Democracy Has Prevailed.

July 23, 2010

Hey, I got an idea! (Updated 1x)

Let's put gas wells in the city of Pittsburgh! We need some of these:

Two people died Friday morning when a shallow gas well caught fire in a wooded area with no nearby fire hydrants in Indiana Township, Allegheny County.

Firefighters sprayed chemical foam to douse the fire at the well site off Rich Hill Road. A red pool and buckets were set up in a nearby field so tanker trucks could refill with water.

On a 90-degree day, firefighters said the heat at the fire scene was so intense that their chemical spray is foaming and misting, causing a safety concern.


A person was welding when something happened to spark the fire, Humphreys said.


Huntley & Huntley is in the business of drilling and maintaining shallow gas wells, especially in eastern municipalities such as Penn Hills, Plum, Oakmont and Indiana Township.

The company recently got into Marcellus Shale drilling and has partnered with Texas-based Range Resources to drill a Marcellus well on Yutes Run Road in Frazer Township, not far from the site of Friday's explosion.

UPDATE: They just said on the 5:00 PM news on WTAE that they have to fly in experts from Texas to fix it. HUH?!


Gloria said...

The name of the company from Texas is "Wild Well", I am not kidding.

PG says "The blast was so powerful it lifted an oil storage tank 12 feet by 8 feet and threw it 70 yards away." (Note: oil storage tanks are bigger than a can of soup.)

Yep, just what we need in Lawrenceville.

Conservative Mountaineer said...

Well, that settles it..

No more Zinc factories because 2 workers died on Thursday.

No more cars in the City becuase people die in auotmobile accidents.

No more guns in the City because gang-bangers kill each other.. No, wait.. I might have to re-think this one in that part of this one is good.. less gang-bangers.

Let's face it... sh*t happen. Accidents happen. Some of you should have left your little mommy's basement by now.. but, maybe I'm mistaken.

No gas drilling? Hope you like walking. This country needs drilling for fossil fuels. Drill, baby, drill.

And, yes, I do believe that.

Mike said...

Is it just me, or have there been a lot of these lately?

The thing that really bothers me about most of these mishaps including the BP spill in the gulf is that the reason is not a lack of technology or just something that happened.

I think the technology and procedures are in place to drill safely, but do we trust any of these idiots to follow the procedures?

Every day something new and infuriating comes out about the BP spill. Today's news is that they turned off the audible alarms, so the workers would not get woken up when they went off.

Until they can prove that they can follow their own best practices, that the people here are trained so you don't have to fly people in from Texas when there is a problem, there should be no drilling.

EdHeath said...

CM, did you read Lisa Margonelli's "Oil on the Brian" before you commented? No fair reading it now and then saying you read it before hand.

The question in shale drilling is not (just) one of weighing industrial safety, it is whether fracking contaminates groundwater, and therefore makes drinking water unsafe.

Your drill baby drill is going to change the climate of the f'inn' planet, create perhaps millions or hundreds of millions of refugees and cause lord knows how many species of plant and animal to go extinct. And now the large parts of the continental United States will no longer have safe drinking water. All because you want to be able to drive to the end of your driveway in your Hummer H1 to pick up your mail.

Oil is extremely unlikely to get cheaper in our lifetime, and pretty unlikely to get cheaper ever. Natural gas may be cheaper in the short run, at the cost (externality) of having to import safe drinking water into Pittsburgh and possibly New York City. Your model of drill baby drill is not sustainable in an environmental or economic sense.

Our parents, or parents' parents, survived the great depression and sacrificed in World War II with limited meat and gasoline in order to keep the United States going (under a Democratic administration, I might add). But now instead of making efforts to transition to a new model of energy production and usage, Republicans are conning the rural poor of the United States into believing the fantasy that nothing has to change, that we can drive big cars as fast as we want, and that the funny taste and smell in the water from your faucet (and the fact the water can burn) is nothing to worry about.

We have gone backwards in energy conservation, in water safety and in racism in America. Strange how that all happened with eight years of Bush. Strange how that a return to the Bush years is what Republicans are calling for. Strange how Republicans say the there was no health care cost crisis, that it is only now, after watered down HCR has been passed (over their screams, and with the most important parts to help the poor gutted, but all the help for health insurance companies intact and reinforced) that the say companies will be bankrupted. I guess they mean that after they take more Senate seats, they will double down on their fear rhetoric and use the faux filibuster to block more measures, even while they hypocritically play more on religious fears and try to destroy the educational system in the United States by replacing science with bible study.

rich10e said...

ED you are such a f-ing hysteric!!Show me one alternative form of energy that is able now or even in five years to pick up say 10% of our energy needs.Show me one in ten years that can pickup 20%. Aint gonna happen yet you keep peddling your fear BS.and when you run out of BS, ya blame BUSH.....I hope you're a retired educator cause I sure hope you're not filing the heads of kids with this tripe!! You're part of the loyal underclass that bows before fools like Paul Krugman and Thomas Friedman.BTW YOUR war has claimed 56 US soldiers so far this least have the grace to send the family a note!!

Piltdown Man said...

Oil drives the world. We HAVE to find alternatives. Yes, it ain't gonna be easy and it's probably not going to happen in the next 10-15 years, but that doesn't mean it doesn't HAVE to happen.

I don't know if you are old enough to realize that a decade is just a blink of an eye. It will be here and gone before we know it - so if efforts aren't begun soon, the WORLD is going to face a complete and utter change of direction.

Will some engineer discover the "next big thing" and bail us out of our oil dependency? Probably not, though I suppose it could happen. Up until now, oil has been pretty easy to get at. Mostly we just stuck holes in the ground, ala Jed Clampett, but now those holes are miles deep under the ocean.

Think about it; it was only 150 years ago that the first successful well was dug in Titusville. 150 years later, we are, by many people's accounting, facing the potential complete depletion of what once seemed to be an endless supply of oil....

The question isn't about solar or wind or waves or nuclear, the question is far larger than that. As a civilization, I doubt we have ever faced a larger, world-altering question; to wit, what do we do when the oil runs out? It may not happen in 10 years or 20, but it is going to happen.

So, you and I and everyone can parse the politics. We can hurl invectives and scream "liberal!" and "neocon," but when the oil runs dry, none of that is going to matter.

EdHeath said...

So Rich, you are saying that global warming is a hoax, and we will never run out of oil (at least, not in the lifetime of anyone 18 years old today), and it will in fact get cheaper if we just drill in the ANWR. So drill baby drill, and the Republicans should filibuster any new CAFE standards. And conservation is letting the terrorists win.


rich10e said...

keep drinking the kool-aid Ed..and counting the dead!!

Blue Number 2 said...

Frankly, I'm tired about the entire energy debate being based on the environment. Not that I don't care about the environment, though it's not exactly at the top of my mind.

But I'm tired of being completely beholden to the Middle East for our energy. After 9/11 it seemed to me the only way we were ever going to change the paradigm with the fanatics was to get out of there completely. How can we do that when we are still dependent on oil? There is no way we can get enough oil in the US and Canada to fulfill all our needs.

We need to find an alternative source of energy to power our cars and our factories and our homes for our security and our economy. Why aren't conservatives leading the way on this? How powerful would we be if we developed a new energy source that would usher in generations of new technology.

And don't tell me it doesn't exist so we can't develop it. We have done seemingly impossible technical feats over and over again in this country. We can do it again. How can anyone be against the idea of developing new technology to revolutionize the world, enhance the country's security, create millions of new jobs and economic opportunities, and, oh by the way, be much better on the environment?

Would a conservative please tell me that??

rich10e said...

I'm all for this..."How can anyone be against the idea of developing new technology to revolutionize the world, enhance the country's security, create millions of new jobs and economic opportunities, and, oh by the way, be much better on the environment?" What I'm not for is Gore, Soros, Obama,the Chicago Carbon Exchange and GE making billions by forcing it down our throats with their doomsday rhetoric. These timetables are being pushed because those above don't wanna die before they've fleeced the rest of us.Where is the coherent,strategic approach to transforming from a fossil fuel based economy to these wonder sources of energy. Test it on an industry on a small scale, see where the efficiencies are, where the problems are, then expand it....

Piltdown Man said...

Blue -

While it is tempting to believe that "technology will save us," there is no reason to believe it will. Oil was there in the ground and we uncorked it. Sure, we had to distill it and such, but that was a minor problem.

What if, and I think it's highly possible, we can't find another source of energy that is as easy to "scale" as oil is? There is no reason to believe we'll find it. No reason at all. Just because we've been raised on the concept of American exceptionalism, and our nation's "can do" spirit, there really is nothing in history that suggests we'll fine some miracle replacement for oil....

It is probable that we are facing the end of the oil boom in human history.

Do I want this to happen? Not really. But when the wells run dry, I'm hoping that a few humans will have been prepared for it -- and not sitting around waiting for the latest "miracle cure."

Blue Number 2 said...

Pilt, it doesn't have to be some new exotic substance that we find it amazing abundance somewhere in the earth's core. It can be as "simple" as developing more efficient battery technology to make electric cars more viable. Much progress is being done in this field already. It means utilizing other technologies like nuclear (though we need to work out the externality issues with small task). It means funding real research into potential new technologies like fusion (keep hope alive...) and other potential advances that come about.

Are you saying that scientific innovation is over? That there's nothing more for us to find in the universe to advance ourselves? Come on...

Blue Number 2 said...

And rich, I appreciate the idea of having a coherent strategy. We've needed one for 30 years or more. I'm also in agreement that things should be tried out in small microcosms for their viability and then applied in the larger picture when deemed successful.

But I really hope you aren't saying that you argue against these things merely because the people you dislike are against them. Why can't se set aside the partisanship when the stakes are this high. I was in complete agreement when Bush said at one of his states of the union that we are addicted to oil (though addiction implies that it's something we don't need which we obviously need energy...which at the moment is oil). I'd say it was more of a dependency than an addiction but I agreed with the point he was making. Can't we set aside the invective and the accusations and work toward a goal that we all say is correct?

rich10e said... invective ..unless you mean me telling the Prime Minister to "stop drinking the kool-aid." i check my garbage to see if recyclables got in there inadvertently.A bike is my primary form of transportation.

Wind,solar,ethanol, so far none has any practical uses on a large scale. Recently I read where a wind farm was going solar because wind wasn't doing it!!!! Corn/ethanol has been a bust. I'd love that "wow" moment when something shows up that is the miracle we've been waiting for, but until then what are the "alternatives'?

EdHeath said...

Rich - no invective - except that you call me a f'ing hysteric and tell me I am drinking the "kool-aid" (which, if you think about it, is actually a pretty tasteless remark, considering 414 died in that affair, but whatever).

Clearly if it's not easy, we shouldn't do it. Instead we should drill for natural gas in a manner that has been documented to destroy water supplies. Instead, we should drill for oil (with all the well known externalities) and should never, never try to converse energy (which is, as is obvious, something very easy to do).

Denmark - evidently 20% of electricity from wind. And of course a sh*t load of conversation (as in lots of bicycles). And also, according at least one study, the happiest country on earth. It's where we should go if we win a gold medal in the Olympics.

Piltdown Man said...

Blue -

What I'm saying is simply that oil was handed to us. It involved no miracle inventions or world altering technologies. It was there. We sucked it up through a tube, and it changed our world. It made our suburban lifestyle possible. I made it possible to have fresh vegetables shipped in from halfway around the globe. It made our "modern" world possible -- because it was cheap and easy and plentiful.

I just don't see how some super battery technology is going to change that. Remember, people now have ultra sophisticated and powerful computers (unlike, say 30 years ago) and yet no miracle, scalable solution has emerged, despite all that processing power.

Do you find it impossible to imagine that the post-oil world is upon us? It might just be. I'm not suggesting that it will happen overnight, but I'm old enough to remember the culture shock of the "oil embargo" of the 1970s -- and that was just a blip. When the wells do indeed begin to run dry, where will you be?

Bram Reichbaum said...

Here's my solution to the fact that we need affordable energy, that clean and renewable alternatives to oil and gas aren't quite ready for prime-time yet, and that shale drilling pollutes groundwater and causes accidents:

Disallow drilling in and and around the City of Pittsburgh and everywhere directly upriver of it. Let everybody else deal with the nasty consequences while freeloading.

Problem solved. Next issue.

Mike said...

Ed, don't you think Denmark being a happy place has to do with some recreational drugs being legal there? :-)

Last night on Maddow, there was an interesting segment on how the government "going green" could increase the demand for green technologies and create economies of scale to make them economically viable:

A couple examples were the government buying renewable electricity and replacing the postal trucks with electric ones.

The government buys both in such huge quantities that private investment would be driven in these technologies and the economies of scale would drive down the costs so they could complete with current non-renewable technologies.

EdHeath said...

(from behind a haze of smoke) ..wha-what *giggle* duuuude...

No, I am sure that quite a bit goes into Denmark's mental health, including the generous health, education and retirement benefits provided by the government (in exchange for high taxes). I think people there don't have to worry about the same sort of things we do, although it also doesn't sound like they can get/be as rich as the richest people here.

Plus they ride bikes a lot.

I think the idea of the government buying renewable electricity and particularly electric vehicles is a good one. Government vehicles can follow rigid schedules and travel fixed distances, which are more compatible with the limited ranges of electric vehicles (as is, I might point out, commuting).