CommunityFDL Main Blog

Mining & Fracking Whirl: 17 Feb 2015

Rachel Madow on Pipelines and Absence of Pipeline Inspectors

*Worldwide. Continuous counting widget shows how much heat, measured in “Hiroshima atomic bombs” equivalences, is being generated. Downloadable.

*USA. Off the coast of New England, sea surface temperatures “are flashing red, sowing an extreme warm anomaly.” That’s a direct, immediate link to the recent record snowfall in Boston. Expect more.

*Worldwide. A “government-sponsored scientific panel” is discussing “technologies to deliberately intervene in nature to counter climate change.” “[D]rastically reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases” is the goal, but there’s no general agreement on how to get there. The “U.S. intelligence community” is involved, too. Update: An expert weighs in on “immoral, and barking mad” strategies and lays out a jarring scenario. Update: Rutgers University scientist has raised the specter of intelligence services funding research in this area, with emphasis on weaponizing such technologies.

*USA. As more military brass speak of climate change in ominous, national security terms, it’s increasingly awkward for right-wing, military-loving politicians to continue in their state of denial. Major challenges of the coming chaos, particularly to the US.

*Worldwide. The International Energy Agency (IEA) announced last Tuesday that global inventories of oil will remain high for a while. Right on cue, prices dropped—to $50.02/barrel US and $56.43/barrel Brent. Today, Brent’s at $60.93 and US $51.48.

*Worldwide. Breaking up with fossil fuels: so hard to do?

*Worldwide. “By next year, nearly half of global GDP will be covered by cap-and-trade programs.” Imperfect, but a beginning.

*USA. Transporting crude oil by train in the old DOT-111 cars is so dangerous they’re called “bomb trains”. There are 80,000 of the old DOT-111 tank cars in use, 23,000 of which don’t even have “a protective steel layer”. The US Dept of Transportation says pertinent draft regulations are on the way, on the way, on the way . . .

*USA. That the FBI has contacted some anti-frackers in the Northwest has come to the attention of the sage Charles Pierce.

*USA. Safety is a big factor in the United Steelworkers’ strike. According to one union member and oil refinery worker: “We don’t want to be exposed to potentially fatal hazards unnecessarily. That’s why we’ve organised the largest strike since 1980 to demand worker safety.” Dramatic descriptions of Gulf Coast refineries’ conditions.

*USA. Keystone XL pipeline and that big “Money Pipeline Flowing Between U.S. Congress And Big Oil.” Only $58.8 million since 2013.

*USA. What an idea! Solar arrays on top of our schools (3,752 schools with almost 2.7 million K-12 students already participate). Sure, schools save money with solar, but also students can learn about the process and technology, and better health should result as coal-fired electricity is replaced.

*AK. The US Bureau of Land Management and the US Army Corps of Engineers have joined forces to ensure ”oil and gas production from federal lands in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.” ConocoPhillips Alaska “is to provide $8 million for a mitigation fund that would be used to offset impacts to habitat and subsistence resources and develop a regional plan.”

*AK. Latest in the Pebble Mine struggle: Will the US Environmental Protection Agency block a foreign company, Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd, from mining a “mile-thick layer of virgin ore” that contains $120 billion of gold? Or will it preserve the area, “Spawning ground for the planet’s biggest runs of sockeye salmon” and the undisturbed ecological balance of the place?

*AK. AML Ship Management GMBH and its chief engineer dumped some “4500 gallons of oily bilge water south of the Aleutian Islands”. They’ll plead guilty to violating federal clean water law.

*CA. Stunning state-wide fracking waste water test results: “concentrations of the human carcinogen benzene . . . [at] levels thousands of times greater than state and federal agencies consider safe.” ‘Significant’ benzene levels were in 98% of the water samples. Not only that, but CA “inadvertently” allowed frackers to inject their “flowback water into protected aquifers containing drinking water.” LA Times says “halt new operations”.

*IL. Hmmm. Mayor Rahm Emanuel “has denied [a request by Charles and David Koch’s KCBX Terminal Company] for another 14 months to enclose massive piles of petcoke, the ugly byproduct of the oil refinery process that has coated Chicago’s Southeast side.”

*LA. The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East sued “scores of oil, gas and pipeline companies” in 2013, claiming damages “over erosion of the state’s fragile coast. A US District Judge threw the case out Friday. But a lawyer for the Authority doesn’t think that’s the end of it.

*NE. Holt County District Judge Mark Kozisek “has halted condemnation of private land for the Keystone XL pipeline, while new legal challenges to the project make their way through the courts.” 70 landowners had filed suit to block TransCanada, a foreign company, “using eminent domain for private gain.”

*OH.Local governments cannot regulate fracking” according to the Ohio Supreme Court. The state has “exclusive authority” over fracking. Great quotes from dissenting judges at the link.

*PA. Natural gas extraction is headed for taxation, if Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has his way, with those tax dollars used to fund the state’s schools.

*TX. “The Texas Supreme Court . . . rejected BP’s $750 million insurance claim for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 people and spewed millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.”

*VT. Burlington, pop 42,000, is the first US city to be “run entirely on renewable electricity”—hydro, biomass, solar and wind.

*WI.A 42-inch pipeline buried beneath every major waterway in Wisconsin would dwarf the volume of gritty. chemical-laced sludge carried by Keystone XL when it amps up operation next year.” This is Enridge’s pipeline, bringing oil from the Alberta tarsands. Map at link.

*WV. One house set afire as crude-carrying oil train derailed, sending some cars into the Kanawha River in Fayette County. Tank cars exploded, water intake at treatment plants closed. A portion of the river in flames. “At least 14 cars were affected”. “100s displaced”, water conservation underway, schools and community centers used as shelter. Train came from ND. See here, here, here, and here.

*Canada. Oil train from Alberta to eastern Canada derailed in northern Ontario and burst into flames in a “remote wooded area”.

*Panama. Wow! New law bans “construction on a 210,000-acre stretch of the wetlands along the Bay of Panama . . . [and] prohibits logging, the removal of soil, and any other activity that may aversely affect the mangrove swamps”.

*Peru. Oil contamination by Argentina’s Pluspetrol in the Peruvian Amazon so upset indigenous people that they “stormed a military base being used by Pluspetrol as a storage area.” Pluspetrol is packing up and leaving Peru—and the government “is investigating the illegal use of firearms by police during the demonstrations.”

*Peru. Maxima Acuña de Chaupe is now up against the Peruvian national police and the Yanacocha gold mine security forces which allegedly destroyed the foundation of the house her family was building. A guardhouse has been installed smack dab up against her property, complete with a herd of alpacas. Yanacocha mine is owned by Newmont Mining Corporation of CO and Buenaventura of Peru.

*Brazil. Now that Big Ag and extractive industries (legal and illegal) have denuded large swaths of what was the Amazon Rainforest, cleared areas will be scanned by drones to search for evidence of ancient civilizations. {More}

CommunityMyFDL Front Page

Mining & Fracking Whirl: 17 Feb 2015

Rachel Madow on Pipelines and Absence of Pipeline Inspectors

*WorldwideContinuous counting widget shows how much heat, measured in “Hiroshima atomic bombs” equivalences, is being generated. Downloadable.

*USA.  Off the coast of New England, sea surface temperatures “are flashing red, sowing an extreme warm anomaly.”  That’s a direct, immediate link to the recent record snowfall in Boston.  Expect more.

*Worldwide.  A “government-sponsored scientific panel” is discussing “technologies to deliberately intervene in nature to counter climate change.”  “[D]rastically reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases” is the goal, but there’s no general agreement on how to get there.  The “U.S. intelligence community” is involved, too.  Update: An expert weighs in on “immoral, and barking mad” strategies and lays out a jarring scenario.   Update:   Rutgers University scientist has raised the specter of intelligence services funding research in this area, with emphasis on weaponizing such technologies.

*USA.  As more military brass speak of climate change in ominous, national security terms, it’s increasingly awkward for right-wing, military-loving politicians to continue in their state of denial.  Major challenges of the coming chaos, particularly to the US.

*Worldwide.  The International Energy Agency (IEA) announced last Tuesday that global inventories of oil will remain high for a while.  Right on cue, prices dropped—to $50.02/barrel US and $56.43/barrel Brent.   Today, Brent’s at $60.93 and US $51.48.

*Worldwide.  Breaking up with fossil fuels: so hard to do?

*Worldwide.  “By next year, nearly half of global GDP will be covered by cap-and-trade programs.”  Imperfect, but a beginning.

*USA.  Transporting crude oil by train in the old DOT-111 cars is so dangerous they’re called “bomb trains”.  There are 80,000 of the old DOT-111 tank cars in use, 23,000 of which don’t even have “a protective steel layer”.  The US Dept of Transportation says pertinent draft regulations are on the way, on the way, on the way . . .

*USA.  That the FBI has contacted some anti-frackers in the Northwest has come to the attention of the sage  Charles Pierce.

*USA. Safety is a big factor in the United Steelworkers’ strike.  According to one union member  and oil refinery worker:  “We don’t want to be exposed to potentially fatal hazards unnecessarily.  That’s why we’ve organised the largest strike since 1980 to demand worker safety.”  Dramatic descriptions of Gulf Coast refineries’ conditions.

*USA.  Keystone XL pipeline and that big “Money Pipeline Flowing Between U.S. Congress And Big Oil.”  Only $58.8 million since 2013.

*USA.  What an idea!  Solar arrays on top of our schools (3,752 schools with almost 2.7 million K-12 students already participate).  Sure, schools save money with solar, but also students can learn about the process and technology, and better health should result as coal-fired electricity is replaced.

*AK.  The US Bureau of Land Management and the US Army Corps of Engineers have joined forces to ensure ”oil and gas production from federal lands in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.”  ConocoPhillips Alaska “is to provide $8 million for a mitigation fund that would be used to offset impacts to habitat and subsistence resources and develop a regional plan.”

*AK.  Latest in the Pebble Mine struggle:  Will the US Environmental Protection Agency block a foreign company, Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd, from mining a “mile-thick layer of virgin ore” that contains $120 billion of gold?  Or will it preserve the area, “Spawning ground for the planet’s biggest runs of sockeye salmon” and the undisturbed ecological balance of the place?

*AK.  AML Ship Management GMBH and its chief engineer dumped some “4500 gallons of oily bilge water south of the Aleutian Islands”.  They’ll plead guilty to violating federal clean water law.

*CA. Stunning state-wide fracking waste water test results: “concentrations of the human carcinogen benzene . . . [at] levels thousands of times greater than state and federal agencies consider safe.”  ‘Significant’ benzene levels were in 98% of the water samples.  Not only that, but CA “inadvertently” allowed frackers to inject their “flowback water into protected aquifers containing drinking water.”  LA Times says “halt new operations”.

*IL.  Hmmm. Mayor Rahm Emanuel “has denied [a request by Charles and David Koch’s KCBX Terminal Company] for another 14 months to enclose massive piles of petcoke, the ugly byproduct of the oil refinery process that has coated Chicago’s Southeast side.”

*LA.  The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East sued “scores of oil, gas and pipeline companies” in 2013, claiming damages “over erosion of the state’s fragile coast.  A US District Judge threw the case out Friday.  But a lawyer for the Authority doesn’t think that’s the end of it.

*NE.  Holt County District Judge Mark Kozisek “has halted condemnation of private land for the Keystone XL pipeline, while new legal challenges to the project make their way through the courts.”  70 landowners had filed suit to block TransCanada,  a foreign company, “using eminent domain for private gain.”

*OH.  “Local governments cannot regulate fracking” according to the Ohio Supreme Court.  The state has “exclusive authority” over fracking.  Great quotes from dissenting judges at the link.

*PA.  Natural gas extraction is headed for taxation, if Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has his way, with those tax dollars used to fund the state’s schools.

*TX.  “The Texas Supreme Court . . . rejected BP’s $750 million insurance claim for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 people and spewed millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.”

*VT.  Burlington, pop 42,000, is the first US city to be “run entirely on renewable electricity”—hydro, biomass, solar and wind.

*WI.  “A 42-inch pipeline buried beneath every major waterway in Wisconsin would dwarf the volume of gritty. chemical-laced sludge carried by Keystone XL when it amps up operation next year.”  This is Enridge’s pipeline,  bringing oil from the Alberta tarsands.  Map at link.

*WV.  One house set afire as crude-carrying oil train derailed, sending some cars into the Kanawha River in  Fayette County.  Tank cars exploded, water intake at treatment plants closed.  A portion of the river in flames.  “At least 14 cars were affected”.  “100s displaced”, water conservation underway, schools and community centers used as shelter.  Train came from ND.  See here, here, here, and here.

*Canada.  Oil train from Alberta to eastern Canada derailed in northern Ontario and burst into flames in a “remote wooded area”.

*Panama.  Wow!  New law bans “construction on a 210,000-acre stretch of the wetlands along the Bay of Panama . . . [and] prohibits logging, the removal of soil, and any other activity that may aversely affect the mangrove swamps”.

*Peru.  Oil contamination by Argentina’s Pluspetrol in the Peruvian Amazon so upset indigenous people that they “stormed a military base being used by Pluspetrol as a storage area.”  Pluspetrol is packing up and leaving Peru—and the government “is investigating the illegal use of firearms by police during the demonstrations.”

*Peru.  Maxima Acuña de Chaupe is now up against  the Peruvian national police and the Yanacocha gold mine security forces which allegedly destroyed the foundation of the house her family was building.  A  guardhouse has been installed smack dab up against her property, complete with a herd of alpacas.  Yanacocha mine is owned by  Newmont Mining Corporation of CO and Buenaventura of Peru.

*Brazil.  Now that Big Ag and extractive industries (legal and illegal) have denuded large swaths of what was the Amazon Rainforest, cleared areas will be scanned by drones to search for evidence of ancient civilizations.

*Great Britain.  France’s EDF Energy is having financial difficulties, hence can’t meet their timetable for installing a nuclear energy plant on Hinkley Point in Somerset.

*Libya.  Libya’s National Oil Corp is shutting down all operations in the country in order to protect employees’ lives from relentless attacks by the Islamic State.  The’ve gone from 350,000 barrels/day in January to under 200,000 barrels/day.

*India.  Achieving 100 gigawatt solar energy by 2022 “could create as many as one million jobs”.

*Antarctica.  Largest calving event since the 1980s:  9 to 12% of the Larsen C Ice Shelf anticipated to splinter off, leaving ice that “may be unstable”.  Picture of rift.

*Huge applause to Nepal no instance of animal poaching for an entire year.  Bonus: Big cats with boxes.

Previous post

From mini to mainframe and back again. A programmers journey.

Next post

In New York City, Ending Youth Solitary Confinement Comes With A Complicated Price Tag

Oxdown Diaries

Oxdown Diaries