The existential question that asks,“If a tree falls in the woods, and no one hears it, does it make noise?”, seems to be in play here regarding falling gas prices. The answer to the question would be “no” if it was measured by the sound of Tea Party types taking back their diatribes that blamed federal policies and regulations on high gas prices earlier this year.
For those of us who live in Texas, Michigan and Missouri we have seen the price of gas drop below three dollars a gallon recently. No change has occurred with federal regulations governing oil production from what it was earlier this year when gas was at or over $4 a gallon around the country, yet there is nary a word from the anti-Obama crowd about how his “socialist” policies have allowed this to happen.
This denier contingent will no doubt remain silent until prices once again rise but can they honestly be taken seriously any longer when their claims have been aptly muted after seeing that global market conditions, consumer demand and speculation by traders have impacted these swings in price?
The national average for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.51 per gallon, down from a high of $3.98 in early May. Last week’s plunge in oil prices could push the average to $3.25 per gallon by November, analysts say.
Prices for oil, gasoline and other commodities dove last week along with world stock markets over concerns the global economy is headed for another recession. When economies slow, demand for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel falls as drivers cut back on trips, shippers move fewer goods and vacationers stay closer to home. SOURCE
But for those of us who can see the writing on the wall, the anti-Obama crowd will find some measure of revenge for being exposed as frauds by continuing to blame the White House for lower demand because unemployment rates will continue to be high for the foreseeable future.
In a related story, there was a local incident here where a gas well drilling company “was pumping contaminated wastewater into a tributary of Hickory Creek.” It was discovered by city government workers. Though the story made the front page of the Denton Record-Chronicle it was posted in the “crime blotter” section so the name of the company wasn’t revealed. According to the report “city employees visited a well site in the 3100 block of Airport Road on Thursday and saw that a pit liner had been buried on the property and a pump was forcing the contaminated water from it into the nearby creek. A man at the site saw the city officers and turned off the pump.”
It should be noted that Hickory Creeks feeds into Lewisville Lake directly upstream from the City of Denton’s drinking water intake structure.
City employees took samples of the creek water and learned that contaminants were far above the level allowed from wastewater. A subsequent laboratory test showed the contaminants were 10 times higher than the last time the creek water was tested, the report noted.
The company did not have a permit from the city or a state regulatory agency to pump the wastewater into the creek, the report states.
City employees sent a notice of violation of the water code to the company, and company officers agreed to clean up the site. The company was required to shut down the well site until the cleanup took place.
According to the police report, officers monitored the cleanup, and 24,360 gallons of wastewater were removed from the creek and 48 cubic yards of dirt were taken away. SOURCE
This apparent crime of the dumping toxic waste in Hickory Creek by this private gas drilling company ought to raise the ire of all concerned citizens. But it will come as no surprise that little or no response will come from those who shriek the loudest about getting government out of business practices and let them police themselves.
What makes this story even more relevant is that there’s been a lot of hollering by political extremists on the right here about keeping government out of the private sector, specifically targeting the EPA in its attempts to regulate CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plant; something they feel will generate higher utility bills and take jobs away. Our Texas district 26 Congressman, Michael Burgess, was on the local CBS network the other day repeating the Republican talking point about how such action by the EPA will kill jobs as it allegedly threatens to shut down Texas’ 18 coal-fired power plants.
But there is no evidence to support this contention. The only power plant that could be affected by new EPA regulations in this state could be the Welsh Power Plant near Pittsburg, Texas, owned by American Electric Power. However, a recent piece by Daniel J. Weiss and Valeri Vasquez with the Center for American Progress has discovered that it is more likely that AEP is threatening to shut down this plant along with 21 others of theirs around the country simply to “to stoke congressional and public opposition to EPA’s efforts to reduce toxic air pollution.”
AEP’s threat to close these plants due to the pending EPA air toxics rules is also somewhat misleading. Last year, it announced a plan to close five units at the Phillip Sporn Plant in New Haven, West Virginia. Source Watch, a nonprofit that publishes “documented information about the corporations, industries, and people trying to sway public opinion,” reported on AEP’s 2010 retirement plans.
In October 2010, Ohio Power Co. filed an application with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio for the approval of a December 2010 closure of the coal-fired Philip Sporn Power Plant unit 5…In September 2009, Appalachian Power filed an integrated resource plan (IRP) in Virginia that projected a 2010 shutdown for Sporn unit 5. The same IRP projected that Sporn units 1-4, with 580 MW of total capacity, would be retired in 2018.
In other words, AEP planned to close this plant five months before EPA’s March 2011 proposal to reduce toxic air pollution from coal-fired utilities. Yet AEP has included closing these units under “AEP’s current plan for compliance with the [EPA] rules as proposed includes permanently retiring the following coal-fueled power plants.” SOURCE
According to the Sierra Club AEP has consistently opposed better clean-air standards and has fought efforts to require modern pollution controls. Closing down the Welsh plant would avoid costly court costs because in 2005 the Sierra Club and Public Citizen sued AEP “for thousands of violations at its Welsh power plant in Texas”
The threats from coal plant emissions have been well documented about the costs to our environment and human health.
This evidence, showing once again that the claims by free-marketers are far from reliable, will go unnoticed by such people. Their purist notion that there is no room for government oversight of for-profit companies simply refuses to acknowledge that “the markets” are not some disconnected holy entity but are the creation of imperfect people who often over-indulge their self-interests traits.