Commentary

Our Love/Hate Relationship With Natural Gas

Posted by tbaker |

“Greed beyond need has driven gas producers to woo and win foreign investors with very deep pockets to help pay for over-expansion. Now to get rid of the excess we cannot store, we are rushing to develop the means to export this strategic resource.”

By Joyce Hale

Love/hate relationships give cupid heartburn when Valentine’s Day rolls around. Such is the conflict in developing natural gas. We are drawn in by the siren call of wealth and love, the front-end benefits, but we hate the changes that come when selling our souls solely to the seeking of profit.

Greed beyond need has driven gas producers to woo and win foreign investors with very deep pockets to help pay for over-expansion. Now to get rid of the excess we cannot store, we are rushing to develop the means to export this strategic resource. Those who live with the aftermath of gas extraction are caught at the bottom of this love triangle.

Industry jobs, company profits, royalty shares and state revenues are loved on one hand. The trade-off is to risk air and water quality, community cohesion and public health. A Texas rig worker was heard to say, “They love us when we arrive but hate us by the time we leave.”

Over-producing and wasting non-renewable resources is a tragedy. Greed is killing hopes and delays sustainability and chances for renewable energy options. The reality of water and air pollution, earthquakes, pipeline fires, reduced property values, reduced quality of life and health issues have created a tide of people falling out-of-love with this resource.

It is interesting to contrast these widely different feelings, which prompted me to do a juxtaposition using the famous love poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

HOW DO I LOVE THEE?
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

GREED
How shall I kill thee? Let me count the ways.
I kill from ocean depths to cloudy heights;
My heart is void of feeling what is right
For the ends of Power direct my chase.
I kill thee at the level of everyday’s
Most basic needs, food, air, and sunlight bright.
I kill thee freely, permitted by the Right;
I kill thee surely, with infants left to raise.
I kill thee with a passion put to use
By my beliefs, and with my peers’ consent.
I kill thee without conscience (I’ve seemed to lose)
With my lost empathy,—I’m still content.
Trials cleared throughout my life leave me to choose
More ways for me to kill, more ways for death.

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