Democratic National Convention

DENVER — This week, The Foundry is reporting on all the sights, sounds and flavors of the Democratic National Convention. And one of the first “sights”  for those arriving by airplane is a video on the catastrophic dangers of global warming. You don’t really have much of a choice of whether to watch: The video blares as you wait for the tram to take you to the main terminal. At the main terminal, you’re greeted by the face of Gov. Bill Ritter (D) on a banner extolling the virtues of Colorado’s “New Energy Economy.”

The message is clear: Coloradans (or at least those controlling the airport) hate fossil fuels. That’s why, when the Bureau of Land Management recently auctioned off leases to drill for natural gas on what environmentalists call “pristine backcountry” 54,631 acres, Ritter called it a “a sad day for Colorado.

As much as Ritter and other environmentalists may hate natural gas, it’s big business in Colorado. In 2006, over $7 billion worth was produced from more than 20,000 wells.

The governor may not like the fact that his state remains a big producer of “old” energy like natural gas, but at least he knows where it comes from. Defending the fact that she is presiding over energy legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives while investing $50,000 in billionaire T. Boone Pickens’ energy scheme, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday said on “Meet the Press“:

I’m, I’m, I’m investing in something I believe in. I believe in natural gas as a clean, cheap alternative to fossil fuels. … These investments in wind, in solar and biofuels and focus on natural gas, these are the real alternatives.

Natural gas is a “cheap alternative to fossil fuels”? According to the “Energy Kids Page” of the Energy Information Administration (EIA), here’s how natural gas  is created:

Millions of years ago, the remains of plants and animals decayed and built up in thick layers. This decayed matter from plants and animals is called organic material — it was once alive. Over time, the mud and soil changed to rock, covered the organic material and trapped it beneath the rock. Pressure and heat changed some of this organic material into coal, some into oil (petroleum), and some into natural gas — tiny bubbles of odorless gas.

In other words, contra Nancy, natural gas is every bit the fossil fuel that oil is. And just like oil, it has to be extracted from the ground — often from “pristine” areas that wealthy San Franciscans don’t like to see touched by drills. The U.S. currently is a net importer of natural gas. Not only is there 18.7 billion barrels of oil in the Outer Continental Shelf that Pelosi wants to keep off limits, there is also more than 77 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that we could be producing domestically.

Throughout convention week, liberal interest groups will present policy discussions in a “Big Tent” outside Pepsi Center. One such panel is called “Faces from the Front: Western Perspectives on the Drilling Boom” and promises to address “the toll that this administration’s ‘drill everywhere’ policies are having on the people and communities of the West.”

We’ll be sure to ask the panelists what they think about Nancy Pelosi’s coming out in favor of domestic production of  one “alternative” — natural gas.

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