Mine Accidents, Oil Slicks Related To Declining Supplies?
HARTFORD, Conn. - So far this year, the U.S. has seen the worst oil spill in its history and the worst coal mine accident in four decades. Connecticut may seem far from these disasters, but people in the Nutmeg State use fossil fuels too, and are concerned about the effects.
Some experts say one issue is that after more than a century of mining and drilling, the easy-to-get reserves are gone. John Curtis, a professor of geology at the Colorado School of Mines and an expert on natural gas supplies, says all the easy onshore oil reserves in the U.S. have been drilled, which means we have to drill into deeper, more challenging layers of rock.
"Any time we go to environments that are deeper, it often involves higher temperatures and certainly involves higher pressures. So, it is a continuing technological challenge."
Roger Smith, campaign director of Clean Water Action Connecticut, says the state's public utilities commission is exploring where to invest in energy over the next couple of decades. Natural gas, which is cleaner than oil or coal, is appealing, but he says caution is in order.
"Connecticut ought to take this very seriously, and not rush ahead with a massive move to natural gas at the expense of solutions like wind and like solar, and other renewable energy resources which just don't have these type of downsides."
Connecticut has no fossil fuel supplies within its borders, so it must get them from elsewhere. The closest is natural gas from New York and Pennsylvania, embedded deep underground in shale rock. But accessing the gas has contaminated some water supplies, so that's not a perfect solution either.