Monday, October 30, 2006

Environment & Politics

The partnership between politics and the environment often results in bad policy, as witnessed by this attempt to provide relatively clean energy via natural gas by siting a terminal in California which is being fought by Hollywood stars.

An excerpt.

Editorial: Choices, choices, choices
Natural gas imports part of balanced solution
- Published 12:00 am PST Monday, October 30, 2006

When it comes to natural gas, California faces a quandary.

On one hand, the state does not have a terminal anywhere along its coast that can off-load LNG (natural gas that is stored in a ship in its super-cooled, liquefied form). On the other hand, California does have an increasing demand for natural gas. It has become the clean-burning fuel of choice to generate electricity and heat homes. Yet new domestic supplies aren't keeping up with future demands.

That leaves foreign sources to fill the gap with LNG, and a ship has to unload this natural gas at a terminal -- somewhere.

Where? Nowhere, say Pierce Brosnan, Cindy Crawford, Daryl Hannah and other Hollywood stars who recently lent a little limelight to the battle against an LNG terminal in California. Beware, however, of that nasty law of unintended consequences.

Rejecting an LNG terminal along the Southern California coast means embracing something else that has its own set of risks.

There are three proposals for liquefied natural gas terminals along the Southern California coast. One is 14 miles off shore of Malibu Beach. Two other proposals are at Long Beach and Port Hueneme. On Mexico's Baja coast, plans are under way to build an LNG terminal there as well.