Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is being touted in many venues as one of the answers to reducing our carbon footprint. Many Arkansans have benefitted already by leasing or selling their mineral rights on their land to energy companies. Admittedly CNG is a benefit to our air environment and reduces the amount of carbon which ends up in the air we breath, and further in the atmospere around our planet which science tells us is adding to the dangers of global warming.
There are other benefits and losses to be considered in the expansion of CNG use. As many of my generation know, land which was once farmland and cattle farms has now been absorbed into cities and towns around the country. The expansion of cities and towns due to the population increase and immigration is necessary to provide living space for more people every year. Eventually this growth will be encroaching on areas where fracking and the associated equipment and waste water wells are now. As a result, there will be more unsightly things on the horizons of our living space. Many already complain and often fight via petition and protest when new cell phone towers are constructed in their area, saying it is a blight on the esthetic value of their homes and property, even though almost everyone is a cell phone user. Its a catch 22 kind of thing. We may approach these same complaints around CNG production in the future.
I completely support the idea of reducing our carbon footprint, but not at the cost of cutting off my foot. The city is spending a large sum of money now, to convert the police force vehicles to CNG, and the cost / benefit of the change is in question. Obviously in 10 or so years, we will have at least 100 or so vehicles using the CNG and not polluting our air as seriously as the use of fossil fuels does. A small benefit for the cost.
The bigger question is when will vehicle manufacturers begin making CNG vehicles so 'conversion kits' and their installation costs will not be a matter of consideration? If CNG is here to stay, our automobile manufacturers need to begin producing vehicles which operate on CNG instead of fossil fuel. Our state legislature should consider passing legislation which at some point in the future requires a percentage of all new vehicles sold in the state to be CNG powered. In other words if 'mohammed won't come to the mountain, make the mountain come to mohammed' (no religious inference intended). If we are one of the major producer states of CNG we need to benefit from the bounty in more ways than lease/purchase plans for mineral rights. Such action by our legislature can affect what manufacturers and suppliers plan for their future, if they (the legislature) act now and put such future imposed restrictions in place. By placing such future restrictions, we can be ahead of the curve, and begin reducing the amount of pollution we now contribute to the world atmosphere as well as benefit from the cost savings of the fuel.
I support CNG and its benefits, but not on a partial "for a big price you can convert" way. CNG should become one of the options we have in vehicle purchases, just like hybrid electric/fossil fuel vehicles are now.