to greatly improve the earth.
St. Ambrose may pose risks that need to be addressed, and some of the risks mentioned by Ms. Roberts may actually be valid. All human endeavors pose risks, and those risks must be minimized as much as is feasible with production. But any discussion of the risks of facilities like St. Ambrose must take into account the risks to human life of not developing natural gas fields. Human life comes first in any rational, compassionate person's hierarchy of values. Roberts's one-sided scare-mongering is dangerous to human life because it doesn't recognize the life-serving value of natural gas and the heroic men and women of the natural gas industry and the technological marvels that they created and operate.
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