We’ve all seen the signs: This bus runs on clean natural gas. Yet too often, too many of us fail to absorb the message: There are fossil fuels in abundant supply right in our country that, if properly developed, could reduce the need for foreign fuel and at the same time give environmentalists something to brag about.
That’s right, brag. Natural gas is such a clean-burning fuel that cities all over the country have invested in public buses and municipal fleets that run on natural gas, and then they advertise what they’re done.
Why then, is the debate over new oil and natural gas exploration in Alaska typically, and incorrectly, cast as a battle between people who love the environment and people who love oil? Perhaps a better question is, Why do the oil and natural gas interests that support more exploration in Alaska allow the opponents to frame the public debate that way?
CEA has often detailed why strong domestic oil and natural gas industries are critical to our energy independence, our economy and, yes, our environment. But for a moment, let’s just focus on the natural gas part of the puzzle. Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf, in addition to being rich in oil, holds an estimated 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
In a recent editorial, Drue Pearce, the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects, grouped Arctic natural gas with wind, solar and geothermal power, as power sources that existed in abundant supply that could help the country achieve a more balanced energy policy.
It’s a message we’d all need to remember: In Alaska, and elsewhere in the U.S., we’re seeking the right to explore for and produce oil as well as natural gas. We need to remind people that natural gas is a clean-burning fuel that could help us collectively reduce emissions … and that there’s plenty of it right here at home.