Off the Mayor’s Desk – 4-24-2013

Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate Earth Day 2013 at an “Open House” held on Saturday, April 20th at the Glenwood City Recycling Center. Visitors had an opportunity to see first-hand what happens to their aluminum cans, glass, plastic, cardboard and newspaper, etc. after they’ve pitched it down the chutes at the recycling center. In 2012 the city recycled over 80 tons of material. That’s 80 tons of cardboard, paper, plastic, glass and aluminum that didn’t go into landfills. Earth Day was started in the United States in 1970 by Wisconsin’s Senator Gaylord Johnson to create awareness for the Earth’s environment and to encourage conservation efforts. Today more than a billion people in 193 countries observe Earth Day.

Widespread use of natural gas is a step that could address climate change and reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. Natural gas is much cleaner-burning than coal or oil and emits much less carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide. Big engine manufacturer, Cummins, is ready to begin production of an 11.9-liter liquefied natural gas engine. Analysts believe that because it will have the size and power of a standard heavy-duty truck engine, it will be a game-changer. Companies like Shell, Clean Energy Fuels, Encana and ENN Group plan to invest millions in building liquefied natural gas filling stations across the U.S.

Over the past decade, new technology, including the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has unlocked massive new supplies of clean-burning natural gas and oil from dense deposits of shale – supplies that increase our country’s energy security and improve our ability to generate electricity, heat homes and power vehicles for generations to come. Fracking has made possible production of previously unrecoverable natural gas and oil resources in the eastern, western and southwestern U.S.

The fracking process requires large amounts of frac-sand, round silica sand that is used to hold open fractures in bedrock so that the fossil fuels can flow out. Wisconsin has abundant resources of this sand that has been mined for more than 100 years. Our sand is used for glass manufacture, foundry molds, even golf course traps. It has been mined for the petroleum industry for many years. Wisconsin is the nation’s largest producer of frac-sand.

Fracking has emerged as a contentious issue in many communities and it often appears there are only two sides in the debate: those that want our oil and natural gas resources developed in a safe and reasonable way; and those who don’t want our oil and natural gas resources developed at all.

In a recent article in the New York Daily News, Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell, stated, “As a Democrat, I understand the worries of those who question natural gas development. I have shared some of their concerns. But, I would ask that folks do as I did: Step back and look at the facts. See the bigger picture. We must push for natural gas development with appropriate oversight and regulation. But, most importantly, we must push forward. The benefits to the environment, our citizens and our energy security are just too great to ignore.”