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Q&A: Home Depot, Lowe's didn't buy or sell Chinese drywall

Natural gas is widely used for home heating, but use as transportation fuel has drawbacks.

Getty Images (2005)

Natural gas is widely used for home heating, but use as transportation fuel has drawbacks.

No dealing in Chinese drywall

Did Home Depot or Lowe's retail stores sell any of the Chinese drywall now causing health, corrosion and insurance concerns?

Both home improvement stores have said their companies did not buy or sell drywall manufactured in China. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that it has received about 1,501 reports from residents in 27 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico with health problems they think are related to the corrosion of metal components in their homes resulting from Chinese drywall. Most of the homes were built in 2006 and 2007, according to the CPSC.

Using natural gas

Rep. Harry Teague and energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens recently wrote that the solution for our dependence on imported oil is natural gas, which is clean and plentiful enough in the United States to last 118 years. What would it take for us to start using natural gas in place of oil? If we have so much natural gas, why haven't we been using it?

We do use natural gas extensively. Half the country's homes are heated with gas. Industries that make steel, plastics and chemicals also count on gas. Utilities' reliance on gas to make electricity has gone up more than 50 percent in the past 10 years or so, with gas now used to make more than a fifth of the nation's electricity.

More energy-efficient homes, businesses and appliances, and declining industrial consumption, has kept the use of natural gas at relatively flat levels recently. At the same time, new estimates of U.S. reserves are 35 percent higher than just two years ago, thanks to new technology that has allowed drillers to get gas from shale rock.

The American Clean Skies Foundation, which is backed by the natural gas industry, said a year ago that the United States has a 118-year supply of natural gas at 2007 production levels.

The use of gas as a transportation fuel has grown, but still makes up just a tiny part of overall consumption. Promoters have not been able to get gas to catch on as a key transportation fuel beyond use in corporate fleets, city buses, trash collection trucks and other government vehicles.

Lack of refueling stations is one problem. Extremely volatile and unpredictable pricing is another.

Update

An alert reader points out that big band leader Glenn Miller was lost in a plane crash on Dec. 15, 1944, and his body was never found. So how could he be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, as stated in the Sept. 22 Ask the Times column?

Well, he isn't. But he was eligible for a memorial headstone as a service member who died on active duty whose remains could not be recovered. His daughter made the request, and in April 1992 a stone was placed in Section H, Number 464-A on Wilson Drive in Arlington National Cemetery.

Q&A: Home Depot, Lowe's didn't buy or sell Chinese drywall 11/05/09 [Last modified: Thursday, November 5, 2009 3:31am]
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