The Silence is Deafening

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.

Is Obama to blame for declining gasoline prices?

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.

Advertisements

6 responses to “The Silence is Deafening

  1. Your last sentence said it all. Regulation tempers that overindulgence. And that glass of water is gross. Without some kind of standard, that probably would be acceptable. Blech.

  2. Have noticed, most times the gas will go up 50 cents and come down 30? At least, my state it does this…….it is all a game played at our expense….

    • The same pretty much happens here too Dr. Chuq. Demand and global conditions will affect this but the rest is just specious arguments the oil industry makes to justify the increases they do. Actually though I believe they are just concealing the fact that price increases are inevitable as global peak oil occurs along with increased demand. It’s a finite resource and everyone, even the oil companies, have known that we would run out eventually.

  3. Most definitely it will be gone sooner than later……and they (oil companies) will do what it takes……the world is addicted…….and the pusher is the oil companies……..and I do not think we want to break our addiction…….we want to break it but not now……we can quite anytime…just not now……

  4. They dropped to about $3.03 in my part of Michigan, but only for about a day. I paid $3.38 this evening, though prices are always higher on Fridays and Saturdays, beginning to taper off on Sundays, but not all that much. A lot of people are hurting.

    As far as power companies go, f*** them. I have no respect for those operating in Michigan. DTE and ConsumersEnergy are a bunch of dishonest. greedy bastards that’ll have us all sucking in toxins if they get their way. Consumers is the worst. They are so underhanded and rotten.

    Why? When I was 17 I was finishing up my final year of high school and my parents, never having much money ( thanks in large part to a diagnosis of cancer), had an extreme bill. So the power was shut off in September, both lights and gas, and stayed that way through my 18th birthday and all winter. I didn’t like it but I was used to it because it had happened before.

    Anyway, they split up and went their own ways and to live with other people. I had just finished EMT school and rented a house with my buddy. The power was put in my name and in less than 2 months it was shut off. I iwed over $2,0000. How did I manage that? I didn’t; my parents did. The overdue bill from when I was a child still in H.S. became my bill also the day I turned 18, because I still lived in the house. I was what they call a “known associate,” and so I sat in the dark until I coulf pay it, which, with moms help, took a few weeks.

    Anyway, they’re bastards. Low and rotten.

    • Wow, that was chicken shit of the power company to transfer your parents’ debt to your name Terrance. I know businesses can do that when you’re an adult child after parents die but to do that when they’re are still alive and to associate something like that when you were a minor is about as bad as I have heard. And we grow up thinking only the tax man is with us from the cradle to the grave.

      Also, like you, our low gas prices have started to rise again. There was one spot here locally where regular was at $2.91 for a day or two then all prices jumped by a dime so we are back over $3. This doesn’t surprise me though because even if markets lower prices because of demand they will begin to raise them because they will tell us it costs more to explore for the more difficult to reach areas where what oil remains around the globe exists, which is what most of us have been saying anyway.

      The era of cheap gas will never return as the era of rationed, high dollar petro begins to evolve.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s