Why do major environmental groups like EDF, NRDC, and PennFuture support strong regulation of shale gas but oppose banning it? Look no further than the case of the Little Gypsy power plant in Louisiana.
Entergy planned to convert the 538 megawatt Little Gypsy power plant from gas to petroleum coke and coal.
You read that correctly. In 2007, high natural gas prices drove Entergy to gain regulatory approval to switch Little Gypsy from gas and were boosting plans to build more than 150 new coal plants. A climate pollution disaster was highly likely.
But the shale gas revolution stopped Entergy's plan to switch Little Gypsy and was a major factor in stopping the expected wave of new coal plants.
"The plan to convert a generator at the Montz plant from natural gas to petroleum coke was approved by the Public Service Commission in November 2007 when high natural gas prices were hitting billpayers...But natural gas prices have been in a major slide partly because of the development of the Haynesville Shale in northwestern Louisiana and other shale plays." See Associated Press May 17th, 2011 story at www.nola.com.
Petroleum coke is a byproduct of the refinery business and emits more than two times the carbon dioxide of gas and even more than coal. The national Sierra Club filed suit in 2008 to stop the conversion, fearing massive new pollution.
Now shale gas production jumping from 2 billion cubic feet per day to 16 billion cubic feet per day has yielded $4 gas and stopped the environmentally disastrous Little Gypsy conversion from gas to petroleum coke and coal plus a wave of new coal plants without carbon controls.
So again why do major environmental organizations like EDF, NRDC, and PennFuture support strong regulation of shale gas but not a ban?
Look no further than the powerful example of Little Gypsy power plant.