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Saudi prince doesn’t like fracking, either

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By BEN CARLSON

There will be plenty of dire predictions and scary scenarios on tap when the fiscal court hosts a meeting Tuesday to allow residents to share their views about the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the basement of the Extension office in the county park.
To date I’ve spoken with no one outside of the companies proposing to build the pipeline who favors the pipeline, which is understandable. Very few people want up to 400,000 gallons of hazardous materials flowing through their back yards every day, courtesy of fracking in Pennsylvania.
It’s a classic NIMBY (not in my back yard) situation.
Me? I’m still trying to separate the wheat from chaff when it comes to this project, and not until I’ve heard much more from both sides will I decide which way to lean, a decision I admit is remarkably easier because no one has proposed running this pipe across my property.
I have, however, lived in several locations where environmental damage has been a bit more than a threat.
My former home on the North Carolina coast was a short swim from a massive nuclear power plant, where cool water discharge lines pumped millions of gallons of sea water back into the ocean. It also provided some wonderful locations to fish for sharks.
While living in Upstate New York, a nearby salt mine collapsed, polluting with borax farm wells needed to water thousands of heads of dairy cattle.
While living in South Florida, I learned that mercury pollution in the Everglades was so bad that eating more than one bass per month was considered dangerous to my health. I opted to eat none each month.
When I learned that my current Kentucky home could be subjected to environmental risk from a pipeline, I was initially ready to stand opposed until I stumbled across a news article about how badly fracking is upsetting the Saudis.
Fracking, which squeezes energy from shale deposits, is becoming a bee in the turban of a Saudi prince concerned about the impact it’s having on his nation’s export of oil to the west.
The article says billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is encouraging Gulf states to diversify their economies due to the shrinking demand for OPEC crude oil.
Seems the worm has turned on OPEC, which for decades has held the United States hostage when it comes to oil prices. A blip on the oil radar, as we’ve seen time and again, sends gasoline prices skyrocketing and our fragile economy into a quick and brutal tailspin.
What’s worse is that OPEC’s black gold is almost exclusively the root cause of our country’s wars over the past several decades as industrialists demand the war machine be used to keep oil free-flowing and cheap.
But when the patriotic fervor ends and America tires of its war efforts, left behind are tens of thousands of her young men and women — many dead, many missing eyes and limbs, and many, many more assigned to a life that includes an unhealthy dose of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
For all the talk about solar, wind and other forms of so-called green energy, the simple truth is that our country is no closer to using those options on a mass scale than it was 20 years ago.
That certainly doesn’t mean we should give up on those efforts, but in the meantime we cannot continue to rely so heavily on oil imports from those who despise us — particularly when the ultimate cost is the blood of our children and billions in treasure.
Will building a pipeline through Kentucky solve those heady problems? Of course not, but before we as a community rise in opposition, it would be wise to take a breath, consider the alternatives and understand that there is more at stake than our own back yards.