Letter to the editor: Environmentalists turn against natural gas - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Letter to the editor: Environmentalists turn against natural gas

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  • Beckley Motor Speedway holds open practice

    Beckley Motor Speedway holds open practice

    Beckley Motor Speedway holds open practice

    Sunday, April 20 2014 9:27 AM EDT2014-04-20 13:27:12 GMT
    Today the Beckley Motor Speedway held an open practice for any racer who wanted to test out the track.Participants had to pay $10 and had from 11 AM to 3 PM to get their car on the track as many times as they wanted.I spoke with one racer who has been racing for a few years and he says there's nothing in the world like racing."Oh man, it's a rush. It's the best thing in the world. There's nothing like it," Tommy Blankenship said.Track officials said they heard the rumors also, that the track ...
    Today the Beckley Motor Speedway held an open practice for any racer who wanted to test out the track.Participants had to pay $10 and had from 11 AM to 3 PM to get their car on the track as many times as they wanted.I spoke with one racer who has been racing for a few years and he says there's nothing in the world like racing."Oh man, it's a rush. It's the best thing in the world. There's nothing like it," Tommy Blankenship said.Track officials said they heard the rumors also, that the track ...
  • One man shot early Saturday morning in Beckley

    One man shot early Saturday morning in Beckley

    Sunday, April 20 2014 5:43 AM EDT2014-04-20 09:43:44 GMT
         One man is in custody Saturday after a bar shooting in Raleigh County.
         One man is in custody Saturday after a bar shooting in Raleigh County.
  • Crews fight house fire in Fayette County for several hours Saturday

    Crews fight house fire in Fayette County for several hours Saturday

    Saturday, April 19 2014 11:24 PM EDT2014-04-20 03:24:33 GMT
    Crews fought a house fire in Fayette County Saturday evening for several hours. 911 Dispatchers said the call came in of a house fire on Paint Creek Road near Pax around 6:30 p.m. Pax Fire Department and Bradley-Prosperity Fire Department responded along with several other crews. We're told no one was inside the home when the fire happened.
    Crews fought a house fire in Fayette County Saturday evening for several hours. 911 Dispatchers said the call came in of a house fire on Paint Creek Road near Pax around 6:30 p.m. Pax Fire Department and Bradley-Prosperity Fire Department responded along with several other crews. We're told no one was inside the home when the fire happened.

Since consideration is being given to building a natural gas cracker plant in West Virginia, it might be well to ask, "Just what is a cracker plant?" Many people might associate fracking or fracturing with a cracker. They are not the same. Fracking has to do with a process used in the well drilling and a cracker has to do with what has been done to the natural gas being produced. 

A cracker is similar to what is done with produced crude oil. When crude oil has been produced it goes through a refining process where various products such as gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene and heavy lubricants are produced.

Gov. (Earl Ray) Tomblin announced a couple of weeks ago that a Brazilian company "will look to capitalize on the regional opportunities in the Marcellus and Utica shale." 

Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette said, "It represents the largest single industrial project in the state of West Virginia if we can make all of the pieces come together, and we think we can. It will drive other plants that use their ethane products." 

New production methods used in the process of completing Marcellus Shale wells have resulted in wells producing at an unheard of volume of natural gas. This new method includes horizontal drilling of up to five miles in the Marcellus formation and with hydro fracturing done at various sites along the way. Without fracturing, these wells would not produce the huge volumes of natural gas they are capable of producing. A recent federal report says that the Marcellus Shale gas boom is soaring more rapidly than anyone expected. U.S. output from fracking and horizontal wells has climbed to 12 billion cubic feet per day — six times greater than 2009 production. Many environmentalists are opposed to fracking because they fear the possibility of fractures going vertical and contaminating the ground water. However, because the formations above the Marcellus Shale are in a horizontal position, there is little to no possibility of the fractures going vertical through as much as 7,000 feet to get to the surface.

Because natural gas is such a clean-burning fuel, many environmentalists were originally in favor of natural gas. Now, because of horizontal drilling and fracturing, there is an abundance of natural gas. For this reason environmentalists have turned against natural gas because they fear subsidies for alternate fuels will decline.

Frank Deem
Vienna