Hopeful Signs - Part 2
This is the second installment in a
series about news that bodes well for the economy. Forward sugested items
Natural Gas Boom
So, here's the choice.
A) We can use
the unexpected natural gas bounty of the United States to significantly
reduce the use of coal to generate electricity, significantly shrinking
our carbon footprint.
B) We can use the gas for
transportation, somewhat reducing air emissions while drastically cutting
our cash exports to all the warlords, princes and dictators profiting from
US oil consumption.
Even three years ago, the options might have
seemed outlandish. At that time, US natural gas production was in decline
and most experts believed the downturn was permanent. But, thanks to new
drilling technology, it turns out the US is home to enormous new gas
reserves, setting the stage for major policy debates about the best ways
we might use the relatively clean burning fuel.
The gas boom is
usually lost in the shuffle on the cable news shows, but it was recently
the subject of an excellent overview in the Wall Street Journal.
That story can be found here.
The new drilling technique is called
hydraulic fracturing and it's a process in which huge shots of water are
injected deep into shale formations up to 10,000 feet deep. The injections
crack the rock and free up the natural gas trapped inside. Fracturing is
also supported by new rigs capable of horizontal drilling, which taps gas
throughout the shale formations, instead of simply poking into and through
Sounds simple enough, but the results are amazing. US natural
gas production increased more than 10% over the past two years and there's
way more from where that gas came from.
One new field in Louisiana
holds 200 trillion cubic feet of gas. That would translate to 33 billion
barrels of oil. That's nearly three times the amount of the oil found at
Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. Looked at another way, thirty-three billion barrels
of oil would meet US oil needs for nearly 20 years.
reserves are also now within reach at vast, deep fields in Texas,
Oklahoma, Arkansas, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York.
Mainstream industry experts believe these fields possess more than 2,000
trillion cubic feet of gas and they say that's enough to meet all US gas
needs for the next 100 years.
Near term, the rise in gas supply has
swamped demand and depressed natural gas prices. Long term, it means
natural gas will most likely serve as the bridge fuel that will help us
get through the next few decades while new fuel resources are brought on
A US fossil fuel boom in the 21st Century? Who would have
thunk it. Well, as it turns out, Dick Cheney is among those who
The former vice president is credited and/or discredited with
securing an exemption a few years ago that permitted fracturing to proceed
free from the constraints normally imposed by US clean water regulations.
This came in handy because fracturing uses lots of water, sand and some
chemicals to break open the shale. The exemption triggered the first
controversy of the new gas era.
Some members of Congress want to
repeal the exemption because of concerns about the potential dangers posed
to water resources by the fracturing process. Bloggers have of course
joined the fray, identifying cow kills and animal birth defects that may
be, could be, or might be linked to the chemicals used in fracturing,
which is pretty amazing given the short period of time that fracturing has
But, so it goes. In addition to generating environmental
concerns, Congressional inquiries, lawsuits and blogs, the resurgent gas
industry will generate trillions of dollars for US energy companies and
workers along with major demand for all the sophisticated equipment,
supplies and systems that must be built to fracture, extract, move and
process the gas. And it will all come with major environmental benefits.
Is this a great country, or what?
Many electric utilities are
already voting with their wallets, inspired by the growing gas supplies,
the prospect of lower gas prices and the threat of new carbon fees.
According to the Energy Information Administration, 206 gas fired
electrical generating plants are planned for construction throughout in
the US over the next three years. Over the same period, just 31 new plants
will be built powered by coal.
We Want to Hear From
- Save the Date to Visit
Us at a Location Near You -
Join the Federal Highway Administration,
the Washington State Department of Transportation and the City of Seattle
for a public scoping meeting on the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement. We
will also present other program information on elements such as the
seawall and new waterfront surface street. At the meetings, you will be
able to ask questions and share your thoughts on what environmental
elements and mitigation measures should be studied in the supplemental
draft environmental impact statement on the proposed bored tunnel
You can give your comments in writing or verbally to
an on-scene court reporter. Can't attend one of the meetings? Please
e-mail or mail your comments to:
address - Alaskan Way Viaduct and
Seawall Replacement Program
Attn: Angela Freudenstein
Ave., Suite 2424
Seattle, WA 98104
Please submit your comments
by July 10, 2009, to ensure they are considered and included in the
project's environmental documents.
Monday, June 8 from 5-7 p.m., Seattle City Hall,
Bertha Landes Room, 600 Fourth Ave.
June 10 from 6-8 p.m., Madison Middle School, Commons 3429 45th Ave. SW
Thursday, June 11 from 6-8 p.m., Leif Erickson
Hall, Auditorium, 2245 NW 57th St.
More information is available
closures on I-405 in Bellevue, Renton and Tukwila
DATE: May 26-28
DETAILS: Crews may close the following lanes and ramps during the
night and early morning hours in the Bellevue, Renton and Tukwila area:
•Two lanes on northbound I-405 between I-90 and Main Street.
•Three lanes on southbound I-405 between Main Street and SE Eight
•The ramps at the I-90 and downtown Bellevue interchanges.
•One lane in each direction on I-405 between I-5 and SR 169.
Link light rail trains operating in SODO
Metro is now running trains in the SODO area in preparation for the launch
of service on July 18. USE EXTRA CAUTION: Link trains are very quiet and
can travel in any direction, on any track, at any time; always look both
ways before crossing tracks, at designated crosswalks and signalized
intersections. After a train passes, another train may be approaching from
the opposite direction.
Heads up Seattle
Cherry Street on-ramp to close for 4 weeks.
If you use
the Cherry Street on-ramp to northbound I-5, better find another route for
the next four weeks. Sound Transit closed the ramp late Tuesday night, May
26. The ramp will remain closed for up to four weeks as crews prepare the
ground beneath I-5 for tunneling. A 3-mile light rail tunnel will link
downtown Seattle to the University of Washington. During the closure all
drivers may use the Cherry Street entrance to the I-5 express lanes, which
is normally restricted to buses and carpools.
If you drive on I-5 between the University District and
Shoreline, you probably noticed the partially ground and grooved lanes.
Since February we've worked nights and weekends to replace hundreds of
cracked concrete panels and ground out miles of rutted and bumpy pavement.
We're on track to finish the project on time late this summer. In the
meantime drivers are advised to look out for "grooved pavement" signs
along the highway and drive for road conditions.
Why the grooves? The
process is like mowing a lawn row after row, only this lawn is 72 feet
wide and six miles long – in both directions.
- Freight Travel
START DATE/TIME: Friday,
May 29 @ 10:00 pm
END DATE/TIME: Monday, June 1 @ 5:30 am
LOCATION: Southbound I-5 near the Northwest Avenue bridge (milepost
>>Crews will close the right lane of
southbound I-5 near the Northwest Avenue bridge (milepost 257) at 10 p.m.
May 29, and reopen it by 5:30 a.m. Monday, June 1.
detour is also in effect.
>>This work will also require crews to
close the southbound I-5 on-ramp at Bakerview Road (exit 258).
Drivers needing to access southbound I-5 from Bakerview Road will detour
north on I-5 to Slater Road, exit 260, where they will be able to exit and
re-enter I-5 southbound. Drivers should plan alternate routes around the
area if possible this weekend. Delays are expected.
information, visit the project Web page at
Westbound I-90 will close in
are expected starting July 5 when all westbound lanes of I-90 floating
bridge are closed for three weeks and all westbound traffic is shifted
into just two express lanes.
During the past construction, travel
times improve when drivers shifted when they commute. Changing driving
habits will be crucial for drivers who want to avoid the July backups. So
talk to your employer now to see about flexible scheduling, working from
home and vacation time. The deadline for new vanpoolers to get three
months free has been extended.
If Bike to Work Day is still on your
mind, remember biking across the I-90 Bridge will be a great alternative
to slogging through traffic in July. Two temporary bicycle bridges are
being built around the construction zones to keep the I-90 Trail open. For
more info: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/I90/HomerHadleyBridgeRepair/
Issue is Here.
for your copy.
of Economic Hope
of Two Garages
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