Posted inInvesting / Politics / Thank You Sir May I Have Another

Lip Service and Bribes

I have recently finished reading the Time magazine article on Oklahoma quakes. (Yes, I’m a bit behind on reading.) It was probably a good thing I didn’t read the article when it first came out as now most of the news shows are starting to talk about this same subject.

Once again we have lobbyists passing out bribes so nothing has to change when the massive increase in earthquake activity tells anyone with a pulse things have to change. So, lawmakers and the industry pay lip service to a “solution.” They offer to “limit or reduce” the amount of waste water disposal pumped under high pressure well below the drinking water table. I was actually somewhat disappointed that the Time article didn’t provide speculative solutions, especially since Time has done quite a few on ending fossil fuel use as well as global warming.

What prompted this post is that I have also noticed a massive increase in those annoying “I’m an energy voter” commercials. They talk about all of these wonderful benefits and remain silent on the fact Oklahoma will be uninhabitable within 5 years if they don’t stop what they are doing.

So, we are offered “moderation” which wasn’t much of an offer given the low price of crude. Oil companies are shutting down rigs hand over fist anyway. We can all be “moderation” will have a completely different definition when crude goes back to $100/barrel. I actually did like what the author had to say about those commercials in the link and how oil companies are allowed to pass the cost of their business directly onto consumers via the government, not in the price of oil.

Yes, burning fossil fuel bad, but right now, earthquake worse and drought/water shortage really really bad. The one solution which hasn’t been pushed thanks to bribes is to ban waste water disposal of any kind. Force the oil companies to fund the research for high volume desalination and make them turn it into clean H2O for cities and rivers. Not as crazy as it sounds AND it would completely solve the California water problem. Given the billions of gallons of waste water the Time article quoted for Oklahoma the 3000+- active wells in Los Angeles County ought to fully meet their water needs while raising the Colorado river to flood stage.

While oil companies would try to force the desalination to use their products as energy sources, if they were required to fully fund the third party ventures we would be a lot farther along on things like solar desalination and since we are talking about places like Oklahoma and California, there ought to be plenty of sun. I really liked the part of that solar article which talked about mining/refining the minerals from the remaining salt and how potash and such are actually harvested that way in Canada.

A year or two ago a friend who now lives in Iowa was telling me about how their water people were all up in arms about the nitrate levels in various rivers. He went on and on about the issue. When I asked what they were doing about it he said the water treatment places were filtering them out of the drinking water and dumping them back in at now higher concentrations. I had what, at the time, I thought was a flippant response for him:

You know, an intelligent man would figure out how to mine the nitrates out of the water then bribe politicians to pass a law stating the farm supply companies had to buy all the fertilizer the water treatment plants had for sale before any more could be brought into the state.

Now that I read that solar desalinization article, turns out there actually is technology to do just that. Once they pull out the water they can use the same equipment Canada has been using for years to retrieve the potash and other fertilizers. Seems like a no brainer.

This isn’t sandal wearing tree hugger chatter. Even MIT is writing articles on advancements in desalinization. But, bribes get paid so only lip service is offered.

Yes, we need to stop the burning of crude oil and fossil fuels within the decade to stem the damage caused by global warming. Even when we do that we will still need some level of crude oil products for lubrication. Not everything can use “synthetic” oil and I personally don’t believe all synthetic motor oil is 100% made from chemicals which are not pulled from crude or its refining process.

The simple truth is, we could have E100 cars today. Every manufacturer selling cars into Brazil has E100 drive trains. Once again bribes stop us from getting where we need to be.

As a writer and IT consultant I often quote “Rudy’s Rutabaga Rule.” It comes from a book all should read called “The Secrets of Consulting.” Basically, once you solve your first worst problem your second worst problem becomes your first. We can solve 2 out of 3 of our immediate problems by forcing oil companies to pump no more crude than they can desal the waste water from. The purified water will solve water shortage and quality problems in many areas and the secondary industries set up to refine the fertilizers and minerals from the waste which remains will not only provide ample sources for these needed materials, but will replace many of the jobs lost with reduced oil production. It will also slow and eventually stop the earthquake problems caused by high pressure waste water disposal.

Allowing E100 vehicles to be manufactured and sold in America will dramatically reduce carbon emissions. Converting half of the fossil fuel electric power plants to E100 will also dramatically impact global warming. Once it has had a few years to shake out, selling this tech to other countries will have an even larger impact on the problem.

It is time for more than lip service and bribes.