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Jul 1, 2015
Supreme Court Rejects Argument to Dismiss Landmark Fracking Case
The Tyee
Andrew Nikiforuk

The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected a motion by the country's most powerful energy regulator that Jessica Ernst's case involving fracking and groundwater contamination raises no significant constitutional claim and should be dismissed. Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin ruled that the case raised a significant constitutional question on whether or not an "immunity clause" in the regulator's legislation placed it above the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Is the regulator's immunity clause, asked McLachlin in her June 25th ruling "constitutionally inapplicable or inoperable to the extent that it bars a claim against the regulator for a breach of" the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?  [Full Story]

Jul 1, 2015
Pipeline firm aims to control conversation on Santa Barbara oil spill
Los Angeles Times
Steve Lopez

Two days after the ruinous May 19 oil spill that fouled fisheries, sea birds and beaches, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Janet Wolf and her chief of staff drove to the county's emergency operations center to get the latest intelligence and offer support on the evolving disaster. But they were stopped at the gate by a man asking Wolf who she was and whom she worked for. She identified herself and threw the same questions back at the gatekeeper: " 'Who do you work for?' And he says, 'I work for Plains.' " "I was appalled," said Wolf, current chair of the county Board of Supervisors. Plains All American Pipeline operates the pipeline that burst, sending crude gushing into the sea, and Wolf couldn't believe that an employee of the Texas-based outfit was acting as a guard at a county facility.  [Full Story]

Jul 1, 2015
How the U.S. and China found each other through climate change — Jeb scores on energy investment — Institutional investors back Obama's methane plan
Politico
Eric Wolff

HOW THE U.S. AND CHINA FOUND EACH OTHER THROUGH CLIMATE CHANGE: China and the U.S. have discovered they can look past their differences in the South China Sea and on human rights and focus on one area where they agree: Climate change. Few climate policy wonks saw it coming a decade ago, when China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter was bristling at wealthy nations’ pleas to adopt serious pollution controls, but these days, top Chinese officials can’t stop talking about global warming. They’re jumping at every opportunity to discuss the issue with diplomats in Europe and the United States, Pro's Andrew Restuccia writes this morning. Here’s his piece on how China changed its mind on carbon emissions, and how the two largest carbon emitters in the world came together on this topic, despite other disagreements. http://politico.pro/1eir2hm   [Full Story]

Jul 1, 2015
Fracking could hurt house prices, health and environment, official report says
The Guardian
Adam Vaughan and Rowena Mason

Fracking operations to extract shale gas in Britain could cause nearby house prices to fall by up to 7% and create a risk of environmental damage, according to a government report that has been published in full for the first time. Entitled Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) document was released on Wednesday after a freedom of information battle. An official assessment of the impact of fracking, it warned that leakage of waste fluids could affect human health through polluted water or the consumption of contaminated agricultural products.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
California oil train risks worse in minority areas: report
Reuters
Terry Wade

Californians most exposed to the risks of oil train derailments or fires overwhelmingly live in poorer, minority neighborhoods, two environmental groups in the state said on Tuesday. The report, the first of its kind to explicitly link issues of class and race to the ongoing oil train safety debate, urged state regulators to ban oil imports by train into California and reject permits for several projects refiners have proposed to expand oil-by-rail cargo capacity. After analyzing U.S. census data for the 10 biggest cities in the state and several smaller ones near refineries, ForestEthics and Communities for a Better Environment found the neighborhoods with the largest minority populations were usually inside the so-called blast zone, the one-mile evacuation zone along tracks recommended by the U.S. Department of Transportation in case of accidents.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
New York State's Fracking Ban is Official
NRDC


It's official! New York State has taken the historic step of banning high-volume fracking throughout the state. I know, you may have thought that had happened back in December. In fact, while Governor Cuomo - through his Commissioners of Environmental Conservation and Health - announced then that the state's determination was to prohibit fracking, it was the issuance of a so-called Findings Statement that culminated the nearly 7-year environmental review process that formalized that decision. The Findings Statement is the document that demonstrates that the Department of Environmental Conservation has properly considered all of the factors mandated under the state's environmental review law, and sets forth the basis for its determination on a proposed project - in this case, a new high-volume fracking program. It is both legally binding on the state's regulators and, as discussed further below, not easily dismantled by future decision makers. In a nutshell, the Findings Statement says that, after considering (1) the potential environmental and health impacts, as well as (2) potential measures that could be imposed to mitigate those impacts, and factoring in (3) substantial scientific uncertainties and (4) limited economic and social benefits, (5) a ban is the only alternative that ensures that potential adverse effects are maximally avoided or minimized.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Come together [PA "pledge of allegiance to gas drillers"]
Philadelphia Inquirer
Editorial

The $30 billion budget the Pennsylvania legislature's ruling Republicans are catapulting through the Capitol is going to miss the mark. The plan dusts off one-shot gimmicks and a pledge of allegiance to gas drillers while offering no relief to property tax payers and ignoring the state's schoolchildren. This bucket of bad ideas can hardly be seen as a serious proposal. One can only hope that Harrisburg's reckless tone will change after Gov. Wolf inevitably vetoes the proposal and the state slips past the budget deadline Wednesday. Maybe then negotiations will begin in earnest.   [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
House stymies DEP on drilling rules
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Laura Legere

The state Department of Environmental Protection would have to scrap its effort to update rules for Pennsylvania’s traditional oil and gas drilling industry and begin the 4-year-old rulemaking process again under the terms of an amendment that House Republicans added to a key state budget bill late Sunday. Following a similar maneuver by the Legislature last year, environmental regulators have already split the state’s current and proposed drilling rules into two chapters — one for the technologically advanced unconventional drilling industry that targets the Marcellus and other deep shale formations and another for the conventional industry that generally operates shallow, vertical wells, some of which are a century old.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Demand For Sand: Frac sand use per well goes up amid low oil prices
San Antonio Business Journal
Sergio Chapa

Six-year low crude oil prices may have decimated new drilling activity, but market indicators show there is a more intense use of frac sand in the new wells that remain in the Eagle Ford and other shale plays. Mostly mined in Wisconsin and other northern states, frac sand is mixed with water and different chemicals to fracture shale formations in order to unleash oil and natural gas reserves. A June 11 report from global investment bank Jefferies shows that overall demand for frac sand is down in 2015 due to low oil prices but its use per well has been steadily increasing over the past three years.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Energy companies can be sued over quakes, Oklahoma Supreme Court says
MarketWatch
DANIEL GILBERT

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a woman injured in a 2011 earthquake can file suit in district court against the two energy companies she accuses of causing the quake. The ruling raises the prospect of more lawsuits seeking to hold companies responsible for an increase in seismic activity in the state, as more scientific studies link the tremors to the energy industry. In particular, the studies have found evidence tying quakes to operations that inject wastewater left over from drilling into wells deep underground. Sandra Ladra of Prague, Okla., about 60 miles east of Oklahoma City, sued New Dominion LLC and Spess Oil Co. last summer for injuries she sustained during a 5.6-magnitude quake that toppled her stone chimney. The lawsuit in Lincoln County District Court contends that the companies caused the quake by injecting wastewater into nearby wells.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Breaking: Vera Scroggins Takes Deal in Wiretapping Case, Vows to Continue Anti-Fracking Fight
DeSmogBlog
Julie Dermansky

“Who is the danger here?” Vera Scroggins, an anti-fracking activist based in Susquehanna County asked after reaching an agreement to resolve a case in which she faced criminal charges at the Montrose, Pennsylvania courthouse. “Me or an industry that is contaminating the air and water?” Scroggins, 64, strutted defiantly out of the Montrose courtroom, greeting her supporters after signing an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (A.R.D.) agreement, a Pennsylvania deal usually offered to first time offenders, covering her six wire-tapping charges.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Scientific Case for banning fracking on federal land (Commentary)
The Post-Standard
Larysa Dyrszka, MD and Mary Menapace, RN

The final fracking review has been released and the paperwork has been completed to make New York's long-awaited fracking ban official. We are proud to celebrate Governor Cuomo's bold and necessary decision, which confirms what many of us working in healthcare already knew – fracking anywhere in New York would put public health and safety at great risk. As a doctor and a nurse, we can speak to the objective, scientific examination of shale drilling and fracking from a public health standpoint, on which Governor Cuomo wisely based his decision in order to protect the health and water of all New Yorkers. In the past four years, the number of peer-reviewed studies on shale drilling and fracking has gone from almost zero to more than four hundred, according to the Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy public database. That's a lot of data, with topics including health impacts, air pollution, water contamination, seismic impacts (including earthquakes), wastewater, engineering issues, climate impacts, and economics.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Under the Surface update tells backstory of NY frack ban Findings statement denouement of environmental epic
Shale Gas Review
Tom Wilber

On July 23, 2008, New York Governor David Paterson signed a bill authorizing his Department of Environmental Conservation to adjust regulations to accommodate shale gas wells in New York. The bill was drafted by the DEC. But it was designed around the needs of industry to speed the processing of permits. Because the subterranean footprint for a shale gas well, which runs horizontally, is much larger than a conventional, vertically-drilled well, larger spacing units were necessary to determine the distribution of royalties along the property boundaries above. The “spacing bill,” as it was known, was essentially a mapping function and did not regulate the mechanics of drilling. But without it, each permit would require a variance – a process that would require public hearings for each well, opening the door for a new set of problems for the industry.   [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Oklahoma Court Rules Homeowners Can Sue Oil Companies Over Quakes
The New York Times
RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr. and MICHAEL WINES

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that homeowners who have sustained injuries or property damage from rampant earthquakes they say are caused by oil and gas operations can sue for damages in state trial courts, rejecting efforts by the industry to block such lawsuits from being decided by juries and judges. The case has been closely watched both by the energy industry and by fracking opponents across the United States, and the 7-to-0 ruling opens the door for homeowners in a state racked by earthquakes to pursue oil and gas companies for temblor-related damage. It is the first time the court has specifically addressed whether plaintiffs could sue for damage that experts believe is typically caused by massive amounts of wastewater generated by oil and gas drilling — often involving hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — that are ultimately injected into underground disposal reservoirs near fault zones.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Joe Martens, DEC commissioner, to step down
The Journal News
Jon Campbell

The state’s top environmental regulator will step down next month, announcing his move a day after his agency formally banned large-scale hydraulic fracturing statewide. In an email Tuesday night to agency employees, Joe Martens said he will soon step down as commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, a position Gov. Andrew Cuomo first appointed him to in 2011. Martens has served as the face of New York’s review of fracking for the past five years, maintaining a steady presence as the closely scrutinized process went through various twists and turns. He also oversaw a lowering of New York’s carbon-emissions cap and the state’s response to various natural disasters, including Superstorm Sandy. Ultimately, Martens saw the fracking review process to its completion Monday, when the agency issued a 43-page document that officially put a statewide ban on the technique into place. The review first launched in July 2008, predating Cuomo and Martens’ terms.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
U.S. walrus protections hit Shell's Arctic drilling plan
Reuters
Timothy Gardner

The Obama administration dealt a setback to Royal Dutch Shell's Arctic oil exploration plans on Tuesday, saying established walrus and polar bear protections prevent the company from drilling with two rigs simultaneously at close range, as it had planned. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued Shell a permit which emphasized that under 2013 federal wildlife protections, companies must maintain a 15-mile (24-km) buffer between two rigs drilling simultaneously. The rule is meant to protect populations of animals sensitive to sounds and activities of drilling. Walruses have been known to plunge off rocks into the sea during drilling, putting some at risk. The animals are already at risk from reduced habitat due to global warming.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
DEC On Fracking: "Not In New York"
WAMC
Dave Lucas

Environmentalists are welcoming the official end to the years-long fracking debate in New York. Listen Listening...3:44 State Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens released a 43-page “Findings Statement” Monday afternoon, which effectively prohibits high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the Empire State. In it, Martens writes: "After years of exhaustive research and examination of the science and facts, prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative. High-volume hydraulic fracturing poses significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated. This decision is consistent with DEC’s mission to conserve, improve and protect our state’s natural resources, and to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state."  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
State finalizes fracking ban
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—New York officially banned fracking on Monday, after the state Department of Environmental Conservation issued the final piece in a multi-part, years-long process. The D.E.C. issued its “findings statement” Monday afternoon, ending a nearly seven-year review of high-volume hydraulic fracturing. The ban now has the force of law and will likely lead to legal challenges from the industry. “After years of exhaustive research and examination of the science and facts, prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative,” D.E.C. commissioner Joe Martens said in a statement. “High-volume hydraulic fracturing poses significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated.”  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Seward urges feds to reject NED pipeline
The Daily Star
Joe Mahoney

State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, urged federal regulators Tuesday to reject the proposed Tennessee Gas Co. pipeline that would run through portions of Delaware, Schoharie and Chenango counties. Seward told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in a letter that he was concerned the company's proposed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, coming on the heels of the proposed Constitution Pipeline, would make the region a natural gas pipeline "highway." He also noted the $4 billion Tennessee Gas project is being opposed by the Delaware County Board of Supervisors. “Plans to make portions of my district a new thoroughfare for gas pipelines are not in harmony with what residents want or support,” Seward said in a statement. “The concerns raised by local officials and residents alike are reasonable and understandable and provide strong evidence why the proposal submitted by Tennessee Gas Pipeline (Kinder-Morgan) should be soundly rejected.” The senator stated in a letter to FERC Secretary Kimberly D. Bose: “The cumulative effect of multiple pipelines through portions of Delaware and Schoharie Counties should be reviewed by FERC. It is not unreasonable to project that multiple pipelines would place arithmetically higher pressure on public infrastructure and public services, land values and the environment. This ‘multiplier’ effect should be evaluated carefully.”  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Marcellus permit activity in Pennsylvania
Bakken.com
Danielle Wente

The Marcellus Shale formation in Pennsylvania saw quite a bit of action over the last week. However, while drilling is continuing, so is the great battle over royalty payments. Pennsylvania Representative Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) announced last week that he is pushing his royalties bill once more. House Bill 1319 focuses on Pennsylvania landowners and making sure they receive fair royalty payments from natural gas drilling companies. Everett first introduced H.B. 1319 last year, but it did not make it on to the floor for voting, which is where Everett believes it would have been successful: It’s being held up in strategic places by strategic people– the leadership in the Republican caucus … We just need to convince them. There are so many of us in favor of the bill, they’re obligated to allow us to take it to the floor.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Menendez: Offshore drilling could devastate NJ tourism
Asbury Park Press
Michael L. Diamond

BELMAR – - New Jersey’s multi-billion tourism industry would be put at risk if the Obama Administration allows oil companies to drill in the Atlantic Ocean, Sen. Robert Menendez said at a press conference Tuesday. One spill similar to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico would put the brakes on the Shore’s economy, which already is struggling to recover from superstorm Sandy, Menendez, D-NJ, said. “Every business here in Belmar and up and down the Jersey Shore relies on a healthy, vibrant Atlantic Ocean,” Menendez said. “It’s why people come here in the first place.”  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Colorado habitat loss feared in decline of greater sage-grouse
Ohio.com
Bob Downing

(Washington, D.C., June 30, 2015) To prevent the Greater Sage-Grouse from sliding toward endangerment, the Northwest Colorado Greater Sage-Grouse Final Environmental Impact Statement needs significant improvements to stop habitat loss, says American Bird Conservancy (ABC). This assertion is part of a comment letter on the Colorado Plan ABC and Prairie Hills Audubon Society submitted Monday to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The letter makes science-based recommendations that can be adopted to better conserve the species. The letter states: “…that while in many instances the Northwest Colorado plan marks progress over current management, it in some cases does not follow the management recommendations of scientists, leaves open the potential for further habitat loss or degradation, and does not designate protected reserves or focal areas for Greater Sage-Grouse. We urge that the FEIS be revised to prevent the construction of new transmission lines, oil and gas fields, and roads in priority sage grouse habitat.”  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Pa. lawmakers move to block new rules on oil and gas drilling
Penn Live
Candy Woodall

Lawmakers have slipped a last-minute amendment into the fiscal code to block the state Department of Environmental Protection's new rules on oil and gas drilling in Pennsylvania. While the amendment takes aim at conventional drilling, environmentalists say it could also lighten regulations on what's termed unconventional drilling — drilling in the Marcellus shale. "A number of legal experts say, because of the way (the regulations are written) and because rules for conventional and unconventional are pushed simultaneously, if one part is taken out, the whole thing has to go out," said Matthew Stepp, director of policy for PennFuture. "There's a good chance if they stop conventional drilling rules, it will stop the unconventional rules as well." The changes originated in the Senate and moved to the House.   [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Shocking Documents Reveal Fracking Health Complaints Swept Under the Rug in Pennsylvania
Eco Watch
Wenonah Hauter

Heavily-fracked Pennsylvania is a battle ground in the fight to protect affected families from the harms of the toxic drilling method. Last week after months of resisting our efforts, the state finally delivered more than 100 pages of documents to Food & Water Watch that were requested through a public Right-to-Know request. And what we received was shocking. The documents clearly demonstrate an ongoing pattern of alarming negligence and incompetence by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) in responding to scores of fracking-related health complaints from state residents. This first came to light in 2014, when a StateImpact Pennsylvania report revealing that DOH health workers were told not to respond to fracking-related health complaints. According to two former DOH employees, the department instituted policies to prevent field staff from addressing complaints from residents regarding natural gas drilling and fracking related health impacts. Employees were given specific instructions to refrain from engaging with residents who called with health complaints containing specific “buzzwords,” according to these retired workers.   [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
House stymies DEP on drilling rules
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Laura Legere

The state Department of Environmental Protection would have to scrap its effort to update rules for Pennsylvania’s traditional oil and gas drilling industry and begin the 4-year-old rulemaking process again under the terms of an amendment that House Republicans added to a key state budget bill late Sunday. Following a similar maneuver by the Legislature last year, environmental regulators have already split the state’s current and proposed drilling rules into two chapters — one for the technologically advanced unconventional drilling industry that targets the Marcellus and other deep shale formations and another for the conventional industry that generally operates shallow, vertical wells, some of which are a century old. The amendment added to the budget-related Fiscal Code bill Sunday night prohibits the DEP from finalizing any conventional well site rules that are under consideration and revokes the department’s package of proposed conventional drilling rules, which has gone through two rounds of public comment since it was published in December 2013. Steve Miskin, a spokesman for the House Republican majority, said the amendment is necessary because the DEP’s divided rules do not fully comply with the Legislature’s directive for the two industries to be regulated differently. “This is basically telling DEP, ‘Stop. They are dramatically different types of wells and you need to have separate regs,’” he said.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Drilling, not quake, caused Lapindo mud volcano
COCObkk


Geologists reignited the debate Monday about whether to blame nature or humans for the devastating eruption nine years ago of an Indonesian mud volcano still oozing its all-consuming sludge today. New analysis of underground gas levels measured at the time of the outburst point the finger to gas exploration — not an earthquake — as the trigger, a research team from the United States, Britain and Australia wrote in the journal Nature Geosciences. “Taken together, our data strongly supports a man-made trigger,” study co-author Mark Tingay from the University of Adelaide said in a statement. The Lusi mud volcano erupted out of the blue on May 29, 2006, in the middle of a rice field in the Sidoarjo district of Java island. It has destroyed numerous villages, factories, shops, and a highway. A dozen people were killed and about 40,000 have been displaced.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Halliburton closing Indiana County office
Trib Live
David Conti

Oilfield services giant Halliburton is closing its Indiana County office as gas drilling customers pressured by low prices focus more of their activity in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania and in eastern Ohio. The Houston company on Tuesday notified the 430 workers in the Homer City office that it would close by the end of the year and move operations there to an office in Zanesville, Ohio. The move will result in the loss of 90 jobs. The rest of the workers will get offers to move to Zanesville or other company locations, spokeswoman Susie McMichael said. “Halliburton continues to make adjustments to its workforce based on current business conditions,” she said. “We value every employee we have, but unfortunately we are faced with the difficult reality that reductions are necessary to work through this challenging market environment.”   [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Study Shows Huge Variation in Fracking Operations' Thirst
EP Online


A study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in partnership with the American Geophysical Union shows enormous variation in the amount of water used to hydraulically fracture oil and gas wells in the United States. The first national-scale analysis and map of hydraulic fracturing water usage has been accepted for publication in Water Resources Research, a journal of the AGU. It found that water volumes for hydraulic fracturing averaged within watersheds across the United States range from as little as 2,600 gallons to as much as 9.7 million gallons per well. Maps on the USGS website show water use in this type of well in the 50 states and locations where conventionally drilled wells are most numerous. From 2000 to 2014, median annual water volume estimates for hydraulic fracturing in horizontal wells rose from about 177,000 gallons per oil and gas well to more than 4 million gallons per oil well and 5.1 million gallons per gas well, while median water use in vertical and directional wells remained below 671,000 gallons per well, according to USGS.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
This is What Ten Years of Oklahoma Earthquakes Sounds Like
Good
Rafi Schwartz

Over the last several years, Oklahoma has seen a dramatic increase in the number of earthquakes rocking the Sooner State. According to one study, Oklahoma’s seismic activity leaped an astonishing four thousand percent between 2008 and 2013, due, the study concludes, to hydraulic fracturing for the purpose of ground oil collection, or as it’s more commonly known: “Fracking.” While the exact nature of the relationship between fracking and earthquakes is one which science is still struggling to define (questions of proportionality, predictability, and perhaps most importantly, prevention, still linger), there is no doubt that something serious is happening underneath Oklahoma. To help frame this seismic spike, the Center for Investigative Reporting has developed a unique way to understand the scale of what’s happened in Oklahoma over the last decade. Rather than simply plot the earthquakes visually on a map (though they’ve done that, too), or chart their development on a graph, The CIR’s Reveal publication has created an audio timeline of Oklahoma’s earthquakes, allowing us to hear—rather than see—the degree to which Oklahoma’s earthquakes have increased in both frequency, and severity.   [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Utica fracking wells among country's highest water users
Columbus Business First
Tom Knox

Water use in oil and gas wells in eastern Ohio's Utica shale region is among the highest in the nation, according to new research from the U.S. Geological Survey. The study provides what the agency says is the first comprehensive nationwide data on water used during hydraulic fracturing. The general consensus: Fracking "uses large amounts of water, though not as much as many have suspected in some areas," says the study, which is set to be published in the Water Resources Research academic journal.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Research reveals water used for hydraulic fracturing varies widely across U.S.
Water World


WASHINGTON, D.C., June 30, 2015 -- According to the first national-scale analysis and map of hydraulic fracturing water usage detailed in a new study, the amount of water required to hydraulically fracture oil and gas wells varies widely across the country. The research found that water volumes for hydraulic fracturing averaged within watersheds across the United States range from as little as roughly 9,800 liters (2,600 gallons) to as much as 37 million liters (9.7 million gallons) per well. In addition, from 2000 to 2014, median annual water volume estimates for hydraulic fracturing in horizontal wells had increased from about 670,000 liters (177,000 gallons) per oil and gas well to more than 15 million liters (4 million gallons) per oil well and 19 million liters (5.1 million gallons) per gas well. Meanwhile, median water use in vertical and directional wells remained below roughly 2.5 million liters (671,000 gallons) per well. For comparison, an Olympic-sized swimming pool holds about 660,000 gallons.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Germany postpones vote on fracking law amid coalition row over details
Reuters


Germany has delayed a parliamentary vote on new rules for the disputed technique of fracking for shale gas after parties in Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition failed to agree on final details, lawmakers said on Tuesday. Legislation had been due to go to the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) on Friday but objections from some Social Democrats (SPD), in coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, led to a postponement until the autumn. Unconventional fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves blasting chemicals and water into rocks to release trapped gas. Opposition is strong in Germany, where a powerful green lobby has warned about possible risks to drinking water from fracking. German industry is keen that the door to fracking is not closed, arguing it could help lower energy costs. They point to a shale boom in the United States that has helped to boost industry by bringing down the cost of power. A draft law passed by cabinet in April, drawn up by SPD Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, imposed an outright ban on fracking for shale gas in the next few years and only allowed scientific test drilling under strict conditions to assess the risks and environmental impact.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Pennsylvania initiates state-run fracking chemical database
Washington Times


PITTSBURGH (AP) - By next summer, shale gas companies in Pennsylvania will be required to electronically disclose the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing in a new state-run database. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports (http://bit.ly/1BR9G63 ) the state will require operators to submit fracturing records electronically by March 2016. Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley says the DEP will end its affiliation with FracFocus, an independent online catalog of fracking records, and develop their own online database. Plans call for integrating the records into a mapping system. Quigley says users would be able to click on dots on a map and find information about the wells. The database will be based on a disclosure form that separates the list of chemicals and trade names, which the DEP hopes will encourage more disclosure.   [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Climate change plans require urgent action, government warned
BBC News
Helen Briggs

The UK must take urgent action to prepare for the impact of climate change, the government has been warned. Ministers should focus on the future risks of heatwaves and flooding, says the Committee on Climate Change. Its report said more needed to be done to keep emissions on track, although the government said it was committed to meeting its climate change target. It also warned a decision to stop onshore wind farm subsidies early could potentially add £1bn a year to bills. The report by the Committee on Climate Change looked at progress towards meeting carbon emission targets and how the UK is preparing for climate change risks. Chairmen Lord Deben and Lord Krebs said measures were needed to address increased flood risk to homes and to protect farmland from declines in productivity.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
New study identifies organic compounds of potential concern in fracking fluids
BE Boulder
Press Release

A new University of Colorado Boulder framework used to screen hundreds of organic chemical compounds used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows that 15 may be of concern as groundwater contaminants based on their toxicity, mobility, persistence and frequency of use. Using a fast groundwater transport scenario, the team predicted that 41 of the 659 organic compounds screened would have 10 percent or more of their initial concentrations remaining at a transport distance of roughly 300 feet. That is the average state “setback” distance in the United States between a fracking well and a drinking water well, said CU-Boulder Professor Joseph Ryan, the principal investigator on the study. In the fracking process, a mixture of water, sand and various chemicals is pumped into wells at high pressure to create fissures in subterranean shale layers to release natural gas and oil. Oil and gas companies use a wide variety of chemicals to increase viscosity, inhibit equipment corrosion and reduce friction, among other things. The 659 compounds screened by the CU-Boulder team were gleaned in large part from the nationwide FracFocus Chemical Disclosure Registry used by many states in which companies disclose chemical information about most of the ingredients used in the fracking process at individual wells. The CU-Boulder team obtained data from more than 50,000 wells in Colorado, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas since 2011, said Ryan, a faculty member in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering.   [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
Brazil announces massive reforestation and renewable energy plan with US
The Guardian
Suzanne Goldenberg, Dan Roberts and agencies

Barack Obama and Dilma Rousseff put climate change at the top of their agenda at their bilateral meeting on Tuesday, with the US and Brazil agreeing to obtain up to 20% of their electricity from renewable power by 2030. Brazil also committed to restoring up to 12m hectares of forest – an area about the size of England or Pennsylvania – in another attempt to reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change. The White House said the initiatives were part of a new US-Brazil climate partnership, loosely modelled on the historic US-China agreement reached during Obama’s visit to Beijing last November, intended to build momentum for a global deal to fight climate change in Paris at the end of the year.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
An alliance of 'colonels and crusties' may just have killed fracking in Britain
The Telegraph
Geoffrey Lean

Consider this. Six years ago, when Cuadrilla first asked to drill a fracking well in Lancashire - in the heady days when shale gas was forecast to “turn Blackpool into the new Dallas” - it did not even need approval from the county council’s planning committee. ADVERTISING But last summer when it applied to drill at two sites in the county – after having had to stop operations in 2011 after causing a minor earthquake - its chief executive Francis Egan confessed to finding himself in a “whole new world”. The company had to submit 4,500 pages of documents to the council to support its case, including what it calls “the most comprehensive Environmental impact Assessments ever carried out for operations of this kind”. Yet it hastily had to amend its plans in January after planning officers recommended that they be rejected.  [Full Story]

Jun 30, 2015
State finalizes natural gas fracking ban, starts clock for legal challenges
Times Union
Brian Nearing

A state ban on natural gas hydrofracking announced last December was made official Monday by the Department of Environmental Conservation in a step that now opens up the decision to legal challenges by pro-fracking forces. In a 43-page statement, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens wrote that potential risk to public health, the environment and wildlife from opening up the state's Southern Tier to fracking — which relies on a high-pressure blend of water, chemicals and sand injected deep underground to break up gas-bearing rock formations — was too uncertain to control safely. Martens wrote there was "insufficient information or too much uncertainty" that potential steps to reduce fracking risk would be effective. His ruling also cited a 176-page state Health Department study in December outlining numerous potential health risks to people who live near fracking wells and infrastructure.  [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
Big setback for fracking industry
BT


Prospects for the shale gas industry in the UK have suffered a setback after county councillors voted against plans for exploratory fracking. Energy firm Cuadrilla had wanted to frack and test the flow of gas following drilling at up to four exploration wells at a proposed site between Preston and Blackpool. Planning officials at Lancashire County Council recommended its approval, subject to a number of conditions being met, but councillors chose to ignore the advice and rejected it due to adverse impacts on landscape and noise. Today's decision at County Hall, Preston, was welcomed by jubilant anti-fracking campaigners outside the building and from local residents who said they had been in "a David and Goliath battle".  [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
N.Y. makes fracking ban official
Lo Hud
Jon Campbell

ALBANY – New York’s ban on large-scale hydraulic fracturing is now official. State Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens issued a 43-page “findings statement” Monday afternoon, putting the state’s fracking prohibition into place and giving it the force of law six months after first promising to do so. The move puts an end to nearly seven years of review by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, over which time fracking has grown to become one of the most hotly contested, divisive issues in the state. Now, the document will be closely scrutinized by attorneys for the natural-gas industry, who will be looking for any legal missteps that provide an opening for a potential lawsuit.  [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
Fracking application rejected by Lancashire county council Anti-fracking campaigners visibly delighted as councillors reject Cuadrilla’s application to drill for shale gas at Preston New Road
The Guardian
Adam Vaughan

Lancashire county council has rejected a planning application by shale gas explorer Cuadrilla to frack in the county, in a major blow to what would have been the UK’s biggest round of fracking so far. Hundreds of anti-fracking campaigners outside the county hall in Preston, where the verdict was announced, reacted with delight and cheers, and people in the council chamber applauded.   [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
Green group's unconventional fight against fracking
Reuters
RICHARD VALDMANIS

The residents of Grant Township, Pennsylvania, were worried about Little Mahoning Creek, a picturesque trout stream best fished in the spring when the water runs fast. The Pennsylvania General Energy Company had acquired a federal permit to drill an injection well down 7,000 feet about seven miles from the creek to dispose of wastewater from its natural gas hydraulic fracturing operations. Fearing the operation would harm the Little Mahoning watershed, the town’s supervisors last year passed a "community bill of rights" that blocked the well, stripped the company of its right to inject wastewater underground, and declared that the state had no jurisdiction in the matter.  [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
Black Monday for fracking as Lancashire rejects second drilling bid
Click Green


The brakes have been put on the UK’s “all-out drive” for shale gas after councillors today rejected a key planning application by fracking firm Cuadrilla to drill in Lancashire. The shock decision to reject the bid has been described as a “Waterloo” moment for the shale gas industry and a victory for democracy and local communities.  [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
Dominion’s Farrell: Misinformation spread by social media must by fought
We Are Cove Point
by Glen Boshart, for SNL Financial

While the building of new energy infrastructure is a priority for the nation, misinformation about potential projects is slowing down the siting process dramatically and making it much more contentious, Dominion Resources Inc. Chairman, President and CEO Thomas Farrell said recently. Recent projections show that over the next couple of decades, more than $30 billion needs to be spent annually on new natural gas pipelines, compressor stations, storage and other facilities, Farrell said during the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ 20th Annual Education Conference in Williamsburg, Va. He also stressed that a large amount of capital will be needed for building new electric transmission facilities. Policy and market forces alike are driving those capital needs, Farrell added, citing the shale gas revolution, the U.S. EPA’s pending carbon rule, and a shift by electric generators to burning more gas and less coal. For instance, he noted that his company recently had to shut down a coal-fired plant because it was not meeting certain emissions requirements and build a transmission line to deliver replacement power into that part of the state.  [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
What Everyone Is Getting Wrong About The Supreme Court’s Mercury Pollution Ruling
ThinkProgress
EMILY ATKIN

Despite reports to the contrary in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and briefly this publication, the Supreme Court didn’t actually “strike down” the EPA’s regulations of toxic air pollution from power plants on Monday. What the Supreme Court did do was put the regulation — which limits toxic heavy metal pollution like mercury from coal and oil-fired plants — in jeopardy. In a 5-4 decision led by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court said the EPA acted unlawfully when it failed to consider how much the regulation would cost the power industry before deciding to craft the rule. However, that doesn’t mean the rule is gone. In fact, it’s still in place at this very moment. Right now, power plants are still required to limit their emissions of mercury, arsenic, chromium, and other toxins. A spokesperson for the EPA confirmed this to ThinkProgress. What the Supreme Court’s ruling does is send the current mercury rule to the D.C. Circuit court for further consideration. The D.C. Circuit could very well invalidate the rule. But it could also uphold it, if the court finds more harm than good would be done by repealing it, or if the agency can offer a reasonable explanation of why costs weren’t included early on in the administrative record. The D.C. Circuit has often left rules in place under similar circumstances, according to Jim Pew, an attorney at Earthjustice who worked on the case.  [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
Green group's unconventional fight against fracking
Reuters
Richard Valdmanis

The residents of Grant Township, Pennsylvania, were worried about Little Mahoning Creek, a picturesque trout stream best fished in the spring when the water runs fast. The Pennsylvania General Energy Company had acquired a federal permit to drill an injection well down 7,000 feet about seven miles from the creek to dispose of wastewater from its natural gas hydraulic fracturing operations. Fearing the operation would harm the Little Mahoning watershed, the town’s supervisors last year passed a "community bill of rights" that blocked the well, stripped the company of its right to inject wastewater underground, and declared that the state had no jurisdiction in the matter.   [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
Big setback for fracking industry
Yahoo News
Press Association

Prospects for the shale gas industry in the UK have suffered a setback after county councillors voted against plans for exploratory fracking. Energy firm Cuadrilla had wanted to frack and test the flow of gas following drilling at up to four exploration wells at a proposed site between Preston and Blackpool.  [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
Brighton MP says Lancashire’s no fracking decision is ‘fantastic victory’
West Sussex County Times


The MP for Brighton has responded to the news that Lancashire County Council this morning refused planning application for fracking in Little Plumpton. Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, labelled the decision a ‘fantastic victory’ in spite of Government efforts to ‘force through fracking’.  [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
Pennsylvania Residents Near Fracking Sites Report Health Problems
Center for Effective Government
Amanda Frank

Last week, Food & Water Watch released the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s log of health complaints from communities living near fracking sites. The logs include many of the health complaints that critiques have linked to fracking for years – and the state’s inadequate response.   [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
In short time, Richards made a mark as environmental chair
Capital New York
David Giambusso

After only a year-and-a-half as chairman of the City Council's Committee on Environmental Protection, Donovan Richards established something of a legacy. He oversaw the first major update to the city's air code in 40 years and helped secure $1.5 billion in infrastructure improvements for flooding in southeast Queens, a perennial problem in that part of the city, and the main reason Richards said he wanted to chair the committee when he first took office last year. Richards, a Democrat, represents that part of the borough.  [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
State finalizes fracking ban
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—New York officially banned fracking on Monday, after the state Department of Environmental Conservation issued the final piece in a multi-part, years-long process. The D.E.C. issued its “findings statement” Monday afternoon, ending a nearly seven-year review of high-volume hydraulic fracturing. The ban now has the force of law and will likely lead to legal challenges from the industry. “After years of exhaustive research and examination of the science and facts, prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative,” D.E.C. commissioner Joe Martens said in a statement. “High-volume hydraulic fracturing poses significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated.”  [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
New York State Ban On Fracking Made Official
DeSmogBlog
JUSTIN MIKULKA

“After years of exhaustive research and examination of the science and facts, prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative.” Those were the words many activists in New York never expected to hear from Joe Martens, head of the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, but they were included in a statement released today as New York made the state’s ban on fracking official. This step in the process was expected after the release in May of the massive 1,448 page report on fracking that was seven years in the making which also was preceded by the Cuomo administration announcing they planned to ban fracking back in December.   [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
Supreme Court Rejects Obama's Drive To Cut Mercury Emissions From Power Plants
Huffington Post
Kate Sheppard

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court threw out an Environmental Protection Agency regulation limiting mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants on Monday, undermining the Obama administration's drive to cut pollution from electricity generators. The case looked at the EPA's regulation of mercury and other emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act, which Republicans have attacked as a "war on coal" and an example of presidential overreach. The EPA interpreted the law "unreasonably" when it failed to consider the costs of compliance with the new regulations, the court ruled 5-4 in an opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia. "EPA strayed well beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretation in concluding that cost is not a factor relevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants," concluded the majority. Justice Elena Kagan, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, wrote a scathing dissent that argues that the EPA did consider the costs of complying with the regulations -- just not at the initial stage of determining whether or not to regulate mercury emissions in the first place.   [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
Council blocks Little Plumpton fracking application
BBC News


An application to start fracking at a site on the Fylde coast in Lancashire has been rejected by councillors. Energy firm Cuadrilla wanted to extract shale gas at the Little Plumpton site between Preston and Blackpool. Lancashire County Council rejected the bid on the grounds of "unacceptable noise impact" and the "adverse urbanising effect on the landscape". Cuadrilla said it was "surprised and disappointed" and would consider its "options" regarding an appeal.   [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
Lancashire Council in Britain Deals Blow to Shale Industry
The New York Times
Stanley Reed

LONDON — Britain’s ambitions to produce natural gas from shale rock were set back on Monday when a local government rejected a company’s drilling plan. The Lancashire County Council turned down a request by the shale gas explorer Cuadrilla Resources to drill four wells at a site called Preston New Road and test them with hydraulic fracturing, which involves pumping water and other material down wells to break open the rock to allow gas to flow. Before the vote, councilors spoke emotionally against the plan, saying that it would mar the landscape, create unacceptable levels of noise and might also saddle the county with pollution problems years down the road. The rejection was greeted with loud applause by shale opponents.  [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
It’s official: New York has banned fracking
The Journal News
Jon Campbell

New York’s ban on large-scale hydraulic fracturing is now official. tion Commissioner Joe Martens issued a 43-page “findings statement” Monday afternoon, putting the state’s promised fracking prohibition into place and giving it the force of law. The finalization of the ban puts an end to nearly seven years of review by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, over which time fracking has grown to become one of the most hotly contested, divisive issues in the state. Now, the document will be closely scrutinized by attorneys for the natural-gas industry, who will be looking for any legal missteps that provide an opening for a potential lawsuit. “In the end, there are no feasible or prudent alternatives that would adequately avoid or minimize adverse environmental impacts and that address the scientific uncertainties and risks to public health from this activity,” according to the findings statement, which is signed by Martens.  [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
DEC Moves To Formally Ban Hydrofracking
YNN


The state Department of Environmental Conservation on Monday moved to official prohibit high-volume hydrofracking in the state, issuing a formal “findings statement” that ends a seven-year review of the controversial natural gas-extraction process. “After years of exhaustive research and examination of the science and facts, prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “High-volume hydraulic fracturing poses significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated. This decision is consistent with DEC’s mission to conserve, improve and protect our state’s natural resources, and to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state.” The findings statement, a 43-page document posted to the DEC’s website on Monday afternoon, formalizes a ban on the process, which uses a mixture of chemicals and water to release below-ground natural gas. “In the end, there are no feasible or prudent alternatives that would adequately avoid or minimize adverse environmental impacts and that address the scientific uncertainties and risks to public health from this activity,” the DEC wrote in the document.  [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
It’s official: New York has banned fracking
Politics on the Hudson
Jon Campbell

State Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens issued a 43-page “findings statement” Monday afternoon, putting the state’s promised fracking prohibition into place and giving it the force of law. The finalization of the ban puts an end to nearly seven years of review by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, over which time fracking has grown to become one of the most hotly contested, divisive issues in the state.  [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
Dalai Lama Endorses Pope Francis’s Encyclical on Climate Change
EcoWatch
Cole Melino

The Dalai Lama endorsed the Pope’s encyclical on climate change yesterday while speaking at Glastonbury festival, a massive five-day festival that takes place in Somerset, England. The Buddhist leader spoke at a panel on climate change, praising the encyclical and saying it was the duty of everyone to “say more. We have to make more of an effort, including demonstrations.”   [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
The Energy-Water Nexus: Renewables May be the Answer to Widespread Drought
Renewable Choice Energy
Jenna Bieller

As global warming heats up, water scarcity is the latest hot topic in climate and energy conversations (no puns intended). The first five months of the year saw record high temperatures and widespread drought affecting large swathes of the United States, most notably California, which is experiencing dangerously low precipitation levels, prompting Governor Jerry Brown to call for statewide water restrictions. As a result, we are witnessing a clear example of how drought can impact industry, agriculture, and individuals on a large scale. What is not as obvious is how the current push for renewable energy is implicitly tied to improving drought conditions in areas like California. Unlike fossil fuel-based electricity production—one of the largest consumers of water in the US at 49% total water use--renewables use little to no water and could be the answer to our current water woes—not to mention their role in reducing or even reversing the climate change responsible for global warming. To understand how renewable energy helps with the water crisis, one must first understand why traditional energy generation is water intensive. Water is essential in all phases of fossil fuel energy production, and often results in the contamination of fresh water sources. For example: Over 40% of fresh water withdrawals in the US are used to cool power plants  [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
Pennsylvania Governor and Fracking Sector Face Off on Budget, Regulations Oil-and-gas sector expresses doubt over Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s support for booming industry
Wall Street Journal
Kris Maher

Since taking over from a Republican administration this year, Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf repeatedly has said he supports the state’s booming shale gas industry. But lately, the industry is questioning his commitment. State regulators, who have begun reviewing dozens of environmental cases the previous administration handled, recently imposed an $8.9 million fine for a gas well they said is contaminating drinking water—the largest ever against a gas operator in state history.  [Full Story]

Jun 29, 2015
Power to the People Why the rise of green energy makes utility companies nervous.
The New Yorker
Bill McKibben

Mark and Sara Borkowski live with their two young daughters in a century-old, fifteen-hundred-square-foot house in Rutland, Vermont. Mark drives a school bus, and Sara works as a special-ed teacher; the cost of heating and cooling their house through the year consumes a large fraction of their combined income. Last summer, however, persuaded by Green Mountain Power, the main electric utility in Vermont, the Borkowskis decided to give their home an energy makeover. In the course of several days, coördinated teams of contractors stuffed the house with new insulation, put in a heat pump for the hot water, and installed two air-source heat pumps to warm the home. They also switched all the light bulbs to L.E.D.s and put a small solar array on the slate roof of the garage.   [Full Story]

Jun 28, 2015
Darina says No to fracking
Irish Examiner


Darina Allen revealed her antifracking credentials today, showing her support of Love Leitrim and the antifracking campaign in Ireland. 'Keep up the good work' she said of the movements efforts to date, as she listened to concerns of campaigners who informed her of updates regarding oil and gas provider CDM Smith conducting research on behalf of the EPA, as well as the news that New York had banned the industry.   [Full Story]

Jun 28, 2015
Gas Free Seneca supports Gillibrand’s attempt at heritage designation
Finger Lake Times
David L. Shaw

GENEVA — Gas Free Seneca is supporting U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s push to find out if the Finger Lakes region should be declared a National Heritage Area. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., announced last week she would advocate for legislation funding a study exploring a possible NHA designation. The study area would encompass several counties, including Ontario, Wayne, Seneca and Yates  [Full Story]

Jun 28, 2015
Drillers to submit electronic records on fracking chemicals to Pa. DEP
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Katelyn Ferral

Pennsylvania will require shale gas companies to disclose electronically the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing in a new state-run database by next summer. Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley said the department will end its partnership with FracFocus, an independent online catalog of fracking records, and develop what he considers a more comprehensive and user-friendly online database. “Our goal is to have a reporting tool that will provide ... much more downloadable and searchable information than FracFocus,” Quigley said.   [Full Story]

Jun 28, 2015
Greens intensify fight for higher energy royalties
The Hill
Timothy Cama

Progressives and environmentalists are upping the pressure on the Obama administration to increase the fees that energy companies pay to extract oil, natural gas and coal from the federal government’s land. The advocates and their Democratic allies in Congress say they’re out to ensure taxpayers get a fair return for the minerals the government owns, while better protecting the environment and being fair to other industries.   [Full Story]

Jun 28, 2015
Fracking: Energy Secretary's advisor received £5,000 election donation from company set to benefit from controversial technique
Independent
Cahal Milmo & Andy McSmith

A new advisor to the Energy Secretary Amber Rudd, who has vowed to “deliver” fracking in Britain, received a £5,000 donation to his local party from a company set to benefit from the introduction of the technique, The Independent can reveal.   [Full Story]

Jun 28, 2015
Senate Bill Would Promote Use of Treated Mine Water in Fracking
WESA 90.5
Casey Chafin

Many natural gas drilling companies use treated water from abandoned coal mines for fracking, but that number is decreasing due to questions on liability issues, according to Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Greene, Washington).   [Full Story]

Jun 28, 2015
Russia's richest oligarch backs Irish fracking firm Falcon Oil in gamble Viktor Vekselberg's Renova is one of the biggest shareholders in ESM-listed Falcon, which will soon start drilling in Australia
Independent
Gavin McLoughlin

Russia's richest man has emerged as a major backer of Dublin-based fracking company Falcon Oil & Gas. Viktor Vekselberg, who has a $14.7bn fortune, owns 12.24pc of the company through Soliter Holdings, part of his conglomerate the Renova group.   [Full Story]

Jun 28, 2015
Government hits back at claims it is trying to 'fast-track fracking in north'
Guardian


THE Government has responded to claims from a Warrington Green Party member that it is trying to 'fast-track fracking in the north'. Party member Sarah Hayes, who stood as Warrington North candidate in May's General Election, raised her fear last month, along with concerns on the impact the process could have on 'earthquakes, air quality and children's health'.   [Full Story]

Jun 28, 2015
Seismologists monitor northeastern Kentucky as companies show interest in fracking Rogersville shale BY BILL ESTEP
Kentucky.com
Bill Estep

WEBBVILLE — If the continued interest in exploring for oil far below the surface of northeastern Kentucky ever results in a production boom, researchers will be ready to gauge the effect on earthquakes. Seismologists with the Kentucky Geological Survey at the University of Kentucky are installing a network of highly sensitive seismic monitoring stations in the area this summer. Other parts of the country have experienced more low-level earthquake activity after an increase in the use of high-pressure hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to produce oil and gas. That matters in Kentucky because there could someday be far more drilling and fracking of deep, horizontal wells in an ancient geologic layer called the Rogersville shale.   [Full Story]

Jun 28, 2015
Drillers to submit electronic records on fracking chemicals to Pa. DEP
TribLive
Katelyn Ferral

Pennsylvania will require shale gas companies to disclose electronically the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing in a new state-run database by next summer. Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley said the department will end its partnership with FracFocus, an independent online catalog of fracking records, and develop what he considers a more comprehensive and user-friendly online database. “Our goal is to have a reporting tool that will provide ... much more downloadable and searchable information than FracFocus,” Quigley said.   [Full Story]

Jun 28, 2015
Utah among tops in nation for wasted natural gas
The Spectrum


A new report says oil and gas companies need to do a better job of repairing leaks and minimize venting and flaring at well sites, both to conserve natural gas and improve air quality. Dan Grossman, Rocky Mountain regional director of the Environmental Defense Fund, which commissioned the report, says that's one reason the Bureau of Land Management is releasing new rules this summer for drilling on public land.  [Full Story]

Jun 28, 2015
First sign of a US drilling recovery emerges in rigs
Gulf Times
Bloomberg

There’s good news and bad news for the energy industry in Baker Hughes Inc rig counts. An unprecedented retreat from America’s oil fields dragged on for a 29th straight week, with the number of rigs targeting crude slumping to the lowest since 2010. That was more than offset by a rebound in gas exploration, which spurred the first increase in total US drilling in more than six months.  [Full Story]

Jun 27, 2015
Crossing paths: Area farmers fear risks from 2 gas pipeline proposals
Times Union
Brian Nearing

xNassau It's a long way from a sea of natural gas wells scattered through Pennsylvania's Bradford County to Libby Reilly's organic farm off Clarks Chapel Road in Nassau. And it is even longer from her farm, where about two dozen beef cows graze in grassy fields, to remote cliffs overlooking.....  [Full Story]

Jun 27, 2015
Pa. spared earthquakes from deep-shale drilling
Trib Live
Katelyn Ferral

Geological differences from neighboring Ohio and few disposal wells for fracking wastewater keep Pennsylvania from experiencing earthquakes related to deep-shale drilling for natural gas, experts say. Though the U.S. Geological Survey reports a sharp increase in quakes nationwide since 2009, including those 3.0 magnitude or higher, Pennsylvania hasn't recorded seismic activity — even with 19,359 shale-gas wells at latest count, according to the state Department of Environmental Resources.   [Full Story]

Jun 27, 2015
‘Renewables Are Cheapest Energy Option’ When Fossil Fuel Subsidies Are Removed, Says REN21
EcoWatch
Alex Kirby

A significant threshold has been crossed by renewable energy as analysts report that the sector's size last year reached double the level it was at just 10 years earlier.   [Full Story]

Jun 27, 2015
Hey Bill Nye, Are You For or Against Fracking?
EcoWatch
Stefanie Spear

Have you been wondering what Bill Nye the Science Guy thinks about fracking? If so, now is your time to find out. Thanks to a question from Susan on last week’s The Big Think, Nye spends nearly 11 minutes sharing his thoughts on this technology and the future of renewable energy.   [Full Story]

Jun 27, 2015
Pipelines being built through Luzerne County concern residents
Times Leader
Ron Bartizek

As developers gear up to build two large natural gas pipelines through Luzerne County, landowners along the proposed routes say their concerns are not being addressed, and they fear irreparable damage will be done to their properties against their will. “Just somebody talk to us,” pleaded Robyn Kochan, who with her husband Walt owns about 16 acres off Lake Catalpa Road in Dallas Township that could be crossed by the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. The line is to be constructed by Transcontinental Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of Williams, which handles nearly one-third of America’s natural gas supplies.  [Full Story]

Jun 27, 2015
Pope Francis recruits Naomi Klein in climate change battle
The Guardian
Rosie Scammell

She is one of the world’s most high-profile social activists and a ferocious critic of 21st-century capitalism. He is one of the pope’s most senior aides and a professor of climate change economics. But this week the secular radical will join forces with the Catholic cardinal in the latest move by Pope Francis to shift the debate on global warming. Naomi Klein and Cardinal Peter Turkson are to lead a high-level conference on the environment, bringing together churchmen, scientists and activists to debate climate change action. Klein, who campaigns for an overhaul of the global financial system to tackle climate change, told the Observer she was surprised but delighted to receive the invitation from Turkson’s office.  [Full Story]

Jun 26, 2015
Injection Well Explodes Near Hammon
News9
JOLEEN CHANEY

HAMMON, Oklahoma - An injection well caught fire Friday and exploded, sending flames and a big column of smoke shooting into the sky. It happened in Hammon in far Western Oklahoma. It's hard to believe from watching the video, but fortunately nobody was hurt. "Just like a can of pork and beans on a stove,” Leedey Fire Chief Tony Morelan said. “Eventually it is going to blow up."  [Full Story]

Jun 26, 2015
Natural gas pipeline from Texas to Mexico planned
Houston Chronicle
Vicki Vaughan

Natural gas producers in the Eagle Ford Shale will have direct access to growing markets in northern Mexico when a San Antonio company finishes a pipeline to suburban Monterrey in 2017. Howard Midstream Energy Partners said last week it plans to build the 200-mile natural gas pipeline from its hub in Webb County to Escobedo, Nuevo León, Mexico, near Monterrey, and to the Mexican National Pipeline System in Monterrey.  [Full Story]

Jun 26, 2015
At Risk? PLAN TO STORE PROPANE GAS AT SENECA LAKE PRESENTS SAFETY, ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS
Ithaca Journal
Tom Wilber

The value of the $2.8 billion Finger Lake tourism industry can expressed with numbers, but it is best understood with one look from the balcony of the Damiani winery on the east side of Seneca Lake. Owner Lou Damiani showed off the view — lake, sky, vineyards and forested hills — while talking about the explosive growth of the Finger Lakes wine industry, recognized as one of the "Best Wine Travel Destinations 2015" by Wine Enthusiast, an international magazine. "This Finger Lakes is no longer just a regional tourism draw," he said. "It's world class." Then Damiani pointed across the lake to a spot he feels will jeopardize it all — salt mines and a compressor station that fills them with pressurized gas. Crestwood Midstream Partners LP, part of a $7 billion Houston-based company, intends to make this salt mining and gas storage business a more prominent feature of the Finger Lakes economy. Capitalizing on the shale gas boom in Ohio and Pennsylvania, Crestwood is awaiting regulatory approval from New York State to build a regional hub to store methane and liquefied propane gas (LPG) at its site on the southwest end of the lake, just north of Watkins Glen.   [Full Story]

Jun 26, 2015
New PBS Documentary Exposes Human Toll Of Oil Boomtown In North Dakota
DeSmogBlog
MIKE GAWORECKI

The boomtown has always loomed large in the American imagination, but as it makes a comeback in this age of overabundant US oil and gas production, it’s more timely than ever to examine the real impacts on people and communities of the new oil boom — and the inevitable bust. Filmmaker Jesse Moss has done just that in his new documentary The Overnighters, which captures the human consequences of the oil boom in Williston, North Dakota. The Overnighters will see its national broadcast premiere on Monday night, June 29, as part of the new season of PBS’s documentary series POV (Point of View). You can check your local listings to see what time it airs on your local PBS affiliate.  [Full Story]

Jun 26, 2015
Plains All American lab tests show oil from pipeline spill spread along hundreds of miles of California coastline
Fuel Fix


WASHINGTON — At least some of the tar balls that washed onto Southern California beaches in the past month are linked to the crude released from a ruptured pipeline offshore, according to lab results reported Friday. Although popular Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles County was apparently unaffected during the first week after an estimated 101,000 gallons of oil leaked from Plains All American Pipeline’s Line 901 — tar balls collected on May 27 had a chemical fingerprint matching that spilled crude. Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline released a summary of the lab tests on Friday, as state and federal lawmakers intensified their scrutiny of the company’s damaged pipeline and the spill. The results suggest that the accident ultimately touched a broad swath of Southern California’s coastline. Plains said Friday it had spent some $96 million responding to the accident and trying to clean up the spilled crude.  [Full Story]

Jun 26, 2015
Seneca gas storage plan should be put on hold
Ithaca Journal
Editorial

Approval of plans to vastly expand the Crestwood gas storage and distribution operation along Seneca Lake near Watkins Glen hinges on a single question: Will it be safe? The answer: Maybe. With so much at stake on the safe operation of this $40 million project, the answer must be more certain. Until then, New York should postpone issuing a permit for the plan. An in-depth Watchdog Report by Tom Wilber appearing in today's top report on our website explores more than five years of planning and review for storing huge amounts of flammable gas and distributing the fuel by truck, train and pipeline.  [Full Story]

Jun 25, 2015
California’s Drought Is Part of a Much Bigger Water Crisis. Here’s What You Need to Know
ProPublica
Abrahm Lustgarten, Lauren Kirchner and Amanda Zamora

Pretty much every state west of the Rockies has been facing a water shortage of one kind or another in recent years. California's is a severe, but relatively short-term, drought. But the Colorado River basin — which provides critical water supplies for seven states including California — is the victim of a slower-burning catastrophe entering its 16th year. Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and California all share water from the Colorado River, a hugely important water resource that sustains 40 million people in those states, supports 15 percent of the nation's food supply, and fills two of largest water reserves in the country. The severe shortages of rain and snowfall have hurt California's $46 billion agricultural industry and helped raise national awareness of the longer-term shortages that are affecting the entire Colorado River basin. But while the two problems have commonalities and have some effect on one another, they're not exactly the same thing.  [Full Story]

Jun 25, 2015
Groundbreaking Court Ruling Says State Must Address Climate Change, Thanks to Teen Lawsuit
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

In an unprecedented decision, a judge in Washington State has ruled in favor of a group of young people who filed a lawsuit last year asking that the state be required to develop a science-based plan for limiting carbon emissions in order to protect the climate for future generations.  [Full Story]

Jun 25, 2015
Sightline Sues Obama Administration over Crude Oil Exports and Illegal Secrecy
Sightline
Eric de Place

If the oil industry gets its way, the US will soon begin exporting tankers full of American crude to overseas markets. Although such shipments are for the most part illegal today, the Obama Administration is quietly changing the rules to favor oil exporters. To shed some light on the government’s behavior, the environmental law firm Earthjustice filed a formal Freedom of Information Act request in February on Sightline’s behalf, but it was greeted only by stony silence. So today, Sightline Institute, represented again by Earthjustice, is suing the federal government. We are asking the Courts to force the Obama Administration to do what it was legally required to by March 11: release information about its secretive deals with oil exporters to the public.  [Full Story]

Jun 25, 2015
Group: Further study needed to determine fracking effects
Marcellus.com
Jocelyn Brumbaugh

EBENSBURG – In regards to unconventional gas extraction or “fracking,” further study is necessary to determine the exact effects on environment and public health, according to researchers with the League of Women Voters. The organization held a presentation Wednesday night in the Cambria County courthouse to explain data gathered from a committee made up of nurses, a physician and other health professionals regarding the effects Marcellus Shale fracking and natural gas compression sites can have on public health.   [Full Story]

Jun 25, 2015
‘The placenta was small and deformed’: Mystery of Utah’s dead babies
NEWS.com.au


CAREN Moon’s third baby seemed cursed from the start. The pregnant 34-year-old suffered bleeding and cramping in her first trimester, and miscarried during a snowstorm the week before Thanksgiving. A few roads away, her friend Melissa Morgan was struggling with the same problems. She felt sick every time she left the house and soon retired to bed, spending weeks resting while women from her church cared for her other four kids. The baby made it — just.   [Full Story]

Jun 25, 2015
5 Seismic Shifts Shaking Up World’s Energy Use, According to Bloomberg’s NEO
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

Renewable energy is set to blow past fossil fuels in the next 25 years, attracting nearly two-thirds of the spending on new power plants, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). With rapidly decreasing costs, solar will be the top choice for consumers, particularly in developing nations, the report New Energy Outlook 2015 (NEO) projects. Worldwide, it expects solar to draw $3.7 trillion of the $8 trillion invested in clean energy, with only $4.1 billion spent on coal, natural gas and nuclear.  [Full Story]

Jun 25, 2015
5 things to watch for in the state energy plan
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—The state's long-awaited, long-delayed energy plan, which is expected to be released today, will have significant ramifications for New York's energy future. The plan will determine how aggressive the state will be in increasing reliance on renewable sources of energy and will provide a window into years of energy policy decisions.  [Full Story]

Jun 25, 2015
State plan sets aggressive clean-energy goals
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—Half of New York's power will come from renewable sources in the next 15 years, under a new state energy plan released Thursday. According to the plan, the state will try to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030. New York now gets just under a quarter of its power from renewable sources, including, hydro, wind and solar, but that will double to 50 percent in the next 15 years, the plan says. The state also plans to increase energy efficiency efforts by 23 percent.  [Full Story]

Jun 25, 2015
Earthquake spike pushes Oklahoma to consider tighter fracking regulations Decision comes after recent uptick in temblors – 35 of at least 3.0 magnitude from 17-24 June – but it remains unclear what such regulations will look like
the Guardian
Peter Moskowitz

Oklahoma is considering tightening regulations on its oil and gas industry, after a spate of earthquakes which regulators say were probably related to an increase in fracking in the state. Between 17 and 24 June, Oklahoma experienced 35 earthquakes of 3.0 or greater magnitude, a huge jump from the average of about 12 a week experienced over the last year, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey.   [Full Story]

Jun 25, 2015
Lancashire councillors prevented from blocking proposals for UK's first fracking site, says council member
Independent
tom Bawden

Lancashire councillors were prevented from blocking proposals for the UK’s first fracking site after receiving a legal warning that refusal would be “unreasonable” and risk a costly court appeal, a council member has claimed.  [Full Story]

Jun 25, 2015
Dutch government cuts gas drilling in quake-hit region
WBRC


THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - The Dutch government is further cutting production of natural gas in the north of the country in an attempt to reduce the number of small earthquakes blamed on the drilling. Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp announced Tuesday that production in the Groningen region this year will be brought back to 30 billion cubic meters (39.24 billion cubic yards) of gas from the previously announced maximum of 39.4 billion cubic meters (51.53 billion cubic yards).  [Full Story]

Jun 25, 2015
Northern England County Rejects Fracking Site Stage is set for divisive vote on second site next week
Wall Street Journal
Selina Williams

An English county government rejected one of two applications for hydraulic fracturing for natural gas on Thursday, setting the stage for a decisive vote on the drilling technique next week. The Lancashire County Council voted against allowing privately held Caudrilla Resources Ltd. to use horizontal drilling and fracking at the company’s Roseacre Wood site in northwest England over worries about the increase in traffic. County planning officials had recommended the application be rejected.   [Full Story]

Jun 25, 2015
5 things to watch for in the state energy plan
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—The state's long-awaited, long-delayed energy plan, which is expected to be released today, will have significant ramifications for New York's energy future. The plan will determine how aggressive the state will be in increasing reliance on renewable sources of energy and will provide a window into years of energy policy decisions. Here are five things to watch for in the plan: Natural gas: When the draft plan was released, the state had yet to ban fracking. It is increasingly reliant on natural gas, and the infrastructure needed to bring it here. The Cuomo administration is powering former coal plants with natural gas and has a few pipelines awaiting state decisions. What assumptions will the plan make about infrastructural capacity?  [Full Story]

Jun 25, 2015
Why are the government’s energy forecasts so bad?
Politico
Michael Grunwald

In 2009, the federal government’s Energy Information Administration made a forecast for the next two decades: U.S. wind power would grow modestly, reaching 44 gigawatts of generating capacity in 2030, while solar power would remain scarce, inching up to 12 GW. Just six years later, U.S. wind capacity is already up to 66 GW, and solar has shot up to 21 GW. There's now enough installed wind and solar to power 25 million American homes— more than three times what the EIA expected before President Obama took office. Oops.  [Full Story]

Jun 25, 2015
Harnessing the Energy to Lead: New York State Energy Plan Can Deliver the Clean Energy Triple Crown
NRDC
Jackson Morris

After years of analysis and robust public comment, today New York released its 2015 State Energy Plan. While we're still digging through the documents and the details, our first take is that this is a major victory for clean energy. If effectively executed, the plan's core components will make the Empire State a global leader on clean energy and climate policy. (It can also help New York meet its targets under the EPA's Clean Power Plan to cut carbon pollution from the nation's power plants.) Want to know how New York will get to that pretty impressive place in the clean-energy firmament? Here's an explanation, some important context, and three key takeaways. (And since, right here in New York, a few weeks back, we just saw a very special horse by the name of American Pharoah complete the first sweep of the Triple Crown in 37 years, I've thrown in some horse racing metaphors for good measure).  [Full Story]

Jun 25, 2015
EPA's New Fracking Study: A Close Look at the Numbers Buried in the Fine Print
DeSmogBlog
Sharon Kelly

When EPA’s long-awaited draft assessment on fracking and drinking water supplies was released, the oil and gas industry triumphantly focused on a headline-making sentence: “We did not find evidence of widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.” But for fracking’s backers, a sense of victory may prove to be fleeting. EPA’s draft assessment made one thing clear: fracking has repeatedly contaminated drinking water supplies (a fact that the industry has long aggressively denied).  [Full Story]

Jun 25, 2015
Fracking Linked to Increased Infant Mortality in Alarming New Study
AlterNet
Reynard Loki

Pennsylvania has issued more than 10,000 drilling permits over the past decade. Infants and children may be paying a heavy price.  [Full Story]

Jun 25, 2015
Coal mine water could become fracking water
Marcellus.com
Danielle Wente

On Monday, the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee approved a bill that will push the use of coal mine water to be used in fracking operations. As reported by State Impact Pennsylvania, “Senate Bill 875 limits potential liabilities for producers who would use the polluted mine water, instead of cleaner fresh water, in the drilling process.” The Corbett Administration and the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission both support the usage of coal mine water being used in fracking. The bill would ultimately decrease the amount of fresh water natural gas operators use to drill wells in the Marcellus Shale.   [Full Story]

Jun 25, 2015
Fracking health complaints received little follow-up from the Department of Health
State Impact PA
Susan Phillips

Newly released documents from the Pennsylvania Department of Health on fracking-related health complaints reveal a lack of follow-through and inaccurate record-keeping. The telephone logs, which span four years from 2011 to 2015, were gained through a Right-to-Know request by the environmental group Food and Water Watch.   [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
Group releases new report on Pennsylvania health concerns
Akron Beacon Journal
Bob Downing

Philadelphia, Pa. – The advocacy group Food & Water Watch released today an analysis of reams of documents it obtained from the state of Pennsylvania that clearly demonstrate an ongoing pattern of alarming inadequacy and negligence by the state Dept. of Health (DOH) in its response to fracking-related health complaints from state residents. After a 2014 StateImpact Pennsylvania report revealing that DOH health workers were instructed to identify key fracking “buzzwords,” and told not to respond to fracking-related health complaints, Food & Water Watch requested and eventually received the DOH natural gas drilling log of health complaints. The logs demonstrate that state residents are regularly reporting alarming health concerns, and that state agencies have failed to adequately respond and address these health problems from drilling and fracking.  [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
Montana board urged to adopt buffer zones between homes, oil and gas drilling
Fox Business
Associated Press

BILLINGS, Mont. – Farmers and environmentalists urged Montana regulators on Wednesday to establish buffer zones around homes to protect them from oil and gas drilling. But energy industry representatives say such a move isn't needed and would put large areas of the state off-limits to development. North Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado require companies to keep drilling activities at least 500 feet from occupied dwellings. Montana has no such rule.   [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
In a shift, fracking’s foes face a losing streak Courts, voters hand ‘fracktivists’ setbacks
Washington Times
Valerie Richardson

DENVER — After scoring a statewide ban last year on hydraulic fracturing in New York, anti-fracking activists talked excitedly about following up in a major fossil fuel-producing state — Colorado, maybe, or California. Instead, the next state to prohibit the use of fracking in oil and gas extraction — on a temporary basis — was Maryland, which, like New York, is a deep-blue state with no hydraulic fracturing activity. Critics quickly dismissed the two-year moratorium as purely symbolic.   [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
Study reveals fracking pollution
The Shorthorn
Javier Giribet-Vargas

Recent study by UTA scientists reveals high levels of carcinogens in some water-wells associated with unconventional oil and gas extraction. Professor of Analytical Chemistry Dr. Schug and other UTA scientists published a peer-reviewed study of ground-water contamination in areas of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on Wednesday according to the UTA press release.  [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
New report estimates enough natural gas is leaking to negate climate benefits Natural gas drilling only has environmental benefits over other processes like coal and oil production if producers can keep a tight lid on leaks
The Guardian
Peter Moskowitz

Natural gas has been touted as an environmentally friendly substitute to coal and oil production, but a new report estimates enough gas is leaking to negate most of the climate benefits of process. The report, commissioned by the Environmental Defense Fund and carried out by environmental consulting group ICF International, estimated the amount of leaks from natural gas and oil production on federal and tribal land in the US. It also looked at venting and flaring, processes in which drilling sites purposefully let gas go into the atmosphere for a variety of reasons – usually for safety.   [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
Marcellus Shale lawmakers’ bill would guarantee 12 percent drilling royalty
Times Leader
Jerry Lynott

A contingent of lawmakers whose districts cover the Marcellus Shale region has reintroduced legislation to provide the minimally guaranteed royalty to natural gas lease holders. State Rep. Garth Everett, R-Muncy, said he believed House Bill 1391 stands a better chance of passage than the more broadly written legislation introduced in 2013.  [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
Texas Bans Fracking Bans
Water Online
Sara Jerome

A ban on bans is one of the most recent developments in the debate over whether to set rules aimed at limiting the environmental impact of fracking. “On May 18, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a measure that prohibits cities and towns from passing ordinances to prohibit fracking and regulate underground activity, effectively banning fracking bans like the one the city of Denton, TX passed last November,” Newsweek reported.  [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
How fracking has divided the US
BBC
Peter Marshall

Fast forward four years and Towanda is a very different place from how it was in 2011. While we're not quite talking boom to bust, the drilling industry juggernaut has certainly moved on. Lancashire be warned - fracking is an industry that moves in cycles.   [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
Exxon Mobil halts drilling at three platforms due to crippled California pipeline
FOX News
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – The shutdown of a pipeline that spilled up to 101,000 gallons of crude on the Santa Barbara coast forced Exxon Mobil Corp. to halt operations at three offshore platforms because it couldn't deliver oil to refineries, the company said Tuesday. The company temporarily ceased operations last week because Santa Barbara County rejected its emergency application to truck oil to refineries, spokesman Richard Keil said. A Santa Barbara County official said the company's problem did not constitute an emergency and it could go through the normal procedure, which requires extensive environmental review, to get a permit to truck the oil.  [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
Pennsylvania records shed light on shale-related health concerns
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Laura Legere

The Pennsylvania Department of Health kept a log of 86 reports of health complaints related to natural gas development between 2011 and 2015 that reveals both the array of concerns reported by residents and doctors and the limits of the agency’s efforts to investigate potential health effects that may be associated with the industry. The log was released by the health department to the environmental advocacy group Food & Water Watch in response to an open records request. The group, which advocates a ban on hydraulic fracturing — the injection of fluids and sand necessary to extract gas from shale — plans to publish the documents today. The records, which span four years and partial terms of two governors between March 2011 and April 2015, don’t prove a connection between drilling activities and illness, but they reflect the range of complaints reported by citizens, physicians, workers and health agencies.  [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
10-Year Energy Plan Calls For More Fracking: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Clean Technica
Tina Casey

The great state of Utah unveiled its 10-year energy plan back in 2011 with a heavy tilt toward increasing fossil fuel production, and now it looks like the chickens are coming home to roost. Earlier this week, Rolling Stone dropped a bombshell of an article linking natural gas fracking to miscarriages and infant deaths in the Uinta Basin town of Vernal — and the Uinta Basin happens to be the same area that Utah officials spotlighted for natural gas production when the energy plan was announced.   [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
Public Service Commission Criticized Over FPL Fracking Deal
WIRN
Moffat Mugwe

The Public Service Commission last year approved Florida Power and Light's plan to go fracking for natural gas in Oklahoma. Even then, it was clear the utility planned to charge Florida rate payers for the project in another state, and advocates at the Public Counsel's Office filed suit to stop it. The suit is pending, but now the PSC has voted again.  [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
At The Last Minute, Judge Delays Federal Fracking Regulations
Colorado Public Radio
Associated Press

A federal judge in Wyoming has postponed new federal rules for oil and gas drilling on federal land a day before they were set to take effect. The stay issued Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl means new rules for the practice of hydraulic fracturing on federal lands now won't take effect until at least mid-August.   [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
Oklahoma drilling regulator calls spike in quakes a 'game changer'
Reuters
YEGANEH TORBATI

A spike in earthquakes across Oklahoma is forcing the state's energy regulator to urgently consider tougher restrictions on drilling activity, a spokesman said on Wednesday, calling it a "game changer." From June 17 to 24, there have been 35 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater in the state, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey. Particularly worrying for regulators, some of the recent quakes occurred in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, where there are no high-volume wastewater injection wells. The spike in quakes comes roughly two months after new rules governing the disposal of briny wastewater from drilling took full effect. Drillers were directed by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC), which regulates the oil and gas industry, to stop disposing wastewater below the state's deepest rock formation, believed to be one of the main causes of the quakes, and to reduce the depth of wells that already go that deep. "We have to approach it anew," said Matt Skinner, a spokesman for the OCC. "There's been a huge increase. That's a game-changer," he said, referring to the recent jump in tremors.  [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
Williams deal would hasten Energy Transfer's Marcellus dominance
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Kristen Hays

HOUSTON — Williams Companies Inc has spurned Energy Transfer Equity's $48 billion takeover offer for now but a tie-up would give the company a dominant position in the fastest-growing natural gas market in the United States: the Northeast's Marcellus Shale. The deal, which would be one of the largest pipeline acquisitions ever, also would give Energy Transfer Chief Executive Kelcy Warren a new foothold in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Williams’ presence in the natural gas-heavy Marcellus and nearby Utica shale would fill a gap in Energy Transfer Equity's portfolio.  [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
U.S. fracking rules halted, for now
Seeking Alpha
Carl Surran

A U.S. District Court in Wyoming has halted implementation of an Interior Department rule that would set standards for fracking on federal land, issuing a stay that delays compliance for at least a month on the rule that was set to go into effect today.  [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
Murt co-sponsors drilling legislation
Midweek Wire
Tom Waring

State Rep. Tom Murt is co-sponsoring legislation to impose a drilling tax on unconventional natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale. House Bill 1321 is structured in such a way as to fund many of the commonwealth’s top priorities without passing the burden onto working families. It calls for a 3.2-percent drilling tax, while also keeping the impact fee created by Act 13 of 2012 to help communities directly affected by drilling.  [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
POLL SHOWS THE PUBLIC SUPPORTS FRACKING
Spectator
H. Sterling Burnett

A new poll from Robert Morris University (RMU) shows the public overwhelmingly supports fracking for natural gas and oil production. Even before the EPA released its long awaited report largely exonerating fracking from charges it was causing water pollution, the poll showed more than 57% of Pennsylvanians support fracking. Nationally, 56 percent of those survey supported fracking.   [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
Federal fracking rule on public land temporarily halted
Grand Forks Herald
Benjamin Storrow

CASPER, Wyo. -- A federal judge issued a stay Tuesday of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management fracking rule, temporarily halting an Obama administration effort to regulate oil and gas operations on public land nationwide.   [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
New report estimates enough natural gas is leaking to negate climate benefits
The Guardian
Peter Moskowitz

Natural gas has been touted as an environmentally friendly substitute to coal and oil production, but a new report estimates enough gas is leaking to negate most of the climate benefits of process. The report, commissioned by the Environmental Defense Fund and carried out by environmental consulting group ICF International, estimated the amount of leaks from natural gas and oil production on federal and tribal land in the US. It also looked at venting and flaring, processes in which drilling sites purposefully let gas go into the atmosphere for a variety of reasons – usually for safety. The claim that natural gas is environmentally friendly hinges on how much methane leaks into the atmosphere during the production process. But the EDF report adds weight to those who say methane leaks at natural gas sites can make the process nearly or as carbon-intensive as coal.  [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
Pennsylvania records shed light on shale-related health concerns
Powersource
Laura Legere

The Pennsylvania Department of Health kept a log of 86 reports of health complaints related to natural gas development between 2011 and 2015 that reveals both the array of concerns reported by residents and doctors and the limits of the agency’s efforts to investigate potential health effects that may be associated with the industry.   [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
Is the EPA Fracking Report Science Fiction?
EcoWatch
Briana Mordick, NRDC

“Hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water resources.” Or so says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) press statement announcing the release of the agency’s draft report on the risks to drinking water from fracking, and a legion of stories in the popular press that followed. But is that what the scientific study itself found? (Spoiler alert: no)   [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
Pipeline concerns heighten in Chesco, Delco
Philly.com
Michaelle Bond

Residents in nine municipalities in Chester County and six in Delaware County know that Sunoco Logistics plans to run its latest pipeline project through their towns, neighborhoods, and yards. Construction of at least one new pipeline to transport liquefied natural gas from the Marcellus Shale to Marcus Hook is scheduled to start in early 2016.   [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
BP’S OIL DISPERSING CHEMICALS CAUSED MORE HARM THAN THE DEEPWATER HORIZON OIL SPILL
Playboy
Linda Marsa

David Hill never imagined that just doing his job would destroy his life. A fourth-generation fisherman raised in Bayou La Batre, a village on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, he also worked as a captain on 500-ton utility ships that service offshore-drilling platforms in the Gulf. The 55-year-old would routinely work from dawn to dusk during four-week-long stints on the water, earning himself and his wife a comfortable lifestyle, with a sprawling house on a 20-acre plot of land. “I had a thriving career and plenty of money in my pocket,” he says. “We could do whatever we wanted—eat out, go on vacations.” Then the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig exploded, killing 11 people and spewing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf. Hill joined the armada hastily hired by BP, the British oil giant that owned the rig, to help contain the damage. He spent six months on the water, mopping up oil as lead captain on a 210-foot vessel. The acrid smell of petroleum mixed with the chemical dispersants used to break up the oil permeated the air. Hill and his crew were hammered with excruciating headaches, coughing and nausea. “There was no way to escape,” he recalls. “The fumes were so overwhelming they would drop you to your knees.”  [Full Story]

Jun 24, 2015
Environmentalists call of California governor to block fracking permits for Long Beach Harbor
Star Tribune
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Environmentalists Tuesday called on Gov. Jerry Brown to halt plans for months of hydraulic fracturing in the waters off Southern California, warning that it could lead to chemical pollution or an oil spill. State regulators this month approved nine permits for operator Thums Long Beach Co. for so-called fracking operations between August and December in Long Beach Harbor. Kevin Tougas, oil operations manager for the city of Long Beach, said the state action was a preliminary step and "several factors, including the market price of oil, will be taken into consideration before submitting some or all of these permits to the state for the next and final step of approval."   [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Pipeline officials want more surveys in forest
The Charleston Gazette


Atlantic Coast Pipeline officials are asking the National Forest Service to approve an amendment to the temporary special use permit they already have to conduct additional site surveys in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. The amendment would add another route located in Pocahontas County, further south than the line already under permit for survey work. The proposed route — about 2,000 feet wide and 5.13 miles long — crosses Monongahela National Forest land near the Elk River, Slaty Ridge and Dunmore. The information gathered from additional routing, environmental and cultural resources surveys would be used to determine the feasibility of a proposed alternative route for the pipeline.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Natural gas powered truck explodes on impact with train
WIVB
George Richert

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — It’s hard to say if a regular diesel truck would’ve caused an explosion quite so dramatic. On Tuesday morning, surveillance video from a nearby business captured the dramatic explosion after a low speed collision of a CSX train going in reverse, with a tractor trailer that pulled up at exactly the wrong moment in a parking lot behind General Mills on Ganson Street near Michigan Avenue in Buffalo.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Scientists Find 'Alarming' Levels of Chemicals Around Barnett Shale
Texas Public Radio
RHONDA FANNING

The Environmental Protection Agency recently concluded that contamination of drinking water from fracking isn’t as widespread as previously feared. But is the panic over water contamination a thing of the past? A new study is re-igniting the fears of some. The recent study checked the water quality at 550 wells across 13 Texas counties along the Barnett Shale. It’s one of the largest independent surveys on water near fracking sites ever conducted in the U.S., and the conclusions are alarming.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Studies confirm earthquakes in the midwestern US are caused by the fracking boom
Quartz
Zahra Hirji

The surge in earthquakes shaking Oklahoma, Texas, and other parts of the nation’s mid-section are likely caused by million of gallons of toxic oil and gas wastewater being disposed of underground, two new studies have found. Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder and the United States Geological Survey analyzed data from earthquakes and more than 106,000 active injection wells across the central and eastern part of the nation—the largest such study to date. They found that “the entire increase in the number of earthquakes in the US midcontinent is associated with injection wells,” according to Matthew Weingarten, a doctoral candidate at the university who led the study.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Rapidly-expanding Ithaca solar company sees 725 percent job growth in 4 years
The Ithaca Voice
Jeff Stein

ITHACA, N.Y. — A solar energy company based in Ithaca says it has achieved rapid growth over the last several years and is poised to expand its share of the local energy market. Renovus Energy, founded in 2003, has dramatically increased its size and impact, particularly in the last 12 to 16 months, according to Joe Sliker, president and CEO of the company. The last 30 days alone demonstrate that trend, Sliker said. “We have sold or gotten commitments for effectively 10 times as much solar as we installed in our first 9 years of business,” Sliker says of the last four weeks. “It’s a crazy story … We're changing the way people do energy around here.”  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Resignation of a Leader Opens Door for Gov. Brown to Step Up
Huffington Post
Shoshanna Howard

The resignation of Mark Nechodom, the embattled head of the California Department of Conservation, is a welcome move for anyone who cares about the health and safety of Californians, our state's limited water supply, and our environment. Nechodom was replaced last week by David Bunn, a UC Davis Assistant Adjunct Professor, but it would be naïve to think that California's troubles with oil and gas development will end with Nechodom's exit, and the new replacement.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
EARTHQUAKES: University of Oklahoma developed quake position while asking oilman for $25M
E & E Newswire
Mike Soraghan

University of Oklahoma officials were seeking a $25 million donation from billionaire oilman Harold Hamm last year, records show, at a time when scientists at the school were formulating the state's position on oil drilling and earthquakes. They came up with a position that squared with Hamm's, saying most of the hundreds of earthquakes rattling the state are natural and not caused by the oil industry. But they didn't get the $25 million to build "The Continental Resources Center for Energy Research and Technology." And since then, the university's Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) has reversed that position. It now says that most of the quakes are "very likely" triggered by oil and gas activities.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
The Way Humans Get Electricity Is About to Change Forever
Bloomberg
Tom Randall

The renewable-energy boom is here. Trillions of dollars will be invested over the next 25 years, driving some of the most profound changes yet in how humans get their electricity. That's according to a new forecast by Bloomberg New Energy Finance that plots out global power markets to 20401. Here are six massive shifts coming soon to power markets near you: 1. Solar Prices Keep Crashing The price of solar power will continue to fall, until it becomes the cheapest form of power in a rapidly expanding number of national markets. By 2026, utility-scale solar will be competitive for the majority of the world, according to BNEF. The lifetime cost of a photovoltaic solar-power plant will drop by almost half over the next 25 years, even as the prices of fossil fuels creep higher. Solar power will eventually get so cheap that it will outcompete new fossil-fuel plants and even start to supplant some existing coal and gas plants, potentially stranding billions in fossil-fuel infrastructure. The industrial age was built on coal. The next 25 years will be the end of its dominance.   [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Judge blocks federal fracking rule
The Hill
Timothy Cama

A federal judge in Wyoming has temporarily blocked implementation of the Obama administration’s regulations for hydraulic fracturing on federal land, hours before they were set to take effect. The late Tuesday decision in the District Court of Wyoming means the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) cannot implement the rule Wednesday as it had planned. While the stay is only preliminary and could be lifted at any time, it represents a setback for the administration’s first major attempt to account for the explosion of the controversial fracking process in its rules for energy companies that lease federal land. Four oil- and natural gas-heavy states sued to stop the rule, as did two industry associations. Judge Scott Skavdahl issued the stay after a full day of arguments, agreeing with the states and energy groups that he needs additional time to consider their request for a preliminary injunction to block the rules for the entire time the case lasts, according to Oil City.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Why former Pittsburgh Steelers' names are in a gas pipeline controversy
Penn Live
Jacob Klinger

A proposed gas compressor station in Southwestern Virginia is named after former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann, according to The Roanoke Times. Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC, which plans to build a 300-mile natural gas pipeline through West Virginia and Virginia, has named the system's other three compressor stations after Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris and John Stallworth. All are former Steelers and members of the Hall of Fame. A partner in Mountain Valley, EQT Corp., is based in Pittsburgh. Natalie Cox, a spokeswoman for Mountain Valley told The Roanoke Times the company is still reviewing possible routes for the pipeline, making information about the Swann station limited. As The Roanoke Times reports, the pipeline is the subject of controversy in Southwestern Virginia, where Mountain Valley claims it hasn't decided where to put the Swann station.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Exports of Liquified Natural Gas Increase Fracking and Pollution
Truthout
Deb Nardone

Here's the good news: President Barack Obama has committed to reducing the nation's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 17 percent by 2020. The bad news? A rise in fracking for natural gas could make the United States fail to keep this pledge. Unfortunately, a big corporate push to start exporting liquefied natural gas, or LNG, could ramp up fracking even further. When it comes to creating the pollution that leads to climate disruption, scientists say fracked LNG is on par with coal, which has long held the mantle as the dirtiest fuel around. But there's more than just climate to worry about. Exporting natural gas also threatens our air, water, and health.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Cheap Energy Poised to Shake Up Pipeline Industry
The Wall Street Journal
ALISON SIDER

Low oil-and-gas prices are poised to shake up yet another part of the nation’s energy economy, spurring a merger battle among companies that own the key pipelines that move fuels around the country.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Cuadrilla bid for first UK fracking in four years debated
BBC


An application to start the first fracking operation in the UK for four years is being considered by a council. Energy firm Cuadrilla wants to extract shale gas at Little Plumpton and Roseacre Wood on the Fylde Coast, in Lancashire.   [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
A ‘Bunch Of Whores': One Punk Band’s Uncensored Campaign Against Fracking
THINK PROGRESS
Emily Atkins

As the lead guitarist and singer of punk band Anti-Flag, Justin Sane is known for advocating against war overseas. But in the band’s latest release, the war Sane wants to stop is happening on the borders of his own hometown. “They sit inside the kitchen, broken, in despair, their livestock sick or dead, their water a toxic cocktail,” Sane sings on “Gasland Terror,” his depiction of the fracking boom in Western Pennsylvania.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Ute Tribe seeks to join lawsuit against BLM 'fracking' rule
Deseret News
Geoff Liesik

FORT DUCHESNE, Uintah County — The leadership of the Ute Indian Tribe announced Tuesday it will seek to join a federal lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management over the agency's new rules on hydraulic fracturing.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
New Study Quantifies Natural Gas Loss from Production on U.S. Public and Tribal Lands
Environmental Defense Fund
Press Release Asher Price

Losses from oil and gas operations worth over $360 million worth of natural gas in 2013, spotlights cost-effective savings opportunities   [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Hawaii Enacts 100% Renewable Energy by 2045 (1/2)
Real News


When it comes to the environment and climate change, we in general must report on many gloom and doom stories. It is the nature of the topic, I suppose. But last week we reported on Pope Francis' encyclical, and today we have another good news story: the state of Hawaii. It is the first state in the union to sign a bill with 100 percent commitment to renewable energy and to address and prepare for climate change head-on. Hawaii's particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels, but also have access to many renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. To discuss all of this we have two guests. The state Congressman Chris Lee. He represents the 51 District of Hawaii. He is currently chair of the Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection. Also joining us is Mark Jacobson. He is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, and the director of Stanford's Atmosphere Energy program. Gentlemen, both of you, thank you for joining us today. REP. CHRIS LEE (D-HI): Thanks for having [inaud.] PERIES: So Congressman, give us a sense of the risks faced by Hawaii and why the governor and you, and of course the entire legislature, decided to address climate change head-on. And also, of course, switching to renewable energy the way you have described it in the bill. LEE: Well you know, this is something that is absolutely critical to the future of our way of life here, our economy, and how we're going to proceed in generations to come. Because we are already--this isn't, climate change isn't something that's coming. It's here, and we're feeling it right now. We've seen decreased rainfall, we're seeing increases in sea level rise that are eroding our beaches faster and faster. And that's the lifeblood of our economy. If we can't continue the way we're going we're going to be stuck. And so we have to take action and we have to do it now. PERIES: And how are you planning to make this transition? I mean, this is something that a lot of people cannot get their head around, switching from fossil fuels into renewable energy sources. LEE: Well you know, it's something that we're already on track with. We've had on the books efforts to move toward more renewable energy, and right now we're at about 22 percent renewable out of our entire electricity sector. And so moving to 100 percent I think it something that is, it's common sense. And we have a lot of wind, we have a lot of solar. We have more solar penetration per capita here. Roughly one in eight homes have solar on their rooftops generating power. And it's just the next step, the next necessary step, in order to get us not only to face and adapt to climate change as it's coming but also to save our economy money. Because fossil fuels fundamentally are only going to be more and more expensive for us down the road. PERIES: And Mark, get in on this. Obviously Hawaii is very distinct here in terms of the rest of the country. You've done a report on this. Tell us about what you're finding. MARK JACOBSON, PROF. OF CIVIL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING, STANFORD UNIV.: Yeah. First, we've been developing energy plans for each of the 50 United States. And in fact, we just finalized those plans about a week ago, including Hawaii. And each state has its own unique set of resources. In the case of Hawaii it has a lot of solar and it has a lot of wind, and it has actually a lot of geothermal. Not a lot of hydroelectric. But maybe even tiny amounts of tidal and wave power.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
EDF Renewable Energy Expands Wind Portfolio in Texas with the Acquisition of Salt Fork Wind Project

EDF Press Release

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--EDF Renewable Energy (EDF RE) today announced the acquisition of the up to 200 megawatt (MW) Salt Fork Wind Project from Cielo Wind Power LP (Cielo). Today’s achievement comes as a result of 18 months of close collaboration between the two companies to bring about the close of the acquisition transaction and the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Garland Power & Light (GP&L). Salt Fork is located in the Texas Panhandle on approximately 16,700 acres in Donley and Gray Counties, Texas, roughly 45 miles east of Amarillo. The project is expected to achieve commercial operation by the end of 2016, utilizing ERCOT’s (Electricity Reliability Council of Texas) CREZ (Competitive Renewable Energy Zone) transmission infrastructure. The clean electricity and renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by 150 MW of the Salt Fork Wind Project will be provided to Garland Power & Light under a long-term Power Purchase Agreement. This agreement follows the PPA the municipal utility signed in early 2014 for a portion of the electricity generated by EDF RE’s Spinning Spur 3 Wind Project.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Investment In Renewable Energy Yields More Jobs Than Fossil Fuel Sector
Clean Technica
Joshua S Hill

A new report has determined that investments in energy-efficient and renewable energy sources yield more jobs for a set amount of spending than investing in maintaining or expanding the fossil fuel industry. wind turbine cowboy jobsThe report, Global Green Growth: Clean Energy Industrial Investment and Expanding Job Opportunities, was published earlier this week and presented at the Vienna Energy Forum 2015 by its two authors, the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). “Significant progress has already been made in overcoming the hitherto conventional wisdom that taking steps to cut GHGs is incompatible with economic growth,” said Yvo de Boer, Director-General of GGGI. “This report moves the debate another positive step forward by showing that employment and development result from sustainable, green growth.”  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Judge considers request to suspend federal oil, gas rules
WAshington Times
MEAD GRUVER - Associated Press

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Four states and petroleum industry groups were asking a federal judge Tuesday to suspend new rules for hydraulic fracturing and other petroleum industry practices on federal land. Colorado, North Dakota, Utah, Wyoming and the industry groups are suing the U.S. Interior Department, saying the rules, which go into effect Wednesday, are unnecessarily burdensome for oil and gas developers. They include rules to disclose chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing. The four states, the Western Energy Alliance and the Independent Petroleum Association of America want to suspend the rules pending the outcome of their lawsuit. U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl set aside up to six hours for Tuesday’s hearing and would need to act quickly if he were to suspend the rules before they take effect. Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/23/judge-to-consider-suspending-new-federal-drilling-/#ixzz3duz3mWtW Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Fracking poses 'significant' risk to humans and should be temporarily banned across EU, says new report
Belfast Telegraph


A major new scientific study has concluded that the controversial gas extraction technique known as fracking poses a “significant” risk to human health and British wildlife, and that an EU-wide moratorium should be implemented until widespread regulatory reform is undertaken. The damning report by the CHEM Trust, the British charity that investigates the harm chemicals cause humans and wildlife, highlights serious shortcomings in the UK’s regulatory regime, which the report says will only get worse as the Government makes further budget cuts.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Pressure mounts against British fracking
UPI
Daniel J Graeber

PRESTON, England, June 23 (UPI) -- British advocacy group Friends of the Earth said that, with the nation's fracking debate in full swing, the interests of local communities should prevail. A local council in Lancashire is reviewing two separate proposals by energy company Cuadrilla Resources to explore for natural gas in regional shale deposits. ADVERTISING The council in mid June recommended approval for a campaign with as many as four drilling sites and hydraulic fracturing. The recommendation was subject to restrictions ranging from hours of work to noise pollution.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Risk of Extreme Weather From Climate Change to Rise Over Next Century, Report Says
New York Times
Abrina Tavernise

WASHINGTON — More people will be exposed to floods, droughts, heat waves and other extreme weather associated with climate change over the next century than previously thought, according to a new report in the British medical journal The Lancet. The report, published online Monday, analyzes the health effects of recent episodes of severe weather that scientists have linked to climate change. It provides estimates of the number of people who are likely to experience the effects of climate change in coming decades, based on projections of population and demographic changes.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
What does the US actually gain from tackling climate change?
Vox
Brad Plumer

This week, the EPA released a major report that tried to tally up the specific benefits to the United States if the whole world took action on climate change. Fewer deaths from heat waves, billions in saved infrastructure costs, and so on. So far, so good. But a closer look at the EPA's report also reveals two other nuanced points about climate that are getting lost in the media coverage. They're worth emphasizing, because they give a clearer sense of what we're actually dealing with and what our choices are: 1) No matter what the world does on emissions, some amount of global warming is inevitable in the decades ahead. That will lead to all sorts of disruptions and dislocations, and we really ought to start planning and adapting now. 2) If the world does cut emissions drastically, those climate impacts will be less ccostly, and the risk of catastrophe goes down. But we also wouldn't see any major difference for decades. That's because there's a lag between when we put CO2 in the atmosphere and when its various impacts are felt. So when we talk about reducing emissions, we're mainly talking about benefits for the United States in 2050 and beyond.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Earthquakes Tied to Fracking Boom, Two New Studies Confirm
Eco Watch
Anastasia Pantsios

Oklahoma was never big earthquake country, but in the last six years their numbers have surged, going from an average of two a year over 3.0 magnitude to 538 last year, surpassing California as the U.S.’s most seismically active state. Regions in Texas and Ohio that rarely felt an earthquake are now seeing wave after wave of them; eight states overall have seen big increases. Studies keep showing that the earthquakes start happening when wastewater from fracking is injected underground. Scientists say it’s because those large quantities of water, forced underground by heavy pressure, activate dormant fault lines. Now two more such studies have been added to the pile of evidence. One of the studies, published in the journal Science, comes from a team of scientists from the University of Colorado at Boulder and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The largest study to date, they analyzed information on earthquakes and 180,000 injection wells from Colorado to the east coast. They tied 18,000 of the wells, primarily in Colorado and Oklahoma, to earthquakes.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Dutch government further reduces production of natural gas in region hit by small earthquakes
Fox
AP

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – The Dutch government is further cutting production of natural gas in the north of the country in an attempt to reduce the number of small earthquakes blamed on the drilling. Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp announced Tuesday that production in the Groningen region this year will be brought back to 30 billion cubic meters (39.24 billion cubic yards) of gas from the previously announced maximum of 39.4 billion cubic meters (51.53 billion cubic yards).   [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Cheniere cleared to expand Sabine Pass LNG terminal
My SA
RHIANNON MEYERS

Cheniere Energy cleared its final regulatory hurdle to expand its Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas export terminal after the federal government Tuesday dismissed an environmental group’s concerns about the project. The Sierra Club had asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reconsider its April 6 approval of two additional production facilities slated to boost Sabine Pass LNG’s production by 50 percent. The group argued that the project would spur an increase in natural gas production to feed the export terminal, which in turn could lead to a spike in air pollution and uptick in gas prices. The agency on Tuesday rejected those arguments as it has in the past when the Sierra Club made similar claims against other LNG export proposals.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Elise Keaton Liegel on the Growing Opposition to The Natural Gas Pipelines in West Virginia -
Corporate Crime Reporter


Fracking has been halted in New York and Maryland. That means it’s open season on West Virginia. Two major pipelines have been proposed– the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline — that would cut through the West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina countryside — and move 2.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas from the frack fields of West Virginia to domestic and export markets. But opposition is brewing.   [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Mexico plans gas pipeline to Texas
Longview News Journal


MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican government has announced plans for nearly $10 billion worth of electricity and natural gas infrastructure projects, including a gas pipeline under the Gulf of Mexico from Texas to the port of Veracruz. The Federal Electricity Commission said the costliest project would be the 500-mile underwater pipeline for carrying natural gas from South Texas. The pipeline is intended to go into operation in June 2018. Officials hope that facilitating the importation of inexpensive natural gas will help lower Mexico's electricity rates.Other projects include power plants, electricity distribution, transmission lines and electrical substations.Mexico passed a broad overhaul of its energy sector last year aimed in part at attracting more investment to electricity and petroleum.  [Full Story]

Jun 23, 2015
Marcellus Shale region to see wave of large pipeline projects
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Stephanie Ritenbaugh

Over the next three years, the Marcellus Shale region can expect to see about 17 pipeline projects meant to ship about 17.3 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas out of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to end-users, according to IHS Energy. Those destinations “are varied, and in addition to New England, some are targeting the Midwest, eastern Canada and the South,” said Matthew Piatek, associate director of North American natural gas for IHS, which tracks energy markets. “Given the amount of production in the tri-state area currently, it will be able to satisfy the lion’s share of Mid-Atlantic and New England demand and still export a net amount of natural gas,” Mr. Paitek said. The new infrastructure is in high demand. As natural gas production ramped up in the Marcellus and Utica regions, the existing pipeline network to take that fuel from well sites to market has been maxed out.  [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
Oilpatch could lose $100B without new pipelines, researchers warn
CBC News
Kyle Bakx,

Western Canadian oil producers are at risk of losing $100 billion in the next 15 years if no new pipelines are constructed in North America, according to energy research firm Wood Mackenzie. Canadian oil production continues to rise and pipeline capacity remains constricted, pushing 200,000 barrels of oil a day onto the railways. "In the past several years, we have seen big increases in supplies of oil from the United States and Canada," said Afolabi Ogunnaike, a senior research analyst in refining and oil product markets for Wood Mackenzie. "Most of the supply is from parts of the country far removed from refining demand centres. That has led to price discounts." The discounts are the lower prices Canadian producers receive for oil purchased by refineries in the southern U.S. The differential is between the price of Western Canada Select (WCS) and West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the North American benchmark.  [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
What's Killing the Babies of Vernal, Utah?
Rolling Stone
PAUL SOLOTAROFF

Every night, Donna Young goes to bed with her pistol, a .45 Taurus Judge with laser attachment. Last fall, she says, someone stole onto her ranch to poison her livestock, or tried to; happily, her son found the d-CON wrapper and dumped all the feed from the troughs. Strangers phoned the house to wish her dead or run out of town on a rail. Local nurses and doctors went them one better, she says, warning pregnant women that Young's incompetence had killed babies and would surely kill theirs too, if given the chance. "Before they started spreading their cheer about me, I usually had 18 to 25 clients a year, and a spotless reputation in the state," says Young, the primary midwife to service Vernal, Utah, a boom-and-bust town of 10,000 people in the heart of the fracked-gas gold rush of the Uintah Basin. A hundred and fifty miles of sparse blacktop east of Salt Lake City, Vernal has the feel of a slapdash suburb dropped randomly from outer space. Half of it is new and garishly built, the paint barely dry after a decade-long run of fresh-drilled wells and full employment. Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/fracking-whats-killing-the-babies-of-vernal-utah-20150622#ixzz3dv65e5k6 Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook   [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
Science/Fiction: Did EPA Determine Whether or Not Fracking has led to Widespread, Systematic Impacts to Drinking Water?
NRDC Switchboard
Briana Mordick

"Hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water resources." Or so says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's press statement announcing the release of the agency's draft report on the risks to drinking water from fracking, and a legion of stories in the popular press that followed. But is that what the scientific study itself found? (Spoiler alert: no) A thorough review of the study suggests that the EPA misrepresented the findings of its own study in both the press release and the high-level summary. EPA's statement that it did not find evidence of widespread, systematic impacts fails to accurately reflect the uncertainty in the underlying data. The fact is that EPA cannot say with any certainty how widespread or systematic impacts to drinking water from fracking are, due to a lack of available data.  [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
EPA Strengthens Underground Storage Tank Requirements to Improve Prevention and Detection of Leaks
EPA
Press Release Asher Price

ASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) is strengthening the federal underground storage tank (UST) requirements to improve prevention and detection of petroleum releases from USTs which are one of the leading sources of groundwater contamination. EPA’s action will strengthen existing requirements and help ensure all USTs in the United States meet the same release protection standards.  [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
Waxman: Obama can be more aggressive on climate The president has even more powers than he’s using. I should know — I helped write the rules.
Politico
Henry Waxman

Today President Obama unveiled a major new proposal to clean up pollution from the trucking industry – the latest move by his EPA to fight climate change by tightening emissions standards and lowering greenhouse gases. Without any help from Congress, the Obama administration is largely on track to achieve the near-term reductions we attempted to reach through the Waxman-Markey climate bill, which made it through the House six years ago but was never taken up by the Senate. The President has been waging his cleanup campaign almost singlehandedly, using his authority under the Clean Air Act, which also lies behind the landmark Clean Power Plan coming this summer, his biggest climate achievement to date.   [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
Society calls for Scottish fracking review Scotland in January placed a moratorium on the drilling practice.
UPI
Daniel J. Graeber

EDINBURGH, Scotland, June 22 (UPI) -- Hydraulic fracturing in Scotland could give the Edinburgh government some autonomy over the energy sector with few environmental impacts, a policy paper read. The Royal Society of Edinburgh, the premier scientific academy in Scotland, said the controversial drilling practice known also as fracking offers Scotland important options for onshore natural gas.  [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
Government ordered: release full fracking report!
Ecologist
Kyla Mandel

As Lancashire councillors prepare to decide the planning application to frack in the county, writes Kyla Mandel, the UK's transparency watchdog has ordered the government to publish in full a report on the impacts of fracking, previously published only in a heavily redacted version.   [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
Florida Public Service Commission Approves New FPL Fracking Guidelines
The Bradenton Times
Jackson Falconer

TALLAHASSEE — On Thursday, the Florida Public Service Commission decided that Florida Power & Light can charge its customers for planned hydraulic fracturing for shale gas, or 'fracking'. In the consent agenda for the Thursday meeting, commissioners unanimously voted for the measure against a staff recommendation for the plan, which is included in new guidelines proposed by FPL on natural gas exploration and drilling. The decision means that up to $500 million per year can be charged to FPL's 4.7 million customers to finance the drilling. PSC staff said that such a move is unprecedented, as FPL will be the U.S.'s first utility to do so.   [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
Study Links Fracking to Low Birth Weight
HPPR
Jonathan Baker

A new study has linked hydraulic fracturing with low birth weight, according to The New York Times. Scientists studied almost 16,000 live births in southwest Pennsylvania, categorizing mothers by their proximity to sites where fracking was taking place. The study found that babies born in high exposure areas were 34% more likely to be small for their gestational age. The study’s author’s suggested that liquids used in the drilling process may be contaminating local air and water, leading to smaller babies.  [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
Texas town strikes down local fracking ban
Petro Global News
Nicolas Torres

A small Texas town that banned hydraulic fracturing last year overturned the decision on Wednesday after state legislators blocked local governments from restricting fracking last month. According to Rigzone, city council members in Denton, Texas voted 6-1 to repeal a ban on hydraulic fracturing that had passed with a 59 percent vote in November.   [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
DEFRA ordered to release full fracking report
Shale Energy Insider
James Perkins

The research report detailing the impact of shale gas exploration on the rural economy by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs should be published in full, the UK Information Commissioner Officer has ruled.   [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
EPA Finds Low Potential Impacts on Drinking Water from Hydraulic Fracturing
JD Supra Business Advisor
Patrick Joyce, Craig Simonsen

While EPA’s study, which included over 950 sources of information, found specific instances where well integrity and waste water management related to fracking activities directly impacted drinking water resources, the number of instances found were “small compared to the large number of hydraulically fractured wells across the country.”   [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
What's Killing the Babies of Vernal, Utah? A fracking boomtown, a spike in stillborn deaths and a gusher of unanswered questions Environmentalists form coalition to fight against 'dirty energy' in N.J.
Philly Voice
Christina Lobrutto

Environmentalists and other groups in New Jersey have joined forces to address the state's energy policies, NJ Spotlight reports.   [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
Small US frackers face extinction amid drilling drought
Daily Times
Reuters

uipment fleet at the beginning of last year, just one of hundreds of small oil service companies thriving on the revival of US drilling. Founded in November 2011 with a loan of around $35 million, the Fort Worth, Texas-based company was by 2014 making nearly that much in monthly revenues, providing the crews and machinery needed by companies including ExxonMobil to frack oil and gas wells from North Dakota to Texas.  [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
Leaked natural gas, oil-price ripple effects and a live HCN forum on public lands management.
High Country Newss
Elizabeth Shogren

The oil and gas industry has long claimed there’s no evidence hydraulic fracturing contaminates drinking water. But a major Environmental Protection Agency assessment released in June determined that fracking and horizontal drilling have the potential to do so. The study identified the greatest risks to drinking water, including spills. The study found no evidence that “widespread” pollution of drinking water occurred from these drilling techniques. The number of known cases of well contamination and other impacts to drinking water was small compared to the estimated 25,000 to 30,000 new wells drilled and fracked between 2011 and 2014 and the many more older wells that also were fracked, the study states. Industry groups say this confirms the safety of their operations. But the EPA study concedes that a lack of research may explain why the agency failed to find widespread impacts.   [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
Natural Gas Sinks on Cooler Weather Forecasts Natural gas prices sank amid signs of cooler weather and softer-than-expected demand on the way.
Wall Street Journal
Timothy Puko

Natural gas sank as soon as electronic trading opened Sunday evening and has continued to slide Monday morning on signs of cooler weather and softer-than-expected demand on the way.   [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
NEWLY CREATED COALITION UNITES 40 GARDEN STATE GROUPS IN ‘GREEN’ STRUGGLE
NJ Spotlight
Tom Johnson

Pipelines, oil trains, offshore drilling high on the list of dirty problems that need to be cleaned up To many environmentalists and other groups, the state’s energy policies are seriously off track, and they’re forming a new coalition to help right that situation.  [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
How Pope Francis’s Climate Encyclical Is Disrupting American Politics
EcoWatch
Carl Pope

The Republican reaction to Pope Francis’s climate encyclical, juxtaposed to the Democratic congressional rebellion against President Obama on trade, suggest that climate and energy are powerfully disrupting the grid-locked orthodoxy which has dominated American politics for the last decade.   [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
Cancer-Causing Chemicals Found in Drinking Water Near Texas Fracking Sites
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

On June 4, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report on how fracking for oil and gas can impact access to safe drinking water. Although the report claims not to have found any “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States,” a new study in Texas provides more evidence that contamination of drinking water from fracking might be occurring.  [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
What makes owls deadly could make wind turbines silent
Grist
Suzanne Jacobs

Owls — those whimsical and deadly hunting machines that crafty people love and Harry Potter characters employ as postal workers — have the unusual ability to fly in (virtual) silence. That’s bad news if you’re a delicious-looking rodent minding your own business, but it’s good news if you’re a scientist looking for a way to silence noisy wind turbines. Nigel Peake, a professor of applied mathematics and theoretical physics at the University of Cambridge, happens to be one of those scientists. And by using a 3D-printed material meant to mimic the surface of owl wings, he and his colleagues were able to lower the noise level of a wind turbine blade by about 10 decibels. (For comparison: The typical wind turbine a few hundred yards from a house will come in around 40 decibels, about as loud as the in-house refrigerator, according to GE. Here’s more from a press release out of the University of Cambridge: Peake and his collaborators at Virginia Tech, Lehigh and Florida Atlantic Universities used high resolution microscopy to examine owl feathers in fine detail. They observed that the flight feathers on an owl’s wing have a downy covering, which resembles a forest canopy when viewed from above. In addition to this fluffy canopy, owl wings also have a flexible comb of evenly-spaced bristles along their leading edge, and a porous and elastic fringe on the trailing edge.  [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
Rick Perry is on the payroll of a controversial oil pipeline company in Texas
Grist
Patrick Caldwell

When former Texas Gov. Rick Perry launched his bid for the Republican presidential nomination earlier this month, he declared his campaign would emphasize energy policy. “Energy is vital to our economy, and to our national security,” Perry said during his announcement speech. He vowed to green-light the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Perry’s staunch support of the energy industry is nothing new; he was a reliable ally of the energy sector throughout his 14 years as governor. But this year, Perry gained a new incentive for helping energy companies: He started working for one. And two weeks into his presidential campaign, he’s still on its payroll. On Feb. 3, two weeks after ending his term as governor, Perry took a position on the corporate board of Energy Transfer Partners, a Texas-based pipeline company that transports natural gas and crude oil. “The Board selected Mr. Perry to serve as a director because of his vast experience as an executive in the highest office of state government,” ETP’s website says. “In addition, Mr. Perry has been involved in finance and budget planning processes throughout his career in government as a member of the Texas House Appropriations Committee, the Legislative Budget Board and as Governor.”  [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
Citing Human Health Risks, Report Calls for EU Moratorium on Fracking
Common Dreams
Deirdre Fulton

A major study (pdf) released Sunday finds that chemicals from fracking sites have the potential to cause significant pollution while posing risks to human health and wildlife. In turn, the CHEM Trust—a British charity that investigates the harm chemicals cause ecosystems—is calling for a moratorium on fracking across Europe until key recommendations are put in place. "Widespread fracking will threaten many of our valuable wildlife sites, as this technology has a high potential to pollute sensitive aquatic ecosystems; it can also harm human health," said CHEM Trust executive director Dr. Michael Warhurst, who added: "We know from experience in the USA that fracking wells can leak and accidents can happen, and this has led to significant pollution and damage to wildlife."  [Full Story]

Jun 22, 2015
Senate bill would encourage use of coal mine water to frack
NPR State Impact PA
Susan Phillips

A bill that would encourage the use of coal mine water to frack natural gas wells was approved by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee on Monday. Senate Bill 875 limits potential liabilities for producers who would use the polluted mine water, instead of cleaner fresh water, in the drilling process. Using acid mine drainage to frack was an idea that had support from the Corbett Administration, as well as the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, as a way to reduce the amount of fresh water used by Marcellus Shale developers. But some industry lawyers have said the state’s Clean Streams Law could make producers liable for cleaning up the mine water that they didn’t pollute, in perpetuity. So although some drillers are using acid mine drainage to frack, it hasn’t been an idea that has gotten much traction.  [Full Story]

Jun 21, 2015
Natural gas compressor station worries possible neighbors
The Roanoke Times
Duncan Adams

Natural gas compressor stations pack the potential for a sextuple whammy. Noise pollution. Air pollution. Water pollution. Eyesore impacts, including light pollution, especially in rural settings. Noxious odors. Fires and explosions. Some research suggests that living near a compressor station poses health risks. Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC plans to build four compressor stations along the 300-mile route of its proposed 42-inch diameter natural gas transmission pipeline — three stations in West Virginia and one in Virginia.  [Full Story]

Jun 21, 2015
FERC split over N.Y. compressor station shows differing opinions
The Roanoke Times
Duncan Adams

The rural community of Minisink, New York, fought long and hard to block the siting of a 12,260 horsepower natural gas compressor station proposed by Millennium Pipeline Company LLC in July 2011. Opponents proposed an alternate plan that would have located the station on an industrial site owned by Millennium. According to supporters of the so-called Wagoner alternative, it would have affected fewer homes, required less compression and produced fewer emissions. Ultimately, in July 2012, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Millennium’s plan to build the compressor station in Minisink. But FERC’s commissioners split 3-2, with Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur and Jon Wellinghoff, then chairman, dissenting.  [Full Story]

Jun 21, 2015
News Every Day: Oil Drilling Blamed for Rocketing Eathquake Rates in Oklahoma
Bell Jar


These studies arrive on the heels of the Oklahoma Geological Survey’s announcement two months ago that it is “very likely that the majority of recent earthquakes, particularly those in central and north-central Oklahoma, are triggered by the injection of produced water in disposal wells”. The rest reduced volumes or weren’t injecting at this time.   [Full Story]

Jun 21, 2015
State researchers not ready to blame quake on injection wells
Athens Daily Review
John Austin

Disposal wells that catch the high-pressure byproducts of natural gas drilling cannot conclusively be blamed for an earthquake near Fort Worth this spring, according to state experts. The Railroad Commission of Texas tested five disposal wells in Johnson County after a 4.0 magnitude temblor on May 7 to assess the effect of injection operations on underground rock formations.  [Full Story]

Jun 21, 2015
Chesco senator proposed legislation to allow taxation of natural gas pipelines
Daily Times News


West Chester>>State Senator Andy Dinniman on Thursday introduced legislation to allow local municipalities and school districts to tax natural gas pipelines.  [Full Story]

Jun 21, 2015
Oil and Gas Industry-Funded Website FrackFeed.com Off to Shaky Start
DeSmog Blog
Julie Dermansky

FrackFeed.com is a new oil and gas industry-supported website whose mission is to challenge the negative public perception of fracking. That’s a tall order since public awareness and opposition to fracking is growing following the passage of a fracking ban in Denton, Texas, as well as a de-facto ban in New York and other high-profile efforts to protect public safety and water supplies by limiting or outright stopping the risky shale extraction technique in communities worldwide.   [Full Story]

Jun 21, 2015
Well-sealing efforts could dry up with state funds
Register-Mail
Marty Hobe

GALESBURG — Statewide efforts to plug abandoned oil and natural gas wells are ongoing but could be in danger of stagnating due to state funding. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has a Plugging and Restoration Fund designated or closing dangerous abandoned wells. According to spokesperson Chris Young there are currently 3,515 wells in the the plugging and restoration program.   [Full Story]

Jun 21, 2015
Stinner to host meeting with those against Sioux County wastewater well The meeting is open to the public
KOTA TV
Sydney Kern

According to a news release, John Stinner has attempted to bring order to the frack wastewater problems after TEREX received approval for the well site just north of Mitchell. Stinner has sponsored a bill to tax the frack wastewater to help pay for expenses to the infrastructure the site will cause, and supported a bill introduced by Senator Chambers that would make all oil and gas companies reveal the ingredients of the fracking water.   [Full Story]

Jun 21, 2015
Letter: Report justifies fracking ban
Albany Times Union
Letter to the Editor, John Armstrong Frack Action

Many of us in New York's anti-fracking movement were glad to see the Times Union take a balanced approach in its editorial on the recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fracking water contamination report ("Fracking: Unclear as ever," June 10).  [Full Story]

Jun 21, 2015
Southern Utes challenge fracking law
Denver Post
Associated Press

Durango, Colo. (AP)--the Southern Ute Indian Tribe has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Interior, challenging the Bureau of Land Management's new hydraulic fracturing rule.  [Full Story]

Jun 21, 2015
Americans say ‘reject fracking in Lancashire’
Lancashire Evening Post


Elected officials in New York State, which banned fracking in December, have written to councillors in Lancashire to urge them to refuse planning permission for Cuadrilla’s two fracking applications. The state banned fracking after its Department of Public Health completed a two year study which concluded that fracking poses significant public health risks and should be banned.   [Full Story]

Jun 20, 2015
Frack Free NC Meeting Draws Dozens of Fracking Opponents
Time Warner Cable News


STOKES COUNTY, N.C. -- Although the moratorium on fracking has ended in North Carolina, efforts to keep the controversial gas drilling method away have not. A meeting organized by Frack Free NC on Saturday drew dozens to Hanging Rock State Park. Organizers said they hoped to update the community on their latest fracking opposition efforts, and to strategize about efforts going forward.   [Full Story]

Jun 20, 2015
Tribe sues Dept. of Interior Southern Utes challenge fracking law
Durango Herald
Ann Butler

he Southern Ute Indian Tribe filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior on Thursday, challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s new hydraulic fracturing rule.  [Full Story]

Jun 20, 2015
Fracking poses 'significant' risk to humans and should be temporarily banned across EU, says new report
The Independent
Andy Rowell

A major new scientific study has concluded that the controversial gas extraction technique known as fracking poses a “significant” risk to human health and British wildlife, and that an EU-wide moratorium should be implemented until widespread regulatory reform is undertaken.   [Full Story]

Jun 20, 2015
Oil transit's benefit to Albany hard to measure As billions of gallons course through Albany, is it worth the risk?
Albany Times Union
Eric Anderson

The risks of oil trains rolling through Capital Region neighborhoods are well-known. Bakken crude is flammable, even explosive, and derailments elsewhere have destroyed property and forced evacuations.   [Full Story]

Jun 20, 2015
Residents Fight To Block Fracked Gas In New York's Finger Lakes
NPR
David Chanatry

New York state's Seneca Lake is the heart of the Finger Lakes, a beautiful countryside of steep glacier-carved hills and long slivers of water with deep beds of salt. It's been mined on Seneca's shore for more than a century. The Texas company Crestwood Midstream owns the mine now, and stores natural gas in the emptied-out caverns. It has federal approval to increase the amount, and it's seeking New York's OK to store 88 million gallons of propane as well.   [Full Story]

Jun 20, 2015
New York warning over Lancashire County Council fracking vote
BBC News


A US environmental group has written to Lancashire County Council urging it to refuse permission to allow test drilling for fracking. The letter, signed by 850 elected officials in New York State, comes days before the council decides whether to approve test drilling at two locations. New York's state lawmakers outlawed the process in December. Cuadrilla, the energy firm behind the proposed drilling, said the US group had no knowledge of the case. In a statement, a spokesman for the energy firm said: "These officials from New York State have no knowledge of Cuadrilla's applications or of the regulatory controls in the UK and should not be interfering in the democratic process and decisions which will be made by the elected representatives of the people of Lancashire."  [Full Story]

Jun 19, 2015
Britain's political consensus on fracking is fractured
The Guardian
Adam Vaughan

We find out next week if the first major round of fracking in Britain will be approved, in a community that’s divided over the technology. Although Lancashire is split on the controversial method of extracting shale gas and oil, at a national level the UK’s political parties have been unusually united in their support for hydraulic fracturing. But that political consensus has begun to fracture since the election.  [Full Story]

Jun 19, 2015
This Land Was Made for You and Me … And Fracking?
EcoWatch
Lauren Petrie

For most people, the image of a fracking rig is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when they think about public lands. In Colorado, we think of rushing rivers, majestic mountains, colorful wildflowers, and fish and wildlife. But a new Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Resource Management Plan (RMP) could open nearly 7 million acres of BLM-managed federal mineral estate in eastern Colorado to fracking—with little input or oversight from the very Colorado residents who stand to lose the most if the BLM allows the extreme oil and gas extraction process on these lands. If the agency’s plans for Colorado follow a pattern that’s played out in RMPs elsewhere in the western U.S., fracking is most assuredly on the table.  [Full Story]

Jun 19, 2015
Has Our Food Been Contaminated by Chevron's Wastewater?
Truthout
Daniel Ross

Acetone and hydrocarbons found in petroleum have once again been detected in the oil field wastewater that is used to irrigate oranges, table grapes and other crops in California's Kern Valley, according to findings in a new report issued by Chevron itself. The report also highlights how oil companies other than Chevron supply the program with wastewater. Until now, Chevron has been the only company widely and publicly associated with the project. According to David Ansolabehere, general manager of the Cawelo Water District, the Valley Water Management Company - a nonprofit corporation providing oil field waste treatment and disposal services to independent oil producers in the Kern County - also discharges oil field wastewater into one of the ponds where the wastewater is contained before being distributed to farms. He communicated to Truthout by email.  [Full Story]

Jun 19, 2015
Cancer-Causing Chemicals Found In Drinking Water Near Texas Fracking Sites
ThinkProgress
Samantha Page

Scientists have found elevated levels of cancer-causing chemicals in the drinking water in North Texas’ Barnett Shale region — where a fracking boom has sprouted more than 20,000 oil and gas wells. Researchers from the University of Texas, Arlington tested water samples from public and private wells collected over the past three years and found elevated levels of heavy metals, such as arsenic. Their findings, released Wednesday, showed elevated levels of 19 different chemicals including the so-called BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylenes) compounds. Heavy metals are toxic when ingested, and BTEX compounds are considered carcinogenic when ingested. Exposure to BTEX compounds is also associated with effects on the respiratory and central nervous system. The study found elevated levels of toxic methanol and ethanol, as well.  [Full Story]

Jun 19, 2015
Health Department investigates cancer in eastern Harris County
FOX 26 Houston


HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Responding to community concerns, the Texas Department of State Health Services released an assessment showing more cases of certain types of cancer than expected in parts of eastern Harris County compared with the rest of the state. The assessment looks at reported cases of cancer and does not attempt to determine possible causes. The most notable findings include a greater-than-expected incidence of childhood glioma in one census tract, a greater-than-expected incidence of childhood melanoma in another census tract and a greater-than-expected incidence of childhood retinoblastoma in two census tracts. While these cancers are rare and few total cases were identified, the analysis determined that these findings are significant enough to warrant a discussion of whether additional study is feasible.  [Full Story]

Jun 19, 2015
Near a Fracking Center, Drinking Water Has More Chemicals and Carcinogens
InsideClimate News
Neela Banerjee

Drinking water wells in Texas counties that are home to intensive hydraulic fracturing operations contain elevated levels of more than two dozen metals and chemicals, including carcinogens, according to a new study in Environmental Science & Technology. The study is based on samples from 550 wells across the Barnett Shale natural gas formation in the Dallas area; it is one of the largest independent analyses of water quality to date of aquifers near fracking sites. Researchers found volatile organic compounds such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, or BTEX, in more than two-thirds of the wells sampled. Benzene is a carcinogen, and the other compounds can damage the nervous system. An industrial solvent called dichloromethane, or DCM, was found in 121 samples, or more than 20 percent of the wells.   [Full Story]

Jun 19, 2015
NDP Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd asked Alberta Energy Regulator to compile and present the government all of its information on hydraulic fracturing
Ernst vs Encana


Fracking poses political challenge to new NDP government by James Wood, June 19, 2015, Calgary Herald In opposition, the NDP described fracking in Alberta as “out of control” and demanded an independent review of its impact — especially on the province’s water supply. Now that the NDP is in power, it’s depicting an independent review as only one option to deal with the controversial energy extraction process, even as new concerns are raised about earthquakes potentially being caused by fracking.  [Full Story]

Jun 19, 2015
The Pope and Climate Change
The New York Times
Editorial

The issue of climate change — unlike, say, the economy — may not be a matter of everyday concern to many Americans or most citizens of the planet. The debate is too often clouded by ideology and well-financed attempts to sow doubt about the underlying science. Even among those aware enough to worry, the long-term consequences can seem remote. As one futile international conference after another has attested, the facts alone have not been enough to move world governments to take decisive action. Enter now Pope Francis with “Laudato Si.” Leaked on Monday, and presented to an expectant world on Thursday, “Laudato Si” is the first papal encyclical devoted solely to environmental issues — and also, Pope Francis clearly hopes, the beginning of the broad moral awakening necessary to persuade not just one billion Catholic faithful, but humanity at large, of our collective responsibility to pass along a clean and safe planet to future generations. In other words, to do the things that mere facts have not inspired us to do. Thus far, he made clear, we mortals have made a mess of it, polluting the air and water, destroying forests and wildlife, wantonly wasting resources. “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” he declared. “In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.”  [Full Story]

Jun 19, 2015
FPL customers will be charged for fracking activities, board says
Miami Herald
MARY ELLEN KLAS

Millions of homes and businesses who are customers of Florida Power & Light will be financing as much as $500 million a year in unregulated natural gas fracking projects conducted by the state’s largest utility, state regulators decided Thursday. The Florida Public Service Commission sided with FPL and against consumer advocates and unanimously approved guidelines that give the company carte blanche approval to charge its customers for natural gas fracking and “wildcatting” activities without oversight from regulators for the next five years. The decision gives the state largest utility company unprecedented permission to use ratepayer dollars to finance an energy exploration and production business. According to an analysis by the PSC’s staff, FPL will be the first utility in the nation to be allowed to use ratepayer money for such an “non-regulated risk.”   [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
The Shale Industry Could Be Swallowed By Its Own Debt
Bloomberg
Asjylyn Loder

The debt that fueled the U.S. shale boom now threatens to be its undoing. Drillers are devoting more revenue than ever to interest payments. In one example, Continental Resources Inc., the company credited with making North Dakota’s Bakken Shale one of the biggest oil-producing regions in the world, spent almost as much as Exxon Mobil Corp., a company 20 times its size.  [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
Public should be involved in Scottish fracking debate, says report
Shale energy Insider
James Perkins

The exploitation of shale gas can be carried out safely in Scotland, but the public should be involved in a debate on the extraction of shale gas and coal bed methane, according to a report by the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE).   [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
Conservative lobbying group ALEC sets sights on local lawmakers
Aljazeera America
Amadou Diallo

In Denton’s fight against fracking, Briggle, a philosophy professor at the University of North Texas, became an unlikely advocate in the fight for community control over corporate interests. “I hadn’t even heard of fracking until I moved to Denton,” he said. Alarmed, however, by oil industry plans to put fracking wells close to schools, playgrounds and parks, he and other concerned citizens spent the previous four years organizing a grass-roots campaign to get an anti-fracking provision on the city ballot. In November 2014, despite being outspent 10 to 1 by energy and oil company lobbies, local anti-fracking advocates won big when Denton residents voted overwhelmingly for a citywide fracking ban, the first of its kind in Texas and one of the first nationwide.  [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
‘Serious concern’ over EPA study
Leitrim Observer


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has denied accusations it commissioned a pro fracking group to help carry out a major study on the gas extraction method. The outcome of the EPA study into fracking which is expected by July 2016 will advise the Government on the safety and risks involved with hydrulic fracking. A moritoirum on fracking has been placed until after this important report is published. The consortium for the study comprises CDM Smith Ireland, the British Geological Survey, UCD, Queens University Belfast, AMEC Foster Wheeler, and Philip Lee Solicitors. The descision to include CDM Smith has been met with much concern.   [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
Norman to consider amendments to city ordinance
Norman Transcript
Joy Hampton

When municipalities across the nation began debating fracking bans, Oklahoma lawmakers struck back, enacting legislation to protect the state’s billion-dollar oil and gas industry. On May 29, Gov. Mary Fallin signed Senate Bill 809 into law, prohibiting cities and towns from banning fracking or other oil and gas operations within city limits.  [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
Study: Mega injections of wastewater triggers more quakes
The Washington Post
Seth Borenstein

WASHINGTON — The more oil and gas companies pump their saltwater waste into the ground, and the faster they do it, the more they have triggered earthquakes in the central United States, a massive new study found. An unprecedented recent jump in quakes in America’s heartland can be traced to the stepped up rate that drilling wastewater is injected deep below the surface, according to a study in Thursday’s journal Science that looked at 187,570 injection wells over four decades.  [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
Fracking Linked to Low Birth Weight Babies
AlterNet
Reynard Loki

Expectant mothers who live near natural gas fracking sites may be at an increased risk of having babies with lower birth weight, according to a new study of birth rates in Pennsylvania. For the study, which was published in the current issue of PLOS ONE, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health analyzed more than 15,000 birth records of babies born between 2007 and 2010 in three of the state's southwestern counties: Butler, Washington and Westmoreland. The study included more than 500 gas wells drilled during the same period.  [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
Fracking’s Problems Go Deeper Than Water Pollution
Wired
Nick Stockton

SALTY, CHEMICAL-LADEN FLUID leaked for two hours before anyone from Vantage Energy let Arlington city officials knew there had been an accident at the hydraulic fracturing well next to the Baptist church. It would be another 22 hours before they plugged the leak. In that time, 42,800 gallons of polluted liquid would flow into the sewers and streams of this suburban city wedged between Dallas and Fort Worth. That was two months ago, and this week Arlington officials announced their investigation into the accident—caused by equipment failure—was complete. After taking water and soil samples, they announced that the waste water spewed from the well did not cause any significant damage to the environment. Vantage Energy’s biggest sin was not notifying the city of the accident when it first occurred. Even with this conclusion, the spill has raised concerns in frack-friendly Texas and beyond.  [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
WATER NEAR A BUNCH OF TEXAS FRACKING SITES IS POLLUTED FOR SOME REASON
Dallas Observer
Amy Silverstein

But out in the real world, scientists at UT-Arlington have published a study suggesting that just maybe his worried wife isn't so dumb after all. In a study published in Environmental Science & Technology, a peer-reviewed journal, a research team lead by Dr. Zacariah Hildebrand documents their findings on local drinking water. His team analyzed 550 groundwater samples collected from aquifers over the Barnett Shale, the formation in North Texas that has been profitable to local drillers but slowly pissing off our nearby suburbs. The results make a strong case for a home water filter, one of the expensive ones:   [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
Tikorangi artist’s fracking sculpture makes award finals
Taranaki Daily News
Tara Shaskey

Fiona Clark has found inspiration in the nearby rumblings and noise of an oil and gas exploration site. The Tikorangi woman, who lives near a well site, drew on the contentious practice of hydraulic fracking as motivation to create Fracked ground above and below.   [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
PSC chairwoman cuts ties to company vying for energy work
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—New York's top energy regulator has cut her ties to an energy company doing business in the state after the relationship was reported by Capital. State Public Service Commission chairwoman Audrey Zibelman has severed her ties with Viridity Energy, an energy grid technology company she co-founded in 2008. Viridity is working on microgrid control panels for a company founded by Zibelman's former business partner, called Anbaric, that is actively working to develop projects across the state. Zibelman was head of Viridity when Governor Andrew Cuomo tapped her to lead the P.S.C. in 2013.  [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
New study reveals potential contamination
Denton Record-Chronicle
Christian McPhate

A new peer-reviewed study reveals potential groundwater contamination in the Barnett Shale, a geological formation that underlies 17 counties in North Texas, including Denton County. But the cause of the potential groundwater contamination is still under debate. “These data do not necessarily identify unconventional oil and gas activities as the source of contamination,” the authors wrote. “However, they do provide a strong impetus for further monitoring and analysis of groundwater quality in this region as many of the compounds we detected are known to be associated with unconventional oil and gas activities.”  [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
FPL customers to pay for natural-gas fracking
Sun Sentinel
Jim Turner

Florida utility regulators gave approval Thursday for the state's largest power company to further invest ratepayer money in natural-gas production.  [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
Oklahoma earthquakes linked to oil and gas wastewater disposal wells, say Stanford researchers
Stanford News
Ker Than

A new Stanford study finds that the recent spike in triggered earthquakes in Oklahoma is primarily due to the injection of wastewater produced during oil production – but not from fracking.  [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
Virginia, W. Va. coalition takes a stand against planned natural gas pipeline
Hampton Roads Pilot
Steve Szkotak

A coalition of environmental and conservation groups in West Virginia and Virginia announced its opposition Thursday to the proposed 550-mile route of a natural gas pipeline. The position represents a shift for the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance, which was formed last September as an "information coalition" on the development of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.   [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
In his sweeping encyclical on climate change Pope Francis reveals himself to be a master of scientific detail
The Washington Post
Anthony Faiola, Michelle Boorstein and Chris Mooney

VATICAN CITY — He warns of “synthetic agrotoxins” harming birds and insects and “bioaccumulation” from industrial waste. He calls for renewable fuel subsidies and “maximum energy efficiency.” And although he offers prayers at the beginning and end of his heavily anticipated missive on the environment, Pope Francis unmasks himself not only as a very green pontiff, but also as a total policy wonk. In the 192-page paper released Thursday, Francis lays out the argument for a new partnership between science and religion to combat human-driven climate change — a position bringing him immediately into conflict with skeptics, whom he chides for their “denial.” Francis urges taking public transit, carpooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, recycling — and boycotting certain products. He called for an “ecological conversion” for the faithful.  [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change
The New York Times
JIM YARDLEY and LAURIE GOODSTEIN

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Thursday called for a radical transformation of politics, economics and individual lifestyles to confront environmental degradation and climate change, as his much-awaited papal encyclical blended a biting critique of consumerism and irresponsible development with a plea for swift and unified global action. The vision that Francis outlined in the 184-page encyclical is sweeping in ambition and scope: He described a relentless exploitation and destruction of the environment, for which he blamed apathy, the reckless pursuit of profits, excessive faith in technology and political shortsightedness. The most vulnerable victims are the world’s poorest people, he declared, who are being dislocated and disregarded.  [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
Yellowknife fracking regulations meeting leaves public fuming 'You're talking heads. You're puppets,' says Indio Saravanja to panel at 4-hour meeting
CBC News
Guy Quenneville

A heated four-hour public meeting meant to gather people's thoughts about N.W.T.'s draft regulations for fracking instead unleashed a torrent of criticism about the way the government is seeking feedback. In a meeting Monday night in Yellowknife — scheduled to last two hours — the territorial government's panel spent the first hour largely recapping, in detail, the workings of N.W.T.'s regulatory system, drawing sighs from audience members.   [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
Pope Francis’ Encyclical Urges Swift Action on Climate Change Ahead of Paris Climate Talks
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

Today in Rome, Pope Francis released his long-anticipated encyclical on climate change, fueling precisely the international conversation the Pope hoped to drive. The widespread media coverage of the 180-plus page document, Laudato Si, or Praised Be to You, has undoubtedly increased public awareness of environmental issues dramatically.   [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
Release of encyclical reveals pope’s deep dive into climate science Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share via Email More Options
Washington Post
Anthony Faiola, Michelle Boorstein & Chris Mooney

VATICAN CITY — He warns of “synthetic agrotoxins” harming birds and insects and “bioaccumulation” from industrial waste. He calls for renewable fuel subsidies and “maximum energy efficiency.” And although he offers prayers at the beginning and end of his heavily anticipated missive on the environment, Pope Francis unmasks himself not only as a very green pontiff, but also as a total policy wonk.   [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
Gas drilling lease delay a ‘nightmare,’ judge says
Spokesman-Review
Matthew Brown & Josh Funk

BILLINGS – A federal judge is pressing U.S. officials to explain why it’s taken three decades to decide on a proposal to drill for natural gas just outside Glacier National Park in an area considered sacred by some Indian tribes. A frustrated U.S. District Judge Richard Leon called the delay a “nightmare” during a recent court hearing. He ordered the Interior and Agriculture departments to report to him with any other example of where they have “dragged their feet.”   [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
Government ordered to publish redacted fracking report in full
The Guardian
Damian Carrington

Heavily redacted report on the impact of fracking in the UK should be released in full, information commissioner tells environment department   [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
Full fracking report to be printed The Government has been ordered to publish in full a heavily-redacted report on the impacts of fracking.
Express & Star


The internal document - titled Shale Gas: Rural Economy Impacts - had several key sections obscured when it was published by the Environment Department (Defra) last summer in response to a request under environmental information laws.   [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
PSC rejects staff, sides with FPL to have ratepayers finance fracking projects
Miami Herald


Millions of homes and businesses who are customers of Florida Power & Light will be financing as much as $500 million a year in unregulated natural gas fracking projects conducted by the state’s largest utility, state regulators decided Thursday.   [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
Fracking investigated as possible cause of Fox Creek earthquake
CBC News


A geophysicist is looking at whether hydraulic fracking caused a 4.4-magnitude earthquake recorded on Saturday near Fox Creek, Alta.  [Full Story]

Jun 18, 2015
Harry Styles backs anti-fracking campaign
7 News


One Directon star Harry Styles has joined the anti-fracking movement. Fracking - a drilling technique used by oil and gas companies - has been a big concern for many residents in Australia and across the globe.  [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Renewable Energy Responsible for First Ever Carbon Emissions Stabilization
Renewable Energy World
Vince Font

For the first time ever, the world’s energy consumption has increased without causing an equivalent spike in carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon emissions in 2014 remained at the previous year’s levels of 32.3 billion metric tons — a milestone that points to the impact worldwide renewable energy investment is having in the face of a 1.5 percent annual increase in global energy consumption, according to a new report from REN21. The tenth annual Renewables 2015 Global Status Report cites “increased penetration of renewable energy” and improvements in energy efficiency as the chief reasons for the noted emissions stabilization.   [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Public Service Commission to decide whether FPL can charge more for fracking
Miami Herald
Mary Ellen Klas

TALLAHASSEE State utility regulators will decide Thursday whether Florida Power & Light’s 4 million customers — or its shareholders — will finance the company’s expansion into oil and natural gas reserves. The Florida Public Service Commission gave the company approval to get into the controversial fracking business in December. It now must decide whether to approve guidelines proposed by FPL that would let the company spend up to $750 million a year more on gas exploration without regulatory approval.   [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Natural Gas: Promise or Peril?
NRDC
Peter Lehner's Blog

A couple of years ago, many people in the environmental community were bullish on natural gas. Methane burns cleaner than coal, producing only about half the carbon dioxide, and almost no sulfur dioxide or mercury. When NRDC moved to clean up dirty diesel buses in New York City in the 1990s, natural gas was the answer.   [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
How fossil fuel emissions could take protein from the diets of the world’s poorest people
The Guardian
Graham Readfearn

It’s one of the all-time favourite climate science denialist talking points: carbon dioxide is just “food for plants”. But it’s one of those little nuggets of truthiness where the bit of the statement that’s true is drowned by those parts of it that aren’t.  [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Arlington officials report on fracking fluid blowout
KHOU
Brett Shipp

ARLINGTON, Texas — Two months ago, 100 homes in Arlington had to be evacuated as fracking fluid spilled out of a drilling site onto the city streets. Now we know officially what happened, why it happened, and why Arlington officials are blaming the drilling company for "unacceptable behavior."   [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Texas city repeals historic fracking ban under legal and political duress
The Guardian
Tom Dart

Denton cracked under pressure Tuesday after lawsuits and state authority over oil and gas activities forced first city to ban fracking to retract ordinance   [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
NASA Study: More Than One-Third of Earth’s Largest Aquifers Are Being Rapidly Depleted
EcoWatch
Lorraine Chow

Think the water situation is bad in California? Freshwater is depleting at alarming and unsustainable rates in major underground aquifers around the globe, according to NASA satellite images.   [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Pennsylvania Wants Record $8.9M Fine Against Drilling Firm
Manufacturing.net
Peter Jackson

State environmental regulators are pursuing a record $8.9 million fine against a Texas-based energy company they say repeatedly failed to repair a natural-gas well that contaminated groundwater and a stream in north-central Pennsylvania.   [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Alarming' study shows dangerous water along Barnett Shale
WFAA
Brett Shipp

What's being called one of the most comprehensive groundwater studies ever done in the U.S. was published Wednesday, and, according to the lead scientist, some of its findings are "incredibly alarming." The tests were performed over the past two years in the Barnett Shale and purport to show a growing link between fracking and groundwater contamination. The study is published in the trade journal Environmental Science and Technology. Dr. Zac Hildenbrand, one of the lead authors of the study who collaborated with the University of Texas at Arlington, collected samples from 550 water wells in 13 counties along the Barnett Shale.   [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Rockingham looks to stop fracking
Marcellus.com


WENTWORTH – A Rockingham County commissioner said Tuesday that he believes residents have one option left to stop hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, locally. File a lawsuit, said Commissioner Mark Richardson, the chairman of the Rockingham County Board of Commissioners.   [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Ryedale Area Committee: More evidence is needed about impact of fracking
Malton & Pickering Mercury


Further evidence about the impact of fracking in Ryedale is needed before any planning decisions are made surrounding the controversial mining technique, councillors have said.   [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Harry Styles backs anti-fracking campaign
Local SYR


British pop star Harry Styles has joined Dame Vivienne Westwood's ongoing anti-fracking campaign after the singer's hometown was earmarked as a potential site for the controversial practice. The One Direction star hails from the town of Redditch in Worcestershire, England, where energy company bosses are reportedly hoping to open a shale gas fracking site, and he has now thrown his support behind fashion designer Westwood and her anti-fracking protests.   [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Fracking Debate Update
The Bakken
Tessa Sandstrom

North Dakotans are well-informed on hydraulic fracking and understand that our state has put in place significant regulations to ensure development is done safely. We’ve seen that oil development can be done safely and efficiently.   [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Site of Arlington Fracking Fluid Leak Could Soon Reopen
NBC DFW
Tim Ciesco

An Arlington gas well site that leaked thousands of gallons of fracking fluid in April could soon resume drilling. All operations at Vantage Energy's Lake Arlington Baptist Church site along Little Road have been suspended since that leak occurred.   [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Arlington officials report on fracking fluid blowout
WFAA
Brett Shipp

ARLINGTON — Two months ago, 100 homes in Arlington had to be evacuated as fracking fluid spilled out of a drilling site onto the city streets. Now we know officially what happened, why it happened, and why Arlington officials are blaming the drilling company for "unacceptable behavior."  [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
92-year-old booked into jail after fracking protest
KHOU


DENTON, Texas — A 92-year-old woman was taken into custody and booked into the Denton jail for a short time on Tuesday after protesting at a fracking site. Violet Palmer said she knew that was a possibility when she joined her son and a small group of protesters outside a drilling operation on the west side of the city Tuesday morning.   [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Dedham asks judge to block construction of gas pipeline through town
Boston Business Journal
Eric Convey

Dedham selectmen today asked that a federal judge hold an emergency hearing and temporarily block Spectra Energy's (NYSE:SE) Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC from beginning work on a high-pressure natural gas pipeline through the town. In a complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for Boston, the town argues that Algonquin has taken steps to begin work on the Algonquin Incremental Market Project even though the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has yet to act on appeals filed against the project. FERC initially approved the project in March. The agency's decisions usually trump local regulations.   [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
What happened to 160,000 fracking jobs? Under Wolf, the numbers change
NPR State Impact PA
MARIE CUSICK

Somehow Pennsylvania lost 160,000 gas industry jobs overnight. What happened? Did drillers flee at the specter of a new tax on production? Not quite. Although companies have been laying off workers and cutting costs– lackluster market conditions don’t explain this shift. Instead, it was a decision made under Governor Wolf’s new administration. Last week the state Department of Labor and Industry quietly changed the way it tracks employment in the Marcellus Shale industry. “Those numbers were a joke,” says John Hanger, Wolf’s secretary of planning and policy. ”The errors were so glaring, they had to be changed.”  [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Fracking and water: Quantity, not just quality, a concern
Midwest Energy News
Kathiann M. Kowalski

Even in a water-rich state like Ohio, growing water use for fracking could strain water reserves, according to new research from the FracTracker Alliance, a non-profit organization that compiles data, maps and analyses about the impacts of the oil and gas industry. FrackTracker compared the oil and gas industry’s water use within southeastern Ohio’s Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) to residential use in that area, which covers roughly 20 percent of Ohio. Residential water use includes families’ home use, but excludes water for agricultural, industrial and other purposes.  [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Arlington officials report on fracking fluid blowout
WFAA
Brett Shipp

ARLINGTON — Two months ago, 100 homes in Arlington had to be evacuated as fracking fluid spilled out of a drilling site onto the city streets. Now we know officially what happened, why it happened, and why Arlington officials are blaming the drilling company for "unacceptable behavior." A series of video recordings obtained by News 8 shows the scene behind the walls of a fracking site 600 feet from a cluster of homes in the state's seventh largest city. In the incident, 42,800 gallons of fracking fluid — boiling up from thousands of feet underground — spewed into the streets and into Arlington storm sewers and streams.  [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Report: Over 40,000 Gallons Of Fracking Fluid Spilled Into Texas Neighborhood Due To Drilling Co. Mishandling
Mint Press News
ABC News

ARLINGTON — Two months ago, 100 homes in Arlington had to be evacuated as fracking fluid spilled out of a drilling site onto the city streets. Now we know officially what happened, why it happened, and why Arlington officials are blaming the drilling company for “unacceptable behavior.” A series of video recordings obtained by News 8 shows the scene behind the walls of a fracking site 600 feet from a cluster of homes in the state’s seventh largest city. In the incident, 42,800 gallons of fracking fluid — boiling up from thousands of feet underground — spewed into the streets and into Arlington storm sewers and streams. Four attempts and 24 hours later, experts were finally able to plug the natural gas well.  [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Mark Ruffalo talks climate change and what you can do about it
Grist
Mark Ruffalo

In a recent movie, I play a guy who gets pretty formidable when he gets angry. In real life, I get angry, too. I’m angry that we are still debating climate change, and that despite the reams of science-based evidence for it, there are still those who ignore the facts. I’m angry that we’re heavily investing in fossil fuels to power our nation, when greater investment in renewable energy represents jobs, energy stability — and the sustainability of life as we know it. Mostly, though, I’m hopeful, because I think the tide is turning, and many — particularly young people — understand the existential threat we face and are prepared to do something about it.   [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Bill Would Reduce Use Of Fresh Water For Fracking
Pittsburgh NPR WESA
Deanna Garcia

While the American West grapples with drought, lack of water isn’t much of a concern in Pennsylvania. Still, it’s a natural resource that is finite. A bill in Harrisburg aims to promote the use of treated coal mine water rather than fresh water for natural gas development.  [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Begin The Sabine—Delivering Gas To The Lower 48’S First LNG Export Terminal
RBN Energy
Housley Carr

The six liquefaction “trains” under development at Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal will demand nearly 4 Bcf/d of natural gas on average, the first 650 MMcf/d of that starting within a few months. And the five trains now planned at Cheniere’s Corpus Christi site—yes, now five, not three—will require another 3.2 Bcf/d. Taken together, that’s about 10% of current daily gas production in the U.S.; in other words, a monumental logistical task. Today, we start a series looking at the challenges of securing and moving huge volumes of gas to LNG export terminals, the emerging epicenters of U.S. gas demand. The development of the initial quartet of LNG export facilities on the Gulf Coast and East Coast continues. Construction of the first project out of the gate—Train 1 at Cheniere’s Sabine Pass terminal in Cameron Parish, LA—is nearing completion, with initial LNG production likely by the end of 2015 and the first shipments in early 2016. Meanwhile, work on three other trains at Sabine is well along (they’ll start operating in 2016-17), and Cheniere is closing in on final investment decisions (FIDs) on two more trains at the same site (for a total of six). A few miles to the east, Cameron LNG is building three liquefaction trains in Hackberry, LA, and in Freeport, TX Freeport LNG is building two trains of its own. On the East Coast, Dominion is building a one-train liquefaction plant at Cove Point, MD. All four projects have something big going for them—namely, each is at the site of an existing LNG import terminal (developed before the shale era), so a lot of the docking and other infrastructure is already in place. That’s given what we’ve been calling these “First Four” LNG export projects a capital-cost edge that, in turn, has enabled them to offer attractively low liquefaction tolling fees and to reach long-term deals with a long list of international off-takers.  [Full Story]

Jun 17, 2015
Renewable Energy Responsible for First Ever Carbon Emissions Stabilization
Renewable Energy World
Vince Font

For the first time ever, the world’s energy consumption has increased without causing an equivalent spike in carbon dioxide emissions.   [Full Story]

Jun 16, 2015
Local police agency breaks new ground in partnership with Dominion Cove Point
SNL
Mark Hand

The sheriff's department in Calvert County, Md., views its partnership with Dominion Resources Inc. as a successful arrangement that could serve as a template for other U.S. energy companies concerned about security issues surrounding energy infrastructure. Some criminal justice experts, however, contend that the arrangement could undermine the legitimate purpose of law enforcement activities. At the center of the partnership is a "security services agreement" that provides Dominion with protection of its Cove Point LNG facility on the Chesapeake Bay in the southeastern part of the county. The Calvert County Sheriff's Office uses the $1.25 million paid annually by Dominion to fully fund 10 sheriff deputy positions that are part of a special operations team assigned to protect the Cove Point terminal.   [Full Story]

Jun 16, 2015
How fracking is linked to Fox Creek earthquakes
Global News
Nicole Mortillaro

TORONTO – The trembling that shook residents in Fox Creek, Alberta, on June 13 wasn’t the first. And there’s a chance it won’t be the last. Since Nov. 2013, Natural Resources Canada has recorded 24 earthquakes in the region of magnitude 3 or greater and 81 of magnitude 2 or greater. The June 13 earthquake is the second since January that was magnitude 4 or greater.  [Full Story]

Jun 16, 2015
Fracking operator faces record $8.9M fine for alleged water contamination
PennLive
Wallace McKelvey

Pennsylvania regulators plan to levy a record fine against a shale gas operator that reportedly failed to correct a well that leaked methane into nearby water supplies. Range Resources, the Texas-based company that drilled the first Marcellus Shale well in 2004, faces a $8.9 million civil penalty stemming from a leaking gas well in Lycoming County. It follows a pair of multi-million-dollar fines against drilling companies last year.   [Full Story]

Jun 16, 2015
TASK FORCE FORMED TO FINALIZE OHIO FRACKING TAX
The News Leader
Marc Kovac

Columbus -- The Republican leaders of the House and Senate said June 16 that an increase in tax rates on oil and gas produced via horizontal hydraulic fracturing would not be included in the $71 billion-plus biennial budget, as sought by Gov. John Kasich. Instead, Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) and House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) said a task force of the two chambers would continue negotiations over the summer, with an eye toward a compromise package later in the year.   [Full Story]

Jun 16, 2015
Fracking awareness group sends message to government
The Western Star
Frank Gale

A group of 21 concerned people gathered at an abandoned oil well at Shoal Point near Boswarlos on Tuesday to “Toast the Coast.”  [Full Story]

Jun 16, 2015
Natural gas consultant says Burket shale formation reserves in Pennsylvania may go untapped
Tribune-Review
David Conti

Southwestern Pennsylvania has a large reservoir of natural gas deep beneath the surface that the shale gas industry might never tap. The Burket shale, also called the Geneseo formation, is being overshadowed by its big brother Marcellus, said Gregory Wrightstone, owner of Ohio Township-based Wrightstone Energy Consulting. “The one thing that is incredible to me is that we have a super giant reservoir here in the basin and it's not attracting the attention,” he said.   [Full Story]

Jun 16, 2015
Texas, Petroleum Industry Broaden Suits Against Denton
My High Plains
Jim Malewitz

The Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) and the state’s General Land Office (GLO) have expanded the scope of their lawsuits against Denton, with both taking aim at the city’s moratorium on new gas drilling in addition to the fracking ban the city is no longer enforcing. In amended complaints filed Monday, both parties argued that a new state law preempting local control over a wide range of oil and gas activities – House Bill 40 – should quickly erase both policies from the city’s books.  [Full Story]

Jun 16, 2015
Fugitive methane can cause a cascade of contamination, study says
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Laura Legere

Methane that escapes from improperly sealed gas wells into water supplies can be more troublesome than fizzy water, triggering deteriorating changes to water quality that researchers are still working to explain. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency raised the issue in a case study of a cluster of drilling-related water complaints in northeastern Pennsylvania that accompanied its larger draft study of the potential effects of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water released on June 4. The larger assessment did not find evidence of widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, but it did find instances of contamination from oil and gas development.  [Full Story]

Jun 16, 2015
House GOP Eyes Clean Fast-Track Trade Bill Without TAA Funding
Huffington Post
Laura Barron-Lopez and Jennifer Bendery

WASHINGTON -- Days after the House dealt a setback to President Barack Obama’s trade agenda, GOP leadership is considering plowing ahead with stand-alone legislation that would give the president so-called fast-track authority to shepherd trade deals through Congress. The House could take up the fast-track bill as early as this week, two House GOP aides told The Huffington Post, after which it would be sent to the Senate. The bill, also known as Trade Promotion Authority, would allow Obama to speed major trade deals, like the one he is currently negotiating with 11 Pacific nations, through Congress without filibuster threats or amendments.  [Full Story]

Jun 16, 2015
New NASA data show how the world is running out of water
The Washington Post
Todd C. Frankel

The world’s largest underground aquifers – a source of fresh water for hundreds of millions of people — are being depleted at alarming rates, according to new NASA satellite data that provides the most detailed picture yet of vital water reserves hidden under the Earth’s surface. Twenty-one of the world’s 37 largest aquifers — in locations from India and China to the United States and France — have passed their sustainability tipping points, meaning more water was removed than replaced during the decade-long study period, researchers announced Tuesday. Thirteen aquifers declined at rates that put them into the most troubled category. The researchers said this indicated a long-term problem that’s likely to worsen as reliance on aquifers grows.  [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Naomi Oreskes, a Lightning Rod in a Changing Climate
The New York Times
JUSTIN GILLIS

Formally, she is a historian of science. Informally, this diminutive woman has become a boxer, throwing herself into a messy public arena that many career-minded climate scientists try to avoid. She helps raise money to defend researchers targeted for criticism by climate change denialists. She has become a heroine to activist college students, supporting their demand that universities and other institutions divest from fossil fuels. Climatologists, though often reluctant themselves to get into fights, have showered her with praise for being willing to do it. “Her courage and persistence in communicating climate science to the wider public have made her a living legend among her colleagues,” two climate researchers, Benjamin D. Santer and John Abraham, wrote in a prize-nomination letter in 2011. Dr. Oreskes’s approach has been to dig deeply into the history of climate change denial, documenting its links to other episodes in which critics challenged a developing scientific consensus.  [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
PUBLIC HEALTH: Frac sand towns question whether rules protect them against silica pollution
E & E Newswire
Pamela King

BLOOMER, Wis. -- Every time Victoria Trinko checks her mail, she wipes a crust of sand from the letterbox. When she comes inside from a day on the farm, her face feels gritty, and she can chew the sand that has deposited in her mouth. Her voice used to crack when she tried to speak, until she bought and installed four air filters around her home. "My voice is better, but I'm living in, like, a bubble," she said.  [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Lawmakers condemn Pilgrim Pipeline at Senate committee hearing
PolitickerNJ
Chase Brush

TRENTON — Members of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee roundly condemned the construction of proposed oil pipeline through parts of North Jersey when they joined the Assembly in passing a resolution to reject the project at their morning hearing. SR106, sponsored by state Senator Richard Codey (D-27) and Tom Kean, Jr. (R-21), opposes the Pilgrim Pipeline project, named for the 178-mile pipeline developers have proposed to carry crude oil and refined petroleum pipeline between Albany, NY, and Linden. The pipeline has been a target of protests in recent weeks among environmental groups and lawmakers in Trenton, who have warned against the impact such a project would have on the water supplies and open spaces of the 30 towns and five counties the pipeline is expected to cut through.   [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Government reduced to lies, misinformation and bullying to spin fast-track fracking
Ecologist
Paul Mobbs

The Government is struggling to spin its policy to fast track fracking, writes Paul Mobbs. So as it cuts the public out of the regulatory process, exempts exploratory wells from controls, and forces the Environment Agency to issue permits with 1-2 weeks, its spin machine has resorted to outright lies and misinformation to conceal the scale of the attack on our environmental rights.  [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Government ‘fast-track’ fracking plans ‘reckless’, says Green Party
Blue & Green
Charlotte Malone

The Green Party has labelled government plans to ‘fast-track’ fracking in the UK as “reckless”. The proposed plans would see test drilling go ahead without the need to consult with local residents. Fracking remains a controversial subject, with the practice being linked to water contamination, methane leaks, environmental degradation and negative impacts on human health. Those that support fracking in the UK argue that with stringent measures in place the method will be safe and can act as a bridge between fossil fuels and renewables.  [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
The American Medical Association calls for full fracking chemical disclosure
Shale Energy Insider
James Perkins

The American Medical Association has called for the full public disclosure of all chemicals used in the fracking process, highlighting concerns about monitoring and possible long-term health impacts from the shale gas industry. The AMA has adopted as official policy that companies should disclose their chemical lists so that medical understanding possible impacts of fracking can be understood.   [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Widespread and systemic contamination found -- at the EPA
The Hill
Weston W. Wilson

Despite a press release from EPA proclaiming there is no widespread groundwater contamination due to fracking, EPA now says that their new study of the nation’s natural gas boom should not be seen as proof that hydraulic fracturing is being safely done. “That is not the message of this report,” said EPA science adviser and deputy administrator Thomas A. Burke. “The message of this report is that we have identified vulnerabilities in the water system that are really important to know about and address to keep risks as low as possible.”  [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Photos of ruptured oil pipeline provide clues of spill cause
AOL
BRIAN MELLEY

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Photos of the pipeline that spilled oil on the Santa Barbara coast show extensive corrosion and provide clues about the cause of the rupture, experts said. Corrosion visible around the crack, coupled with wear documented inside the pipe, led Robert Bea, a civil engineering professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, to believe the pipe burst during a pressure spike when the operator restarted pumps that had failed the morning of the May 19 spill. The pictures released to The Associated Press on Monday under a California Public Records Act request show the 6-inch tear that spewed up to 101,000 gallons of oil, polluting beaches, and killing hundreds of birds and marine mammals.   [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Climate Activism, Anti-system Activism and the Bernie Sanders Campaign
EcoWatch
Ted Glick

About 7 months ago I wrote An Open Letter to Naomi Klein, a column raising questions about how Naomi, in her excellent book “This Changes Everything,” took the position that what is most significant about the deepening climate crisis is that it “could form the basis of a powerful mass movement. . . to protect humanity from the ravages of both a savagely unjust economic system and a destabilized climate system. I have written this book because I came to the conclusion that climate action could provide just such a rare catalyst.” (p. 8) Elsewhere she wrote, “climate change can be a People’s Shock, a blow from below. It can disperse power into the hands of the many rather than consolidating it in the hands of the few.” (p. 10) I didn’t and still don’t disagree with the need to build a mass movement to fundamentally transform that “unjust economic system,” not at all. I’ve been part of those and related efforts—like anti-racism and anti-war—for decades and continue to be part of them. The concern I have is that we, humanity, have a very real time limit when it comes to slowing, stopping and reversing the climate crisis. There are climate tipping points which, if passed, will make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to stop an escalating series of environmental, social and economic breakdowns worldwide, no matter what kind of economic system we have, capitalist, socialist, or something else.  [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Pope Francis' Climate Change Encyclical Just Leaked. Here's What It Says.
Mother Jones
Stephanie Kirchgaessner and John Hooper

Pope Francis will this week call for changes in lifestyles and energy consumption to avert the "unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem" before the end of this century, according to a leaked draft of a papal encyclical. In a document released by an Italian magazine on Monday, the pontiff will warn that failure to act would have "grave consequences for all of us." Francis also called for a new global political authority tasked with "tackling…the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions." His appeal echoed that of his predecessor, pope Benedict XVI, who in a 2009 encyclical proposed a kind of super-UN to deal with the world's economic problems and injustices.  [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Widespread and systemic contamination found -- at the EPA
The Hill
Weston W. Wilson

Despite a press release from EPA proclaiming there is no widespread groundwater contamination due to fracking, EPA now says that their new study of the nation’s natural gas boom should not be seen as proof that hydraulic fracturing is being safely done. “That is not the message of this report,” said EPA science adviser and deputy administrator Thomas A. Burke. “The message of this report is that we have identified vulnerabilities in the water system that are really important to know about and address to keep risks as low as possible.”  [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Update: State energy panel postpones meeting
Times Union
Eric Anderson

The New York State Energy Planning Board has postponed this afternoon’s meeting until June 25, according to an announcement this morning from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. No reason was given for the change, and NYSERDA said the new time for the meeting would be provided in a “subsequent public notice.” Earlier, environmental activists criticized the current plan and said the state had missed a critical target of having 30 percent of the state’s energy provided by renewable sources. The current figure is 22 percent. And they expressed concern that the state was becoming more dependent on natural gas. “2015 is a critical year because this is when New York was supposed to achieve a previous target of meeting 30 percent of its electricity needs with renewables,” said Heidi Gogins of Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy. “We failed to do that. It’s time for a real plan with a real strategy for moving us away from fossil fuels.”  [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
5 Things You Need to Know About the EPA Fracking Report
EcoWatch
Michael Brune

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released 1,000-plus draft pages of its “Hydraulic Fracturing Drinking Water Assessment.” The report took almost five years to produce and essentially tells us (in great detail) what we already knew: Fracking and drinking water are a bad combination. On top of that, the EPA finally admitted that water resources have already been contaminated by fracking: “We found specific instances where one or more mechanisms led to impacts on drinking water resources, including contamination of drinking water wells.”  [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Pope Francis’s Encyclical Could Have Bigger Impact Than the Paris Climate Talks, Says NASA Scientist
EcoWatch
Lorraine Chow

As the world eagerly awaits Pope Francis's encyclical on climate change this Thursday, some scientists have come out and said that the papal letter could draw a larger impact than the world leaders hammering out emissions negotiations at the UN climate summit in Paris this December.   [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
5 Things You Need to Know About the EPA Fracking Report
EcoWatch
Michael Brune

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released 1,000-plus draft pages of its “Hydraulic Fracturing Drinking Water Assessment.” The report took almost five years to produce and essentially tells us (in great detail) what we already knew: Fracking and drinking water are a bad combination. On top of that, the EPA finally admitted that water resources have already been contaminated by fracking: “We found specific instances where one or more mechanisms led to impacts on drinking water resources, including contamination of drinking water wells.”  [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Cuadrilla wins partial backing for Lancashire fracking Council planning officers recommend approval of shale gas drilling at one site, but oppose a second site due to heavy traffic concerns
The Guardian
Damian Carrington

Fracking should go ahead at a site in Lancashire, council planning officers recommended on Monday. But permission should be refused at a second site due to a “severe” impact on road safety caused by heavy lorries.   [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Did the Government Illegally Open up 400,000 Acres in California for Fracking?
Alternet
Rebekah Kearn

The Center for Biological Diversity and Los Padres Forestwatch sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Secretary of the Interior and the director of California's Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday in Federal Court. They claim the governments violated the National Environmental Policy Act by approving fracking without proper environmental analysis.   [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Let clean bill of health aid in fracking’s recovery - See more at:
Vindy.com


A long-awaited report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released this month strengthens the stand of the oil and gas drilling industry that hydraulic fracturing can be executed safely and with little risk to the purity of the drinking water of millions of Americans. As such, the findings from the large-scale, multiyear study also should soften the emotionally charged rhetoric and halt some of the extremist tactics of a few well-intentioned but misguided groups of anti-fracking activists. Clearly, the EPA report demands respect. The voluminous document resulted from reviews of more than 3,000 peer- reviewed studies and scientific reports on the fracking industry plus findings from 20 of the EPA’s own independent studies conducted across the county over the past four years. From that research, EPA authorities concluded that properly regulated fracking has no “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water sources in the U.S.” Nonetheless, the study did leave the door open for a few concerns.   [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
U.S. study likely to fuel B.C. fracking debate
The Vancouver Sun
Gordon Hoekstra

VANCOUVER -- Both sides in the fracking debate in British Columbia say a new study in the U.S. backs their position. A major study from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — in the works for five years — found hydraulic fracturing activities in the United States have not led to widespread, systemic effects on drinking water.   [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Plan for Fracking's Waste Pits Could Save Millions of Birds Federal agency aims to save the 500,000 to 1 million birds that die in the industry's vats of oily residue each year.
Inside Climate News
David Hasemyer

In parched Jim Wells County, Texas, the glistening pits brimming with oil and gas waste appear to be an inviting refuge for birds seeking a hospitable place to find water and rest. But the pits offer anything but sanctuary–and safety––for birds. They are filled with oily sludge or liquid contaminated with toxic chemicals used by drillers to frack wells in the booming oil and gas fields of south Texas.   [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Environmental movement making a real impact in the US, study finds
The Guardian


States with strong green voices perform better on cutting emissions whereas those with climate sceptic views fare poorly The environmental movement is making a real difference in the US, according to a new research that shows states with strong green voices have significantly lower emissions of the gases that drive global warming. The study is one of the first to quantify the real impact of green politics on the environment. It reveals that more environmentally-friendly states, such as New York and Vermont, have cut their greenhouse gas emissions despite rising population and affluence. But other states like Texas and Wyoming, where scepticism about climate change is much stronger, have seen emissions rise.   [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Mapping 7 million gallons of crude oil spills
High Country News
Jonathan Thompson

On May 19, a pipeline owned by Plains All American burst near Santa Barbara, California, ultimately spilling more than 100,000 gallons, or some 2,400 barrels, of oil. Tens of thousands of gallons of the oil slid into a storm drain and flowed into the Pacific Ocean. The spill garnered national coverage for good reason: It killed or injured hundreds of birds, sea lions and other wildlife, sullied a long stretch of beautiful coastline and happened near where the notorious 1969 spill that inflamed a burgeoning environmental movement occurred. But the spill was anything but unique. Over the past five years, there have been over 1,000 crude oil pipeline leaks and ruptures reported to the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.  [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Massive Texas blaze dying down following pipeline rupture (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
RT News


A blaze from a ruptured gas pipeline near Cuero in Texas is being allowed to slowly burn out. A local sheriff said he expects this to happen by Monday morning. A huge column of fire was visible for over 20 miles after the pipeline caught fire. No injuries have been reported so far, according to Raul Diaz, a deputy with the DeWitt County Sheriff's Office, as cited by My San Antonio online news. “If we were going to have a fire from a ruptured pipeline, I don’t think we could have picked a better location, as there were so few homes around there,” said Joel Zavesky. He added the Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have any idea what caused the blaze.  [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Cuomo Shouldn't Bail Out Crestwood
The Leader
Peter Mantius

A private equity firm in Greenwich, Conn., could use a helping hand from New York governor Gov. Andrew Cuomo as it weighs options to salvage its disastrous investment in Houston-based Crestwood Midstream Partners and an affiliate company. Over the past nine months, First Reserve Corp. has wracked up combined paper losses of half a billion dollars in Crestwood’s two New York Stock Exchange-traded stocks. Cuomo is positioned to deliver a regulatory ruling that could ease First Reserve’s pain. Crestwood seeks approval from New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation to store liquid petroleum gas, or LPG, in abandoned salt caverns next to Seneca Lake. The project is the centerpiece of Crestwood’s plan to develop a regional storage hub for the Northeast for both LPG and natural gas.  [Full Story]

Jun 15, 2015
Yet Another Way That Oil Is Screwing the Environment
Mother Jones
Julia Lurie

What do almonds, golf, fracking, and Kim Kardashian's lawn have in common? They've all been publicly shamed for their outsized water use during California's ongoing drought. But you likely haven't heard as much about one of the state's major water sucks: oil refineries, which are estimated to be the second biggest water user of non-ag businesses in the state (after golf).  [Full Story]

Jun 14, 2015
EPA report on fracking draws mixed reactions from local stakeholders
The Exponent Telegram
Jeremiah Shelor

CLARKSBURG — Over a week later, stakeholders continue to digest the findings of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study on the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water.   [Full Story]

Jun 14, 2015
Editorial: Fracking op-ed was signed by public officials, but penned by big oil
Bakken.com
Press Release Asher Price

With its Republican legislative allies facing criticism that they had robbed a North Texas town of its powers, the oil and gas industry settled on a PR move in late May that fought fire with fire: enlist local officials from a handful of Texas communities to lend their names to an opinion piece praising the new, high-profile law that quashed a North Texas town’s ban on fracking.  [Full Story]

Jun 14, 2015
Expert: More research needed on fracking’s impact
Herald News
Andrea Gunn

The federal government needs to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to high-volume hydraulic fracturing, says one expert. John Cherry, a groundwater contamination specialist and the lead author of a 2014 Council of Canadian Academies report on fracking, told The Chronicle Herald that if Ottawa is going to encourage fracking, it needs to start funding research that will give Canadians a clearer understanding of the environmental ramifications.   [Full Story]

Jun 14, 2015
Healthy interest: The public must know fracking solution content
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Editorial--Jay Jochnowitz

The American Medical Association got it right Tuesday when the nation’s largest physicians’ organization called for greater public disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, along with increased monitoring and tracking of health impacts. Doctors in Pennsylvania and other states where deep drilling in the Marcellus and Utica shale beds is a booming industry need easier, better access to information about what substances are being pumped into the ground in the process of extracting natural gas. So do their patients.  [Full Story]

Jun 14, 2015
Political clout, water bills and respect at center of Walnut Cove debate over fracking test drilling
Winston-Salem Journal
Bertrand M. Gutierrez

WALNUT COVE – By Father’s Day, a drilling crew hired by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to search for signs of shale gas in the Dan River basin will leave the sampling site near the Walnut Tree neighborhood.   [Full Story]

Jun 14, 2015
BANKERS AND INSURANCE COMPANIES AGAINST FRACKING
Blue Daze
Sharon Wilson

Will these be our new allies: Bankers and Insurance Companies Against Fracking? It could happen. BANKERS AGAINST FRACKING We’ve covered this topic before many times. If you need to catch up, read this NY Times article: Rush to Drill for Natural Gas Creates Conflicts With Mortgages and the accompanying documents. Another good resource: At the Intersection of Wall Street and Main: Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Residential Property Interests, Risk Allocation, and Implications for the Secondary Mortgage Market. A few of the many interesting points: A lease diminishes a home’s market value. An apparent nexus between gas drilling operations and contaminated water diminished value. Structural damage to the residence represents another cause for concern. Questions about restoration of property effect long term value because a mortgage lender expects the residence and land to retain its value for the life of the loan. Compulsory integration creates issues that reduce value. Industry is working hard to convince the public that fracking, a heavy industrial mining process, in neighborhoods does not diminish property values. They want to hide the truth but Halliburton failed to nix property loss in a recent court case.  [Full Story]

Jun 14, 2015
Draft EPA Study Finds Fracking Has Not Led to Widespread Drinking Water Contamination
National Law Review


The EPA released a draft of its study, U.S. EPA Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources (External Review Draft), EPA, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-15/047, 2015, assessing the impact of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on drinking water in early June (the draft Assessment). According to the EPA’s press release, the study finds that “hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water resources,” but “identifies important vulnerabilities.” Fracking opponents, however, argue that the study vindicates their position.  [Full Story]

Jun 14, 2015
Small earthquake in Alberta could be linked to fracking
CTV News


FOX CREEK, Alta. - Northern Alberta experienced another small earthquake over the weekend in an area where two others earlier this year were linked with fracking. Natural Resources Canada recorded a 4.4-magnitude earthquake about 36 kilometres east of the community of Fox Creek around suppertime on Saturday.   [Full Story]

Jun 14, 2015
Council to revisit fracking ordinance
Denton Record-Chronicle
Peggy Heinkel-Wofe

House Bill 40 looms large over Tuesday’s City Council meeting, with city leaders expected to consider both its short-term and long-term response to the unprecedented new law. The council walked away from an all-out repeal of the city’s 7-month-old ban on hydraulic fracturing two weeks ago, after hearing more than four hours of public testimony on the citizens initiative.  [Full Story]

Jun 14, 2015
CHK: No Proof Gas Taken From Non-Profit Property Group Alleges Driller Took Oil and Natural Gas Without Permission
The Intelligencer
Casey Junkins

WHEELING - Attorneys representing Chesapeake Energy said even if the company used property owned jointly by six Wheeling non-profit groups in pooled drilling units, this does not prove the fracker took oil and natural gas from the land in question. However, Tim Greene, a former West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection inspector and the owner of Land and Mineral Management of Appalachia, said he does not understand why a driller would include someone's acreage in a pooled unit without intending to take the oil and gas from it.  [Full Story]

Jun 14, 2015
Colorado energy companies taking horizontal drilling trespassing dispute to court
The Republic
Associated Press

GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado — Two of western Colorado's major natural gas producers are at odds over trespass allegations related to horizontal drilling. The Daily Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/1G5po9g ) that Encana has sued WPX Energy, saying WPX drilled a well that passed through Encana's mineral estate in the Parachute Creek area without Encana's permission.   [Full Story]

Jun 14, 2015
Wolf displays leadership on climate change action
Times-Tribune
Rabbi Daniel Swartz

Right now, Gov. Tom Wolf is in the right place at the right time to make a difference. How? By requiring natural gas drilling operations to reduce methane emissions. While methane doesn’t stay in the atmosphere nearly as long as carbon dioxide, a methane molecule is more than 20 times more efficient at trapping heat than a molecule of carbon dioxide.   [Full Story]

Jun 14, 2015
Another earthquake in Fox Creek raises concerns over hydraulic fracking
Global News
Sarah Offin

EDMONTON – A 4.4 magnitude earthquake has rattled a small town in Northern Alberta for the second time this year. The quake struck around 6:00 p.m. Saturday night, about 36 kilometres east of Fox Creek. The small oil and gas town has had tremors in the past, including one the same size in January that caused minor damage.  [Full Story]

Jun 14, 2015
Oil And Debt Continue To Flow For U.S. Shale
Seeking Alpha
Tim Maverick

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) met on June 5, and it's clear that the current trends in the global oil market will remain steady. First, OPEC - led by Saudi Arabia - will continue to pump out as much oil as possible. The cartel's production target of 30 million barrels, with an excess of 31 million barrels actually being pumped, remains. OPEC did say they would be open to reducing their quota, but only if Russia, the world's largest producer, cuts back… Fat chance of that! Russia has never agreed to production cuts, and isn't showing any flexibility now. U.S. shale oil producers are also continuing to pump out oil with no sign of stopping. In fact, they stand at the ready to add even more output.  [Full Story]

Jun 14, 2015
Magnitude 4.4 earthquake detected near Fox Creek, Alta.
The Weather Network
Daniel Martins

Sunday, June 14, 2015, 12:47 PM - A magnitude 4.4 earthquake was detected Saturday near the town of Fox Creek, Alta.... That quake may have been linked to hydraulic fracturing, popularly known as "fracking", by the Alberta Energy Regulator. The AER told the CBC in January that there was evidence the quake, and others, was caused by fracking, but added it was "impossible to definitively state that it was not a naturally occurring event."   [Full Story]

Jun 13, 2015
Jane Fonda scorches fossil fuel executives in Vancouver speech, saying the real issue is life versus oil
The Georgia Straight
Charlie Smith

Oscar-winning actor Jane Fonda electrified a crowd at Jericho Beach with a hard-hitting 12-minute speech condemning oil executives and calling for far greater emphasis on renewable energy. The star of such films as On Golden Pond and Klute said that she came to speak in Vancouver because she believes that the world is at an "existential crossroads" because of climate change. "I’m 77 and I thought I was getting too tired to go to the barricades, but that’s a bunch of B.S.," Fonda said to cheers from people attending the Toast the Coast Before the Coast is Toast celebration. "This issue is too important and it’s a very simple issue," she continued. "People versus oil. Life versus oil."  [Full Story]

Jun 13, 2015
Growing oil train traffic is shrouded in secrecy
Reveal News
Ashley Ahearn

EVERETT, Wash. – Dean Smith, 72, sits in his car by the train tracks here north of Seattle. It’s a dark, rainy Tuesday night, and Smith waits for an oil train to come through town. These trains are distinctive: A mile long, they haul 100 or so black, pill-shaped cars that each carry 30,000 gallons of crude oil. Smith has been counting the trains for about a year, noting each one on a website he built. The former National Security Agency employee does it because the railroads share little information about oil train traffic with Washington state. They don’t have to because they’re federally regulated.  [Full Story]

Jun 13, 2015
Swarm of Earthquakes Rattles Rural Alabama; Reason Unclear
ABC News
Jay Reeves

Jim Sterling didn't know what had hit his 156-year-old antebellum home when an earthquake struck Alabama's old plantation region early one morning last November. Startled, he grabbed a gun and ran outdoors. In the pre-dawn chill, Sterling said, he found an odd scene: horses were galloping, cows mooing and dogs barking.  [Full Story]

Jun 13, 2015
In Response to Controversial EPA Fracking Report, Bill Introduced to Close Loopholes and Protect Water
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

The release last week of a report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the danger to drinking water supplies from fracking has stirred up quite a bit of debate. It’s been spun by fracking supporters as vindicating them, since it said it did not find “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.” But fracking opponents have pointed to its conclusion that the proximity of drinking water supplies to fracking operations and the incidents that have already occurred indicate a crisis in the making, and that these operations pose a significant risk to human health and the environment. They also noted that the report drew on insufficient and voluntary data.  [Full Story]

Jun 13, 2015
Explosive intervention by Pope Francis set to transform climate change debate
The Guardian
John Vidal

The most anticipated papal letter for decades will be published in five languages on Thursday. It will call for an end to the ‘tyrannical’ exploitation of nature by mankind. Could it lead to a step-change in the battle against global warming? Pope Francis will call for an ethical and economic revolution to prevent catastrophic climate change and growing inequality in a letter to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics on Thursday. In an unprecedented encyclical on the subject of the environment, the pontiff is expected to argue that humanity’s exploitation of the planet’s resources has crossed the Earth’s natural boundaries, and that the world faces ruin without a revolution in hearts and minds. The much-anticipated message, which will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops, will be published online in five languages on Thursday and is expected to be the most radical statement yet from the outspoken pontiff. However, it is certain to anger sections of Republican opinion in America by endorsing the warnings of climate scientists and admonishing rich elites, say cardinals and scientists who have advised the Vatican.  [Full Story]

Jun 13, 2015
Pope Francis to Explore Climate’s Effect on World’s Poor
The New York Times
Jin Yardley

VATICAN CITY — Ban Ki-moon arrived at the Vatican with his own college of cardinals. Mr. Ban, the United Nations secretary general, had brought the leaders of all his major agencies to see Pope Francis, a show of organizational muscle and respect for a meeting between two global institutions that had sometimes shared a bumpy past but now had a mutual interest. The agenda was poverty, and Francis inveighed against the “economy of exclusion” as he addressed Mr. Ban’s delegation at the Apostolic Palace. But in an informal meeting with Mr. Ban and his advisers, Francis shifted the discussion to the environment and how environmental degradation weighed heaviest on the poor.  [Full Story]

Jun 12, 2015
American Medical Association blasts secret shale records Group calls for public disclosure, expanded water monitoring
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Don Hopey

The American Medical Association, citing growing concerns about monitoring and tracking long-term human health impacts caused by shale gas development, is calling for the public disclosure of all chemicals used in the extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” The new policy, adopted Tuesday by the nation’s largest physicians organization at its annual meeting in Chicago, states that in addition to requiring the chemical disclosures, monitoring “should focus on human exposure in well water and surface water and government agencies should share this information with physicians and the public.” Most of the 25 states in the U.S. where shale gas drilling and development is occurring — including Pennsylvania, where drilling in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations is booming — either don’t know or don’t publicly disclose all the chemicals used in fracking. “Keeping the names of the chemicals secret is preposterous,” said Todd Sack, a physician in Jacksonville, Fla., and author of the AMA’s policy. “It places an unreasonable burden on physicians. The AMA feels that if companies are going to be responsible petroleum and gas explorers and extractors, they need to disclose the chemicals they use and do better water testing. That’s not a radical position.”  [Full Story]

Jun 12, 2015
McKibben to Clinton: Now it’s really time to get serious about climate change
Grist
Bill McKibben

Dear Secretary Clinton — In your husband’s years in office, the greenhouse effect was still fairly novel science; even eight years ago, when you were first running for president, climate change was not yet really a top-tier issue. In a sense, then, this summer marks the first chance most Americans have to really find out what and how you think about global warming — the challenge that more than any other will color the economic and foreign policy landscape for the years ahead. In hopes you might seize the moment, I offer a few suggestions. So far your rhetoric has been correct but eye-glazing, dominated by phrases like “urgent” and “moral” and “grandchildren” — the words skillful politicians use to signal interest without committing themselves to actual policies. (Because policies come with opponents.)  [Full Story]

Jun 12, 2015
Senator Introduces Plan To Cut Water Pollution From Fracking
ThinkProgress
KATIE VALENTINE

A new bill would close loopholes that exempt oil and gas companies from certain clean water regulations, in the hopes of cutting down on water pollution from hydraulic fracturing operations. The bill, introduced by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), would get rid of two clean water exemptions for oil and gas companies — one enacted in 1987 and the other in 2005. The 2005 exemption, known as the Halliburton Loophole, came from a provision in that year’s Energy Policy Act and allows oil and gas companies to frack free from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974. Cardin’s bill, dubbed the FRESHER Act, would do away with the Halliburton Loophole. It would also prompt the Department of the Interior to conduct a study on the impacts of oil and gas operations on stormwater runoff. “With 15 million Americans living within one mile a mile of a well that has been drilled in the last 15 years, the loopholes oil and gas companies enjoy threaten our environment and public health,” Cardin said in a statement. “Oil and gas companies that already enjoy tax breaks should be required to follow the same laws to protect our water and public health as other industries.”  [Full Story]

Jun 12, 2015
6 Signs That ALEC Is Losing Its War Against Solar
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

The American Legislative Exchange Council—popularly known as ALEC—operated in the shadows for years, writing its so-called “model legislation,” which has been introduced and promoted in state assemblies across the country by member legislators. That legislation features a conservative “free market” agenda—weakening unions, fighting increases in the minimum wage, reducing corporate taxation, supporting gun owner rights and fighting against the environmental regulations despised by its funders from the fossil fuel industry such as Exxon Mobile and the Koch brothers. Among other things, it’s pushed for states to withdraw from climate compacts, penalize rooftop solar installations and repeal renewable portfolio standards. ALEC has been around since 1973. But it’s only in the past five years that the public has become more aware of its existence and its mission. Maybe that’s why, despite some successes, it’s starting to lose some key battles. Here are the top six:  [Full Story]

Jun 12, 2015
Government trying to fast-track fracking without public consent
Independent UK
Tom Bawden

The Government is attempting to fast-track fracking by doing away with the need for the public to be consulted before test drilling goes ahead. The changes, which have been quietly put out to public consultation, mean the advice of local residents would no longer be sought in the early stages of most new oil and gasdevelopments.  [Full Story]

Jun 12, 2015
‘I hope my town can help me.’ Northfield woman says compressor siting effectively condemns her home
The Recorder
Rachel Rapkin

Like a new car driving off the sales lot, Holly Lovelace’s house value, she claims, has dropped due to Kinder Morgan’s interest in 200 acres for a natural gas pipeline compressor station one-third of a mile away from her home. “The value of my home was just reduced significantly just because they sent me this letter,” the Gulf Road resident said about the company’s plans to buy a 242-acre parcel to build an 80,000-horsepower compressor for its planned pipeline. “Tens of thousands of dollars are suddenly gone.” Lovelace, as well as many other concerned citizens, expressed their feelings about the issue at Tuesday evening’s Selectboard meeting, many asking for the board’s help.  [Full Story]

Jun 12, 2015
Crowd slams state at pipeline hearing
The Recorder
Richie Davis

GREENFIELD — Some of those who spoke at a three-hour state Department of Public Utilities hearing Thursday night sounded off about the DPU’s process almostly as much as on Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.’s proposed Northeast Energy Direct project. In a nearly packed Greenfield Middle School auditorium, the hearing was overwhelmingly dominated by opponents of the pipeline, and of the long-term contract Berkshire Gas Co. is seeking state approval for in order to buy some of that natural gas. The Greenfield hearing was added to the department’s scheduled only after Senate President Stanley Rosenberg of Amherst formally requested it.  [Full Story]

Jun 12, 2015
Natural gas line bursts
Marcellus.com
Larry Deklinski

UNITYVILLE – A natural gas pipeline rupture caused a voluntary evacuation of residents living in a three-mile radius of this Lycoming County village Tuesday evening. The line is owned by Williams, a natural gas pipeline company based in Tulsa, Okla., which wants to build a 178-mile line that would pass through Northumberland and Columbia counties. The Williams Transco 24-inch line ruptured at around 9:30 p.m. in a rural area north of Unityville near Wilson Road. State Route 118 was closed between routes 42 and 239 and an evacuation radius of 1 to 1.5 miles was quickly established, before being widened to three miles. Shelters were established at Lairdsville Elementary School and Unityville and Benton fire companies. Dan Jankowski, Benton EMA coordinator, said he could hear a loud roar from his home located about four miles away from the site. Other residents reported hearing a similar sound. Jankowski was manning the Benton shelter, where about 15 residents sought refuge before returning home when the evacuation order was lifted at 11:45 p.m.  [Full Story]

Jun 12, 2015
Wall Street Looks To Green Bonds To Promote Environmental Projects
EcoPolitics Daily
Susan Torres Blog

Wall Street has a massive appetite for green bonds right now. In fact, investors are snapping them up at the fastest pace on record with more than $16 billion having been issued this year already. New York City can tap into this energy too. A proposal being pushed by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer would make New York the nation’s first major city to pay for those projects by issuing municipal bonds specifically dedicated for financing environmentally friendly projects.   [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
Under pressure Documents reveal EPA consented to industry demands on study into fracking’s effect on drinking water
Boulder Weekly
Mollie Putzig

Fracking has no “widespread, systematic” impacts on drinking water, according to a draft of an Environmental Protection Agency study released June 4, but industry influence on the study invites skepticism. The study began in 2010 when Congress directed the EPA to investigate whether fracking poses a threat to drinking water. Five years and $30 million later, internal documents obtained by Greenpeace via an open records request show the energy industry has been extensively involved since day one — paying for tests, supplying data and editing drafts. The EPA, however, stands by the validity of its work. “[The study] is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the scientific information available on the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing activities on our drinking water resources,” said Tom Burke, assistant administrator of the EPA Office of Research and Development, during a conference call June 4. According to the documents, which detail negotiations between the EPA and industry partners, the federal agency planned to monitor water throughout the gas extraction process. It would test water before energy companies began work to get baseline water quality and monitor from there on out.  [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
PA Residents ‘Terrified’ After Williams Transco Natural Gas Pipeline Rupture — Resistance Mounting
EnvroNews
Emerson Urry

(EnviroNews World News) — Unityville, Pennsylvania — A group by the name of Beyond Extreme Energy sent in a fresh-on-the-wire press release to EnviroNews USA on June 11, 2015. The subject: Ongoing outrage and fear, near the Pennsylvania community of Unityville, over a Williams Companies, Inc., natural gas spill on the Transco pipeline two days ago. Local media reported the incident occurred on tuesday night at around 9:40 P.M. and that residents up to a mile away were rocked by an explosion followed by a prolonged “jet engine” type sound and the smell of gas. In turn, the incident resulted in a fearful disorientation throughout the surrounding communities. As many as 130 nearby residents were evacuated from their homes for “several hours,” according to the Lancaster Online.  [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
Editorial: Fracking ban is safe despite EPA report
Times Herald Record
Editorial

Yet a more thorough reading of the stories beneath those headlines provides both the nuances that are always lurking in such a tangled story and the confirmation that in this case, the state got it right the first time with no need to turn back. First of all, the DEC was quick to point out that the state did a more comprehensive job than the EPA. Second, the state never made the claim that there was widespread harm. What it concluded after a lengthy review of the science and the experiences elsewhere, was that fracking was responsible for many examples of water pollution when water sources were near the drilling operations. That’s what the EPA found as well, although it somehow got lost in the scramble to get the news out.  [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
Texas Congressman Lamar Smith Declares War on NASA and EPA Climate Science Research
DeSmogBlog UK
Kyla Mandel

Lamar Smith, a Republican member of the US House of Representatives, has declared war on the Obama administration, NASA and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to undermine attempts to prevent dangerous climate change, report Kyla Mandel and Brendan Montague from Washington DC, USA. Speaking at the Heartland Institute’s climate denier conference in Washington DC today, the Texas congressman described how three subpoenas for EPA staff emails and texts have now been issued following claims about “secret emails” and personal use of email accounts by the agency.   [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
California Environmental Groups Sue to Stop Fracking - See more at:
Public News Service


LOS ANGELES – California environmental groups filed suit Wednesday to block a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plan to allow fracking and oil drilling on more than one million acres of public land. According to Patrick Sullivan with the Center for Biological Diversity, the BLM environmental assessment was inadequate.   [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
Fracking given the green light
IOL SciTech
Melanie Gosling

Cape Town - The stage is set for fracking to go ahead in the Karoo with the gazetting of final regulations to control the exploration and production of oil, gas and hydraulic fracturing. The publication of these regulations means the government can now process applications to explore for shale gas.   [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
Fracking Blowout in Texas Causes Huge Dead Zone (PHOTOS)
Huffington Post
Jesse Coleman

The same week that Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill stripping local communities of their ability to control the oil and gas industry, a fracking well exploded in south Texas, spraying a toxic mix of chemicals and forcing the evacuation of 20 families.  [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
“There Could Be Trouble” As US Fracking Revolution Prepares to Go Global
DeSmog Blog
Justin Mikulka

A new report showing the U.S. overtaking Russia as the leading producer of oil and gas in the world should put to rest any doubt that the fracking revolution that has occurred in the U.S. is for real, or as BP’s chief economist put it, “profound.” And now with the recent Environmental Protection Agency report on the impacts of fracking on drinking water being touted by the American Petroleum Institute as proof that fracking is safe, the industry’s insatiable greed got another boost. More recently, the Harvard Business School has also joined in the discussion calling for the end of the ban on exporting U.S. crude oil and warning about the implications of missing the “opportunity” offered by fracking.  [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
Guest View: Fracking would spoil Southern Illinois
The Southern
Ron Darnell Guest View (Opinion)

The Southern's Sunday editorial, “Fracking is on the Horizon,” warrants a response. In stating that “on rare occasions fracking drills punched through potable aquifers,” be reminded that the Exxon-Valdez and the Gulf oil spill were rare occasions and Illinois state regulation will be no deterrent for the oil companies to cut corners, which they have, historically, chosen to do. Using billions and billions of gallons of our precious clean water laced with benzene and other chemicals to bring oil to the surface and then ship overseas is neither environmentally nor economically in our best interest.  [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
3 Reasons Why You Should Watch This Video on Fracking
EcoWatch
Hannah Tyler

Current Ohio law falls woefully short of establishing adequate protections from fracking for Ohio communities and families. This was demonstrated time and again in 2014, when we saw several major fracking accidents in our state alone. We’re nearing the one-year anniversary of a massive frack fire in Monroe county that resulted in the evacuation of 25 families, and severely polluted a nearby, once pristine stream, leaving a 5-mile fish kill in its wake.  [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
In opposition to fracking
Isle of Man Today


A growing movement against fracking has kept the UK free from this dirty, unnecessary and dangerous activity for the past four years – a great result, and proof that public opinion counts for something. But the new Tory Government is known to be frack-friendly, and David Cameron’s once-promised ‘greenest government ever’ is nowhere to be seen. IoM Friends of the Earth’s Cat Turner explains why it’s important to support our friends over the water   [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
Opposition to test drilling for fracking faces entrenched power
Winston-Salem Journal
Scott Sexton

WALNUT COVE — There is no nice way to say it. The neighborhood where crews are drilling a 1,750-foot hole on public land to look for signs of natural gas isn’t pretty.   [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
Fracking tax won’t be part of final budget deal, Ohio House insists
Columbus Dispatch
Jim Siegel

House leaders are largely holding their tongues on the sweeping Senate changes to their two-year, $71.3 billion budget, but they continue to make one thing clear: They will not pass a severance tax as part of the budget.   [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
Making tiny earthquakes to understand fracking-driven quakes Experiment challenges our explanation for quakes from deep fluid injections.
ARS Technica
Scott K. Johnson

In some places, notably Ohio and Oklahoma, the injection of used fracking fluid in deep disposal wells appears to have produced a significant uptick in earthquake activity. The earthquakes are mostly much too small to be felt at the surface, but a magnitude 5.6 quake in Oklahoma was large enough to cause some damage in 2011. This has made lots of news because of its scale, but it’s not our first experience with injection-triggered earthquakes. It’s a concern for geothermal power designs that inject water to depths where it can turn to turbine-driving steam, for example. And in the future, it could be a concern for efforts to store carbon dioxide in underground reservoirs.   [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
Why shale producers are happy with this EPA fracking study
Market Watch
Myra P. Saefong

The energy industry agrees with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — at least when it comes to the findings of an EPA study on hydraulic fracturing. Michael Krancer, partner and chair of the energy industry team at law firm Blank Rome LLP, said a draft report on the EPA study shows that fracking is “safe,” with “no widespread issues.”   [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
Environmental caucus: Don’t forget about these six bills
Times Union
Matthew Hamilton

“If there is a political will on the leadership’s part to bring these bills to the floor, they will be passed overwhelmingly in both houses,” state Sen. Phil Boyle, R-Long Island, said. “There’s late nights we’re sitting around (at) 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock in the morning not doing anything. That’s when these bills should be brought to the floor. Hopefully (they’re brought up) in the daylight, but we’ll take it anytime.” The caucus also wants passage of the Hazardous Waste Loophole Bill, legislation creating a paint take-back program, legislation focused on the financial liability of companies that store crude oil and legislation that would establish a community solar program.  [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
“There Could Be Trouble” As US Fracking Revolution Prepares to Go Global
DeSmogBlog
JUSTIN MIKULKA

A new report showing the U.S. overtaking Russia as the leading producer of oil and gas in the world should put to rest any doubt that the fracking revolution that has occurred in the U.S. is for real, or as BP’s chief economist put it, “profound.” And now with the recent Environmental Protection Agency report on the impacts of fracking on drinking water being touted by the American Petroleum Institute as proof that fracking is safe, the industry’s insatiable greed got another boost. More recently, the Harvard Business School has also joined in the discussion calling for the end of the ban on exporting U.S. crude oil and warning about the implications of missing the “opportunity” offered by fracking. So with all of this momentum, what does ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson think should be next? Less regulation. As previously mentioned on DeSmog, at this year’s CERAweek conference Tillerson complained that the industry was overly regulated and held back by “the noise.”  [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
WRITE ON: What the EPA really said
Finger Lake Times
Michael Fitzgerald

he federal Environmental Protection Agency’s draft report issued last week about the potential impacts of hydrofracking on the nation’s drinking water triggered an avalanche of expansive — and false — claims by hydrofracking proponents that the extractive technology had been declared safe.  [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
EPA fracking report doesn't give green light, says scientist
CBC News


A scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says a new four-year study of hydraulic fracturing is not meant to give approval to the controversial method of extracting shale gas. The new report by the EPA found no evidence that hydraulic fracturing causes widespread, systemic drinking water contamination. Tom Burke, the science adviser to the EPA, says each region has to make its own decisions and the study is one tool to help make informed choice. "It was never a study designed to determine whether fracking is safe or not," he said. "It was a study determined to look at the use of water and the potential vulnerabilities of our drinking water resources."  [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
The Cuomo administration’s pipeline challenge
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

In the last six months, the Cuomo administration has come down firmly on the side of environmentalists on a number of controversial issues. There was, most famously, the governor’s decision in late 2014 to ban fracking in New York. There was also the decision in May to conduct a thorough environmental probe of a proposed crude oil facility that could turn the Hudson River into a major tar sands transportation route. And there was the recent declaration by a top energy official that the administration is actively working to close the Indian Point nuclear facility. Now, the administration has the power to block, or substantially delay, a few natural gas pipelines that are opposed by some environmental groups, and which are awaiting final sign off.  [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
Opposition to test drilling for fracking faces entrenched power
Winston-Salem Journal
Scott Sexton

WALNUT COVE — There is no nice way to say it. The neighborhood where crews are drilling a 1,750-foot hole on public land to look for signs of natural gas isn’t pretty.   [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
Lycoming County gas pipeline rupture was to same pipeline that passes through 60 miles of Lancaster County
LancasterOnline
Ad Crable

The natural gas pipeline that exploded in Lycoming County Tuesday night is the same pipeline that passes through Lancaster County for 60 miles.  [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
Fracking Blowout in Texas Causes Huge Dead Zone (PHOTOS)
Huffington Post
Jesse Coleman

The same week that Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill stripping local communities of their ability to control the oil and gas industry, a fracking well exploded in south Texas, spraying a toxic mix of chemicals and forcing the evacuation of 20 families.  [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
McKibben to Obama: You still have time to be a climate champion — but not much
Grist
Bill McKibben

Dear President Obama — I feel a little awkward writing a letter to you, perhaps because I helped organize the largest demonstrations outside your house during your residence there: It’s odd to write someone when the closest you’ve ever come to them is being chained to the fence outside their home protesting the Keystone pipeline. But I’ve had a very long time to think about global warming — since the late 1980s, when I published the first book for a general audience on the topic of what we then called the greenhouse effect. And so I thought I might offer a few thoughts. It’s only in the last three or four years that climate’s political dimensions have come into clearest focus for me, beginning in some ways with those Keystone demonstrations. As I’ve learned more about how Washington works, I’ve understood better some of the paths you took and didn’t. With 18 months left in your administration, the summing-up mood is appropriate — but not entirely, since time remains for a series of fateful decisions that will shape your legacy, but more importantly the planet’s future atmospheric chemistry.   [Full Story]

Jun 11, 2015
Notes From Colorado On the Fracking Front
CounterPunch
Phillip Doe

It is a truth universal that when a politician establishes a task force to examine an explosive public issue, often an issue of his own making, said politician will term the task force’s recommendations remarkable in both their wisdom and farsightedness. This truth was borne out on February 24th when Colorado Governor Hickenlooper’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Fracking issued its carefully vetted and resultantly sparse recommendations. He personally selected the 21 members, so of course it was fitting he label them Blue Ribbon and congratulate them on a job well done. The majority were oil executive cronies or political yesteryears friendly to him or the industry.  [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
Frackers point to EPA study, hoping it will influence NYS
Capitol Confidential
Rick Karlin

Supporters of the currently-banned practice of hydraulic fracturing drilling, or hydrofracking for gas in New York State haven’t given up hope entirely despite a decision by the Cuomo Administration in December to continue the ban which has been in place for more than five years.   [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
As Fracking Ban Nears, Gas Industry Prepares Legal Action
TWC News


As the state Department of Environmental Conservation prepares to put the rubber stamp on a ban on high volume hydraulic fracturing, representatives from the oil and gas industry say they’re preparing to take legal action. At a press conference in Albany, the American Petroleum Institute’s Karen Moreau told reporters she’s been in touch with attorneys both within her ogranization and outside counsel that’s “very skilled with respect to the process in New York.” This comes as the DEC prepares to release its Findings Statement on the natural gas drilling process. The statement is expected to contain language that institutes an all-out ban on fracking in New York. The statement is based on the department’s environmental review of fracking, the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement. That review, released last month, contained analysis from the DEC that suggested fracking would pose a risk to the environment and health of adjacent homeowners. There’s no deadline for the DEC to issue its Findings Statement, though its expected to be released in the coming weeks.  [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
New York fracking supporters pin hopes on EPA study
Times Union
Rick Karlin

Supporters of the currently banned practice of hydraulic fracturing — or hydrofracking — for gas in New York state haven't given up hope entirely despite a decision by the Cuomo administration in December to continue the ban, which has been in place for more than five years.   [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
Bill to make oil shippers, terminals prove cleanup cash heads to the wire at Capitol
Times Union
Brian Nearing

Albany A state lawmaker from Albany is making another bid to require companies that ship or store Bakken crude oil or tar sands oil — like the railroads and two terminals at the Port of Albany — to put up financial guarantees to cover the multimillion-dollar costs of dealing with spills, fires or explosions. A similar measure died in the GOP-controlled Senate last year, but Assembly member Pat Fahy, an Albany Democrat, said she hopes that the ranking Democrat on the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, co-sponsor Tony Avella of Queens, can shepherd the bill through this time.  [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
FRACKING FIRM ENCOURAGES INDUSTRY TO IMITATE TACO BELL’S TWITTER STRATEGY
Firstlook
Lee Fang

Can fracking firms win public support through social media by replicating the whimsical style of Taco Bell’s Twitter account? That was one of the goals discussed at an Energy Digital Summit event with Brittany Thomas, an external affairs coordinator for Cabot Oil and Gas, a leading hydraulic fracturing company.  [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
Majority of MEPs support fracking moratorium in symbolic vote
The Guardian
Arthur Neslen

MEPs in Strasbourg vote 338 to 319 in favour of moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for shale until is proven safe – but vote will have no practical effect   [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
EPA denies hiring fracking ‘cheerleader’ to conduct study Oireachtas committee members criticise decision to appoint consultants CDM Smith
The Irish Times
Claran D'Arcy

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has denied accusations it commissioned a “cheerleader” of the fracking industry to help carry out a major study on the gas extraction method. EPA deputy director Dara Lynott appeared before Oireachtas transport and communications committee members on Wednesday.  [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
Those fracking headlines
River Reporter
Editorial

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on June 4 released a long-awaited study on hydraulic fracturing. Both sides of the fracking debate claimed victory. The headline on the story from ecowatch.com said, “Long-Awaited EPA Study Says Fracking Pollutes Drinking Water. The headline from the Washington Times said, “EPA finds fracking poses no direct threat to drinking water,” and called the study a “serious blow to environmentalists….” After reading the 24-page executive summary of the report, it is hard to agree with the headline of the Washington Times. Many news reports about the study, including the one from the Associated Press and an account read on a local radio station, quoted a line from the summary that said the EPA researchers did not find, “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.” But many reports also ignored the previous paragraph, which said, “We have identified potential mechanisms by which hydraulic fracturing could affect drinking water resources,” and those mechanisms exist both above ground and below ground. Further, just after the no “widespread systemic impact” statement, the sentence reads, “We found specific instances where one or more of these mechanisms led to impacts on drinking water resources, including contamination of drinking water wells. The cases occurred during both routine activities and accidents and have resulted in impacts to surface or ground water. Spills of hydraulic fracturing fluid and [so-called] produced water in certain cases have reached drinking water resources, both surface and ground water.”  [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
Fracking: unclear as ever
Times Union
Editorial

Regardless of where you stand on hydraulic fracturing, a new Environmental Protection Agency report on how the controversial drilling technique affects drinking water supplies can probably support your point of view. The EPA draft report, nearly five years in the making, was commissioned by Congress during the rapid expansion of fracking and amid the concerns over whether it poses a threat to our water supply. You say it does? Well, fracking has indeed polluted some surface water, the EPA found, and there’s potential for further contamination. You say it doesn’t? Well, says the EPA, the way fracking is now practiced in the U.S. it has not had any widespread, systemic impact on drinking water resources. However, there’s a big but. The report did not consider other potential hazards of forcing pressurized water and chemicals into the ground to fracture rock and release natural gas deposits. Other studies have linked fracking to an increase in minor earthquakes and to ground and air pollution. Notably, some installation and maintenance of gas wells have been lax, allowing toxic substances to leak into the ground and air.  [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
Court rejects bid to block EPA power plant standards
E&E Publishing
Jeremy P. Jacobs

A federal appeals court today dismissed an attempt by more than a dozen states, energy companies and industry groups to block U.S. EPA from finalizing its landmark greenhouse gas standards for power plants. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruling hinged on procedural grounds, holding that the court would not rule on the legality of the standards before they were finalized. In his majority opinion for the three-judge panel, Judge Brett Kavanaugh said the challengers, led by West Virginia and Ohio-based Murray Energy Corp., asked the court to take unprecedented action.  [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
Tesla Meeting Has Elon Musk Coping With Model X, Gigafactories, Batteries and Vegans
GreenTech Grid
Eric Wesoff

CEO Elon Musk preached today at the annual Tesla shareholders meeting, with services at the house of Musk yielding mostly positive portents. Vegan seat covers, auto-pilot rollout timing, and Powerwall specifications appear to be the major issues on the minds of Tesla shareholders, judging by the questions posed. Matters of finance, production and sales were not addressed in detail at this forum. Model X and Gigafactory on track, battery swap DOA The Model X SUV is on track for deliveries in the third quarter of this year, and the Gigafactory will be ready for battery-pack production by the middle of 2016, according to Musk. He said, "I am looking at the latest iteration of the Model X every week. And it really is -- it’s turning out to be a really great car. I think the Model X may arguably be a better SUV than the Model S is as a sedan." The battery swap program appears to be a non-starter. Musk said, "Yes, we have basically the LA-to-San-Francisco pack-swap capability in place. And I believe all Model S owners in the California area have been invited at this point to try it out. And what we’re seeing is just a very low take rate. [...] So, we did an initial round of invitations...like, 200 invitations. And I think there were a total of four or five people who wanted to do that, and they all did it just once. So, OK, it’s clearly not very popular. He added, "And based on what we’re seeing here, it’s unlikely to be something that’s worth expanding in the future." Musk also noted that Deepak Ahuja, CFO since 2008, is planning on retiring. Major battery business will be with utilities, not consumers Despite the hype around the residential battery pack, Musk noted, "We expect most of our activities to be with the Powerpack, not the Powerwall. So it’s probably 80 percent, maybe more than that, of our total energy sales that are likely to be at the Powerpack level to utilities and to large industrial customers. And that’s where the economics are very compelling, because there is an important difference between price and cost. The cost to the utilities of between day and night is quite substantial, because the power usage is often sort of 2:1, at least, if not greater than 2:1, sometimes substantially greater than 2:1, between peak day usage and trough night usage." Regarding the home battery, he said, "We actually took some of the negative feedback to heart. And I am very happy to announce that we’ve dramatically increased the power capability of the Powerwall. So it’s actually going to go from having 2 kilowatts steady, 3.3 kilowatts peak to a 7-kilowatt power, 5-kilowatt steady. Price is unchanged. So, [we] basically more than doubled the power output of the Powerpack, and the price is going to stay the same." Musk added, "We’re going to prioritize delivery of the Powerwall to people who have an existing solar installation or are getting a solar installation, because the solar installation comes with an AC-to-DC inverter, which means you don’t need to buy an additional AC/DC inverter for the Powerwall, and because that cost is already there with your solar system." He continued, "We’re also going to be prioritizing delivery of the Powerwall to partners that minimize the costs to the end user, so the net result is we’re expecting people to be able to purchase and install the Powerwall for about $4,000. That’s basically $3,500 for the Powerwall with the increased power capability and then $300 to $500 for installation, labor and cost -- that’s the expectation." He suggested that the cycling application is not suitable for the U.S. residential market but makes great economic sense in Germany or Australia.   [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
10 things you want to know about human nature if you’re fighting climate change
Grist
Lisa Bennett

I’ve spent nearly a decade thinking about why people get stuck on climate change: stuck in debates, denial, what looks like indifference, and the awful discomfort that comes with the question “But what can I do?” In search of answers, I’ve interviewed dozens of experts in psychology, neuroscience, sociology, economics, political science, and other fields — and many more Americans across a broad spectrum of political affiliations, income brackets, and ages. I’ve also read widely to tap the thinking of those who were once more commonly looked to for insights into human nature, such as poets, philosophers, and spiritual leaders. What I’ve come up with is my own climate-centric version of Robert Fulghum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Climate change has been my window into learning about human nature — or, at least, about what we humans do when faced with a challenge much greater than ourselves. The experience has also persuaded me that a better understanding of our own nature can help inspire a more effective response to what is happening to the natural world. Here then are 10 things I’ve learned, along with some ideas about how these insights might be applied by those working on climate change: 1. We are overly optimistic about the future — our future, that is. Neuroscientist Tali Sharot has observed that when newlyweds are asked about their chances of getting divorced, they tend to say zero, despite the widely known fact that the odds are 50-50. We instinctively overestimate the probability of positive events and underestimate the probability of negative events in our own lives, she writes in The Optimism Bias, for two reasons: We think we have more control over our lives than we actually do, and we tend to see ourselves as better than average. Applied to climate change, this means that I might think that you­ — and surely those poor Pacific Islanders — might be negatively affected but I’ll be OK. The problem, of course, is that this reflects a bias grounded in delusion. But don’t try to tell me or anyone else that. You’ll have a better chance of engaging others in climate action, experts like Sharot say, if you keep a laser-like focus on how climate change is affecting people now. 2. We can be blasé about the most important issues in the world because the global perspective is way beyond ordinary human scale. “Trying to convince people of the magnitude of the climate problem through large-scale statistics is essentially useless,” says Scott Huettel, chair of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. “The iconic global warming image of the polar bear on the iceberg is evocative precisely because it is one polar bear. Thousands of polar bears on a glacier that is receding would be irrelevant. Our brains cannot process it.” Put another way, climate change seems like an abstraction because it is so much bigger than us. Humans relate to human-sized stories — the kind that speak to a family living in a home like ours, having dreams and struggles like ours, and maybe discovering one day that their home is on a map of places expected to soon be under water. 3. We are wired to refute imperatives. “If you say I have to act now on climate change, my first reaction will be, ‘No, I don’t,’” says Huettel. The reason, he explains, is that our brains are very well designed to come up with counterarguments. So no matter how good the reasons to switch to solar energy or demand that government take bolder action on climate change, people can always come up with reasons why they don’t need to do anything, such as: “If I don’t act right now, the world will basically be the same.” Passing a law that requires people to change their behavior (especially if those changes are relatively easy to make) is one effective way around this. But short of that — just as in other aspects of human relationships — efforts to attract people to a cause are much more likely to yield a positive response than those that threaten or make demands. 4. We are vulnerable to peer pressure, especially about things that confuse us. We can watch the news, see photos of melting glaciers, even experience changing weather patterns. But if our neighbors aren’t doing anything about climate change, we’re unlikely to do anything either because, as much as we hate to admit it, we are herd animals who use social cues to adapt to our environment, according to Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. And if you doubt how powerful this instinct is, consider the experiment Cialdini conducted in which his team hung four different kinds of flyers on people’s doorknobs in San Diego, with the goal of inspiring residents to reduce their energy consumption. Three of the flyers directly asked them to reduce their energy use, offering three different motivations: save money, save the environment, and benefit future generations. But none of these appeals made a significant difference. Only the fourth flyer did, which read simply: “The majority of your neighbors are undertaking energy-saving actions every day.” The lesson: Don’t be afraid to appeal to our instinct to fit in. 5. We shy away from topics that remind us of our mortality but can be motivated to take action on behalf of beings more vulnerable than us. Janis L. Dickinson, a professor of natural resources at Cornell University, conducted an experiment a few years ago in which she asked 3,546 people (largely birders) if they would be willing to reduce their energy consumption after learning that climate change was, among other things, a threat to people or to birds, and then she compared the results. It turned out that people were left unmoved by considering the threat to humans, but envisioning the threat to birds was another story. One possible reason, Dickinson says, is that considering climate change as a threat to humans may trigger thoughts of death (which we also tend to deny) whereas we like to think of ourselves as helping cute little creatures that seem to need us. This suggests that emphasizing the threat climate change poses to beloved animals could be an effective way of motivating people. 6. We perceive and respond to risks only when we feel them. While riding a roller coaster with my children one day, my youngest son took his hands off the bar and raised them in the air. The amusement park, I was sure, anticipated antics like this and did not expect people to remain in their seats by the strength of their grip. Still, I screamed, insisting he hold on because I was scared and, for the moment, that made the risk I imagined feel real. This, says Columbia University professor of psychology Elke Weber, is how we perceive and respond to risk: through our emotions more than an analysis of the facts. When it comes to climate change, this means that no matter how much scientific and journalistic evidence we are presented with, we will not be moved to action unless something makes us feel the risk. As a result, it may be more effective to tell a short, detailed story that can evoke people’s feelings — for example, about an individual or family encountering some specific impact of climate change — than present yet more scientific evidence about the global or even national implications of a warming planet. 7. We are motivated more by hope than fear, at least in matters of social change. While research shows that fear is a more powerful motivator than hope when it comes to behaviors such as diet and fitness, inspiring social change seems to depend more on a positive vision of the future, according to the social movement, political science, and neuroscience experts with whom I spoke. “This rhetoric about we only have a certain amount of time is a killer. It doesn’t make people engaged, it makes them give up,” says David Meyer, professor of sociology at U.C. Irvine and author of The Politics of Protest: Social Movements in America. Sharot confirmed this, saying: “Our studies show that people don’t process information — they don’t pay attention — when what is being communicated is how things will get worse.” In a widely shared opinion, Meyer said the implication was clear: “You have to be hopeful.” 8. We are more likely to take action when we know precisely what we can influence. It would take a fantastic and deluded leap of the imagination to think that, as individuals, we can control rising seas, melting glaciers, or heat waves. As a result, when people hear messages that encourage them to broadly act on climate, it can strike them as unrealistic and trigger what psychologist Martin Seligman called learned helplessness — specifically because it appears so far outside their sphere of influence. But, as Seligman and others have also found, it is possible to cut through learned helplessness (or apparent indifference) by appealing to what people think they can control, such as their own attitudes and behavior. For this reason, Huettel recommends emphasizing how people will feel about themselves, for example, after they take some realistic action, such as riding a bike or buying a hybrid. 9. We need to believe our actions will make a difference. “We have to have some sense of efficacy to motivate us to make changes in our lifestyle that are beneficial to the planet,” says Paul Slovic, a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon and expert in decision making around risk. But when it comes to big issues like genocide or climate change, his research suggests that people can be demotivated by a sense of inefficacy as well as what he calls “pseudo-inefficacy” or the illusion of inefficacy. For example, Slovic explained, some people fail to do anything because they think their action will be just a drop in the bucket, even though that drop is important. This finding suggests that it could be useful to explicitly speak to people’s suspicion that individual actions don’t matter and creatively show them how such drops add up. 10. We will continue to behave the same way we always have — even after we know it is problematic — until there is a realistic alternative. It is a safe bet that if you are reading this, you know that fossil fuels contribute to climate change and yet you continue, either directly or indirectly, to rely upon them, as most of us do. But the reason for this, I have firmly come to believe, is not because most people don’t care, don’t get it, or have been duped by climate denial propaganda. I find a more believable reason in the words of Thomas Kuhn, widely considered one of the most influential philosophers of science of the 20th century. “People are unlikely to jettison an unworkable paradigm, despite many indications it is not functioning properly,” Kuhn said, “until a better paradigm can be presented.” While individual behavior changes are essential, in other words, many of them remain dependent on systemic public- and private-sector changes. To fully succeed, we need a “moon shot”-style rapid transition to a clean energy economy, like the one proposed last week by a group of scientists and economists led by the U.K.’s former chief scientist, Sir David King. But in the end, even the best of plans depends on understanding, communicating, and acting with a fuller appreciation not just of the state of the natural world but of our own nature, which means bringing today’s global climate story down to a human scale. The good news is that doing so requires that we engage some of the best aspects of human nature, including our ability to be present in the here and now, to care more about people than facts, to be drawn to hope more than fear, to be willing to defend those weaker than us, and to focus our actions on things that are in our control — all the while being capable of believing in, even being thrilled by, the vision of a moon shot. —–  [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
What Is the TPP and Why Is it so Bad?
EcoWatch
Cole Mellino

The Sierra Club put together a video to help explain in simple terms why the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would threaten our ability to tackle climate change. The minute-and-a-half video, released yesterday, is part of the organization’s campaign to demand fair trade, not toxic trade. The video shows how the TPP, a massive proposed trade deal with 11 other Pacific Rim nations “would empower multinational corporations to sue the United States government in private trade courts over domestic laws.” It would also “require the U.S. Department of Energy to automatically approve all exports of natural gas to countries in the pact, opening the floodgates to fracking across the U.S.” The video ends by saying, “This is just some of what we know about the TPP. What lurks in the shadows of the pact may be even worse. The time has come to build a new model of trade that puts communities and our environment above corporate profits.” “In under two minutes, this video tells the truth about a trade deal that the U.S. Trade Representative is hiding from the public” said Ilana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program. “Clean air, clean water and climate activists around the world can help bring this environmental disaster into the light of day by watching and sharing this video.”  [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
Big Coal’s Financial Pressures Could Shift $3 Billion In Cleanup Costs To Taxpayers
clean technica


As the financial pressures on the coal industry mount, a new $3 billion threat to taxpayers is emerging in the form of self-insured coal companies potentially walking away from reclamation obligations, leaving the public holding the bag on costs for restoring large swaths of Western lands scarred by mining. According to a new report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Western Organization of Research Councils (WORC), and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), reclamation bonds that coal companies are required to post under federal law may outstrip the industry’s financial resources. Out of a total of 450 square miles of mined land across Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota, only 46 square miles have been reclaimed, spurring concerns that taxpayers will be stuck with a clean-up bill of roughly $2 billion in Wyoming alone, and that Western landscapes, agricultural lands, water and wildlife will be permanently damaged. Overall, the tab on unreclaimed mined lands in the U.S. is in excess of $3.5 billon. Once a formidable force, the coal industry now faces bond market downgrades and a global divestment movement amid low market prices, a multi-million-dollar tab to upgrade aging power plants, competition from natural gas and increasingly competitive renewable energy prices. “The era of Big Coal is over, but there’s a new risk to the West from the very real threat that the coal industry is poised to walk away from its obligations to restore public lands, leaving behind destroyed watersheds, devastated landscapes, and billions of dollars in unpaid bills,” said Amanda Jahshan, Wildlife Energy Conservation Fellow at NRDC.  [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
Frackers point to EPA study, hoping it will influence NYS
Capitol Confidential
Rick Karlin

Frackers point to EPA study, hoping it will influence NYS Posted on June 10, 2015 at 3:11 pm by Rick Karlin, Capitol bureau in Bulletin, General, Hydrofracking Email Print Share on Facebook0 (Rick Karlin/Times Union) Supporters of the currently-banned practice of hydraulic fracturing drilling, or hydrofracking for gas in New York State haven’t given up hope entirely despite a decision by the Cuomo Administration in December to continue the ban which has been in place for more than five years. Contending that the Southern Tier’s vast supply of untapped natural gas reserves are a “gift,” Karen Moreau, executive director of the American Petroleum Institute’s New York branch, pointed to a study earlier this month from the federal EPA that found there was “no widespread systemic” water pollution associated with the practice. “He’s been given a second gift by the EPA and President Obama’s leadership,” Moreau said at a press conference Wednesday. “This goes a long way into diminishing that uncertainty,” she added, referring to doubts voiced back in December that officials pointed to in continuing the ban. In addition to the EPA report, Moreau said fracking supporters, including energy firms, pipe fitters and landowners who want to lease their property for drilling, are pinning some level of hope on the fact that the state’s ban isn’t complete. That’s because the state Department of Environmental Conservation still needs to enter a Findings Document, or decision that would go into the State Register. When and if that happens, Moreau predicted there would be lawsuits, possibly by property owners and energy firms.  [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
Texas oil company asks Idaho officials to break impasse
KBOI2
KEITH RIDLER

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A state commission took a step Wednesday toward intervening in a dispute between a Texas oil company and mineral rights holders so plans to drill for natural gas or oil can move forward in western Idaho. The Oil and Gas Conservation Commission selected its chairman, Chris Beck, to preside over procedural matters involving applications filed by Houston-based Alta Mesa Holdings to begin a process called integration in Payette County.. "I expect there will be more requests for integration," Beck said after the meeting that took only a few minutes. The process allows the commission to act when a minority of mineral rights holders decline to take part in developing a potentially profitable oil or gas field.  [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
How The Release of The EPA’s Draft Assessment on Drinking Water Impacts Was Spun
Food & Water Watch
Hugh MacMillan

The subtitle of the EPA’s press release announcing the assessment — presented by the Obama Administration as the topline finding — read as follows (emphasis added): “Assessment shows hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water resources and identifies important vulnerabilities to drinking water resources.” Media reports ran with this framing of the assessment, and a barrage of headlines whitewashed fracking as safe. This outcome, which has delighted both the oil and gas industry and the financial elites who are banking on decades of fracking, was the result of multiple levels of EPA and Obama Administration spin. Although still deeply problematic, the framing of the major findings in the actual text of the nearly 1000-page assessment was very different than the topline of the press release. The actual assessment states (again, emphasis added): “From our assessment, we conclude there are above and below ground mechanisms by which hydraulic fracturing activities have the potential to impact drinking water resources. … We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States. … This finding could reflect a rarity of effects on drinking water resources, but may also be due to other limiting factors.” (p. ES-23)  [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
Pa. to send out $224 million from gas drilling impact fee
PennLive
Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A fee designed to help defray the effects of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania is providing nearly $224 million to state, county and local governments. The Public Utility Commission announced the disbursements Wednesday and said the fee has generated $855 million over four years.   [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
Energy company refutes fracking-earthquake link
WFAA


Fort Worth-based XTO Energy told state officials Wednesday that they're not to blame for a rash of earthquakes in North Texas. Company officials testified before the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry, and maintained that the quakes are naturally-occurring.  [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
Texas oil company pushes bid to drill in Idaho
Salt Lake Tribune
Keith Ridler

Boise • A state commission took a step Wednesday toward intervening in a dispute between a Texas oil company and mineral rights holders so plans to drill for natural gas or oil can move forward in western Idaho.   [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
Fracking rule would hurt N.D. income, jobs, state says
The Dickinson Press
Forum News Service

BISMARCK - North Dakota stands to lose $300 million a year in oil income and 1,900 jobs if a federal rule on hydraulic fracturing takes effect later this month, state officials argue in court documents. North Dakota has filed a request for a preliminary injunction against the Bureau of Land Management, seeking to delay implementation of the agency’s new fracking rule until the court can review a challenge filed by North Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado.   [Full Story]

Jun 10, 2015
Natural gas firm asked to show it’s not causing Texas quakes
WTOP
EMILY SCHMALL

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A natural gas extraction company controlled by energy giant Exxon Mobil sought to prove Wednesday that it is not to blame for a recent rash of small earthquakes in North Texas, telling a powerful state agency that it believes the earthquakes occurred naturally. XTO Energy submitted evidence to the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the state’s massive oil and gas industry, during a hearing that will test the agency’s willingness to suspend permits for injection wells based on seismology. The wells store wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, which has opened vast reserves of natural gas in North Texas but critics blame for causing small earthquakes.   [Full Story]

Jun 9, 2015
Oil Trains Don't Have to Derail or Explode to Be Hazardous, Doctors Warn
Truthout
Dahr Jamail

In May, hundreds of doctors, nurses and health-care professionals from Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) called on Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to take a stronger position against proposed oil-by-rail shipping terminals in their respective states, in order to insure the health and physical security of families and communities there. Washington PSR describes itself as a group that promotes "peace and health for the human community and the global ecosystem by empowering members, citizens and policy makers to develop and model for the rest of the nation socially just and life-enhancing policies regarding nuclear issues, climate change, environmental toxins, vulnerable populations and other risks to human health."  [Full Story]

Jun 9, 2015
Here's What the EPA Has to Say About Water Contamination From Fracking
Vice News
Laura Dattaro

A major report from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on fracking has both environmentalists and industry representatives claiming a win in the debate over the health and safety impacts of the oil and natural gas drilling technique. In the draft report, released on Thursday, the agency outlines the many ways in which fracking threatens surface and ground water supplies, including chemical spills, waste water disposal, and gases seeping from wells.   [Full Story]

Jun 9, 2015
Pa. House speaker says Wolf gas drilling tax would cost jobs
Phill.com
Mark Scolforo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai took aim Tuesday against any new severance tax on gas drilling in the state, warning it may cost jobs and harm the industry. Turzai called a news conference to attack a proposal by Gov. Tom Wolf to increase taxes on the industry to generate new money for education.   [Full Story]

Jun 9, 2015
Here's what it would take for the US to run on 100% renewable energy
Vox
David Roberts

It is technically and economically feasible to run the US economy entirely on renewable energy, and to do so by 2050. That is the conclusion of a new study in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, authored by Stanford scholar Mark Z. Jacobson and nine colleagues.  [Full Story]

Jun 9, 2015
Natural gas leaks are dangerous and exacerbate climate change
High Country News
Jpnathan Thompson

12.8 billion cubic feet. That’s how much natural gas has been released since 2010 in nearly 700 “incidents” reported to the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration that occurred in the nation’s natural gas gathering and transmission systems. Another 36 million cubic feet of natural gas escaped during incidents from the distribution systems that deliver gas to homes and businesses during that time. Added up, it’s enough gas to heat more than 170,000 homes for a year. Oil pipeline busts, like the one that wrecked the shoreline near Santa Barbara, California, recently, tend to get most of the attention these days — oil is sticky, nasty stuff. But natural gas infrastructure failures are equally alarming. Punctured natural gas pipelines can be dangerous. The reported incidents killed 70 people and injured more than 300. They can be expensive. Total costs in lost gas and property damage was nearly $700 million. And, all that natural gas is about 95 percent methane, an especially potent greenhouse gas.   [Full Story]

Jun 9, 2015
Critics say EPA fracking study offers little to advance public debate
StateImpactPA
JON HURDLE

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s long-awaited report on fracking and drinking water is short on new research, avoids discussing some high-profile cases where gas development is alleged to have contaminated water, and does not consider five locations that the agency said it would study when it first announced the investigation, analysts said. The report, issued on June 4, some four years after the EPA began its investigation, was immediately hailed by both the energy industry and its opponents in the anti-fracking movement as justifying their highly polarized positions on whether hydraulic fracturing threatens the safety of public drinking-water supplies.  [Full Story]

Jun 9, 2015
Here’s What Most Media Outlets Left Out of Their Reporting on EPA Fracking Study
EcoWatch
Here’s What Most Media Outlets Left Out of Their Reporting on EPA Fracking Study

Many major media outlets reported that a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study found no evidence that hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking“) has had “widespread” impacts on Americans’ drinking water, but did not mention the EPA’s explanation for why the study doesn’t necessarily indicate “a rarity of effects on drinking water resources.” The EPA study identified several “limiting factors,” including insufficient data, the lack of long-term studies and inaccessible information, which it said “preclude a determination of the frequency of [drinking water] impacts with any certainty.”  [Full Story]

Jun 9, 2015
EPA’s Less Than Adequate Fracking Assessment
Clean Technica
Roy L Hales

After five years of research, the EPA’s less than adequate fracking assessment has been released. “It’s a bit underwhelming,” said Amanda Frank, from the Center for Effective Government. Dr Allan Hoffman, a retired senior analyst with the Department of Energy, referred to the draft report as “disappointing.” They were primarily referring to the extent that industry was allowed to thwart the EPA investigation. “My general reaction is ‘why bother?’ I have a lot of compassion for EPA, they must have really struggled with this one, but I don’t feel like they produced a very useful report. There is nothing new. It is accurate as far as I could tell. They did review some records, but then they put in all these caveats about how limited the data really was. It is very clear they probably didn’t get co-operation from the industry. That’s a very bad sign in my opinion,” said Dr Hoffman.  [Full Story]

Jun 9, 2015
Why there are gaps in public health studies on fracking
Michigan Radio
Rebecca Williams

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that between 25,000-30,000 new oil and gas wells were drilled and hydraulically fractured annually in the U.S. between 2011 and 2014. CREDIT FLICKR / SARAH CRAIG, FACES OF FRACKING A feature article in the journal Health Affairs says the body of research on the potential health effects of all this fracking is "slim and inconclusive." David Tuller wrote the article. He’s the academic coordinator of the University of California-Berkeley's joint masters program in journalism and public health. Missing information Tuller says there are gaps in what we know about potential health effects from fracking, and he says those gaps often go un-addressed. “One thing is that you can’t do what we call 'experimental studies,' so you can’t study compounds in people,” he says. Instead, he says researchers make associations between, for example, a set of health data in a region and the region’s fracking wells. “It’s very hard to prove causal effects from that – that one thing caused another,” he says. “So that’s one problem. Another problem is that many of the chemicals that are used are proprietary and the mixtures of chemicals that are used are proprietary, so there’s a lot of data that the companies hold that they don’t have to disclose.”  [Full Story]

Jun 9, 2015
Is the Fracking Boom Coming to an End?
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

Since fracking began its boom period in the last decade, its supporters have promoted it as the answer to all of the U.S.’s energy issues. It would free us from dependence on foreign oil, they said, thereby strengthening national security. And in fact, the U.S. has become the world’s largest exporter of fossil fuels, while prices at the gas pump have dropped steeply as fracked oil and gas production has exploded. States like Texas, Colorado, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Ohio have welcomed frackers to their shale deposits, even though others, such as New York and Maryland, have resisted the lure due to concerns about fracking’s impacts on human health and the environment. Fracking took off in the U.S. around 2009, but there are signs the boom could be ending. Image credit: EIA/Bloomberg Fracking took off in the U.S. around 2009, but there are signs the boom could be ending. Image credit: EIA/Bloomberg But could the gravy train be derailing? While production is still at record levels, there are signs that should worry any company or economy that is heavily invested in the fracking process. Compared to conventional wells, fracked wells tend to be initially productive but taper off quickly and then are shut down as operators move to new locations. And that is starting to catch up with them.  [Full Story]

Jun 9, 2015
Escape from New York? Secession talk lingers as fracking ban is finalized
Watchdog.org
ob Nikolewski

New York is about to make it official: A final report from the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to be formalized in a matter of days, banning hydraulic fracturing throughout the Empire State. But some residents where the economy is essentially on life-support say they’re being ignored and have gone so far as to discuss seceding from New York by either becoming part of neighboring Pennsylvania or dividing New York into two states — one for upstate and another for downstate. “It is a longshot, but these are options that need to be developed,” said Carolyn Price, town supervisor in Windsor and president of the Upstate New York Towns Association. “This (secession debate) really came from the people.”  [Full Story]

Jun 9, 2015
Pavillion Landowners don't Fully Buy EPA's Fracking Report
kcwy13
Jenna Jackson

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency released their findings on whether hydraulic fracking contaminates drinking water, they say it doesn't. But landowners near Pavillion who deal with contaminated water on a daily basis say people aren't looking at the whole picture. “They can't say that this is a risk free procedure,” says John Fenton, Landowner Near Pavillion. John Fenton says the EPA’s release of their findings has caused widespread confusion. “The pro industry saying, well there's nothing unsafe about fracking and this study proves that, and at the same time the environmental side saying, no, it definitely proves there are problems occurring with hydraulic fracturing,” says Fenton. The study shows that in most cases, hydraulic fracturing causes no risks to drinking water. But the report shows some instances where fracking did contaminate water.  [Full Story]

Jun 9, 2015
In fracking debate, intelligent discourse brushed off
Minnesota Public Radio
Bob Collins

As these things go, this exchange between Fox business show host Stuart Varney and Josh Fox, an anti-fracking activist and director of the “Gasland” documentaries, isn’t particularly surprising and certainly not enlightening. A good screaming match is great for ratings. If intellectual curiosity gets slaughtered in the process, so be it. At issue was an EPA report on fracking, which — as NPR reported a couple of days ago — both sides claim vindicates their positions. But the Varney interview spiraled out of control after Varney said he bought property in upstate New York before fracking was a thing, and the water was already contaminated. Nobody, for some reason, has asked him why on earth he’d buy property with contaminated water.  [Full Story]

Jun 9, 2015
Test Drilling for Fracking Starts in Stokes Co.
twcnews
Bob Costner

WALNUT COVE, N.C. -- Test drilling for possible fracking got underway early in the Stokes County town of Walnut Cove. Wesley Davis said he didn't get any advance warning about the testing starting this road behind his house. "They didn't really tell me nothing, nope, they were just in and out, I didn't really know what was going on,’’ said Davis, who lives on Crestview Drive. Social Media has been abuzz with posts from opponents, since a crew moved in to start drilling for core samples -- to check for shale gas that could be removed by hydraulic fracking. There is a lot of opposition here to the proposal across the county.  [Full Story]

Jun 9, 2015
Santa Barbara oil spill sends California a wakeup call
LA Daily News
Opinion

More than 100,000 gallons of oil spilled near the coast of Santa Barbara for nearly two hours before pipeline operators could even figure out where it was coming from. A preliminary investigation by federal officials found a 6-inch opening in a badly corroded pipe that had previously needed repair because of external corrosion. The pipeline was not far from sandy beaches. The oil made some parts of the beach look like the tar pits. An oily sheen along the ocean lasted for days and covered wildlife. That’s unacceptable at a time when there is the technology to detect leaks and instantly shut off the valves supplying the oil. Those technologies should be standard. More than three weeks after the oil spill off the Santa Barbara coast, the cleanup isn’t complete and just how it happened remains unclear.  [Full Story]

Jun 9, 2015
Santa Barbara County Denies ExxonMobil Oil Trucking Plan
KEYT
Oscar Flores

The reasons cited for denying the permit include: Lack of adequate evidence that a defined emergency exists, under either the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), or the County's Land Use & Development Code; Lack of adequate evidence indicating that the proposal requires action more quickly than provided for by the customary procedures for permit processing; Lack of adequate evidence that the proposal is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan of the County of Santa Barbara; and, Trucking of oil does not fall within the permit waivers or permit expediting directed by Governor Brown's Executive Order B-31-15. The decision is within the sole discretion of the Director of Planning and Development, therefore the decision is final and not subject to appeal.  [Full Story]

Jun 9, 2015
This Bloomberg Contributor Attacking Renewable Energy Is Paid For By Big Oil
Media Matters
Denise Robbins

Bloomberg has published several columns by contributor Robert Bryce that either attack renewable energy or promote oil without disclosing that he is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute's Center for Energy Policy and the Environment, which has long received significant funding from ExxonMobil. But Bloomberg Has Not Disclosed Bryce's Oil Industry Ties. Bloomberg identifies Bryce as simply "a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author of 'Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong.'" [Bloomberg, accessed 6/8/15] Bryce Is Frequently Quoted And Published In The Media But Not Fully Identified. A Media Matters analysis found that in 2011, Bryce was quoted at least 39 times in energy issue stories that didn't disclose his ties to the oil industry. [Media Matters, 10/7/11].  [Full Story]

Jun 9, 2015
Sierra Club Calls on Delaware River Basin Commission to Have Proper Oversight of PennEast Pipeline Project
Planet Princeton
KRYSTAL KNAPP

The Sierra Club has called on the Delaware River Basin Commission to have proper oversight and do a thorough review of the PennEast Pipeline project. Currently the commission is proposing one meeting with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on the proposed pipeline route. The Sierra Club believes that one meeting is not adequate, and that having it with FERC undermines the commission’s review of the project. The commission controls the region within the river basin and manages water quality, withdrawals, droughts, floods, conservation and permitting for the river and its tributaries. “The Delaware River Basin Commission needs to do an independent and thorough review of the PennEast Pipeline. They must allow for extensive public input and scrutiny as well as an honest and scientifically based environmental assessment of the impacts from this pipeline,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of New Jersey Sierra Club.  [Full Story]

Jun 9, 2015
Freedom Fracked? The oil and gas industry's campaign to silence academic fracking critics
Public Accountability Initiative


In May 2015, an extraordinary example of academic intimidation involving the oil and gas industry and a fracking researcher came to light. According to documents obtained by Bloomberg, Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm had urged University of Oklahoma leadership to fire scientists investigating the role of fracking in causing Oklahoma’s recent spate of earthquakes. Earlier in 2015, EnergyWire had reported that Hamm and David Boren, a Continental board member and president of the University of Oklahoma, had met with the Oklahoma state seismologist, an OU employee, to talk about the public relations impact of OGS acknowledging the connection. This highly publicized instance of academic intimidation by the oil and gas industry is the latest in a series of cases in which the industry has exerted its power to intimidate, silence, and discredit scientists that have the temerity to issue research critical of fracking. This trend can be seen as a part of the larger phenomenon known as “frackademia,” where the oil and gas industry – aided by friendly scientists, industry-funded academic units, allied consulting companies, and public relations firms – produce and promote research that portrays fracking as environmentally safe and of great economic benefit. PAI has reported extensively on frackademia, revealing shoddy scholarship and undisclosed conflicts of interest as well as a campaign to disseminate this biased and compromised research to policymakers. The following report covers the flip side of this influence: the industry seeking to silence academics who have been critical of fracking.  [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
One drilling mistake could prove devastating
Ohio.com
Editorial

Since 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has gathered data on one of the most controversial aspects of the oil and natural gas boom in Ohio and other states. The issue, impressed on many people by the documentary Gasland and incidents such as the contamination of aquifers in 2007 in Bainbridge Township, Geauga County, is how the technique of hydraulic fracturing affects the nation’s drinking water supplies. In a draft report released last week, the EPA did note a few specific instances of contamination, among them the Bainbridge incident. Still, the agency’s conclusion supports the contention of the industry that such drilling is generally safe. The EPA did not find evidence that hydraulic fracturing has “led to widespread, systematic impacts on drinking water resources.” That hardly amounts to a carte blanche for the industry.   [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Environmental Advocates Call For Methane Pollution Controls
wfmd


Environmental advocates are calling on the federal government and U-S E-P-A to stop industrial methane emissions from oil and natural gas wells and pipelines. A news conference was held Monday morning in Mansfield with several concerned citizens saying the leaks should be controlled for the benefit of public health and the environment. The speakers included Mansfield City Councilman At-Large Don Bryant, Laura Burns of Moms Clear Air Force, and Lee Geisse with the BlueGreen Alliance. They say some companies have adopted methane pollution reduction measures, but no national standards are in place, and if federal action isn't taken, methane pollution could increase by 25% in ten years. Bryant says "Ohio's oil and natural gas industry is an important contributor to the local and state economy, but industrial methane pollution is an invisible threat to public health and the environment. Strong federal efforts are necessary to cut methane so this dangerous pollutant does not remain undetected and unreported." Burns says "Industrial methane pollution has significant public health consequences and must be taken seriously by regulators. Toxic pollutants line benzene are linked to cancer, respiratory diseases, and neurological damage. These toxics contribute to smog that causes childhood asthma attacks and even premature death."   [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Fracking Associated With Smaller Babies
NY Times


A new study has found an association between hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and smaller babies. The scientists used data on 15,451 live births in southwest Pennsylvania from 2007 to 2010. They categorized the mothers by how close they lived to gas wells and the concentration of wells in the area. Babies born in the highest exposure areas were not at higher risk of being born prematurely, but they were 34 percent more likely to be small for gestational age than those born in areas of least exposure. The analysis, published in PLOS One, was observational and did not prove causality. The researchers controlled for mother’s age, race, prenatal care, smoking during pregnancy and other health and behavioral factors. The reasons for the association are unclear, but the authors suggest that liquids used in the drilling may present a risk of air and water pollution.  [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Senate panel takes aim at reform for federal labs, drilling, grid authority
E&E Publishing
Katherine Ling, Nick Juliano & Hannah Northey

Reforming federal bureaucracy and authority on energy issues will be the subject of a final hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this week before committee leaders turn to hashing out a comprehensive energy bill.   [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
EPA Divided Over Fracking?
Fox Business
Julia Limitone

The EPA’s new report on fracking, which found no “evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread systemic impacts on drinking water,” sparked a heated debate between FBN’s Stuart Varney and “Gasland” director Josh Fox. “Gasland” director Josh Fox argued “the EPA issued something of a retraction of that statement this weekend, because it lead to a lot of false reporting on the subject,” and charged that the Obama Administration supports fracking, and therefore the EPA is burying the lede on its findings.   [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
All You Need To Know About The EPA Fracking Report: “Significant Data Gap For Hazard Identification”
Clean Technica
Tina Casey

Ohfergawdsakes. For all the squawking that’s going on about the new EPA fracking report, you’d think that that the agency has traded in its law enforcement hat for a ride on the Welcome Wagon. Well, we think not, for a couple of reasons which we’ll get to in a minute. Before we get to that, let’s note up front that the EPA fracking report — yes, the one that came out last week — is not actually a final statement of agency policy, let alone a road map for the Obama Administration’s energy policy.  [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Fox’s Stuart Varney Debate with Anti-Fracking Activist Explodes: ‘The Interview Is Over!’
Mediaite
Andrew Kirell

Imagine what would happen when you put anti-fracking activist Josh Fox in the same room as Fox Business Network host and pro-fracking activist Stuart Varney and expected them to have a thorough debate on the controversial natural gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing. If you guessed that the conversation quickly turned hostile and ended early, you would be correct.   [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Fracking study is murky on findings
Albany Times Union
Editorial--Jay Jochnowitz

Both environmentalists and energy companies are claiming victory in the EPA’s draft report that hydraulic fracturing has had little impact on drinking water supplies. Neela Banerjee writes in Inside Climate News that even though the study was narrow in scope and limited in its data collection, researchers still found instances of water contamination. But Elana Schor writes in Politico that the report contradicts anti-fracking activists who “portrayed the oil- and gas-extraction technique as a creator of fouled drinking water wells and flame-shooting faucets.”   [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Kentucky Geological Survey studying effects of fracking on seismic activity Development of eastern Kentucky deep shale gas plays expected to increase fracking
Lane Report


LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 8, 2015) — The Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) at the University of Kentucky is working to install two new networks across the state to gather important data, including the effects of fracking, on low-level seismicity.   [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
What to make of the EPA report on fracking?
MetroNews
Hoppy Kercheval Commentary

Look deep enough into the 998-page EPA study on hydraulic fracturing and you can find something for everyone.  [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Parents, health professionals call for solutions to protect children from fracking pollution near schools and playgrounds Use mapping, imaging technology and other research to show fracking pollution's impact on children
PR Newswire


PITTSBURGH, June 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- During a press conference today near an elementary school that borders a Marcellus Shale drilling site, representatives from Moms Clean Air Force, Women for a Healthy Environment and the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project joined a radiation oncologist who is examining the health impacts of natural gas drilling to urge policymakers to implement stronger drilling regulations in areas in close proximity to schools.  [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Fracking Associated With Smaller Babies
New York Times
Nicholas Bakalar

A new study has found an association between hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and smaller babies. The scientists used data on 15,451 live births in southwest Pennsylvania from 2007 to 2010. They categorized the mothers by how close they lived to gas wells and the concentration of wells in the area.   [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Obama Administration actually supports fracking?
Fox Business


Video 4:42 - ‘Gasland’ Director Josh Fox on the debate over the environmental impact of fracking.  [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Chris Christie ex-aide fined for ethics breach
Asbury Park Press
Bob Jordan

TRENTON – A former aide to Gov. Chris Christie violated conflict of interest laws by sharing unauthorized information with her husband, a top executive for the company developing the controversial Pinelands pipeline, a state ethics panel has ruled.  [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
EPA study does NOT say Fracking is "safe"
Marcellus Effect


Unfortunately, early media reports simply parroted what they saw at the top of the EPA press release without reading the details or delving into the executive summary. Dive in a bit deeper and you learn what the EPA study really says: there are cases in which fracking has impacted drinking water resources, but it is not "widespread and systematic" yet.   [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
EPA fracking results – mixed messages
Interfax Energy
Therese Robinson

Both the oil and gas industry and anti-fracking campaigners declared victory after the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its long-awaited report on the effects of fracking on drinking water last week. The five-year draft assessment concluded that hydraulic fracturing has "not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources".   [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Preston Council recommends fracking refusal
Shale Energy Insider
James Perkins

Preston Council has voted to oppose fracking in the region, ahead of a key decision by Lancashire County Council as to whether to allow shale gas extraction later this month. Officers had urged the planning committee to reject Cuadrilla’s drilling proposals, citing traffic concerns in the Broughton and Wooodplumpton areas, with councillors voting in line with their advice.   [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Fracking: An environmental hot button
Hydrogen Fuel News


According to some studies, fracking can have adverse effects on air and water quality. Studies have shown that living in close proximity to drill sites raises the risk of a variety of health concerns associated with toxic exposure, such as shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, skin irritations and coughing. In addition, the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are emitted through fracking are believed to be linked to higher rates of certain types of cancer and higher-than-average incidences of fetal abnormalities. The fear is that the potentially carcinogenic chemicals could leak into the water source and cause a widespread threat. In fairness, it’s important to note that most drinking water is sourced from only a few hundred feet below the earth’s surface, while fracking occurs many thousands of feet beneath the surface.  [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Antifracking group slams DMR for ‘inadequate’ shale gas regulations
Creamer Media's Mining Weekly
Natalie Greve

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Despite an ongoing two-year strategic environmental assessment (SEA) into domestic hydraulic fracturing (fracking) by the Department of Environmental Affairs and claims from the environmental community that the consultation process around the formulation of fracking legislation was indequate, the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has released the final Regulations for Petroleum Exploration and Production. It is our preference that if you wish to share this article with others you should please use the following link:   [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
CPV plans to develop $900m natural gas power plant in Pennsylvania, US
Energy Business Review


Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) is planning to develop a natural gas-fired power plant in western Pennsylvania, US, with an investment of $900m. CPV vice-president Michael Vesca was quoted by local media as saying that company plans to begin construction of the 980MW natural gas-fired electrical generation plant in 2017. Planned to be developed in the Yurasek Salvage Heaven property in Jackson Township, the facility will utilize the existing natural gas lines, transmission lines and cooling water from the Quemahoning dam.  [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Fracking licences to be issued before we can see eco impact assessment: TKAG
Times Live
RDM News Wiere

The department of minerals is going ahead with plans to issue exploration licences before the release of results of a two-year strategic environmental assessment (SEA) into fracking‚ the Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG) said on Monday.   [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Regulators Investigating Exxon Mobil Over Texas Earthquakes
Value Walk
Clayton Browne

Earthquakes in and around Dallas and Fort Worth were almost unheard of just five or six years ago. However, so far in 2015, 23 earthquakes with magnitudes of 2.5 or more have hit the metropolitan area that is home to the 6.5 million, based on recent data from the U.S. Geological Survey   [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Exxon to Face Regulators Over Quakes — Energy Journal
Wall Street Journal
Christopher Harder

Texas regulators are investigating some of the biggest U.S. energy producers in the wake of several earthquakes that have hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Erin Ailworth reports. An Exxon Mobil Corp. subsidiary and EOG Resources Inc., one of the biggest shale-oil and gas producers, are facing questions about their use of injection wells to dispose of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. On Wednesday, the Texas oil-and-gas regulator begins hearings to assess oil company roles in causing the temblors.   [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
DEP to investigate 10-Mile Creek near mine discharge for radioactivity
Herald-Standard
Natasha Khan

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will investigate whether there are radioactive materials in Ten Mile Creek, a major tributary of the Monongahela River in Greene and Washington counties.   [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Stanford engineers develop state-by-state plan to convert U.S. to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2050
Stanford University
BJORN CAREY

One potential way to combat ongoing climate change, eliminate air pollution mortality, create jobs and stabilize energy prices involves converting the world's entire energy infrastructure to run on clean, renewable energy. This is a daunting challenge. But now, in a new study, Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, and colleagues, including U.C. Berkeley researcher Mark Delucchi, are the first to outline how each of the 50 states can achieve such a transition by 2050. The 50 individual state plans call for aggressive changes to both infrastructure and the ways we currently consume energy, but indicate that the conversion is technically and economically possible through the wide-scale implementation of existing technologies. "The main barriers are social, political and getting industries to change. One way to overcome the barriers is to inform people about what is possible," Jacobson said. "By showing that it's technologically and economically possible, this study could reduce the barriers to a large scale transformation."  [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Pipeline opponents call for separate hearings
The Intelligencer
Freda R. Savana

Opponents of the proposed PennEast natural gas pipeline are calling on the Delaware River Basin Commission to hold separate hearings on the controversial project. In a letter, Maya van Rossum, executive director of Delaware Riverkeeper Network, asked the commission’s executive director, Steven Tambini, not to combine DRBC hearings with those of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Photos of Ruptured Pipeline Finally Released Images Show Where the Rusty Equipment Broke
Santa Barbara Independent
NICK WELSH

Last week, every Santa Barbara resident received a postcard from Plains All American Pipeline CEO Greg L. Armstrong expressing his regrets at the “accidental release” of oil off the coast of Refugio two weeks ago. Since then, the oil spill has dominated any news coverage emanating out of Santa Barbara County and has become the focus of intense discussion among political-activist classes and elected officials. Lost in the hub-bub has been any actual photograph of the ruptured pipeline itself, a small point perhaps, but one that’s nagged at The Independent newsroom since May 19. No photos would be made available, we were told, because the rupture remained the subject of an ongoing investigation. Criminal charges, we were also told, might possibly be filed.  [Full Story]

Jun 8, 2015
Watch Fox's Varney Kick Off His Guest For Telling The Truth About Fracking
Media Matters


Gasland's Josh Fox: "Why Would You Not Frack On Your Own Property And Then Prescribe It For Other People In America?"  [Full Story]

Jun 7, 2015
EPA says new study doesn’t show fracking is safe
The Charleston Gazette
Ken Ward Jr.

Despite statements from industry officials and political leaders, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials say that their new study of the nation’s natural gas boom should not be described as proof that the nation’s water supplies are safe from hydraulic fracturing. “That is not the message of this report,” said EPA science advisor and deputy administrator Thomas A. Burke. “The message of this report is that we have identified vulnerabilities in the water system that are really important to know about and address to keep risks as low as possible.” Burke made his comments in an interview on Friday, one day after EPA released its 998-page draft report, “Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources.” In a follow-up statement after the interview, EPA spokeswoman Cathy Milbourn emphasized that EPA’s review of various sources of information — ranging from peer-reviewed studies to state and industry datasets — “did not identify widespread impacts on drinking water resources due to hydraulic fracturing activities.”   [Full Story]

Jun 7, 2015
Gov. Wolf Reacts to Maryland Fracking Ban
We Are Central PA
WTAJ News

ALTOONA - Another of our neighboring states has decided to put a ban on fracking. That state is Maryland. The ban became law last week when governor Larry Hogan (R) decided not to veto a bill banning fracking for two and a half years. Just this week, WTAJ spoke with Governor Tom Wolf (D) about how this could impact the Keystone State. He said he doesn't believe there's a lot of opportunity for fracking in Maryland, but still, said it creates an opportunity for us.   [Full Story]

Jun 7, 2015
Drilling tax hike proposed by Kasich on rocks
News-Herald
Julie Carr Smyth

A drilling tax increase proposed by Republican Gov. John Kasich isn't likely to re-emerge in the Ohio Sendate budget revisions due Monday.   [Full Story]

Jun 6, 2015
GMB pledges to represent fracking workers
Aberdeen Journals


A union has pledged to represent workers if the shale gas industry develops, stressing the importance of securing decent pay and conditions in the fledgling sector. The GMB said it should be ready to organise workers if the so-called fracking process ever gets started.  [Full Story]

Jun 6, 2015
Owner of ruptured oil pipeline has history of big spills, fines
Los Angeles Times
JACK DOLAN AND JULIE CART

Nearly two decades ago, Plains All American Pipeline embarked on a buying spree across the United States and Canada, acquiring thousands of miles of aging pipeline. The purchases turned Plains into one of North America's biggest energy pipeline companies. But it also left the firm with a patchwork of pipes, some in need of crucial maintenance. Mechanical failures on the company's network have contributed to more than a dozen spills that have released nearly 2 million gallons of hazardous liquid in the U.S. and Canada since 2004. That does not include more than 100,000 gallons of oil spilled along the Santa Barbara County coast on May 19, about 20,000 gallons of which went into the Pacific Ocean, prompting a massive and ongoing cleanup. Several beaches have been closed since the spill. More than 100 birds and 58 mammals, including sea lions and dolphins, have died from contact with the oil.  [Full Story]

Jun 6, 2015
Attorney Discusses RICO Lawsuit Involving Governor and Oil Companies: California’s “Water-Gate”
Lawyers and Settlements
Jane Mundy

Bakersfield, CA: Just when you think the water situation in California can’t get much worse, fracking in Kern County has resulted in contaminated water that has so far killed one plaintiff’s cherry orchard. A RICO lawsuit filed two days ago claims that Governor Jerry Brown’s office ordered the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to approve permits to inject contaminated water, which violates the Safe Drinking Water Act. Attorney Discusses RICO Lawsuit Involving Governor and Oil Companies: California’s “Water-Gate”“Mike Hopkins’ cherry orchard in northwest Bakersfield died in 2012 - he lost 2,232 cherry trees,” says Oliver, who co-leads the special litigation team at R. Rex Parris. “He got the water tested from a reputable lab that showed the chloride levels exceeded those allowed by the EPA. Chloride is caused either by de-icing of roads or by hydraulic fracking. There are no icy roads in Bakersfield.” Oliver says that Hopkins first went to the Water Board with his contaminated water and they sent him to the DOGGR. (To obtain a permit under the Safe Drinking Water Act, oil companies must provide geological and engineering studies. These studies are reviewed by the DOGGR, which is responsible for issuing permits under the Safe Drinking Water Act.) Hopkins was told that the deputy of the district would call back. You know how that goes...Hopkins eventually called the deputy (Burt Ellison) who told him the chloride was not caused by oil activity. Next up, Hopkins met with a state gas and oil supervisor and got the same answer: nothing. It was starting to sound like Bakersfield-Gate...  [Full Story]

Jun 6, 2015
The Case for a Carbon Tax
The New York Times
Editorial

In a welcome development, businesses are asking world leaders to do more to address climate change. This week, the top executives of six large European oil and gas companies called for a tax on carbon emissions. These companies — the BG Group, BP, Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil and Total — are not taking a bold environmental stand. They are being pragmatic. They want an efficient and predictable policy to limit greenhouse gas emissions because they realize something must be done. Numerous scientists, economists, environmentalists and political leaders have previously proposed similar ideas. A carbon tax would raise the price of fossil fuels, with more taxes collected on fuels that generate more emissions, like coal. This tax would reduce demand for high-carbon emission fuels and increase demand for lower-emisson fuels like natural gas. Renewable sources like solar, wind, nuclear and hydroelectric would face lower taxes or no taxes. To be effective, the tax should also be applied to imported goods from countries that do not assess a similar levy on the use of fossil fuels.  [Full Story]

Jun 6, 2015
EPA Didn’t Fracking Find What It Didn’t Fracking Look For
NO FRACKING WAY
Chip Northrup

No matter how fracking hard they didn’t fracking try. Both sides of the debate are spinning the recently published EPA Frack Study as “a partial vindication” “no smoking gun” “the smoking gun” “a cover up” “the justification for (fill in the blank)” etc etc etc. How about none of the above.  [Full Story]

Jun 6, 2015
OPEC Not Budging On Production Strategy
Oil & Energy Insider


Urgent Note: In our Executive Report, we take a look at a significant opportunity for oil exploration in an area that has been enormously overlooked. South America is no stranger to oil production, but this corner of the continent has been entirely ignored until recently. A major discovery there in May has raised eyebrows, but only a few companies have a presence there. Find out where these great opportunities are by clicking here. Unless you have been living under a rock, by now you have read that OPEC has decided to leave its production target unchanged. A widely expected move, OPEC’s decision to leave its collective output at 30 million barrels per day will likely not have an enormous effect on the oil markets in the short-term. Prices were down a bit on June 5, but the markets had largely baked OPEC’s move into the price already. In fact, there were rumors that the group may even lift its production target, but that was not generally seen as likely. If that had occurred, prices would have been crushed. But with the status quo affirmed for now, OPEC appears comfortable with its strategy to play for market share, and the markets will have to continue on their path towards slowly balancing out. Heading into the meeting, OPEC officials cited the early success of its market share strategy. Having forced US shale production to level off and rig counts to drop by more than half, Saudi Arabia and its OPEC companions are maintaining their share. They expect that to continue. Also, prices have rebounded from their lows, jumping from the mid-$40s per barrel for Brent to above $60, and that didn’t come on the backs of OPEC. In other words, OPEC sees the markets balancing out in the months ahead – a trend already underway – which will lead to price increases, and all the while the group will have held onto its market share.  [Full Story]

Jun 6, 2015
Head of California agency accused of favoring oil industry quits
Los Angeles Times
Julie Cart

Mark Nechodom, the director of the California Department of Conservation, which oversees the embattled agency that regulates the state's oil and gas industry, resigned Thursday. Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Nechodom to the post three years ago. He took over an agency that has generated significant controversy. California's oil regulator, the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, has been facing scrutiny from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after allowing oil producers to drill thousands of oilfield wastewater disposal wells into federally protected aquifers. Nechodom was named this week in a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of a group of Kern County farmers who allege that Brown, the oil and gas division and others conspired with oil companies to allow the illegal injections and to create a more lax regulatory environment for energy firms.  [Full Story]

Jun 6, 2015
Bobby Jindal signs bill to kill lawsuit against oil, gas companies
The Times-Picayune
Julia O'Donoghue

Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed legislation aimed at killing a lawsuit filed by a New Orleans area regional levee board against 97 oil and gas companies, despite concerns that the new law could negatively affect state and government claims against BP over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. "This bill will help stop frivolous lawsuits and create a more fair and predictable legal environment, and I am proud to sign it into law," Jindal said in a written statement Friday (June 6). The oil and gas industry, which lobbied heavily in favor of the bill, cheered Jindal's decision to sign it. But Louisiana's Attorney General and local officials in parishes that have sued BP expressed renewed concerns. Environmentalists decried Jindal's action, saying it could have long-lasting negative consequences for the state.   [Full Story]

Jun 5, 2015
Word Games Continue: Just What Evidence Did EPA Not Find?
SkyTruth


Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a series of draft reports on their findings from five years of research and literature review on the question of whether or not fracking contaminates groundwater. But if you just read the headlines you might have been confused about what the EPA had actually concluded. As Forbes pointed out, the headlines were a bit contradictory.   [Full Story]

Jun 5, 2015
Fracking Does Cause ‘Widespread, Systemic’ Contamination of American’s Drinking Water
EcoWatch
Josh Fox and Lee Ziesche

In a draft report five years in the making, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that fracking does indeed contaminate drinking water, a fact the oil and gas industry has vehemently denied. But instead of dismantling the industry’s “not one single case of groundwater contamination caused by fracking” refrain, the EPA decided to go with the misleading headline “there is no evidence fracking has led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources.” It’s a puzzling conclusion since their study was conspicuously narrow (they did no new case studies, dropped three marquee cases that proved water contamination and dropped all air quality studies from the report).   [Full Story]

Jun 5, 2015
U. of Pitt. study links fracking, underweight babies
WKBN


PITTSBURGH, Pa. (CBS) – A new study from Pittsburgh is reporting a double-digit increase of underweight babies born to women who live near fracking wells. Sharon Wilson used to live in Denton, Texas but moved because of fracking. She says the study is more reason to oppose the controversial practice. There have been a number of studies linking babies’ problems with health and fracking. Pittsburgh researchers studied birth weights of 15,000 babies born in southwestern Pennsylvania between 2007 and 2010. It reports that mothers living near fracking sites had a 34% chance of delivering smaller babies than mothers living farther away, even after taking smoking or pre-natal care into account. Wilson believes it’s likely true in Denton too.  [Full Story]

Jun 5, 2015
A Fossil Fuel Free World is Possible: How to Power a Warming Earth Without Oil, Coal and Nuclear
Democracy Now!


Is a 100% renewable energy future possible? According to Stanford professor Mark Jacobson, the answer is yes. Jacobson has developed plans for all 50 states to transform their power infrastructure to rely on wind, water and solar power. This comes as California lawmakers have approved a dozen ambitious environmental and energy bills creating new standards for energy efficiency. Dubbed the California climate leadership package, the 12 bills set high benchmarks for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum use. We speak with Jacobson and Noah Diffenbaugh, Stanford University Associate Professor and a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.  [Full Story]

Jun 5, 2015
Don’t Be Fooled by Yesterday’s Headlines, EPA Finds Fracking Contaminates Drinking Water
EcoWatch
Wenonah Hauter

Don’t be fooled. Headlines in the New York Times and other news media about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) long-awaited study on the impacts of fracking on drinking water are another tragic case of not looking beyond the timid agency’s spin. Despite the lack of new substantive data and the limited scope of the study, the EPA did find instances of water contamination and outlined the areas where this could happen in the fracking process.  [Full Story]

Jun 5, 2015
With pipeline ruptured, Exxon seeks to move oil with fleet of tankers
Los Angeles Times
JAVIER PANZAR

How do you move thousands of gallons of crude a day with a key oil pipeline out of commission indefinitely? Exxon Mobil officials are seeking permission to truck the oil through Santa Barbara County after a ruptured pipeline sent oil spilling into the Pacific Ocean and brought the company's oil transportation operations to a halt.  [Full Story]

Jun 5, 2015
EPA finds drinking water vulnerable to fracking
The Charleston Gazette
Ken Ward Jr.

A five-year investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of the boom in natural gas drilling and production has identified potentially serious threats to drinking water supplies, but provides no new detailed data that would help to quantify the scope of any contamination that has occurred across the country. EPA media officials promoted the study as finding that “hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systematic impacts” to drinking water. But the actual conclusion of the agency’s 998-page report contained a subtle, but important, difference: It said EPA “did not find evidence” of widespread or systematic impacts. And authors of the EPA study made clear that they lacked enough data to draw strong conclusions about the extent of any damage. “In particular, data limitations preclude a determination of the frequency of impacts with any certainty,” the report said.  [Full Story]

Jun 5, 2015
DEP to investigate Ten Mile Creek for radioactivity
Observer-Reporter
Natasha Kahn

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will investigate whether there are radioactive materials in Ten Mile Creek, a major tributary of the Monongahela River in Greene and Washington counties. The Monongahela is a primary source of drinking water in the region, but John Poister, a DEP spokesman, said it is too early to tell whether there are any public health concerns. “At this point, we don’t think there is an immediate threat to the health and safety of the people in that vicinity,” he said. Ten Mile Creek is in the heart of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale gas fields, an area that is also plagued with waste from legacy coal mining. The DEP plans to begin testing the creek in late June. The investigation comes more than a year after the department did initial tests that showed levels of radioactivity above what is normally seen in Pennsylvania, Poister said.  [Full Story]

Jun 5, 2015
What Media Left Out Of EPA Fracking Stories: "Insufficient" Data, Lack Of "Any Certainty"
Media Matters
Denise Robbins

Many major media outlets reported that a new Environmental Protection Agency study found no evidence that hydraulic fracturing (aka "fracking") has had "widespread" impacts on Americans' drinking water, but did not mention the EPA's explanation for why the study doesn't necessarily indicate "a rarity of effects on drinking water resources." The EPA study identified several "limiting factors," including insufficient data, the lack of long-term studies, and inaccessible information, which it said "preclude a determination of the frequency of [drinking water] impacts with any certainty."  [Full Story]

Jun 5, 2015
Fracking Has Contaminated Drinking Water, EPA Now Concludes
InsideClimate News
Neela Banerjee

After years of asserting that hydraulic fracturing has never tainted drinking water, the Obama administration issued a long-awaited study of the controversial oil and gas production technique that confirmed "specific instances" when fracking "led to impacts on drinking water resources, including contamination of drinking water wells." The conclusion was central to a nearly 1,000-page draft assessment issued Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency to address public concerns about the possible effects of fracking on drinking water.   [Full Story]

Jun 5, 2015
DEC Statement on EPA High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Assessment - A New DEC Press Release
NYS DEC
Press Release

Statement Attributable to DEC Spokesperson Tom Mailey: The EPA's review focused on impacts to water resources related to high-volume hydraulic fracturing, while the state review was much broader -- examining impacts to air, water, public health, ecosystems, wildlife and community character. Our review identified many potential significant adverse impacts. As the EPA said, states are in the best position to make decisions regarding high-volume hydraulic fracturing. In December, the DOH Report concluded that HVHF should not move forward in New York State. DEC will release its Findings Statement shortly consistent with this position. Background: EPA's draft study identifies numerous vulnerabilities and uncertainties associated with high-volume hydraulic fracturing that could impact valuable water resources. The report confirms hundreds of HVHF-related spills and drinking water contamination resulted from poorly constructed wells. EPA found 457 HVHF-related spills over six years, but acknowledges that there is uncertainty about how many more may have occurred. Most were spills of flowback and produced water and due to human error. Of the total spills, 300 reached an "environmental receptor" such as surface water or groundwater. EPA also acknowledged that numerous factors limited the certainty of the draft report, including insufficient pre- and post-fracking groundwater data and a lack of long-term systematic studies.   [Full Story]

Jun 5, 2015
Low birth weights associated with proximity to fracking sites
Medical News Today


Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health examining the proximity of pregnant women to unconventional gas drilling sites have found that those living closest to gas wells drilled with hydraulic fracturing may be more likely to have babies with lower birth weights than those living farther away.   [Full Story]

Jun 5, 2015
Bill seeks to block tariffs for LNG exports
Nashoba Publishing
Gintautas Dumcius

STATE HOUSE -- Gas companies would be prevented from potentially levying tariffs on Massachusetts ratepayers as a means of funding a pipeline that would export to foreign markets, under a bill considered by a panel of lawmakers on Tuesday. The bill "puts the brakes on the gas customers and taxpayers footing the bill for a pipeline" that connects with a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal, according to Rep. Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead), the sponsor of the legislation (H 2494).   [Full Story]

Jun 5, 2015
B.C. should undertake assessment of fracking
Times Colonist


Re: “No widespread harm to drinking water from fracking: U.S.,” June 5. A draft U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study reported cases where poorly constructed drilling wells or improper wastewater management affected drinking water. The number of cases was small compared to the large number of wells that use fracking.   [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
Fracking Has Not Had Big Effect on Water Supply, E.P.A. Says While Noting Risks
The New York Times
CORAL DAVENPORT

Nevertheless, the long-awaited draft report found that the techniques used in hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, do have the potential to contaminate drinking water. It notes several specific instances in which the chemicals used in fracking led to contamination of water, including drinking water wells, but it emphasized that the number of cases was small compared with the number of fracked wells.   [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
EPA Study: Fracking Puts Drinking Water Supplies at Risk of Contamination
DeSmogBlog
Sharon Kelly

The Environmental Protection Agency has released its long awaited draft assessment of the impacts that fracking has on the nation's drinking water supplies — confirming that the process does indeed contaminate water. “From our assessment, we conclude there are above and below ground mechanisms by which hydraulic fracturing activities have the potential to impact drinking water resources,” the EPA wrote. The impacts take a variety of forms, the EPA wrote, listing the effects of water consumption especially in arid regions or during droughts, chemical and wastewater spills, “fracturing directly into underground drinking water resources,” the movement of liquids and gasses below ground “and inadequate treatment and discharge of wastewater.” The agency wrote that it had documented “specific instances” where each of those problems had in fact happened and some cases where multiple problems combined to pollute water supplies.  [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
Cuomo administration keeping fracking ban in New York despite report that it causes no 'widespread' water contamination
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
GLENN BLAIN

ALBANY - The Cuomo administration is sticking by its decision to ban hydrofracking in New York despite a federal report Thursday that found it caused no “widespread” water contamination. A spokesman for the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation said New York’s decision not to allow the controversial natural gas drilling process was based on factors beyond possible water contamination. “The EPA's review focused on impacts to water resources related to high-volume hydraulic fracturing, while the state review was much broader - examining impacts to air, water, public health, ecosystems, wildlife and community character,” said DEC spokesman Tom Mailey. “Our review identified many potential significant adverse impacts,” Mailey added.  [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
Committee to conduct study on fracking wastewater injection
Gering Citizen
Doug Harris

On May 27 dozens of concerned citizens gathered at ESU 13 in Scottsbluff to participate in a teleconference public hearing hosted by the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee. The purpose of the meeting was to advance Legislative Bill 664 that was introduced by Senator Ernie Chambers of Omaha in early May. People both in Lincoln and in Scottsbluff were allowed three minutes each to either endorse Chamber’s bill or reject it.   [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
Long-Awaited EPA Study Says Fracking Pollutes Drinking Water
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

The report concluded that fracking for shale oil and gas has not led to “widespread” pollution of drinking water, but said fracking could contaminate drinking water under certain conditions, such as when fluids used in the process leaked into the water table, and found isolated cases of water contamination.   [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
Lone Star Stumble
The New York Times
Paul Krugman

Now one of the three big drivers of Texas growth has gone into reverse, as low world oil prices are bringing the fracking boom to a screeching halt. Hey, things like that happen to every state now and then. But Texas wasn’t supposed to be like other states. It was supposed to be the shining exemplar of the economic payoff to reverse Robin-Hood economics. So its recent disappointments hit the right-wing cause hard — especially coming on the heels of the Kansas debacle.  [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
Statoil and ExxonMobil chiefs call on EU to allow fracking
FT
Michael Stothard

Eldar Sætre, the chief executive of Norwegian state-controlled energy company Statoil, told the Financial Times that fracking was currently a “lost opportunity” for Europe.  [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
Con: New federal fracking rules are low-cost and promising but may not be tough enough
GAZETTE EXTRA
Michael E. Kraft

EDITOR’S NOTE: The writer is addressing the question, “Are restrictions on fracking and oil exports stifling American prosperity?” The Obama administration recently announced the first major federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, to take effect in June. - See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20150604/con_new_federal_fracking_rules_are_low_cost_and_promising_but_may_not_be_tough_enough#sthash.tTpv0e77.dpuf  [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
Disturbing New Study Links Fracking Wells To Lower Birth Weights 'These findings cannot be ignored,' urges University of Pittsburgh researcher.
Mint Press News
Sarah Lazare

In an alarming new study, University of Pittsburgh researchers revealed that pregnant parents who live in close proximity to fracking wells are more likely than their counterparts, who live farther away, to have babies with lower birth weights.   [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
Over 100 people sign up to support NAACP fracking lawsuit
Winston-Salem Journal
Bertrand Gutierrez

WALNUT COVE – More than 100 people concerned about environmental injustice signed up Wednesday night to be part of a possible lawsuit that the Rev. William Barber, president of the N.C. NAACP, said the civil-rights organization is planning to file.   [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
Fracking and the Texas Non-Miracle
New York Times
Paul Krugman Opinion

Grr. I’ve been meaning to write about the Texas economic stumble, but have to some extent been scooped by the business desk. Still, there’s more to say, particularly about the role of the energy sector in the previous boom.   [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
EPA study: Fracking has not led to 'widespread, systemic pollution' Study finds some drinking water vulnerabilities
Philly Voice
Valerie Volcovici & timothy Gardner

Fracking has not led to widespread, systemic pollution of drinking water, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will say on Thursday in a long-awaited study, sources who have seen the assessment said. The study, five years in the making, found some drinking water vulnerabilities to hydraulic fracturing, such as where supplies were scarce, but overall saw little impact from the drilling technique.   [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
UPDATED: Newsweek, Wash. Times Publish False Headlines About EPA Fracking Study
Media Matters
Denise Robbins

UPDATE (6/5/15): Following the publication of this post, The Washington Times changed its headline from "EPA: Fracking doesn't harm drinking water" to "EPA finds fracking poses no direct threat to drinking water." However, the New York Post published an article on June 5 adopting The Washington Times' original language, headlined, "Fracking doesn't harm drinking water: EPA." ORIGINAL POST: Within hours of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) releasing a study on hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," Newsweek and The Washington Times published online articles with headlines that falsely claimed the EPA determined fracking does not pollute drinking water. However, while the EPA said it found no evidence that fracking has led to "widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States," the study also identified "specific instances" where fracking "led to impacts on drinking water resources, including contamination of drinking water wells." In its headline, Newsweek asserted: "Fracking Doesn't Pollute Drinking Water, EPA Says." The Washington Times' similar headline, "EPA: Fracking doesn't harm drinking water," was also adopted by The Drudge Report, a highly influential conservative news aggregator. But the EPA study said none of those things. Rather, the EPA concluded (emphasis added): From our assessment, we conclude there are above and below ground mechanisms by which hydraulic fracturing activities have the potential to impact drinking water resources. These mechanisms include water withdrawals in times of, or in areas with, low water availability; spills of hydraulic fracturing fluids and produced water; fracturing directly into underground drinking water resources; below ground migration of liquids and gases; and inadequate treatment and discharge of wastewater. We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States. Of the potential mechanisms identified in this report, we found specific instances where one or more mechanisms led to impacts on drinking water resources, including contamination of drinking water wells. The number of identified cases, however, was small compared to the number of hydraulically fractured wells. A more accurate headline about the EPA's study would have resembled that of U.S. News & World Report, which stated: "EPA: Fracking Tainted Drinking Water, but Problems Not Widespread."  [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
Range Resources offers residents $500 in exchange for vow not to sue
Tribune-Review
Katelyn Ferral

Range Resources is offering $500 to neighbors of a drilling site near Deer Lakes Park if they sign an agreement releasing the company from liability for increased traffic, noise or dust pollution — issues that have caused friction between the industry and residents in some communities. The company is set to drill nine wells near Frazer this year, and the agreement could help it avoid potential lawsuits over problems that can be characterized as a nuisance. Cases in Ohio and Oklahoma have cost drillers millions of dollars, said Steve Townsend, an attorney with ShaleAdvice LLC, a Downtown law firm that represents landowners. Range Resources spokesman Matt Pitzarella said the agreement is a common industry practice, and it is intended to provide residents with payment and documentation that the company will promptly address and fix any impacts from its work. “We acknowledge there are some possible inconveniences with our work and make every attempt to be open and straightforward with nearby residents prior to our work beginning,” Pitzarella said.  [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
Methane emissions threaten to undermine natural-gas offensive Leaks during production and transport add to greenhouse gases.
Tulsa World
Associated Press

The grainy black-and-white photograph taken with an infrared camera shows a smoky haze wafting from a natural gas storage tank. That cloud is methane escaping, said Philip Swanson, administrator of a United Nations-led industry partnership aimed at curbing leakage of the primary component of natural gas. His presentation at the World Gas Conference in Paris on Tuesday highlighted how the energy being promoted as one of the solutions to fighting climate change is also contributing to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.   [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
Exploratory drilling concludes
Laurinburg Exchange
Mary Katherine Murphy

LAURINBURG — As a geologic exploration crew commissioned by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources delved deep into the ground in search of a rock layer during the first part of this week, the Sandhills lived up to its name, yielding only clay for several days. The mission’s principal purpose was to evaluate whether the formerly unassessed Cumberland-Marlboro shale basin might hold reserves of oil and natural gas, a question that would be answered through scrutiny of the types of rock present at sites in Laurinburg, Raeford, and Fayetteville.   [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
It's Official: EPA Says Fracking Pollutes Drinking Water
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

In 2010, Congress commissioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study the impact of fracking on drinking water. The U.S. EPA released its long-awaited final draft version of its report today, assessing how fracking for oil and gas can impact access to safe drinking water. Today’s results will likely not please the “drill everywhere” faction of Congress. It refuted the conclusion arrived at by the U.S. EPA’s 2004 study that fracking poses no threat to drinking water, a conclusion used to exempt the fracking process from the Safe Drinking Water Act.  [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
Natural Gas Ministry Responds to Report Critical of LNG Prospects
The Tyee
Andrew Nikiforuk

British Columbia's Ministry of Natural Gas Development has responded to a critical report that challenges its numbers on the potential size, earnings, and environmental impacts of the proposed liquefied natural gas industry in the province. Last week, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a report by energy analyst David Hughes that characterized government numbers on recoverable gas as inflated and unlikely. "There's two things I don't believe any more. Polls, and anything written by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives," Natural Gas Minister Rich Coleman reportedly said in response to the report.  [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
EPA: Fracking Doesn't Pose "Widespread, Systemic" Danger to Drinking Water
Mother Jones
Tim McDonnell

The Environmental Protection Agency today released a long-awaited draft report on the impact of fracking on drinking water supplies. The analysis, which drew on peer-reviewed studies as well as state and federal databases, found that activities associated with fracking do "have the potential to impact drinking water resources." But it concluded that in the United States, these impacts have been few and far between. The report identifies several possible areas of concern, including: "water withdrawals in times of, or in areas with, low water availability; spills of hydraulic fracturing fluids and produced water; fracturing directly into underground drinking water resources; below ground migration of liquids and gases; and inadequate treatment and discharge of water."  [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
EPA study reveals fracking pollutes water
EARTHWORKS
Press Release

Despite investigation weakened by oil and gas industry obstructionism, EPA confirms what communities living with fracking have known for almost a decade Washington DC -- In a watershed moment, today EPA announced fracking does pollute drinking water with the release of the draft final version of its study of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources. Congress commissioned the study in 2010 in response to increasing public questions about the risks posed to drinking water by the unconventional oil and gas boom. In 2004, an EPA study concluded that hydraulic fracturing does not threaten drinking water. From that conclusion, Congress exempted fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act. The 2004 study was maligned within the EPA and by independent scientists. The current study was intended to revisit the conclusions of the 2004 study. - See more at: http://www.earthworksaction.org/media/detail/EPA_study_reveals_fracking_pollutes_water110#.VXCVmmCFsyH  [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
Will Re-Fracking be the Shale Drilling Industry's Next Big Move?
DeSmogBlog
Sharon Kelly

With oil prices continuing to languish, companies like Halliburton and Schlumberger have started talking up a way to get more shale oil and gas for less money: re-fracking wells drilled over the past 10 years, kick-starting flagging production and pumping out more shale oil and gas while spending less than the cost of a new well. Excitement has spread among oil companies and investment analysts alike. “You want to talk about the next step to increasing production without increasing costs?” Carl Larry, director of oil and natural gas at Frost & Sullivan, a consulting firm, told Bloomberg. “Re-fracking looks great.”   [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
More study needed on fracking, birth link
The Columbus Dispatch
Laura Arenschield

Pregnant women who live close to multiple fracking wells in Pennsylvania were more likely to have babies with lower birth weights than were those who live farther away, a study published on Wednesday shows. University of Pittsburgh researchers, however, caution that their findings do not mean there is a conclusive link between fracking and lower birth weights. But the results are concerning, said Bruce Pitt, chairman of the university’s environmental and occupational health department and coauthor of the study.   [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
Fracking Has Had No ‘Widespread’ Impact on Drinking Water, EPA Finds ‘Potential vulnerabilities’ should be addressed to prevent water contamination, EPA says after four-year study
Wall Street Journal
Russell Gold & Amy Harder

Fracking isn’t causing widespread damage to the nation’s drinking water, the Obama administration said in a long-awaited report released Thursday. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—after a four-year study that is the U.S. government’s most comprehensive examination of the issue to date—concluded that hydraulic fracturing, as being carried out by industry and regulated by states, isn’t having “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water.”   [Full Story]

Jun 4, 2015
Feds Say Fracking Has Little Impact on U.S. Drinking Water
Time.com
Maa Rhodan

EPA report says no evidence of "widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States" The controversial oil and gas extraction technique of hydraulic fracturing — commonly known as “fracking”— has no “widespread” impact on American drinking water, according to a new report released by the Environmental Protection Agency.  [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
The fracking industry just got more tech savvy
Grist
Suzanne Jacobs

It looks like the U.S. fracking industry is becoming a little less “Wild West” and little more West Coast Silicon Valley. And no — I can’t decide which one sounds worse, either. True, low oil prices recently brought the industry to its knees: The number of rigs nationwide fell by more than half since October of last year. But at the same time, the industry has been getting smarter about how it operates. Here’s the scoop from MIT Technology Review:  [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
Carroll officials, Shober discuss Act 13 drilling law
Marcellus.com
Jeremy Sellew

A Washington County Commissioner told the Carroll supervisors he supports the state’s oil and gas legislation. Commissioner Harlan Shober attended the supervisor’s business meeting Tuesday. Shober of Chartiers said he supports Act 13, a state law that prohibited municipalities from enacting a ban or restrictions on hydraulic fracturing.  [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
Quigley nomination headed to Senate floor vote
Citizens Voice
Robert Swift

HARRISBURG — John Quigley’s nomination as state environmental secretary is headed to a Senate vote despite hitting a minor political road bump. The Republican-controlled chamber could vote on his nomination as early as today following the unusual move by the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee on Tuesday to forward it without any recommendation.   [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
Lawsuit: Conspiracy by Gov. Brown, oil companies tainted aquifers
San Francisco Chronicle
David R. Baker

A conspiracy involving Gov. Jerry Brown, state regulators, Chevron Corp. and the oil industry let petroleum companies inject their wastewater into California aquifers despite the devastating drought, a lawsuit filed Wednesday alleges. The suit claims that Brown in 2011 fired California’s top oil regulator under pressure from the industry after she started subjecting some of the oil companies’ operations to greater scrutiny, particularly requests to dispose of oil field wastewater underground. Brown then replaced her with someone who promised to be more “flexible” with the oil companies, according to the complaint. Federal officials have since determined that oil companies have injected billions of gallons of their wastewater into aquifers that should have been protected by law, aquifers that could be used for drinking or irrigation. California regulators have now pledged to end the practice, although some of the injection wells may be allowed to keep pumping until 2017. ADVERTISING “California is experiencing the greatest drought of this generation, and protecting fresh water is of paramount concern,” said R. Rex Parris, lead attorney representing Central Valley farmers on the suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.  [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
New law on drilling actually allows for more local control Activists protested Tuesday at a drilling site in northwest Denton, where a new state law contradicts the city’s recent fracking ban.
Ft Worth Star-Telegram
Ed Ireland

To hear it from a vocal minority of drilling opponents, House Bill 40, the recently enacted law that clarifies energy regulation in Texas, is “big government” taking away “local control” from cities. It’s useful to take a deep breath and assess what the law does — and what it doesn’t. First, HB 40 actually strengthens local control. Prior to HB 40, cities with drilling ordinances could be challenged in courts for a range of issues, because there was no statewide law explicitly granting cities many of the regulatory authorities that they had assumed.   [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
DENTON POLICE NICELY ARRESTED SIX PROTESTING TEXAS' BAN ON FRACKING BANS
Dallas Observer
AMY SILVERSTEIN

Now that Texas has passed a law that says cities can't ban fracking, it's a fitting middle finger to fracking bans that an energy company would get to work in Denton, the city where voters passed the historic regulation that started this all. Vantage Energy resumed drilling in Denton on Monday. While that sucks for all of the people in Denton who voted to pass the city's fracking ban, a small consolation prize is that the company has nothing but very kind words to say about the people who were protesting outside their operations this week. Six of the protesters have been arrested so far. "We recognize and appreciate the rights of all citizens to peacefully assemble and to express their opinions openly," Seth Urruty, Vantage's vice president of development, says in a prepared statement."We are grateful to the city of Denton Police Department for helping keep the protesters safe." The police department was keeping protesters safe, of course, from the well that Vantage Energy was going to drill no matter how many people nearby didn't want them too.   [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
Dominion files legal action against landowners
News Leader
Megan Williams

Dominion has filed legal action against 27 Virginia landowners who have denied surveyors access to their properties, despite it being legal for Dominion to come on private property for the purpose of surveying. Of the 27, three are Augusta County landowners, 22 are in Nelson County and two in Buckingham County. Dominion expects to file legal action against more than 100 landowners who won't allow surveying for the Atlantic Coast pipeline.   [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
49 States Making Plans for EPA Carbon Rule—Even the Ones That Hate It
Inside Climate News
Naveena Sadasivam

Editor's note: This article is part a series of stories by InsideClimate News reporters exploring the future of the coal industry, Coal's Long Goodbye. The Environmental Protection Agency's plans to finalize the rules on carbon emissions from power plants are still several months away. But most states, even those challenging the agency in court, are already investigating ways to comply. The EPA expects 49 states to submit plans once the rules are finalized. The non-partisan group Great Plains Institute for Sustainable Development, which has been organizing talks in the Midwest on the Clean Power Plan, says 41 states have joined regional groups exploring options to comply with the rule. "My guess would be all 49 are," said Doug Scott, a vice president at the Great Plains Institute. "Whether they're part of formalized groups or not, all the states are trying to figure out what the best options are."   [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
Progressive Trade Deal? Show Us the Text of the TPP!
food and water watch


Before the Senate left on its Memorial Day “recess,” it barely managed to pass Fast Track trade authority designed to essentially rubber-stamp the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). That the legislation limped across the finish line of a pro-trade Senate demonstrates the controversial and politically charged nature of Fast Track. The Obama administration has kept the TPP negotiations and the text largely secret — except from the corporate advisors that have been inserting special interest mischief into the TPP trade deal. The President contends the TPP is the “most progressive trade deal in history,” but if the terms of the deal are good enough to draw support from progressive America, why won’t the President release the text of the agreement? As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis noted, sunlight is the best disinfectant. Perhaps surprisingly, President George W. Bush released the draft text of the Free Trade Area of the Americas to the public, and his team’s rationale should be illuminating for the Obama administration. According to then U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, they released the FTAA text “to make international trade and its economic and social benefits more understandable to the public.” But the TPP has been shrouded in so much secrecy that even Members of Congress have had difficulty accessing the TPP negotiating texts. Up until this year, Members of Congress had to request access to the text that was secured in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). In March, USTR set up a room in the Capitol where Members of Congress could visit the text without making an appointment.  [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
Distributed Solar Helps Lower Peak Demand Electricity Prices
clean technica


rooftop-solar-PV-panels (1)We’re bullish on rooftop solar, and it’s not only because residential solar can slash electricity costs, boost property values, deliver a great return on investment (ROI), and decrease air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Sure, those are all great reasons for considering going solar at home, but it turns out that rooftop solar can also deliver dividends for everyone on the grid, regardless of whether or not those other homes are solar powered. According to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a research organization that analyzes financial and economic issues related to energy and the environment, installing efficient rooftop solar arrays can help reduce peak energy prices for every ratepayer in the region. The article references a recent report from Sanford Bernstein & Co., a leading investment research firm, which saw a correlation between the amount of solar on the grid and peak demand pricing hours:  [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
Big Oil tries to rebrand itself as Big Gas
Grist
John Light

As the world moves toward a climate change deal this December, the oil industry has dived into an all-out campaign to rebrand itself as the climate-friendly natural gas industry. On Monday, six of Europe’s largest oil and gas companies wrote to the U.N., saying they stand ready to accept a price on carbon. This kind of market mechanism, they noted, could encourage “the use of natural gas in place of coal.” And if that were to happen, well, they wouldn’t complain. In fact, most major oil companies have been focusing more on natural gas in recent years in anticipation of a global response to climate change — and they want us to know. “Total is gas, and gas is good,” the CEO of the French oil company said Monday. And on Tuesday, Shell’s CFO argued for leaving coal in the ground but not oil and gas. Both companies produce more gas than oil.  [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
Why this deforestation pledge is huge news for the Indonesian rainforest
Grist
Nathanael Johnson

On Wednesday, Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) — one of the world’s largest pulp and paper makers, and the last Indonesian corporate giant that had not jumped on board the “save the rainforest” train — pledged to eliminate deforestation from its operations. “APRIL’s policy is huge news for the entire industry,” said Amy Moas, a Greenpeace forest campaigner. “Now over 80 percent of the pulp sector in Indonesia is committed to stopping the destruction of the rainforests.” APRIL’s parent company, the Royal Golden Eagle group, also announced that this sustainability policy will extend to all its other pulp companies. Moas told me she is hopeful that the Royal Golden Eagle group is committed to making good on its pledge because Greenpeace negotiators dealt directly with top leadership.  [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
Controversial New England gas pipeline proposal scaled back
The Boston Globe
Jay Fitzgerald

Kinder Morgan Inc. is scaling back the scope of its controversial plan to build a network of natural gas piplines stretching from Western Massachusetts, through southern New Hampshire, and into the Merrimack Valley, because it can't find enough customers. In a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Tuesday, the Houston company said it’s dropping plans for a nearly 15-mile-long spur, or lateral line, through 156 properties in seven Massachusetts towns – Bolton, Berlin, Boylston, Northborough, West Boylston, Shrewsbury and Worcester. The firm is also eliminating plans for a 1-mile long spur in Connecticut.   [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
'No shale gas revolution in Europe'
BBC News
Richard Anderson

There will be no US-style shale gas revolution in Europe, the president of the International Gas Union (IGU) has told the BBC. "You cannot duplicate [the US experience] in Europe," said Jerome Ferrier. "Politicians are hesitating to accept shale development." Abundant shale gas in the US has helped domestic energy prices fall. As a result some European governments, not least the UK, are keen to develop their own shale resources.  [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
State Senate advances sweeping climate change legislation
Los Angeles Times


California state senators approved legislation Wednesday intended to help the state tackle climate change by setting new targets for generating renewable energy, reducing gasoline use and increasing energy efficiency in buildings. The bill, which now goes to the Assembly, advances goals outlined by Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this year. Although Republicans opposed the measure, which they said would raise costs and stifle business with new regulations, it passed easily in the Democratic-controlled chamber.  [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
State agency seeks to aid renewable energy projects
Press Connects
Jon Campbell

ALBANY – The state's energy research branch wants to set aside $1.5 billion for large-scale renewable energy projects over the next decade, according to a proposal released this week. In a document released late Monday, the New York State Energy Research Development Authority recommended the decade-long boost for the renewable industry, which would go toward funding major renewable projects meant to increase the state's production. The proposal now heads to the state Public Service Commission, which has the ability to tack a surcharge on New York utility bills to fund it.  [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
LAW:Enviros jump into fracking rule litigation -- on government's side
E & E Newswire
Ellen M. Gilmer

After two months of public speculation over how environmental groups would respond to the Obama administration's new regulations for hydraulic fracturing, a coalition of conservation groups has come out on the government's side -- seeking to defend the rule in federal court. The Wilderness Society, the Sierra Club, Earthworks, the Conservation Colorado Education Fund, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and Western Resource Advocates yesterday asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming to allow them to intervene as respondents in two lawsuits that seek to block the new fracking rule. An industry suit contends that Interior's Bureau of Land Management failed to consider steep compliance costs, while a challenge from affected states says the agency overstepped its authority in crafting the regulations.  [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
Why Rick Santorum doesn't want Pope Francis talking about climate change
Christian Science Monitor
Jessica Mendoza

Republican 2016 presidential candidate Rick Santorum may profess to be a fan of Pope Francis, but that doesn’t stop the Pennsylvania senator from disagreeing with the pontiff’s views. In an interview Monday with Philadelphia radio host Dom Giordano, the former Pennsylvania senator, a practicing Roman Catholic, said he thinks the pope should stop talking about climate change and leave “science to the scientists.” Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, has expressed his views on issues such as same-sex marriage and evolution, and has spoken many times on the need to respect and protect the environment.   [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
Whitewater, Colorado Neighbors Suffer with Stench from Frackwater Pits
DeSmogBlog
Anne Landman

For two years, residents around Whitewater, Colorado, have struggled to live with a terrible stench emanating from the Deer Creek waste disposal facility nearby. Operated by Alanco Energy Services, a subsidiary of Alanco Technologies of Scottsdale, Arizona, the facility was created expressly to profit from the waste and contaminated water produced by the oil and gas industry. The Deer Creek waste disposal facility, located 20 miles south of Grand Junction, accepts frackwater and other hazardous wastes from oil and gas operations for a 100-mile radius around the facility. It opened in September 2012, after winning unanimous approval from the oil and gas-friendly Mesa County Commissioners, over the objection of area residents, who tried unsuccessfuly to fight the facility. In a December 2013 news release touting the unanimous approval, Alanco bragged that their Deer Creek site and its evaporative waste ponds would provide a “'one stop shop'” for disposal of all O&G [oil and gas] waste products, including naturally-occurring radioactive material waste streams.”  [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
Arkansas River pipeline blowout occurred on Sunday morning, cause still unknown
Arkansas Times
Benjamin Hardy

Based on eyewitness accounts, it appears the rupture of the auxiliary Texas Eastern Pipeline used to transport natural gas across the Arkansas River occurred around 9:40 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, May 31. However, neither the owner of the pipeline — Houston-based Spectra Energy — nor the U.S. Coast Guard became aware of the incident until sometime Monday, June 1, when Jeffrey Sand Company in North Little Rock called the energy company to complain about damage to a towboat it owns, the Chris M. Clay McGeorge, president of Jeffrey Sand, wrote the Times today to say the Chris M. was tied up all day Sunday. "It was fine at the morning watch and damaged at the afternoon watch. No one was present at the time of the rupture," he said in an email. Mike Metzler is a captain and general manager for Harbor Services, which contracts with the Little Rock Port Authority to handle barge traffic out of the port. Metzler said he received a panicked call from a boat captain at 9:40 a.m. on Sunday who said another boat had just reported a "huge wall of water" on the Arkansas River near the Clinton Center. The river has been near minor flood stage in recent days due to weeks of heavy rain.  [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
Maryland joins New York as Pennsylvania border state banning fracking
Lancaster Online
Ad Crable

As surging natural gas drilling makes Pennsylvania second in the nation in production, a second neighboring state has banned fracking wells. Last Friday, a moratorium on fracking became law in Maryland.   [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
Big Oil tries to rebrand itself as Big Gas
Grist
John Light

As the world moves toward a climate change deal this December, the oil industry has dived into an all-out campaign to rebrand itself as the climate-friendly natural gas industry. On Monday, six of Europe’s largest oil and gas companies wrote to the U.N., saying they stand ready to accept a price on carbon.  [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
Council drops repeal of fracking ban
Denton Record-Chronicle
Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe

The Denton City Council walked away from repealing the city’s 7-month-old ban on hydraulic fracturing early Wednesday morning, after more than four hours of public testimony and two hours of deliberation. Council members said they wanted to explore whether the city could write an ordinance that both acknowledged the current effects of House Bill 40 and the future possibility that the sweeping, unprecedented law could be found unconstitutional.  [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
Methane Emissions Threaten to Undermine Natural-Gas Offensive
Bloomberg
Tara Patel

The grainy black and white photograph taken with an infrared camera shows a smoky haze wafting from a natural gas storage tank. That cloud is methane escaping, said Philip Swanson, administrator of a United Nations-led industry partnership aimed at curbing leakage of the primary component of natural gas. His presentation at the World Gas Conference in Paris on Tuesday highlighted how the energy being promoted as one of the solutions to fighting climate change is also contributing to the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. “This is a reputational issue for the industry,” Swanson said. Methane is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide, another greenhouse gas, and yet data on emissions during production and transport of natural gas “are still patchy.”  [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
Pa. legislator wants to encourage fracking firms to use more treated water from mines
Tribe Live
Katelyn Ferral

A Republican lawmaker is looking to encourage more oil and gas companies to use treated water from coal mines in their fracking operations. Sen. Camera Bartolotta, R-Carroll, introduced legislation Wednesday that would make a driller liable only for the amount of treated water it takes from a coal mine impoundment pond. The mine operator retains liability for the rest of the water.   [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
Fracking ban proposed in Bonita Springs
NBC News
Carla Bayron

BONITA SPRINGS, FL - A hot-button issue is back on the table in Southwest Florida. The City of Bonita Springs wants to ban the controversial natural gas drilling practice of fracking. During fracking, workers drill into the Earth and use a high-pressure water mixture to release gas trapped inside.   [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
After Fracking Ban, Denton Residents Ponder Next Steps
KERA
Jim Malewitz

Frustrated and grasping for options that weren't apparent, Denton residents flooded a city council meeting Tuesday night to assess where things stand after state lawmakers smacked down an ordinance voters passed last fall to ban hydraulic fracturing within city limits.   [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
COAST GUARD RESPONDS TO UNDERWATER NATURAL GAS LINE RUPTURE
USCG News
Press Release

NEW ORLEANS - The Coast Guard is responding to a ruptured pipeline on the Arkansas River, Tuesday. Watchstanders with Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River received a report from Jeffery Sand Company Monday of an incident at mile marker 117.3 of the Arkansas River involving the report of damage to the port side of the motor vessel Chris M and a ruptured pipe line  [Full Story]

Jun 3, 2015
Pester power: The new weapon in the fight against global warming
The Intelligencer
Tom Bawden

Climate-change campaigners have a new weapon in the fight against global warming : pester power. The world’s leading climate economist is urging children and young people to guilt-trip their parents and other adults into doing more to save the world. “Today’s young people can and should hold their parents’ generation to account for their present actions. They can elicit an emotional response that can motivate action,” argues Lord Stern, a respected London School of Economics professor who wrote a hugely influential review on the financial implications of climate change in 2006.  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
UPDATED: Natural gas pipeline ruptures east of I-30 bridge, closing two miles of Arkansas River
Arkansas Times
Benjamin Hardy

UPDATE June 2, 11:00 p.m.: A spokesperson from Spectra Energy, the operator of the Texas Eastern pipeline, spoke with me this evening about the incident. See below for details. The U.S. Coast Guard has confirmed news that began circulating earlier today: A pipeline that carries natural gas across the Arkansas River ruptured in Little Rock yesterday or over the weekend. The breach occurred east of the I-30 bridge. Lieutenant Brian Porter, a public affairs officer for the Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River in Memphis, said it appears no one was injured in the accident, but one vessel — a towboat called the Chris M — was damaged. Porter said the Coast Guard was alerted to the rupture by a call on Monday, June 1 at 2 p.m. It has closed the river to commercial traffic from mile markers 116 to 118 while it assesses the situation. The line in question is the Texas Eastern, which is owned by Houston-based Spectra Energy. Phil West, a spokesperson for Spectra, spoke with the Times about the breach on Tuesday evening.   [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
NYSERDA Proposes New Strategies To Continue Support Of Large-Scale Renewables
North American Wind Power


The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) says it will use new and improved strategies to support large-scale renewables, such as wind and solar, in the state. NYSERDA proposes a long-term commitment to the next generation of large-scale renewables through a $1.5 billion public investment over 10 years, which is comparable to the level of investment made over the past decade through the existing renewable portfolio standard. The proposal responds to industry and market feedback and advances approaches built off of best practices from around the country. It also aligns with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Reforming the Energy Vision plan to build a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system.  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
Obama Picks Unknown Quantity to Head Pipeline Safety Agency
InsideClimate News
Lisa Song

The nomination of Marie Therese Dominguez, President Obama's pick to lead the federal agency that oversees pipelines, was greeted with surprise and uncertainty by pipeline safety experts. Carl Weimer, executive director of the watchdog group Pipeline Safety Trust, said he hadn't heard of Dominguez before the nomination, and knew nothing about her track record in the pipeline sector. Weimer said he would reserve judgement until after her confirmation, and said he hoped she would speed the passage of several pipeline safety rules currently lingering in regulatory limbo.  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
'Moon shot' call on clean energy
BBC News
Roger Harrabin

A group of scientists and economists is calling for the equivalent of the Apollo space programme to produce cheap, clean energy. Apollo engaged America’s best minds to put a man on the Moon in the Cold War. The academics say a similar effort is needed to make renewables cheaper than coal within a decade in what they call the biggest scientific challenge of the century. Such a project has been mooted in the past – but always failed. The group of experts call their project Global Apollo. They say they have generated interest from major nations in their plan for an investment of 0.02% of their GDP into research, development and demonstration (RD&D) of clean electricity. Their report, launched at London’s Royal Society, says on current projections the world will exceed the 2C danger threshold of climate change by 2035.  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
Local Control? Texas Fracking Billionaires Say ‘Not So Fast’
Reality Check
Brie Shea, I

Last month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill that would, at first blush, seem at odds with the state’s ethos of local control and individual rights. Commonly referred to as the “Denton Fracking Ban,” the law should actually be called the Fracking-Ban Ban. That’s because it forbids cities and towns from banning hydraulic fracturing, a technique used to extract methane gas from shale and other below-ground mineral deposits. Fracking has been linked to a number of environmental threats: dangerous chemicals flowing into rivers, poisoned drinking water, and dozens of earthquakes in states like Oklahoma, which had relatively few tremors before frackers Swiss-cheesed the place. So why would Texas, a state renowned for its fierce defense of local rights, prohibit the good people of Denton—and any other municipality—from banning this dangerous practice if that is what they choose to do?  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
Coalition of Conservation Groups Seek to Defend Bureau of Land Management’s New Fracking Rules
ENews Park Forest
Press Release

Denver, CO —(ENEWSPF)--June 2, 2015. A coalition of six conservation groups yesterday moved to defend the Bureau of Land Management’s new hydraulic fracturing rules against legal challenges by the oil and gas industry and the States of Wyoming, North Dakota and Colorado. The conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice, filed motions to intervene in two lawsuits pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming. The rules, which were published March 26, will apply to more than 750 million acres of public and tribal lands across the United States, and on private lands where the minerals are federally managed (known as “split estate”). BLM’s regulations governing important aspects of oil and gas extraction, including well integrity and waste management, had not been updated since 1988 despite the increasingly widespread use of well stimulation techniques like high-volume hydraulic fracturing, which injects millions of gallons of fluids and toxic chemicals into the ground.  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
Maryland Bans Fracking While Oklahoma Bans Banning Fracking
Care2
Kevin Mathews

I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is that another state has wisely chosen to ban fracking. The bad news is that, simultaneously, another state has banned its towns from banning fracking. I guess that evens out to a wash, then? The good news: Maryland Legislators in Maryland passed legislation to ban fracking last month. Although Republican Governor Larry Hogan did not express support for the bill, he ultimately neither signed nor vetoed it. By purposely taking no action, the legislation has finally become law by default. The ban is not a forever ban, though. Instead, the law bans fracking in the state for two and a half years in order to allow legislators time to draft and implement thorough regulations for fracking. Given the strict standards already bandied about, even if Maryland does one day allow fracking, it’s likely that oil and gas companies will prefer to stay away permanently. That, or perhaps Maryland could become a leader in how fracking can be handled in a safe and responsible manner – or at least more safe and responsible than is currently happening throughout the country. It’s worth noting that Maryland hasn’t been a hotbed for fracking in the first place. Since other nearby states appear to have more plentiful supplies of natural gas, the fracking industry hasn’t targeted the state. Still, the northwestern portion of the state is known to be rich in untapped minerals, meaning companies would probably eventually come knocking. Having a solid set of rules for fracking before these companies arrive sounds like a smart idea. The bad news: Oklahoma Red states don’t like bans done in favor of the environment. They hate it so much that they’ve starting banning bans. Arizona banned towns from banning plastic bags, while Texas has passed a law preventing local governments from banning fracking. Now Oklahoma has followed Texas’s lead by similarly telling its cities and towns that they have to allow fracking whether or not they actually want it. I don’t want to call Oklahoma dumb, but considering that ample scientific research has conclusively fingered fracking as the source of its many earthquakes as well as other safety concerns, it only seems fair to give local governments the right to allow or not allow fracking as they see fit. However, state legislators contend that towns must let the state’s oil and gas regulators do their jobs and keep their discretion for approving fracking sites. The ban might be a surprising move by the government if it weren’t well known that the state lawmakers’ top campaign donors are oil and gas companies. As such, the politicians are willing to overlook fracking’s problems to keep their corporate fat cat friends happy. The decision has a big impact on Oklahoma cities and towns that have grown exasperated with the presence of fracking corporations, not the least of which is Norman, Okla. In Norman, careless disposal of fracking wastewater has threatened the local water supply, leaving hundreds of thousands with potentially tainted drinking water. Ludicrously, this “fracking ban ban” forbids Norman from not just removing fracking from the town, but even from setting up new rules to ensure that the water is safe. “At the very time local governments really need to have the ability to address a serious safety issue in their communities, the state is stepping in and taking that very authority away from them,” said Johnson Bridgwater, head of the Sierra Club in Oklahoma.  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
Weymouth council opposes compressor station
Patriot Ledger
Fred Hanson

By Fred Hanson The Patriot Ledger Posted Jun. 2, 2015 at 2:06 AM Updated Jun 2, 2015 at 3:34 AM -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Story Tools: Email This | Print This WEYMOUTH – By a unanimous vote, the town council Monday night adopted a resolution opposing a natural gas compressor station proposed by Alqonquin Gas Transmission/Spectra Energy near the foot of the Fore River Bridge. The two-page resolution was drafted by District 1 Town Councilor Rebecca Haugh. It notes the high concentration of industrial uses in the Fore River Basin area, the 33,000 vehicles per day that travel across the bridge and the 964 households within a half-mile of the site. At-Large Councilor Brian McDonald, chairman of the council’s environmental committee, said most compressor stations are in more rural areas. “To try to put this facility in such a densely populated area is insane,” McDonald said.  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
Natural gas station planned for Nassau, supervisor vows zoning fight
Times Union
Brian Nearing

On Monday, the Kinder Morgan energy company told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that it plans to build a 90,000-horsepower natural gas compressor station off Clark’s Chapel Road in Nassau. The station is part of a massive pipeline project to bring natural gas from the fracking fields of Pennsylvania to the Boston area. And today, town Supervisor David Fleming warned the company that town zoning law does not allow the compressor station, which would occupy 10 acres on a 142-acre parcel at the intersection of Clark’s Chapel Road and County Route 15. The station would use turbines to pressurize the gas and keep it flowing through the pipeline “Your company should note that the construction and operation of such an industrial gas compressor station in a rural residential zone is contrary to town laws as well as the Town of Nassau Comprehensive Plan as developed and approved by the community in July 2011,” wrote Fleming in an email to Kinder Morgan executive Allen Fore. “Unlike other locations, you are proposing this project in a hamlet community which, while not only contrary to town laws, is an affront to our residents that have invested in the rural residential character of this community.”  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
New York State Blocks Oilsands-By-Rail Facility In Albany
Huff Post Canada
Daniel Tencer

The state of New York has thrown a bureaucratic roadblock into plans to build an oilsands facility in the state capital, reversing a decision that would have allowed the project, after criticism from the Obama administration. The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in 2013 gave initial approval to energy supply company Global Partners to retrofit an existing facility at the Port of Albany to handle bitumen from Canada’s oilsands shipped in by rail. The department said at the time the project would not have “a significant environmental impact.” But after months of vocal public opposition to the project, the DEC has now rescinded that initial approval, ordering it to undergo a full environmental review.  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
Maryland Gov. Lets 2-Year Fracking Ban Pass Into Law
law360
Jacob Batchelor

Law360, New York (June 02, 2015, 12:32 PM ET) -- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has permitted the state to become the second in recent months to ban the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing by neglecting to veto a two-year moratorium overwhelmingly passed by the state Senate in April. The Republican governor, who replaced former Gov. Martin O’Malley early this year, allowed the bill to pass into law without his signature on Friday, his office confirmed.  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
Plan launched to prevent critical climate change by making green energy cheaper than coal
The Independent


Scientists and economists have joined forces to launch a global research initiative to make green energy cheaper than coal within 10 years, a target they believe is critical to avoid dangerous climate change. They have compared the goal to the Apollo programme of the 1960s when the United States stated that it would put a man on the Moon by the end of the decade. Leading academics, including former government chief scientist Sir David King, past president of the Royal Society Lord Rees, and economists Lord Stern and Lord Layard, in effect said that the world cannot be saved from global warming unless coal – the dirtiest fossil fuel – is put out of business.  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
State Rep. Stephen Kulik, anti-pipeline groups, denied intervenor status in Tennessee Gas Pipeline company controversy
Masslive
Fred Contrada

WORTHINGTON - The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities has rejected an attempt by state Rep. Stephen Kulik, D-Worthington, and two organization opposed to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline to be fully involved in the sale of gas to Berkshire Gas Company. Kulik, Pipeline Awareness Network for the Northeast and Northeast Energy Solutions were granted "limited intervenor" status in the matter, meaning they can receive correspondence and attend hearing on the topic but cannot request documents or seek testimony. PLAN and NEES oppose the Tennessee Gas Pipeline.  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
Dedham officials vow to battle Spectra Energy project
Wicked Local Waltham
Max Bowen

DEDHAM “We’re going to continue to fight until we can’t fight anymore.” That was the promise made by Dedham Selectmen Dennis Teehan that despite a difficult process and few options, the town would continue to work for the best interests of its residents against the Algonquin Incremental Project [AIM]. With shovels slated to go into the ground before the end of the month for the natural gas pipeline proposed by Spectra Energy, energy and frustration were high among the more than 100 in attendance at Dedham Middle School on Monday for a presentation on the project. The word ‘unacceptable’ was voiced by one resident with regards to the construction times of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Others wanted to hold a vigil on the day construction was to start. Teehan assured them that all steps were being taken to mitigate the impacts that the pipeline may cause, but was honest about what options were available to them. “We have no formal authority,” he said. “We have no tools to stop this.”  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
DOE chief says US should spend $270bn on natural gas pipelines
ICIS


WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US should spend some $270bn to improve existing natural gas pipelines and build new energy connections if it is to take full advantage of the nation’s burgeoning production growth, the top US energy official said on Tuesday. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power that the US must put new focus on energy transmission, storage and distribution (TS&D), “including the networks of pipelines, wires, storage, waterways, railroads and other facilities that form the backbone of our energy systems”.  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
6 groups seek to intervene in federal drilling rules lawsuit
SeattlePi
MEAD GRUVER, Associated Press

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Six environmental groups asked a judge Tuesday to be allowed to side with the federal government in opposing two lawsuits that contest new rules for oil and gas drilling on federal lands, among which is a requirement that companies report information about chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl in Casper plans to hear arguments June 23 for and against postponing the rules set to take effect June 24. The hearing applies to both cases. The U.S. Department of Interior announced the rules in March, prompting the lawsuits filed in Wyoming federal court. Both lawsuits against Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management claim states such as Wyoming and Colorado already have good rules for regulating oil and gas drilling and the federal ones would be redundant.   [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
Urban Drilling in Texas: New Law and New Rules
Natonal Law Review


On May 19, 2015, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law a compromise bill addressing how state and local governments will share regulatory powers over urban drilling in Texas. The new legislation is the result of a statewide controversy created by the fracking ban enacted by the City of Denton last fall that put local and state government regulatory powers in conflict with respect to oil and gas operations. The new law states that oil and gas operations in Texas are “subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the state” and the authority of a municipality or other political organization in the state is “expressly preempted.” Under the new law, local governments may not enact or enforce a measure that “bans, limits, or otherwise regulates” oil and gas operations. However, municipalities are authorized to regulate “aboveground activity” related to oil and gas operations if “commercially reasonable.” Under the new law, local rules applying to oil and gas operations must pass a four-part test. Local rules (1) cannot apply to subsurface activity; (2) must be “commercially reasonable”; (3) must not effectively prohibit such operations; and (4) must not be pre-empted by another state or federal regulation. An ordinance would be considered commercially reasonable if in effect for five years with oil and gas operations continuing during that period.   [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
New water-quality rule expected to affect energy companies
State Impact PA
JON HURDLE

Pennsylvania’s energy companies are expected to be among businesses that will be affected by a new federal rule extending the protection of the Clean Water Act to small tributaries and other waterways that feed major rivers supplying drinking water to millions of people. Operators of natural gas rigs or builders of pipelines will likely have to comply with the Clean Water Rule, announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on May 27, which imposes tougher standards on companies that want to operate near the streams that flow into rivers. Businesses of all kinds will have to apply for a permit to operate near the waterways, and the EPA will determine on a case-by-case basis whether their activities would be in compliance with the 1972 law, which is the basis for the new rule. It’s not yet clear whether the gas industry will be affected by the rule’s requirements to the same extent as other industries because of existing exemptions, said Adam Garber, field director for PennEnvironment, which welcomed the new rule. But Garber predicted the measure will eventually affect gas companies.  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
Protests continue at Denton drilling site
Star Telegram
MAX B. BAKER

Three more protesters were arrested outside a natural well gas site in Denton on Tuesday as grassroots activists continue to fight against the resumption of hydraulic fracturing. Jonathon Vann, Elida Tamez and Rodney Love were charged with criminal trespass at a well site operated by Vantage Energy northwest of downtown Denton. They were arrested without incident and released on $500 personal recognizance, said officer Ryan Grelle, spokesman for the Denton Police Department. Three other protesters were arrested Monday on similar charges at the site owned by Vantage, the first company to resume drilling in Denton since citizens approved a ban against hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in November. A bill signed by Gov. Greg Abbott last month, however, outlaws prohibitions against drilling by any governmental entity.   [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
Virginia panel recommends new fracking regulations
WRAL
STEVE SZKOTAK, Associated Press

RICHMOND, VA. — A Virginia advisory panel is recommending that energy companies disclose the chemical ingredients they use in horizontal fracking, a type of natural gas drilling that has raised environmental concerns. The recommendation, among 14 proposed by the panel, would also require drilling companies to provide the state with closely guarded industry "recipes" for the fracking fluids. The proposals have been submitted to Gov. Terry McAuliffe's administration for review and a new round of public review. Besides the requirement on fracking ingredients, the recommendations also provide for greater safeguards of water supplies, testing of drilling equipment and monitoring of water before drilling occurs. The latter is intended to better assess water quality before and after drilling occurs.   [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
Grant Township residents criticize injection well plan
Indiana Gazette
CHAUNCEY ROSS

EAST RUN — Residents of an idyllic township in northern Indiana County have renewed their fight against a proposed gas drilling waste disposal site in their community. Grant Township residents testified Monday at a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection hearing at the East Run Sportsman’s Club, a majority opposed to Pennsylvania General Energy’s quest to dispose of frackwater and other drilling fluids in a gas well on Marjorie Yanity family property near East Run. They gathered in much the same way they did a year ago, when townspeople crowded the township meeting hall to support the supervisors’ enactment of a municipal “bill of rights” ordinance aimed at protecting the environment. At that time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had already permitted PGE to dispose of its drilling waste in the Underground Injection Control program, and the DEP granted a permit to use the Yanity well. Residents appealed both permits: The EPA dismissed the appeals, but the DEP decided in March to revoke its permit for further study.  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
DEP fines Chevron nearly $940,000 for gas well fire
Herald Standard
Mike Tony

e Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) entered into an agreement Monday with Chevron to pay a $939,552 fine for violations related to a natural gas well explosion and fire that killed a contractor and injured another worker in Greene County on Feb. 11, 2014. According to the DEP, the penalty stemmed from Chevron’s failure to construct and operate the well site to ensure that health, safety and environment were protected, as required by Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act, which in turn resulted in the fatal fire at the company’s Lanco 7H Well site in Dunkard Township. Contract technician Ian McKee, 27, was killed by the explosion. Earlier last month, Chevron agreed to pay $5 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit brought by McKee’s family. DEP spokesman John Poister said that the agency doesn’t track fines, but said the Chevron fine is “one of the largest we’ve ever had.”  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
Greens to challenge Arctic Ocean drilling in court
The Hill
Timothy Cama

Twelve environmental groups are planning to challenge in federal court the lease sale that is allowing Royal Dutch Shell to drill for oil and natural gas in the Arctic Ocean. Greens have twice prevailed in federal court against the Interior Department’s 2008 lease sale under the George W. Bush administration to Shell, in which it gave drilling rights for nearly 30 million acres in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska. Shell is planning to drill exploratory wells this summer following the Obama administration’s decision last month to approve its drilling plan. The environmentalists cite the risks of spills in the harsh Arctic weather and the harm to the climate caused by the oil and gas in challenging the lease. They also cite various problems Shell encountered the last time it tried to drill in 2012. “Drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean only will hasten climate change at what is already ground zero for global warming,” Erik Grafe, an attorney with Earthjustice who is representing the 12 groups, said in a statement.  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
Larger NatGas Gathering System On Track For Central Pennsylvania
Natural Gas Intelligence
Jamison Cocklin

After years of planning, Unit Corp. subsidiary Superior Appalachian Pipeline LLC is on track to complete one of central Pennsylvania's larger gathering systems to move Marcellus Shale gas to Dominion Transmission Inc. The fee-based project consists of just seven miles of 16-inch and 24-inch diameter trunkline and a related compressor station to get gas to Dominion Transmission. Called the Snowshoe gathering system, it would be one of the largest in Centre County, where construction recently began.  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
LNG project opponents seek emergency halt to construction
The Baltimore Sun
Timothy B. Wheeler

According to the filing, some residents have moved and others are trying to sell their homes because of the construction disruption and fears for their safety once the LNG facility is operational. Some homes are just a few hundred feet from the facility. The motion was filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the Patuxent Riverkeeper, Sierra Club and Chesapeake Climate Action Network.  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
Conservation group members and landowners gather at BLM office to protest hydraulic fracturing near Chaco
Daily Times
James Fenton

FARMINGTON — On Monday, conservation groups challenged the Bureau of Land Management to stop issuing permits for oil and gas development near Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Members of WildEarth Guardians and Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment joined Daniel Tso — a Navajo Allottee and former council delegate representing the Torreon Chapter of the Navajo Nation — and others in front of the BLM's Farmington Field Office to share their concerns with Victoria Barr, district manager for BLM's Farmington Field Office. Tso asked Barr to support a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for Mancos shale oil in the Gallup play area in the lower San Juan Basin, which is near Lybrook and Chaco Culture park. The groups cited concerns over human health, environmental impacts and risk to cultural resources from fracking in the Lybrook area near Chaco.  [Full Story]

Jun 2, 2015
Environmentalists sue over Shell plan to drill in Arctic
Yahoo
Dan Levine

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Several environmental groups sued the United States on Tuesday to derail Royal Dutch Shell PLC's plan to drill in the Arctic Ocean as soon as July.   [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Though fracked again, Denton says fight isn't over
Fort Worth Business Press
Jim Malewitz,

DENTON – Seven months after a rag-tag group of local activists scored a surprising victory over the state’s powerful oil and gas industry by convincing voters in this North Texas city to ban hydraulic fracturing, heavy trucks bearing piping, perforating guns and other high-powered equipment waited at well site early Monday. After police arrested three protestors trying to block the path of workers, Colorado-based Vantage Energy, a natural gas driller, officially revved up its fracking operations on a pad site on the western outskirts of town. That effectively ended the brief but intense life of an ordinance that Denton officials say they can no longer enforce due to a new Texas law — House Bill 40 — passed in response that preempts local control over a wide range of oil and gas activities. "Since the ban on hydraulic fracturing took effect in 2014, we have maintained regular dialogue with Denton City officials, presented path forward alternatives and last week followed the city's guidelines in communicating our plans to resume work on June 1st," Seth Urruty, the company's vice president of development, said in a prepared statement. "We work hard to be a good neighbor in the communities where we work and Denton is no exception."   [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Record Fall in US Rig Count; Down for Twenty-Fifth Week - Analyst Blog
NASDAQ
Zacks.com

In its weekly release, Houston-based oilfield services' company Baker Hughes Inc. BHI reported fall in the U.S. rig count (number of rigs searching for oil and gas in the country) yet again. This marks a record decline and the twenty-fifth one in a row. This persistent decline can be blamed on cutbacks in the tally of both oil and gas-directed rigs, which saw further reduction and dropped to the lowest level since Sep 2010, in reaction to the steep drop in the commodity's price since last summer. Apart from indicating a brake in shale drilling activities, this is seen as a precursor to a slowdown in oil production, leading to a subsequent drop in the commodity's bloated supply level. Taking a cue, crude prices recovered substantially after sinking to a 6-year low of under $44-a-barrel in March. The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil futures are currently trading at around $60 per barrel.   [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Groups call for halt to drilling in northwest New Mexico
The State
BY SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. Environmental groups on Monday renewed their call to end hydraulic fracturing in northwestern New Mexico as part of an ongoing battle over oil and natural gas development and the protection of cultural and archaeological sites. The groups delivered a letter to the Bureau of Land Management in Farmington, saying increased development has led to more truck traffic and dozens of new well pads over the last year, and that is harming the region that includes Chaco Culture National Historical Park. "It's time BLM stops rubber-stamping permits to drill and starts planning to protect these communities, their traditional culture and our climate," said Rebecca Sobel of WildEarth Guardians, one of the groups that signed the letter. The letter follows a court filing last month that seeks to stop the BLM from approving permits to drill in the Mancos Shale formation.   [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Citizens push for ordinance to ban fracking waste disposal
Fayette Tribune
Sarah Plummer

AYETTEVILLE — While acknowledging local permitting for injection wells in Fayette County is a step in the right direction, citizens want the disposal banned through a county-wide ordinance. “We, the people here and of Fayette County, are demanding an ordinance,” said Brandon Richardson. “To this date, Danny Webb Construction is operating without a permit and has polluted the soils and waters of private property owners and the state.”  [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
States Increasingly Hesitant to Accept Local Fracking Regs
Independent Women's Forum
Jillian Kay Melchior

On Friday, Oklahoma signed legislation that prevents municipalities and county from banning fracking, a week after Texas enacted similar legislation. The same day, Maryland’s governor neither vetoed nor signed a bill enacting a two-year ban on fracking, allowing it to become law. The new legislation in Oklahoma, Texas, and Maryland has been inked in the context of a broader tug-of-war over energy extraction, which has taken place below the federal level. In recent years, environmental groups have increasingly focused on state and local bans on energy extraction. - See more at: http://www.iwf.org/blog/2797303/States-Increasingly-Hesitant-to-Accept-Local-Fracking-Regs#sthash.yQ4l4FI9.dpuf  [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
The new law of the land on fracking
GreenBiz


Hydraulic fracturing, known as "fracking," has become an increasingly divisive issue in U.S. communities. Environmentalist groups have been vocal in their protest of this drilling method, citing such risks as increased likelihood of earthquakes, a lack of environmental regulation and the danger of groundwater contamination resulting from the mix of water and chemicals used in the process.   [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Citizens need protection from fracking pollution
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


The recent study on pollution from fracking exceeding U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for safety (“Study: Pollutant Levels High in Ohio Area With Fracking,” May 25) is the most recent addition to the ever-growing list of studies suggesting that shale gas infrastructure harms our health and environment.   [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Oklahoma outlaws local fracking bans
Interfax Energy Natural Gas Daily


Oklahoma passed a new law under which its cities and counties do not have the authority to ban fracking. The bill was signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin last week. Opposed by environmentalists and local officials, the law means cities and towns within the state borders can no longer ban fracking, water disposal, recovery operations or pipeline infrastructure.  [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Police attend anti-fracking demo in the city
Lichfield Mercury


AN ANTI-fracking demonstration is taking place in Lichfield today at the offices of energy company Cuadrilla. Police officers are currently attending the "peaceful protest" at the junction of George Lane and Stowe Road.   [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Breaking: Citizens Arrested While Defending Denton, Texas Fracking Ban
DeSmogBlog
Julie Dermansky

Three members of the Denton Drilling Awareness Group were arrested when they refused to move away from the entrance to a fracking site where work began today. Before arresting them, however, Sergeant Jenkins, a 30-year veteran of the Denton police department, thanked Adam Briggle, a professor at the University of North Texas, and Denton residents Niki Chochrek and Tara Linn Hunter for the work they had done.   [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Appeals Court Rules Keystone XL South Approval Was Legal, Lifting Cloud Over TransCanada
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

In a 3-0 vote, the U.S. Appeals Court for the Tenth Circuit has ruled that the southern leg of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline was permitted in a lawful manner by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Keystone XL South was approved via a controversial Army Corps Nationwide Permit 12 and an accompanying March 2012 Executive Order from President Barack Obama. The pipeline, open for business since January 2014, will now carry tar sands crude from Cushing, Oklahoma to Port Arthur, Texas without the cloud of the legal challenge hanging over its head since 2012. As previously reported here on DeSmog, the Sierra Club and co-plaintiffs already lost their Appeals Court legal challenge to impose an injunction and stop diluted bitumen (“dilbit”) from flowing through Keystone XL South back in October 2013. Now that same Court, albeit different judges, have ruled that the pipeline approval process itself was also legally acceptable.  [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
11 Actions in 10 Days to Build People Power and ‘Stop the #FERCus’
EcoWatch
Ted Glick

Follow EcoWatch tglickbw“Stop the #FERCus” was the theme of the 10 days of action in Washington, DC and Calvert County, Maryland, which ended yesterday, and that was the main focus, no doubt about it, but it was about so much more. These 10 days of action and organizing were all about building community—a community taking action and interacting with one another and with others in a way which builds people power.  [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Pope Francis wants to lead global effort to fight climate change, will lay out moral justification
Daily Kos


Science and religion don't always mix, but Pope Francis is expected to lay the groundwork for a massive campaign to fight climate change: With that complicated history looming, Pope Francis, once a chemist, will soon issue an authoritative church document laying out the moral justification for fighting global warming, especially for the world’s poorest billions. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography climate scientist, briefed the pope on climate change. He said scientists felt they were failing in getting the world to understand the moral hazard that man-made warming presents. Now, he said, scientists who don’t often turn to religion are looking forward to the pope’s statement. The news comes on the heels of a study which reaffirms the link between conservative religious faith and climate change doubt:   [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Landowners form a pipeline rebellion in the Deep South
Los Angeles Times
JENNY JARVIE

When the letter arrived from a Texas pipeline company asking permission to enter his land, Alan Zipperer refused to allow surveyors onto his property. But they came anyway, he said, traipsing through his corn fields and pine forests and sticking wooden stakes in the low-country land his family has owned since the 1700s. "I don't want a private company to build a gasoline pipeline in my front yard — or anywhere on my property," he said. "They told me the same thing they told others: 'We're a big company, we're coming, and the state of Georgia can't stop us.'"  [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
European energy firms seek U.N. help for carbon pricing system
Seeking Alpha
Yoel Minkoff

Europe's six largest oil and gas groups have united together in seeking help from the United Nations to stop global warming and create a global carbon pricing system.  [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Xinjiang emerges as major natural gas player
English.CNTV
Tom McGregor

The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China has transformed into the premier national energy hub, which holds the country’s largest oil, gas and coal reserves. China, to meet growing demand, must import a large share of its energy resources. However with more enhanced technology upgrades along with substantial regional infrastructure development, Xinjiang can offer more abundant power to the rest of the nation.   [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Natural-gas supplies may hit an all-time high
Hellenic Shipping News


Natural-gas supplies have a good chance of reaching a record high later this year, but that may not stop prices for the fuel from also hitting new highs for the year. Coal-burning power plants are shutting down or converting to natural gas because of federal environmental regulations, just as summer cooling demand is starting to kick in.   [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
KKR ready to relinquish $2B investment in Samson Resources
NY Post
Josh Kosman

Henry Kravis’ biggest oil bet is about to go bust. KKR is ready to abandon its roughly $2 billion investment in Samson Resources rather than pump more money into the troubled oil and gas driller, The Post has learned.   [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Fracking, severance tax issues will dominate Senate hearings
PennLive
Wallace McKelvey

Questions about how Pennsylvania regulates and taxes the natural gas industry will dominate two Senate hearings, including the vetting of Gov. Tom Wolf's environmental secretary pick.  [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
It's time to make hand-outs to the fossil fuel industry extinct: Rob Altenburg
PennLive
Rob Altenburg Opinion

Last month, PennFuture released an updated version of its Fossil Fuel Subsidy Report in which we noted that subsidies to the state's mature, highly profitable fossil fuel industries have grown to $3.2 billion, or an amount equal to $794 for each taxpayer in Pennsylvania.  [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
A divided oil train response in Albany
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—Mayor Kathy Sheehan of Albany and Albany County executive Dan McCoy said they were working together on a major plan that would address the effects that the transportation of billions of gallons of crude by train have had on the region. Instead, they released dueling reports within 24 hours of each other, with the city largely supporting the Cuomo administration's response to the recent proliferation of oil trains and the county more critical of the state's actions.   [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
The tar sands sell-out
The Guardian


Amid the strip mines and steam plants sprawled across the northern Alberta wilderness, Fort McKay is just a tiny dot on the map. It is also one of the single biggest source sites of the carbon pollution that is choking the planet.  [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Maryland bans fracking
The Hill
Timothy Cama

Maryland’s ban on hydraulic fracturing became law after Gov. Larry Hogan (R) decided not to veto it. The bill bans fracking for two and a half years, and requires the state to write standards to regulate the practice for when the ban lifts.  [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Fracking Bans Are No Longer Allowed In Oklahoma
Think Progress
Emily Atkins

Oklahoma’s towns and cities are no longer allowed to ban fracking under a bill signed into law on Friday by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin. The new law prohibits localities from choosing whether or not to have oil and gas operations within their jurisdictions, with exceptions for “reasonable” restrictions like noise and traffic issues. Other than that, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission will retain control over oil and gas drilling.  [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Fracking Resumes In Denton, Texas, After Governor Outlaws Local Bans On Oil And Gas Drilling
International Business Times
Maria Gallucci

Natural gas drilling is starting up again in Denton, Texas, despite the city’s 7-month-old ban on hydraulic fracturing. Vantage Energy resumed operations Monday at its Denton well just weeks after Gov. Greg Abbott passed a law prohibiting cities from banning fracking on their home turf. Three activists were arrested at the drill site Monday morning after attempting to block an access road.   [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Study Confirms Fracking is Polluting Water in Pennsylvania, So Why the Frack is it Still Happening?
One Green Planet
Jesse Coleman

A new study has found that shale drilling and fracking contaminated drinking water wells in Pennsylvania. The study represents the first peer-reviewed paper confirming that fracking can and does contaminate drinking water supplies.  [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Amid fracking boom, cities fear explosive safety risk it can carry
Toledo Blade
Tom Henry

CHICAGO — While the global fracking boom has stabilized North America’s energy prices, Chicago — America’s third largest city and the busiest crossroads of the nation’s railroad network — has become ground zero for the debate over heavy crude moved by oil trains. With the Windy City experiencing a 4,000 percent increase in oil-train traffic since 2008, Chicago and its many densely populated suburbs have become a focal point as Congress considers a number of safety reforms this year.   [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Fracking, severance tax issues will dominate Senate hearings
PennLive
Wallace McKelvey

Questions about how Pennsylvania regulates and taxes the natural gas industry will dominate two Senate hearings, including the vetting of Gov. Tom Wolf's environmental secretary pick. On Monday, the Senate Environmental Resources & Energy committee will scrutinize the governor's proposed 5 percent tax on natural gas drillers. That tax would help fund various budget programs, including the hiring of additional inspectors to monitor the extraction of fuel from the state's Marcellus Shale deposits.  [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Hold On, America! Fracking Causes Earthquakes
Uncommon Wisdom Daily
Brad Hoppmann

Is Mother Nature taking revenge on America? The government thinks so. Scientists say the recent flurry of small earthquakes near the country’s newest oil fields is no accident. Energy companies say the opposite. We may never know who is right — but I suspect Mother Nature will have the last word.  [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Scientists Who Cheat
The New York Times
Editorial

Clearly, this has not been a good year. The journal Environmental Science & Technology corrected a March paper on fracking because the lead scientist failed to disclose funding from an energy company. In May, The Journal of Clinical Investigation retracted a paper on cancer genetics from a young researcher at the National Cancer Institute because the data was fabricated. How could this happen? Often a young researcher, driven by the academic imperative to “publish or perish,” fudges the data. In many cases, a senior scientist who is supposed to be monitoring the research pays little attention, content to be listed as one of the authors. In theory, a journal’s peer reviewers are supposed to detect errors, but they often do not have the critical data needed to check the findings, nor the time to do so, particularly since they are seldom paid. Sometimes the cases only come to light when a whistle-blower, perhaps a student or researcher in the lab where the cheating occurs, points the finger. The scientific community clearly needs to build a better safety net.  [Full Story]

Jun 1, 2015
Texas Judge Rules Explosive on Gas Pipeline was Terrorism
KBTX.com
AP

PLANO, Texas - A judge has decided a North Texas man committed terrorism by using a homemade bomb to try to blow up a natural gas pipeline. Anson Chi of Plano, who was severely burned in the 2012 incident, faces up to 20 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Richard Schell ruled Monday that use of the explosive meets the standard for a crime of terrorism. The decision clears the way for a stiffer penalty for Chi, whose sentencing hearing continues. Chi pleaded  [Full Story]

May 31, 2015
Denton Rallies Against Overturn Of Anti-Fracking Bill
CBSDFW


DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) — Denton residents rallied on the lawn of city hall today amid the passage of a bill that overturned a city of Denton vote to ban fracking.  [Full Story]

May 31, 2015
EPA defends its role in fracking report
Sunday Times
Stephen O'Brien

THE government and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have rejected claims that a new report on the impact of fracking focuses too heavily on how to monitor the industry and mitigate against environmental damage. The EPA and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources dismissed claims by a Sinn Fein TD that a report on cross-border fracking, published online last week, “assumes” hydraulic fracturing will go ahead and concentrates instead on how to regulate the industry.   [Full Story]

May 31, 2015
Use objective science in fracking debate
Times-Tribune
Edward Dodge

A recent scientific study exploring possible water contamination in a group of Pennsylvania water wells resulting from shale gas development has generated plenty of scary headlines for opponents of fracking. But the study is not the smoking gun that activists have made it out to be, since the report clearly states that hydraulic fracturing was not the cause of chemical detections, nor is shale development in general identified as unsafe. Meanwhile, new revelations have caused the objectivity of the report itself to be called into question.   [Full Story]

May 31, 2015
Louisiana Environmental Group Warns Santa Barbara Oil Spill Cleanup Workers to Protect Their Health
DeSmogBlog
Julie Dermansky

An open letter from the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) and the Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper advises those affected by the Santa Barbara Plains All American Pipeline spill not to participate in the clean-up effort. “We do not want to see your citizens', workers', and volunteers' health harmed in the way we have seen it damaged along our Gulf Coast after the 2010 BP oil disaster,” the letter says. But the warning may be too late to help some like Osiris Castañeda, a father, ocean lover and filmmaking professor who cleaned up a stretch of Santa Barbara County beach with other volunteers on May 20, the day after a Plains Pipeline spilled an estimated 101,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean.  [Full Story]

May 31, 2015
The Shale Boom Shifts Into Higher Gear
The Wall Street Journal
DONALD L. LUSKIN And MICHAEL WARREN

Have the American entrepreneurs who developed horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing—“fracking”—done their jobs too well? The increase in domestic crude oil production of 3.6 million barrels a day in less than four years, reversing almost four decades of decline, has created a spectacular macroeconomic anomaly—a crash in oil prices without a recession to cause it. Now, in response to sharply lower prices, domestic oil producers have shed jobs and cut operating rigs by more than half. This has sent shock waves through the entire U.S. economy. The drop in fixed assets for drilling, alone, slashed about half a percentage point off first quarter gross domestic product.  [Full Story]

May 31, 2015
Cumberland, Hoke residents see peril and profit in possible fracking
Fayette Observer
Paul Woolverton

A 36-foot-tall drilling rig parked near Lake Rim on Raeford Road this weekend signaled peril to Richard Ashley of western Fayetteville and prosperity to Cindy Harris Stevens of southeastern Hoke County. If the drill, hired by the state government, finds evidence of oil or natural gas under Cumberland, Hoke or Scotland counties, it could bring hydraulic fracturing to Ashley's and Stevens' communities.  [Full Story]

May 31, 2015
Films bring fracking to forefront
Bakken.com
Jaymie Baxley

PEMBROKE — “Fracking Stories,” a series of short documentaries about the public health and environmental consequences associated with hydraulic fracturing, will be screened Thursday at the Pembroke Public Library. The six films that comprise “Fracking Stories” form “a cautionary tale of what happens when this industry comes to town,” according to a press release. Sponsored by the Winyah Rivers Foundation, the free event is part of a tour that includes a dozen stops across North Carolina.  [Full Story]

May 31, 2015
Fracking surge follows Tory election win
Ecologist
Ben Lucas

Emboldened by the Tory election victory and the appointment of Amber Rudd as energy Secretary, writes Ben Lucas, planning applications to frack have been coming in thick and fast - even in densely populated London boroughs.  [Full Story]

May 31, 2015
GOP pledges to ‘rein in’ Obama on EPA rules, global warming
Washington Post
Matthew Daly

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration says a new federal rule regulating small streams and wetlands will protect the drinking water of more than 117 million people in the country.  [Full Story]

May 30, 2015
Exxon shareholders to vote on climate change, fracking
Casper Star Tribune
David Koenig

DALLAS — Shareholders of big oil companies overwhelmingly rejected several environmental resolutions including proposals to put climate-change experts on their boards and set goals for greenhouse-gas emissions. The votes at meetings of Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. shareholders on Wednesday were expected. Some of the ideas had lost badly at previous annual meetings.   [Full Story]

May 30, 2015
Landowners face new pipeline twist
Bismark Tribune
Lauren donovan

MCKENZIE COUNTY — Owen Hamre, of rural Watford City, said he’s done with oil development easements on his property. “I’m not going to sign another one ever,” said Hamre, who was sitting Thursday at his dining table with friends and neighbors, all of whom were served notice last week that liens were being filed against their property as a result of a construction dispute over a crude oil gathering line that was built across their land last year. “All the other stuff that happens (with pipeline construction) is nothing new, but this is completely beyond the pale,” Hamre said. “There is nothing in the law that prevents this. Who will ever sign another easement in North Dakota if this can happen?” Owen and Laurie Hamre live in an intensely developed area, with multi-well oil pads both directions on the gravel road in front of their house and at least a half-dozen pipeline easements through their land.   [Full Story]

May 30, 2015
Oklahoma latest state to ban local fracking restrictions
Spokesman-Review
Sean Murphy

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma cities and counties would no longer be able to ban hydraulic fracturing – a process commonly called fracking – or other oil and gas operations within their boundaries under a bill signed into law on Friday by Gov. Mary Fallin.  [Full Story]

May 30, 2015
The fossil-fuel industry’s campaign to mislead the American people
The Washington Post
Sheldon Whitehouse

Fossil fuel companies and their allies are funding a massive and sophisticated campaign to mislead the American people about the environmental harm caused by carbon pollution. Their activities are often compared to those of Big Tobacco denying the health dangers of smoking. Big Tobacco’s denial scheme was ultimately found by a federal judge to have amounted to a racketeering enterprise. The Big Tobacco playbook looked something like this: (1) pay scientists to produce studies defending your product; (2) develop an intricate web of PR experts and front groups to spread doubt about the real science; (3) relentlessly attack your opponents. Thankfully, the government had a playbook, too: the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO. In 1999, the Justice Department filed a civil RICO lawsuit against the major tobacco companies and their associated industry groups, alleging that the companies “engaged in and executed — and continue to engage in and execute — a massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public, including consumers of cigarettes, in violation of RICO.”   [Full Story]

May 30, 2015
E.P.A. Proposal Will Put Bigger Trucks on a Fuel Diet
New York times
Aaron M. Kessler & Coral Davenport

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Inside the National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory here, a mammoth contraption, with steel rollers, advanced electronics and exhaust tubes, is nearing completion. The project — an enormous “truck treadmill” — is the new centerpiece of the Environmental Protection Agency’s complex. One of the largest vehicle testing centers in the world, the truck lab will play a crucial role in shaping and enforcing a major new environmental mandate by the Obama administration that could dramatically transform America’s trucking industry.   [Full Story]

May 29, 2015
Oklahoma is latest state to prevent local fracking bans
WRAL
Sean Murphy

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma cities and counties would no longer be able to ban hydraulic fracturing — a process commonly called fracking — or other oil and gas operations within their boundaries under a bill signed into law on Friday by Gov. Mary Fallin. Pushed hard by the oil and gas industry, but fiercely opposed by municipalities and environmental groups, the bill specifically prohibits cities or towns from banning operations such as drilling, fracking, water disposal, recovery operations or pipeline infrastructure. Fracking is the practice of high-pressure injection of water, sand and chemicals underground to free deposits of oil and gas, which has led to a boom in U.S. energy production.   [Full Story]

May 29, 2015
Wyoming and Colorado want court to block BLM fracking rule
The Denver Post
Associated Press

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The states of Wyoming and Colorado are asking a federal judge to block the U.S. Bureau of Land Management from implementing its hydraulic fracturing rule. Wyoming and Colorado filed papers on Friday asking U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl of Casper to issue an injunction against the federal agency. Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping liquids and other substances underground at high pressure to increase the production from oil and gas wells.  [Full Story]

May 29, 2015
Chevron reaches $5 million settlement in fatal Greene County well explosion
Observer-Reporter


PITTSBURGH – Chevron agreed to pay $5 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a contract worker killed last year when fire engulfed a Marcellus Shale natural gas well in Greene County. An Allegheny County judge earlier this month approved the settlement of the lawsuit brought by the family of Ian McKee, who died when a well pad located in Dunkard Township exploded Feb. 11, 2014, and erupted in flames. The blaze raged for several days as specialized firefighting crews from Texas were summoned to extinguish the fire and cap the wells. McKee’s remains were recovered eight days after the well explosion.  [Full Story]

May 29, 2015
Tar Balls Wash Ashore Popular LA Beaches: Officials Consider Link to Santa Barbara Oil Spill
EcoWatch
Lorraine Chow

Mysterious clumps of tar washed ashore in California’s South Bay Wednesday, forcing the area’s beaches to close for swimming. The U.S. Coast Guard as well as state officials are now trying to pinpoint where the substance originated, and have not ruled out the devastating oil spill in Santa Barbara last week.  [Full Story]

May 29, 2015
Md. fracking moratorium to become law without Hogan’s signature
The Washington Post
Josh Hicks

A Maryland bill to prohibit hydraulic fracturing for more than two years will become law Saturday without Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature, according to Hogan’s office. The legislation will bar the state from issuing permits for the controversial drilling practice until October 2017. It requires Maryland’s Department of the Environment to adopt regulations for the practice by October 2016.   [Full Story]

May 29, 2015
Wave of Fracking Applications Submitted Since Conservative Election Win
DeSmogBlog UK
Ben Lucas

Since the Conservatives won a majority in the general election just over three weeks ago, there has been an increase in the number of planning applications submitted relating to hydraulic fracturing. This observation comes after a marked rise in the share price of many fracking companies since fracking-friendly Amber Rudd was selected as secretary of state for the Department of Energy and Climate Change. And while fracking did not get a direct mention in the Queen’s speech on Wednesday, it was noted that “measures will be introduced to increase energy security and to control immigration.” ‘Energy Security’ has often been highlighted as one of the major reasons for pushing ahead with fracking, and this subtle implication could be interpreted as continued support in the push for more unconventional oil and gas extraction in the UK.  [Full Story]

May 29, 2015
UGI LNG Plant is Another Step for American Energy
Natural Gas Now


About two weeks ago, UGI Energy Services announced plans to build an LNG (liquefied natural gas) facility in Wyoming County; right in the middle of the Marcellus Shale. Besides the local economic benefits and the jobs that the construction of this facility is sure to bring, the end result of the plant will be yet another big step towards the utilization of American natural gas. “The market for liquefied natural gas continues to grow thanks to its affordable cost and environmental benefits when compared to other petroleum products,” President of UGI Energy Services Brad Hall said. “As a result, truck fleets, oil and gas drilling rigs and remote industrial users not tied to the natural gas grid continue to switch to LNG. In the coming years, we also expect the use of LNG to increase in marine, rail, and mining applications.”  [Full Story]

May 29, 2015
The Arrogance of Jeb Bush

Timothy Eagan

You thought he was the smart Bush. You thought he was the reasonable one. You thought he was the Republican with one foot in the 21st century, the man who wasn’t going to say crazy things to win the primary voter who believes in crazy things. But you haven’t been paying attention to Jeb Bush. Yes, he was strafed from both sides for his tortured and fact-challenged explanations of the Iraq war. The fumbling is understandable: Bound by family fealty, the fraternal load of the biggest foreign policy debacle of our time, Jeb Bush can’t state the obvious. But an equally astounding, and perhaps more absurd utterance, has not received nearly as much attention — his climate change stance. Bush the youngest believes the Earth is warming. No doubt, he’s willing to go further out on a limb and conclude that heat expands, cold contracts and a dolphin is not a fish.  [Full Story]

May 29, 2015
Never Say Never: Maryland Fracking Moratorium Becomes Law
EcoWatch
Wenonah Hauter

Follow EcoWatch whauter“You’ll never get a fracking moratorium through the Maryland Legislature” was the common refrain I heard as we at Food & Water Watch joined with more than 100 groups from throughout the state to work on preventing fracking in Maryland. But we didn’t let that stop us. And today, thanks to the tireless efforts of business owners, health professionals, activists and countless concerned Maryland residents, we proved those naysayers wrong.  [Full Story]

May 29, 2015
Revealed: Energy Transfer Partners’ 'Pipeline-for-Prostitute' Landman
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn and David Goodner

A DeSmog investigation has uncovered the identity of a land agent and the contract company he works with that allegedly offered to buy an Iowa farmer the services of two teenage sex workers in exchange for access to his land to build the controversial proposed Dakota Access pipeline, owned by Energy Transfer Partners. The land agent who allegedly made the offer is Stephen Titus, a Senior Right-of-Way Agent who works for the Texas company Contract Land Staff, which was contracted by Energy Transfer Partners. No news outlet has, until now, established the identity of the land agent on the tape, or the contracting company he works for. DeSmog is naming the land agent and the company after an investigation into the available evidence and publicly accessible information, as well as evidence from the farmer who first made the allegation and a second source who has heard an audio recording of the conversation when the sex offer was made.  [Full Story]

May 29, 2015
Free of Fanfare, Maryland Adopts Fracking Moratorium
Inside Climate News
Zahra Hirji

Gov. Hogan quietly lets the 30-day window to veto the moratorium measure expire. The bill becomes law Oct. 1.  [Full Story]

May 28, 2015
Pipeline Builder Paid Pennsylvania Police Department to "Deter Protests"
Truthout
ADAM FEDERMAN

ACLU calls arrangement "flat out unconstitutional" Between June and October 2013, Kinder Morgan, the largest energy infrastructure company in North America, paid a local Pennsylvania police department more than $50,000 to patrol a controversial pipeline upgrade. The company requested that the officers, though officially off-duty, be in uniform and marked cars. Kinder Morgan's aim, according to documents obtained by Earth Island Journal, was to use law enforcement to "deter protests" in order to avoid "costly delays." It's unclear if the police department instructed its officers to explicitly "deter protests" but, if officers carried out Kinder Morgan's request, their conduct would clearly violate the First Amendment rights of protesters. "It is politically and socially entirely inappropriate for a private company to be able to hire a police department and use its officers to try to intimidate protesters of one stripe or another," says David Rudovsky, a civil rights lawyer in Philadelphia and a Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.  [Full Story]

May 28, 2015
Shell-Seattle feud takes new turn
The Hill
Devin Henry

Washington's King County denied a waste disposal permit for Shell's drilling fleet on Wednesday, the latest attempt by government officials to keep the company from basing its Arctic oil drilling operations in the Port of Seattle. County executives denied Shell a wastewater disposal permit on what the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported were “non-policy grounds,” arguing that “we need to invigorate the promise of a clean-energy future and make King County the regional catalyst for carbon reduction, renewable energy and a new innovation economy.” The federal government approved Shell's plan to drill for oil and natural gas in the Arctic north of Alaska on May 11. Shell signed a deal with a Seattle company to use the port as a home base for its drilling fleet, but local officials have tried to stop that from happening. Last week, the state's Department of Natural Resources sent Shell a letter telling it that mooring its drilling fleet in the port might violate the state's constitution, according to the Post-Intelligencer.  [Full Story]

May 28, 2015
Vantage Energy The First Company To Resume Fracking in Denton
CBS DFW


DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has resumed in the City of Denton. The natural gas drilling process is once again happening after a new state law made the city’s ban illegal. Denton passed an ordinance in November that banned fracking within city limits. Earlier this month Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a bill prohibiting local governments from adopting oil and gas drilling bans.   [Full Story]

May 28, 2015
A sober look at fracking
IOL News
Sheree Bega

Karoo farmers and activists have welcomed a new two-year shale and gas exploration study commissioned by government, writes Sheree Bega Johannesburg - Doug Stern has lived and breathed the Karoo for nearly every day of his 64 years. That’s why the fourth-generation livestock farmer has vowed he will fight to the death to protect the unspoilt, desolate landscape from being devoured by gas-hungry energy firms.   [Full Story]

May 28, 2015
Fracking a Hazard or Hope for American Energy?
CBN News
Paul Strand

DENTON, Texas -- The goal for the United States to reach energy independence is supposedly in reach, but critics of the Obama administration say its regulators are making it harder to reach that freedom. They complain new federal rules taking effect this month that tighten up on fracking won't help.   [Full Story]

May 28, 2015
Portfolio committee asks for clarity on fracking It is our preference that if you wish to share this article with others you should please use the following link:
Mining Weekly
Megan Van Wyngaardt

The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources on Thursday said it needed a comprehensive report, as well as insight into the relevant legislation, regarding hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in South Africa. “This information will empower us to understand all the nitty-gritty aspects that are involved in the exploration for shale gas and will also provide us with the opportunity to discharge our oversight mandate effectively,” committee chairperson Sahlulele Luzipo said. It is our preference that if you wish to share this article with others you should please use the following link:   [Full Story]

May 28, 2015
Fracking regulations imminent
Business Day Live
Wyndham Hartley

LICENCES for shale gas exploration through hydraulic fracturing will be issued in three years’ time and regulations controlling the process will be published in about a week. The issuing of licences would run parallel to the strategic environment assessment, Mineral Resources Deputy Minister Godfrey Oliphant and department acting director-general Mosa Mabuza told MPs on Wednesday.  [Full Story]

May 28, 2015
USGS releases new report on fracking sand, its mining
Akron Beacon Journal
Bob Downing

Newly released research from the U.S. Geological Survey describes U.S. hydraulic fracturing (frac) sand deposits and their locations, and provides estimates of frac sand production, consumption, and reserves. A companion map of producing and potential frac sand and resin-coated sand source units in the conterminous U.S. is also included.   [Full Story]

May 28, 2015
DSD’s fracking guide sets out the facts
PS News


A publicinformation guide has been released by the Department of State Development (DSD) covering the use of fracture stimulation by the gas industry. Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy, Tom Koutsantonis said the 16-page brochure, The Facts, was drawn from the evidence provided by DSD tothe Parliamentary committee inquiry into fracture stimulation in the State’s South East.   [Full Story]

May 28, 2015
How does keeping the lights on fit with the anti-fracking protests?
Warrington Guardian
Pete Magill

MAYBE our own versions of Swampy, or whoever the fracking fraternity chooses as an icon, will be long gone from Woolston Eyes by the time this page hits the printers or cyberspace. Eco-protests such as the one taking place underneath Thelwall Viaduct are notoriously difficult to predict.   [Full Story]

May 28, 2015
Company fined for dumping fracking wastes in storm sewer
Times Reporter
Associated Press

A judge on Thursday fined the company $75,000 and ordered it to pay $25,000 to be split between Friends of the Mahoning River and Midwest Environmental Enforcement Association.  [Full Story]

May 28, 2015
Fracking may affect air quality and human health: study
Doman-b.com


People living or working near active natural gas wells may be exposed to certain pollutants at higher levels than the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for lifetime exposure, according to scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Cincinnati. The researchers found that hydraulic fracturing – a technique for releasing natural gas from below-ground rock formations – emits pollutants known as PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), including some that are linked with increased risk of cancer and respiratory ailments.   [Full Story]

May 28, 2015
The Federal Reserve could crash the shale oil market
Watchdog
PG Veer

The fracking revolution has completely transformed America’s economy: some even predict the U.S. could be energy self-sufficient within the next decade. However, there are some pessimists who believe that this prosperity is a mere illusion. Just like some predicted the housing bubble in the early 2000s, economists from the Austrian School of economics believe that the present shale boom will bust.   [Full Story]

May 28, 2015
Small tank on fire in Karnes County
KENS5


Karnes County Sheriff's Office reports there is a small fracking tank on fire on FM 1354 near US 181. There are no reports of injuries or evacuations at this time.   [Full Story]

May 28, 2015
In a power shift, natural gas closes in on ‘king coal’
State Impact PA
Marie Cusick

In Pennsylvania when you flip on a light switch, odds are you’re burning coal. But as the fracking boom continues to unlock huge quantities of natural gas, the electric grid is changing. Power plants are increasingly turning to this lower-cost, cleaner-burning fossil fuel. The shift is being driven by both market forces and new regulations.   [Full Story]

May 28, 2015
Wildfires Rage Near Oilsands Operations, Raising Climate Questions
DeSmogBlog Canada
Kyla Mandel

Forest fires covering 8,200 hectares of land in northern Alberta continue to burn out of control, spurred on by extremely dry conditions and unseasonably warm temperatures. The fires have forced the evacuation of hundreds of oilsands workers, the irony of which is not being lost on many (just check out the reactions to this CBC article). “Climate change during the 21st century is expected to result in more frequent fires in many boreal forests, with severe environmental and economic consequences,” said a 2014 Natural Resources Canada post About 10 per cent of Canada’s oil output — amounting to about 233,000 barrels a day — has been shut down since Monday, May 25, due to the fires. The Bank of America Merril Lynch warned in a research report that if wildfire disruptions persist, there could be a 0.1 to 0.3 per cent hit to second-quarter annualized growth.   [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Crude spill react plan
Times Union
Brian Nearing

Albany The state will add more air pollution testing this summer around crude oil terminals at the Port of Albany as part of plans that also call for a 21-county network of spill response equipment and training where crude oil trains travel, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced Wednesday. At the port, where residents of the nearby South End neighborhood have complained of noxious odors since oil trains began rolling in several years ago, DEC will launch a "systemic air monitoring study" for hydrogen sulfide, an invisible, poisonous gas that has the odor of rotten eggs.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Middlesex board upholds legality of zoning ordinance to allow gas well drilling
TribLive
Bill Vidonic

An attorney for two environmental groups and four Middlesex residents vowed to appeal a decision Wednesday by the township's zoning board to uphold the municipality's zoning ordinance and a drilling permit for a controversial gas well.   [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Cumberland, Hoke sites tested for natural gas potential
WRAL


State environmental regulators last week issued the first contracts to test sites in North Carolina for oil and gas resources ahead of any potential drilling. Sanford-based Patterson Exploration Services is being paid $145,000 to pull 4-inch-diameter cores from several locations in the two counties, as well as in Scotland and Stokes counties.   [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Oklahoma may follow Texas’ lead and preempt local fracking bans
Lexology
Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP

As my colleague, Caroline Toole, reported recently here at the Monitor, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a law last week limiting the ability of municipalities to regulate fracking. In a related post, my colleague noted that the Texas law would put an end to local bans on fracking like the one adopted by the city of Denton, Texas. She further noted that “[i]t remains to be seen whether other state legislatures will follow Texas’ lead and resolve the issue outside of the courtroom.” Well, before the ink on Governor Abbott’s signature was even dry, we have word that Oklahoma is set to pass a similar law prohibiting cities and towns from banning drilling operations in the state.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
At lunch-hour hearing, plenty of support for Ernie Chambers' fracking fluid disclosure bill
Omaha.com
David Hendee

LINCOLN — In a day dominated by hogs and the death penalty, the Nebraska Legislature squeezed in another contentious issue: fracking. During a Wednesday lunch-hour hearing interrupted once by a vote on the state ban of corporate ownership of hogs — and eventually cut short for the afternoon’s debate on the death penalty veto override — the Natural Resources Committee set the stage for a summer study of the state’s oil and natural gas regulatory commission.   [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Natural Resources Committee hears testimony on fracking wastewater
Star Herald
Bart Schaneman

The Natural Resources Committee heard testimony via a teleconference at ESU-13 in Scottsbluff on Wednesday regarding Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha’s Legislative Bill 664 that would force disclosure of toxic chemicals in fracking wastewater in Nebraska.   [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Drilling starts in Hoke County to determine fracking possibilities
Fayette Observer


Core samples taken from a test well looking for signs of oil and natural gas at a Department of Transportation maintenance yard Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Raeford. Patterson Exploration Services of Sanford has a state contract to drill in an effort to determine if there are oil and gas deposits in an underground area called the Cumberland-Marlboro Basin.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
If You’ve Wondered Why So Many Politicians Deny Climate Change, Science Has Your Answer
Think Progress
Emily Atkin

Scientists have known for a long time what’s causing current climate change. What’s been less clear is why so many U.S. politicians aren’t listening. Sure, there’s been falsely balanced media coverage of climate science. And there are both financial and ideological incentives to deny that carbon emissions are causing the phenomenon. But according to new research published in Nature Climate Change, there’s at least one statistically proven reason why more than 56 percent of Congressional Republicans deny climate change: echo chambers. The term “echo chambers” traditionally refers to situations where people surround themselves with information they want to hear, and block out the rest. We’ve known for a while that these present themselves in climate politics; A 2014 study suggested that the reason Americans haven’t fully accepted the scientific consensus on climate change is because of echo chambers like Fox News, where conservative viewers are “exposed only to content consistent with their opinions, while shielded from dissenting views.”  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Sage grouse panel recommends temporary drilling ban in NPL
Casper Star Tribune
Benjamin Storrow

CHEYENNE – A state sage grouse panel recommended Wednesday to temporarily prohibit development in the Normally Pressurized Lance, the site of a proposed 3,500 well natural gas field and the largest known population of wintering grouse in Wyoming. The move represents the latest attempt by state officials to bolster protections for the bird in advance of a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on whether to add sage grouse to the endangered species list later this year. State officials, energy companies and agricultural interests hope Wyoming’s conservation strategy will help keep the bird off the list, convincing federal officials adequate protections are already in place. They fear a listing would greatly hinder development across Wyoming. The NPL, as the 141,000-acre area south of Pinedale is commonly known, has emerged as a litmus test for the state’s efforts. The region is home to 1,500 to 2,000 birds during the winter months. However it is largely unprotected under the state’s current conservation strategy, which largely focuses on limiting development around breeding and nesting sites.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Proposed severance tax on natural gas to face joint Senate committee hearing
Penn Business Daily


A joint Senate Environmental Resources and Energy and Finance Committee hearing on a proposed severance tax on natural gas will be held on June 1 at 10:30 a.m. The proposed five percent natural gas severance tax has been met with skepticism, with the Marcellus Shale coalition warning that the plan would adversely impact residents, the gas drilling industry and other businesses. “Despite previous efforts otherwise, Gov. Wolf finally acknowledges that additional energy taxes will indeed be paid by Pennsylvania consumers – including families, those on fixed incomes, small businesses and manufacturers – in the form of higher electricity and home-heating bills,” the coalition said. “In fact, to the governor’s point, 100 percent of Pennsylvanians using natural gas – for home heating, electricity, residential use as well as regional manufacturers – will see a cost increase as a result of higher energy taxes."   [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Governor: Fracking concerns fading Hickenlooper doubts momentum exists now to get issue on this year’s ballot
Durango Herald
Peter Marcus

ov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday said he does not believe there is momentum to push a state ballot initiative that would crack down on the oil and gas industry. “There will be proposals, but I don’t think there will be something that will be funded to any significant extent, and therefore I don’t expect something to get on the ballot,” Hickenlooper said.   [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Exxon shareholders to vote on climate change, fracking
Washington Post


DALLAS — Shareholders of big oil companies overwhelmingly rejected several environmental resolutions including proposals to put climate-change experts on their boards and set goals for greenhouse-gas emissions. The votes at meetings of Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. shareholders on Wednesday were expected. Some of the ideas had lost badly at previous annual meetings.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
ExxonMobil CEO mocks renewable energy in shareholder speech
Politico
Adam B. Lerner

The CEO of one of the world’s largest oil companies downplayed the effects of climate change at his company’s annual meeting Wednesday, telling shareholders his firm hadn’t invested in renewable energy because “We choose not to lose money on purpose.” “Mankind has this enormous capacity to deal with adversity,” ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson told the meeting, pointing to technologies that can combat inclement weather “that may or may not be induced by climate change.”   [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Natural gas drilling again allowed in Middlesex Township
WPXI


After having been stalled for 10 months, natural gas drilling near Mars Area School District property can start up again, leaders in Middlesex Township have voted.   [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Wadsworth industrial park to get natural gas from Nexus Pipeline
Akron Beacon Journal
Bob Downing

A new Medina County industrial park has signed a binding agreement to get natural gas from a proposed pipeline that will cross northern Ohio. PJS Properties will supply natural gas from the Nexus Pipeline to the Brickyard Industrial Park that is planned off state Route 94 on Wadsworth’s south side and will be developed by construction contractor Beacon Marshall based in Bath Township.   [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Drilling starts in Hoke County to determine fracking possibilities
Fayette Observer
Michael Futch

RAEFORD - A rotosonic drill, its roughly 36-foot rig poking into a cloudy sky, was grinding intermediately as it bored a six-inch-wide hole into the earth. "Oil and gas exploration," a beaming Kenneth Taylor, a geologist with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said as he adjusted the noise-muting headphones on his head.   [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
NAACP to investigate fracking test
News-Record
Bertrand M. Gutierrez

WALNUT COVE — Civil rights advocates and conservationists from national, state and local affiliations gathered in a Baptist church Wednesday to reinforce what some local folks have already been doing for a while: sound an alarm on the potential health risks posed by fossil-fuel pollution. At Rising Star Baptist Church, NAACP officials announced they would start an investigation to determine whether black communities in the area may be disparately affected by such things as the coal ash lagoon owned by Duke Energy at the Belews Creek Steam Station or the possibility of hydraulic fracturing.   [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Fracking battle in Texas not over
Denton Record-Chronicle
Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe

The fight over fracking in Texas cities is continuing. Anti-fracking activists are searching for a legal strategy to challenge the constitutionality of a new state law that appears to overturn the frack ban that Denton voters passed last November. On a second front, protesters picketed a Denton well site where hydraulic fracturing has resumed. And others are planning an anti-fracking rally on the City Hall lawn in the near future.   [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Amid lower oil prices, Exxon shareholders listen to CEO, vote on climate and fracking measures
US News
DAVID KOENIG, AP Business Writer

DALLAS (AP) — Shareholders are considering whether Exxon Mobil should put a climate-change expert on its board. That is one of several environmental and company-governance resolutions on the agenda at the oil giant's annual meeting Wednesday in Dallas. CEO Rex Tillerson gave a stay-the-course outlook for the company, which has seen profits decline recently with lower prices for crude oil. Tillerson has said that oil prices will remain low over the next two years because of large global supplies and weak economic growth.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
MI fracking foes pursue ban through ballot proposal
wkar
Mark Bashore

For the third time in recent years, opponents of hydraulic fracturing are organizing to end the practice in Michigan. The Committee to Ban Fracking, based in Charlevoix, has begun a ballot campaign hoping to put a ban before voters in next years general election. Fracking critics say chemicals and gases involved in the process are destructive to human health and the environment. They also claim the practice worsens global warming and threatens property values, jobs and the food supply. Opponents of a ban, which include many state officials, claim the decades old practice is regulated and safe. They say about 12,000 Michigan wells have been fracked in about the last half-century without incident.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Chief Mi’sel Joe supports efforts of local fracking awareness group
The Western Star
Frank Gal

Despite a meeting on the issue of hydraulic fracturing being cut short by a fire in the community, Miawpukek First Nation Chief Mi’sel Joe learned enough for his band council’s presentation to government. Mi’sel Joe is shown in this undated photo. Submitted photo Other news Allegedly spiked russet potatoes bought in Corner Brook Alberta man fined for public intoxication Good chance western Newfoundland will keep getting drizzled on today Young Wolves come up short in exhibition match Women’s softball league begins June 1 Women’s movement had steep ladder to climb: Bell Five men convicted of snowmobiling in prohibited parts of Gros Morne MP ‘appalled’ with halibut quota allocation Graham Oliver of Kippens and Kenny (Moochie) Bennett of Stephenville Crossing, both representatives of the Port au Port/Bay St. George Fracking Awareness Group, made the trip to Conne River on Monday to meet with Joe and the Conne River Band Council to make a presentation on concerns about fracking and the importance of making submissions to the Fracking Review Panel  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Fracking Fight Infects Rulemaking Process
Law Week Colorado
Tony Flesor

BakerHostetler took the next step in a legal fight with the Bureau of Land Management over the government agency’s recently accepted rules for hydraulic fracturing on federal or Indian-owned land. The law firm, working on behalf of the Independent Petroleum Association of America and Western Energy Alliance, filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against the BLM in U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming. According to Mark Barron, a partner at Baker Hostetler, oil and gas operators are already seeing rising costs because of the rule, and they hope to freeze the rule until a court decides on a set of lawsuits challenging its validity. The rules deal with construction standards for wells, public disclosure of chemical additives injected during production operations and plans for management of water produced during oil and gas operations.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Ewart: B.C.'s fledgling LNG boom continues on an uncertain path
Calgary Herald
Stephen Ewart

The on-again, off-again LNG boom in British Columbia is continuing on its uncertain path. As setbacks to the much-hyped energy windfall continue to arise — the threats to coastal eelgrass is the latest — and make the letters L-N-G seemingly stand for Likely No Go, the nascent liquefied natural gas industry got a boost from one of its key players. “We are looking to achieve a conditional final investment decision in the coming weeks,” Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin, chief executive of Malaysia’s state energy company Petronas, said Friday in Kuala Lumpur. “We will continue to have constructive engagements with the First Nation, and keep all avenues open as we move forward.” The company said it must still resolve First Nation concerns — the most recent centres around habitat for salmon near the site of the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG facility — before it will definitively proceed with its $36-billion overall development plan.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
LNG Terminals and the Environmental Unlearning of Philadelphia
Earth Island Journal
Michael Silverstein

The insanity factor here is that Philadelphia has a very long history as a fossil fuel-based energy hub — with very painful consequences. The United State’s first oil wells were drilled in Pennsylvania in the 1850s. It was natural that much of the output from these wells would be processed in the state’s largest city. Over the years, even into the 1970s, refineries (there were seven then, five today), petrochemical manufacturers of plastics and other fossil fuel dependent products, along with related infrastructure, proliferated in around Philadelphia. The cumulative result of all this economic activity was a massive build up of pollution residues. Which was why Forbes magazine in 2011 ranked Philadelphia the country’s most polluted large American city, the “capital of toxicity,” in the magazine’s own trenchant phrase. Given that history, what could now lead Philadelphia’ business and political leaders to promote a major fossil fuel-based energy hub to reanimate the city’s future economy, a plan leading the press to dub Philadelphia, “the new Houston?” The answer to this question comes down to four words: Marcellus shale natural gas.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Drilling tax proposal sparks blowback
the Hill
Timothy Cama

The U.S. oil and gas industry is mounting an aggressive campaign to beat back a Pennsylvania proposal to impose a new tax on natural gas production in the state. To gas drillers, the plan by Gov. Tom Wolf (D) threatens to stop in its tracks the economic and employment gains of the last seven years, when the Keystone State added jobs amid a national recession. The boom was largely due to hydraulic fracturing and other unconventional drilling techniques that propelled the state to becoming the No. 2 producer in volume, behind only Texas. Pennsylvania now produces more than an eighth of the country’s gas. “There’s a broad consensus that, during the period of time in the U.S. economy when both economic growth and employment growth were stressed, the natural gas industry was one of the bright spots in both job growth and economic growth,” said Frank Macchiarola, the top lobbyist for America’s Natural Gas Alliance, one of the national groups involved in the Pennsylvania fight. “And to threaten that, it really doesn’t make any sense,” he said.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Saudi Arabia may unleash vast oil, gas reserves via fracking
Akron Beacom
JIM MACKINNON

The Middle East, in particular Saudi Arabia, soon could have its own fracking boom to unleash vast reserves of oil and gas trapped in carbonite formations, writes Andrew Zaleski at CNBC.com. CNBC.com: "The key to an energy boom is simple: Build a technology to get at the oil and gas that geologists already know is trapped in various subterranean, or subsea, formations. "The fracking boom in the U.S. is the obvious example. Extracting seabed methane hydrate is another huge bet—energy-starved Japan has made that. "Saudi Arabia could be next to use new technology to get at currently trapped gigantic reserves of oil and gas. A small pilot project about to get under way is the energy market equivalent of a moonshot, but it could allow a Saudi fracking boom to move one step closer to reality.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Rockland hears about proposed natural gas plant at first of several public workshops
Pen Bay Pilot
Sarah Thompson

ROCKLAND — Evan Coleman, representative of Rockland Energy Center, answered questions about his company’s proposed natural gas power plant within city limits Tuesday, May 26, at City Hall. Each of Coleman’s three topics — fracking, power plant operations and safety, and power plant emissions and efficiency, were followed by questions and comments from concerned residents who filled the room at City Hall. Because this was not an official council meeting, all members of the council were in attendance, but sat in the audience. Rockland Energy Company a subsidiary of Energy Management, Inc., a New England-based energy company, has developed six natural gas fired electric generation projects, and has expanded to offshore wind, biomass, and solar energy, according to its website, capewind.org  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Aubrey McClendon: Fracking's Cowboy Rides Again
Forbes
Christopher Helman

America’s wildest wildcatter, Aubrey McClendon, found new life — and new billions — after his spectacular plunge from the top of the oil game. Trouble has already come calling. In early 2013, during his last days as CEO of Chesapeake Energy CHK -0.44%, Aubrey McClendon was one busy guy. Chesapeake’s board gave him the boot following a litany of accusations about his rampant conflicts of interest, lavish perks, reckless bets and failure to disclose that he had personally borrowed around $1 billion, some from Chesapeake’s own lenders. But before leaving the building, McClendon allegedly gave himself a parting gift. According to a lawsuit filed by Chesapeake in February, he had his assistant print out highly sensitive maps of oil and gas prospects in Ohio’s natural-gas-rich Utica shale formations, and he e-mailed more proprietary and valuable information to his private account.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
PIPELINES AND FRACKING ARE RADICALLY ALTERING THE LANDSCAPE OF NJ'S NEIGHBORS
NJ Spotlight
SUSAN PHILLIPS/WHYY

his story is the first in a series, produced in collaboration with WHYY public radio of Philadelphia. It looks at the upheaval that’s occurring in New Jersey and Pennsylvania due to the discovery of enormous natural gas reserves beneath the Marcellus Shale. In order to be useful, that gas needs to go somewhere -- and that means thousands of miles of new interstate pipelines, many of which are being proposed to cross the Garden State. A number of New Jerseyans don’t support the idea, whether because they oppose fracking (the method of extracting the gas) or because they don’t want the pipelines to go through ecologically sensitive areas or because they fear safety issues. We’ll be reviewing this issue all this week, culminating with a roundtable on Friday morning. Forget the battles over the Keystone XL. Pipeline wars are now raging in Pennsylvania, where production is high and pipeline capacity is low. Marcellus Shale gas has the potential to alter the landscape of the global energy market. But right now a shortage of pipelines to get gas from the gas fields to consumers has energy companies eager to dig new trenches. And activists opposed to more drilling see pipeline proposals as the new battleground over fracking.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
BREAKING: The EPA Just Protected Drinking Water For Millions Of Americans
ThinkProgress
Samantha Page

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will have an easier time regulating water pollution under a new rule released Wednesday. The Waters of the United States rule, developed by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, offers protection to two million miles of streams and 20 million acres of wetlands that, until now, were not clearly designated under the Clean Water Act. The rule clarifies what tributaries and wetlands are part of the overall water system and will decrease confusion and expense, the EPA and Army Corps said Wednesday.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
The power crisis we're ignoring Survey: Energy is changing faster than our power grid can keep up, say our experts.
Politico
STEPHEN HEUSER

The United States has a serious problem it’s not dealing with, America’s energy experts want you to know: The power grid that keep our lights on and powers our economy is woefully behind the times, unready for the huge changes already underway in the energy sector. “Whether it is cyberterrorism, natural disasters or natural gas and electric generation interdependencies, our current power grid is vulnerable,” wrote one utility CEO – a sentiment echoed widely among the four dozen top energy leaders POLITICO surveyed in its inaugural Agenda Survey. Others called the power grid “aging” and “increasingly unreliable,” and complained that modernizing it is “a bipartisan priority” that “is being swept under the rug.”  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Economics Of A Shale Well - Chesapeake Energy
Seeking Alpha
Zoltan Ban

Summary Chesapeake Energy's projects wary in profitability. Future prospects of profitability depend on company's willingness to focus strictly on profitable projects, and prolific acreage within those projects, at the expense of sacrificing production growth. Even if long-term profitability will be achieved, it will not resemble the level of profitability assumed based on EUR assumptions, which seem to be very unrealistic. Given that the spectacular shale oil & gas boom is now reaching an end, I decided a little while ago to provide an estimate of actual profitability odds of wells being drilled today for shale companies. I think this is now very important, because shale stocks will no longer be supported by spectacular production gains. It may be impossible to provide a completely accurate forecast of profitability of shale plays, but I think it is nevertheless important to provide an approximation which allows potential investors to get a general idea in regards to whether certain companies are sitting on potentially profitable, unprofitable or questionable plays.   [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
LNG protest draws hundreds to Capitol
Daily Astorian
Tracy Loew

Participants marched from the Capitol to the Oregon Department of State Lands, which has legal authority to block LNG terminals and pipelines. SALEM — Hundreds of people rallied at the Oregon Capitol Tuesday, calling on Gov. Kate Brown to block two proposed liquefied natural gas, or LNG, export terminals in the state. “This is an assault not just on the environment, but an assault on democracy,” speaker Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told the crowd. “It just is a bad deal all around.” Kennedy is president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a national coalition of local groups advocating for clean water. American company Oregon LNG is trying to build an LNG terminal in Warrenton, on the North Coast near where the Columbia River enters the Pacific. A new pipeline would connect the terminal with one in Woodland, Wash.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Forget fracking - efficiency and renewables are the key to energy security
The Ecologist
Tony Bosworth

Shale gas advocates say we must open up the UK to fracking to reduce our dependence on Russian gas, writes Tony Bosworth. But why not just burn less of the stuff? Energy efficiency and renewables can achieve the same aim without the adverse impacts on land, water and climate. Parents throughout history have used the bogeyman to try to scare children into good behaviour. Shale gas supporters have seized on Vladimir Putin as their bogeyman, frightening the British public with stories of him cutting off our gas so we'll all be freezing in the dark. The rhetoric has been cranked up since the start of the Ukraine conflict, and David Cameron has said it's "our duty" to embrace fracking. Put alongside instability in the Middle East, the fracking lobby see an unanswerable case for UK shale gas as a guarantee of our energy security.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Amid lower oil prices, Exxon shareholders listen to CEO, vote on climate and fracking measures
Star Tribune
DAVID KOENIG Associated Press

DALLAS — Shareholders of big oil companies overwhelmingly rejected several environmental resolutions including proposals to put climate-change experts on their boards and set goals for greenhouse-gas emissions. The votes at meetings of Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. shareholders on Wednesday were expected. Some of the ideas had lost badly at previous annual meetings. Lower prices for crude have cut into the oil giants' profits. At the Exxon Mobil meeting in Dallas, CEO Rex Tillerson said the company is positioned to withstand ups and down in oil prices and give shareholders a good return on their money. Tillerson has said that said that oil prices will remain low over the next two years because of large global supplies and weak economic growth. The company is adjusting by cutting costs. Exxon has completed more than a dozen major projects in the past three years and expects an equal number to begin production through 2017. Exxon plans to cut capital spending as those projects are completed — from $38.5 billion last year to $34 billion this year and less in 2016 and 2017.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
The Economics of Renewable Energy: Falling Costs and Rising Employment
Huffington Post
Adnan Z Amin

The general public perception of renewable energy is often in terms of saving the environment and reducing global carbon dioxide emissions. While it is true that renewable energy provides great environmental benefits and may yet prove to be our main hope for decarbonization, it is just as true and often overlooked that renewable energy provides considerable economic and social benefits. Take jobs for example. This week, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) released its 2015 renewable energy and jobs report finding that 7.7 million people are now employed by the sector worldwide, up 18 per cent from the number reported last year and up 35 percent over the last two years. If you add large hydropower to the mix, you get a conservative estimate of an additional 1.5 million direct jobs worldwide.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Voters want renewable energy, not more hot air
ABC.net.au
Opinion Peter Lewis and Jackie Woods

Political debate has created division and confusion when it comes to how best to address climate change, but support for renewable energy is an area most people can agree on, write Peter Lewis and Jackie Woods. For a profession so anchored in bright lights and hot air, politicians should be all over climate change. But while there is demand for urgent action to tackle global warming, policy responses are more confusing than ever. As public support for investing in renewable energy technologies ramps up our national Renewable Energy Target has been significantly downgraded. The Coalition's Direct Action policy has long confused voters and consistently rates the lowest of any measure to tackle climate change.  [Full Story]

May 27, 2015
Experts from UK & IITs working on new renewable energy model that combines solar, bio-gas and hydrogen
Economic Times


KOLKATA: To provide 24x7 uninterrupted power from renewable energy sources, experts from the UK and IITs are now working together to create a new model which combines the best of solar power, biomass energy and hydrogen. The first-of-its-kind UK-India experimental Bio-CPV project on development and integration of biomass and concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) system will soon light up a remote tribal hamlet in Shantiniketan, 180 km away from here.   [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
Surge in Renewables Remakes California’s Energy Landscape
environment360
Cheryl Katz

Solar farms are blooming across California’s deserts, wind turbines are climbing the Sierra, photovoltaic roofs are shimmering over suburbs, and Teslas are the Silicon Valley elite’s new ride. A clean energy rush is transforming the Golden State so quickly that nearly a quarter of its electricity now comes from renewable sources, and new facilities, especially solar, are coming online at a rapid rate. Last year, California became the first state to get more than 5 percent of its electricity from the sun. With its goal of 33 percent renewable energy by 2020 now within reach, Governor Jerry Brown recently raised California’s bar, ordering the state to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below the 1990 level within the next 15 years — the most ambitious target in North America. To meet the new directive, planners say Californians will need to step up their energy The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System Ethan Miller/Getty Images Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the California Mojave Desert was completed in 2014. transition even more: doubling energy efficiency, boosting electric transportation, and getting at least twice as much of their electricity from renewables. Energy experts caution that it will take effort, but they say it’s doable.   [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
John Kerry: Unchecked Climate Change Will Be Catastrophic For The Arctic
Think Progress
CATHLEEN KELLY

At a time of unprecedented uncertainty in a rapidly warming Arctic, one thing is clear: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry does not plan to stand by idly and watch. At a reception last week to celebrate the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, Kerry highlighted the urgent need to curb Arctic and global climate change. Kerry stressed the consequences of unchecked climate change for people in the Arctic and around the planet. In his address to Arctic nation ministers, members of Congress, and other policymakers, Kerry said that the Arctic “is not just a picturesque landscape. It’s a home. It’s a lifestyle. It has a history.” Arctic communities, he said, are “4 million strong living there for centuries, and believe me, they are an essential part of everything that is critical to the region.”  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
Columbia Pipeline Group plans expansion, upgrades in Marcellus and Utica natural gas shale plays
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Stephanie Ritenbaugh

Columbia Pipeline Group plans to spend billions in building and upgrading infrastructure in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays to connect natural gas supply to demand. The company, a spinoff from its Indiana parent company NiSource (NI), which is one of the largest utility companies in the country, will handle natural gas infrastructure for soaring production from the Northeast. The separation, announced last September, will create two companies: NiSource, a fully regulated natural gas and electric utilities company with 3.4 million customers under the Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands, and Columbia Pipeline Group Inc. (CPG), a stand-alone, publicly traded natural gas pipeline, midstream and storage company. The separation is on track to be completed July 1, executives said in a recent conference call.  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Joins Farmers and Ranchers to Call on Gov. Brown to Reject LNG Exports
EcoWatch
Dan Serres

For more than 10 years, gas companies have been pushing plans for huge liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals on the Columbia River and Coos Bay, and Oregonians have stood firm to protect our farms, forests and rivers. Today, hundreds of Oregonians including farmers, ranchers, business owners and conservationists are going to send a clear message to Oregon’s new Governor that the time has come for Oregon to reject fracked gas export terminals.  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
Wind and Solar Provide 100% of New Generating Capacity in April
EcoWatch


In what is becoming a frequent occurrence, if not predictable pattern, renewable energy sources once again dominate in the latest federal monthly update on new electrical generating capacity brought into service in the U.S.  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
“Lower Cost Solar” A Utility-Scale Fig Leaf For An Outdated Monopoly Model
Clean Technica
John Farrell

n his Sunday Wall Street Journal commentary on May 17, Brian Potts suggests that cost is the bottom line in the electric customer shift to solar, and that rooftop solar costs too much. But his defense of the utility’s view of energy costs leaves a big hole in the big picture: the value of solar energy and the cost of maintaining an antiquated system of monopoly control. First, his cost estimates don’t add up. He claims utility-scale solar costs 13 cents per kilowatt-hour, but Vote Solar reported that the Palo Alto, CA, municipal utility signed solar contracts for 6.9 cents nearly two years ago. Prices fell 13% in 2014 alone, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. The attack on rooftop solar also falls short. The break-even price for a rooftop system in Palo Alto is 10.8 cents over 25 years (calculated with NREL’s System Advisor Model), 50% higher—not 3.5 times higher— than the utility-scale solar array. Mr Potts may be right that net metering isn’t the perfect policy for compensating solar producing customers, but that’s because it’s a compromise accounting method to accurately track electricity sent back to the grid. This was done because it is the easiest way for the utilities to accommodate solar with their old meters and antiquated billing systems. Net metering and Mr Potts both ignore the value of solar energy: to an electric grid that favors energy production in the afternoon and on hot, sunny days; as a zero-volatility fuel source; as a hedge against environmental compliance costs; as a near-zero water consumer in an era of drought. He ignores the numerous state studies that show a net benefit from net metering.  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
Sierra Club Urges Immediate Action on Methane Pollution
Sierra Club
Andres Restrepo and Joanne Spalding

Last week, the Sierra Club joined over 60 national, regional, and state-based environmental organizations inurging EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to take strong and immediate action to fight methane pollution from the oil and gas industry. Direct methane standards for this sector are critical in the fight to combat climate change, to protect the health and welfare of the many communities affected by the rapid expansion of oil and gas development, and to minimize waste of scarce resources. Methane (CH4), an odorless and invisible hydrocarbon, is the primary component of natural gas. As a driver of climate change, methane is 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide during the time it remains in the atmosphere and accounts for about 10 percent of domestic greenhouse gas emissions. High concentrations of methane also accelerate the formation of ground-level ozone. This dangerous pollutant is the major constituent of smog and can damage lung and cardiovascular health—sometimes fatally.  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
Gas Export Opponents Stage Blockade of FERC
DC Media Group
John Zangas and Anne Meador

Protests against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission heated up as more than 80 activists blocked the doors and streets in front of and behind the agency, delaying employees from entering the building for a few hours. They also blockaded North Capitol St. directly behind the agency by erecting an 18-foot metal tripod from which a woman was suspended by a climbing harness. They held large banners saying, “Stop Fracking #Exports” and “The United States of Fracking.” Department of Homeland Security officers, who were assembled in front of the building, seemed caught by surprise by the blockade on North Capitol St. and were slow to react. After several warnings, protesters removed the tripod before arrests were made.  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
Solar Shines as Sellers Sometimes Pay Buyers to Use Power
Bloomberg


Move over, shale. The sun is now the fastest-growing source of U.S. electricity. Solar power capacity in the U.S. has jumped 20-fold since 2008 as companies including Apple Inc. use it to reduce their carbon footprints. Rooftop panels are sprouting on homes from suburban New York to Phoenix, driven by suppliers such as SolarCity Corp. and NRG Energy Inc. Giant farms of photovoltaic panels, including Warren Buffett’s Topaz array in California, are changing power flows in the electrical grid, challenging hydro and conventional generators and creating negative prices on sunny days. The surge comes after shale drilling opened new supplies of natural gas, contributing to the 47 percent drop in oil since June.  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
Demonstration Blocks Part of North Capitol Street
Hill Now


About three dozen protesters were spotted blocking part of the intersection of North Capitol and I streets around 10 a.m. WMATA has warned riders of the D8, X1, X2 and X9 bus lines to expect 20 minutes delays near North Capitol and H streets. The demonstrators held signs in opposition to hydraulic fracturing in the United States, chanting, “Shut FERC down.” The protesters planned to walk to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at 888 1st St. NE. The protest was associated with Beyond Extreme Energy, an advocacy group that opposes fracking. “Stop business as usual at FERC,” said Melinda Tuhus, a Beyond Extreme Energy spokeswoman. “Fracked gas isn’t safe, and it isn’t clean.”  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
Oklahoma Lawmakers Pass Measure Preventing Local Fracking Bans
KOSU
Joe Wertz

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: The ongoing controversy over fracking has taken a new turn recently - a state ban on local bans on fracking. Texas did just that last week. And this week, Oklahoma's governor is expected to decide whether to sign a bill that stops local governments from creating their own bans. As Joe Wertz from State Impact Oklahoma reports, a drilling boom in that state and a surge in earthquakes have fueled public interest in stricter rules. JOE WERTZ, BYLINE: When Tammy Mix bought her home 10 years ago, she had no idea her family was moving to an oil field. She walks to a muddy clearing and a bus-sized hole lined with metal cylinders just beyond her property line in Stillwater, Okla. TAMMY MIX: So we are looking at the pit that was put in during the drilling process, which can stay here for up to a year or more, and then also a battery and tanks that are put in for whenever the process is complete.  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
‘No LNG, no pipeline' - protesters rally against natural gas projects
kval.com


Everyone from farmers to tribal leaders rallied against the state’s liquid natural gas proposed projects in Salem Tuesday. Currently, there are two separate LNG export terminals proposed off Coos Bay and the Columbia River. Along with them, hundreds of miles of pipeline will be assembled across the state. If the projects continue to move ahead, people living along the pipeline route are faced with potentially having a pipeline in their backyards. Something conservationists say would be detrimental to the environment.   [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
Oregon rancher refuses to allow natural gas pipeline on property
kgw.com
Wendy Culverwell

s a retired iron worker who began buying land in Douglas County near Coos Bay for Gow Ranch in the late 1980s. Today, he raises beef as well as timber on a 2,000-acre ranch that supports both he and his family. But Gow feels under siege. His picturesque ranch lies in the path of a pipeline needed to carry natural gas from Malin on the east side of the Cascades to Coos Bay, where Veresen Inc. (TSX: VSN) is attempting to build the Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas export terminal. Veresen is a partner in the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline through a subsidiary. For seven years, the pipeline developer has been in near-constant contact seeking an easement. For seven years, Gow has said no.  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
First Nation Rejects Billion Dollar LNG Deal
The True North Times
Dexter Docherty

Last week, the Lax Kw’alaams band in northern British Columbia rejected an offer from Petroliam Nasional Bhd., which offered $1.15 billion compensation to the community in exchange for building a liquefied natural gas export hub on ancestral lands. During the third and final community meeting on Tuesday May 12th in Vancouver, First Nation members refused to give their consent to the Pacific NorthWest LNG project. The project would have seen a terminal facility constructed on Lelu Island at the head of the Skeena River, just south of Prince Rupert for those geographically challenged souls trying to locate this apparently multi-billion dollar section of British Columbia. Who knew expensive BC real estate existed outside of Vancouver? The First Nations cited some strange traditional knowledge called science in their opposition to the proposal. They claimed that the project would damage the habitat of the Skeena River salmon, which they apparently have something called a constitutional right permitting them to fish. The more you learn about these peoples, the weirder their cultural beliefs system gets. The Lax Kw’alaams are, for some reason, prioritizing values over money. In a statement on Wednesday, the group said “this is not a money issue: this is environmental and cultural.”  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU, AFTER PUSHING FOR KEYSTONE XL, JOINS TRANSCANADA LOBBYING FIRM
First Look The// Intercept
Lee Fang

The law firm Van Ness Feldman announced today that former Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who lost her reelection bid last year, will be joining the company to help run its lobbying division and focus on energy issues. Landrieu joins the firm after pushing aggressively for energy-related policy goals that overlapped with Van Ness Feldman’s clients. In November of last year, Landrieu helped force a vote to approve the Keystone XL, the controversial tar sands pipeline owned by Transcanada, a firm represented by Van Ness Feldman. Landrieu also worked to expedite the approval of liquified natural gas export terminals, another contentious issue. Landrieu sponsored legislation to expedite the LNG approval process and specifically pushed for individual projects, including the Sempra Cameron LNG facility in Louisiana. Van Ness Feldman has a large practice on LNG issues and lobbied for approval of several LNG export terminals, including the Sempra facility touted by Landrieu.  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
OSHA fines Halliburton $7K in fracking site blast that killed 1 worker, injured 2 in Weld County
The Denver Channel
Alan Gathright

WELD COUNTY, Colo. - Federal regulators have fined Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. $7,000 for safety violations in a deadly 2014 explosion at a hydraulic fracturing site in Weld County. One worker was killed and two others were injured on Nov, 13, 2014 when authorities said the three men were trying to heat a frozen high-pressure water line and it ruptured. According to a U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration document, a 2-inch metal pipe fitting blew off a valve and hit an employee in the head, killing him.  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
Review panel stacked with pro-frackers, says Greg Malone
cac.ca


Some activists are unhappy with the review panel chosen by government to evaluate the safety of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, on the province's west coast. The Newfoundland and Labrador government announced last August that it was appointing an independent review panel to investigate the possibility of fracking to extract oil and gas. Derrick Dalley announces fracking review panel That decision came following a number of proposals to explore for oil and gas on the west coast. Opponents have expressed fears that fracking could negatively affect Gros Morne National Park, among other areas.   [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
Anti-frackers welcome impact assessment
iol.co
Tony Carnie

Durban - The government has been urged to put the shale gas fracking licensing process on hold until the recently announced scientific impact investigation is completed. File photo: Chairman of the Treasure the Karoo Action Group Jonathan Deal. Picture: Leon M?. (Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS) The Treasure the Karoo Action Group said it welcomed the government’s announcement earlier this month to launch a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) into the potential negative social, geological and environmental impacts of fracturing (fracking) deep underground rock formations to extract shale gas. The assessment will be conducted by the CSIR, the South African National Biodiversity Institute and the Council for Geosciences. In a letter to Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi, the action group welcomed the SEA process as “necessary, forward thinking and a huge step in the right direction”.  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
Too little, not too late, say N.L. fracking opponents
The Telegram
pponents

Groups jointly oppose review panel and approach Disband the Newfoundland and Labrador fracking review panel and reject the idea of hydraulic fracturing, representatives of 12 environmental and social justice groups said Monday at a joint news conference in St. John’s. © Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram Penny Allderdice voiced her concerns over fracking at a press conference held at Memorial University that united several groups to demand province-wide public fracking consultations. Barring that end, they said, the panel’s work needs to be expanded to include public consultation sessions throughout the province. “Just one stop would look rather silly, so they made it two stops,” said Greg Malone, who pulled no punches at the gathering in laying out his personal objections to fracking, adding he believes the appointed panel members have already made up their minds on next steps.   [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
Netanyahu is pushing ahead with natural gas drilling off the Israeli coast
Quartz
Steve LeVine

The resignation of an Israeli government official appears to clear the way for the development of a stalled giant offshore natural gas field—gas with the potential, even if remote, of triggering geopolitical reverberations in and outside the region. The lifted hurdle is the exit of Antitrust Authority commissioner David Gilo, whose scrutiny of a deal for Israel’s Leviathan field had halted its development. Gilo, a law professor at Haifa University, had asserted that Houston’s Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek had too much control over the country’s potential gas exports, and that they should sell off some of their holdings.  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
LNG industry in B.C. threat to environment and energy security: study
the Globe and Mail
Brent Jang

B.C.’s liquefied natural gas industry threatens to harm the environment and erode Canada’s energy security, says a new analysis. Geoscientist David Hughes, in a study for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, warns that LNG is far from the clean fuel that the B.C. government portrays it to be. Water filling the equivalent of nearly 22,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools a year would be required in the industry’s fracking process in drilling for natural gas in northeast British Columbia, he said. “Almost all of B.C.’s future gas production is expected to involve fracking, which requires much more water and produces much more greenhouse-gas emissions than conventional drilling,” Mr. Hughes said in his 50-page report to be released Tuesday. “A major public concern is the amount of water and the chemicals and other additives used in the fracking process, as well as the potential for contamination of surface water through surface casing failures and improper disposal of fracking waste water.”  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
Winds of change blow toward county board
The Daily Star
Joe Mahoney

Otsego County's staunchest supporter of natural gas drilling, County Rep. James Powers, R-Butternuts, confirmed Tuesday he will not seek re-election to the District 2 seat he has held for 16 years. A dairy farmer and a political maverick, Powers said he will serve the rest of his current term, then devote more time to agriculture. "I've enjoyed every minute of my time on the board," Powers said. He said highlights of his tenure include getting the county out of the regional trash authority known as MOSA and teeing up a new emergency telecommunications system slated to become operational this fall.  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
CIA Stops Sharing Climate Change Info With Scientists
D News
PATRICK J. KIGER

In a recent speech, President Obama proclaimed that climate change “constitutes a serious threat to global security (and), an immediate risk to our national security,” and warned that it actually could exacerbate other menaces, such as terrorism and political instability. “Severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram,” Obama said. “It’s now believed that drought and crop failures and high food prices helped fuel the early unrest in Syria, which descended into civil war in the heart of the Middle East.” But even as the White House is affirming its focus, the CIA reportedly is ending a key program that shared the agency’s climate change data — some of it gathered by surveillance satellites and other clandestine sources. NEWS: CIA Admits Area 51 Exists, But Says No UFOs Investigative magazine Mother Jones broke the story last week that the intelligence agency is shutting down the Measurements of Earth Data for Environmental Analysis program. MEDEA allowed a select group of scientists access to classified information about climate change. Mother Jones said that the data included not only satellite observations, but also ocean temperature and tidal readings gathered by U.S. Navy submarines.  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
Texas Was In a Horrible Drought Last Year. Now It’s Flooded. What Gives?
Slate
Eric Holthaus

A torrential, hurricane-like series of rainstorms hit Texas over the weekend, stranding hundreds, and producing a flood that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said hit with “tsunami-type power.” According to the Washington Post, at least five people have died and a dozen are missing—with the impact of the overnight rains in Houston still uncertain. Abbott has declared a state of emergency and called 37 counties disaster areas. The National Weather Service in Houston called the storm a ‘flash flood emergency’—a rare warning. The rains made for commuting chaos on Tuesday morning with freeways underwater and countless cars washed away:  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
The U.S. Shale Boom Takes a Break
Foreign Affairs
Jim Krane & Mark Agerton

xas used to be the world’s swing producer of oil. In the first half of the twentieth century, the Texas Railroad Commission enforced production quotas to balance markets and keep prices and profits stable. Texas lost that job to OPEC in the 1970s, though, and never gained it back—until now. The momentous shift became evident in the weeks after OPEC’s November decision to hold oil production steady in the face of weakening prices. It was time, Saudi oil minister Ali Naimi said, for another producer to idle his rigs. With Saudi Arabia standing firm, prices plummeted. Crude lost half its value between June and December 2014. Within a few weeks, it became apparent that someone would heed Naimi’s command, and that OPEC’s do-nothing strategy would succeed, at least in the short term. Starting in January, scattered roughnecks toiling on thousands of dusty pads across the Middle American heartland began moving rigs into storage, cutting back on well drilling, and, in doing so, bringing less new oil to market. The cutbacks only accelerated through February and March. Estimates show that new volumes of American oil coming onstream continued to drop, albeit at a slower pace than the steep cutback in drilling.  [Full Story]

May 26, 2015
DOE grants Pieridae FTA export approval
LNG Industry


The US Department of Energy (DOE) has granted Pieridae Energy (USA) Ltd authorisation to export LNG to Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries from Canada. Under the order, Pieridae Energy is authorised to export natural gas to Canada by pipeline for purposes of end use in Canada and to re-export the US natural gas as LNG to countries with a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US. The authorisation covers a total combined volume of 292 billion ft3/yr of natural gas. Pieridae Energy filed the application in October 2014, requesting export authorisation for a 20-year term. The natural gas will be used as feedstock in the Goldboro LNG Project, which will be located in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, Canada.  [Full Story]

May 25, 2015
We Are Fracking Away Our Democracy
Ring of Fire


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation last week that prohibits cities and towns in his state from banning fracking, Common Dreams reported. The power to restrict oil and gas operations will now lie solely with the state, and since it’s Texas, those restrictions will probably be non-existent.  [Full Story]

May 25, 2015
Toxins found in air near Ohio county’s fracking wells
Columbus Dispatch
David Haemyer

Emissions from fracking operations might be exposing people to toxic pollutants at levels higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for long-term exposure, according to scientists from the University of Cincinnati and Oregon State University.   [Full Story]

May 25, 2015
United States:? ?Fracking chemical traces found in drinking water
Green Left Weekly


Traces of chemicals commonly used for fracking were found in? ?the? ?drinking? ?water? ?supply of three homes in Bradford County in the US state of Pennsylvania,? ?a study revealed on May? ?18.? The investigation,? ?which appeared in scientific? ?journal? ??Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences??,? ?proved the long-held worry of damaging underground drinking water sources from the method of extracting gases known as hydraulic fracturing.? ?The report explicitly links the practice with the affected water systems.?   [Full Story]

May 25, 2015
Southeast Ohio businesses still fighting oil and gas tax hike
Ohio Watchdog
Jason Hart

In Marietta, Ohio, business owners still have hanging over their heads an oil and gas tax hike Gov. John Kasich has fought for since 2012.  [Full Story]

May 25, 2015
Frack monitor site refused
Blackpool Gazette


County planning chiefs have rubber-stamped their decision to refuse plans to use a dormant shale gas bore hole for monitoring. The site at Grange Hill, Singleton, was drilled in 2010 but never fracked and energy company Cuadrilla had applied for planning permission to use it as a seismic and pressure monitor station before it is restored to original condition.  [Full Story]

May 25, 2015
SALFORD PETITION CALLS ON PEEL HOLDINGS AND SALFORD COUNCIL TO GET GREEN
Salford Star


As part of the Global Day of Action on Climate Change, on Saturday May 30th, a petition has been launched urging Salford City Council and Peel Holdings to transfer from `dirty industry to clean, green energy', including ditching any notions of fracking in the area. "  [Full Story]

May 25, 2015
Republican State Governments Increasingly Overruling Laws Passed by City and County Governments
AllGov


The conservative view that government is best when closest to the governed doesn’t seem to apply when local governments, closely reflecting the will of their voters, try to regulate big business. At least not in states run by Republicans. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on May 18 signed a bill that would preempt municipalities’ right to regulate fracking within their borders. Residents of the North Texas city of Denton last year voted to ban fracking within city limits, spurring the oil and gas industry to persuade its friends in the Texas legislature to ban the bans.  [Full Story]

May 25, 2015
Colreavy says US/EU trade agreement could be dangerous for Ireland
Leitrim Observer


Deputy Michael Colreavy, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has highlighted the dangers he feels the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) presents to both Ireland and Europe. The Manorhamilton based TD says the controversial trade agreement between the European Union and the United States could have an adverse effect on Irish exports to the EU which account for over 60% of total exports.   [Full Story]

May 25, 2015
New York State Exposed: Does the Seneca Lake gas storage plan threaten FL wineries?
WHEC
Brett Davidsen

Brett Davidsen A controversial plan to store liquid petroleum gas along Seneca Lake remains under review, but a legal response from the from the DEC offers some insight into which way the state is leaning. Texas-based Crestwood Midstream is trying to get a permit to store 88 million gallons of liquid propane gas in abandoned caverns just north of Watkins Glen. We first told you in February about the legal efforts to block the storage facility. Towns, wineries, tourism and citizens groups have all hired lawyers, but a legal brief, submitted by the DEC, appears to be a setback to those who oppose the project. The conclusion: the project is "consistent with existing community character."  [Full Story]

May 24, 2015
Latest oil spill echoes 1969, but with less of the political fallout
Los Angeles Times
CATHLEEN DECKER

Along the coastline west of Santa Barbara last week rose an apparition from 1969, as oil defiled the surface of the Pacific, the beachside rocks, wildlife. The catastrophe offshore from Santa Barbara 46 years ago was massive — 3 million gallons of oil, its release unstoppable for weeks. The political impact was massive as well, as it essentially created one of California's premier movements, environmental protection.   [Full Story]

May 24, 2015
New York State Reverses Decision, Requires Full Environmental Review of Tar Sands-by-Rail Facility
DeSmogBlog
JUSTIN MIKULKA

In what came as a welcome surprise to activists in Albany, New York, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reversed an earlier decision and now will require a full environmental review for a proposed tar sands oil heating facility at the Port of Albany. “It is good for New York State that the DEC came to a proper decision in one of the most important environmental matters facing the state. We look forward to participating with the state on a full public safety and environmental review that is robust and protective of our communities and our waterways,” said Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay. Riverkeeper is one of many groups fighting the plan by Global Partners to add tar sands oil to the Bakken oil it is already moving down and along the Hudson River in large amounts, efforts highlighted in this recent New York Times Op-Doc. Riverkeeper also recently filed a lawsuit challenging the Department of Transportation’s recent new oil-by-rail regulations.  [Full Story]

May 23, 2015
Feds resist push for new pipelines
The Hill
Devin Henry

The Obama administration is resisting a congressional push to establish new natural gas pipelines on federal lands in the eastern United States. Lawmakers have introduced legislation to establish pathways for future pipelines. Supporters say it'll speed up the permitting process for natural gas pipelines, helping the industry get its product to market more quickly and reducing energy prices for consumers. “I think we need to make use of our God-given natural resources, and we need to do it in an environmentally-sound way,” said Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), who is cosponsoring the measure with Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.).  [Full Story]

May 23, 2015
What the Frack Is Happening Under Long Beach, CA?
CounterPunch
Joshua Frank

I’ve always wondered how an oil spill can be called an accident when we know that they’re inevitable. The recent disaster in Santa Barbara is a case in point. The Los Angeles Times reported Texas-based Plains-Pipeline, which was responsible for the pipe that ruptured off the coast — spilling at least 105,000 gallons of oil — was handed 175 safety and maintenance infractions since 2006. Yet Plains-Pipeline wasn’t put out of business, in fact they continued to profit. In 2014 the company brought in $43 billion in revenue. The environment be damned. Last month, OC Weekly published an investigative piece I wrote on fracking and oil production in Long Beach, California where a similar catastrophe may just be a little earthquake away. Is anyone out there listening? - JF   [Full Story]

May 23, 2015
Pipeline that leaked wasn't equipped with auto shut-off
Yahoo News
Brian Melley

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The pipeline that leaked thousands of gallons of oil on the California coast was the only pipe of its kind in the county not required to have an automatic shut-off valve because of a court fight nearly three decades ago, a county official said.  [Full Story]

May 23, 2015
Port Ambrose project faces another round of questions
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

As federal authorities restart their assessment process for the proposed Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas facility off the coast of Long Island, the U.S. Coast Guard has hit the plant's developers with a new round of concerns. After sifting through thousands of comments from state officials and environmental advocacy groups, the Coast Guard identified 45 "data gaps" in Port Ambrose's draft environmental impact statement as submitted by project developers, Liberty Natural Gas. The information requests, many of them from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, represent another hurdle for the project. “Liberty’s subject matter experts are currently analyzing the questions raised and consulting with the various federal agencies and will be providing feedback soon," said Liberty C.E.O. Roger Whelan in a statement. "The scope of questions is normal and appropriate for what is a very extensive and thorough federal review. We are confident that all the issues will be properly addressed for the Final E.I.S. which remains on track for completion by end of the Summer."  [Full Story]

May 22, 2015
Oil train opponents cancel rally in wake of Albany decision
Times Union
Eric Anderson

People of Albany United for Safe Energy (PAUSE) has canceled the protest rally planned for today at the Department of Environmental Conservation headquarters in downtown Albany. Instead, they plan to offer the DEC commissioner cake and coffee. The DEC late Thursday afternoon said it would require more environmental review of oil shipper Global Partners’ project to construct several boilers to heat crude at its terminal at the Port of Albany. The boilers, PAUSE and others have said, would enable the shipment of thick tar sands crude through the port facilities.  [Full Story]

May 22, 2015
Court of Appeals rules pipeline company does not have power of eminent domain in Kentucky
Lexington Herald-Leader
GREG KOCHER

In a 3-0 decision, the Kentucky Court of Appeals said Friday that Bluegrass Pipeline LLC did not have the power of eminent domain because it was not a utility regulated by the Public Service Commission. Because the natural gas liquids are not directly reaching Kentucky consumers, "the pipeline cannot said to be in the public service of Kentucky," the court said. Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2015/05/22/3865010_court-of-appeals-rules-pipeline.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy  [Full Story]

May 22, 2015
Hogan vetoes bill allowing felons to vote sooner
The Baltimore Sun
Pamela Wood

The governor's office said Hogan would allow several other bills to become law without his signature, including bills banning hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," for natural gas for two years; requiring insurance companies to cover fertility treatments for lesbian couples; and allowing transgender people to permanently change the name and gender on their birth certificate without it being marked as amended.   [Full Story]

May 22, 2015
Crude oil project on back burner
Times Union
Brian Nearing

Albany Amid neighborhood concerns over air pollution around the Port of Albany from massive crude oil trains, the state pulled back an earlier ruling that a proposed crude oil heating project — a potential processor of Canadian tar sands oil — would not pose any environmental threat. The ruling by the state Department of Environmental Conservation came as the agency also quietly revealed plans to add a permanent air pollution sensor in the nearby South End neighborhood where residents fear increasing emissions from a surge in crude trains that started arriving at the port from the Midwest about three years ago. "This is a huge victory for the community, on both fronts," said Dorcey Applyrs, a city Common Council member from the South End. "This is what the community has been asking for. We want to know what is in the air that we are breathing."  [Full Story]

May 22, 2015
Denton, Texas, banned fracking last year – then the frackers fought back
The Guardian
Tom Dart

The framed newspaper article in Adam Briggle’s office with the headline “Fracking banned” is from last November. It already reads like ancient history. The north Texas city of Denton became a beacon for the anti-fracking movement when residents voted to prohibit the practice inside city limits. But victory was fleeting. The oil and gas industry was alarmed by the grassroots insurgency and the state’s Republican politicians struck back with a flurry of measures aimed at asserting the primacy of state control over local regulations. How a ruby-red Texas town turned against fracking Read more On Monday the Texas governor, Greg Abbott, signed House Bill 40, a law that in effect bans Denton’s ban and others like it elsewhere in the state. On Wednesday, trucks were moving equipment on to a future fracking site in a field by a busy road on the western outskirts of town.  [Full Story]

May 22, 2015
Report: Fossil Fuels Receive $5.3 Trillion A Year In Subsidies Worldwide
ThinkProgress
Samantha Page

The world pays $5.3 trillion a year in hidden costs to keep burning fossil fuels, according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This is in addition to the $492 billion in direct subsidies offered by governments around the world — write-offs and write-downs and land-use loopholes. In case these numbers are too big to imagine, $492 billion is enough to buy every taxable property in the city of Boston nearly five times over. Basically, governments buy oil, gas, and coal producers five Bostons every year. It’s hard to imagine $5.3 trillion a year. It’s about a third of America’s gross domestic product. It’s enough to buy 55 Bostons. And it’s the amount of money it costs us, every year, to make up for the damage caused by fossil fuels.  [Full Story]

May 22, 2015
The TPP Is a Grave Threat to Climate Action
Common Dreams
Naomi Klein

Dear MoveOn member, I’m writing because President Obama and the U.S. Congress need to hear from you before they rush toward approving a massive new trade agreement that would benefit corporations and undercut serious efforts to fight climate change. This deal—the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP—has been called “NAFTA on steroids.” It’s the latest and largest in a series of international agreements that have attacked working women and men, fueled mindless and carbon-intensive consumption, and prevented governments from enforcing their own laws to cut greenhouse gas emissions. NAFTA-esque deals around the world have been a disaster for democracy, good jobs, and environmental justice, which is why I hope you’ll click here and sign the petition to stop the TPP from being rushed through Congress.  [Full Story]

May 22, 2015
Local pols seek to intervene in pipeline deal
The Recorder
RICHIE DAVIS

Several area state legislators are joining anti-pipeline groups seeking legal status to intervene in Berkshire Gas Co.’s request to become a customer of the planned Tennessee Gas Pipeline project. Rep. Stephen Kulik has joined with an affiliate of Massachusetts PipeLine Awareness Network in its formal filing for intervenor status in the state Department of Public Utilities’ proceeding on Berkshire Gas’s plans to buy gas from the controversial Northeast Energy Direct project, which would run through Franklin County.  [Full Story]

May 22, 2015
Go Completely Underwater Due to Climate Change?
EcoWatch
Cole Mellino

This country “could become the first state in history to be completely erased by the sea,” says Evan Puschak of the Seeker Network. It’s the planet’s lowest country. “On average, it’s only five feet above sea level,” says Puschak. If the oceans continue to rise, as predicted, 77 percent of this country will be under water by the end of the century. If the rate of rise increases even more, as a new study suggests, the country could even be submerged by 2085.   [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Glencore chairman Tony Hayward calls for an end to subsidies for fossil fuels
The Guardian
Fiona Harvey

The chairman of the world’s biggest commodity trader has called for an end to subsidies for fossil fuels. Tony Hayward, the chairman of Glencore Xstrata, told a conference on climate and business in Paris that the subsidies were incompatible with combating climate change. He also called on rich countries to provide financial assistance that would allow poorer ones to cut their greenhouse gas emissions using renewable energy. But Hayward, who headed the oil giant BP during the Gulf oil spill disaster, added an important caveat: subsidies must be eliminated as a prelude to setting a tax or price on carbon dioxide emissions, he said.  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Sullivan second-home owners voting rights upheld
Times Herald Record
Steve Israel

COCHECTON - A state appeals court on Thursday overturned a 2013 Sullivan County Supreme Court decision and ruled that the votes of 29 second-home owners in the western Sullivan hamlet of Lake Huntington should have been allowed. Cochecton Supervisor Gary Maas had challenged the votes of the November 2013 election – most from residents of the Lake Huntington Summer Community Cooperative – because he essentially claimed they were only summer residents whose real homes were in New York City and New Jersey. Sullivan County Supreme Court Judge Stephan Schick agreed with Maas and cited state law that defines a residence as “a fixed, permanent and principal home” to which you intend to return. He noted that the cooperative members had voted from New York City and New Jersey for some 30 years before switching their votes to Sullivan.   [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Well Explosion Douses Texas Neighborhood Already Weary of Fracking
InsideClimate News
Lisa Song

Jeanne Shepherd was on her way to a church gathering when an oil and gas well in Karnes County, Texas blew its top on Tuesday afternoon. A mixture of liquid petroleum products gushed high into the air. Some of it splashed onto Shepherd’s truck, coating her windshield in an opaque, milky film. Shepherd said the well looked like the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park. "It spewed and it spewed … It was all over everywhere, and I knew I wasn't going home that night," she said. No one was injured, but families were left scrambling on how to respond. The blowout is only the most recent in a long line of life-altering consequences of the fracking boom in the Eagle Ford Shale. Shepherd was among those evacuated on Tuesday, which is not the first time oil and gas drilling has driven her from her once-idyllic home.   [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
State to require full environmental review of crude-heating facility
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—After 18 months of pressure from environmental and community groups, state officials have reversed an earlier position, and will now require a full environmental review of a crude-heating facility that would allow tar sands oil to be shipped down the Hudson River. On Thursday, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced that it will conduct a full review of a proposal by Global Partners to install a crude-heating facility at the Port of Albany. “Our review of Global’s application has focused on protecting the health of people living around the facility and the environment,” D.E.C. commissioner Joe Martens said in a statement. “This community has voiced its concerns and raised some serious issues. Through the environmental review process, DEC will continue to evaluate the project’s impacts.”  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
After Fracking Win, N.Y. Environmental Groups Turn to GMO Fight
Bloomberg
Freeman Klopott

New York state environmental groups are taking the black villain hats off drilling companies like Chesapeake Energy Corp. and placing them on Monsanto Co. and other sellers of genetically modified produce.  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
DEC Issues Letter of Intent to Rescind Negative Declaration for Global Companies' Port of Albany Proposed Air Permits
NYS DEC
Press Release

Letter Begins Process to Require Environmental Review After a thorough review of Global Companies application and supporting documents for a Title V air permit modification to its facilities at the Port of Albany, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today its intent to rescind the Negative Declaration and Notice of Complete Application for the project. DEC identified significant proposed project changes and new information submitted after the Negative Declaration and the Notice of Complete Application that must be considered as part of a full environmental review of the project. "Our review of Global's application has focused on protecting the health of people living around the facility and the environment," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "This community has voiced its concerns and raised some serious issues. Through the environmental review process, DEC will continue to evaluate the project's impacts." Global has 10 calendar days to respond to DEC's notice.  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Week of Protests Gets Under Way at FERC
DC Media Group
: John Zangas and Anne Meador

About 30 activists from as far away as New Mexico rallied today in the first of a series of protests at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC, they say, harms thousands of people through the pipelines and gas infrastructure projects it approves. Carrying signs and banners, they picketed FERC headquarters. Dozens of heavily armed Federal Protective Service officers erected barricades and were stationed at the doors and a carport entryway. “We’re here at FERC because they systematically destroy communities basically by making their local community rights null and void,” said Jimmy Betts of Beyond Extreme Energy, the coalition group which organized the protest. He called FERC’s actions “communicide.”  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Kinder Morgan Paid Pennsylvania Police Department to ‘Deter Protests’
Earth Island Journal
ADAM FEDERMAN

ACLU calls arrangement “flat out unconstitutional” Between June and October 2013, Kinder Morgan, the largest energy infrastructure company in North America, paid a local Pennsylvania police department more than $50,000 to patrol a controversial pipeline upgrade. The company requested that the officers, though officially off-duty, be in uniform and marked cars. Kinder Morgan’s aim, according to documents obtained by Earth Island Journal, was to use law enforcement to “deter protests” in order to avoid “costly delays.”   [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
After Fracking Win, N.Y. Environmental Groups Turn to GMO Fight
Bloomberg
Freeman Klopott

New York state environmental groups are taking the black villain hats off drilling companies like Chesapeake Energy Corp. and placing them on Monsanto Co. and other sellers of genetically modified produce. After beating back an attempt by energy companies to get Governor Andrew Cuomo to allow fracking in December, groups that only a few months ago were studying seismic activity in Ohio and Pennsylvania have pivoted to genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Food & Water Watch, the New York Public Interest Research Group and Catskill Mountainkeeper, all of which were part of New Yorkers Against Fracking, have helped form a new group called the New York GMO Labeling Coalition.   [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Second Karnes County well blow-out capped
KSAT
Van Darden

KARNES COUNTY, Texas - Another blown well in Karnes County was reported Thursday afternoon, spewing natural gas into the air, Karnes County Sheriff DeWayne Villanueva said.  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Desperately seeking a new model for trade
Al Jazeera America
Michael Brune and Randi Weingarten

Each of us has a stake in the legacy we leave our kids. The members of the respective organizations that we lead — the Sierra Club and the American Federation of Teachers — share a commitment to creating an America that is safe, healthy and economically secure. But over the past three decades, the American dream has moved out of reach for too many families, and our communities have borne the brunt of extreme weather and an increasingly disrupted climate. To make matters worse, Congress is considering a dangerous plan that would put the health and livelihoods of many Americans at risk. The Hatch-Wyden-Ryan trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation would fast-track deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It limits Congress’ ability to debate and amend such deals by granting the administration the authority to sign a trade deal before sending it to Congress for a vote. Fast track removes the ability of our elected representatives to ensure that trade pacts don’t sacrifice the health of communities, the economy and the environment.   [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
President Obama: Climate Change Is an ‘Immediate Risk to Our National Security’
EcoWatch
Ecowatch

When President Obama delivered the keynote address at the Coast Guard Academy graduation ceremonies Wednesday, the theme was one he’s been hitting with increasing frequency as he nears the end of his time in office: climate change. He has emphasized its impact on the economy, public health and national security. He focused on the latter at the Coast Guard ceremony, with an increased sense of urgency.   [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Judge Says No to Fracking
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

A judge in North Carolina has blocked the start of fracking in that state over a challenge to the membership of the commission charged with issuing the permits.  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Lawmakers grill Cuomo officials about energy plan
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—The Cuomo administration's top energy officials came under heavy questioning from state legislators on Wednesday over delays in some of New York's key energy initiatives.   [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Oklahoma Senate passes bill preventing local fracking bans
KOCO


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) —Oklahoma cities and counties would be unable to ban hydraulic fracturing -- a process also known as fracking -- or other oil and gas operations within their boundaries under a bill heading to the governor's desk.  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Study: Fracking's effect on air quality not as damaging as expected Drexel researchers assess impact at sites in Pennsylvania
Philly Voice
Frank Burgos

Concerns over fracking in the Marcellus Shale, one of the largest natural gas resources in the United States, have largely centered on chemical pollutants leaking into Pennsylvania's underground drinking water. But should the air above the ground be a concern as well? Drexel University researchers attempted to provide some answers. In  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
With the passage of HB 1057, have Democrats once again killed your right to vote on fracking, this time in 2016?
Boulder Weekly
Cecelia Gilboy

On Aug. 4, 2014, more than a quarter of a million signatures belonging to Colorado voters were on their way to the Secretary of State’s office for the purpose of putting two citizens-initiatives that would potentially amend the state’s constitution on the November ballot. The initiatives, known as Amendments 88 and 89, would have offered greater control to local communities over oil and gas extraction/fracking, as well as establishing a 2,000-foot setback between drilling operations and inhabited buildings. But as few Coloradans will forget, at the last minute, the ballot measures were pulled as the result of what was touted as a political compromise between the initiatives’ principle financial supporter Democratic Congressman Jared Polis, and oil and gas industry supporter, Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper.  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
TransCanada's Keystone Pipeline Network Under Investigation by Federal Regulators
DeSmogBlog
Julie Dermansky

A month after revealing that TransCanada is under a compliance review for the Keystone 1 Pipeline, the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) disclosed it is also investigating the operations of Keystone XL's southern route, renamed the Gulf Coast Pipeline when the project was split in half. The results of these investigations could play a part in President Obama's final decision on the Keystone XL permit that TransCanada needs to complete its Keystone pipeline network. According to the State Department’s website, one of the factors the KXL presidential permit review process focuses on is compliance with relevant federal regulations. At TransCanada's latest shareholder meeting in Calgary, Evan Vokes, a former employee turned whistleblower, asked CEO Russ Girling why the company had not disclosed the ongoing investigations in its current annual report. Girling acknowledged that the company is under review, but assured shareholders that pipeline safety remains the company's top priority.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Texas bans fracking bans and more Lone Star State prohibitions
Chronicle


Gov. Greg Abbott’s signing of the legislation received widespread attention. It also overrides a local ordinance in Denton, near Dallas, that would’ve banned the potentially environmentally damaging practice. As a detailed story on HoustonChronicle.com pointed out, the irony is obvious: “Critics pointed out that Abbott and other top Republicans often take umbrage when the federal government appears to infringe on state authority, suggesting they now are doing the same to local communities.”   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
NY Fracking rules 'major contradiction'
The Tribune
Jason Jordan

Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning) on Monday continued to hammer at New York state's ban on fracking. "Right now I'm watching an amazing contradiction between what New York state has done in regards to banning natural gas development in New York state and the state's own admission that it will lose 54,000 jobs in relation to the ban."   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Utah joins lawsuit against BLM for new proposed fracking rules
Good4Utah
Kimberly Nelson

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - The Bureau of Land Management wants more oversight when it comes to fracking, but the state of Utah says no way. Utah has joined three other states in a lawsuit to protect the state's authority to regulate fracking on federal lands. Drilling applications on federal land in utah have increased by close to 250% over the last five years according the Bureau of Land Management. More than 1,000 applications were processed statewide in 2011 alone. Now the BLM wants more oversight of those wells.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
‘Time is running out’ to slow climate change, Obama tells Coast Guard grads
Politico
Sarah Wheaton

President Barack Obama delivered a somber lecture on the science of climate change to the graduates of the United States Coast Guard Academy on Wednesday as argued that global warning poses a threat to national security.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Why Many Experts Missed This: Cheap Oil Can Hurt US Economy
New York Times
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — If there was one thing most economists agreed on at the start of the year, it was this: Plunging oil prices would boost the U.S. economy. It hasn't worked out that way.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Gas opponents rebuffed by regulators
Press Connects
Tom Wilber

A proposal to store gas in salt mines near the shores of Seneca Lake received an emphatic blessing from federal regulators Wednesday who dismissed claims that it's an accident waiting to happen. In an "Order Denying Rehearing" issued Wednesday afternoon, the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission notified Gas Free Seneca that the commission has done due diligence in granting a permit for the project, and it would not be revisiting the issue. The decision, while not unexpected, was a blow to opponents of expansion of the fossil fuel industry in the popular Finger Lakes tourism destination.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Riverkeeper sues feds over new oil train rules
The Journal News
Khurram Saeed

Riverkeeper is suing the federal government, claiming new rules for oil trains leave the public and environment vulnerable to accidents or spills. Critics say the U.S. Department of Transportation regulations for moving crude oil by rail are too weak, offer too much time for private industry to implement mandated tougher tank car safety standards like thicker shells and better brakes, and contain too many loopholes. “It’s time to stop taking little toddler steps and take the sort of action that will truly protect New Yorkers and that’s why we’re going to court,” Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay said. There have been six fiery derailments of trains hauling Bakken crude oil in the last six months, Gallay said.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Encana loses control of well in Karnes County, homes evacuated
Fuel Fix
Jennifer Hiller

Encana Corp. lost control of a well north of Karnes City in the Eagle Ford Shale Tuesday afternoon. Karnes County officials evacuated some homes nearby. The incident happened near the intersection of FM 792 and County Road 343 about four miles east of Karnes City. The Karnes County Sheriff’s Department on its Facebook page said that FM 792 between FM 719 and Texas 80 is closed until further notice. “Please avoid this area, find an alternate route. Be safe!” Encana released this statement: At approximately 3:30 p.m. CST on May 19, 2015 Encana experienced a well control situation at the Dromgoole 8BH well located near the intersection of Highway 792 and Highway 343 approximately 4 miles east of central Karnes City, Texas.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Texas city will still enforce fracking regulations
UPI
Daniel J. Graeber

DENTON, Texas, May 20 (UPI) -- The city of Denton, Texas, will continue enforcing regulations regarding drilling operations, but can't predict how the courts will react, a spokeswoman said. Denton in November became one of the first cities in the United States to pass voter-backed legislation restricting hydraulic fracturing. Texas Gov. Greg Abbot signed a bill into law this week, however, that diminishes what he said was the "heavy hand" of local regulations on oil and natural gas.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Santa Barbara oil spill raises questions about California pipelines
Christian Science Monitor
Daniel B. Wood

LOS ANGELES — Environmental groups are pointing to an oil spill near Santa Barbara, Calif., to highlight what they say are the dangers of expanding tar sands oil production 10-fold during the next decade, which would result in transporting large volumes of oil along the California coast. Federal, state, and local agencies will be investigating the Santa Barbara spill, which has been estimated at as much as 105,000 gallons, checking details such as why an automatic shutoff valve did not deploy.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
US Oil and Gas Drilling Boom's Economic Impact, at a Glance
ABC News


Most economists had expected cheaper energy to be an overall boon to the U.S. economy. It hasn't been. Consumers have been reluctant to spend their savings from the pump. As a result, they haven't offset the blow the economy has absorbed from reduced investment in oil and gas drilling.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Broadview Heights won't appeal ruling allowing gas drilling
Cleveland.com
Mary Kilpatrick

BROADVIEW HEIGHTS, Ohio — The city of Broadview Heights won't appeal a Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas ruling that allows oil and gas drilling in the city. The city consulted two large downtown law firms on a possible appeal and deemed further legal action futile, Law Director Vince Ruffa said in a phone interview Wednesday.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Fayetteville, Hoke Co., Scotland Co. to have exploratory drilling for oil, natural gas
Fayetteville Observer
Paul Woolverton

RALEIGH - Exploratory drilling for oil and natural gas could start as soon as next week in Fayetteville. The exploration will not be affected by a Wake County Superior Court judge's ruling this month that prevents commercial extraction of oil and natural gas via the controversial fracking technique.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Oklahoma State Bans Oklahoma Towns From Banning Fracking
Good Magazine
Jed Oelbaum

Oklahoma residents have been looking for ways to protect themselves after an alarming and unprecedented number of earthquakes—widely believed to be a direct result of oil and gas drilling operations—have rocked the state over the last year. But now, Reuters reports, state lawmakers are finalizing legislation to actually block towns and cities from enacting their own local bans or regulations on drilling activity.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
EDF Dubious of Natural Gas
Go by Truck News


A new report released by the Environmental Defense Fund casts doubt on the potential for natural gas powered vehicles to reduce global warming. In fact, the organization claims that the release of methane at natural gas drilling sites makes the fuel more damaging to the environment than diesel.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Is Renewable Energy From Natural Gas Really Worth It?
Cheat Sheet
Micah Wright

Forbes hit us with an interesting thought a while back: “Why aren’t natural gas-powered cars selling well?” Compressed Natural Gas (or CNG for short) has been used by fleet vehicles like buses, delivery trucks, and work vans for years now, but it has been slow to catch on with the consumers.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Lansing Delays Public Hearing for Drilling Ban
Ithaca.com
Michael Nocella

Lansing town board members unanimously voted to push back the scheduling of a public hearing for 2015 Local Law #6 “Implementing Further Amendments to Land Use Ordinance to Effect Oil and Gas/HVHF Drilling Ban” after Councilperson Edward LaVigne motioned to do so.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Judge temporarily halts 'fracking' permits in NC
WRAL
Jonathan Drew

RALEIGH, N.C. — A judge has halted the approval of gas drilling operations in North Carolina until a higher court weighs in on the legality of the appointment of several boards that manage state resources and the environment. Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens' decision earlier this month prevents the Mining and Energy Commission from approving drilling units for hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," until the state Supreme Court decides a separate case regarding how the state panels are formed. No drilling units had been approved before the judge issued his order. Stephens issued a preliminary injunction that stops the commission from accepting or processing applications for drilling units. He also delayed proceedings in the lawsuit filed against the state's Mining and Energy Commission pending the other case's outcome.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
California Regulators Miss First Reporting Deadline For Oil Industry Water Use
DeSmogBlog
MIKE GAWORECKI

California is facing such a severe drought and water crisis that Governor Jerry Brown issued the first mandatory water restrictions in state history last month. But it appears that the state’s oil and gas regulators did not get the memo about just how urgent the situation is. The Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), the oil and gas regulatory agency within the California Department of Conservation, reported last week that it had missed the April 30 deadline for making public the critical information about water usage by oil and gas production, claiming it was simply too much data to process.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
California State of Emergency: Up To 105,000 Gallons of Oil Spill in Santa Barbara from Plains All American Pipeline
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

Up to 105,000 gallons of oil obtained via offshore drilling have spilled from a pipeline owned by Plains All American at Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County in California. At least 21,000 gallons have poured into the Pacific Ocean and the spill's impacts stretch nine miles, according to the Associated Press. As a result, California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County, which he said in a press statement “cuts red tape and helps the state quickly mobilize all available resources.”   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
U.S. Military Concerned As Oil "Bomb Trains" Roll Dangerously Close to Nuclear Bomb Silos
DeSmogBlog
JUSTIN MIKULKA

The latest oil train derailment and explosion in Heimdal, North Dakota is another frightening reminder of the danger this industry poses to communities across the country. Thankfully evacuating Heimdal wasn’t that big an operation because there are only 27 residents in the town. Which is a significantly smaller number than the 150 nuclear missiles buried in the ground under North Dakota. A recent report by Rachel Maddow reveals that the U.S. military is concerned about the proximity of the oil train tracks to those missile silos. Images like this one are why they are concerned.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Puffy, Feathered Sticking Point of a $612 Billion House Bill
The New York Times
JENNIFER STEINHAUER

WASHINGTON — Representative Bruce Westerman, an Arkansas Republican, spoke for many Americans this week when he conceded during a House hearing that he had never laid eyes on a sage grouse. Had he seen one, he surmised, he would have thought “a bobwhite quail got friendly with a Dominecker hen.” But a Republican maneuver on the $612 billion military bill to block the Interior Department from adding the bird to the endangered species list has set off a major congressional skirmish that has spilled over into Western states, where the sage grouse is revered, and among environmental groups that fear a steady erosion of the Endangered Species Act.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
This wind turbine has no blades — and that’s why it’s better
Grist
Amelia Urry

What do you get if you take the blades off a wind turbine? A better wind turbine. That sounds like a joke, but that’s actually more or less the model of a new wind turbine prototype. Instead of blades that turn in the breeze, the turbine is just a hollow straw that sticks up 40 feet from the ground and vibrates like a guitar string when the wind thrums by. The Spanish engineers who founded Vortex Bladeless in 2010 said they were inspired by the Tacoma Narrows Bridge disaster (maybe not the best pitch for clean energy to a disaster-wary public, but I’ll leave that to their marketing department). Here’s how it actually works, from Wired:  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Pope's climate change aide urges business to favor planet over profit
Reuters
Alessandra Galloni

Pope Francis' top aide on climate change urged businesses on Wednesday not to let the pursuit of profit get in the way of protecting the planet. The remarks came as the Vatican is due to release a papal encyclical, or formal letter, on the issue.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Together to Add Voice to Climate Debate
Bloomberg Business
Tara Patel & Javier Blas

Europe’s largest oil companies are banding together to forge a joint strategy on climate-change policy, alarmed they’ll be ignored as the world works toward a historic deal limiting greenhouse gases. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA, BP Plc, Statoil ASA and Eni SpA are among oil companies that plan to start a new industry body, or think tank, to develop common positions on the issues, according to people with knowledge of the matter.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
In Alberta, Oil, Cowboys … and Liberalism?
The New York Times
Russel Cobb

EDMONTON, Alberta — WHEN I moved from Houston to Edmonton, Alberta, in 2008, I was told to prepare for a soft landing, politically speaking. Alberta was supposed to be just like the Lone Star State: a place full of backslapping good ol’ boys in cowboy hats, riding high on the hog of oil money. The province’s politics were even more predictable than Texas’. The Progressive Conservative Party had been in power longer than I’d been alive. By the time I arrived, one writer for The Globe and Mail, the country’s leading newspaper, had labeled the place “Saudi Alberta.” Alberta had indeed become a petrostate: 30 percent of its gross domestic product came directly from oil and gas. Conversations about housing, jobs, health care and even academic research revolved around the price of oil.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
In Heavily Fracked Ohio County, Unsafe Levels of Toxic Pollutants
InsideClimate News
David Hasemyer

Emissions generated by fracking operations may be exposing people to some toxic pollutants at levels higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for long-term exposure, according to scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Cincinnati. The researchers took air samples in Carroll County, the home of 480 permitted wells––the most in any of Ohio's 88 counties. The team found chemicals released during oil and gas extraction that can raise people's risk of cancer and respiratory ailments.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Fracking Halted And House Takes Up Budget Proposal
WCQS
Laura Lee

A superior court judge in Wake County today halted fracking in the state. The court order prohibits the Mining and Energy Commission from accepting or processing fracking permits.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Preliminary Injunction Motion Filed To Stop BLM’s Final Fracking Rule
JD Supra Business Advisor
Press Release

Last Friday, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and the Western Energy Alliance (WEA) opened their arguments on a preliminary injunction motion to halt the federal Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on public lands until resolution of the litigation.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
‘Shale-ionaires' Suffering from Wave of Bankrupt Oil Drillers
Yahoo News
Kelly Gilblom

At the height of the U.S. energy boom, Texas landowner John Baen received about $100,000 a month in royalty payments from companies producing oil and natural gas on his property. Now the checks are much smaller, and when he opens his mailbox each day, he’s afraid he’ll find yet another bankruptcy notice. So far, four of the producers sending him checks have caved in to rising debts as oil prices slumped, seeking court protection from their creditors. “I feel like crying because I know I’m going to get another 10 notices,” said Baen, 67, who owns 10,000 acres of land and mineral rights on other property.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
In Step with Texas, Oklahoma Poised to Outlaw Local Drilling Bans
Common Dreams
Lauren McCauley

Despite mounting scientific evidence that fracking is increasing seismic activity in the state, Oklahoma legislators are poised to pass legislation preventing municipalities from passing local bans on drilling operations. Senate Bill 468 would overturn an 80-year-old statute and explicitly prohibits local regulation of certain oil and gas activities—even if such regulation is approved by Oklahoma voters. Following the lead of Texas lawmakers, who on Monday passed a law forbidding towns or cities from enacting local restrictions on any gas or oil drilling operations, both the Oklahoma House and Senate passed SB 468 with strong majority support. The bill now awaits changes in the Senate before advancing.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Let’s not build a gas pipeline near a nuclear reactor
Al Jazeera America
David Cay Johnston

Our federal government says that it’s safe to build a giant high-pressure natural gas pipeline 105 feet from the Indian Point nuclear power plant complex along the Hudson River near New York City. But its reasons for making that judgment are secret. How this decision was reached illustrates a basic public policy problem vexing our nation: We often ask the wrong questions. How we frame public policy questions often shapes the answers. And if we get the answers wrong because we didn't ask the right questions in the first place, death and disease, needless accidents and a less prosperous future will result. In the case of a pipeline 42 inches in diameter moving natural gas under more than 800 pounds of pressure per square inch, the wrong question is ‘What are the odds that the pipeline will explode right where it passes a nuclear power plant?’  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
How to Prevent an Oil Train Disaster
The New York Times
Marcus Stern

SIX days before last week’s deadly Amtrak derailment, a train carrying crude oil went off the tracks in rural North Dakota and burst into flames. Thankfully, no one was killed. But it should not take a deadly disaster — like the one that took 47 lives in the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, in July 2013 — for us to grasp the risk from oil trains, which pass through many densely populated parts of the United States. The Obama administration recently issued new safety rules for oil trains, to take effect in October. But it didn’t do the one thing many independent petroleum engineers say could immediately reduce the risk of a deadly disaster: require energy producers to remove more of the volatile gases that the oil contains when it comes out of the ground, before they load the crude into rail tankers.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Pipeline bursts, spills oil into ocean off California coast
The Washington Post
Associated Press

GOLETA, Calif. — Officials say a broken pipeline has spilled oil and created a slick about four miles wide in the ocean off the central California coast. Capt. Dave Zaniboni of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department says a pipeline on the land near Refugio State Beach broke Tuesday and spilled oil into a culvert that ran under the U.S. 101 freeway and into the ocean. The pipeline has been shut off, but it’s not yet clear how much oil spilled. Zaniboni says the initial slick was about 100 yards by a half-mile, but the U.S. Coast Guard says it has since spread to about four miles of coastline.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
The 'Shocking' Cost of Letting Companies Pollute for Free
Bloomberg
Eric Roston

"Energy subsidy," as the phrase is tossed around Washington, typically refers to any financial help the government gives to producers of oil, wind, or other sectors of the energy industry. But there's another way to consider energy subsidies that takes a bigger picture and conceives of all manner of help—financial or otherwise—as a subsidy. In that context, letting companies pollute for free, when that pollution carries a real social cost, can be thought of as a subsidy. That's how researchers at the International Monetary Fund describe energy subsidies in a sobering new paper that puts a comprehensive price tag on global aid to the energy industry. The price tag, which IMF officials describe as "shocking," is a big one: This year, the report estimates, fossil fuels are being subsidized to the tune of $5.3 trillion, or 6.5 percent of global gross domestic product.   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Shale Set to Pummel Another Market as U.S. LNG Plants Arrive
Bloomberg Business
Anna ShiryaevskayaIsis Almeida

When the first tanker carrying liquefied natural gas from shale fields leaves the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana in December, it will turn consumers into traders with more bargaining power. That will transform a market dominated by long-term contracts into one where spot trading gains prominence, similar to crude oil. Since the first LNG cargo went to the U.K. from Algeria under a long-term contract in 1964, buyers opted for guaranteed supply because the fuel was scarce. That’s changing because gas from the Eagle Ford and other fields will transform the U.S. into the third-biggest exporter by 2020. Spot trading will probably account for almost half of transactions by then, from 29 percent last year, and LNG is poised to overtake iron ore as the most valuable commodity after oil. “We see the U.S. as a major contributor to the development of the LNG spot market as the volumes start to ramp up,” Jamie Buckland, head of investor relations at GasLog Ltd. in London, which owns 22 LNG tankers, wrote in an e-mail May 14. “There should be a lot more flexibility and you could see some buyers of U.S. volumes selling product on to others.”  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
LNG, crude oil export resolutions now headed to governor's desk
San Antonio Business Journal
Sergio Chapa

Resolutions asking for Congress to lift the ban to export crude oil and to expedite the permitting process to build liquified natural gas (LNG) export terminals along the Texas Gulf Coast are now headed to the governor's office for signature. The Texas House of Representatives voted unanimously on Tuesday afternoon to approve Senate Concurrent Resolution 32. Originally filed by Texas State Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), SCR 32 urges Congress to expedite the natural gas exports process.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Shell adopts climate plan, defends Arctic oil drilling -
RTCC
Megan Darby

Shell today committed to reveal how its oil and gas assets will fare in a safer climate future, in response to a shareholder campaign. Scientists estimate half of world gas reserves and a third of oil must stay in the ground to hold global warming to 2C. If burned, these fossil fuels would blow the carbon budget. Shell’s controversial – and high cost – Arctic and tar sands ventures are among the most exposed to the risk of being “stranded” by climate action, analysts have warned. Chief executive Ben van Beurden admitted the argument “sounds quite convincing” at the company’s AGM on Tuesday, under intense questioning by shareholder activists. But he said: “That particular theory ignores the reality of our industry… It risks distracting from the real issues.”   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Irving-area quakes are likely due to fault lines, geologist says
Star Telegram
ROBERT CADWALLADER

The frequent but mild earthquakes giving shivers to the Irving area — but not other areas in North Texas — likely should be blamed on geologic fault lines rather than gas drilling practices, a geologist said Tuesday. “Based on known geology and known science, the most likely explanation is that it’s occurring in a known faulted zone of an old buried mountain range,” Craig Pollard, vice president of exploration for Cinco Resources, said after a presentation hosted by the Institute for Policy Innovation. IPI is an nonprofit pro-economic-growth organization that has been fighting municipal efforts to restrict drilling and fracking. The correct message hasn’t been getting out, Pollard said during his 90-minute speech and discussion to an audience of about 50 people, including many geologists.   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Rochester Hills enacts oil and natural gas drilling regulations despite objections
Macomb Daily
Paul Kampe

After months of revisions, officials in Rochester Hills approved a pair of measures intended to regulate potential oil and gas drilling operations in the city of more than 70,000 residents known for its natural features. A zoning ordinance amendment and a separate ordinance regulating pipelines were approved after much discussion by residents and the Rochester Hills City Council at Monday’s meeting. The legislation includes a ban on hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” restricts the activity to industrially zoned areas of the city and requires setback distances of 1,000 feet from homes, schools, hospitals and places of worship. Mayor Bryan Barnett said the regulations are the right balance between property rights and protecting residents.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Study: Lower than expected air pollutants detected at Marcellus drilling sites
State Impact PA
SUSAN PHILLIPS

An article in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, published today, says measurements of air pollution from Marcellus drilling and transportation sites in Bradford and Sullivan counties were lower than the researchers expected. The study, “Atmosphere Emission Characterization of Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Development Sites,” also reports levels of methane emissions were higher than those indicated in previous research. Peter DeCarlo is assistant professor in the civil, architecture and engineering department at Drexel University and lead researcher on the report. “We had seen a lot of data from other natural gas or oil development areas and we had seen pretty high levels of pollutants,” said DeCarlo. “So we went in expecting to see similar things in the Marcellus. The geology in the region is different in that [it produces] a lot of natural gas but we didn’t see a lot of the air quality pollutants that we expected.” The researchers used a more sophisticated measuring technique than is typically available to researchers or regulators such as those at the Department of Environmental Protection. The researchers used tracers to track the plume of emissions in order to measure levels of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
United States: OSHA Adds Employers In The Upstream Oil And Gas Drilling Industry To Its Severe Violator Enforcement Program
Mondaq
Darren A. Crook and Michael T. Taylor

On February 11, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA") announced revisions to its Severe Violator Enforcement Program ("SVEP"). Under SVEP, employers in designated industries can be subject to unlimited return or unannounced inspections for a period of at least three years. Employers in the upstream oil and gas drilling industry were previously exempt from this program, which is otherwise dominated by construction and manufacturing firms. The changes announced by OSHA mean that, effective February 11, 2015, employers in the upstream oil and gas industry will be added to SVEP upon a triggering event. Inclusion in SVEP is triggered after a non-fatality inspection results in two or more willful or repeated violations or failure-to-abate notices (or any combination of these violations or notices) for high-gravity, serious violations. In announcing these changes to SVEP, OSHA cited the upstream oil and gas drilling industry's "significant worker fatality rate over time." By subjecting employers in this industry to more exhaustive inspections for triggering non-fatality events, OSHA aims to rein in the fatality rate in the industry that it claims is five to eight times higher than the national average for all industries in the United States.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Drilling decline in Pennsylvania hurts funding for DEP regulators
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Laura Legere

Low natural gas prices that have companies dispatching fewer drilling rigs to Pennsylvania’s fields and forests are taking a toll on the industry’s regulators, too. The state Department of Environmental Protection is exploring additional funding options for its oil and gas regulatory program because permit applications to drill shale gas wells — the program’s dominant revenue source — are down about 30 percent compared to this point last year. DEP uses permit fees, fines and $6 million each year from the state’s impact fee levied on Marcellus Shale and other u  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
US Rig Count Falls for Twenty-Third Week in a Row - Analyst Blog
Nasdaq


In its weekly release, Houston-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. BHI reported another fall in the U.S. rig count (number of rigs searching for oil and gas in the country). This marks a record decline and the twenty-third one in a row. This can be primarily blamed on cutbacks in the tally of oil-directed rigs, which saw another reduction and dropped to the lowest level since Sep 2010, in reaction to the steep drop in the commodity's price since last summer.   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Duke to retire Asheville coal plant, convert to natural gas
Blue Ridge Now
DEREK LACEY

HomeSection COMMENTS SHARE EMAIL PRINT REPRINTS VIEW ONE PAGE ENLARGE TEXT More Videos Nellie Bly Snow in Henderson County Forget The iPhone 6. Next Apple Sensation Leaked The Motley Fool The Black Card That's Changing the Face of NYC JustLuxe | Select The Highest Paying Cash Back Credit Card Has Just Hit The Market NextAdvisor 35 Of The Most Powerful Photos Ever Taken. #16 Will Give You Shivers Buzzlamp by TaboolaPromoted Links 1 COMMENTS Duke to retire Asheville coal plant, convert to natural gas Company will seek rate increase in 2019 to cover project's $1.1 billion cost Sen. Tom Apodaca speaks before news media at the Duke Energy conference. The company plans to build a natural gas-fired plant and install solar generation at the site off Interstate 26. Derek Lacey / Times-News By DEREK LACEY Times-News Staff Writer Published: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 8:56 a.m. Last Modified: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 8:56 a.m. ASHEVILLE — Duke Energy's coal-burning Asheville power plant, which has provided electricity to the area for more than half a century, will be replaced by a cleaner, more efficient natural gas facility, the company announced Tuesday. As part of its $1.1 billion Western Carolinas Modernization project, the Asheville plant, which first began power generation in 1964, will cease generation sometime in early 2020. “This project is a comprehensive solution that will transform the energy system in the region to best meet the growing needs of our customers and support economic development well into the future,” Lloyd Yates, Duke Energy executive vice president of market solutions and president of the Carolinas region, said at a news conference at the Asheville plant Tuesday morning.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Natural Gas for Heavy-Duty Trucks Could Increase Global Warming, New Report Says
Transport Topics


A switch to cleaner-burning natural gas as a fuel for heavy-duty trucks could increase global warming due to the release of methane at drilling sites and the fact that natural gas-powered engines get fewer miles per gallon than traditional diesel-powered engines, according to a report issued May 19 by the Environmental Defense Fund. “Natural-gas trucks have the potential to reduce overall climate impacts compared to diesel, but only if we clean up the highly potent greenhouse-gas emissions from the systems that produce and deliver the fuel,” said Jonathan Camuzeaux, co-author of the report and a senior economic analyst at EDF in Washington, D.C. The report drew a critical response from Matthew Godlewski, president of Natural Gas Vehicles for America, a trade group that is collaborating with EDF and others to study the issue of methane leaks. “It’s confusing that the Environmental Defense Fund has chosen to conduct and release another study, outside of the cooperative work already underway,” Godlewski said in a statement.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Solar Is the Fastest-Growing Source of Renewable Energy in America
Eco Watch
Rhone Resch

From the end of 2004 through the end of 2014, the deployment of solar energy in the U.S. grew at an unprecedented rate, according to a new video report, Solar Energy in the United States: A Decade of Record Growth, released yesterday by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). According to a detailed SEIA analysis, in 2004, there were 500 megawatts (MW) of solar energy installed nationwide. But by the end of 2014, there were 20,000 MW—enough to power more than 4 million homes—with 97 percent of that capacity added after passage of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Over the same time period, the cumulative investment in installed solar installations in the U.S. soared from $2.6 billion to $71.1 billion.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Bill putting renewable requirements on hold hitches ride on natural gas bill
NC Capitol
Mark Binker

RALEIGH, N.C. — The running battle over renewable energy standards and solar energy that invaded the House budget debate Monday and brought controversy to the House floor earlier this month spilled over into the Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday. Renewable energy producers say the measures will cost jobs, but Reps. Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, and Chris Millis, R-Pender, said requirements that power companies buy a certain portion of their energy from renewable sources drive up costs for consumers. "What we're trying to do on that is protect those folks in each of your districts that can least afford to pay more on their power bills," Hager told senators on the Commerce Committee. The changes Hager is seeking have already passed the House as part of a regulatory reform package. But such reg reform bills are often controversial, with members of the House and the Senate often disagreeing over what constitutes reform. Those bill often ping-pong between the two chambers before the end of session, and their futures are far from certain.   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
New York Backs Up its Decision to Ban Fracking
Care2.com
s.e. smith

Last December, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made national headlines with a ban on fracking, backed by mountains of scientific evidence suggesting that it posed an environmental and health risk. The decision sparked a firestorm of controversy, including threats from some New York counties to secede in protest. It also marked an important milestone in American environmental policy, as New York is often a legislative trendsetter. Now, the state has backed up its findings and solidified the ban with a detailed review of literature relating to fracking, confirming that the ban was a sound decision for the state. The report issued by the state makes for some thick bedtime reading — it’s nearly 2,000 pages long — but the findings within are important. They show that in a cost/benefit analysis of the potential social and economic benefits of fracking weighed against environmental and public health costs, results point in favor of a ban: Fracking, argue researchers, just isn’t worth it.   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Texas Tackles Local Fracking Bans
RigZone
Deon Daugherty|

With the sweep of his pen, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into a law legislation Monday that effectively wipes out individual city rules on hydraulic fracturing. Roughly, one-third of Texas’ 950-plus cities have passed some measure to contain – or outright ban, in the case of Denton – fracking within their city limits. House Bill 40 by state Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, designed a four-prong test to determine whether those ordinances are in line with state intent. If they fail the test, the city rule is pre-empted by the new state law. The bill passed both the House and the Senate with the bipartisan support from more than two-thirds of state lawmakers. HB 40 is the third House bill the governor has signed this year; it becomes effective immediately.   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
New studies link fracking activity to earthquakes, and the unknown leaves some East TX residents concerned
KYTX 19
Dave Goldman

MARSHALL, Tx. (KTBS) -The ground is shaking in Texas - and several new studies link that seismic activity to the Oil and Gas industry. This comes as the Texas legislature recently approved a bill that prohibits counties and cities from banning hydraulic fracking . Seismic activity in north Texas and Oklahoma has increased dramatically in recent years - and it's documented. According to the US Geological Survey, the Dallas area has suffered almost 40 small earthquakes this year alone. And the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) documented the seismicity rate in 2013 was 70 times greater than the baseline before 2008. Last month OGS issued a report saying it "considers it very likely that the majority of recent earthquakes...are triggered by the injection of produced water in disposal wells." That is - not from hydraulic fracturing itself, but from the injection or disposal of water used in oil and gas production. Southern Methodist University has been studying this too. Released last month, "an SMU-led seismology team finds that high volumes of wastewater injection combined with saltwater (brine) extraction from natural gas wells is the most likely cause of earthquakes occurring near Azle, TX, from late 2013 through spring 2014."  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Utah to join North Dakota in lawsuit over BLM fracking rule
The Bakken Magazine
Patrick C Miller

Utah will join North Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado in a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s recently issued fracking rule. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert made the announcement Monday during his remarks at the annual business meeting of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, a group he chairs. "There is no question the practice of hydraulic fracturing should be regulated in order to ensure protection of the environment," Herbert said. "However, adoption of the proposed rule would create an inconsistent, costly and inefficient regulatory system that provides no additional environmental protection or public safety than is offered by programs already enforced by the state."  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Texas ban on fracking bans criticized
UPI
Daniel J Graeber

AUSTIN, Texas, May 19 (UPI) -- The governor of Texas has seized control of the energy narrative in the state by passing a ban on local measures against fracking, advocacy groups said. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that prevents city-level ordinances against hydraulic fracturing. Abbott said the bill does a "profound job" of protecting property owners from the "heavy hand" of local regulation. "This law ensures that Texas avoids a patchwork quilt of regulations that differ from region to region, differ from county to county or city to city," he said in a statement.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
New York's fracking decision will be hard to replicate or overturn
WRVO
Matt Richmond

Regulators in New York are moving ahead with a plan to prohibit hydrofracking within its borders. In the latest step, the state released its final environmental review last week. And New York’s unique stance on fracking could have wide-ranging effects. After about seven years of research, public hearings, rallies, elections and rumors that a decision was imminent, the final environmental impact statement on hydrofracking was released last Wednesday. Its findings aren’t a surprise. Back in 2012, the state Department of Environmental Conservation asked the Department of Health to add a health review to its review. It was the final stage in preparing the report. And in December, the acting health department commissioner, Howard Zucker, famously said this about high volume hydraulic fracturing, or HVHF:  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Radon and Fracking: A New Study
NRDC
Bemnet Alemayehu

According to a new study published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the level of Radon in Pennsylvania houses is increasing in areas where hydraulic fracturing is used to produce natural gas from the Marcellus tight shale formation. The peer-reviewed research article, titled Predictors of Indoor Radon Concentrations in Pennsylvania, 1989-2013, examines associations of Radon concentrations with underlying geology, sources of water for homes, characteristics of buildings, seasons of the year, weather, and a community's socioeconomic status and type, as well as so-called unconventional natural gas development measures based on numbers of drilled and producing natural gas wells. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. It is a radioactive gas which comes from the natural decay of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into air we breathe. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into homes through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon from soil gas is the main cause of problems. Sometimes radon enters the home through well water. In a small number of homes, the building material can give off radon too.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
After months of prep, Consol Energy begins fracking first wells at airport
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Daniel Moore

A dense cluster of pipes, pumps, silos and engines hummed harmoniously across a rugged field on a wet morning earlier this month. “This is about as much excitement as you see on a fracking site,” said Steve Snyder, completions manager for Consol Energy Inc. Mr. Snyder was referring to Pad 2, the first of six total drilling sites to be developed by the Canonsburg energy company on property owned by the Pittsburgh International Airport. With the help of Halliburton, Consol began drilling the top vertical portions of six wells on the pad in August, then drilled the horizontal portions in December with an electric rig. The company began fracking April 1.   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Drexel Researchers First to Detect Air Quality Effects of Natural Gas Extraction in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale Region
Drexel Now


A team led by environmental engineers from Drexel University are the first independent researchers to take a closer look at the air quality effects of natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania. The group used a mobile air quality monitoring vehicle to survey regional air quality and pollutant emissions at 13 sites including wells, drilling rigs, compressor stations and processing areas. Their work establishes baseline measurements for this relatively new area of extraction. While there have been a number of studies focusing on water quality impacts related to natural gas extraction in shale regions across the country, few have looked at the effect on air quality. In a paper recently published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, Peter DeCarlo, PhD, an assistant professor in the College of Engineering and College of Arts and Sciences, and J. Douglas Goetz, a doctoral researcher in the Drexel Air Resources Research Laboratory, present the findings of a two-month mobile air monitoring campaign in several counties in the northeastern and southwestern Pennsylvania. The team looked specifically at gaseous chemicals and particulate matter released into the air from natural gas extraction.   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Banning Fracking Bans: The Paradox of Local Control
Center for Effective Government
Amanda Frank

The oil and gas industry firmly opposes federal fracking standards, claiming that states know best how to govern their own lands. States are currently responsible for the majority of industry oversight, and rules can vary significantly among them. But this staunch support for local control doesn’t extend to counties and cities. At least, it doesn’t when those locals are not interested in having fracking in their backyard. Drilling companies have supported state efforts to strip communities of their rights to ban fracking and repeatedly challenged local fracking bans and restrictions in court. The justification? Local restrictions lead to a "patchwork of regulations" that inhibits industry growth. Of course, differing state standards also create a patchwork of policies, but oil and gas companies don’t mind this because most states have rules or practices that favor the industry. Local control is championed until industry profits are at stake. What the oil and gas industry actually wants is “industry control.”  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
DOT Commissioner rejects Palmetto Pipeline
Savannah Morning News
Mary Landers

Ga. Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry today denied Kinder Morgan’s application for a public needs certificate. Without it, the energy company cannot condemn property along the proposed 210-mile Palmetto Pipeline route in Georgia. “After careful consideration of information in the application submitted by Kinder Morgan on behalf of Palmetto; numerous public comments submitted at seven public meetings held by Palmetto; two public hearings hosted by the Georgia DOT; and approximately 3,000 public comments submitted online and by mail to myself and the Utilities staff, the Department has determined that it will not issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity,” McMurry said in a written statement.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Texas Governor Prohibits Cities And Towns From Banning Fracking
News OK
Huffington Post

HOUSTO- Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday signed a bill into law that prohibits cities and towns from banning an oil drilling practice known as hydraulic fracking, giving the state sole authority over oil and gas regulation, Reuters reports.   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
DREXEL RESEARCHERS FIRST TO DETECT AIR QUALITY EFFECTS OF NATURAL GAS EXTRACTION IN PENNSYLVANIA'S MARCELLUS SHALE REGION
Drexel


A team led by environmental engineers from Drexel University are the first independent researchers to take a closer look at the air quality effects of natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania. - See more at: http://drexel.edu/now/archive/2015/May/Marcellus-Shale-AQ/#sthash.GaXTOe1m.dpuf  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
By Banning Fracking Bans, Texas Picks Gas Drillers over Local Democracy
Common Dreams
Jon Queally

Governor Greg Abbott signs law designed to make null and void the hard-fought victory by the people of Denton, Texas who banned the hazardous drilling practice in their small town  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Where there is oil and gas there is Schlumberger
The Guardian
James Ball and Harry Davies

In the dying hours of a high-level conference on the banks of the Thames late in April, two oil executives are sitting patiently waiting on faded leather chairs in the lobby of a five-star Tower Bridge hotel, briefcases, architects’ plans and a folded flipchart pad at their feet. The two bespectacled executives, looking much like soberly-suited bank managers, soon disappear into a private room to meet with Dr Abdullahi Haider, a senior adviser to the Somalian government, and a Canadian middleman, emerging an hour or so later. Somalia could be one of the great untapped sources of offshore oil, if someone can secure a deal to find and extract it, and if anyone can, it’s the company these men work for.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
The Fracking End-Game Begins
RiverKeeper
Mike Dulong

The Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (“SGEIS”) on High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (“HVHF”) is a document to be celebrated. It contains the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (“DEC”) finding that “there is currently insufficient scientific information to conclude that [HVHF] can be undertaken without posing unreasonable risk to public health.” Therefore, DEC will grant exactly what fracking activists have called for: a formal, legal prohibition on HVHF in New York. The bulk of the Final SGEIS contains an analysis of the potential adverse environmental impacts of permitting HVHF in New York State. The document discusses potential air emissions, surface and groundwater contamination, soil contamination, and increases in traffic, noise, odors, and demand for housing and medical care, among many others. Remarkably, with respect to climate change, DEC found natural gas is a hindrance rather than a benefit: “Recent research demonstrates that low-cost natural gas suppresses investment in and use of clean energy alternatives (such as renewable solar and wind, or energy efficiency), because it makes those alternatives less cost competitive in comparison to fossil fuels.” Activists around the nation should take note of these findings and demand their states live up to the scientific standard set in New York. Sometime after Memorial Day, DEC will issue a Findings Statement containing further reasoning behind the State’s decision to ban HVHF. There has been some concern about the longevity of the ban and DEC’s ability to later revise and reissue a new Findings Statement that would permit HVHF. Riverkeeper’s understanding is that state law requires DEC’s Findings Statement and determination on HVHF to be based on conclusions in the SGEIS, which clearly states that the best scientific research is insufficient to prove HVHF can be undertaken safely. Therefore, to reverse the ban, DEC would have to prepare a new environmental impact statement that fully reviews available science and reaches a different conclusion. In that case, thousands of interested citizens would have yet another chance to make their voices heard during a new round of public commenting. As the evidence is only mounting against the possibility that the oil and gas industry can or will operate HVHF wells safely for the health, environment and economy of New Yorkers, it will be extremely difficult for DEC to reverse the ban. In the off chance that DEC attempts to sidestep these procedural requirements, Riverkeeper and its many partner organizations would have firm grounds to challenge those actions in court.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Insurers prohibited from excluding coverage for fracking under earthquake endorsements
Lexology
Merlin Law Group, PA

Last month, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department (“PID”) issued a notice to all insurance carriers writing homeowners insurance policies in Pennsylvania prohibiting them from denying coverage under the earthquake endorsements of their polices for damage as a result of fracking. For those that haven’t seen the very interesting documentaries on fracking entitled “Gasland” and “Gasland 2,” fracking is another term for natural gas drilling or hydraulic fracturing. Without getting too technical, hydraulic fracturing, “is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.”1 How earthquake endorsements become involved is as follows: Increases in seismic activity following hydraulic fracturing along dormant or previously unknown faults are sometimes caused by the deep-injection disposal of hydraulic fracturing flowback (a byproduct of hydraulically fractured wells), and produced formation brine (a byproduct of both fractured and nonfractured oil and gas wells).2  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Oil groups ask court to temporarily block U.S. fracking rules
Grand Forks Herald
Reuters

WASHINGTON, May 18 (Reuters) - Two oil and gas groups have asked a federal court to block the implementation new U.S. rules for hydraulic fracturing on public lands until their lawsuit challenging the regulations is resolved. The Independent Petroleum Association Of America (IPAA) and the Western Energy Alliance filed a motion on Friday for a preliminary injunction to prevent the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management from enforcing the regulations, arguing the standards will cause their members irreparable harm.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Texas Prohibits Local Fracking Bans Newly signed law is one of several across the U.S. to curtail municipal governments’ power
Wall Street Journal
Russell Gold

On Monday, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law that prohibits bans of hydraulic fracturing altogether and makes it much harder for municipal and county governments to control where oil and gas wells can be drilled. Similar efforts are cropping up in states including New Mexico, Ohio, Colorado and Oklahoma, where both chambers of the legislature have passed a bill that limits local governments to “reasonable” restrictions on oil and gas activities.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Sources: D.E.C. says options limited for opposing crude facility
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—State environmental officials have said in private meetings that it may be legally difficult for them to oppose construction of a heating facility at the Port of Albany that would allow tar sands crude to be transported through New York, according to people who attended the meetings. Local environmental groups oppose the transport of tar sands crude, which is extremely difficult to clean up, and which they say poses a risk to the Hudson River, Lake Champlain and other areas where railroad tracks run along the shoreline. Tar sands crude is considered less volatile than the millions of gallons of Bakken crude that now travels through the state each week. The crude heating facility needs a state air permit before it can begin construction.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Ted Glick: It’s Time to Stop FERC’s Rubber Stamping of Fracking Infrastructure Projects
EcoWatch
Ted Glick

Follow EcoWatch tglickbw“If someone is upset with fracking, they should probably talk to the states.” —Norman Bay, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), May 14, 2015 Why protest? Why demonstrate? Why nonviolent direct action? Part of the reason is to put pressure on those in power to smoke them out, to get them to say things publicly they might otherwise not say, to expose the truth about how and why things are working the way they are.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Gov. Greg Abbott Gives Big Wet Kiss To Oil And Gas
Fort Worth Weekly


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB40 into law today. The law, as described by Abbott’s press office, preempts “regulation of oil and gas activity at the city level and resides that duty with the state, and ensures that any local regulation of surface activity is commercially reasonable and does not effectively prohibit an oil and gas operation.” Another way to say it: Urban areas that have been adversely impacted by an extremely dirty (and lightly regulated) oil and gas drilling industry can no longer try to protect themselves from drillers through municipal regulation.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Oil wastewater dumped into shallow Central Valley wells
San Francisco Chronicle
David R. Baker

California officials have identified 260 oil company wastewater injection wells that are so shallow or so close to wells used for drinking or irrigation that they could threaten the state’s precious groundwater supplies, new data show. All of the wells inject water left over from oil field operations into aquifers that were supposed to be protected by law. While most of those aquifers contain salty water that would need treatment before use, state and federal officials want them preserved as a potential supply for cities and farms in the future. So far, no wells used for drinking or irrigation have been found to be tainted by the injections. But in a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday, the California office that oversees oil drilling said it would seek water-sampling data from each of the wells. The office — the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources — has ordered 23 wells shut down so far.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
California concerns grow over oilfield operations near water
The Sacramento Bee
ELLEN KNICKMEYER

California regulators on Monday expanded their list of thousands of state-permitted oil and gas wells where below-ground injections may be contaminating drinking-water reserves. State water officials already have acknowledged that improperly permitted oilfield operations have contaminated underground aquifers that are federally protected because they hold current or potential sources of drinking water. An ongoing state review ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has yet to break that down into whether any Californian is drinking contaminated water as a result of the improperly authorized oilfield operations, a state water official said. "We don't really know yet," and the answer "is not going to be tomorrow," John Borkovich, chief of the state water board's groundwater monitoring section, told reporters. "There's a lot of data to collect."   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
From fracking to tainted fish, how the Trans-Pacific Partnership could affect the West.
On Earth
Alisa Opar

Here’s something for conspiracy theorists: In order to gain access to a certain document, members of Congress must descend to the basement of the Capitol, hand over their cell phones and other electronic devices, and enter a secured, soundproof room. Then they can’t speak to the public about what they glean from their visit. What’s so hush-hush? A draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an enormous international trade agreement that 12 nations, including the United States, Japan, and Australia, have been hashing out in secret for the last half-decade. It’s a big deal: The dozen national economies make up nearly 40 percent of global GDP.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Atlantic Coast Pipeline already affecting Nelson County property values
The Roanoke Times
Rachael Smith

Business and landowners in the path of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline are worried about how their real estate and property values would be impacted by the Dominion Resources project that would run from West Virginia through Nelson County and into North Carolina. Time after time, Dominion has dismissed these claims and said studies have been completed finding no evidence that the pipeline would result in decreased property values. But several area real estate agents have said they already have seen property sales impacted by the as-yet-unapproved and unconstructed pipeline.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Oil groups ask court to temporarily block U.S. fracking rules
Reuters
Ayesha Rascoe

May 18 Two oil and gas groups have asked a federal court to block the implementation new U.S. rules for hydraulic fracturing on public lands until their lawsuit challenging the regulations is resolved.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
New energy secretary Amber Rudd says Tory government will back fracking
City AM
Lauren Fedor

The Tory-led government will back fracking, according to the new energy and climate change secretary. Shale gas extraction will be allowed under national parks under the new government, Amber Rudd told The Sunday Times in an interview this weekend.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Fracking fight almost over NY is one step closer to a ban on fracking
Legislative Gazette
Richard Moody

Getting one step closer to a ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing, the Department of Environmental Conservation last Wednesday issued its final environmental impact statement that lists the potential dangers of the controversial gas drilling method.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Flagler Commissioners Formalize Opposition to Fracking and Seismic Testing for Oil and Gas
FlaglerLive.com


Two weeks ago Flagler County commissioners said they wanted to formalize their opposition to off-shore oil and gas drilling and to fracking, the technique of drilling for oil through hydraulic fracturing of soil and rock beneath the surface. This evening, commissioners are expected to approve to resolutions to that effect.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Fracking Pros and Cons: Oil Tycoon Harold Hamm Wants University Scientists Studying Dangers of Fracking Fired
Latin Post
Nick Younker

According to Bloomberg, one of those billionaire oil tycoons, Harold Hamm, told the dean of the University of Oklahoma's Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, Larry Grillot, that he wanted those scientists fired, or dismissed from the OGS. Hamm, who is the CEO of Continental Resources based in Oklahoma City, has quite some weight to throw around at the university, considering he is one the school's biggest donors.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Local activists say fracking poses threat to Fayette County’s water
Marcellus.com
Cody Neff & Danielle Wente

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink. That’s what’s going on in the Lochgelly area of Fayette County, according to local activists. To warn the public about the danger to their water, a meeting took place Saturday at the Historic Oak Hill School in Oak Hill.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Jewell Asked to Monitor Fracking near Chaco Canyon
Public News Service


SANTA FE, N.M. – New Mexico's congressional delegation is asking U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to monitor a possible escalation of fracking in an area considered sacred by many Native Americans. In a letter to Jewell, Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan stress the historic, cultural and ecological significance of Chaco Culture National Historic Park.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Fracking chemicals contaminate drinking water A new study has found traces of a chemical compound used in drilling fluids in the drinking water of homes near shale gas wells.
My Broadband


Samples of drinking water from outdoor taps were found to contain traces of 2-Butoxyethanol (2BE), a chemical compound in the drilling fluids used on the Marcellus Shale. This is according to a report in The New York times, which cited a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Coalition presses for fracking ban in California
Wisconsin Gazette


A coalition of more than 100 mayors, city council members and other local officials from dozens of communities want California Gov. Jerry Brown to halt fracking to protect the water supply from contamination during a devastating drought.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Fracking near Preston: Decision days in late June announced
Blog Preston


A much-delayed decision on whether to allow fracking at two sites near Preston is now due to happen in late June. Cuadrilla has tabled plans to drill for shale gas at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood but asked for more time when Lancashire County Council planners met in January.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Old School Meets New: Fracking Technology Could Unlock Billions Of Barrels Worldwide
Oil and Gas Investor
Emily Moser

The technology that fueled the U.S. shale revolution could breathe new life into old oil fields outside of North America. More than 170 mature oil plays worldwide have the potential from horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to produce as much as 141 billion barrels (Bbbl) of oil, according to an IHS report on May 13.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Air pollution from fracking may be ‘health hazard’
Air Quality News


Scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Cincinnati found that hydraulic fracturing – a technique for releasing natural gas from below-ground rock formations – emits PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), some of which are linked with an increased risk of cancer and respiratory ailments.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Two Graphs Show Exactly Why Saudi Arabia Wants To Crush Fracking Photo of Michael Bastasch
Daily Caller
Michael Bastasch

There’s an oil price war going on, and OPEC thinks it can win by not cutting production and pricing out companies producing oil from U.S. shale formations. And now, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) has some charts that show why Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations are afraid of America’s energy potential.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Salford community project fights fracking with solar power
H&V News


A community-led renewable energy project launched in Cadishead on May 17 with a ‘DIY solar panel making’ workshop, Mancunian Matters has reported. Moss Community Energy was created by local residents in response to drilling by fracking firm iGas during the winter of 2013/14.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Utica and Marcellus well activity in Ohio
Marcellus.com


Activity in the Utica and Marcellus shale formations in Ohio have both seen very little change, if any, change when compared to last week’s well activity update. However, one well in Ohio isn’t exactly producing like it was hoped to. The idea of waterless fracking excited the entire oil and gas industry, but now it may not be the light at the end of the tunnel for fracking. EV Energy Partners LP and eight other companies joined forces with GasFrac Energy Services and drilled a waterless fracking test well in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. Last week, the well had officially been producing for 90 days, but its production wasn’t even close to its neighboring well. The Nettles test well produced about half the amount of oil when compared to the well next to it.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Green Party's Hawkins to challenge Syracuse Auditor Masterpole
Syracuse.com
Michelle Breidenbach

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Green Party's Howie Hawkins will challenge Syracuse City Auditor Marty Masterpole, a Democrat, in November, the party announced this morning. Hawkins has carried the Green Party platform in races from city council to U.S. Senate, but has not won. He ran for governor last year.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Denver, Houston companies team on oil and gas rail hubs in Colorado, Texas
Biz Journals
Cathy Proctor

Denver’s ARB Midstream LLC is teaming up with Houston’s Hi-Crush Partners LP, which mines and ships sand used in fracking, to build two rail hubs. The two companies will jointly develop and operate a rail hub near Evans, in the Denver-Julesburg Basin north of Denver, plus a second rail hub near Big Spring, Texas, to serve oil and gas companies working in the Permian Basin, they said in an announcement.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
US 'Frack Master' Urging UK to Ditch Enviro Concerns and Pursue Shale Gas
Sputnik News


The CEO of a leading American energy company, who is known as the 'frack master' has called on the British government to defy environmental concerns and push ahead with exploration of the country's shale oil and gas reserves.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Governor Abbott signs Denton fracking bill Gov. Greg Abbott signed into a law legislation that prohibits cities from banning drilling and limiting their control of the process. These signs went up in Denton last year during a vote on the state’s first - and last - ban on fracking.
Ft Worth Star-Telegram
Max B Baker

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that he will sign into law a bill that reasserts the state’s control over oil and gas drilling and prohibits cities from banning hydraulic fracturing, giving them only limited control over the oil and gas process within their city limits.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Opposition to fracking increases again, finds Sunday Times poll
The Carbon Brief
Simon Evans

The British public is becoming increasingly opposed to fracking for shale gas, a series of polls for the Sunday Times show. However, as with some previous polling on energy and climate issues commissioned by the paper, it has not reported the findings. Support for shale gas extraction has fallen to its lowest level since the series began, falling below one third of respondents for the first time. Opposition has reached its highest level. The latest survey also finds majority support for allowing or encouraging onshore windfarms and a strong majority in favour of the government either maintaining or scaling up its action on climate change. Carbon Brief has the numbers, which should provide interesting reading for the new Conservative government, given its support for fracking and opposition to subsidised onshore wind.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
DRBC should conduct own hearing on pipeline plan
The Morning Call


Morning Call reporter Christina Tatu's article, "Delaware River Basin Commission wants joint review of the PennEast pipeline," offers an excellent discussion of the commission's oversight review of the controversial PennEast proposal. cComments Got something to say? Start the conversation and be the first to comment. ADD A COMMENT 0 The DRBC, a four-state agency formed in 1961, works as a co-equal with the federal government to safeguard the Delaware River watershed, which supplies water for 15 million Americans. Contrary to PennEast spokeswoman Patricia Kornick's opinion that the DRBC would have "some input into the project," the commission plays a crucial role. Unfortunately, the DRBC has indicated that it may combine its public hearing with a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hearing for the entire environmental review. Merging the meetings would diminish DRBC oversight and reduce the public's chances to participate meaningfully.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Texas Governor signs HB40 into law, guts community rights
EarthJustice
Press Release

Faced with widespread municipal opposition, oil and gas industry backs big government power grab Austin, TX - Today Texas Governor Abbott signed HB 40 into law. Written by former ExxonMobil lawyer Shannon Ratliff, the statute forces every Texas municipality wanting common sense limits on oil and gas development to demonstrate its rules are “commercially reasonable”. It effectively overturns a Denton ballot initiative banning fracking that passed last November. “HB 40 was written by the oil and gas industry, for the oil and gas industry, to prevent voters from holding the oil and gas industry accountable for its impacts,” said Earthworks’ Texas organizer Sharon Wilson. Wilson, who played a key role in the Denton ballot initiative, continued, “It was the oil and gas industry’s contempt for impacted residents that pushed Denton voters to ban fracking in the first place. And now the oil and gas industry, through state lawmakers, has doubled down by showing every city in Texas that same contempt.”  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
EPA involved in 1 million gallon brine leak investigation
Grand Forks Herald
Amy Dalrymple

MANDAREE, N.D. – The Environmental Protection Agency is investigating whether Crestwood Midstream violated the Clean Water Act last year when a pipeline spill leaked about 1 million gallons of brine on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. The EPA has issued Crestwood Midstream and Arrow Pipeline a Notice of Potential Violation for the July 2014 pipeline spill near Mandaree.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Did an oil tycoon try to get researchers fired?
CBS News
Jonathan Berr

Here's a story that's shaking up the Oklahoma oil patch. Oil tycoon Harold Hamm pressured the University of Oklahoma to fire scientists that published research linking the more than 400-fold increase in earthquakes in the Sooner State to activity from the oil and natural gas industry, according to Bloomberg News. Officials in Oklahoma, however, claim that Hamm didn't act on his threat. The Bloomberg story quotes from an email, obtained through an open public records act, that quotes Larry Grillot, the dean of the University of Oklahoma's Newbourne College of Earth and Energy, saying "Mr. Hamm is very upset at some of the earthquake reporting to the point that he would like to see select OGS (Oklahoma Geological Survey) staff dismissed." Hamm also indicated to Grillot that he was "would be very interested and would be willing to sit on your search committee" for a new director.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Dominion announces alternate routes for proposed pipeline
The Wichita Eagle
ALAN SUDERMAN

Dominion Resources Inc. said Monday it has come up with alternative segments for portions of a 550-mile proposed natural gas pipeline in two Virginia counties where many local landowners have been fighting the project. The company said the alternative segments of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Augusta County and Nelson County will potentially have "the least impact to environmental, historic and cultural resources" compared to initial plans. But pipeline opponents said the proposed alternatives amount to "tiny" changes that don't allay any of their concerns with the proposal.   [Full Story]

May 17, 2015
Lancashire County Council urged to look at US fracking report
Lancashire Evening Post


Anti-fracking campaigners have welcomed the publication of a report into the environmental risks of fracking in New York state. The report was seven years in the making and was published by the NY Department of Environmental Conservation. It highlights risks including air impacts which could affect respiratory health, drinking water impacts from underground migration of methane or fracking chemicals, surface spills affecting soil and groundwater surface water contamination, and seismic risk.  [Full Story]

May 17, 2015
The real story behind Shell's climate change rhetoric In the first of an investigative series into the fossil fuel giants from which we are calling on Gates and Wellcome Trust to divest, we reveal Shell’s pursuit of ever riskier reserves is at odds with its own forecasts for dangerous global warming
The Guardian
Terry Macalister

“Follow the money,” was his mantra during a stint at Shell’s chemicals division, according to one colleague. Now, his message to the industry was: follow the overwhelming evidence on greenhouse gas emissions and join the debate on climate change, or risk the fossil fuel industry being sidelined.   [Full Story]

May 17, 2015
Athens to join multi-county talks about injection wells Group wants to discuss lobbying effort for stronger regulation

David DeWitt

Athens County will send a representative to a meeting of other county officials in Ohio looking to discuss making a push to change laws regulating oil-and-gas waste injection wells.   [Full Story]

May 17, 2015
Reisman: Gas pipeline. Indian Point. Why tempt fate?
The Journal News
Phil Reisman

Last weekend, Indian Point returned to the forefront of public consciousness when a transformer exploded and caught fire. This has happened before. But this time, a new concern has emerged, namely a controversial plan by a natural gas company, Spectra Energy Corp., to expand and re-route a pipeline only a few hundred feet from the nuclear plant. One wonders what kind of disaster would have occurred had that fire erupted near the expanded gas line.  [Full Story]

May 17, 2015
Actor/Director Mark Ruffalo to Receive 2015 Rose-Walters Prize for Global Environmental Activism
Dickinson College
Christine Baksi

Dickinson will present Mark Ruffalo, the award-winning actor, director and advocate for addressing climate change and increasing renewable energy, with The Sam Rose ’58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism. The prize was created to focus attention on the need to reduce the impact of human lives on the planet, particularly given the rising population predictions for this century. It will be presented during the college’s Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 17. Ruffalo, one of Hollywood’s most respected and sought-after actors, has successfully leveraged his celebrity in defense of America’s waterways and freshwater supplies. In 2011, he co-founded Water Defense to raise awareness about the impact of energy extraction on water and public health. In a 2014 interview with HuffPost Live, he said, “Water Defense was started to give people a place to go who are being affected by fossil-fuel extraction. We wanted to create a hub for communities that are disenfranchised and don’t have media attention to get their stories out in the world. I’m a focal point. I get the spotlight on me and pass it on to places like Aliceville, Alabama; Casselton, North Dakota; and Mayflower, Arkansas.”  [Full Story]

May 17, 2015
U.S. natural gas projects face Keystone-like resistance
USA TODAY
Bill Loveless

The U.S. is producing record amounts of natural gas, a fuel widely viewed as cleaner and preferable to coal for electric power generation. But building the infrastructure necessary to bring that fuel to market is increasingly difficult for the industry. That was the message from industry executives at an "Infrastructure Week" event held in Washington by America's Natural Gas Alliance, an industry group. Among them was Diane Leopold, the president of Dominion Energy, whose company is proposing a 550-mile gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina and just got final government approval to export liquefied natural gas from a plant in Maryland. "While this may be the most exciting time in our history, it also may be the most challenging," Leopold said, citing an "increase in high-intensity opposition" to infrastructure projects. "It is becoming louder, better funded and more sophisticated." As she spoke, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which issues permits for interstate pipelines and LNG export facilities, was meeting in a session that had been rescheduled to avoid large-scale protests planned later this month by critics of hydraulic fracturing. The technology has unlocked gas from shale in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.  [Full Story]

May 17, 2015
Columbia Gas to replace pipeline under Bald's Run in Culpeper
Daily Progress


As Dominion moves forward with its controversial plan for the 500-mile natural Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline, a much smaller-scale natural gas expansion project is moving forward in the town of Culpeper to serve increased demand for the heating source.  [Full Story]

May 17, 2015
New studies link fracking activity to earthquakes, and the unknown leaves some East TX residents concerned
KTBS
ELSA GILLIS

MARSHALL, Tx. (KTBS) - The ground is shaking in Texas - and several new studies link that seismic activity to the Oil and Gas industry. This comes as the Texas legislature recently approved a bill that prohibits counties and cities from banning hydraulic fracking.   [Full Story]

May 16, 2015
Young people don't like fracking -- but they should
Grand Forks Herald
ISAAC ORR

CHICAGO — A new Gallup poll shows young people are no fans of hydraulic fracturing, the technology that has made the United States the largest producer of natural gas and oil in the world. According to the survey, 44 percent of Americans ages 18-29 oppose hydraulic fracturing, 32 percent favor fracking, and 24 percent have no opinion on the subject.  [Full Story]

May 16, 2015
Oklahoma oil billionaire demanded university fire scientists studying dangers of fracking
Raw Story
TOM BOGGIONI

billionaire oil tycoon, who is a major donor to the University of Oklahoma, approached a dean at the school demanding that the university fire scientists who were studying the link between fracking and the increase of earthquakes in the oil-rich state. According to Bloomberg Business, Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm met with Larry Grillot, dean of the university’s Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, in 2014 and expressed his dismay with work being done on the school’s Oklahoma Geological Survey.  [Full Story]

May 16, 2015
This Billionaire Tried To Get University Scientists Fired For Doing Their Job
ThinkProgress
KILEY KROH

Despite a growing body of scientific research connecting oil and gas activity to a dramatic spike in earthquakes across several U.S. states, some industry leaders are fighting this characterization. Harold Hamm, billionaire CEO of Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources, told a dean at the University of Oklahoma last year that he was so displeased by the university’s research on the topic that he wanted certain scientists dismissed, Bloomberg News reported. In an email to colleagues dated July 16, 2014 and obtained by Bloomberg, Larry Grillot, the dean of the university’s Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, said that he had met with Hamm, a major donor to the university, to discuss his concerns about earthquake reporting by the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS), which is housed in the university. “Mr. Hamm is very upset at some of the earthquake reporting to the point that he would like to see select OGS staff dismissed,” Grillot wrote, adding that Hamm indicated he would be meeting with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) to discuss moving the OGS out of the university.  [Full Story]

May 16, 2015
UGI plans $60M LNG plant
Philadelphia Inquirer
Andrew Maykuth

UGI Energy Services is doubling its capacity to produce liquefied natural gas, aiming to capture a bigger share of an alternative-fuel market for which Philadelphia Gas Works also has ambitions. UGIES, a subsidiary of UGI Corp. of Valley Forge, announced Friday that it plans to build a $60 million plant in northeastern Pennsylvania to produce up to 120,000 gallons of LNG a day from 10 million cubic feet of Marcellus Shale natural gas. Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20150516_UGI_plans_to_double_LNG_production_capacity_with_new__60M_plant.html#V4KXxZoyMTD0j0RX.99  [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
Farmers Fight a New Kind of Pipeline Spill--Salty Wastewater
The Wall Street Journal
CHESTER DAWSON

WILLISTON, N.D.—For most of the years since wildcatters began tapping the prairies here for oil, energy companies have existed peacefully with the farmers and ranchers who still dominate the state’s economy. But now a dispute has broken out between the two groups over pipeline spills, not of oil but of salty wastewater. The latest such leak came last week, when some 220,000 gallons of brine leaked on an Indian reservation. In particular, agricultural interests are frustrated that oil drillers and pipeline companies haven’t agreed to use technology that farmers say could quickly detect brine leaks.  [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
Fracktivist faces 6 felony charges for recording lawyer
NPR State Impact PA
MARIE CUSICK

Anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins has been charged with six felonies for violating Pennsylvania’s wiretapping laws by recording a Montrose lawyer and his secretary without their permission. The charges stem from a 2013 incident in which Scroggins was denied an application to have her anti-fracking group participate in the town’s Fourth of July parade.  [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
US Crude Oil Consumption Peaked a Decade Ago
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

A world without crude oil is almost unthinkable. And yet, there are indications that such a transition is happening. OPEC is jockeying for market share. Russia is increasing production and US tight oil producers as well as their Canadian oil sands counterparts have found themselves priced out of the market. So what is going on? As humans, we tend to like to place things in neat little boxes. So we look at coal and natural gas and think electricity generation. We look at crude oil and think transportation sector. And all this is correct. But trends are emerging that are likely to turn this on its head. For instance, on shore wind and solar are gaining traction as viable energy production means. Costs are falling rapidly and Lazard now estimates that onshore wind is the cheapest provider of electricity on a levelized cost basis. Solar is not far behind due to a rapid and precipitous drop in costs and is expected to compete with onshore wind as soon as 2018. This means that coal and natural gas will then be the higher cost producers and almost certainly lose market share for electricity generation. Investment going into new capacity additions is already hinting at this trajectory in that investment in renewable capacity has outpaced hydrocarbons each year since 2011. This is occurring globally. Michael Liebreich, founder of BNEF, recently stated:  [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
Marcellus April Natural Gas Production: Up 17.6% from a Year Ago
Market Realist
Alex Chamberlin

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (or EIA) released its Drilling Productivity Report (or DPR) on May 11, 2015. The EIA estimates Marcellus shale natural gas production in April at 16.7 billion cubic feet per day (or bcf/d). That’s 0.4% more than March’s production and 17.6% higher than a year ago.   [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
Why Did NY Ban Fracking? The Official Report Is Now Public
InsideClimate News
Neela Banerjee

New York issued its long-awaited environmental assessment of fracking Wednesday detailing a wide range of health and climate concerns that underpinned Governor Andrew Cuomo's decision last December to impose a statewide ban on the practice. High-volume hydraulic fracturing "raises new, significant, adverse impacts not studied" in the state's last major analysis of oil and gas development in 1992, the 2,000-page report concludes. The negative effects that fracking could bring to the state include:   [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
We Are Seneca Lake: Josh Fox & Fracking Opponents Fight Natural Gas Storage Site in Upstate NY
Democracy Now!


On Wednesday, Josh Fox, director of "Gasland," the documentary which exposed the harms of the fracking industry, was arrested along with 20 other people after forming a human barricade at a natural gas storage facility in upstate New York. The action was part of a long-standing campaign against plans by Crestwood Midstream to expand gas storage in abandoned salt caverns at Seneca Lake, a drinking water source for 100,000 people. We speak to Fox and air his new documentary short, "We Are Seneca Lake." TRANSCRIPT   [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
100 California Officials Ask Gov. Brown for Fracking Moratorium
Center for Biological Diversity
Press Release

ANAHEIM, Calif.— More than 100 mayors, city council members and other local officials from dozens of communities want Gov. Jerry Brown to halt fracking to protect California’s water supply from contamination during a devastating drought. In a letter being unveiled today at a press conference at the Democratic State Convention in Anaheim, officials warn Gov. Brown that fracking and other dangerous oil production techniques “will exacerbate many of our environmental threats, particularly local air and water pollution and climate disruption.” “Fracking pollution threatens the air we breathe and the water we drink, and Latino communities are especially at risk,” said Robert Rivas, San Benito County supervisor and supporter of San Benito County’s new fracking ban. “Thousands of Latino children in California go to school near fracked oil wells. We need Gov. Brown to halt fracking to give every child in California a better chance at a healthy life.” Joining Supervisor Rivas at today’s press conference are Jose Gurrola, Arvin city council member; Eduardo Martinez, Richmond city council member; and Elliot Gonzales, Long Beach sustainability commissioner.  [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
Faith Against Fracking
EcoWatch


As pressure mounts for Gov. Jerry Brown to take action on fracking and other extraction methods putting communities and the environment at risk, Californians Against Fracking released a new film Wednesday showcasing several faith leaders across a variety of faiths who are calling for a statewide moratorium and a switch to 100 percent renewable energy. Here is an exclusive clip from the film made exclusively for EcoWatch readers:  [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
Canada to Regulate Oil and Gas Emissions With New 30% Target
Bloomberg Business
Josh Wingrove

Canada pledged to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by about a third by 2030 in a move quickly dismissed by environmentalists and energy analysts as lacking detail and unrealistic without major policy changes.   [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
The Pipeline That Texans Are Freaking Out Over (Nope, Not Keystone)
Mother Jones
Bryan Schatz

Earlier this year a couple of billionaires landed a nearly $770 million contract to run a 143-mile-long natural gas pipeline through Texas's pristine Big Bend region. As of May 11, rail shipments of pipe had begun to arrive in Big Bend's Fort Stockton area. This recent progress on the pipeline project is fueling pushback from locals who've been concerned about this project since it was announced in November 2014. Big Bend is one of Texas' last unspoiled wilderness areas and one of few remaining holdouts in a state riddled with energy transmission pipelines and large-scale oil and gas activity. Fearing potential land grabs, increased traffic, and environmental desecration, locals have been mobilizing through town hall meetings and launching activist campaigns to oppose it. What is the Trans-Pecos pipeline? At 42 inches wide and under 1,400 pounds of pressure per square inch, the Trans-Pecos pipeline will carry as much as 1.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day after its projected completion in early 2017. The gas will originate in Texas's Permian Basin, travel the length of the pipeline to the border at Presidio, Texas, and Ojinaga, Mexico, where it will be piped further into Mexico for industrial use and power generation. The project was commissioned by the Mexican Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) as part of the country's push to modernize its energy systems.  [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
Report: PA dishes out $3.2 billion in fossil fuels subsidies while state faces $1.5 billion deficit
PublicSource
Natasha Khan

A new report out Tuesday says Pennsylvania provided more than $3.2 billion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, much of which went to the state’s booming natural gas industry, at a time when the state carries a $1.5 billion budget deficit and very little investment in the renewable energy industry. "This report is about transparency," Rob Altenburg, director of PennFuture’s Energy Center, the group that put out the report, said in a statement. "Creating billions of dollars worth of fossil fuel subsidies while neglecting sensible long-term investments is a choice that has consequences not only for the citizens of Pennsylvania today but for our children and future generations.”   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Links in natural gas supply chain worry about Wolf’s proposed severance tax
Times Leader
Jerry Lynbott

LA PLUME — As much as the Marcellus Shale has fueled an energy boom in the state, business owners and others who are links in the supply chain to the natural gas industry expressed their concerns about the effects of a proposed severance tax. They had the opportunity Thursday to share their successes and worries with state Speaker of the House Mike Turzai and local lawmakers during an energy forum at Keystone College.   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Advocates: Fracking Battle Far From Over
YNN
Jackson Wang

But on Wednesday, the DEC released their final version of an environmental impact review on hydrofracking, which is expected to lead to a ban on the controversial method of gas drilling in the state. “I think it falls in line with what we expected after the December 17 press conference with DOH, DEC, and Governor Cuomo,” said Bruce Ferguson, of Catskills Citizens for Safe Energy. He has been fighting for years to ban fracking in the state. Ferguson saw the review as a victory. “It certainly buys us time," Ferguson said. "Is it forever a ban on fracking? No. But we didn’t expect that.”  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
UGI Energy Services to build an LNG plant in heart of the Marcellus Shale
Market Watch
Press Release

WYOMISSING, Pa., May 14, 2015 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- UGI Energy Services, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UGI Corporation UGI, +1.26% today announced plans to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) production facility in northern Pennsylvania that will utilize Marcellus Shale gas.   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Denmark allows Total to resume fracking
RT


French energy giant Total was granted a permission to continue shale gas exploration in Denmark following a week-long ban over using hazardous chemicals not approved by local authorities in its drilling process.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Fracking could increase risk of cancer, new study finds
Newsweek
Conor Gaffey

Living near to active fracking sites could increase the risk of cancer as the process harmful chemicals into the air, a new study has found. Researchers from Oregon State University (OSU) and the University of Cincinnati found that hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, releases polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are linked to cancers and respiratory diseases.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Congressman Reed Not Impressed With DEC Fracking Report
TWC News
Ryan Whalen

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Despite a massive report released by the Department of Environmental Conservation, Congressman Tom Reed said he's not impressed with the findings. He said rather than find solid evidence fracking is harmful, it just says there's not enough evidence that it's not. The report, seven years in the making, took more than 260,000 public comments into consideration. It laid out both the positives and negatives of the process of using water, sand and chemicals to release natural gas from underground.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
New York Fracking Report Edges Closer to Statewide Ban
Sputnik News


MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The US state of New York is less than two weeks away from issuing a ban on fracking following the release of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) final impact statement on the controversial oil and gas extraction technique. The DEC's Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), published on Wednesday, found that the health, environmental and community hazards posed by fracking to residents far outweigh its advantages. DEC Commissioner Joe Martens is now due to issue a legally binding Findings Statement within 10 days of the release of the Final SGEIS.   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
State Chamber to Fight Against "Let's Stop Fracking" Petition Drive
WKZO
Gary Stevens

LANSING, MI (WHTC) - The Michigan Chamber of Commerce began a statewide campaign to discourage voters from signing anti-hydraulic fracturing ballot petitions. The group “Let's Ban Fracking” has started another effort to put the matter on the ballot next year, looking to get at least 340 thousand signatures, after a similar initiative failed to gain enough valid signatures for the 2014 election. Fracking is seen as a way to get to oil and natural gas reserves; opponents cite possible environmental hazards with the method.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
USGS Study Shows Wide Chemical Variation In Fracking Wastewater
Manufacturing.net
Andy Szal

Geological Survey links the duration of hydraulic fracturing to the concentration of organic compounds in drilling wastewater. In addition, researchers speculated that increased microbial activity in water with high levels of organic compounds could prove useful in future efforts to clean up fracking accidents.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Fylde braces itself for new fracking D-Day
Blackpool Gazette


Residents are preparing themselves for fracking D-Day after new dates were set to decide on whether shale gas development can go ahead on the Fylde.   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
How Fracking Affects the Chemistry of Waters
EP Online


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently conducted a fracking case study that examined the produced water of 13 hydraulically fractured gas wells in Pennsylvania. Produced water is “the water brought to the land surface during oil, gas, and coalbed methane production.” During the study, researchers discovered that the microbiology and organic chemistry of waters produced from fracking vary significantly from well to well.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
PSC: ‘Wet Spring’ Led To Pipeline Ruptures
Wheeling News-Register
Casey Junkins

WHEELING - Seven natural gas pipelines have ruptured across northern West Virginia over the last month, the state's chief pipeline inspector said Wednesday. Although Mary Friend's small staff in the pipeline division of the Public Service Commission of West Virginia works to track more than 14,000 miles of monitored lines across the Mountain State, the seven recent ruptures did not happen on her watch. "They fall into the unregulated gathering line category," Mary Friend, pipeline safety director for the Public Service Commission of West Virginia, said while addressing members of the state's Oil and Natural Gas Association at Oglebay Park.   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
7 Senators Push for Federal Energy Standard of 30% Renewables by 2020
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

Just because you know doing something is a long shot doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. That’s the attitude of seven Democratic senators who introduced a bill in Congress this week that would set a federal Renewable Energy Standard (RES).   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Could Fracking Ruin Your Vacation?
EcoWatch
Hugh MacMillan, Food & Water Watch

As the start of summer draws ever closer, Americans and international tourists will begin to flock to U.S. national parks, forests and other public lands for summer vacations, recreation and appreciation of our natural heritage. But there is something threatening the future of these lands and the communities that surround our national parks. Fracking.   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
EIA Puts Out Conflicting Natural Gas Production Forecasts
Seeking Alpha


Summary The latest monthly EIA Short-Term Energy Outlook has raised its estimate of lower 48 natural gas production and expects continued growth in oil and natural gas production into 2016. The latest monthly EIA Drilling Productivity Report specifically estimates a decline in both oil and natural gas production in June. The failure of the EIA to embrace the data in its own Drilling Productivity Report is causing it to over-estimate 2015 natural gas production.   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Haley should reverse course on offshore drilling
Post and Courier


Gov. Nikki Haley should be listening to the growing opposition to offshore drilling from this state’s coastal communities instead of hewing to the oil industry’s line about its potential benefits. And the governor should tell the state Department of Health and Environmental Control to start listening to coastal residents during the permitting process.   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Agency refuses to acknowledge widespread outrage at role in burgeoning gas infrastructure
DC Media Group
Anne Meador and John Zangas

On May 14, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in its monthly open Commission meeting took up the issue of the electrical grid’s vulnerability to geomagnetic disturbances. But the government agency’s own vulnerability to public disturbance was front and center. Federal Protective Services took extraordinary measures to prevent disruption of the Commission meeting by planned protests, barring access to about 30 members of the public. FPS also banned the use of recording devices, brushing aside FERC’s own rule expressly permitting it. Two people were escorted out of the meeting room, five detained and three arrested.   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
US House subcommittee examines gas pipeline permitting delays
Oil & Gas Journal
Nick Snow

Reforms should be considered to ease delays that have developed for interstate natural gas pipeline projects requiring federal permits, two witnesses told a US House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. But a third warned that trying to facilitate approvals is unnecessary and could jeopardize protections for states under three major federal statutes. The committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee held the hearing to consider draft legislation that would require the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, as lead permitting agency under the 2005 Energy Policy Act (EPACT), to identify all agencies considering aspects of an application and establish a review schedule, including a deadline for a final decision.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Could Fracking Ruin Your Vacation?
EcoWatch
Hugh MacMillan

As the start of summer draws ever closer, Americans and international tourists will begin to flock to U.S. national parks, forests and other public lands for summer vacations, recreation and appreciation of our natural heritage. But there is something threatening the future of these lands and the communities that surround our national parks. Fracking.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Study maps hundreds of methane gas leaks under streets in L.A. region
Los Angeles Times
TONY BARBOZA

An environmental group has identified nearly 250 locations where planet-warming methane is leaking from natural gas lines under streets in the Greater Los Angeles region. Environmental Defense Fund researchers outfitted a Google Street View mapping car with real-time air monitoring equipment that can detect elevated levels of methane, the main component of natural gas. Starting in August, they drove the vehicle over more than 1,000 miles of roadways in Chino, Inglewood and Pasadena. After analyzing the data in collaboration with scientists from Colorado State University, the researchers plotted the leaks and their relative size on an interactive map and reported the results to Southern California Gas Co., which serves millions of customers in Central and Southern California.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Reversing Grassroots Win, US Senate Approves Fast Track Trade Measure
Common Dreams
Deirdre Fulton

Progressives reacted with dismay as the U.S. Senate on Thursday approved a motion to begin debate on the Fast Track authority President Barack Obama needs to advance controversial trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The measure passed 65-33. Senate Democrats blocked the first attempt to proceed on the trade legislation on Tuesday, but backtracked in the wake of further negotiations—and intense pressure from the White House. The 13 Democrats who voted with big business and the Republicans Thursday are: Michael Bennet (D-CO), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). The full Senate roll call is here.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
NY Fracking Report Underscores Quake, Climate Risks
Climate Central
Bobby Magill

New York is 2,000 pages closer to becoming the first fossil fuels-rich state in the U.S. to ban fracking indefinitely because of the climate-changing methane it could emit and the earthquakes, air pollution and water contamination it could cause. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in December that fracking, short for the natural gas extraction process called hydraulic fracturing, would be banned in New York, where the energy-rich Marcellus shale holds up to 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The state followed up this week with a 2,000-page final environmental report outlining why it would be better off without the environmental, climate and public health implications of the process.  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Enviro groups protest BLM plans for increased fracking in Colorado
Denver Post
Bruce Finley

Environment groups are protesting federal plans that would allow increased oil and gas production through hydraulic fracturing on public lands in western Colorado. They argue that the plans for up to 16,342 new wells across 2.5 millon acres would deplete scarce water and hurt wildlife.   [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Oklahoma Revenues Fall With Oil, Natural Gas
SW Times Record
Randy Ellis

OKLAHOMA CITY — State budget watchers in Oklahoma take note. Plunging oil and natural gas prices have helped cause year-to-date state general revenue fund collections in April to drop below the official estimate for the first time this fiscal year.   [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
NY releases final environmental review of fracking for natural gas; ban expected in 10 days
Daily Journal
Mary Esch

ALBANY, New York — New York regulators have released the final version of an environmental impact review of natural gas development that's expected to lead to the nation's first ban on a drilling process called fracking by a state with significant shale gas deposits.   [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Drilling Begins 3 Miles From Epicenter of BP Oil Spill
ABC News
Cain Burdeau

Just 3 miles from the catastrophic BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a Louisiana company is seeking to unlock the same oil and natural gas that turned into a deadly disaster. Drilling has begun in the closest work yet to the Macondo well, which blew wild on April 20, 2010, killing 11 people and fouling the Gulf with as much as 172 million gallons of crude in the nation's worst oil spill. Federal regulators gave their blessing last month to LLOG Exploration Offshore LLC. to drill the first new well in the same footprint where BP was digging before.   [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Canadian Aboriginal Group Rejects $1 Billion Fee for Natural Gas Project
New York Times
Ian Austen

OTTAWA — A small aboriginal community in British Columbia has rejected a $1 billion payment for a natural gas project, the latest setback for the Canadian energy industry’s effort to bolster exports.  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Fracking may affect air quality, human health
Science Daily


People living or working near active natural gas wells may be exposed to certain pollutants at higher levels than the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for lifetime exposure. Air pollution from fracking operations may pose an under-recognized health hazard to people living near them, the researchers concluded.  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Senate GOP launches attack on EPA climate rules
The Hill
Timothy Cama

Senate Republicans introduced a bill Wednesday that would overturn the Obama administration’s landmark climate regulations for power plants and make it nearly impossible to rewrite them. The bill is the GOP’s first major legislative push against the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions limits since Republicans seized control of the Senate in November. The rules have drawn intense criticism from Republicans and industry groups, who warn they will cost billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of jobs and have negligible environmental benefits. “Our bipartisan legislation would empower the states to protect families and businesses from electricity rate increases, reduced electrical reliability and other harmful effects of the president’s Clean Power Plan,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), the bill’s sponsor, told reporters Wednesday.  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Michigan Launches New Effort To Stop Would Be Hydro-Fracking
WILX


The Michigan Chamber of Commerce has launched a new effort to defeat an effort that would stop hydro-fracking in the state. It's called "decline to sign".  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Fracking ban regulations could change if bill becomes law
News Channel 10


Amarillo, TX - Fracking ban regulations could change if a controversial bill becomes law. This would give the Texas Railroad Commission authority to override city laws when it comes to subsurface oil and gas operations.   [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Key Senate aide likely to replace departing commissioner
E & E Newswire
Hannah Northey

Philip Moeller, an outspoken Republican member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, announced yesterday that he plans to leave the agency in the coming months, creating an opening expected to be filled by a senior Senate GOP aide. Moeller's likely replacement is Patrick McCormick, senior counsel for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, who has deep ties in the energy world. A source familiar with the situation said McCormick would be the nominee. The move, assuming McCormick is confirmed by the Senate, would place at FERC a top aide to Senate ENR Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) as she tries to usher through Congress the first comprehensive, bipartisan energy bill in nearly a decade. Moeller, first nominated to the agency by President George W. Bush in 2006 and renominated by President Obama in 2010, said he plans to serve the remainder of his term through June 30 -- or until his replacement is confirmed. Moeller also said he has no future plans lined up at this point. "It's been an honor and a privilege to serve on the Commission every single day since I joined the Commission in July 2006," Moeller said in a statement. "I send thanks to President Bush and President Obama for nominating me, as well as the members of the United States Senate who unanimously confirmed me to both terms." In recent months, Moeller has warned that time is running out for the agency to provide suggestions to U.S. EPA on its Clean Power Plan, which is expected to be finalized in the coming months (E&ENews PM, May 4). Moeller has joined his Republican colleague on the panel, Tony Clark, in calling for the commission to have a more formal advisory role as the EPA proposal takes shape.  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
After nearly 7 years, NY releases final fracking review
The Journal News
Jon Campbell

ov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration late Wednesday released a years-in-the-making review that lays the groundwork for prohibiting large-scale hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. FrackPA (1) The state Department of Environmental Conservation released a final version of the 2,000-page document, known as the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement or SGEIS, just after 4 p.m. Now, DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens must wait at least 10 days before issuing a legally binding “findings statement,” which he has said will formally put the state’s fracking ban into place.  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Read: State releases its finalized fracking review
Times Union
Matthew Hamilton

Years after the still-heated debate over the use of hydraulic fracturing in New York began, the state has released its finalized review of the controversial practice. The Department of Environmental Conservation released Wednesday its final supplemental generic environmental impact statement, roughly five months after it was announced that fracking, as it’s commonly known, would not be allowed to take place in New York. That decision touched off joyous celebration among environmental advocates and sharp criticism from both the business community and those who saw the practice as a potentially region-rebounding business for the Southern Tier. “Would I live in a community with HVHF (high-volume hydraulic fracturing) based on the facts I have now?” Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said in December. “Would I let my child play in the school field nearby, or my family drink the water from the tap or grow their vegetables in the soil? After looking at a plethora of reports … my answer is no.”   [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
DEC Releases Final Hydrofracking Review
State of Politics


The Department of Environmental Conservation on Wednesday afternoon released its finalized review of hydrofracking, a long-sought document that signals the start of the formalized move toward a ban on the controversial natural-gas extraction process. The document, known as the Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, concludes there are “major uncertainties about potential significant adverse health and environmental impacts” associated with high-volume fracking. “The Final SGEIS is the result of an extensive examination of high-volume hydraulic fracturing and its potential adverse impacts on critical resources such as drinking water, community character and wildlife habitat,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a statement. “We considered materials from numerous sources, including scientific studies, academic research and public comments, and evaluated the effectiveness of potential mitigation measures to protect New York’s valuable natural resources and the health of residents. I will rely on the FSGEIS when I issue a Findings Statement in accordance with state law.”  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Exclusive: Anti-Fracking Filmmaker Josh Fox Arrested In Finger Lakes Protest
The Daily Beast
James Joiner

The creator of the award-winning film ‘Gasland’ was just arrested at a protest in rural New York. Here’s the mini-documentary he made on the eve of his arrest. Award-winning documentary filmmaker Josh Fox, who wrote and directed the acclaimed fracking film Gasland, was arrested this afternoon while engaging in a human barricade at a natural-gas storage facility in the Finger Lakes. “People need to see what’s happening at Seneca Lake, and also understand that this isn’t isolated, it is happening everywhere,” Fox told The Daily Beast before the protest. “We need to educate people that our dependency on fossil fuels has got to change, and it has to change now.”  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Groups File IRS Complaint Alleging ALEC is a Lobbying Vehicle, Not a Charity
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) and Common Cause have filed an 18-page supplemental complaint to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which calls for a termination of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)'s status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and requests civil and criminal charges be brought against ALEC. Eric Havian, an attorney at the firm Constantine Cannon, submitted over two dozen exhibits attached to the supplement demonstrating that ALEC operates much more like a corporate bill mill connecting corporate-friendly state legislators to lobbyists than it does a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The submission is an update to the original complaint made by Common Cause back in 2012 and the 2013 supplement brought by CMD and Common Cause. Among the exhibits cited in the supplement are examples of corporations themselves admitting that ALEC serves as a useful lobbying organ for their corporate bottom-lines. Those on the list of corporations include fossil fuel industry goliaths such as Chevron, BP, ExxonMobil, Duke Energy and Peabody Energy.   [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
We Are All Connected by Water: Our Elected Officials Must Be Held Accountable For Protecting This Natural Resource
Huffington Post
Mark Ruffalo, John Pratt and Scott Smith

Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014 marked the four-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill ("BP Spill"). The BP spill should have been a wake-up call for elected officials and organizations tasked with responding to this type of disaster, but it seems like those in charge of protecting our waters have learned nothing. The procedures and technologies adopted, endorsed, and proven during the BP spill cleanup efforts have yet to become the standard. Instead of evolving, our officials are regressing -- focusing more on damage control than solving the issue. Four years later, we ask why? Let's take a look at the very basis of science: data. Without data, there is no science. At Water Defense, we decided to take a second look at the process of water testing itself, and the results came up wanting. Here are a few examples:  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
DEC Issues Water Permits for 1st Algonquin Pipeline Expansion Project
Peekskill-Cortlandt Patch
Lanning Taliaferro

Spectra’s Algonquin Incremental Market project moved another step closer to startup today as the New York state Department of Conservation issued permits and water quality certification. AIM would expand a few sections of Spectra’s pipeline from Pennsylvania to Canada through Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties. The AIM project is, as its name implies, the first of three expansion projects on that pipeline that Spectra has discussed with local residents and officials. Opponents of the pipeline expansion project had objected when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave the project a green light before the DEC had ruled on the water permits.  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Portland mayor pulls support for fracked gas terminal amid protests
The Guardian
Chris McGreal

Portland’s mayor has all but killed off a plan to build a $500m terminal to ship fracked gas from Canada in the face of overwhelming popular opposition and fears about damage to the city’s progressive image. The mayor, Charlie Hales, has cancelled a council hearing scheduled for next month to hear a planning application by a Canadian company, Pembina, to build one of the largest industrial facilities in Portland to deliver propane gas, mostly to Asia.  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
State releases final fracking statement
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—The Cuomo administration on Wednesday released one of the final reports required to make its fracking ban official. The Department of Environmental Conservation released the 2,000-page final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement for fracking, which opponents and proponents around the country have been awaiting since Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a ban on fracking in December.  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Exclusive: Anti-Fracking Filmmaker Josh Fox Arrested In Finger Lakes Protest
The Daily Beast
James Joiner

The creator of the award-winning film ‘Gasland’ was just arrested at a protest in rural New York. Here’s the mini-documentary he made on the eve of his arrest. Award-winning documentary filmmaker Josh Fox, who wrote and directed the acclaimed fracking film Gasland, was arrested this afternoon while engaging in a human barricade at a natural-gas storage facility in the Finger Lakes.   [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
F.B.I. Says It Broke Its Rules in Inquiry of Keystone Pipeline Opponents
New York Times
Michael S. Schmidt

WASHINGTON — The Federal Bureau of Investigation violated its own guidelines in 2013 when it investigated environmental advocates who opposed the Keystone XL pipeline, the F.B.I. acknowledged on Tuesday.   [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Obama’s Catastrophic Climate-Change Denial
The New York Times
Bill McKibben

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — THE Obama administration’s decision to give Shell Oil the go-ahead to drill in the Arctic shows why we may never win the fight against climate change. Even in this most extreme circumstance, no one seems able to stand up to the power of the fossil fuel industry. No one ever says no. By “extreme” I don’t just mean that Shell will be drilling for oil in places where there’s no hope of cleaning up the inevitable spills (remember the ineptness of BP in the balmy, accessible Gulf of Mexico, and now transpose it 40 degrees of latitude north, into some of the harshest seas on the planet). No, what’s most extreme here is the irresponsibility of Shell, now abetted by the White House. A quarter century ago, scientists warned that if we kept burning fossil fuel at current rates we’d melt the Arctic. The fossil fuel industry (and most everyone else in power) ignored those warnings, and what do you know: The Arctic is melting, to the extent that people now are planning to race yachts through the Northwest Passage, which until very recently required an icebreaker to navigate.   [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Oil Industry Asks Court to Block Rail Transport Safety Rules
The New York Times
JAD MOUAWAD

The oil industry is challenging new federal rules intended to improve the safety of oil-by-train transportation, opening the first legal fight in a two-year effort to reduce the risks of moving hazardous materials on railroads. The American Petroleum Institute, the industry’s main trade group, petitioned the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to block key provisions of the rules, which were unveiled this month by Anthony Foxx, the transportation secretary. The petition was filed on Monday.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Shell’s Record Adds to the Anger of Those Opposing Arctic Drilling
The New York Times
JOHN SCHWARTZ and CLIFFORD KRAUSS

When the Obama administration announced on Monday that it would let Shell drill for oil off the Alaskan coast this year if it met certain conditions, environmentalists were outraged — not just by the administration’s decision to allow drilling, but by its decision to give Shell, in particular, the green light. They said that the company’s track record in the Arctic should rule out another chance for it. Shell tried to drill in the Arctic in 2012, and the company’s multibillion-dollar drilling rig, the Kulluk, ran aground. The operator of a drill ship hired by Shell also pleaded guilty to eight felony offenses and agreed to pay $12.2 million over shoddy record-keeping that covered up hazardous conditions and jury-rigged equipment that discharged polluted water.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Energy industry invests in Philly mayor’s race
State Impact PA
Susan Phillips

Since Marcellus Shale development boomed, Philadelphia has been a thorn in the side of the gas industry. The city has not seen many of the economic benefits that places like Williamsport, or Pittsburgh have. And it tends to be home to well-organized, experienced environmental groups used to taking on powerful adversaries. When the industry invited Mayor Michael Nutter to speak at its annual convention in Philadelphia, Shale Insight, back in the fall of 2012, he chided them, as protestors chanted outside. “Many of us are deeply concerned about water quality in our watershed,” Nutter told the assembled industry executives. “There is no economic opportunity for which jeopardizing our water quality is acceptable.”  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
5 dangers of oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean
Mother Nature Network
russell McLendon

The Arctic is the final frontier of the oil era. Overused oil fields around the planet are dwindling, tempting energy firms to tap the top of the planet despite its hostile environment. An estimated 13 percent of Earth's undiscovered oil lies underneath the Arctic, totaling about 90 billion barrels. At our current rate of consumption, that would be enough to meet worldwide demand for about three years. Russia broke the ice, so to speak, in 2013 with its Prirazlomnaya platform, the world's first commercial oil-drilling effort in the Arctic Ocean. Oil companies are also vying to drill in Arctic waters off Canada, Greenland and Norway, although fickle oil prices have dampened some enthusiasm lately. In the U.S., Royal Dutch Shell has has spent nearly $6 billion since 2005 on leases, permits and lawsuits in its quest for Alaska's oil-rich Beaufort and Chukchi seas. That quest suffered a string of setbacks in 2012 — most notably when its Kulluk drilling rig ran aground off Kodiak Island — but Shell hasn't given up. And this week, U.S. regulators rewarded Shell's determination by granting the company conditional approval to begin drilling in the Chukchi Sea. That marks "a major victory for the petroleum industry and a devastating blow to environmentalists," as the New York Times put it. Why would oil rigs be "devastating" in such a remote part of the world? Here are five of the biggest concerns about trying to extract oil from the Arctic Ocean: bowhead whales An adult bowhead whale and calf swim through sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. (Photo: Corey Accardo/NOAA) 1. The noise. Even if nothing goes wrong — which history suggests is unlikely — a lot can go wrong. "[T]here will be unavoidable impacts from each phase of oil development in the Arctic Ocean — seismic exploration, exploration drilling, production platforms, pipelines, terminals and tankers," writes conservation biologist Rick Steiner, a former marine researcher at the University of Alaska who now runs a sustainability consulting project called Oasis Earth. "The acoustic disturbance to marine mammals from offshore oil development is of particular concern, as underwater noise can affect communication, migration, feeding, mating and other important functions in whales, seals and walrus," he adds. "As well, noise can affect bird and fish migration, feeding and reproduction, and can displace populations from essential habitat areas." Chukchi Sea Discontinuous sea ice floats in the Chukchi Sea in September 2013. (Photo: Tom Cronin/USGS) 2. The remoteness. Remember how hard it was to wrangle the Gulf of Mexico's Deepwater Horizon oil spill five years ago? It took several months, even though it occurred just 40 miles off a heavily populated and industrialized U.S. coast. The response effort involved mobilizing an armada of vessels, crews and equipment, not to mention coordinating how and when it would all be used. Now imagine if the spill had occurred off Alaska instead of Louisiana. Even getting the necessary ships and gear to the spill site would be a herculean task. Shell has a legally mandated safety plan in case of a spill — including a local stock of tugboats, helicopters and cleanup equipment — but as the Deepwater Horizon illustrated, failsafes like blowout preventers can fail and pre-spill plans can fall woefully short. sea ice Melt ponds sit atop sea ice in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northern coast. (Photo: NASA) 3. The sea ice. Even when response crews do mobilize to clean up an Arctic Ocean oil spill, their options will be limited. As the World Wildlife Fund points out, "there is no proven effective method for containing and cleaning up an oil spill in icy water." Dispersants helped break up the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010, but they also proved dangerous in their own right, with a 2012 study suggesting they made the oil 52 times more toxic to wildlife. On top of its remote location, the Chukchi Sea is frequented by chunks of sea ice for most of the year. That can make navigation difficult, not to mention oil-spill cleanup. "A major spill in the Arctic would travel with currents, in and under sea ice during ice season," Steiner writes, "and it would be virtually impossible to contain or recover." Exxon Valdez Alaska's Prince William Sound is still recovering from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. (Photo: Chris Wilkins/AFP/Getty Images) 4. The slow ecological recovery. As bad as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill was, at least it occurred in a large, warm gulf populated by microbes that can eat oil. The Arctic Ocean, on the other hand, has low temperatures and limited sunlight, making an oil spill more likely to fester — as seen after the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. "A large spill would undoubtedly cause extensive acute mortality in plankton, fish, birds and marine mammals," according to Steiner. "[T]here would be significant chronic, sub-lethal injury to organisms — physiological damage, altered feeding behavior and reproduction, genetic injury, etc. — that would reduce the overall viability of populations. There could be a permanent reduction in certain populations, and for threatened or endangered species, a spill could tip them into extinction. With low temperatures and slow degradation rates, oil would persist in the Arctic environment for decades." natural gas flaring Gas flaring can produce particulate matter that's bad for Arctic ice as well as human health. (Photo: Ken Doerr/Flickr) 5. The emissions. In addition to 90 billion barrels of oil, the Arctic may hold as much as 1.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas — about 30 percent of the planet's undiscovered supply. Natural gas is harder to transport than oil, requiring either pipelines or facilities that convert it to liquefied natural gas (LNG), at which point it can be shipped by tankers. That kind of infrastructure is sparse in the Arctic, so offshore rigs might be more likely to burn off the extra natural gas on-site, a process known as flaring. That's better than letting the gas escape, since methane is a potent greenhouse gas, but flaring can produce other pollutants like black carbon, which causes snow and ice to melt more quickly by absorbing more heat. Flaring can also cause more direct problems, says Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, an environmental justice advisor for the Alaska Wilderness League in Barrow, Alaska. Ahtuangaruak began working in Barrow as a community health aide in 1986, when a boom in onshore oil drilling — and gas flaring — was associated with a spike in health problems. "One of the things we saw right away were the respiratory illnesses," she tells MNN. "On nights when there were many natural gas flares, I was only getting a couple hours of sleep because of all the patients coming into the clinic." Oil drilling also brought benefits like running water and better medical care, Ahtuangaruak says, but the influx of patients convinced her the negatives outweighed the positives. And on top of that, oil booms have a long association with social problems like crime, she notes. "Our national energy policy should not cost the health and safety of people who live where the oil and gas development is going to occur." Of course, any new oil or gas drilling also poses a much broader public-health problem: climate change. Every barrel of oil removed from the Arctic Ocean will presumably be burned, releasing carbon dioxide that will spend centuries trapping solar heat in the atmosphere. Burning the Arctic Ocean's oil could release an additional 15.8 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, which is equivalent to all U.S. transportation emissions over a nine-year period. It would raise global CO2 levels by 7.44 parts per million (ppm), nearly 10 percent of the global rise in atmospheric CO2 over the past 50 years. Earth's air already has more CO2 than ever before in human history — recently reaching 400 ppm for the first time since the Pliocene Epoch — and it's growing at an unprecedented pace. Not only would Arctic Ocean drilling release more CO2, but any new commitment to fossil fuels means that much less demand for renewable energy that doesn't contribute to climate change. "Society faces a fundamental choice with the Arctic," Steiner writes. "Let's hope we choose wisely." Related on MNN: Earth's oceans hit warmest temperatures ever seen Huge oil spill 'footprint' found on Gulf of Mexico floor Too hot to handle: 2014 was the hottest year on record The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information. PREVIOUS POST 50 whales may be a new (and very endangered) species Related Topics: Arctic, Climate Change, Ecology, Energy, Oceans, Offshore Drilling, Oil Spill Facebook Twitter g+ e-mail YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE What does your facial shape say about your personality? What does your facial shape say about your personality? 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SPONSORED SPONSORED QUICK LINKS MNN TOOLS CONNECT CHANNELS FOLLOW MNN FOOTER MENU About Us Advisory Board Editors' Blog Press Privacy Terms of Service Blogs Eco-glossary Infographics Lists Photos Videos Contact Us Newsletters RSS Social TreeHugger Mobile Login Earth Matters Health Lifestyle Green Tech Eco-Biz & Money Your Home Family Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tumblr Google+ StumbleUpon COPYRIGHT © 2015 MNN HOLDING COMPANY, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. SPONSORS the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies Pegasus Capital Advisors NAPA the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies (Family Activities) DunkinCoca-Cola Company UL Mercedes-Benz Aflac SC Johnson CSX Georgia-Pacific - Research and Innovations Georgia-Pacific - Green Workplace AT&T Southern Company   [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Fracking chemicals found in Pennsylvania drinking water supply
Michigan Radio
Reid Frazier

A study released by a team of Penn State scientists found evidence that groundwater near a shale gas well in Bradford County, Pennsylvania was tainted by chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing and drilling for natural gas. The study suggests the chemicals traveled through sideways cracks in the ground. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. One of the authors, Susan Brantley, distinguished professor of geosciences at Penn State, said the results were the first to show chemicals used in drilling migrating through rock formations. And they went a good distance—1 to 3 kilometers. "We really laid out all the data and showed that it did move through the rock at shallow and intermediate depths, and it moved a long way,” Brantley said.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
FBI Violated Internal Policy to Spy on Keystone Pipeline Protesters
Ring of Fire
The Guardian

Internal documents show that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) violated its own internal policies while spying on people protesting the Keystone XL pipeline, The Guardian reported. The FBI did not get approval before getting informants and opening files on protesters, the documents said. From The Guardian: Internal agency documents show for the first time how FBI agents have been closely monitoring anti-Keystone activists, in violation of guidelines designed to prevent the agency from becoming unduly involved in sensitive political issues. … The documents reveal that one FBI investigation, run from its Houston field office, amounted to “substantial non-compliance” of Department of Justice rules that govern how the agency should handle sensitive matters. One FBI memo, which set out the rationale for investigating campaigners in the Houston area, touted the economic advantages of the pipeline while labelling its opponents “environmental extremists”.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Resistance to Pipeline Bigger than Keystone Thwarts Enbridge in Wisconsin
Inside Climate News
David Hasemyer

Enbridge wants to triple the volume of oil it pumps through Dane County, which wants a $25 million safety net. Pipeline giant Enbridge, Inc., is in a standoff with a Wisconsin zoning committee over the company's plans to vastly increase the amount of tar sands oil pumped through one of its lines.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Old pipeline, new purpose: FERC scoping deadline nears
The Morehead News
Larry DeHart

Part three of series The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a notice April 17 stating it plans to prepare an assessment on the environmental impacts of the Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline repurposing project. That starts with a scoping process to be used in the agency’s decision-making process to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity. The study will look at the impacts that could occur as a result of the construction and operation of the repurposed pipeline to soils, land use, water and wetlands, vegetation and wildlife, air quality, and public safety. If approved, Tennessee Gas plans to disconnect and transfer the abandoned line and facilities to Utica Marcellus Texas Pipeline (UMTP) for the transportation of volatile and toxic natural gas liquids (NGL). The NGL products that will travel through this line are said to be 150 times more explosive than the natural gas currently flowing through the pipeline.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
New rules to protect threatened bats could affect natural gas site construction
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Braden Kelner

Little bats that are being decimated by a big disease in 28 states are now protected by the Endangered Species Act as a threatened species, a decision that could impact oil and gas operations. The oil and gas industry has decried the possible effects that protecting the northern long-eared bat, effective May 4, under the act could have on their operations, while pointing out that other industries are not facing the same restrictions. The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) has stated that because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enacted the listing in response to a fungal disease called white-nose syndrome, and not habitat change, drillers should not be subjected to increased restrictions for new projects.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
As gas boom cuts into forests, scientists study how to put it back together
State Impact PA
Marie Cusick

In the seven years since Marcellus Shale gas companies began working in Pennsylvania’s state forests, none of the nearly 1,700 affected acres has been fully restored and put back the way it was before drilling began. Now state foresters and Penn State scientists are trying to plan for the future and help gas companies figure out the best ways to clean up after themselves. Kelly Sitch spends a lot of time in the woods, keeping an eye on how gas development is changing the landscape. As a botanist with the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, his latest project is studying a one-acre plot of land in the Tiadaghton State Forest. “We are building a mock wellpad to test different soil and ecological restoration techniques,” he says. ”We want to go from a wellpad that is non-forest, to a reclaimed site, where we’re restoring ecosystem function.”  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Fracking battle wages on
Duranbo Herald
Peter Marcus

DENVER – Colorado lawmakers only made modest progress this year addressing concerns surrounding hydraulic fracturing. Members of Coloradans Against Fracking had a little fun last week outside the Capitol, staging a performance in which two figures – one representing the Colorado Legislature, the other Hickenlooper – wore dunce caps and were given failing grades for a lack of progress on curbing hydraulic fracturing in Colorado. Enlarge photo Peter Marcus/Durango Herald Members of Coloradans Against Fracking had a little fun last week outside the Capitol, staging a performance in which two figures – one representing the Colorado Legislature, the other Hickenlooper – wore dunce caps and were given failing grades for a lack of progress on curbing hydraulic fracturing in Colorado. The Legislature set aside money to implement recommendations from a task force that met earlier this year. The task force was convened by Gov. John Hickenlooper as part of a deal to end a more sweeping 2014 ballot effort that would have cracked down on the oil and gas industry. Those nine task force recommendations included addressing local and urban planning as it relates to the industry; local input on wells; and certain health, environment and nuisance issues.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Sioux County landowners appeal Oil and Gas Commission’s decision on injection well
Star Herald
Bart Schaneman

Sioux County landowners with land adjacent to a proposed fracking wastewater well have filed an appeal seeking to overturn a Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (NOGCC) decision last month. The owners of the Hughson ranch and Jane Grove filed their appeal with the Cheyenne County District Court on May 6. The NOGCC voted 2-0 to approve an injection well at a hearing in Sidney on April 22. The converted oil well would be operated by Terex Energy Corporation out of Broomfield, Colorado, and would be open to injecting out-of-state wastewater generated by the process of hydraulic fracturing oil extraction, also known as fracking. The “interested parties,” mainly nearby landowners, had 30 days to file an appeal. After the April 22 hearing, Jenny Hughson said the landowners were waiting to see what would happen with the Open Meetings complaint filed by Nebraska environmental groups Bold Nebraska and the Sierra Club. When their complaint was denied by the special prosecutor appointed by the Nebraska Attorney General’s office, the landowners went ahead with the appeal. “We had to go ahead and do something,” Hughson said.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Illinois community wages debate over fracking center
Bellevill News Democrat
AP

small city in northern Illinois is at odds over a proposed transportation center to ship and store a central ingredient of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Earlville City Council approved an international oil and gas company's plan to build a multimillion-dollar facility for silica sand. The Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/1EAcC1M ) reports some community leaders, like the school district superintendent, support it because of potential economic benefits. But the plan also has drawn plenty of opposition from residents who worry it would present a public health threat to the community. Mayor Mike Hall has assured residents that the center would be safe. The owner of plastics molding business across from the facility's proposed site has filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the plan. A court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.   [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
3 Climate Leadership Openings Corporate America Can’t Afford to Miss
Environmental Leader


Too much ink has been spilled on the anti-climate furor of the Koch brothers. If we lose on climate, it won’t be because of the Koch brothers or those like them. It will be because too many potential climate champions from the business community stood quietly on the sidelines at a time when America has attractive policy opportunities to drive down economy-endangering greenhouse gas emissions. Corporate executives have the savvy to understand the climate change problem and opportunity. They have the incentive to tackle it through smart policy, and the clout to influence politicians and policy makers. Perhaps most importantly, they can inspire each other.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Ohio waterless fracking well's output lagging
Columbus Business First
Tom Knox

The waterless fracking well tested in eastern Ohio has produced disappointing results, dealing a blow to the innovative technology that could help use less water in oil and gas operations and open up Ohio’s oil window. The $22 million test well, drilled by EV Energy Partners LP (NASDAQ:EVEP) and eight other companies in Tuscarawas County, has produced for 90 days. The well, called Nettles, produced half the amount of oil as a nearby well fracked using a lot of water, EV Chairman John Walker told analysts Monday in an earnings call. "We clearly have work left to do in the volatile oil window to determine its economic potential," he said, "but are separately making progress working toward a drilling joint venture to provide the capital for drilling a portion of our operated Utica wet gas window acreage."  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Gov. Brown on Climate Change: “We’re dealing with it and it’s damn serious.” Then Why Haven’t You Put Any Restrictions on Big Oil and Big Ag?
San Diego Free Press
John Lawrence

2 Gov. Brown on Climate Change: “We’re dealing with it and it’s damn serious.” MAY 12, 2015 BY JOHN LAWRENCE 1 COMMENT Then Why Haven’t You Put Any Restrictions on Big Oil and Big Ag? California Governor Jerry Brown photo Photo by USACE HQ By John Lawrence Governor Jerry Brown is leading the nation and perhaps even the world in his efforts to do something about climate change and global warming which is causing epic drought conditions in California. He has mandated that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to 40 percent below 1990 levels over the next 15 years. Brown called this the most aggressive benchmark enacted by a government in North America. All well and good. In addition to getting more electric cars on the road and making power plants get their energy from renewable sources, Brown has also addressed California’s water crisis. With the Sierra snowpack virtually nonexistent, California is having to get creative about where it gets its water supply. “With this order, California sets a very high bar for itself and other states and nations, but it’s one that must be reached — for this generation and generations to come,” Mr. Brown said. These efforts come as this state has been struggling with a drought that Mr. Brown has said is, at least in part, exacerbated by global warming. With Green House Gasses (GHGs) reaching the benchmark level of 400 ppm for the entire month of March 2015 for the first time in world history, actions to reduce those levels to a sustainable 350 ppm have been lagging behind. Meanwhile, severe weather such as the recent extreme floods in Chile and Australia, daily tornado watches in the US and the early advent of hurricane season are pounding into our consciousness the extreme seriousness of the global warming threat. But the Governor, formerly known as Governor Moonbeam, has done little to refrain Big Oil and Big Ag from using most of the water in the state. The large population of California only uses 10% of the total water; agriculture uses 41%, with the rest diverted for environmental causes and captured by the state’s dams, reservoirs, aqueducts, and other infrastructure. Agriculture accounts for roughly 80 percent of human-related water consumption in the state. Much of that comes from large-scale farms in California pumping billions of gallons a year of fresh groundwater to keep producing thirsty crops and animal products for supermarkets across the country—a “case study in the unwise use of natural resources,” the New York Times wrote last month.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
How should sources of air pollution be evaluated?
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Laura Legere

A Pennsylvania judge this week will consider whether state environmental regulators were right to add together the air emissions from a well pad and those from a compressor station producing gas from a state forest in Lycoming County, and then evaluate them as a single pollution source. Two companies — National Fuel Gas Midstream Corp. and Seneca Resources Corp. — that share a common corporate parent are challenging the Department of Environmental Protection’s decision to add up the emissions, even though the combined facilities are not large enough emitters to be considered a “major” air pollution source and therefore trigger more regulatory scrutiny and pollution controls. The appeal is one of at least six that the companies — both wholly owned subsidiaries of Williamsville, N.Y.-based National Fuel Gas Co. — have filed in recent years to argue that emissions from separate facilities should be evaluated independently. All of the aggregated emissions were below major source triggering thresholds, but the companies said in legal filings that the DEP’s “incorrect” conclusions about which facilities should be combined could carry forward to other DEP actions at other gas well and compressor sites, where the consequences might be greater.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Mixed views heard on Algonquin Pipeline at FERC session
Mid Hudson News


YORKTOWN – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) held a scoping session for the residents of Yorktown and the surrounding area Monday night regarding the proposed project for the replacement of the Algonquin Pipeline and its environmental review. Attendees at the session conveyed mixed reviews about the Atlantic Bridge project proposed by the Algonquin Gas Transmission. Maggie Suitor, environmental project manager for FERC, said the proposal would traverse three states. “The current project includes 18.1 miles of pipeline in five pieces throughout New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts,” said Suitor. “It also includes the addition of compression at two existing compressor stations in Connecticut and one new compressor station in Massachusetts.” Those in opposition to the project maintain it will have crucial environmental impact to the surrounding areas and pose danger of pipeline rupture to those who live in the surrounding communities. However, it seems the main concern in respect to the validity of the project is its assumed association with other pipeline projects in New York and the Northeast.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Is Elizabeth Warren Really a Leader on Global Warming?
Mother Jones
Ben Adler

It has been the dream of the Democratic Party's left wing since her rousing speech to the 2012 Democratic National Convention: Elizabeth Warren for president. Warren has repeatedly said she isn't running, but many progressive activists, including some veterans of President Obama's campaigns, have coalesced around Ready for Warren, a political action committee that hopes to persuade her to run and lay the groundwork for her campaign. They truly believe she could beat front-runner Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. Other liberals, watching from the sidelines, wonder if she could at least force Clinton to move leftward to head off her challenge.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
US taxpayers subsidising world's biggest fossil fuel companies
The Guardian
Damian Carrington and Harry Davies

The world’s biggest and most profitable fossil fuel companies are receiving huge and rising subsidies from US taxpayers, a practice slammed as absurd by a presidential candidate given the threat of climate change. A Guardian investigation of three specific projects, run by Shell, ExxonMobil and Marathon Petroleum, has revealed that the subsidises were all granted by politicians who received significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry. The Guardian has found that: A proposed Shell petrochemical refinery in Pennsylvania is in line for $1.6bn (£1bn) in state subsidy, according to a deal struck in 2012 when the company made an annual profit of $26.8bn.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
CLIMATE:Opponents of NEPA climate guidance hoping for Republican White House
E & E Newswire
Hannah Northey

Manufacturers and lobbyists yesterday said it may take a Republican in the White House to reverse draft federal climate guidance that they believe will stall new gas pipelines and export terminals. Republicans are unlikely to muster enough support to block the Obama administration's new plan for how federal agencies should integrate climate change into their National Environmental Policy Act reviews, lobbyist and former GOP aide Mike Catanzaro told attendees at an event on Capitol Hill. But a Republican administration come 2017 could get the job done, said Catanzaro, a partner with lobbying firm CGCN Group who previously worked for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.). "I would think the Republicans would come in and one of the first things on their agenda at [the White House Council on Environmental Quality], I would think, would be to toss this out," said Catanzaro, who also held top environmental jobs in the George W. Bush administration. Catanzaro said a Republican president would need to build the case for why the guidance should be rescinded -- a move he supports. Catanzaro made the comments ahead of a House Natural Resources Committee hearing tomorrow to examine the revised draft guidance the CEQ issued in December after years of delay. The CEQ guidance seeks to streamline how agencies address the causes and effects of climate change when permitting projects (E&E Daily, May 11).  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
New Senate leader [Flanagan] questions climate change
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—Newly elected Senate majority leader John Flanagan on Tuesday questioned whether climate change caused by human activity was occurring, because of the cold New York winter. In a radio interview on "The Capitol Pressroom," Flanagan, a Republican from Long Island, said, “Based on the winter we just had, you say to yourself, are we really going through climate change." Pressed by the host on the scientific consensus around climate change, Flanagan said he needed to talk with his staff before commenting further, admitting he wasn't familiar with the statistics.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Chevron Making a Killing with Water in California—But at What Cost?
WhoWhatWhy
Klaus Marre

The drought in California is bad news for residents, farmers and authorities—but not for Chevron, which is making a killing by selling treated oil-field wastewater to the state. It wouldn’t be the first time Chevron had engaged in shady environmental activity that resulted in a killing, both financially for Chevron and literally, in that case, for some Ecuadorian citizens. The Chevron water is being sold for irrigation purposes, not personal consumption. That’s because it would likely not be safe to drink the millions of gallons that the oil giant recycles daily. But irrigation water is, of course, intimately involved with agricultural products, Which raises the question: can it be dangerous to consumers, even if it’s not consumed directly? Toxic Chemicals and Oil Found in Chevron Water  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
American Eagle Energy Becomes Fourth U.S. Bankruptcy Of The Oil Bust
Forbes
Nathan Vardi

American Eagle Energy became the fourth U.S. energy producer to file for bankruptcy protection in the aftermath of the big drop in crude oil prices. The Colorado-based company that buys and develops oil wells in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota and Montana filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday in Denver’s bankruptcy court. American Eagle Energy, which recently missed an interest payment on its debt, listed assets of $222 million and liabilities of $215 million.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Fracking The Reason For Texas' Earthquakes? Report Rules Out ‘Natural’ Causes For More Tremors
International Business Times
Phillip Ross

The ground under North Texas didn’t always shake, but today the tremors never really stop. Researchers have pinned the recent rise in small earthquakes around the region on fracking, the process of injecting water into the ground at high pressure to break apart the rock and release oil and natural gas. All of the earthquakes in the last seven years have occurred above the Barnett Shale, a geological formation that has become a major fracking site for petroleum companies. It’s “most likely” that many of the quakes were manmade, according to a recent report by researchers from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Drilling into legal issues surrounding fracking
Albuquerque Journal
Marshall Martin

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” continues to be legal news, despite the collapse in world oil pricing. Fracking is important to New Mexico since it is the primary production method in the southeastern and northwestern New Mexico oil fields and oil revenue is a key source of state government financing.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Altering impact fee structure seen burdening Pennsylvania counties with extra costs
Pennsylvania Business Daily


Impact fees from natural gas drilling are critical for Pennsylvania local governments, and preserving the current floating structure of those fees is needed in the event that additional production places a greater burden on infrastructure and local services, the head of a county association said.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Nuclear, Fracking Decisions on Tap for New U.K. Energy Secretary Industry and environmental groups praise Amber Rudd ahead of decisions that other nations will be watching
Wall Street Journal
Selina Williams

LONDON—The U.K.’s new energy secretary, Amber Rudd, drew praise from both the oil-and-gas industry and green lobby groups ahead of decisions on the nuclear industry and hydraulic fracturing that other nations will be watching.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Fracking science: Why oil and gas extraction is causing earthquakes
Raw Story


If you’ve been following the news lately, chances are you’ve heard about – or even felt – earthquakes in the central United States. During the past five years, there has been an unprecedented increase in earthquakes in the North American mid-continent, a region previously considered one of the most stable on Earth. According to a recent report by the Oklahoma Geological Survey, Oklahoma alone has seen seismicity rates increase 600 times compared to historic levels.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Stokes County town could be first fracking site in region
Bakken
Taft Wireback

WALNUT COVE – These days, the Piedmont Triad’s debate over hydraulic fracturing centers on a chunk of ground just a few inches wide at the edge of this small Stokes County town. State officials plan to drill a “core hole” that size deep into the rock formation under a piece of land the town owns along a rutted, dirt road on the perimeter of a suburban neighborhood.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
House lawmakers take another swipe at Denton fracking ban
Trail Blazers Blog
Marissa Barnettand & James Osborne

AUSTIN—House lawmakers took another swipe at the Denton fracking ban Monday by approving legislation to bar cities from holding an election on citizen petitions that would restrict a person’s use of their mineral or other private property rights for economic gain.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
UK Conservative Government Vows To Support Shale Gas, Fracking
London South East


LONDON (Alliance News) - The Conservative party has vowed to support the shale gas and fracking industry in the UK, especially in the north of England in the wake of the party's election victory last Friday, despite public and political opposition as the party tries to improve the UK energy industry.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Local authorities have a say on fracking, according to Virginia’s attorney general
Shale Energy Insider
James Perkins

Local authorities are able to restrict or ban fracking in Virginia, according to the state’s attorney general, who expressed this view in an advisory opinion. Attorney General Mark Herring issued the notice after a request from Senator Richard Stuart, whose district has a rich shale gas basin.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
The Chemistry of Waters that Follow from Fracking: A Case Study
USGS
Press Release

In a study of 13 hydraulically fractured shale gas wells in north-central Pennsylvania, USGS researchers found that the microbiology and organic chemistry of the produced waters varied widely from well to well.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Truck driver sues after he’s burned by secret chemicals in drilling company’s ‘harmless’ fracking water
Raw Story
David Edwards

West Virginia truck driver has filed a lawsuit against Range Resources after he was burned by water used for fracking that the company told him was harmless. According to a complaint obtained by the Observer-Reporter, Russell Evans had stopped at a “sloppy bond” used to store reused frack water when he noticed that his truck was leaking in May of 2013.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Denton frack ban spawns another bill that limits city petitions
Dallas Businss Journal
Nicholas Sakelaris

Another bill that quashes city frack bans passed the Texas House of Representatives and is heading to the Texas Senate. House Bill 2595 would prohibit cities from validating petitions that would restrict the right of any person to use or access private property for economic gain.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
EARTHQUAKES: Hamm says he wasn't pressuring Okla. scientist, but seeking information
EE News
Mike Soraghan

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Continental Resources Inc. founder, chairman and CEO Harold Hamm says he wasn't trying to bully Oklahoma's state seismologist when he sought a meeting in 2013, but simply trying to learn what proof the scientist had for saying hydraulic fracturing was causing earthquakes.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Recovery notwithstanding, expect low oil prices to be the new normal
The Globe and Mail
Bessma Momani

International oil prices have reached a six-month high after a devastating plunge, but Canada’s energy sector is still bracing for what the newly elected NDP government in Alberta might bring. The TSX dropped as Canada’s energy titans took a hit after the election, but global money managers, hedge funds and markets are still generally happy to reap a bit of good news about international oil prices. Canadian markets might be confused, but low oil prices will be the new normal – and it’s not because of politics.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Journal Says Energy Company Paid Syracuse Professor for Fracking Study
Chronicle
Andy Thomason

A Syracuse University professor was paid by Chesapeake Energy, an oil-and-natural-gas company, to produce a study that reflected favorably on the controversial petroleum-extraction process known as fracking, The Post-Standard reports.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Rudd in U.K. Energy Post Signals No Backtrack on Climate
Bloomberg
Alex Morales & Louise Downing

Amber Rudd was named to serve as the U.K. Cabinet minister in charge of energy and climate, easing concerns that the Conservative government would quickly backtrack on pledges to reduce fossil-fuel pollution.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Climate Denial Takes a Toll on Scientists—and Science
Inside Climate News
Katherine Bagley

When scientists spend time refuting denialist theories, they add credence to their antagonists' campaigns, study says. Climate denial campaigns have helped slow the public's acceptance of man-made climate change and delay political action for years, but a new study published last Thursday finds these contrarian arguments have also had an impact on climate scientists.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Drillers Answer Low Oil Prices With Cost-Saving Innovations
The New York Times
CLIFFORD KRAUSS

KENEDY, Tex. — These are lean days in the South Texas oil patch, with once-bustling roads and hotels now empty as the price of oil has plunged and rig after rig now sitting idle. Still, production has barely declined, a testament to the rapid gains that oil producers are making in coaxing ever more oil from older wells and the few new wells they are still drilling — and doing both while investing far less money. The Norwegian oil giant Statoil, for instance, is experimenting here in the Eagle Ford shale field with a host of new drilling tools and techniques. It is trying out different grades of sand to blast along with water and chemicals to better loosen the hard rock deep underground and increase a well’s production, and varying the depths of wells to squeeze out even more oil. It is using new well chokes that technicians can operate remotely from a computer or even a smartphone to quickly adjust flows to maximize production without overtaxing pipelines.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Week ahead: Senate panel launches energy reform effort
The Hill
Timothy Cama

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will formally kick off its efforts toward comprehensive energy policy reform next week, while the House Energy and Commerce Committee continues its own reform efforts. The Senate Energy panel will host a hearing Thursday on 17 bills that Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said this week could make up a comprehensive package. The bills range in subject from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to hydropower, electric reliability and methane production.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Iowa landowner claims he was offered prostitute by oil pipeline company rep
KCRG.com
Erin Murphy, Gazette-Lee Des Moines Bureau

DES MOINES — A southeast Iowa landowner claims he was offered the services of a prostitute in exchange for allowing a crude oil pipeline to go through his property. Hughie Tweedy of rural Montrose told reporters Monday that a regional representative of Dakota Access LLC on three separate occasions offered “the sexual services of a woman” if Tweedy would allow the pipeline to run through his property. A Dakota Access representative said the company is looking into the allegations. Dakota Access, a subsidiary of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, wants to construct a 1,134-mile pipeline to carry crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. The $3.8 billion pipeline would span 343 miles and 18 counties in Iowa, from the state’s northwest corner to the southeast corner. Tweedy said he does not want the pipeline to run through his property, and as a self-described Libertarian, he does not think the government should force him to acquiesce via eminent domain. Tweedy said he has expressed his position multiple times to Dakota Access officials. Tweedy said the company’s regional representative offered “a $1,200 teenage prostitute” in exchange for his cooperation.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Pipeline Should Be Scrapped After Indian Point Incident, Puglisi Says
Cortlandt Daily Voice


WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi said the Spectra Energy gas pipeline should not proceed as planned since it will pass so close to Indian Point Energy Center, the power plant where a transformer fire occurred Saturday. "The incident is another reason why the recently approved Spectra natural gas line by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should not be allowed to go forward," Puglisi said in a statement, "especially since it's been rerouted only a few hundred feet from Indian Point and these nuclear plants. "What if this explosion and fire had been in close proximity to this new expanded gas line. It could have been a disaster."  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Bill would exempt pipeline companies from FOIA requests
Times Herald
Beth LeBlanc

A bill introduced last week in the state House would make it harder for residents in St. Clair County to obtain information on pipelines running under their communities. House Bill 4540 would exempt information about existing and proposed energy infrastructure from disclosure under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. The bill would exempt information that "could be useful to a person in planning an attack."  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Cyclists dazzled by pipeline route's beauty
News Leader
Patricia Borns

WEST AUGUSTA— Kendall King is the first to admit she’s not necessarily the outdoors type. “Most of us are activists, not athletes," said King, a University of Virginia freshman who set out from Braley Pond Road on Saturday to bike the Atlantic Coast Pipeline route through Virginia with other members of the state’s Student Environmental Coalition. “It was an incredible day, half sunny, half cloudy. Everywhere we turned we had a new scenic outlook,” King said. Coming from mostly urban schools, some of the cyclists on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Resistance Ride had never seen land so pristine. Pitching camp next to Jack and Mary Wilson’s home alongside George Washington National Forest, they got their first lesson from the couple on human impact on plant and animal life. The Wilsons, who hope to open a refurbished White’s Wayside this summer, showed them American Chestnut saplings that will never make it to maturity because of a blight that befell the trees 100 years ago. They spoke of their declining bat population and white-tailed deer, both plagued by diseases that spread as species migrate to avoid human disruptions like logging trucks — or pipeline construction.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
U.S. Will Allow Drilling for Oil in Arctic Ocean
NY Times
Coral Davenport

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Monday gave conditional approval to allow Shell to start drilling for oil off the Alaskan coast this summer, a major victory for the petroleum industry and a devastating blow to environmentalists. The decision adds a complex new chapter to the legacy of President Obama, who has pursued the most ambitious environmental agenda of any president but has sought to balance those moves by opening up untouched federal waters to new oil and gas drilling. Shell has sought for years to drill in the icy waters of the Chukchi Sea.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Rising tide of opposition to pipelines, other natural gas projects
LancasterOnline
Gil Smart

It's not just Lancaster County where new infrastructure to transport natural gas is generating opposition - even protests. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, has moved its regular monthly meeting up a week due to anticipated protests outside FERC headquarters in Washington D.C., NGI's Daily Gas Price Index reports. The commission will now meet on May 14 instead of the originally scheduled date of May 21 in an attempt to sidestep protests being organized by a group called Beyond Extreme Energy, or BXE, which staged a week-long series of protests outside FERC headquarters last year.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Transformer Fire at Indian Point Raises More Questions About AIM Pipeline Siting By Assemblywoman SANDY GALEF
Yonkers Tribune


ALBANY, NY – May 11, 2015 — This Saturday’s transformer fire at the Indian Point Energy Center is a reminder that we must be extremely vigilant with safety protections and oversight at this facility. Over the past few months, I have actively opposed the siting of the 42? high pressure AIM gas pipeline near the nuclear power plant. I am well aware that there are numerous safety protections in place at Indian Point, with back-ups upon back-ups. In fact, transformer fires do happen and the plant did take appropriate actions to deal with this one.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Oil waste doesn’t belong in California’s water supply
San Francisco Chronicle
Editorial

It’s time to stop temporizing about a bureaucratic foul-up that threatens underwater water supplies across a swath of California’s oil fields. Two environmental groups are going to court, demanding Sacramento ban the practice of pumping drilling wastes into the earth where the fluids can taint drinking supplies. In a drought-damaged state, the situation is mind boggling. Due to a mix up, federal and state authorities have allowed oil firms to inject left over drilling run-off back underground to get rid of it. When the problem was finally noticed, the state moved to shut down 23 injection wells but allowed hundreds more to operate for another two years while health studies are done.  [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
Start-up company eyes West Texas opportunities
MRT.com
Mella McEwen

New companies continue to be drawn to Permian Basin oil fields, with founders saying low oil prices open up opportunities to snap up assets and develop them at lower costs. Luxe Energy LLC is one such start-up, having closed on a $500 million private equity financing commitment with Natural Gas Partners. The company is now looking for opportunities in West Texas.   [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
Widely-Used Tool Can Lowball Methane Pollution Rates, Scientists Report, With Huge Implications for Climate Policy
DeSmogBlog
Sharon Kelly

An EPA-approved methane sampler widely used to measure gas leaks from oil and gas operations nationwide can dramatically under-report how much methane is leaking into the atmosphere, a team of researchers reported in a peer-reviewed paper published in March. The researchers, one of whom first designed the underlying technology used by the sampler, warn that results from improperly calibrated machines could severely understate the amount of methane leaking from the country’s oil and gas wells, pipelines, and other infrastructure. “It could be a big deal,” study co-author Amy Townsend-Small, a geology professor at the University of Cincinnati, told Inside Climate News, adding that it’s not yet clear how often the machine returned bad results, in part because figuring out whether there’s an error would have required using a different kind of device to independently test gas concentrations at the time levels were originally recorded.  [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
Groups to converge on Capitol seeking action on earthquakes
Tulsa World
Barbara Hoberock

OKLAHOMA CITY – A group of organizations is calling on Gov. Mary Fallin to sign a proposed executive order for a moratorium on injection wells in 16 counties that have seen an increase in earthquakes.   [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
Stokes County town could be first fracking site in region
News & Record
Taft Wireback

WALNUT COVE — These days, the Piedmont Triad’s debate over hydraulic fracturing centers on a chunk of ground just a few inches wide at the edge of this small Stokes County town. State officials plan to drill a “core hole” that size deep into the rock formation under a piece of land the town owns along a rutted, dirt road on the perimeter of a suburban neighborhood.  [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
Einhorn's Fracking Concerns Are Nothing New, But They Matter For Investors (Part 1)
Seeking Alpha
Opinion

As most investors are aware, David Einhorn recently presented his concerns about the poor economics of U.S. shale production at the Sohn conference. ...While I think Einhorn should be commended for going against the grain and highlighting the problems in the industry, there really was nothing groundbreaking in his presentation.  [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
Researchers: Fracking Responsible for 4.0-Magnitude Texas Earthquake
Sputnik News


A 4.0-magnitude earthquake rocked Northern Texas on Thursday as one of the most powerful earthquakes to strike the region since November 2013. Now, some scientists are speculating whether fracking, the controversial oil-drilling method, is responsible for this seismic activity.   [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
Tory victory a huge blow to UK green energy industry, campaigners warn
Independent
Tom Bawden

The Conservative election victory has dealt a severe blow to Britain’s green energy industry, campaigners have warned, as the new majority government prepares to scrap crucial subsidies for renewable power; champion the development of polluting shale gas; and make significant cuts to spending.   [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
OUR VIEW: RETREAT ON HIKE OF FRACKING TAX NOT IN INTEREST OF OHIO CITIZENS
Hudson Hub Times
Opinion

An Ohio House vote that eliminates Gov. John Kasich's proposal to raise the state's tax on oil and gas generated by fracking is said to be a response to an industry lately depressed by the falling price of both. And yet, as the governor has often pointed out, Ohio's current 1 percent tax on oil and 3 cent tax per thousand cubit fee of natural gas is one of the lowest in the nation. Even with his proposed tax increases, it would remain one of the lowest.   [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
In Pennsylvania, Fracking Is Most Likely To Occur In Poor Communities
UK Progressive


Whether the industry is responsible or not, new research makes it clear: If you see a fracking site in Pennsylvania, chances are it’s in a poor, rural community. In a study published in the June issue of Applied Geography, Clark University scientists showed that when it comes to potential pollution exposure from fracking, “the poor are the most affected population group.”   [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
Judge orders Greenpeace to stay away from drill ships
Economic Times


ANCHORAGE (ALASKA): A federal judge has ordered Greenpeace protesters to stay away from Royal Dutch Shell PLC ships. US District Court Judge Sharon Gleason also prohibited Greenpeace yesterday from flying unmanned vehicles over the offshore Arctic area where Shell plans to drill.   [Full Story]

May 9, 2015
Fracking’s impact on air quality in Carroll County? More studies needed
Times Reporter
Jon Baker

WHY IT MATTERS: More than 1,800 horizontal natural gas wells have been permitted in Ohio since 2006, but until the University of Cincinnati and Oregon State University conducted a study in Carroll County in 2014, no studies had been done to determine the impact that natural gas drilling has on air quality.  [Full Story]

May 9, 2015