Forum, Aug. 30: Natural Gas Is a Bad Deal

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Natural Gas Is a Bad Deal

Attending the “No Pipeline Here” rally on Aug. 12 prompted me to add some reasons why it is better to heat with propane than to switch to natural gas:

Propane is already here, trucked and stored so that no pipeline or new infrastructure is needed. 

Propane is not a greenhouse gas. Escaped propane degrades in the lower atmosphere, unlike leaking methane, which is a potent contributor to global warming.

Propane is heavier than air, unlike methane, and thus is safer. Methane more effectively displaces room air, filling each room from the ceiling down until it reaches an ignition source, accounting for the recent rash of house explosions in the evening news.

Propane is not fracked but distilled from gasoline, diesel, fuel oil, etc., leaving behind only vaseline and coal tar. Natural gas (9 percent methane, 0.5 percent propane) is produced by fracking, in which huge amounts of waste chemicals, sand and water are injected into the ground. 

Incredibly, fracking is exempt from environmental regulation and unregulated on public lands. Fracked wells and pipelines will inevitably leak over time. 

Fracked gas pipeline leaks are invisible, unlike oil pipeline leaks, and are promoted while feeding the myth that natural gas methane is a clean, safe alternative fuel, ignoring the hidden long-term costs of a fuel slightly cheaper in the short term.

So I too say about natural gas: “Don’t buy it.” If using propane, stick to propane.

 Please come to the Kilton Library Community Room at 6 p.m. Sept. 5 for a public showing and brief discussion of the movie Gasland.  On Sept. 7 in Concord, there is a Public Utilities Commission public hearing on the proposed West Lebanon pipeline.

      J. Stephen Teeter


It’s Dim in Hanover

For the improved safety of all pedestrians in downtown Hanover, there needs to be better streetlighting. I do not expect stadium supernova wattage, and while the 17th century whale lamp oil illumination is quite quaint, it’s too dim. At night, people should wear light-colored clothing and jackets. Even better would be reflective strips on clothing, hats and, perhaps, shoes. All bikes should have lights and reflectors.

In 1951, my Coast Guard shipmate and I were jaywalking between marked crosswalks in San Francisco, and several people nearby told us that this was against the law. You will be arrested and have to pay a fine, they said. On a two-week leave, traveling from San Francisco, over to Stockton, down through Fresno, to Los Angeles and San Diego and up the Pacific Coast, I never saw anyone jaywalk.

Coming from the Boston area, we two Yankees just crossed anywhere like a herd of sheep being chased by a border collie.

Dick Holbrook

South Strafford

Think Green in Vermont

Now that the I-91 bridge painting project in White River Junction is finally being uncovered, I have one question for the Vermont Agency of Transportation.  With all the money and hype that goes into promoting Vermont as the Green Mountain State, why on earth did you paint it brown?

Stephen Raymond


More Ideas, Not More Agencies

Regarding the Aug. 28 story, “Housing Nonprofit Considers Merger”:

​In far too many instances, even the most well-meaning nonprofit programs tend to become employment projects for those who have founded and expanded them. Good may very well be done, but it’s diluted by the natural territoriality of human beings.

​The Upper Valley is perhaps uniquely blessed in its aggregate wealth of expertise and sense of civic responsibility. Our two major anchoring institutions are by their charters bound to devote their energies to improvement of the human condition, in general, and specifically to ensuring that their community is healthy and sustainable.

​We don’t need more organizations competing with each other for dollars, time and space. We need everyone whose lifetime experiences bring positive values, and who have the time to freely spend, expand their networks, share their perspectives and talents, and encourage others to do so.

​We’ve already seen a remarkably successful example of that. It took me several months, after moving here, to stop laughing every time I boarded an Advance Transit bus and was not required to pay for the privilege. A considerable bonus, of course, were the drivers and their radio communications with each other to ensure that no one ever missed a connection or was overlooked on the roadside. For a native “Noo Yawkuh,” that was practically an out-of-body experience.

​Why, I wonder, does this service not run on weekends? Are people precluded from living in certain areas where rents might be lower because they’d be stranded when the buses don’t run?

​And that brings me back to the issue of housing. We need more creative use of the stock we have now. This is an area filled with beautiful, solid but now often over-large-for-single-family-use homes. They ought to be preserved for the sake of our neighborhoods; they can without too much cost be converted into supportive housing for the vulnerable. An investment in case-management services, including visiting nurses and therapeutic professionals, could solve many problems at once, and make our area a leader in integrated, complementary social and health services.

​But we don’t need more small organizations to achieve that. We need to tap the deep well of goodwill, knowledge and sense of responsibility that draws from a constantly-replenishing aquifer.

​Sarah Crysl Akhtar


Recycling Sale in Hanover

Join us at the giant Hanover/Dartmouth Community Yard Sale on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For the eighth year running, residents of the Upper Valley are emptying their closets, garages, attics and basements in the hope that their surplus stuff will find good homes —  recycling at its best and all in one place.

There are over 130 vendors, including some nonprofit groups, providing plenty of good stuff to choose from at bargain prices: furniture, household goods, tools, sportswear and gear, kids stuff, books, toys, games, antiques, clothing, etc.

The sale is held at Dartmouth College’s Dewey Field parking lot, just south of the golf course on Lyme Road (Route 10) in Hanover.  The sale is sponsored by Sustainable Hanover and the Office of Sustainability at Dartmouth College.

Susan EdwardsChair, Sustainable Hanover Recycling Subcommittee


An Unsafe Sport

With all the news about football injuries, notably to heads, I am concerned about the transaction ad in recent issues asking for 7th- and 8th-graders to play tackle football. There are other, safer games.

Susan Brown


Shameful Behavior Over Statues

Southern monuments that have not already been removed are covered with black cloth — once-proud reminders, from a now contrite South, (for the most part) that they had a voice as well.

I harbor no ill will toward any race of people and I can’t understand what is driving this nation back to ’60s-style racism. The world is watching this shameful behavior. People who want to harm us are feeding on our derision. C’mon!

What will fathers and grandfathers and moms and grandmoms say when a child looks up at that huge granite monolith with nothing atop it?

I think that to deny the past is not a prudent path.

Don Perron