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A Quick Whirl Around the Fracking World: 18 Sep 2014

 

A Quick Whirl Around the Fracking World

*USA. Are you ready? The People’s Climate March is set to go on Sunday, September 21st, at 11:30 am in Central Park West, New York City. Why’s it so important? See here and here, for example. If you’re able to go, you just might bump into UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, too.

*Worldwide. New major report to show that “the necessary fixes” for tackling global warming “could wind up being effectively free.”

*Worldwide. The World Resources Institute reports that “many places with water scarcity are using too much of their resources on fracking,” including Algeria, China, Egypt, India, Libya, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa and the USA. Strong recommendations: “water risk assessments before drilling, increased transparency of fracking company actions, cooperation between companies and governments and lowering freshwater use in fracking.

“Worldwide. A sudden drop in the global demand for oil is ‘nothing short of remarkable’” says the International Energy Agency. Reasons: US oil consumption has fallen, there are “pronounced declines in Japanese power sector demand,” and Europe’s growth is weakening. Meanwhile, US and OPEC output “continue to surge”, and we know what that mean$.

*Worldwide. Projections of how soon the world will have exhausted various resources, including oil. Is there a Plan B?

*USA. Rice University researchers studied fracking-produced water in TX’s Eagle Ford, NM’s Barnett and PA’s Marcellus Shales. Findings: fracking-produced water “contained potentially toxic chlorocarbons and organobromides;” chlorine dioxide or hypochlorite used to treat the water “can actually enhance” conversion of “hydrocarbons to chlorocarbons and organobromides;” fracking-produced water contained six inorganic chemicals “that would make the water unsafe to drink.” More results here.

*USA. Research shows that fracking for natural gas results in about 5% of methane leaking into the atmosphere. Some of the leakage seems to occur during the fracking process; inability to effectively seal wells is another culprit—“all wells leak.”

*USA. Two sites with specific information re corporate $s donated to politicians: Open Secrets and Forecast the Facts.

*USA. Refreshing to note interest in the health impacts of oil and gas fracking on workers: the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reveals that some fracking industry workers “are routinely exposed to high levels of benzene”, a cancer-causing gas. Sad to say, the amounts of benzene NIOSH recorded are below “the far higher limit . . . set by” OSHA.

*USA. Earthworks is also interested in whatever is in those fracking fluids (currently “trade secrets”), is pushing for US Environmental Protection Agency to disclose what chemicals are involved.

*USA. Concerns about possible  illegal use of diesel fuel in fracking have surfaced, involving “at least 33 companies fracking at least 351 wells in 12 states . . . from 2010 through early August 2014”—AR, CO, KS, MT, ND, NM, OK, PA, TX, UT, WV, WY. Industry spokespersons blamed data recording mistakes.

*USA. How to make yourself feel better (or not). An Oil Train Blast Zone interactive website that’ll show you are close you are “to a disaster waiting to happen”.

*CA. And here comes roarin’  Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who’s so sure that the US Department of Transportation is gonna con us all about global warming “theory” that he opposes a proposed rule making it illegal for an freight train carrying crude oil “to be left unattended on main or side tracks that are located near rail yards ‘unless specific requirements are followed.’”

*CO. Fracking has intruded on the governor’s race, with incumbent John Hickenlooper (D) maneuvering to strike an anti-fracking initiative from the ballot which “some Democrats feared could spur a backlash” against him (of course, it could have spurred some support for him, too).

*CO and NM. US Geological Survey scientists “have found evidence ‘directly linking’” increased earthquakes in CO and NM “to wastewater injections” deep underground. The filthy water “is migrating along dormant fault lines, changing their state of stress, and causing them to fail.”

*KY. Gas pipeline explosion in Oldham County resulted in injuries to three workers, limited evacuation.

*LA. A Chevron worker was killed and others injured while providing maintenance on a gas pipeline off the LA coastline. The pipeline was shut down, an investigation is underway.

*MI. Explosion, followed by “a geyser of mud and dirt 200 feet” high, on a portion of Trans Canada’s Canada-Texas gas pipeline in Berrien County led to the evacuation of about 500 people for  10 – 12 hours. The farmer on whose property the blast occurred said he was told by Trans Canada that his 3-acre potato crop was ruined due to contamination.

*MO. Thanks to a public records request, Missourians now know about 10 Union Pacific oil  trains, each hauling 1 million+ gallons of oil, roll through three southeastern counties weekly, and that Warren Buffett’s BNSF Railway has “up to nine oil trains a week” going through 34 Missouri counties—including St. Louis and Jackson (Kansas City) Counties. For its part, Kansas City Southern Railway is planning to move about five trains a month from Kansas City to TX.

*ND. Fascinating. The US Department of Transportation to extend testing of ND Bakken Oil in train cars by “using what is known as a syringe cylinder that better detects flammable gas”, as recommended by ASTM. Our DOT is interested in determining if “Bakken fuel is more gas-packed and volatile than other fuel” which has major implications for the type of tank cars that should be used.  Reaction from industry spokesperson: “It’s a red herring.” Tell that to the people in Lac-Megantic, Quebec.

*ND. 500 barrels of water plus three barrels of oil have been contained after a “spill” somewhere “in the state’s northwest corner” due, perhaps to “a tank overflow.” They’re  working on it.

*PA. The US Department of Energy studied the impact of fracking chemicals on drinking water “at a site in western Pennsylvania” and found the “chemical-laced fluids used to free gas stayed about 5,000 feet below drinking water supplies.”

*PA, OH, WVChevron is the first “to meet a new set of voluntary shale gas drilling standards” that exceed state laws. So, when do they become mandatory?

*PA.  Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition is providing “a primer” on confronting gas pipelines, focused now on Luzerne County where four pipeline projects are underway. Even the Public Service Electricity & Gas is involved.

*WA. Officials in Skagit County are willing to let an oil-train facility proposed for a Shell refinery in  Anacortes  move forward “without a serious review of the risks.”  Six environmental groups are appealing the decision.

*Canada.  “CBC Calgary is teaming up with United States public broadcaster—American Abroad Media—for a very special discussion about pipelines [including the Keystone XL] and energy security” before live audiences in Calgary and Lincoln, NE.  Monday, Sep 22nd; see link.

*England. South Downs National Park Authority “unanimously [turned down] an application by Celtique Energie to undertake exploratory drilling [for shale oil] as a precursor to fracking at Fernhurst in West Sussex.” Opponents celebrated outside; Celtique Energie to appeal.

*Germany. Success for a sustained effort in Germany “to find a solution to global warming. And towering symbols of that drive are appearing in the middle of the North Sea.” Major progress, great video in article.

*Russia.  The Moscow Times is blaming sanctions “imposed by the European Union and the U.S. on Moscow last week” for cancellation of oil service companies’ operations in Russia.

*Planet Earth. Neil Young:  “We need to end the fossil fuel age and move into something better.”

CommunityMy FDL

A Quick Whirl Around the Fracking World: 18 Sep 2014

 

A Quick Whirl Around the Fracking World

*USA. Are you ready? The People’s Climate March is set to go on Sunday, September 21st, at 11:30 am in Central Park West, New York City. Why’s it so important? See here and here, for example. If you’re able to go, you just might bump into UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, too.

*Worldwide. New major report to show that “the necessary fixes” for tackling global warming “could wind up being effectively free.”

*Worldwide. The World Resources Institute reports that “many places with water scarcity are using too much of their resources on fracking,” including Algeria, China, Egypt, India, Libya, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa and the USA. Strong recommendations: “water risk assessments before drilling, increased transparency of fracking company actions, cooperation between companies and governments and lowering freshwater use in fracking.

“Worldwide. A sudden drop in the global demand for oil is ‘nothing short of remarkable’” says the International Energy Agency. Reasons: US oil consumption has fallen, there are “pronounced declines in Japanese power sector demand,” and Europe’s growth is weakening. Meanwhile, US and OPEC output “continue to surge”, and we know what that mean$.

*Worldwide. Projections of how soon the world will have exhausted various resources, including oil. Is there a Plan B?

*USA. Rice University researchers studied fracking-produced water in TX’s Eagle Ford, NM’s Barnett and PA’s Marcellus Shales. Findings: fracking-produced water “contained potentially toxic chlorocarbons and organobromides;” chlorine dioxide or hypochlorite used to treat the water “can actually enhance” conversion of “hydrocarbons to chlorocarbons and organobromides;” fracking-produced water contained six inorganic chemicals “that would make the water unsafe to drink.” More results here.

*USA. Research shows that fracking for natural gas results in about 5% of methane leaking into the atmosphere. Some of the leakage seems to occur during the fracking process; inability to effectively seal wells is another culprit—“all wells leak.”

*USA. Two sites with specific information re corporate $s donated to politicians: Open Secrets and Forecast the Facts.

*USA. Refreshing to note interest in the health impacts of oil and gas fracking on workers: the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reveals that some fracking industry workers “are routinely exposed to high levels of benzene”, a cancer-causing gas. Sad to say, the amounts of benzene NIOSH recorded are below “the far higher limit . . . set by” OSHA.

*USA. Earthworks is also interested in whatever is in those fracking fluids (currently “trade secrets”), is pushing for US Environmental Protection Agency to disclose what chemicals are involved.

*USA. Concerns about possible  illegal use of diesel fuel in fracking have surfaced, involving “at least 33 companies fracking at least 351 wells in 12 states . . . from 2010 through early August 2014”—AR, CO, KS, MT, ND, NM, OK, PA, TX, UT, WV, WY. Industry spokespersons blamed data recording mistakes.

*USA. How to make yourself feel better (or not). An Oil Train Blast Zone interactive website that’ll show you are close you are “to a disaster waiting to happen”.

*CA. And here comes roarin’  Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who’s so sure that the US Department of Transportation is gonna con us all about global warming “theory” that he opposes a proposed rule making it illegal for an freight train carrying crude oil “to be left unattended on main or side tracks that are located near rail yards ‘unless specific requirements are followed.’”

*CO. Fracking has intruded on the governor’s race, with incumbent John Hickenlooper (D) maneuvering to strike an anti-fracking initiative from the ballot which “some Democrats feared could spur a backlash” against him (of course, it could have spurred some support for him, too).

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