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A Quick Whirl Around The Fracking World: 9 Oct 2014

A Quick Whirl Around The Fracking World

*USA.  When a question like this is the headline in a popular US news mag—“Will Fracking Fizzle?  The future of the ‘shale revolution’ hinges on the adoption of best practices as industry norms”—it makes one wonder if we might be turning a corner on this dirty business.  Several items below reinforce the possibility, at least for this week.

*USA.  Does use of natural gas actually reduce CO2 significantly?  Does use of natural gas actually make it a “bridge fuel”, hence slowing development of the renewables?  Recent study from UC Irvine addresses these issues.

*USA.  Joe Nocero of the NYT:  “Methane emissions are fracking’s Achilles heel.”  When methane leaks, and it does, “it is 84 to 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over a 20-year span.”  Can methane be reduced “with technology that exists at fairly minimal costs”?  Indeed, “adding methane emission regulation could well get us over the goal line” to 17% reductions in greenhouse gasses by 2020.

*USA.  Both the Association of American Railroads and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association objected to a recent Department of Transportation rule that requires railroads to notify authorities “when trains carrying 1 million or more gallons . . . of Bakken crude oil will pass through their communities.”  The Federal Railroad Administration rejected their arguments.  Video.

*USA.  Does homeowners insurance cover damages related to fracking?  In some states, such as TX, there’s a “big body of law” that covers the issue; in many other states, there’s very little. Homeowners in those states “face changing landscapes—and changing risks.”

*CA. “California Finally to Reap Fracking’s Riches” as oil corps envision building terminals sufficient to move 500,000 barrels of oil daily through the state.  There are also plans to ship Bakken crude on barges down the Columbia River to the Pacific, and then to CA ports.

*CA.  Those “fracking riches” are already showing up.  “Almost 3 billion gallons of oil industry wastewater have been illegally dumped into central California aquifers that supply drinking water and farming irrigation . . . through at least nine injection disposal wells”.  We’re talking arsenic, thallium, nitrates, possibly benzene, toluene and other toxins.  Strictly illegal under federal and state law.

*CA.  More “fracking riches”:  Vintage Production California and Occidental of Elk Hills have been fined $476,784 by the state “for illegally sending [nearly 80,000 gallons of] salty fluids and drilling wastes into unlined pits, including fluids from controversial hydraulic fracturing.”  Vintage was fined $60,000 in 2013 “for a similar discharge in Kern [County].”  A local farmer has  filed suit against “several oil companies”, claiming the salty water destroyed his cherry orchard.

More after the jump

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A Quick Whirl Around The Fracking World: 9 Oct 2014

A Quick Whirl Around The Fracking World

*USA.  When a question like this is the headline in a popular US news mag—“Will Fracking Fizzle?  The future of the ‘shale revolution’ hinges on the adoption of best practices as industry norms”—it makes one wonder if we might be turning a corner on this dirty business.  Several items below reinforce the possibility, at least for this week.

*USA.  Does use of natural gas actually reduce CO2 significantly?  Does use of natural gas actually make it a “bridge fuel”, hence slowing development of the renewables?  Recent study from UC Irvine addresses these issues.

*USA.  Joe Nocero of the NYT:  “Methane emissions are fracking’s Achilles heel.”  When methane leaks, and it does, “it is 84 to 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over a 20-year span.”  Can methane be reduced “with technology that exists at fairly minimal costs”?  Indeed, “adding methane emission regulation could well get us over the goal line” to 17% reductions in greenhouse gasses by 2020.

*USA.  Both the Association of American Railroads and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association objected to a recent Department of Transportation rule that requires railroads to notify authorities “when trains carrying 1 million or more gallons . . . of Bakken crude oil will pass through their communities.”  The Federal Railroad Administration rejected their arguments.  Video.

*USA.  Does homeowners insurance cover damages related to fracking?  In some states, such as TX, there’s a “big body of law” that covers the issue; in many other states, there’s very little. Homeowners in those states “face changing landscapes—and changing risks.”

*CA. “California Finally to Reap Fracking’s Riches” as oil corps envision building terminals sufficient to move 500,000 barrels of oil daily through the state.  There are also plans to ship Bakken crude on barges down the Columbia River to the Pacific, and then to CA ports.

*CA.  Those “fracking riches” are already showing up.  “Almost 3 billion gallons of oil industry wastewater have been illegally dumped into central California aquifers that supply drinking water and farming irrigation . . . through at least nine injection disposal wells”.  We’re talking arsenic, thallium, nitrates, possibly benzene, toluene and other toxins.  Strictly illegal under federal and state law.

*CA.  More “fracking riches”:  Vintage Production California and Occidental of Elk Hills have been fined $476,784 by the state “for illegally sending [nearly 80,000 gallons of] salty fluids and drilling wastes into unlined pits, including fluids from controversial hydraulic fracturing.”  Vintage was fined $60,000 in 2013 “for a similar discharge in Kern [County].”  A local farmer has  filed suit against “several oil companies”, claiming the salty water destroyed his cherry orchard.

*CA.  (more…)

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