For Natural Gas, the Other Shoe Drops

by William Yeatman on February 17, 2011

in Blog, Features

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For years, certain natural gas producers, led by Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon, have pursued a myopic strategy of demonizing coal in an effort to seize a larger share of the electricity generation market.

It started in 2008, when Chesapeake funded an unsigned “Dirty Coal” advertising campaign. It featured black and white photos of children, with coal smudged faces, looking sad. Having set the table with anti coal propaganda, McClendon then teamed up with the Sierra Club’s Carl Pope to implement a legislative strategy. The pair traveled around the country, pitching natural gas as the “bridge fuel” to a green energy future.

They scored one major success, in Colorado. There, ex-Governor Bill Ritter had made the “New Energy Economy,” the centerpiece of his administration. As such, he was receptive to fuel switching as a way to meet his Climate Action Plan, a non-binding mandate to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions 20% below 2008 levels. As I’ve written about at length here, the Ritter Administration engaged in a number of deceptions to carry Chesapeake’s water.

All along, CEI has warned the gas industry that it was playing directly into the hands of environmental special interests, for whom all hydrocarbons–not just coal–are considered “dirty.” It’s an ancient strategy: Divide and conquer. Today, it’s the greens and gas taking down coal; tomorrow, it will be the greens taking down gas.

And so it has come to pass, as is explained in an excellent article titled, “Greens Sour on Natural Gas,” by Bob King, from yesterday’s Politico.  It starts,

Whatever happened to the romance between the environmental lobby and natural gas?

After years of basking in a green glow as the cleanest fossil fuel and a favorite short-term choice to replace cheap-but-dirty coal, gas now finds itself under attack from environmentalists, filmmakers and congressional Democrats — and even from some scientists who raise doubts about whether its total emissions are as climate-friendly as commonly believed.

Read the rest here.

Brillant February 20, 2011 at 12:39 pm

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