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Friday, 28 March 2014 07:45

Congress Uses Ukraine as "Shock Doctrine" Excuse To Expand Explosive and Polluting Gas (LNG) Exports

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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

5396283920 1afc9b137b z(Photo: Liquefied Natural Gas tanker Paul Johnston)

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In a BuzzFlash at Truthout commentary yesterday, "The Major Reason There Will Be No War With Russia: They Are Rasputin Capitalists Now," we speculated that there would be no armed conflict between the United States and Russia, because Moscow under Putin has become a full-fledged gangster capitalist nation -- a country Wall Street can love and admire for its brashness in being openly proud of its thuggishness oligarchy.  

However, that does not mean that there is not competition within the pantheon of titan capitalists.  Such is the case occurring in the United States using the Ukarine-Crimea "crisis" to launch an all out fossil fuel face-off with Russia's Gazprom, the number one natural gas supplier in the world. Europe and the Ukraine and many other nations depend upon Gazprom for a good percentage of their natural gas supply.

The United States may now be, or so the government claims, the largest producer of oil and natural gas combined in the world, but the production frenzy of the US (and Canadian) fossel fuel industry is reaching a grand finale of maximum Earth destroying extraction, before global warming will force a possible too-late reduction of oil and gas production ravaging of the Earth.

So, what are US politicians doing in response to the Russian incursion into Crimea? Why, vociferously advocating for undercutting Russian natural gas exports by increasing US shipments to Europe and former Soviet Union republics, now independent nations.  

In fact, President Obama is encouraging not only increased shipment of natural gas overseas, but more fracking in Europe -- all destined to ratchet up the Earth's climate change, putting residents of the planet in perilous risk.

Indeed, you can see an example of Naomi Klein's "shock doctrine" at work in the heavy-handed jingoistic efforts of the fossil fuel industry to force the federal government to permit approval of largescale expansion of LNG processing plants and shipment facitlies to, allegedly, use a tool to undermine Gazprom through challenging sales in its marketplace.

LNG, if you do not know, stands for liquefied natural gas.  Currently, the EPA is approving LNG port facilities very slowly because of the concern about its potential volatility and harm to the environment. As the Sierra Club writes on its blog in opposition to increasing LNG facilities in the US:

Exporting Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to overseas markets is a dirty, dangerous practice that lets the industry make a killing at the expense of human health....

Exporting natural gas would increase fracking and carbon emissions, put sensitive ecological areas at risk, and do nothing to address our country's energy challenges. Natural gas companies envision a network of winding pipelines and noisy, polluting compressors that connect the drills to the docks, slicing through wild lands, rivers, and backyards. Pipelines and gas wells will inevitably leak or rupture, risking lives and fouling the environment where people live and further polluting the air we breathe and the water we drink. 

Not only that, the super-cooling process that turns fossil fuel vapor into LNG requires an immense amount of energy -- so much energy, in fact, that the LNG lifecycle is as dirty as coal. The industry wants to build enormous shipping terminals that would pave over fields, fill wetlands, and destroy estuaries. 

The industry claims natural gas is the key to America’s energy independence, yet they want to export almost half of daily U.S. production, leaving our communities polluted while the gas industry profits. 

Preventing these facilities from being built will dramatically decrease the pressure to drill for more gas and in turn prevent more destruction of our land and pollution of our water and air.

As Klein has noted, nonetheless, capitalism never lets a crisis or a manufactured crisis go to waste in the pursuit of profit and unfettered free market theory.

So it is that the fossil fuel industry's favorite Democratic Senator, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, is now using the Ukrainian political confrontation as a justification to expand LNG facilities due, allegedly, to a geopolitical "emergency":

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., the Senate [Energy and Natural Resources Committe's] new chairman, said U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, would be a “powerful geopolitical tool” to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin to lower gas prices across Europe.

“We all know real competition in real open markets drives efficiency and lowers prices for everyone,” Landrieu said. “The last thing Putin and his cronies want is competition from the United States of America in the energy race. Tyrants and dictators throughout history have had many reasons to fear revolutions, and this U.S. energy revolution is one they should all keep their eyes on.”

Landrieu’s energy-producing state is home to several proposed terminals to export LNG, including the only project that has won final approval. The terminal at Sabine Pass, La., is scheduled to begin operations late next year. Other proposed terminals would not begin sending fuel overseas until 2017 at the earliest....

Landrieu, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other lawmakers have been urging the Obama administration to clear the way for more exports amid a U.S. natural gas boom driven by improved drilling techniques, including hydraulic fracturing.

The real shock in this iron-fisted opportunism and use of the "shock doctrine" to advance fossil fuel interests will come when climate change has re-shaped our biosphere to make us an endangered species.

Yet, money trumps the future of the planet: Short-term gain as the Earth is plundered to its core, increasing carbon emissions by leaps and bounds, is behind the bellicose calls for dotting America with LNG plants and tankers.

The United States and Russia are in a race to extinguishing life as we know it.  When money is the only value for our elected officials in DC, human life and the wonder of our planet take a back seat. 

This ultimately lethal game for profits increases exponentially when the shock doctrine kicks in.

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