Fossil Fuel Export Folly

Caption

Natural gas well pad construction and fracking wastewater tank truck, Greene County, Pennsylvania.

Published as a letter-to-the-editor in the New York Times on October 14, 2014 as a response to “Reversing the Flow of Oil” in the Energy section of October 8

 

The Obama administration’s ramping up fossil fuel exports is at odds with its push for a global climate deal. It also presents a real threat to our already strained water resources. Just consider the amount of water used in hydraulic fracturing: roughly four million to six million gallons per oil or gas well. So we’re essentially exporting our water to other countries, to the profit of a few, at a cost to many.

The Government Accountability Office, in a 2014 update to its 2003 report, found that 40 of 50 state water managers (in the United States, the states are primarily responsible for managing freshwater resources) expected shortages in some portion of their states under average conditions in the next 10 years.

The solution? Integrated energy-water-climate policies that drive low-carbon, low-water technologies and initiatives. This can be achieved partly through better data collection efforts as well as increased collaboration between energy and water sectors and policy makers.

KYLE RABIN
Director of Programs
Grace Communications Foundation
New York, Oct. 9, 2014