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Jan 29, 2015
Cuomo proposes $15 M. increase for oil spill fund
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—As New York grapples with the rapid influx of millions of gallons of crude oil, Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed increasing the $25 million state oil spill fund to $40 million. The additional funding would come from higher fees on trains that transport oil through New York but do not sell it here.   [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Fracking ‘to be suspended in Scotland’
Scotsman
Scott Macnab

A MORATORIUM on fracking in Scotland has been imposed by the Scottish Government amid growing concerns over the environmental and health implications.  [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Did Alberta Just Break a Fracking Earthquake World Record?
The Tyee
Andrew Nikiforuk

Hydraulic fracturing, a technology used to crack open difficult oil and gas formations, appears to have set off a swarm of earthquakes near Fox Creek, Alberta, including a record-breaking tremor with a felt magnitude of 4.4 last week. That would likely make it the largest felt earthquake ever caused by fracking, a development that experts swore couldn't happen a few years ago.  [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
After Years Of Study, Deep Divisions Over Fracking's Risks Remain
WYPR-NPR


At the background of all of this is what Maryland’s new governor will do. Edwards says fracking advocates plan to put forward some suggestions for Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, to change the proposed regulations, some of which are considered onerous to energy companies. “We’ll end up having the toughest drilling rules in the country, but you can’t make it to the point that knowingly someone’s not going to come because of the way that it’s written,” Edwards said. Many Democrats are waiting to see what Hogan does with the regulations. If Hogan tries to water them down, he may face a fight and strengthen support for moratorium legislation.  [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Pennsylvania’s New Governor Will Ban Fracking In State Parks And Forests
Think Progress
Emily Atkins

Pennsylvania’s new Governor Tom Wolf will sign an executive order Thursday banning the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in state parks and forests, the Associated Press reports.   [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Fracking fight - St. Tammany Parish Council to consider allocating another $50,000 to legal effort
Times-Picayune
Robert Rhoden

The St. Tammany Parish Council next week will consider putting an additional $50,000 toward its legal effort to block a proposed oil drilling and fracking project northeast of Mandeville. If the resolution by Councilman Steve Stefancik is approved on Thursday (Feb. 5), the budget for the legal fight would increase to $175,000.   [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Scotland announces fracking ban
EurActiv


Scotland has imposed a moratorium on shale gas planning permits two days after a UK-wide ban was rejected by MPs in Westminster. The Scottish Parliament will conduct an public consultation and an investigation into the impact of shale gas extraction - known as fracking - on public health before allowing any new permits to be issued.   [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Al Franken Brings The 'You Didn't Build That' To Fracking Boomers
Huffington Post
Michael McAuliff

WASHINGTON -- With a bevy of fellow senators and natural gas industry experts angling to jack up profits by boosting gas exports, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) had a reminder for them in a Senate hearing Thursday: You didn't build that gas boom -- taxpayers did.  [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Wolf restores fracking ban in state parkland
Philadelphia Inquirer
Ben Finley

Fulfilling a campaign promise, Gov. Wolf on Thursday reinstated a moratorium on natural gas drilling on state parklands, less than a year after his predecessor lifted the ban. The executive order is limited to future drilling and protects only some of Pennsylvania's state parks and forests.   [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Corporations must not be allowed to dictate fracking issue
The Guardian


What gives you the impression (Editorial, 27 January) that by 2030 “gas will not be needed for power stations, only for domestic and industrial heating”? National Grid, which manages both the electricity and gas transmission networks, does not concur. Under the greenest of its future scenarios, by 2030 total gas demand would decline by 25%, including a 37% decline in power station use. However, this is swamped by smaller percentage decreases in gas use for domestic and industrial heating, which together account for three-quarters of UK gas consumption. Moreover, they amount to more than double the total energy consumed as electricity.   [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
After Years Of Study, Deep Divisions Over Fracking's Risks Remain
WYPR
Christopher Connelly

For more than three years, a state commission has been studying whether to allow hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to get at natural gas trapped in the Marcellus shale beneath the mountains of Western Maryland. Now, the commission is done, state agencies have proposed rules, but commissioners still don’t agree on the central question of whether we can frack safely.  [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Wolf to sign moratorium on new gas drilling leases in Pa. parks, forests
Morning Call
Peter Jackson

HARRISBURG —Gov. Tom Wolf plans to sign an executive order ending a short-lived effort by his predecessor to expand the extraction of natural gas from rock buried deep below Pennsylvania's state parks and forests, his office said Wednesday.   [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Turkish Cypriot negotiator urges suspension of gas drilling
Hurriyet Daily News


Greek and Turkish Cypriots should both agree to suspend the search for offshore natural gas until they have reached a settlement to reunify their divided island, the chief Turkish Cypriot negotiator has said, as Turkey’s foreign minister expressed hopes of finding a solution to the issue with the new Greek government.  [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Robert Redford: Fossil Fuels Need to Stay in the Ground, Renewable Energy Is the Future
EcoWatch
Stefanie Spear

Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman sat down today with Robert Redford, the Oscar-winning director, actor and longtime environmentalist, at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. In the interview, Goodman jumps right in by asking Redford, founder of Sundance Film Festival, about last week’s vote where half of the Senate refuses to formally acknowledge the existence of man-made climate change.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Anti-fracking protesters urged to stand together
The Courier
Jonathan Watson

Anti-fracking protesters throughout Fife are being urged to join forces to take on the energy giants. Glenrothes campaigner Peter Scobie, a member of Frack Off Fife, has told The Courier that a second public meeting in as many months will be held in the town tonight in an effort to create a local alliance against the controversial practise.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Fracking causing environmental concerns of seismic proportions
Eagle Ford Texas
Ross Torgerson

Environmental activists have been dealt a pretty decent hand when it comes to betting against fracking–and as of late–that hand has . Recently, reports of fracking-related earthquakes are popping up in the news nearly as frequent as job cuts in the oil industry. States like Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Ohio have all reported multiple earthquakes recently.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Fracking sites plans on hold as councillors defer drilling decision
Mirror
Paul Byrne

Shale company Cuadrilla wants to explore for shale gas at two sites in Lancashire between Preston and Blackpool Plans for two new fracking sites are on hold after councillors deferred a drilling decision. Shale company Cuadrilla wants to explore for shale gas at two sites in Lancashire between Preston and Blackpool.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Russia May Be Funding Anti-Fracking Efforts In U.S., Says EPA Report
HNGN
Taylor Tyler

Tens of millions of dollars have been funneled to U.S. anti-fracking environmentalist groups by a Bermudan company with ties to top Russian officials, according to a report by the Environmental Policy Alliance.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Study shows challenges of restoring fracking sites
Summit County Voice
Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Restoring areas after drilling and fracking requires more than just spreading out some dirt and sprinkling a few grass seeds around, according to two Colorado scientists who took a close look at 10 drilling sites in Rio Blanco County.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Drilling into complexities of fracking in Illinois
Northern Illinois University


After years of debate and study, horizontal hydraulic fracturing, the controversial oil and natural gas drilling method more commonly known as fracking, is expected to begin in southern Illinois this year.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Village on front-line of fracking protests installs first community-owned solar panels
The Co-operative News
Rebecca Harvey

The West Sussex village of Balcombe, made internationally famous as the site of strong protests over potential drilling by fracking firm Cuadrilla, today completed the installation of its first community-owned solar panels.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Senate votes on fracking & endangered species pave way for Keystone XL passage
Fuel Fix
Jennifer A. Diouhy

WASHINGTON — The Senate knocked down more than a dozen amendments on energy and the environment Wednesday, as Republicans worked to finish a nearly four-week debate over Keystone XL.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Fracking wastewater site proposed for Sioux County
Star Herald
Bart Schaneman

A proposed fracking wastewater injection site in Sioux County has citizens concerned and lawmakers introducing bills to help cover its projected costs. The wastewater would be trucked to the site and injected more than a mile into the ground at the site of an existing Wildcat oil well on a ranch about 14 miles north of Mitchell, just east of Highway 29.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
N.W.T. group calls for fracking moratorium, review Fracking Action North says potential impacts need to be reviewed
CBC News


An N.W.T. group opposed to hydraulic fracturing is rallying support for a moratorium in the territory until all of the controversial practice's potential impacts are reviewed.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
An Opportunity to Protect Our Drinking Water: Overseeing Fracking and Closing Loopholes
Union of Concerned Scientists
Gretchen Goldman

As we’ve discussed here before, the federal government has played a limited role thus far in the regulation and oversight of hydraulic fracturing, leaving states and municipalities to manage a large and fast-paced industry. Today, members of the Senate have a chance to allow the EPA to better protect water resources in oil and gas development across the country.   [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Fracking Earthquake Responsibility Case Goes to Court
AllGov


Oklahoma’s Supreme Court will hear a potential landmark case that may further validate a linkage between fracking and earthquakes.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Wyoming to Strengthen Fracking Chemical Disclosure
Pagosa Daily Post


Under a settlement agreement approved today, the Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission must adopt more rigorous policies for scrutinizing industry requests to keep the identities of fracking chemicals secret.   [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Block on fracking in Scotland announced by minister
BBC News


The Scottish government has announced a block on planned fracking operations, pending further inquiries. Ministers will carry out new work on the environmental and health implications of the controversial gas drilling technique.   [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Colorado liberals make peace with fracking, reject emergency moratorium
Washington Times
Valerie Richardson

DENVER — The U.S. oil and gas industry, under siege from plunging world prices and climate change fears, notched a much-needed win this week in an unlikely place: liberal Boulder County, Colorado. The board of trustees of Erie, which straddles Boulder and Weld counties, voted 4-3 to reject an “emergency” one-year moratorium on new drilling permits within the town’s borders over concerns that the restriction targeting the booming practice of fracking would send an anti-business signal and result in costly lawsuits.   [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
The Catskills Gets Its Groove Back, With Brooklyn’s Help
The Daily Beast
Brandon Presser

Suddenly, “the Catskills” is everywhere, branded and proud. First you notice the word on the cheese at the local greenmarket, then you try Catskills craft brew at your favorite pub, the Catskills then makes the news when its casino plans get the go-ahead, and finally you hear it when Governor Cuomo’s passes his anti-fracking legislation. This sudden omnipresence also reflects the renaissance of the Catskills area itself: around 100 miles north-northwest of New York City, famously home to hundreds of decimated hotels, the Catskills is making a comeback in its own right. It even featured in a New York Times’ hotly anticipated list of must-go destinations in 2015.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Report: Fracking failures lead to environmental harm in area and state
Herald-Standard
Susy Kelly

report released Tuesday by a nonprofit environmental research group shows that despite assurances to the contrary, companies who develop unconventional natural gas wells have polluted the environment in Pennsylvania and will continue to do so under current regulatory standards.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
New Report Urges Western Governments to Reconsider Reliance on Biofuels
New York Times
Justin Gillis

Western governments have made a wrong turn in energy policy by supporting the large-scale conversion of plants into fuel and should reconsider that strategy, according to a new report from a prominent environmental think tank.   [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
DEC chief: State can revisit fracking ban, but won’t in ‘near term’
The Journal News
Jon Campbell

New York’s planned ban on large-scale hydraulic fracturing can be revisited by the state at any point, but likely won’t be in the near future, the state’s top environmental regulator said Wednesday. Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens testified before about two dozen state lawmakers for nearly four hours Wednesday, answering questions about the environmental initiatives in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $142 billion budget proposal. But several times, the conversation strayed to the Cuomo administration’s plans to block high-volume fracking from moving forward in New York. Sen. Thomas O’Mara, R-Big Flats, Chemung County, told Martens he finds it “frustrating” that the DEC has dragged out certain decision-making processes, including its review of fracking, which first kicked off in 2008. O’Mara, who heads the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, asked Martens whether the state’s fracking ban can be overturned in the future. Martens, who was appointed by Cuomo in 2011, said the decision can be “revisited at any time when new or significant information comes to light.” “I don’t think it’s going to be revisited in the near term because the conclusion was that there was just far too many risks and we couldn’t minimize them to protect public health and safety,” he said.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Scotland announces moratorium on fracking for shale gas
The Guardian
Libby Brooks

The Scottish government has announced a moratorium on all planning consents for unconventional oil and gas extraction, including fracking. Welcomed by campaigners as “a very big nail in the coffin for the unconventional gas and fracking industry in Scotland”, energy minister Fergus Ewing told the Scottish parliament on Wednesday afternoon that the moratorium would allow time for the government to launch a full public consultation on the controversial drilling technique, and to commission a full public health impact assessment.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Enbridge Gets Another Federal Tar Sands Crude Pipeline Permit As Senate Debates Keystone XL
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

On January 16, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave Enbridge a controversial Nationwide Permit 12 green-light for its proposed Line 78 pipeline, set to bring heavy tar sands diluted bitumen (“dilbit”) from Pontiac, Illinois to its Griffith, Indiana holding terminal. The permit for the pipeline with the capacity to carry 800,000 barrels-per-day of tar sands dilbit came ten days after the introduction of S.1 — the Keystone XL Pipeline Act — currently up for debate on the U.S. Senate floor, which calls for the permitting of the northern leg of TransCanada's Keystone XL.   [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
State Senate unanimously approves gas royalty bills
NPR State Impact PA
MARIE CUSICK

The state Senate unanimously approved two bills Wednesday that aim to give more protections to people who earn royalty money from oil and gas drilling. Both bills were approved by the Senate last year but died in the House. SB 147 would require drillers to disclose more information on royalty check stubs. It would also grant landowners the right to audit companies’ records to ensure proper payment. SB 148 would bar oil and gas companies from retaliating against people who raise questions about their royalty payments. Sen. Gene Yaw (R- Bradford) is the prime sponsor of both measures.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
D.E.C. commissioner: State could revisit fracking ban
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—State Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner Joe Martens said on Wednesday that the state could reevaluate its fracking ban at some point in the future. During a budget hearing, Martens said he does not think New York officials will revisit the fracking ban imposed earlier this year any time soon, but said many of the studies on which his staff and health department officials relied are ongoing. He said if they find fracking can be done safely, state officials will likely review the ban.   [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Earthquakes Rattle Texas Town: Is Fracking to Blame?
EcoWatch
Julie Dermansky

January has been a shaky month for Irving, Texas. Twelve earthquakes rattled the city during a 48-hour period at the end of the first week of the new year.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Ex-FERC Commissioner Spitzer discusses impact of White House NEPA guidance on pipeline, export facility approvals
E & E Newswire


How could the Obama administration's recent proposed guidance for considering climate change as part of the government's environmental reviews impact the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's process for reviewing natural gas pipelines and LNG export terminals? During today's OnPoint, Marc Spitzer, a partner at Steptoe & Johnson and a former commissioner at FERC, discusses how a change to FERC's process could affect natural gas infrastructure investments.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
N.Y. finalizes rules to allow liquefied natural gas sites
The Journal News
Jon Campbell

ALBANY – New York is poised to allow new storage facilities for liquefied natural gas for the first time since the 1970s. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration is to announce Wednesday it will finalize regulations to allow new LNG storage centers outside New York City, capping the amount that can be stored at 70,000 gallons per facility. The state's trucking industry and business groups have pushed the state to allow new LNG facilities, arguing trucking fleets that use the fuel lacked a place to fill up in New York.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
House passes bill to speed up liquefied natural gas exports
The Hill
Timothy Cama and Cristina Marcos

The House on Wednesday passed legislation to expedite the federal approval process for liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. It was approved 277-133, with 41 Democrats voting in favor of the measure sponsored by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio).  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
AGL suspend fracking at Gloucester after dangerous chemicals detected
The Newcastle Herald
Matthew Kelly

UPDATE: THE NSW Environment Protection Authority has slammed AGL for not revealing the results of its BTEX monitoring sooner. “AGL informed the EPA that it was aware of these elevated levels of BTEX chemicals on 15 January, but it did not make these results known to the EPA or the public until today,” EPA chief environmental regulator Mark Gifford said on Wednesday. “The EPA is very concerned at AGL’s lack of timeliness and transparency in informing us of these results and we will be conducting a full investigation. Mr Gifford said fracking fluid additives used at the Waukivory operation were sampled and analysed by government environmental officers in November 2014 before fracking activities were allowed to commence.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
State poised to lift ban on LNG storage sites
Democrat & Chronicle
Jon Campbell

ALBANY – New York is poised to allow new storage facilities for liquefied natural gas for the first time since the 1970s. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration on Wednesday is set to announce it will finalize regulations that will allow new liquefied natural gas — or LNG — storage centers outside New York City, capping the total amount that can be stored at 70,000 gallons per facility.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Cuomo administration facing key pipeline decisions
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—A key decision over two proposed pipelines that would bring natural gas from the Marcellus shale in other states through New York now rests with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Governor Andrew Cuomo has already expanded the state's reliance on natural gas even as he banned fracking in the Marcellus shale that underlies New York. The natural gas pipelines, however, are considered part of the infrastructure needed to meet the growing demand for natural gas in the New England market, which has seen record high prices because it does not have adequate supplies.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Map: Obama's Offshore Drilling Plan
InsideClimate News
Naveena Sadasivam

Southern states see a bonanza, environmentalists see mixed signals from Obama on climate change as moratorium ends after almost three decades.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Spectra Energy Partners : Fight against pipeline expansion reaches 11th hour
4-Traders


A meme posted to the Facebook page of a local activist group shows Homer Simpson with his hands to his head and his eyes wide as he looks down at the controls of a nuclear power plant. "D'oh!" the meme says up top. Below, it continues, "Indian Point & Spectra AIM Project - What could go wrong." Members of the group Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion, or SAPE, are continuing their push to stop the expansion of a natural gas pipeline that runs through the region despite lopsided odds and a clock ticking down to federal approval that may reach its end as soon as this month.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Groups call for legislative fracking ban [In Maryland]
Bakken.com


CUMBERLAND — A coalition of 79 organizations, including several local organizations, is calling for legislative action to ban hydraulic fracturing in Maryland. “Based on what we know now, we believe that fracking endangers public health and is the wrong approach to building a robust Maryland economy and a clean energy future. We urge Maryland’s legislature to pass an extended moratorium in 2015,” the statement, released Jan.17, reads. The document was released by the Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility and Food & Water Watch. At least one bill to ban the practice has been introduced in the Maryland General Assembly. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the method that would be used to free the gas and allow it to be brought to the surface. In order to get the gas trapped in the shale to the surface, chemicals, water and sand are pumped underground to break apart rock formations and free the gas.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Activists Disrupt Senate Finance Committee Hearing over U.S. Trade Rep’s push to “Fast Track” the TPP
Popular Resistance
Cassidy Regan

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman was greeted with protest at Tuesday’s Senate and House Hearings on Capitol Hill, as people raised concerns about the President’s trade agenda and “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority. Activists with signs and banners chanting “No TPP!” and “No Fast Track!” were escorted from the Senate Finance Committee hearing room shortly after the U.S. Trade Representative took the microphone. The legislation, which Obama requested from both parties during last week’s State of the Union address, would limit congressional oversight of the Administration’s free trade agreements and is widely opposed by hundreds of environmental, labor, public health, food safety, and faith groups nationwide.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
10 PREDICTIONS FOR CLEAN ENERGY IN 2015
Bloomberg
MICHAEL LIEBREICH

For the last two years, I have drawn on Russian imagery to illustrate the state of the clean energy industry. In 2013, it was the battle of Borodino: the clean energy sector had suffered a bruising time, but it had survived and was poised to regain ground. In 2014, it was the River Neva in St Petersburg which provided the analogy for an energy industry frozen for aeons, but about to undergo profound and rapid phase change. This year I want you to go back in time, over 66m years. Dinosaurs roam the earth – in fact they dominate it. They are magnificent creatures, honed by 135m years of competition, huge and fearsome. The very earth trembles as they walk.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Pennsylvania shale gas producers received hundreds of environmental citations in 4 years, PennEnvironment says
Tribune-Review
David Conti

Hundreds of environmental citations issued to shale gas producers over a nearly four-year period provide evidence that Pennsylvania should halt well development and tighten regulations, an anti-drilling group said Tuesday. But gas drillers and their trade association dismissed the report's veracity, saying the group used flawed methodology by including administrative citations in its list of environmental and health violations.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Interior plan: Open Atlantic Coast to offshore drilling
Politico
Darren Goode

The Obama administration proposed an unprecedented opening of the waters off the Atlantic coast for oil and natural gas drilling on Tuesday, even as it put vast areas in the Arctic off-limits. The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s new five-year offshore drilling strategy calls for opening the offshore stretch from Virginia to Georgia, an area the energy industry says could hold large amounts of oil and gas.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Effects of compressor station discussed
The News Eagle


MILFORD - A community workshop was held January 10th at the Milford Public Library to discuss the effects of the expansion of the Milford compressor station. Alex Lotorto of Energy Justice Network led the presentation and talked about how the current compressor station impacts those in Milford. Community members also spoke of their personal experiences which allowed for a diverse span of opinions.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
No ban on fracking in chaotic MPs vote
EnergyLiveNews
Vicky Ellis

MPs rejected a ban on fracking yesterday after an at times confusing debate, with MPs complaining there was little time to thrash over key issues. They voted against an amendment to the government’s Infrastructure Bill which would ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing in the UK outright. The government won with a majority of 256 votes (52 in favour, 308 against).  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Protests Against Fracking in the Sahara Desert Are Spreading in Algeria
Vice News
Pierre Longeray

Anti-fracking protests have escalated in the small Algerian town of In Salah since the start of January, and have now spread to neighboring towns in the region. The demonstrations have continued despite the government's announcement that plans to tap shale gas reserves have been temporarily shelved amid growing public concern over the environmental impact. Residents of In Salah, a town of 36,000 that is located 750 miles south of the capital Algiers, have been protesting relentlessly since January 1 against the government's proposed plans to extract shale gas through the use of hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, following initial drilling tests in the region.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Frac sand opponents protest House hearing
Post Bulletin
Heather J. Carlson

Frac-sand mining opponents are demanding a House committee meeting scheduled for today be canceled because it fails to set aside time for the public to testify. The House Mining & Outdoor Recreation Policy Committee is scheduled to conduct an informational hearing on silica-sand mining this afternoon in St. Paul. Silica-sand producers and state agency representatives are slated to testify. The Land Stewardship Project sent a letter on Friday to the committee's chairman, Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, requesting the hearing be canceled and rescheduled to allow the public to weigh in on silica-sand mining.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Frac sand drilling plans in North Arm, including popular beach, raise concerns
cbc news
Guy Quenneville

Some N.W.T. aboriginal groups are expressing concern with Husky Oil Operation's plan to drill for high-quality silica sand near a popular area on the north arm of Great Slave Lake. The Yellowknives Dene First Nation, the North Slave Métis Alliance and the Tlicho Government have all cited issues with Husky's proposed Chedabucto exploration project, which would take place 50 kilometres west of Yellowknife. At its north end, the claim block where Husky hopes to begin work includes an area called Whitebeach Point, known for its smooth, white sand and a popular area for beachgoers, fishers and even hunters.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Fracking Ingredient "Secrets" to Be Reviewed
public news service


CASPER, Wyo. - A recent lawsuit settlement should make gray areas related to public disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing more transparent in Wyoming. The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will adopt new policies to review industry requests to keep fracking chemicals secret, a change approved by all parties, including Halliburton Energy Services. Earthjustice attorney Katherine O'Brien says the commission needed clear guidelines when faced with industry claims chemicals were "trade secrets," even if public health could be at risk.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Historical Hydraulic Fracturing Trends and Data Unveiled in New USGS Publications
USGS


Two new U.S. Geological Survey publications that highlight historical hydraulic fracturing trends and data from 1947 to 2010 are now available. Hydraulic fracturing is presently the primary stimulation technique for oil and gas production in unconventional resource reservoirs. Comprehensive, published, and publicly available information regarding the extent, location, and character of hydraulic fracturing in the United States is scarce. “These national-scale data and analyses will provide a basis for making comparisons of current-day hydraulic fracturing to historical applications,” said USGS scientist and lead author Tanya Gallegos. “We now have an improved understanding of where the practice is occurring and how hydraulic fracturing characteristics have changed over time.”   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Insurance Industry Adjusts to Earthquake Risk Caused by Fracking
AllGov


In another sign that fracking is increasingly being acknowledged as a cause of earthquakes, the insurance industry has announced that it is now linking the controversial drilling procedure with seismic activity in establishing its rates. Before insurance companies set their rates for an upcoming year, they turn to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for information on quake activity. Specifically, insurers look at the USGS’s National Seismic Hazard Map, which “predicts where future earthquakes will occur, how often they will occur and how strongly they will shake the ground,” according to the Dallas Morning News. But this map will now take into account earthquakes that occur within the vicinity of fracking wells, the USGS has decided. That means insurance rates may go up in some areas considered more at risk of seismic events because of fracking operations.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Dems slam Obama’s Atlantic drilling proposal
The Hill
Timothy Cama

A group of Democratic senators representing northeastern states blasted the Obama administration’s plan to allow drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. The senators — from Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland — said that although the drilling proposal would not include their states, oil spills from the wells could easily travel to them.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Why Fracking Is a Breast Cancer Issue Karuna Jaggar
EcoWatch
Karuna Jaggar

Most people consider fracking a climate change issue. They are able to make the connection between a potent greenhouse gas like methane and its impact on warming the planet. But methane emission leaks at well sites are only one of the many concerns of the fracking boom. The toxic process also uses more than 700 chemicals, many linked to breast cancer. Fracking threatens the necessities of life, and just as this process drives climate change, it also increases our risk for breast cancer.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Pipeline Explodes In West Virginia, Sends Fireball Shooting Hundreds Of Feet In The Air
Think Progress
Emily Atkin

A gas pipeline in Brooke County, West Virginia exploded into a ball of flames on Monday morning, marking the fourth major mishap at a U.S. pipeline this month. No one was hurt in the explosion, but residents told the local WTRF 7 news station that they could see a massive fireball shooting hundreds of feet into the air. An emergency dispatcher reportedly told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the flames had melted the siding off one home and damaged at least one power line. The gas pipeline is owned by Houston, Texas-based The Enterprise Products, L.P., which said Monday evening that it is investigating the cause of the explosion.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
NTSB: Systemic flaws in safety oversight of gas pipelines
The Charleston Gazette
Joan Lowy

WASHINGTON — Three powerful accidents in recent years — including an explosion and fire that melted a highway in Kanawha County — highlight weaknesses in the oversight of how natural gas providers maintain the largest pipelines in their networks, accident investigators said Tuesday as they issued more than two dozen safety recommendations. A major effort a decade ago by the federal government to check a rise in violent pipeline failures in “high-consequence” areas where people are more likely to be hurt or buildings destroyed has resulted in a slight leveling off of such incidents, but no decline, the National Transportation Safety Board said.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Another day, another pipeline explosion
MSNBC
Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow reports on a natural gas pipeline in Brooke County, West Virginia that exploded in a huge fireball, the fifth pipeline accident in the U.S. so far this month. Duration: 3:36  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Safety Board: Systemic Flaws in Gas Pipelines Oversight
ABC News
Joan Lowy AP

Accident investigators say there are systemic weaknesses in the way natural gas providers protect against the rupture of major, high-pressure pipelines in populated areas. They are pointing to three powerful accidents in California, Florida and West Virginia in recent years. A report by the National Transportation Safety Board urges changes in how pipelines are inspected. It questions whether pipelines in populated areas with the greatest potential for damaging explosions are given adequate priority. In each of the accidents examined by the board, the gas companies failed to conduct inspections or tests that might have revealed pipeline weaknesses.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Obama seeks to open Atlantic to oil, gas drilling
Politico
Darren Goode

The Obama administration will propose an unprecedented opening of the waters off the Atlantic coast for oil and natural gas drilling, even as it puts vast areas in the Arctic off limits, according to sources familiar with the plan. The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s new five-year offshore drilling strategy that is expected to be released later Tuesday would call for opening the offshore stretch from Virginia to South Carolina, an area the energy industry says could hold large amounts of oil and gas.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
CALIFORNIA: Natural gas's role in state's low-carbon future comes with caveats
E&E News
Anne C. Mulkern

LOS ANGELES -- The head of the California agency keeping the state on track to meet its ambitious climate goals didn't rule out the long-term use of natural gas yesterday but said she also sees caveats on the horizon. California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols, speaking at the VerdeXchange 2015 conference here, rejected the premise of the panel she was on, dubbed "Natural Gas -- Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?" ARB is "fuel neutral," she said, when the agency looks at cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The Golden State aims to shrink those to 1990 levels by 2020, and 80 percent below 1990's point by 2050. Nichols added, however, that the state needs "to look at the full life-cycle picture of emissions when we talk about any fuel," including production, transport and use.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Regulating pipelines: Whose job is it?
Penn Live
Candy Woodall

There are thousands of miles of pipelines moving through Pennsylvania, but no single state or federal agency seems to know exactly how many or specifically where they are located. The state Department of Environmental Protection doesn't have a list like that, though it does have a comprehensive map of gas wells in the commonwealth. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has a list from 2011 through 2013 that includes more than 13,000 miles of existing natural gas lines and those carrying hazardous materials through the state.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
House approves bill overhauling natural gas pipeline permits
Pennsylvania Business Daily
Amanda Rupp

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act bipartisan bill (H.R. 161) last week, legislation that could speed up the permit process for the construction of natural gas pipelines. Co-sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), the bill seeks to eliminate permit regulations that are hindering the extraction, transportation and distribution of shale gas.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Center for American Progress Analysis Shows High Levels of Liquefied Natural Gas Exports Could Hurt Consumers
eNews Park Forest
Press Release

Washington, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)--January 27, 2015. With Congress poised to consider legislation to expedite exports of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, the Center for American Progress released a new analysis of the potential impact of high levels of LNG exports on consumers’ natural gas bills in regions across the country. In 2014, the Energy Information Administration, or EIA, examined the energy market impacts of exporting up to 20 billion cubic feet per day, or Bcf/d, of LNG on an aggressive timeline. The EIA concluded that a surge in LNG exports would cause U.S. natural gas supply prices to rise between 4 percent and 11 percent, on average, over current projections for the 2015 to 2040 period, depending on how much LNG is exported.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Potential Consumer Price Impacts of Efforts to Rapidly Expand Exports of Liquefied Natural Gas
Center for American Progress
Alison Cassady

In recent years, the United States has experienced a natural gas boom that has made it one of the largest natural gas producers in the world. Between 2005 and 2013, natural gas production increased 28 percent due to rapid development of shale gas resources. As a result of this new supply, natural gas prices have fallen steadily. Although these low prices have been a boon for consumers, they pose an economic challenge to domestic producers. Consequently, these producers are eager to find new domestic and foreign markets for natural gas in order to boost demand. Exporting more natural gas will tighten domestic supplies and, in turn, increase U.S. natural gas prices.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Ethane Pipeline Blast Creates Fireball
Wheeling News Register
Casey Junkins

FOLLANSBEE - A 20-inch diameter ATEX Express pipeline ruptured Monday in Brooke County, creating flames visable for several miles. Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson said the first calls reporting the fire came at about 10:40 a.m. Monday, and didn't stop for several hours. "We were getting a lot - probably over 100 - 911 calls about an explosion," Jackson said. "We began asking people if they heard two explosions, but they all just reported hearing the one."  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
The false promise of fracking and local jobs
Raw Story
Commentary

In a surprise decision that led to consternation in the oil and gas industry and elation among fracking opponents, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in December banned fracking in the state. He attributed his decision to unresolved health risks associated with this drilling technique, but the governor surely also weighed the economics and the politics. During the past five years, I’ve researched and written about the economic impacts of fracking and, as a long-time resident of New York, I have observed its fractious politics. What I’ve found is that most people, including politicians and people in the media, assume that fracking creates thousands of good jobs.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Energy industry says it’s on top of methane leaks, but environmentalists want oversight
Bakken.com
Katelyn Ferral

Harnessed and burned, methane can power a city — but when it leaks from a well into the air, methane pollutes badly. That cost-benefit balance is a cornerstone of debate between environmentalists who say emissions from gas drilling are rampant and dangerous, and the oil and gas industry that says it’s under control. The dispute reignited this month when the Environmental Protection Agency announced it intends to toughen regulations covering methane emissions by the industry in 2016. Gas producers, researchers and state officials say drillers are adopting advanced technology to eliminate leaks from gas production sites and pipelines.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Report Shows How Fracking Industry’s Failure to Follow Regulations Impacts Human Health
Eco Watch
Stephanie Spear

A new report out today from Environment America Research & Policy Center shows that all types of fracking companies, from small to large, are prone to violating rules intended to protect human health and the environment. The report, Fracking Failures: Oil and Gas Industry Environmental Violations in Pennsylvania and What They Mean for the U.S., analyses Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry over a four-year period and found that the top offenders of regulations—averaging more than one environmental violation every day—represented a wide range of companies from Fortune 500 companies like Cabot Oil, to mom-and-pop operators, to firms like Chevron.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Groups call for legislative fracking ban
Marcellus.com
Cumberland Times News

CUMBERLAND — A coalition of 79 organizations, including several local organizations, is calling for legislative action to ban hydraulic fracturing in Maryland. “Based on what we know now, we believe that fracking endangers public health and is the wrong approach to building a robust Maryland economy and a clean energy future. We urge Maryland’s legislature to pass an extended moratorium in 2015,” the statement, released Jan.17, reads. The document was released by the Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility and Food & Water Watch. At least one bill to ban the practice has been introduced in the Maryland General Assembly.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Fracking Failures Oil and Gas Industry Environmental Violations in Pennsylvania and What They Mean for the U.S.
Environment America


Executive Summary Fracking is dirty. From the very beginning of clearing a site for drilling, through extraction, transport and delivery of finished products, fracking poses significant risks to our air and water and to human health. People who live and work near fracking sites are at greater risk for respiratory and neurological diseases. Oil and gas industry spokespeople routinely maintain that the risks of fracking can be minimized by best practices and appropriate state regulation. Not only is this false – fracking is harmful even when drillers follow all the rules – but drillers also regularly violate essential environmental and public health protections, undermining their own claims. A look at recent data from Pennsylvania, where key industry players pledged to clean up their acts, illustrates the frequency with which companies still break the rules.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Drillers bid millions for oil, gas beneath West Virginia public lands
Trib Live
AP

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia officials have opened millions of dollars in bids to drill for oil and natural gas beneath state-owned lands, including waterways and a wildlife management area. One of the biggest offers the state Department of Commerce opened Friday would let Antero Resources Inc. drill underneath 283 acres of Jug Wildlife Management Area in Tyler County for $2.3 million, plus royalties. The leases for Marcellus and Utica shale mineral rights, which allow for hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, are a new undertaking for the state.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Do low gas prices hurt renewable energy adoption? Not really.
Christian Science Monitor
Stephen Edelstein

Gas prices have fallen dramatically in the U.S.--40 percent in six months--and it's assumed by some that this will hurt the renewable-energy industry. With the financial advantage of solar or wind energy curtailed by cheap oil, the logic goes, consumers will be less interested in switching from fossil fuels. That's not necessarily the case in reality, however.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Millions Bid To Drill In W.Va.
Wheeling News Register


CHARLESTON - West Virginia officials have opened millions of dollars in bids to drill for oil and natural gas beneath state-owned lands, including waterways and a wildlife management area. In one of the biggest offers the state Department of Commerce opened Friday, Jay-Bee Production Company bid amounts ranging from $5,000 to about $16,300 to drill underneath 303 acres of Jug Wildlife Management Area in Tyler County, or about $4.5 million total. The leases for Marcellus and Utica shale mineral rights, which allow for hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, are a new undertaking for the state.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Barriers to renewable energy in Michigan could affect state's economic future, report finds
mlive.com
Emily Lawler

LANSING, MI – A series of roadblocks are preventing Michigan from taking full advantage of its significant potential for renewable energy, according to a report released by the Institute for Energy Innovation on Monday. Those roadblocks could translate into an economic problem. The report, titled Barriers to Advanced Energy in Michigan, was released by the Institute for Energy Innovation with funding from the C.S. Mott Foundation and The Energy Foundation. “I think one of the most interesting transformations that’s happened in the last seven years is that we’ve really moved from a conversation to mandates and subsidies to one that’s about barriers,” said Dan Scripps, president of the Institute for Energy Innovation.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Obama Proposes Oil And Gas Drilling Along East Coast
Climate Progress
Ari Phillips

On Tuesday, the Obama administration released a proposal to sell offshore oil and gas leases in new areas of federally owned waters, including regions along the Atlantic Coast from Virginia to Georgia. The announcement is part of the Department of Interior’s latest five-year plan, which includes federal leases from 2017 to 2022. Congressional bans on offshore drilling in the Atlantic ended in 2008 and Obama first pushed for Atlantic Coast leasing in 2010. Several weeks after announcing lease plans for south and mid-Atlantic drilling the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig blew up in the Gulf of Mexico, and also blew up these plans. Environmental groups see this revisiting of the plans as a case of “oil spill amnesia.” They argue that the technology or regulations have not advanced significantly in the five years since the Deepwater Horizon Spill, the fallout from which continues in economic recovery and prolonged legal battles over fines and compensation.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Big oil-and-gas company will cut spending but keep drilling in Bakken
Billings Gazette
Amy Dalrymple

WILLISTON, N.D. — Hess Corp., one of North Dakota’s largest oil and gas producers, will cut spending and operate fewer rigs in the Bakken this year, but plans to drill almost as many wells as last year. Hess plans to operate an average of 9.5 rigs in North Dakota in 2015 and bring an additional 210 oil and gas wells online, the company announced this week. In 2014, Hess operated 17 rigs in the Bakken and added 238 new wells. Hess plans to spend $1.8 billion in the Bakken in 2015, compared to $2.2 billion in 2014. “Hess has some of the best acreage in the Bakken, and we will continue to drill in the core of the play which offers the most attractive returns,” Greg Hill, president and chief operating officer, said in a news release.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
NTSB warnings of systemic flaws in safety oversight of large gas transmission lines
US News
AP

FILE - In this image Dec. 11, 2012 file photo, provided by the West Virginia State Police, shows a fireball erupting across Interstate 77 from a gas line explosion in Sissonville, W.Va. Accident investigators issue a report and safety recommendations based three powerful gas transmission line explosions in California, Florida and West Virginia. In each case, the gas company failed conduct inspections or tests that might have revealed weaknesses in the massive pipelines. In the California accident, 9 people were killed and 70 homes destroyed. In the West Virginia incident, the stretch of pipeline that ruptured, igniting a fire that destroyed three homes and damaged several others, hadn’t been inspected or tested for 24 years. (AP Photo/West Virginia State Police)   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
U.S. Steel warns it may lay off almost 2,000 workers in Alabama, Texas
triblive
Chris Fleisher

U.S. Steel Corp. said it will curtail production at pipe-making plants in Alabama and Texas and may lay off almost 2,000 workers because of “softening market conditions” in the oil and gas industries. The announcement Monday highlights the fallout from the global collapse in oil prices and rising price competition for pipes, U.S. Steel's most profitable product. The Downtown-based steelmaker said it will “temporarily adjust operations” at Lone Star Tubular Operations in Texas, Fairfield Tubular Operations in Fairfield, Ala., and Fairfield Works, the primary flat-roll supplier of rounds to Fairfield Tubular Operations.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Oklahoma Legislature: Several Bills Take Aim At Local Drilling Bans
Times Record
Paul Monies

OKLAHOMA CITY — The power of local communities to regulate oil and natural gas activities inside their city limits could be curtailed under several bills introduced at the Oklahoma Legislature. At least eight bills have been filed that would stop cities and counties from banning drilling operations, including proposals from top leaders in the House and Senate. The measures come as some residents in Norman and Stillwater call for limits or bans on drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Stillwater’s city council last week rejected a ban on drilling on zoned agricultural land, but it directed city attorneys to come up with a new proposal on setbacks from well sites. Norman residents have held several forums on how the city might limit oil and gas development, although nothing concrete has been considered by city officials.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Injection wells cause of quakes
Hays Daily News
Dion Lefler

TOPEKA -- Increased waste from increased oil and gas production appears to be linked to the earthquakes that have rattled south-central Kansas in recent years, but "fracking" is not the culprit, state scientists told a legislative committee Monday. The re-injection of the saltwater that comes up with the oil might be causing the increased seismic activity underground in Kansas, but more data and monitoring are needed to figure out what, if any, action can or should be taken.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
#FRACKING – THE BRITISH BAN
The Cherry Creek News


After watching the economic success of hydraulic fracturing in shale fields throughout the United States, many energy executives wanted to translate that success to other parts of the world. But none more so than Lord Browne, the former chief executive for BP, who, in 2007, left the post and founded a small company called Cuadrilla Resources. The sole reason he did it? To bring hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling to the United Kingdom.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Deal requires Wyoming fracking trade-secret justification
localnews8.com


CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A legal settlement will require petroleum companies to provide justification when they ask Wyoming regulators to withhold from the public details about the chemical products they pump underground. Last year, the Wyoming Supreme Court sided with a landowners group and against Wyoming regulators in a lawsuit that sought public disclosure of the ingredients in those products. A state district court judge approved a settlement Friday that requires companies to provide detailed justification when they claim the ingredients are trade secrets.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Junk Bonds And Fracking At Low Oil And Gas Prices: Wave Of Defaults, 'Outright Liquidations' Next
Seeking Alpha


Every rally in crude oil since June turned out to be a pathetic sucker rally. On Friday, West Texas Intermediate fell over 2% to $45.32 a barrel, back where it had been on January 12, annihilating most of the 12% rally in between. WTI is now 58% below the June peak. "If prices stay low well into the latter half of this year and next year, borrowing basis will come down quite significantly" for oil and gas exploration and production companies in the U.S., "and that is when you can start to see liquidity spiraling out," warned Tom Watters, a managing director at Standard & Poor's oil and gas team. And that, he said, is when single-B rated companies could see a wave of defaults. These "junk" debt issuers that rode up the fracking boom with borrowed money are among the higher cost producers globally.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Aging Boston Natural Gas Pipeline Infrastructure: Way Too Many Methane Leaks
Clean Technica
Glenn Meyers

Boston’s natural gas pipeline infrastructure is showing the signs of age, and is starting to leak like a sieve, according to a group of atmospheric scientists at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). Not only are these methane leaks pouring more carbon dioxide into an atmosphere already responsible for severe climate changes, the lost gas is worth almost $90 million. According to a news report released last week, the team estimates that each year about 15 billion cubic feet of natural gas is leaking from the Boston region’s delivery system. This figure was calculated using sophisticated air monitoring equipment in four locations; two atop buildings in the heart of Boston, and two at upwind locations well outside of the city.   [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
N.D. unable to find qualified pipeline inspectors; lawmakers try to add safeguards
Grand Forks Herald
Amy Dalrymple

LLISTON, N.D. – State oversight of more than 20,000 miles of underground pipelines has been “very, very minimal” as it struggles to hire qualified inspectors, a spokeswoman for the North Dakota Industrial Commission says.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Fracking to be banned in national parks, Government concedes Government u-turn introduces outright ban on fracking in national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty as well as new red tape on shale gas companies
The Telegraph
Emily Gosden

Fracking will be banned in national parks and new red tape imposed on shale gas companies, the Government has announced, in a major concession to Labour and opponents of the industry. Amid a mounting political backlash over the Government's staunch support for fracking, ministers on Monday announced a series of u-turns that will significantly restrict where the controversial drilling technique can take place.   [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
UPDATE: Fracking company welcomes scrutiny
Palm Beach Post
Christine Stapleton

Dan A. Hughes, the Texas company that caused a uproar and earned fines when it used hydraulic fracturing at an oil well in Collier County, says it welcomes the “ongoing scrutiny” of the well.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Backbench rebellion threat sees fracking regulations toughened
Independent
Tom Bawden

The Government was tonight forced to toughen fracking regulations in the face of a backbench rebellion that would have halted the fledgling UK industry in its tracks.   [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Igas shares burned by calls for a fracking freeze FTSE 100 index recovers from oil-based slump to end the day slightly higher
The Telegraph
Marion Dakers

Calls for a freeze on fracking in Britain wiped out more than quarter of the value in Igas shares on Monday, as the only listed shale gas explorer’s business came in for further scrutiny.   [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
[Updated] Wyoming, Halliburton agree to greater fracking disclosure
Casper Star Tribune
Benjamin Storrow

A settlement reached by environmental groups, Wyoming regulators and the oil services giant Halliburton means it will be harder for companies to withhold information from the public about the chemicals used in fracking.   [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Rushed gas fracking plans should be halted, say MPs PLANS to extract shale rock gas by fracking should be stalled, MPs said yesterday.
Express
John Ingham

The method is “incompatible with our climate change targets,” they said and warned it could pose significant risks to health. They also called for fracking to be “prohibited outright” from national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.   [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Bianca Jagger blasts 'scaremongering' David Cameron over UK fracking job claims
International Business Times
Ian Silvera

Bianca Jagger has accused Prime Minister David Cameron of "scaremongering" over the number of jobs the UK could miss out on if it does not commit to shale gas drilling. The human rights activist and former actress told IBTimes UK the government should invest in renewable energy and warned fracking was a "real danger" to the environment.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
The EPA's Newest Strategy to Sneakily Restrict Fracking, Drilling
Patriot Post Opinion
Stephen Moore

Recently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced major new regulations on the emissions of methane into the air from oil and gas production. It calls methane a “potent” pollutant and its new rules would require a 45 percent reduction by 2025 from 2012 levels. Most Americans support these new rules, according to polling from environmental groups. This isn’t surprising. Methane sounds like a dirty and dangerous pollutant and even deadly if leaked into water or the air.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Court Will Decide If Fracking Companies Can Be Held Responsible For Earthquakes
ThinkProgress
EMILY ATKIN

Oklahoma’s highest court is about to make a decision that could really shake up the way fracking companies do business in the state. In the coming months, Oklahoma’s Supreme Court will decide whether two oil companies should be held financially responsible for injuries suffered by a woman during a 2011 earthquake thought to have been caused by drilling activity. If the woman’s lawsuit is successful, it could set a legal precedent for future earthquake claims against oil and gas companies in Oklahoma. In other words, oil and gas wells in Oklahoma would “become economic and legal-liability pariahs,” attorney Robert Gum said in comments reported by the Tulsa World.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
U.S. Shale Boom May Come To Abrupt End
OilPrice.com
Arthur Berman

U.S tight oil production from shale plays will fall more quickly than most assume. Why? High decline rates from shale reservoirs is given. The more interesting reasons are the compounding effects of pad drilling on rig count and poorer average well performance with time. Rig productivity has increased but average well productivity has decreased. Every rig used in pad drilling has approximately three times the impact on the daily production rate as a rig did before pad drilling. At the same time, average well productivity has decreased by about one-third.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Cuomo’s post-fracking investments in the Southern Tier
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—After ending the possibility of fracking in the Southern Tier, Governor Andrew Cuomo offered the region some modest economic development incentives in his annual budget proposal.   [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Faculty and Students Investigate Impact of Fracking on Habitat
Hendrix


CONWAY, Ark. (January 26, 2015) – Hendrix biology faculty and students recently published results of their collaborative research in Environmental Management. The article titled “Habitat Loss and Modification Due to Gas Development in the Fayetteville Shale” is written by biology professors Dr. Maureen R. McClung ’01 and Dr. Matthew D. Moran and students Chloe C. Benichou ’14, Brandon Cox ’16 and Rachel L. Wells ’15. The project is based on research the group conducted during the 2013-2014 academic year.   [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
America’s fracking ‘boom’ is having its worst months ever
The Washington Post
Fred Barbash

They threw a fracking party in Illinois, and hardly anyone showed up. More precisely, two months after the state completed a long regulatory process and opened the door to hydraulic fracturing, only one company applied. The state hired 36 employees and five lawyers to handle the expected rush of applicants, reported the Chicago Tribune, “for work that doesn’t exist.” This after a land rush by energy companies in Southern Illinois that saw them buy tens of thousands of acres anticipating a North Dakota-style energy boom that would create 10,000 jobs.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
EPA: States can’t ‘preempt’ climate rule
The Hill
Timothy Cama

The Obama administration told an appeals court that 12 states cannot preemptively challenge its landmark proposed climate rule for power plants. Justice Department attorneys, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), told the court Friday that the rule cannot be challenged in court until it is made final later this year.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
MPs: fracking incompatible with climate change targets
Blue & Green Tomorrow
Charlotte Malone

A group of MPs have called for the UK’s fledgling fracking industry to be put on hold because the method is incompatible with climate change targets and presents “significant localised” environmental risks to public health. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves drilling and injecting fluids into the ground at a high pressure in order to release shale gas. Whilst the industry has experienced high growth in the US, it is still relatively small and new in the UK. The method is controversial, with studies linking the practice to environmental degradation, earthquakes, methane leaks and health risks.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
George Osborne urges ministers to fast-track fracking measures in leaked letter
The Guardian
Damian Carrington

George Osborne has requested that ministers make dozens of interventions to fast-track fracking as a “personal priority”, including the delivery of numerous “asks” from shale gas company Cuadrilla. The list of requests are laid out in a leaked letter to the chancellor’s cabinet colleagues. They include interventions in local planning, and offering public land for potential future drilling. Anti-fracking campaigners claim the letter reveals collusion with the industry, while Labour said it showed the government was an “unabashed cheerleader for fracking”.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Out of Bounds — Energy Journal
Wall Street Journal
Christopher Harder

The White House wants to make millions of acres of Alaska off limits to oil and natural gas drilling, Amy Harder writes. While Republicans don’t like the idea, there is apparently not much they can do about it. Setting aside lands as wilderness needs approval from the Republican-controlled Congress, but the proposed move puts the area into a state of de facto designation as wilderness and would prevent drilling, an Interior Department spokeswoman said.   [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Change in posture on gas oversight
Times-Tribune
Editorial

Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration soon may encounter its first ideological roadblock. Within days of Mr. Wolf’s inauguration last week, some Republican senators voiced reservations about the Democratic governor’s selection of John Quigley as secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.   [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Deal requires firms to justify fracking trade-secret claim
Washington Times
Mead Gruver

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A legal settlement will require petroleum companies to provide justification when they claim the ingredients in the chemical products they pump underground during hydraulic fracturing in Wyoming are trade secrets that must be shielded from public disclosure.   [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Are you taking part in fracking protests? Hundreds are expected to arrive at an anti-fracking demonstration in Westminster with further protests this week – we’d like to hear from those taking part in the protests
The Guardian


In the Commons on Monday, MPs will have their first opportunity to vote on fracking. To coincide with the vote, hundreds are expected to arrive at a demonstration in Westminster, presenting a petition calling on MPs to vote against fracking.   [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
With Fracking Threatening Its Sole Drinking Water Source, A Coastal Community Fights Back
Think Progress
Alic Ollstein

ABITA SPRINGS, LOUISIANA — Since its founding as a Native American trading village, Abita Springs has staked its reputation on its clean air and pure waters. Princess Abita of the Choctaw tribe, as the local legend goes, was wasting away in filthy New Orleans in the 1780s until she traveled north and drank from the healing spring that gave the town its name.   [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
First two hearings on PennEast pipeline postponed
USA TODAY
Mike Deak

EWING – The first two federal hearings on the proposed PennEast pipeline that would cut through western Hunterdon County have been postponed. The first hearing, scheduled for Tuesday evening at Kendall Hall at the College of New Jersey, was postponed because of the snowstorm.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Fracking brine leak in North Dakota reaches Missouri River, prompts state Democrats to call for more regulation
PBS NewsHour
Rebecca Jacobson

A pipeline leak near Williston, North Dakota, that began January 6 has spilled 3 million gallons of brine — a byproduct of hydraulic fracturing. The leak has reached the Missouri River, the Associated Press reported on Friday. It’s the largest saltwater spill in the state’s history. Brine is considered toxic; it is saltier than seawater and often contains other fracking fluids and petroleum. The leak contaminated two creeks near Williston: Blacktail Creek and the Little Muddy River. The Little Muddy River empties into the Missouri River, one of the town’s sources of drinking water.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
New York's Fracking Battles Heat Up
The Indypendent
Patrick Robbins

When we heard in December that Governor Andrew Cuomo would prohibit high-volume hydraulic fracturing, many activists breathed a sigh of relief — it looked like a frack-free New York was becoming a reality. Unfortunately, New York is already being fracked, if you understand “fracking” to mean the full life cycle from drilling to transportation to consumption. Right now, there are many ongoing infrastructure campaigns that could use your support: PORT AMBROSE Liberty Natural Gas LLC (a shell corporation made up of anonymous Cayman Islands investors) is pushing a plan to build a liquified natural gas port called Port Ambrose in the New York Harbor. This project would bring dangerous, super-sized liquified natural gas tankers into the harbor at a rate of roughly one per week over the course of a year. In addition to the security risks associated with a highly volatile fuel and the danger to marine ecosystems, this project will create financial incentives for more fracking all over the Northeast. It is also being proposed in an area that is under consideration for building offshore wind power, which we desperately need.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Couple surprised by Pa. Revenue Dept. audit letter
observer-reporter
Michael Bradwell

William and Colleen Toe of Chartiers Township have received natural gas royalties over the past few years. The couple deducted the costs of production and paid taxes on the net amount. Now, they’ve received a letter instructing them to pay more than $15,000 to the state Department of Revenue.   [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Reed fights back against fracking ban
The Buffalo News
Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON – Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, is taking on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s fracking ban by proposing a federal law that would make it easier for property owners to sue the state for compensation for the money they’ve lost by not being able to cash in on the natural gas beneath their feet. Under Reed’s “Defense of Property Rights Act,” property owners would be able to bring such lawsuits in U.S. District Court or the Court of Claims. They would be entitled to compensation from any government that takes an action that diminishes the value of their property by 20 percent or at least $20,000.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Impact of Falling Oil Prices on LNG
The Energy Collective
Edward Dodge

The recent surprise drop in crude oil prices is having big impacts on international LNG prices and may cause a slowdown in the development of LNG export plants globally. LNG is liquefied natural gas, cooled to a temperature of -260° F, for the purpose of compression and transportation. International shipments of LNG by container ship are generally price-indexed to crude oil, meaning that falling oil prices have led to a comparable drop in LNG prices. Demand for LNG in Asia has been soft due to mild weather this winter, contributing to the slide in prices. 75% of global LNG demand is in Asia with the bulk of the cargoes going to Japan, followed by South Korea and then China, India and Taiwan.  [Full Story]

Jan 25, 2015
Falling oil prices bring slowdown in shale drilling
Philadelphia Inquirer
ANDREW MAYKUTH

The slowdown in domestic oil drilling is spilling over into the Marcellus Shale natural-gas region. Several large drilling companies have announced plans to reduce 2015 capital-spending plans in Appalachia in response to low energy prices. Some producers and service companies have already announced layoffs. "There's a tightening of capital," said David J. Spigelmyer, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the industry trade group. "Cap-ex [capital expenditure] programs have declined fairly significantly here in the first quarter. I think that's going to continue for a while." Though Marcellus Shale producers mainly extract natural gas, which is priced independently of oil, they are not immune to the downward pressure on world oil prices.   [Full Story]

Jan 25, 2015
Fracking may be banned
Miami Hurricane
William Riggin

Last year, it was revealed that the owners of an oil well in Florida’s Collier County were using techniques associated with hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to increase production. Fracking involves drilling deep into the earth and injecting fluids to create fractures in the rock to eventually release natural gas.   [Full Story]

Jan 25, 2015
Keep toxic byproducts out of state
Times Union
Madelon L. Finkel and Jake Hays

To a certain degree, the governor's decision reflects that of the majority of Americans across the country who are very concerned about the impact of unconventional gas extraction on the environment. However, banning fracking is only one part of the issue. Along with the release of natural gas, fracking fluid also returns to the surface. This flowback contains not only the original mixture of chemical additives, but heavy metals and radioactive materials picked up underground. One of the most significant problems of fracking is disposal of the flowback fluids. Since millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals are needed per well, and since a portion of this mixture is returned to the surface along with the natural gas, there is the issue of where and how to dispose of these fluids.  [Full Story]

Jan 25, 2015
Obama proposes more protections against drilling in Alaska refuge
The Hill
Timothy Cama

President Obama will ask Congress to enact further protection’s for the remote wilderness area in Alaska’s northern reaches in an effort to stop any potential oil or natural gas drilling there. The request, announced Sunday, would put the 1.5 million-acre Coastal Plain area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) off limits to drilling, closing off the last area of ANWR that Congress could consider for oil and gas development, since the rest of the refuge has been protected.   [Full Story]

Jan 25, 2015
British lawmakers call for freeze on fracking citing enviromental concerns
Raw Story
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

committee of British lawmakers demanded a national moratorium on fracking due to environmental concerns on Monday, ahead of a crucial vote intended to boost the shale gas industry. An inquiry by the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee, which examines the effect of government policy on the environment, found the extraction and burning of more fossil fuels was contrary to Britain’s pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions.  [Full Story]

Jan 25, 2015
Warning from Green Party over the potential for fracking in Exeter
Express & Echo


Exeter Green Party has today warned that homeowners in the city should brace themselves for fracking beneath their homes.   [Full Story]

Jan 25, 2015
New governor, new era in state fracking policy
Times-Tribune
Jesse White Opinion

n less than a decade, the issue of extracting natural gas by hydraulic fracturing has dramatically redefined Pennsylvania’s political landscape. From local townships all the way to the recent gubernatorial race, a candidate’s position on fracking has become an essential plank in any political platform.  [Full Story]

Jan 25, 2015
MPs: Ban fracking to meet carbon targets
BBC News
Helen Briggs

An influential committee of MPs has called for a moratorium on fracking on the grounds that it could derail efforts to tackle climate change. The government's drive for shale gas should be put on hold because it would lead to more reliance on fossil fuels, the Environmental Audit Committee said. The cross-party committee also warned there were "huge uncertainties" about the environmental impact of fracking.   [Full Story]

Jan 25, 2015
Obama Administration Moves to Block Drilling in Parts of Alaska Interior Department Plans to Designate Nearly 13 Million Acres in Refuge as Wilderness
Wall Street Journal
Amy Harder

The Obama administration is moving this week to designate areas of Alaska off limits to oil and natural gas drilling in its latest effort to bolster its environmental legacy. The Interior Department announced on Sunday that it was proposing to preserve as wilderness nearly 13 million acres of land in the 19.8 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, including 1.5 million acres of coastal plains that is believed to have rich oil and natural gas resources.   [Full Story]

Jan 25, 2015
Worry for Solar Projects After End of Tax Credits
New York Times
Diane Cardwell

For more than a year now, an enormous solar thermal power plant has been humming along in the Arizona desert, sending out power as needed, even well after sunset. The plant, called Solana, was developed by the Spanish energy and technology company Abengoa and has succeeded in meeting an elusive solar goal — producing electricity when the sun is not shining — and displacing fossil-fuel-based power in the grid.  [Full Story]

Jan 25, 2015
MPs demand moratorium on fracking
The Sunday Times
Jonathan Leake

A MORATORIUM on fracking in Britain in the interests of combating climate change will be demanded by an influential committee of MPs tomorrow. The environmental audit committee will say that the extraction and burning of further fossil fuels will undermine Britain’s pledge to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050.   [Full Story]

Jan 25, 2015
Scotland hardens stance against fracking
Financial Times
George Parker

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/64f6b67a-a489-11e4-b943-00144feab7de.html#ixzz3PqqPKJss Scotland is set to lead resistance to the fracking of shale gas in the UK, with both the Scottish National party and the new leader of Scottish Labour saying they would impose tough conditions on the drilling technique. The SNP government at Holyrood will this week set out plans to strengthen its “precautionary approach” to fracking and believes there should be a moratorium before new licences are issued.   [Full Story]

Jan 25, 2015
Brighton's link to NY fracking ban
Democrat and Chronicle
Steve Orr

Elaine Hill was a young graduate student at Cornell University, a doctoral candidate in economics whose research interests lay in Africa, when she first heard of this thing called fracking. It was 2010. Ithaca was alive with opposition to that controversial method of extracting oil and gas from underground shale deposits. Hill heard claims that fracking — more formally known as hydraulic fracturing — harmed human health. She went online to look for data that backed up those claims. She came up empty. "There was literally nothing I could find," said Hill, who grew up in Brighton. She recalls thinking, "Somebody's got to study this." That somebody turned out to be her.   [Full Story]

Jan 25, 2015
Illinois misses the fracking boom because of falling oil prices
Chicago Tribune
Julie Wernau

Low oil prices have accomplished in Illinois what environmentalists couldn't. Horizontal hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of drilling for oil trapped in shale rock, has been halted even before it began. Officials at the state Department of Natural Resources say not a single company has applied for a fracking permit. That's because oil prices have tanked. Oil was fetching about $100 a barrel in the U.S. when then-Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law in June 2013 to regulate fracking. By the time the permitting process was in place in November 2014, oil prices were dropping rapidly, ironically a byproduct of fracking's success in the U.S. Today oil is selling for under $50 a barrel, half of what it was priced at when Illinois dreamed of an oil boom that would help solve its budgetary woes and bring much-needed jobs and revenues to the southern part of the state.  [Full Story]

Jan 25, 2015
Say 'no' to LNG
Long Island Herald
Senator Dean Skelos

The following letter was addressed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and a copy was forwarded to the Herald. I am writing to you regarding the proposal by Liberty Natural Gas, LLC to develop the Port Ambrose offshore liquefied natural gas facility. I have heard from constituents and local elected officials who have all expressed concerns about the potential negative impact this project may have on many communities that I represent. Over the past few months, the Long Beach City Council, local civic associations, and many residents of the barrier island have expressed their strong opposition to this proposal. The recent release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and subsequent public comment period has generated additional opposition and even more acute concerns have been added to this discussion. Many residents whom I represent feel that the Port Ambrose proposal will pose a significant threat to the sustainability and safety of this ocean beach community and the fragile ecological environments that exist in the waters off the south shore of Long Island. In addition, the many security-related risks that have been raised continue to be a serious concern of mine. While the need for increased energy sources are critical to the continued success of our state and local economies, the negative impact of the Port Ambrose LNG proposal on the local community has the very real potentially of outweighing any perceived benefits. I urge you to take the concerns of the many local elected officials and residents of the barrier island and surrounding communities into consideration while evaluating this proposal. Many legitimate issues have been raised and until such a time comes when they are appropriately addressed, I will be adding my name to the growing list that opposes this project.   [Full Story]

Jan 25, 2015
Oil patch cops face new kinds of cases as the crude brings to town more people - and crime
The Denver Post
Sharon Cohen

WATFORD CITY, N.D. — Police Chief Art Walgren knew how much the oil boom had changed this once-sleepy town when he spotted something that would have been unheard of not long ago: license plates from Sinaloa, Mexico, home to one of the world's most violent drug cartels. Before, there was little chance police would see cars here from nearly 2,000 miles away. And little reason to worry about out-of-state plates. Now, though, police are scrambling to deal with new kinds of suspicious activity and threats that have cropped up along this frozen prairie.  [Full Story]

Jan 24, 2015
LNG PROFIT SPREADS VANISH
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

LNG profitability spreads have vanished. Here is a slide from a Cheniere Energy presentation. Based on their numbers on this slide, Cheniere needs oil prices to be about $75-85/bbl to be profitable. Oil is currently trading at $46.  [Full Story]

Jan 24, 2015
EPA Sued Over Disclosure Rules for Toxic Pollution From Drilling and Fracking
Truthout
Sharon Kelly

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been sued over toxic chemicals released into the air, water and land by the oil and gas industry, a coalition of nine environmental and open government groups announced recently. The extraction of oil and gas releases more toxic pollution than any other industry except for power plants, according to the EPA's own estimates, the coalition, which filed the lawsuit this morning in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, noted.  [Full Story]

Jan 24, 2015
HOW NOT TO BAN FRACKING !
NO FRACKING WAY
Chip Northrup

Am not a zoning attorney, nor do I play one on YouTube, but I know a good land use law when I see one, and the frack ban in Mora County struck me when it was passed as a bit loopy. Here was my take on it at the time – the New Mexico county did not base their ban on a comprehensive land use plan, or on a zoning ordinance, or on anything that resembled land use law. Unfortunately a federal judge agreed with me (and everyone else that knows a good zoning ordinance from a pizza coupon) and tossed it. As a lesson to us all. . . Thanks judge. Fortunately, there is a right way for a county or town or city to control or ban fracking, but that entails hiring an honest-to-god land use planner and a zoning attorney that can walk and chew gum at the same time. If your town/ county/city does not do that, good fracking luck in court.   [Full Story]

Jan 24, 2015
Separate train incidents injure one person, spill ‘frac sand’
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Associated Press

The railroads around southwestern Pennsylvania were a train wreck Thursday. Literally. A train collided with a delivery truck in Baldwin Borough on Thursday morning, hours after a train derailed in Uniontown, spilling seven carloads of “frac sand.” In the two incidents, only the truck driver in the Baldwin Borough wreck was injured, and his injuries were minor, officials said. He was taken to UPMC Mercy as a precaution. When cars from the derailed train in Uniontown toppled, one landed 6 feet from a nearby house, spilling the sand around it. The train was traveling from Scottdale to Smithfield in Fayette County.  [Full Story]

Jan 24, 2015
Cities may be leaking more heat-trapping methane than previously thought
Christian Science Monitor
Pete Spotts

Some of the nation's metropolitan areas may be losing tens of millions of dollars a year in natural gas leaks, which add a potent greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. That's one implication from a study offering a new approach to monitoring natural-gas emissions from urban areas. The approach, which blends measurements from judiciously placed air-sampling equipment with weather-forecast models, has shown that the rate at which natural gas leaks into the atmosphere, specifically in the Boston metropolitan area, may be nearly three times higher than previously estimated.   [Full Story]

Jan 24, 2015
Joe Corré: scion of punk royalty set on halting the fracking revolution The anarchic former lingerie magnate is taking on the shale oil industry – with help from mum Vivienne Westwood
The Guardian
Terry Macalister

First, though, fracking. Corré (and his fashion-legend mother) are not fans of the technique, and they’re about to put time and money into trying to derail any UK shale gas revolution through their support for the Green party before this year’s general election.   [Full Story]

Jan 24, 2015
Brighton's link to NY fracking ban
Democrat & Chronicle
Steve Orr

Over the next two years, Hill would generate her own data set in Pennsylvania shale country and produce one of the first scholarly explorations of the health impacts that may result from living near high-volume hydraulically fractured gas and oil wells. Her 2012 working paper was one of the first studies to suggest a link between fracking and ill health. Provocatively, it suggested that newborns might be affected.  [Full Story]

Jan 24, 2015
New spill into Yellowstone River prompts pipeline upgrade order
The Spokesman-Review
MATTHEW BROWN

BILLINGS – Federal regulators on Friday ordered a pipeline company to make major upgrades to a line that spilled almost 40,000 gallons of oil into Montana’s Yellowstone River and fouled a local water supply. The order comes after Bridger Pipeline of Casper, Wyoming, announced plans to bury its line deeper beneath the Yellowstone to protect against future accidents. The Department of Transportation order would make that improvement mandatory and require identical action where the line runs beneath the Poplar River in northeast Montana.  [Full Story]

Jan 24, 2015
Protesters rally outside Forks Township compressor station
The Express-Times
Edward Sieger

About 20 Forks Township residents and activists gathered outside the Columbia Gas compressor station Saturday afternoon in the township's northern tier to protest a proposed expansion that will more than quadruple the facility's horsepower. Lining the road outside the Klein Road facility that moves natural gas to market, protesters held signs declaring "How Long Can You Hold Your Breath" and "Folks Who Favor Fracking Must be Sent Packing." Some protesters sported gas masks and an armed security guard stood near a car parked in the property's driveway before moving back behind locked gates.  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Anadarko Pays Record $5.15 Billion Environmental Settlement
Environmental News Service


WASHINGTON, DC, January 23, 2015 (ENS) – Anadarko Petroleum Corp. today paid a record $5.15 billion settlement to the U.S. government and others – the largest environmental enforcement recovery payment ever obtained in a lawsuit by the Department of Justice. As a result, more than $4.4 billion will be distributed to fund environmental cleanups and to settle environmental claims across the country  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Oregon becomes dumping ground for California's old, polluting diesel big rigs
Oregon Live
Rob Davis

Oregon has become a dumping ground for California's old, polluting big diesel rigs, an investigation by The Oregonian/OregonLive has found. About 350,000 trucks in California are being phased out because they fail to meet that state's stricter standards. Trucking companies have found willing buyers in Oregon, where environmental standards are looser.   [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Colorado lawmakers gear up for battle over fracking
The Gazette
Ivan Moreno

DENVER — Colorado Republicans are proposing to compensate mineral owners when a local government bans or restricts fracking. The GOP's approach has bothered Democrats who argue lawmakers should wait for recommendations from a task force studying how to resolve land-use disputes among homeowners, local governments, and energy companies.   [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Some homes near Montana oil spill report dark ooze after flushing taps
Reuters
LAURA ZUCKERMAN

(Reuters) - Residents of a Montana town whose water supply was tainted by an oil pipeline rupture last week got the all-clear on Friday to turn taps back on, though some reported brown or black material spurting from faucets even after their pipes were flushed. Drinking supplies for some 6,000 people in and around the community of Glendive became contaminated last Saturday when an estimated 1,200 barrels of crude oil was spilled into the Yellowstone River from a pipeline breach several miles upstream from the northeastern Montana town.  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Polling Shows Americans Support Environmental Enforcement & Clean Energy
Clean Technica
Joshua S Hill

The US Natural Resources Defense Council has released the results of a new “bipartisan” poll of five key states that sought “Views on Environmental Regulations,” which clearly show Americans are not only in favor of existing environmental protections — and in some cases favor tougher enforcement — but also support President Obama’s climate and clean energy initiatives. The polling results are labelled as “bipartisan” due to the combined efforts of Democratic pollsters Hart Research Associates, and Republican polling firm American Viewpoint.  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Boston's Got a Gas Problem as Methane Seeps from City
Scientific American
Bobby Magill

The stink gives it away. Spend half a day walking the streets of New York, Los Angeles or Boston and the occasional whiff of rotten eggs makes it clear that natural gas is leaking from somewhere. Just as oil and natural gas fields have been found to be emitting more methane than official government estimates suggest, a new study shows that more methane than previously thought may be leaking from the other end of that system—cities, where people actually use natural gas for heating and cooking.  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Misleading Production Tests May Have Helped Fuel The Shale Boom
Business Insider
AKIN OYEDELE

Oil companies may have misled investors on how much oil they could actually produce. According to a report from Bloomberg's Bradley Olson, several studies have found that the results of one-day production tests on oil wells did not say enough about how they would perform over 12 months.   [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Head West for Best Look at U.S. Oil Drillers’ Pain
Bloomberg
Lynn Doan and Zain Shauk

Little is going right for California’s oil industry. Turns out the state’s shale formation holds less promise than producers expected. Aging conventional wells are drying up. And a rebound in output that cost drillers as much as $3 billion annually to create has been overshadowed by shale oil gushing from wells in North Dakota and Texas. Then, of course, came the collapse in oil prices -- a seven-month, 57 percent drop that was exacerbated by OPEC’s refusal to cut output in order to squeeze the U.S. shale drillers. No state is feeling that pressure more than California. Drillers there have idled more rigs -- on a proportional basis -- than those in any other part of the country. “We spent a lot of money to go out and drill and use new technologies just to stop production from depleting in our mature fields,” Rock Zierman, chief executive officer of trade group California Independent Petroleum Association, said by phone. “It took us a lot of capital to basically run in place and now we’re looking at crude prices under $40 a barrel.”  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Why Is It Legal to Cause Fracking Earthquakes In Colorado?
EcoWatch
Gary Wockner

This falls in the “You Can’t Make This Shit Up” category in Colorado. Yesterday it was reported that a fracking waste company—NGL Water Solutions DJ LLC—that was linked to causing earthquakes is allowed by Gov. John Hickenlooper’s appointed oil and gas commission to increase their fracking waste injection operations, and it was determined that the company did not violate any law or rule when they likely caused the earthquakes.  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Worst Fracking Wastewater Spill in North Dakota Leaks 3 Million Gallons Into River
EcoWatch
Stefanie Spear

Three million gallons of brine, a salty, toxic byproduct of oil and natural gas production—also known as fracking wastewater—spilled from a leaking pipe in western North Dakota. State officials say it’s the worst spill of its kind since the fracking boom began in the state.  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Federal agency looks favorably on gas pipeline into Boston
Boston Globe
Jack Newsham

The federal government has determined the environmental impact from a gas pipeline proposed for Boston and surrounding suburbs isn’t severe enough to prevent the project from proceeding. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released its final environmental impact statement on the Algonquin Incremental Market project, which would expand one of the biggest pipelines in the Northeast with improvements in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. But the project has been controversial among West Roxbury residents, who are concerned the pipeline could be damaged and leak natural gas because it runs near a quarry where explosive charges are frequently detonated.  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
YELLOWSTONE SPILL: Feds issued warning to pipeline company in November
E&E Publishing
Mike Soragan

Federal officials issued a warning late last year to the owner of the Montana pipeline that contaminated a city's drinking water for keeping poor records about the condition of the system. And the owners of the Poplar pipeline have had at least seven pipeline spills since early 2008, records show, along with other spills at production facilities. Bridger Pipeline LLC officials say the warning letter from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is unrelated to the leak of 50,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River.  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
VT Public Service Board Will Review Phase 1 of the Addison County Pipeline Again
myChamplainValley.com
Joe Gullo

MONTPELIER, Vt. - The Vermont Public Service board will again review whether to approve Phase One of the Addison County Natural Gas pipeline. This after a second cost increase. Estimates are now around $154 million. The original estimate was around $86 million. What happens now? The Public Service Board requested comments from both parties this week, as to the scope of the investigation.   [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
PG&E fined $530,000 for gas-pipeline violations
Mercury News
Steve Johnson

SAN FRANCISCO -- State regulators on Friday slapped PG&E with fines totaling $530,000 for violations related to its natural gas system, the subject of intense public scrutiny since the 2010 gas-line blast in San Bruno that killed eight and destroyed dozens of homes. The California Public Utilities Commission fined the company $430,000 for failing to "immediately excavate and examine pipelines that showed signs of potential corrosion," a problem the regulatory agency said was initially detected during a 2012 audit and "confirmed through additional investigation by CPUC staff that lasted into 2014." In a separate citation, the agency fined PG&E an additional $100,000 for allowing "non-qualified personnel to perform field work, which could create a hazardous condition for the public and utility employees." That problem was found during a 2013 audit.  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Pipeline Bill Passes House
The News Center
DAvid Carl

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill intended to streamline natural gas pipelines throughout the Marcellus shale region. Those in favor of the bill claim that it will create jobs and promote energy independence. Among those voting for the bill was West Virginia Congressman David McKinley. McKinley provided WTAP with a statement on the bill, and it's potential effect on the proposed cracker in Wood County: "The abundance of natural gas in the shale can only be harvested if we have the pipeline to safely transport it to businesses that use it, such as the proposed cracker in Wood County. You cannot have one without the other. This week, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would streamline regulations on pipelines by cutting red tape and getting bureaucrats out of the way. We will see jobs rush into West Virginia."  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Nelson Co. Families Fighting Pipeline Lawsuit
NBC29.com


NELSON COUNTY - Landowners in Nelson County are pushing back against Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC for trying to survey their land for the Dominion natural gas pipeline. Dominion is partnering with other utilities to build the $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would cross the Blue Ridge Mountains to deliver gas from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Five Nelson Co. couples are filing motions to dismiss a lawsuit from ACP. The company is suing landowners who won't give them permission to survey their land for the pipeline project. Landowners say Dominion sent notices to survey their land, but ACP did not. Therefore, they argue ACP doesn't have the right to sue them. “There are many, many impacts that this pipeline will have, not just to our particular piece of land but to the county in general,” said Corry Andrews, Nelson Co. landowner. "We feel very comfortable fighting it legally, and with any means that we can at this point.”   [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Where The Natural Gas Pipeline Stands Now
Vermont Public Radio
Jane Lindholm and Ric Cengeri

The natural gas pipeline through Addison County received approval from the Public Service Board. But since then, the projected costs have risen twice and nearly doubled. We talk with the new CEO of Vermont Gas, Don Rendall, and Maren Vasatka, an Addison County landowner who opposes the pipeline.  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Heather Zichal, Former Top Obama Energy Aide, Named Fellow at Industry-Funded Atlantic Council
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

Heather Zichal, former top climate and energy aide to President Barack Obama his top aide in crafting his 2008 presidential campaign energy platform, has joined the industry-funded Atlantic Council as a fellow at its Global Energy Center. As revealed in multiple articles by DeSmogBlog, Zichal also sits on the Board of Directors of Cheniere, the first company to receive a permit from the Obama Administration to export gas obtained via the controversial hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) process in 2012. Cheniere is one among dozens of the corporate donors to Atlantic Council.  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Federal Court Order: Explosive DOT-111 "Bomb Train" Oil Tank Cars Can Continue to Roll
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

A U.S. federal court has ordered a halt in proceedings until May in a case centering around oil-by-rail tankers pitting the Sierra Club and ForestEthics against the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). As a result, potentially explosive DOT-111 oil tank cars, dubbed “bomb trains” by activists, can continue to roll through towns and cities across the U.S. indefinitely. “The briefing schedule previously established by the court is vacated,” wrote Chris Goelz, a mediator for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. “This appeal is stayed until May 12, 2015, or pending publication in the Federal Register of the final tank car standards and phase out of DOT-111 tank cars, whichever occurs first.”  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
New York has some of the nation's most dangerous gas pipes
The Journal News
Elizabeth Ganga and Akiko Matsuda

The natural gas pipelines under the roads of most of Westchester are part of a Con Edison system with some of the highest rates of hazardous leaks in the country. And the thousands of miles of pipeline installed decades ago and made of problematic cast iron and unprotected steel are a concern to regulators, who are pushing Con Ed and other companies to replace the old pipe at much faster rates.  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Who Will Rule the Oil Market?
The New York Times
DANIEL YERGIN

WASHINGTON — A HISTORIC change of roles is at the heart of the clamor and turmoil over the collapse of oil prices, which have plummeted by 50 percent since September. For decades, Saudi Arabia, backed by the Persian Gulf emirates, was described as the “swing producer.” With its immense production capacity, it could raise or lower its output to help the global market adjust to shortages or surpluses. But on Nov. 27, at the OPEC meeting in Vienna, Saudi Arabia effectively resigned from that role and OPEC handed over all responsibility for oil prices to the market, which the Saudi oil minister, Ali Al-Naimi, predicted would “stabilize itself eventually.” OPEC’s decision was hardly unanimous. Venezuela and Iran, their economies in deep trouble, lobbied hard for production cutbacks, to no avail. Afterward, Iran accused Saudi Arabia of waging an “oil war” and being part of a “plot” against it.  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Goldman Sachs Executive Says Falling Oil Prices Will Help Consumers, and Firm's Business
The New York Times
DAVID GELLES

Mr. Cohn acknowledged that thousands of jobs were being lost in the oil industry, as fracking projects shut down and companies lay off employees in anticipation of sharply lower revenue. But over all, Goldman Sachs has calculated that falling oil prices will push well over a trillion dollars into other industries around the world. “Net net, the world is projected to save $1.6 trillion this year on lower oil prices,” Mr. Cohn said. “That’s more than $1 trillion going into the global economy.” Mr. Cohn also said that Goldman stood to gain from the sudden fluctuations in oil prices.  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Feds: Pipeline expansion won't hurt environment
The Journal News
Ernie Garcia

The agency overseeing the proposed Algonquin pipeline expansion concluded Friday that the project won't have significant environmental impacts. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's staff determined that the proposed pipeline expansion will create some adverse environmental effects, but measures taken by Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC will minimize them. The staff also decided that the project won't hurt the Hudson River because of the way the company is drilling under the river.  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Message to the UK: The Fracking Bridge is Already Burning
Common Dreams
Naomi Klein

On a week-long trip to the UK last fall, I was struck by how quickly the push to open up the country to fracking has been escalating. Thankfully, activists are mounting a vigorous and creative response, and are more than up to the task of galvanizing the public to put a stop to this mad dash to extract. That is not to say it will be easy. In rushing to exploit the UK’s shale gas reserves, the industry has spent millions on public relations and brazenly overridden the democratic will of British citizens by overturning laws that had prevented drilling under homes. The coalition government, meanwhile, has done the sector’s bidding at every turn.  [Full Story]

Jan 23, 2015
Chesapeake Energy to pay $119 million in Oklahoma royalty case
NPR State Impact PA
MARIE CUSICK

Chesapeake Energy will pay $119 million to royalty owners in Oklahoma under a preliminary settlement that will go before a judge in April, according to The Oklahoman. The deal would resolve royalty disputes dating back more than a decade. Landowners accused Chesapeake Operating LLC of improperly withholding royalty money and charging them for the costs of processing and transporting gas. The class action suit affects more than 11,800 wells in Oklahoma.   [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Offshore Wind Energy Would Produce Twice as Many Jobs as Oil and Gas Operations in the Atlantic
Huffington Post
Adrian Grenier and Andrew Sharpless

Did you know that coastal activity in Atlantic states--ranging from fishing, tourism, recreation and more--supports about 1.4 million jobs and net about $95 billion in gross domestic product every year? That means that anytime you head to the East Coast and spend time fishing or eating local seafood, for example, you are stimulating the local economy and supporting jobs. Unfortunately, the federal government could be threatening these jobs and economies by moving forward with offshore oil and gas exploration and development in the Atlantic. Last week, Oceana released a report that highlights the benefits of a clean and sustainable energy alternative: offshore wind energy. The report found that offshore wind would create twice the number of jobs and twice the amount of energy in the Atlantic Ocean than offshore drilling. The report also highlights how offshore drilling could jeopardize the healthy Atlantic Ocean that jobs and local economies depend on, challenging claims by the oil and gas industry that offshore drilling in the Atlantic will move the U.S. closer to energy independence, create jobs and generate revenue.  [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
French Total mulls over pulling out of Cyprus offshore natural gas exploration
Global Times


French Total energy giant is considering pulling out of natural gas and oil exploration in Cyprus's exclusive economic zone, Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said on Wednesday. The minister told the state radio that a final decision will be made next week but he added that indications are that Total will definitely discontinue its exploration program due to unfavorable geological factors.   [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Algeria PM: Shale gas drilling will not begin until 2022
Middle East Monitor


Algeria will not begin drilling shale gas before 2022, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said yesterday, the Anadolu Agency reported. During an interview on state television Sellal said: "I would like to reassure our brothers in the desert that shale gas is not in the government's agenda. We are only conducting experiments in two wells, based on which we will conduct studies for four years to find out our exact shale gas reserves."  [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Misson residents set up group to ‘voice opposition’ to fracking
The Star


Residents have set up a campaign group to fight plans which could see fracking take place. British onshore oil and gas explorer and producer IGas announced it intends to apply for planning permission to carry out ‘exploratory’ digging on the Doncaster-Nottinghamshire border.  [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Oil Drillers ‘Going to Die’ in 2Q on Crude Price Swoon
Bloomberg
Joe Carroll

Oil drillers will begin collapsing under the weight of lower crude prices during the second quarter and energy explorers who employ them will shortly follow, according to Conway Mackenzie Inc., the largest U.S. restructuring firm. Companies that drill wells and manage fields on behalf of oil producers will be the first to fall after the benchmark American crude, West Texas Intermediate, lost 57 percent of its value in seven months, said John T. Young, whose firm led the city of Detroit through its 2013 bankruptcy.  [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Prime Minister will consider anti-fracking petition
Oxford Mail
Martin Elvery

A PETITION against fracking signed by 267,000 people was delivered to Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday. A group of people from his Witney constituency came to the leader’s residence holding placards that spelled out the number of people who signed.  [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Defenders of Tradition in Keystone Pipeline Fight
The New York Times
Mitch Smith

BRADSHAW, Neb. — An unpainted wooden barn sits in a snow-dusted cornfield along a gravel road, one of many that dot the rural horizon here. This barn, however, contains no horses, tractors or farming tools. Its roof is covered with solar panels, there is a windmill out front, and the interior is plastered with signs with slogans like “Build Our Energy” and “#NOKXL,” in protest of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which could run under the property if President Obama approves the project.  [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Hype, Broken Promises and Shales
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

The term shale revolution has been used so much that it almost has no meaning anymore. But were shales ever really the energy panacea promised or merely a self styled hype machine? Would the frenzy in drilling ever have truly taken off if it weren’t for cheap money? These are valid questions which have not been explored adequately because too many investors, journalists and elected officials were caught up in shale mania. But was this ever truly an exercise that would provide long term benefits to American consumers? It is an inarguable fact that shales have produced copious quantities of hydrocarbons in the past few years but this is not really surprising given that the wells, by their very nature, produce the most oil or gas they will ever produce in the first twelve months or so of their lives. So when the industry engages in a frenzy of drilling and brings many wells online very rapidly and essentially all at once, then it stands to reason that it will look like an enormous success. For a short while.  [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
South LA oil field scraps effort to expand drilling, but neighbors remain uneasy
KPCC
Molly Peterson

An email from the oil company Freeport MacMoRan that it would scrap its application for permission from the City of Los Angeles to expand drilling operations at a production facility surrounded by homes in the Jefferson Park neighborhood was terse. The decision to withdraw the application was prompted primarily in response to the steep decline in commodity prices. Withdrawal of the application will not affect normal daily production operations, which will continue consistent with how the facility has been safely operated for over 50 years.   [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Boston belching gigantic gobs of greenhouse gas
Science Magazine
Eli Kintisch

One of America’s oldest and coldest cities may be squandering energy in prodigious amounts, a new study finds. In a 1-year period beginning in 2012, roughly 3% of the gas delivered to the greater Boston area was released into the air, the report says, three times more than previous annual estimates. The emissions are a threat to the climate and a sheer waste of money. And it raises the question of whether other cities share Beantown’s newly uncovered methane problem. Fortunately, methane emissions can be reduced relatively cheaply, compared with emissions from coal plants or cars. “There’s an opportunity to deal with emissions from methane because they come from inefficiencies in the system that we can fix,” says Kathryn McKain, a graduate student at Harvard University who led the study. But first you have to find the leaks, she says—not easy in a tangle of buried pipes, storage facilities, and landfills that may be releasing gas.   [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Cancer group warns on fracking
IOL SciTech
Melanie Gosling

Cape Town - The Cancer Association of SA (Cansa) says about 150 of the chemicals that companies use in shale-gas fracking are known to cause cancer or disrupt the endocrine system, leading to possible birth defects. If water was polluted with fracking chemicals, it could lead to an increase in the cancer rate in the Karoo. Canda said yesterday there were more than 1 000 documented cases in the US of contaminated drinking water next to areas of shale-gas drilling, and people had suffered sensory, respiratory and neurological damage.   [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Gas Drilling Watchdog Group Settles Suit Over Terror Listing
The New York Times
Associated Press

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — A gas drilling watchdog group that was characterized in Pennsylvania security bulletins as a potential terror threat has settled its lawsuit against the state, the group's lawyer said Thursday. The settlement terms between Pennsylvania officials and the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition were not immediately released. The gas drilling coalition's lawsuit said the bulletins characterized the group as a possible threat to infrastructure without evidence. A private contractor, the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, produced the reports under a one-year, $103,000 contract.  [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Senate Republicans name new committee chairs
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—The Republican majority in the State Senate has released its list of committee chairs for this year's legislative session. The list includes a number of reappointments to key committees, along with some new chairs. Sen. Joe Griffo of Rome will become the new energy chair, replacing former senator George Maziarz of Niagara County, who declined to run for re-election last year and is reportedly under federal investigation for his campaign spending. Energy: Griffo, Chair Carlucci Flanagan Croci O’Mara Ritchie Robach Environmental Conservation: O’Mara, Chair Avella, Vice-Chair LaValle Little Marcellino Funke Ortt Young  [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
US House passes natural gas pipeline permitting reform bill
Oil & Gas Journal
Nick Snow

The US House of Representatives approved a bill aimed at reforming federal natural gas pipeline permit reviews by establishing stricter deadlines for other agencies to submit information to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Fourteen Democrats joined 239 Republicans in voting for HR 161 on Jan. 21 as 169 Democrats voted against it. It now moves to the Senate, but faces a likely veto if it reaches President Barack Obama’s desk because it would deem a project approved if deadlines were not met. “We may have fixed our supply problems but we now have a serious distribution problem,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said following the vote. “Our archaic energy infrastructure and outdated regulatory system is blocking American consumers from reaping the benefits of our energy abundance. We have the gas, but don’t have the pipelines to get cheap energy directly to families and businesses that need it most.” Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), who chairs the committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee, said that the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America estimated that by the year 2035, $8 billion/year will be spent on new gas pipeline construction.  [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Leaks in Boston area gas pipes exceed estimates
The Boston Globe
David Abel

The amount of methane leaking from natural gas pipelines, storage facilities, and other sources in the Boston area is as much as three times greater than previously estimated — a loss that contributes to the region’s high energy costs and adds potent greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, according to a new study by scientists at Harvard University. The leaks would be enough to heat as many as 200,000 homes a year and are valued at $90 million a year, the authors said. The study — the first of its kind to quantify methane emissions from natural gas leaks in an urban area — also suggests that regulators are substantially underestimating the amount of the nation’s methane emissions. Methane is 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, meaning small amounts of the heat-trapping gas can have a significant impact on global warming.  [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Britain's rush to frack dealt severe setback over pollution concerns
Express
John Ingham

BRITAIN'S dash for gas from fracking was dealt a severe blow yesterday when planners recommended throwing out two proposed schemes.   [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Cuomo budget increases investment in renewable energy
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal would increase funding for energy and environment initiatives and increase the state's focus on renewable energy while reducing its use of fossil fuels.  [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Report puts fracking, oil well, back in the spotlight
Naples Daily News
June Fletcher

A state-commissioned report by an Oklahoma firm has "concluded with confidence" that the Collier-Hogan oil well was hydraulically fractured at the end of 2013 — a practice that is under increasing scrutiny across the country. The report directly contradicts an earlier statement by the Texas-based driller, the Dan A. Hughes Co., that it did not hydraulically frack the well.   [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Nearly 3 Million Gallons Of Drilling Waste Spill From North Dakota Pipeline
Think Progress
Katie Valentine

Almost 3 million gallons of saltwater drilling waste spilled from a North Dakota pipeline earlier this month, a spill that’s now being called the state’s largest since the North Dakota oil boom began.   [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Fossil fuel firms accused of renewable lobby takeover to push gas
The Guardian
Arthur Neslen

Fossil fuel companies have taken up majority positions in key renewables trade groups steering them towards a pro-gas stance that influenced Europe’s 2030 clean energy targets, industry insiders claim   [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Oil boomtown: 'We could see 20,000 layoffs by June'
Money.CNN
Steve Hargreaves

Oil prices have been sinking for months. And while that's good news for most Americans, what happens to towns like Williston, N.D., that have built an entire economy around the oil industry? The drop in crude prices, while beneficial for drivers, has already cost thousands of oil jobs. Schlumberger (SLB) was among several companies to take a hit, laying off 9,000 people last week.   [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Ruptured Yellowstone Oil Pipeline Was Built With Faulty Welding in 1950s
Inside Climate News
Elizabeth Douglass

Poor safety, defects may have added risks to pipeline that spilled up to 50,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River.   [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Senate Votes 98-1 That Climate Change Is Not a Hoax, But…
EcoWatch
Stefanie Spear

The Senate on Wednesday voted that “climate change is real and is not a hoax” in an amendment by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to the Keystone XL pipeline bill. The “hoax” amendment passed 98-1, with only Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker voting “no.”   [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Say No to Port Ambrose LNG, Yes to Offshore Wind - Deadline is March 16
Examiner.com
Karen Rubin

The clock is ticking down – you have until March 16, 2015 – to offer comment on whether the Maritime Administration should grant a license to the proposed Port Ambrose Liquid Nitrogen Gas (LNG) processing facility planned for 16 nautical miles south of Jones Beach, in the Atlantic. But the one who needs to hear is Governor Andrew Cuomo who has the power to veto the project (see below for information on how to send comments).   [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
How We Banned Fracking in New York
EcoWatch
Sandra Steingraber

It’s a tale in which we all are—each one of us is—a starring character and a co-author. We are the maker of this story that has been shaped by our unceasing, unrelenting efforts—all of which mattered and made a difference. Every rally. Every march. Every jug of Dimock water. Every public comment. Every local ban. Every letter to the editor. Every letter to the Governor. Every concert. Every expert testimony at every hearing.  [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Cuadrilla's Fracking Banned For Being Quieter Than A Wind Turbine
Forbes
Tim Worstall

Good grief, this is ridiculous. Cuadrilla, the firm hunting for shale gas in the UK, has had its planning application for a well turned down. On the grounds that drilling will be too noisy. Well, OK, that might be fair enough, it depends upon what the definition of “too noisy” is really. But the definition of too noisy that is being used here is quieter than a wind turbine. Which is simply ridiculous.   [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Ban fracking, says former Tory environment secretary Caroline Spelman
The Guardian
Damian Carrington

Conservative MP calls for fracking moratorium as Labour says fracking should not be allowed unless regulatory loopholes are closed The former Tory environment secretary, Caroline Spelman, has called for a ban on fracking in the UK ahead of a report by an influential committee of MPs that is expected to conclude fracking could derail efforts to tackle climate change.   [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Chemicals used in fracking ‘could cause cancer’
BD Live
Paul Vecchiatto

KNOWN carcinogenic chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing for shale gas (fracking) could lead to an epidemic of cancer in the Karoo, says Cancer Association of SA (Cansa) acting head of research Carl Albrecht. On Wednesday, Cansa hosted a seminar about the possible negative effects of fracking on people’s health, should it go ahead in the ecologically sensitive Karoo basin.  [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
U.K. Lawmakers Seek to Ban Fracking Unless ‘Loopholes’ Closed
Bloomberg
Alex Morales

U.K. opposition lawmakers are seeking to ban oil and gas fracking unless “loopholes” on safety are closed. A Labour Party amendment to the Infrastructure Bill working its way through Parliament will mean barring hydraulic fracking unless 13 gaps in regulation are filled, it said in a statement.  [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Penn Township looks to ban fracking within 600-foot buffer zone
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Jacob Flannick

Penn Township commissioners voted Monday to relax proposed setback requirements for Marcellus Shale gas drilling, reversing an earlier decision to increase them by hundreds of feet.  [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Fracking Boom Expands Near Chaco Canyon, Threatens Navajo Ancestral Lands and People
DeSmogBlog
Julie Dermansky

Beneath a giant methane gas cloud recently identified by NASA, the oil and gas fracking industry is rapidly expanding in northwestern New Mexico. Flares that light up the night sky at drilling sites along the stretch of Route 550 that passes through the San Juan Basin, which sits on top of the oil rich Mancos Shale, are tell-tale indicators of the fracking boom.   [Full Story]

Jan 22, 2015
Why utilities across the nation are embracing community solar
UtilityDive
Herman K. Trabish

2015 could be community solar’s year. Utilities and private sector players are immersed in plans. Regulators from California to the District of Columbia are working on program designs. “The biggest trend for solar at utilities is community solar,” said Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) Senior Research Manager Becky Campbell, co-author of the report "Expanding Solar Access Through Utility-led Community Solar."  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
7 Print Email January 21, 2015 3:46 pm • By LeAnn Eckroth Nearly 130 people gathered on Wednesday for a hearing about a state Health Department plan to regulate radioactive waste sites. (2) More Photos Related Video Radioactive disposal hearing in Bismarck Bismarck radioactive hearing A state Health Department plan to track and dispose of radioactive waste from the oil patch drew nearly 130 people to a two-hour hearing Wednesday in Bismarck. A majority who testified said the plan had serious gaps in public safety. Signs against higher levels of TENORM -- technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material -- at special landfill sites were taped to the walls of the Environmental Training Center and even hung over a few attendees' necks. Dakota Resource Council members and members of area tribes said the state Health Department had given inadequate notice and education about the plan to increase TENORM levels allowed at radioactive disposal sites from 5 picocuries per gram to 50. They demanded more hearings, saying the Feb. 6 deadline for comments was not enough time. State health officials and representatives from Argonne Laboratories opened with a one-hour informational meeting explaining that 50 picocuries per gram was a safe radioactive level for a disposal site. Scott Radig, waste management director for the state Health Department, said TENORM is not regulated by federal agencies and enforcing its standards is left up to the states. Audience members challenged whether the state agency had enough staff and money to fully regulate TENORM disposal sites. "You told me that the industry came and asked you for this. I know no North Dakota citizen came to you asking for an increase in radioactivity to poison themselves, their children or grandchildren," said Joletta Birdbear, a member of the Mandan Hidatsa and Arikira tribe and a DRC member. Gene Wirtz, a farmer from Underwood, said the levels shouldn't be raised. He said county commissioners voted against a radioactive waste site near his home. "I see this as an end run to get that dump back," he said. "No amount of radiation is good. Anytime you raise the amount of radiation you are exposed to, you are going to raise the risk of cancer." Bill Sorenson, former Bismarck mayor, said there is technology available that can help protect the citizens from radioactivity from oil sites and added North Dakota can be a model for other states' regulations. Kathryn Hilton, of DRC, challenged the Argonne study because it used computer models instead of testing radioactivity levels from affected sites. A meeting was held Tuesday in Williston and a third was to be held Thursday at the Fargo Public Safety Building at 4630 15th Ave. N. Radig said the state health officials will consider extending the public comment and education period on the draft regulations. (Reach LeAnn Eckroth at 701-250-8264 or leann.eckroth@bismarcktribune.com.) Copyright 2015 Bismarck Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Tags Radioactive Waste, North Dakota, Radioactivity, Chemistry, Dakota Resource Council, Scott Radig, Argonne Laboratories, Environment, Gene Wirtz, Oil Patch, Disposal Site, Environmental Training Center, State Health Department, Waste Managment Director, Joletta Birdbear, Mandan Hidatsa And Arikira, Member, Farmer, Radioactive Waste Site, Radiation, Oil Sites More North Dakota News Stories West Fargo 6th-graders build app to help class start on time West Fargo 6th-graders build app to help class start on time Breached pipeline that spilled oil lies exposed on riverbed 19 Grand Forks businesses adopt lactation policies Minnesota man accused of escaping from Fargo halfway house Recommendations 100K-gallon saltwater spill reported near Tioga (Bismarck Tribune) A Grandpa Left a Trunk Behind For His Family - What's Inside is Incredible (Viral Nova) Nearly 3M gallons of brine spill; ND oil boom's largest leak (Bismarck Tribune) Lawmakers not sold on headlights bill (Bismarck Tribune) [?] Sponsored Links activate-button-3 FULL ACCESS Follow The Bismarck Tribune Most Popular Articles Comments Facebook Minot woman rises above fat-shaming comments Crescent Manor residents on edge Ga. man leaves hole in patchwork of Bakken lives Jobs still abound in oil patch 'Impatient' driver pleads not guilty to criminally negligent homicide More Marketplace Jobs Autos Homes View All Local advertising by PaperG Featured Businesses View more... bare medispa bare medispa Red Wing Shoes Red Wing Shoes Schauer Hearing Aid Center Schauer Hearing Aid Center Thru Tubing Solutions Thru Tubing Solutions Prestige Homes and Design Prestige Homes and Design Deals, Offers and Events View more... 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Bismarck Tribune
LeAnn Eckroth

A state Health Department plan to track and dispose of radioactive waste from the oil patch drew nearly 130 people to a two-hour hearing Wednesday in Bismarck. A majority who testified said the plan had serious gaps in public safety. Signs against higher levels of TENORM -- technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material -- at special landfill sites were taped to the walls of the Environmental Training Center and even hung over a few attendees' necks.  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Federal judge strikes down N.M. county's fracking ban as unconstitutional
Energywire
Ellen M. Gilmer

The U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico on Monday struck down a ban on fracking and drilling in Mora County, a rural area about 100 miles northeast of Santa Fe. County voters passed the ban in 2013, and Royal Dutch Shell PLC subsidiary SWEPI LP filed suit last year.   [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Group Rallies to Say Thanks to Governor's Fracking Ban
WXXI News
Alex Crichton

One of the rallies expected in Albany today is definitely not a protest. A group of around 60 anti-fracking activists boarded a bus this morning to attend the State of the State and Budget message, and say thanks to Governor Cuomo for his administration's ban on fracking.  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
MPs set to give Westminster a vital vote on fracking moratorium
Click Green


Backbench MPs from most of the major political parties have today proposed a motion that would force a vote for a moratorium on fracking across Britain. The Infrastructure Bill, which is coming before MPs for a crucial vote on Monday, includes a series of controversial measures to pave the way for fracking. But a new motion, backed by MPs including Yasmin Qureshi and John Mann (Labour), Hywel Williams (Plaid Cymru) Julian Huppert (Lib Dem) and Caroline Lucas (Green) would, if passed, introduce a moratorium on fracking for up to two and a half years while the risks are assessed.  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Oil fracking protestors in Algeria rise up against their regime, Total and Shell
Green Prophet
Karin Cloosterman

Big demonstrations have spread from the Sahara to Algiers, after Algerian authorities announced the drilling of the first shale gas well in the country. With world’s oil prices plummeting people are starting to wonder: why frack? Can the environmental cost outweigh the benefits of energy security now that prices are falling and renewables within reach. Now virgin deserts are at risk in Algeria as people rise up against the regime and companies with big stakes in oil. - See more at: http://www.greenprophet.com/2015/01/oil-fracking-protestors-in-algeria-rise-up-against-their-regime-total-and-shell/#sthash.nPyG5vwA.dpuf  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Dwight Dudley wants to stop public utilities from charging customers for fracking projects
Saint Peters Blog
Mitch Perry

Last month the Sunshine State’s largest power company, Florida Power & Light, won approval from the Public Service Commission (PSC) to sign a 50-year contract with Louisiana-based PetroQuest to conduct exploratory drilling — better known as fracking — for natural gas in southeastern Oklahoma, with the $191 million cost spread to customer bills. In March the PSC is scheduled to decide on whether or not to allow FPL to charge up to $750 million per year to expand the project.  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Fracking A Concern For Lubbock Oil and Gas Committee
Everything Lubbock
Melissa Adan

LUBBOCK, TX-- City council is reviewing implementations for a new gas ordinance that should be answered within the next month. One concern is fracking. "The type of fracking people are talking about is if we're fracking into shell," said Doug Howell of J.J. Operations. Howell said he only sees the positivity of fracking.   [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
College Station City Council to Decide Fracking Ordinance Update
KBTX


COLLEGE STATION - The College Station City Council needs your help tomorrow at a meeting to decide whether to change an ordinance for a controversial oil and gas drilling process. The Brazos Valley is a great place to live for a lot of reasons. Oil and gas companies like it here because we're conveniently located on the Eagle Ford Shale formation   [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Spain mulls fracking after offshore drilling comes up dry
Christian Science Monitor
Nick Cunningham

Spanish oil giant, Repsol, has decided to cancel its highly controversial oil drilling project near the Canary Islands. It comes after a decade conducting tests and amid local protests.   [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
KEF: Fracking poses threat to groundwater
Richmond Register
Andy McDonald

Environmental activist Craig Williams urged the city of Berea to go on record Tuesday in opposition to hydraulic fracturing in the Berea area. The controversial method of extracting oil and gas from deep shale beds could potentially degrade the water, air and soil in all of Madison County, he said. The same request will be presented to the Madison Fiscal Court and the Richmond City Commission, Williams added.   [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Offshore wind beats drilling for jobs and energy in the Southeast
Southern Studies
Sue Stugis

Developing wind power off the Atlantic Coast would create twice as many jobs and produce twice as much energy as opening the area to oil and gas drilling -- and it would avoid worsening the climate disruption that's already taking a toll on the region.   [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Seismologist to head up examination of link between earthquakes and fracking Expanded seismic monitoring shows continuing small quakes in northeastern B.C.
The Vancouver Sun
Gordon Hoekstra

A consortium that includes B.C.-government backed Geoscience BC has appointed a seismologist to a two-year term to examine monitoring data from continuing small earthquakes in northeastern B.C. linked to fracking.   [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Gillibrand offers three amendments to Keystone bill
Capital New York
David Giambusso

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is joining a push by fellow Democrats to add amendments to a bill that would force President Obama to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Algonquin pipeline factions spar in Brewster hearing
Lohud
Matt Spillane

Environmentalists and union workers traded barbs in the Henry H. Wells Middle School auditorium during the first of two Department of Environmental Conservation hearings. The second will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at Stony Point Community Center, 5 Clubhouse Lane.   [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Obama Vows To Fight For Climate Policies In State Of The Union But What He Didn’t Mention Was Just As Telling
DeSmogBlog
MIKE GAWORECKI

President Barack Obama could not have signaled more clearly in his 2015 State of the Union address that he intends to fight for his legacy on climate change in the face of a hostile, anti-science GOP-led House and Senate. But it was what the President didn’t mention that could negate his climate legacy: free trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that undermine local efforts to lower emissions, projects like Keystone XL that lock us into decades of continued dirty energy use, and the exporting of American-made coal, crude oil and natural gas to overseas markets. Which is not to say that every policy position Obama laid out regarding energy and the environment entirely matched his lofty rhetoric about climate change.  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
New shale gas fracking sites set to be refused planning permission over noise fears for neighbours
Daily Mail
Darren Boyle

Proposals for 'fracking' for shale gas at two sites in Lancashire should be refused, planning officers have recommended. Lancashire County Council has published reports with recommendations on planning applications from shale company Cuadrilla to develop two new sites to explore for shale gas by drilling, fracking and testing the flow of gas. The council's development control committee is due to make decisions next week on the planning applications for the two sites, at Preston New Road, near Little Plumpton, and Roseacre Wood, near Roseacre, both between Blackpool and Preston.   [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Legislation filed that would compensate property owners for land taken by eminent domain during construction of pipeline if natural gas exported
Gazettenet.com
TOM RELIHAN

DEERFIELD — Proposed legislation has been filed that would provide compensation for property owners whose land is taken by eminent domain during construction of a natural gas pipeline that carries any gas which is sold overseas. State Rep. Stephen Kulik, D-Worthington, filed the bill (HD 3168) in the House, whose legal staff is reviewing a draft of the legislation. Kulik said a hearing would likely be held sometime between the spring and fall. In draft form, the proposed legislation would require gas transporters operating in Massachusetts that take land through eminent domain to pay 12.5 percent of the wholesale price of any gas sold to foreign countries as royalties, which would then be divided up and paid to landowners based on the length of the pipeline crossing their property and the volume of gas it carries that is destined for export.  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Riverkeeper: Indian Point's pipeline study inadequate
lohud the Journal News
Ernie Garcia

Riverkeeper has joined calls for an independent study to assess the risk to the Indian Point nuclear power plant from the Algonquin pipeline expansion. In a Jan. 16 letter the Ossining-based environmental group said a safety evaluation prepared by Entergy, the company that operates Indian Point, didn't adequately account for the effects of a natural gas pipeline rupture. The Algonquin pipeline runs through the power plant's Buchanan property and it would lie more than 1,600 feet from the power plant structures. Riverkeeper's letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission echoed an assessment made by Accufacts, a public records research company that called Entergy's analysis "seriously incomplete, even dismissive."  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Federal judge strikes down N.M. county's fracking ban as unconstitutional
E & E Newswire
Ellen M. Gilmer

A county's ban on hydraulic fracturing and drilling conflicts with both state and U.S. law, a federal court in New Mexico found this week. The U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico on Monday struck down a ban on fracking and drilling in Mora County, a rural area about 100 miles northeast of Santa Fe. County voters passed the ban in 2013, and Royal Dutch Shell PLC subsidiary SWEPI LP filed suit last year. The decision is a win for industry and a major setback for environmentalists, who have had mixed results in championing a "local control" approach to oil and gas regulation around the country.  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
EPA Methane Strategy May Sit On Policy Back Burner
law360


Law360, New York (January 21, 2015, 10:09 AM ET) -- On Jan. 14, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its anticipated strategy to reduce U.S. emissions of methane from the oil and gas industry.[1] The EPA aims to achieve a 40 to 45 percent cut from 2012 levels in the next 10 years. In August 2012, the EPA issued new source performance standards for emissions of volatile organic compounds from the oil and natural gas sector that substantially increased sources within the sector subject to regulation.[2] The 2012 rule added controls for well completions at hydraulically fractured gas...  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Obama’s climate change plan met with criticism by its supporters
Watchdog.org
Jana Benscoter

A three-tiered carbon-cutting plan being rolled out by the Obama administration is receiving criticism not only from its opponents, but also from its proponents. The plan, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has not been fully developed, attempts to curb domestic greenhouse gas emissions, prepares the United States for the impacts of climate change, and calls for continued American leadership in international efforts to combat global climate change. Activists on both sides of the ideological spectrum claim the plan is going to do damage.  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
'Climate change is real and not a hoax,' Senate overwhelmingly decides
Los Angeles Times
Lisa Mascaro

The U.S. Senate has made it official: Climate change is not a hoax. As part of the long debate on the Keystone XL pipeline, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday for an amendment that aimed to answer once and for all whether senators believe the climate is changing.  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
White house tightens regulations to combat methane emissions Industry official: Progress is already being made across San Juan Basin
Daily Times
James Fenton

FARMINGTON — Last week, the Obama administration tightened regulations on oil and gas industry atmospheric methane emissions with the goal of a 40-percent reduction by 2025.   [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Fracking chemicals found in water
Great Lakes Advocate


A LABOR government would implement a “moratorium on coal seam gas activity across the state - including Gloucester” if elected at the March polls Opposition Leader Luke Foley said. It comes after AGL advised the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) that ground and surface water monitoring data from its Gloucester operations during November had detected traces of a chemical used in fracking. An AGL spokeswoman said the company was undertaking a full review of the sampling and testing process for its November 2014 water monitoring, which detected the presence of extremely low levels of monoethanolamine. Monoethanolamine borate is a chemical used in the hydraulic fracturing process to alter the viscosity of the fracture stimulation fluid. This helps the fluid carry sand into the fracture openings and release coal seam gas.  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Doubts raised over fracking jobs boom
Building.co.uk


The number of jobs that proponents of shale-gas extraction say the industry will create in the North West are twice as high as practical evidence from the US indicates, according to a new report. Environmental group Friends of the Earth said research showed that job booms sparked by the process, also known as ‘fracking’, tended to be short-lived and that investing in the renewables sector and energy efficiency provided more employment. It said a claim from energy firm Cuadrilla that shale gas production would create 1,700 jobs in Lancashire represented a peak level that would fall to 200 after three years.  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Lancashire planning officers recommend Cuadrilla fracking refusal
Financial Times
Andrew Bounds

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2abcf214-a153-11e4-bd03-00144feab7de.html#ixzz3PSpCzlQA Fracking in the UK has received a setback after council officers recommended refusing an application to drill at two sites in Lancashire. Lancashire County Council planning officers said Cuadrilla should not be allowed to exploit shale gas reserves at two sites near Blackpool because of high noise levels.   [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Activists hope new Pa. governor shifts gas debate
The Daily Star
Joe Mahoney

The natural gas that would fill two proposed local comes from Pennsylvania, a state that got a new leader Tuesday in the person of Gov. Tom Wolf, a millionaire Democrat who defeated one of the most pro-drilling governors in the nation, Tom Corbett, in November. Distressed by what they say would be negative environmental impacts from proposed pipelines that would slice through Delaware and Schoharie counties, anti-fracking activists in both New York and Pennsylvania said they hope Wolf will follow the footsteps of his Empire State counterpart, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and ban shale drilling.  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
King George decides to control fracking through strict zoning ordinance
Fredericksburg.com
Cathy Dyson

The King George Board of Supervisors stopped short of prohibiting fracking—because such a ban might lead to lawsuits—but plans to put strict zoning regulations in place that probably will keep gas and oil drilling out of the county. Supervisor Dale Sisson Jr. said “none of us really support” drilling, but said the county couldn’t ban the process outright. Doing that might make it “the test case for legal action,” said Supervisor Ruby Brabo. There are differing opinions among state, local and environmental officials as to whether localities have the authority to prohibit hydraulic fracturing, the process of injecting water and chemicals deep into the ground to loosen trapped natural gas or oil. But all seem to agree that counties can control these kinds of actions through zoning ordinances—and put such strict regulations in place that would make it impossible or impractical for companies to drill there.  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Offshore wind would produce twice the jobs and energy as offshore drilling in Atlantic Ocean
Eco-Business


Oceana has released a report that finds offshore wind would produce twice the number of jobs and twice the amount of energy as offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. The report, Offshore Energy by the Numbers, An Economic Analysis of Offshore Drilling and Wind Energy in the Atlantic, challenges recent claims by the oil and gas industry that opening the East Coast to offshore drilling will lead the United States to energy independence, generate millions of dollars in revenue for states and create thousands of jobs in the process.  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
200 Arrests in Ongoing Seneca Lake Uprising
EcoWatch
Sandra Steingraber

Jim Connor, 83, was not among the 20 protesters arrested on Monday afternoon as part of the latest human blockade at the entrance gates of Crestwood Midstream two miles north of Watkins Glen, New York. Had the sheriff’s deputies arrived an hour earlier, his name would appear in the list of the now 200 arrests that have take place at these gates since October. But Jim—who uses a walker and was blockading while seated in a lawn chair and wrapped in a blanket—needed to go home after 2.5 hours of turning back trucks with his own body.  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Pilgrim Pipeline company: No plans to use tar sands oil
NJ Advance Media
Ben Horowitz

The proposed Pilgrim Pipeline through New York and New Jersey would only transport Bakken crude oil, and not tar sands oil or any other kind of oil, a company spokesman said Tuesday. The spokesman, Paul Nathanson, was responding to concerns of pipeline opponents after a company consultant addressed a public meeting in Plattekill, N.Y. about the planned 178-mile pipeline between Albany, N.Y., and Linden, N.J.  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Absent fracking debate, SOS demonstrations will be muted
Times Union
Rick Karlin

Albany Don't expect to see many gas masks or toxic cleanup suits outside Wednesday's State of the State event. Those attending Gov. Andrew Cuomo's annual address — which this year is being combined with his executive budget proposal — will see demonstrators thronging Empire State Plaza carrying signs and chanting to get their messages across. But the December decision by the administration to ban hydrofracking has changed the tone as well as the sound and visual effects of this annual ritual.  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Area Anti-Fracking Groups Head to Albany to Thank Gov. Cuomo
TWC News
Wendy Mills

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Anti-fracking groups are gathering at the state capital Wednesday. A group from Rochester is joining thousands of others to rally outside the State of the State address. About 25 greater Rochester area residents left Monday morning to rally along with others from The New Yorkers Against Fracking Coalition, but this time it's a thank you rally to the Governor and his recent decision to ban fracking in New York State. This group includes R-CAUSE, Rochestarians Concerned About Unsafe Shale-Gas Extraction, Frack Free Genesee and Western New York Environmental Alliance. They said Governor Cuomo listened to the science and made the right decision to ban fracking to protect public health and the environment. They believe fracking, the deep drilling process of extracting natural gas from rock layers, is toxic and harms the water supply, air, farms and agriculture.   [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Fracking critics to celebrate, not protest Cuomo’s State of the State
Politics on the Hudson


For the past two years, anti-fracking protesters lined the hall from the state Capitol to the Empire State Plaza Convention Center when Gov. Andrew Cuomo annually delivered his State of the State address. This year, that changes. The fracking opponents will still be there, but they’re promising a celebration instead of a protest.  [Full Story]

Jan 21, 2015
Fracktivists fight liquefied natural gas terminal near NYC
Grist
Ben Adler

New York state’s fracking fight has moved offshore. And now the key players include not just New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) but also New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). New York’s famously dedicated anti-fracking activists, who last year helped push Cuomo to ban the practice entirely, have teamed up with coastal conservation groups to stop a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal from being built 19 miles off the coast of Long Island and only 30 miles from New York Harbor, the nautical entry point at the heart of New York City. Environmentalists and residents of nearby communities, who have formed the No LNG Coalition to coordinate opposition to the project, fear gas leaks from the terminal could cause vapor clouds, fires, explosions, and damage to the ocean ecosystem. They also point out that it would be a ripe potential target for terrorists.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
The Yellowstone River didn’t have enough oil in it, apparently
Grist
Heather Smith

Across the U.S., people celebrated the long weekend brought on by the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in different ways. Bridger Pipeline LLC spent the weekend spilling Bakken crude into the Yellowstone River. It was a total accident, Bridger Pipeline LLC emphasized, in a strangely decorous press release:  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Villains behind W.Va. toxic spill are back spilling again
Grist
Sam Bliss

Remember the guys who poisoned the drinking water of 300,000 West Virginians last January? They’re back polluting again. Freedom Industries, the company that leaked a toxic chemical into the Elk River, declared bankruptcy just days after the spill. But some of the villains behind that environmental disaster formed a new company called Lexycon, which has been cited for environmental violations by state regulators eight times since September, according to the Associated Press. Last month, six former officials of Freedom Industries were indicted by a federal grand jury for what the prosecuting attorney called “flagrant disregard for the law,” which ultimately resulted in the “completely preventable” spill near Charleston, W.Va.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
8 fracking protesters arrested at Wolf inauguration
NPR State Impact PA
MARIE CUSICK

Anti-fracking protesters followed through on their promise to disrupt Governor Tom Wolf’s inauguration ceremony Tuesday. Eight people were arrested after they interrupted Wolf’s speech by shouting and whistling from the audience– urging him to ban fracking. Six of the people arrested were Pennsylvania citizens. One was from Ohio and another person was from New Jersey. All were charged with disorderly conduct by the Capitol Police. Several hundred more protesters were kept about 100 yards away from the ceremony and loudly chanted “Ban fracking now!” throughout the program.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Oil, gas regulators looks into old spill near Windsor
The Coloradoan
Adrian D. Garcia

A Denver-based oil and gas operator reported an old oil spill near Windsor on Tuesday. The ground contamination happened near Weld County roads 70 and 23 at a drilling site previously operated by The Bill Barrett Corp., according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Less than five barrels were spilled, making the spill “contextually — not a large spill”, COGCC spokesperson Todd Hartman said.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Murkowski defends ANWR record; state fights in court to open refuge
Alaska Dispatch News
Alex DeMarban

Oral arguments were heard Tuesday in the state’s legal bid to crack open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to its first oil and gas exploration in decades, with lawyers jousting in federal court over whether Congress wanted updates on the oil potential of a coastal swath of the 19-million-acre refuge atop Alaska. And in Washington, D.C., an aide to Sen. Lisa Murkowski said that as the new chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Murkowski is strategizing on the best way to convince Congress to open the 1.5-million-acre coastal stretch of the refuge, set aside by Congress in 1980 for hydrocarbon evaluation.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Obama Touts Climate Action, Mocks The ‘I’m Not A Scientist’ Caucus
ThinkProgress
Joe Romm

In his State of the Union address, President Obama told a joint session of Congress and the American public on Tuesday night that “no challenge? — ?no challenge? — ?poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” He mocked the now-standard “I’m not a scientist” dodge used by climate science deniers. And he touted his record on climate change and clean energy.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Pope Francis Says Humans Cause Climate Change. These Catholic Members Of Congress Disagree.
ThinkProgress
EMILY ATKIN & KATIE VALENTINE

Since elected to the papacy, Pope Francis has seemed to drive a wedge between American conservatives and the Catholic Church.? On Thursday, he drove that wedge just a bit deeper, by acknowledging that climate change is mostly man’s fault. “I don’t know if it is all [man’s fault] but the majority is, for the most part, it is man who continuously slaps down nature,” Francis told reporters. “We have in a sense taken over nature.” Pope Francis has long advocated for protection of the environment and climate, but Thursday’s comments mark the first time the Pope has acknowledged humans’ role in causing global warming. His theological justification for both environment and climate action has been that respect for the “beauty of nature and the grandeur of the cosmos” is a Christian value. Later this year, Francis is expected to tell the planet’s 1.2 billion Catholics why acting on climate change is essential to the faith using an influential church document called an encyclical.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Four Earthquakes Reported in Irving Tuesday
NBCDFW.com
Ben Russell

Four earthquakes shook Irving Tuesday according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The first earthquake shook Irving on Tuesday morning. The USGS reported a magnitude 2.4 earthquake just after 8 a.m. The epicenter is near the old Texas Stadium site off state Highway 183, near Loop 12 and state Highway 114.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
[UPDATED] Crews to clean up oil spilled into Yellowstone River from Montana pipeline
Independent Record
CHRIS CIOFFI AND TOM LUTEY Billings Gazette

At least 42,000 gallons of oil has leaked into the Yellowstone River from a broken pipeline, leaving the Glendive city water supply smelling and tasting like petroleum. State and federal officials said Monday preliminary tests indicate that some oil from Saturday’s Bridger Pipeline break got into Glendive's public water supply. The Environmental Protection Agency is bringing in water for the town’s 6,000-plus residents as a precaution as it determines whether the pollutants found in the water are a health threat. “We tested the water and at some taps we detected hydrocarbons. We’ve ordered in drinking water that we’re going to make available,” said Paul Peronard, of the EPA. Monday, water samples were sent to a laboratory in Billings for further testing. Results are expected Tuesday.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate kicks off Keystone showdown
The Hill
Laura Barron-Lopez and Timothy Cama -

IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED: Senate Republicans are pushing forward with legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The Senate will resume debate over the Keystone bill on Tuesday, and could begin voting on amendments by the afternoon. So far three amendments are in the queue for votes: Sen. Ed Markey’s (D-Mass.) ban on exports of oil shipped through the $8 billion pipeline, Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) energy efficiency package, and Sen. Al Franken’s (D-Minn.) requirement that the pipeline be constructed using U.S. steel. Tuesday will kick-off what is expected to be a weeks-long battle over the legislation.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Judge overturns New Mexico county's drilling ban
My San Antonio


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal judge has overturned a New Mexico county's ban on oil and natural gas drilling that was the first of its kind when it was enacted nearly two years ago. In a sprawling, nearly 200-page decision that touched on several constitutional elements, U.S. District Judge James O. Browning ruled that the ordinance clashes with federal law. "Historically, a county cannot enact or supersede federal law," Browning wrote. "The ordinance thus goes beyond Mora County's historical lawmaking just to deprive a corporation of their rights."  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
State group links Kansas quakes to wastewater disposal
kmbc.com


LAWRENCE, Kan. —A state group says a steep increase in earthquakes in south-central Kansas likely is caused by the disposal of waste water from an oil and gas extraction process often called fracking. The state recorded more than 120 earthquakes last year, up from zero in 2012. State officials have hesitated to link the earthquakes to fracking, or hydraulic fracturing.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Study shows frack water impact Researchers find potentially hazardous materials entering waterways
observer reporter
Emily Petsko

Potentially hazardous contaminants are entering Pennsylvania waterways through the disposal of oil and natural gas drilling wastewater, according to new environmental research. The peer-reviewed study found high levels of ammonium, iodide and bromide in drilling wastewater that had been discharged or spilled into waterways in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The study, titled “Iodide, Bromide and Ammonium in Hydraulic Fracturing and Oil and Gas Wastewaters: Environmental Implications,” was funded by the Park Foundation and National Science Foundation. Researchers from Duke University, Dartmouth College and Stanford University took samples of produced water from conventional oil and gas wells and flowback water from hydraulically fractured wells. They also analyzed treated wastewater that was directly discharged into streams and rivers at three disposal sites in Pennsylvania and a spill site in West Virginia. One of the Pennsylvania sites is in the northwestern part of the state. The other two are east of Pittsburgh.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Colorado oil and gas companies have reported 35 spills in the first few days of 2015
abc news denver
Keli Rabon

DENVER - As oil and gas drilling grows in Colorado, so do the number of spills. Since January 1, 2015, oil and gas companies have reported 35 spills to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the state agency that regulates natural gas drilling. Three-quarters of those spills occurred in just four counties: 4 in Rio Blanco County 5 in Garfield County 6 in Las Animas County 12 in Weld County Companies also reported one spill in each of the following counties: Moffat, Yuma, Washington, Adams, La Plata, and Elbert. Two spills were reported in Jackson County.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
U.S. Forest Service Withdraws Oil and Gas Drilling Approval in the Gunnison National Forest, Headwaters of the North Fork Valley
eNews Park Forest


Gunnison County, CO—(ENEWSPF)—January 20, 2015. Conservationists have settled a lawsuit that challenged the U.S. Forest Service’s approval of a new natural gas drilling project in Colorado’s Gunnison National Forest without conducting the legally required analysis of environmental impacts. Following the conservation groups’ opening brief in the case, the Forest Service agreed to withdraw approval of the project.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Anti-frackers celebrate Cuomo, for now
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—After years of protesting Andrew Cuomo's State of the State addresses, anti-fracking activists will be throwing parties on Wednesday to toast the governor instead. Organizations including Frack Action and New Yorkers Against Fracking will stage a thank you rally by the Capitol before the speech, while MoveOn.org is holding a celebration at the Hilton near the Capitol with live music. And a coalition of local anti-fracking groups will continue the celebrations into the night, with an event at Crossroads Brewery in Greene County. The thank-you rallies will lack the numbers, to say nothing of the drama, of the anti-Cuomo rallies of the past, back before the administration wrapped up a dragged-out health-impact study of fracking late last year. But that doesn't mean the anti-frackers are done protesting—or that their friendliness toward Cuomo is going to last.   [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Study raises concerns over wastewater from drilling
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Don Hopey

A Duke University-led study has found high concentrations of two potentially hazardous contaminants in oil- and gas-well drilling wastewater discharged into waterways in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. The peer-reviewed report, which appeared last week in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, is the first to identify ammonium and iodide in the wastewater discharges from drill sites and treatment plants, including three commercial treatment facilities in the Allegheny River watershed. The findings raise new concerns about the environmental and health impacts of wastewater discharges from shale and non-shale oil and gas drilling operations in a variety of geological formations in the Appalachian Basin, according to Avner Vengosh, a professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Drilling contamination case narrowed against Cabot in Susquehanna County
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Gina Passarella

A federal judge in Pennsylvania has significantly curtailed the claims in a suit over allegations oil and gas drilling led to the contamination of a Susquehanna County township’s water supply. U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III of the Middle District of Pennsylvania dismissed defendant GasSearch Drilling Services from the case Ely v. Cabot Oil & Gas, and he narrowed the claims against Cabot Oil & Gas to only a private nuisance claim and a negligence claim.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
W.VA., Noble negotiating deal for drilling under river
Washington Times
AP

MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia is expected to receive nearly $6 million from leasing two state-owned tracts under the Ohio River to energy companies for oil and gas drilling. The Department of Commerce is negotiating a lease with Noble Energy for a 1,400-acre tract. Noble has agreed to pay $3,500 per acre to lease the land, Department of Commerce spokeswoman Chelsea Ruby told The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register (http://bit.ly/152G85x ).   [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Companies allowed to secretly drill test wells in Michigan
MIchigan Radio
Peter Payette

Residents of northern Michigan got a surprise last summer. They found out some drilling for oil and gas can be done confidentially. That unnerved some people in Emmet County, who now want their local government to do something about it.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
The View from the North: Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change Appears Increasingly Unlikely
Discover
Tom Yulsman

ImaGeo « In the Arctic, ‘Magic Hour’ Lasts Far More Than Just an Hour The View from the North: Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change Appears Increasingly Unlikely By Tom Yulsman | January 20, 2015 11:30 am Share on facebookShare on twitterShare on emailShare on printMore Sharing Services 13 dangerous Rosneft, a Russian petroleum company, completed drilling the northernmost well in the world – the Universitetskaya-1 well in the Arctic — this past September. (Source: Rosneft) In 2010, representatives of 193 governments agreed to limit global warming to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The goal is to avoid ‘dangerous interference with the climate system.’ Four years later, a widely publicized study concluded that if we are to keep to that goal, all Arctic fossil fuel resources “should be classified as unburnable.” Moreover, there can be no increase in production of unconventional oil, including oil shale and tar sands. Now, while attending the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø, Norway, I’ve learned a few things that make me highly skeptical that those Arctic oil and gas reserves will be left unburned, and that global warming will be held to under 2 degrees C. For evidence, you need go no further than the image above. It shows that drilling in the harsh Arctic environment is already proceeding apace.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Fracking job creation 'overstated', Friends of the Earth report claims
Business Green


Claims fracking will create thousands of jobs are overstated and fail to state the short-term natures of those jobs that the industry brings, according to a new report by green campaigners, trade unions and skills councils. Supporters of the controversial shale gas industry have pointed to an Institute of Directors report, sponsored by energy company Cuadrilla, which said each well pad would create 1,104 jobs at their peak, based on peak production of approximately 21 billion cubic feet of gas per year.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Lupo heads to Harrisburg for anti-fracking rally
GoErie.com
John Guerriero

Sister Pat Lupo, OSB, of Erie, served on a transition team for Gov.-elect Tom Wolf. She plans to be in Harrisburg today -- but not for the new governor's inaugural. Lupo plans to attend an anti-fracking march and rally at Wolf's inaugural ceremony. Fracking involves high-pressure injection of water, sand and chemicals into shale to fracture the rock and release trapped oil and gas. A new statewide coalition called "Pennsylvanians Against Fracking" will be joined by advocates and others, including Josh Fox, director of the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary "GasLand." The group said in a statement that hundreds of Pennsylvanians from around the state are expected to gather to pressure the new governor to halt new fracking activities.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Map: The Fracking Boom, State by State
Inside Climate News
Zahra Hirji and Lisa Song

As debate intensifies over oil and gas drilling, most states with frackable reserves are already fracking—or making moves to do so in the near future. That translates to 22 states, from California to Texas, Michigan to West Virginia, currently employing this high-intensity form of energy extraction, and five others may soon follow. Called high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the controversial process became commercially viable in the late 1990s. It generally involves injecting millions of gallons of water, along with sand and chemicals, down a well to extract oil-and-gas reserves that were previously hard to access.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Bailiffs break up anti-fracking camp
ITV News


Reports are coming in that bailiffs are removing a makeshift camp set up by anti-fracking protestors in East Yorkshire. The group has been at Crawberry Hill near Walkington since last May. They claim the land, owned by Rathlin Energy, could be used for fracking - claims the company has always denied. Earlier this month a deadline for the protestors to leave expired. An operation to remove their base, including caravans and tents, began this morning. There are unconfirmed reports that there have been arrests.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Guar bean farmers and sand producers hit by oil price plunge
Financial Times


What do bean farmers in India’s Rajasthan and US sand miners in Wisconsin have in common? They have been the beneficiaries of the shale revolution and the fracking boom to release oil and gas from rock. High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8b1318c6-a074-11e4-9aee-00144feab7de.html#ixzz3PMzcb9Xw The guar, or cluster, bean is a legume native to India and is a source of a powder used to create a gel-like ingredient used in fracking fluid. Guar gum helps thicken the fracturing fluid, which suspends “frac sand” and carries it to the cracked rock. The sand then props up the opening, allowing the oil or gas to flow to the well. Guar bean and sand producers now face lower demand from frackers because of the oil price plunge, but even before the fall in crude oil prices, Indian guar farmers were already feeling the move from boom to a bust.   [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
UK Fracking Companies Must Disclose Chemicals
Environmental Leader


Oil and gas companies in the UK must disclose all the chemicals used in the fracking process, per new legislation adopted by parliament, the Guardian reports. Ken Cronin, chief executive of the industry group UK Onshore Oil and Gas, told the Guardian the new requirements were already being observed voluntarily. “The industry has consistently said it would carry out baseline monitoring. We announced in February 2013 that the industry would make public all fluids used. We also announced in 2013 a memorandum of understanding with water companies to proactively address the issues.”   [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Threat to NY's Fracking Ban Could Come from Congress
Inside Climate News


When Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last month that the state would soon ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing, those who had opposed the controversial method of extracting oil and gas rejoiced. But even as the anti-frackers gather in Albany this week for another celebration, uncertainty remains about whether the ban will be challenged in court, or perhaps undermined through legislative action in Congress.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Nebraskans File New Lawsuits That Could Stop The Keystone XL Pipeline
ThinkProgress
EMILY ATKIN

Nebraska landowners have launched two separate lawsuits that, if successful, could serve to delay or even stop the construction of the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The lawsuits, filed last week, represent Nebraska property owners’ second attempt to challenge the constitutionality of a law that gave the Keystone XL pipeline a legal route through the state and, by extension, their property. The landowners claim that TransCanada — the Canadian company that wants to build Keystone XL — made direct threats to use eminent domain and seize their land if they did not consent to having the pipeline run though it.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Cuomo’s Fracking Ban Overwhelmingly Supported – Upstate and Downstate
Siena College


“By a five-to-two margin, New Yorkers support the Cuomo Administration’s ban on fracking. Between 55 and 61 percent of voters from every region of the state support the ban. While about one-third of upstaters oppose the decision to ban fracking, about half that number of downstaters oppose the ban,” Greenberg said. “Two-thirds of Democrats support the ban, as do a strong majority of independents and a plurality of Republicans.” - See more at: https://www.siena.edu/news-events/article/Heading-Into-Fifth-State-of-the-Stat#sthash.BOdQEk54.dpuf  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Siena: NY voters support fracking ban
The Journal News
Joseph Spector

Voters were pleased Gov. Andrew Cuomo has decided to ban hydraulic fracturing, a poll today found. Voters, even in upstate, supported the fracking ban Cuomo’s aides said they would adopt Dec. 17. The ban ended six years of deliberations by state officials on whether to process with the controversial drilling technique. By a 57 percent to 23 percent margin said they supported the fracking ban. Even in upstate, where fracking would have occurred, particularly in the Southern Tier, voters supported the ban 57 percent to 33 percent, the Siena College poll found.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Enviro Groups Rally Against Fracking
Santa Barbara Independent
Lyz Hoffman

Activists associated with last year’s Measure P campaign joined forces with larger organizations last week and vowed, in the wake of the initiative’s defeat, to continue their fight against expanded oil drilling in Santa Barbara County and beyond. Ahead of an evening forum held in conjunction with a statewide push by anti-fracking groups, a dozen people gathered at the courthouse Sunken Gardens on Thursday to rally against potential health and environmental effects of fracking and cyclic-steam injection.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Fracking policy and the pollution of British democracy
Ecologist
Paul Mobbs

UK politicians and officials are studiously ignoring the growing evidence that fracking is an economic and environmental disaster, writes Paul Mobbs. As the circle of 'acceptable' view spins ever smaller, industry PR is dominating a phoney debate that's increasingly remote from reality, public opinion and core democratic principles. During the 2000s the 'fracking boom' in the USA was fuelled by speculative Wall Street finance. When that bubble burst in 2008, the dodgy finance was cut off and the number of drilling rigs collapsed by over 50% within a few months. Last December, I wrote in The Ecologist of how the 'funny money' from quantitative easing was once more fuelling the number of drilling rigs, supporting the Ponzi-style 'shale bubble'.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Upstate voters support NY fracking ban, poll says
pressconnects
Joseph Spector

ALBANY – Voters were pleased Gov. Andrew Cuomo has decided to ban hydraulic fracturing, a poll Tuesday found. Voters, even in upstate, supported the fracking ban Cuomo's administration said Dec. 17 it would adopt. The ban ended six years of deliberations by state officials on whether to process with the controversial drilling technique. By a 57 percent to 23 percent margin, voters said they supported the fracking ban. Even in upstate, where fracking would have occurred, voters supported the ban 57 percent to 33 percent, the Siena College poll found.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Fracking: The New Financial Crisis Trigger
equities.com
Harry Dent

I’ve been focusing on this fracking and high-yield debt bubble precisely because it’s most likely to become the new trigger that the housing and subprime bubble was to the last global financial crisis in 2008/2009. Bubbles just go on and on until they either get so extremely high that they burst of their own weight — as with the tech bubble — or more often when something triggers defaults that then cascade through the very debt markets that helped create the bubble. We have even greater U.S. and global debt levels than in 2008, with unprecedented stimulus and money printing, as if you could cure excessive debt with more debt.   [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
"Ban fracking now' protesters urge Gov. Wolf at inauguration
Pennlive
Barbara Miller

"Ban fracking now" shouted protesters during Gov. Tom Wolf's oath of office from Soldiers' Grove, who promised it will be words he will hear throughout the coming year. After a morning rally at Grace Methodist Church on State Street, a group of about 250 from new statewide coalition Pennsylvanians Against Fracking marched to Soldiers' Grove, across from the Capitol where inauguration festivities were held. The protest was peaceful, with state police on foot and horseback watching the crowd, who was cordoned off by plastic fencing.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Anti-fracking Protesters Arrested After Wolf’s Inauguration January 20, 2015 3:57 PM
cbslocal Philadelphia


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Demonstrators are facing charges after Gov. Tom Wolf’s inauguration. A state police spokeswoman said eight people were charged with disorderly conduct in connection with Tuesday’s inauguration. At one point, two people were led out of the inauguration by police after they stood and began shouting, “ban fracking now!” Dozens of other anti-drilling demonstrators outside the inauguration also chanted “ban fracking now!” and could be heard throughout Wolf’s swearing-in and speech.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Yukon fracking opponents say report shows public is against it
cbc news


A committee report released yesterday by the Yukon Legislature on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, demonstrates the Yukon government has no mandate to pursue it, according to two opposition committee members and a citizens' group. MLA Jim Tredger, who represents the Mayo-Tatchun riding and sat on the committee as a member of the territorial NDP, said the evidence heard from First Nations and Yukoners is overwhelmingly against developing a fracking industry in the territory.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Study: Half of California's new wells involve fracking
The Reporter News
ELLEN KNICKMEYER, Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- Twenty percent of California's oil production now comes through hydraulic fracturing, according to a study commissioned by the state and released Wednesday. For the past decade, roughly half of the average of 300 wells installed in California each month were fracking wells, the California Council on Science and Technology said in the report, the first in a series of fracking reviews as the state sets up its first comprehensive regulatory framework for the extraction process. California is the country's No. 3 oil-producing state, with most coming from aging fields in the Central Valley's Kern County. Fracking entails forcing fluid, sand and chemicals underground to break rock formations and extract oil and gas from tough oil reservoirs that defy more conventional drilling techniques.  [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
Keystone Pipeline: Foreign profits, American risk
Augusta Free Press
Katherine McFate

Media coverage of the Keystone pipeline is coalescing around a single narrative. It goes like this: environmentalists oppose the pipeline because of climate change concerns, and U.S. construction companies support the pipeline because it creates jobs. Environmentalists warn that tar sands crude oil has three times the global warming potential of conventional crude. Oil industry interests shrug and say Canadian companies will continue to extract tar sands, with or without the pipeline. Pipeline opponents then counter: fewer than 50 permanent jobs will be needed to staff the pipeline, a few thousand temporary construction jobs to build it. But this rendering of the debate misses the larger picture. Americans have been told for the past several years by the petroleum industry and members of Congress that Keystone is “key to America’s energy independence” and will help ensure America has the energy it needs in the future. This is hogwash. TransCanada wants to build a pipeline through the farmland and ranches of the United States in order to send its oil to refineries in the Gulf Coast for the export market. This crude is not meant to supply the U.S. market. We have a glut of oil and gas in the U.S. because of largely unregulated fracking going on in 31 states.   [Full Story]

Jan 20, 2015
For States, $48 Million to Help Cut Emissions
NY Times
Justin Gillis

Two charitable groups will spend $48 million over the next three years to help states figure out how to reduce emissions from electricity production, an effort to seize the possibilities that are opening up as the cost of clean power falls. The plan is to be announced Wednesday morning in New York. Half the money will come from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable organization set up by Michael R. Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, and half will come from Mark Heising and Elizabeth Simons, a California couple who have taken a strong interest in reducing the risks of climate change.  [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Cuomo to announce $20M green jobs competition in Tier
Press Connects
Joseph Spector

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday will unveil a $20 million competitive fund to lure green jobs to the Southern Tier and a $50 million initiative to preserve farmland in the region and in the Hudson Valley. The $20 million fund to attract new, clean-energy projects to the Southern Tier comes as Cuomo is expected to put an added focus on the economically struggling area.   [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Wealth Creation in the New Energy Economy
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Energy is the bedrock of the global economy. Any disruptive changes in areas such as electricity generation will open the door to myriad new investment opportunities. Interestingly, trends are emerging now at lightening speed within those energy markets and this, of course, presages the concomitant emergence of a potential wealth creation event such as we have never seen. U.S. residential electricity prices have been rising steadily for at least a decade. This is somewhat perplexing in that we have had a tremendous surge in natural gas inventories since about 2006 which, by conventional wisdom, would suggest that prices should have abated. But they have not.  [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
In Texas, Hunkering Down for the Oil Bust
The New York Times
Clifford Kraus

MIDLAND, Tex. — With oil prices plummeting by more than 50 percent since June, the gleeful mood of recent years has turned glum here in West Texas as the frenzy of shale oil drilling has come to a screeching halt. Every day, oil companies are decommissioning rigs and announcing layoffs. Small firms that lease equipment have fallen behind in their payments.  [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Drinking Water Trucked Into Montana City After Oil Spill
ABC News
MATTHEW BROWN

Truckloads of drinking water were being shipped to the eastern Montana city of Glendive on Monday after traces of a major oil spill along the Yellowstone River were detected in public water supplies, raising concerns about a potential health risk. Preliminary tests at the city's water treatment plant indicated that at least some oil got into a water supply intake along the river, according to state and federal officials. About 6,000 people are served by the intake, Glendive Mayor Jerry Jimison said.   [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Changes to oil industry regulations: unlikely, for now
ksn.com
Ashley Arnold

WICHITA, Kansas – Is the oil industry causing all the earthquakes that have been happening throughout Kansas? “Is it coincidental, is it related,” said Alan Banta with Trans Pacific Oil Corporation and KIOGA. “It’s just too early to tell, we need more data.” “It’s a question every one is looking very closely at,” said Rep. Dennis Hedke (R) from Wichita. Just last week, officials with the Kansas Geological Survey said there is a “strong correlation” between the earthquakes and saltwater disposal an important part of the fracking process. “Certainly, any time you have earthquake swarms as we’ve experienced lately, it’s concerning to the community and the geoscience community is specifically concerned,” said Banta, “and to the extent that it could relate to industry, you know the industry is very aware and watching this.”  [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Opponents of the PennEast pipeline continue efforts
Buck County Courier Times
Freda R. Savana

In an ongoing effort to derail the PennEast natural gas pipeline, opponents are continuing to gather signatures, attend government meetings and organize demonstrations. The controversial 108-mile project is planned to run from Luzerne County to Hunterdon County, New Jersey, including a portion of Upper Bucks County.   [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
‘Strong correlation’ between quakes and fracking in Kansas – official
RT


Geologists in the state of Kansas now say that a recent string of mysterious earthquakes may have been caused by pumping chemicals into the ground as part of the controversial gas and oil extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Geologists in the state of Kansas say that a recent string of mysterious earthquakes may have been caused by pumping chemicals into the ground as part of the controversial gas and oil extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Rick Miller, a geophysicist and senior scientist for the Kansas Geological Survey, told the Lawrence Journal-World recently that he believes the injection of fracking chemicals into the earth has been a catalyst for the quakes. “We can say there is a strong correlation between the disposal of saltwater and the earthquakes,” Miller told the paper.  [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Peters residents opposed to fracking turn out for public hearing
triblive
Jason Cato

Even in a land of natural gas riches, some residents of Washington County want to keep drilling out of their backyards. The vast majority of more than 60 residents who attended a public hearing Monday in Peters expressed a desire for the township to remain free of Marcellus shale activity — or to add severe restrictions to a proposed amendment to a local oil and gas drilling ordinance that could lead to the township's first fracking well. “Fracking in Peters Township is like trying to put a square peg in a round hole,” said Bob Donnan, 63.   [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Official: Quakes, extraction may be tied
Hutchnews.com
AP

LAWRENCE - The disposal of waste saltwater from hydraulic fracturing could be to blame for a sharp increase in earthquakes in south-central Kansas, according to a geophysicist with the Kansas Geological Survey. Rick Miller's comments are the first by a state official to clearly suggest a link between hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, and the earthquakes that have rattled the area in the last two years, The Lawrence Journal-World reported. The state recorded more than 120 earthquakes last year, up from none in 2012. During hydraulic fracturing, a mixture of saltwater and chemicals is pumped into the ground to break up rock formations and release oil and gas. Operators then inject the wastewater deep into disposal wells.  [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Kansas Geological Survey links earthquakes to fracking waste disposal
The Wichita Eagle
Associated Press

LAWRENCE - The disposal of waste saltwater from hydraulic fracturing could be to blame for a sharp increase in earthquakes in south-central Kansas, according to a geophysicist with the Kansas Geological Survey. Rick Miller's comments are the first by a state official to clearly suggest a link between hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, and the earthquakes that have rattled the area in the last two years, The Lawrence Journal-World reported. The state recorded more than 120 earthquakes last year, up from none in 2012. During hydraulic fracturing, a mixture of saltwater and chemicals is pumped into the ground to break up rock formations and release oil and gas. Operators then inject the wastewater deep into disposal wells.  [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
How fracking changes just about everything
straight.com
Peter Dykstra

Forget, for the moment, whether you think fracking is an energy godsend or an end-times disaster. Just consider how it’s everywhere. In the long run, fracking will impact our lives far more than four of its fellow inductees into the Merriam-Webster dictionary this past year: hashtags, selfies, tweeps, and turduckens all have their place in society. But none touch everyone’s lives like fracking will, and already has. The coal industry readily admits that it’s being undercut by low natural-gas prices. A growing boneyard of shuttered coal-fired power plants and rushed plans to salvage the U.S. coal industry by creating export markets to Asia are a direct impact of the fracking boom and a domestic oversupply of oil and natural gas.  [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Who should pay for quake damage?
KWCH
Hannah Davis

ANTHONY, Kan. - Workers at J-Mac Flowers and Gifts in Harper County say their job is all about making the world a prettier place. But Haley Zahn says that's hard to do when their inventory is broken on the floor. "We've had to start keeping a sheet of everything we've lost," Zahn said. Like many people in Anthony, Zahn says she's used to earthquakes shaking the earth, but she says they're costing her work money. Zahn says her business has lost hundreds of dollars worth of inventory because of earthquakes that send breakables crashing to the ground.  [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Our Views: In water, new wealth
Acadiana Advocate


In the Bayou State, which includes the mouth of the great Mississippi River, we now have battles over water. Yes, water, which Louisiana once thought an inexhaustible resource. SPONSORED CONTENT 5 Ways to Say Goodbye to Allergies This Season 5 Ways to Say Goodbye to Allergies This Season By Walgreens — Seasonal allergies acting up? Learn how to prevent them. CONTINUE READING ? In December, state government for the first time denied a permit requested by an oil company to use water from a scenic river.   [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Renewables can create six-times more jobs than fracking industry
Click Green


Fracking industry claims about job creation in the UK are wildly over-optimistic and any jobs boom would be short-lived, according to a new research report. The study also found that investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy would create up to six-times more jobs than the same level of investment in fossil fuels. The ‘Making a better job of it’ report, published by Friends of the Earth, supported by PCS Union and North West trades councils, found that the fracking industry had more than doubled the number of employment opportunities the sector estimated it could realistically create. According to peer-review evidence, the overstated jobs claims will be over twice as high in the UK than that seen in the United States, where shale gas has provided an energy boom for the economy.   [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
LNG PORT AMBROSE FIGHT HEATS UP
Rockaway Times
Katie McFadden

The fight against the Liberty LNG Port Ambrose project has started to catch fire. Hundreds of elected officials, community leaders and local residents met at a public hearing at the JFK Airport Hilton on Wednesday, January 7, to express their thoughts on the liquefied natural gas site proposed off the coast of Jones Beach. Port Ambrose, a deep-water port proposed 16.1 nautical miles south of Jones Beach, would receive ships that carry liquefied natural gas, vaporize it, and would deliver it to Long Island through pipelines. The project would bring 400 million cubic feet of natural gas per day – enough to meet the energy needs of 1.5 million homes. Liberty proposed the project in June 2013 and it was open to public comment during the summer. After releasing a Draft Environmental Impact Statement about the project on December 10, 2014, which stated the environmental impacts of the project would be minimal, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) have opened up another public comment period.  [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
New York fracking ban has Pennsylvania implications
Morning Times


SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) -- As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration finalizes a ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing, New Yorkers will watch their southern neighbor continue its experiment with shale gas. New York has been under a fracking moratorium since 2008, and people on both sides of the shale gas debate see the state's Dec. 17 announcement as a milestone in Pennsylvania's experience with the gas drilling industry. It could have implications for the Delaware River Basin Commission, a multi-state river compact that has held back gas development in Wayne and Pike counties since 2010. |  [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Ban on fracking would be fresh start that Pa. needs
Philadelphia Inquirer
Sam Bernhardt Opinion

If Gov.-elect Tom Wolf is serious about giving our state a fresh start, he needs to make a moratorium on fracking a top priority for his new administration.   [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
What the UK could learn from New York's fracking ban
The Guardian
John Vidal

Just before Christmas, New York became the first US state with major shale gas reserves to ban fracking for health reasons. The industry was shocked, campaigners cheered and governments like Britain, desperate to exploit their own reserves, looked the other way. It had never happened before. The six-year New York campaign to ban fracking had been backed by hundreds of artists, actors, musicians and celebrities, such as Lady Gaga, Yoko Ono, Mark Ruffalo and the late Pete Seeger. There had also been massive opposition from 250 grassroots groups fearful of the effects of fracking on everything from tourism to property prices. But while the celebs and groups may have shifted public opinion with film, social media, music and meetings, it was the new science that spoke most loudly to governor Andrew Cuomo and his advisers.   [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Crews to clean up oil spilled into Yellowstone River from Montana pipeline
Billings Gazette


Crews were working to clean up crude oil that spilled in and near the Yellowstone River in Eastern Montana while Bridger Pipeline officials tried to determine what caused the breach. Bridger has said the break in the 12-inch steel pipe happened Saturday morning about 9 miles upstream from Glendive. Bridger spokesman Bill Salvin said Monday that the company is confident that no more than 1,200 barrels — or 50,000 gallons — of oil spilled during the hour-long breach. It is not clear how much oil is in the river. Some of it is trapped under ice.   [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Alberta's Crazy Oil Bender Is Over
The Tyee
Mitchell Anderson

Looks like the party's over in Alberta, and the hangover will be a doozy. Collapsing global oil prices mean the high-cost, low-value oilsands industry has suddenly skidded from "unstoppable force" to full stop. For years Canadians were told that Alberta is destined to be a global energy superpower -- a message backed by millions in publicly funded cheerleading and a chorus of uncritical coverage in the mainstream media. Out in the real world, capital markets were cooling for years on such overheated hype, with some oilsands investment funds shedding more than two-thirds of their value since 2008. The slow, steady decline in investor confidence accelerated into free-fall in the last six months, with blue-chip energy companies like Suncor losing billions in book value since last June.  [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Industry: Obama sending mixed messages on natural gas
The Trucker
Timothy Cama

The natural gas industry has a question for President Obama: Are you for us or against us? On one hand, Obama and his staff love to extol the environmental, economic and security benefits of the domestic gas production boom of recent years.  [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Opponents of the PennEast pipeline continue efforts
Courier Times
Freda R. Savana

In an ongoing effort to derail the PennEast natural gas pipeline, opponents are continuing to gather signatures, attend government meetings and organize demonstrations. The controversial 108-mile project is planned to run from Luzerne County to Hunterdon County, New Jersey, including a portion of Upper Bucks County.   [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Longmont wants fracking case back in Boulder court
The Denver Post


The city of Longmont, in a filing to the Colorado Court of Appeals, has made a bid to reverse a lower court ruling striking down the city's ban on oil and gas well fracking.   [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
AGL unable to monitor CSG fracking chemical in Gloucester project
Sydney Morning Herald
Peter Hannam

The Baird government has been accused by Labor of trashing environmental safeguards by granting AGL permission to frack coal seam gas wells even before the company's monitoring for pollutants had been approved. AGL began hydraulic fracturing of four CSG wells at its pilot Waukivory project near Gloucester in late October. According its licence, the company must sample and analyse the concentration of certain pollutants.   [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Group airs safety concerns before College Station vote on fracking ordinance
The Eagle
Emily Wilkins

About a hundred people squeezed into a room at the Larry J. Ringer Library on Sunday afternoon for several presentations on fracking. The interest comes ahead of Thursday's College Station City Council meeting where council members are expected to vote on an updated fracking ordinance.   [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Shale revolution on a limb, only 11 fracking projects active in UK
RT


The UK’s shale gas ‘revolution’ doesn’t seem to have lived up to its hype, after it was revealed only 11 new exploratory wells are due to be drilled this year, despite the continued fall of oil prices.   [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Lancashire fracking: Jobs claim is over-hyped, Friends of the Earth claims
BBC News


The number of jobs that would be generated by the fracking industry in Lancashire has been "over-hyped", Friends of the Earth (FoE) has claimed. More employment opportunities would instead be created in the county by investing in renewable energy sources, the environmentalist group said.  [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Kansas Geological Survey links earthquakes to fracking waste disposal
Wichita Eagle
Associated Press

LAWRENCE A state group says a steep increase in earthquakes in south-central Kansas likely is caused by the disposal of waste water from an oil and gas extraction process often called fracking. The state recorded more than 120 earthquakes last year, up from zero in 2012. State officials have hesitated to link the earthquakes to fracking, or hydraulic fracturing.   [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Toxic landfills, fracking and the lethal threat of Environment Agency neglect
Ecologist


Nearly a year ago at the height of the UK floods, tragedy struck an ordinary family in Surrey as toxic gas from a nearby landfill site killed a 7-year old boy, Zane. Now the authorities appear determined to exculpate the source of the poison - an old landfill site - even as they prepare for a massive increase in hazardous waste from fracking.   [Full Story]

Jan 19, 2015
Oil and gas industry official questions Heartwell's call for city moratorium on fracking
Michigan Live
Jim Harger

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – When Mayor George Heartwell called for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in his final State of the City speech, he said the city needed time to explore the safety of the technology used to increase the flow in oil and gas wells.   [Full Story]

Jan 18, 2015
Science Briefs: Ohio quake tied to fracking
News Observer


A small earthquake in Ohio in 2014 is among the largest thought to be induced directly by hydraulic fracturing. After a 3.0 magnitude earthquake March 10 that occurred near hydraulic fracturing (fracking) sites in Poland Township, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources halted nearby fracking activities. At the time, the department speculated that the earthquake was related to fracking; scientists have now found more substantial evidence for this link.   [Full Story]

Jan 18, 2015
Fracking debate may be on way to Kentucky
Marcellus.com
Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The debate over hydraulic fracturing, a technique used to drill oil and natural gas wells, may be coming to Kentucky. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports there’s been increased interest among oil and gas companies in areas of eastern and central Kentucky. Local officials told the newspaper that companies have signed hundreds of new oil and gas leases with property owners over the last year.  [Full Story]

Jan 18, 2015
New study: Fracking caused Ohio quakes
New Castle News
Mary Grzebieniak

A series of earthquakes last March in Poland Township, Ohio, resulted when hydraulic fracturing activated a previously unknown fault. A new study with this information — “Earthquakes Induced by Hydraulic Fracturing in Poland Township, Ohio,” — was published online last week and will be printed in the February/March issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.   [Full Story]

Jan 18, 2015
‘Time out’ plea on fracking
Linlithgow Gazette


West Lothian Council has agreed to request a moratorium on hydraulic fracking, used to extract oil and gas from shale beds. The council noted no guidance has been issued to Scotland’s local authorities with regard to the relationship between fracking and public health.  [Full Story]

Jan 18, 2015
Letter: Fracking is indeed a danger to wells
Citizen-Times
Letter to the Editor

I believe I am one of the environmental wackos John Allen refers to in his opinion piece, “Energy picture bright – not due to Obama”. Opinions are not facts, as is made clear by the assertions Mr. Allen makes that have no basis in fact. He peddles the worn-out industry talking point that there has “never been one conclusive report of [fracking] polluting water wells.” I know of several. After all, I am a resident of Pennsylvania, the state the world now looks to as fracking’s negative role model. But don’t take it from me. Visit our Department of Environmental Protection’s website to see the list of the approximately 250 wells contaminated by fracking.  [Full Story]

Jan 18, 2015
Peters moves toward new policy on Marcellus Shale drilling
Trib Live
Jason Cato

On Monday night, Peters officials will continue their years-long quest to revamp the township's zoning to determine whether it can accommodate gas drilling and, if so, where and how. “Industry has never been a consideration of this area. It's not part of the plan of this township, and it never has been,” Councilman David Ball said. “We're not considering drilling. We're considering how our ordinance can be crafted to comply with constitutional requirements.”   [Full Story]

Jan 18, 2015
Shale Shysters Shill For Frack Ban Overturn
NO FRACKING WAY
Chip Northrup

Threat to NY’s Frack Ban Could Come from Congress John Ferro, Poughkeepsie Journal11:30 p.m. EST January 18, 2015 Even as the ban is finalized, Republican congressman from are considering ways to overturn it When Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last monththat the state would soon ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing, those who had opposed the controversial method of extracting oil and gas rejoiced. But even as the anti-frackers gather in Albany this week for another celebration, uncertainty remains about whether the ban will be challenged in court, or perhaps undermined through legislative action in Congress.  [Full Story]

Jan 18, 2015
Settlement reached in surveillance suit filed by Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition
Times Leader
Jerry Lynott

A settlement has been reached in the civil rights suit filed by the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition over surveillance of the group as a potential terrorist threat. Notice of the settlement was filed Friday with U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson in Harrisburg, but the terms were not disclosed by attorneys in the suit, dating back more than four years.  [Full Story]

Jan 18, 2015
Could Keystone poison the Senate's energy plans? The nasty fight over the pipeline could derail a more-ambitious agenda.
Politico
Darren Goode

Could the fight over Keystone be the end of the line for energy legislation this Congress? The Senate Energy and Natural Resources panel’s new chairwoman, Lisa Murkowski, is already laying out an ambitious agenda to try to open new areas for oil and gas exploration, buttress the power grid and implement new energy efficiency policies. What’s not clear is whether lawmakers will have the stomach for it after an an extended floor debate on the proposed pipeline and a raft of other energy amendments.   [Full Story]

Jan 18, 2015
Oil leak confirmed in Yellowstone River near Glendive
KXLF- Montana
Dustin Klemann

GLENDIVE - Bridger Pipeline, the company in charge of the line, released a statement Sunday night confirming the release of oil occurred about 10 a.m. on Saturday morning. The press release stated Bridger's initial estimate is that 300 to 1,200 barrels of crude oil have been released, and an unknown amount of that total has spilled into the Yellowstone River. An emergency response plan has been activated and local, state, as well as federal authorities have been notified.  [Full Story]

Jan 18, 2015
New—and Worrisome—Contaminants Emerge From Oil and Gas Wells
Epoch Times
Marianne Lavelle

Two hazardous chemicals never before known as oil and gas industry pollutants – ammonium and iodide – are being released into Pennsylvania and West Virginia waterways from the booming energy operations of the Marcellus shale, a new study shows. The toxic substances, which can have a devastating impact on fish, ecosystems, and potentially, human health, are extracted from geological formations along with natural gas and oil during both hydraulic fracturing and conventional drilling operations, said Duke University scientists in a study published today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.  [Full Story]

Jan 18, 2015
Native Americans join fight against Wawayanda power plant
Mid-Husdon News Network


WAWAYANDA – Opponents to the 650 megawatt gas-powered electric generating plant proposed by Competitive Power Ventures in the Town of Wawayanda have now been joined by Native Americans. A handful of local residents gathered on Saturday along with Ramapough Lunaape Nation Chief Dwaine Perry and delegate “Little Sun” Floyd Hicks. Chief Perry said all of the lands that spread from Rockland into Orange County were once sacred Indian property that continues to be pilfered.  [Full Story]

Jan 18, 2015
Four groups against LPG storage seek party status at DEC conference
Finger Lake Times
DAVID L. SHAW

READING — As expected, four groups opposed to Crestwood Midstream’s plans to store liquid propane and butane on the west side of Seneca Lake want to be heard at a Feb. 12 issues conference in Horseheads. That quartet formally sought party status Friday.  [Full Story]

Jan 18, 2015
A small earthquake in Ohio in 2014 is among the largest thought to be induced directly by hydraulic fracturing Ohio quake directly tied to fracking
Charlotte Observer


A small earthquake in Ohio in 2014 is among the largest thought to be induced directly by hydraulic fracturing. After a 3.0 magnitude earthquake March 10 that occurred near hydraulic fracturing (fracking) sites in Poland Township, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources halted nearby fracking activities. At the time, the department speculated that the earthquake was related to fracking; scientists have now found more substantial evidence for this link. In a paper published this month in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, researchers report that fracking was most likely the cause of the 3.0 local magnitude earthquake, as well as 77 newly found much smaller quakes – which were not felt by the area’s residents – that occurred the previous week.   [Full Story]

Jan 18, 2015
New—and Worrisome—Contaminants Emerge From Oil and Gas Wells Researchers find alarming levels of ammonium and iodide in fracking wastewater released into Pennsylvania and West Virginia streams.
Epoch Times
Marianne Lavelle

Two hazardous chemicals never before known as oil and gas industry pollutants – ammonium and iodide – are being released into Pennsylvania and West Virginia waterways from the booming energy operations of the Marcellus shale, a new study shows.   [Full Story]

Jan 18, 2015
EPA reviewing potential groundwater contamination at Gloucester
Coal Guru


The Environment Protection Authority and gas company AGL are reviewing water-testing after a fracking chemical was detected at a CSG project near Gloucester.   [Full Story]

Jan 18, 2015
Money Dries Up For Oil And Gas, Layoffs Spread, Write-Offs Start
Seeking Alpha
Wolf Richter

When money was growing on trees even for junk-rated companies, and when Wall Street still performed miracles for a fee, thanks to the greatest credit bubble in US history, oil and gas drillers grabbed this money channeled to them from investors and refilled the ever deeper holes fracking was drilling into their balance sheets.   [Full Story]

Jan 18, 2015
Threat to NY's fracking ban could come from Congress
Poughkeepsie Journal
John Ferro

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last month that the state would soon ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing, those who had opposed the controversial method of extracting oil and gas rejoiced. But even as the anti-frackers gather in Albany this week for another celebration, uncertainty remains about whether the ban will be challenged in court, or perhaps undermined through legislative action in Congress. Indeed, Cuomo predicted there would be "tons" of lawsuits. At issue is the impact the ban will have on property owners, particularly in the Southern Tier, who were counting on revenue from the sale or lease of the mineral rights to their land.  [Full Story]

Jan 17, 2015
Grand Rapids mayor calls on Governor Snyder to put temporary ban on fracking in Michigan
Michigan Radio
Lindsey Smith

Heartwell is calling on Governor Rick Snyder to place a temporary ban on hydraulic fracturing in the state. “Our planet is sick and it is we who have infected it. So it must be we who heal it,” Heartwell said to a crowd of at least 300 people. Environmental concerns was one of the major themes of Heartwell’s speech.  [Full Story]

Jan 17, 2015
Proposed power plant comes under fire
Times Herald Record
Richard J. Bayne

WAWAYANDA - A coalition of environmental groups Saturday joined with neighbors who say they would be harmed by a proposed gas-fired power-generating plant and the chief of a local Native American tribe to stage a Martin Luther King weekend protest against the $900 million project. “It’s a civil right to have clean air and clean water,” said Melanie Gold of Greenwood Lake. Chief Dwaine Perry of the Ramapough-Lenape Tribe talked about “environmental genocide.” “You’ve all become Indians now,” Perry said. “That’s how they’re treating you.”  [Full Story]

Jan 17, 2015
Fracking debate intensifies in Western Maryland
The Baltimore Sun
Timothy B. Wheeler

With natural gas drilling on the horizon in Western Maryland, dairy farmer Billy Bishoff welcomes the chance to supplement his income by collecting lease or royalty payments on the natural gas that lies beneath his family's 330 acres a few miles northwest of Deep Creek Lake. The gas, locked far beneath the surface, is a "tremendous resource," he said, that could bring jobs and prosperity to Garrett County, which many residents now leave to find work. Not far away, Elliott Perfetti worries that drilling for gas could foul the region's air and water, crippling the tourism and outdoor recreation industries, which have become linchpins of the local economy. "I think it could quickly erode the reasons that people come to Garrett County," said Perfetti, operations manager at Blue Moon Rising, an eco-friendly resort overlooking the lake.  [Full Story]

Jan 17, 2015
Brine spill reaches Missouri River
Forum News Service
Katherine Lymn

WILLISTON — Brine from a leak in a saltwater disposal line in Williams County has reached the Missouri River, the North Dakota Department of Health said Thursday. Summit Midstream owns the line but it's operated by subsidiary Meadowlark Midstream Co. The rupture was discovered Jan. 6 when the company shut down the 4-inch pipeline and placed booms around the water collected near the rupture.  [Full Story]

Jan 17, 2015
Kansas quakes likely caused by oil and gas fracking process
Lawrence Journal-World
Daren Dillon

Kansas officials have been reluctant to link the mysterious earthquakes in south central Kansas to fracking, but last week they said for the first time the temblors are likely caused by disposal of the waste water that is a byproduct of the oil and gas extraction process.   [Full Story]

Jan 17, 2015
Longmont seeks reversal of ruling that overturned city's fracking ban Going to the appellate level to overturn declaration that city can't ban activity
Times Call
John Fryar

The Colorado Court of Appeals should reverse a Boulder County District Court judge's ruling that held that Longmont has no right to ban fracking within its city limits, the city argued in a newly filed brief to the appellate court. "The city does not forbid what the state authorizes, because no state statute or regulation explicitly authorizes fracking," Longmont's lawyers said in that brief.   [Full Story]

Jan 17, 2015
Program looks at potential coastal impacts of fracking
JD News
Jeannette Pippin

MOREHEAD CITY | Lee County is considered the epicenter of any future fracking operations in North Carolina, but Eastern North Carolina isn’t immune to possibly damaging impacts, according to leaders fighting to keep such activity out of the state.   [Full Story]

Jan 17, 2015
When fracking goes bust
Bend Bulletin
Lydia DePillis

“With really no warning at all, the bottom fell out of that,” says Jim Weaver, the Tioga County planner, who advises the county’s commissioners on land use decisions. “In hindsight, looking at boom and bust cycles that have gone on forever, we should’ve known that. But when the dollar’s dangling in front of you and you’re chasing the carrot, before you know it you’re out on a limb, and the limb gets sawed off.”  [Full Story]

Jan 17, 2015
Let there be light
The Economist
Edward Lucas

A CAREFUL OBSERVER might note the chunky double glazing on the elegant windows and the heat pump whirring outside the basement entrance. From the outside the five-storey house in London’s posh Notting Hill district looks like any other. Inside, though, it is full of new technologies that aim to make it a net exporter of power. They exemplify many of the shifts now under way that are making energy cleaner, more plentiful, cheaper to store, easier to distribute and capable of being used more intelligently. The house in Notting Hill is a one-off, paid for by its green multimillionaire owner. But the benefits of recent innovations can be reaped by everybody.  [Full Story]

Jan 17, 2015
Seize the day The fall in the price of oil and gas provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix bad energy policies
The Economist


MOST of the time, economic policymaking is about tinkering at the edges. Politicians argue furiously about modest changes to taxes or spending. Once in a while, however, momentous shifts are possible. From Deng Xiaoping’s market opening in 1978 to Poland’s adoption of “shock therapy” in 1990, bold politicians have seized propitious circumstances to push through reforms that transformed their countries. Such a once-in-a-generation opportunity exists today. The plunging price of oil, coupled with advances in clean energy and conservation, offers politicians around the world the chance to rationalise energy policy. They can get rid of billions of dollars of distorting subsidies, especially for dirty fuels, whilst shifting taxes towards carbon use. A cheaper, greener and more reliable energy future could be within reach.  [Full Story]

Jan 17, 2015
Thanks, Gov. Cuomo, for keeping your promise on fracking (Your letters)
The Post-Standard
Jean Kessner and Julie Huntsman

To the Editor: On Jan. 21, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will deliver the annual State of the State address, marking both a new year and a new term. It's a moment to reflect and to look ahead. As co-coordinators of Elected Officials to Protect New York, a network of more than 850 local elected officials from all 62 counties that united in 2012 around concerns about fracking, we look back and applaud Cuomo for keeping his promise on high-volume fracking. He promised to listen to the science, and also that he would protect the water and health of all New Yorkers.  [Full Story]

Jan 17, 2015
Maryland Politics Trumps Science on Fracking
DC Bureau
Peter Mantius

Two ambitious Democratic governors in the East faced the same tough choice late last year on whether to allow energy companies to extract natural gas from shale formations through high-volume hydrofracking. One said yes. The other said no. Neither state has much natural gas to tap at current market prices. Even so, the decisions by Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland and Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York have national implications because they sat in judgment of the importance of the latest independent science. While environmental and medical experts were pointing to dozens of new peer-reviewed studies showing explicit health and safety risks, the energy industry was clinging to its assertions that all fracking risks are manageable.  [Full Story]

Jan 17, 2015
The Other Pipeline You Should Worry About
The New York Times
Dan Kauffman

It’s Not Just Keystone XL, It’s Also Line 61 WHILE the ire of environmental activists remains fixed on the Keystone XL pipeline, a potentially greater threat looms in the proposed expansion of Line 61, a pipeline running the length of Wisconsin carrying tar sands crude. The pipeline is owned by Enbridge, a $40 billion Canadian company, which has been responsible for several hundred spills in the past decade, including one in 2010 near Marshall, Mich., reportedly the largest and most expensive inland oil spill in American history.  [Full Story]

Jan 17, 2015
New rules on methane emissions take aim at a major pollutant
The Washington Post
Editorial

The announced rules also leave out the vast distribution networks that pipe natural gas into homes and businesses for heating and cooking. Aging pipes in big cities — including Washington — have been found to be extremely leaky. But operators often don’t have much incentive beyond safety considerations to improve their systems, because they can charge customers for leaked gas.   [Full Story]

Jan 16, 2015
Groups to intervene in Seneca Lake storage project
Democrat and Chronicle
Steve Orr

Citizen, business and municipal groups, some of whose members have engaged in protests that resulted in mass arrests at the proposed site of a Seneca Lake petroleum storage facility, plan to intervene legally in an attempt to halt the project. At a news conference Friday in Rochester, representatives of the groups said they have engaged lawyers to intervene in the permitting process for the Crestwood Midstream project, which would store up to 88 million gallons of liquified petroleum gas in underground salt caverns.  [Full Story]

Jan 16, 2015
Cameron Accused of Covering Up Fracking Risks Report
DeSmogBlogUK
RICHARD HEASMAN

David Cameron was accused of a cover-up last night after he ducked questions in Parliament during the week about the heavy-handed redaction of a government report into the risks of fracking. Labour Party has increased pressure on the government to publish an unredacted version of the controversial report on the impacts of fracking on house prices and local services ahead of an approaching vote by MPs on the Infrastructure Bill. Labour MPs Alan Whitehead and Tom Greatrex have stated that a vote on fracking cannot be carried out until the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) report has been fully published.   [Full Story]

Jan 16, 2015
Could Fracking Cause a Major Earthquake?
Discovery News
PATRICK J. KIGER

Shortly before midnight on Aug. 23, 2011, residents of Trinidad, Colo. and surrounding communities were startled when the ground started shaking beneath them, knocking bricks and stones loose from buildings. Fortunately, no one was injured. As far as earthquakes go, the 5.3 event and the aftershocks that followed were relatively mild. Nevertheless, the Trinidad quake raised anxiety for another reason. The U.S. Geological Survey eventually concluded that it probably was a man-made quake, caused by the disposal of waste water produced by the oil and gas industry.  [Full Story]

Jan 16, 2015
Center for Public Integrity Reveals How PR Firms Manufacture Consent for Oil, Big Business
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

The Center for Public Integrity has broken new ground by publishing a months-long investigation into the public relations and influence-peddling spending conducted by Big Business trade associations between 2008-2012. That investigation highlights spending for trade associations ranging from the American Petroleum Institute, National Mining Association, Edison Electric Institute, America's Natural Gas Association and many others not in the oil, gas and coal industry. The energy industrial complex, though, by far spent the most on public relations according to the Center.  [Full Story]

Jan 16, 2015
Why industry is trying to tell you how to think
The Center for Public Integrity
Erin Quinn and Chris Young

The nation’s most politically active trade associations appear to be more interested in lobbying the public than they are in lobbying lawmakers. That’s the main takeaway from a new Center investigation by Erin Quinn and Chris Young. Trade groups like the American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent more than $1.2 billion on contractors for advertising, public relations and marketing services from 2008 to 2012. That dwarfs what they spent on top lobbying contracts.  [Full Story]

Jan 16, 2015
Steepest Oil-Rig Drop Shows Shale Losing Fight to OPEC
Bloomberg
Lynn Doan

U.S. drillers have taken a record number of oil rigs out of service in the past six weeks as OPEC sustains its production, sending prices below $50 a barrel. The oil rig count has fallen by 209 since Dec. 5, the steepest six-week decline since Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) began tracking the data in July 1987. The count was down 55 this week to 1,366. Horizontal rigs used in U.S. shale formations that account for virtually all of the nation’s oil production growth fell by 48, the biggest single-week drop.  [Full Story]

Jan 16, 2015
Tioga County 'a cautionary tale' about fracking busts
Tribune-Review


WELLSBORO — The sand trucks barely rumble along the quaint main street in this town in northern Pennsylvania anymore. Three years ago, it was difficult to have a conversation with someone walking next to you, the roar of traffic was so constant. Driving, it could take an hour to get from one end of town to another. But the trucks also came with business: Mining companies had started drilling wells all over the rolling hills surrounding Wellsboro, extracting the precious natural gas that lay beneath.   [Full Story]

Jan 16, 2015
Opinion: How fracking changes everything.
Environmental Health News
Peter Dykstra

From seismology to geopolitics to Wall Street to big-league sports teams to the biggest divorce in U.S. history, the impacts of fracking are staggering. Forget, for the moment, whether you think fracking is an energy godsend or an endtimes disaster. Just consider how it’s everywhere. In the long run, fracking will impact our lives far more than four of its fellow inductees into the Merriam-Webster dictionary this past year: Hashtags, selfies, tweeps, and turduckens all have their place in society. But none touch everyone’s lives like fracking will, and already has. The coal industry readily admits that it’s being undercut by low natural gas prices. A growing boneyard of shuttered coal-fired power plants, and rushed plans to salvage the U.S. coal industry by creating export markets to Asia are a direct impact of the fracking boom, and a domestic oversupply of oil and natural gas.  [Full Story]

Jan 16, 2015
Solar Jobs Report Shows Huge Growth
Huffington Post
Kate Sheppard

WASHINGTON -– The solar industry reports job growth 20 times higher than the rest of the U.S. economy, according to a new analysis. As of 2014, there were nearly 174,000 jobs in the solar industry, according to the report from the nonprofit Solar Foundation. That represents 86 percent employment growth since the organization began tracking job figures in 2010. By the end of 2015, companies said they expect to hire an additional 36,000 new solar workers.   [Full Story]

Jan 16, 2015
Ex-Mobil VP: Fracking companies push people out of homes (and then buy their silence)
RT News
Sophie Shevarnadze

America’s young fracking industry has been hailed and embraced by government officials. But energy independence comes at a cost: fracking pollutes rivers, causes earthquakes and spills waste on surrounding land. Is the price worth paying? How dire are the consequences of fracking? And why isn’t the public more alarmed? Today we ask these questions of a former vice-president of Mobil, now an anti-fracking activist. Lou Allstadt is on Sophie&Co today.   [Full Story]

Jan 16, 2015
Climate hawks are not impressed by Obama’s methane plan
Grist
Ben Adler

You would expect environmentalists to offer effusive praise as President Obama releases the final major component of his Climate Action Plan: a proposal to clamp down on methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. And at first glance, they did. “This announcement once again demonstrates the President’s strong commitment to tackling the climate crisis,” said League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski. A number of other environmental groups echoed that sentiment. If you didn’t read between the lines, you might think Obama had given them all they wanted.  [Full Story]

Jan 16, 2015
Gasfrac files for creditor protection
The Globe and Mail
JEFFREY JONES

Gasfrac Energy Services Inc. has filed for protection from creditors after the struggling drilling company failed to find a buyer or attract new customers as oil and gas markets sputtered. Gasfrac, known for its unique waterless rock fracturing technology, said on Friday it filed for court protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. The move comes two months after it hired financial advisers to seek out strategic options, including a sale.  [Full Story]

Jan 16, 2015
Rochester City Council backs opponents of Seneca Lake LPG facility
City Newspaper
JEREMY MOULE

Rochester City Council members have thrown their support behind the local governments and businesses opposed to a proposed liquefied petroleum gas storage facility along Seneca Lake. A subsidiary of Texas-based Crestwood Holdings, a fuel storage and transportation company, wants to store butane and propane in salt caverns owned by another of the company's subsidiaries, US Salt. The storage facility would be located on Routes 14 and 14A northwest of Watkins Glen, and would be used to store 88 million gallons of propane and butane. Crestwood needs a permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation to move forward with the project.  [Full Story]

Jan 16, 2015
Frac sand companies get creative with local politics
NPR Marketplace
Dan Weissmann

When officials in Trempealeau County, Wisconsin, tried to set limits on new sand mines, mining companies looked closely at how local government is structured in rural Wisconsin and got creative. Sand mining has turned parts of rural Wisconsin inside out thanks to fracking for oil and gas. Fracking consumes 100 billion pounds of sand a year, and sand from a few midwestern states is highly prized. Trempealeau has more mines than any other county, and in mid-2013, the Trempealeau County board declared a year-long moratorium on new mining permits.  [Full Story]

Jan 16, 2015
Is Algonquin Expansion Part of System Upgrade: FERC Asks Spectra
Yorktown-Somers Patch
Lanning Taliaferro

The federal regulatory commission quotes Cortlandt's consultant on the first of Spectra's three gas pipeline expansion projects. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission cited Cortlandt town’s consultant in a series of questions it sent on Jan. 16 to Spectra Energy, the company that is seeking approval of its Algonquin Incremental Market project to expand a compressed-gas pipeline that runs through Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties. Accufacts continues to claim that Algonquin has this expansion project as part of an overall system upgrade. Accufacts believes that the individual subprojects should have been submitted as a greater overall application and that Algonquin is trying to avoid environmental requirements associated with that system upgrade. Discuss how Algonquin’s design philosophy has incorporated its design to meet the requirements of the Project and if these facilities are part of an overall system upgrade.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Sand turns a rural county upside-down
NPR Marketplace
Dan Weissmann

The fracking boom has transformed rural Trempealeau County, Wisconsin, and areas like it. There’s no oil or gas here — just sand, the kind oil and gas drillers prefer. Fracking has made sand a $10 billion industry, and publicly traded companies have rushed in, digging enormous mines. Trempealeau — on the western side of the state, population 28,000 or so — has more mines than any other county. “The onset of industrial sand-mining pretty much flipped our county upside-down,” says Kevin Lien, who runs the county’s Department of Land Management. “And that’s probably an understatement.” __________________________________________________________________ Among other things, the committee’s 150-page report found that mining had affected wells near some mines – and wells supply the county’s drinking water. With air quality, the committee found there wasn’t enough monitoring to know how much dust residents might be exposed to.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
SHALE DEBT AND ITS IMPLICATIONS
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

We have all been held spell bound by the recent precipitous plunge in oil prices. The implications are the stuff of conjecture, conspiracy theories and just plain interesting conversation. Adding to this conversation, it would appear that another troubling trend has possibly emerged. It is well known that the Fed has kept interest rates artificially low for a considerable period of time. There are many good arguments to be made as to why this should be so. Nevertheless, there is also a reasonable argument to be made that low interest rates encourage investors to chase yield. In other words, investors may be more inclined to invest in higher risk businesses than usual because these businesses provide a higher return in an otherwise artificially low return environment. Many argue that this encourages bubbles within the markets. What it certainly causes is the increased use of debt by corporations. Debt overall, in the oil and gas industry, has grown threefold since 2006. The “shale revolution”, according to S&P, was approximately 75% funded by junk debt. Further, it was not funding itself out of cash flow. Not even close.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
The Science on Fracking Merits a Ban
Huffington Post
Margie Alt

In the wake of New York's historic decision to ban fracking, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell took a broad swipe at local efforts to bar the dirty drilling practice, including the following: "I think that localized efforts or statewide efforts in many cases don't understand the science behind it and I think there needs to be more science."  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Two new reports shed light on fracking in California
Eagle Ford Texas


SACRAMENTO – Two highly anticipated reports on hydraulic fracturing in California were released on Wednesday, with one discounting environmentalists’ fears that a fracking boom is imminent and the other suggesting that fracking being conducted in Ventura County’s Sespe oil field is creating environmental risks.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
The power industry’s main concern has always been supply. Now it is learning to manage demand
The Economist


THE BASIC MODEL of the electricity industry was to send high voltages over long distances to passive customers. Power stations were big and costly, built next to coal mines, ports, oil refineries or—for hydroelectric generation—reservoirs.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
The biggest innovation in energy is to go without
The Economist


THE CHEAPEST AND cleanest energy choice of all is not to waste it. Progress on this has been striking yet the potential is still vast.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Whether they want it or not, Republicans get religion on climate change
E & E Newswire
Scott Detrow

On the rare chance any Republican congressmen or senators leave the premises of the Hershey Lodge during their joint caucus retreat today, they'll be greeted by an interfaith religious service aimed at motivating the GOP lawmakers to take action on climate change.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Editorial: Skimping on oversight
Times Union
Editorial

THE ISSUE: A state report tracks the steady decline of staff and resources at the Department of Environmental Conservation. THE STAKES: Cutting at the time when greater enforcement is needed is bad public policy. In an era of damaging climate events, after the devastation of Irene, Lee and Sandy, New York needs more than ever to aggressively enforce environmental laws that regulate the emissions that contribute to climate change.   [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Hundreds turn out for hearing on controversial gas line project
Albany Business Review
Robin K. Cooper

A hearing over a controversial 124-mile natural gas line construction project attracted around 350 spectators to the SUNY Cobleskill college campus Wednesday night in rural upstate New York. A joint venture between four oil and gas companies is proposing to build a $683 million Constitution Pipeline to carry natural gas from the Marcellus shale formation in northeastern Pennsylvania to the Schoharie County town of Wright, New York. The pipeline would supply enough gas to heat 3 million homes throughout the northeast.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says
The New York Times
Carl Zimmer

A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them. “We may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,” said Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an author of the new research, which was published on Thursday in the journal Science.   [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Five things to know about Obama's move against methane
Trib Live
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Jan. 14 announced its latest move to combat global warming, this time trying to rein in heat-trapping methane gas that escapes from oil and gas fields. The plan relies on voluntary steps and new rules to reduce leaks from oil and gas production by 40 percent to 45 percent over the next decade. In a way, the proposal is an effort to plug what many viewed as a hole in the overall global warming strategy.   [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Obama’s Crackdown on Methane Emissions Is a Really Big Deal
Moyers & Company
Tim McDonnell , Mother Jones

Yesterday the White House announced a new plan to crack down on the oil and gas industry’s emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The move is the last major piece of President Obama’s domestic climate agenda, following in the footsteps of tougher standards for vehicle emissions and a sweeping plan to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Like the power plant plan, the methane standards will rely on the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate pollution under the Clean Air Act. The new rules will regulate the amount of methane that oil and gas producers are allowed to vent or leak from their wells, pipelines and other equipment. Ultimately, according to the White House, the rules will slash methane emissions 40 to 45 percent by 2025. The proposal announced today is intended to be finalized before Obama leaves office, but it’s certain to take a battering along the way from congressional Republicans and fossil fuel interest groups.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
It's Time to Get Serious About Harmful Radon Exposure
Huffington Post
Gina McCarthy and Harold Wimmer

Radon, a naturally-occurring invisible gas, is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Twenty-one thousand Americans die from radon-induced lung cancer each year. You can't see, smell or taste radon, but it may be a problem in your home. The good news is that radon exposure is preventable. The American Lung Association and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are committed to fighting radon. Now, we're enlisting others to help take the fight to a whole new level -- because no one should have to suffer from preventable radon-caused cancer.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Who needs lobbyists? See what big business spends to win American minds
The Center for Public Integrity
Erin Quinne and Chris Young

Forget lobbying. When Washington, D.C.’s biggest trade associations want to wield influence, they often put far more of their money into advertising and public relations, according to a new Center for Public Integrity investigation. Take, for example, the American Petroleum Institute. The oil and gas industry trade group spent more than $7 million lobbying federal officials in 2012. But that sum was dwarfed by the $85.5 million it paid to four public relations and advertising firms to, in effect, lobby the American public — including $51.9 million just to global PR giant Edelman. From 2008 through 2012, annual tax filings show, the API paid Edelman a staggering $327.4 million for advertising and public relations services, more than any other contractor.   [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Wolf defends cabinet picks: ‘I want the industry to succeed’
NPR State Impact PA
MARIE CUSICK

Governor-elect Tom Wolf is praising his nominees for the state’s top environmental posts, and says he wants his administration to be a partner with gas drillers. But some members of the industry are worried about his choices. Wolf chose John Quigley to head the state Department of Environmental Protection and Cindy Dunn to lead the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Quigley ran DCNR during the Rendell administration and backed a moratorium on new gas leasing of public land. Dunn is CEO of the environmental advocacy group, PennFuture, which has been critical of how the state has handled the Marcellus Shale boom. “I want the industry to succeed,” Wolf told reporters at a press conference today. “[Quigley and Dunn] share with me the understanding that we have to be a partner with the gas industry in making this work.”   [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Oil-by-Rail Reality: Watch What Industry Does, Not What They Say
DeSmogBlog
JUSTIN MIKULKA

“In the past month, there have been numerous public relations efforts suggesting that much is being done to improve oil by rail safety. Unfortunately, it seems these efforts will not involve much more than press releases and hollow promises.” Those words were first published on DeSmogBlog in March of last year in an article titled Why Nothing Will Happen On Oil by Rail Safety. In that article, one particular public relations effort was highlighted: “One of the more popular talking points in the recent PR effort was that BNSF, the railroad that is the largest transporter of oil by rail, had volunteered to buy 5,000 new rail tank cars that exceed any existing safety standard.”  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Trafford residents concerned about gas drilling plans in nearby Penn
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Jacob Flannick

Some Trafford residents talked Monday about their fears of a plan for Marcellus Shale gas drilling nearby. The proposed drilling site, on farmland in the Level Green area of Penn Township, is less than 2,000 feet from a subdivision of dozens of homes within Trafford boundaries.   [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Pope Francis: Acting on Climate Change Is Essential to Faith
EcoWatch
cole Melino

Pope Francis will be touring the Philippines today, including a visit with survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, which was devastated by the typhoon that killed 6,300 people in 2013. Catholic organizations around the world are taking this opportunity to call on the pope and Catholics worldwide to take meaningful action on climate change.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Video: EDF's Symons says regulating existing source emissions critical to meeting White House methane targets
E&E TV


The White House this week unveiled its plans to regulate methane emissions from the oil and gas sector through a combination of voluntary and regulatory approaches. How will the Obama administration structure its rule proposal to meet its target of cutting methane 40-45 percent by 2025, back to 2012 levels? During today's OnPoint, Jeremy Symons, senior director of climate policy at the Environmental Defense Fund, discusses the plan and its impact on overall greenhouse gas emissions. He also discusses the role of natural gas as part of the administration's overall energy and climate policy.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
How local government played catch-up as a fracking boom rolled through
Washington Post
Lydia DePillis

This is the first in a five-part series about how communities can prepare for a natural gas boom and bust. WELLSBORO, Pa. — Most weekdays for the past 19 years, Erick Coolidge has gotten up at 4 in the morning, gone to help milk his 240-odd cows, then put on a suit and headed to the courthouse in Wellsboro, where he serves as a Tioga County commissioner. Take a ride with him around Wellsboro, and at some point — after winding through narrow country roads to visit well pads effectively hidden by the landscape’s rolling topography — you’ll end up on top of a ridge that has been in his family for five generations. “At night, when you’re looking down at the lights, it’s like being in an airplane,” Coolidge says softly, after driving up the hill in his sport-utility vehicle. “I bring everybody here because it’s so beautiful.” As gas activity started ramping up in 2008, it wasn’t clear that pastoral beauty would survive. Actually, it wasn’t clear what was happening, period.   [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND ANNOUNCE $13 MILLION IN FED FUNDS FOR DELAWARE RIVER WATERSHED CONSERVATION
Senator Charles E. Schumer
Press Release

USDA Rural Conservation Partnership Funds Will Allow NY to Implement Projects to Conserve, Protect the Delaware River Basin Watershed Funding Will Support Agriculture, Soil, Water Conservation & Assist Local Farmers Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced $13 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is headed to New York State to partner with the America Farmland Trust to implement conservation projects in the Delaware River Basin watershed. The funding was allocated through the USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and will allow New York State to leverage federal funds to improve the Delaware River Basin’s water quality, support wildlife habitat and enhance the environment. Schumer and Gillibrand said these conservation projects will define and address water quality and quantity concerns as well as provide access to conservation best practices for the more than 600 farmers and 600 forest landowners on 35,000 acres in this important region.   [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Navajo Women Worry About Increased Oil Drilling
KUNM
LAURA PASKUS

“Right now, there’s healthy people living here,” says White. “The air is fresh. It’s clean.” White and her relatives are “allottees,” Navajo people living on lands deeded to them by the federal government. The federal government deferred new oil leases near Chaco Canyon National Historical Park last month. But many people who live here are still worried about how development outside the park will affect their communities, their landscapes, and their children’s futures. If you’ve driven Highway 550 between Cuba and Farmington recently, you’ve seen the oil rigs and flares on federal allotments along the road near Lybrook and Counselor.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
GOP pushes again to ease LNG exports
UPI
Daniel J. Graeber

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- A bill putting a time limit on applications for permits to build U.S. facilities to export liquefied natural gas removes bureaucratic hurdles, its sponsor said. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, introduced a measure that would put a 30-day deadline on the Department of Energy to issue a permit for LNG export facilities. If passed, the bill would bring certainty to federal processes and remove bureaucratic delays, he said.   [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
DEP Approves Air Quality Plan For Modifications At Milford Compressor Station
PA ENVIRONMENT DIGEST


The Department of Environmental Protection Thursday announced it has issued an Air Quality Plan Approval to Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC to modify their existing natural gas compressor station in Milford, Pike County.The company will replace two existing engine-driven compressors with two new natural gas-fired compressor turbines and replace a generator with a new emergency generator.“The department has conducted a thorough review of Columbia’s air quality plan approval application and we’re confident that the project satisfies applicable requirements, including best available technology for reducing emissions,” said DEP Northeast Regional Director Mike Bedrin.DEP held a public hearing on the plan approval on August 18 at Delaware Valley High School, 256 U.S. Route 6, Milford from 6 to 9 p.m. During the meeting, the department took testimony from residents regarding the plan approval. The Department also accepted written comments from July 26, 2014 to September 2, 2014. Representatives from Columbia Gas attended the hearing.DEP prepared a comment/response document to address the public comments it received about this proposal. Residents may obtain a copy of the plan approval and comment/response document on DEP’s Northeast Regional Office webpage.For those who do not have internet access, copies of the plan approval and comment/response document are available at DEP’s Northeast Regional Office at 2 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre. For more information, call 570-826-2511.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
California fracking hasn’t unearthed an oil boom
San Francisco Chronicle
David Baker

About 20 percent of California’s oil and natural-gas production uses hydraulic fracturing — with almost all of it happening in one corner of the San Joaquin Valley — according to the most authoritative survey yet released of fracking in the Golden State. Oil companies frack 125 to 175 of the roughly 300 wells drilled in California each month, according to the survey released Wednesday by the California Council on Science and Technology. Nearly 93 percent of all fracked wells lie in western Kern County or in nearby Fresno County, both of which sit atop the vast Monterey Shale formation — a potential treasure trove of oil.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Does climate change exist? The Senate is about to let us know
The Guardian
Suzanne Goldenberg

Congress is to vote on whether climate change is real. Seriously. The measure, which will come up in the debate about the Keystone XL pipeline, will ask the Senate to vote on whether climate change is real, caused by human activities, and has already caused devastating problems in the US and around the world. It is intended to force Republicans who deny the existence of climate change – and they are a majority in Congress – to own their anti-science positions, said Bernie Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont behind the amendment.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Poll: Republicans clash with voters on oil industry priorities
Fuel Fix
Jennifer A. Dlouhy

WASHINGTON — Republicans in control of the House and Senate are bucking the wishes of American voters by advancing the Keystone XL pipeline and other oil industry priorities, according to new polling data released Thursday. The survey of 1,101 likely voters in early December, conducted for the Center for American Progress, shows that their energy and environmental priorities are more renewable energy, slashing dependence on foreign oil and cutting air pollution.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
DOT delays final rule for rail tank cars
The Journal News
Brian Tumulty

Final regulations for phasing out older freight-rail tank cars carrying crude oil and ethanol will be released May 12 instead of March 31 as originally planned, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The delay, which the department announced this week, also will apply to the release of standards for the next generation of replacement tankers. It comes after many railroad industry groups warned in public comments that the proposed phase-out of DOT-111 tankers carrying Class 1 flammable materials by October 2017 and a phase-out of those carrying Class 2 liquids by October 2018 will lead to shortages of tank cars. In a joint filing, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and the American Petroleum Institute (API) contend the tank car industry doesn’t have the capacity to retrofit the estimated 143,000 tank cars that would need to be modernized to meet the new specifications. Nor can manufacturers build new tank cars fast enough, they say.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Antero finalizes Ohio land deal, gains 12,000 acres
Pittsburgh Business Times
Sam Kusic

Denver-based Antero Resources Corp. has added to its Utica Shale holdings, closing on an acquisition of 12,000 net acres in Ohio. In an operational update, the company (NYSE:AR) said the acreage, for which it paid $240 million, is primarily in Monroe County. It said the acquisition gives it 115 new locations on which to drill, plus five producing horizontal wells and an eight-mile, high-pressure gathering pipeline. The five wells are yielding 20 million equivalent cubic feet per day, it said.   [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Two new reports shed light on fracking in California
EaglefordTexas.com
Ross Torgerson

ACRAMENTO – Two highly anticipated reports on hydraulic fracturing in California were released on Wednesday, with one discounting environmentalists’ fears that a fracking boom is imminent and the other suggesting that fracking being conducted in Ventura County’s Sespe oil field is creating environmental risks. A draft environmental impact report on the practice of hydraulic fracturing examines impacts on three specific oil fields, including the Sespe field in the Los Padres National Forest just north of Fillmore. The report identifies at least six areas in which environmental risks could not be mitigated by placing conditions on drilling projects. Those areas include air pollution; transportation of hazardous materials; and potential for leaks from pipelines and hoses that contain the fluids used in fracking. It concludes that the “environmental superior” alternative would be to prohibit fracking in the Sespe oil field, but notes that approach is not legally possible because state law authorizes the use of well stimulation treatments such as hydraulic fracturing.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
The Science on Fracking Merits a Ban
Huffington Post
Margie Alt

In the wake of New York's historic decision to ban fracking, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell took a broad swipe at local efforts to bar the dirty drilling practice, including the following: "I think that localized efforts or statewide efforts in many cases don't understand the science behind it and I think there needs to be more science." Jewell's reaction is troubling for a number of reasons -- not the least of which is the temerity of a top official going beyond her purview to criticize local efforts to protect public health. But it's especially vexing that the secretary chose to invoke science in her critique. In fact, a significant body of scientific evidence is emerging that demonstrates that fracking is inherently dangerous to the environment and human health. Scientists are only beginning to understand the full impact of shale gas development on air quality, water quality, agriculture, and human populations. In part due to industry secrecy, the research still lags behind the rapid expansion of fracking across our country. But recent analyses from Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy confirm that peer-reviewed data show far more evidence of the dangers of fracking than not.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Fracked Gas, Coming Through
Metroland
Miriam Alex-Lute

The land where Patricia Kernan grew up, in the foothills of the Northern Catskills, is 1,000 acres of unbroken forest, from which trees have been carefully, sustainably harvested for at least 70 years. It contains a rare pristine sphagnum moss bog that has no invasive species in it, and just outside its borders is a lake that has been similarly protected. The land is now owned by a land trust, with Kernan and her four siblings making up the five trustees. Forestry covers the property taxes and allows the land to remain protected. Or it has so far. In danger of being forgotten in the (well deserved) celebration over New York’s fracking ban is the fact that we are still serving as the crossroads for the products of fracking—whether unsafe tanker cars of fracked oil from North Dakota or pipelines of natural gas from Pennsylvania and beyond.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Anti-fracking protesters plan to rally at Wolf inauguration
State Impact PA
Marie Cusick

Anti-fracking protesters are seeking to “disrupt” Governor-elect Tom Wolf’s inauguration on January 20th, according to PennLive. The protesters are hoping to pressure Wolf into imposing a statewide ban on fracking, like Governor Andrew Cuomo did recently in New York. From PennLive: Pennsylvanians Against Fracking, a coalition made up of dozens of environmental groups, plan to meet at the Grace Methodist Church on State Street then rally at the Capitol. Sam Bernhardt, with Food & Water Watch, said the coalition expects to bring a couple hundred protesters to the rally. Josh Fox, director of anti-fracking documentary “Gasland,” is scheduled to attend the rally. It’s unlikely the push for a ban will be successful. Wolf supports natural gas drilling and is hoping to enact a five percent severance tax on production. He wants to use the revenue to bolster spending on public education.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Anti-fracking groups seek ban in California
Summit County Voice
Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — California regulators this week released the first section of a new environmental review of fracking impacts. But the study fails to take a hard look at many of the potentially harmful impacts, according to environmental activists. The review by California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources was released even though state scientists are still six months away from completing their analysis of the risks and harms of the controversial form of oil and gas extraction, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. The new report is part of a state-commissioned study released by the California Council on Science and Technology. The other two volumes won’t be released until July, The first volume addresses only the extent of fracking in California and does not assess risks.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
UK companies will have to disclose chemicals in fracking fluid
Shale Energy Insider
James Perkins

Following parliamentary debate, the UK government has accepted several concessions to the original draft of the Infrastructure Bill, including a motion to legally bind fracking companies to disclose all the chemicals used in their operations. The Labour Party proposed over a dozen amendments to the bill, these included increased baseline monitoring of methane gas in groundwater and a legal duty of companies to consult the water companies in the fracking planning process. The government accepted proposals for the disclosure of chemicals used in the fracking fluid solutions and the increased monitoring measures and is still deliberating over the consultation of the water industry.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
The boom-proof economy: How to handle a fracking bust
Washington Post
Lydia DePillis

WELLSBORO, Pa. — The sand trucks barely rumble along the quaint main street in Wellsboro anymore. Three years ago, it was difficult to have a conversation with someone walking next to you, the roar of traffic was so constant. Driving, it could take an hour to get from one end of town to another. But the trucks also came with business: Mining companies had started drilling wells all over the rolling hills surrounding this town in northern Pennsylvania, extracting the precious natural gas that lay beneath. Hydraulic fracturing (“fracking” for short) brought a bonanza to this town the likes of which it hadn’t seen even in the heydays of lumber and coal. With 800 wells drilled over five years, royalties paid to landowners for their mineral rights flowed through the community, helping people buy new farm equipment and donate to local charities. New tax revenues poured into local government coffers that never had much to begin with. But like all booms, it only lasted while the money was good.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Up to half of new oil and gas wells use fracking in California
89.3 KPCC
Molly Peterson

A state scientific review of what’s known about fracking in California finds the controversial oil and gas production technique is used in nearly half of all new wells, particularly in four Kern county oil fields in the southern part of the San Joaquin Valley. An independent scientific team is reviewing research about fracking before new regulations monitoring and limiting the practice take effect this summer. Both actions are the result of SB4, a state law sponsored by Agoura Hills State Senator Fran Pavley.  [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
Study: Half of California's new wells involve fracking
KSBW


SAN FRANCISCO —Twenty percent of California's oil production now comes through hydraulic fracturing, according to a study commissioned by the state and released Wednesday.   [Full Story]

Jan 15, 2015
DEP Study Shows There is Little Potential for Radiation Exposure from Oil and Gas Development
PA DEC
Press Release

Harrisburg – The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced the results of its TENORM Study, which analyzed the naturally occurring levels of radioactivity associated with oil and natural gas development in Pennsylvania. While the study outlines recommendations for further study, it concluded there is little potential for harm to workers or the public from radiation exposure due to oil and gas development.  [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
EPA probes CSG fracking chemical found near AGL's Gloucester wells
Sydney Morning Herald
Peter Hannam

The NSW Environment Protection Authority is investigating the detection of a chemical used in fracking in water samples near AGL's pilot coal seam gas field near Gloucester. AGL said it detected traces of the chemical monoethanolamine borate in September and October 2014 in sampling of groundwater and surface water near its Waukivory CSG site. The detection was made prior to the start of hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – of the wells on October 27, an AGL spokesman said.   [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Environmentalists pan Obama emissions plan, which doesn't address existing operations
Trib Live
Katelyn Ferral

Oil and gas companies would have to cut methane emissions as part of the Obama administration's latest effort to combat climate change, raising concerns about the effect on the state's booming drilling industry and a bright spot in the national economic recovery. But the president's plan to reduce emissions almost by half during the next decade received mixed reviews Wednesday from environmentalists, because some of them are frustrated that it wouldn't target existing oil and gas operations. “The rule has missed the mark by identifying only new sources and providing no clear pathways for existing sources of emissions,” said John Norbeck, chief operating officer at PennFuture, a critic of hydraulic fracturing and gas drilling.   [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Independent Scientific Study on California Fracking Released
capital public radio
Amy Quinton

California has shallow, vertical fracking wells that require about 140,000 gallons of water per well to extract oil. That’s millions of gallons less than other states. But the fluids contain more concentrated chemicals. “People have become concerned about hydraulic fracturing based on high volume fracturing from horizontal wells, and we don’t do that," says Dr. Jane Long with the California Council on Science and Technology. The CCST and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory led the study. "Another way of looking at this would be if California decided to ban what New York banned. It would make no difference in California. We don’t do that,” says Long. The study, the first independent assessment required under the state's new fracking regulations, found 20-percent of oil production in the state is fracked, and the vast majority occurs in Kern County. Long says California’s Monterey Formation isn’t likely to be fracked for decades. “It’s not like in New York where we know the Marcellus Shale goes into New York and we know how to produce the Marcellus Shale because they’ve been doing it in Pennsylvania, Ohio, etc and they know how to do it," says Long. "We don’t really know how much oil is there and we don’t really know what would work to produce it.”  [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Wolf picks former Rendell appointees for top environmental posts
State Impact PA
Marie Cusick

Governor-elect Tom Wolf has announced his picks for the state’s two top environmental posts. Both nominees will be heavily involved in overseeing Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale industry and have extensive backgrounds in environmental causes and government. Wolf nominated John Quigley to head the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP.) He previously served as Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary during the Rendell administration. “I’m thrilled, I’m humbled, and excited,” Quigley tells StateImpact. ”There are obviously some challenges facing Pennsylvania.” Wolf has tapped PennFuture CEO Cindy Dunn to head DCNR. COURTESY OF PENNFUTURE Wolf has tapped PennFuture CEO Cindy Dunn to lead DCNR. Cindy Dunn, who heads the statewide environmental advocacy group PennFuture, has been chosen to lead DCNR. She has spent 12 years at the agency, working under three administrations. She started out as director of community relations under former governor Tom Ridge and was appointed deputy secretary under Rendell. She stayed in the job several years into the Corbett administration and left in October 2013 to lead PennFuture.  [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Why New York Banned Fracking
Clean Technica
Aisha Abdelhamid Inspired Economist

New York State voters approve of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent decision to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, by a margin of 55 to 25 percent. According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, no political party, gender, age group, or regional interest group disapproves of the ban against fracking in New York State. A recent article in Wall Street Journal does not carry the same favorable opinion, however. Implying that newly re-elected Governor Cuomo is an unknowledgeable wimp, the valiant and clearly brilliant WSJ opinionist declares: “Safely re-elected, New York’s Governor hides behind bad science and hurts upstate jobs. “The natural gas shale boom has been a blessing for much of America in these otherwise difficult times—from Texas to North Dakota through Ohio and Pennsylvania. But the bounty won’t be coming to New York, where Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday banned hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the rich Marcellus Shale. New York follows Vermont as the only other U.S. state to ban fracking, joining such economic superpowers as France and Bulgaria.” If something smells fishy to you right now, it’s probably not the bagels and lox. Governor Cuomo’s ban on fracking was justified by a report released on December 17, 2014 by the New York State Department of Health. Summarized here for convenience, we can all benefit from a little New York common sense. Even those smart fracking fans on Wall Street.  [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Report: Fracking Imperils Southern California Residents, Wildlife
KCET
Chris Clarke

A state report released Wednesday says that fracking at three oil fields in Southern California poses significant potential risk to the environment and public health. The analysis by the California Department of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources comes as part of a draft Environmental Impact Report analyzing the effect of well enhancement practices such as hydraulic fracturing and acidizing, generally lumped together in public discussions under the term "fracking," on California's environment. The draft report takes a close look at three oil fields in particular: the Sespe Oil Field near Lake Piru in Ventura County, the Wilmington Oil Field in Long Beach, and the Inglewood Oil Field in southwestern Los Angeles. And the report finds that "significant and unavoidable" environmental damage can be expected as a result of fracking at those three oil fields.  [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Obama's Methane Crackdown to Come Slow and Easy Resize Text Print Article Comments 0
InsideClimate News
Neela Banerjee

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration on January 14 rolled out its long-awaited plan to control the oil and gas industry's emissions of methane, saying it would cut leaks of the potent global-warming pollutant nearly in half in the coming decade. The White House called its approach a crucial step to achieving the ambitious greenhouse-gas emissions targets President Obama announced last November in Beijing, but some environmental advocates said the plan, which relies heavily on voluntary efforts, failed to go far enough.  [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Activists say Obama action on methane emissions 'misses 90% of pollution'
The Guardian
Suzanne Goldenberg

The plan, a clear signal the president aims to shore up his climate legacy, applies only to future oil and gas infrastructure – a move environmental groups say will fail to combat the rise in emissions from the booming US oil and gas industry   [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Offshore Wind Trumps Offshore Drilling in Job Growth and Energy Generation
EcoWatch
Cole Melino

The oil and gas industry has been lobbying to expand offshore drilling for years, claiming it will increase U.S. energy independence, result in millions of dollars in state revenue and create thousands of jobs. A new report, Offshore Energy by the Numbers, An Economic Analysis of Offshore Drilling and Wind Energy in the Atlantic, from Oceana challenges these claims by showing that “offshore wind would produce twice the number of jobs and twice the amount of energy as offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.”   [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Sierra Club responds to Obama plan to reduce methane
Akron Beacon Journal
Bob Downing

From the Sierra Club today: WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Environmental Protection Agency today announced a process for establishing first time controls on methane emissions from oil and gas production. Methane, which escapes into the atmosphere during drilling and fracking operations and in distribution, is a climate pollutant 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20 year timeframe. In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune issued the following statement: ”Reducing methane in the atmosphere is necessary to address the unchecked climate pollution caused by the dramatic growth of oil and gas production in the United States. This expansion is driven by dangerous techniques, including fracking, which the Sierra Club opposes because they pollute our air and water and hold us back from clean energy prosperity. We cannot afford to wait: regulating methane directly is a critical step, but EPA and BLM must act quickly to reduce methane emissions from all new and existing sources of methane pollution in the oil and gas sector, including the transmission and distribution of natural gas. "Controlling methane, however, is not an end in itself and it will not make fracked oil and gas climate friendly. Continued reliance on dirty fossil fuels is a dangerous course for our communities and our climate. Numerous scientific articles now point to the need to keep more than two-thirds of our fossil fuels in the ground in order to avoid climate chaos. We must move swiftly to truly clean energy like wind, solar, and energy efficiency while establishing policies that keep fossil fuels in the ground."  [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Fact sheet on Obama's plan to reduce methane emissions
Akron Beacon Journal
Bob Downing

From the White House today: THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 14, 2015 FACT SHEET: Administration Takes Steps Forward on Climate Action Plan by Announcing Actions to Cut Methane Emissions The Obama Administration is committed to taking responsible steps to address climate change and help ensure a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations. As part of that effort, today, the Administration is announcing a new goal to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 – 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025, and a set of actions to put the U.S. on a path to achieve this ambitious goal. U.S. oil production is at the highest level in nearly 30 years, providing important energy security and economic benefits. The U.S. is also now the largest natural gas producer in the world, providing an abundant source of clean-burning fuel to power and heat American homes and businesses. Continuing to rely on these domestic energy resources is a critical element of the President’s energy strategy. At the same time, methane – the primary component of natural gas – is a potent greenhouse gas, with 25 times the heat-trapping potential of carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.   [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
WA fracking valve deliberately damaged
AAP


A gas valve at a fracking site in the Kimberley region was deliberately damaged, a preliminary investigation has found.Footage taken by the anti-fracking movement Lock the Gate in January shows a hand-held gas metre reading high levels of methane near the valve at Buru Energy's Yulleroo 2, about 70km east of Broome. Department of Mines and Petroleum executive director Jeff Haworth said an unauthorised person had entered the site and caused significant, deliberate damage to a valve on the well head. Mr Haworth said investigators found the leak was very minor and gas could only be detected when the broken valve was manipulated. He said filming the damaged valve would have also put lives at risk if the gas levels had been as high as claimed in the video. Police are now trying to identify who damaged the valve.  [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Obama takes aim at methane emissions coming from the oil and gas industry
CBS News
Michael Casey

Looking to further bolster its green credentials, the Obama Administration announced a goal Wednesday of significantly cutting methane emissions released by the oil and gas industry. The White House set a target of reducing the emissions, which are a byproduct of the fracking boom, by 40 to 45 percent over the next 10 years (as compared to 2012 levels). While only representing 10 percent of greenhouse gases, methane has 25 times the heat-trapping potential of carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. Dan Utech, Obama's climate and energy advisor, acknowledged the industry has worked to reduce emissions. But he said without some kind of federal regulations of new gas wells, the emissions are projected to rise 25 percent by 2025. "These steps will bring emissions down, and that also means the capture of valuable fuel that would otherwise be wasted, and also the reduction of other harmful pollutants," Utech told reporters. "So this strategy will benefit the climate, the economy and public health. " The Administration's strategy will rely heavily on the Clean Air Act, rather then trying to push new legislation through a hostile Republican Congress. It has used this strategy for many climate initiatives -- most prominently a plan to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants -- that it hopes will allow it to meet a goal of reducing emissions 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and 26 to 28 percent by 2025. The Environmental Protection Agency will announce regulations by the summer for "new and modified gas production sources, and natural gas processing and transmission sources." The EPA will also develop new guidelines to assist states in tackling ozone-forming pollutants from the oil and gas sector and work to strengthen reporting of emissions and leaks across the industry. The Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management will also update decades-old standards to reduce "wasteful venting, flaring, and leaks" of natural gas on public lands while Obama plans to propose $15 million in the Department of Energy's fiscal 2016 budget to develop new technology to detect methane leaks and reduce losses from the natural gas sector. "We believe there is significant opportunity here," Janet McCabe, the EPA's acting assistant administrator for the office of air and radiation, told reporters. "Combined with the rule making EPA is going to be undertaking, this approach will not only assure that important public health and environmental protections can be achieved in a timely and common-sense way, it also recognizes the extensive work a number of companies are already doing to cut pollution." The industry, which through voluntary measures has seen methane emissions decrease 16 percent from 1990 levels, warned that the new regulations "could disrupt America's energy renaissance." "Onerous new regulations could threaten the shale energy revolution, America's role as a global energy superpower, and the dramatic reductions in CO2 emissions made possible by an abundant and affordable domestic supply of clean-burning natural gas," American Petroleum Institute president and CEO Jack Gerard said. "We need our government to implement sound policies, but this plan seems to be based on politics. We hope EPA will work with industry during the regulatory process to ensure that any regulations are based on science and technology." Environmental groups welcomed the move, though some suggested it didn't go far enough. "This is a landmark moment: Direct federal regulation of methane is essential, and the administration has set the right goal and launched solid steps to get started," Environmental Defense Fund president Fred Krupp said. "However, we will need a clearer roadmap and more decisive action to ensure the administration tackles the most important part of the problem -- emissions from existing wells, pipelines and facilities. Otherwise, the goal will not be reached." The World Resources Institute and Friends of the Earth called on the Administration to go beyond new wells and also target existing wells and those that have been abandoned. They contend those also are a big source of methane emissions. "This announcement is an important step forward, but the simple truth is that if we're serious about mitigating catastrophic climate change, we need stronger curbs on methane emissions, and we need them faster," David Arkush, managing director of Friends of the Earth's Public Citizen's Climate Program, said. "It's disappointing that the EPA issued a plan to regulate rather than proposing an actual rule."   [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
New - and worrisome - contaminants emerge from oil and gas wells
The Daily Climate
Marianne Lavelle

Researchers find alarming levels of ammonium and iodide in fracking wastewater released into Pennsylvania and West Virginia streams. Two hazardous chemicals never before known as oil and gas industry pollutants – ammonium and iodide – are being released into Pennsylvania and West Virginia waterways from the booming energy operations of the Marcellus shale, a new study shows.   [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
OPEC Wants to “Crush US Shale”
Oil Change International
Andy Rowell

Just how low can the oil price go? What was unthinkable even a few months ago is now becoming distinctly probable, even likely. As analysts dissect the ramifications for the oil industry of $40 dollar barrel, oil traders are now thinking that the price of crude will halve that to a staggering $20 a barrel. Prices have not been that low for twenty years.  [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Pipeline fire burns out; leaves behind scorched patch of forest
Mississippi News Now
Brad Conaway

RANKIN COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) - An explosion near the Barnett Reservoir lit up the skies Wednesday morning. It erupted around 6:20, off of Three Prong Trail. That's east of the Reservoir. Gulf South Pipeline has confirmed the natural gas line explosion on their property. Joe Hollier, the Manager of Corporate Communication for the gas company says the 30 inch pipeline explosion is currently impacting 25 homes.   [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Barack Obama moves to cut US methane emissions by almost half
The Guardian
Suzanne Goldenberg

Barack Obama will unveil a plan to cut methane emissions from America’s booming oil and gas industry by as much as 45% over the next decade in an attempt to cement his climate legacy during his remaining two years in the White House. The new methane rules – which will be formally unveiled on Wednesday - are the last big chance for Obama to fight climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency is aiming to cut methane emissions by up to 45% from 2012 levels by 2025, White House officials told campaigners during a briefing call.  [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Tomblin calls for study of increased deaths from gas-drilling boom
The Charleston Gazette
Ken Ward Jr.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is calling for a study aimed at reversing the increase in workplace deaths that has accompanied the boom in natural gas drilling and production from the Marcellus Shale fields in Northern West Virginia. The governor offered few details of the initiative, but announced the effort Wednesday evening as part of his annual State of the State address. “We must ensure the safety of hardworking West Virginians at drilling sites, production facilities and pipelines across the state,” Tomblin said. “Workforce safety must be the expectation for businesses operating in West Virginia, not an afterthought.”   [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Turns out the U.S. oil boom was just a fairy tale
Grist
Heather Smith

With one quick drop in the price of oil, the shale oil boom is officially bust. In less than a week, 61 oil rigs across the United States closed up shop, according to the most recent rig count from Baker Hughes. The U.S. has 1,750 oil rigs still pumping, but that number is expected to fall by another 400 rigs by the time spring rolls around. The whole episode is a wake-up call about just how much of a fairy tale North America’s oil boom really was. It was a fairy tale with real drills, sure — and since it was exempt from the Clean Air and Clean Water acts, it will continue to have real consequences for the people living near it. But when it costs Saudi Arabia $10 to get a barrel of oil and it costs shale oil operations around $65 to make that same barrel, it should have been obvious that America was only a titan of oil production because another country was letting us be.  [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Obama Administration Reveals Plan To Slash Methane Emissions In Oil And Gas Sector
ThinkProgress
ARI PHILLIPS

On Wednesday, the Obama Administration announced plans to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025. The U.S. is currently the largest natural gas producer in the world and domestic oil production is at its highest level in nearly three decades. Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is also a potent greenhouse gas. According to the White House methane has 25 times more heat-trapping potential than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. The IPCC has a higher measurement, putting it at 34 times more.  [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Offshore wind would boost jobs, energy more than oil: study
Phys.org


Developing offshore wind technology in the Atlantic Ocean would produce twice the energy and job growth as drilling for oil would, an environmental group said Wednesday. The analysis by Oceana was released ahead of the US government's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's five-year plan for oil and gas leasing, which could involve seismic testing for potential reserves in the Atlantic.   [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Scientists Discover Two New Pollutants In Fracking Waste
ThinkProgress
EMILY ATKIN

The primary waste product created by oil and gas drilling contains two types of potentially hazardous contaminants that have never before been associated with the industry, research published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology on Wednesday revealed. Duke University geochemistry professor Avner Vengosh and his team of scientists found that wastewater produced by both conventional and unconventional oil drillers contains high volumes of ammonium and iodide — chemicals that, when dissolved in water or mixed with other pollutants, can encourage the formation of toxins like carcinogenic disinfection byproducts and have negative impacts on aquatic life.  [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
The Logic of Divestment: Why We Have to Kiss Off Big Carbon Now
Rolling Stone
TIM DICKINSON

When the fossil-fuel divestment movement first stirred on college campuses three years ago, you could almost hear Big Oil and Wall Street laughing. Crude prices were flirting with $100 a barrel, and domestic oil production, from Texas to North Dakota, was in the midst of a historic boom. But the quixotic campus campaign suddenly has the smell of smart money.   [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
A Closer, Deflating Look at BC's Natural Gas Jobs Claim
The Tyee
Andrew MacLeod

The British Columbia government is sticking to its prediction that a new liquefied natural gas industry will generate 100,000 jobs in the province, but the public shouldn't get the impression all those positions will exist at any one time -- or come anywhere close to that once the anticipated gas plants are built. "I wouldn't hang my hat on any of this," said Andrew Weaver, Green party MLA, noting that falling gas prices, decision delays and international competition are working against establishing the industry in B.C. "No longer is it a certainty."  [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
White House aims to cut methane emissions from gas drilling
PBS Newshour
Josh Lederman

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration laid out designs Wednesday to issue the first regulations to cut down on methane emissions from new natural gas wells, aiming to curb the discharge of a potent greenhouse gas by roughly half.  [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Study: High levels of pollutants from drilling waste found in Pa. rivers
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Don Hopey

New scientific sampling and analysis has found high concentrations of ammonium and iodide, two potentially hazardous pollutants, in oil and gas well drilling wastewater discharged into streams and rivers in Pennsylvania and other states. The peer-reviewed study, which will be published this week in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, is the first to identify those contaminants as widespread in the wastewater discharges from spills and treatment plants, including three facilities in the Allegheny River watershed.  [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Obama sets date to cut emissions of methane from gas wells
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Laura Legere & Anya Litvak

The Obama administration set a goal Wednesday of cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by nearly half in the next 10 years with a proposal targeting new wells.   [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
President Obama's Gas-Drilling DanceThe White House celebrates the natural-gas boom, so why is it hitting industry with new regulations?
National Journal
Ben Geman

President Obama is doing a two-step when it comes to fossil fuels. Obama and White House officials clear their throats by praising the oil and gas boom, and even taking a measure of credit for it, before moving on to the specific topic at hand.  [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Gas drilling in northwest La. might heat up, La. Oil & Gas Association president says
Times-Picayune
Robert Rhoden

While the big drop oil prices has caused many exploration companies to reduce their drilling budgets for this year, the Haynesville Shale in northwest Louisiana might benefit from the situation, according to Louisiana Oil & Gas Association President Don Briggs. Some operators might decide that drilling for natural gas is more profitable than oil.   [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Obama Administration’s Goal to Reduce Methane Inadequate to Protect Climate
Center for Biological Diversity


SAN FRANCISCO— The Obama administration today announced a goal to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas extraction by between 40 and 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025. Methane, the main component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas thatpacks 87 times as much heat-trapping punch as carbon dioxide over the next two decades and 36 times as much over the next century. But the goal announced today would still fail to capture the majority of methane pollution that escapes whenever oil and gas are extracted, processed and distributed. The oil and gas industry is the largest U.S. industrial source of methane pollution. Yet the steps the administration proposes would continue to allow millions of metric tons of this dangerous gas to escape into the atmosphere, even though cost-effective measures to capture it exist. Methane leaked, and intentionally dumped, into the atmosphere during oil and gas extraction from private and public lands, as well as methane leaked during processing and distribution, causes climate change, threatens public health, and wastes taxpayer money.  [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Ottawa welcomes new U.S. oil-gas methane regulations, but won't commit to match
CTV News
Bruce Cheadle

OTTAWA -- Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford says he welcomes tough new U.S. oil and gas regulations on methane emissions announced by the White House and calls Canada a "willing partner" -- but not one ready to immediately match the American move. The Obama administration said Wednesday it plans to use its regulatory power to cut methane emissions by between 40 and 45 per cent from 2012 levels by the year 2025. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, far more potent than carbon dioxide, and is emitted in significant volumes in flaring and venting from oil and gas operations. The announcement came while Rickford was in Washington making yet another pitch in support of TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline.   [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Study Finds Elevated Contaminant Levels at Fracking Sites, Conventional Wells
Chem.Info
Andy Szal

A newly released study found water discharged from energy drilling operations in the U.S. poses risks to human health and the environment,calling for additional government regulations on the practices. The study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, reviewed water samples from fracking sites in Pennsylvania and Arkansas, as well as conventional wells in New York and Pennsylvania.  [Full Story]

Jan 14, 2015
Judge allows negligence claim against Cabot Oil to proceed
The Times-Tribune
TERRIE MORGAN-BESECKER

A Dimock Twp. couple who say Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.’s drilling contaminated their well water can proceed with a negligence claim, a federal judge ruled. U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III on Monday agreed with a magistrate judge’s recommendation that Scott and Monica Ely had presented sufficient evidence to allow their claims for property damage to proceed to trial. Judge Jones also agreed with the magistrate’s determination that several other counts be dismissed, including breach of contract, fraud and the couple’s request for medical monitoring.   [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Asheville Council says no to fracking, asks state to re-instate ban
Mountain Xpress
Pat Barcas

On Tuesday night, Jan. 13, Asheville Council made its opinions known in regards to hydraulic fracturing throughout the state, region and city: They approved a resolution that asks North Carolina legislators to halt fracking operations. The resolution, approved through the consent agenda, calls on the state “not to explore future horizontal hydraulic fracturing in Western North Carolina, Buncombe County and the City of Asheville; … re-instate the ban on fracking and support the continued moratorium on injection wells in Western North Carolina, Buncombe County and the City of Asheville [and] calls on the General Assembly to re-instate the authority of local governments to regulate fracking and its impacts if local elected officials deem it necessary.” There were only two public comments prior to approval, both applauding Council for taking the anti-fracking stance.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
L.A. Basin methane emissions found up to 61% higher than estimates
Los Angeles Times
TONY BARBOZA

new study that used a mountaintop sensor to measure air pollution in the Los Angeles Basin found emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, are up to 61% higher than government estimates. The study published Monday in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, is the latest to reveal official emissions inventories that underestimate the amount of the planet-warming pollutant being released into the atmosphere.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Beck Statement on Port Ambrose LNG Public Hearing
ocsignal.com


“The Port Ambrose LNG is a project that could have a devastating impact for our ocean, beaches, and coastal communities. This project has no benefit for the State of New Jersey. Following Superstorm Sandy, our focus has been to promote the recovery efforts of the region, not needlessly inviting additional problems that can delay or impede the recovery process of the area.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
US rig count saw steepest decline since March 2009
Market Realist
Alex Chamberlin

According to oilfield service company Baker Hughes (BHI), there were 1,750 active oil and gas rigs in the US during the week ending January 9. That’s 61 less than in the week ending January 2. It was the biggest decline in the US rig count since March 2009. The US rig count was generally on an uptrend in 2014. Occasionally, it was marred by a decline. However, a fall in the rig count for five consecutive weeks shows that US rigs are losing strength. This was also the ninth rig count decrease in the past 15 weeks.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Drilling Contamination Case Narrowed Against Cabot
Legal Intelligencer
Gina Passarella

A Pennsylvania federal judge has severely curtailed the claims in a suit over allegations oil and gas drilling led to the contamination of a Susquehanna County township’s water supply. U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III of the Middle District of Pennsylvania dismissed defendant GasSearch Drilling Services from the case Ely v. Cabot Oil & Gas and he narrowed the claims against Cabot Oil & Gas to only a private nuisance claim and a negligence claim. Jones dismissed claims against Cabot for breach of contract, lost royalties, fraudulent inducement, negligence per se, medical monitoring, personal injury and certain negligence claims involving minors.   [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Bog: Arctic oil and gas must stay in ground to restrict warming to 2°C says study
Barents Observer
Mia Bennett

A new study in the science journal Nature, however, is the first to specify and quantify which regions of the world need to cool it on the oil, gas, and coal. Christophe McGlade and Paul Elkins of the University of College London’s Institute for Sustainable Resources created a complex model that, after dividing the world into sixteen regions, considers factors such as the cost of production, the estimated size of reserves and production trends, and the carbon dioxide emissions associated with the combustion of oil, gas, hard coal, and lignite. In order to limit climate change, by 2050, the sheikhs of Saudi Arabia would have to dial down the drills, keeping 38% of oil reserves in the ground regardless of whether carbon capture storage technology is used or not. Prime Minister Stephen Harper would have to call up the oil majors in Alberta and alert them that three-quarters of the country’s oil – most of which is locked up in the Athabasca tar sands – will have to stay put. In the Arctic, 100% of oil and gas reserves must remain undeveloped. McGlade and Elkins assert: “We estimate there to be 100 billion barrels of oil (including natural gas liquids) and 35 trillion cubic metres of gas in fields within the Arctic Circle that are not being produced as of 2010. However, none is produced in any region in either of the 2°C scenarios before 2050. These results indicate to us that all Arctic resources should be classified as unburnable.“  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Fitch: The oil price decline will likely hit local Texas economies
Washington Post
Niraj Chokshi

Texas and many of its larger cities are well equipped to withstand lost oil revenues, but the months-long decline in oil prices could hit some local governments hard, says credit rating agency Fitch. “The state overall and many of the larger municipalities have well-diversified economies, and Fitch expects any losses in oil revenue to be limited and offset to some degree by increased consumer spending based on current forecast scenarios,” the agency said in a Tuesday note. “However, a number of local governments in the three major production areas of the state will likely see declines in taxable values and weaker economic activity if oil prices do not recover and exploration slows.”  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Obama to call for new methane regulation in State of the Union address
The Guardian
Suzanne Goldenberg

Barack Obama will unveil a new plan to cut methane from America’s booming oil and gas industry ahead of the State of the Union address, in an attempt to cement his climate legacy during his remaining two years in the White House. The new methane rules – expected ahead of the State of the Union speech next week – are the last big chance for Obama to fight climate change, campaigners said. “It is the largest opportunity to deal with climate pollution that this administration has not already seized,” said David Doniger, director of the climate and clean air programme at the Natural Resources Defence Council. Methane is the second biggest driver of climate change, after carbon dioxide. On a 20-year timescale, it is 87 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Obama to Call for Increased Methane Regulation in State of the Union Address
Inside Climate News


Guardian) Barack Obama will unveil a new plan to cut methane from America’s booming oil and gas industry ahead of the State of the Union address, in an attempt to cement his climate legacy during his remaining two years in the White House. The new methane rules – expected ahead of the State of the Union speech next week – are the last big chance for Obama to fight climate change, campaigners said. "It is the largest opportunity to deal with climate pollution that this administration has not already seized," said David Doniger, director of the climate and clean air programme at the Natural Resources Defence Council.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
The Methane Monster Roars
truthoutDahr Jamail


During a recent hike in Washington State's Olympic National Park, I marveled at the delicate geometry of frost-covered ferns. White crystalline structures seemed to grow from the green leaves, encasing them in a frozen frame of temporary beauty. Progressing further up into the mountains, I stopped to lunch and sip hot coffee from a thermos while gazing across a river valley at a snow-covered mountainside, sizing up a frozen waterfall for a possible ice climb in the future. Yet I found myself beginning to wonder how many more winters ice would continue to form there. The disparity of the beauty before me with my troubled thoughts about the planet has found no reconciliation. I had been collecting data and conducting interviews for articles about methane releases in the Arctic for weeks, and pondering the information through the holidays only led me into depression. Going out into the mountains helped, but also provoked grave concerns for our collective future.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
NASA awards $30M grant to Penn State
RD Mag


Penn State Univ. will lead a five-year, $30 million mission to improve quantification of present-day carbon-related greenhouse gas sources and sinks. An improved understanding of these gases will advance our ability to predict and manage future climate change. "Atmospheric Carbon and Transport-America" is one of five airborne studies funded by NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder Program to improve our understanding of the Earth system and our ability to predict future changes. In 2015, NASA aircraft will begin five studies around the world to investigate how global air pollution, climate forcing, warming ocean waters and fires in Africa affect our climate. The five studies were competitively selected as part of NASA's Earth Venture-class missions and are the second series of NASA's Earth Venture suborbital investigations.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Obama Administration to Unveil Plans to Cut Methane Emissions
NY Times
Coral Davenport

WASHINGTON — In President Obama’s latest move using executive authority to tackle climate change, administration officials are announcing plans this week to impose new regulations on the oil and gas industry’s emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Environmental concerns spur controversy over Constitution Pipeline project
WBNG
Kerry Longobucco

(WBNG Binghamton) Tensions ran high Monday night at a public hearing on the Constitution Pipeline project, as residents for and against weighed in on the proposed plan of a 17-mile pipeline that could snake through the town of Sanford. Hundreds of community members sat in on the hearing about the pipeline, which would deliver natural gas from Pennsylvania to markets in New England and New York.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Activists sink gas compressor's tax break
Daily Star
Joe Mahoney

Local environmental activists helped persuade Montgomery County’s industrial agency to reject a package of tax benefits that would have saved the Dominion Transmission Corp. millions of dollars in expanding a natural gas compressor station in the town of Minden. Despite getting turned down for the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, agreement, however, Dominion said Monday it will move ahead with its plan to make $48 million worth of upgrades to the Brookman Corners Station in Minden, about five miles north of Cherry Valley. Don Houser, Dominion’s director of government affairs, said the compressor station expansion will stand out as “one of the most expensive public utility projects to be constructed in the area.”  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Cuomo taps Zucker for health commissioner
pressconnects


ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to remove the "acting" label from Acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker's title. Cuomo on Tuesday tapped Zucker to become the state's permanent health commissioner, pending Senate confirmation. Zucker has filled in as the state's top health commissioner since May, when then-commissioner Nirav Shah abruptly resigned and took a job with Kaiser Permanente in California. Zucker's appointment comes a month after he completed a review of hydraulic fracturing's impact on public health, with Zucker recommending the state prevent large-scale fracking from moving forward in New York.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Environmentalists Target Fracking in Gulf of Mexico
Latin American Herald Tribune


WASHINGTON – The Center for Biological Diversity has sued the U.S. government, alleging it has failed to release public documents revealing the extent and risks of offshore hydraulic fracturing by oil and gas companies in the Gulf of Mexico. “The public has a right to know where, when and how much fracking the federal government is allowing in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Kristen Monsell, an attorney with the center.   [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Pipeline foes turn attention to cleanup in fight over Keystone XL
Omaha.com
Joe Duggan

LINCOLN — Nebraska has a law dictating how oil pipeline routes are approved, but not regulating how they are abandoned. Omaha attorney Dave Domina, who argued the unsuccessful legal challenge to the Keystone XL pipeline in Nebraska, called on state lawmakers Monday to protect landowners for the day the project stops operations. “Why should we in Nebraska have to clean up when some foreign company’s for-profit run comes to an end across the state?” Domina said in a video statement released after last week’s State Supreme Court decision that allowed the routing law to stand.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Caught on camera, Tom O'Mara apologizes for outburst
Times Union
Matthew Hamilton

State Sen. Tom O’Mara apologized Tuesday for his outburst at a man who had been peppering him with questions about the lawmaker’s support for the proposed liquified petroleum gas storage facility near Seneca Lake, a project that has drawn the ire of many environmental groups. The video, obtained by the Times Union, shows a five-minute encounter shot on the evening of Dec. 13. The video is of poor quality, and the Chemung County Republican said he had no idea he was being surreptitiously taped. The anonymous videographer approaches O’Mara and his wife, who is behind the driver’s seat, and asks, “What’s your goal for this area?” “Prosperity,” O’Mara replies. “Wine, prosperity.”  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
As Frac Sand Mining Expands, Community Activists Face Off Against Companies
truthout
Mara kardas-Nelson

Some mornings, Patricia Popple of Chippiwa County, Wisconsin, has to wipe dust off her car before she can drive anywhere. On other days, worried neighbors call her to say that dust has settled on the nearby school. Down the road, Victoria Trinko, a family farmer, has been diagnosed with environmentally induced asthma. In order to breathe properly, she uses an inhaler and nasal spray twice a day. The fine dust coating Popple's car, the school and Trinko's airways is a product of frac sand mining, a relatively unknown industry essential to the fracking boom. Sand found in hills across the country, but particularly in the Midwest, is used as a natural "proppant." It helps to keep holes borne by water and chemicals open so that gas and oil can come out. Wisconsin acts as the heart of the industry, with sands mined in the state making up 75 percent of the US market.   [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Another Round of Appointments for Cuomo’s Second Term
The New York Times
Susanne Crag

ALBANY — It is hiring season in Albany. For the third consecutive day, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York on Tuesday announced a big round of appointments to state jobs and committee posts. The governor, a Democrat, nominated his acting health commissioner, Dr. Howard A. Zucker, to take over formally at the Health Department. Dr. Zucker stepped into the spotlight late last year after he concluded that hydraulic fracturing, a controversial form of extracting natural gas from deep underground known commonly as fracking, could not be conducted safely in the state.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Obama Is Said to Be Planning New Rules on Oil and Gas Industry’s Methane Emissions
The New York Times
CORAL DAVENPORT

WASHINGTON — In President Obama’s latest move using executive authority to tackle climate change, administration officials will announce plans this week to impose new regulations on the oil and gas industry’s emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, according to a person familiar with Mr. Obama’s plans. The administration’s goal is to cut methane emissions from oil and gas production by up to 45 percent by 2025 from the levels recorded in 2012. The Environmental Protection Agency will issue the proposed regulations this summer, and final regulations by 2016, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the administration had asked the person not to speak about the plan. The White House declined to comment on the effort.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Robert Redford: Why Keystone XL Is the Wrong Choice for America
EcoWatch
Robert Redford

The new Republican majority in Congress wants to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline for dirty tar sands oil. President Obama announced he will veto bills that bypass the official review of Keystone XL.   [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Fracking debate flares as industry struggles
The Telegram
Ashley Fitzpatrick

The debate around fracking in Newfoundland and Labrador flared up Monday on the heels of a celebrity-packed plea for an anti-fracking buffer zone around Gros Morne National Park, and a separate call for a provincewide ban on hydraulic fracturing from a group of provincial residents. A map of the licence areas offshore western?Newfoundland, from spring 2013. The picture is quite different today, with no bids on four exploration licences put up for grabs and companies losing the right to explore previously active areas, including the area adjacent to Gros Morne National Park. A moratorium for fracking onshore and increased regulatory costs for drilling offshore stand as hurdles to rapid oil industry advancement in the region. — Submitted image/Image courtesy of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board A moratorium stands on the use of fracking for oil and gas operations in onshore Newfoundland and Labrador. A government-appointed panel is launching a formal review of the practice, even as calls roll out for more immediate and permanent actions. "We were pleased to hear that this threat has been temporarily reduced, with the declaration of a moratorium on fracking in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the petroleum exploration licence off Gros Morne not being renewed. However, these temporary measures will not prevent similar harmful industrial proposals in the future," reads a Jan. 5 letter calling for a protected area around the national park, sent to the premier, prime minister and UNESCO World Heritage Committee.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
California's New Fracking Rules: Too Little, Too Early?
Inside Climate News
Zahra Hirji

On Dec. 30, 2014, California regulators released new state rules for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. State regulators and members of industry have repeatedly hailed the rigorous rules, which go into effect July 1. Dr. Steven Bohlen, California's state oil-and-gas supervisor, called them "as strict or stricter than any other state's."  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Economc development can’t come at expense of tourism: Nicolle
The Western Star
Cory Hurley

The questions on hydraulic fracturing will keep coming from Rocky Harbour’s mayor until he hears the answers he can live with. Caribou near Western Brook. — Photo by Parks Canada-Sheldon Stone Other news UPDATED: Corner Brook RNC locate missing teen Woman arrested for assault Flurries all over today Police search Corner Brook business Teen charged with mischief to property Too many questions around waste management:?Bingle Database will recognize Mi’kmaq ancestry of soldiers who served in the First World War Titans, Panthers battle to high school hockey tie Walter Nicolle said the council of the lower Northern Peninsula town is listening closely to the debate over fracking, especially as it pertains to the Gros Morne National Park area. With economic development being essential for the area and environmental concerns paramount in the discussion, the mayor said he has not yet heard enough to draw support in favour or opposed to the controversial oil and gas mining method.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
FERC sets public meetings on PennEast pipeline through Hunterdon
NJ.com
Terry Wright

The proposed PennEast pipeline through Hunterdon will be the subject of five public meetings starting Jan. 27 before staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in the “scoping” process to gather input from area residents and agencies. The first meeting is set for Tuesday, Jan. 27, at the College of New Jersey in Ewing Township. Later sessions will be Jan. 28 at Bucks County Community College in Newtown, Pa.; Feb.10 at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pa.; Feb. 11 at Penn’s Peak concert center in Jim Thorpe, Pa. and finally Feb. 12 at the Best Western Hotel & Conference Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. All start at 6 p.m.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
“Final” May Be a Misnomer for California’s Final Fracking Regulations
National Law Review


The California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources recently issued a “final” set of rules for regulating hydraulic fracturing in California that replace the interim rules that have been in effect since January 2014. Across the United States, interested parties have been watching California to see how the state would wrestle with the myriad of issues related to hydraulic fracturing (commonly referred to as “fracking”). The California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) just issued the next installment on this highly charged subject in the form of the final proposed regulations on well stimulation, as mandated by Senate Bill 4 (SB 4), the law signed by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2014 that set basic fracking standards.[1] These new regulations, which will become effective on July 1, 2015, replace the emergency interim fracking rules that have been in effect since January 2014.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
US Manufacturers Are Bracing For Impact Of Oil Price Plunge As Energy Companies Scale Back Crude Production
International Business Times
Maria Gallucci

U.S. manufacturers are bracing for impact as plunging crude oil prices force energy producers to cancel or postpone new drilling projects. The slowdown in activity could spread beyond the energy sector, delivering a hit to steelmakers, local banks and construction firms, even as U.S. consumers benefit from lower energy bills. “There’s a heightened sense of concern” among the makers of steel tubes, sheet metal, generator parts and other products that oil and gas companies use to produce fossil fuels, said Dan Davis, who runs a magazine in Illinois for the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, a trade group. “Everybody is in a waiting game to see whether prices are going to bounce back.”  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Fracking registration off to slow start in Illinois
St Louis Post Dispatch
AP

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. • Two months since Illinois enacted rules for high-volume oil and gas drilling, no company has applied for a state permit to put hydraulic fracturing to use. The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports Denver-based Strata-X Energy registered Nov. 14 with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. But the company hasn't formally applied to begin so-called fracking. The Illinois Oil and Gas Association's Brad Richards believes the slow response may be because of the state's delay in adopting regulatory rules, as well as low oil prices that may have discouraged energy companies.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Fracking rivals brace for pipeline hearings
Daily Star
Joe Mahoney

COOPERSTOWN — A landowners’ group is urging supporters of natural gas drilling to use state hearings on the Constitution Pipeline project this week as a forum for sounding off against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing. The hearings are intended to elicit public comment on the state Department of Environmental Conservation permits that both the pipeline and a related compressor station project in Schoharie County need for the $700 million natural gas transmission system to move forward.  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Halliburton could join UK fracking firm Third Energy at Yorkshire test site
The Guardian
Damian Carrington

Campaigners have raised concerns over fracking in Yorkshire potentially being carried out by US drilling contractors Halliburton, the company that paid out over $1bn to settle claims over its role in the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and admitted destroying evidence. Third Energy has said it will apply to drill for shale gas at Kirby Misperton in Ryedale and a spokesman told the Guardian it intends Halliburton to be the drilling contractor. “As is normal in the oil and gas industry, Third Energy is discussing the scope of work, for various services and equipment contracts, with a range of potential sub-contractors,” he said. “At this stage no contracts have been awarded but Halliburton is one of the companies with whom we are in discussion.”  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Tullow Oil to cut jobs as North Sea braces for investment slump
The Telegraph
Andrew Critchlow

Tullow Oil is gearing up to announce job cuts by the end of the first quarter as UK and North Sea oil and gas companies scramble to cut costs in line with the savage fall in the price of crude. The company, which owns assets in the North Sea but is increasingly focused on Africa, is currently conducting a review of staffing levels and details of cuts could be presented to the market as early as its next earnings statement due next month. A source close to the company told the Telegraph: “There will be a reduction in head count. Unquestionably, there will be a smaller Tullow at the end of this major streamlining process.”  [Full Story]

Jan 13, 2015
Netherlands: Groningen rocked by earthquakes from natural gas extraction
World Socialist Web Site
Josh Varlin

Several earthquakes over the past year in the province of Groningen, the Netherlands, have highlighted the dangers of natural gas extraction in the area. The most recent quake registered 2.8 on the Richter scale on December 29 and was centered a mere 11 kilometers (approximately 7 miles) from the city of Groningen itself. The quakes are the result of ground settling following gas drilling. Past quakes have prompted some action from Dutch authorities, who have been forced to provide assistance to infrastructure and houses damaged by previous quakes. Approximately 40,000 properties are considered at risk of damage by earthquakes and are being inspected by government authorities. The earthquakes are a relatively new phenomenon in the province, with none on record prior to 1986. Gas extraction in the area first began in 1963 and rapidly expanded to exploit the vast natural resources in the province.   [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
This Is Just The Beginning Of The Great American Oil Bust
Seeking Alpha


"This is going to be a painful period of time," explained Texas Governor Rick Perry. The oil price plunge is going to make things "very uncomfortable" in the oil patch of Texas. There would be "a bit of belt-tightening in places," and some areas would "have to make some changes," he said. His speech to a conservative forum on Friday in Austin made one thing clear: for Texas, the largest oil-producing state in the nation, the oil bust won't be easy, even if seen from the perennially optimistic point of view of a politician. It won't be easy for any oil-producing state -- or the country.  [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Sand boom headed for uncertainty, Moody’s says
Fuel Fix
Robert Grattan

HOUSTON — Proppant suppliers have been in an impressive boom for the past several years as producers have pumped ever larger amounts of sand and ceramics down their wells. But with crude prices falling and a drilling slowdown on the horizon, the need for sand and other materials is looking much more uncertain. Proppants, often sand or similar man-made ceramic materials, are pumped into a well during the hydraulic fracturing process to hold open fissures and enable oil to flow from the shale into the well and to the surface. Demand for proppants has grown rapidly for several years as producers have drilled longer and more complex wells. But with crude prices down more than 55 percent since the summer of 2014, sand producers are facing uncertainty about how much of the material will be needed in the next few years.  [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Oil's slip could send Texas economy sliding
WFAA
Max B. Baker

When Ross Craft graduated from Texas A&M as a petroleum engineer in 1980, everything was great and the oil business was blowing and going. Then the bottom fell out. By 1983, Craft said, the bustling Houston office he worked in had become a ghost town: Where there used to be 21 engineers, there were now only three. So when oil dipped below $50 a barrel last week for the first time since 2009 — a spectacular drop from $107 in June — he didn't panic. He just started to hunker down. "I've lived through these cycles," said Craft, 58, chairman and chief executive officer of Approach Resources, a Fort Worth-based oil and gas exploration company. "It's not going to be comfortable, but we will survive and come out of this stronger."  [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Midwife Attacked for Asking Why Babies Are Dying in Oil Boomtown
Moyers & Company
Anastasia Pantsios

This post first appeared at EcoWatch. When a polluting industry creates jobs and economic activity, especially in the very poor areas where these industries often land, there’s a tendency of citizens to want to deny any impact on its health or environment. Such a clash of interests has reached a sad impasse in a Utah oil boom town where some citizens are scapegoating a midwife who is raising questions about a spate of infant deaths.  [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Mahoning County: Study confirms connection between fracking and earthquake risk
Farm Dairy
Kristy Foster Seachrist

Miami University scientists, Robert J. Skoumal, Michael R. Brudzinski, and Brian S. Currie, studied the seismic activity in Mahoning County’s Poland Township from March 2014, and determined that 77 earthquakes occurred, but only a couple were actually felt. The study linked the hydraulic fracturing on nearby shale wells drilled by Hilcorp Energy to that seismic activity, which occurred along an unknown fault. “This activity did not create a new fault, rather it activated one that we didn’t know about prior to the seismic activity,” Skoumal said in a news release.  [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Fracking opponents fighting East Coast natural gas terminal
Ohio.com
Wayne Parry AP

EATONTOWN, N.J. — All that would peek above the ocean waves off New York and New Jersey would be two small buoys tethered to underwater pipes. But they’re already casting a large shadow, with potential effects on the economy of the New York metropolitan area, the marine environment, and even America’s future as a net importer or exporter of energy. Liberty Natural Gas wants to build a deep-water port in federal waters 19 miles off Jones Beach, New York, and 29 miles off Long Branch, New Jersey. Its stated purpose is to bring additional natural gas into the New York area during times of peak demand, thereby lowering home-heating prices.  [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
EARTHQUAKE SPOILS MINISTER’S FRACKING VISIT
NI Times
Taneli Savela

Overnight, another earthquake hit the province of Groningen with a magnitude of 2.0 on Richter scale, reports the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, KNMI. The quake is believed to be caused by gas extraction in the Hoogezand-Sappemeer municipality.   [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Asheville City Council moves Jan. 13 meeting to U.S. Cellular Center
Mountain Xpress
Margaret Williams

After a major water line break that flooded the 6th floor of City Hall and put a stop (for now) to elevator service, Asheville Council members will hold their Tuesday, Jan. 13, meeting in the U.S. Cellular Center’s banquet hall. It’s their first meeting of 2015 and they plan to ask North Carolina legislators to re-instate a moratorium on fracking in the state.   [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
BLM postpones oil and gas lease sale
Casper Star Tirbune
Susan Montoya Bryan

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Bureau of Land Management has postponed an oil and gas lease sale for more than 4 square miles in northwestern New Mexico, saying more time is needed to review public comments that have raised concerns about environmental justice and other issues.  [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Environmental Focus: Oil Trains
WXXI News
Brad Smith

One group told WXXI as of its latest survey last summer, neither the state or federal government has added safety inspectors, rules or provided safety materials to towns like ours. "It's a recipe for disasters,” said Travis Proulx of Environmental Advocates of New York.   [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Poland's shale gas revolution evaporates in face of environmental protests Fear and loathing stalk Poland’s shale fields, where a 400-day site occupation stopped a Chevron drill earlier this year
The Guardian
Arthur Neslen

For 400 days, farmers and their families from Zurawlow and four nearby villages blockaded a proposed Chevron shale drilling site with tractors and agricultural machinery. Eventually, in July, the company abandoned its plans.   [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
As North Texas Quakes Continue, Experts Look For A Cause
KERA News
BJ Austin

Another small earthquake vibrated Irving Sunday night: a magnitude of 2.5 at 7:46 p.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That makes 17 in the last week in North Texas, most of them around the old Texas Stadium site in Irving. As the quakes continue, speculation circulates as to what's causing them. The double-digit swarm of small quakes has the Dallas City Council and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins talking about how to get ready for a bigger one.   [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Senate Keystone debate to delve into climate, oil exports
Politico
Elana Schor

The Senate’s Monday vote to start the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline bill has opened the legislative floodgates for the new GOP Congress, with members on both sides of the aisle set to unleash a torrent of politically sensitive energy amendments on issues such as crude oil exports and climate change.   [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Oil Producers Betting on Price Drop With OPEC Not Curbing Output
Bloomberg
Dan Murtaugh

The oil industry was listening as OPEC talked down crude prices to a more than five-year low. Drillers, refiners and other merchants increased bets on lower prices to the most in three years in the week ended Jan. 6, government data show. Producers idled the most rigs since 1991, with some paying to break leases on drilling equipment.   [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Environmentalists target fracking in Gulf of Mexico
Fox News Latino
Beatriz Pascual Macias

The Center for Biological Diversity has sued the U.S. government, alleging it has failed to release public documents revealing the extent and risks of offshore hydraulic fracturing by oil and gas companies in the Gulf of Mexico. The public has a right to know where, when and how much fracking the federal government is allowing in the Gulf of Mexico," Kristen Monsell, an attorney with the center, said.   [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Fracking may activate faults, linked to Ohio earthquakes in 2014
ZME Science


Hydraulic fracking is responsible for a swarm of earthquakes, one of which was felt by Ohio residents in March 2014, a study has found. While the earthquake hag a magnitude of only 3.0 degrees, it is believed that it may have activated a geological fault and may ultimately lead to more significant temblors.   [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Q&A: CEO of Monolith Solar on New York's fracking ban
Albany Business Review
David Robinson

When New York banned hydraulic fracturing, a controversial natural gas drilling technique, there were plenty of winners and losers.   [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Artists press Harper for buffer to spare Gros Morne park from fracking
Globe and Mail


Canadian artists, writers and musicians ranging from Hey Rosetta to novelist Joseph Boyden are pushing for action to protect Gros Morne National Park in western Newfoundland. They’ve signed an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Paul Davis urging a buffer zone to prevent hydraulic fracturing and other development near the UNESCO world heritage site.   [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Poland's shale gas revolution evaporates in face of environmental protests
The Guardian
Arthur Nelsen

“Whenever Chevron organised anything, we demonstrated,” said Barbara Siegienczuk, 54, leader of the local anti-shale gas protest group Green Zurawlow in south-eastern Poland. “We made banners and placards and put posters up around the village. Only 96 people live in Zurawlow – children and old people included – but we stopped Chevron!” For 400 days, farmers and their families from Zurawlow and four nearby villages blockaded a proposed Chevron shale drilling site with tractors and agricultural machinery. Eventually, in July, the company abandoned its plans.   [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Coalition asks feds to pay up for Delaware River Basin Commission
Newsworks
CAROLYN BEELER

A coalition of conservation and sporting groups is circulating a letter asking the federal government to restore funding to the Delaware River Basin Commission in the next budget cycle. The U.S. government has met its 20 percent funding obligation for the regional watershed commission, known as the DRBC, only once since the 1996-1997 fiscal year. "Even worse than the lack of the federal funding is that it allows other state contributing parties, such as Pennsylvania, to point to the lack of federal funding when they decide to slash their own budget for DRBC, so their budget is on a real downward spiral," said Kim Beidler, director of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, the nonprofit asking its members to sign the letter to Washington policymakers.  [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
A Turning Point on Climate?
Future Hope
Ted Glick

Is the climate movement at a political tipping point? Could right now, 2015, this moment in history, be something akin to the 1964-1965 period for the civil rights movement? Those were the years that two major pieces of legislation, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, ended legal segregation in the South and opened the way for a whole series of positive social, cultural, and political changes in the USA in the years since. If looked at in that light, the answer is almost certainly “no.” Given the dominance of the Senate and the House by climate denier Republicans, it is extremely unrealistic to expect major national climate legislation until 2017 at the earliest. However, there are other things at work, three in particular:  [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Algeria plans $70bn fracking investment despite public protest
Middle East Eye


Plans for huge investment in the controversial technology come after weeks of protest over environmental concerns After successful test drilling in Algeria's southern desert last month, state-owned gas company Sonatrach said on Sunday that it plans to invest in fracking technology over the next two decades.   [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Florida State Representative: Ban Fracking, Significant Risk To Public Health & To Water Supply
Clean Technica
James Ayre

It looks as though opposition to the practice of fracking has finally started to coalesce even in the political world, based on recent statements and positions taken in places not known for their environmental boldness and leadership. In particular, recent statements from one of Florida’s state representative stand out (to my mind) due to how blunt they are — calling for the banning of fracking (via a bill he introduced) in the state, owing to the great public health risks posed by the practice, and the risk to the state’s water supply.   [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Mahoning County: Study confirms connection between fracking and earthquake risk
Farm & Dairy
Kristy Foster Seachrist

SALEM, Ohio — Three Miami University scientists have concluded that earthquakes experienced last March, just miles from shale wells in Lowellville, Ohio, can be tied to hydraulic fracturing.  [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Comment period begins for proposed Md. fracking rules
Eagle Ford Texas
Associated Press

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — The Maryland Department of the Environment has opened a 30-day public comment period on proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in western Maryland. It remains to be seen whether the incoming administration of Republican Gov.-elect Larry Hogan will implement the rules published in Friday’s Maryland Register.  [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
DEC Extends Comment Period For Pipeline
North Country Gazette


ALBANY—The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has extended the public comment period on the draft permit for the proposed, federally regulated Constitution Pipeline and an upgrade to the Iroquois Wright Compressor station in Schoharie County by an additional 28 days. Public comments on the proposed project will now be accepted until close of business on Friday, Feb, 27. The Constitution Pipeline is a proposed interstate natural gas pipeline that would traverse though Broome, Chenango, Delaware and Schoharie counties.  [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Senate Votes to Proceed on Keystone XL Pipeline Bill
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

After a short debate on the floor today, the Senate voted 63-32 to overcome a 60-vote threshold to begin debate on SB 1—the bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. This is the first time the Senate has been able to clear this key procedural hurdle, thanks to a now Republican-controlled Senate. Ten Democrats and one independent—Senator Angus King of Maine—voted with Republicans to move forward on the bill.  [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Senate to Debate Keystone XL, Setting Stage for More Energy Battles
New York Times
Coral Davenport

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted Monday to take up a bill that would force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, opening a debate on energy and climate change that will preview other clashes to come between President Obama and the new Republican Congress. It will also set the stage for the energy and climate battles of the presidential election next year.   [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
Asheville City Officials to Discuss Fracking Resolution
WLOS


JACKSON COUNTY, N.C. -- Asheville city officials will discuss a resolution against fracking, Tuesday. The resolution would call on the state to not explore future fracking in Buncombe County, Asheville or Western North Carolina. The news comes as The Jackson County Board of Commissioners and its newly elected members passed a resolution against fracking with very similar language. "And we would like very much the legislature to reinstate the ban on fracking and to delegate back to the local governments authority to manage this," Jackson County Manager Chuck Wooten said. The Ashevile City Council resolution would call for the same things. Sylva, Franklin, Bryson City, Swain and Haywood Counties already passed resolutions against fracking.  [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
County set to defy state and regulate fracking companies
Sylva Herald
Quintin Ellison

Commissioners plan to regulate hydraulic fracking locally, placing Jackson County on a potential collision course with energy companies in the unlikely event they come here. Jackson County’s decision represents an apparent first in Western North Carolina. Other governments in the mountains have anti-fracking resolutions, but only the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians – which enjoys sovereignty -- has been as provocative. The Eastern Band banned the technology on tribal lands. Fracking allows energy companies to extract natural gas by shattering rock using high-pressure mixtures of chemicals, sand and water. North Carolina law prohibits counties and towns from setting limits on oil and gas exploration, development or production. In states with similar bans, energy companies are suing local governments that stand in their way. The battles have been costly. Thursday, commissioners unanimously passed an anti-fracking resolution using the same generalized language as those adopted by other WNC counties and towns. But in what Chairman Brian McMahan called a “secondary component,” commissioners went further. They instructed the planning board to “immediately review” current local law and “suggest changes or a new ordinance that gives us the protections that we need.”   [Full Story]

Jan 12, 2015
How the shale gas industry helped defeat Gov. Tom Corbett
Digital Journal
Robert Magyar

Harrisburg - Tom Corbett became the only GOP incumbent governor not re-elected for a second term in the recent 2014 mid-term elections. Backed by the powerful oil and gas industry, it appears this overwhelming industry support may have cost Corbett a second term.   [Full Story]

Jan 11, 2015
Citizen Action Group To Thank Governor Cuomo After Ban on Fracking
Fox WICZ


After Governor Cuomo announces a ban on all fracking in New York State, members of Citizen Action are celebrating the victory. The group has been present at just about all fracking hearings within the past year the organizations say the Governor made the right decision based on scientific studies.   [Full Story]

Jan 11, 2015
With low oil, gasoline prices, is Keystone still necessary?
Washington Post
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A 50-percent plunge in the price of crude oil, resulting from abundant global oil supplies, and cheaper gasoline at the pump raise critical questions about whether the Keystone XL oil pipeline is still needed or even makes financial sense.  [Full Story]

Jan 11, 2015
Carbon Counterattack
Moyers & Company
Michael T. Klare

Around the world, carbon-based fuels are under attack. Increasingly grim economic pressures, growing popular resistance, and the efforts of government regulators have all shocked the energy industry. Oil prices are falling, colleges and universities are divesting from their carbon stocks, voters are instituting curbs on hydro-fracking, and delegates at the UN climate conference in Peru have agreed to impose substantial restrictions on global carbon emissions at a conference in Paris later in the year. All this has been accompanied by what might be viewed as a moral assault on the very act of extracting carbon-based fuels from the earth, in which the major oil, gas, and coal companies find themselves portrayed as the enemies of humankind.  [Full Story]

Jan 11, 2015
Center for Sustainable Shale Development aims to raise standards
Tribune-Review
David Conti

"The only thing that the center accomplished successfully was to provide a false greenwashing opportunity for the drilling industry and for politicians,” said Delaware Riverkeeper's Maya van Rossum, a critic of natural gas development.   [Full Story]

Jan 11, 2015
Keystone debate exposes sobering truths about Canadian energy trade
Globe and Mail
Barrie McKenna

U.S. President Barack Obama hasn’t delivered his final verdict on the Keystone XL pipeline. But the furious political debate over the $8-billion (U.S.) pipeline has laid bare some sobering truths about Canadian energy trade.   [Full Story]

Jan 11, 2015
Science sinks drillers in New York gas debate
The Times-Tribune
RONALD FRASER

After a long and open public debate, the American oil and gas industry — accustomed to getting its way — has a hard time accepting the recent decision to ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing in New York state. Why did the legal, political and administrative institutions in New York conclude the health and environmental risks associated with gas drilling simply were too great? First, these public institutions­ ­— bound by the state constitution to protect the health, safety and welfare of New Yorkers — took the time needed to study this environmentally invasive, industrial-scale technology before deciding to prohibit drilling. This did not happen in Pennsylvania.  [Full Story]

Jan 11, 2015
New York's fracking ban has Pennsylvania ties, implications
The Republican Herald
Brendan Gibbons

Local residents and activists brought the scientific, political and media spotlight to the industry’s operations in Susquehanna, Bradford and Wyoming counties. New York health officials cited studies conducted in Pennsylvania when they made their case for a ban. The news prompted Susquehanna County resident Victoria Switzer — caught up in a well-publicized water contamination case in Dimock Township in 2008, later becoming a prominent advocate for stronger oversight of the gas industry — to revisit some of her memories of what she now calls the “Gas Wars.” “When the announcement came, it was a physical feeling,” Switzer said. “It made it so real.”   [Full Story]

Jan 11, 2015
Idea for Gas Terminal off East Coast Rankles Fracking Foes
ABC News
Wayne Parry

Opponents' safety concerns include the possibility of a so-called "pool fire" from a leak of the liquefied gas into the water, or the formation of a flammable vapor cloud due to a leak. But the agencies concluded "even large flammable vapor clouds would not reach the shore and impact population areas." The agencies also said precautions would be taken against a terrorist attack, though they did not make those steps public for security reasons. An exclusion zone of 2.4 square miles would apply to vessels not affiliated with the project, but because the buoys would be 27 miles from the mouth of New York Harbor, that should not harm shipping, the agencies said.  [Full Story]

Jan 11, 2015
Largest methane cloud in the U.S. grows
The Columbus Dispatch
Joby Warrick

CUBA, N.M. — The methane that leaks from 40,000 gas wells near this desert trading post is colorless and odorless, but it’s not invisible. It can be seen from space. Satellites that sweep over energy-rich northern New Mexico can spot the gas as it escapes from drilling rigs, compressors and miles of pipeline snaking across the badlands. In the air, it forms a giant plume: a permanent methane cloud so vast that scientists questioned their data when they first studied it three years ago. “We couldn’t be sure that the signal was real,” said NASA researcher Christian Frankenberg.  [Full Story]

Jan 11, 2015
Trafficked Report
Forum News Service


Forum News Service takes on the issue of human trafficking and female exploitation in this seven-part in-depth reporting series. We explore the emerging crisis as it unfolds in the Oil Patch of western ND, as well as in Minnesota and South Dakota.  [Full Story]

Jan 11, 2015
Trafficked: Searching for solutions in the Northland
Duluth News Tribune
Brady Slater

It was dark outside, with freezing conditions unfit for a normal stroll, when the actors in this particular human-trafficking drama filed into a tucked-away room of a downtown Duluth high-rise. It was a small group — half men, half women. Trafficking is a problem that often is clandestine and left to the shadows; now the hunt for solutions was taking place after dark, too.  [Full Story]

Jan 11, 2015
At least one major oil company will turn its back on fossil fuels, says scientist
The Guardian
Terry Macalister

The oil price crash coupled with growing concerns about global warming will encourage at least one of the major oil companies to turn its back on fossil fuels in the near future, predicts an award-winning scientist and former industry adviser. Dr Jeremy Leggett, who has had consultations on climate change with senior oil company executives over 25 years, says it will not be a rerun of the BP story when the company launched its “beyond petroleum” strategy and then did a U-turn. “One of the oil companies will break ranks and this time it is going to stick,” he said. “The industry is facing plunging commodity prices and soaring costs at risky projects in the Arctic, deepwater Brazil and elsewhere.  [Full Story]

Jan 11, 2015
North Dakota fracking town’s economy collapses as oil prices plummet
Raw Story
Reuters

CROSBY, N.D. (Reuters) – Just over a decade ago, this sleepy farming community on the fringe of North Dakota’s Bakken shale formation hosted the state’s first horizontal oil well to be hydraulically fractured, or fracked, helping set in motion an economic revolution that shook the world. Today, Divide County may be another vanguard for the state, this time ominous, as the first to feel the full effect of a collapse in prices that has lopped more than 50 percent off the price of oil since the summer.  [Full Story]

Jan 11, 2015
New York fracking ban leads to questions about the practice in North Dakota.
WDAY/WDAZ ABC-ND


A recent ban on fracking in New York has many wondering about the practice widely used in North Dakota. Environmental groups are concerned that the extraction technique could cause harmful chemicals to get into our water sources.  [Full Story]

Jan 11, 2015
Slow going for fracking registration in Illinois
State Journal-Register
Tim Landis

A Denver energy firm has become the first company to register for hydraulic fracturing in Illinois since regulations for the controversial oil production technique were approved in November, As of last week, Strata-X Energy also was the only registrant.   [Full Story]

Jan 10, 2015
NY fracking ban seen as having little impact on supply
Washington Times
Mary Esch

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York’s recent decision to ban fracking is hardly seen as a big loss for the nation’s production of natural gas. That’s because scientists say New York’s available reserves of natural gas in the sprawling Marcellus Shale are minuscule compared to what can be extracted in other states such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia.   [Full Story]

Jan 10, 2015
Fracking Industry Shakes Up Northern BC with 231 Tremors
The Tyee
Andrew Nikiforuk

British Columbia's shale gas fracking industry triggered more than 231 earthquakes or 'seismic events' in northeastern British Columbia between Aug. 2013 and Oct. 2014. Some of the quakes were severe enough to 'experience a few seconds of shaking' on the ground in seven areas of the province on top of the large Montney shale gas basin.  [Full Story]

Jan 10, 2015
Bill would mean audits for health department, oil and gas division
The Dickinson Press
Andrew Brown

The frustrations of residents, landowners and mineral rights owners with the North Dakota Division of Oil and Gas and the Department of Health has gained political traction. Over the past year, more and more people — particularly landowners in the Oil Patch — have raised concerns about the way the state government regulates its booming oil industry, and their voices have been heard.  [Full Story]

Jan 10, 2015
NY weighed 'phased rollout' of fracking
WGRZ NBC
Jon Campbell

ALBANY – New York had been considering a "phased rollout" of large-scale hydraulic fracturing in the months prior to deciding to ban it, with the proposal received well by public-health experts the state had asked for advice. The revelation was included in a series of letters from three experts from top universities, who had been contracted by the state to review its proposals for shale-gas drilling and recommend ways to improve them. The letters, written in late 2012 and early 2013, were first disclosed by the state Department of Health last month as part of its report recommending the state not proceed with fracking, the controversial technique used to fracture shale formations and release natural gas.  [Full Story]

Jan 10, 2015
Oil industry accidents put North Dakota hospital $1.5 million in debt
Al Jazeera America


Dr. Gary Ramage is a physician who has lived in Watford City, North Dakota, for 20 years. When he first arrived in the area, it was a farming and ranching community. Some of its fewer than 1,500 residents had wealth tied up in their land and the livestock they raised. “Land rich, cash poor or cow rich, cash poor,” as Ramage told Fault Lines. Today, thanks to an oil boom that began six years ago, the town’s population has more than doubled. Land in western North Dakota that once cost a few hundred dollars per acre is now going for hundreds of times more. Some of Ramage’s friends are collecting royalty checks totaling $80,000 every two weeks for letting oil companies drill on their property. The boomtown economy has trickled down to the businesses that support the new drilling operations, like convenience stores, where Ramage said clerks are paid $17 per hour with benefits, even though the state’s minimum wage is only $7.25.  [Full Story]

Jan 10, 2015
Utah oil town turns against midwife who asked about infant deaths
Los Angeles Times
JOHN M. GLIONNA

Veteran midwife Donna Young prides herself on delivering healthy babies. In 20 years, she has coached hundreds of pregnant women in this energy boomtown. She calls them her girls. When one mother delivered a stillborn infant in May 2013 — Young's first-ever such fatality — she grieved with the parents, who had a plaster cast made of the hands and feet of the daughter they named Natalie.  [Full Story]

Jan 10, 2015
New York fracking ban seen as small loss for US natural gas production
The Post-Standard
Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York's recent decision to ban fracking is hardly seen as a big loss for the nation's production of natural gas. That's because scientists say New York's available reserves of natural gas in the sprawling Marcellus Shale are minuscule compared to what can be extracted in other states such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  [Full Story]

Jan 10, 2015
Environmental concerns raised as oil companies take fresh look at fracking in Kentucky
Kentucky.com
Bill Estep

There's been little heat so far in Kentucky over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a technique of drilling for oil and natural gas that has caused division elsewhere in the country, but now the controversy has gushed up here. The potential to develop a vast underground shale layer that curves from the northeastern part of the state through Central Kentucky has sparked increased interest among oil and gas companies within the last 18 months.   [Full Story]

Jan 10, 2015
How much fracking is happening in the Gulf of Mexico?
Grist
John Light

We don’t know nearly enough about the fracking that’s already going on in the U.S. — that’s the point of two lawsuits filed this past week by environmental advocates against the federal government.  [Full Story]

Jan 10, 2015
Study ties 77 Ohio earthquakes to two fracking wells Geologist: Findings show need for better communication among governments, oil and gas companies and geologists.
Norwalk Reflector


A new study links nearly 80 earthquakes that occurred in Mahoning County in March 2014 to nearby fracking operations.   [Full Story]

Jan 10, 2015
Could Keystone Be America's Last Pipeline?
Politico
ELANA SCHOR

It took a while for Vincent DeVito, like many of those who’ve been working in opposition to new pipelines, to understand what you might call the Keystone effect. DeVito, a former assistant secretary in George W. Bush’s Energy Department, recently started representing Boston-based conservation land trusts opposed to a $4 billion proposal to pipe natural gas across New England. DeVito might never mention Keystone by name in his fight against the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline—which after all is a much different animal, providing a cleaner fuel than the heavy oil Keystone would supply—but he doesn’t need to   [Full Story]

Jan 9, 2015
Any solution? A clash over safe road brine sources
Press Connects
Andrew Cassler

Environmentalists say the New York state practice of spreading brine from underground gas storage onto highways, including those in Tompkins and Broome counties is a health concern. New York state spreads brine from underground gas storage onto highways, including those in Tompkins and Broome counties, to keep drivers safe, but that practice could have its own health consequences. According to Riverkeeper, a Hudson Valley-based environmental advocacy group: •The brine is inadequately tested for radioactive material before it's spread onto highways, with approval based on tests for radioactive material conducted 15 years ago. •The salt-water solution can find its way into drinking water supplies from highway run-off. •The mixture has a carcinogenic chemical that exceeds Environmental Protection Agency standards for drinking water.  [Full Story]

Jan 9, 2015
State considered 'phased rollout' of fracking
Ithaca Journal
Jon Campbell

ALBANY – New York had been considering a "phased rollout" of large-scale hydraulic fracturing in the months prior to deciding to ban it, with the proposal received well by public-health experts the state had asked for advice. The revelation was included in a series of letters from three experts from top universities, who had been contracted by the state to review its proposals for shale-gas drilling and recommend ways to improve them.   [Full Story]

Jan 9, 2015
North Dakota workplace deaths examined in TV report
The Dickinson Press
Amy Dalrymple

WILLISTON — Before North Dakota oil worker Dustin Payne died last fall, he sent text messages to his girlfriend about safety conditions at the worksite.  [Full Story]

Jan 9, 2015
Oil Drillers Bail on U.S. Boom, Idle Most Rigs Since 1991
Bloomberg
Lynn Doan

After six straight months of plunging oil prices, U.S. shale drillers have sent the clearest signal to date that they’re retreating. Thirty-five horizontal rigs, their weapon of choice for reaching oil deposits in tight-rock formations such as North Dakota’s Bakken shale and Texas’s Permian Basin, were idled last week alone. It was the biggest single-week drop since a drilling boom touched off six years ago that propelled domestic production to the highest level in three decades and eventually helped trigger the global price war that the U.S. and OPEC find themselves in today.   [Full Story]

Jan 9, 2015
At public hearing, little support for Port Ambrose L.N.G. project
Capital New York
David Giambusso

The first thing to come under fire at Wednesday's hearing were the hearings themselves. "Let me thank you for doing the absolute minimum to receive public input," Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder, a Queens Democrat, told federal representatives. "You're holding two public hearings for hundreds of thousands of people." That was followed by a litany of complaints from elected officials and residents from New York City and Long Island.  [Full Story]

Jan 9, 2015
The shale oil revolution is in danger
Fortune Magazine
Shawn Tully

The recent drop in oil prices poses a major challenge to the frackers. But oil producers, Wall Street analysts, and most industry experts claim the setback will be brief and minor. Don’t believe them. The basic economics of fracking—what it costs to drill versus what oil now sells for—spells big trouble for the shale boom. At best, today’s producers may be able to hold production close to current levels. What’s gravely endangered is the advertised bonanza that virtually everyone deemed inevitable just a few short months ago. Shale oil production is totally unlike drilling in any other part of the global market. In conventional wells, whether in the Middle East, the Gulf of Mexico, or the North Sea, the wells operate on extremely long cycles. Typically, the amount of crude oil they produce declines at between 2% and 5% per year. Hence, a well that generates 2,000 barrels a day in the first year will yield between 95% and 98% of that quantity in year two. Since the output falls so gradually, wells typically keep pumping for 20 years or longer.  [Full Story]

Jan 9, 2015
Liberty Natural Gas deepwater port faces tough opposition
Asbury Park Press
Dan Radel

EATONTOWN – Legislators provided resistance to Port Ambrose, a proposed deepwater port off the coast here for the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG), at a public comment session before federal agencies Thursday. "I join others ... in steadfast opposition to the construction of the Port Ambrose offshore LNG facility. The environmental implications are far too great and the long term consequences are unforeseeable," said Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, R-Monmouth.   [Full Story]

Jan 9, 2015
JUST SAY NO
The Wave
Mark C. Healey

They came from New Jersey, they came from Long Island and they came from Rockaway, all united in their efforts to make sure the proposed Port Ambrose Liquefied Natural Gas Facility never begins construction. Governor Andrew Cuomo has the power to veto the proposed LNG offshore facility, and the assembled groups are all asking him to veto the project.  [Full Story]

Jan 9, 2015
Proposed LNG facility off N.J. coast draws criticism from hundreds - again
The Star-Ledger
MaryAnne Spoto

EATONTOWN —Hundreds of people turned up the heat Thursday night on a proposed liquefied natural gas facility off the coast of New Jersey as they voiced their objections to a project they said would jeopardize security to the area while benefiting an industry that doesn’t need to import gas to the U.S. Some of the state’s top lawmakers from both political parties expressed their frustration at having to revisit the topic barely three years after Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a similar proposal in 2011.  [Full Story]

Jan 9, 2015
Teachout, ‘Gasland’ director plan climate change tour
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—Former Democratic gubernatorial challenger Zephyr Teachout is joining with the director of the anti-fracking documentary Gasland to tour dozens of New York towns to talk about climate change and the importance of renewable energy. Josh Fox, director of Gasland and Gasland 2, is soliciting communities to host his “Solutions Grassroots Tour.” The director, whose films challenged the safety of fracking and introduced an infamous video of flaming fracking water to a wide audience, will show part of a new documentary on climate change. Fox, an Oscar nominee and Emmy award winner, is aiming to screen the new film in at least 30 communities across New York from mid-February to early March.  [Full Story]

Jan 9, 2015
Proposed Gas Pipelines Would Emit More Greenhouse Gases Than Keystone XL
NO FRACKING WAY
Chip Northrup

A large natural gas pipeline can have to equivalent greenhouse gas impact as Keystone XL. A large natural gas pipeline can enable the same GHG emissions (CO2 equivalent) as Keystone XL. Here’s how: A large gas pipeline can require 300 new fracking wells annually just to fill it If all 57 proposed Marcellus/Utica region pipelines and expansions are approved by FERC and built, they will: Enable additional emissions equivalent to 15 Keystone pipelines Require an additional 4,420 new fracking wells each year, and Deplete proved Marcellus/Utica natural gas reserves in just 7 years Details  [Full Story]

Jan 9, 2015
Obama Admin's Year-End Gift to the Oil Industry Quietly Allows Light Oil Exports
DeSmogBlog
JUSTIN MIKULKA

In a quiet move in the last days of 2014 that involved zero public debate, the Obama administration gave a big gift to the oil industry by allowing the export of light crude oil. This change by the administration stands to make the industry a few extra billion dollars per year by allowing them to sell crude oil on the international market where it gets a higher price than if it is sold to U.S. refineries. So what bill was passed at the last minute of 2014 overturning the 40-year-old crude oil export ban and allowing companies to now export fracked crude oil? None.  [Full Story]

Jan 9, 2015
Senator renews push to phase out one type of oil tank car
Mid-Husdon News Network


WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Charles Schumer pushing federal regulators to expedite their rulemaking on DOT-111 train cars still being used to transport highly volatile crude oil across New York State even though they are putting local communities in danger given they are prone to rupture and explode during derailments.  [Full Story]

Jan 9, 2015
Oil Plunge Boosts U.S. Natural Gas Imports to 7-Year High
Bloomberg
Naureen S. Malik

The plunge in global crude oil prices has helped boost U.S. natural gas imports to the most in at least seven years, even as the country prepares to start exporting cargoes. Deliveries to onshore pipelines from liquefied natural gas terminals in Massachusetts and Maryland on Jan. 8 were the most in data going back to December 2007, according to Ventyx data compiled by Bloomberg. Volumes in January are more than six times higher than a year ago, when the polar vortex spurred record consumption.  [Full Story]

Jan 9, 2015
Real American Idols.
Environmental Health News
Peter Dykstra

Americans have an unfortunate genius for anointing the irrelevant and forgetting those who truly mattered. Let’s make sure we remember four who left us in 2014: Pete Seeger, Martin Litton, Theo Colborn and Rick Piltz.  [Full Story]

Jan 9, 2015
Keystone ruling puts John Kerry back in hot seat
Politico
Andrew Restuccia

The Nebraska Supreme Court court just dropped the Keystone XL pipeline decision back onto John Kerry’s lap. That means the secretary of state will have a chance to show just how committed he is to tackling climate change, environmentalists say, just a month after Kerry jetted to Peru to press for the world to act. Story Continued Below Activists say the former Massachusetts senator’s green credibility hangs in the balance.   [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
Democrats Step Up Efforts to Block Obama’s Trade Agenda
The New York Times
JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS

WASHINGTON — President Obama is facing opposition from fellow Democrats to one of his top priorities: winning the power to negotiate international trade agreements and speed them through Congress. As Mr. Obama’s team works privately to line up support for the so-called trade promotion authority, a coalition of Democratic lawmakers and activists from organized labor, environmental, religious and civil rights groups is stepping up efforts to stop him. “Fast track would be yet another insult to the American worker,” Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut, said on Thursday at a news conference on Capitol Hill, where she predicted the effort’s defeat. “It will not happen. We are not going to do it.”  [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
North Dakota lawmakers expect oil price trigger to cost state up to $200M
The Dickinson Press
Mike Nowatzki

BISMARCK — Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider, D-Grand Forks, called it “somewhat of a foregone conclusion.” Republican Sen. Lonnie Laffen, also from Grand Forks, said it’s “a done deal.”  [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
The Fracking Report In Historical Perspective
The New York History Blog
Bruce Dearstyne

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision in December to ban the use of hydrofracking in New York State was politically astute. The governor asserted he is merely following the recommendations in a new report from the State Health Department, A Public Review of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas Development. That report, based on four years of research, is also politically judicious. It avoids condemning hydrofracking or sensationalizing its potential health risks. Instead, it concludes that “the overall weight of the evidence from the cumulative body of information” studied for the report demonstrates that there are “significant uncertainties about the kinds of adverse health outcomes that may be associated with HVHF [High Volume Hydraulic Fracking], the likelihood of the occurrence of adverse health outcomes, and the effectiveness of some of the mitigation measures in reducing or preventing environmental impact which could adversely affect public health.” The 184-page report is buttressed by 74 references, mostly well-documented studies and reports from the past few years.   [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
What does NY's frack ban mean for the Delaware basin?
Pike County Courier
Anya Tikka

The new governor of Pennsylvania, the only member state with frack wells, pledges to keep watershed off-limits MILFORD — It's still unclear how New York's outright ban on hydrofracking throughout the state will affect the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), which currently has a moratorium on the controversial deep-drilling method for extracting natural gas. “DRBC staff does not want to speculate on what the commission may do," said Kate Schmidt, communications assistant for the commission, in an e-mailed message. "It will be up to the commissioners collectively (representing New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and the federal government) to determine how they wish to proceed based on New York’s decision and all other available information. The commissioners continue to confer. We do not have any further update to provide to you at this time.”   [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
DCNR investigating gas companies over royalty payments
NPR State Impact PA
MARIE CUSICK

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is looking into whether some Marcellus Shale gas companies are shortchanging the state on royalty money. The agency manages gas drilling on public forest land and currently has 117 active leases with about 18 different companies. “We’re looking at the accuracy of payments,” says DCNR’s Chief Counsel, Richard Morrison. “It’s an internal process. It’s complicated and will take some time, but we’re proactively and aggressively pursuing those.”  [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
State Farm Bureau backs Finger Lakes underground propane storage project
Times Union
Brian Nearing

The New York Farm Bureau is throwing its support behind a long-planned and increasingly controversial underground liquefied propane storage facility in the Finger Lakes region near Watkins Glen. In a Tuesday letter to state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens, Farm Bureau President Dean Norton said the storage facility would keep propane prices low, which would help farmers who use the fuel to dry crops, and presents no significant environmental risk.  [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
NPR's Lack of Transparency
WSKG
CPB OMBUDSMAN JOEL KAPLAN

The request for the annual reports is not the first issue Mr. Weiss has had with NPR. Back in 2013 Mr. Weiss wrote to NPR concerned about its accepting funds from America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA). He wanted to know how ANGA was selected as an underwriter. Here is the text of that lengthy letter: Over the past three years NPR has been accepting underwriting funds from America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), in exchange for which NPR airs "spots" that depict ANGA/natural gas as a benign agent. ANGA's underwriting spots promote the use of natural gas as environmentally friendly, and present to the listener a superficial and misleading picture of an extremely problematic and controversial issue. Many NPR listeners around the country have objected strongly to ANGA sponsorship.   [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
New Research Links Scores of Earthquakes to Fracking Wells Near a Fault in Ohio
New York Times
Michael Wines

Not long after two mild earthquakes jolted the normally steady terrain outside Youngstown, Ohio, last March, geologists quickly decided that hydraulic fracturing operations at new oil-and-gas wells in the area had set off the tremors. Now a detailed study has concluded that the earthquakes were not isolated events, but merely the largest of scores of quakes that rattled the area around the wells for more than a week. The study, published this week in The Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, indicates that hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, built up subterranean pressures that repeatedly caused slippage in an existing fault as close as a half-mile beneath the wells. The number and intensity of fracking-related quakes have risen as the practice has boomed. In Oklahoma, for example, quakes have increased sharply in recent years, including the state’s largest ever, a magnitude 5.7 tremor, in 2011. Both state and federal experts have said fracking is contributing to the increase there, not only because of the fracking itself, but also because of the proliferation of related wells into which fracking waste is injected. Those injection wells receive much more waste, and are filled under high pressure more often, than oil or gas wells, and the sheer volume of pressurized liquids has been shown to widen cracks in faults, raising the chances of slippage and earthquakes. The authorities in Ohio ordered a halt to fracking at seven wells on March 10 after the two biggest quakes there, measured at magnitudes 2.8 and 3, were felt in Poland Township, about 10 miles south of Youngstown on the Pennsylvania border. A spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Natural Resources, Bethany McCorkle, said Wednesday that the wells remained in production but that further fracking had been banned. Wells for fracking are typically sunk horizontally into thin bands of shale deep beneath the surface, and a soup of water, chemicals and sand is injected under intense pressure to fracture the rock and release trapped oil and gas. The Poland Township study concluded that only two of the seven wells, with segments closest to the fault, were inducing the earthquakes. “It seems that only the segments that were within about a thousand yards from where the fault was produced earthquakes,” Michael R. Brudzinski, a professor and seismologist at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, said in a telephone interview. “It appears you have to be quite close to the fault for fracking operations to trigger earthquakes. Having that sort of information helps us to see that this stuff is pretty rare.” Dr. Brudzinski researched the Poland Township quakes with a Miami University geologist, Brian Currie, and a graduate student who is the study’s lead author, Robert Skoumal. In Poland Township, an analysis of seismological data found 77 well-related earthquakes from March 4 to March 12, the four largest of them on March 10. All occurred about 1.9 miles underground, along a horizontal fault that at times ran less than a half-mile under wells where fracking was underway. Dr. Brudzinski said the study underscored the need to monitor wells in seismically active areas, something Ohio has since required.  [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
11 Earthquakes Rock Texas Fracking Heartland in 24 Hours
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

This Tuesday a study was released showing that a series of earthquakes outside Youngstown, Ohio, including one strong enough to be felt by area residents, were caused by the fracking operations that have blossomed in the area in the last few years.  [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
Leave Fossil Fuels Untapped to Prevent Catastrophic Climate Change, Study Urges
EcoWatch
Alex Kirby

The sheer scale of the fossil fuel reserves that will need to be left unexploited for decades if world leaders sign up to a radical climate agreement is revealed in a study by a team of British scientists.   [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
Legal wrangling limits testimony on drilling regulations in Allegheny Twp.
Trib Live
Liz Hayes

The first zoning hearing on the validity of Allegheny Township's natural gas-drilling regulations featured as much debate among attorneys as it did testimony from witnesses.   [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
Study ties 77 Ohio earthquakes to two fracking wells
Columbus Dispatch
Laura Arenschield

A new study from three Miami University geologists links 77 earthquakes that occurred near Youngstown in March 2014 to fracking operations.   [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
EPA Moves to Count Methane Emissions from Fracking
Climate Central
Bobby Magill

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a new rule that would require energy companies to report to the federal government all greenhouse gas emissions from oil well fracking operations and natural gas compressor stations and pipelines. The EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program currently requires energy companies to report only those emissions from fracking operations that involve flaring — the industry’s practice of burning off excess natural gas at a well site.  [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
President Obama Needs to Follow the Empire State's Leadership on Banning Fracking
Huffington Post
Mark Ruffalo

On December 17, a courageous act by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to ban fracking in the state sent shockwaves around the world. Governor Cuomo followed acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Zucker's recommendation based on a significant and growing body of scientific studies showing that drilling and fracking put people's health and the environment at risk. The impacts include health problems, water contamination, dangerous air pollution, threats to agriculture and soil quality, radioactive releases, earthquakes, and more. Considering the weight of the evidence, Dr. Zucker asked himself if he would let his family live near a drill rig. He said no. That's what millions of New Yorkers have been saying for years: no to fracking in our communities. In the rich historical footsteps of the state's social movements, New York's anti-fracking movement is now one of the largest social movements in America today, and I'm proud to be part of it. Millions of educated and engaged citizens have been following the science and looking to heavily fracked Pennsylvania, where horrifying stories of poisoned water, sick families and animals, and environmental ruin have become far too common.   [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
Gas Pipeline Opponents Say Lower Utility Bills Would Come At a Cost
NY1 News
Michael Herzenberg

A gas company says it has proposed an offshore project that would reduce natural gas prices for city residents in deep freezes but opponents who attended a public hearing in Queens Wednesday night say they worry about the environmental impact. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report. One by one at a South Jamaica forum Wednesday night, city residents took turns telling federal officials how they feel about the construction of an offshore natural gas port and pipeline.   [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
Anti-fracking doco gets State funds
West Australian
Gareth Parker

A documentary feature film that is openly hostile to the unconventional gas industry and "fracking" - an industry the Barnett Government wants to see further developed- is being funded by WA taxpayers. Frackman, directed by Margaret River filmmaker Richard Todd, is the story of "knockabout pig shooter" Dayne Pratzky's battle with a Queensland gas company that demanded access to his land for gas development.  [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
Fracking’s future is in doubt as oil price plummets There are warnings that the industry faces a crisis
Boulder Weekly
Kieran Cooke

There’s no doubt that U.S.-based fracking — the process through which oil and gas deposits are blasted from shale deposits deep underground — has caused a revolution in worldwide energy supplies. Yet now the alarm bells are ringing about the financial health of the fracking industry, with talk of a mighty monetary bubble bursting — leading to turmoil on the international markets similar to that in 2008.  [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
Is Fracking Coming to the Cumberlands?
WKMS


Speculation has begun in Eastern Kentucky about a potentially large reserve of oil and natural gas trapped about two miles underground. If the Rogersville Shale is proven productive, it would be the region’s first major oil and gas play. This has excited the industry, but some residents are worried about the toll large-scale oil and gas production would take on human health and the environment.   [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
Russia Blamed, US Taxpayers on the Hook, as Fracking Boom Collapses
Truthout
Ben Ptashnik

As Congress removes restrictions on taxpayers bailing out the too-big-to-fail banks, the right is blaming environmentalists and Russia for the demise of the fracking boom. In reality, the banks' junk bonds and derivatives have flooded Wall Street, and now the fracking bubble threatens another financial crisis. Collapsing crude oil prices due to oversupply are reaching tsunami proportions, threatening Wall Street banks, investors and a dozen countries, foremost Russia, Iran and Venezuela, where revenue losses have caused severe financial degradation, and economies are about to implode. While Americans are today enjoying $2 per gallon gasoline, Wall Street's analysts predict that an imminent energy market collapse will bring financial institutions to their knees once again, and taxpayers are being set up for another mandatory bailout.  [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
Anti-fracking billboard morphs into ‘Thank you, Cuomo’ billboard
Politics on the Hudson
Jon Campbell

An billboard that had warned Gov. Andrew Cuomo against authorizing even a single well for hydraulic fracturing has morphed into an entirely different message. The new image, which cycles through on an electronic screen along Interstate 787 in downtown Albany, now expresses gratitude to Cuomo after his administration announced it would halt large-scale hydrofracking for the foreseeable future. The billboard (the image can be viewed below) is funded by a variety of groups opposed to or critical of fracking, including Food & Water Watch, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Frack Action.  [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
3º of Injustice
EcoWatch
Sandra Steingraber

The outside temperature was three degrees Fahrenheit—with wind chills of minus 10 degrees—when 24 defendants, their families and supporters, members of the interested public and members of the press arrived for arraignments in the Town of Reading courthouse last night. Among the crowd was Tompkins County legislator and 2014 Congressional candidate, Martha Robertson of Dryden, who came to serve as a court observer.  [Full Story]

Jan 8, 2015
Obama Administration Sued Over Gulf of Mexico Fracking Info
ABC NEWS
JASON DEAREN

An environmental advocacy group sued the Obama administration in federal court on Thursday for refusing to release documents detailing the extent of fracking in the Gulf of Mexico. The Center for Biological Diversity filed the lawsuit in U.S District Court in Washington, saying the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has refused to comply with the group's federal public records request for more information about how often oil companies are using the technique in Gulf waters. "The public has a right to know where, when and how much fracking the federal government is allowing in the Gulf of Mexico," Kristen Monsell, a center attorney, said in a written statement.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
A Caribbean Island Says Goodbye Diesel and Hello 100% Renewable Electricity
RMI Outlet


Bonaire (pop. 14,500), a small island off the coast of Venezuela, is famous for its beautiful marine reefs, which are visited by 70,000 tourists every year. What many of the tourists don’t realize is that the majority of the electricity powering their needs comes from renewable energy. Yet for the residents of Bonaire, the switch from fossil-fueled to renewable energy systems has made a world of difference.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Why the Fight Over the Keystone Pipeline is Completely Divorced From Reality
Bloomberg
Joshua Green

The liberal claim that blocking Keystone would limit Canadian oil sands development, or even slow Canadian oil exports to the United States, has turned out to be wrong. Over the last four years, Canadian exports to the Gulf Coast have risen 83 percent. Last year, U.S. oil imports from Canada hit a record. This year, Canadian oil producers expect shipments to double. One way producers achieved this is by building new pipelines, such as the Flanagan South pipeline, which can transport 600,000 barrels a day of heavy crude, and expanding old ones. At the same time, the Canadian government has approved two new lines as a fallback to Keystone—one running east to Quebec, the other west to the Pacific—that avoid the U.S. entirely. Collectively, these projects dwarf Keystone’s 800,000 barrel-a-day capacity. “Keystone is kind of old news,” Sandy Fielden, director of energy analytics at Austin, Texas-based RBN Energy, told Bloomberg News. “Producers have moved on and are looking for new capacity from other pipelines.”  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
New fracking technology in the works
Bakken
Danielle Wente

One question that has been asked and wondered about is whether or not the chemicals used in hydraulic fracking manage to contaminate drinking water supplies. But testing drinking water for contaminants and being able to link it back to gas drilling has been rather challenging. Two students from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton school may have solved this vary problem for us. Teddy Guenin and Ashwin Amurthur, both studying in the bioengineering department, are finalists for a $5000 prize offered by the University. The two have submitted the idea of using graphene to measure minuscule amounts of hydrocarbon benzene. Graphene, which was developed an estimated ten years ago, has the ability to measure benzene down to the picomolar level.   [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
BLM defers leases for fracking near Chaco Canyon
Albuquerque Business First
Mike English

A coalition of watchdog groups applauded the federal Bureau of Land Management's recent decision to defer leasing land for fracking near Chaco Canyon, the groups announced in a release Tuesday.   [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Keystone Is Bad, and So Is Fracking
Huffington Post
Wenonah Hauter Opinion

As the 114th Congress kicks off, environmental activists and good-government advocates alike are holding their breath - and their noses - at what we worry could be the most hostile period ever for clean air, clean water and public health in America. Some Congressional Republicans are even calling for the complete eradication of the Environmental Protection Agency. You can't make this stuff up.   [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Study: Fracking Triggered 77 Earthquakes in Ohio
Governing
Bob Downing & Doug Livingston

Hydraulic fracturing at two well pads in Mahoning County caused 77 small earthquakes last March along a previously unknown geologic fault, a new scientific study says. The series of temblors included one quake of magnitude 3 -- rare in Ohio -- that was strong enough to be felt by neighbors, according to the study by three researchers from Miami University.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Probe into damaged fracking valve at Buru Energy gas plant
Daily Telegraph


AN INVESTIGATION has been launched into whether a leaky gas valve at a fracking site in the Kimberley was damaged by a “third party”. Footage taken by the anti-fracking movement Lock the Gate last week shows a handheld gas metre reading high levels of methane near the valve at Buru Energy’s Yulleroo 2 about 70km east of Broome.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Future in focus
The River Reporter
Bruce Ferguson

The future of Sullivan County has suddenly come into sharp focus. We now know we won’t be fracked any time in the foreseeable future, and we’ll soon be getting a super-sized casino resort. For many of us these outcomes are dreams come true, but plenty of work lies ahead. The truth is, Sullivan County never bought into fracking in a big way. At the height of the leasing boom in 2008, landowners were offered signing bonuses of $2,500 an acre and told they could receive royalty checks of $150,000 a month if they leased as little as 20 acres. Yet in the end, gas companies laid claim to just 1% of the county. But even a small number of leases cast a very long shadow. The specter of chemical contamination and the industrialization of our rural landscape discouraged investment in agriculture and vacation homes, two of the most important sectors of our economy. Now that the threat of fracking has subsided, we can expect greater activity in these areas, but we can’t be complacent. Those of us who fought to keep fracking out of our backyards cannot continue to consume fossil fuels without regard to the devastating impact it’s having on both the climate and those communities where extraction takes place. We must recommit to building local, renewable energy systems that will meet our needs and also create good-paying jobs in the growing sustainable energy sector.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Keystone Is Bad, and So Is Fracking
Huffington Post
Wenonah Hauter

As the 114th Congress kicks off, environmental activists and good-government advocates alike are holding their breath - and their noses - at what we worry could be the most hostile period ever for clean air, clean water and public health in America. Some Congressional Republicans are even calling for the complete eradication of the Environmental Protection Agency. You can't make this stuff up. So I'm obviously pleased that the Obama administration is already pushing back against early efforts by Congressional Republicans - and weak Democrats - to lay siege to our environment. The president's vow to veto legislation that would push through the Keystone XL pipeline is promising. His outright rejection of the foolish pipeline plan would be even better, but that's another story.   [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
State [VA] Intervening in Federal Pipeline Lawsuits
NBC 29


AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va (WVIR) - The state is intervening in a pair of federal lawsuits filed by property owners in the path of Dominion's proposed natural gas pipeline. The attorney general's office will defend the code that the energy company cites as reason its crews can survey on private property without the owner's permission. Federal law requires the judge to notify the attorney general any time a case questions the constitutionality of a Virginia law. It basically adds the state as a third party with the property owners and Dominion Transmission. The "no pipeline" plaintiffs in Nelson County will now have to defend their property rights against the state's top lawyer.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
FRACKING BAN BILL INTRODUCED IN FLORIDA
Ring of Fire radio


There may not be any actual fracking going on in Florida yet. But some legislators there are taking no chances, introducing bills to ban the process in the state, just as New York did in mid-December. Yesterday state representative Evan Jenne introduced HB 169 which “prohibits well stimulation treatments for exploration or production of oil or natural gas.”  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Study: Fracking Good; Coal Bad In America, anyway...
Mother Jones
Tim McDonnell

When scientists and policymakers talk about limiting climate change, what they're mainly talking about keeping more fossil fuels in the ground. The fact is, there's no way to prevent global warming from reaching catastrophic levels if we burn up our remaining reserves of oil, gas, and coal.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
[PA] Legislature wins in court on fracking royalties Court says DCNR, not governor, has authority to OK gas leases on state lands
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Laura Legere

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court on Wednesday upheld the state Legislature’s right to use the royalties from oil and gas production on state forest lands for general state budget purposes, but it found that the state’s conservation department — not the governor — has the ultimate authority for making the decision to lease.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
California Court Rejects Misleading Language In Local Fracking Ballot Initiative--Twice
De Smog Blog
Mike Gaworecki

Residents of La Habra Heights in Los Angeles County, California want their city to become the latest to ban fracking and other high intensity oil extraction methods, and have placed an initiative on the March 2015 ballot to do just that.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Fracking Data Sought by Environmental Groups in EPA Lawsuit
Bloomberg
Andrew Zajac and Mark Drajem

A coalition of advocacy groups sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for public access to information on toxic chemicals released by the energy industry through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and other forms of oil and gas drilling. Fracking involves the injection of water, chemicals and sand below ground to extract oil and gas from shale formations. The process has been criticized as environmentally dangerous, even as its use has driven U.S. natural gas production to new highs amid litigation across the country.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Exclusive: White House not under pressure to expand U.S. crude exports - adviser
Reuters
Jeff Mason

(Reuters) - The White House does not feel pressure to loosen restrictions on U.S. oil exports further and views debate over the issue as resolved for now, John Podesta, a top aide to President Barack Obama, told Reuters in an interview. The drop in oil prices and the Commerce Department's move to allow companies to ship more ultra-light U.S. crude to the rest of the world – estimated at up to a million barrels per day - has taken pressure off the administration to do more.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
With no local fracking, why is it still big local news?
Athens News
Terry Smith

But fracking and fracking-related issues are still major topics in local news media and government, as they are elsewhere in the U.S. The likelihood of fracking in a certain area seems to have only a vague connection to how wound up local people get about it. Locally, two main circumstances have kept fracking in the news, despite the continued absence of any actual proposals to develop deep-shale oil or gas wells in Athens County. Those are 1) the existence of several deep injection wells for polluted fracking wastewater hauled into Athens County from out of county and out of state, and 2) the fracking ban that Athens voters passed overwhelmingly last November.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Climate Mission Impossible: Scientists Say Fossil Fuels Must Go Untapped New study says vast amounts of coal, oil, and gas must be left untouched to limit global warming.
National Geographic
Christina Nunez

Canada's tar sands need to stay in the ground, the oil beneath the Arctic has to remain under the sea, and most of the world's coal must be left untouched in order to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2°C, a study released Wednesday says. The research, unlike other bleak assessments of the world's climate predicament, zeroes in on which regions should halt their production of coal, oil, and gas—and by how much. It comes ahead of climate talks in Paris later this year that aim to broker a new global accord to cut greenhouse gas emissions.   [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Are Oil and Gas Industries Behind the Rare Texas Earthquakes? Scientists probe injection wells, with possible ties to fracking, in search for cause.
National Geographic
Les Stone

A rare series of earthquakes in northern Texas has residents asking if oil and gas activities are responsible for the shaking, which has left people rattled but did not cause significant damage or injuries. A series of nine earthquakes ranging in magnitude from 1.6 to 3.6 shook the Dallas region over a period of less than 24 hours late Tuesday and early Wednesday.   [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
U.S. Oil Producers Cut Rigs as Price Declines
New York Times
Clifford Krauss

HOUSTON — With oil prices plunging at an ever-quickening rate, producers are beginning to slash the number of drilling rigs around the country. The national rig count had remained surprisingly resilient over recent months even as oil prices dropped by more than 50 percent since June, and it still tops the count of a year ago as domestic production continues to surge.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Pennsylvania court upholds public land gas drilling leases
Philadelphia Inquirer
Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A state court sided with the Corbett administration Wednesday in upholding the right of the state government to lease more public lands for natural gas and oil drilling. The Commonwealth Court rejected a 2012 lawsuit by the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation that sought to halt more drilling in state parks and forests and the diversion of rent and royalty payments away from a land conservation fund called the Oil and Gas Lease Fund.   [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Nine earthquakes rattle North Texas in 24 hours
FOX 4 News Dallas-Fort Worth


The most recent earthquake, a 3.1-magnitude quake, hit at 12:59 a.m. Wednesday. The epicenter was right in the middle of the old Texas Stadium site. The U.S. Geological Survey confirmed eight earthquakes, ranging in magnitude from 1.6 to 3.6 on the Richter scale, rattled North Texas on Tuesday. The first, a 2.3-magnitude quake, hit around 7:37 a.m. Tuesday and was also centered near the old Texas Stadium site. A series of other earthquakes have been felt in the same area in recent weeks.   [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Did DeSmog's Coverage of Coal Baron Bob Murray v. Fracker Aubrey McClendon Lawsuit Lead To Sealing of Court Records?
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

On December 12, Magistrate Judge Mark R. Abel issued an order for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to place five sets of court records under seal for the ongoing case pitting coal baron Robert E. Murray against Aubrey McClendon, one of the godfathers of the hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) boom. DeSmogBlog published parts of two sets of the five sets of documents ordered under seal by Abel in an October 2014 article about the Murray v. McClendon case. The documents we published revealed a lease for McClendon's new venture — American Energy Partners — for the first time.   [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Times-Tribune: Small explosion at Wyoming County well pad
NPR State Impact PA
Susan Phillips

An explosion occurred at a natural gas well pad on the Proctor & Gamble plant in Wyoming County Wednesday morning, according to the Scranton Times-Tribune. The company uses the gas beneath its property to help power its operations. Officials say it was quickly contained and caused no injuries. More from the Times-Tribune: Around 9:45 a.m., P&G employees heard a loud sound from Warren Resources Inc.’s pad on Route 87, across from the company’s paper products plant, spokesman Alex Fried said. “We heard it,” Mr. Fried said. “Within minutes, Warren called us and assured us there was no gas leak, injury or environmental incident.”  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Pa. court rules state agency can OK drilling beneath public land
TribLive
David Conti

Commonwealth Court on Wednesday upheld a Pennsylvania agency's authority to lease public land for natural gas drilling and rejected an environmental activist's challenges to how the state is spending money gleaned from those agreements. The decision would open the door to Gov. Tom Corbett's stalled plan to expand drilling beneath some state forests and parks if he were staying in office. Gov.-elect Tom Wolf, who takes office Jan. 20, has said he is not in favor of such leases. The Corbett administration last year agreed to delay new leasing until the court decided on the challenge from John Childe of the Camp Hill-based Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation. That agreement released to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources money from active leases held up by Childe's lawsuit over use of the royalties.   [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Planning Commission approves drilling restrictions
Stillwater News Press
Michelle Charles

The city of Stillwater is one step closer to removing oil and gas exploration and disposal wells as a possible use for land within the city limits that has been zoned for agricultural use. Other types of mining would still be allowed with an approved specific use permit. Residents concerned about the environmental and health impacts of drilling for oil and gas and the relationship between disposal wells and earthquakes support the change.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Matador Resources pulling drilling rigs from Eagle Ford Shale
Fuel Fix
Jennifer Hiller

Dallas-based Matador Resources Co. will pull its drilling rigs out of the Eagle Ford Shale due to plunging crude oil and natural gas prices. Matador has had two rigs in the South Texas field, where it holds more than 29,000 net acres, according to its investor presentations. Crude oil has dropped below $50 per barrel, down from above $100 per barrel in June. The reasons that Matador has decided to reduce its Eagle Ford drilling program significantly in 2015 are due to lower oil and natural gas prices and the fact that almost all of the Company’s acreage in the Eagle Ford shale is now held by production. As a result of the Company’s strong execution in the Eagle Ford over the past three years, this asset has become an “oil bank” that Matador can return to and develop further at a future time when commodity prices are more favorable.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Nine groups sue U.S. EPA to require reporting of drilling chemicals
ohio.com
Bob Downing

WASHINGTON, D.C.,January 7, 2015 -- A coalition of nine environmental and open government organizations sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today for its decades-long failure to require the booming oil and gas extraction industry to disclose the toxic chemicals released by hydraulic fracturing, natural gas processing, and related operations. Based on EPA estimates, the oil and gas extraction industry releases more toxic pollution to the air than any other industry except for power plants. The lawsuit by the Environmental Integrity Project and allies follows a petition that the groups filed in October 2012, requesting that EPA require the oil and gas industry to disclose such pollution to the Toxics Release Inventory, a federal public pollution database. Most other industries have had to comply with these “right to know” rules for more than 20 years.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Pa. court rejects challenge to Marcellus shale gas leases on public lands, but curbs governor's power to OK drilling
PennLive
Matt Miller

In a wide-ranging ruling, Commonwealth Court on Wednesday rejected an environmental advocacy group's challenges to the leasing of state-owned land for natural gas and oil drilling and the Legislature's use of revenue from those leases to help balance Pennsylvania's budgets. Yet in the same decision, the court rejected an argument by Gov. Tom Corbett that governors should be allowed to override decisions by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources regarding whether to lease state property to gas companies. The split outcome came in a 59-page opinion authored by Judge P. Kevin Brobson in answer to a three-year legal battle involving Corbett and the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
After 11 Quakes In 2 Days, Scientists Deploy More Seismographs In Irving
KERA News
ERIC AASEN, STELLA M. CHÁVEZ & BILL ZEEBLE

Eleven earthquakes have shaken North Texas since Tuesday morning -- and seismologists are intensifying their focus on all of the rumbling and rattling near the old Texas Stadium site. Southern Methodist University says it will install 22 more seismographs in the Irving area over the next few days. Fifteen of those monitors are being deployed Wednesday. Two more from the U.S. Geological Survey should be installed Thursday, with others to be placed on Friday. SMU experts, who have been studying North Texas earthquakes in recent years, stress it’s going to take time to learn more about the quakes.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Oil driller says its high-tech rigs can’t compete with cheap crude
Fuel Fix
Collin Eaton

HOUSTON – Even the most technologically advanced drilling rigs are finding less work as oil prices crash. Oklahoma oil driller Helmerich & Payne expects 40 to 50 of its souped-up drilling machines to come off the market over the next few weeks, after 11 of those models went idle in the past month, it said in an investor presentation Tuesday. The firm added it has seen spot prices for its so-called FlexRig units fall 10 percent, and some oil companies are dropping out of contracts early. It’s a marked decline for rigs that had emerged in recent years better equipped than old mechanical models to take on dense shale formations, powered by AC top drives and capable of “walking” between drill sites with huge mechanical feet. Pressure on those rigs shows just how widespread the impact of the oil’s $58-a-barrel slide will be, as Helmerich & Payne’s new models are the cream of the crop in the U.S. land rig market, said Rob Desai, an analyst with Edward Jones.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
SCIENTISTS SAY 77 EARTHQUAKES IN OHIO WERE CAUSED BY OIL FRACKING
Sky Valley Chronicle


(NATIONAL) -- Some 77 earthquakes in Ohio — including one 3.0 quake strong enough to be felt by humans — were caused not by nature but by the controversial process of "hydraulic fracturing" (fracking) used to extract oil or natural gas from deep below the ground. That's according to scientists who make the claim in research published Tuesday in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA). In the past fracking has been attributed to small earthquakes in Ohio but those ground shakers were all too small to be felt by humans.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Labour seeks ban on fracking near aquifers
The Guardian
Damian Carrington

Fracking would be prohibited on the land that collects the nation’s drinking water, under a Labour proposal published on Wednesday. The party also wants to reverse the government’s decision to stop shale gas companies having to notify residents individually of fracking in their area. David Cameron has said his government is “going all out” for fracking, which it says could be a valuable source of domestic energy, and has already removed the right of homeowners to block fracking under their land. Opponents argue that fracking brings unacceptable health and environmental risks and will add to climate-warming carbon emissions.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Much of world's fossil fuel reserve must stay buried to prevent climate change, study says
The Guardian
Damian Carrington

Vast amounts of oil in the Middle East, coal in the US, Australia and China and many other fossil fuel reserves will have to be left in the ground to prevent dangerous climate change, according to the first analysis to identify which existing reserves cannot be burned. The new work reveals the profound geopolitical and economic implications of tackling global warming for both countries and major companies that are reliant on fossil fuel wealth. It shows trillions of dollars of known and extractable coal, oil and gas, including most Canadian tar sands, all Arctic oil and gas and much potential shale gas, cannot be exploited if the global temperature rise is to be kept under the 2C safety limit agreed by the world’s nations. Currently, the world is heading for a catastrophic 5C of warming and the deadline to seal a global climate deal comes in December at a crunch UN summit in Paris.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
The EPA Will Delay Its Landmark Climate Rule Until The Summer
ThinkProgress
EMILY ATKIN

The Obama administration announced Wednesday that it will delay releasing a final version of its rule limiting carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants, saying the agency needs more time to consider input from all sides of the heated debate over the rule. Environmental Protection Agency acting administrator for air quality Janet McCabe told reporters that the final rule, which was supposed to be due on Thursday, will instead be filed in mid-summer — about the same time the agency’s landmark rules limiting carbon emissions from existing and modified power plants are due to be finalized. All three rules make up what’s known as the Clean Power Plan, a key component of President Obama’s unprecedented U.S. effort to cut greenhouse gas pollution and stem global warming.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Fracking's future is in doubt as oil price plummets, bonds crash
The Ecologist
Kieran Cooke

Increased production from US fracking operations is a major reason for the drop in oil prices, writes Kieran Cooke. But there are warnings that the industry now faces an existential crisis from which it may never recover, as the financial sector faces the prospect of worthless shares and $100s of billions of defaulted debt.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Lawsuit targets shale drilling industry over emissions reporting
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Don Hopey

Chemical plants, coal mines, power plants, steel mills and oil refineries, even the maple syrup industry, must disclose their releases of hazardous pollutants on the federal Toxic Release Inventory. But the rapidly expanding natural gas drilling industry isn’t required to do the same, even though it now releases more toxics into the air than any other industry except electric power plants, according to a coalition of environmental and open government organizations. Those nine organizations today filed a federal lawsuit seeking to compel the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to close the decades old “loophole” and require drilling companies, hydraulic fracturing contractors and natural gas compressor stations and processing facilities to report their emissions, like other industries do.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Trout Unlimited adds locations near Pittsburgh to "10 Special Places" list
Westfield Free Press-Courier


When it comes to the best outdoor locations in the northeastern United States, most people in the country would be more likely to associate Pittsburgh with its famous steel industry than with outdoor recreation. However, thanks to a promotion from Trout Unlimited, that may soon change: the coldwater conservation group recently included four locations within 200 miles of the city on their list of "Ten Special Places" in the American Northeast. But does Pennsylvania's involvement in fracking and other environmental excesses put these places at risk? The Washington, D.C.-based group thinks so. The 2014 list of the best outdoor locations included four places in or around the Iron City: the Laurel Highlands, 55 miles southeast of Pittsburgh; the Lake Erie watershed, 112 miles north; the Savage River watershed in Garrett County, Maryland, 113 miles to the southwest; and Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia, 200 miles south.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Adventures in Mapmaking: Mapping a Fracking Boom in North Dakota
Wired
Mason Inman

US oil production has been booming the past few years, due in large part to North Dakota’s Bakken formation, a rock layer tapped through fracking. Each well travels down about two miles, then turns horizontally and snakes through the rock formation for another two miles. There were 8,406 of these Bakken wells, as of North Dakota’s latest count. If you lined them all up—including their vertical and horizontal parts—they’d loop all the way around the Earth. As a journalist digging into the long-term potential for shale oil—how much oil it might supply, and at what economic and environmental costs—I wanted to create a map showing the extent of this drilling boom to help me look for trends. In this post, I’ll explain how I did that, but first I want to say why this matters. If there is a lot less oil and natural gas available at affordable prices, this could be good news or bad news, depending on your values, and how the country reacts. If we have a realistic sense of the size of the resource available, and plan for the long term, we could make a smooth transition away from oil and gas, toward other options with much lower greenhouse gas emissions, such as wind and solar, and also make stronger efforts for energy efficiency. On the other hand, if our estimates and forecasts for oil and gas are too optimistic, we could wind up in a bind, dependent on fossil fuels that are significantly more expensive than we’d expected.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Fracking's Methane Leakage To Be Focus of Many Studies This Year
Inside Climate News
Lisa Song

The early years of the shale boom came with a widely held assumption that the vast quantities of natural gas liberated through high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, would help slow climate change by displacing coal-fired power plants and speeding the transition to a clean-energy future. But that notion was seriously challenged as scientists began studying the life cycle of natural gas. Although natural-gas power plants emit fewer greenhouse gases than coal plants, the process of extracting, processing and transporting natural gas releases unknown amounts of methane into the air.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Labour seeks ban on fracking near aquifers
The Guardian
Damian Carrington

Fracking would be prohibited on the land that collects the nation’s drinking water, under a Labour proposal published on Wednesday. The party also wants to reverse the government’s decision to stop shale gas companies having to notify residents individually of fracking in their area. David Cameron has said his government is “going all out” for fracking, which it says could be a valuable source of domestic energy, and has already removed the right of homeowners to block fracking under their land. Opponents argue that fracking brings unacceptable health and environmental risks and will add to climate-warming carbon emissions.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
26 Earthquakes Later, Fracking’s Smoking Gun Is in Texas
The Daily Beast
James Joiner

After 11 quakes in the last two days – with one registering at a 3.6 – Irving, Texas’ sudden onset tremor problem might be the fracking industry’s nightmare. There’s a monster lurking under Texas, beneath the sand and oil and cowboy bones, and it’s getting a little restless after a 15 million year nap. Shaking things up in the city of Irving, just slightly west of Dallas, where no less than ten earthquakes yesterday and today bring the total tremors to 26 since October in that town alone. Over 100 quakes have been registered in the North Texas region since 2008, a staggering uptick from just a single one prior that year. The Balcones Fault Zone divides the Lone Star State in half, loosely following the route of Interstate 35 and passing under Fort Worth, Waco, Austin, and San Antonio. And it’s not just a huge amount of human populations that sit on top of it. There are also thousands of fracking wells boring down in to the earth’s crust, pumping millions of gallons of water down with the direct intent of breaking apart what lay beneath.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Fracking Data Sought by Environmental Groups in EPA Lawsuit
Bloomberg
Andrew Zajac & Mark Drajem

A coalition of advocacy groups sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for public access to information on toxic chemicals released by the energy industry through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and other forms of oil and gas drilling.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
New Research Links Scores of Earthquakes to Fracking Wells Near a Fault in Ohio
New York Times
Michael Wines

Not long after two mild earthquakes jolted the normally steady terrain outside Youngstown, Ohio, last March, geologists quickly decided that hydraulic fracturing operations at new oil-and-gas wells in the area had set off the tremors. Now a detailed study has concluded that the earthquakes were not isolated events, but merely the largest of scores of quakes that rattled the area around the wells for more than a week.   [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Opposition grows to LNG facility off North Jersey coast
WHYY


concerted effort, led by environmental groups and state Sen. Jennifer Beck, is forming in opposition to construction of a natural gas facility 28 miles off the North Jersey coast. Liberty Natural Gas has proposed wants to build to import liquefied natural gas, gas that's been converted to liquid form for ease of storage or transport. "This facility holds no value for New Jersey. We don't benefit by its construction, and it poses serious detriment to our waterways and to our beachfronts," said Beck, R-Monmouth, at a Wednesday news conference.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Environmental groups, oil companies at odds over water safety
Bakersfield Now
Kahtia Hall

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - Oil companies across Kern County are being forced to comply with the new restrictions on aquifer exemption request laid out in the SB4 document. "You can bring up 20 gallons of water with that one barrel of oil, so what are you supposed to do with that water? We want to re-inject it,” said Les Clark, from the Independent Oil Producers’ Agency. This is where advocacy groups, such as Clean Water Action, are putting their feet down. Environmental groups say that toxic liquid that comes up during oil production makes its way into the aquifers, because they believe oil companies are improperly disposing of them.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
Adventures in Mapmaking: Mapping a Fracking Boom in North Dakota
Wired
MASON INMAN

US oil production has been booming the past few years, due in large part to North Dakota’s Bakken formation, a rock layer tapped through fracking. Each well travels down about two miles, then turns horizontally and snakes through the rock formation for another two miles. There were 8,406 of these Bakken wells, as of North Dakota’s latest count. If you lined them all up—including their vertical and horizontal parts—they’d loop all the way around the Earth. As a journalist digging into the long-term potential for shale oil—how much oil it might supply, and at what economic and environmental costs—I wanted to create a map showing the extent of this drilling boom to help me look for trends. In this post, I’ll explain how I did that, but first I want to say why this matters.  [Full Story]

Jan 7, 2015
First responders not trained for gas well emergencies
Argus Observer
April Ehrlich

Local firefighters say they have not received information on Alta Mesa’s gas facilities nor any training on how to handle emergencies. Alta Mesa has failed to keep the district informed of their activities, according to fire Chief Steve Casteneda of the Payette Rural Fire District, who said he does not know how many wells are currently in the county.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Penn students jump into the fracking fray with a new technology
State Impact PA
Susan Phillips

One of the pressing questions regarding fracking is whether or not the chemicals used to help pry the gas from tight rock formations like the Marcellus Shale leaks or migrates to drinking water supplies. But testing water for contamination and linking it directly to gas drilling has proven problematic. Imagine if you could determine whether fracking caused ground water contamination using a thin strip of single carbon atoms. That’s what two seniors studying at both the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton school and its bioengineering department, are trying to do. Teddy Guenin and Ashwin Amurthur are finalists for a $5000 prize through the University. They’ve proposed using graphene, an ultra thin strip of carbon first produced about ten years ago, to measure minuscule amounts of the hydrocarbon benzene — down to the level of a picomolar.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Fracking’s future is in doubt as oil price plummets
Climate News Network
Kieran Cooke

Fracking’s future is in doubt as oil price plummets One of the many gas flares that light up the night at the huge Bakken fracking operation in North Dakota. Image: Joshua Doubek via Wikimedia Commons Share This: By Kieran Cooke Increased production from US fracking operations is a major reason for the drop in oil prices, but there are warnings that the industry now faces a crisis. LONDON, 6 January, 2015 - There’s no doubt that US-based fracking – the process through which oil and gas deposits are blasted from shale deposits deep underground – has caused a revolution in worldwide energy supplies. Yet now the alarm bells are ringing about the financial health of the fracking industry, with talk of a mighty monetary bubble bursting - leading to turmoil on the international markets similar to that in 2008. In many ways, it’s a straightforward case of supply and demand. Due to the US fracking boom, world oil supply has increased.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Algerian Anti-Fracking Protests Spread To Southern Regional Capital
The People's Daily Morning Star


PROTESTS against efforts to exploit shale gas reserves spread from remote and sparsely populated southern Algeria, where they began at the weekend, to the regional capital Tamanrasset today. Algeria has the third-largest estimated shale gas reserves in the world, after China and Argentina.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Fracking Ban Bill Introduced in Florida
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

There may not be any actual fracking going on in Florida yet. But some legislators there are taking no chances, introducing bills to ban the process in the state, just as New York did in mid-December. Yesterday state representative Evan Jenne introduced HB 169 which “prohibits well stimulation treatments for exploration or production of oil or natural gas.” His bill enumerated the problems caused by fracking: use of carcinogenic chemicals, heavy use of fresh water when many communities are facing water scarcity, threats to protected wildlife species, the potential to damage the surrounding environment and the emission of climate change-driving greenhouse gases.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Energy Crash — 97% of Fracking Now Operating at a Loss at Current Oil Prices
AlterNet


If the Saudis wanted to crush America's shale oil industry they are certainly doing a good job of it. West Texas Intermediate reached a 2014 peak of $107.73 in June before dropping as low as $49.77 today on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The grade settled at $50.04 a barrel. That’s below the break-even price for 37 of 38 U.S. shale oilfields, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Shale oil fracking and Canadian tar sand is some of the most expensive (and dirty) oil production on the planet, while conventional Persian Gulf oil is the cheapest to produce. Warren Henry, the spokesman for Continental, one of the frackers who have been spending money faster than they can make it, says that current oil prices are “not a sustainable long-term trend.” However, Bob Tippee, Editor of Oil & Gas Journal, has a different take.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Niantic gas leak forces evacuation
Herald-Review
Tony Reid

NIANTIC – The Niantic fire chief didn't have to go far to answer an emergency call Monday evening: A leaking natural gas pipeline was blasting gas into the air half a block from his home. Randy Hiser, chief of the Niantic Fire Protection District, said the leak sounded like the roar of a jet engine, and he immediately had his department paged out at 4:17 p.m.   [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Maryland’s New Republican Governor Hints At How He’ll Handle The Environment
ThinkProgress
EMILY ATKIN

Hogan himself has said little about how he would approach fracking in Maryland. In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, Hogan said he would “want to make sure that [fracking] is done in an environmentally sensitive way, and that we take every precaution possible,” but also cited Maryland residents who need jobs. Hogan’s choice of Grumbles as environment secretary embodies the nature of that quote: that fracking likely will happen, but with some precautions. Grumbles was heavily involved with fracking while serving as an EPA administrator under Bush, most notably overseeing the release of a 2004 report that determined the controversial process was safe for drinking water. That report was eventually used by the Bush administration to pass a law that prohibited the EPA from regulating fracking under the Safe Drinking Water Act.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Sen. Elizabeth Warren discusses opposition to Keystone XL Oil pipeline; concerns about lack of long-term investment in renewable energy
Mass Live
Lindsay Corcoran Robert Rizzuto

WORCESTER — As Congress reconvenes in Washington, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is set to take on a third committee assignment as part of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. And as one might expect, the Massachusetts Democrat doesn't plan to simply be present, but rather take an active role in pushing the Senate to make long-term investments in renewable energy at a time when many are still reluctant to think outside the fossil fuel box. Republicans have said one of their first priorities since winning control of both the House and Senate in November's midterm elections is renewing a push to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline which would carry tar sand oil from western Canada across several U.S. states to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast where it would be refined and exported.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
LNG: Senator to introduce bill aimed at fast-tracking exports -- and boosters think Obama may go along
EE News
Hannah Northey

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) is slated to unveil legislation as early as today intended to fast-track the government's approval of domestic gas to foreign countries -- a high priority for the incoming GOP-led 114th Congress that sources say the White House may actually sign off on. Barrasso's bill would require the Energy Department to make a decision on LNG exports to countries that don't have a free-trade agreement within 45 days of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission releasing an environmental impact statement or assessment for the proposed project. FERC is responsible for conducting more costly and time-consuming environmental reviews of proposed terminals. The bill would also provide for expedited judicial review. Export proponents have said fast-tracked legal reviews are critical to prevent companies fighting slow DOE approvals from getting tangled in yearslong court proceedings.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Against the Grain: Minnesota's Long Slog Toward Dealing With Frac Sand
InsideClimate News
Zahra Hirji

As oil-and-gas producers' demand spikes for frac sand, a key ingredient used in hydraulic fracturing, there's mounting concern about the industry's air emissions. Toxic dust kicked up when the sand is produced and transported is a known trigger of lung disease. For this reason, legislators in Minnesota, the fourth-largest producer of this special sand, committed 18 months ago to revamping air quality regulations for the industry. Staff at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will release these much-anticipated rules for public comment in the coming months—and they expect a deluge of feedback.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
U.S. Rig Count Sees Massive Fall as Oil & Gas Drilling Suffers - Analyst Blog
NASDAQ
Zacks

In its weekly release, Houston-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. ( BHI ) reported a heavy fall in the U.S. rig count (number of rigs searching for oil and gas in the country). This can be attributed to cutbacks in the tally of both oil and gas-directed rigs. In particular, oil rig count dropped to the lowest level since May, as crude prices hovered around $50 per barrel on plentiful supplies and lackluster demand.   [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Fracking Confirmed as Cause of Ohio Earthquake
EcoWatch
Cole Mellino

Ohio is now on a similar trajectory to Oklahoma, which saw a five-fold increase in earthquakes in 2014. A new study published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America has confirmed that a fracking operation near Poland Township in Ohio activated a previously unknown fault in the Earth, causing 77 earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 1.0 to 3.0 between March 4 and March 12 in 2014. The drilling company, Hilcorp Energy, was forced to halt operations by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on March 10 after nearby residents felt the 3.0-magnitude earthquake.   [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Blast at natural gas plant on Columbia costs $69M in repairs
Statesman Journal
Associated Press

PLYMOUTH, Wash. (AP) — Williams Northwest Pipeline is spending $69 million to repair damage from an explosion that injured five people at a natural gas facility last March in eastern Washington. A pressure vessel ruptured, throwing a piece of shrapnel into a liquid natural-gas storage tank at the processing plant in Plymouth, just across the Columbia River from Umatilla, Oregon. Federal safety investigators are looking into the cause of the accident.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Mexico Is Becoming the Single-Largest U.S. Shale Gas Export Customer
JD Supra
BakerHostetler

On December 2, 2014, President Enrique Peña Nieto inaugurated Phase I of the new Los Ramones Gas Pipeline, which could by year end 2016 double the volume of gas the U.S. exports by pipeline to Mexico.[1] Pipelines to Mexico already move a volume of gas equivalent to more than 16 million tonnes per year of LNG.[2] Once Los Ramones reaches full capacity, U.S. gas producers will be able to export to Mexico more than seven times the annual gas volume that Osaka Gas and Chubu Electric—two of Freeport LNG’s largest LNG export customers—have signed up to purchase.[3]  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Mexico’s ‘interoceanic belt’ paves way for LNG exports
Natural Gas Daily
Chris Noon

A 300 km pipeline running between Mexico’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts began operations on Monday, according to state-run giant Pemex. The pipeline will supply gas to south Mexico for the first time. It will also be the backbone of an ‘interoceanic belt’ that may culminate in the country exporting LNG to customers in Asia. The $200 million pipeline runs from Pajaritos – a petrochemicals hub in the eastern state of Veracruz – to Salina Cruz in the western state of Oaxaca. The states make up the Tehuantepec isthmus, the shortest distance between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. The gas will replace 4.38 million barrels of oil from the Antonio Dovalí Jaime refinery in Oaxaca, and save Pemex around $173 million, the company said on Monday.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Texas Expands Ports, Despite Panama Delays
Bond Buyer
Richard Williamson

DALLAS - Texas will add capacity to its seaports in 2015 despite mixed signals from the energy sector and delayed expansion of the Panama Canal. A new set of Panama Canal locks to accommodate larger ships is expected to begin service in 2016; Panama's plans are a key driver of plans to export natural gas to Asia and increase the number of containers arriving and departing from Texas ports.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
North Carolina fracking rules challenged
Jurist
Bradley McAllister

[JURIST] Environmental conservation group, Haw River Assembly [advocacy website], filed a lawsuit in the Wake County Clerk of Superior Court [official website] in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Monday, seeking to vacate new rules adopted to regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in North Carolina, claiming that the lawmaking panel that developed the rules was formed in violation of the state constitution [text]. The plaintiffs argue that revisions to the Oil and Gas Conservation Act of 2012 [text] formed the Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) [official website] to formulate the state-wide regulatory program for the management of oil and gas exploration and development in NC, including hydraulic fracturing. The lawsuit states the North Carolina general assembly usurped the authority [AP report] of the executive branch by forming the commission as an administrative agency and then appointing eight of its 13 members. In defense, the chairman of the MEC stated that members consider themselves accountable to the pubic and not the executive branch, and the MEC's ultimate goal is to implement safeguards for oil and gas development with only limited interaction with the Legislature. In August, new legislation signed by Governow Pat McCrory [official website] lifted the moratorium on fracking [Haw River report] and will allow permits for drilling to be issued starting in 2015.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Fracking in Ohio confirmed as cause of rare earthquake strong enough to be felt
Macro Insider


In March 2014, a series of five recorded earthquakes, ranging from magnitude 2.1 to 3., occurred inside one particular kilometer (.six miles) of a group of oil and gas wells operated by Hilcorp Energy, which was conducting active hydraulic fracturing operations at the time. Due to the proximity of a magnitude 3. occasion near a nicely, the Ohio Division of Natural Sources (ODNR) halted operations at the Hilcorp nicely on March 10, 2014. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a method for extracting gas and oil from shale rock by injecting a higher-pressure water mixture directed at the rock to release the oil and gas trapped inside. The course of action of fracturing the rocks normally benefits in micro-earthquakes significantly smaller than humans can feel.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Fracking caused 2014 Ohio earthquake: Study
cnbc
Robert Ferris

Hydraulic fracturing was most likely the cause of an unusually strong earthquake in Ohio, according to a new study from researchers at Miami University of Ohio.The new study, published online in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America on Monday, says that a 3.0-magnitude quake—the biggest in a series of several—that rattled the area of Poland Township in March 2014 was linked to drilling and "fracking" activity at one of several local hydraulic fracturing wells. Researchers pointed out that such a magnitude quake is minor when compared with some of the more serious quakes that hit regions such as California and Japan.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
The Brief: Oil Drops to $50. Where Will It End?
The Texas Tribune
John Reynolds

Another day and another threshold is crossed in oil's steady downward march in value. This time it was the price of U.S. oil dipping below $50 during the day on Monday. Writing for the Houston Chronicle, Ryan Holeywell and Collin Eaton talk to experts who indicate there's nothing to prevent oil prices from falling further. "No one is foolish enough to pick a bottom," investment manager Tariq Zahir told the Chronicle. "You have too much oil out on the market. Right now we haven't seen any sort of fundamental change." In Texas, oil prices finding a floor in the first part of the year could create a "flattening" in exploration in the Eagle Ford shale in the second half of 2015, per Jennifer Hiller and Vicki Vaughan of the San Antonio Express-News. Any slacking in production could be remedied, though, if prices recover to $70 levels, according to one expert consulted by the reporters. Others say oil companies have too much invested in Texas to walk away just yet.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Permit denied to use La. river for fracking
news-journal.com


BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana officials have denied a permit that would have allowed an oil company to use water from a scenic river to perform hydraulic fracturing, or fracking for a well in East Feliciana Parish. However, it was a limited, technical victory for the environmentalists who opposed the permit. The company involved, Texas-based Comstock Resources Inc., was allowed to use water from nearby ponds for its well, instead. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which administers the Scenic Rivers Program, had previously approved five permits allowing companies to withdraw water from protected bayous and rivers across the state for use in fracking.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Lingering Questions About Health And Environmental Risks From Fracking
Here & Now


ll this week, we’re talking about energy issues in the U.S. Today, we look at hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the process of injecting chemicals and water into rock to release natural gas and oil. Though fracking has been going on in the U.S. for years, the debate over it has reached a fever pitch. Last month, New York became the first state with significant natural gas reserves to ban fracking, after completing a long-awaited report on health and environmental impacts. Abrahm Lustgarten, who writes about energy and the environment for ProPublica, talks to Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd about where the fracking debate is likely to go in 2015.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Texas seismologists investigate quakes near old Cowboys stadium
Yahoo News
Reuters Marice Richter

DALLAS (Reuters) - Seismologists installed a new earthquake-monitoring device in the Dallas suburb of Irving this week after a series of minor temblors rocked an area near the site of the former Dallas Cowboys football stadium. Irving was hit by a 2.4-magnitude earthquake on New Year’s Day, the 17th recorded in the city since September. The seismic series has raised questions about the cause in the area that has seen an uptick in quakes over the last several years. "The safety and security of our residents is paramount for the city of Irving," said Irving City Manager Chris Hillman.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Yes, Fracking Can Be Directly Linked to Earthquakes
Forbes
Tom Zeller Jr.

A study released Monday afternoon by the Seismological Society of America confirms — again — that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, activity associated with natural gas drilling in the Ohio portion of the Marcellus Shale induced a “rare seismic sequence” last March. Put more simply: Fracking caused an earthquake. “It remains rare for hydraulic fracturing to cause larger earthquakes that are felt by humans,” the organization noted in a prepared statement. “However, due to seismic monitoring advances and the increasing popularity of hydraulic fracturing to recover hydrocarbons, the number of earthquakes – felt and unfelt – associated with hydraulic fracturing has increased in the past decade.”  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Lawsuit challenges panel that made NC hydraulic fracturing rules
Penn Energy
Jonathan Drew, AP

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A lawsuit filed Monday by conservationists asks that rules on fracking in North Carolina be thrown out, arguing that the panel that developed them was formed in violation of the state Constitution. Lawyers representing the Haw River Assembly argue that the state Legislature violated provisions separating the branches of government when it formed the Mining and Energy Commission in 2012, according to the lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court. The lawsuit says the Legislature usurped the authority of the executive branch by forming the commission as an administrative agency and then appointing eight of its 13 members. The governor appoints the rest. The lawsuit asks the court to declare as unconstitutional the portion of the law forming the Mining and Energy Commission. It also asks the court to nullify the commission's actions, including fracking rules expected to be delivered this month to lawmakers who will have the final say on them. The measures cover issues including permitting, chemical disclosure, well shafts, water testing and buffer zones. The lawsuit argues that the Republican-controlled General Assembly pushed the commission members it appointed to promote fracking and "get the rules passed as quickly as possible." It says the rules are inadequate to protect the state.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Natural gas drilling company lays off contract workers
Metro News


CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A natural gas drilling company that’s done a lot of work in northern West Virginia has announced significant layoffs. Antero Resources said Monday it would furlough 250 contract land brokers. Antero said it wants to free up some money so it can focus more on its drilling program. The company’s regional vice president and chief administrative officer Al Schopp told the Clarksburg Exponent the layoffs impact contract land brokers and not the company’s workers. “It’s not good news,” Schopp told the Exponent. “It’s not what we like to see.” The low price of crude oil is putting pressure on natural gas prices that have also dipped.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Natural Gas Price Plummets, But Fracking Tax Still a Wolf
Philadelphia
Joel Mathis

States that depend on energy resources to power their economies and budgets are tightening their belts as the prices of oil and natural gas fall, but that won’t — and maybe shouldn’t — stand in the way of a new fracking tax in Pennsylvania, officials say. Governor-elect Tom Wolf, who takes office in two weeks, won election in part on a promise to impose a 5 percent severance tax on natural gas production in Pennsylvania and use the revenues — he estimated as much as $1 billion — to restore funding to the state’s K-12 public schools. But a “glut” of natural gas production is driving prices lower, and Wall Street is casting a dubious eye on companies making big drilling investments in the Marcellus Shale.   [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Natural Gas Supply Unsustainable At Current Prices
Seeking Alpha
Robin Clark

Summary Domestic natural gas production continues to reach all time highs. Current prices do not support continued levels of production or expansion. Sustaining prices at this level or lower will have lasting negative effects on extraction levels.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Eight Arrested in Pennsylvania Anti-Fracking Protest: Protest Organizers
Sputnick News


WASHINGTON, January 6 (Sputnik) — Eight peaceful protesters were arrested and charged with trespassing in rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania on Monday as an anti-fracking community group attempted to stop exploratory drilling for a natural gas pipeline, community organizers told Sputnik. “Eight of us were arrested, I’m one of the people. Lancaster County is my home and my family has lived here for ten generations. This pipeline will disrupt our rural way of life and a lot of people’s livelihoods will be damaged,” Nick Martin, an anti-fracking community organizer said. Forty residents of the Conestoga and Martic townships and the Lancaster American Indian Movement have been protesting for more than a year against the development of the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline that would bring gas from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania to another pipeline to the Cove Point terminal in Maryland.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Sharp declines in well production typical in Ohio’s Utica Shale
Eagle Ford Texas
Bob Downing and Doug Livingston

In the world of shale gas in Ohio, the top-producing wells aren’t king of the hill for long. Take the Tippens 6HS well, for example. Located in Monroe County in southeastern Ohio, it produced more natural gas in the first quarter of 2014 than any other Utica Shale well in the state — some 1.117 billion cubic feet of the resource in 80 days, according to Ohio Department of Natural Resources records. That’s enough natural gas to fuel 12,000 houses for a year. But the well that gushed 13,972 thousand cubic feet of natural gas per day in the first three months of 2014 saw daily production drop 41 percent in the second quarter to 8,180 thousand cubic feet per day and another 26 percent in the third quarter to 6,015 thousand cubic feet per day.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Ohio appeals decision to revoke gas-drilling permit in North Royalton
ohio.com
Bob Sandrick

NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio -- The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has appealed last month's decision to revoke an oil-and-gas-drilling permit in North Royalton. The notice of appeal was filed Friday in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas by state Attorney General Michael DeWine. His office is representing the ODNR in this case. The Ohio Oil and Gas Commission in December revoked an ODNR drilling permit for Cutter Oil Co., a West Salem firm. The permit would have allowed Cutter to use parts of two North Royalton streets to drill a new well.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
B.C. bans transport of oil in pipelines built for LNG
Toronto Sun


VANCOUVER - British Columbia has banned the transport of oil on pipelines built specifically for proposed liquefied natural gas terminals, in an effort to quell fears that those lines could eventually be converted to carry oil sands crude to coastal markets. The regulation covers six proposed pipelines, which would all carry natural gas destined for LNG export terminals planned for the Pacific Coast province. The government said the legislation could also be applied to future gas pipelines.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Maine wind industry boasts 1,560 jobs, $532 million in spending
Portland Press Herald
Tux Turkel

Wind power companies have spent more than $532 million on projects in Maine over the past eight years and are poised to spend an additional $745 million over the next four, an industry trade group said Tuesday in a report summarizing the economic impact of wind energy in the state between 2006 and 2018. Fourteen utility-scale wind power projects built or under construction have a total generation capacity of 614 megawatts, the report said. That capacity could serve more than 200,000 homes, based on regional demand and rated output. Projects planned over the next few years could more than double the capacity. In addition, these projects scattered across nine counties are creating an average of 1,560 jobs a year, mostly in construction, but also in services across the state that help support the workers and the job sites.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Obama will veto Keystone pipeline bill, White House says
Mashable
Andrew Freedman

President Barack Obama will not sign legislation that Congress is expected to pass this week that would force the administration to approve construction of the Keystone KL oil pipeline, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday. The veto threat is not unexpected, since the Nebraska Supreme Court has not yet issued a ruling on a dispute regarding the pipeline's planned route through a major water resource area in the state. "I can confirm that the president would not sign this bill," Earnest said at a White House press briefing. Obama had threatened to veto similar legislation when it came up for a vote in December.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Regulation means natural gas pipelines will be free of oil and bitumen:B.C.
News1130.com


VICTORIA – A proposed network of pipelines from natural gas fields in British Columbia’s northeast to liquefied natural gas export plants in the northwest will not be permitted to pump oil and diluted bitumen, the provincial government says. The Natural Gas Development Ministry said a new regulation prohibits the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission from allowing any conversion of a natural gas pipeline supplying an LNG facility. But the Opposition New Democrats said the regulation is not tough enough.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Pipeline fight continues at town hall
Monadnock Ledger Transcript
Ashley Saari

A town hall meeting hosted by U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte in Richmond on Monday saw residents of multiple towns turn to protest the proposed natural gas pipeline that would run through their region. High among their concerns are the protection of local water and wetlands, and for one Rindge resident, the protection of multiple historic properties in town. Speaking from the crowd of citizens rallying just prior to Monday’s meeting, Karla Mcleod of Rindge, who is the vice president of the Rindge Historical Society, said by phone that she has many of the same concerns as other residents, about how the construction of the pipeline might affect the town’s wetlands and local ponds, as well as private landowners’ properties. However, she said, she is also concerned about two other properties in Rindge: a historic smallpox-era cemetery and a former schoolhouse, both of which are along the pipeline’s route. There is at least one other local historical site that might be affected, Mcleod said — a mill on Sunridge Road owned by Maryann Harper.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Pipeline expansion hearings set
lohud.com
Ernie Garcia

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has set hearings on the Algonquin pipeline expansion in Brewster and Stony Point. The state agency set the Jan. 21 and 22 hearings to receive public comments on Spectra Energy's permit applications for the expansion of a pipeline that transmits Appalachian-basin natural gas through Rockland and Westchester counties. The Algonquin Incremental Market Project expansion includes sections of the pipeline stretching from New York to Massachusetts. The Jan. 21 meeting at 6 p.m. will be held in the auditorium of the Brewster Central School, 50 Foggintown Road, Brewster.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Coast Guard to host hearing on proposed Long Beach pipeline
Newsday
John Asbury

The U.S. Coast Guard and Maritime Administration will hold a public hearing in Queens Wednesday night about a proposed natural gas pipeline off the coast of Long Beach. The Long Beach City Council has written to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo requesting an extension to the comment period on plans for the Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas terminal.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Landowner braces for battle over pipeline
The Daily Star
Joe Mahoney

Hundreds of property owners along the route of the 124-mile Constitution Pipeline project have approved easement agreements with the developer in return for payment. Davenport Town Council member Bill Hansen isn’t one of them. “I’m not going to give it up because someone wants me to,” Hansen said Monday, three days after a process server for the pipeline company went to his home and served legal papers on his wife, Margaret. Hansen, the head custodian for the city of Oneonta school district, said the pipeline company is demanding access to a seven-acre parcel on which he had been hoping to build a retirement home.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Raw Gas Fuels Worry for Rural Homeowner
The Texas Tribune
Jim Malewitz and Max B. Bake

SANTO – A stiff winter wind smacks into the plate-glass windows of Jon Salis’ Lake Palo Pinto home as six space heaters work overtime to keep it warm. Natural gas used to keep his 2,100-square-foot house cozy. In fact, Atmos Energy's gas service was one reason Salis decided to remodel a lakeshore cabin about 80 miles west of Arlington, and move here in 2001. Not anymore. Last summer, Salis learned that the natural gas flowing through his pipes isn't the fully processed, clean-burning fuel that most Texans picture. Rather, it's what he calls a "raw gas cocktail," tapped from a pipeline that runs beneath the lake on its way to a processing plant.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Natural gas is not the savior energy investors are looking for
Montreal Gazette
Zain Shauk from Bloomberg News

HOUSTON A warm start to winter disappointed investors who bet U.S. natural gas producers would offer a refuge from falling oil prices. Gas companies including Southwestern Energy Co. and Range Resources Corp. have fallen by more than 40 percent since June. That’s similar to the decrease experienced in the past six months by companies producing mainly oil, as crude prices fell by half. Gas prices last year had their first annual decline since 2011, dropping 32 percent. Futures settled at $2.882 per million British thermal units yesterday, a two-year low, after a mild summer reduced demand and early winter failed to produce frigid temperatures that would quickly eat away at stockpiles. “The weather is the wild card,” said Karl Chalabala, a New York-based analyst for Canaccord Genuity Corp. “Weather has been the swing factor since the polar vortex started and then we’ve had the mildest summer in a very long time. There was no demand, and then this has turned out to be a mild winter.”  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Report outlines Tennessee Gas safety problems
The Recorder
RICHIE DAVIS

A recently published report by a Seattle-based research organization points to a litany of spills, explosions, and other mishaps by Kinder Morgan, the parent of the company proposing a natural gas pipeline that would pass through Franklin County on its route from Pennsylvania to Dracut. The 15-page report, “The Facts About Kinder Morgan,” is a summary by Sightline Institute of problems involving the parent of Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., whose Northeast Energy Direct project would cross 64 miles in Massachusetts — including Ashfield, Conway, Shelburne, Deerfield, Montague, Erving and Northfield. The report has been posted and linked to by pipeline opponents Massachusetts PipeLine Awareness Network and the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Native Americans protest pipeline in Lancaster County, some arrested
wgal.com


"I would not...destroy their home for the sake of money." - Carlos Whitewolf, Chief Northern Arawak Tribe. Some Native Americans claim a proposed natural gas pipeline cuts right through land that the Conestoga Indians called home for generations. On Monday, protesters did what they could to take their message directly to the people they say are responsible - and a few of them were arrested.   [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Public Service Board Agrees To Indefinitely Delay Pipeline Hearings
WAMC
Pat Bradley

The Vermont Public Service Board has agreed to delay technical hearings on a controversial natural gas pipeline project. The second phase of the Vermont Gas Systems’ project would extend a natural gas line south to Middlebury and under Lake Champlain to the International Paper Mill in Ticonderoga NY. On December 19th officials from Vermont Gas said they would ask regulators to indefinitely postpone hearings on Phase Two of the project, originally scheduled for January 12th to the 16th. Phase One costs are about $154 million, up from an initial estimate of $86 million.   [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Kinder Morgan gas pipeline draws fire, despite new Berkshire route
Berkshire Eagle
Phil Demers

New signs of opposition have begun to pop up — in the Berkshires and beyond — to energy giant Kinder Morgan Energy Partners' revised natural gas pipeline route. A group called the Citizens of Lanesborough has scheduled a community meeting about the project for next week. And opposition is building just across the border in New York, where an activist group has expanded to include Rensselaer County communities along the new route. The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. project would transport gas collected through hydrofracturing, or fracking, in Pennsylvania through New York and Massachusetts, ending in Dracut. Kinder Morgan, parent company of Tennessee Gas, announced last month that it has shifted the proposed Northeast Energy Direct project northward to a new route along Western Massachusetts Electric Co.'s existing power line corridor, which enters Berkshire County in Hancock from Stephentown, N.Y.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Rep. Jenne Introduces Fracking Ban Bill in Florida House
Food & Water Watch
Press Release

Tallahassee, FL — “Yesterday, Florida Rep. Evan Jenne introduced legislation calling for a ban on fracking in Florida. By prohibiting “well stimulation treatments for exploration or production of oil or natural gas,” the bill prohibits hydraulic fracturing, acid fracturing and acid matrix fracturing. Food & Water Watch, along with its allies in the fight against fracking, applauds Rep. Jenne’s initiative in introducing legislation to protect Florida and its citizens from the dangers associated with drilling and fracking.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Amid New Earthquakes, Researchers Head to Irving
Texas Tribune
Mose Buchele

A team of seismologists headed to the North Texas town of Irving on Monday. Like some other Texas towns, Irving has experienced scores of small earthquakes lately, 20 since last September, and the city is hoping to figure out what’s behind the shaking. The latest earthquake, on Tuesday, carried a magnitude of 3.5, according to the U.S. Geological Survey – powerful enough to be felt in Fort Worth and Dallas. The upsurge in quakes started in Texas around the time the oil and gas boom took hold several years ago. Residents in many parts of the state blame them on wastewater disposal wells, where fluid byproducts of oil and gas drilling are pumped deep into the ground. Scientists have shown how injecting fluid into the ground can cause earthquakes.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
U.S. Steel Lays Off 756, Blaming Low Oil Prices
Wall Street Journal
JOHN W. MILLER

PITTSBURGH— U.S. Steel Corp. said it will idle plants in Ohio and Texas and lay off 756 workers, becoming one of the first big U.S. industrial casualties of the recent collapse in global oil prices. The plants make steel pipe and tube for oil and gas exploration and drilling. With oil prices more than 5½-year lows and hovering around $50 a barrel, energy companies have far less incentive to drill for new supply, reducing demand for the plant’s products. The Lorain, Ohio operation, which will shed 614 workers, produces more than 700,000 tons of pipe a year. Houston, where 142 will be laid off, generates over 100,000 tons annually.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Forced pooling policies remain unclear in Pennsylvania's shale plays
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Laura Legere

The first modern test case of a controversial section of Pennsylvania’s dusty Oil and Gas Conservation Law ended with a fizzle in 2014 when the drilling company that sought to use it withdrew its application. Hilcorp Energy Co. wanted to use the “forced pooling” provisions of the law to drill and hydraulically fracture the Utica Shale beneath property in northwestern Pennsylvania where a fraction of the property owners had refused to lease their drilling rights. Observers had hoped the case would clear up critical questions about how the 53-year-old law applies to gas production from the Utica Shale, but the application didn’t get far enough to answer many of them. The 1961 law is designed to limit excessive drilling and stranded gas by divvying up the land into orderly blocks based on how much area can be drained by a well. It applies only to wells drilled through the Onondaga Horizon, a geologic layer sandwiched between the Marcellus and Utica shales, so it doesn’t factor in Marcellus operations.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Minister defends regulation to stop oil flowing in LNG pipelines
The Interior
alicia Bridges

Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman has defended a new regulation which prohibits the conversion of LNG pipelines for transporting oil amid claims it could be easily reversed unless it is legislated. The B.C. government today enforced a new regulation forbidding companies from converting natural gas infrastructure to transport oil or diluted bitumen. The new measure, established under the Oil and Gas Activities Act, prohibits the BC Oil and Gas Commission from approving LNG pipeline conversions. Six proposed pipelines will be subject to the regulation, including Spectra's Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission Project and TransCanada's Prince Rupert Gas Transmission and Coastal GasLink pipelines.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
White House Issues Veto Threat Over Keystone XL Pipeline
Huffington Post
Kate Sheppard

WASHINGTON -- The White House issued a veto threat Tuesday for pending legislation intended to force federal approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. "The fact is this piece of legislation is not altogether different than legislation that was introduced in the last Congress," said White House press secretary Josh Earnest Tuesday afternoon, referring to a bill that was defeated in November. "And you would recall that we put out a Statement of Administration position indicating that the president would have vetoed [it], had that bill passed the previous Congress." "I can confirm for you that if this bill passes this Congress, the president wouldn’t sign it either," Earnest continued.  [Full Story]

Jan 6, 2015
Obama will veto Keystone bill
CNN
Jeremy Diamond

Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama will veto the Keystone XL bill if Congress passes a measure green-lighting the oil pipeline, White House press secretary Josh Earnest announced on Tuesday. The pipeline is currently in a final phase of review from the State Department, which has already concluded that it would have a minimal impact on the environment. But the State Department also assessed that the pipeline would create about 42,000 jobs directly and indirectly during the construction period -- but just 50 permanent jobs. The White House reviewed the text of the bill to authorize the pipeline on Monday, Earnest said.  [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
The Real Cause Of Low Oil Prices: OilPrice.Com Interview With Arthur Berman
Petroleum Truth Report


In a third exclusive interview with James Stafford of Oilprice.com, energy expert Arthur Berman explores: • How the oil price situation came about and what was really behind OPEC’s decision. • What the future really holds in store for U.S. shale. • Why the U.S. oil exports debate is nonsensical for many reasons. • What lessons can be learnt from the U.S. shale boom. • Why technology doesn’t have as much of an influence on oil prices as you might think. • How the global energy mix is likely to change but not in the way many might have hoped.   [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Idaho's Destructive Earthquake Saturday Has Some Looking at Fracking
Sputnik News
Patricia Guadalupe

It’s another case of something happening where you would least expect: earthquakes in Idaho. But a major earthquake on Saturday suggests that they are getting worse and, once again, fracking is a prime suspect.   [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
County poised to pass anti-fracking resolution; new leadership changes equation
The Sylva Herald
Quintin Ellison

A local opponent of hydraulic fracturing is reaping the rewards of perseverance: commissioners will consider opposing use of the technology in this county and beyond. Donna Dupree, of Jackson County Coalition Against Fracking, emerged in recent months as a ubiquitous presence at commissioners’ meetings as she lobbied for an anti-fracking resolution. Last month, Dupree made her usual pitch in the three minutes allotted public speakers. This time, she drew a response, with new Chairman Brian McMahan asking for a copy of the document she favors. Dupree’s anti-fracking resolution duplicates those passed by several Western North Carolina towns and counties. The Jackson County commissioners’ meeting starts at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Justice Center boardroom.   [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Judge Kills Misleading Rewrite of La Habra Heights Anti-Fracking Measure
AllGov California


Residents of tiny La Habra Heights (pop. 5,712) who fought for an anti-fracking measure on the March ballot were none too happy to find the ballot language conjured up at City Hall misrepresented it in an unappealing way. Last week, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Joanne O’Donnell agreed and said it must be changed.   [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Fracking not a major aquifer user, relatively speaking
HPPR
Cindee Talley

A report on water use for fracking in Texas finds that it is not the only or even the most significant contributor to the longstanding problem of water use in Texas. The policy brief by The Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics and Public Policy at Texas A&M University is based on a study that looks closely at water use in the Eagle Ford Shale formation in south Texas where fresh groundwater aquifers are overdrawn by nearly 2.5 times their recharge rate. Hydraulic fracturing operations there make up the third largest use of groundwater, well behind irrigation, the primary use. However, hydraulic fracturing does requires large amounts of water, roughly five million gallons, for each well.  [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
US studies implicate fracking fall-outs as a health hazard
Aberdeen Journals
Jeremy Cresswell

Unconventional oil and gas (UOG) operations in the US that involve fracturing may be harming human health. By inference, research being carried out at the University of Missouri may sound alarm bells in the UK and wider EU where shale gas extraction (and oil) industry has yet to start.  [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Group challenges constitutionality of the NC Mining and Energy Commission
News & Observer
John Murawski

An environmental advocacy group is asking the Wake County Superior Court to get the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission declared unconstitutional because most of the commissioners are appointed by the state legislature. It’s the third lawsuit in recent months challenging a recent move by the GOP-dominated legislature to control appointments to executive branch commissions, boards and panels.   [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
114th Congress Could Be Worst Ever for the Environment
Food & Water Watch
Wenonah Hauter Opinion

Washington, D.C. – “The swearing-in of the 114th Congress spells trouble for our food, water and environment, and all those who seek to champion healthy, safe communities for our families. We may be looking at the most hostile Congress ever in terms of protecting the environment. “James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a notorious climate change denier and an unabashed champion for the fossil fuel industry, will likely chair the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.   [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Demonstrators criticize Cuomo at pro-gas rally They accuse Gov. Andrew Cuomo of ignoring science and upstate's economic plight
Press Connects
John Ro Roby

Colesville resident Steve Stoddard said he's seen the economic benefits that come with high-volume hydrofracking first-hand, in his job as a truck driver supplying drilling and pipeline operations in Pennsylvania. That makes the recent decision to ban hydrofracking in New York like "a slap in my face from the governor," he said.  [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Colorado toughens fracking penalties
Summit County Voice
Bob Berwin

FRISCO — Daily penalties for fracking leaks and spills, or other environmentally dangerous accidents associated with fossil fuel development will go up to as much as $15,000 per day in Colorado, under new rules adopted this week by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.The beefed-up penalty structure also does away with a $10,000 penalty cap for each violation. “This marks a considerable change in the way we do business. Toughening major penalties for violators is an important component of our ongoing efforts to strengthen our oversight, enforcement and compliance program,” said commission director Matt Lepore. “This is yet another step forward in our long-running and continuing work to build a regulatory approach that stands as a model across the country.”  [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Shale Oil Boom Uncertain In Wake Of Falling Oil Prices
Seeking Alpha


Global Risk Insights, Global Insights (49 clicks) Profile| Send Message| Follow (28 followers) Shale Oil Boom Uncertain In Wake Of Falling Oil Prices Jan. 5, 2015 5:26 PM ET | Includes: BNO, DBO, DNO, DTO, DWTI, OIL, OLEM, OLO, SCO, SZO, UCO, USL, USO, UWTI No state in the U.S. has benefited more from the shale oil boom than North Dakota. Just as quickly as the transformation came, it could disappear with low oil prices. Since 2005, North Dakota's oil production has expanded ninefold to make it the second largest oil-producing state in the U.S. This is all due to technological advances in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The fields and pastures that covered western North Dakota suddenly became known as the Bakken Oil Field. The way shale oil has changed North Dakota's political economy is the most extreme case study of the changes it is having throughout the U.S.  [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Fracking supporters vow to fight ban
wbng
Kerry Longobucco

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Hundreds of Southern Tier residents gathered at the Holiday Inn to rally against a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing. Demonstrators spoke in a clear voice, urging the governor to reverse the decision and allow them to honor their rights as landowners.  [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Miami University study links earthquakes and drilling, suggests partnership to detect fault lines
triblive
Katelyn Ferral

Increased monitoring of seismic activity could help prevent earthquakes near hydraulic fracturing sites, which can upset unknown fault lines underground, say the authors of a study that finds a link between earthquakes and drilling. The results of the study, which will be released Tuesday, link fracking along an unknown fault line to a rare 3.0-magnitude earthquake in Poland Township, Ohio, and highlight the pitfalls of unseen faults within such operations. “I don't think there's a cost-effective strategy or technique to be able to deduce where those faults are in advance,” said Michael Brudzinski, professor of seismolo   [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Film documents environmental impacts of fracking
CCTV America


A new documentary on hydraulic fracturing examines the impact of the process executed by multi-national gas companies. South Africa has been exploring the option of fracking to meet its growing energy needs, but there been a public outcry over the environmental damage that it inflicts. Sumitra Nydoo reported this story from Johannesburg.  [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Feds look toward regulating local gas gathering lines
State Impact PA
Marie Cusick

A former federal pipeline safety administrator tells the Pittsburgh Tribune Review better regulations are needed to oversee the 230,000 miles of pipelines that gather natural gas from wells across the country. These smaller lines connected to (often rural) production areas have less oversight than larger interstate transmission lines that carry gas to different markets, or distribution lines, which take gas directly into homes and businesses. Brigham McCown, who was the first head of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) says the rise in higher-pressure gas extraction from hydraulic fracturing means the rules should change.  [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
The impact of Cuomo’s fracking ban
Capital New York
SCOTT WALDMAN

As 2014 wound to a close, Governor Andrew Cuomo managed the magic trick of making a group of his most persistent critics disappear. He did this by announcing on Dec. 17, after a delay that threatened to outlast his governorship, that his administration had decided to prohibit fracking in New York. And just like that, he turned the hundreds of environmentalist protesters who had followed him around for most of his term, at least temporarily, into fans.  [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Native Voices Say No to Keystone XL Pipeline at DC Rally
EcoWatch
Stefanie Spear

On Jan. 3, more than 150 people from as far away as Canada, New Mexico, Virginia and New York gathered in front of the White House in Washington, DC to urge Congress and President Obama to say no to the Keystone XL pipeline. Organizers of the rally felt it was essential to make their voice heard prior to the Keystone XL debate taking center stage as Congress reconvenes this week.   [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Accounting For Methane Emissions From Oil And Gas Wells Scientists, regulators, and industry are working out how to detect and deal with sources that release the most gas
Chemical & Engineering News
Matt Davenport

Not all oil and natural gas wells are equal. Some emit more methane than others. Much, much more. Three studies, published in December 2014, underscored this issue. Researchers recorded the amount of methane escaping from active natural gas production sites and from abandoned oil and gas wells. In each, they found that a small percentage of wells emit the majority of the methane, a potent greenhouse gas.  [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Decline curve revealed by growing Utica shale production data...
Akron Beacon Journal
Bob Downing & Doug Livingston

In the world of shale gas in Ohio, the top-producing wells aren’t king of the hill for long.... Such numbers are evidence of what drillers call "production decline curves" — drop-offs over time. It’s a common (and expected) occurrence for shale wells, even in wells expected to produce for 30 years or more.The bottom line: Shale wells produce the most in the first few years or, as evidenced in the sharply declining production rates in Ohio, their first few months. Understanding decline curves in the Utica Shale is an important and useful tool in decision-making for drilling companies. Sharp drops mean less money for drillers and less in royalty payments for landowners as wells age.   [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Fracking wars land in court
Macro Insider


LONGMONT, Colo. &ndash This northern Colorado city vaulted onto the front lines of the battle more than oil and gas drilling two years ago, when residents voted to ban hydraulic fracturing from their grassy open spaces and a snow-fed reservoir where anglers catch smallmouth bass. But these days, Longmont has develop into a cautionary tale of what can come about when cities choose to confront the oil and gas market. In an aggressive response to a wave of citizen-led drilling bans, state officials, energy organizations and industry groups are taking Longmont and other municipalities to court, forcing regional governments into what critics say are expensive, long-shot efforts to defend the measures.   [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Two Ways Infrared Cameras Have Boosted the Case for E.P.A. Rules Cutting Methane Leaks
New York Times
Andrew C. Revkin Opinion

I first realized the enormous value of infrared imagery in pollution detection in 2009, when I co-wrote “Curbing Emissions by Sealing Gas Leaks” with Clifford Krauss. In the related Dot Earth post, I included some remarkable video shot for the Environmental Protection Agency showing the difference between looking at an oil or gas facility with a standard camera and one tuned to the infrared wavelengths absorbed by gases like methane — the main constituent of natural gas: Now it’s becoming clear that this simple and affordable technology has played a two-pronged role in helping the Environmental Protection Agency, in the face of perpetual industry resistance, move toward clamping down on leaks of methane and other compounds from oil and gas wells, tanks and other facilities.   [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Fracking caused earthquakes in existing faults in Ohio, study says
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Don Hopey

A new scientific study has linked 77 minor earthquakes last March around Poland, Ohio, just across the Pennsylvania-Ohio state line, to hydraulic fracturing. The seismic sequence, including a rare “felt” quake of a magnitude 3.0 on the Richter Scale, was linked to active “fracking” by Hilcorp Energy Co. on a well pad about a half mile from the epicenter, according to research published online in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.   [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
West Virginia judge denies chemical company's second challenge to fracking operations
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Daniel Moore

A West Virginia judge has rejected a second legal challenge from a chemical manufacturer saying that hydraulic fracturing operations near its facility in Marshall County would negatively affect its operations.   [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
U.S. Interior Secretary Criticizes Fracking Bans, Citing ‘a Lot of Misinformation’
National Review
Jillian Kay Meichior

Recent local and state fracking restrictions are “the wrong way to go,” says Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. She spoke only weeks after New York imposed a fracking ban, a decision the state justified by citing a much-criticized state department of health report on the supposed negative public-health consequences, including “community impacts associated with boom-town economic effects.”  [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Lawsuit challenges panel that made N.C. fracking rules
Hampton Roads.com
Jonathan Drew

A North Carolina conservation group alleges in a lawsuit that the formation of the commission that developed fracking rules violated the state Constitution. The lawsuit filed Monday in Wake County Superior Court on behalf of the Haw Riverkeeper Assembly argues that the state Legislature violated provisions separating the branches of government when it formed the Mining and Energy Commission in 2012.   [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Law enforcement overwhelmed by Oil Patch calls
Grand Forks Herald
Amy Dalrymple

During an overnight patrol shift for the Williams County Sheriff's Office, Deputy Jake Manuel jinxes himself by calling it a quiet night. Not long after saying that, Manuel weaves his pickup through the sprawl of Williston construction zones and oil truck traffic on his way to a possible domestic disturbance. A woman had called 911, crying, about 11:30 p.m. Then the line went dead.  [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
6 Reasons 2015 Will Be a Tough Year for Big Oil
EcoWatch
Hannah McKinnon

Things don’t seem to be getting any easier for Big Oil and I am going to venture a guess that 2015 is going to be their toughest year yet.  [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
EARTHQUAKES: Shaken more than 560 times, Okla. is top state for quakes in 2014
E & E Newswire
Mike Soraghan

Oklahoma had a fivefold surge in earthquakes last year, making it by far the most seismically active state in the Lower 48. The Sooner State was shaken by 564 quakes of magnitude 3 and larger, compared with only 100 in 2013, according to an EnergyWire analysis of federal earthquake data. California, which is twice the size of Oklahoma, had fewer than half as many quakes.  [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
Enforcing the 'Will of the People,' Dozens of Pipeline Protesters Halt Operations in Pennsylvania
Common Dreams
Andrea Germanos

Developing... Dozens of people in Pennsylvania's Lancaster County brought work towards a natural gas pipeline to a halt on Monday, charging that the project threatens a Native American cultural site and their rural way of life. The protesters, who include area residents and a local chapter of the American Indian Movement, gathered along the Conestoga River and encircled a rig which was drilling for core samples at the site of a proposed pipeline, according to a statement from the group.   [Full Story]

Jan 5, 2015
The Big Question: What Do the Proposed EPA Regulations Mean for the Energy Industry?
Renewable Energy World


In June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule to restrict the amount of carbon dioxide released from power plants. The rule calls for reducing carbon 30 percent by 2030 over 2005 levels. Many have praised the aggressive proposal, while others are less favorable. Regardless, this goal will have an effect on the energy landscape, which is why we asked industry leaders to lend their insight for this issue’s big question: How will the proposed EPA regulations affect the future of the power industry?   [Full Story]

Jan 4, 2015
Augusta, Nelson county residents won't back down over Atlantic Coast Pipeline
The Roanoke Times
Michael Martz

CHURCHVILLE — Wendy Little was home alone last fall when a vehicle with Texas license plates came up the driveway of her property in western Augusta County. She watched a man wearing a “big ol’ cowboy hat” get out and come to the front door. She asked him if he was an agent for Dominion Transmission Inc., which had sought unsuccessfully to get permission from Little and her husband, William, to come onto their 5-acre parcel to survey for the potential route of a supersized, high-pressure natural gas pipeline proposed through the county from West Virginia to southeastern Virginia and North Carolina.  [Full Story]

Jan 4, 2015
Expect nonstop energy drama in 2015 This year should be one of the most ambitious in energy and climate policy.
Politico
Erica Martinson

President Barack Obama’s administration will spend 2015 taking on energy controversies from fracking to smog, from interstate air pollution to coal-burning power plants — and in December, his negotiators will head to Paris to try to reach a global agreement on climate change. In between all that, he just might make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. It should all add up to one of the most ambitious years in energy and climate policy in decades, from a president who is free to act with no more elections to face, no further concern over protecting the Senate’s moderate Democrats, and not much chance of compromise on these issues with the GOP-held Congress. Story Continued Below   [Full Story]

Jan 4, 2015
Fears over fracking
Ocala StarBanner
Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson & Jim Tatum

A recent study at Duke University found that 92 percent of water and drilling fluids remained deep underground. Are these substances what we want to inject into our groundwater or allow to be anywhere near our aquifer? There is no such thing as safe fracking.   [Full Story]

Jan 4, 2015
Fracking bans met with heavyweight response
CNBC
Jack Healy

But these days, Longmont has become a cautionary tale of what can happen when cities decide to confront the oil and gas industry. In an aggressive response to a wave of citizen-led drilling bans, state officials, energy companies and industry groups are taking Longmont and other municipalities to court, forcing local governments into what critics say are expensive, long-shot efforts to defend the measures.   [Full Story]

Jan 4, 2015
Ithaca’s Walter Hang on the next battle in fracking fight
The Ithaca Voice


Hang’s initial goal had nothing to do with cleaning up toxic sites. At least, it didn’t seem to. He had originally intended to study cancer and search for ways to combat the pervasive disease. Unfortunately, all of Hang’s patients – all young children – died while undergoing chemotherapy. “It was a shocking revelation… I realized I had a made a tragic error. I wasn’t going to cure anyone of anything. I could work my whole life and not, basically, achieve that goal.” That was a turning point for Hang in more ways that one. The same day he had that realization, he stumbled upon an article that linked higher cancer mortality rates to environmentally contaminated areas. Hang concluded: “It’s gotta be something in the environment. And if we can prevent our exposure to the causes of cancer, we won’t have to treat it or cure it.”   [Full Story]

Jan 4, 2015
Schumer: Senate would not override a Keystone veto
Capital New York
Jon Prior

A top Senate Democrat predicted on Sunday that Republicans will not attract enough Democratic votes to override any veto by President Barack Obama of legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline is expected to be one of the early tests for the new Republican-controlled Congress. Democrats plan to introduce several amendments to the bill, including a proposal that would require that the oil sent through the $8 billion project be used in America and not exported to other countries, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Story Continued Below   [Full Story]

Jan 4, 2015
ALAN CHARTOCK: Whatever his motivation, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo did the right thing on fracking
Daily Freeman
Alan Chartock Opinion

In the end and after contentious debate and much soul searching, Andrew Cuomo did the right thing. He closed the door on hydro-fracking in New York State. We’ll never know whether he really wanted to do it or whether it was a matter of political expediency. It doesn’t really matter. Unlike other states that risk despoiling their precious water supply and the health of their citizens, New York, at least for now, will not have fracking. So no matter what his motivation, Cuomo did a good thing.   [Full Story]

Jan 4, 2015
Oil’s swoon creates the opening for a carbon tax
Washington Post
Lawrence Summers Opinion

Lawrence Summers is a professor at and past president of Harvard University. He was treasury secretary from 1999 to 2001 and economic adviser to President Obama from 2009 through 2010. The case for carbon taxes has long been compelling. With the recent steep fall in oil prices and associated declines in other energy prices, it has become overwhelming. There is room for debate about the size of the tax and about how the proceeds should be deployed. But there should be no doubt that, given the current zero tax rate on carbon, increased taxation would be desirable.  [Full Story]

Jan 4, 2015
Jordanian parliament member announces pause in gas negotiations with Israel
Jerusalem Post
Sharon Udasin

Although a Jordanian parliament member announced the suspension of gas import negotiations with Israel this weekend, experts close to the issue maintain that a future deal between the neighboring countries is far from over.  [Full Story]

Jan 4, 2015
Energy Pipeline: Drilling on the Pawnee Grassland gains momentum
Greeley Tribune
John Haughey

The U.S. Forest Service’s recent “no surface occupancy” stipulation for developing oil and gas leases on more than 100,000 acres within Pawnee National Grassland is receiving a lukewarm reception from energy industry officials and environmental groups.   [Full Story]

Jan 3, 2015
Middlesex drilling ordinance challenge could take years
TribLive
Rick Wills

An appeal of Middlesex's drilling ordinance could last years and could help define the extent to which municipalities are allowed to oversee and regulate hydraulic fracturing, supporters and opponents of the ordinance say. The detailed and lengthy nature of the legal challenge was evident last week at the second of several hearings before the township's Zoning Hearing Board.   [Full Story]

Jan 3, 2015
Garfield County drilling activity hits 12-year low
The Daily Sentinel
Dennis Webb

Garfield County saw drilling begin on just 355 wells in 2014, a mere fifth of the amount drilled in the peak year of 2008. But drilling permits issued in the county rose to 1,066 last year from 870 the year before, suggesting at least the possibility of an uptick in future activity.  [Full Story]

Jan 3, 2015
US Energy Information Agency Predicts 2015 Short-Term Outlook
The Desert Sun
Morris Beschloss

The U.S. Energy Information Agency has generated the following short-term 2015 outlook: 4) Natural gas. Natural gas inventories, which had expected to be lower due to the traditional squeeze of cold waves in most parts of the country, are actually expanding due to the unexpected influx into storage, a result of growing oil-fracking activity. While previously flared-off, natural gas is now stored. This is in anticipation of eventual movement to liquid natural gas terminals, to be tanker-transported for export. This unanticipated glut has also kept the price of U.S.-produced natural gas at a low point, during the depths of cold weather manifestation.   [Full Story]

Jan 3, 2015
Former pipeline safety chief: Better rules needed on gas gathering lines
Tribune-Review
Mike Wereschagin

Size matters. At least, it should when it comes to regulating more than 230,000 miles of pipelines that gather natural gas in drilling fields across the country, the former head of the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said. Known as gathering lines, the lines largely transport natural gas to processing facilities. And, as a Tribune-Review investigation in late December revealed, they are almost entirely unregulated by federal or state governments. That wasn't a cause for much concern when the lines gathered natural gas from old, low-pressure wells. But in the era of hydraulic fracturing, when gas is extracted under enormous pressure, these unregulated pipes can be larger and operate at higher pressures than the interstate transmission lines that feed cities.   [Full Story]

Jan 3, 2015
Plunging Oil Prices Trigger Economic Downturn in Fracking Boom Town
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

When fracking and horizontal drilling made the oil embedded in North Dakota‘s underground Bakken shale formation accessible for extraction, it touched off something akin to a gold rush in the state.  [Full Story]

Jan 3, 2015
Plunging Oil Prices Trigger Economic Downturn in Fracking Boom Town
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

When fracking and horizontal drilling made the oil embedded in North Dakota‘s underground Bakken shale formation accessible for extraction, it touched off something akin to a gold rush in the state. Oil production has grown 600 percent in the last decade. Small towns, called “man camps,” have sprouted with growing populations of oil field workers, bringing both increased economic activity and employment and increased crime and social problems such as sexual assaults. But plummeting oil prices have the potential to upend all that in ways that are hard to predict.  [Full Story]

Jan 3, 2015
Heavyweight Response to Local Fracking Bans
The New York Times
Jack Healy

LONGMONT, Colo. — This northern Colorado city vaulted onto the front lines of the battle over oil and gas drilling two years ago, when residents voted to ban hydraulic fracturing from their grassy open spaces and a snow-fed reservoir where anglers catch smallmouth bass. But these days, Longmont has become a cautionary tale of what can happen when cities decide to confront the oil and gas industry. In an aggressive response to a wave of citizen-led drilling bans, state officials, energy companies and industry groups are taking Longmont and other municipalities to court, forcing local governments into what critics say are expensive, long-shot efforts to defend the measures.  [Full Story]

Jan 3, 2015
Is Life Better in America’s Red States?
The New York Times
Richard Florida

Driven by oil, the fracking boom and exurban sprawl, many of the red state economies are experiencing a vigorous (if ultimately unsustainable) spurt of growth. Thanks to loose land-use regulations and low labor costs, detached, single-family homes can be churned out quite cheaply, generating more middle-wage, low-skill jobs. And since red states spend less per capita on education, infrastructure and social welfare than their blue state counterparts (and many of them receive more federal dollars than they contribute), their tax burdens are lower, too.  [Full Story]

Jan 3, 2015
Wealth Creation and the New Energy Economy
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Looking at the markets from a 30,000 foot level, some interesting shifts are occurring. And yet they are almost completely under the radar screen. While many in the oil and gas industry make comments that the renewable energy markets are not sufficiently mature for the world to transition, it is interesting to note that that may not be the case at all. A recent report issued by Bloomberg New Energy Finance makes some interesting prognostications. Bloomberg states: “By 2030, the world’s power mix will have transformed: from today’s system with two-thirds fossil fuels to one with over half from zero-emission energy sources. Renewables will command over 60% of the 5,579GW of new capacity and 65% of the $7.7 trillion of power investment.”  [Full Story]

Jan 3, 2015
Pipeline foes urge federal regulators to nix license
The Daily Star
Joe Mahoney

A grassroots citizens group battling the Constitution Pipeline project has filed a new legal brief arguing that federal regulators jumped the gun by issuing a conditional approval for the 124-mile natural gas transmission system before applications for state environmental permits have been acted up on. Stop the Pipeline urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to rescind the Dec. 2 approval of the controversial project and asked for a rehearing of the decision to grant a certificate of public convenience for both the pipeline project and a related expansion of a compressor station in the Schoharie County town of Wright. The pipeline project has been advanced by a consortium of four energy companies, and the Wright compressor would provide the pressure that moves the gas.  [Full Story]

Jan 2, 2015
Pittsburgh company will be subpoenaed in Range case
Observer-Reporter
Emily Petsko

A Pittsburgh engineering company will be subpoenaed for air-quality test results at several Marcellus Shale impoundments owned by Range Resources, which has not provided the results requested in an ongoing case in Washington County Court. Attorney John Smith, who along with his wife, Kendra, is representing three Amwell Township families who claim their health was affected by Range’s drilling operations, said they “wanted to go right to the source” and get the data from URS Corp., which performed air tests at the Jon Day, Carter and Lowry impoundments in Washington County. He said Range also will be compelled to provide any air test results it has.  [Full Story]

Jan 2, 2015
California gang members traveling to North Dakota's oilfields where employers are more "felon-friendly"
Grand Forks Herald
Katherine Lymn

Officials in Bakersfield, Calif., say they're very aware of gang members traveling from there to North Dakota's oilfields, often to commit crimes.  [Full Story]

Jan 2, 2015
Fracking Industry Still “Failing” on Transparency
Mint Press News
Carey L. Biron

Keen to protect their investments, individual and institutional shareholders are putting more pressure on fracking companies to publicly disclose the social and environmental risks they’re facing -- and what they’re doing to mitigate those risks.  [Full Story]

Jan 2, 2015
Family Remember Man Killed in Fiery Crash
WNEP
SOFIA OJEDA

SPRINGVILLE TOWNSHIP — A man is dead after a fiery crash in Susquehanna County on Friday. It happened just before 4:30 p.m. at the intersection of Route 29 and State Route 3004 in Springville Township.  [Full Story]

Jan 2, 2015
[NPS] Super warns of risks to area
News Eagle
Peter Backer

UPPER DELAWARE - An educational tour of natural gas production in the northern tier of Pennsylvania brought home an impression for the local National Park Service chief: It's apples and oranges. Superintendent Kristina Heister, National Park Service, Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River, offered her opinion that allowing gas drilling in the heavily forested Upper Delaware region would risk spoiling the high quality river. Unlike Bradford and Susquehanna counties, where there is more open agricultural land, she said that fragmenting the heavy forest could lead to erosion and degradation.   [Full Story]

Jan 2, 2015
Interior secretary criticizes fracking bans
The Hill
Timothy Cama

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell criticized local and state bans on hydraulic fracturing, saying they create confusion for the oil and natural gas industries. Jewell, who oversees the federal government’s various public land agencies, also said fracking bans often come as a result of what she sees as bad scientific decisions that incorrectly find safety or health problems associated with fracking, radio station KQED reported.  [Full Story]

Jan 2, 2015
Pity the Planet: Environmental Agencies Are Failing Us
Moyers & Company
Karin Kamp

Agencies in charge of implementing environmental laws, like the Environmental Protection Agency, the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Services are meant to represent the public interest — not corporations and moneyed interests. But environmental law expert Mary Christina Wood, author of Nature’s Trust, says that’s not at all what is happening. As industries work to manipulate the regulatory process to serve their own objectives, “environmental law has become dangerous in the hands of politicized agencies,” she says.  [Full Story]

Jan 2, 2015
Why All States Should All Have a New York State of Mind
Maria's Farm Country Kitchen
Maya K. van Rossum

Where were you when New York banned fracking? December 17, 2014, has now joined the list of “where were you when” moments for everyone involved in the fight to end fracking in the U.S. Based on an extensive review of the science regarding the health, environmental, and community impacts of high-volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking)—a new process being used to shatter underground rock formations to extract shale gas—New York has banned the practice. The state’s prohibition on fracking means that New Yorkers will be spared the harmful effects of industrial shale gas extraction.  [Full Story]

Jan 2, 2015
Renewable Energy Revolution Arrives
EcoWatch
Stefanie Spear

One of my favorite shows of 2014 was MSNBC’s The Ed Show. I especially liked the March 5 episode when host Ed Schultz announced his change of heart on the Keystone XL issue, stating that “I was wrong,” the pipeline should not be built. Schultz continued his coverage throughout 2014 on this controversial issue, telling GOPs to pipe down after the Senate failed to pass the Keystone XL pipeline bill late November and sharing Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to make approving the pipeline his first order of business when the Republican-controlled Senate begins its session in early 2015.   [Full Story]

Jan 2, 2015
Westchester group pushes local selection of energy sources
Capital New York
David Giambusso

A group of officials and clean energy advocates in Westchester is hoping to pioneer and energy program that would ask voters to select their source of energy. In particular, they're pushing to institute a system called community choice aggregation (C.C.A.), which has been implemented in some form in six states. Even as the state undertakes a major regulatory shift with the aim of increasing reliance on renewable power, C.C.A. would be one of the most radical changes to a local system.  [Full Story]

Jan 1, 2015
Good Times Run Out for Sand Producers
The Wall Street Journal
DAN MOLINSKI

“This isn’t our first rodeo” has become a catchphrase among oil-industry executives who are laying off workers and dialing back spending in the wake of tumbling crude-oil prices. But for many sand producers, this is their first time on the bucking bronco that is the cyclical energy business—and not all of them are ready for the wild ride, industry analysts say. Sand is an important ingredient in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which has pushed American oil output above 9 million barrels a day, rivaling the production of Saudi Arabia or Russia. Sand companies’ biggest customers used to be golf courses and glass manufacturers, but the oil boom brought energy clients to their door and now roughly 60% of business is tied to fracking, according to PacWest Consulting Partners, which forecasts sand demand. Now that oil prices have fallen, many fracking companies are retrenching—and that is bad news for sand producers.  [Full Story]

Jan 1, 2015
UPDATE 1-Oil storage tanks in North Dakota catch fire; no injuries
Reuters
Ernest Scheyder

Jan 1 (Reuters) - More than 1,600 barrels of crude were ablaze just south of Williston, N.D., on Thursday after storage tanks caught fire while trucks were delivering oil, but no one was injured and officials said they intend to let the blaze die out. The tanks are just across the street from a major Enbridge Inc crude oil facility. That facility did not appear to have been damaged, despite initial concerns it had been affected. It was not immediately clear who owns the storage tanks that caught fire and emergency responders declined to comment. The tank battery does not appear on state regulators' maps.  [Full Story]

Jan 1, 2015
States Work to Meet New Renewable Energy Standards
ABC NEWS
SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN

More than five dozen giant turbines erected on a remote mesa in western New Mexico began churning out power for the state's largest electric provider on New Year's Day. Tapping into the multimillion-dollar Red Mesa Wind Energy Center marks the latest effort by utility PNM to add more renewable energy resources to its portfolio. From New Mexico and Texas to Montana and New York, PNM and other investor-owned utilities are facing higher renewable energy standards starting this year as numerous states and the federal government push for a reduction in the use of fossil fuels for generating electricity.   [Full Story]

Jan 1, 2015
Tilting at Gas Wells WHY DENTON’S QUIXOTIC FRACKING BAN LIKELY WON’T LAST.
Texas Monthly
Skip Hollandsworth

later, an oil and gas company named EagleRidge Energy, claiming that the new restriction still didn’t apply to existing drilling sites, defiantly began fracking an old site within a few hundred feet of a neighborhood called Meadows of Hickory Creek. “It was close to where a school bus dropped off kids,” McMullen said. “Clouds of black emissions were pouring up from the drilling site. The kids got off the bus and ran for their homes, holding their noses. Their parents wouldn’t even let them go trick-or-treating at Halloween because the air was so bad.”   [Full Story]

Jan 1, 2015
Fracking in the UK: What to Expect in 2015
De Smog Blog
Richard Heasman

The current UK coalition government has overseen the greatest fossil fuel boom since the discovery of North Sea oil, but the controversy that surrounds shale has made it an interesting factor in the run-up to this year’s general election. Here’s what to expect. The government has shown absolutely no evidence that it is willing to slow down its committed march towards the commercial development of shale gas.  [Full Story]

Jan 1, 2015
Leitrim protesters say fracking could damage tourism
BBC News
Shane Harrison

Fracking - the hydraulic fracturing for gas - is as controversial in the Republic of Ireland as it is in Northern Ireland. Stormont's environment minister, Mark H Durkan, says it will not easily happen in Northern Ireland.  [Full Story]

Jan 1, 2015
New York State Wineries Dodge a Fracking Bullet … Or Maybe Not
Triple Pundit
Tina Casey

However, the cheering had barely died down before news items from communities in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio reminded us that the fracking operation itself is only one part of the complex natural gas lifecycle. New York’s wineries are not out of the woods yet. When you consider the transportation and storage issues involved in getting natural gas out of the ground and into market, additional risks for local businesses emerge. The fracking ban does not address those risks.  [Full Story]

Jan 1, 2015
StateImpact report focuses on fracking health effects
Eagle Ford Texas


Pennsylvania has not systematically studied the potential impact on health from fracking, according to a report from StateImpact Pennsylvania. Gov.-elect Tom Wolf, whose agenda includes a new tax on natural gas drilling, has said he wants to create a registry to measure health effects, the report states.   [Full Story]

Jan 1, 2015
Texas City Fracking Ban Challenges State's Supremacy Over Drilling
Sputnik News


WASHINGTON, January 1 (Sputnik) — A battle is brewing over the fate of a fracking ban in Denton, Texas, as the city takes on the energy industry in a bid to prohibit drilling for oil and gas in people's backyards, experts told the Sputnik news agency.   [Full Story]

Jan 1, 2015
Activist investor sells off oil field “man camp” stake
Fuel Fix
Collin Eaton

HOUSTON – An activist investor’s effort to prop up an oil-field “man camp” company appears to have ended. Jana Partners, the hedge fund that first pushed for the spinoff of oil-field lodgings company Civeo Corp. has hawked its entire $51 million stake in the firm following its gloomy prediction of fewer inhabitants in the oil patch next year. Jana, according to regulatory filings, sold 12 million shares Tuesday after the Houston-based firm said it would have to dramatically cut 2015 spending, shutter some sites and slash its North American workforce. It said it sees far fewer oil workers returning to well sites in 2015 amid sunken crude prices.  [Full Story]

Jan 1, 2015
Natural gas pipelines not beneficial for Pa.
The Morning Call


While you and I were preparing for and celebrating our holidays: •A dozen Washington County homes in western Pennsylvania were evacuated due to an explosion at a natural gas metering station. •The state Department of Environmental Protection came to a settlement agreement with Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. over illegally dumping waste, including sediment discharge, into protected waterways along northern Pennsylvania in 2011 and 2012. •Dominion Resources is suing more than 40 Virginia landowners for surveying access to their properties.  [Full Story]

Jan 1, 2015
NC fracking may be a contentious dud
News & Observer
Editorial

Gov. Pat McCrory and his fellow Republicans in the General Assembly once spoke of fracking, the extraction of gas through high-pressure injection of chemically laced water into rock, as a potential economic boom for the state. Once North Carolina opened the way to fracking, they said, jobs would be created that would help the state prosper. Now,those in the industry that pushes fracking have become reluctant suitors when it comes to North Carolina. They’ve flirted with lawmakers, who formed a group to set rules for fracking that ended up as agreeable to the industry as they were objectionable to environmentalists. But the suitors don’t appear ready to walk the aisle.   [Full Story]

Jan 1, 2015
New York State Wineries Dodge a Fracking Bullet … Or Maybe Not
Triple Pundit
Tina Casey

If you heard that loud sighing sound coming from New York state earlier this month, that was probably a sigh of relief as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo finally agreed to a statewide ban on fracking. The ban followed the release of the state’s Department of Health study, which basically concluded that the known unknowns of this unconventional method of drilling for natural gas amounted to a significant potential for adverse public health impacts that could not be ignored. We’re also guessing that business considerations came into play. In the past, fracking was generally confined to thinly populated areas of the western U.S. Now that it has become more common in the more heavily developed Northeast, fracking has been bumping up against pushback from stakeholders in established, local businesses. News of the fracking ban was probably most welcome by New York’s thriving upstate tourism and agriculture sectors, both of which come together in the growing popularity of winery tours.  [Full Story]

Jan 1, 2015
Moab's red rock country is under pressure from fracking
Denver Post
Nancy Lofholm

It is the scaffolding of drilling rigs, and it heralds a new chapter in Moab's long history of energy extraction. Moab may have been comfortable with the uranium industry that put it on the map in another century. But having an oil patch in the midst of this area's popular national parks and renowned recreational backcountry is jarring to some residents.   [Full Story]

Jan 1, 2015
A TAXING LIABILITY The Fix in Fossil Fuels
Harvard Magazine
Laura Levis

THE UNITED STATES is wasting more than $4 billion a year by giving oil and gas companies tax breaks that do not benefit consumers or the economy, says Joseph Aldy, assistant professor of public policy at the Kennedy School of Government and a former special assistant to the president for energy and environment. This special treatment for the fossil-fuel industry, he points out, adds to the national debt and maintains the country’s dependence on a finite natural resource that produces greenhouse gases. Some of the tax benefits now in force date back nearly a century, to a time, he notes, when oil drilling was considered a “very risky economic activity” that deserved federal support. But improved drilling technologies and the global nature of the ever-growing market for liquid fuels have radically changed that original calculus, Aldy writes in a paper funded by the Hamilton Project, a Brookings Institution initiative that sponsors policy proposals intended to “create a growing economy that benefits more Americans.”  [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
Once a fracking supporter, Fiala says ban argument was 'compelling'
Lohud
Jon Campbell

In an interview Wednesday, Fiala -- who retired Tuesday as commissioner of the state Department of Motor Vehicles -- said the state's top environmental and health regulators laid out a "compelling argument" for a ban on fracking at a Dec. 17 meeting of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's cabinet. At that meeting, state acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker recommended prohibiting large-scale fracking from moving forward in New York, citing unknowns about its impact on human health.   [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
Environmental groups ask feds to reconsider Constitution Pipeline
NPR State Impact PA
KATIE COLANERI

Environmental groups are asking federal regulators to reconsider their decision to approve a new pipeline that would deliver natural gas from Northeast Pennsylvania to markets in New York and New England. The Constitution Pipeline got the green light in early December, but Moneen Nasmith, an attorney representing the environmental groups, says the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) did not consider all the ways constructing the line could hurt the forests it would pass through.  [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
N.Y. can set new energy standard
Times Union
Lyndon Rive and Mark Ruffalo

As America watched the ball drop in Times Square, New Yorkers could ring in the New Year with similar celebration for the clean, renewable energy jobs growing in 2015 and beyond. With major decisions coming out of the governor's office and Public Service Commission last month, we closed 2014 with a state getting into its clean energy groove.  [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
Little fracking, but plenty of 'acidizing' used at LA, Orange County oil fields
SCPR
Molly Paterson

While public concerns remain about unconventional oil techniques like hydraulic fracturing, data gathered over 18 months by local air regulators reveal little fracking in the complex picture of oil extraction activities in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.   [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
New York’s Ban on High-Volume Fracking Rocks the Foundations of ‘Shale Revolution’
DC Bureau
Peter Mantius

Emboldened by mounting scientific evidence and shifting poll data, Gov. Andrew Cuomo veered sharply away from America’s conventional wisdom about the wonders of high-volume hydraulic fracturing of shale formations when he banned the practice in New York State on Dec. 17. While the oil and gas titans hope to contain the uprising to one state, the environmental advocates who masterminded it are quietly optimistic that it represents a tipping point, signaling impending decline for fossil fuels’ decades-long hegemony. Polls already show Cuomo’s decision was a winner with the public. A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that New Yorkers favored the ban by a margin of 55 percent to 25 percent. Even the state’s Republicans, who have historically backed fracking, favored the ban 42-40. And while Americans once overwhelmingly embraced fracking, they seem to have flipped. A Pew Research poll in November found that 47 percent of Americans oppose fracking, while only 41 percent favor it. As recently as March 2013, Pew found Americans favored fracking by a 48-38 margin.   [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
Fracking Proppants: Global Markets
PR Newswire


This BCC Research report analyzes the global hydraulic fracking proppants market in terms of growth, market size and opportunities with regard to types, and regions. It includes forecasted revenue through 2019. Use this report to: - Learn about the global hydraulic fracking proppants market. - Review market dynamics for proppants across geographies of North America, MENA, APAC and ROW. - Learn about the opportunities in the global hydraulic fracking proppants market with respect to regions and types. - Receive information about various applications of the global hydraulic fracking proppants market. Highlights - The global market for hydraulic proppants totaled $49.0 billion in 2014 and is expected to reach $83.2 billion in 2019, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.2% for the period 2014-2019. - North America as a segment will grow from $43.6 billion in 2014 to about $72.2 billion by 2019 at a 10.6% CAGR for the period 2014-2019. - Asia-Pacific as a segment will grow from nearly $2.9 billion in 2014 to nearly $6.1 billion in 2019, increasing at a CAGR of 15.6% from 2014-2019. Introduction & Scope INTRODUCTION This report analyzes the global hydraulic fracking proppants market in terms of growth, market size and opportunities with regard to types, and regions. The report includes forecasted revenue through 2019. This report discusses market dynamics of fracking proppants across geographies of North America, Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Asia-Pacific (APAC), and the rest of the world (ROW). STUDY AND OBJECTIVE - Define the global hydraulic fracking proppants market. - Analyze the market by applications, types and technologies. - Estimate market revenues of the global hydraulic fracking proppants market by region and types. - Identify market trends, issues and factors impacting the global hydraulic fracking proppants market. - Study various applications of the global hydraulic fracking proppants market. - Discuss opportunities in the global hydraulic fracking proppants market with respect to regions and types. - Profile major players in the global hydraulic fracking proppants market and discuss their products and recent developments. Read the full report: http://www.reportlinker.com/p02584388-summary/view-report.html  [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
Voices and Votes Against Fracking Rang Out and Racked Up in 2014
Inside Climate News
David Hasemyer

LAREDO, Texas—Burch Muldrow was absolutely fed up with Lewis Petroleum. The oil company was bulldozing dirt over a pit full of black, oily sludge on the ranch where he worked as caretaker. Recalling a dramatic incident that happened two years ago, Muldrow said recently that he couldn't just stand by and watch. So he grabbed an empty one-gallon plastic milk jug from the bed of his pickup. He cut off the top and scooped up some of the waste, muck he described as having the consistency of thick cake batter and smelling like diesel fuel. Muldrow simply wanted to get the stuff tested to find out exactly what was being buried­­—and what harm it might cause. His impulsive action in 2012 thrust him into a larger wave of national opposition to oil-and-gas development that continues to gain momentum today. The property, a mesquite-and-cactus-covered stretch of a 2,000-acre ranch 40 miles north of Laredo, had been leased for oil-and-gas development. But in Muldraw's view, the company didn't have carte blanche to leave the land in ruin. Lewis officials were telling him to mind his own business. Burying waste was the way they always did things, a practice they told Muldrow was acceptable by state environmental regulators. (Phone calls from InsideClimate News to the company seeking comment were not returned.) "The superintendent told me: 'I don't see what the big deal is. We backfill like this all of the time.' Those were the words out of his mouth," said Muldrow, whose white cowboy hat shows just the slightest reddish gray tinge from the constant swirl of dust. The Eyes of Texas and the Ayes of Texas The Texas government was less concerned than the ranch caretaker. An investigation [3] by the Railroad Commission of Texas, the regulatory agency responsible for monitoring oil-and-gas operations, concluded "no violations were noted." Muldrow had the sample tested by the San Antonio Testing Laboratory. The analysis revealed benzene, toluene and ethylbenzene—all chemicals commonly found in the waste generated by oil-and-gas drilling. The danger of these chemicals, which are known to cause cancer, induce respiratory illness and affect the central nervous system, was part of the focus of an 18-month investigation [5] by InsideClimate News and the Center for Public Integrity published earlier this year. The project found that Texas’s environmental regulators know almost nothing about the extent of the pollution in the Eagle Ford, one of the largest oil boom regions in the United States. Although the test showed the amounts of chemicals were within state safety standards, Muldrow still questioned their long-term danger. "This stuff is poison," he said. "So it seems to me that there isn't any amount that's good." Ultimately the oil company dug up the waste and hauled it to a commercial disposal site about 40 miles away. But Muldrow remains convinced that happened only because he made a fuss after catching the company trying to cover the pit. A Gathering Voice of Outrage Muldrow and his scoop of sludge don't stand alone in his defiance of the Goliath oil-and-gas industry. A gathering voice of outrage now echoes from a tiny courthouse in Karnes County, Texas to the wind-blown high desert of Nevada; and from the council chambers in Boulder, Colo., to the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C. Across the country, from California to Ohio, people have gone to the ballot box to protect the air they breathe and the water they drink by enacting bans on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. They have gone to court to fight for their right to clean air and water. They rent vans to haul people to meetings of government regulators to protest oil- and-gas development that intrudes on their lives. They become reluctant activists who say they've been pushed too far. "The public is becoming more educated on the issue," said Congressman Matt Cartwright [6], a Pennsylvania Democrat who has opened an investigation into the way states regulate the disposal of toxic waste generated by fracking. MORE: In Fracking's Wake: Open Pits Offer Cheap Disposal for Oil and Gas Sludge, but Health Worries Mount [7] "People are realizing that oil-and-gas operations are being conducted with little oversight and their health and our environment are at stake and that they need to stand up and have their voices heard," Cartwright wrote in an email interview. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves injecting water, chemicals and sand down a well to crack open bedrock and extract fossil fuels. Opponents are concerned about air, water, waste, noise and light pollution, and they argue that regulations are too weak. A New Sophistication in the Public Pushback Hundreds of cities, towns and counties in 25 states have passed measures regulating or banning fracking, according to data [8] collected by Food & Water Watch [8], a watchdog organization based in Washington, D.C. New York authorities announced a statewide fracking ban earlier this month, saying the controversial process could contaminate the state's air and water and pose public-health risks. Tish O'Dell [9], an Ohio organizer with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund who has fought a grassroots battle against fracking, said the more widespread fracking becomes, the more people see it as a threat. "It's true, people are saying not in my backyard," O'Dell said. "But they are becoming more sophisticated in their understanding of the risks, from their personal health to the larger impact on climate change." Texans Lisa and Bob Parr are among those who stood up to the industry. The couple, a substitute teacher and cabinet maker who simply wanted to live a quiet life on their 40-acre ranch with their daughter, found themselves nearly alone facing a billion-dollar industry. "There comes a time, no matter the odds, where you just have to say 'that's enough,'" Lisa Parr said. Earlier this year, the Parrs were awarded nearly $3 million [10] in damages against an oil-and-gas developer they contended failed to prevent toxic emissions that left them with nosebleeds and unexplained welts, among other maladies that made their lives miserable. The victory is being recognized as one of the first multi-million dollar awards ever against oil-and-gas developers over toxic emissions. Although they may lose the case on appeal in a state dedicated to supporting the industry, Parr said a message has nevertheless been delivered loud and clear. "We were one small voice but what we had to say [to the industry] is that you can't ignore the consequences to people's lives for what you are doing," she said. Parr said she hopes that their successful fight will embolden others to stand up to the industry. 'They Had to Stand Up' For the three Karnes County, Texas families represented by attorney Tomas Ramirez [11], the decision to fight represents desperation as much as conviction. "These people had no choice," Ramirez said. "Their lives were so impacted they could no longer live that way so they had to stand up." And it's been a fight. He has suspended action on two of his cases pending the appeal of a judge's ruling [12] that dismissed the first case he filed; the judge said there's not enough evidence to show the industry was responsible for the ailments the families claim were brought on by emissions. But the families are resolved to pursue the fight. Ramirez, a one-time oil field engineer for Mobil, said it would be a bonus if his fight and his clients' plight echoes beyond the prairie of South Texas. MORE: Judge Throws Out Family's Fracking Pollution Case [12] "There is no doubt these issues need broad debate," he said. Yet it's easy to think that the voices of his clients will be drowned out by the industry's drumbeat of oil independence and economic prosperity, he said. "But if scientists hear of what's happening to people; if decision-makers pay a little more attention then maybe that's the spark that’s needed to start an intelligent debate," he said. Ramirez said he isn't sure his clients' stories of blinding headaches, horrible rashes and persistent breathing difficulties from the foul air will be enough to ignite that debate. "It should … it should," he said. "We'll just have to wait to see how this all plays out." From Shakeout to Safety Beyond the south Texas prairie courthouse where Ramirez’s case was argued, a national stage is being set in Washington, D.C. Bills are pending to reclassify oilfield waste as hazardous and to ban fracking on federally owned public land—a longshot in the face of a Republican takeover of Congress in January. "I believe it is important for people to know that there are members of Congress that are championing this issue and bringing national attention to the issue," said Cartwright, the Pennsylvania congressman. He said he is seeing support ever so slowly building for his proposed legislation to close loopholes in federal regulations that allow waste generated during oil-and-gas drilling to be classified as non-hazardous. When the legislation was introduced in 2013, there were 43 co-sponsors. That number has since grown to 70—all Democrats—with Texas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson becoming the most recent member of Congress to endorse the legislation, in August. Cartwright also has launched an investigation [13] into the way states dispose of the often toxic waste generated during the fracking of oil and gas. MORE: Pennsylvania Congressman Launches Frack Waste Investigation as Concern Rises [13] And earlier this month, Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan [14], who recently won re-election to a second term, introduced a bill to ban fracking for oil and gas on federally owned public lands. "As we learn more about fracking's impact on the environment and people living near fracking wells, one thing is clear, the process can be harmful and the effects are not fully understood," Pocan said in a prepared statement. Industry attorney William Anaya [15] isn't surprised that oil-and-gas producers are facing increasing calls for stricter regulation, legal challenges and unrest from communities where recent technological advances have led to a boom in hydraulic fracturing. "This is a new process and with any new process comes a shakeout period where people have to be shown that the process is safe," he said. "I don't think oil and gas is being picked on. With any new technology comes the responsibility of proving that it is reliable and poses little risk to the public." Anaya says the technology used to frack wells is safe. But, he said, the industry has done a poor job of making its case to lawmakers and the public. "There's sometimes a siege mentality that has to be overcome," he said. "The industry needs to step up its public relations to show the new process is safe." He said he would expect to see much less worry and protest over time because fracking will become an accepted and trusted way to recover oil and gas. "There are always things that need to be worked out in any new process," he said. "That's true with this technology where some practices and procedures need some refinement." Once that happens the uproar will quiet, Anaya said. Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt, [16] a Republican in the Texas legislature, said he believes the public pushback is coming from a vocal minority. But he is not disdainful of those people. "I appreciate their efforts to raise the issues that need to be addressed," he said. "If you don't have the vocal minority, sometimes those matters that need to be addressed won't be looked at and studied." The increased public scrutiny has prompted the industry to begin paying more attention to the huge amount of water needed for fracking and to reduce the emissions and the waste of gas associated with flaring, a process where natural gas that cannot be used is burned off. "That's not only going to foster a better public perception for the industry but it is a statement that the industry is sensitive to the public's concerns," Kleinschmidt said. A Revolution That Races Past the Regulators Joe Dancy [17], an adjunct professor of energy and environmental law at Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, said the uprising could be attributable to people frustrated with regulators either too slow to enact rules or too protective of the industry. "If people don't think the agencies that are supposed to be protecting them are doing the job, they take it upon themselves," he said. However, Dancy defends regulators; he says they are trying to do a good job. It's just that fracking technology is developing so quickly and the practice is growing so fast that the science and studies that regulators need to develop new guidelines haven't caught up with the boom. "This revolution has happened so fast the regulators are on a treadmill that's going faster than they can keep up with," he said. The industry is working within existing regulations that maybe outmoded when it comes to fracking, he said. "So because people are anxious for regulations to catch up with technology, they take it upon themselves to act," Dancy added. In November, eight towns and counties across the country took their health and environmental concerns about fracking to the ballot boxes in Ohio, California and Texas. Some won. Some lost. MORE: Record Number of Anti-Fracking Measures on Nov. 4 Ballots [18] That the initiatives made it to a vote highlights a growing backlash against the industry. Cities in New York, Ohio and California, including Beverly Hills, have already banned fracking. "I think what you're seeing in these local movements is the beginning of a broader movement against fracking," said Eric Smith [19], a political science professor at UC Santa Barbara. He said the surge in opposition can be traced to a recent wave of studies addressing the safety of fracking and the surge in media attention highlighting the issues associated with the process. More than a half dozen studies published in the last two years have raised questions about fracking's connection to birth defects, cancer, lung disease, water and air contamination, and other health issues. "People are becoming more educated; more aware of the risks associated with fracking," he said. "With knowledge, people are empowered." And the issues are distinct, Smith said. People understand cancer and lung disease. "These are exactly the kinds of problems people respond to," Smith said. "These are problems that can affect their lives and their families." Although the fracking ban Smith followed in his hometown failed, he said the success of similar measures will inspire others to seek safeguards though the ballot box. "I think you could see a cascading effect where the successes will stimulate the anti-fracking movement to become more aggressive," Smith said. Comment space is provided for respectful discourse. Please consult our comment policies [23] for more information. We welcome your participation in civil and constructive discussions.   [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
2014 Year in Review: Photos of All Things Fracking Related
DeSmogBlog
Julie Dermansky

The oil and gas fracking industry continues to change America's physical and political landscape. Falling oil and gas prices have threatened to stall the industry's production growth, but for now, new drill sites continue to spring up. It was a very eventful year for both the industry and its critics. Here is my look back at some of the most notable stories and photographs. In 2014, The Post Carbon Institute and the University of Texas released reports finding the Energy Information Administration's projections of the fracking boom’s production potential greatly inflated. Numerous peer-reviewed studies have been published that hold the fracking industry responsible for water and air contamination. And health studies have connected industry emissions to negative health effects impacting those living near fracking sites.  [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
Spill Baby Spill ! Kill Baby Kill ! – 2014 in Fraccidents and Frackastrophes
NO FRACKING WAY
RICHARD AVERETT

We ended the first installment of “Spill Baby Spill the Year in Frackastophes” way back in May. It’s been a big year for Fraccidents and Frackastrophes since then, and Fractavist Extraordinaire Richard Averett has brought the list up to date, one fracking mess at a time. Fracking has become America’s deadliest form of energy, a bigger body count in a month than coal in a year. Fracking produces more radioactive HAZMAT material in a few days than the US nuclear industry does in a year. Sandra Steingraber’s group published a compendium of fracking health risks and the Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy did a statistical analysis of health studies, which were released simultaneously the week before Governor Cuomo’s announcement to ban fracking in New York. We here at No Fracking Way, The Dory, The Bill, The Wendy, Sheik Yerbouti – aka “Richard Averett” and Joe Tex, wish you and yours a very Happy unFracked New Year !  [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
Group holds earthquake anniversary event
WYTV


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – An anti-fracking group marked the third anniversary of the 2011 4.0-magnitude earthquake in Youngstown with rallies at three sites.   [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
Anti-fracking groups score court win
Central Valley Business Times


Residents in the Los Angeles suburb of La Habra Heights trying to ban new oil and gas wells scored a court victory Wednesday when a Los Angeles Superior Court rejected oil and gas industry-backed language from being included in a March 2015 ballot initiative. The court ordered the city to revise the language.  [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
More earthquakes rock Dallas area, one near old Texas Stadium site
Chron
Craig Hlavaty

nyone who lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area contends with almost weekly reports of small-scale earthquakes in that part of Texas. Irving has had at least eight earthquakes in the past month, registering between 2.1 and 2.8 on the Richter scale. A month ago an earthquake in Mansfield, southwest of Dallas, registered a 3.4 on the Richter scale.  [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
Natural gas glut slows drilling down
Herald-Dispatch
Associated Press

MIDDLEBOURNE — Scattered along the western part of Tyler County, W.Va., are newly quiet natural gas drilling rigs, their pumps no longer moving up and down like a 24/7 see-saw. Truck traffic rumbling through here, and jack breaks thumping loud enough to disturb the circuit court and commissioners meetings, have slowed.  [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
Gas driller increases royalty settlement for landowners
The Hill
Timothy Cama

Natural gas drilling company Chesapeake Energy increased the settlement it is offering to landowners who say the company took too much money from their drilling royalties. The new proposed class-action settlement filed in court earlier this month totals $11 million, compared with the previous $7.5 million offer, the Scranton, Pa., Times-Tribune reported.   [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
Another source of natural gas
Albany Times Union
Joanna D. Underwood

With limited conventional gas resources and huge shale gas deposits New York decided not to develop, there is another way to boost gas production: tap our enormous organic waste stream.   [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
EDITORIALSState has an obligation to curb flaring
My San Antonio
Editorial

But if anything, the market has shown complete indifference to the flaring of natural gas and its associated health and environmental consequences. As Express-News journalists John Tedesco, Jennifer Hiller and Joseph Kokenge outlined, flaring of natural gas surged in 2014. In just the first seven months of the year, more natural gas was flared in the Eagle Ford shale than in all of 2012.  [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
New York’s Ban on High-Volume Fracking Rocks the Foundations of ‘Shale Revolution’
DC Bureau
Peter Mantius Opinion

Emboldened by mounting scientific evidence and shifting poll data, Gov. Andrew Cuomo veered sharply away from America’s conventional wisdom about the wonders of high-volume hydraulic fracturing of shale formations when he banned the practice in New York State on Dec. 17. While the oil and gas titans hope to contain the uprising to one state, the environmental advocates who masterminded it are quietly optimistic that it represents a tipping point, signaling impending decline for fossil fuels’ decades-long hegemony.   [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
Tropical Forests May Inhale Third of Fossil Fuel Emissions
Climate Central
Bobby Magill

Plant a tree. Preserve a forest. Save the Earth from climate change? It’s of course much more complicated than that, and slowing the tide of climate change will take a lot more than saving trees from chainsaws. But a new study highlights how critical forests may be, especially in the tropics, in absorbing human-caused carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and mitigating climate change.  [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
Dominion outlines LNG construction details
The Calvert Recorder
Sarah Fleischman

In the months since the liquefied natural gas export project was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Dominion has hit the ground running to have its Lusby export facility operational by late 2017. An offsite area in Solomons is essentially complete, said Bob McKinley, vice president of Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas construction. The temporary pier built to receive shipments from barges on the Patuxent River, which was approved by the Maryland Board of Public Works, will start operations in the spring.   [Full Story]

Dec 31, 2014
NYC fields over 200 pre-suit claims from gas blast
Penn Energy


NEW YORK (AP) — New York City could face more than 200 lawsuits over a gas explosion that leveled two buildings and killed eight people earlier this year. City Comptroller Scott Stringer's office says it's gotten 205 notices of claim stemming from the March 12 gas blast. The notices are first steps toward suing the city, though some claims are settled before lawsuits are filed. Stringer's office and the city Law Department had no immediate comment Tuesday on the claims. They range from wrongful death to property damage.   [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
Exclusive: Oil price crash claims first U.S. LNG project casualty
Reuters
Oleg Vukmanovic

MILAN (Reuters) - Excelerate Energy's Texan liquefied natural gas terminal plan has become the first victim of an oil price slump threatening the economics of U.S. LNG export projects. A halving in the oil price since June has upended assumptions by developers that cheap U.S. LNG would muscle into high-value Asian energy markets, which relied on oil prices staying high to make the U.S. supply affordable.  [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
After New York ban, Pennsylvania renews focus on fracking health impacts
NPR State Impact PA
KATIE COLANERI

New York State banned fracking earlier this month, citing the potential risks to public health. In Pennsylvania, where shale gas drilling has boomed, the state has not studied those risks systematically and some say, deliberately ignored them. A new governor says he wants to take a different approach. At a news conference the day after New York announced its ban, Pennsylvania’s Democratic Governor-elect Tom Wolf summed up his views on fracking: “I want to have my cake and eat it, too,” he said. “I don’t want to do what New York did.”   [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
NC set to lift fracking moratorium, but prospects for drilling remain iffy
Charlotte Observer
John Murawski

After four years of heated debate, North Carolina stands on the cusp of lifting its fracking moratorium and opening the state’s woodlands and meadows to shale gas exploration. The state legislature, which convenes next month, is expected to let energy developers start pulling drilling permits as early as April, and no later than autumn. But the imminent end of the moratorium is arriving on an anticlimactic note. Despite a sustained effort by the Republican-led legislature to turn North Carolina into an energy-producing state, the prospects for energy exploration here remain iffy.   [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
Judge hears arguments in compressor case
Times Online
Kristen Doerschner

BEAVER -- Attorneys made arguments before a Beaver County judge Tuesday about a compressor station planned near an organic farm in New Sewickley Township. Cardinal PA Midstream of Dallas plans to build the Pike Compressor Station on 11 acres of property at 282 Teets Road, owned by the Teets family. PennEnergy Resources of Findlay Township, which would use the station, has an option to buy 44 acres from the family. Don and Rebecca Kretschmann, owners of Kretschmann Family Organic Farm on Zeigler Road, appealed the construction after township supervisors unanimously approved a conditional-use permit for the station to be built in an agricultural zone. The Kretschmanns said they fear the compressor station would cause their organic farm to lose customers who might fear contamination from the station.  [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
Cove Point LNG Exports Challenged by Shale Development Opposition
Natural Gas Intelligence
Ellen Beswick

Two opponents of the FERC-approved Dominion Cove Point LNG LP export project have asked the Commission to stay work on the project while it considers their rehearing request, saying that by delaying action on rehearing they are blocking a court appeal. The Allegheny Defense Project and Wild Virginia petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue a stay to stop the ongoing construction work on the plant in Calvert County, MD, and supporting compressor station work in Virginia until it issues a final order on rehearing. FERC approved construction of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project on Sept. 29.  [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
NPS natural gas summit issues
The River Reporter
David Hulse

December 30, 2014 — NARROWSBURG, NY — National Park Service (NPS) regional and local staff, Delaware River Basin Commission and Army Corps of Engineers staff journeyed west for the National Park Service Natural Gas Summit in September. They viewed Pennsylvania’s gas fields and gas facilities as far afield as Susquehanna and Bradford counties and spoke with people there and in the Upper Delaware. NPS Superintendent Kris Heister presented a slideshow and reported to the Upper Delaware Council about the training trip on December 4. Cabot Oil and Gas provided access to facilities for the tour. Cabot has some 40,000 employees in the state, leases for 200,000 acres in Susquehanna and Wyoming counties, has drilled more than 300 wells and plans to drill 3,000 more over the next 30 years. The slideshow showed clean settings and well maintained equipment. The hydraulic fracturing “fracking” process involves horizontal “non-conventional” drilling to depths of about 6,000 feet. Multiple wells are possible from a single pad. Chemicals used include: biocide (chlorine), acid (like hydrochloric), friction reducer (like dish soap), sand to keep fractures open and lots of water. Drillers recover about 40% of the water they pump in, the rest being absorbed. Recovered water is recycled. Major concerns of fracking opponents involve leaks in the joints of drilling pipe that allow the escape of chemical-infused water, migration of methane gas associated with natural gas, and the final destination of the 60% of absorbed water. The tour finished up with presentations at the Equinunk and Basket Historical societies, and concluded at Lander’s Café with “a diverse group of local business people who shared their perspectives on the gas industry.” Heister said those conversations really “gave a flavor for the pros and cons” and were valuable for everyone involved.   [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
Natural gas glut puts brakes on WV’s boom times
Logan Banner
Daniel Tyson

MIDDLEBOURNE, W.Va. — Scattered along the western part of Tyler County are newly quiet natural gas drilling rigs, their pumps no longer moving up and down like a 24/7 see-saw. Truck traffic rumbling through here, and jack breaks thumping loud enough to disturb the circuit court and commissioners meetings, have slowed. At restaurants here and 12 miles away in Sistersville, business is down. The county’s only hotel has witnessed a decline in oil field worker occupancy, one major account having canceled rooms for the winter. “It is not dead yet, but it is slowing down considerably,” Charles Winslow, owner of the Historic Wells Inn in Sistersville, said of the recent natural gas production decline. Across central West Virginia something very strange is happening. The economy is still booming because of natural gas, but virtually all the fracking crews have packed up and gone home for the winter. The roustabouts were told sometime in November “don’t call us, we’ll call you” as a glut of cheap natural gas could send prices to a 10-year low.  [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
Regional: White River forest chief explains Colorado gas lease plan
Post Independent


LEASING DECISION BY THE NUMBERS • 800,555 acres already legally closed via Congressional direction, including designated wilderness, permitted ski areas, campgrounds and administrative sites. • Final Environmental Impact Statement decision closes an additional 1,281,726 acres through management direction. • 194,123 acres will be made administratively available for leasing for the next 15 to 20 years (a reduction from 411,475 acres under the current plan), eliminating lands where there was only moderate potential for oil and gas • Decision closes 61,000 acres of lands on the forest considered “high potential” for oil and gas development, primarily in the Thompson Divide/Four Mile area. Source: Newly released WRNF Oil and Gas Leasing Management Plan  [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
Natural gas glut slows drilling
The Journal
Daniel Tyson

MIDDLEBOURNE - Scattered along the western part of Tyler County are newly quiet natural gas drilling rigs, their pumps no longer moving up and down like a 24/7 see-saw. Truck traffic rumbling through here, and jack breaks thumping loud enough to disturb the circuit court and commissioners meetings, have slowed. At restaurants here and 12 miles away in Sistersville, business is down. The county's only hotel has witnessed a decline in oil field worker occupancy, one major account having canceled rooms for the winter. "It is not dead yet, but it is slowing down considerably," Charles Winslow, owner of the Historic Wells Inn in Sistersville, said of the recent natural gas production decline.  [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
Ohio Oil and Gas Commission revokes drilling permit for North Royalton well
Cleveland.com
Bob Sandrick

NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio – A state permit that would have allowed Cutter Oil Co. to drill a new oil and gas well by using parts of two city streets has been revoked. The Ohio Oil and Gas Commission -- a five-member body that hears appeals to state oil and gas decisions -- revoked the permit Dec. 13 in a move North Royalton Law Director Tom Kelly said could set a state-wide precedent. The commission said the state failed to take into account the city's safety concerns over drilling when it when granted the permit in December 2013. "This is a big deal," Kelly said. "The ODNR (Ohio Department of Natural Resources) will now be required to take into consideration the safety concerns of the public when they're issuing permits to drill."  [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
Oil and Gas Industry Fight Seal Protections
Courthouse News
Philip A. Janquart

(CN) - Listing Alaska's ringed seal as a threatened species based on climate change is unwarranted and unsupported by science, the oil and gas industry claim in court. The Alaska Oil and Gas Association and the American Petroleum Institute sued the National Marine Fisheries Service and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on Dec. 23 in Anchorage Federal Court, challenging the decision to list the arctic subspecies of ringed seal (Phoca hispida hispida) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The plaintiffs claim there is no evidence that climate change will affect ringed seals. "In the listing rule, NMFS determined that the arctic subspecies of ringed seal is abundant, wide-ranging, genetically diverse and otherwise healthy, but is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future as a result of the projected effects of climate change on its habitat," the complaint states. But the oil and gas industry claims "there is no scientific data linking the effects of climate change in the arctic and the health, reproduction, survival or conservation of arctic ringed seals."  [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
Fracking in North Carolina: Environmental factors a moot point if no one comes to frack
Charlotte Business Journal
Lauren K. Ohnesorge

In 2015, unless the N.C. legislature takes action otherwise, Lee County could serve as ground zero for a mining revival — this time through fracking. As environmental groups rally for online support, those in the energy industry are preparing in-depth surveys to take stock of what North Carolina can offer in natural gas. Drilling could happen as early as April, experts say. But that's if all goes according to a plan that's two years in the making.  [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
How Putin Forged a Pipeline Deal That Derailed
The New York Times
JIM YARDLEY and JO BECKER

SOFIA, Bulgaria — Barely two weeks after President Vladimir V. Putin annexed Crimea on one side of the Black Sea, he won a different prize on the other side. In Bulgaria’s Parliament, lawmakers gave initial passage to a bill clearing the way for a mammoth gas pipeline from Russia. The pipeline, known as South Stream, was Mr. Putin’s most important European project, a tool of economic and geopolitical power critical to twin goals: keeping Europe hooked on Russian gas, and further entrenching Russian influence in fragile former Soviet satellite states as part of a broader effort to undermine European unity. The bill that Parliament took up on April 4 was arcane. But it swept aside a host of European regulations — rules that Mr. Putin did not want to abide by — for a pipeline that would deliver gas throughout southern Europe.  [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
Saudis Tell Shale Industry It Will Break Them, Plans to Keep Pumping Even at $20 a Barrel
Truthout
Yves Smith

When the Saudis announced their intention not to support oil prices when they were sliding towards $90 and plunged quickly through that level, we deemed the move to be a masterstroke. It served to damage both economic and political enemies. On the economic front, the casualties would include renewables, Canadian tar sands, and the US shale gas industry. On the geopolitical front, the casualties would include Iran, Syria, Russia.... and the US.  [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
Fractivist gets another day in court
Independent Weekender


A natural gas drilling opponent is getting another day in court to take on a drilling company. Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, Houston, Texas, is seeking a permanent injunction to keep Scroggins from Cabot or its sibsiduary GasSearch Drilling Services properties and leased properties where active operations are taking place. The preliminary injunction in place also prohibits Scroggins from entering onto Cabot’s access roads, well pads, and sets a 100-foot buffer from any well pad.  [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
Feds offer guidance to would-be oil exporters
Fuel Fix
Jennifer A. Dlouhy

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Tuesday issued long-awaited guidance clarifying what kinds of crude can be exported, a move seen as widening the opening for lightly processed U.S. oil to be shipped overseas. The “frequently asked questions” document from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security broadly confirms that oil can be exported once it is processed in distillation towers — a welcome move for energy producers struggling under plummeting crude prices.   [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
State should thoroughly investigate proposal for Seneca Lake gas storage facility
The Buffalo News
Editorial

Here’s what is brewing: a plan to store tens of millions of gallons of liquefied petroleum gas, and up to 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas, in salt caverns thousands of feet below the ground around Seneca Lake. To environmentalists, the lake’s pristine image would be irreparably damaged by underground gas storage, harming the promise of tourism and the growing wine industry.  [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
A Koch Hack Tells the Pope to 'Back Off' on Climate Change
AlterNet


Here's what he gave the Guardian for "balance": Francis will also be opposed by the powerful US evangelical movement, said Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the conservative Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which has declared the US environmental movement to be “un-biblical” and a false religion. “The pope should back off,” he said. “The Catholic church is correct on the ethical principles but has been misled on the science. It follows that the policies the Vatican is promoting are incorrect. Our position reflects the views of millions of evangelical Christians in the US.” This is interesting on several levels. 1) Beisner is not Catholic, so why would a reporter ask him about the Pope? Other than that he is sure to return your email/call, since that's his job. 2) Beisner's grift is getting polluters to fund his propagandizing of white conservative evangelical Protestants like himself. Preaching to the conservative choir is a solid meal ticket these days. But it's not a Catholic choir in this case.   [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
Alaska governor orders halt to state funds for alternate North Slope natural gas pipeline
Platts


Alaska Governor Bill Walker ordered a halt to state funds being spent on a state-led North Slope natural gas pipeline as a budget contingency, a spokesman for the Alaska Gasline Development Corp said Tuesday. The order affects unencumbered state funds appropriated for a 36-inch pipeline being planned by the state gas corporation as a backup in case an industry-led 42-inch pipeline plan associated with a large LNG export project does not proceed, AGDC spokesman Miles Baker said. "The governor's order does not affect state funds being spent in support of the larger industry-led project in which the state is a partner," Baker said. The state's gas corporation is also the entity participating with North Slope producers BP, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil and pipeline company TransCanada in the larger project, he said.  [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
Attention Turns to Fracking's Impact on Air Quality
Inside Climate News
Lisa Song

Fracking's impacts on air quality took the spotlight this year, fueled by new research and broad media coverage. The modern shale boom has created a massive influx of oil-and-gas wells, compressor stations and other infrastructure that spew toxic chemicals and greenhouse gases into the air. The consequences for public health and climate change are increasingly recognized as serious issues, on par with the water contamination concerns that once dominated debates over the pros and cons of fracking.  [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
The Top Ten Climate Movement Victories of 2014 by Ted Glick /
Dissident Voice
Ted Glick

There is a lot to feel good about as far as the U.S. climate movement and what we did and accomplished in 2014. Without question, we are heading into 2015 with some wind at our back and, to continue the relevant metaphor, the sun to light our way forward. In the order that I think were most important, here they are: 1) September 21st People’s Climate March: How could anything else be more important than this? Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in NYC for action on climate, with many tens of thousands more around the U.S. and the world doing so in solidarity.   [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
New York Is Trading Fracking for Solar Panel Kits
Motley Fool
Justin Loiseau

New York State banned fracking earlier this month, pitting energy policy against public health like never before. With fracking officially off the table, New York is focusing its energy efforts elsewhere. A $1 billion solar initiative provides a not-so-subtle hint as to where. Here's what you need to know. Farewell, fracking On Dec. 17, New York Governor Cuomo officially declared his state free of fracking. The motion was both celebrated and vilified. The state made its decision based on public health threats outlined in a seminal 184-page Department of Health report, but it did so at the expense of around 141 trillion cubic feet of untapped natural gas -- equivalent to 128 times the state's current annual consumption. New York has bid farewell to fracking, and its support for solar will shape its energy future for decades to come. Solar is taking off across the nation, but there are three reasons New York state offers energy users and investors a unique opportunity. 1. Sensible incentives In 2012, Governor Cuomo unveiled his NY-Sun initiative as part of his commitment to "protect the environment and lower energy costs for all New Yorkers by improving the efficiency and reliability of the electric grid." Two years and 316 solar MW later, Cuomo committed almost $1 billion more to NY-Sun to keep solar panel kits soaring.  [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
New York State Bans Fracking: California Next?
San Diego Free Press
John Lawrence

In a huge victory for the environmental movement, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has banned fracking. I guess President Obama is not the only one that can get things accomplished by executive order. Experts have made analyses that identified contamination threats to water, soil and air, the absence of reliable health studies or proof that drillers can protect the public, as well as diminishing economic prospects. All good reasons for the public to demand a fracking ban. Fracking is also being delivered a death knell by market forces. Since it costs more to access oil by fracking than it does by conventionsl drilling, if the price per barrel falls below a certain point, fracking becomes uneconomical. Lo and behold, thanks to the Saudis who have been keeping production up, the cost per barrel has fallen to around $60. It has to be higher than $80. for fracking to be profitable.  [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
Monster Methane Cloud Hovers Over Western US
US Sputnik News
Riasa Camargo

Scientists are beginning to question the ramifications of a giant Delaware-sized methane hot spot high up in the air. The “giant plume” is the largest collection of greenhouse gas in the air above the U.S. and is likely the result of natural gas leaks. It’s located over a stretch of desert in Southeast New Mexico, and NASA scientists have studied the methane cloud as a potent climate changer for the past three years. When it first appeared, scientists questioned its existence. “We couldn’t be sure that the signal was real,” NASA researcher Christian Frankenberg told the Washington Post. But NASA teams and University of Michigan scientists verified the methane “hot spot” in October. The study’s lead author Eric Kort says it’s unlikely that the methane emissions were caused by fracking alone, as the period in which scientists have studied the cloud predates “the widespread use of hydraulic fracturing.” Kort says the methane emissions are likely due instead to leaks in natural gas extraction and processing equipment in New Mexico's San Juan Basin.  [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
Canada: Alberta Taking Steps To Protect Groundwater From Hydraulic Fracturing Operations
Mondaq.com
Alan Harvie

The Government of Alberta has released a Water Conservation Action Plan which includes short and long-term strategic actions to protect groundwater from the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing operations. The Plan outlines 20 short-term and five long-term actions that are intended to help protect Alberta's groundwater during oil and gas development. With respect to hydraulic fracturing, Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) in collaboration with Alberta Energy and the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) will: expand the water conservation and allocation policy presently in place for oilfield injection to include water conservation measures for hydraulic fracturing, with the new policy to be finalized in early 2015; and develop and implement science-based standards for baseline water well testing near hydraulic fracturing operations, with the new standards to be in place in early 2015.   [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
Fracking, Penn State Topped Commonwealth Court Agenda
The Legal Intelligencer
Lizzy McLellan

The Commonwealth Court in 2014 took on several issues of national importance. In several cases related to oil and gas drilling, the court reviewed issues that arose out of recent legislation, or simply out of the recently born practice of hydraulic fracturing. In its work with Corman v. NCAA, it took on one piece of the Penn State University sex-abuse scandal that captured national attention. And Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard L. McGinley examined Pennsylvania's voter ID law, striking down the controversial statute as unconstitutional. Oil and Gas Growth in the Marcellus Shale industry has brought about a number of new issues, as well as new legislation in Pennsylvania, causing questions to arise within the courts.   [Full Story]

Dec 30, 2014
Oil and Gas Regulatory Push Coming from Obama Administration
Wall Street Journal
Amy Harder

The Obama administration is planning to release in the coming months a series of regulations on the oil and natural gas industry, a response to the nation’s energy boom that also is aimed at burnishing President Barack Obama ’s environmental legacy in his final two years. The coming rules—at least nine in total—would include the first-ever federal standards addressing methane emissions, stricter controls on hydraulic fracturing, drilling requirements in the Arctic, new rules governing oil shipped by trains and tougher standards on offshore drilling technology. The repercussions for the industry could be higher operating costs and fewer incentives to drill on public lands.  [Full Story]

Dec 29, 2014
Officials, citizens gather to support Cuomo ban on fracking
Mid Hudson News


KINGSTON – New York is the first, and only, state so far, with a statewide ban on fracking. New York’s ban is ok with several activists and government leaders who gathered this morning in the Ulster County Legislature chambers. “I am proud that Ulster County has been at the forefront of the environmental protection movement,” Ulster County Executive Mike Hein said. “The decision to ban fracking in New York State is a huge win today, a huge win for our children and a huge win for all future generations.” Several speakers cited last week’s Quinnipiac College poll showing state voters approve 55 - 25 percent Cuomo's decision to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in New York State, mostly by a wide margin. No party, gender, age or regional   [Full Story]

Dec 29, 2014
Collapse in Oil and Natural Gas Prices Hitting OPEC the Hardest
New American
Bob Adelmann

As prices for crude oil and natural gas continued their precipitous fall over the last five weeks, most commentators have been focusing on the impact — real or predicted — on the oil and gas industry in the United States. Little noticed, however, was the report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) about how those declines are likely to affect OPEC. OPEC’s total revenues, which hit an all-time high of $900 billion in 2012, are expected to decline by half next year, to just $446 billion. And that projection is based on the assumption that oil prices will average $68 a barrel in 2015. In the futures market on Friday, December 26, crude oil closed at $55.14 a barrel.   [Full Story]

Dec 29, 2014
Natural gas glut puts brakes on West Virginia's boom times
The State Journal
Daniel Tyson

Scattered along the western part of Tyler County are newly quiet natural gas drilling rigs, their pumps no longer moving up and down like a 24/7 see-saw. Truck traffic rumbling through here, and jack breaks thumping loud enough to disturb the circuit court and commissioners meetings, have slowed.  [Full Story]

Dec 29, 2014
Energy resource categories reflect varying degrees of certainty
Akron Beacon Journal
Bob Downing

Crude oil and natural gas resources are the estimated oil and natural gas volumes that might be produced at some time in the future. The volumes of oil and natural gas that ultimately will be produced cannot be known ahead of time. Resource estimates change as extraction technologies improve, as markets evolve, and as oil and natural gas are produced. Consequently, the oil and gas industry, researchers, and government agencies spend considerable time and effort defining and quantifying oil and natural gas resources. For many purposes, oil and natural gas resources are usefully classified into four categories: Remaining oil and gas in-place (original oil and gas in-place minus cumulative production at a specific date) Technically recoverable resources Economically recoverable resources Proved reserves  [Full Story]

Dec 29, 2014
Why Lower Oil Prices Are Positive For The Solar Industry
Seeking Alpha


Summary Lower manufacturing costs: Oil is an expense to almost all industrial and manufacturing activities. So the cost to manufacture solar modules, inverters, racking and storage systems will go down. Lower transportation costs: Total transportation cost can be 10 percent of a solar projects cost. This includes rail, truck, cargo ships, and then local transport to solar project sites. Increase in global demand: increase in world-wide aggregate demand due to lower input cost to almost every phase of economic activity. This will result in higher spending and capital investment. Lower natural gas production leading to increasing natural gas prices: Lower capital expenditures due to weaker oil prices. This will result in lower future natural gas production, causing higher prices.   [Full Story]

Dec 29, 2014
New York bans fracking
Lancaster Guarian


National environmental charity Friends of the Earth are urging Lancashire County Council to take a leaf out of New York’s book over fracking. Friends of the Earth campaigner Tony Bosworth said that the county council “must reject” planning applications to allow fracking at two sites in the county following New York State’s decision to ban the controversial process over “significant public health risks”.  [Full Story]

Dec 29, 2014
Winter Draws Mixed Opinions Regarding Fracking
JD Supra Business Advisor


Fracking received much attention and debate in the fourth quarter. Fracking is the process of injecting large amounts of water, sand and chemicals into the ground at high pressures in order to release oil and natural gas into underground rock formations.  [Full Story]

Dec 29, 2014
Gibson Breaks With GOP Colleagues, Sides With Cuomo on Fracking
Captial New York
Morning Memo

Many Republicans have been criticizing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to move ahead with a fracking ban in New York, but Rep. Chris Gibson is not one of them. “I do support the studies that have come forward here,” said Gibson, whose successful campaign for re-election in NY-19 included a battle over fracking (and contributions from those who support it) with his Democratic challenger, Sean Eldridge. “…I’ve looked at the science here, and I have intuition, and I’m not surprised by the results of this study,” the congressman said.   [Full Story]

Dec 29, 2014
Awarding of natural gas lease under lake prompts concerns south of Dawson Creek
Vancouver Sun
Derrick Penner

The province’s awarding of natural-gas drilling rights for an 879-hectare swath of land including areas beneath Swan Lake and a provincial park south of Dawson Creek has sparked concerns among lakeshore landowners and conservation groups. Scott Land & Lease Ltd., a Calgary-based land-services firm, bid $4.8 million — or $5,404 per hectare — for the rights in the province’s Dec. 15 auction of Crown oil and gas leases, to drill beneath a plot of land that includes most of Swan Lake and a section of 82-hectare Swan Lake Provincial Park. It was the most expensive per-hectare bid in the auction, which saw resource firms offer $38.1 million to lease 22,107 hectares of sub-surface drilling rights — an average of $1,719 a hectare.   [Full Story]

Dec 29, 2014
Drilling plans spark protests by parents
Cranberry Eagle


In the past year neighbors in the Adams and Middlesex township areas were divided over Marcellus Shale gas drilling. In early March, Rex Energy offered the Mars School District a $1 million nonsurface gas lease, in which horizontal drilling would occur a mile beneath 150-plus acres of district property. Rex offered the district $4,000 per acre, which totals about $690,000, plus a $331,396 advanced royalty payment. The lease was connected to the Bob and Kim Geyer farm on Denny Road, which is within one mile of the Mars schools. Six wells were planned for the farm. A group of Mars parents plus several teachers protested the lease and the Geyer wells at a school board meeting because of potential health and safety hazards. More than 200 people at a later meeting cheered when the school board voted to reject the lease. District solicitor Tom King revealed that potential land title issues was the main reason for the no vote. A contentious Middlesex supervisors meeting in March had residents stating their positions on shale gas drilling. In early April the parents group wanted a two-mile zoning overlay placed around the schools to protect the district’s students and staff. Such an overlay, they said, would prevent shale gas drilling. The group fought for the overlay at Adams and Middlesex township meetings through the spring and early summer. In June, the Adams planning commission recommended the supervisors prohibit surface mining and unconventional gas drilling within 1,250 feet of any Mars school building. -   [Full Story]

Dec 29, 2014
Shale Opposition Continues Fight Against Cove Point LNG Terminal
Natural Gas Intelligence
Ellen Beswick

Two opponents of the FERC-approved Dominion Cove Point LNG LP export project have asked the Commission to stay work on the project while it considers their rehearing request, saying that by delaying action on rehearing they are blocking a court appeal. The Allegheny Defense Project and Wild Virginia petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to issue a stay to stop the ongoing construction work on the plant in Calvert County, MD, and supporting compressor station work in Virginia until it issues a final order on rehearing. FERC approved construction of the LNG export project on Sept. 29 (see Daily GPI, Sept. 30). It granted the two parties’ request for rehearing on Nov. 13, authorizing rehearing for further consideration, a standard Commission response that does not call for any further filings or arguments, nor does it stay action on its original decision. It does not prevent opposition parties from filing for court review, however, the court is not likely to entertain the case until the FERC process is completed and a final order has been issued. Allegheny Defense and Wild Virginia’s rehearing request centered on the Commission’s refusal to consider whether, where and how the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal might increase drilling for natural gas and/or hydraulic fracturing. These are arguments that have been advanced multiple times in the past against the “indirect effects” of LNG terminals by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Sierra Club, among others.   [Full Story]

Dec 29, 2014
Air Monitoring Ongoing At Airport Fracking Site
WESA
Erika Beras

This past year, the Allegheny County Health Department began monitoring air quality at Pittsburgh International Airport to gauge the potential health risks of fracking. Jim Thompson, the deputy director of environmental health for the department said they’re monitoring at the Imperial Point Development, which is approximately 2,500 feet from well pad #2 at the airport.  [Full Story]

Dec 29, 2014
Fury over fracking firm's financial 'links to government regulator'
the Northern Echo
Stuart Minting

A LEADING MP has questioned whether a pension fund for the Environment Agency (EA) should invest millions of pounds in controversial industries - such as fracking - which the government regulator oversees. Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee Anne McIntosh said she had been intrigued by claims the EA's pension fund, reportedly worth £2.3bn, had been used to invest in Barclays, which in turn is bankrolling Third Energy's attempts to frack in her Thirsk and Malton constituency.   [Full Story]

Dec 29, 2014
Anti-fracking activists gather in Kingston to celebrate NY state ban
Daily Freeman
William J. Kemble

KINGSTON >> Fracking opponents on Monday gave Andrew Cuomo a figurative group hug, thanking the governor for announcing the controversial gas-drilling process will not be allowed in New York state. “We live in a political world, that’s reality, but the governor could have never made this determination without the science to back it up,” town New Paltz Supervisor Susan Zimet said during a press conference at the Ulster County Office Building in Kingston.   [Full Story]

Dec 29, 2014
Alternate energy takes local homes off the grid
Daily Gazette
Kelly de la Rocha

CAPITAL REGION — Jim Strickland and Laurie Freeman’s energy-efficient, off-the-grid home has special windows. They’re not the double-paned, inert-gas-filled modern wonders that likely come to mind, but ones made from single-pane castoffs.  [Full Story]

Dec 29, 2014
Austin fracking tech developer raises portion of funding round
Austin Business Journal
Christopher Calnan

Omni Water Solutions Inc., a fracking technology developer, reported raising $4.6 million of a planned $6 million financing. The Austin-based company collected the capital from 13 investors, according to a Monday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  [Full Story]

Dec 29, 2014
Washington County family's American dream ruined as water wells fail
Tribune-Review
Aaron Aupperlee

For about two years, Steve and Patricia Borushko had a slice of the American Dream. The couple bought 10 acres of land in Eighty Four, Washington County, built a house in 2003 and tended to a couple of cows and chickens. Then, on Thanksgiving Day 2005, with 19 guests over for dinner, they lost water. Their well stopped. “You couldn't flush a toilet or wash a dish,” Steve Borushko said. Since then, the family — Steve, 58, Patricia, 56, and their 19-year-old son, Dominick — have had water problems — no water, contaminated water, orange water. They blamed Eighty-Four Mining Co., which owned adjacent property.   [Full Story]

Dec 28, 2014
In North Dakota, a Tale of Oil, Corruption and Death
The New York Times
DEBORAH SONTAG and BRENT McDONALD

FORT BERTHOLD INDIAN RESERVATION, N.D. — Tex G. Hall, the three-term tribal chairman on this remote, once impoverished reservation, was the very picture of confidence as he strode to the lectern at his third Annual Bakken Oil and Gas Expo and gazed out over a stuffed, backlit mountain lion. Tall and imposing beneath his black cowboy hat, he faced an audience of political and industry leaders lured from far and wide to the “Texpo,” as some here called it. It was late April at the 4 Bears Casino, and the outsiders endorsed his strong advocacy for oil development and the way he framed it as mutually beneficial for the industry and the reservation: “sovereignty by the barrel.”   [Full Story]

Dec 28, 2014
Does Lansing Need Its Own Fracking Ban?
Ithaca.com
Chris Hooker

The Lansing town board discussed the New York State ban on fracking at the meeting last Wednesday, December 17. After New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo approved a state-wide ban on fracking last Wednesday, the town board is trying to decide whether or not they should continue to pursue a permanent ban. Lansing passed a local moratorium on fracking for one year in January 2013, and chose to extend it another year that May.  [Full Story]

Dec 28, 2014
On Tribal Lands, Oil and Trouble:VIDEO
The New York Times
Brent McDonald

Murder charges spark an investigation into a tribal chairman’s business dealings on the oil-rich Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota.  [Full Story]

Dec 28, 2014
Environment Agency investing pension fund in industries it regulates is 'clear conflict of interest'
Independent
Andy Rowell

The Environment Agency (EA) has been accused of having a "clear conflict of interest" after an Independent on Sunday investigation found the UK regulator's pension fund invests millions in controversial industries which it then regulates. In the UK the EA's pension fund – worth a huge £2.3bn – invests in companies investing in fracking, incineration and nuclear power, all of which the Agency is involved in regulating.   [Full Story]

Dec 28, 2014
New Research On Dangers Of Fracking Wastewater Pits
Water Online
Sara Jerome

A study by two national environmental organizations shows that fracking wastewater pits are threatening water quality in California. "Unlined open-air wastewater pits brimming with the toxic leftovers of fracking and other types of oil and gas development are threatening California's air and water quality," Inside Climate News reported, citing the study.  [Full Story]

Dec 28, 2014
Gas storage facility questioned
Democrat and Chronicle


Now that our governor has made the bold decision to ban horizontal fracking in New York, we must remain vigilant in researching and questioning the safety of other elements of fracking infrastructure, such as storage of gas, treatment of fracking waste, pipelines, oil trains, etc. Of particular urgency in our region is Crestwood Midstream’s plan to turn depleted salt mines along Seneca Lake, two miles north of Watkins Glen, into a major propane, butane and natural gas storage hub for the northeast. Such heavy industrialization is not only incompatible with the existing wine and tourism industries, but is foolhardy: salt mines are historically the most dangerous places to store gases.   [Full Story]

Dec 28, 2014
NC set to lift fracking moratorium, but prospects for drilling remain iffy
News Observer
John Murawski

After four years of heated debate, North Carolina stands on the cusp of lifting its fracking moratorium and opening the state’s woodlands and meadows to shale gas exploration. The state legislature, which convenes next month, is expected to let energy developers start pulling drilling permits as early as April, and no later than autumn.   [Full Story]

Dec 28, 2014
Will N.Y. move on fracking affect Pennsylvania?
Greeley Tribune
Tom Avril

Was New York exercising more caution with the health of its citizens? Perhaps, but when Cuomo’s administration announced Wednesday that it would ban the technique for extracting natural gas from shale deposits, analysts said the decision was as much about politics and economics as it was about health.   [Full Story]

Dec 27, 2014
Oklahoma's Massive Earthquake Increase Due to Fracking
Sputnik News
Patricia Guadalupe

Oklahoma is likely the last place that comes to mind when someone says “earthquakes.” But the home of the famed “tornado alley” is experiencing a record number of tremors. Analysts say it’s because of fracking, the process of “fracturing” rock by hydraulically-pressured liquid (water) to extract tight oil or natural gas.   [Full Story]

Dec 27, 2014
Fracking here is not allowed' -- an ode to New York state (Your letters)
Syracuse.com
Letter to Editor

To the Editor: Hip, hip, hooray, New York state Great decision, no debate. To the 'Gasman' you were clear There shall be no fracking here.   [Full Story]

Dec 27, 2014
A Report From the Frontlines in the War Against Fracking
CounterPunch
PAUL A. PASSAVANT

A mixture of emotions is running through the Finger Lakes region of New York in the wake of Governor Cuomo’s announcement on Wednesday, December 17 to ban hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the state. Residents are relieved to be protected from the health risks and environmental damage produced from fracking. Nevertheless, they are continuing their struggle to oppose the Texas-based Crestwood corporation’s project to store volatile gases extracted from other states, such as Pennsylvania, in salt caverns along the shores of Seneca Lake, which provides drinking water for approximately 100,000 people. Crestwood is seeking to make the Seneca Lake location a hub in its broader infrastructure that supports fracking. Since October of this year, wave after wave of residents comprising the group We Are Seneca Lake (WASL) have practiced non-violent civil disobedience at the gates of the Crestwood facility protesting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) decision permitting the storage of methane in the salt mines. A proposal to store liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is currently before the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).  [Full Story]

Dec 27, 2014
Race to Build on River Could Block Pacific Oil Route
The New York Times
KIRK JOHNSON

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Environmental passions, which run hot in the Northwest over everything from salmon to recycling, generally get couched in the negative: Don’t fish too much, don’t put those chemicals up the smokestack, don’t build in that sensitive area. But here in southern Washington, some environmental groups are quietly pushing a builder to move even faster with a $1.3 billion real estate project along the Columbia River that includes office buildings, shops and towers with 3,300 apartments. The reason is oil.   [Full Story]

Dec 27, 2014
Pope Francis’s edict on climate change will anger deniers and US churches
The Guardian
John Vidal

He has been called the “superman pope”, and it would be hard to deny that Pope Francis has had a good December. Cited by President Barack Obama as a key player in the thawing relations between the US and Cuba, the Argentinian pontiff followed that by lecturing his cardinals on the need to clean up Vatican politics. But can Francis achieve a feat that has so far eluded secular powers and inspire decisive action on climate change? It looks as if he will give it a go. In 2015, the pope will issue a lengthy message on the subject to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, give an address to the UN general assembly and call a summit of the world’s main religions. The reason for such frenetic activity, says Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, chancellor of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, is the pope’s wish to directly influence next year’s crucial UN climate meeting in Paris, when countries will try to conclude 20 years of fraught negotiations with a universal commitment to reduce emissions.  [Full Story]

Dec 27, 2014
David Hughes Weighs In on The Fracking Fallacy Debate
Petroleum Truth Report
Arthur E. Berman

In the current debate about the Nature article "The Fracking Fallacy," the discussion has focused on estimates of cumulative production of shale gas plays by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and The Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas (UT/BEG). David Hughes provides another estimate in his recent post "Fracking Fracas: The Trouble with Optimistic Shale Gas Projections by the U.S. Department of Energy," a summary of his comprehensive study of all U.S. shale plays Drilling Down published by The Post Carbon Institute.  [Full Story]

Dec 27, 2014
Rural gas gathering pipelines kindle concerns about safety laws
Tribune-Review
Mike Wereschagin

An estimated 230,000 miles of natural gas pipelines across the United States — some of them among the largest and highest-pressure pipes in use — are not covered by state and federal pipeline safety laws, a Tribune-Review investigation found. Known as gathering lines, they usually take natural gas from rural well pads to processing plants, where other byproducts such as butane are removed and the rotten egg smell that warns you of a gas leak is added.   [Full Story]

Dec 26, 2014
Fracking’s biggest safety threat is on rural roads
Star Beacon
John Finnerty

HARRISBURG, Pa. — One of the first things a firefighter or police officer must know when rushing to a heavy truck crash in the heart of Marcellus Shale country: Don’t believe what it says on side of the truck. “We’ve had accidents where it said ‘fresh water’ on the side of the truck,” said Craig Konkle, energy development emergency services coordinator for Lycoming County. “But when it started leaking black liquid, we knew we weren’t dealing with fresh water.” While environmental concerns dominate much of the debate about the effect of gas drilling in rural Pennsylvania, Konkle said the single greatest threat to public safety is on the roads. The fast expansion of drilling activity has created a surge in traffic. Trucks carry water – often polluted from the drilling process – to and from wells. They also haul sand, as well as solids extracted during drilling and chemicals used to force open gas reservoirs beneath the surface.  [Full Story]

Dec 26, 2014
Work continues on fracking proposal
News-Journal


BATON ROUGE, La. — Helis Oil & Gas Co., which received a permit from the state last week to drill a vertical well as a first step toward fracking in St. Tammany Parish, is working to get a wetlands permit. The permit is needed to place a drilling pad on a 3.2-acre site that is 91 percent wetlands. Earlier this month, the Army Corps of Engineers, which would grant the wetlands permit, sent two letters to the company asking it to address concerns about the project. Opponents of fracking are hopeful that acquiring the wetlands permit will prove an insurmountable obstacle.   [Full Story]

Dec 26, 2014
Fracking ban: New York decision puts pressure on California
San Jose Mercury News
Adam Scow and Hollin Kretzmann

California's movement to ban fracking and other dangerous oil extraction techniques just got a huge boost from the other side of the country. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced a fracking ban in New York. Cuomo's decision follows a report from the state's Department of Health that found fracking poses an unacceptable public health risk. That ratchets up pressure on Gov. Jerry Brown to extend the same health and environmental protections to Californians. Instead, Brown has allowed a disturbing expansion of fracking and drilling, leaving California communities to fend for themselves against the powerful oil industry.  [Full Story]

Dec 26, 2014
Natural Gas Futures Drop Below $3 for First Time Since 2012
Bloomberg
Naureen S. Malik

Natural gas futures slumped below $3 per million British thermal units for the first time since 2012 on speculation that record production will overwhelm demand for the heating fuel. Futures have plunged 27 percent in December, heading for the biggest one-month drop since July 2008, as mild weather and record production erased a surplus to year-ago levels for the first time in two years. Temperatures will be mostly above average in the eastern half of the U.S. through Dec. 30, according to Commodity Weather Group LLC.   [Full Story]

Dec 26, 2014
2014’s Booms, Bans, and Busts no. 3: Fracking bans, green fracking
Shale Plays Media
Danielle Wente

The 2014 year is on its way out, and Shale Plays Media is taking these last two weeks to recap the various major stories that have impacted the world of oil and gas over the last year. On Wednesday, Mexico’s energy reform and exports for the year were highlighted in an original piece you can view here. From the addition of the term “fracking” to the dictionary to questions about the safety of the process, hydraulic fracturing has made headlines across the world during 2014. However, the process has now been called out and is being reevaluated by many, from legislation banning the process completely to companies stepping forward and creating safer, healthier ways of fracking. In November, Denton made headlines across the world when voters, 59 percent to be exact, approved the first ever fracking ban in the state of Texas.  [Full Story]

Dec 26, 2014
As North Dakota Oil Town Booms, a Priest Steadies the Newcomers
The New York Times
SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN

WATFORD CITY, N.D. — They made a mighty odd pair of homesteaders, Shawn and Stephanie Ray. Recession refugees from Florida, he a fashion photographer and she his favorite model, they had trekked to the fracking belt here on the High Plains in 2012 with their last credit card maxed out. In the rearview mirror behind were the customers in Tampa who had gone bankrupt and would never be able to pay what they owed. Ahead through the windshield were 15,000 available jobs. Or so the rumors said.   [Full Story]

Dec 26, 2014
DEC Seeks Public comments on Constitution Pipeline
The Marcellus Effect
Sue Heavenrich

Today the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation announced it is seeking public comments on the Draft State Permit Applications for proposed construction of the Interstate Constitution Pipeline. Public comments will be accepted through Jan. 30, 2015 The public is invited to comment on permit applications the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) received for the proposed, federally regulated Constitution Pipeline and an upgrade to the Iroquois Wright Compressor station in Schoharie County that is part of the project.  [Full Story]

Dec 26, 2014
WRITE ON: NY’s fracking wars continue
Finger Lake Times
Michael J. Fitzgerald

Keeping a hydrofracking ban in New York will be a long, protracted struggle. Opponents are battling an international juggernaut of well-heeled corporations that know mostly how to drill, extract and count profits. But even as celebratory champagne corks popped, hydrofracking proponents were planning a multi-pronged counteroffensive. Among other things, they advocate pro-fracking forces greatly increase efforts to stack New York town boards with pro-hydrofracking people. And if successful in getting a pro-hydrofracking majority, then they plan to move quickly to ensure zoning and regulations are adopted to enshrine fracking as legal. If a town already has a hydrofracking ban, the idea is to muster votes to decisively overturn it.  [Full Story]

Dec 26, 2014
Oil Jobs Squeezed as Prices Plummet
The Wall Street Journal
JEFFREY SPARSHOTT

U.S. oil and gas companies have been an engine of growth through much of an otherwise lackluster economic expansion, providing steady employment, solid wages and fierce competition for workers across wide swaths of the country. Now, after a roughly 50% plunge in oil prices, exploration and production companies are cutting capital budgets, service companies are weighing layoffs and nonenergy firms that popped up to support the industry are bracing for a protracted slowdown. One company caught in the industry downturn is Hercules Offshore Inc. The Houston-based firm is laying off 324 employees, roughly 15% of its workforce, because oil companies aren’t renewing contracts for its offshore drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico while crude prices are depressed.  [Full Story]

Dec 25, 2014
Lawmakers promise to help strapped oil-patch towns
The Big Story
MATTHEW BROWN and JAMES MacPHERSON

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Relief could be on the horizon for strapped public services in the Northern Plains' booming oil patch, as elected leaders in Montana and North Dakota move to steer more money into the region during the states' upcoming legislative sessions. Tens of thousands of workers have been drawn to the region's shale oil boom in recent years. Their arrival has brought increased demands for services ranging from roads and sewage treatment to affordable housing. Prior efforts to put more money toward those needs came up short or got delayed by political disagreement. Political leaders on both sides of the Montana-North Dakota border said they are optimistic more can be done in 2015. Lawmakers from the states convene in early January.  [Full Story]

Dec 25, 2014
Alaska LNG export project hits a couple of bumps in D.C.
ktoo
Liz Ruskin, APRN

Gov. Bill Walker on Tuesday announced an agreement that could help sell Alaska liquefied natural gas in Japan, but the effort to build a trans-Alaska gas pipeline is meeting some resistance in Washington, D.C. Lack of political support there is forcing the federal coordinator for the Alaska gas pipeline to close up shop. Also, opponents of gas exports are raising their voice, and their targets include the pipeline Walker and many Alaskans pin their economic hopes on. Larry Persily, the federal coordinator for the Alaska gas line, figures they’ll close the doors on their offices in Washington and Anchorage at the end of February. Until then, Persily says, they’ll be organizing files and archiving material. “We have some leftover funds from previous appropriations that we haven’t spent, and we will be using those savings for an orderly shutdown,” he said.  [Full Story]

Dec 25, 2014
NEW YORK STATE BANS FRACKING
South and West Forum


Governor Andrew Cuomo said last week he would ban hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in New York State, citing a “thorough and exhaustive” recommendation by acting state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker. The review Zucker conducted cited health concerns about the controversial oil and gas drilling technique. The decision makes New York the first energy-rich state to ban fracking, a process used to extract natural gas found in underground shale formations.  [Full Story]

Dec 25, 2014
Duke professor: Water samples show fracking contamination in Wolf Creek
The Register-Herald
Sarah Plummer

Water testing by Duke University reveals that contaminants associated with oil and gas wastewater have migrated into Wolf Creek, a tributary of the New River, above a drinking water intake. During evidentiary hearings before the West Virginia Environmental Quality Board in Charleston, Dr. Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality in the Nicholas School of Environment at Duke, presented a summary of his water testing and research findings. According to court documents, Vengosh said he and graduate student Jennie Harkess collected two water samples from Wolf Creek, 200 feet directly downstream from an injection well site at Danny E. Webb Construction Inc. in Lochgelly on Sept. 14, 2013. He concluded the samples contained elevated levels of chemicals associated with fracking wastewater — chloride, bromide, sodium, manganese, strontium and barium.  [Full Story]

Dec 25, 2014
Williams Ohio Valley not yet sure what caused fire at its ethane pipeline meter station
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Elizabeth Bloom

About a dozen families have been allowed to return home after they were evacuated late Wednesday when a fire broke out at the Williams Ohio Valley ethane pipeline meter station in Chartiers Township, Washington County. Five fire departments and a hazardous materials team were called to the scene of the fire at 933 Western Ave., a Washington County dispatch supervisor said. There were no injuries.  [Full Story]

Dec 25, 2014
Even With Ban, New York Can't Escape Effects of Fracking
Truthout
Anne Meador

Last week Governor Andrew Cuomo banned fracking in New York, citing public health risks. Fracktivists rejoiced, relieved that their state won't go the way of neighboring Pennsylvania. Pocked with fracking wells, the mountainous counties of northeast Pennsylvania have suffered from contaminated water supplies, earthquakes, spoiled countryside and thunderous truck traffic. As long as the fracking ban is in place, New Yorkers won't be threatened by methane emissions and toxic fumes from fracking wells, wastewater pools or the risk of a well blowing up or leaking uncontrollably. Unfortunately, just because New York banned fracking, and even though more than 150 New York municipalities have banned fracking using local zoning laws, the state won't escape its effects. In fact, New York is already burdened with the fracking industry's health and safety problems and threats to the environment because of gas infrastructure.  [Full Story]

Dec 25, 2014
GRANTHAM: 'US Fracking Is A Very Large Red Herring'
Business Insider
MYLES UDLAND

Jeremy Grantham is not a believer in the shale fracking boom. Back in November, we highlighted Grantham's full quarterly letter to GMO clients, in which he said, among other things, that the US shale boom had been "a very large red herring." So while some say the fracking boom has helped keep oil prices low and aided the US on its path to energy independence, Grantham thinks it might have set us on a path to nowhere.   [Full Story]

Dec 25, 2014
What Pairs Well With a Finger Lakes White? Not Propane, Vintners Say
The New York Times
JESSE McKINLEY

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Over the last two decades, vintners in the Finger Lakes region of New York State have slowly, and successfully, pursued a goal that could fairly be described as robust, with a lively finish: to transform their region into a mecca for world-class wines, and invite an influx of thirsty oenotourists. Long before the local labels went upscale, however, the Finger Lakes were known for another earthy, if not so refined, industry: underground gas storage.  [Full Story]

Dec 25, 2014
Duke professor: Water samples show fracking contamination in Wolf Creek
Fayette Tribune
Sarah Plummer

Water testing by Duke University reveals that contaminants associated with oil and gas wastewater have migrated into Wolf Creek, a tributary of the New River, above a drinking water intake. During evidentiary hearings before the West Virginia Environmental Quality Board in Charleston, Dr. Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality in the Nicholas School of Environment at Duke, presented a summary of his water testing and research findings. According to court documents, Vengosh said he and graduate student Jennie Harkess collected two water samples from Wolf Creek, 200 feet directly downstream from an injection well site at Danny E. Webb Construction Inc. in Lochgelly on Sept. 14, 2013.  [Full Story]

Dec 25, 2014
Pa. industry grows by sending its wastewater to Ohio
Star Beacon
John Finnerty

VIENNA, Ohio — This eastern Ohio hamlet is home to about 1,000 people, a traffic light and a high school. Businesses are few; the only grocery in town closed this past summer. The biggest landmark is on the outskirts of town — a regional airport that serves Warren, about 10 miles to the west, and Youngstown, 10 miles to the south. Less descript is the facility that tethers tiny Vienna to the sprawling natural gas industry across the border in Pennsylvania.  [Full Story]

Dec 25, 2014
Dominion Suing Nelson Landowners to Survey Property for Pipeline
Newsplex
AP

AP) - Dominion Resources is suing more than 40 landowners in Virginia who won't allow the company to survey their properties for a proposed natural gas pipeline. Dominion filed lawsuits earlier this week against 20 property owners in Nelson County and 27 in Augusta County.  [Full Story]

Dec 25, 2014
Pipeline firm seeks permit for water use
Bakken.com
Joe Mahon ey

The Constitution Pipeline company has filed applications with the Susquehanna River Basin Commission to withdraw millions of gallons of water, according to records kept by the agency based in Harrisburg, Pa. The applications include a request to withdraw some 4 million gallons of water from the Charlotte Creek in the Delaware County town of Davenport. Constitution Pipeline spokesman Christopher Stockton said the water would be used for hydrostatic safety testing on the pipeline before the natural gas transmission system in placed into operation. “As part of the process, the pipeline is filled with water and held at a pressure far in excess of the normal operating pressure for a number of hours,” Stockton said. “This is one of the final steps prior to placing the pipeline into service.”  [Full Story]

Dec 25, 2014
Utica Shale well blowout in Ohio brought under control
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Don Hopey

A high-pressure “blowout” Dec. 13 at a Utica Shale gas well in Monroe County, Ohio, that caused the evacuation of 28 families was finally brought under control Tuesday. Bethany McCorkle, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said “surface control” of the 10,653-foot-deep shale gas well, operated by Triad Hunter, a subsidiary of Texas-based Magnum Hunter Resources Corp., was re-established by Wild Well Control, a company specializing in fixing well fires and blowouts. “The new wellhead has been successfully installed, the values are shut and no more natural gas is being released,” she said in an email response to questions. “Contractors will now pressure test the new wellhead.”  [Full Story]

Dec 25, 2014
Even With Ban, New York Can't Escape Effects of Fracking
truthout
Anne Meador

Last week Governor Andrew Cuomo banned fracking in New York, citing public health risks. Fracktivists rejoiced, relieved that their state won't go the way of neighboring Pennsylvania. Pocked with fracking wells, the mountainous counties of northeast Pennsylvania have suffered from contaminated water supplies, earthquakes, spoiled countryside and thunderous truck traffic. As long as the fracking ban is in place, New Yorkers won't be threatened by methane emissions and toxic fumes from fracking wells, wastewater pools or the risk of a well blowing up or leaking uncontrollably. Unfortunately, just because New York banned fracking, and even though more than 150 New York municipalities have banned fracking using local zoning laws, the state won't escape its effects. In fact, New York is already burdened with the fracking industry's health and safety problems and threats to the environment because of gas infrastructure. Gas companies are building pipelines to service increasing demand in New York City.   [Full Story]

Dec 25, 2014
Proposed pipeline meetings to be held in January
News 10


COBLESKILL, N.Y. — New York is allowing people to join in the conversation on a controversial natural gas pipeline that would go through Schoharie County. Three public hearings on the pipeline are being held in different parts of the state next month. Schoharie County residents can give comments January 14, at the Bouck Theater at SUNY Cobleskill. The pipeline is meant to ease the demand for natural gas in the northeast, but those opposed feel the 124-mile pipe would ruin fields, forests, and other natural sites.  [Full Story]

Dec 25, 2014
Governments back landowners in bid to change pipeline route
CantonRep.com
Shave Hoover

A landowner group is getting support from local governments in its effort to change the route of the proposed NEXUS natural-gas pipeline. Spectra Energy and DTE Energy want to build part of an interstate pipeline through eastern and northern Stark County and southern Summit County. The pipeline — up to 42 inches in diameter and able to carry 2 billion cubic feet of gas a day at high pressures — would run through Washington, Nimishillen, Marlboro and Lake townships and the cities of Green and New Franklin on its way to Michigan and Canada. Earlier this month, leaders in Lake and Green wrote letters urging Spectra to consider building the pipeline through less-populated areas outside their communities, and New Franklin passed a resolution opposing the pipeline. Spearheading the route-change argument is a group called Coalition to Re-route NEXUS that has representatives in seven counties.   [Full Story]

Dec 25, 2014
EDITORIAL: Gov. Cuomo has higher aspirations than fracking
The Post Star
Editorial

We have been opposed to fracking since seeing the first “Gasland” movie years ago. While many have argued the burning streams and flammable tap water depicted in the movie are nothing more than Mother Nature in its natural state, we stand by our earlier conclusions that the toxic chemicals used in the high-pressure fracturing of rock still have too many unknowns to safely mine natural gas. We were happy to see the state of New York come to the same conclusion last week. New York became the first state with considerable natural gas reserves to walk away from the potential riches.  [Full Story]

Dec 24, 2014
HIV and AIDS Cases Increase in North Dakota
KX News-CBS
Macy Egeland

According to the North Dakota Department of Health, from 1984 to 2012, 564 cases of HIV/AIDS were reported in the state... And health officials say it is showing up even more in recent years, largely thanks to our booming economy.. "Just within the last 3 months or so I've had to treat 2 patients who had really late stage opportunistic infections and complications from AIDS... stuff that I hadn't seen in 20 to 25 years," Dr. Noe Mateo, with Sanford's Infectious Disease said. The oil boom has brought thousands of people to our state.. and many of these new cases are discovered in Western North Dakota.   [Full Story]

Dec 24, 2014
Public Comments Sought On Draft State Permit Applications For Proposed Construction Of The Interstate Constitution Pipeline Public Comments Will Be Accepted From Dec. 24, 2014 through Jan. 30, 2015
NYS DEC
Press Release

The public is invited to comment on permit applications the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) received for the proposed, federally regulated Constitution Pipeline and an upgrade to the Iroquois Wright Compressor station in Schoharie County that is part of the project. The Constitution Pipeline is a proposed interstate natural gas pipeline that would traverse though Broome, Chenango, Delaware and Schoharie counties.  [Full Story]

Dec 24, 2014
The Fracking Fight Spreads—and Spreads Apart
Inside Climate News
Zahra Hirji

This was the year the anti-fracking movement multiplied, diversified and suffered some growing pains. It was also the year the energy industry pushed back hard, spending millions on anti-fracking election campaigns, recruiting experts on public relations for messaging help and filing lawsuits against successful bans. At least 20 towns, counties and states across the country closed their borders to fracking and fracking waste in 2014. Most recently, on Dec. 17, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New York is banning fracking—becoming the first state to do so. Activists around the country, from California to Colorado to Washington, D.C. hailed the move.   [Full Story]

Dec 24, 2014
Environmental groups hoping New York ban on fracking follows in Maryland
ABC News WMAR Baltimore
Sara Blumberg

DEEP CREEK LAKE, Md: - For Garrett County resident Nadine Grabania, the question isn’t if, it’s a question of when fracking will come to Western Maryland. Even though the process hasn’t started yet, state leaders are already preparing for the worst.   [Full Story]

Dec 24, 2014
N.Y. Fracking Decision Puts Spotlight on Gas-Drilling Revenue
The Bond Buyer
Andrew Coen

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's recent decision to ban fracking shines a spotlight on the balancing act governments in potentially oil- and gas-rich regions face weighing economic benefits against environmental concerns. The Democratic governor, who is set to begin his second term on Jan. 1, said in his Dec. 17 announcement that his decision was based on the New York State Department of Health's conclusion that fracking for natural gas cannot be done safely.  [Full Story]

Dec 24, 2014
New Yorkers Strongly Approve Of State’s New Ban On Fracking
ThinkProgress
EMILY ATKIN

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent decision to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the state is receiving widespread support from the people who live there, according to a new poll. The Quinnipiac University poll released Monday found that 55 percent of New Yorkers across the state support Cuomo’s decision on fracking, while 25 percent oppose it and the remainder are undecided. In upstate New York, where fracking likely would have likely taken place, 56 percent of respondents approved of the ban while 30 percent opposed it. Republicans approved of the ban 42 to 40 percent, Democrats approved 67 to 11 percent, and people who live in New York City supported the ban 56 to 19 percent. Overall, no political party, gender, age, or regional group disapproved of Cuomo’s decision.  [Full Story]

Dec 24, 2014
Dominion sues landowners in Va. to survey land for pipeline
The Charleston Gazette
Associated Press

STAUNTON, Va. — Dominion Resources is suing more than 40 landowners in Virginia who won’t allow the energy company to survey their properties for a proposed $5 billion natural gas pipeline Dominion filed lawsuits earlier this week in circuit courts against 20 property owners in Nelson County and 27 in Augusta County. That number is expected to double, the company said. Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle said Virginia law allows the company to enter the properties to conduct the surveys. He said the surveys are needed to avoid future problems, such as family cemeteries.   [Full Story]

Dec 24, 2014
Mass Arrests on Seneca Lake Coincide with Fracking Ban in NYS
PR Newswire


WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., Dec. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves took a short break this week by joining forces with 'We Are Seneca Lake' and blockading the Crestwood salt cavern gas storage facility just north of Watkins Glen, NY. Marking 170 arrests in a two-month-old civil disobedience campaign, this Monday's arrests (Dec. 22) follow on the heels of 28 arrests last Wednesday led by many prominent local musicians, and 41 arrests last Tuesday led by local teachers. Carrying banners that declared "Christmas Against Crestwood" and "Methane in Your Stocking is Worse Than Coal," nine area residents dressed as Santa Claus and his North Pole ensemble were charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct at the gates of Texas-based Crestwood Midstream's gas storage facility on the west shore of Seneca Lake. The 'We Are Seneca Lake' civil disobedience campaign enters week 9 of blockades to stop construction at the gas storage facility.  [Full Story]

Dec 24, 2014
Gas pipeline fire in Washington Co. prompts urgent evacuations:VIDEO
WPXI


WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa. — A gas pipeline fire in Houston prompted evacuations late Wednesday evening, according to numerous reports on Twitter. As of 11 p.m., the fire was still burning on Western Avenue. Officials said the fire remains a 1-alarm at this point. The Mount Pleasant Township Volunteer Fire Department confirmed that residents of Mount Pleasant and Chartiers Township were being evacuated to local fire halls. No additional information was immediately available.   [Full Story]

Dec 24, 2014
2014 was a busy year for researchers interested in fracking
PublicSource
Natasha Khan

Since the fracking boom began, the debate over the health and environmental implications of shale drilling has been hindered by a lack of scientific research. But more research is being done all the time. And with New York’s recent announcement that it banned fracking based on potential environmental and health impacts, there is sure to be increased pressure on researchers to keep digging. Here are several important studies published in 2014. This is by no means a comprehensive list. Other studies have looked at different impacts of the industry, including the potential climate impacts from methane emissions (see this PublicSource post on two recent studies.)  [Full Story]

Dec 24, 2014
2014: DEP stepped up enforcement of industry with hefty fines
NPR State Impact PA
Susan Phillips

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection ended the year with some pretty large lumps of coal for a few misbehaving natural gas drillers. And those penalties contrast sharply with previous years. In September, the DEP issued a $4.1 million dollar fine against driller Range Resources – the highest penalty it has levied against a driller. The agency then stepped up the price tag in October against driller EQT, announcing plans to seek a $4.5 million dollar penalty. And just this last week state environmental regulators announced a nearly million-dollar fine against the independent driller Vantage Energy for a landslide and illegal waste dumping. A separate $800,000 settlement with Tennessee Gas Pipeline was also announced.   [Full Story]

Dec 24, 2014
Judge affirms commission’s Cove Point order
The BayNet News
Marty Madden

Baltimore, MD – Another court challenge related to the Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Exportation project has received an opinion from a judge. On Friday, Dec. 19 Baltimore Circuit Judge Alfred Nance affirmed the Maryland Public Service Commission’s (PSC) order approving an electricity generating power station at the Lusby gas terminal. In making his ruling, Nance rejected an appeal from the Accokeek, Mattawoman, Piscataway Creeks (AMP) Communities Council, Inc. A hearing on the matter was held Dec. 17.  [Full Story]

Dec 24, 2014
Pulse of the Peninsula: Bold decisions on fracking, Cuba
The Island Now
Karen Rubin

Just when you feel that grassroots activism is no match against monied special interests, that pounding the pavement and protesting are useless to effect change, Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes New York State the first to ban fracking.   [Full Story]

Dec 24, 2014
Pipeline company moves to seize land access in Southern Tier
Capital New York
SCOTT WALDMAN

ALBANY—Dozens of property owners in New York's Southern Tier received legal condemnation notices from a pipeline company this week, according to a group that advocates for the owners. Williams Companies has filed condemnation notices against 73 property owners in Delaware, Schoharie and Chenango counties, said Bob Nied, member of the board of directors for the Center for Sustainable Rural Communities, which represents property owners in the area. The owners have refused the company access to their land as it seeks to build the 30-inch Constitution pipeline that will carry natural gas from Pennsylvania. Nied accused Williams Companies of acting like a bully.  [Full Story]

Dec 24, 2014
Behind the ban: Why Governor Cuomo nixed fracking in N.Y. State
The Villager
Sarah Ferguson

Christmas came early for the fracktivist crowd. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement last week that he would ban high-volume hydrofracking across New York State was a game-changing position that surprised even the most ardent opponents of this controversial process for extracting natural gas. “We were stunned,” said Ramsay Adams, executive director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, which was one of the first groups in New York to raise the alarm about the dangers of fracking.  [Full Story]

Dec 24, 2014
All Naughty, No Nice: 5 Worst Fracking Industry Moments of 2014
Common Dreams
Jo Miles

There’s never much chance of fracking companies ending up on Santa’s “nice” list, considering that polluting our air and water and making people sick is a regular part of how they do business. But while the movement to ban fracking made great strides in 2014, most notably with the recent ban in New York, the oil and gas industry seemed to go the extra mile this year to get onto the “naughty” list. Even here at Food & Water Watch, we were surprised by some of the dirty tactics some fracking companies used to attempt to sway public opinion and win over lawmakers. Here are a few of the most unbelievable fracking industry stunts that made the news in 2014:  [Full Story]

Dec 24, 2014
Drillers regain control of natural gas well in southeastern Ohio
Akron Beacon Journal
Bob Downing

About 50 residents of Monroe County in southeastern Ohio were back in their homes in time for Christmas after a contractor successfully capped an out-of-control natural gas well. The evacuation order that had been in place for 10 days was lifted about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday by Monroe County officials. Texas-based Wild Well Control had re-established surface control of the Triad Hunter-owned Stalder 3UH well about an hour earlier.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Fracking Fracas: The Trouble with Optimistic Shale Gas Projections by the U.S. Department of Energy
Post Carbon Institute
David Hughes

On December 3, 2014, Nature published “Natural Gas: The Fracking Fallacy”, which suggested that the forecasts of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) for four major U.S. shale gas plays were wildly optimistic, based on a comparison to forecasts for the same plays by the University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology (UT/BEG). This was followed by a formal denunciation of the article both by the EIA and UT/BEG, despite the fact that the substance of the article was correct. Arthur Berman provided an excellent overview of the merits—or in this case the lack thereof—of the attack by both of these agencies on what is essentially the reality behind the shale revolution. The Nature piece steered clear of any discussion of my recent Drilling Deeper report (published by Post Carbon Institute), which looked at twelve major shale gas and tight oil plays accounting for most of U.S. shale production, and which also came to the conclusion that the EIA’s projections were extremely optimistic. Nature focused instead on the four plays described in two published and two unpublished studies by UT/BEG. The Nature article sparked a lot of media attention, which prompted the EIA and UT/BEG to issue rebuttals.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Natural gas flaring in Eagle Ford Shale already surpasses 2012 levels of waste and pollution
Macro Insider


SAN ANTONIO – Gas flaring in the most lucrative shale field in the U.S. is on pace to surpass to 2013 levels of waste and pollution in South Texas, according to a newspaper evaluation of state records published Sunday. The Eagle Ford Shale burned off far more than 20 billion cubic feet of natural gas in the initially seven months of this year, according to the Railroad Commission of Texas, which oversees the oil and gas business. The tons of pollutants released into the air currently exceed levels for 2012. Authorities say plummeting oil costs most likely will not stifle Eagle Ford production anytime quickly.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Fracking Fracas: The Trouble with Optimistic Shale Gas Projections by the U.S. Department of Energy
Post Carbon Institute
David Hughes

On December 3, 2014, Nature published “Natural Gas: The Fracking Fallacy”, which suggested that the forecasts of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) for four major U.S. shale gas plays were wildly optimistic, based on a comparison to forecasts for the same plays by the University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology (UT/BEG). This was followed by a formal denunciation of the article both by the EIA and UT/BEG, despite the fact that the substance of the article was correct. Arthur Berman provided an excellent overview of the merits—or in this case the lack thereof—of the attack by both of these agencies on what is essentially the reality behind the shale revolution.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Santa Claus + 7 Elves Arrested Protesting Fracking Infrastructure
EcoWatch
Stefanie Spear

Yesterday morning nine people dressed as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and their elves were arrested and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct as they blockaded the gates of Texas-based Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility on the shore of Seneca Lake in upstate New York. These local residents were protesting the methane gas storage expansion project that will store highly pressurized, explosive gas in abandoned salt caverns.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Marcellus Watch: Selling an aquifer, at what cost?
The Leader
Peter Mantius

If a mining company wants to get off the hook for its legal responsibility to protect a Genesee Valley aquifer that faces imminent ruin, should state officials allow it for a price? If a mining company wants to get off the hook for its legal responsibility to protect a Genesee Valley aquifer that faces imminent ruin, should state officials allow it for a price? If so, how much should they charge and who gets the cash? Those questions may be answered by the end of the year when Livingston County officials vote on a plan to share with the state a proposed $20 million payment from AkzoNobel Inc. The at-risk underground water supply, the deepest of three aquifers in the Genesee Valley, is threatened by super-salty brine leaking from Akzo’s former Retsof salt mine.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
More on the history of New York’s fracking ban
Shale Gas Review
Tom Wilber

I accepted a recent assignment for the Press & Sun-Bulletin – recounting how fracking was stopped in New York – with feelings of both eagerness and uneasiness. Eagerness was due to having a chance to recap the history of a story I have been covering for seven years. The uneasiness stemmed from how I would do this in a newspaper-length article on a 48-hour deadline. Roger Downs, a program director with the Sierra Club, noted that several environmental organizations were among the first to recognize the significance of this spacing bill, and engage and challenge the DEC about what its impact would be.These groups included the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Riverkeeper, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Natural Resources Defense Council, Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, The Wilderness Society and Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, Damacus Citizens for Sustainability. (I’m sure I am leaving some out.)  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Statoil sheds holdings in Marcellus shale basin
UPI
Daniel J. Graeber

STAVANGER, Norway, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- After suspending some rig work to save capital, Norwegian energy company Statoil said Tuesday it sold acreage in a key U.S. shale play for $394 million. Statoil said it sold a 6 percent stake in the Marcellus shale play to U.S. company Southwestern Energy, leaving the Norwegian company with a non-operated 23 percent interest in the region.   [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
The politics of Cuomo’s fracking decision
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—During last Wednesday's dramatic fracking announcement, Governor Andrew Cuomo took great pains to say that he had no idea how the commissioners for the departments of health and environmental conservation were going to decide on the issue. Whether the state should allow fracking to proceed was their decision alone, Cuomo said seriously and repeatedly, and was one he would respect either way. But between the timing of the decision—it was held up for years with little explanation, only to come together shortly after the Cuomo's re-election—and the way it comported with the direction of public opinion, the politics lined up rather neatly for the governor. A Quinnipiac poll released Monday found that 55 percent of those surveyed said they approved of the ban, compared to 25 percent who did not.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Is Saudi Arabia Trying to Cripple American Fracking?
Foreign Policy
Michael Moran

Well, it's said as much, but the real reason for the flood of new Saudi oil is more complicated. a country that never tires of hearing itself described as “a nation of innovators,” the idea that one such innovation — the shale oil boom — has galvanized the world’s most powerful cartel, OPEC, to launch a campaign to snuff it out has obvious appeal.But like most Hollywood notions of reality, however, this one is too good to be true.Despite repetition in countless media accounts and analysts’ notes over the past few weeks, though, the idea of a “sheikhs vs. shale” battle to control global oil supplies has precious little evidence behind it. The Saudi-led decision to keep OPEC’s wells pumping is a direct strike by Riyadh on two already hobbled geopolitical rivals, Iran and Russia, whose support for the Syrian government and other geostrategic machinations are viewed as far more serious threats to the kingdom than the inconvenience of competing for market share with American frackers.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Year in Review: County labeled 'ground zero' in fracking debate
San Benito County Today
Kollin Kosmicki

In 2014, Hollister became what actor Mark Ruffalo called “ground zero” in California for the fierce debate over fracking. Ruffalo's tweet sent Oct. 14—in which he made the local fracking reference—underscored the broad reach of the debate in San Benito County over Measure J. The successful, grassroots-born initiative to ban hydraulic fracturing and other enhanced extraction practices used by the oil industry was at the core of, arguably, the most intense debate in the county's modern history. Voters approved Measure J in the Nov. 4 election with 59 percent supporting the initiative to ban enhanced oil extraction such as fracking, cyclic steaming and well acidizing. Citadel Exploration two days after Measure J's passage filed a $1.2 billion claim, a necessary precursor to a lawsuit. The company behind the Project Indian oil field was proposing the cyclic steaming extraction method—banned starting Jan. 1 under the initiative—in the Bitterwater area near Pinnacles National Park with plans for up to 1,000 wells.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Fracking in Kent too risky according to countryside charity
Kent News
Jamie Weir

Rural campaign group, CPRE Kent (Campaign to Protect Rural England), has today (December 23) told the Government that the danger from fracking to Kent’s water supplies is too great. It has submitted its evidence on the danger of fracking in parts of Kent to a Commons Select Committee. The Environmental Audit Committee is undertaking an inquiry looking at the potential risks to water supplies and water quality, emissions, habitats and geological integrity. CPRE Kent fears fracking could damage the aquifer which supplies 70 per cent of the county’s water. The gas and oil deposits are no more than 600-700 metres below the aquifer, the Chalk of the North Downs. The charity states that there is a risk that geological faults in the area would be re-activated allowing gases and fracking fluids to leak into the chalk and so contaminate the water supply. It has produced a detailed report on the water resource implications of shale gas and oil exploration and development in East Kent and the Weald. This has formed the basis of the submission to the Audit Committee.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
FRACKING FIGHT: St. Tammany May Be Following In New York’s Footsteps
The Hayride
John Binder

What do the very liberal New York State and supposedly the ‘most conservative parish in the state’ St. Tammany Parish have in common? They both adamantly oppose the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for drilling for oil and gas. Most recently, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a sort of liberal god to leftists, banned the use of fracking in the entire state of New York. And St. Tammany Parish could very-well follow in one of the most liberal states’ footsteps, as citizen groups and the St. Tammany Parish Council look at a possible ban on fracking. The plan by Helis Oil and Gas would establish rules and regulations as to how the oil and gas would be produced via fracking.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Sipekne’katik to appeal approval of fracking water disposal
Chronicle Herald
Aaron Beswick

A decision by the Municipality of Colchester County to allow treated fracking water to be disposed of through its waste-water system has raised the ire of the Sipekne’katik First Nation. On Dec. 10, Colhester County issued a permit to Atlantic Industrial Services of Debert to allow the business to dispose of about 28 million litres of the water generated during test fracking of wells in Hants County by a subsidiary of Triangle Petroleum in 2007 and 2008. The water, which picked up trace amounts of naturally occurring radiation while underground, has been sitting in holding ponds near Kennetcook and in Debert ever since. Colchester County previously approved and then retracted a permit in 2012 after a public backlash. After having its permit revoked, Atlantic Industrial Services added reverse osmosis filtering to the process it uses to treat the water. Testing at four independent laboratories showed that the multiple processes brought it up to national drinking water guidelines, the company said.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Obama Doubts and Lower Gas Prices Cloud Keystone Future
Wall Street Journal
AMY HARDER

Prospects for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline are dimming amid two recent developments: lower gasoline prices and increased skepticism from President Barack Obama, whose administration has been reviewing the proposed pipeline for more than six years. Mr. Obama last week said he had doubts the pipeline would benefit the U.S., buttressing remarks he has made publicly at least three other times since early November. He said it wouldn’t create many permanent jobs or cut gas prices, as the project’s supporters have argued “It’s very good for Canadian oil companies, and it’s good for the Canadian oil industry, but it’s not going to be a huge benefit to U.S. consumers,” Mr. Obama said.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Release of Mass. energy study delayed
Boston Globe
Jack Newsham

A long-awaited study commissioned by Deval Patrick’s administration to examine Massachusetts’s energy needs for the next several decades has been delayed. The study was originally scheduled to be released Tuesday. Mary-Leah Assad, a spokeswoman for Patrick’s administration, said the state hoped to release the report next week. The study, called the Massachusetts Low-Demand Analysis, was commissioned by the state’s Department of Energy Resources after environmental groups said an existing report didn’t give enough weight to alternative energy sources, like wind and solar power. Synapse Energy, the Cambridge-based energy consultancy conducting the study, has said their report would not include policy proposals.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Firm moves to seize land for pipeline
Daily Star
Joe Mahoney

Constitution Pipeline, seeking to build a 124-mile natural gas pipeline, has initiated legal condemnation proceedings against dozens of properties in Delaware, Schoharie and Chenango counties, the Center for Sustainable Rural Communities said Monday. The complaints, 55 in all, have been filed in federal court, and the pipeline company has apparently begun the process of serving landowners in person, said Robert Nied, a member of the center's board of directors. Among parcels for which no easement has been granted to the pipeline company is a tract of approximately 1,000 acres in Delaware County, known as the Kernan Family Trust, controlled by the children of retired forester Henry S. Kernan.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
NY'ers support fracking ban, Q-poll shows
Legislative Gazette
James Gormley

New York state voters approve 55 – 25 percent of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in New York state, with support ranging from 42 – 40 percent among Republicans to 67 – 11 percent among Democrats, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday. The Quinnipiac poll asked voters if they "approve or disapprove of Governor Cuomo's decision to ban fracking in New York state?" even though Cuomo said the decision was made entirely by his commissioners of health and environmental conservation.   [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
New Yorkers agree with fracking ban, survey finds
The Hill
Timothy Cama

The majority of New York state voters agree with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) decision to ban hydraulic fracturing in the state, a new poll found. Fifty-five percent of New Yorkers approve of the Cuomo administration’s policy, announced last week, to make permanent the moratorium that the state had on fracking for oil and natural gas, Quinnipiac University found in a survey released Monday.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Feds fine ExxonMobil $2.3M for W.Va. fracking violations
The Hill


A subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp. has been fined $2.3 million for allegedly polluting waterways as part of hydraulic fracturing operations. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department said Monday that XTO Energy Inc. dumped sand, dirt, rocks and other fill materials into West Virginia streams and wetlands at eight sites without permits, in violation of the Clean Water Act.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
A New Year’s Resolution for the Energy Industry: Inspect and Test, Not Dismiss and Ignore
Breaking Energy
Brian Robson

If there is one thing the energy industry can do to better itself, as winter approaches and storms rage along the California coast, and freezing temperatures hit the Gulf regions of Texas and Louisiana, and the ground hardens in the Midwest, it is this: Inspect and test, to ensure the safety of all exposed equipment. Think of this assignment as the (early) fulfillment of a New Year’s resolution for 2015, where oil and gas companies go beyond the legal requirements about compliance and workplace protection; they set a higher – and entirely voluntary – bar for themselves, starting with their year-end review of the parts and products that fuel the too-fast-to-count revolutions of a deep water drill or the perpetual seesaw motion of a field of oil pumps in Oklahoma or the Mojave Desert.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Nova Scotia First Nation opposes plan to dispose fracking waste in sewer system
CTV News Atlantic


INDIAN BROOK, N.S. - A First Nations community is appealing a Nova Scotia municipality's decision to approve the disposal of millions of litres of fracking wastewater in its sewer system. Indian Brook band chief Rufus Copage says an appeal letter was sent to the chief administrative officer for the Municipality of Colchester County on Dec. 19. Copage says his community strongly opposes transporting and disposing of fracking wastewater in the Debert sewer system and it wants county council to reverse its approval granted earlier this month. Under the municipality's approval process members of the public have until Dec. 29 to submit an appeal.   [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Recent sparks could power big changes for energy sector in 2015
Chicago Tribune
Julie Wernau

By year-end, the state could see an oil boom downstate, nuclear plants on the chopping block and forward momentum for a wind-power superhighway to carry wind-generated electricity from Iowa into Illinois. Fracking Right now most of southern Illinois is farmland. By the end of next year, it could be sprouting giant oil rigs. After two years of debate, politics and legal battles, the controversial oil and natural gas drilling method known as horizontal hydraulic fracturing is expected to take hold in the southern tier of the state.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Gimme! ends Fracktivist Blend, it being moot now
Ithaca Journal
David Hill

The eponymous people having won, Ithaca-based coffee roaster Gimme Coffee! is retiring its special roast known as Fracktivist Blend, the company announced. Gimme said it will no longer sell Fracktivist Blend after late January following New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's announcement Wednesday that his administration will not permit high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas in the state. Fracktivist was rolled out two years ago this month. A portion of the proceeds from each bag was donated to organizations protecting the environment in the Finger lakes region and across the state, an amount that came to more than $30,000 in two years, according to the company.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Why New York State Just Banned Fracking—and Why Others May Soon Follow
Pacific Standard
Abraha;m Lustgarten

When natural gas companies first pressed into New York in 2008, state environmental regulators barely understood the process of “hydraulic fracturing.” Six and a half years after ProPublica first raised concerns that the drilling could threaten both the state’s water supply and its residents’ health, Governor Andrew Cuomo has banned the process across the state. The ban makes New York, which holds large natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale, the largest and most significant region to bow out of the nation’s energy boom because of concerns that its benefits may be outweighed by the risk. The decision comes after a long-awaited report from the state’s Health Department concluded that the fracking would pose health risks to New Yorkers. It also follows an exhaustive state environmental review effort that began the day after ProPublica’s first story in July 2008. Since then, New York has walked an indecisive line on drilling, while an energy boom provoked by advances in fracking technology took much of the rest of the country by storm. Today’s lower oil prices are due, in part, to an oil bonanza in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale that had barely begun when New York first put a temporary halt to new drilling in the state. Likewise, the gas drilling waves that have rippled through states from Pennsylvania and West Virginia to Michigan, North Carolina, Maryland, Texas, and Wyoming had yet to run their course.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Top stories of 2014: Fracking fight shifts from Denton to the statehouse
Star Telegram
Max B Baker

After Cathy McMullen and her colleagues in Denton celebrated passage of the state’s first ban on hydraulic fracturing on election night in November, they took a few weeks off to rest and recharge their batteries. They knew more fights would lie ahead to protect the new law. Now the battleground has shifted from Denton to Austin, where lawmakers are already filing legislation designed to bring “clarity” to state and local regulations but which also may complicate efforts by cities to regulate the drilling process commonly used in the Barnett Shale.   [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Triumph (for now) of the fractivists
River Reporter
Fritz Mayer

December 23, 2014 — REGION — They were so committed, active and numerous that a new name had to be created to describe them—fractivists, or activists opposed to high-volume hydraulic fracturing. After Gov. Cuomo announced on December 17 that fracking would be banned in the state, he traveled the next day to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. He had not, however, come to talk about the fracking ban, but instead about Sullivan County’s newly-promised casino. Analysts say he is distancing himself from the ban should he seek the presidency one day. But he did acknowledge to a small group of fractivists elsewhere that they had been instrumental in shaping the conclusion that was ultimately reached. In a YouTube video shot by journalist Sabrina Artel (tinyurl.com/mbdhukl), Cuomo accepted a sign handed to him thanking him for the ban, and he said, “You really did a great job of making your voices heard, and that’s what democracy’s all about; and I actually enjoyed seeing it in action. I know it didn’t always seem that way.” The community of fractivists in the Upper Delaware River Valley sprouted up in 2008 and grew vigorously over the next several years to include Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy (CCSE), Catskill Mountainkeeper, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability and Sullivan Area Citizens for Responsible Energy Development. They teamed up with other environmental groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), EarthJustice, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and the Community Environmental Defense Council. The fractivists included celebrities such as Mark Ruffalo, Debra Winger, Yoko Ono and filmmaker Josh Fox. Early on, it seemed inevitable that New York would soon complete its Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) within a few months and drilling and fracking in the state would commence. Many were convinced that the coming gas rush would bring riches to residents who lived above the Marcellus Shale, and the economic benefit would be “transformative to the region.” But questions arose about health impacts and economic viability; skepticism grew and people engaged. The completion of the SGEIS stretched from months to years. The growing opposition to fracking could be seen in the ever increasing number of comments submitted to New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). In 2009, a draft version of the SGEIS elicited 14,000 comments. Three years later a revised draft SGEIS received more than 65,000 mostly negative comments. In 2013, the DEC received more than 200,000 comments criticizing the proposed fracking regulations, with nearly 24,000 coming through CCSE.   [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
New York to Ban Fracking; Environmentalists Cheer
AP
Mary Esch

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Handing environmentalists a breakthrough victory, New York plans to prohibit fracking for natural gas because of what regulators say are its unexplored health risks and dubious economic benefits. New York, which overlies part of the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation that has led to a drilling boom in Pennsylvania and other nearby states, has banned shale gas development since 2008, when the state began an environmental review of the drilling technique also known as hydraulic fracturing.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
The fight's not over - both sides of fracking debate remain vocal
WBNG
Julianne Peixoto

WBNG Binghamton) Last Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo ended a debate that's long gripped the Southern Tier, by implementing a ban on hydraulic fracturing across the state. In the wake of that decision, representatives from both sides of the issue have been speaking out. Anti-fracking activists viewed last week's decision as a victory, but they aren't silencing their opinions just yet.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
The Year in Activism
BillMoyers.com
Sarah Jaffe

We end the year with sounds of protests too large to ignore as activists around the country take to the streets, hold “die-ins,” shut down bridges and occupy police stations in the name of “Black Lives Matter.” The ongoing protests over the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers — most notably in Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island, New York — have been a defining feature of this year and appear poised to continue. But there were others too. Activists in cities and towns large and small stood up and made themselves heard this year on issues from climate change, to low wages, to our government’s continued support of the bloated financial institutions that broke the economy not long ago. Here are just a few that you might not have heard about. Day after day, from October through December, citizens from New York’s Finger Lakes region braved the elements to blockade the entrance of the Texas-based energy company, Crestwood Midstream.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Feds plan to hold Idaho oil and gas lease sale
Daily Astorian


BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Federal officials in Idaho in a battle with a Texas oil company over what is believed to be a profitable natural gas field in Payette County plan to offer five parcels for competitive leasing by April. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Monday opened a 30-day public comment period about the proposed lease sale that will offer 6,350 acres to potential drilling in southwest Idaho. Houston-based Alta Mesa responded Tuesday afternoon by saying it will suspend its request with Idaho officials to exclude BLM lands and potential royalties from a drilling unit. "One way to look at it is as an olive branch," said company spokesman John Foster. "Alta Mesa has been very diligently and carefully working hard to help the BLM develop the process that creates a reasonable pace of development. It's taken a while to get there, but we're hopeful this decision by the BLM will lead to that kind of reasonable pace."  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Outside Northeast, fewer homes choosing natural gas as fuel
ohio.com
Bob Downing

For the next two weeks (Dec. 22 - Jan. 2), Today in Energy will feature a selection of our favorite articles from 2014. Today's article was originally published on September 25. On a national basis, natural gas has long been the dominant choice for primary heating fuel in the residential sector. Lately, electricity has been gaining market share while natural gas, distillate fuel oil, kerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas (propane) have declined.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
ELECTRICITY: Utilities eyeing direct investment in shale gas
E&E Publishing


nvesting in shale gas projects may be the new way utilities in the Southeast secure more natural gas as they continue to transition away from coal, analysts say. But consumer advocates worry that a Florida decision last week may set a dangerous precedent for how electric companies recover the cost of those investments. Florida utility regulators signed off on Florida Power & Light Co.'s investment in an Oklahoma shale gas project, which the utility says will help secure low-cost natural gas for its power plants. The Florida Public Service Commission also agreed to FPL's request to recover the costs of that investment plus earn a return, which is unusual for fuel projects. FPL is the state's largest utility and gets more than 60 percent of its electricity from natural gas. That number is expected to grow as the state starts working to meet a proposed U.S. EPA rule that targets carbon emissions from existing power plants.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
XTO Energy fined, will pay to restore damage from natural gas extraction in three counties
WV Metro News


WASHINGTON, D.C. – A subsidiary of ExxonMobil will pay a fine along with paying for cleaning up polluted waterways near eight Marcellus shale gas drilling operations in Harrison, Marion and Upshur counties. he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice announced Monday that XTO Energy, Inc., a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, the nation’s largest holder of natural gas reserves, will spend an estimated $3 million to restore eight sites damaged by unauthorized discharges of fill material into streams and wetlands. XTO will also implement a comprehensive plan to comply with federal and state water protection laws at the company’s West Virginia oil and gas extraction facilities that use horizontal drilling methods.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Chevron to Drill Under City Park
The Intelligencer
Alan Olson

Moundsville City Council has agreed to allow Chevron to drill for natural gas beneath Valley Fork Park, but officials said residents won't notice any surface disruption as a result. Council members approved the lease agreement during their Dec. 16 meeting. The deal, worth $74,750 up front plus 18 percent of any future production royalties, is for 14.95 acres off of 12th Street, at $5,000 per acre. City Attorney Thomas White said the agreement prohibits surface disturbance of any kind, as the land is home to a recreational area with baseball and soccer fields and a walking trail.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Pennsylvania lags in studying health risks of shale fracking Will NY fracking ban affect Pennsylvania approach to drilling?
Power Source Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Laura Legere

New York and Pennsylvania share a border, but on shale gas policy the states are separated by a gulf. The breach widened last week when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration announced that state will ban fracking, citing uncertainty about the health risks posed by the oil and gas extraction process. In Pennsylvania, where elected officials from both parties embrace shale gas development, government leaders are still debating whether to fulfill a three-year-old recommendation for how to study the potential impact of shale gas development on public health. Gov. Tom Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission urged the state Department of Health in 2011 to create a health registry to track the well-being of people who live near natural gas drilling sites over time. The project was not funded, and the registry was never created. Could the starkness of New York’s warning influence policy in Pennsylvania?  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Ohio’s natural gas boom brings flurry of pipeline construction
Power Source Pittsburgh Post Gazette
By Jon Chavez / Toledo Blade

A huge supply of natural gas in the shale of northern Appalachia is igniting a mega-boom in gas pipeline construction in Ohio, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the 1940s. “You have interstate, intrastate, local utility service lines upgrades, collection lines for oil and gas utilities, and lines for gas-fired electric utilities. Altogether, there will be 38,000 miles of pipeline development in Ohio over the next decade,” said Dale Arnold, director of energy services for the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation. “I tell people you might not see shale and oil drilling development in your area like in the eastern part of the state, but with pipelines and development, it’s coming your way.” Three proposed pipelines are winding their way through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval process now. A major pipeline company has hinted it may build a fourth large pipeline.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
At Christmas, I Am Grateful for Good Leadership
Huff Post Healthy
Margaret I. Cuomo, MD

The holiday season encourages me to reflect on the significant events in our family. A new marriage, a baby born, new projects and initiatives launched, and in my case, the outstanding achievements of my brother, New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo. Growing up in a political family, I soon learned that what happens in our home, school, neighborhood and government has a profound effect on us all. As a physician and cancer prevention advocate, I strive to educate and promote strategies that will reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.   [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Anti-Fracking Activists Keep up the Fight
WICZ


The fight over fracking may not be over. Fresh off of the state's decision to ban fracking, drilling opponents are ready to send a letter of support to Governor Cuomo while taking a swipe at a pair of prominent gas supporters. Citizen Action of New York is sending the letter which claims the majority of residents across the Southern Tier are thankful for the ban. This comes a day after a Quinnipiac poll showed 56 percent of Upstate voters and 55 percent of voters statewide support the ban. The group also criticizes State GOP Chairman Ed Cox and State Senator Tom Libous for supporting fracking, saying the pair did so for financial reasons. "With Senator Libous saying the Southern Tier wants fracking, with the New York Times portraying the City of Binghamton as being in a situation where fracking is the only way out, which is simply not accurate," said Isaac Silberman-Gorn of Citizen Action of New York.   [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Finger Lakes wine businesses praise Cuomo for ban on hydrofracking
Auburnpub.com
Robert Harding

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision to move forward with a ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, has support from a new coalition representing businesses in the Finger Lakes wine region. The Finger Lakes Wine Business Coalition, a group representing vineyards, wineries and other enterprises in the region, said in a letter sent to Cuomo last week that the ban on hydrofracking will "preserve the water land and air we steward to sustain ourselves." "The arduous vetting of the process of high volume horizontal fracturing (fracking) by state health and environmental conservation staff deserves great praise," Fox Run Vineyards co-owner and president Scott Osborn said. "It is a heroic and principled act which protects the people of New York and the millions of tourists who visit the Empire State each year."   [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
New York Environmental Commissioner Will Issue an Order Early Next Year Banning “Fracking,” Under a Moratorium Since 2008
JD Supra
Alexander Betke, Carl Pernicone

In a much-anticipated report, the New York State Department of Health has concluded that high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) should be banned statewide. In a nutshell, the Department found that there was insufficient scientific evidence that fracking was safe. The report stated in relevant part that the “overall weight of the evidence from the cumulative body of information contained in the [report] demonstrates that there are significant uncertainties about the kinds of adverse heath outcomes that may be associated with HVHF…” In view of this, the report concluded, “Until the science provides sufficient information to determine the level of risk to public health from HVHF and whether the risks can be adequately managed, HVHF should not proceed in New York State.”  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
SLPWA pleased with fracking ban
Finger Lakes Times
David L. Shaw

That’s how the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association feels about the state’s decision to prohibit High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing — more commonly known as hydrofracking — for natural gas in the state. ... ... “This is very welcome news to us at SLPWA and the many concerned residents and health professionals who have studied the experience of other states and have concluded that it is hazardous to health and environment,” said Edwin Przybylowicz, SLPWA Marcellus Shale Committee chairman. He noted that Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker pointed out that not only those in the immediate areas where fracking is being done, but people some distance away, could be affected negatively.   [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Uncommon legal concept may surface in New York after fracking ban
Power Source Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Anya Litvak

For six years while shale gas extraction in New York was in a state of indefinite hold pending environmental and health reviews, landowners and oil and gas firms talked about “takings.” It’s a legal concept that, like eminent domain, requires the government to compensate private property owners for assets taken away because of government action. When New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week announced he planned to permanently ban high volume hydraulic fracturing — the practice used to pull gas out of the Marcellus Shale, for example — legal minds and oil and gas hopefuls said the time is right for a takings lawsuit. Or many takings lawsuits. But it may be an uphill battle for the plaintiffs, if any materialize. “Takings is probably one of the trickiest and less well-defined areas of the law that we practice in,” said John Meadows, an energy litigator and member of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC in Charleston, W.Va. The concept has legal backing in both federal and state laws, but is largely circumstantial and based on what assets are being taken away; how they could have been monetized; and what would have been the economic value of doing so.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
NC Rules panel approves new fracking standards
Stokes News


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A state panel’s approval of regulations for fracking should allow North Carolina lawmakers to take the matter up next year on the schedule envisioned by Republican legislative leaders. The state Rules Review Commission on Wednesday approved the regulations with the understanding that technical corrections for 13 of them would be worked out between now and January, said Vikram Rao, chairman of the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission. Rao said he expects the Legislature to receive the set of rules in January. “Considering that the total in front of them exceeded 120 rules and the short time to do it, just 13 requiring adjustment is an amazingly good outcome,” he said in an email. Local opponents of fracking said the rules offered too little protection for communities like Stokes County.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Protest too much? 2014 was a big year for rabblerousing
Grist
Heather Smith

Here are some things I was not expecting: the way that Twitter — despite the fact that it is now a full-fledged business beholden to its shareholders and the work of pulling in advertising dollars — would play an even bigger role in activist organizing. Certain messages — #yesallwomen, #blacklivesmatter, #alivewhileblack, #iftheygunnedmedown — took issues that the media initially passed over and kept them in the spotlight. I was not expecting a 300,000-plus person march in New York City, and I did not expect to see coalition-building (or at least the early stages of it) between environmental groups and civil rights groups. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, when Naomi Klein’s new book came out, she did not face a chorus shouting “Commie!” just for saying that capitalism isn’t working out super well for everyone at the moment. Here’s how it all unfolded, in a month-by-month breakdown.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Pennsylvania lags in studying health risks of shale fracking
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Laura Legere

New York and Pennsylvania share a border, but on shale gas policy the states are separated by a gulf. The breach widened last week when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration announced that state will ban fracking, citing uncertainty about the health risks posed by the oil and gas extraction process. In Pennsylvania, where elected officials from both parties embrace shale gas development, government leaders are still debating whether to fulfill a three-year-old recommendation for how to study the potential impact of shale gas development on public health.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
Skirting 'Halliburton Loophole,' EPA Slams Exxon with Fracking Fine
eNews Park Forest
Lauren McCauley

Side-stepping a shifty exemption for fracking pollution known as the "Halliburton loophole," the Environmental Protection Agency is fining the world's largest natural gas company for dirtying West Virginia's waterways. The EPA, the Justice Department, and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) on Monday charged XTO Energy, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil, $2.3 million for violating the Clean Water Act for fracking-related activities in West Virginia. The company will also have to pay an additional $3 million to restore eight sites damaged by the unauthorized discharge of fill material into streams and wetlands.  [Full Story]

Dec 23, 2014
ExxonMobil slammed with $2.3 million fine for fracking-related water pollution The EPA found a roundabout way of holding natural gas drillers accountable for Clean Water Act violations
Salon
Lindsay Abrams

The EPA just hit XTO Energy, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil and the nation’s largest natural gas company, with a cool $2.3 million fine for Clean Water Act violations related to its fracking activities in West Virginia. This is big: you rarely hear about frackers being held federally accountable for polluting water supplies, thanks to Bush-era legislation commonly known as the “Halliburton Loophole.” Basically, it ensures that fracking is exempted from the portions of the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act that would typically make it accountable to federal oversight; as such, the EPA is mostly prevented from regulating both the process and the chemicals it injects into the ground.   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Lupardo weighs in on fracking and casino decisions
Binghamton Home Page


Binghamton (WIVT) - Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo is weighing in on the casino license and fracking decisions made last week. She said she, State Senator Tom Libous and others will be working to review the decision to not issue a full-fledged gaming license in the Southern Tier and to see if a 4th license can awarded to either Traditions or Tioga Downs. Lupardo also supports the cautious stance the state is taking on fracking, saying that she had questions about what the state was studying, and about issues in other states that have come about from the gas drilling process. The Assemblywoman said she understands that many people were disappointed by one or both of the decisions. But, she said Greater Binghamton has many positive things to build on.   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Marcellus driller Vantage Energy to pay nearly $1M for Greene County well problems
Trib Live
David conti

A Colorado-based gas well operator agreed to pay nearly $1 million in fines for damage to streams that was caused by a landslide and wastewater spill at a Greene County shale well pad. Vantage Energy must remove blockage from the unnamed streams and restore the land around the Porter Street pad in Franklin by the end of 2015, according to an agreement signed last week between the company and Department of Environmental Protection. The company did not take measures to prevent the landslide in January. A contractor in July dumped two truckloads of wastewater, causing further damage, the DEP said, in announcing the company will pay the $999,900 penalty. Regulators found no evidence of toxic pollution.   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Poll finds New Yorkers split on fracking
Press Connects
Jeffrey Platsky

Days before New York announced that it would ban hydraulic fracturing two in five New Yorkers said they knew little to nothing about the controversial drilling method. The results are from the Siena College Research Institute, which surveyed 639 registered voters from Dec. 11 through Dec. 16, the day before the fracking ban announcement. The poll had a plus or minus 4 percent margin of error.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
All Naughty, No Nice: 5 Worst Fracking Industry Moments of 2014
Food & Water Watch
Jo Miles

There’s never much chance of fracking companies ending up on Santa’s “nice” list, considering that polluting our air and water and making people sick is a regular part of how they do business. But while the movement to ban fracking made great strides in 2014, most notably with the recent ban in New York, the oil and gas industry seemed to go the extra mile this year to get onto the “naughty” list. Even here at Food & Water Watch, we were surprised by some of the dirty tactics some fracking companies used to attempt to sway public opinion and win over lawmakers. Here are a few of the most unbelievable fracking industry stunts that made the news in 2014:   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Wolf thinks New York fracking ban is the wrong move
Eagle Ford Texas
Zach Koppang

Governor-elect Tom Wolf recently commented on New York’s decision to ban fracking and said that it was the wrong move, according to State Impact Pennsylvania. On Wednesday, New York State health officials reported that there currently isn’t enough evidence to determine the potential health and environmental hazards associated with oil and gas development. New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker wrote in a long anticipated report that there is currently no scientific certainty about the process and that such certainty is “unlikely to ever be attained.”   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Legislators urged not to allow fracking in Maryland
Bakken.com
Greg Larry

FROSTBURG — While the topic of hydraulic fracturing dominated Thursday’s public meeting conducted by the District 1 legislative delegation, Sen. George Edwards also took the opportunity to warn those in attendance to expect state funding reductions and possible program cuts with Maryland facing a structural deficit in excess of $1 billion. Held in the Lane Center at Frostburg State University, the annual meeting is an opportunity to allow citizens to voice their concerns to lawmakers in anticipation of the upcoming Maryland General Assembly that convenes Jan. 14.   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Brewery Ommegang Applauds Governor Cuomo’s Decision to Prohibit Fracking in New York
Ommegang Brewery
Press Release

Cooperstown, NY – Brewery Ommegang congratulates Governor Andrew Cuomo who, heeding the advice of Department of Health commissioner Howard Zucker and Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner Joe Martens, has prohibited hydraulic fracturing for shale gas in New York State. Over the past five years, thousands of individuals, advocacy organizations and businesses joined in an unprecedented grass roots effort to bring attention to the deleterious health and environmental issues of fracking, including the existential threat to upstate’s pristine water supply which would have irrevocably altered our business as a brewery. From a simple business perspective, Ommegang cannot make world-class beer with polluted water.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Half of homeowners worry about fracking and crashing house values
Click Green


Three quarters of Lancashire residents oppose Ministers' plans to allow energy firms to frack under people’s homes whilst almost half of them are worried about the impact of shale drilling on house prices, a new survey shows. The findings are published today as some Fylde residents living close to Cuadrilla’s potential drilling sites in the area have come forward claiming shale gas developments have already affected the value of their homes and put off potential buyers and tenants.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Welsh Government seeks advice on fracking moratorium powers
Wales Online
David Deans

Environmental campaigners have welcomed news that the Welsh Government sought legal opinion on whether it has powers to impose a moratorium on fracking. First Minister Carwyn Jones confirmed, in a letter to Friends of the Earth Cymru, that Welsh Government officials sought advice on whether Wales is able to make such a move. Friends of the Earth called for Mr Jones to publish the advice and act on it.   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
The precautionary principle and the science behind the New York hydraulic fracturing ban
Preserve the Beartooth Front
David Katz

Last week’s decision by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to ban high volume hydraulic fracturing for shale gas development has sent shock waves throughout the country. It is the first time a state government has issued a ban on fracking based on the recognition that there is no proof that fracking is safe for its residents. The implications are substantial, ranging from the economic impact on the oil and gas industry and on individuals to the public health impacts of fracking to public attitudes regarding the safety of fracking.   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Feds fine Marcellus driller XTO $2.3 million
NPR State Impact PAR
Susan Phillips

The Environmental Protection Agency, along with the Department of Justice, have fined XTO, a subsidiary of ExxonMobile, $2.3 million for violating the Clean Water Act. The damage to streams and wetlands took place in West Virginia and includes an estimated $3 million remediation price tag. During drilling operations at eight separate sites, the company dumped sand, dirt, rocks and other material into streams and wetlands while constructing well pads, roads, and pits.   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Constitution Pipeline files 55 eminent domain lawsuits against Catskills landowners
Watershed Post
Julia Reischel

Since Dec. 12, the Constitution Pipeline has filed formal eminent domain proceedings against 55 landowners along the pipeline’s proposed 124-mile route through Schoharie, Delaware and Chenango counties, federal court records show. The pipeline, which received conditional approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Dec. 2, has wasted no time in using the power of eminent domain to force people to allow the 30-inch natural gas pipeline to cross their land. On Wednesday, Dec. 3, the pipeline’s law firm sent a letter to resistant landowners offering them a chance to accept compensation in exchange for an easement on their property. The letter gave the landowners until Dec. 11 to make up their minds.   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Renewables Highly Competitive Though Not Yet At Scale
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Investment in renewables worldwide has picked up steam. It is possible that total clean energy capacity installed in 2014 will be greater in non-OECD countries than developed nations for the first time. Oil and gas companies have long touted an expected upward growth trajectory in energy demand and assumed that they would enjoy the rewards almost exclusively. Interestingly, demand in these countries is leaning towards renewables now rather than conventional forms of energy. This is beginning to be seen in share prices as well. Examining share performance of various solar and wind companies, it is clear that impressive returns are being generated. Further, the future looks bright. Costs and scale have not really been exploited fully and yet the technologies are providing grid parity already.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Fracking’s Big Backer:VIDEO
The New York Times
A.J. Chavar

While natural gas prices are on down, Southwestern Energy and its chief executive, Steve Mueller, are betting big on hydraulic fracturing. Virtually no one is following their lead.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Natural Gas: Abundance of Supply and Debate
The New York Times
John Schwartz

MEAD, Colo. — Natural gas is the Rorschach test of energy policy. Depending on one’s point of view, it can be either an essential tool for meeting the challenge of climate change or another dirty fossil fuel that will speed the planet down the path to calamitous warming. President Obama is in the first camp. He sang the praises of natural gas in his State of the Union address in January, saying, “If extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change.” But many environmental activists have denounced shale drilling because of the potential health risks that were cited by Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York last week when he announced a ban on hydraulic fracturing in the state.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
These two states had the same basic information about fracking. They made very different decisions
Washington Post
Chris Mooney

Last week, New York Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo banned the practice in his state of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" -- blasting chemical laden water deep beneath the Earth at extreme pressures in order to crack rock and release natural gas. The move followed a report from the New York Department of Health, finding "significant uncertainties about the kinds of adverse health outcomes" that may be associated with the technology. It found the science on this question was uncertain but worrisome, and that was enough to put on the brakes.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
ONLY ON 7: Gas Still Leaking at Monroe County Well Pad
WTRF NEWS 7 WV
Nate Fluharty

MONROE COUNTY, Ohio - They were hoping to be back at home, but residents living near a well pad leak in Monroe County will have to wait another day. Its been nine days since the leak after a well head malfunctioned, spewing natural gas into the air. When WTRF.com was back at the scene near Sardis, Ohio and the gas continued to flow.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Natural Gas Glut Isn’t Deterring Southwestern Energy
The New York Times
Clifford Kraus

WONDERVIEW, Ark. — Across the giant Fayetteville shale gas field here, country roads that were clogged by truck traffic just a few years ago are empty again. Once aglow at night from the bright lights twinkling on drilling rigs, the roads are now dark under the starry Arkansas sky. Virtually all of the few remaining rig and frack crews belong to one survivor: Southwestern Energy, a stubborn believer in the future profitability of natural gas.   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Groups urge administration to steer clear of gas exports bill
The Hill
Laura Barron-Lopez

Some 114 groups are pressing Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to reject proposals to increase liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. In a letter sent to Moniz on Monday, the environmental and health groups say Moniz should not support legislation introduced by a Senate Republican that would speed up the approval of permits for companies looking to export natural gas overseas. The legislation in question is one introduced by Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), who said in November that he was working with Moniz on the language in the bill in order to get the secretary’s support.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
114 Groups Warn Energy Secretary Moniz of LNG’s Dire Climate Impacts
eNews Park Forest


WASHINGTON, D.C. –(ENEWSPF)—December 22, 2014. As the Obama administration moves into another year promoting the false climate solution of natural gas, 114 public interest, environmental and faith groups submitted a letter to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz urging him not to support liquefied natural gas exports. In July, Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) introduced S. 2638, the Natural Gas Export Certainty Act of 2014, which would expedite the approval of applications to export climate-disrupting LNG. In November, Sen. Hoeven was quoted saying that Sec. Moniz was willing to support his bill with some modifications.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Groups urge administration to steer clear of gas exports bill
The Hill
Laura Barron-Lopez

Some 114 groups are pressing Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to reject proposals to increase liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. In a letter sent to Moniz on Monday, the environmental and health groups say Moniz should not support legislation introduced by a Senate Republican that would speed up the approval of permits for companies looking to export natural gas overseas. The legislation in question is one introduced by Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), who said in November that he was working with Moniz on the language in the bill in order to get the secretary’s support. “I talked to the secretary of Energy, and he has some things he’d like us to incorporate, and then he’s willing to support the bill,” Hoeven said.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Future Of Oregon LNG Terminal Could Hinge on 1957 Easement
OPB


The company behind a project to export liquefied natural gas from the northwest corner of Oregon has run into a new challenge: The federal government might have permanent rights to use the site of its proposed shipping terminal. The Oregon LNG project proposes a terminal on the Skipanon Peninsula in Warrenton, on the mouth of the Columbia River, that would receive North American natural gas via pipeline and ship it overseas. But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers claims it already has an easement on that same site to deposit the leftover muck from its river dredging — and has since 1957. Permanent rights for the Army Corps to deposit those dredging spoils could prevent the terminal’s construction, regardless of what environmental and land-use permits the project secures.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Gas pipeline expansion may have more bad effects than good
Hartford Courant
Steve Smith

While the proposed expansion of the Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline through Connecticut forges ahead, environmental protests in New York and Rhode Island states are gaining steam and making headway while those in Connecticut are seemingly just getting off the ground. Several protests took place between Dec. 13 and 19, by grass roots efforts in Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island, as well as Connecticut, looking to stop the expansion of the Algonquin pipeline that runs thorough parts of all four states, as well as a small portion of New Jersey. The pipeline is managed by Spectra Energy, Inc., based in Houston, Texas. The first phase of the project is termed the Algonquin Incremental Market expansion plan.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
UGI plans $150 million natural gas pipeline
StateImpact PA
Marie Cusick

UGI Energy Services announced today it plans to construct a new 35-mile, 20-inch gas pipeline through north-central Pennsylvania. The so-called Sunbury Pipeline would begin in Lycoming County and end at a proposed natural gas-fired power plant near Shamokin Dam, in Snyder County. This announcement comes amid a flurry of other pipeline projects in Pennsylvania, as energy companies work to move the abundant Marcellus Shale gas to new markets. “We are excited about this project that will continue to expand natural gas availability in the Pennsylvania region,” said UGI President and CEO John Walsh in a statement. “In addition to helping lower natural gas costs, we are proud that it is expected to create jobs and stimulate economic growth.” UGI has already started the pre-filing phase of the process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)– the agency charged with overseeing pipelines. The company expects to file its formal application by the middle of next year.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Dominion Deals with Possible Lawsuit
WHSV
Tom Dempsey

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV)-- The proposed natural gas pipeline from Dominion Resources is back in the spotlight. The pipeline would cut through parts of Augusta County, but some people in the area have brought up possible environmental concerns with the project. This is all unfolding as Dominion deals with a possible lawsuit in another part of the state. Members of the Southern Environmental Law Center say they have notified Dominion Virginia about a lawsuit that could be coming forward. Members say Dominion leaked coal ash pits at the Chesapeake Energy Center on the Elizabeth River. Dominion strongly opposes the lawsuit, and plans to fight it. A man who lives in a neighborhood near the proposed pipeline route in the Valley says the benefits of this project outweigh the concerns many have with Dominion Resources and the environment.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Cuomo juggles credit and blame for fracking, casino deals
lohud.com
Joseph SpectorAlbany Bureau Chief

ALBANY Gov. Andrew Cuomo last Wednesday praised anti-fracking activists who waited outside his Manhattan office to thank him for instituting a ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing. On Thursday, Cuomo toured parts of the state to highlight their selections as sites for new, privately owned casinos. In Schenectady, a local leader joked that Cuomo was their Santa Claus. While Cuomo has gained praise by supporters for banning fracking and locating three casinos, he has also claimed that he wasn’t intimately involved in either decision. And he’s deflected the criticism that the choices brought. “I say to the people who want to heap praise on me, I wish I could take credit for this specific selection, but the state had nothing to do with this specific selection,” Cuomo told reporters in Schenectady about the casino picks. But if Cuomo wants to shift the decision to his health experts on fracking and to a siting board on the casino locations, he’ll ultimately own both issues.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Bez invites Yoko to anti-fracking bed-in
3 News


Happy Mondays star Bez is set to stage a John Lennon-style 'bed-in' next month to protest against fracking and has invited The Beatles star's widow Yoko Ono to join him. The British dancer/percussionist, real name Mark Berry, launched himself into the world of politics earlier this year when he announced he will run as a Member of Parliament for his native Salford, England in next year's UK general election.   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Fracking decision made with Gov. Cuomo's political future in mind, insiders say
NY Daily News
Ken Lovett

Here is an expanded third item from my "Albany Insider" column from Monday's editions: Numerous insiders scoff at Gov. Cuomo’s contention he had nothing to do with last week’s decision to ban hydrofracking—believing it was made with the governor's political future in mind--be it a presidential campaign or a 2018 run for a third-term. “There’s no doubt he’s keeping his options open for a presidential run and this makes New York the first big state to question the safety of (fracking), which wouldn’t hurt him in a Democratic primary,” said one long-time operative.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Utilities Watchdog Raises Concerns About FPL's Fracking Investment
WGCU
Ashley Lopez

The state’s utilities regulator signed-off on a plan that allows FPL to charge its customers for a $190 million investment into a fracking project in Oklahoma. FPL’s representatives said this will save Floridians money in the long-run, but others have warned this decision sets a bad precedent. In a 4-1 vote, the Public Service Commission allowed Florida Power and Light to make an investment with its customers as the sole backer.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Fredericton Chamber of Commerce wants province to lift fracking moratorium quickly
CTV News
The Canadian Press

The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce is calling on the province to act quickly to lift its moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. Last week the Liberal government introduced legislation that would prohibit fracking until concerns about health, the environment and First Nations input are addressed.   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Health fears see New York ban fracking
Carbon News


The administration of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has banned hydraulic fracturing in the state, citing public health concerns. The move puts an end to years of heated debate between activists and the oil and gas industry - and could help to buoy the case against fracking in hundreds of similar fights happening across the United States.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
What’s next in NY fracking fight? It may not be lawsuits
The Journal News
Joseph Spector

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration put six years of questions to rest when it announced its plan Wednesday to become the first state with shale-gas reserves to ban large-scale hydraulic fracturing. With one major answer, however, comes another question: Now what?, Gannett’s Albany Bureau reported over the weekend.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
DEP: $800,000 Settlement Against Tennessee Gas Pipeline For Violations In 4 Counties
North Central PA


The Department of Environmental Protection Monday announced a settlement with Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, LLC for multiple violations of the Clean Streams Law during the construction of a natural gas pipeline in 2011 and 2012 through four counties in northeast and northcentral Pennsylvania. The violations occurred during construction of the company’s “300 Line Project” in Potter, Susquehanna, Wayne and Pike counties.According to the agreement, TGP will pay a penalty of $210,000 and will fund a $540,000 clean-up program of illegal dumpsites in Pike, Potter, Susquehanna and Wayne Counties. The fund will be administered by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council over a four year period.   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
The rise and fall of wind power in America
Vox
Brad Plumer

Back in the 1990s, wind turbines were a rare sight in the United States — and sprawling wind farms even rarer. The wind boom may soon be coming to an end — or at least slowing down Things changed considerably in the years since. Thanks to a series of tax credits from Congress and renewable-energy mandates from the states, wind power expanded at a torrid pace. Last year, wind turbines produced 4.1 percent of America's electricity. Some states do even better — Iowa and South Dakota get a quarter of their electricity from wind. But the US wind boom is likely to start slowing sharply in the near future.   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Truck slides, spills water from gas production near Rifle
Post Independent


RIFLE — Fourteen residences about 3 miles from the Kum & Go convenience store in south Rifle were without water most of Monday and until 5:15 a.m. Tuesday after a tanker truck hauling water thought to be a byproduct of natural gas production slid and spilled its contents on Beaver Creek Road near the city’s water treatment plant....  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
The Fossil-Fuel Industry Spent Big to Set the Anti-Environment Agenda of the Next Congress
Center for American Progress
Claire Moser & Matt Lee-Ashley

Election contributions and lobbying members of Congress Oil, gas, coal, and electric utilities contributed more than $84 million to candidates, political parties, and outside spending groups during the 2014 election cycle. Of this total, more than $64 million went directly to candidates and parties, 79.5 percent of which supported Republicans and 20.5 percent of which supported Democrats. In addition to these direct contributions to candidates, incumbent members of Congress, and political parties, the oil, gas, and coal companies and electric utilities spent $493 million on lobbying the 113th Congress—more than $288 million in 2013 and close to $205 million in 2014. These efforts have already paid dividends. In addition to the Montana coal deal, there were many other special-interest giveaways to extraction industries included in the defense spending bill, including approval of a massive, controversial Arizona mine known as Resolution Copper and a number of provisions that block environmental protection efforts in the $1.1 trillion “cromnibus” spending bill passed this month.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Gas pipeline expansion may have more bad effects than good
Hartford Courant
Steve Smith

While the proposed expansion of the Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline through Connecticut forges ahead, environmental protests in New York and Rhode Island states are gaining steam and making headway while those in Connecticut are seemingly just getting off the ground. Several protests took place between Dec. 13 and 19, by grass roots efforts in Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island, as well as Connecticut, looking to stop the expansion of the Algonquin pipeline that runs thorough parts of all four states, as well as a small portion of New Jersey. The pipeline is managed by Spectra Energy, Inc., based in Houston, Texas. The first phase of the project is termed the Algonquin Incremental Market expansion plan.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
What Really Killed fracking in NY?
AlterNet
Cliff Weathers

Gov. Andrew Cuomo may have had little choice but to prohibit fracking in New York, say some activists who worked toward the ban. His decision was made convenient by a state court decision against fracking and rapidly falling natural gas prices. These events combined may have already killed the fracking industry’s interest in the state.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Drilling Industry: People In Harrisburg Changed, Not The Impact Of A Severance Tax
PA Environment Digest


Representatives of Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania, the Marcellus Shale Coalition and the PA Independent Oil and Gas Association Tuesday held a press conference to again express their opposition to a severance tax on natural gas production. “Some things have changed in Harrisburg, but the crippling impact a severance tax would have on jobs, the economy, and Pennsylvania’s future have not,” said Stephanie Catarino Wissman, API-PA Executive Director. “Priority number one for Gov.-Elect Tom Wolf should be encouraging even more energy driven economic growth. Yet his proposal for a new severance tax threatens to stifle energy production and the jobs that go with it.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Sen. Brewster Details Severance Tax For Education, Local Governments
PA Environment Digest


Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny) Tuesday said he will soon introduce a plan that would earmark revenue from a new shale gas extraction tax for public schools while retaining current well impact fees that support local government operations. “My ‘Extraction for Education’ proposal is simple, reasonable and credible because it uses the proceeds of an extraction tax to support education,” Sen. Brewster said. “Yet it also retains funds that are currently generated from impact fees for use by local and state government. Pennsylvania taxpayers, school children, teachers and others who are involved in the education community have paid a high price because the Corbett administration has failed to embrace a responsible shale gas extraction tax.”  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
New York Dept. Of Health Recommends Fracking Ban
PA Environment Digest


The New York Department of Health has completed its public health review of high-volume hydraulic fracturing and Acting DOH Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker recommended Wednesday that high-volume hydraulic fracturing should not move forward in New York State. Dr. Zucker announced his findings and recommendations at a Cabinet Meeting in Albany.   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
EP Publishes Interim Final Policy Implementing Mandatory Stream Buffer Changes
PA Environment Digest


The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the December 20 PA Bulletin asking for comments on an interim final policy implementing Act 162 of 2014 relating to mandatory stream buffer requirements. The policy takes effect December 20, but DEP is asking for public comments by February 18. As drafted, the policy applies to erosion and sedimentation permits in special protection watersheds, although the language in Act 162 authorizes DEP to require forested stream buffers in any watershed in the Commonwealth.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
State approves controversial oil and gas drilling permit in St. Tammany
Penn Energy
AP

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's Department of Natural Resources has approved a drilling permit for Helis Oil & Gas Co., which plans a fracking project that many St. Tammany Parish residents vehemently oppose. The department posted a notice on its website late Friday saying it had approved the permit for a vertical well about 2 ½ miles deep. The permit is for an exploration well. New state approval and an Army Corps of Engineers wetlands permit would be needed if the company decides to proceed with hydraulic fracturing. The company says it will take months to study data from the exploratory well, once it is drilled, to tell whether the samples indicate it is worth using hydraulic fracturing — a technique that injects high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel, and chemicals to extract oil and gas from rock. St. Tammany Parish and the town of Abita Springs have sued DNR to prevent the well. This past week, Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany filed a motion to join the parish's lawsuit.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Harper to call for natural gas severance tax on drilling
Penn Business Daily
Amanda Rupp

State Rep. Kate Harper (R-Dist. 61) will call for a severance tax on natural gas drilling to fund public school workers’ pensions. The Public School Employees’ Retirement System is in need of funding, as its current unfunded liability is more than $32 billion.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Coal Ash and Fracking Fluid: Two More Victories for Environmental Protection
Huffington Post
Steven Cohen

While America recently elected a new and possibly anti-environmental Congress, we are still ending 2014 on a high note with two environmental victories. Both originated in the executive branch of government--one in our national government and the other in the New York state government. Over the past week: 1) EPA took a small but significant step to begin regulating coal ash, the stuff that remains after coal is burned; and 2) New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo decided to continue New York's ban on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Evacuated families in Monroe County await answers on fracking-well gas leak
Columbus Dispatch
Laura Arenschield

SARDIS, Ohio — This hollow used to be peaceful. Not long ago, Randy Heater and his daughters would roam the Monroe County hills to hunt, setting up deer stands on quiet fall days when the air was still. On Dec. 13, that stillness shattered. Crews lost control of a fracked well on a hilltop near Heater’s house. Natural gas surged into the air.   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
2014: Riding a Rocket, Divestment Movement Gains Momentum The notion that most of the fossil fuel reserves on company balance sheets must stay in the ground—stranded—is no longer unthinkable.
Inside Climate News
Elizabeth Douglass

This was the year Big Oil and its fossil-fuel brethren began to look a lot less invincible. An unexpected crash in crude prices forced industry leaders to cut spending, mothball expensive projects and put the brakes on new drilling. Local officials, residents and environmentalists blocked new pipelines and rebelled against the surge in shipping oil by railcar. And new limits on power plant pollution, methane releases and oilfield gas burn-off are still looming over coal, natural gas and oil operations across the country.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Fracking Fumes: Where There's a Well, All is Not Well After analyzing 24 scientific studies, the Natural Resources Defense Council finds plenty to worry about, from birth defects to deadly effects.
Inside Climate News
David Hasemyer

Emissions from oil-and-gas production pose a significant threat to human health, and immediate steps must be taken to reduce exposure to the toxic pollution, according to an analysis of scientific studies by the Natural Resources Defense Council. After reviewing the findings of 24 studies conducted by both government agencies and academic organizations, the evidence shows that people living both close to and far from oil-and-gas drilling are exposed to fracking-related air pollution that can cause at least five major types of health problems, according to the NRDC's report, Fracking Fumes.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Keeping ban on fracking in New York state was justified (editorial)
Staten Island Advance
Editorial

The official decision to keep a ban on fracking in New York state ended years of debate over what Gov. Cuomo called "probably the most emotionally charged issue I have ever experienced." He said the furor over whether to allow high-tech drilling for natural gas had become even more contentious than disputes over gun control, gay marriage or the death penalty.   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Q Poll: NY voters support fracking ban
Democrat and Chronicle
Joseph Spector

New York voters approved 55 percent to 25 percent of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision last week to ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing in New York State, a Quinnipiac University poll today found. Because of the fracking ban, 33 percent of voters thought more favorably of the Democratic governor, while 16 percent thought less favorably and 44 percent said the decision made no difference on their opinion of him.  [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Q-Poll: NY Backs Fracking Ban, Won’t Trade Anything For A Legislative Pay Hike
State of Politics
Nick Reisman

Voters in New York back Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to prohibit high-volume hydrofracking in the state by a 30-percentage point margin, a Quinnipiac University poll released on Monday found. The poll found Republicans are split on the issue, with 42 percent backing the ban and 40 percent opposing it. Democrats are most likely to be support the fracking ban by a margin of 67 percent to 11 percent. Meanwhile, a majority of upstate voters support the ban, 56 percent to 20 percent, with a similar margin in New York City, the poll found. The fracking ban has the least support among suburban voters, where the ban has the backing of 52 percent of voters.   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
Poll: New York voters support Cuomo’s ban on fracking
Capital New York
SCOTT WALDMAN

ALBANY—New Yorkers overwhelmingly support Governor Andrew Cuomo's decision last week to ban fracking in the state, a Quinnipiac University poll released today found. Among those questioned, 55 percent said they approved of ban, compared to 25 percent who did not. Republicans approved 42 percent to 40 percent, while Democrats supported it by a 67 percent to 11 percent margin, the poll found. Broken down by region, upstate voters support the ban 56 percent to 30 percent. In New York City, the approval rate was 56 percent to 19 percent, while voters in the suburbs supported it by a 52 percent to 27 percent.   [Full Story]

Dec 22, 2014
New York has outlawed fracking. More bans will follow if energy companies don’t take action. The oil and gas industry needs to start cooperating with regulators
Washington Post
Fred Krupp

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s statewide ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a vindication for communities around the country that have been hit hard by unconventional natural gas production. For those in the energy industry who have shrugged off the environmental, health and safety concerns of fracking, Cuomo’s decision was the second rebuke in a little more than a month, following the recent vote to ban fracking in Denton, Tex. There have been a number of other bans and moratoriums across the country in the past couple of years: Mora County, N.M.; Boulder County, Colo.; and Dryden, N.Y., to name a few. These bans demonstrate what can happen when oil and gas producers erode public trust by brushing aside legitimate questions. Increasingly, regulators and the energy industry will be called upon to show that unacceptable risks from fracking can be minimized. Minimizing those risks requires strong, sensible regulation. Industry must finally recognize that it is in its own interest to work with regulators to make that happen.   [Full Story]

Dec 21, 2014
OPEC bets against U.S. fracking: Column Oil supply and budgetary gamble is America's gain, and not just in the short term.
USA Today
James S. Robbins

At last month's meeting of the Organization of Petrolum Exporting Countries ministers in Vienna, some members argued for decreasing production to slow or reverse the oil price drop. But Saudi Arabia, still OPEC's largest oil producer, convinced the other members of the cartel that their best move would be to keep the spigots open. It is a move that remains under debate this week at an Arab energy conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.   [Full Story]

Dec 21, 2014
As New York Bans Fracking, Calls for Moratorium in Pennsylvania Grow Stronger
De Smog Blog
Sharon Kelly

This week, New York Governor Cuomo announced that his state would ban fracking, due in large part to concerns about impacts on public health. But right across the border in Pennsylvania, one of the fastest-moving shale booms in the country still proceeds at breakneck speed.  [Full Story]

Dec 21, 2014
Lawyers eyeball NY fracking decision
Democrat and Chronicle
Jon Campbell

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration put six years of questions to rest Wednesday when it announced its plan to become the first state with shale-gas reserves to ban large-scale hydraulic fracturing. With one major answer, however, comes another question: Now what? The state's move toward a ban has left both supporters and opponents of fracking charting their next steps, with the natural-gas industry and Southern Tier landowners weighing their legal options and anti-fracking advocates hoping to keep their extensive network of activists alive. But first state regulators have to tie up some legal loose ends.  [Full Story]

Dec 21, 2014
Cuomo's ban on fracking handicaps the fight against climate change: Moran
NJ.com
Tom Moran Opinion

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recaptured the hearts of liberals everywhere last week by banning hydraulic fracking of natural gas reserves in New York State. “We’re totally celebrating,” says Dale Bryk, the energy guru at the National Resources Defense Council. “I believe several bottles are cracked open now.”   [Full Story]

Dec 21, 2014
ROBERT KENNEDY JR. TELLS US THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE NEW YORK FRACKING BAN ON THOM HARTMANN
Ring of Fire radio
Blog

Video available at link  [Full Story]

Dec 21, 2014
BURU ENERGY #FRACKING ON YAWURU LANDS WITHOUT PERMISSION OF TRADITIONAL OWNERS
Interncontinental
John Ahni Schertow

The Australian oil and gas exploration and production company Buru Energy is almost finished establishing a huge network of seismic lines and test fracking wells on Yawuru lands in the Canning Basin of Western Australia. However, despite putting so much time and effort into its Laurel Formation Tight Gas Pilot Exploration Program, which gained official approval from Western Australia's Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) in June of this year, the company has a problem.   [Full Story]

Dec 21, 2014
Cuomo's ban on fracking gives boost for potential 2016 run, say experts
Newsday
Michael Gormley

ALBANY - Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's decision last week to ban a contentious form of natural gas drilling burnished his liberal record among Democrats from Manhattan to Hollywood and gave a boost to his profile for a potential run for president in 2016, experts say. Cuomo made himself the only prominent Democrat thought to be eyeing the party nomination who has flatly rejected hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which is opposed by environmentalists as a threat to public health. His decision also soothed some angry liberal leaders in New York who have influence with progressive groups nationwide.   [Full Story]

Dec 21, 2014
Why The Debate Over The Fracking Fallacy Is A Big Deal
Petroleum Truth Report
Art Berman

The debate about “The Fracking Fallacy” is a big deal because EPA’s* plan to regulate coal out of existence is based on EIA’s* forecast of abundant and cheap shale gas for decades. If U.S. natural gas production is in decline by the early 2020s as described in the Nature article, there won’t be enough electric power supply without more, rather than less, coal. And power will cost more. In addition, DOE’s* approvals for natural gas export to Asia, Europe and Mexico may now become truly awful and misinformed decisions.   [Full Story]

Dec 20, 2014
LeBrun: Week's biggest winner? Cuomo
Times Union
Fred LeBrun

It was a week of great relief for the Capital Region, with the governor giving us a statewide ban on hydrofracking and his administration recommending a casino far from East Greenbush, where many residents did not want one.   [Full Story]

Dec 20, 2014
How Fracking Got Stopped in New York
Tom Wilber Blogspot
Tom Wilber

The following is an uncut version of an article I wrote the Press & Sun-Bulletin. The newspaper version, which ran on Dec. 21, 2014, was cut due to space constraints The full version is reprinted here with permisson of the paper.   [Full Story]

Dec 20, 2014
Triad Hunter Addresses Public on Well Pad Leak
WTRF
Rachael Dierkes

UPDATE: Monroe County released the following update:"Today (Wednesday), access will return to the same schedule as earlier this week. Residents will be allowed limited access to their homes during daytime hours 7:00am – 6:00pm with the assistance of Sardis VFD. The limitation also applies to air traffic. A NO FLY ZONE has been established for 5,000 feet and a 3 mile radius and will remain in effect throughout the operation. Accommodations for residents of the 30 homes evacuated continue to be provided. A Family Assistance Center will be set up at 10:30am this morning (Wednesday) at the Lee Township Building (formerly Sardis School) to allow a larger, more relaxed location for residents."  [Full Story]

Dec 20, 2014
Editorial: Fracking ban based on the reality of risks
Times Herald Record
Editorial

If you want to understand New York’s decision to ban hydraulic fracturing, first listen to Howard Zucker, the acting health commissioner. Having reviewed all of the studies he could get his hands on, he concluded that he would not let his family live in a community that allowed drilling for natural gas because he could not be sure that it could be safe given what we know about the practice and its risks. Therefore, he could not in good conscience ask other New Yorkers to take that risk either.   [Full Story]

Dec 20, 2014
After NY ban, NC should wait on fracking
News & Observer
Editorial

How far off track North Carolina has gone toward risking health and environmental damage from fracking became clear by a coincidence last week. On the day that North Carolina’s Rules Review Commission approved the state’s fracking rules, the governor of New York announced that his state will ban the practice. Fracking supporters attacked the decision as “political,” and it will help Gov. Andrew Cuomo shore up his support among liberals and environmentalists, but it was hardly a maneuver solely to get votes. It is an effort to protect the health of New Yorkers. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory should be doing the same. Instead, he and the Republican-led General Assembly are doing all they can to get the fracking drills whirling into North Carolina’s soil and rock.   [Full Story]

Dec 20, 2014
Editorial: The right fracking decision
Times Union
Editorial

Dr. Zucker's compelling conclusion, in which he posed the question of whether he would raise his family near a drilling site, put it best: "After looking at the plethora of reports behind me ... my answer is no." In banning fracking, New York goes against the trend in which a growing number of states are attempting to cash in on a natural gas boom. But that very boom provided state Health Department researchers the abundant and ever-expanding foundation of data that led to their overwhelming conclusion. States where fracking has been under way are experiencing myriad problems with methane, benzene and other volatile organic compounds polluting the groundwater and air. Data also link the gas drilling process with earthquakes.   [Full Story]

Dec 20, 2014
New York’s Conservative Fracking Ban
The Daily Beast
Jay Michaelson

New York blinks in the face of uncertainty and bans hydraulic fracturing. The reasons may be a lot more boring than you think. The state of New York has banned fracking—for now, anyway. Environmentalists have cheered, the fracking industry has scowled, and for the most part, coverage of the decision has focused on the political factors weighing on Governor Andrew Cuomo: the timing of the report’s release, six weeks after Cuomo won re-election; the governor’s uncharacteristic “I’m just doing what the experts say” rhetoric; and so on.  [Full Story]

Dec 20, 2014
Brilliant Fracking Advice For Towns Considering A Ban
NO FRACKING WAY
Chip Northrup

From my fellow GAZPROM operatives, Team Slottje. If your town is thinking about banning fracking under its zoning laws do it. Simply put, the DEC’s proposed change in the SGEIS may just address one type of HVHF well – over 300,000 gallons. If “gallons” means water, then HVHF fracking with a gelled propane (ie. Napalm) clusterfrack might be a loophole. (Not fracking likely, but we will watch for any wormholes the DMN might sneak in). What happened on Wednesday is not an “extension of the moratorium” or “permanent” it is merely a proposed regulatory change for one type of well. Nothing less. Nothing more.  [Full Story]

Dec 20, 2014
Even more natural gas being flared in Eagle Ford Shale
San Antonio Express-News
John Tedesco, Jennifer Hiller, and Joseph Kokenge

Gas flares in the Eagle Ford Shale burned more than 20 billion cubic feet of natural gas and released tons of pollutants into the air in the first seven months of 2014 — exceeding the total waste and pollution for all of 2012. New records analyzed by the San Antonio Express-News show flaring in the oil patch has continued to increase in the Eagle Ford, an upward trend first revealed in a yearlong San Antonio Express-News investigation called Up in Flames that was published in August.  [Full Story]

Dec 20, 2014
BETWEEN THE GROINS: OFF SHORE RIGGED
Rockaway Times
John Cori

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, they’re back! Our good friends who brought us the brilliant plan to place a gigantic Liquefied Natural Gas(LNG)plant in the ocean, 26 miles off the coast of the Rockaway Peninsula are back and up to their same old tricks!   [Full Story]

Dec 20, 2014
What the Frack Happens Now New York ?
NO FRACKING WAY
Chip Northrup

The noises you are hearing from the frackers are the death throes of a massive PR machine that is now slowly grinding to a halt for lack of funding. Sure, they will still run the TV Gas Blonde ads, the shills in Albany will mouth the party line as paid, their accomplices in the press will chastise the Governor, and they will keep some 4th rate stringer on the down-sizedpayroll in Albany, but for all intents and purpose, it’s over for the frackers in New York and they know it. Get used to The New Unfracked Normal under Governor Cuomo. As long as Cuomo is in office and/or gas is below $8 mcf, there will be not one well fracked in New York. Enjoy that while you can. I sure will, because when gas goes above $8 mcf, a solar panel in a rain forest will be more cost effective. Let’s take these preposterously bellicose threats in order of their comedic potential:  [Full Story]

Dec 20, 2014
Whistleblower at Jordan Cove LNG-terminal site warns of contaminated soil
The Oregonian
Ted Sickinger

A biologist and environmental inspector who worked at the site of the massive liquefied natural gas terminal proposed for Coos Bay told federal regulators this week that project engineers were ignoring and possibly hiding contaminated soil issues at the site. Barbara Gimlin was employed by SHN Engineers & Geologists as a biologist and environmental compliance specialist on the Jordan Cove Energy Project from March 2013 to April 2014. She says she supports the project, but resigned as a matter of professional integrity after being ignored and reprimanded by supervisors when trying to take required compliance steps after contaminated soil was excavated, moved and reburied in a berm during testing.  [Full Story]

Dec 20, 2014
How fracking got stopped in N.Y.
Shale Gas Review
Tom Wilber

In certain places in New York, Wednesday's news of the state's ban on fracking inspired public celebration. When a manager at GreenStar Natural Foods Market in Ithaca announced the news over a loud speaker, people in the store began applauding, cheering, shouting and hugging. "People had worked for this for so long," said Dawn Lodor, an assistant manager at the store, which helped organize opposition to shale gas development.  [Full Story]

Dec 19, 2014
Permit approved for fracking venture on Northshore
WWITV
Ashley Rodrigue

BATON ROUGE- The Department of Natural Resources, charged with overseeing the drilling projects across the state, has approved a permit for Helis Oil's St. Tammany fracking project. The decision comes a little more than a month after a well-attended and lengthy public hearing near the proposed site on Highway 1088 in Mandeville.  [Full Story]

Dec 19, 2014
Florida Paves the Way For Fracking As Miami Senator Files Bill to Ban Practice
Miami New Times Blogs
Trevor Bach

Across the country, strong resistance has cropped up against the oil extraction process known as fracking, or hydraulic fracturing. Even a single fracking job requires a staggering amount of water, as well as an abundance of toxic chemicals. Some evidence suggests the "fracking fluid" that has to be injected deep into the ground to release natural gas from shale deposits can leak into fragile environments. But Florida public officials are cool with all that. Yesterday the Florida Public Service Commission, the board that regulates state utilities, voted by a four to one margin to approve Florida Power and Light's request to "explore" for fracking sites as a cheaper alternative to run its power plants -- and pass of the cost of the exploration onto customers.   [Full Story]

Dec 19, 2014
5 takeaways for PA following New York’s fracking ban
NPR State Impact PAR
MARIE CUSICK

After more than six years of studying the issue, New York decided to ban fracking this week. Officials there cited environmental and health risks. The state’s acting health commissioner, Howard Zucker, said there wasn’t enough research to know for sure if fracking poses a health threat, but he wasn’t comfortable recommending it. “There are many red flags because scientific issues have not yet been comprehensively studied through rigorous scientific research at this time,” Zucker said.  [Full Story]

Dec 19, 2014
Gas drilling draws citizen scientists to the field
NPR State Impact PA
KATIE COLANERI

Joanne Martin stands on the muddy bank of Brady Run, a stream in Beaver County in western Pennsylvania. To get there, she crawled down a steep gravel slope, ducking low tree branches and stepping over dead brush. Martin has been coming to Brady Run for three years to test the water for signs of pollution from natural gas drilling. There’s a producing well pad just about a half a mile from here.  [Full Story]

Dec 19, 2014
North Dakota Moves to Ease Oil-and-Gas Radioactive Waste Rules Dramatically
InsideClimate News
Zahra Hirji

North Dakota regulators recently announced plans to bump up the state's allowable oil-and-gas radioactive waste disposal limit by tenfold. The current threshold is one of the strictest in the country, at 5 picocuries per gram. That's roughly the equivalent of the natural radiation levels found in North Dakota soil. Consequently, many companies truck their waste out of state to places with higher limits, including the neighboring Minnesota and Montana.  [Full Story]

Dec 19, 2014
Science in the spotlight as New York state bans fracking
Science Magazine
Puneet Kollipara

Scientific findings—and a lack of them—played a starring role in a controversial decision earlier this week by Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to essentially ban the natural gas extraction technique known as fracking in the Empire State. The 17 December decision rested heavily on a state health department report that reviewed dozens of studies of the potential human health impacts of oil and gas development and found cause for concern. “I looked at this process with the same critical eye I always use in medicine,” said Howard Zucker, a physician and New York’s acting health commissioner, at a Cabinet meeting that covered the issue. During the discussions, Zucker displayed numerous scientific papers that he said highlighted how multiple facets of shale gas production, including drilling, trucking, and wastewater disposal, could potentially harm human health. He also lamented a lack of data on some risks. Precaution was the best course, Zucker suggested in recommending a hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, ban.  [