Natural Gas Industry Worried Green Building Regs Will Damage Its Reputation

Deacon MacMillan/CC BY 2.0

There's an interesting and painfully typical story over at Truth-Out, about how the natural gas industry, in all its self-centered wisdom, is opposing a section of a bill that would zero out fossil fuel use in half a million US federal buildings (just 1% of all buildings in the US). Why? Because, as the article describes it, the ruling "could harm [natural gas's] reputation as a cleaner fuel.

As if the controversy over fracking causing earthquakes, contaminating water supplies, and having much higher greenhouse gas emissions than conventional sources of natural gas, plus a number of reports showing the natural gas won't actually reduce emissions enough to really be the so-called bridge fuel the industry wants it to be, if all all that weren't enough to already harm the reputation of natural gas.

But I've gotten ahead of things.

Here's part of what Maria Gallucci writes:

The anti-Section 433 push is being led primarily by the American Gas Association, a trade group representing 200 natural gas utilities, and Representative Rodney Alexander, who proposed the House amendment. The conservative Republican from Louisiana is an outspoken advocate of natural gas. His home state is a hotbed for fracking along the gas-rich Haynesville shale. [...] The AGA says it's concerned that forcing federal buildings to go fossil fuel-free would set a national precedent of governments rejecting natural gas in green construction. The group also points out that it would contradict President Obama's all-of-the-above energy strategy and his commitment to develop the nation's natural gas supply. Since 2010, AGA has spent $1.9 million for lobbying, and its political action committee has given about $700,000 to Congressional members and candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Read the original for all the details on AGA's efforts to save natural gas's reputation from the ravages of green building regulations.

The painfully typical and self-centered part: This is just a stock example of typical corporate behavior, entirely prioritizing the interests of a company or industry over all other factors. Granted, individuals do this frequently too, but since corporate profit-seeking behavior is essentially psychopathic in nature (while individual behavior is only very occasionally that), there's no balancing of benefit to corporation or industry to benefit of the group—contributing greatly to the environmental mess we're now in.

No one's saying that we can do without fossil fuels today, in a practical sense, no matter how much we may want to. No one who's deep in this problem would even suggest that a decade from now it's really possible to entirely get off fossil fuels—by mid-century is another story. But we do need to transition off fossil fuels as quickly as possible, not as quickly, nay, slowly as the fossil fuel industry would like. There's no doubt about that. Even though the industry would like you to think otherwise.

Tags: Green Building | Natural Gas

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