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Hauter reports: "While it would lock in more business and better quarterly profits for Big Oil and Gas, it is hard to see how this serves the public interest."

Hydraulic fracturing is a drilling procedure used to pry oil and gas from rock deep underground. (photo: Ed Andrieski/AP)
Hydraulic fracturing is a drilling procedure used to pry oil and gas from rock deep underground. (photo: Ed Andrieski/AP)


Leaked Memo Reveals TTIP Would Export Fracked Gas Restriction-Free From US to EU

By Wenonah Hauter, EcoWatch

21 May 14

 

his week, negotiators from the U.S. and the EU began their fifth round of negotiations on the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement, also known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Because the negotiations are all happening behind closed doors, the public is left largely in the dark about the content of the discussions. So what, exactly, do we know?

Officially, not much. But this week, an EU negotiation position “on raw materials and energy” was leaked to The Huffington Post. The text is nothing short of a wish list of demands from Big Oil and Gas, which will lock in any of their investments in fossil fuels in general, and shale gas and fracking in particular.

Article C of the document provides that no restrictions should apply to the “exports of energy goods” between the transatlantic trade partners. Any request, for example, for an export license to ship natural gas from the U.S. to the EU would be approved “automatically,” no questions asked—even if this would lead to environmental damage from widespread use of fracking, increased gas prices for U.S. consumers, increased import dependency, and so on. It would lock in our mutual dependence on unsustainable fossil fuels at the expense of our climate. While it would lock in more business and better quarterly profits for Big Oil and Gas, it is hard to see how this serves the public interest.

The EU’s ideas for free trade in energy with the U.S. would also be a frontal assault on the possibility for governments to impose a “public service obligation,” requiring utility companies to deliver natural gas at certain prices to consumers, for example. Any such public service obligation should be “clearly defined and of limited duration” and also not be “more burdensome than necessary.” With such vague wording, lawyers will have a field day to attack any price regulation in the energy sector.

This leak shows that civil society groups on both sides of the Atlantic have been right all along to be suspicious about what is being negotiated behind closed doors. The expression “No news is good news” clearly does not apply to the transatlantic free trade deal. The more we learn about the ongoing negotiations, the less we like it.

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-7 # lnason@umassd.edu 2014-05-23 04:35
Interesting that this writer takes the side of big business. Major manufacturing firms are pretty much the only influential folks opposed to allowing us to export natural gas since they want to continue to enjoy artificially suppressed prices for this fuel here in the United States.

While allowing the export of natural gas does have some downsides -- small increases in costs for consumers, for instance -- environmentally and geopolitically it would have enormous benefits. More Europeans could switch away from dirtier fossil fuels like coal and even wood. And Russia would be less able to extort Europeans into submission.

While neither policy action is wholly good or wholly bad, I think, on balance, that allowing a free market in energy would be preferable to American interests.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+2 # Nominae 2014-05-23 18:59
Quoting lnason@umassd.edu:
Major manufacturing firms are pretty much the only influential folks opposed to allowing us to export natural gas since they want to continue to enjoy artificially suppressed prices for this fuel here in the United States.

I think, on balance, that allowing a free market in energy would be preferable to American interests.


Do you even read your own output ?

The article in no way "takes the side of big business". Perhaps one could benefit from a course in reading *comprehension*.

Manufacturing is "opposed" to allowing gas export ?

Natural gas prices are "artificially suppressed "?

Yeah .... because dyed-in-the-woo l Capitalists like Oil Companies are *always* searching for more and better ways to artificially limit their own *profits* !

Spoiler Alert there is no such *thing* as a "free market", in this Country or elsewhere. They are all "artificially" controlled, and they are (especially so in the Energy Sector) global.

Additional spoiler alert, we are *already* exporting natural gas in liquid form as fast as we can get it on ships out of the West Coast bound for China. We have been doing so for nearly a decade now!

Maybe you could "cash in some chips" at "umassd"and actually pick up a solid fact or two to include in your exposition.
 
 
+1 # RMDC 2014-05-23 06:53
"civil society groups " -- what the hell does she mean by this. Does she mean all the front groups funded by Soros, the NED, Freedom House and all the rest of the CIA fronts? When will people stop using these propaganda terms.

I'm against the Keystone XL pipeline and against the development of tar oil (really liquified coal) in every case. But I'm sure not a "civil society" group.
 
 
+3 # Nominae 2014-05-23 18:44
We are now, and have for many years been, producing liquified natural gas (LNG) and shipping it, likewise with zero restrictions, direct to China where prices for gas are still high.

The drop in gas prices is not due to suppression. It is literally due to the oil boys drowning in their own success.

I was forced to abandon our family ranch in Wyoming due to fracking.

Wells are standing idle all over the valley waiting for prices to recover.

The oil boyz went so wild with suckering ranchers into allowing destruction of water, soils and air quality for a few measly bucks that they drove gas prices
into the negative.

It now costs the oil boyz more to drill for the gas than the gas is worth when they get it out of the ground.

This is why they (the smaller companies) have simply walked away from their contracts with the locals, leaving their crap and the scarred landscapes behind.

Many have sold out to the big boys, (who can afford to wait for U.S. prices to recover), or have just simply gone bankrupt.

What Corporations do is *never* (unless by pure accident) "in the public interest".

Corporations are chartered in the U.S. to maximize shareholder profits. Not to "benefit the public", as reprehensible as that arrangement turns out to be for the environment that we all must share.

Even more sad is the fact that the government, which is *supposed* to protect people and the public lands is now simply itself a corporate extension.
 
 
+2 # Paul Roberts 2014-05-24 05:23
Inadvertently, it seems, Mr. Nason is helping spread the myth that American energy can play a meaningful role in European security (or even our own). This mythology includes the concept that natural gas can be a "bridge" to a renewable energy future, or that its exploitation is preferable to coal. I urge him to check the facts. Not only is shale gas development as damaging to our environment, but he will also find that the supply simply isn't up to the task. All U.S. "unconventional " hydro-carbon sources currently being tapped have either peaked or will peak shortly. The vaunted Marcellus reserve? Perhaps seven years' supply at present U.S. consumption rates. Dakota oil? Far less. This is hardly the stuff of a new world order. We should prefer that our own government realize these fallacies. Apparently, given current policy, it does not. Meanwhile, spreading the mythology does help U.S. energy companies finance and build the infrastructure (more drilling, more pipelines, more export terminals such as Cove Point on Chesapeake Bay) to sell hydro-carbons internationally , where prices are far higher than here in America. They have mountains to move — and profits to maximize before the reserves are gone. I thank Huffington Post and Ms. Hunter for their reporting.
 

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