Posted July 20, 2017
People have been fascinated by celestial bodies since antiquity. Cave drawings, such as those as Lascaux, France, include depictions of the stars. The Pleiades and Orion are mentioned in the book of Job, one of the oldest books in the Bible.
Next week, some descendants of those ancient star-gazers will congregate in one of the remotest parts of Nebraska for the annual Nebraska Star Party, July 23-28 at Snake Campground at the Merritt Reservoir. Since 1994 the event has attracted hundreds of people eager to capitalize on the dark nothingness in a sparsely populated patch of the Great Plains that’s mostly unspoiled by human illumination. They come, they camp, they scan the heavens. This video from the 2015 event captures the flavor of the setting, you know, with the lights on:
This part of Nebraska is dark enough to see many of the night’s lights with the naked eye, but Clete Baker, an organizer for the five-day star party, says most participants will opt for enhancing devices – most of them made with natural gas and oil.
Posted July 19, 2017
As America’s natural gas and oil companies continue to develop their workforce of the future, they’ve got a great story to tell. Make that stories – of opportunity, cutting-edge technologies and key contributions toward environmental goals, just to name three. The competition for those workers will be vigorous. A recent survey by EY indicated some younger Americans can learn more about how natural gas and oil companies and refiners are developing the energy that our country will need for decades to come – safely and responsibly. Discussing the important contributions industry and its employees are making to Americans’ quality of life will address questions some may have.
Posted July 18, 2017
Current legislation in Congress will be a big help in advancing the energy infrastructure the United States needs to connect our nation’s vast energy wealth with those who benefit from it: individual Americans, businesses and manufacturers. The House legislation would streamline federal review and approval of natural gas pipelines by codifying and reinforcing current regulatory deadlines and by clarifying the roles of the permitting agencies that are involved in infrastructure projects.
Posted July 18, 2017
Thinking about packing for the beach: Everything must be lightweight for the tromp to the shore – and as water-resistant as possible. You know all the tents, umbrellas, blankets, towels, buckets, pails, shovels and whatnot will be wet and sandy coming back, so … thank goodness for energy.
Oil and natural gas are a beachgoer’s buddies. Thanks in large part to those two, we’ve got plastics, synthetic materials and fabrics that are functional and durable for beach leisure, yet light on your load – especially on the straggle back to the car or beach house with a 2-year-old on one shoulder. Your time at the beach is made better, safer and more enjoyable because of modern, versatile natural gas and oil.
Posted July 14, 2017
With around 108,000 registered boats in a state that is home to 3.6 million people – about one boat for every 33 residents – getting out on the water is broadly popular in Connecticut. No question, keeping this New England state’s boating appetite sated takes a lot of energy, and not just for filling gas tanks. Today’s natural gas and oil move us, but they also make summer recreation, including boating, better.
From electricity (in Connecticut nearly 49 percent came from natural gas-powered generation in 2016) for manufacturing to petroleum for materials and gasoline for engines, energy is both the glue and the driver of summer’s maritime adventures. Even the transportation of boats to sellers, homes and marinas, typically on trucks and trains, depends on traditional fossil fuels.
Posted July 12, 2017
Beaches seem to get all the glory during the summer. Consider how often you see depictions of a sunbaked shoreline, a crowded beach, people in sunglasses and bathing suits swatting volleyballs, tossing Frisbees and otherwise frolicking in or near water. Sounds great, yet the 61 percent of Americans who don’t live in counties directly on the shoreline are more likely to enjoy summertime sun, sand and water at a lake.
Nobody does lakes quite like Minnesota – you know, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” (actually 11,842, but that’s not as snappy on a license plate). While Alaska has more lakes, Minnesota really is synonymous with the summer lake life: relaxing weekends, hopping on a jet ski and zooming off with friends or pulling out the kayaks and navigating the back channels. Energy makes these happen and makes them more enjoyable – as it does so many of the hobbies, activities and travels of summer.
Manufacturers like Polaris and Arctic Cat, both headquartered in Minnesota, juice up their jet skis with impressive engines and sleek bodies that cut through the water while the needle climbs on the speedometer. These high-end personal water craft are a complete-package energy product. Their bodies typically are shaped from fiberglass, an amalgamation of glass fibers that usually is formed using natural gas. And don’t forget to fill up that gas tank and check your engine’s oil before you head out for a long day on the water!
Posted July 11, 2017
We expect that, after all the data and emissions trends are considered, EPA will develop a science-based, cost-effective path to target emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), in which methane emissions reductions also are achieved. Industry supports environmental protection and, indeed, is demonstrating that support by taking actions to reduce methane emissions.
Posted July 10, 2017
Dawn breaks on a summer morning along Montana’s Blackfoot River. A group of veteran fly-fishing anglers finds a good spot to start their day and watches as the rising sun sparkles on the easy-moving water. Taking in the stillness around them, they spot an elk drinking from the other side and begin connecting flies to lines at the end of graphite rods.
It’s truly a scene right out of the film, “A River Runs Through It.” And while the Blackfoot’s rocks might not have cryptic messages secreted under them, the thrilling anticipation for fly fishing at daybreak, felt by Norman and Paul Maclean in the movie, is palpable. Indeed, fly fishing enthusiasts in Montana and across the country hunger for the experience year after year. Energy makes a sport nearly as old as Montana’s craggy mountain peaks a modern-day source of idyllic joy. It’s what energy does: More than just serving as fuels, natural gas and oil improve the experiences of so many of the summer things we enjoy.
Fly fishing demands a lot of skill, as well as learning how to master its specialized equipment. You don’t just stagger into a Montana river or stream and start pulling in succulent trout. Yet, thanks to natural gas and oil, the equipment itself is strong and reliable.
Posted July 7, 2017
An important factor in sustaining and growing the United States’ position as an energy superpower is the continued ability of U.S. natural gas and oil companies to operate competitively the world over, to continue developing the energy needed here at home while also supporting energy exports to aid friends overseas. Legislation crafted by the U.S. Senate to increase sanctions on Russia could work against this.
Posted July 7, 2017
Ever since the early 1960s, when Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys popularized the “California Sound” and surf music, the union of surfing and sunny Southern California has been “epic,” “cranking,” “radical” – all surfing shorthand for awesome. You can surf in other states, but it’s hard to beat Cali for catchin’ a wave and sitting on top of the world.
Energy makes wave-catching “epic.”
Sure, surfing is riding high on the waves, the sun glinting in your eyes and the briny smell of the ocean in your nostrils. It’s also that surfboard under your feet, which is where energy comes in. Whether you choose a shortboard, funboard or go with an old-school longboard, energy keeps you cruising on the crest of the Pacific Ocean’s chilly blue water.
While the ancient Polynesians and then Hawaiians used wooden surfboards for their sport, since the 1950s most surfboards have been made using layers of petroleum-based products to create durable, light and buoyant boards.