Letter to the Editor of the Arizona Star from longtime friend Mike Breiding

To the Editor:

The recent Arizona Star article (1.) on banning uranium mining near the Grand
Canyon has some politicians once again bringing up the specter of energy
problems in the U.S. due to limits on energy production, be it uranium
and coal mining or oil and gas drilling.

If these politicians are so concerned about energy independence and
national security as it relates to a steady supply of energy then they
need to do some homework on the topic.

In 2010 over 66, 000 tons of US coal were exported to places like India
and China. (2.)

In November 2010 the U.S exported 34,000 more barrels of petroleum
products a day than it imported. And, in both December and February, the
U.S.exported 54,000 more barrels a day. Net imports have not been
negative for nearly two decades.

And, if the energy industry has its way they will soon be exporting
large quantities of  liquified natural gas (LNG). If the deal goes
through just one liquefaction terminal in Louisiana will be exporting
two billion cubic feet of gas per day by 2015. (3.)

One has to wonder why the very politicians who are screaming about
energy independence are allowing our irreplaceable sources of energy to
be sold to the highest bidder.

No only does this put at risk our energy independence, but U.S. citizens
end up with the environmental damage which is caused by the extraction
and refining of our precious fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels are not the only mineral resources we are losing.

The proposed Rosemont open pit copper mine would ship most of its ore to
German and Korean investors. Once again, foreign countries end up with
the product and we end up with the environmental damage. (4.)

No one would argue mineral extraction provides some jobs. The question
is – at what cost to the U.S taxpayer in the form of higher energy
prices and the ever dwindling sources of minerals from which that energy
is derived.

If we are truly worried about our energy independence and our national
energy security then all coal, oil and gas exports should come to an
immediate halt – before it’s too late.

Sources:

1.)
http://azstarnet.com/news/science/environment/us-bans-new-mining-near-grand-canyon/article_bcd04313-467a-5c23-8755-8d48dc725ce0.html

2.) http://www.eia.gov/coal/distribution/annual/pdf/o_10foreign.pdf

3.)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/should-the-united-states-export-its-cheap-natural-gas-maybe-not/2012/01/04/gIQAjqI5aP_blog.html

4.)
http://azstarnet.com/mobi/latest/article_c35ffe32-2a97-5a2b-82dd-a898c109b870.html

About Sam's Branch

I joined the Peace Corps in 1961 as West Virginia’s first volunteer. Go to Amazon.com to order my book Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories. I am the eighth generation of my family born in the Big Coal River Valley of West Virginia. My father and grandfather were underground coal miners. I have a chemical engineering degree from West Virginia University (WVU). After training to make sidewinder missiles, I joined the Peace Corps and taught chemistry and coached the track team at a secondary school in Nigeria. Since that time, I was WVU’s first full time foreign student advisor and worked in urban outreach, organic farming, construction labor, and high school teaching. I recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (wvhighlands.org), and recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Kanawha State Forest Foundation (ksff.org). I am still on the board of the Labor History Association and the West Virginia Environmental Education Association and recently joined the board of the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union. I am active in the campaign to stop the destructive practice of mountain top removal strip mining in the Appalachian Mountains. You may contact me at martinjul@aol.com or my blog samsbranch.wordpress.
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