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Fracking Whirl


“Nature Is Speaking: Edward Norton Is The Soil,” from Conservation International

By Kate Lanier

__2,000+ scientists met in Paris over global warming. Adviser to Germany and Pope Francis, Han Joachim Schellnhuber, argued there must be an “‘induced implosion’ of the fossil fuel industry.” Joseph Stiglitz, US Nobelist economist argued for a “green economy [since] it can promote economic growth.” Schellnhuber again: “We need a global society movement and it is already happening.” Much more.

__In Bolivia, Pope Francis called “for a ‘structural change’ to a global economy.” Capitalism is “the dung of the devil” for all the pain and suffering it causes; “land, lodging, and labor are ’sacred rights’”; true revolution must come from the people—soon. Can’t wait for September when he addresses the US Congress. His Holiness the Dalai Lama lends support to the pope.

__Good news or what? “Denmark’s Wind Energy Output Just Exceeded National Demand.” They’re exporting the extra to Norway, Germany and Sweden.

__As the great Krugman underscores, consumption of green energy (solar and wind power) has taken off, tripling from December 2009 to March 2015. Neat graph.

__US electric power generation comes mainly from natural gas (31%) and coal (30%). Natural gas is “cleaner,” but finite, so shouldn’t we be thinking ahead? On that “thinking ahead (or not)” theme: Republicans in the House have vowed to block a new rule, the Clean Power Plan, “intended to cut earth-warming pollution from power plants by 30 percent by 2030.” Blocking environment-related rules is definitely a trend.

__The US National Park Service planned to “stop selling disposable [plastic] bottles and let visitors refill reusable ones with public drinking water.” But the 200-corporations-strong International Bottled Water Association swung into action and an amendment to stop the NPS’ plan was added to a House budget bill, courtesy of Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA).

__Major drought in British Columbia, with consumers cutting water use. Nestle and other water companies, however, continue bottling British Columbia drinking water at a fraction of what the water costs BC consumers, and selling it for profit. Petition in circulation. h/t Mike Hudema

__Birds are magnificent creatures. US House politicians, however, voted to cut funding for bird protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Without the Treaty, BP would have escaped “prosecution for the killing of millions of birds” as a result of their 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf. More from Audubon.

__King salmon have made a come-back in Anchorage, Alaska. From 330 caught in 2012 to 1300 in 2013, and this year likely even more. Fish & Game installed a $100-million hatchery in 2011. These things can be done.

__While many species are moving northward as global warming continues, there is one exception: the bumblebee. In North America and Europe, bumblebees’ ranges are shrinking, some “completely disappearing.”

__42,000+ people in Millvale, Pennsylvania “received inaccurate and/or delayed water bills for months on end.” Class-action lawsuit now underway to remedy the situation and make the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority more “transparent.” Water is provided by a for-profit French company, Veolia Environment.

__Monsanto “has arranged for an outside scientific review of a World Health Organization finding that the weed killer [Roundup]’s key ingredient probably causes cancer.” They’ve hired Intertek Scientific & Regulatory Consultancy which has “subject-matter experts who can optimize your company’s success and minimize risk.” Hmmmm.

__Australia “has ordered the Clean Energy Finance Corporation” to stop future investments in wind power, and instead focus on ‘emerging technologies’” (solar and “native wood waste”). Heated controversy erupted—including charges this was simply an attack on renewables.

__This just in: “Warming of oceans due to climate change is unstoppable, say US scientists.”

(Not) Keeping it in the ground

__”Insane,” said Al Gore about the Obama decision to allow drilling in the Arctic Ocean. Gore’s also “calling for a ban on all oil and gas activity in the polar region.”

__There’s the US-Iran nuclear deal and there’s the oil deal. With sanctions lifted under the former, Iran might be able next year to search for markets to unload its 30-37 million barrels of oil sloshing around in tankers. If so, international oil prices will be further depressed—unless somebody’s got a Plan B. Greenergy is looking better and better.

__According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the “world’s oil giants … have been fully aware of their contributions to climate change” for a long time, while spending huge sums promoting denial of it. ExxonMobil promised to cease funding climate denial about eight years ago, but has reportedly given $2.3+ million for that purpose to Republican Congresscritters and to ALEC since then.

__Shell’s leading the way, considering deleting the term ‘oil’ from its name. Big Oil is not as popular as in days gone by and Big Oil also knows there’s other Big Money to be made in “alternative and renewable options.” Expect a stampede, and not just to the Office of Silly Name Changes, either.

__Oil production is declining except in the US-OPEC sphere, with only “six major oil projects” getting the go-ahead in 2014, compared to around 20/year between 2002-2013. Growth in supply expected to come to a halt by 2016, with decline occurring in “Russia, Mexico, Europe and elsewhere.”


Denton Gears Up For Bigger Fight Over Fracking

__Great video about what went down in Denton, Texas, the key role of the community in the “hornet’s nest of resistance” that’s resulted. Go Denton!

__Impressive turn-out for “No Oil Trains in Baltimore” last Wednesday, as many photos show. One Councilperson noted “The crux of the issue is our dependency on oil.”

__The National Congress of American Indians wants “a full environmental impact statement on … [Enbridge’s proposed $2.6 billion Sandpiper pipeline] that would cut through indigenous wild rice lands.” The Anishinaabeg of Minnesota are the main growers of wild rice (manoomin), “making it an economic mainstay as well as a federally protected tribal resource.”

__Environmentalists claim the $225 million New Jersey says Exxon Mobil must pay for clean-up and restoration of wetlands polluted for over a century is barely a drop in the bucket. Two sites (Linden and Bayonne) involved, now owned by ConocoPhilips. “[M]illions of gallons of oil and 600 different contaminants.”

__20,000+ gallons of lube oil spewed from a ruptured train car near Dublin, Virginia, after one train rear-ended another.

__The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania is threatened if Clean Earth Inc. gets to extend a local airport’s runway by dumping 400,000 tons of drilling cuttings right to the Canyon’s edge. Such cuttings could contain “naturally occurring radiation, heavy metals and industrial chemicals” — but they’re exempt “from federal hazardous waste regulations.” h/t EE

__Five farm families in Tioga County, New York are “seeking a state permit for a natural gas well using gel propane instead of water for fracking.” Fracking with 300,000+ gallons of water is specifically forbidden under New York’s new fracking ban, but not with gel propane.

__Oh, it won’t taint the local drinking water, all that fracking waste (some radioactive) coming into Martins Ferry, Ohio by truck where it is analyzed, then sent “to landfills or back to injection wells.” Approved and licensed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Board of Health.

__Gimme a break! Frackers in the UK are pushing a new plan which would allow fracking rigs to surround national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and frack away, using the horizontal approach.

 


Save Oak Flat: Apache Caravan to Washington, D.C.

Mining headlines

__The Save Oak Flat Caravan is scheduled to arrive in Washington, DC next week, an effort to reverse the give-away of the Apache sacred site by Arizona Republican Sens. McCain and Flake. Rio Tinto-BHP Billiton want to mine the huge copper deposit, leaving a crater 1.8 miles across and 950 feet deep.

__Environmentalists fighting to get in place international regulations protecting “deep sea ecosystems” before deep-sea mining for “nickel, copper and lithium … gold, … cobalt, manganese and other rare-earth minerals” commences. Deep seas are very slow to recover, if at all, from interruption.

 

__Is strategic, controlled introduction of herd animals the answer to loss of soil, increased desertification, decreased food production, etc, on vast stretches of depleted land where people struggle to survive?

TED Talks: Allan Savory: How to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change

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