In response to Al Bratton’s letter on Monday, March 17, and others lately on the issue of same sex marriage, I would like to offer an opposing view. I’m quite sure that more of your readers will agree with this view than with Al Bratton’s. It goes without saying that long ago Hollywood, news outlets and politicians found that the best way to take an issue out of moral debate is to make it a political issue and further to make those who take a stand against it bigots and haters. Quite to the point now nothing good can ever come out of same sex marriage. Even for those who don’t believe what God has to say about it. It simply goes against nature. For those who do believe the Bible (as I do) God has said much on the subject. I’ll cite only a few references here and the readers can look for themselves: Genesis 2:23, 24; Leviticus 18: 22; and Leviticus 20:13.
US has energy tools at its disposal
Wouldn’t it be telling if public challenges to energy production, led by environmental advocates who hate fossil fuels and nuclear power, weakened President Obama’s hand in dealing with Russia’s Vladimir Putin?
Many European nations that currently rely on Russia for most of their natural gas are looking to the United States for help in reducing their dependence. It is especially important to those that depend on Russia for 70 percent to 100 percent of their gas – countries like Ukraine, Poland, Hungary and Lithuania – that the United States send a signal that it intends to play a major role in the global energy market.
As the worlds number one producer of natural gas, the United States could help liberate Europe from Russian gas.
What’s more, no fewer than 25 energy companies have applied to the Department of Energy (DOE) for licenses to export liquefied natural gas (LNG). But DOE’s bureaucracy is in no hurry. To date, only 7 companies have received licenses, including two that have export terminals under construction.
No matter. If DOE issued all the LNG export licenses at once, such blanket approval would demonstrate U.S. resolve to lead world energy markets.
Nationwide, unconventional oil and gas production contributes over 1.7 million jobs and $63 billion in revenues, according to IHS Global Insight.
Now we have an opportunity for the first time in decades to use our energy resources – not only fossil fuels but also nuclear power – as strategic weapons.
There’s also a powerful case to be made for boosting U.S. coal exports, since European countries already are using more coal instead of Russian gas for electricity production. U.S. coal exports currently exceed 100 million tons a year, but they’re constrained by governmental restrictions on mining and a lack of coastal terminals.
Looking for another way to stem Putin’s influence ? There is a huge global market in commercial reactors – an estimated $740 billion in this decade, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Russia controls more than 30 percent of the nuclear market, while America’s share is only 7 percent. One reason for this imbalance is that U.S. suppliers of nuclear plant components and equipment must wait up to a year or more to obtain an export license, whereas their counterparts in Russia and other countries typically can get approval within a month.
The important point is that the United States has several energy tools at its command that could strengthen our country’s position in the world and weaken Russia’s. But what if Obama, lest he offend his environmentalist supporters, throws obstacles in the way of energy export to Europe? That would have enormous security implications in the aftermath of Russia’s brutal takeover of Crimea.
C.T. Carley, Ph.D., P.E.
Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering
Mississippi State University