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Apr 24, 2015
North America’s Oil And Gas Industry Has Taken Over 7 Million Acres Of Land Since 2000
ThinkProgress
KATIE VALENTINE

Millions of acres of land across the U.S. and Canada has been taken over by oil and gas development in the last 12 years, according to a new study. The study, published Friday in Science, tallied up the amount of land that’s been developed to house drilling well pads, roads, and other oil and gas infrastructure in 11 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces. It found that between 2000 and 2012, about 3 million hectares (7.4 million acres) have been turned over to oil and gas development, a stretch of land that, combined, is equal to three Yellowstone National Parks. This land takeover can have ecological consequences, according to the report.  [Full Story]

Apr 24, 2015
Jon Stewart’s Hilarious Take on Oklahoma’s Fracking Earthquakes
EcoWatch
Cole Mellino

The Daily Show last night was particularly hilarious. Jon Stewart, of course, gives mention to Earth Day, “our favorite of the planetary birthdays,” and offers an apology to Uranus for forgetting her birthday. He then, moves into the news of Oklahoma confirming the link between the increase in earthquakes with the increase in fracking. “Is it, as common sense might suggest, the seemingly obvious connection to fracking, or is the Lord using our great state as a shake weight?” Stewart asks. “Who really knows?”  [Full Story]

Apr 24, 2015
Oklahoma’s Options Now That State and Federal Scientists Confirm Big Earthquake Impact from Water Disposal
The New York Times
Andrew C. Revkin

Earlier this week, Oklahoma’s state geologist and state seismologist issued a statement that should largely end debates about the causes of a recent burst of seismic activity in that state. They said it was “very likely” that several thousand weak to moderate earthquakes in recent years were triggered by deep-earth injection of water extracted from the ground as thousands of wells have been drilled into shale oil and gas deposits. You only have to watch the explosive increase in seismic activity in the animated map above, from the United States Geological Survey, to see just how profound the change in earthquake activity has been — from an average of 1.5 earthquakes a year in the state to 2.5 a day.  [Full Story]

Apr 24, 2015
Review: ‘Boomtowners’ Visits a North American Fracking Zone
The New York Times
NEIL GENZLINGER

And, of course, there are fracking opponents. The series gives them plenty of time, and yet people who view fracking as a long-term environmental disaster of our own making will find this show glib. It’s as concerned with the price of groceries and the hazards of driving big-rig trucks on mountainous roads as it is with what fracking might be doing to the landscape. Sure, watch it if you want a view of life in a fracking zone that tries to give it a rugged, Wild West-style chic. But then go watch a documentary about fracking, like “Gasland.”  [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
NATURAL GAS: The shale-bust recovery may be coming this time -- slowly
E & E Newswire
Mike Lee

HOUSTON -- Ever since the shale industry killed the price of gas in 2008, producers have been saying recovery is just around the corner -- once the United States starts liquefying the fuel for export, once pipelines are built to get the gas from Pennsylvania to the Southeast and Gulf Coast, once power demand or trade with Mexico ramps up. All of that may actually happen before long. Not only are liquefied natural gas exports poised to start by 2016, but gas exports to Mexico are picking up and the Obama administration's climate plan could force more electric generators to switch from coal to gas. All the gas industry needs now is the hardest part -- pipelines. "The infrastructure almost always moves behind the discoveries," said Richard Kinder, CEO of Kinder Morgan Inc., the biggest U.S. pipeline company, during the annual IHS CERAWeek conference here. Gas production began to climb in the mid-2000s as hydraulic fracturing and other technologies made it possible to drill in shale and other deep hardrock formations. The drilling companies found so much gas, though, that the price plummeted by two-thirds in nine months, from a high of nearly $13 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) in June 2008.  [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
Activist fined $1,000 for violating order to stay off gas sites
NPR State Impact PAR
MARIE CUSICK

A Susquehanna County judge has fined anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins $1,000 for getting too close to a natural gas site earlier this year. The money will cover part of the legal fees incurred by the region’s biggest gas driller– Cabot Oil and Gas. The company has repeatedly sought to have her held in contempt of court for violating an injunction to stay off its property. At a court hearing Thursday in Montrose, Scroggins maintained her innocence and hopes to appeal the fine. “[Cabot] had a false witness, who was willing to perjure himself under oath, and the judge found him more credible. I am not willing to pay a fine for something I didn’t do.”   [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
U.S. Shale Fracklog Triples as Drillers Keep Oil From Market
Bloomberg
Lynn Doan and Dan Murtaugh

Think the U.S. is awash in crude now? Thank the fracklog that it’s not worse. Drillers in oil and gas fields from Texas to Pennsylvania have yet to turn on the spigots at 4,731 wells they’ve drilled, keeping 322,000 barrels a day underground, a Bloomberg Intelligence analysis shows. That’s almost as much as OPEC member Libya has been pumping this year. The number of wells waiting to be hydraulically fractured, known as the fracklog, has tripled in the past year as companies delay work in order to avoid pumping more oil while prices are low. It’s kept crude off the market with storage tanks the fullest since 1930. The fracklog may slow a recovery as firms quickly finish wells at the first sign of higher prices.   [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
Can This Oil Baron’s Company Withstand Another Quake?
Bloomberg
Benjamin Elgin and Matthew Philips

One of the most productive oil fields ever discovered in Oklahoma lies directly beneath its seat of government. A 32-square-mile underground reservoir, the Oklahoma City oil field was first tapped in 1928, a decade after the State Capitol building was finished. Some of its earliest wells were famous gushers, spouting oil hundreds of feet into the air for days before being brought under control. Over the next three decades the field produced close to a billion barrels of oil, helping Oklahoma weather the Great Depression and Dust Bowl and securing its ties to the energy industry. By the late 1960s the Oklahoma City oil field was largely spent. As crude was sucked out, it gradually flooded with vast amounts of salt water, the remnants of an ancient ocean that once covered the Midwest. The pockets of oil and gas that remained in the reservoir were trapped deep inside rocks. The only way to get at them was to “dewater” the field—which meant pumping out hundreds of millions of barrels of salty, often toxic wastewater, then disposing of it.  [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
U.S. Maps Areas of Increased Earthquakes From Human Activity
New York Times
Richard Perez-Pena

In its first comprehensive assessment of earthquakes believed to be caused by human activity, the United States Geological Survey released a map on Thursday identifying 17 regions with significant levels of seismic movement triggered mostly from oil and gas operations.   [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
The view from 31,000 feet: A philosopher looks at fracking
High Country News
Kathleen Dean Moore

I was flying the red-eye home to Portland, when the pilot spoke over the intercom. “We are currently over North Dakota. Below us are the famous Bakken shale-oil fracking fields.” I looked down into the night. As far as I could see toward every horizon, the plain was studded with flames -- oil rigs flaring methane. How is it possible, I remember asking myself, that humans can do this to the Earth?   [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
Drilling Down IN A NEW BOOK, PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERT MADELON FINKEL, PHD, EXPLORES THE POTENTIAL PERILS OF 'FRACKING'
Weill Cornell Medical College
Beth Saulnier

The controversial fuel-extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing is a hot topic in states from New York to California. Supporters call the technique a safe and affordable method of obtaining natural gas — while opponents argue that it threatens public health by polluting water supplies and exposing people to toxic chemicals.   [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
Fractured victory Supervisors ban storage of fracking byproducts
News Review
Tom Gascoyne

Butte County’s hydraulic-fracturing opponents scored a “second-best” outcome at the Board of Supervisor’s meeting on Tuesday (April 21), the eve of Earth Day. The supervisors voted 4-1 to approve an ordinance prohibiting the storage and disposal of byproducts created by the controversial method of extracting oil and gas reserves commonly known as fracking. Supervisor Larry Wahl was the lone no vote and said the ordinance was “a backdoor attempt to prohibit fracking in Butte County.”   [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
Commission’s fracking advisors controlled by lobbyists, claim NGOs
Act Media


Environmental campaigners and the shale gas industry have clashed amid accusations that companies are controlling an influential European Commission group advising on fracking policy.   [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
Politicians debate fracking at energy hustings
Energy Voice
David McKay

Politicians traded blows over the future of the North Sea oil and gas industry, changes to the tax regime for the sector and the potential for onshore fracking at an energy hustings in Aberdeen yesterday.   [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
SENATE DISCUSSES HEALTH CONCERNS OVER NEW FRACKING BILL BY KOLBIE SATTERFIELD
El Dorado Springs Sun


The Senate had a short debate about the dangers of fracking Wednesday, Apr. 15, during a discussion regarding legislation expediting the process of getting a fracking permit. “Missouri, believe it or not, has had a dramatic increase in the number of oil and gas wells and interest as technology has increased on how to develop products across the state.” said Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City.   [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
Scientists Strongly Link Fracking with Earthquakes in Texas and Oklahoma
AllGov


Experts in Texas and Oklahoma are more confident than ever that increases in earthquakes are linked to fracking operations. Seismologists from Southern Methodist University (SMU) and other institutions said in a new study that seismic activity near Azle, Texas, from late 2013 through the spring of 2014 was likely caused by high volumes of wastewater injection along with saltwater extraction from natural gas wells.   [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
Man-made earthquakes increasing in central and eastern U.S., study finds
Los Angeles Times
RONG-GONG LIN II, JON SCHLEUSS AND THOMAS SUH LAUDER

For the first time, the U.S. Geological Survey has unveiled a map of earthquakes thought to be triggered by human activity in the eastern and central United States. Oklahoma is by far the worst-hit state recently, according to the USGS study released Thursday. The state last year had more earthquakes magnitude 3 or higher than California, part of a huge increase recorded in recent years. Seismic activity in Texas near the Dallas-Fort Worth area has also increased substantially recently. Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Ohio have all experienced more frequent quakes in the last year.  [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
Confirmed: Oklahoma Earthquakes Caused By Fracking
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

Despite the enormous increase in earthquakes in Oklahoma that started at the same time as heavy fracking began there—with the number of earthquakes over 3.0 magnitude skyrocketing from an average of less than two a year to 585 last year—the state has been in official denial about the cause.   [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
NY Fracking Ban, People’s Climate March and Recycling Center Celebrated at Awards Event
EcoWatch


Earth Day New York and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) presented their annual awards at a ceremony yesterday on Earth Day, honoring New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo, organizers of the People’s Climate March and Sims Recycling official Tom Outerbridge.   [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
Activists use Earth Day to protest natural gas activity
Standard Speaker
Elizabeth Skrapits

WILKES-BARRE — For Earth Day, a group of activists held a petition drive to protest natural gas activity too close to schools for comfort — including in a local district. “Our main concern right now is Dallas (school district),” Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition member Scott Cannon said. “If the gas industry gets what it wants, there will be a six-pipeline hub 1,300 feet from the Dallas schools.”  [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
API: Oil and Natural Gas Drilling Down in First Quarter 2015
Eurasia Press


Estimated total U.S. oil and natural gas well completions decreased by 8 percent in the first quarter of 2015 compared to year-ago levels, according to API's 2015 Quarterly Well Completion Report, First Quarter.   [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
The ‘Drill, baby, drill’ thrill is gone
Post and Courier
Frank Wooten Columnist

Now, though, as the push to drill for natural gas and maybe even at some point oil off South Carolina’s coast intensifies, more than a few conservatives around here, including me, aren’t just saying, “No.” We’re saying, “Heck no!” — or some unprintable variation on that resistance theme.   [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
Half of the US fracking industry could be gone after this year
Business Insider
Akin Oyedele

One oil executive thinks half of all fracking companies will be out of business or sold by the end of this year, according to Bloomberg. Rob Fulks, the pressure pumping marketing director at Weatherford International, told Bloomberg that a reduction in spending has put much of the US fracking industry at risk. Fulks   [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
Oklahoma Lawmakers Vote To Outlaw Fracking Bans As Earthquakes In The State Spike
Think Progress
Ari Phillips

In an especially fractious split, the day after the state’s energy and environment cabinet acknowledged that the “recent rise in earthquakes cannot be entirely attributed to natural causes,” state lawmakers passed two bills to limit the ability of localities to decide if they want to allow fracking and drilling nearby.   [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
Fifth of Labour and Lib Dem candidates pledge to defy party line on fracking Just three Conservatives join pledge signed by 1,000 prospective MPs to oppose fracking during the next parliament
The Guardian
Karl Mathiesen

More than one in five Liberal Democrat and Labour election candidates have pledged to oppose fracking in defiance of their parties’ promises to foster the industry during the next parliament. Seven of the Lib Dem front bench team, including spokespeople for the environment and energy, voiced their opposition to the party line.  [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
The oil and gas boom has devastated ecosystems across the US
The Verge
Amar Toor

Drilling for oil and gas has caused long-lasting damage to ecosystems across Canada and the US, according to a study published today. The findings lend new weight to longstanding concerns over the resurgence in domestic fossil fuel production, as well as the complex land use regulations that make environmental monitoring more challenging. The paper, published in the journal Science, examines the impact of oil and gas production on terrestrial plant growth, using a metric called net primary production (NPP). NPP can be used to gauge the health of the ecosystem. Using satellite data from 2000 to 2012, the authors found that oil and gas production reduced NPP by about 4.5 Tg of carbon or about 10 Tg of biomass through the loss of vegetation — the mass equivalent of 30 Empire State Buildings. Croplands lost the equivalent of 120.2 million bushels of wheat over that period — about 13 percent of all US wheat exports in 2013 — while rangelands lost vegetation totalling more than half the public grazing lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. "Ecosystem damage may be permanent"  [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
Thirty thousand square kilometers of land lost to oil and gas development
Science
Eric Hand

All across North America, patches of land are being taken over by the rigs, roads, and storage facilities of thousands of oil and gas drilling operations. Now, for the first time, a study tallies up the land area they consume: 30,000 square kilometers—an area equivalent to three Yellowstone National Parks. “For all intents and purposes, these are parking lots,” says Brady Allred, an ecologist at the University of Montana, Missoula, who led the study, published online today in Science. “The question is: How long are they going to stay this way?” The authors acknowledge that there are benefits from the operations—namely, energy—and also that the lost land is a small fraction of North America’s total area. But they say the well sites are rarely remediated and replanted, and so the cumulative impact could begin to take its toll through the degradation of animal habitats and the loss of plants, which sop up carbon dioxide.  [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
Bill prohibiting communities from banning fracking passed in the House, moves to the Senate
KJRH


OKLAHOMA CITY - A bill that would ban local government from regulating fracking is on its way to the Senate. The House voted largely in favor of the Republican-sponsored bill that prohibits local authorities from banning fracking within their communities.   [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
Anti-fracking student appeals conviction
Lancaster Guardian


The president of Lancaster University Students’ Union (LUSU) is due to appear in court to fight a conviction relating to anti-fracking protests in Manchester.   [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
Report: Science Behind NY Fracking Ban Tainted by Money, Politics Anti-fracking activists funded and wrote key studies used to justify ban, report claims
Free Beacon
Lachlan Markay

The scientific research underlying New York’s ban on an innovative oil and gas extraction technique was funded and produced by activists deeply involved in the political campaign to ban the practice, according to a report released Thursday.   [Full Story]

Apr 23, 2015
Lancashire fracking planning decision deferred again
BBC News


A decision on whether to allow fracking at two sites in Lancashire has been deferred to review additional details. Energy firm Cuadrilla had applied to extract shale gas at its sites in Little Plumpton and Roseacre Wood, near Blackpool.   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
County legislators OK fracking waste ban Local law would prohibit disposal of hydraulic fracturing waste at landfills
Bethlehem Spotlight
John Purcell

— Hydraulic fracturing is banned statewide, but county legislators want to ensure none of the waste produced from the natural gas extraction method enters local landfills. #Albany County legislators on Tuesday, April 13, unanimously passed Local Law “D” for 2014, which bans the disposal of natural gas waste or oil waste at any solid waste management facility within the county. One Republican lawmaker contested the breadth of the law before voting in favor. Environmental advocates rallied for proposal before its passage claiming such disposal would expose residents to potential health risks.   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Fracking waste puts public at risk, study says
Eagle Ford Texas
David Haemyer

Weakness in state regulations governing hazardous oil-and-gas waste have allowed the leftovers to be disposed of with little regard to the dangers they pose to human health and the environment, according to a recent study by the environmental organization Earthworks. The report says states disregard the risks because of a decades-old federal regulation that allows oil-and-gas waste to be handled as non-hazardous material. Those rules, established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1988, exempted the waste from the stricter disposal requirements required of hazardous substances and allowed the states to establish their own disposal standards.   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
St. Tammany ponders next move in fracking fight
WAFB
Rob Masson

MANDEVILLE, LA (WVUE) - St. Tammany parish officials say the battle over fracking isn't over yet. They are now considering new legal and legislative options after suffering two big court setbacks.  [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Local Oil And Gas Company Fined $600,000 For Clean Water Act Violations
WDTV


WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA – Trans Energy, Inc., an oil and gas exploration company based in Pleasants County, West Virginia, was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay fines totaling $600,000.00 after the company admitted to multiple violations of the Clean Water Act in connection with its natural gas drilling activity, United States Attorney William J, Ihlenfeld, II, announced.   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Senate Dems take on Obama on Atlantic drilling
The Hill
Timothy Cama

Six Senate Democrats from the Northeast are taking on the Obama administration with a bill to prevent offshore oil and natural gas drilling on the Atlantic Coast. The senators introduced their bill on Earth Day, saying that although the Interior Department has only proposed drilling somewhere between Virginia and Georgia, a disastrous spill could spread to their states in a way similar to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Oklahoma House passes legislation prohibiting cities from regulating oil and gas drilling
Fox Business
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation that prohibits cities and towns from regulating oil and natural gas drilling operations was approved by the House on Wednesday, one day after the Oklahoma Geological Survey said it is "very likely" that a swarm of recent earthquakes were triggered by the subsurface injection of wastewater from drilling operations. House members passed the bill despite pleas from opponents who said the survey's report is among many reasons that local communities should have the right to set rules for local drilling activities.   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Oil slump may deepen as US shale fights Opec to a standstill Continental's Harold Hamm says US shale industry has 'only begun to scratch the surface' of vast and cheap reserves, driving growth for years to come
The Telegraph
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

The US shale industry has failed to crack as expected. North Sea oil drillers and high-cost producers off the coast of Africa are in dire straits, but America's "flexi-frackers" remain largely unruffled.   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Study links natural gas drilling in Texas to swarm of quakes
Fox News
Associated Press

WASHINGTON – With real-time monitors, scientists have linked a swarm of small earthquakes west of Fort Worth, Texas, to nearby natural gas wells and wastewater injection.  [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
'Avengers' director slams lawmakers skeptical of climate change
The Hill
Mark Hensch

The director of “The Avengers” took to Twitter on Wednesday to deride lawmakers who are skeptical of climate change, saying they shouldn't be able to partake in scientific breakthroughs. “Policy makers who deny basic scientific truth should also be denied penicillin, horseless carriages, air time on the magic box of shadows,” Joss Whedon tweeted on Earth Day. Whedon is the man behind 2012’s titular Marvel Comics superhero film franchise. Its sequel, “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” opens May 1 nationwide.   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Dems unveil 'strongest anti-fracking bill' for federal land
The Hill
Timothy Cama

A pair of Democratic House members introduced a bill Wednesday to ban hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas, commonly known as fracking, on federal land. Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) touted the measure as the “strongest anti-fracking bill” ever introduced. It would cover national parks, Bureau of Land Management property, national forests, wilderness areas and other lands under federal jurisdiction.   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Fracking wastewater well application approved Oil and Gas Conservation Commission gives green light to project
KOTA TV


SIDNEY, Nebraska - A Nebraska agency has given the green light to a controversial fracking wastewater disposal well project in KOTA Territory. The Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission voted in favor of the plan by Terex Energy Corporation to inject wastewater from fracking operations in nearby states.   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Oklahoma earthquakes linked to oil, gas drilling
The Hill
Devin Henry

Oklahoma officials say the state’s recent surge in earthquakes is likely the result of water disposal wells associated with oil drilling. The Oklahoma Geological Survey said Tuesday that the earthquakes are “very unlikely” to be naturally occurring and that the “primary suspected source of triggered seismicity is not from hydraulic fracturing, but from the injection/disposal of water associated with oil and gas production.”   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
CERAWEEK-U.S. fracking costs falling fast, may keep fields in play
Reuters


(Reuters) - U.S. oil and natural gas companies have pushed down costs of fracking a shale well faster than expected, and if the trend holds up it could allow producers to keep working in oilfields that just months ago looked uncompetitive after the oil price crash.   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Fracking Most Likely to Blame for 2013-14 Earthquakes
Nature World News


Fracking is most likely to blame for earthquakes occurring near Azle, Texas, from late 2013 through spring 2014, according to new research. It is no secret that fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is suspected to play a role in earthquakes across the country, with some scientists saying it should be included in earthquake hazard assessments.   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Friends of the Earth campaigner to demand Barclays Bank scraps fracking in Ryedale
The Scarborough News
Andrew Pitt

A Helmsley woman will demand the board Barclays Bank scrap plans to frack in Ryedale tomorrow (Thursday, April 23). Monica Gripaios will join other campaigners from Friends of the Earth in the mass protest outside the Barclays Bank Annual general Meeting at the Royal Festival Hall in London.   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Radioactive Gas Pollution Linked to Fracking? Some Experts Say ‘No Way,’ Others Say ‘Of Course’
WV Public Broadcasting
Glynis Board

radioactive, carcinogenic gas has grabbed the attention of news outlets and both pro and anti-fracking groups alike. The study published earlier this month says increases of radon gas in people’s homes in Pennsylvania coincide with the horizontal drilling boom. Some geological researchers in the region are skeptical while others aren’t at all surprised.   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Cost of policing 'fracking' protesters at oil drilling site 'too expensive to calculate'
Grimsby Telegraph


THE monetary cost of policing protesters at an oil drilling site near Immingham may never be known after police deemed it too expensive to calculate. Officers from Humberside Police were regularly called to the Europa Oil And Gas site off Stallingborough Road after a group of protestors set up camp on nearby land for more than three weeks.   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Fracking is causing 'time of transformation
New Milford Spectrum


And yet, the pollution-belching, coal-fired power plant in Bridgeport Harbor has been burning the past two winters because the demand for natural gas in New England has been greater than the supply. "That was news to us,' said Robert Klee, commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Energy Company Sentenced for Dumping Fracking Pollutants in Marshall County
WTRF
Nate Fluharty

An energy company has been ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fines for violating the Clean Water Act right here in the Ohio Valley. United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld announced Wednesday that Trans Energy has been sentenced to two years of probation and pay $600,000 in fines.   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Final fracking report coming soon, state DEC chief says
Press Connects
Jon Campbell

ALBANY – New York is about to take its next step toward a ban on large-scale hydraulic fracturing. A several-thousand-page document that will lay out the rationale for prohibiting fracking is "being printed as we speak," state Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens said Wednesday. That report, known as the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement or SGEIS, has been nearly seven years in the making and will pave the way for Martens to issue an order keeping large-scale fracking from moving forward at the current time.  [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
'Pipelines blow up and people die'
Politico
ELANA SCHOR and ANDREW RESTUCCIA

On June 10, 1999, a few days after his high school graduation, Liam Wood unexpectedly got an afternoon off work and decided to go fly-fishing on a creek near his hometown of Bellingham, Washington. About 100 miles away, operators missed the signs of a pressure spike in the 16-inch gasoline pipeline that crossed the stream in Whatcom Falls Park.   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
How Crisis In The Energy Sector Could Spark A Repeat Of The Subprime Bust
Forbes
William FitzGerald

The oil and gas industry is in crisis. But while $50 oil might be good for America, is there a chance that a fever in the oil patch could cause the rest of the U.S. economy to catch a cold? It’s possible, and here’s why. Oil companies are on the hook for nearly a quarter of the overheated $1.2 trillion high-yield and leveraged loan market. Nothing to worry about, says Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen, who has concluded the effect will likely be “transitory.” That’s kind of like how the problems in subprime were “contained” in 2007, according to then-Chairman Bernanke. Coincidentally, the subprime mortgage market was $1.2 trillion at the time.  [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Taking a new line: Focusing on LNG, govt bans new solar and wind projects
The Express Tribune
Zafar Bhutta

ISLAMABAD: As the focus rapidly shifts towards liquefied natural gas (LNG)-based power plants, the government has slapped a ban on new solar and wind energy projects, saying they are unfeasible because of being expensive compared to conventional electricity production projects. The decision was taken in a meeting of the cabinet committee on energy on April 8. The government has admitted for the first time that these renewable energy sources were expensive compared to the conventional means. Among the various sources of energy, hydroelectric power has the highest share of 34% in total electricity production, followed by furnace oil-based power generation that contributes 33%, gas 21%, diesel 1.8%, wind energy 0.63% and coal 0.31%.  [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Mark Ruffalo: An Earth Day call to ban fracking in America
NY Daily News
Mark Ruffalo

Flaming water, poisoned air and destroyed lives — that’s what I found when I traveled to Dimock, Pa., in 2009 to see the impacts of fracking firsthand. Six years later, this tragic story is one shared by countless Americans, too many of them with no choice in the matter. Ten years after the Bush-Cheney administration exempted fracking from key parts of some of our nation’s most important environmental and public health laws, including the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act, the science is finally catching up to the process — and the results are damning. The oil and gas industry is now fracking in 34 states, bringing with it water contamination, rampant air pollution, swarms of earthquakes, poisoned farmland and animals, and sick residents. Early on-the-ground reports of harm have now been confirmed by more than 450 peer-reviewed scientific studies.   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
EARTHQUAKES: Okla. leaders say they're dealing with quakes, but some want a moratorium
E & E Newswire
Mike Soraghan

Oklahoma political leaders moved yesterday to show that they are addressing the swarms of earthquakes shaking their state, which scientists say are linked to the state's powerful oil and gas industry. State seismologists yesterday linked the surge in shaking to drilling activity more clearly than ever before. At the same time, Republican Gov. Mary Fallin's administration launched a new earthquake information website touting what state agencies have done about the shaking. But Democratic state Rep. Cory Williams said those efforts have fallen short. He called for a moratorium to halt oil and gas disposal in 16 earthquake-prone counties. "I just want someone to act," said Williams, who represents oft-shaken Stillwater. "We've had the governor and legislative leadership saying that they're waiting on the science. Those excuses are gone." Other states have shut down wells, and at least one enacted a moratorium. Kansas, dealing with the same swarm, has cut injection volumes. But Michael Teague, Fallin's Cabinet secretary for energy and environment, said the state is moving diligently. "We want regulation to be based on science, but we're also not waiting for that science to be to the 35th decimal place exact," Teague said in an interview yesterday. "We have a responsibility to public safety, and we acknowledge that." Still, he acknowledged that the state's actions might seem insufficient to homeowners getting rattled on a regular basis. "We're not fast enough if it's your house," he said.  [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Nation’s Strongest Fracking Ban Bill Introduced to Protect Public Lands
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

Congressmembers Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, both Democrats, have made no secret of their strong opposition to fracking. Last December, for instance, as new rules were being formulated on the opening new areas of public lands to energy exploration and extraction, they introduced a bill to ban fracking entirely on public lands.  [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Is the Shale Boom Reversing Progress in Curbing Ozone Pollution?
Earth & Space Science News
Gunnar W. Schade and Geoffrey S. Roest

Concentrations of volatile organic compounds—precursors to ground-level ozone formation—are on the rise in areas over and downwind of a major shale oil and gas field in Texas.  [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Tesla Motors to Unveil Home and Utility Batteries April 30
Bloomberg
Dana Hull

Tesla Motors Inc. will announce a home battery and a “very large” utility-scale battery on April 30, according to an e-mail sent to investors and analysts. The e-mail Tuesday from Jeffrey Evanson, Tesla’s head of investor relations, said the company “will explain the advantages of our solutions and why past battery options were not compelling.” Khobi Brooklyn, a Tesla spokeswoman, said that “we’ll share more information next week,” without confirming the e-mail.  [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
The Link Between Fracking Activity And Earthquakes Is Getting Stronger
ThinkProgress
EMILY ATKIN

We’re only mid-week, but it’s already been a big one for human-induced earthquakes. On Tuesday, scientists from Southern Methodist University added to the growing body of research linking small earthquakes to oil and gas wastewater disposal. That body of research is particularly important to the popular but controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which produces significantly more wastewater than conventional drilling. On the same day, Oklahoma’s government announced that it would officially embrace that large body of scientific research, and start figuring out how to deal with its growing earthquake problem. In the last decade, Oklahoma has experienced a dramatic increase in earthquakes — an increase that has happened in tandem with the spread of wastewater disposal from fracking operations across the state.  [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
DEC chief: Final fracking report is ‘literally at the printer’
The Journal News
Jon Campbell

New York is about to take its next step toward a ban on large-scale hydraulic fracturing. MArtensPhotoBakeman A several-thousand-page document that will lay out the rationale for prohibiting fracking is “being printed as we speak,” state Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens said Wednesday.  [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Troubling Interdependency of Water and Power
The New York Times
FELICITY BARRINGER

In Modesto, Calif., utility records chart an 18 percent rise in farmers’ energy use in 2014 compared with 2013. No evidence shows exactly why this happened, but California’s drought, now in its fourth year, sent many farmers to their wells to pump from hidden aquifers water that normally would be found at ground level. Such measures are a timely illustration of the way water needs power — not just to move it, but to clean it and even, with desalination, to create it from brine. A large desalination plant being built to provide 7 percent of San Diego’s water will require about 38 megawatts of power, enough for more than 28,000 homes. And it is no coincidence that primary owners of the 2,250-megawatt, coal-fired Navajo generating station near Page, Ariz., are water managers; they need the power to move water.  [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Oil Makes a Comeback in Pennsylvania
The New York Times
Robert Strauss

It wasn’t quite a Jed Clampett moment: Instead of shootin’ for some food, Samuel Kier was drillin’ for some salt in his salt wells in the appropriately named Saltsburg in Indiana County, Pa., close to Pittsburgh. He kept finding this smelly and gooey black stuff coming from the ground, fouling the salt — sometimes almost spontaneously catching fire. Trying to make lemonade out of this lemon, he experimented with the gooey stuff. By 1848 he started selling a distillate of it as Seneca Oil, an elixir, and then a proto-Vaseline as a topical ointment.  [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
New Balance of Power
The New York Times
CLIFFORD KRAUSS

HOUSTON — For the better part of the last century, crude oil prices have swung like a pendulum, pushing and pulling the fortunes of nations. More often than not, global supplies of the volatile commodity were controlled by the rulers of desert domains who would otherwise have been powerless had it not been for the oil that bubbled beneath their thrones. That pendulum is on the move again, sending the price of oil cascading to less than $45 this winter from more than $100 a barrel last June, and it may fall further in the months ahead. On the surface, this latest oil boom gone bust may feel like history repeating itself, but there is a vital difference this time: The center of the oil world has spun from the sands of Saudi Arabia to the shale oil fields of Texas and North Dakota, a giant new oil patch some wildcatters have begun to call “Cowboyistan.”   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
What the Frack Is Happening Under Long Beach?
Orange County Weekly
Joshua Frank

Perhaps you've driven past them at night: several towering panels lit up like a psychedelic art installation, with a 45-foot waterfall gushing down the side and onto the boulder-strewn, pedestal-shaped, very-much-manmade island. The brightly painted structures seem harmless enough--if a bit out of place several hundred feet offshore from Long Beach's affluent Bluff Park neighborhood--but what goes on behind the palm-lined façade is profoundly controversial and potentially very dangerous. Built in 1965, the four THUMS islands--so named for the companies that first developed the sites: Texaco, Humble, Unocal, Mobil and Shell--were designed by esteemed landscape architect Joseph Linesch, who had a knack for turning blight into eye candy. While Long Beach's Gas & Oil Department (LBGO) operates the islands, a wholly owned subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum (known as Occidental Long Beach Inc.) is contracted to perform the work of extracting fossil fuels from beneath the ocean floor.   [Full Story]

Apr 22, 2015
Half of U.S. Fracking Companies Will Be Dead or Sold This Year
Bloomberg
David Wethe

Half of the 41 fracking companies operating in the U.S. will be dead or sold by year-end because of slashed spending by oil companies, an executive with Weatherford International Plc said. There could be about 20 companies left that provide hydraulic fracturing services, Rob Fulks, pressure pumping marketing director at Weatherford, said in an interview Wednesday at the IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston. Demand for fracking, a production method that along with horizontal drilling spurred a boom in U.S. oil and natural gas output, has declined as customers leave wells uncompleted because of low prices. There were 61 fracking service providers in the U.S., the world’s largest market, at the start of last year. Consolidation among bigger players began with Halliburton Co. announcing plans to buy Baker Hughes Inc. in November for $34.6 billion and C&J Energy Services Ltd. buying the pressure-pumping business of Nabors Industries Ltd.  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Why Did These Oil Workers Die?
The Wall Street Journal
ALEXANDRA BERZON

Natural causes were blamed, but the focus has shifted to hydrocarbon chemicals   [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Newsweek adds disclosure about Koch ties of professor who wrote anti-wind power piece
The Washington Post
Erik Wemple

On April 11, Newsweek ran an opinion piece by Randy Simmons titled, “What’s the True Cost of Wind Power?” Citing a bundle of figures, Simmons concludes, “The high costs of federal subsidies and state mandates for wind power have not paid off for the American public.” The story’s italicized tagline identified Simmons this way: “Randy Simmons is professor of political economy at Utah State University.”  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Role Reversal As Scalia Dissents From Decision Giving States More Power Over Gas Prices
Forbes
Daniel Fisher

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an interstate pipeline company’s challenge to state antitrust lawsuits, prompting a vigorous dissent from Justice Antonin Scalia and Chief Justice John Roberts for disrupting the uniform regulation of the interstate gas market. The positions of the justices in Oneok vs. Learjet might strike some as unusual, since the majority opinion, written by liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, upholds states’ rights while conservatives Scalia and Roberts argue for more federal power. But while Scalia penned a furious dissent in Arizona vs. U.S., the 2012 decision striking down an Arizona law allowing local police officers to detain suspected illegal immigrants, he’s also a big fan of federal preemption when it applies to regulation of interstate commerce.  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Supreme Court: state natural gas action not preempted by federal law
Jurist
Steven Wildberger

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Tuesday in favor of Learjet and other natural gas retail purchasers in their action against interstate natural gas pipeline ONEOK, finding that the Natural Gas Act [text] does not provide the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [official website] exclusive control over the actions of energy firms. Learjet, representing a group of institutions that buy natural gas directly from interstate pipelines, brought suit against pipeline ONEOK for reporting false information affecting natural gas prices. In the 7-2 decision written by Justice Stephen Breyer, the court determined that because the action was targeting practices affecting retail sales, which are "firmly on the States' side of [the jurisdictional] dividing line," and was an area of regulation traditionally relegated to the states, that the federal regulation did not field preempt the state law antitrust claim. The petitioners and government argued that because the Natural Gas Act gives the FERC authority to to determine whether "any rate, charge, or classification ... is unjust, unreasonable, unduly discriminatory, or preferential," Congress implicitly "occupied the field of matters relating to wholesale sales and transportation of natural gas in interstate commerce." Instead, the court held that the act limits FERC's jurisdiction to the transportation and sale of natural gas in interstate commerce, leaving to the states regulation of other portions of the industry, including direct sales.   [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Stephentown Town Board gives thumbs down to natural gas pipeline project
Times Union
Brian Nearing

The town board in the southern Rensselaer County town of Stephentown has voted against the proposed Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline, which would connect the hydrofracked gas fields of Pennsylvania to the northeastern U.S. near Boston. The 36-inch pressurized line could cut through parts of Schodack, Nassau and Stephentown. It was initially proposed to run farther south, through Columbia County and the Berkshires of Massachusetts, but Houston-based energy company Kinder Morgan moved more than 50 miles of the proposed route farther north amid increasingly vocal public opposition in the Berkshires.  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Barack Obama proposes $3.5 billion gas pipeline overhaul
Politico
Andrew Restuccia and Elana Schor

The Obama administration on Tuesday proposed spending as much as $3.5 billion to replace aging natural gas pipelines nationwide — a move that comes just as POLITICO published a lengthy investigation of the public safety threat posed by pipelines and the numerous problems plaguing the federal agency that regulates them. The announcement, included in a 348-page government report examining how to upgrade a vast array of the country’s energy infrastructure, is aimed at addressing the dangers to both public safety and the climate from pipelines that leak or rupture.   [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
New Studies Link Earthquakes With Oil, Gas Drilling
Wall Street Journal
Miguel Bustillo and Dan Molinski

New scientific findings released Tuesday linked earthquakes to the practice of injecting wastewater from oil and gas operations deep underground, adding to a growing consensus among researchers that energy development is probably causing seismic activity in Oklahoma, Texas and other parts of the U.S. The Oklahoma Geological Survey released a statement Tuesday saying that it now “considers it very likely” that most of the hundreds of earthquakes in the state’s center in recent years were “triggered by the injection of produced water in disposal wells.” Produced water is salty fluid that naturally flows up wells along with oil and gas.  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Hundreds of Oklahoma earthquakes tied to oil and gas drilling
Christian Science Monitor
Tim Talley, Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Geological Society said Tuesday it is "very likely" that most of the state's recent earthquakes were triggered by the subsurface injection of wastewater from oil and natural gas drilling operations. Geologists have been studying the cause of hundreds of earthquakes that have shaken the homes and the nerves of residents in central and north-central Oklahoma, where the pace of oil and gas drilling has accelerated in recent years.  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
'The world is finally producing renewable energy at an industrial scale'
The Guardian
Achim Steiner

enewables are finally becoming a globally significant source of power, according to a United Nations Environment Programme report released in March by Frankfurt School UNEP Centre and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Driven by rapid expansion in developing countries, new installations of carbon-free renewable power plants in 2014 surpassed 100,000 megawatts of capacity for the first time, according to the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment report. It appears that renewable energy is now entering the market at a scale that is relevant in energy industry terms – and at a price that is competitive with fossil fuels. The numbers are compelling. Renewables such as wind, solar and biomass generated an estimated 9.1% of the world’s electricity in 2014, up from 8.5% in 2013, according to the report. These sources made up the majority of new power capacity in Europe, and also brought electricity to new markets. They also caught the eyes of investors: in 2014, energy investment in rose 17% over the previous year, surging to $270bn, according to the report.  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
EVs Charged Via Renewable Energy Will Qualify For Carbon Credits
Clean Technica


Originally published on RenewEconomy. By Sophie Vorrath solartreeEVcharger-300x137Projects that encourage the switch to electric vehicles will now receive further incentive when they include battery-charging from renewable energy sources, after a rule change was adopted this week by the Board that oversees the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The CDM, which provides saleable carbon credits to projects that reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions, broadened the methodology for electric vehicles to take into account the further reductions that could be achieved when renewable energy was used for recharging the vehicles.  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
'Pipelines blow up and people die'
Politico
ELANA SCHOR and ANDREW RESTUCCIA

On June 10, 1999, a few days after his high school graduation, Liam Wood unexpectedly got an afternoon off work and decided to go fly-fishing on a creek near his hometown of Bellingham, Washington. About 100 miles away, operators missed the signs of a pressure spike in the 16-inch gasoline pipeline that crossed the stream in Whatcom Falls Park. The pipe ruptured at a point where, several years before, a backhoe had accidentally struck and weakened the 50-year-old iron. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of gasoline began to spew into the creek near where Liam stood, staining the water pink. It took an hour for control room computers to register an alert. Police began to evacuate the park, but Liam was already dead. Overcome by fumes, the 18-year-old had fallen unconscious into the water and drowned. Then two 10-year-old boys playing in the park flicked a lighter they’d been using to set off fireworks, igniting the gasoline. The fireball set dozens of acres ablaze in a towering black cloud that could be seen in Vancouver, more than 50 miles away. The two boys died the next day, succumbing to burns over more than 80 percent of their bodies.   [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Roper: Is Marcellus play too near its peak to justify three huge new pipelines?
The Roanoke Times


Many articles about the three proposed natural-gas pipelines to cross the mountains of Virginia have been published in The Roanoke Times. Most have not mentioned that the Marcellus shale play is near a peak in extraction of gas and extraction will decline steadily thereafter. It is important to have reliable estimates of the amount of Marcellus natural gas that will be available in the future to be transported through the three huge pipelines being proposed, to see if it is sufficient to justify the expense of and environmental damage done by constructing the pipelines. The best analysis of Marcellus gas extraction and projected future extraction has been done by petroleum scientist J. David Hughes, published as a book (createspace.com/5066494) and online at tinyurl.com/pnxcwrn. The Marcellus well-by-well and geological analysis starts on Page 259. Figure 3-99 on Page 280 shows the extraction peak at about 2018, the time projected for the completion of the Mountain Valley pipeline.  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Will Nat Gas Peaker Plants Become Obsolete?
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Nat gas peaker plants generate electricity when it’s needed most. Such as on hot summer days when air conditioning becomes not so much a luxury as a necessity. And of course, this energy is also the most expensive. So who would have thought that something as lowly as the home thermostat could actually have the potential to make a nat gas peaker plant obsolete? Smart grids are a fascinating emerging trend in the electricity markets. And perhaps one of the most interesting aspects is the incorporation of smart energy management on the home scale. This has been sorely missing to date. Utilities have long worked with commercial customers to manage energy usage but controlling usage in the residential sector proved problematic. And it has to be said, a bit unimaginative. Not anymore. While there are a number of smart thermostats in the market, a company called Nest which was formed by a couple of engineers coming out of Apple managed to capture the imagination of consumers. In fact, so much so that Google purchased the company for $3.2B in January 2014, a mere four years after it was founded. So why would Google pay so much for this technology? It’s quite simple, really. The upside potential is profound.  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Oklahoma Acknowledges Wastewater From Oil and Gas Wells as Major Cause of Quakes
The New York Times
Michael Wines

Abandoning years of official skepticism, Oklahoma’s government on Tuesday embraced a scientific consensus that earthquakes rocking the state are largely caused by the underground disposal of billions of barrels of wastewater from oil and gas wells. The state’s energy and environment cabinet introduced a website detailing the evidence behind that conclusion Tuesday, including links to expert studies of Oklahoma’s quakes. The site includes an interactive map that plots not only earthquake locations, but also the sites of more than 3,000 active wastewater-injection wells.  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
EPA Head McCarthy Pledges To Get Climate Rules 'Over The Finish Line' In Obama's Term
Huffington Post
Kate Sheppard

WASHINGTON -- The head of the Environmental Protection Agency says the final rules for reducing U.S. power plant emissions will be done by mid-summer, and she's not particularly worried about legal and political attempts to block them. The draft rule, released in June 2014, calls for a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants by 2030. The EPA received more than 2 million comments on the proposed rules from citizens, states and private companies. "We’re really comfortable that we can get this rule done in mid-summer and do justice to a full evaluation of all those comments, so that we can make sure that it gets over the finish line really solid," EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told The Huffington Post. "It's going to be solid legally, and it's going to get some tremendous progress moving forward to address carbon pollution that’s fueling climate change."  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Pennsylvania DEP publishes 2011-13 shale gas emissions report
Shale Energy Insider
James Perkins

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection has released air emissions figures for the state’s natural gas industry from 2011-13. According to the data, levels of nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, sulphur dioxide and volatile organic compounds all increased over the period; however, methane and carbon monoxide levels fell. The recording of the data is required under the state’s Air Pollution Control Act and covers emissions from Marcellus shale gas production and processing. In 2013 the number of well sites included in the emissions study grew by 18.3% and the number of midstream facilities that submitted data grew by 8.2%.  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Radon From Your Stove: Why New York Should Enact the No Radon in Natural Gas Legislation
Huffington Post
Elizabeth Glass Geltman

Enjoying the spring air? Well, take a deep breath New York. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, resulting in 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. So why am I mentioning this now? Well, recent research reported from scientists at Johns Hopkins reiterates the wisdom of legislation introduced by assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and senator Diane Savino mandating that all natural gas sold in New York must contain safe radon levels. Joan A. Casey and her scientific team recently reported that radon levels in Pennsylvania have risen since hydraulic fracturing of natural gas commenced. The researchers said they "found a statistically significant association between proximity to unconventional natural gas wells drilled in the Marcellus shale and first floor radon concentration in the summer," suggesting "a pathway through outdoor ambient air."  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Natural Gas Leaks: A $30 Billion Opportunity and Global Warming Menace
Forbes
Tom Zeller, Jr

A new study released Tuesday suggests that the global oil and gas industries allow as much as 3.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas — and almost certainly far more — to escape into the atmosphere annually. The leakage rate represents at least $30 billion in lost revenues, the analysis found, and it reinforces previous studies suggesting that the much-touted climate benefits of the expanding shale boom are unlikely to be realized unless these so-called fugitive emissions are brought under control. While the chief component of natural gas, methane, breaks down in the atmosphere more quickly than carbon dioxide, it has far more planet-warming potential while it is present. The gas escapes from storage tanks and vents at oil production sites, and in even greater amounts all along the natural gas production and delivery chain — rising from wells, poorly constructed processing facilities, and leaky transmission and delivery pipelines. Over a 20-year time frame, the cumulative leakage in 2012, the new study suggested, would represent as much as 7 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions — or the equivalent of about 40 percent of total carbon dioxide from coal-fired power production.  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
EPA Chief Defends Forthcoming Fracking Study, Says It Will 'Add To' Dialogue
Huffington Post
Kate Sheppard

WASHINGTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release a much-anticipated draft study this spring that will examine whether hydraulic fracturing can contaminate ground water supplies. While the topic of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas has generated a lot of attention, it's not clear whether the agency's study will clear up any of the major lingering questions about the safety of the process. Fracking uses a high-pressure stream of water, sand and chemicals to tap into oil and gas reserves in rock formations, and has become increasingly common in recent years in many parts of the United States. There are a number of indications that the EPA's study will not resolve many of the key concerns communities have raised about fracking's impact on the safety of their drinking water supplies. As InsideClimate News reported last month, the agency's ability to gather data has been limited, due to both resistance from the oil and gas industry and legal limitations on the information the EPA was able to demand.  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Texas House Passes Bill Clamping Down on Local Fracking Bans
Texas Lawyer
Angela Neville

The Texas House of Representatives recently flexed its muscles and pushed cities and local governments away from regulating hydraulic fracturing. The Texas House approved a bill that gives the state the exclusive power to regulate oil and gas production activities such as fracking. Sponsored by Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, House Bill 40 has a companion bill in the Texas Senate (S.B. 1165), which is sponsored by Senate chairman Troy Fraser, R-Abilene. "The vote on H.B. 40 upholds constitutional property rights and establishes statutory local control over oil and gas surface operations," Rep. Darby said recently. "I applaud the good work the Energy Resources Committee put in to the committee substitute by working with the Texas Municipal League and the Texas Oil and Gas Association to improve this bill and move forward on sound policy." The Texas Constitution grants the state of Texas the authority to manage minerals and then the state, in turn, delegates to the Texas Railroad Commission the duty to issue permits to access minerals and the right to produce minerals, according to Jason Modglin, chief of staff in the office of Rep. Darby.   [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Governor's Office, Oklahoma Geological Survey acknowledge disposal wells likely cause of earthquakes
Tulsa World
Randy Krehbiel

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Geological Survey said Tuesday that the recent spate of earthquakes in central and northern Oklahoma were "very likely" caused by wastewater injection wells linked to hydraulic fracturing and other forms of oil and gas exploration. At the same time, Gov. Mary Fallin's office issued a press release acknowledging the OGS report and announcing the creation of a state-operated website called earthquakes.ok.gov to address the issue.  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Study links Azle earthquakes to drilling activity
Star Telegram
Max B Baker

Wastewater injection wells, along with brine production related to oil and gas drilling, are the most likely cause of a rash of earthquakes in the Azle and Reno area northwest of Fort Worth a couple of years ago, according to a newly published scientific study. An article published Tuesday in the science journal Nature Communications states that the 27 earthquakes in that region from November 2013 to January 2014 can be traced to oil and gas operations. The article was written by researchers from Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas at Austin and the U.S. Geological Survey. In an area where they seismology team identified two intersecting faults, they used a sophisticated 3D model to measure the changing fluid pressure within a rock formation. The researchers then used that model to estimate stress changes induced in the area by two wastewater injection wells and the more than 70 wells that remove natural gas and significant amounts of salty water, or brine.   [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Anti-fracking protesters rally at US Embassy
Nation Multimedia
Pratch Rjivanarom

AROUND 20 members of the "Stop Fracking Thailand Network" rallied outside the US Embassy in Bangkok yesterday to protest against chemical fracking in this country. Two network representatives, Rangsit University professor Dr Smith Tungkasmit and Pipat Samanchuen, were allowed to enter the premises to hand a letter to Eric Frater, first secretary of the economic section of the embassy.  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
‘A Danger on Rails’
The New York Times
JON BOWERMASTER

In recent years, small towns across the United States have begun hosting an increasingly common phenomenon: long trains, made up of 100-plus black cylindrical cars, rolling slowly past our hospitals, schools and homes. Few who see them know what they carry: highly flammable crude oil from the shale fields around North Dakota. I live in the Hudson Valley and see these trains daily; Albany is a major hub, and trains traveling south down the Hudson River toward mid-Atlantic refineries hug its shores. Every day on the East Coast, as many as 400,000 barrels of this explosive mixture travel through our backyards over shaky bridges, highways and overpasses. As this Op-Doc video shows, there are reasons to be very concerned about this increased train traffic, which is directly related to the boom in oil and gas drilling in the Midwest. These trains can be very dangerous, prompting some to call them “bomb trains.” There have already been horrific railway accidents in North America caused when these trains go off the tracks, some of them fatal.  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
OIL AND GAS: Industry's biggest gathering takes a more somber tone amid 'turbulent times'
E & E Newswire
Mike Lee and Nathanial Gronewold

HOUSTON -- The energy industry is in a much less celebratory mood at the start of the nation's largest annual meeting of oil, gas and power companies here. Thousands of executives have gathered in Houston for the IHS CERAWeek conference, founded by Cambridge Energy Research Associates. One year ago, the oil sector was in the midst of a boom, and drillers in the United States in particular were triumphant, anticipating good times for the foreseeable future. Things are rather different this year. Earlier optimism has evaporated as oil prices linger at half what they were during the 2014 conference and layoffs mount. Now, instead of pushing its weight around, the oil industry is sharing advice among its members on how to best weather the storm it is now in, all while seeking federal government assistance in the form of regulatory easing and a lifting of all restrictions on U.S. crude oil exports. The goal: avoiding another 1980s-style prolonged slump. "We are indeed living in turbulent times," said Ryan Lance, CEO of ConocoPhillips. "Everybody is kind of treading water." The opening of IHS CERAWeek also fell on the fifth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig disaster and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The impact of the disaster still lingers, with new rules on blowout preventers having recently been proposed. It's just the latest in a series of new regulations coming at an industry already reeling from the oil price drop.  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
LAW: W.Va. landowners battle pipeline company over property rights
E & E Newswire
Ellen M. Gilmer

A few hundred miles from the federal agency halls where protesters now routinely berate energy regulators for greenlighting pipeline projects, West Virginia landowners and litigators are testing a more fundamental level of opposition to the far-reaching expansion of America's pipeline network. Their approach isn't necessarily environmental; they're focused quite literally on what happens in their backyards -- denying access to surveyors and planners who are trying to secure a route for the 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline, one of many projects designed to transport the glut of natural gas from the nation's shale drilling boom. EQT Corp. and NextEra Energy Inc., the main backers of the MVP project, say the pipeline is critical for moving natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shale formations to markets in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. The route would begin in northern West Virginia and end at a compressor station in southern Virginia, carrying an estimated 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. Developers need early access to property along the route to do surveys and environmental assessments to ensure the pipeline path is viable. But many West Virginians are leery -- frustrated by developers scoping out their land and doubtful that they'll see much economic benefit. For now, the battle for access hinges on state law. Though the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has long handled oversight of natural gas pipelines, the rules for property access in the early stages of planning are set at the state level, and dozens of landowners in the path of the $3 billion MVP proposal think they have West Virginia law on their side to thwart pipeline planning. MVP backers disagree with the landowners over the meaning of the state law, and both sides are now pressing judges to clarify the statute once and for all. Six West Virginia landowners filed two lawsuits last month, urging a state court to declare that pipeline planners cannot have access to property unless their project qualifies as an improvement for "public use."  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
FERC observers question impact of activist tactics as mass protest nears
SNL
Mark Hand

With planned mass anti-FERC protests only a month away, some long-time agency observers are not convinced the protesters' tactics will result in the change they are seeking. But activists emphasize they are not planning to retreat in their attempts to transform the agency's approach to evaluating proposed infrastructure projects. Critics of how FERC regulates the natural gas industry are scheduled to gather for another week of protests May 21-29 at the agency's Washington, D.C., headquarters. The protesters, a mixture of environmental activists and people who live in regions impacted by natural gas infrastructure projects, are likely to shout various slogans and possibly refer to FERC as a "rubberstamping" machine that caters to the gas industry instead of the interests of the American public. The first large anti-FERC protest was held in July 2014, when activists marched from Capitol Hill to FERC headquarters, targeting how the commission was handling Dominion Resources Inc.'s application to build an LNG export terminal at its Cove Point facility in Calvert County, Md. The march on FERC was followed by a week of protests at the commission's headquarters in November 2014. Instead of focusing only on Cove Point, activists at the November protests urged FERC to pay greater attention to how gas infrastructure projects in general could endanger communities and drive climate change.  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
California fracking is making the drought worse
State Hornet
Brittney Christ

The California drought has become a hot topic with the news. What has not been mentioned is the impact that fracking has had upon the drought. Fracking, otherwise known as "hydraulic fracturing," is a way for oil companies to extract natural gas and oil that is deep below the Earth's surface.   [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
President Obama’s Earth Day Climate Message Inconsistent With His Support for Fracking
Indy Bay
Food & Water Watch

Washington, D.C. – As President Obama prepares to travel to South Florida’s Everglades tomorrow to deliver an Earth Day speech on climate change, the national advocacy group Food & Water Watch is highlighting the disconnect between the President’s statements on climate and his administration’s promotion of fracking on “protected” federal lands – including some in the Everglades region. In March, the Obama administration released toothless regulations that encourage new fracking on more than 200 million acres of federal lands, such as the Big Cypress National Preserve, which consists of 729,000 acres of “protected” swampland adjacent to Everglades National Park, where Obama will speak.   [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
DENR to drill fracking test well in Walnut Cove
Journal Now
Bertrand M. Gutierrez

WALNUT COVE – The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources plans to drill 1,750 feet deep in this area to get a better idea of what potential shale-gas reserves may lie in the Dan River Basin.   [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Senate panel brings fracking bill more in line with House bill
Naples Daily News
Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster

TALLAHASSEE - A Senate panel approved amendments Tuesday to a proposal to regulate hydraulic fracturing, passing the measure that now is more in line with a similar House bill.   [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Butte County supervisors vote 4-1 to ban fracking waste disposal in county
Chico Enterprise-Record
Ryan Olson

Oroville >> After a relatively brief public hearing Tuesday, the Butte County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance that would ban the storage or disposal of fracking waste within the county. The vote regarding the waste generated by injecting fluids into the ground to stimulate oil and natural gas production was 4-1.   [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
On this Earth Day, fracking still remains a federal issue
Albany Times Union
Commentary: Julia Walsh & Alex Beauchamp

If New York were to declare an Earth Day just for the state, it should be Dec. 17. That was the day in 2014 that Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a ban on fracking, based on the fact that fracking poses serious risks to New Yorkers' public health and safety.   [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
Cities bristle as state asserts authority over fracking
WFAA
Todd Unger

DENTON — In a city that overwhelmingly voted to ban fracking, a legislative move in Austin to thwart the ordinance isn't going over well. House Bill 40 would prohibit municipalities from outlawing oil and gas drilling within city limits.  [Full Story]

Apr 21, 2015
EPA Chief Defends Forthcoming Fracking Study, Says It Will 'Add To' Dialogue
Huffington Post
Kate Sheppard

WASHINGTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release a much-anticipated draft study this spring that will examine whether hydraulic fracturing can contaminate ground water supplies. While the topic of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas has generated a lot of attention, it's not clear whether the agency's study will clear up any of the major lingering questions about the safety of the process.   [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
State Dept accused of accelerating Canadian company's pipeline approval
Al Jazeera America
Renee Lewis

The U.S. State Department has accelerated the approval of a cross-border pipeline, apparently allowing an Alberta-based Canadian energy company to sidestep the normal regulatory process applied to other cross-border projects including Keystone XL, according to emails made public Monday as part a case filed against the department by the Sierra Club and other environmental groups. “The president and the State Department made it clear on Keystone that this is an important review process they need to stick to,” Sierra Club staff attorney Doug Hayes told Al Jazeera. “And Obama has said it’s important to look at the climate impacts from these expansions — meanwhile we have the State Department basically working with Enbridge to sidestep that.” Enbridge Energy, the Canadian company responsible for a massive pipeline rupture in 2010 near Michigan's Kalamazoo River, applied last year for an amended presidential permit for its planned Alberta Clipper, or Line 67 — a cross-border pipeline that would double the capacity of its pipeline bringing Canadian tar sands oil from Alberta to American refineries.  [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
US carbon emissions are rising again. Can Obama push them back down?
Vox
Brad Plumer

One of the most promising climate-change stories of the last decade was the steep plunge in US carbon dioxide emissions after 2005. Before then, US emissions had been rising relentlessly for decades. Suddenly, they were falling.   [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Air pollution from natural gas production surged in 2013: Search the database
PennLive
Wallace McKelvey

Air pollution from Pennsylvania's natural gas production increased significantly in 2013, but an industry-wide decline could help reduce emissions in the coming years. Emissions of sulfur dioxide, a contributor to acid rain, increased 57 percent from 2012 to 2013. Methane, a greenhouse gas, decreased 13 percent while volatile organic compounds, a major contributor to smog, increased 19 percent.   [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Pennsylvania DEP says emissions increased from expanding natural gas industry
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Laura Legere

Emissions from the expanding natural gas drilling industry increased in four of six air pollution categories in 2013 but releases of an important greenhouse gas declined, according to new data published by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Monday. Acting DEP Secretary John Quigley said the increases were not unexpected because the industry is growing and regulators have expanded the number and types of facilities that have to report their emissions since the state first began collecting the data in 2011.  [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Nebraska panel to act on fracking water disposal request
The State
Associated Press

SIDNEY, NEB. The Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is scheduled to act Wednesday on an application for a Sioux County disposal site for wastewater from oil exploration and production. The commission website says the special meeting is set to begin at 10 a.m. at the commission office in Sidney.   [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Texas House Votes to Ban Banning Fracking
Dalls Observer
Stephen Young

So much for local control. As was inevitable following the Denton ballot initiative that banned fracking in the city's limits, the Texas House of Representatives moved Friday to severely restrict the limits municipalities can place on hydraulic fracturing within their borders.  [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Interior Secretary Jewell Defends Fracking on Public Lands; Says Industry is Responsible for Reassuring Public
AllGov


Asking “How many of you burned no fossil fuels today?” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell defended allowing fracking on public lands, saying that the practice is necessary to ensure U.S. energy security while attempting to move away from burning hydrocarbons. Jewell’s agency last month released rules dealing with fracking on public lands, regulations many say don’t go far enough in protecting the land and those who use it from the toxic waste associated with the practice.   [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Longmont asks Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments in fracking lawsuit
Times-Call


Longmont has asked the Colorado Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments in the city's appeal of a Boulder District Court ruling against Longmont's voter-approved ban on hydraulic fracturing. In a written request filed last Thursday, the city and four intervenors on the city's side in the lawsuit — Our Health, Our Future Our Longmont; Sierra Club; Food and Water Watch; and Earthworks — suggessted the appellate court could also benefit from giving each side more than 15 minutes each in such oral presentations.  [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Green gas from grass to be cleaner and cheaper than fracking
Click Green


Britain's leading green energy company, Ecotricity, is set to roll out a new way of generating gas following several years of research and development into making green gas from grass. With the first project to be submitted into planning later this year, the Green Gas Mills concept is scalable, meaning green gas could be rolled out across Britain and immediately begin displacing imported fossil-fuel gas in the grid – while providing a viable carbon-neutral alternative to fracking.   [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Labour vow on fracking in National Parks
The Northern Echo
Hannah Chapman

LABOUR has vowed to ban fracking in National Parks if it wins power – after the Coalition paved the way for it to go ahead. The Opposition said outlawing any drilling for shale gas in beauty spots was key to ensuring the new technology did not “degrade our natural environment”.   [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Albany County to ban frack waste in landfill
he Legislative Gazette
Keith J. Ferrante

The Albany County Legislature last week unanimously approved a law that would prohibit fracking waste from other states to be dumped in landfills within the county.  [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
New Data Reveals Increase in Emissions from Natural Gas Drilling Operations as Activity Increases, Reporting Requirements Expand
PR Newswire
Press Release

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today released the 2013 air emissions inventory for the natural gas drilling industry that shows increases in several categories of contaminants. The data is required to be reported to DEP under Pennsylvania's Air Pollution Control Act.  [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Five Years After BP Oil Spill: New Regulations Call for Extensive Drilling Industry Reform
Accuweather
Rachelle Gaynor

April 20 marks the five-year anniversary of the BP oil spill that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The explosion, and subsequent 87-day-long oil leak, was the country's worst maritime petroleum spill in history. As a response to this tragedy, referred to as the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, several proposals came out to limit and regulate offshore drilling for oil and gas wells.   [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Encana Said to Explore Sale of Haynesville Gas Properties
Bloomberg
Matthew Monks

Encana Corp. is seeking buyers for its natural gas properties in Louisiana as it focuses on drilling for oil and other liquids in Texas and Canada, people with knowledge of the matter said.   [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
State may allow utilities to charge for pipeline replacement
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—Utility companies may soon be allowed to charge ratepayers a separate fee on their monthly bills to accelerate the replacement of the state's network of aging gas pipelines, under a proposal the Public Service Commission is considering.   [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Artisan Energy Completes Drilling and Casing of Chip Lake and Sedalia Exploration Wells
Market Wired


CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - April 20, 2015) - Artisan Energy Corporation ("Artisan" or the "Corporation") (TSX VENTURE:AEC) is pleased to announce that it has completed drilling of the first two wells of its 2015 Canadian Exploration Expense ("CEE") flow-through program and both wells have been cased for testing and production. Approximately $1,600,000 of Artisan's $5,130,000 2015 CEE budget and obligation has been spent.   [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Anti-fracking rally outside US embassy
Bangkok Post
`

About 20 activists of the "Stop Fracking Thailand" group rallied at the United States embassy in Bangkok on Monday morning in protest against the use of fracking by US companies drilling for natural gas...   [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
For congressmen, 'It's all about that basin' in Delaware River conservation plan
THE MORNING CALL
Laura Olson

WASHINGTON — A group of regional congressmen are pushing again to boost the amount of conservation money heading to the Delaware River Basin, and they've turned to the pop music charts for a little marketing help. Their message to colleagues who have been reluctant to allocate the money: "It's all about that basin." The play on Meghan Trainor's hit song, "All About That Bass," is intended to jazz up a $5 million request that has been introduced each congressional session since 2010. The money would be matched with private dollars to pay for projects in the Delaware River Basin to improve water quality, restore wildlife habitats, and prevent flooding.   [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Air pollution from natural gas production in Pennsylvania up significantly in 2013
LancasterOnline
Ad Crable

Air pollution from natural gas sites in Pennsylvania increased significantly in 2013, the state Department of Environmental Protection says. Emissions from sulfur dioxide, a precursor of acid rain, was up 57 percent from 2012, DEP said. Volatile organic compounds increased 19 percent. Methane gas, a greenhouse gas, was up 13 percent. Particulate matter (also called soot) was up 12 percent and nitrogen oxides, which form soot, increased 8 percent.  [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Emails: How State Department Secretly Approved Expanding Piece of Enbridge's "Keystone XL Clone"
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

DeSmogBlog has obtained dozens of emails that lend an inside view of how the U.S. State Department secretly handed Enbridge a permit to expand the capacity of its U.S.-Canada border-crossing Alberta Clipper pipeline, which carries tar sands diluted bitumen (“dilbit”) from Alberta to midwest markets. The State Department submitted the emails into the record in the ongoing case filed against the Department by the Sierra Club and other environmental groups in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. Collectively, the emails show that upper-level State Department officials hastened the review process on behalf of Enbridge for its proposed Alberta Clipper expansion plan, now rebranded Line 67, and did not inform the public about it until it published its final approval decision in the Federal Register in August 2014.   [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Protesters Bring Ongoing "Situation" to New FERC Chairman
Truthout
Anne Meador

At his first meeting as FERC Chairman, Commissioner Norman Bay gave the cold shoulder to demonstrators who repeatedly interrupted him to protest what they say is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's rubber stamp approach to regulation. "Oh my God, we have a situation here. The situation is not going away," shouted protestor Charles Chandler. "There is no democracy here. You just ignore what I write on my computer."  [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Grass-to-gas plant could be UK's answer to fracking, says Ecotricity
The Guardian
Karl Mathiesen

The anaerobic digestion system will be one of the first such plants to feed gas directly into the British grid and the first to be fed solely on grass. The development in Gloucestershire by Ecotricity, a green energy company, would heat 6,000 homes. It will enter the planning stages within months and could be operating before 2017, should it receive approval.   [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
St. Tammany fracking suit moves to Baton Rouge courtroom Monday
Times-Picayune
Bob Warren

St. Tammany Parish government's fight to block a proposed fracking operation north of Mandeville will take center stage in a Baton Rouge courtroom Monday morning (April 20). Attorneys involved said Judge William Morvant could issue a ruling in the parish's suit against the state Department of Natural Resources and its Office of Conservation.  [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Fracking opponents can't block St. Tammany drilling operation, judge rules
Times Picayune
Robert Rhoden

Fracking opponents suffered a major defeat Monday morning (April 20) when a state judge ruled St. Tammany Parish cannot use its zoning regulations to block a proposed oil drilling and fracking project northeast of Mandeville. Judge William Morvant of the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge said parish regulations cannot trump state law and that the Department of Natural Resources' Office of Conservation is the sole regulator of oil and gas drilling in Louisiana.   [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Fresno County sheriff disputes account of what caused gun range fireball
The Fresno Bee
Marc Benjamin

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims on Monday disputed accounts of what triggered Friday’s fireball at the sheriff’s gun range, saying the county equipment operator was smoothing dirt, not digging, near the PG&E natural gas line that ruptured. More than a dozen people were injured — six of them severely burned — when a 12-inch natural gas line was ruptured and exploded in flames. Over the weekend, officials with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and Fresno County public works said the county heavy equipment operator apparently nicked the line while working on a berm that was designed to stop bullets at the shooting range operated by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Foundation.   [Full Story]

Apr 20, 2015
Air pollution increases at Pennsylvania’s natural gas sites
State Impact PA
Susan Phillips

A Cabot fracking site in Harford Township, Susquehanna County. LINDSAY LAZARSKI/WHYY A Cabot fracking site in Harford Township, Susquehanna County. Sulfur dioxide emissions jumped 57 percent from 2012 to 2013 at the state’s natural gas production sites, according to data released today by the Department of Environmental Protection. Sulfur dioxide contributes to acid rain, and causes respiratory problems including asthma. Other air pollutants that contribute to public health impacts also increased. These jumps in emissions coincide with the number of well sites reporting. Acting DEP Secretary John Quigley said in a press release that the results were not a surprise. “The industry is growing,” said Quigley. “And each year we are expanding the types and number of facilities from which we collect data so that we have a more comprehensive understanding of air quality issues.”  [Full Story]

Apr 19, 2015
Carbon reserves held by top fossil fuel companies soar Carbon in private firms’ reserves alone is now close to the global safe emissions limit
The Guardian
Damian Carrington & Xaquin GV

The carbon locked up in coal, oil and gas reserves owned by the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies has swollen by 10% in the last five years, despite warnings from the World Bank and others that most existing reserves cannot safely be burned.   [Full Story]

Apr 19, 2015
As Researchers Tie Fracking and Radon, Pennsylvania Moves to Keep Drilling Radioactivity Data Under Wraps
DeSmog Blog
Sharon Kelly

Last week, research into the connection between fracking and radon, an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas, drew international attention, making headlines in English, German and Italian.  [Full Story]

Apr 19, 2015
Is Fracking Triggering Earthquakes In Texas? A dramatic increase in earthquakes in Texas is causing alarm, with many pointing the figure at the fracking industry.
Sky
Greg Milam

The area around the city of Irving, which had never experienced a quake before 2008, has now experienced more than a hundred. Locals suspect that hydraulic fracturing - pumping high pressure liquid into the bedrock to free oil and natural gas - or the associated process of wastewater injection is to blame.   [Full Story]

Apr 19, 2015
Beer drinkers join the fight against fracking with claims it poses a 'substantial threat to the quality of real ale'
Independent
Jonathan Owen & Samuel Osborne

Members of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) will this week vote on a proposal to oppose the controversial drilling process, in which water, sand and chemicals are injected into rock at high pressure.   [Full Story]

Apr 19, 2015
Hillary And The $1 Million Question … For Environmentalists
Townhall
Matt Vespa

For years, Clinton has headed into the bunker when people asked about her position on this policy question. It’s something that has the environmental left sort of uneasy as the 2016 season begins to pick up the pace. It’s the Keystone Pipeline.  [Full Story]

Apr 19, 2015
Local group appeals ODNR’s approval of 8th injection well
Athens News
David DeWitt

An Athens-based anti-fracking group has filed an appeal of a new drilling-waste injection well in eastern Athens County recently approved by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. It will become the third well at that location owned by K&H Partners of West Virginia, and the eighth overall injection well in Athens County.  [Full Story]

Apr 19, 2015
Oil prices challenge Cheniere's LNG export plan
USA TODAY
Bill Loveless

The collapse in oil prices has shaken up executives from oil and natural gas companies, large and small — among them, Charif Souki. Not that Souki is in any imminent trouble. His company, Cheniere Energy, is on the verge of beginning the first exports of liquefied natural gas from the U.S. mainland, with customers locked up in Asia and Europe.   [Full Story]

Apr 19, 2015
Colorado Fracking Wastewater Injection Site Up In Flame
Popular Resistance
Jennifer Baker

Around 1:15 this afternoon a fracking waste-water injection site in Greeley Colorado went up in flames causing several large explosions. The Greeley Tribune reported that Fire-fighters waited to engage until around 5:30pm ” until the explosion risk subsided before going in with the foam fire suppression agent to subdue the fire.” Explosions and fireballs erupted from the fire throughout the afternoon, spewing black smoke into the sky, which was visible for miles. The roar of the fire sounded like a freight train rumbling past. A little after 3 p.m., the fire spread south toward a grouping of tanks, a loud whistling sound preceded a large explosion that launched a tank into the air. The tank landed about 60 feet from the site. That afternoon, several tanks became airborne in the same fashion.  [Full Story]

Apr 19, 2015
At well sites across Pa., pictures help tell the story
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Laura Legere

Drillers are getting photo evidence from the state DEP of violations at wells. But the industry says they don't tell the whole story Pennsylvania’s traditional oil and gas companies have asked for evidence that their impact on the environment could justify stronger regulations that the state wants to apply to their operations. The state Department of Environmental Protection is preparing to show it to them in full color. Regulators have compiled hundreds of photographs taken by field inspectors in recent years to document violations at traditional, shallow well sites — small, often family-run operations that predate the Marcellus Shale drilling boom by generations and have continued pumping in its shadow.   [Full Story]

Apr 18, 2015
First Read: Say Hello to Washington's Next Political Battle
NBC News
CHUCK TODD, MARK MURRAY AND ANDREW RAFFERTY

The fast-track trade war has begun Move over Iran and Loretta Lynch (at least for the time being), and say hello to the next political battle in Washington that has already produced strange bedfellows and promises to put Hillary Clinton on the spot -- trade. "The leaders of congressional tax-committees in both chambers agreed to legislation Thursday to grant President Barack Obama 'fast track' authority to negotiate on a sweeping, multinational trade deal," per NBC News. "The measure ensures Congress' right to vote on a trade accord, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations, but blocks legislators from adding amendments that might slow down the measure's progress." Here's what's fascinating about this fight: President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, and House Ways and Means Chair Paul Ryan support the fast-track legislation, while organized labor, progressives, and some congressional Republicans (who don't want to give Obama any kind of win) are against it. The fast-track battle also creates an interesting dilemma for Hillary Clinton -- does she support it (and risk creating an opening on her left), or does she oppose it (and tick off the business community and put daylight between herself and Obama)?  [Full Story]

Apr 18, 2015
Maryland To Become Latest State To Adopt Community Solar Legislation
DeSmogBlog
MIKE GAWORECKI

Following the lead of ten other states that have already adopted similar legislation, Maryland lawmakers this week passed two bills that aim to create community solar projects and increase access to clean energy in the state. The bills, which still must be signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan, would launch a three-year pilot project to allow the state to assess the benefits of community solar and establish best practices.   [Full Story]

Apr 18, 2015
Growing fossil fuel divestment protests hit colleges nationwide
MSNBC
Jamie Henn

The movement to push colleges and universities to divest from fossil fuels is heating up on campus. Everywhere you look, divestment sit-ins, protests, and rallies are sweeping across campuses. At Harvard this week, more than 1,000 students, alumni and professors have taken part in sit-ins, rallies and protests. Their blockade of key administration offices has forced school officials to relocate to a nearby Au Bon Pain. Meanwhile, down at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, students have been occupying their administration’s offices for over three weeks. The protest garnered them a powerful endorsement from UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres who urged her alma mater to divest and “play its part in history.” World Bank President Jim Kim echoed her this week, saying he was “impressed” by the divestment effort on campuses.   [Full Story]

Apr 18, 2015
Solar Power Battle Puts Hawaii at Forefront of Worldwide Changes
The New York Times
DIANE CARDWELL

HONOLULU — Allan Akamine has looked all around the winding, palm tree-lined cul-de-sacs of his suburban neighborhood in Mililani here on Oahu and, with an equal mix of frustration and bemusement, seen roof after roof bearing solar panels. Mr. Akamine, 61, a manager for a cable company, has wanted nothing more than to lower his $600 to $700 monthly electric bill with a solar system of his own. But for 18 months or so, the state’s biggest utility barred him and thousands of other customers from getting one, citing concerns that power generated by rooftop systems was overwhelming its ability to handle it.   [Full Story]

Apr 18, 2015
Portland torn over $500m terminal: could fracking creep into a 'green' city?
The Guardian
Chris McGreal

Portland’s claim to lead US cities in combating climate change is under threat from plans to build a $500m terminal to export gas pumped from fracking in Canada. Amid fears that Portland’s progressive, environmentally conscious image could be badly dented, the city is divided over whether exporting natural gas is part of the problem or the solution, in reducing carbon emissions. Portland’s http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/18/portland-divided-terminal-could-fracking-creep-green-city?CMP=share_btn_fbPlanning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) last week narrowly approved the application by a Canadian company, Pembina, to build one of the largest industrial facilities in the city. Supporters argued that the export of propane gas would help reduce dependence by China and other countries on dirtier fossil fuels, particularly coal.  [Full Story]

Apr 18, 2015
Fracking: Texas bill limiting bans on energy companies moves forward
The Guardian
Joanna Walters

A bill supported by energy companies that prevents cities and counties from banning the practice of fracking on their land has been passed by the first tier of state legislators in Texas and is on course to become law. The proposed law would stop municipalities and other local authorities from enacting their own bans on the practice of hydraulic fracturing and drilling for crude oil and natural gas. The state would have the power to override any such efforts and give gas and oil companies the access they desire to extract resources, against the wishes of voters and politicians at local level if necessary.  [Full Story]

Apr 18, 2015
Towns Close Ranks Against Crestwood
Ithaca Times
Glynis Hart

The Ovid town board heard many arguments in favor of a resolution against the establishment of an LPG gas storage facility in abandoned solution salt mines near the shore of Seneca Lake, and only one against it, at their monthly town board meeting on April 8. Joining 21 other local municipalities, the board decided that the eight full time jobs promised by Crestwood, owner of the potential storage facility, were not worth the potential risks.  [Full Story]

Apr 18, 2015
How rules are shaking out: Quakes seem fewer under fracking limits; KCC says ‘it’s too early’ to tell
Hutch News
John Green

Since September, the region has experienced an average of 17 quakes of magnitude 2.0 or higher each month. State scientists and regulators have conceded the injection of waste saltwater deep underground, to dispose of a byproduct of oil and gas production from hydraulic fracturing, is likely triggering the tremors along existing but previously unknown fault lines in the region.   [Full Story]

Apr 18, 2015
Pipeline opponents blast PennEast's invitation-only meetings with landowners
Times of Trenton
Cristina Rojas

Opponents of the proposed $1 billion PennEast pipeline that would run through Hunterdon and Mercer counties are blasting the company for holding closed-door meetings with affected landowners. Invitations to the informational sessions were only extended to landowners whose properties run along the proposed route.  [Full Story]

Apr 18, 2015
Editorial: Delaware River Basin Conservation Act protects important natural resource
Times of Trenton
Editorial

There's precious little that members of the New Jersey congressional delegation agree on across party lines, but when it comes to the future of one of the area's greatest resources, they speak with one voice. Eight members representing the Garden State joined counterparts from New York and Pennsylvania to introduce measures to bolster the Delaware River Basin, which contributes about $25 billion annually to the regional economy while supporting an estimated 600,000 jobs. The proposed legislation, called the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act, would bring in $5 million in matching federal grants to improve habitats and water quality while also reducing the threat posed by flooding in the basin.   [Full Story]

Apr 17, 2015
House moves to bar fracking bans
Denton Record-Chronicle
Marissa Barnettand & James Osborne

AUSTIN — The House moved Friday to bar cities from banning fracking and placing other limits on oil and gas drilling, after a debate that pits a key state industry against communities’ desires for local control.  [Full Story]

Apr 17, 2015
Is it Really a Good Idea to put one Gas Pipeline near an Old Nuclear Power Plant and another Next to a Major Art Museum?
AllGov


Two New York pipelines, one near a nuclear plant, the other terminating in the basement of a museum, have caused concern about the possibility of an accident. Thirty miles north of Manhattan, a proposed gas pipeline would run near the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC), a nuclear power plant in operation since 1973. If that line were to leak and subsequently explode, the blast could trigger a nuclear catastrophe. The new pipeline would be part of the existing 1,129-mile Algonquin Pipeline that runs from Texas to Beverly, Massachusetts. The owner, Spectra Energy, wants to build a new section, called “The Algonquin Incremental Market Project,” to handle more gas.  [Full Story]

Apr 17, 2015
Fresno gas explosion injures 11, some critically
CBS News
Amanda Art

FRESNO, Calif. -- Authorities said 11 people were hurt, at least three of them critically, in an explosion Friday in the central California city of Fresno, CBS San Francisco reported. The explosion happened at the Fresno County Sheriff's gun range at around 2:30 p.m., according to Tony Botti, a spokesman for the department.  [Full Story]

Apr 17, 2015
Line Break Has Yet To Be Found
Wheeling News-Register
Casey Junkins

GLEN DALE - Williams Energy contractors continue searching for the rupture in the 4-inch pipeline that spilled 132 barrels of Marcellus shale condensate in Marshall County's Little Grave Creek last week, according to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. "The actual line break location is still not apparent," West Virginia DEP spokeswoman Kelley J. Gillenwater said Thursday, which marked one week since this line and a 12-inch one in the Bane Lane area along U.S. 250, also operated by Williams, ruptured over the course of three hours. "The location has been narrowed down to about a 2-acre site," Gillenwater said. "DEP has given permission to Williams to remove booms from Little Grave Creek and Molly Run because there were no signs of contamination. Sample results are coming back non-detect and no sheen or odor has been noticed."  [Full Story]

Apr 17, 2015
From Fracking to Keystone XL, Green Groups Face a Hillary Clinton
Forbes
Tom Zeller Jr,

Way back in October 2010, when federal deliberations over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline had only been plodding along for a little over two years, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had this to say when asked about the wisdom of “mainlining” heavy Canadian crude oil amid escalating climate risks: “We haven’t finished all of the analysis. So as I say, we’ve not yet signed-off on it,” Clinton said. “But we are inclined to do so and we are for several reasons — going back to one of your original questions — we’re either going to be dependent on dirty oil from the Gulf, or dirty oil from Canada.”  [Full Story]

Apr 17, 2015
Judges Greet Early Challenge to EPA Rule With Skepticism
InsideClimate News
John H. Cushman Jr.

Three federal appeals court judges sounded unlikely to accept early challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency's forthcoming Clean Power Plan, at least until the regulation is published in final form this summer. At least two of the three judges, all from the more conservative side of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, seemed hesitant during a public hearing on Thursday to take the unprecedented step of allowing a lawsuit to go forward at this stage of the regulatory process.   [Full Story]

Apr 17, 2015
Water, Capitalism and Catastrophism

LOUIS PROYECT

Two films concerned with water and environmental activism arrive in New York this week. “Groundswell Rising”, which premieres at the Maysles Theater in Harlem today, is about the struggle to safeguard lakes and rivers from fracking while “Revolution”, which opens at the Cinema Village next Wednesday, documents the impact of global warming on the oceans. Taking the holistic view, one can understand how some of the most basic conditions of life are threatened by a basic contradiction. Civilization, the quintessential expression of Enlightenment values that relies on ever-expanding energy, threatens to reduce humanity to barbarism if not extinction through exactly such energy production. This challenge not only faces those of us now living under capitalism but our descendants who will be living under a more rational system. No matter the way in which goods and services are produced, for profit or on the basis of human need, humanity is faced with ecological constraints that must be overcome otherwise we will be subject to a Sixth Extinction. Under capitalism, Sixth Extinction is guaranteed. Under socialism, survival is possible but only as a result of a radical transformation of how society is organized, something that Marx alluded to in the Communist Manifesto when he called for a “gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.”  [Full Story]

Apr 17, 2015
How You Can Go Solar Without Even Owning a Single Panel
EcoWatch
Lorraine Chow

We know that solar power in the U.S. is growing at leaps and bounds and is only getting cheaper. Still, there are limitations. Not everyone has the ability to harness the sun’s power, especially if you’re not a property owner, don’t have the proper rooftop or can’t afford the costly solar panel installation process.  [Full Story]

Apr 17, 2015
Pro-fracking company asked to carry out safety study
Irish Times
Ronan McGreevy

The lead company employed to carry out a study on fracking in Ireland is a pro-fracking organisation involved in the controversial gas extraction method in the United States and Poland. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was commissioned by the Government to undertake a two-year study into fracking. It will examine if fracking can be conducted in a way that does not cause significant environmental pollution. In August last year the EPA, the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) awarded the contract to a consortium led by CDM Smith. CDM Smith (Ireland) Ltd is a subsidiary of CDM Smith based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The consortium includes University College Dublin, the University of Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast (QUB).  [Full Story]

Apr 17, 2015
Norman Bay, Tough Guy
EcoWatch
Ted Glick

From the time I walked yesterday into the FERC building—that’s the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the most powerful and dangerous federal agency most people have never heard of—things felt and looked different. First were the cops. There are always FERC security personnel at the front entrance, but it seemed like there were twice as many yesterday as I’d ever seen before in past visits. In addition, and ominously, there were also a couple of Department of Homeland Security/Federal Protective Services police prominently stationed where they could not be missed. Then there was the atmosphere in the auditorium where the five FERC Commissioners were soon going to be having their monthly meeting. There was a noticeable tenseness, a lot less smiles, more uptight FERC staff faces than I’ve seen before, and this was about my seventh time at one of these monthly meetings.  [Full Story]

Apr 17, 2015
"Carbon Copy": How Big Oil and King Coal Ghost Write Letters for Public Officials, Business Groups
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

The Billings Gazette has revealed that coal mining company Cloudpeak Energy ghost wrote protest letters to the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) on behalf of allied policymakers and business groups. Reporter Tom Lutey examined numerous letters written to DOI from Montana-based stakeholders and noticed something unusual: the language in every single letter was exactly the same. That is, the same except for a parenthetical note in one of them instructing the supposed writer of it to “insert name/group/entity.” The “carbon copied” (pun credit goes to Lutey) letters requested for the DOI to give states a time extension to begin implementing new rules dictating the coal industry give states a “fair return” on mining leases granted to industry by the states. DOI ended up giving King Coal the 60-day extension.   [Full Story]

Apr 17, 2015
Fresno pipeline explosion closes Hwy. 99, injures at least 11
KCRA-NBC


FRESNO, Calif. (KCRA) —A gas pipeline explosion near Fresno injured at least 11 people and shut down a section of Highway 99 for several hours Friday afternoon.  [Full Story]

Apr 17, 2015
Crews battle fire after explosion at wastewater fracking site in Greeley
KMGH-ABC


GREELEY, Colo. - Firefighters in Greeley battled fire Friday at a wastewater fracking site in Greeley after an explosion. At about 1:15 p.m., crews were dispatched to the area of the explosion at Weld County Road 64 and 47 -- northeast of the Greeley Airport. The fire was near a wastewater injection well, where spent fluids like the ones used in hydraulic fracturing are taken after they are used, Greeley Fire Department spokeswoman Dale Lyman said.  [Full Story]

Apr 17, 2015
California Gas Pipeline Explosion Injures Up to 15 People
The New York Times
Reuters

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A construction crew on Friday accidentally ruptured a natural gas transmission line in Fresno, California, sparking an explosion and fire that injured up to 15 people, four of them critically, officials said. The 12-inch (30-cm) pipeline, belonging to Pacific Gas & Electric Corp, was struck by a backhoe near state Highway 99, unleashing a fireball that injured members of the construction team and a jail inmate crew nearby, Fresno Fire Department spokesman Peter Martinez said.  [Full Story]

Apr 17, 2015
Texas Sharon Wilson Still Drilling Drillers
Fort Worth Weekly
Jeff Prince

A single mom living in the country outside of Fort Worth got bullied by gas drillers years ago and made it her mission to fight against Big Oil’s intrusion into people’s lives. A decade later, Sharon Wilson is still leading the charge, taking on drillers, lawmakers, and inattentive (to the point of being complicit) regulators. Many regular folks find themselves thrust into the role of activist simply by being overrun by industrial Goliaths and choosing to pull out a slingshot rather than running, hiding, or doing nothing.  [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
Protestors Bring Ongoing “Situation” to New FERC Chairman
DC Media Group
Anne Meador

At his first meeting as FERC Chairman, Commissioner Norman Bay gave the cold shoulder to demonstrators who repeatedly interrupted him to protest what they say is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s rubber stamp approach to regulation. “Oh my God, we have a situation here. The situation is not going away,” shouted protestor Charles Chandler. “There is no democracy here. You just ignore what I write on my computer.”  [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
Nova Scotia company wants to move LNG north through Maine for export
Bangor Daily News
Darren Fishell

PORTLAND, Maine — The first approved exporter of liquefied natural gas in Eastern Canada has asked U.S. energy regulators for permission to bring the fuel from central and western Canada through New England before shipping to foreign markets. The company Bear Head LNG, a subsidiary of the Australian company Liquified Natural Gas Limited, has asked federal energy regulators for the ability to enter 25-year contracts for natural gas pipeline capacity of up to 1.2 billion cubic feet per day. The gas would make the last leg of its journey through Maine from western and central Canada on the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline, ending in Calais. Spectra Energy, which owns the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline, is seeking regulatory approval to reverse the direction of that pipeline, which has run north to south. Bear Head projected in its initial U.S. Department of Energy application that the use of that capacity could raise the price of natural gas in the region by as much as 1.8 percent from 2019 to 2033, according to an analysis the company supplied from the consultancy Black & Veatch, which determined the proposed project would “have a limited price impact in New England” from 2019 to 2049.  [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
Experts: Powering your home with batteries is going to get cheaper and cheaper
Washington Post
Chris Mooney

In the past few weeks, there’s been a battery of new studies on batteries. Not the kind in your cellphone, but a much more revolutionary make – the kind that is already powering many cars, and that might someday help power your home. A recent study in Energy Policy, for instance, found that the cost of batteries for home systems (to store the energy collected by rooftop solar panels) is starting to decline – although even with these systems, it probably won’t be economically optimal for most people to ditch the grid entirely. Another report by the Rocky Mountain Institute similarly found that within 10 to 15 years in some places, the most economical choice for home energy could be a solar plus battery system, meaning that there could be a great deal of “load defection” from the traditional electricity grid. Finally, a new study in Nature Climate Change documented that there has been a steep decline in the cost of lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles like Teslas – 14 percent per year plunge since 2007.  [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
The numbers behind the fracking-earthquake debate
the Oklahoma Daily
Dana Branham

Oklahoma has come to be known for its frequent earthquakes in recent years. In 2014, Oklahoma was the most seismically active state in the U.S., with 585 earthquakes over a magnitude of 3 over 12 months. In 2013, only 100 earthquakes of the same magnitude were recorded.  [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
Zephyr, fracking, mom-and-pops…what a year!
The Villager
Nadine Hoffman

V.I.D. was the first Democratic club to endorse, and campaign for, the Zephyr Teachout-Tim Wu ticket in the 2014 Democratic primary for governor. Although losing to Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul, Zephyr and Tim romped in Greenwich Village and did astonishingly well statewide. Many in the community believe that Governor Cuomo’s decision to finally ban fracking in New York State was influenced by Teachout’s strong opposition to it, as well as her surprising strength in the primary.  [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
New York's Fracking Ban Clears Way for Clean Energy, Not Coal
NRDC
Kate Sinding

In a recent Wall Street Journal interview, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg criticized Governor Cuomo for banning fracking in the state, citing concerns the ban will mean increased reliance on upstate coal-fired power plants. Mayor Bloomberg is a formidable leader in the battle against climate change on the local, national and international scales. During his three-term tenure in New York City, he had an impressive track record on environmental matters--taking steps to reduce global warming emissions, boost our resiliency to sea level rise, expand green spaces, create new bike lanes and pedestrian plazas, among other accomplishments. He is also a philanthropic force--donating millions to fight climate change and coal. NRDC has been fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of this generosity, receiving grants from the foundation he created, Bloomberg Philanthropies, to limit carbon pollution and promote clean energy in China and the U.S.   [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
ND Pushes Back on Fracking Rules; Lawmakers Crafting Revised Oil/Gas Regulations
Natural Gas Intel


North Dakota has joined Wyoming in an effort to roll back the newly finalized hydraulic fracturing (fracking) rules for federal and Native American lands. Lynn Helms, who directs the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), said Tuesday that unless the two states obtain a court injunction the rules would take effect June 26.   [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
New York's Fracking Ban Clears Way for Clean Energy, Not Coal
NRDC
Kate Sinding Blog

In a recent Wall Street Journal interview, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg criticized Governor Cuomo for banning fracking in the state, citing concerns the ban will mean increased reliance on upstate coal-fired power plants.... Governor Cuomo made the right decision for New York. The fracking ban has cleared the way for the state to focus on truly clean energy sources that will keep the lights on for future generations, without sacrificing our health.   [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
Natural gas industry lobbyists ask feds to put LNG projects on fast track
Fuel Fix
Rhiannon Meyers

The U.S. should speed up its approval process for new liquefied gas export terminals if it wants to remain competitive against other countries eagerly preparing to supply the world with gas, a natural gas trade association argued Thursday. America’s Natural Gas Alliance on Tuesday called on the federal government to revamp its lengthy and expensive permitting process for projects aimed at exporting supercooled gas to foreign markets, arguing that such exports are in the country’s national interest. “The time is now for the U.S. to seize the day,” alliance President and CEO Marty Durbin said in a conference call with reporters.  [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
Pope Francis to Host Major Summit on Climate Change
EcoWatch
Cole Mellino

The Vatican announced Tuesday that it will host a major conference on climate change on April 28, featuring some of the world’s leading climate scientists and an opening address by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The conference, Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity: The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Development, will also feature Jeffrey Sachs, a prominent American economist and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.  [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
Whose property is it?
News & Record
Editorial

On the final day of its regular legislative session last month, the House of Delegates in gas-rich West Virginia defeated a controversial bill on a 49-49 vote. It would have allowed “forced pooling,” a maneuver that lets operators drill under the property of unwilling landowners.   [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
Environmental campaigners say Tory silence on fracking could see the party lose votes
The Gravesend Reporter
Jamie Weir

The Conservative Party could lose votes if candidates remain wedded to controversial energy extraction method fracking, according to a new study by ComRes.   [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
Pennsylvania Court Declines to Aggregate Separate Compressor Stations
The National Law Review


A Pennsylvania Court recently considered whether a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether the air contamination sources are “adjacent”, thereby rendering a natural gas operators compressor facilities ineligible for GP-5 (minor source) air permits and requiring the natural gas operator to meet heightened (major source) air emission permitting requirements. See, Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future v. Ultra Resources, Inc., (M.D. Pa. Feb. 2015). Plaintiff Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (“PennFuture”) originally filed a citizen suit against Defendant Ultra Resources, Inc. (“Ultra”) for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act (“CAA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 7401 et seq. PennFuture contended that Ultra built a major facility which produces nitrogen oxide (“NOx”) emissions without obtaining the appropriate nonattainment New Source Review (“NNSR”) permit under the state regulations contained in 25 Pa.Code 127(E). See, Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future v. Ultra Resources, Inc., 898 F. Supp. 2d 741, 742 (M.D. Pa. 2012) (note prior litigation referenced for factual background). Ultra applied for and received several separate (minor source) permits (GP–5s) from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“PADEP”) for each of its compressor stations. In issuing these GP–5s, PADEP issued a permit to each compressor station as an individual NOx emitting facility instead of aggregating the facilities as a single source under one major source permit. Id.   [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
Cities bristle at state bid to control drilling
Weatherford Times
John Austin

AUSTIN – A move to wrest control of oil and gas drilling from cities and vest it with state officials has lit a flame under local leaders in the petroleum-rich Barnett Shale region. Mayors and other opponents say the proposed House Bill 40 to grant the state authority over oil and gas drilling - no matter where it happens - encroaches upon decisions left to them by the Texas Constitution. “As a city, we oppose losing control,” said Weatherford Mayor Dennis Hooks. “We think we can guide our city responsibly.”  [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
Washington’s Swinomish sue to halt Bakken oil trains
High Country News
Kindra McQuillan

To the Coastal Salish people living on Washington’s Swinomish Reservation, water remains an important aspect of daily life. Their ancestors fished for salmon at the mouths of Northwestern rivers and gathered shellfish on Pacific tidelands; modern Swinomish people still pursue these activities from their small reservation on the Puget Sound. Many fish for their own subsistence, and many work as employees of the Swinomish Fish Company, which serves international markets.  [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
Legal Battle Begins Over Obama Bid to Curb Greenhouse Gases
New York Times
Coral Davenport and MARJORIE CONNELLY

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s most far-reaching regulation to slow climate change will have its first day in court on Thursday, the beginning of what is expected to be a multiyear legal battle over the policy that Mr. Obama hopes to leave as his signature environmental achievement.   [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
Lawmakers strike deal on fast track trade bill
Politico
DOUG PALMER

Senior lawmakers reached agreement Thursday on a bipartisan trade promotion authority bill that has already ignited a fierce fight between President Barack Obama and liberal Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Two Republicans — Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan — negotiated for months on the “fast track” trade legislation with Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who has faced intense pressure from labor and progressive groups to walk away from the talks.  [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
WVU Researcher Warns About Toxic Ultrafine Dust in W.Va.
West Virginia Public Radio
GLYNIS BOARD

When we hear about the danger of dust exposure, we are usually talking about coal dust underground, or silica dust. But that’s not the only dust that can make people sick. Apparently almost any dust can, if it’s fine enough.  [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
Did The Senate Just Say Yes To Action On Climate Change?
ThinkProgress
EMILY ATKIN

It’s not a bill, it’s non-binding, and there’s no guarantee anything will actually come of it. But either way, the Republican-led Senate apparently thinks climate change should be tackled in the final federal budget for fiscal year 2016. On Thursday evening, the Senate approved a motion to instruct budget negotiators to “insist” that the final spending bill include measures to address human-caused climate change. Specifically, it calls for funding that “respond[s] to the causes and impacts of climate change, including the economic and national security threats posed by human-induced climate change.” Via the motion, budget negotiators were also instructed to provide funds for the Department of Defense to bolster resilience of critical military infrastructure to the impacts of climate change. This, of course, does not mean that the final budget will definitely include funding to respond to the threats of human-caused warming. All it means is that the Senate has officially stated that the budget should include that type of allocation. The lawmakers participating in the budget conference committee are under no official obligation to do so, however.  [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
EDITORIAL: Local control includes drilling, fracking
Beaumont Enterprise
Editorial

If a legislator tried to get a bill through the Texas House or Senate that undermined "local control" of public schools, his or her political career would be over pretty quickly. That concept is ingrained in Texas politics, and it has served the state well with few exceptions. Yet the same lawmakers who revere local control when it comes to schools are taking a different approach on issues like drilling or fracking within city limits.  [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
Commission’s fracking advisors controlled by lobbyists, claim NGOs
EurActiv


Environmental campaigners and the shale gas industry have clashed amid accusations that companies are controlling an influential European Commission group advising on fracking policy. Friends of the Earth Europe walked out of the Joint Research Centre’s (JRC) European Science and Technology Network on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Extraction. The JRC is the Commission’s in-house science service. It is meant to objectively inform EU policymaking.   [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
EOG has lion’s share of 900 North Dakota wells awaiting fracking
Marcellus.com
Ernest Scheyder

Oil producer EOG Resources Inc has the lion’s share of an estimated 900 North Dakota wells waiting to be fracked, according to state data, showing that even major oil titans are mothballing operations while they hope for a rebound in oil prices. For months the conventional wisdom in North Dakota’s Bakken shale formation had been that smaller producers with weak cash flow comprised the bulk of that estimate.   [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
Environmentalists Kick Up Dust At Fracking Industry In Drought-Stricken California
Manufacturing.net
Meagan Parrish

The argument is simple enough. California is choking on a worsening drought and needs more hydration. Fracking in the state uses lots of water. Ergo, fracking must be making the drought worse. Right? Not necessarily, many industry experts are saying.  [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
From Sussex to Spain, crossing borders to fight fracking
Greenpeace
Kathryn McWhirter Blog

In this guest blog, Kathryn McWhirter from No Fracking in Balcombe Society, explains how communities across Europe are united behind a common cause -- keeping fracking firms at bay.   [Full Story]

Apr 16, 2015
COMMISSION GIVES PERMIT TO KENTUCKY'S FIRST FRACKING DRILLING SITE New drilling operation will not be subject new drilling regulations
State-Journal
Brad Bowman

The Kentucky Oil and Gas Conservation Commission gave the green light for Kentucky’s first horizontal deep-well fracturing operation in a special meeting Thursday. The commission granted a drilling permit to Horizontal Technology Energy Company of Pennsylvania that will set up an oil and natural gas drilling operation in Johnson County.   [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
My view: Methane needs Bureau of Land Management regulation now
SantaFe New Mexican
Rod Torrez

The largest plume of methane in the country is hanging over us in Northern New Mexico. Odorless and colorless, the methane, or natural gas, was first detected five years ago, but it was difficult to comprehend that such a large concentration of methane, one of the world’s most potent greenhouse gases, existed in our atmosphere. Its most prevalent source comes from the oil and gas developments throughout the San Juan Basin in the northwestern corner of our state. Friday morning will be a good opportunity to learn more about the infamous methane plume hovering over the San Juan Basin, and to hear researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, from NASA and other institutions discuss what they are learning about it at a public forum beginning at 9 a.m. at San Juan College in Farmington.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Its appeal denied, Range Resources ordered to disclose drilling chemicals in Washington County lawsuit
Tribune-Review
David Conti

Range Resources Corp. must gather information about the chemicals its contractors used at a Washington County shale gas well and disclose it to neighbors who sued over leaks from a nearby wastewater holding pond, state judges said this week. Superior Court denied the Fort Worth-based gas producer's appeal of a county judge's order directing the disclosure as part of a 2012 lawsuit involving the Yeager drill site and impoundment in Amwell. It's one of five impoundments Range agreed to close as part of a $4.15 million settlement reached last year with Pennsylvania regulators. “We look forward to receiving the information ordered by the trial court requiring full disclosure of all chemicals used at the site,” attorney John Smith said Wednesday. He represents families who sued Range in 2012, alleging   [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Price on carbon key to Canada tackling global warming, say researchers Report says a carbon fee is vital and country should exploit renewable energy to decarbonize electricity grid – but doesn’t discuss highly polluting tar sands
The Guardian
Dana Nuccitelli

65 researchers from provinces across Canada have published a report, Acting on Climate Change, that details how the country can successfully decarbonize its electric grid to slow global warming.   [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Clean energy is growing fast — but it's not yet winning the race against fossil fuels
Vox
Brad Plumer

For decades, fossil fuels have provided the vast, vast majority of the world's energy. But in recent years, cleaner sources like wind and solar have been growing at an astonishingly rapid clip.... Unfortunately, that headline isn't quite right. Clean energy isn't winning the race against fossil fuels. Not yet. And it's worth exploring in more detail why this is wrong — to better understand just how massive a task it will be to clean up the world's energy supply and avoid significant global warming.   [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
The Oil Industry’s ‘Man Camps’ Are Dying
Bloomberg
David Wethe and Kelly Gilblom

At the peak of the fracking boom a few years ago, Jeff Myers converted his South Texas hunting camp into rental oilfield housing. Little wonder: The industry had an almost insatiable hunger for the grunt laborers—the roughnecks—to work the fields, and employers were happy to spend whatever it took to house and feed them. Today that boomtown demand—and $100-per-barrel prices—is a bittersweet memory, and occupancy at Myers’s once-packed Double C Resort has dropped to 10 percent as job cuts take hold. “There aren’t going to be any winners down here,” he says. “Everybody’s going to have to adjust.”   [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Waste handler McCutcheon Enterprises thrives as oil, gas industry shifts
Marcellus.com
David Conti | The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

A trip around the sprawling lots and cavernous garage bays at McCutcheon Enterprises Inc.’s hilltop headquarters in Westmoreland County gives the first hint at how many services the family-owned waste management company offers. The rows of equipment include custom-built vacuum trucks, 10,000-gallon square tanks, trailers full of hazmat response gear, huge boxes that can roll off trailers, excavators and even boats. Inside the treatment plant, a network of tanks and pits allows the company to treat solid and liquid wastes for disposal or reuse. “We want to be a one-stop shop for customers to handle their waste from cradle to grave,” said company spokesman Chad McCutcheon, whose grandfather and great-grandfather started the Allegheny Township business in 1947.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Oversupply causing oil and natural gas drillers to scale back
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Stephanie Ritenbaugh / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Oil and natural gas drillers are hitting the brakes on U.S. shale production as prices tumble, but the U.S. remains poised to slash its reliance on energy imports by 2040, according to a government report. In the short term, the domestic drilling industry is facing significant headwinds as plummeting oil prices and oversupply have prompted companies to scale back spending, backtrack on production and lay off workers. Oil prices have dropped by about 60 percent since last June. Oil production is expected to drop by nearly 60,000 barrels a day between April and May, the first decline since the agency began reporting the figures in 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s monthly drilling productivity report released Monday. “I think the EIA coming out with this is a warning that we’re hitting a wall,” said Carl Larry, director of oil and gas for Frost & Sullivan. “Drillers are able to extract more oil with less rigs, but what’s starting to happen is we’re seeing a drop-off.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
With shale boom, U.S. expected to become net energy exporter
State Impact PA
MARIE CUSICK

Reversing a trend that has lasted more than half a century, the federal government predicts the U.S. will become a net energy exporter within 15 years, as the shale boom increases the production of crude oil and natural gas. In its Annual Energy Outlook, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says advanced technologies are reshaping the nation’s economy. The outlook includes predictions to 2040 and assumes a business-as-usual trend, with current laws and regulations going unchanged. “With continued growth in oil and natural gas production, growth in the use of renewables, and the application of demand-side efficiencies, the projections show the potential to eliminate net U.S. energy imports in the 2020 to 2030 timeframe,” said EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski in a statement. ”The United States has been a net importer of energy since the 1950s.”  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Natural gas pipe work surprises some North Pole landowners
Houston Chronicle


FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Land clearing has begun for a company that wants to distribute natural gas in interior Alaska, and some North Pole landowners say they received no notice that their yards would be affected. Store owner Mike Gendreau arrived at home after work to find a 6-foot swath of brush and trees missing from in front of the home he has lived in since 1983, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/1FKZA2l) reported. "They cut down a huge tree right at the entrance of my driveway," Gendreau said. "It was a nice tree." Interior Gas Utility, the new utility heading up the natural project, has received dozens of complaints and is trying to increase public awareness of its field work in easements preceding the laying of pipe.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
20-year-old Columbia Trail in High Bridge covers gas pipeline
NJ.com
Terry Wright | Hunterdon County Democrat

The Columbia Trail, a walking and biking path that runs from High Bridge to the Morris County line, is 20 years old. To celebrate, the High Bridge Environmental Commission is hosting two guided tours of a section on Saturday, May 2. Tom Sheppard, chief naturalist for the Hunterdon County Parks and Recreation, will lead it. The name Columbia comes from the early 1990s when Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. constructed a natural gas line under the rail bed of the former Central Railroad of New Jersey. That section became part of the county Park System after Columbia agreed to donate to the county a "trail easement' over the former railroad right-of-way.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Climate Change Plan Faces High-Profile Legal Test
ABC
SAM HANANEL Associated Press

The centerpiece of the Obama administration's effort to tackle climate change is facing a high-profile legal test as a federal appeals court considers a plan that has triggered furious opposition from Republicans, industry figures and coal-reliant states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit hears arguments Thursday in two cases challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's ambitious proposal to slash carbon pollution from the nation's coal-fired power plants that is blamed for global warming. The lawsuits — one from a coalition of 15 states and another brought by Murray Energy Corp., the nation's largest privately held coal mining company — are part of a growing political attack from opponents who say the move is illegal and will kill jobs, cripple demand for coal and drive up electricity prices.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
It's in the Wind: Renewable Energy
Ithaca.com
Bill Chaisson

the 45th Earth Day approaches on April 22 it seems like a good time to reflect on the progress we’ve made toward altering the way we produce energy. On the first Earth Day in 1970 widespread use solar and wind energy were mere glimmers in the eye of some idealists. Today they are bona fide contributors—in different ways—to the national power supply. In 2015 the Black Oak Wind Farm, which will consist of seven turbines on Connecticut Hill in Enfield capable of generating 12 to 14 megawatts, is poised to become New York State’s first community-owned wind energy producer. The project, begun a decade ago by John Rancich, is now steered by Marguerite Wells, the sole employee and vice president of the board of managers for the limited liability company. Their third, and perhaps final, round of fundraising is nearing its end, at which time they will move to a “financial close.” According to Wells, this means “that we all agree to what we are going to do,” and they can place an order with General Electric. Nine months later the turbines and towers will be delivered. It takes a few months to prepare the site, Wells said, and one day per turbine to erect them.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Anti-fracking campaign expects to launch next month
Michigan Radio
RICK PLUTA

The campaign to ban the drilling process known as “fracking” plans to launch a petition drive next month. This will be the third time the anti-fracking campaign has tried to get lawmakers or voters to adopt a ban. Earlier efforts fell short, but LuAnn Kozma of the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan says the ongoing controversy about drilling has helped the cause. “I think people are getting it,” she said. “When they hear about fracking, they don’t want it.”  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
EPA Finds Holes In Fracking Cocktail Data
Sara Jerome


A new government report indicates that an oil-and-gas industry database designed to bring transparency to the controversial practice of fracking fails to present a complete picture of where companies get their water and which chemicals they use. "The project database is an incomplete picture of all hydraulic fracturing due to the voluntary reporting in some states for certain time periods (in the absence of state reporting requirements), the omission of information on confidential business information (CBI) ingredients from disclosures, and invalid or erroneous information created during the development of the database or found in the original disclosures," according to the report. The government report, released last month by the EPA, homed in on the pros and cons of the database FracFocus, which aims to shed light on fracking practices that have long been criticized as dangerous to the water supply. The site is industry-backed and states that it is used by energy companies to "provide the public access to reported chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing within their area" and by some state regulators for oversight purposes. The EPA study focused on FracFocus entries over two years, starting in 2011.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
OSHA targets firm making plastic balls used in fracking
Business Insurance
Bill Kenealy

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that it may fine a manufacturing company in New York for 48 alleged violations of workplace safety regulations. OSHA on Monday said it issued a “citation and notification of penalty” against Fort Edward, New York-based A. Hyatt Ball Co., a maker of plastic balls used in hydraulic fracturing, for violations including improper storage of flammable liquids, the lack of a fire alarm and fire-suppression system, and a lack of a ventilation system needed to abate the presence of potentially combustible dust.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Researchers Testing Air Pollution Over Fracking Sites
Manufacturing.net
Andy Szal, Digital Reporter

Federal researchers are taking to the skies over the country's largest shale oilfields in hopes of measuring potential air pollution generated by fracking. Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently flew over Texas drilling sites in a hurricane-studying plane that's now equipped to serve as a flying air testing lab. When the NOAA craft is airborne, one team of researchers tests pollution levels high above oilfields while teams on the ground take tests both upwind and downwind of drilling sites. The teams track potentially harmful gases such as methane and ozone. They hope to measure the leak rate — the percentage of extracted material that leaks into the atmosphere — as well as gain an understanding of how that rate varies based on drilling techniques, equipment and regulations.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Fracking linked to elevated levels of radon gas in Pennsylvania
Hydrogen Fuel News


A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found an unsettling connection between high levels of radon gas, a dangerous odorless and colorless radioactive gas that has been linked to lung cancer, and the gas and oil mining technique known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Radon levels are usually higher in regions where hydrofracturing operations are in production. The study, which was recently published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal, revealed that levels of radon gas are generally higher in areas of Pennsylvania where fracking is occurring. In an interview with Yahoo News, Joan Casey, an environmental health scientist, explained that she and her colleague at Bloomberg wanted to find out the sources behind the radon in Pennsylvania homes. Casey said that “We decided to do the study because historically Pennsylvania has had this big radon problem. We were doing house studies in the state for about the past decade. When the unconventional natural gas industry moved into the state, people were concerned.”  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Proposed bill puts limit on fracking
bakken.com
Amanda Lehmert | News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.

RALEIGH - A Piedmont Triad legislator has filed a bill that would prevent companies from being able to drill for natural gas on a person’s property without the landowner’s consent. Current law would allow the state to compel an unwilling property owner to participate in a drilling operation, a process called compulsory or forced pooling. Residents in areas with natural gas deposits have pressed environmental regulators or legislators to change that, now that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas is legal in North Carolina.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Old FERC chair looks back, review of natural gas projects evolving
Akron Beacon Journal
Bob Downing & Doug Livingston

As for what she considers some of the highlights of her time as chair, LaFleur recalled that she was in a unique situation given that for the first eight months she was acting chairman and for much of that time did not even know whether she would be given another term when hers expired in June 2014, much less whether she would remain as chairman. She recalled that immediately after being appointed acting chairman, she instructed everyone at the agency to keep making headway on all the important policy issues facing the commission. And over the last 17 months, FERC has done just that, she insisted.   [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
GOP criticizes Obama’s ‘restrictive’ offshore drilling plan
The Hill
Timothy Cama

House Republicans chastised the Obama administration Wednesday for putting forth a “restrictive” plan for offshore oil and natural gas drilling. Republicans in the House Natural Resources Committee’s subcommittee on energy and mineral resources said the 2017-2022 plan would have the lowest number of sales since the 1980s while taking substantial areas of the continental shelf off the table.   [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Oil and Natural Gas Booms on Private and State Lands; Plummets on Federal Lands
Canada Free Press
Institute for Energy Research

According to a new report from the Congressional Research Service, since fiscal year 2010 oil production on federal lands is down by 10 percent and natural gas production on federal lands is down 31 percent. This contrasts to oil production on non-federal lands, which is up by 89 percent, and natural gas production on non-federal lands, which is up by 37 percent since fiscal year 2010. If more oil and gas production is a good thing for the United States, the Obama Administration’s policies are a lesson in what not to do.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Lee County residents ask court to suspend NC fracking rules Group says Mining and Energy Commission is unconstitutional
News Observer
John Murawski

The owner of a Lee County horse farm is asking a Wake County judge to block any fracking permit applications from being processed until courts determine if North Carolina’s fracking regulations are legal. Since the state’s fracking moratorium was lifted March 17, no permit application has been filed and none is believed to be imminent. But Lee County resident Keely Wood Puricz and the Haw River Assembly say the state’s fracking rules are illegal because they were created by an unconstitutional body, the Mining and Energy Commission.   [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
The Oil Industry’s ‘Man Camps’ Are Dying Drillers spent big to house workers in the new boomtowns. No more
Bloomberg Business
David Wethe & Kelly Gilblom

At the peak of the fracking boom a few years ago, Jeff Myers converted his South Texas hunting camp into rental oilfield housing. Little wonder: The industry had an almost insatiable hunger for the grunt laborers—the roughnecks—to work the fields, and employers were happy to spend whatever it took to house and feed them. Today that boomtown demand—and $100-per-barrel prices—is a bittersweet memory, and occupancy at Myers’s once-packed Double C Resort has dropped to 10 percent as job cuts take hold. “There aren’t going to be any winners down here,” he says. “Everybody’s going to have to adjust.”   [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Oil and gas tax hike in Ohio is dead for now, lawmaker says
Cleveland.com
Jeremy Pelzer

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Any tax increase on oil and gas fracking activity in Ohio is dead for now after lawmakers stripped a proposed tax hike from the state's budget bill, a key Ohio House member said Wednesday.   [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Al Gore Teams Up With Tea Party to Fight for Rooftop Solar
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

Al Gore has been one of the leading voices in support of the environmental movement for decades, advocating for protection of the planet while in Congress and serving as former President Bill Clinton’s vice president. He’s written four books on the subject. His role became especially high profile after the release of the 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which spotlighted the work he had been doing to raise awareness of climate change through a slide show presentation he’d been doing to groups across the country. He won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Before Its Opening, the Whitney Museum Faces a Protest
NY Times
MELENA RYZIK

The Whitney Museum of American Art has yet to open its doors in a new location in the meatpacking district, but on Tuesday night it unwittingly played host to its first radical art exhibition. At 11 p.m., activists from groups including Occupy Museums and Occupy the Pipeline gathered on the street in front of the museum for a performance art-style demonstration about a natural gas pipeline that is adjacent to the $422 million building and its vast art collection. A corner of the Whitney’s building became a canvas for their slogans, projected in light over the glassed-in lobby: “Warning! High Pressure Gas Line,” one read. “Pipeline,” said another, with an arrow pointing down. “Inaugural Ceremony,” flashed the introductory sign. “Fracked Gas Line Museum.” The pipeline, installed and operated by the Houston company Spectra Energy, stretches through New Jersey, under the Hudson River and across the West Side Highway, terminating in a vault beneath the Whitney’s cantilevered, Renzo Piano-designed architecture. The pipeline began operating in 2013. The museum is set to open to the public on May 1.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Kinder-Morgan gas pipeline rejected by legislature
News10
Ali Stewart

RENSSLEAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A plan to bring in a natural gas pipeline to Rensselaer County does not have the support of the legislature. County lawmakers approved three resolutions Monday night that gave a thumbs down to the Kinder-Morgan pipeline, which would run through Schodack, Nassau and Stephentown. Those voting for the rejection cite environmental concerns and that the county won’t have access to the gas in the pipes. They’re now asking Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand to take a stand on the project.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
In New Jersey, open space sacrificed for cheaper natural gas
State Impact PA
Katie Colaneri

Open space is a rare commodity in New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the country. The New Jersey Conservation Foundation says a proposed natural gas pipeline could cut through about 4,500 acres of undeveloped land preserved with public dollars. If built, backers of the PennEast pipeline say it would feed cleaner fuel to power plants and bring cheaper gas to customers. Now, the pipeline is forcing residents in the state’s highly-valued bucolic communities to weigh the environmental costs of moving natural gas to the marketplace.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Unemployment Rising In Frontier Fracking Towns
ValueWalk


It seemed like the perfect solution for many struggling American workers. Go west, young man, and find a fracking job. And for many the gamble would pay off, at least for a time. Amid yesteryear’s high oil prices, oil companies were drilling, exploring, and shipping oil as quickly as they could, and demand for labor, even unskilled, was high.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Democrats Cave on Measure Overturning Fracking Regulations
Texas Observer
Priscila Mosqueda

Despite vociferous opposition from local elected officials, environmentalists and citizens, many Democrats in the Texas Legislature are supporting controversial legislation that would strip local governments of the power to regulate or ban fracking. House Bill 40, by Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo), is one of 11 measures in the Legislature filed in response to a fracking ban approved by Denton voters in November. Darby’s bill, which was temporarily delayed on Tuesday, would overturn Denton’s fracking ban, Dallas’ de facto prohibition on drilling and other cities’ oil and gas regulations, possibly even rules about the distance between rigs and homes not deemed “reasonable.” Rep. Senfronia Thompson, a progressive Democrat and the longest-serving woman legislator in the House, is one of eight Democrats sponsoring the legislation. “I think that fracking is a safe mechanism, which they can use to be able to extract oil,” she said. Asked about the practical impact of the bill and whether it would allow oil and gas companies to challenge ordinances they don’t deem “reasonable,” Thompson said, “You’re asking me a legal question, and I haven’t had oil and gas law since I was in law school.”  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Doing the Unthinkable: Giant Gas Pipeline to Flank a New York Nuclear Power Plant
truthout
Ellen Canatarow

A very large gas pipeline will soon skirt the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC), an aging nuclear power plant that stands in the town of Cortlandt in Westchester County, New York, 30 miles north of Manhattan. The federal agencies that have permitted the project have bowed to two corporations - the pipeline's owner, Spectra Energy, and Entergy, which bought the Indian Point complex in 2001 from its former owner. A hazards assessment by a former employee of one of the plant's prior owners, replete with errors, was the basis for the go-ahead. A dearth of mainstream press coverage leaves ignorant the population that stands to be most impacted by a nuclear catastrophe, which experts say could be triggered by a potential pipeline rupture. I urge Truthout's audience to read an earlier article by Alison Rose Levy, which includes details I haven't space to recap here. Since 2011, Spectra Corporation, owner of the 1,129-mile Algonquin Pipeline, which runs from Texas to Beverly, Massachusetts, where it connects with another pipeline running into Canada, has sought to expand the pipeline in order to transport fracked gas north from Pennsylvania. Spectra, one of the largest natural gas infrastructure companies in North America, calls the planned enlargements "The Algonquin Incremental Market Project" (AIM).  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Lee County residents ask court to suspend NC fracking rules
News Observer
JOHN MURAWSKI

The owner of a Lee County horse farm is asking a Wake County judge to block any fracking permit applications from being processed until courts determine if North Carolina’s fracking regulations are legal. Since the state’s fracking moratorium was lifted March 17, no permit application has been filed and none is believed to be imminent. But Lee County resident Keely Wood Puricz and the Haw River Assembly say the state’s fracking rules are illegal because they were created by an unconstitutional body, the Mining and Energy Commission. On Wednesday Puricz and the Haw River Assembly asked a Wake County judge to suspend the state’s fracking rules, basing their legal argument on a court ruling in a similar case last month. On March 16, one day before fracking became legal here, a judicial panel ruled that North Carolina’s newly-created Coal Ash Management Commission is unconstitutional because the legislature appointed most of its members.   [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
EARTHQUAKES: Boren says Hamm meeting was about financial support, not quakes
E&E
Mike Soraghan

Oklahoma University President David Boren says his 2011 meeting with Continental Resources Inc. founder Harold Hamm was not about earthquake research but financial support for the school's geology programs. "It was a development meeting, and it was to talk with Mr. Hamm about the needs of the energy college," Boren spokesman Corbin Wallace said in an emailed statement to EnergyWire. "These meetings on September 20, 2011 had nothing whatsoever to do with the OGS [Oklahoma Geological Survey] or with research there." The "energy college," officially the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, consists of the ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics, the Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering, and the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS). Wallace said he could not comment on whether Hamm contributed to the energy college because "The OU Foundation does not disclose specific donors or donor information."  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Sierra Club fights NJ Natural Gas pipeline plan
Asbury Park Press
David P. Willis

The New Jersey Sierra Club is urging residents to fight New Jersey Natural Gas' plans to build a 28-mile transmission pipeline from Burlington County to Manchester, a proposal it calls "destructive." It will "not only create an ugly scar through the Pinelands, but it will destroy important habitat, pollute high quality streams, rivers, and cut across important (protected) waterways," said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club in a statement. "This pipeline will promote fracking, add to air pollution and safety concerns to the surrounding communities. Earlier this month, New Jersey Natural Gas filed a proposal with the state Board of Public Utilities for a 30-inch high pressure transmission pipe that will feed the southern portion of the utility's service territory in Ocean and Burlington counties. Currently, the utility pulls natural gas from a connection in Middlesex County.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Methane Emissions from Oil & Gas are on the Rise, Confirm Latest EPA Data
EDF
Mark Brownstein

Methane emissions from the US oil and gas sector increased, according to new data finalized today by the Environmental Protection Agency. Sadly, the figures come as no surprise, based on preliminary numbers and plenty of other observations, both scientific and anecdotal. No surprise unless you’re part of the industry’s public relations machine, which keeps insisting that up means down. What is legitimately surprising is that this problem continues in spite of the many simple, proven and cost effective ways there are to fix it. And therein lies opportunity.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Shale Output Is Falling Faster Than Expected
Bloomberg
Joe Carroll

Shale drillers will see production drop sooner than expected under a U.S. government forecast, a momentum change that hints at an eventual price rally. Just five months after Saudi Arabia put the market into a tailspin by refusing to cut supply despite a global glut, the shale oil industry will record its first monthly dip since U.S. officials began weighing output in 2013. The projected production drop is small, just 1 percent. Yet investors took note, pushing oilfield stocks to the top five spots in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index on Tuesday, led by rig operators Ensco Plc and Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. The decline lags the idling of rigs because of a backlog of already-drilled wells that have gradually been coming online.   [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Green groups accuse EU shale gas panel of fracking lobby takeover Environmentalists boycott EU expert group on the environmental risks posed by fracking, alleging conflict of interest over appointment of shale executives
The Guardian


Environmentalists have walked out of an influential EU shale gas group, which they say has been taken over by industry groups who are using it as a platform to promote fracking.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Democrats Cave on Measure Overturning Fracking Regulations
Observer
Priscilla Mosqueda

Despite vociferous opposition from local elected officials, environmentalists and citizens, many Democrats in the Texas Legislature are supporting controversial legislation that would strip local governments of the power to regulate or ban fracking.   [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
Fracking Waste Puts Public at Risk, Study Says Three decades after EPA left regulation to states, they're still taking a 'see no evil' approach to oil-and-gas-waste, Earthworks says.
Inside Climate News
David Hasemyer

Weakness in state regulations governing hazardous oil-and-gas waste have allowed the leftovers to be disposed of with little regard to the dangers they pose to human health and the environment, according to a recent study by the environmental organization Earthworks.  [Full Story]

Apr 15, 2015
New fracking fluid lowers water, energy use Expanding fluid useful for oil, enhanced geothermal
TCE Today
Helen Tunnicliffe

RESEARCHERS at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, US, have developed a new fracking fluid which requires less energy, less water and fewer chemicals than conventional fluids.   [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Proposed bill puts limit on fracking
Bakken.com
Amanda Lehmert

RALEIGH - A Piedmont Triad legislator has filed a bill that would prevent companies from being able to drill for natural gas on a person’s property without the landowner’s consent. Current law would allow the state to compel an unwilling property owner to participate in a drilling operation, a process called compulsory or forced pooling.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Putnam Legislature Opposes Oil Trains, MTA Tax
Phillipstown.info
Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong

With little ado, the Putnam County Legislature last Wednesday (April 8) opposed two train-transit practices, one involving freight traffic — the unsafe shipping of incendiary crude oil along the Hudson River; and the other involving commuter lines — the levying of taxes to support the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, whose trains carry numerous county residents to work every day.   [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Fracking Waste Banned From County Landfills
WAMC
Dave Lucas

An upstate county has closed a loophole in state law that could have allowed fracking waste to be dumped in local landfills. An upstate county has closed a loophole in state law that could have allowed fracking waste to be dumped in local landfills. Monday night, the Albany County legislature, led by Legislator Bryan Clenahan, unanimously approved Local Law “D” of 2014 to ban fracking waste in landfills, making Albany the largest New York county to impose such a ban.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Senate bill amended to ban fracking during study, rule-making (Florida)
SaintPetersblog
Bruce Ritchie

A bill that would regulate oil and gas hydraulic fracturing was amended by a Senate Committee on Tuesday to place a moratorium on the activity until after a study is completed 2016. Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “high-pressure well-stimulation” or “fracking,” is a process involving the use of water, sand and chemicals to extract oil and gas from rock. Supporters say SB 1468 is needed to provide regulation for fracking like which occurred in 2013 in Collier County. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection says fracking is allowed and that more regulations are needed.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Dutch court limits fracking on earthquake fears
The Globe and Mail
ISIS ALMEIDA AND ELCO VAN GRONINGEN

A Dutch court suspended gas production from the Loppersum area of the Groningen natural gas field, Europe’s biggest, as earthquakes linked to production damaged homes. Loppersum, which pumps less than 10 per cent of the field’s output, may produce “small volumes of gas” only if “extraction from other locations is no longer possible and if necessary for the security of supply,” the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State in The Hague said Tuesday on its website. Dutch and U.K. gas prices reversed earlier gains.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Total pulls out of Yemen amid worsening security situation
The Ntional
Anthony McAuley

France’s Total, the last foreign oil company operating in Yemen, said on Tuesday that it had halted operations at its gas exporting plant because of the worsening security situation. The liquefied natural gas plant at Balhaf, located on the coast 400 kilometres east of Aden, will go into “preservation mode” until the situation improves sufficiently to allow normal operations to resume, Total said. On Tuesday, three weeks into an offensive by a Saudi Arabian-led coalition against Iran-backed Houthi rebels, Saudi Arabia moved additional tanks, artillery units and troops to its border with Yemen, according to newswire reports. The coalition action has so far involved air strikes against the rebels, who have taken control of large parts of the country and forced the president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi to flee.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
U.S. to become a net exporter of natgas by 2017 -EIA
Reuters


(Reuters) - The United States will transition from a net importer of natural gas to a net exporter of the fuel by 2017 as the nation's shale gas production continues to grow, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday in its Annual Energy Outlook. In its 2014 outlook, the EIA forecast the U.S. would become a net exporter of gas before 2020. The EIA said increases in domestic gas production are expected to reduce demand for gas imports from Canada and support growth in exports to Mexico, Asia and Europe.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Law Would Offer New Federal Protection for Delaware River Basin
NPR State Impact PA
JON HURDLE

Federal lawmakers on Tuesday stepped up efforts to conserve the Delaware River Basin when they reintroduced a bill that would enhance federal protection for the 300-mile watershed between upstate New York and the mouth of the Delaware Bay. The Delaware River Basin Conservation Act would charge the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service with coordinating the activities of an array of federal, state and local environmental groups, and would provide $5 million in grant funding to support conservation projects.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
U.S. Seen Becoming Net Energy Exporter on Shale Output
Bloomberg
Mark Shenk

The U.S. government said for the first time that the nation will become a net energy exporter within 15 years as the shale boom bolsters crude oil production. U.S. energy exports will exceed imports from 2029 through 2032, and from 2037 through 2040, the Energy Information Administration said Tuesday in its Annual Energy Outlook. The agency raised its oil output forecasts for 2025 and 2040, while cutting total energy demand estimates for the same years. The forecast doesn’t anticipate any change in U.S. law that bans most exports of crude.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Fossil Fuels Just Lost the Race Against Renewables
Bloomberg
Tom Randall

The race for renewable energy has passed a turning point. The world is now adding more capacity for renewable power each year than coal, natural gas, and oil combined. And there's no going back. The shift occurred in 2013, when the world added 143 gigawatts of renewable electricity capacity, compared with 141 gigawatts in new plants that burn fossil fuels, according to an analysis presented Tuesday at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance annual summit in New York. The shift will continue to accelerate, and by 2030 more than four times as much renewable capacity will be added.   [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Harrisburg City Council passes resolution seeking stricter oversight of oil trains
The Patriot News
M. Diane McCormick

The full Harrisburg City Council joined Councilman Brad Koplinski in calling for safety improvements to the railroad tank cars that carry crude oil through populated areas. Tuesday night, council unanimously approved Koplinski's resolution urging Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation to update rail car designs and regulations.   [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Severance tax proposal would keep drillers from passing tax to leaseholders
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Laura Legere

A section of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed severance tax bill that would prohibit companies from sharing the cost of the tax with natural gas leaseholders is raising questions among Republicans in the General Assembly who doubt the proposal is legal. Several senators flagged the issue during recent budget hearings and pointed to a common term in existing lease contracts that allows natural gas producers to deduct the landowner’s fraction of a severance tax from royalties. “That’ll be in court pretty quick,” Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Luzerne, warned acting Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley during a budget hearing for his agency, after she asked him if he had gotten legal guidance that the administration’s proposal is valid.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Petition language approved for Michigan fracking ban effort
Detroit Free Press
Keith Matheny

A nonprofit group seeking to ban in Michigan the oil and gas drilling practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, had petition language approved Tuesday for a potential November 2016 ballot measure. The Michigan Board of Canvassers unanimously approved the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan's ballot petition language. The board only considers the form of petition language and whether it meets legal requirements. Committee campaign director LuAnne Kozma said group members will begin a six-month period seeking signatures next month. "Michigan voters understand that fracking and frack wastes are causing serious harm to people's health and to the air, water, land, property and businesses in every state that is fracking or taking in toxic frack wastes," Kozma said.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Regulators increase distance needed between homes, drilling
SF Gate
Mead Gruver, Associated Press

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming oil and gas regulators granted the petroleum industry a compromise Tuesday by voting unanimously to widen the minimum distance between oil and gas wells and occupied structures from 350 to 500 feet. The move disappointed landowner advocates. Groups including the Powder River Basin Resource Council had sought a minimum distance of a quarter of a mile, or 1,320 feet.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Democratic stall tactic stalls ‘open carry,’ fracking bills
kxan
AP

AUSTIN (AP) — A technicality House Democrats raised Tuesday succeeded in stalling — at least for a few days — two of the Texas Legislature’s top conservative causes, proposals that would allow the “open carry” of handguns and prohibit local ordinances banning hydraulic fracturing. With Republicans controlling the Legislature and widely supporting both measures, outnumbered Democrats often resort to delay tactics, betting that the longer it takes to pass bills they oppose, the less total such proposals become law. Legislators had braced for hours-long debate on both issues. But just a few minutes into discussion on the bill authorizing licensed Texans to carry their handguns holstered or otherwise in plain sight, Democratic Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer objected, citing House rules. He argued that three witnesses who testified on the bills while they were still in committee were incorrectly recorded in the official record.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
U.S. Develops Oil-Train Disaster Plan –Energy Journal
Wall Street Journal
CHRISTOPHER HARDER

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency is mapping out how to deal with an urban oil-train accident as part of an exercise to help firefighters and emergency workers prepare for the kind of crude-by-rail accident that until now has occurred mostly in rural locations, Russell Gold reports. Firefighters at a FEMA workshop in Jersey City, N.J., discussed the difficulties of battling a crude-oil fire, which can be explosive and hard to extinguish, and one problem was limited supplies of the special foam required to smother the flames. “Our job is to design scenarios that push us to the limit, and very often push us to the point of failure so that we can identify where we need to improve,” said FEMA spokesman Rafael Lemaitre. The volume of oil transported by rail has grown to almost 374 million barrels last year from 20 million barrels in 2010, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.   [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Maryland Might Ban Fracking for 2 Years
Daily Signal
Kate Scanlon

Legislation that would prohibit hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in Maryland for two years was recently sent to the governor’s desk. The Senate approved the bill in a 45-2 vote earlier this month. If signed into law, it would institute a moratorium on fracking in the state through October 2017. The Maryland House of Delegates passed the legislation in a 102-34 vote on Friday  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
EPA loophole allows streams of wastewater in Wyoming
High Country News
Elizabeth Shogren

The Environmental Protection Agency last month issued revised permits for oil companies to dump literally rivers of wastewater—including hydraulic fracturing fluids—on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. When the companies pump oil, water from deep in the earth comes up too. This water can include naturally occurring substances, such as metals, that can pollute streams. It can also include toxic chemicals the companies injected into the wells during hydrofracturing to make the oil flow better. Under these EPA permits, the companies release water onto the dry ground in quantities large enough to create permanent streams. Some flow for long distances on the arid reservation and join the Wind River and Little Wind River.   [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Canada Seeks New Crude Customers as Keystone Pipeline Languishes
Bloomberg
Ehren Goossens

Canada is seeking new customers for its crude oil as a U.S. review of the Keystone XL pipeline drags on and oil prices languish near $50 a barrel, the country’s Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford said. Canada sells nearly all of its oil and natural gas to the U.S., a partnership that amounts to a $140 billion a year business, Rickford said Tuesday at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Future of Energy Summit in New York. A downturn that has seen oil prices fall about 50 percent will cost Canada $40 billion a year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “Ninety nine percent of our oil goes to the United States right now - 98 percent of our natural gas,” Rickford said. “I don’t think anyone in business would want just one customer.”  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Greens seeing red over oilsands pipeline
Winnipeg Free Press


LOCAL Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION Greens seeing red over oilsands pipeline Posted: 3:00 AM | Comments: 0 Tweet 0 Post 0 Reddit 0 ShareThis 10 Print Email 0 THE Selinger government can -- and should -- slam the brakes on a proposed national pipeline that would pump diluted bitumen from the Alberta oilsands into Eastern Canada, the Green party says. James Beddome, leader of the Green Party of Manitoba, said if the TransCanada Pipeline Energy East project goes ahead, it will threaten the health and safety of nearly 25 Manitoba communities along its route. He wants Premier Greg Selinger to say no to the pipeline when Canada's premiers gather in Quebec to discuss environmental issues today. The Greens say if an explosion were to occur where the proposed pipeline passes by the Brady Landfill site, for example, a toxic plume could blanket the city and require its evacuation.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Fracking protesters turn attention to Port Ambrose project
Capital New York
David Giambusso

New York State's successful anti-fracking movement has found a new cause: Port Ambrose. The planned liquefied natural gas facility, to be built 19 miles off the coast of Long Island, has already generated vocal opposition from activists, residents and elected officials at rallies, hearings and in official correspondence. On Monday, in what was likely an unwelcome feeling of deja vu for Governor Andrew Cuomo, the familiar cast of environmental protesters who dogged him for years over the issue of fracking were on his trail again, this time demanding that he use his veto power to kill Port Ambrose.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Albany Co. bans hydrofracking waste
WNYT


Albany County is now the largest in the state to ban hydrofracking waste. The county legislature unanimously approved the ban Monday night. It means waste from fracking won't be allowed in Albany landfills. The county is the third in the state to impose this kind of ban and county legislators say this goes beyond the statewide ban on fracking. Bryan Clenahan sponsored the bill and says more than 500,000 tons of solid fracking waste have already been dumped in landfills across New York.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
DEP Says Ruptured Pipeline Contaminated Creek
wvpublic.org
AP

A Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman says about 6 miles of a creek in Marshall County have been affected by a spill from a ruptured natural gas pipeline. DEP spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater tells The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register that Williams Energy will be cited for the spill. A 4-inch pipeline ruptured northeast of Glen Dale last Thursday night. About 132 gallons Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register that Williams Energy will be cited for the spill. A 4-inch pipeline ruptured northeast of Glen Dale last Thursday night. About 132 gallons Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register that Williams Energy will be cited for the spill. A 4-inch pipeline ruptured northeast of Glen Dale last Thursday night. About 132 gallons Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register that Williams Energy will be cited for the spill. A 4-inch pipeline ruptured northeast of Glen Dale last Thursday night. About 132 gallons of condensate spilled into Little Grave Creek  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Old natural gas pipeline to be ‘repurposed’
The Morehead News
Larry DeHart

First of a series (Editor’s Note – Due to the complexity and potential public impact of a proposal to change the purpose of pipelines crossing Rowan County, The Morehead News today launches a multi-part series on the subject.) A mega company's bid to change the product and flow direction of an existing natural gas pipeline is drawing the attention and concern of citizens and environmental groups across Kentucky. Kinder Morgan, the largest energy infrastructure company in North America, plans to abandon existing natural gas pipelines and “repurpose” those lines for the transportation of natural gas liquids (NGL), reversing the flow of those lines to send the liquids from western Pennsylvania to Mont Belvieu, Texas, passing through 18 miles of Rowan County. NGL’s are naturally occurring elements found in natural gas, including propane, butane, and others, that are separated from the gas state in the form of liquids. NGL’s are valuable as separate products and it is therefore profitable to remove them from the natural gas.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Laborers, business groups support controversial natural gas pipeline
Albany Business Review
Megan Rogers

A proposed natural gas pipeline that would run through six New York counties on its route from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts has elicited support from laborers and concern from community members. Kinder Morgan, the Houston, Texas-based company proposing the $4 billion project, says the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline would cross Albany, Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Rensselaer and Schoharie Counties. In the process, construction would create about 2,300 related jobs in New York, the company estimates. National Grid, Liberty Utilities, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts and Berkshire Gas Company are among the local natural gas distribution companies that have all signed commitments to use the pipeline. Those commitments are pending further approval.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Rochester council approves restrictions on oil and natural gas drilling
Oakland Press
Paul Kampe

In a unanimous vote at Monday’s meeting, Rochester City Council passed thorough regulations regarding oil and natural gas drilling in the city after more than six months of deliberation. Leaders in neighboring Rochester Hills are also fine-tuning similar regulations and both cities have enacted moratoriums on the activity. Despite the difference in area – Rochester Hills has more than 70,000 residents in nearly 33 square miles to Rochester’s approximately 13,000 residents in roughly four square miles – their efforts to regulate oil and gas drilling are similar.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Oil Layoffs Hit 100,000 and Counting
Wall Street Journal
DAN MOLINSKI

Like many other oil-field workers, Chris Sabulsky spent years working a schedule known as “14 on, 14 off:” two weeks at an oil or gas well somewhere followed by another 14 days at home in East Texas, fishing for bass and crappie. But now Mr. Sabulsky, 48 years old, is spending his days sending out résumés, calling acquaintances to see if they know of job openings, and pondering his future. His job managing hydraulic-fracturing, or fracking, operations at well sites evaporated in February after the oil-price plunge last year. Fracking, which uses water, chemicals and sand to free oil and gas from shale formations, has been a crucial factor in the U.S. energy boom.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
In Landmark Case, Dutch Citizens Sue Their Government Over Failure To Act On Climate Change
Climate Progress
Natasha Geiling

For the first time ever, climate change is being taken to court over human rights. Public arguments are scheduled to begin Tuesday in the Netherlands, where nearly 900 Dutch citizens have filed a lawsuit against their government for failing to effectively cut greenhouse gas emissions and curb climate change. Hailed by Dutch press as a “landmark legal case,” it’s the first European example of a group of citizens attempting to hold a government responsible for inefficient climate policies, and the first time that existing human rights laws have been the basis of a case. “What we are saying is that our government is co-creating a dangerous change in the world,” Roger Cox, a legal adviser for the plaintiffs, told RTCC. “We feel that there’s a shared responsibility for any country to do what is necessary in its own boundaries to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions as much as is needed.”  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Twelve years of satellite data help decode climate change
NASA
Laurie J. Schmidt,

magine trying to figure out your car’s fuel economy by driving only 20 miles. Sure, the number might look pretty good, but it wouldn’t be a very accurate picture of how your vehicle burns fuel over the long term. Predicting how the climate will change is a bit more complicated than calculating miles per gallon, but scientists who estimate Earth’s future temperatures face a similar challenge—having enough data to see the big picture.  [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
What does it take to convince libertarians and conservatives that climate change is a problem?
Washington Post
Jonathan H. Adler

When it comes to climate change, there is an amazing confluence of policy preferences and scientific assessments. Those who generally favor aggressive regulatory interventions to address environmental concerns are convinced global warming is a serious (if not catastrophic) environmental concern, while those who generally oppose governmental interventions in the marketplace are skeptical of mainstream climate science. Each side of the policy debate has adopted a view of the science that confirms — or at least conforms with — its policy preferences. It would be nice if reality lined up just so, but that’s not the world in which we live.   [Full Story]

Apr 14, 2015
Group Urges Expanded Planning for Indian Point Disaster
The Wall Street Journal
JOSEPH DE AVILA

Most communities located within 50 miles of the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, N.Y., don’t have emergency plans to respond to a nuclear accident, according to a report to be released Wednesday. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires communities located within 10 miles of nuclear power plants to develop emergency plans. In New York, the four counties within 10 miles of Indian Point—Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Orange—have taken such measures.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
EPA Targets Fracking Wastewater
Texas Lawyer
Angela Neville

The EPA recently issued a proposed rule that would prevent untreated fracking wastewater from being treated by publicly owned plants. The new rule, Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for Oil and Gas Extraction Point Source Category (Docket Number EPA-HQ-OW-2014-0598), proposes pretreatment standards that would regulate the discharges of wastewater pollutants from onshore unconventional oil and gas extraction facilities that use fracking techniques.   [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Canada’s NEB Launches Online Pipeline Incident Map
oil and gas investor


Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) launched an online, interactive pipeline incident map detailing all pipeline incidents in the country since 2008, the board said April 13. Links to the map are available in English and French: http://www.neb-one.gc.ca/sftnvrnmnt/sft/dshbrd/mp/index-eng.html (English) and http://www.neb-one.gc.ca/sftnvrnmnt/sft/dshbrd/mp/index-fra.html (French). "This new and interactive tool offers Canadians the ability to learn more about pipeline incidents and the companies involved. It also demonstrates the NEB's increasing commitment to transparency," Peter Watson, NEB’s chair, said.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Hillary Clinton Announces 2016 Presidential Bid: Find Out Where She Stands on Climate
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

There’s a cliche among those who are discouraged by the political climate that “there’s no difference between the candidates.” Now that Hillary Clinton has made her official, anticipated-for-years announcement that she will be running for president in 2016, making her the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination, it’s time to look at where she stands on environmental issues versus where the Republican field of millions—OK, dozens—stands.   [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
25,000 March in Canada Demanding Action on Climate Change
EcoWatch
Nadia Prupis

Thousands of Canadians marched through the streets of Québec City, Québec on Saturday to demand action from officials who are meeting next week to discuss climate change issues.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Medina County group pushing community rights charter vote
ohio.com
Bob Downing

A Medina County grass-roots group is launching a drive to adopt a new county charter with a community rights that might be used to block a planned natural gas pipeline. The plan, if adopted, would be a first in Ohio. The new group, Sustainable Medina County, intends to circulate petitions in order to get the charter on the November ballot. About 4,900 signatures will be needed. Those petitions are being finalized. The deadline to submit them is in June. The current structure of Medina County government would remain intact under the proposed charter, but the charter would give the county’s elected officials the authority to protect residents from corporate harm.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Yukon government to support “safe fracking”
Shale Energy Insider
James Perkins

The Yukon government will allow fracking to take place in the Liard Basin, but only with the support and involvement of the First Nations. Announcing the decision, the territory’s minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, Scott Kent, said that the Yukon would proceed in a “cautious and responsible way”.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
NPF Award Goes to Collaborative Project on Fracking
PR Newswire


WASHINGTON, April 13, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Press Foundation has awarded its Thomas L. Stokes award for energy writing to three news organizations for their collaborative in-depth look at hydraulic fracturing in Texas. InsideClimate News, the Center for Public Integrity and The Weather Channel share the Stokes award for their partnership that produced "Big Oil, Bad Air."   [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Citadel Drops Lawsuit Against San Benito Fracking Ban
JD Supra Business Advisor
Michael Mills, Andrew Pieper & Shannon Morrissey

On Friday, April 3, Citadel Exploration filed a request for dismissal in its suit against San Benito County’s Measure J. Measure J was passed in the November 2014 election and is a ban on high-intensity petroleum operations, which includes hydraulic fracturing, acid well stimulation, and cyclic steam injection. Citadel initiated this suit in February 2015, arguing that state law preempted Measure J, which is a county law.   [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Germany's new fracking rules pass cabinet / Experts question commercial viability of shale gas in Europe
Plasteurope


New rules on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, passed by the German federal cabinet at the beginning of April may do little to quell the ongoing debate over chances and risks of the technology. In essence, the proposal drawn up by environment minister Barbara Hendricks places more restrictions on the practice for a limited period while holding out a promise of more flexibility four years down the road, a compromise palatable neither to advocates or opponents of shale gas.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Labour pledges robust regulatory regime for fracking
Energy Voice


Labour has pledged it would create a robust and regulatory regime before fracking for shale gas could go ahead. The political party made the vow as it unveiled its election manifesto just weeks before voters go to the polls.   [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Does Ohio Gov. John Kasich want less oil and gas drilling?
Ohio Watchdog
Jason Hart

A method of drilling for oil and gas is bringing new energy production and employment to southeast Ohio, yet Gov. John Kasich wants to tax it even more.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
General Election 2015: Green Party MP candidate Adam Van Coevorden makes anti-fracking pledge
Gloucestershire
JR Maidment

No fracking on my watch. That's the promise being made by the Green Party's MP candidate in Cheltenham should he be elected on May 7.   [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
What InsideClimate got right and wrong about EDF's methane work
Environmental Defense Fund
Eric Pooley

On April 8, InsideClimate News published an in-depth story about Environmental Defense Fund’s groundbreaking work to measure emissions of methane. While we don’t agree with everything in the story, we’re glad it recognizes the scope, ambition and scientific integrity of our work.   [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Pennsylvania Gas Industry Attempts to Discredit Health Finding Based on Associations with PCI
Post Carbon Institute
Asher Miller

A recent peer reviewed, NIH funded study published in Environmental Health Perspectives and authored by Joan Casey, PhD and Post Carbon Institute Fellow Brian S. Schwartz, M.D. of Johns Hopkins University — which found correlation between radon levels and gas development in Pennsylvania — has incited ill-founded rebuttals from the shale gas industry. The researchers analyzed more than 860,000 indoor radon measurements collected by Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection from 1989 to 2013 and found that levels of radon gas in the state are rising, and suggest an association with UNGD (unconventional natural gas development). Unable to refute the study’s findings with substantive counter-argument, representatives from the state’s shale gas industry have begun attacking study author Schwartz based on his relationship with Post Carbon Institute. The Marcellus Shale Coalition, the largest oil and gas industry trade group in Pennsylvania, recently published on their website the following statement:  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Elizabeth Warren Slams Big Oil, Says Major Companies Profit From Pollution The anti-Wall Street crusader makes an environmental appeal.
National Journal
CLARE FORAN

Elizabeth Warren highlighted the threat of climate change and called for regulations to rein in corporate polluters during a speech Monday delivered to an audience of climate and labor activists at the Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference in Washington. "A lot of people think that regulations bring higher costs," Warren said. "But regulation is also about making sure that someone doesn't get to beat out the competition because they're dumping filth in the river or spewing poisons in the air."  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Fracking Increases Radon Gas Hazard, US Study Find
The Tyee
Andrew Nikiforuk

Another major U.S. health study has found that the hydraulic fracking of unconventional rock formations can liberate and accelerate the release of radon, a highly carcinogenic gas. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that radon levels in U.S. homes in Pennsylvania have been on the rise ever since fracking of the Marcellus shale began in 2004. The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, found that buildings in areas of the most active shale gas mining had significantly higher readings of radon compared to buildings located in areas of low well density and fracking activity.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
SAFETY: Federal researchers ID at least 9 VOC inhalation deaths at oil sites
E & E Newswire
Mike Soraghan

At least nine oil workers have died since 2010 from inhaling toxic amounts of vapors while measuring crude oil in storage tanks at well sites, according to new findings by federal researchers. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health report, posted Friday, documents a poorly understood hazard in the oil field from volatile hydrocarbons, also called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Many oil workers and supervisors don't realize the petrochemicals can kill (EnergyWire, Oct. 27, 2014). "These deaths are tragic -- especially since they can happen suddenly and without warning," said Robert Harrison, an occupational medicine physician at the University of California, San Francisco, who has been researching such deaths. "It is very important that safety programs are in place to prevent workers from breathing toxic chemicals when they gauge or sample tanks."  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Hawaii can support a 100 percent renewable energy goal, new report says
Pacific Business News
Duane Shimogawa

Hawaii can support a goal of generating all of its electrical power and transportation fuels from renewable energy, a new report says. Transportation in particular needs to develop comprehensive policies and procedures to reduce the use of fossil fuels, according to the state Environmental Council Annual Report for 2014. Potential policy changes are easy to find by looking at states that are working toward meeting federal Clean Air Act mandates. They include congestion-management tools, public-private partnerships to discourage single-occupancy vehicle trips, increased pedestrian bicycle and public transit options and parking limits, and offset fees to promote the use of alternative transportation, the report said.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Despite Initial Surge, Local & Federal Policies Tamp Out Renewable Energy Growth In Illinois
Progress Illinois


A recent report by the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) shows that over 400 Illinois companies are now tapped into the state's clean energy supply chain for solar and wind projects. The local solar industry supply chain includes 237 Illinois companies, including those providing installation, electrical and consulting services. The other 170 Illinois companies are working in the state's wind industry supply chain, comprised of manufacturers and diagnostic software designers as well as engineering, legal, financial and consulting firms. Collectively, the 400 plus Illinois wind and solar companies employ more than 20,000 workers, according to the report. By comparison, there were 152 wind and 96 solar companies tied to the Illinois clean energy supply chain in 2011, according to a previous ELPC analysis.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Vancouver pledges to run on 100% renewable energy
The Weather Network
Cheryl Santa Maria

Monday, April 13, 2015, 3:44 PM - On Friday, officials announced plans to make Vancouver 100% dependent on renewable energy -- putting the city one step closer to becoming a world leader in green technology. The announcement was made at the ICLEI World Congress 2015, a sustainability summit. “There’s a compelling moral imperative but also a fantastic economic case to be a green city,” Vancouver's deputy mayor Andrea Reimer told the Guardian. Officials hope the target will be met by 2030 or 2035. It's expected heating, cooling and transportation will take the longest to convert.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Have We Passed the Point of No Return on Climate Change?
Scientific American


While we may not yet have reached the “point of no return”—when no amount of cutbacks on greenhouse gas emissions will save us from potentially catastrophic global warming—climate scientists warn we may be getting awfully close. Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution a century ago, the average global temperature has risen some 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Most climatologists agree that, while the warming to date is already causing environmental problems, another 0.4 degree Fahrenheit rise in temperature, representing a global average atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) of 450 parts per million (ppm), could set in motion unprecedented changes in global climate and a significant increase in the severity of natural disasters—and as such could represent the dreaded point of no return.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Ready for Warren Prepares to Launch Climate Activist Coalition Environmentalists look past Clinton, want a Warren 2016 run.
National Journal
Clare Foran

April 13, 2015 Climate activists are lining up behind the never-say-die campaign to draft Elizabeth Warren for a 2016 bid. Ready for Warren, a group pushing the senator to enter the presidential race, plans to soon unveil "Environmental Activists for Warren," National Journal has learned. The launch expected to take place later this month is the latest sign that environmentalists fear that Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic frontrunner who announced her candidacy on Sunday, won't take a strong stand on the issues they care most about.   [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Fracking regulation: Independence of WA Department of Mines and Petroleum questioned amid conflict of interest concerns
ABC News
Kathryn Diss

Communities opposing the controversial technique of fracking have cast doubt on the West Australian Government's independence when granting approvals for the industry. Nationals MP Shane Love said locals in his electorate of Moore, which covers part of the Mid West and Wheatbelt, have expressed concern about the role the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) plays.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
States outpacing feds in safety regs for fracking
The Hill
Kathleen Sgamma

The Department of the Interior recently introduced a rule to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal lands to much fanfare. Stating the need to update 30-year-old regulations, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell characterized Interior’s action as taking the lead and giving the states an example to follow.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Sahtu next to weigh in on N.W.T.'s proposed fracking regulations
CBC News


Meeting in Fort Good Hope tonight, Norman Wells and Tulita on Wednesday If tonight's input session in Fort Good Hope about proposed fracking regulations for the Northwest Territories is anything like last week's meeting in Inuvik, it will be long and potentially heated. The Sahtu is a battle ground in the debate on fracking because its communities sit on the lucrative Canol shale gas deposits.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Fracking opponents try again
Detroit News
Jim Lynchg

The wheels begin to turn in earnest next week on efforts to bring a ban on hydraulic fracturing before Michigan voters in 2016. When Michigan's Board of State Canvassers meets Tuesday, the four-member panel will review forms for the collection of signatures to initiate legislation. It's a paperwork formality necessary before supporters of a ban on the controversial natural gas extraction process can begin approaching state residents.   [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Bakken pipeline meets stiff opposition in Minnesota
Midwest Energy News
Daniel Cusick

MINNEAPOLIS — A Canadian company proposes a multibillion-dollar oil pipeline through some of the Midwest’s prized lakes and wetlands, igniting a firestorm among environmentalists, tribes and anti-fossil fuel activists who say the proposal is built on hollow promises of economic development and dubious claims of environmental protection.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Dane County needs $25 million policy against tar sands spill, expert says
Wisconsin State Journal
Steven Verburg

Dane County should require Enbridge Energy to purchase $25 million in special pollution insurance to address concerns about a possible spill of tar sands crude and toxic chemicals as the company sharply increases the load carried by an underground pipeline, according to a new consultant’s report.   [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
North Dakota may raise limits for radioactive drilling waste
Midwest Energy News
Karen Uhlenhuth

Much of the radioactive waste generated in North Dakota’s oil fields is now required by law to be transported to specialized landfills in other states, a costly chore for the oil industry. North Dakota’s health department, however, is considering giving the industry a break by raising from 5 to 50 picocuries the radioactivity threshold above which waste must be ferried out of state.   [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Cuomo’s fracking ban is taking heat from former NYC mayor
Marcellus.com
Danielle Wente

Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo took a few hits from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg regarding his statewide fracking ban. Bloomberg expressed his opinion regarding Cuomo’s decision to ban fracking rather than embrace the benefits the state could receive from natural gas operations. Bloomberg referred to the ban as “a misguided policy” and explained how the economic and health benefits from natural gas outweigh the negative impacts that can always be prevented by regulations.   [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Fracking May Be Increasing Levels of Toxic Radon
Nature World News
Jenna Iacurci

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, may be increasing levels of toxic radon in Pennsylvania homes, according to a new study. Since the practice began around 2004, the state has seen 42 percent of radon readings surpass what the US government considers safe.   [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Anti-fracking campaigners hold street party to mark 'four years frack free'
The Bolton News
Tui Benjamin

CAMPAIGNERS took to the streets to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the last time fracking was carried out in the UK. Members of Bolton Friends of the Earth and Bolton Against Fracking held a ‘four years frack free’ street party in Deansgate in the town centre.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Fracking Ban Petition Language to be Reviewed by State Canvassers
WHTC
Gary Stevens

LANSING, MI (WHTC) - The Board of State Canvassers meets tomorrow to review the petition language for a fracking ban ballot proposal. The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan cites damage done in other states for seeking its prohibition here, but failed to gather enough petition signatures in an earlier attempt for last fall's election. Organizers told MIRS News that they wanted to raise half a million dollars to pay for signature collectors, but their latest campaign finance report showed CBFM had just 33 thousand.   [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
WAS LAST NIGHT'S EARTHQUAKE FRACKING'S FAULT?
LA Weekly
Dennis Romero

Fracking is good for America. Fracking is bad for America. Fracking supporters say the technique—blasting water into previously unobtainable oil deposits to extract that black gold—is responsible for our plummeting gas prices. While there are those who would debate that, it's clear that this new stream of fuel has put other oil-producing countries on the defensive.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Federal Cabinet Approves Legislative Package Limiting Future Fracking Operations in Germany
Global Compliance News
Dr. Frank-Rainer Topfer & Dr. Janet Butler

On April 1, 2015, the German Federal Cabinet (Bundeskabinett) approved a legislative package introducing broad restrictions on the use of hydraulic fracturing technology (fracking) in Germany. The legislative bill prohibits hydraulic fracturing in certain areas to protect drinking water supply, health and nature, and sets strict limits on unconventional fracking operations in shale, argillaceous rock, marl or coal seam. Additionally, it tightens the re-quirements for conventional natural gas and oil extraction. The bill will now be submitted to the Parliament (Bundestag).  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Greenpeace targets Danish fracking site
The Local


Supporters of the environmental organization Greenpeace scaled the boring machine at the site of Denmark’s first ever shale gas exploration site on Monday.   [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Johns Hopkins Study Links Fracking and Radon
The Intelligencer
Casey Junkins

WHEELING - A new report indicates fracking could help the United States recover up to 2.85 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas, but another study shows the drilling technique may also produce carcinogenic radon gas across the Marcellus and Utica shale regions.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
Elizabeth May opposed to coal mine, LNG fracking 'not a good technology'
Alberni Valley Times
Kristi Dobson

Green Party leader, Elizabeth May made a visit to Port Alberni on Saturday morning. - See more at: http://www.avtimes.net/news/local-news/elizabeth-may-opposed-to-coal-mine-lng-fracking-not-a-good-technology-1.1821726#sthash.Ur4vG5hy.dpuf When asked about the Steelhead LNG project, May was cautious in her words. "It is on First Nations territory and we respect that, so I don't want to say too much, but fracking is not a good technology at all," she said.  [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
25,000 Canadians March Against Fracking & Tar Sands Pipelines
Sustainable Business


In one of Canada's largest climate marches, 25,000 people rallied in Quebec City this weekend, with concurrent marches in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia. They sent provincial premiers three simple messages: Yes to taking strong action on climate change No to expanding Canada's tar sands and pipelines Yes to renewable energy   [Full Story]

Apr 13, 2015
The arrival of man-made earthquakes.
The New Yorker
RIVKA GALCHEN

In the fall of 2011, students in Katie Keranen’s seismology course at the University of Oklahoma buried portable seismograph stations around the campus, in anticipation of a football game between the Sooners and the Texas A. & M. Aggies. The plan was to see if the students could, by reading the instruments, detect the rumble of eighty-two thousand fans cheering for a touchdown. “To see if they can figure out if a signal is a passing train or a cheering crowd—that’s much more interesting for them than discussing data in theory,” Keranen, an assistant professor of geophysics, told me.  [Full Story]

Apr 12, 2015
Fracking Waste Study Says States Aren't Doing Enough to Protect Public
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Glynis Board

[A] new report was published this month that looks at how states are dealing with dangerous waste produced during shale gas development. Not well, according to the report.   [Full Story]

Apr 12, 2015
Divide in the Debate: Americans on Fracking
High Plains Public Radio
Carol Hillendahl

From recent data collected by a Gallup poll, reporter Art Swift reveals that Americans are split fairly evenly on the issue of fracking for oil and natural gas.  [Full Story]

Apr 12, 2015
Fracking operation results in gas well incident
The Shorthorm
Jasmine Faronbi

Arlington residents were able to return home Sunday after being evacuated because of an incident involving a gas well, said Lt. Lee Tovar, Arlington Fire Department spokesman.  [Full Story]

Apr 12, 2015
Study Suggests Connection between Fracking and Indoor Exposure to Lung Cancer-Causing Radon Gas
AllGov


In addition to being a source of groundwater pollution and causing earthquakes, fracking may in some areas increase exposure to radioactive gas, a new study shows. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health say they found increased levels of radon, a cancer-causing radioactive gas, in Pennsylvania homes since 2004.  [Full Story]

Apr 12, 2015
Despite fracking moratorium, 'we're very much for energy projects': N.B. premier
CTV News
Michelle Zillo

Despite slapping a moratorium on fracking in New Brunswick, Premier Brian Gallant says his government is very supportive of energy projects in the province as a way to propel the economy. Gallant told CTV's Question Period that his Liberal government is eager to participate in energy projects like TransCanada's Energy East pipeline project in an effort to help improve both provincial and national economy growth.   [Full Story]

Apr 12, 2015
Analysis: What's in Larimer County fracking fluid
Coloradoan
Sarah Jane Kyle

More than 100 different ingredients have been used at 30 hydraulic fracturing sites in Larimer County since 2012. Missing from 80 percent of those jobs was an oft-cited cause for health and safety concerns: benzene, a known carcinogenic.  [Full Story]

Apr 12, 2015
PODCAST: Energy 24/7: Are Stranded Assets in Oil and Gas a Myth or Reality?
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Stranded energy assets in oil and gas will not happen merely because of climate change. It is happening as we speak because a number of potentially disrupting events are all converging on one point: our use of hydrocarbons. Some of the challenges are due to climate and some are not. What is clear, however, is that they are multiplying. Though climate change will no doubt prove to be one aspect of stranded assets, others will include a simple but powerful realization that there are simply better places to put your investment dollars…or euros…or yuan.  [Full Story]

Apr 12, 2015
Oil and gas industry must cut dangerous methane releases
Albuquerque Journal
Thomas Singer

Natural gas, the fuel many Americans use daily to cook meals and heat our homes, is made mostly of methane. Natural gas also comes with a “cleaner than coal” reputation when burned to generate electricity. But too many leaks in the supply chain can quickly overwhelm this advantage, as it has in the Four Corners region, and solutions are desperately needed. The Four Corners made national headlines last year when NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and top university scientists detected a 2,500-square-mile methane “hot spot” so intense that initial satellite readings were thought to be in error. Sadly, the hot spot is real and covers more than twice the area of Bernalillo County. While the study detected the hot spot, it did not identify exactly where the methane is coming from.  [Full Story]

Apr 12, 2015
Fracking Increases Radon Gas Hazard, US Study Finds Levels of the carcinogenic gas rising in Pennsylvanian homes near industry sites.
The Tyee
Andrew Nikiforuk

Another major U.S. health study has found that the hydraulic fracking of unconventional rock formations can liberate and accelerate the release of radon, a highly carcinogenic gas. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that radon levels in U.S. homes in Pennsylvania have been on the rise ever since fracking of the Marcellus shale began in 2004.  [Full Story]

Apr 12, 2015
Emergency crews still trying to replug gas well in southwest Arlington
Star-Telegram
DUSTIN L. DANGLI

UPDATE: CITY OF ARLINGTON CREWS, GAS WELL OPERATOR VANTAGE ENERGY AND BOOTS AND COOTS, A WELL CONTROL COMPANY, WORKED THROUGH THE NIGHT TO RESOLVE A GAS WELL MISHAP IN SOUTHWEST ARLINGTON. UPDATE: City of Arlington crews, gas well operator Vantage Energy and Boots and Coots, a well control company, worked through the night to resolve a gas well mishap in southwest Arlington. Boots & Coots attempted to replug the gas well at 4 a.m., but was unsuccessful, the city of Arlington said on its website. “Boots and Coots will be bringing in additional resources to replace the gas wellhead as quickly and safely as possible,” the city said. “While there has been no gas released to this point, the possibility exist that a release could occur. All citizens are asked to stay away from the area impacted by this gas well incident.” Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/arlington/article18315026.html#storylink=cpy  [Full Story]

Apr 12, 2015
Upcoming in Texas Legislature: School finance versus vouchers; fracking ban; athlete EKGs
The Republic
Will Weissert

FRACKING BAN BACKLASH: Set to hit the House floor Tuesday is a much-watched bill prohibiting cities from banning hydraulic fracturing — though it would still allow ordinances related to some surface oil and natural gas exploration operations. The bill's author, Energy Resources Committee Chairman Drew Darby, softened an original, stricter proposal amid staunch opposition from major municipal lobbies. Still, the bill would wipe out an ordinance in the North Texas city of Denton, where residents approved a fracking ban in November. Opponents of the proposal say it's hypocritical for top Republicans to decry federal government overreach, only to use the Legislature to override local voters' wishes. Darby's measure is expected to pass, though.   [Full Story]

Apr 12, 2015
Fracking is about to change, and almost no one is happy about it
PRI
Jared Goyette

The Obama administration recently announced new rules to regulate fracking. But no one, it seems, is entirely happy with them. The new, controversial regulations — some members of Congress, especially those from areas where fracking is more common, are opposing the rules — will take effect in June. In the meantime, ProPublica's environmental reporter, Abrahm Lustgarten, tells us what we need to know about the changes.   [Full Story]

Apr 12, 2015
The Link Between Fracking and Oklahoma’s Quakes Keeps Getting Stronger
UK Progressive


Over the last few years, Oklahoma has experienced an insane uptick in earthquakes. As we reported in 2013, the count exploded from just a couple per year back in the mid-2000s to over a thousand in 2010, growing alongside a boom in the state’s natural gas drilling industry.  [Full Story]

Apr 12, 2015
"Fracking's Joy Ride Will End" ex-White House Spokesman Bob Weiner And Policy Analyst Hannah Coombs Say Weiner-Coombs Article in Lynchburg News & Advance says we are dancing like the 20's before the depression but energy crisis coming without alternate policy ARGUE REGS SET FOR JUNE 24 TOO WEAK WITH WELLS DRYING, WATER POLLUTION, EARTHQUAKES
PR Newswire
Press Release

WASHINGTON, April 12, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "We will be dancing to the joy of cheap oil prices until the wells are drilled dry" in as little as five years, write Robert Weiner and Hannah Coombs yesterday in the Lynchburg News & Advance titled "Fracking's Benefits Will End".   [Full Story]

Apr 11, 2015
Florida proposals to regulate fracking face uncertain fate as legislative clock winds down
Naples Daily News
Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - With only a few weeks remaining, the fate of proposals to regulate hydraulic fracturing in Florida remains unclear. “We need to take advantage of the window of opportunity we have right now,” said Jennifer Hecker, director of natural resource policy at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. “I think at this point I am fairly confident something will pass, but it’s not impossible that nothing passes because of the time constraints.”  [Full Story]

Apr 11, 2015
Climate-Change Activists Consider the Necessity Defense
The New Yorker
REBECCA NATHANSON

Last September 21st, two days before a United Nations summit on climate change, more than three hundred thousand people flocked to Manhattan for the People’s Climate March. The protest stretched for more than two miles and featured indigenous communities, labor groups, students, scientists, politicians, celebrities, and thousands of others. The next day, a much smaller group, made up of about a thousand people who sought a more pointed, confrontational approach, gathered at Bowling Green, in Lower Manhattan, to protest Wall Street’s investments and campaign contributions in support of the fossil-fuels industry. The action, which they called Flood Wall Street, was not approved by the city, but police blocked traffic on Broadway, allowing the march to proceed northward. When the protesters reached barricades that prevented them from turning onto Wall Street, they sat down in an intersection and remained for several hours. After defying a police order to leave the area, a hundred of them were arrested, most of them on charges of disorderly conduct. The majority received adjournments in contemplation of dismissal, meaning that the charges would be dropped if they stayed out of trouble for six months. Eleven, however, decided to take their case to Manhattan Criminal Court.  [Full Story]

Apr 11, 2015
‘Heavy Rains’ Cited In Marshall Pipeline Failure Williams: Wet weather caused ruptures in Marshall
The Intelligencer
Casey Junkins

GLEN DALE - Williams Energy officials believe wet weather over the last few days disturbed Marshall County's landscape enough to cause two of its natural gas pipelines to rupture in less than three hours late Thursday.   [Full Story]

Apr 11, 2015
Greens press Clinton to oppose fracking
The Hill
Timothy Cana

More than 100 environmental groups are pressuring former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to oppose hydraulic fracturing, days before her expected presidential campaign announcement. The coalition of mostly local anti-fracking groups noted that New York, the likely host to her campaign and the state she represented in the Senate for eight years, banned fracking in December. “In light of overwhelming and rapidly increasing scientific evidence of harm, we ask that you now acknowledge the inherent dangers in shale development and stand with us and the countless families and communities at risk from fracking across the nation,” the groups wrote in a Friday letter.   [Full Story]

Apr 11, 2015
15 Questions Hillary Clinton Should Answer Right Now
The Nation
Richard Kim and George Zornick

As Clinton launches her second presidential bid, serious questions remain about her positions on key economic and foreign policy issues. Climate: The latest climate science says that humanity must leave roughly 80 percent of the earth’s remaining fossil fuels reserves in the ground to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees, a goal the United States and other nations agreed at the Copenhagen summit in 2009 when you were secretary of state. But the whole point of fracking, an extraction method that enables drillers to reach previously inaccessible deposits, is to exploit that remaining 80 percent of reserves. By definition, does this fact not rule out fracking for any champion of climate action, and would you, as president, ban fracking? (Mark Hertsgaard)  [Full Story]

Apr 11, 2015
Weiner/Coombs: Fracking's Benefits Will Eventually End
News & Advance
Robert Weiner & Hannah Coombs

The White House fracking regulations announced last month appear to curtail environmentally destructive practices while maintaining higher oil production with lower prices. In reality, the regulations, which go into effect June 24, only provide short-term prevention of serious damage. We will be dancing to the joy of cheap oil prices until the wells are drilled dry — which could be as soon as five years — and could be facing earthquakes and drinking polluted ground water until then.   [Full Story]

Apr 11, 2015
2nd gas pipeline would link Pennsylvania, Northeast
Fosters
Mary Esch

SCHOHARIE, N.Y. (AP) — New York landowners along the planned 124-mile Constitution Pipeline are getting details of a second major natural gas pipeline proposed to cut through their property, this one a 325-mile link from Pennsylvania to New England.   [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
New Sea Drilling Rule Planned, 5 Years After BP Oil Spill
New York Times
Coral Davenport and MARJORIE CONNELLY

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is planning to impose a major new regulation on offshore oil and gas drilling to try to prevent the kind of explosions that caused the catastrophic BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, administration officials said Friday.   [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
Group seeks to put fracking ban on November 2016 ballot
Daily Press
Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan group is seeking to put a ban on horizontal hydraulic fracturing up for a statewide vote in November 2016. Secretary of State spokesman Fred Woodhams says Friday that petition language will be discussed Tuesday at a Board of State Canvassers meeting.   [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
Court blocks environmental group's plea for radioactivity data on Marcellus Shale drilling
The Patriot News
Matt Miller

An environmental group can't have access to raw data collected during a state probe into potential exposure to radioactivity from Marcellus Shale gas and oil drilling operations, a Commonwealth Court panel ruled Friday. The ruling overturns a decision by the state Office of Open Records that ordered the Department of Environmental Protection to turn over that data to the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. However, Judge Anne E. Covey wrote in the state court opinion that the information gathered by DEP's Bureau of Radiation Protection starting in 2013 is exempt from public disclosure as part of a "noncriminal investigation."  [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
Fossil fuel-free funds outperformed conventional ones, analysis shows Investors who dumped holdings in coal, oil and gas earned an average return of 1.2% more a year over last five years, data from the world’s leading stock market index reveals
Daily Climate
Patrick Collinson

Investors who have dumped holdings in fossil fuel companies have outperformed those that remain invested in coal, oil and gas over the past five years according to analysis by the world’s leading stock market index company, MSCI, which runs global indices used by more than 6,000 pension and hedge funds, found that investors who divested from fossil fuel companies would have earned an average return of 13% a year since 2010, compared to the 11.8%-a-year return earned by conventional investors.   [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
Bakken-bearing pipeline meets stiff opposition in the Land of 10,000 Lakes
E&E Publishing
Daniel Cusick

MINNEAPOLIS -- A Canadian company proposes a multibillion-dollar oil pipeline through some of the Midwest's prized lakes and wetlands, igniting a firestorm among environmentalists, tribes and anti-fossil fuel activists who say the proposal is built on hollow promises of economic development and dubious claims of environmental protection.   [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
Maryland Senate, House Pass Two-Year Fracking Ban
InsideClimate News
Zahra Hirji

The bill, passed with veto-proof majorities in both chambers, will head to Gov. Hogan. His position on it is unknown.  [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
Maryland Passes 2.5 Year Fracking Ban
EcoWatch
Stefanie Spear

Today, the Maryland House of Delegates passed legislation, voting 102 – 34, that would prohibit fracking permits in the state until October 2017. The bill will head to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk in the coming days.  [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
New plan for old pipe: Carry fracked liquids
The Courier-Journal
James Bruggers

LEBANON, Ky. – With red dirt piled nearby on grassy green meadow, workers in a hole were welding a weak spot on Kentucky's latest controversial pipeline — putting on a Band-aide, as one of them described it. Just a few hundred yards from his home, physician James Angel approached the crew in his pickup truck, saying the maintenance only punctuated his fears about a Texas company's plans for the natural gas pipeline that crosses his Marion County farm.  [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
8 things you need to know about Hillary Clinton and climate change
Grist
Ben Adler

She promoted fracking abroad while secretary of state. Clinton encouraged developing countries to sign deals with American fossil fuel companies to extract their shale gas through fracking. This is consistent with Obama’s fondness for touting natural gas as a lower-carbon “bridge fuel” to help us move from coal to renewables. Mariah Blake of Mother Jones did a deep dive from last year that found, “Under her leadership, the State Department worked closely with energy companies to spread fracking around the globe — part of a broader push to fight climate change, boost global energy supply, and undercut the power of adversaries such as Russia that use their energy resources as a cudgel. But environmental groups fear that exporting fracking, which has been linked to drinking-water contamination and earthquakes at home, could wreak havoc in countries with scant environmental regulation. And according to interviews, diplomatic cables, and other documents obtained by Mother Jones, American officials — some with deep ties to industry — also helped US firms clinch potentially lucrative shale concessions overseas, raising troubling questions about whose interests the program actually serves.”  [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
The oil and gas industry helped develop a camera that can show you things they insist aren't there.
UPWORTHY
Alisha Huber

he gas industry helped to develop a magic camera to find leaks in their pipelines. It makes invisible Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) visible. Some concerned citizens in Colorado got one of these cameras. They pointed it at a fracking operation that was right near a high school. This is what they saw:  [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
Anti-fracking groups send a letter to Clinton
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—Anti-fracking groups are ramping up pressure on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to reverse her stance on fracking, days before she is expected to officially announce her campaign for the presidency. More than 100 environmental, citizen and grassroots group released a letter Friday calling on Clinton to join their cause. Many of the groups were instrumental in the successful, years-long fight to ban fracking in New York. In the letter sent Friday, they write that it was “disappointing” to see Clinton touting fracking when she was Secretary of State.  [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
Critics say SU prof hid ties to gas driller Chesapeake in fracking study
Syracuse Post-Standard
Glenn Coin

Syracuse, N.Y. -- A Syracuse University researcher has come under fire from anti-fracking activists for failing to disclose his ties to the gas industry in a recent study. Donald Siegel has said he has a contract with Chesapeake Energy Corp., and another author of the paper worked for Chesapeake. The final paper in the journal Environmental Science & Technology states that "the authors declare no competing financial interest." The study found that drinking wells in Pennsylvania had not been contaminated with methane from nearby fracking wells. The study has been touted by pro-fracking activists as evidence that the process is safe. Anti-fracking activists say they don't trust the paper because the water samples were provided by Chesapeake and because Siegel and one of the co-authors, Bert Smith, have financial ties to the company.  [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
INTERRUPTING THE FUTURE: A CONVERSATION WITH TIMOTHY MITCHELL
This Changes Everything
Patrick Robbins

In 2011, political theorist Timothy Mitchell published Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil, which argues that the fossil fuel industry “helped create both the possibility of modern democracy and its limits.” The book begins with the rise of coal: the rigid, concentrated structure of its production and distribution networks made them highly vulnerable to disruption by militant workers, who were able to achieve new and unprecedented forms of political power as a result. All that changed with the global shift from coal to oil, with its comparatively flexible networks and less reliance on workers—a shift that consolidated the power of the fossil fuel giants, and was also closely linked to the creation of the idea of an “economy” based on endless GDP growth.   [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
Legislature sends fracking ban to Hogan
The Baltimore Sun
Erin Cox

Maryland lawmakers on Friday voted to send Gov. Larry Hogan a two-year ban on the natural gas extraction process known as fracking. The action marks the first time the legislature voted for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and its most decisive statement yet on curbing the controversial practice. It is unclear whether Hogan plans to sign the bill, which passed the House Friday 102-34 and cleared the Senate Tuesday 45-2. Both are veto-proof margins.  [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
Wisconsin Climate Change Gag Order Part of Broader Industry-Tied Attacks on Science
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

On April 7, Wisconsin's Board of Commissioners of Public Lands voted 2-1 to ban those employed by the agency from doing any work pertaining to climate change or global warming while doing public lands related work. Although the story was covered by multiple media outlets, lost in the public discussion so far is how the vote fits into the broader multi-front industry attack in America's Dairyland-turned-Petro State and which industry interests may have played a role in the vote.   [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
Poll: Americans support renewable energy incentives
Environmental Business International


While Congress continues to dawdle on extending federal incentives for renewable energy development, an overwhelming percentage of Americans appear to favor the use of tax incentives to drive the expansion of renewable energy, according to a recent poll. Conducted by Zogby Analytics on behalf of Clean Edge, Inc. (Portland, OR) and SolarCity (San Mateo, CA), the poll found that 74% of Americans—including 82% of Democrats, 67% of Republicans, and 72% of independents—favor continuation of the production tax credit (PTC) and the investment tax credit (ITC) for wind, solar, and other forms of renewable energy. About 87% of Americans said that renewable energy is important to the country’s future. When homeowners were asked which forms of energy were most important to the nation, 50% identified solar, 42% said wind, 33% picked natural gas, and 25% pointed to energy efficiency. Only 14% said nuclear energy was most important to America’s future, and only 8% picked coal. “There’s a misconception that the nation is divided on its attitudes toward clean energy, but our research shows this to be false,” said Ron Pernick, Clean Edge’s managing director. “There is broad support for renewables across the political spectrum.” In fact, he added, opposition to solar fees charged by utilities is higher among Republicans (66%) than among Democrats (53%).   [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
City hopes to finance $100 M. in NYCHA retrofits
Capital New York
David Giambusso

New York City and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced with considerable fanfare on Thursday a $100 million-plus program to retrofit New York City Housing Authority developments to be more energy efficient, touting it as the largest investment ever in improving energy efficiency in public housing. But HUD and New York City aren't paying for it, nor are they guaranteeing the loans. Instead, the money will come from a yet undetermined private company which city and federal leaders say will finance the project, recouping its investment through future savings provided by the efficiency measures.  [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
Fracking Town's Laid-off Workers: 'They Don't Tell You It's All a Lie'
The Tyee
Evelyn Nieves

WILLISTON, N.D. -- From the looks of it, America's boomtown is still booming. Big rigs, cement mixers and oil tankers still clog streets built for lighter loads. The air still smells like diesel fuel and looks like a dust bowl -- all that traffic -- and natural gas flares, wasted byproducts of the oil wells, still glare out at the night sky like bonfires. Not to mention that Walmart, still the main game in town, can't seem to get a handle on its very long lines and half­ empty shelves. But life at the centre of the country's largest hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, boom has definitely changed. The jobs that brought thousands of recession­-weary employment­-seekers to this once peaceful corner of western North Dakota over the last five years have been drying up, even as the unemployed keep coming.   [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
FRACKING ENDANGERS OUR WATER AND AIR.
San Francisco Chronicle
Mary Matzek

Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting millions of gallons of water with sand and chemicals under high pressure down and across as far as 10,000 feet below the surface. The mixture causes rock layers to crack and open and allow the oil to penetrate the sand particles so the natural gas from the fracture can flow up the well. Natural gas is cleaner than other fossil fuels like coal and oil, but not by much. It is mostly methane and it traps heat, it leaks readily and like the residents of Dish, Texas complained, “We have unexplained headaches and sickness in people and animals since the drillers came to town”. Air quality tests showed high benzene pollution in the area.  [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
The State Department ‘Secretly Approved’ Two Pipeline Projects, Lawsuit Alleges
InsideClimate News
KATIE VALENTINE

Tribal and environmental groups are suing the State Department for allegedly “secretly” approving two pipeline projects last year, approvals that the groups say violated national environmental regulations. The lawsuit was filed last year by Minnesota’s White Earth Nation tribe along with environmental groups including the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Sierra Club, and Center for Biological Diversity, but the groups filed a motion for summary judgment in Minnesota federal court this week. In it, the groups claim that in 2014, the State Department “short-circuited” the approval process for the expansion of Enbridge’s Line 67 — also known as the Alberta Clipper. They also claim the department approved the construction of a new pipeline that would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin, without necessary public input.  [Full Story]

Apr 10, 2015
New York’s Smart Grid Research May Shape U.S.
Climate Central
Bobby Magill

New York State learned a big lesson after Hurricane Sandy knocked out power to more than 8 million residents and did billions of dollars in economic damage to the New York City metropolitan region: The city and its utility infrastructure are highly vulnerable to climate change-influenced extreme weather and rising seas. With that lesson in mind, the state is aiming to get ahead on adapting to climate change by modernizing and integrating renewables into its power grid and making its infrastructure better able to withstand extreme weather. And, New York is likely to do that in a way that influences smart grid development in the rest of the country, experts say.  [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Spectra responds to requests for rehearings on gas pipeline
Wicked Local Roslindale


ROSLINDALE Marylee Hanley, director of stakeholder outreach for Spectra Energy, sent the following response when asked about the requests for rehearings: On March 3, 2015, after vetting for safety, environmental, cultural resources, landowner, and other concerns, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity authorizing Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC (Algonquin) to move forward with the Algonquin Incremental Market Project (AIM Project), provided that Algonquin comply with several conditions contained in the certificate. Algonquin therefore understands and respects that it cannot proceed to construction unless and until several of these conditions are met, including the receipt of any and all federal permits.  [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Pipeline surveyors draw landowner complaints
The Boston Globe
Jack Newsham

Some Massachusetts residents say surveyors working on the route of a controversial natural gas pipeline have tresspassed on their land. The Northeast Energy Direct project, which would cross part of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, has run up against stiff opposition from residents. Many have denied the company permission to work on their land, but residents of several towns along the pipeline’s route said surveyors have ignored their protests.   [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
River council will not support DRBC funding request
River Reporter
David Hulse

April 8, 2015 — NARROWSBURG, NY — For many years the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) has been trying unsuccessfully to get Congress to renew its share of funding of the interstate agency. The federal government has provided funding to support its 20% “fair share” of the DRBC’s annual current expense budget during only one federal fiscal year since 1996, and is $11.4 million in arrears in those payments Over that period the Upper Delaware Council has sometimes supplied letters of support for that funding. Last week, citing ethical questions about the DRBC’s acceptance of grant funds from groups considered as opponents to natural gas exploration, a tied UDC vote rejected the DRBC request.   [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Toxic Radon Levels Are Rising In Pennsylvania As Natural Gas Fracking Booms
International Business Times
Maria Gallucci

Pennsylvanians worried about the effects of natural gas drilling may have another reason for concern. Homes closest to fracking zones have been exposed to rising levels of cancer-causing radon ever since the state’s drilling boom began in 2004, a new public health study found. The analysis is part of a growing body of research that explores how widespread shale gas production affects the air, water and human health -- and what, if anything, should be done to limit the impacts.   [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Scientists seek source of giant methane mass over Southwest
Denver Post
Colleen Slevin

DENVER (AP) — Scientists are working to pinpoint the source of a giant mass of methane hanging over the southwestern U.S., which a study found to be the country's largest concentration of the greenhouse gas. The report that revealed the methane hot spot over the Four Corners region — where Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona meet — was released last year.   [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Another Canadian province just approved a fracking moratorium
Fusion
Rob Wile

New Brunswick just became the latest Canadian province to halt all hydraulic fracturing while experts studied the practice’s environmental impact. Lawmakers voted for the one-year moratorium last Thursday. They follow colleagues in Quebec, Labrador and Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia, not to mention the state of New York, which approved a similar measure in December while it awaits the results of a comprehensive study on fracking.   [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Ban on Fracking in Oregon to 2025 Under Consideration by Committee
Insurance Journal


The oil and gas industry is pushing back on a bill that would ban hydraulic fracturing in Oregon until 2025. The bill sponsor, Democratic Rep. Ken Helm, told a House committee Tuesday the proposal puts the state ahead of the curve in case oil and gas companies want to start fracking in Oregon.  [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Citing importance of clean water, official moves to ban fracking waste in Tompkins
Ithaca Voice
Jeff Stein

Anti-fracking activists in Ithaca celebrated Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision in December 2014 to ban fracking in New York state. But the controversial drilling practice still poses an environmental danger to Tompkins County — albeit one that draws less attention, says Dan Klein, a county legislator.  [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
EPA seeks to ban fracking wastewater from going to public treatment plants
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Laura Legere

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to ban publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities from taking untreated waste fluids from the unconventional oil and gas industry in a move that would guarantee the end of a disposal practice that the industry and states have already abandoned.   [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Fracking Chemical Spill Reported In Northeast Ohio
WCBE
Jim Letizia

Vienna Township residents are waiting to hear from state environmental officials whether their drinking water is safe following a spill of 2 thousand gallons of fracking chemicals at an injection well facility. Residents last week reported dead animals near a local pond and a sheen on the water's surface. Inspectors traced the spill to a Kleese Development Associates facility, which operates five injection wells.  [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Fracking linked to rise in household levels of killer radon gas
Click Green


Researchers have linked rising levels of the killer radioactive gas radon in homes to the start of the United States’ fracking boom. Radon is estimated to be the cause of tens of thousands of deaths each year. The US Surgeon General has warned that radon is currently the second leading cause of lung cancer and only smoking causes more deaths.   [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
The oil industry’s $26 billion life raft
Fuel Fix


For U.S. shale drillers, the crash in oil prices came with a $26 billion safety net. That’s how much they stand to get paid on insurance they bought to protect themselves against a bear market — as long as prices stay low. The flipside is that those who sold the price hedges now have to make good. At the top of the list are the same Wall Street banks that financed the biggest energy boom in U.S. history, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. While it’s standard practice for them to sell some of that risk to third parties, it’s nearly impossible to identify who exactly is on the hook because there are no rules requiring disclosure of all transactions. The buyers come from groups like hedge funds, airlines, refiners and utilities.  [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Why 2015 could be a record year for the greening of U.S. energy
The Washington Post
Chris Mooney

In general, changes to our energy system come slowly. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. In general. Nonetheless, 2015 is shaping up to be a pretty special year and a pretty significant 365-day shift in how we get our power, says a 2015 power market outlook released Thursday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “This Research Note is more sensationalist than we typically write,” it confesses. The reason is a combination of three separate factors all moving in the same direction — an expected record for renewable energy installations, another forecast record for coal plant retirements and booming natural gas. The consequence, if these forecasts are realized, would be considerably cleaner energy and an impressive one-year drop in U.S. emissions.  [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
New England’s energy brokers must look beyond natural gas
The Boston Globe
Editorial

SNOW WASN’T the only thing piling up this winter: Massachusetts ratepayers also saw a bump in their electricity bills as New England’s aging infrastructure struggled to keep up with demand. The rate increase wasn’t a surprise. But the reasons why the prices rose — and the reasons why they are expected to rise again in the coming years — offer important lessons to lawmakers and regulators about how to ensure reliability and protect Massachusetts residents from future price hikes. This January, electricity prices for NStar customers rose 29 percent compared to the last year. (NStar is now called Eversource Energy, after a merger with Northeast Utilities.) National Grid customers saw a 37 percent increase over last winter. The reason is simple: New England is overly reliant on natural gas for electricity, and demand for natural gas tends to spike in the winter as power plants compete with home-heating furnaces for fuel.  [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Scientists seek source of giant methane mass over Southwest
The Denver Post
Colleen Slevin

DENVER (AP) — Scientists are working to pinpoint the source of a giant mass of methane hanging over the southwestern U.S., which a study found to be the country's largest concentration of the greenhouse gas. The report that revealed the methane hot spot over the Four Corners region — where Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona meet — was released last year.  [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Citing importance of clean water, official moves to ban fracking waste in Tompkins
The Ithacan
Jeff Stein

Ithaca, N.Y. — Anti-fracking activists in Ithaca celebrated Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision in December 2014 to ban fracking in New York state.  [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Amory Lovins: Freedom From Fossil Fuels Is a Possible Dream
InsideClimate News
Lisa Song

The United States could run almost entirely on clean energy by 2050, with a larger economy, $5 trillion in savings––and no acts of Congress. That's a vision of the future as seen by Amory Lovins, a sustainability expert who talked about how to reach that goal in a presentation Tuesday at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.   [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Fracking Link? Rising Radon Levels Found in Pennsylvania Homes
NBC News
MAGGIE FOX AND STACEY NAGGIAR

Levels of radon, an invisible, odorless radioactive gas, have been rising measurably in Pennsylvania since the controversial practice of fracking started there, researchers reported Thursday. The study cannot directly link fracking with the raised radon levels. But whatever is going on, residents need to be aware of the rising levels of the gas and take action to get it out of their homes, the researchers say. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., killing an estimated 21,000 people a year. It occurs naturally in many types of rocks, and many people who have bought or sold a home will be familiar with the radon test on the basement or ground floor.  [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Radon may be linked to fracking, researchers suspect
The Columbus Dispatch
Laura Arenschield

Radon levels in houses near fracking sites in Pennsylvania are higher than in those in areas where there is no oil and gas drilling, according to a new study by Johns Hopkins University researchers. The researchers cautioned that their findings don’t definitively tie hydraulic fracturing to higher levels of radon.  [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
California Regulator: State's Utility "Too Big" for Safety?
ABC NEWS
ELLEN KNICKMEYER

Repeated natural-gas accidents — including a pipeline explosion that killed eight people — suggest that Pacific Gas & Electric Co., California's largest power utility, may be too big to operate safely, the state's top utility regulator says. California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Picker said he would ask the commission's staff to study "the culture of safety" and the structure of the utility, which he noted currently has its gas and electricity operations under a single board and CEO. PG&E is one of the country's largest power utilities with 9.7 million gas and electric customers, The Associated Press obtained Picker's prepared statement ahead of a commission meeting Thursday, where the panel is expected to vote on a record $1.6 billion penalty for the 2010 PG&E gas pipeline explosion in a San Francisco suburb.  [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Study suggests fracking could release radon from ground
USA Today
Liz Szabo & Doyle Rice

Levels of cancer-causing radon gas in Pennsylvania homes have increased as the fracking industry has expanded, a new study shows. The study is a preliminary "first look" into a possible connection between fracking and radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, says co-author Joan Casey.  [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Utilities: New gas safety regulations could cost $100 M.
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—The state's utilities estimate it will cost more than $100 million to comply with new gas safety regulations the Public Service Commission adopted last month. The estimates were contained in a briefing prepared for Governor Andrew Cuomo on new pipeline safety regulations in the wake of two gas explosions in New York City in the last year that left 10 people dead. Federal regulators threatened to strip the state of about $4 million in annual funding if it did not strengthen oversight of gas pipelines.  [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
New study raises possible link between gas drilling and radon levels
State Impact PA
Jon Hurdle & Susan Phillips

Radon levels in buildings near unconventional natural gas development in Pennsylvania are higher than those in other areas of the state, suggesting that hydraulic fracturing has opened up new pathways for the carcinogenic gas to enter people’s homes, according to a study published on Thursday. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer worldwide.   [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Too early to judge pipeline proposal
Burlington County Times


New Jersey Natural Gas is seeking approval from the state Board of Public Utilities to build a natural gas pipeline through part of the Pinelands in Burlington County and the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.   [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
California regulators fine PG&E a record $1.6 billion for San Bruno blast
Los Angeles Times
MARC LIFSHER

California utility regulators Thursday levied a record $1.6-billion fine against the state's largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. The fine for violating state and federal pipeline safety standards was prompted by the 2010 explosion of a PG&E natural gas transmission line. The commission approved the measure by a 4-0 vote with Commissioner Mike Florio not participating. It was the largest PUC fine ever.  [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Dramatic Increases of Cancer-Causing Radon in PA Homes Linked to Fracking
EcoWatch
Jon Queally

Researchers in Pennsylvania have discovered that the prevalence of radon, a radioactive and carcinogenic gas, in people’s homes and commercial buildings that are nearer to fracking sites has increased dramatically in the state since the unconventional and controversial gas drilling practice began in the state just over a decade ago   [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Rise of deadly radon gas in Pennsylvania buildings linked to fracking industry
The Washington Post
Ariana Eunjung Cha

A new study published Thursday reported a disturbing correlation between unusually high levels of radon gas in mostly residences and an oil and gas production technique known as fracking that has become the industry standard over the past decade. Writing in the journal Environmental Health Perspective, researchers analyzed levels of radon -- a colorless, odorless gas that is radioactive and has been linked to lung cancer -- in 860,000 buildings from 1989 to 2013. They found that those located in the same areas of the state as the fracking operations generally showed higher readings of radon. About 42 percent of the readings were higher than what is considered safe by federal standards. Moreover, the researchers discovered that radon levels spiked overall in 2004, at around the same time fracking activity began to pick up.  [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Study raises questions about measuring radioactivity in fracking wastewater
SCIENCE INSIDER
Valerie Brown

Commonly used testing methods may underestimate the total radioactivity of wastewater produced by gas wells that use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to tap the Marcellus Shale, a geological formation in the northeastern United States, concludes a new study. The findings suggest government agencies should consider retooling some testing recommendations and take a fresh look at possible worker exposure to potentially harmful waste, the authors say. But some outside researchers are skeptical that the laboratory study reflects real-world conditions.  [Full Story]

Apr 9, 2015
Bloomberg pans upstate casinos, fracking decision
Politicson the Hudson


Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not a fan of two of the state’s recent high-profile policy decisions. In an interview Wednesday with the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg said Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration’s decision to effectively ban large-scale hydraulic fracturing is a “misguided policy.”   [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
Berea City Council opposes fracking in areas near city reservoirs
Eagle Ford Texas
Greg Kocher

BEREA - Berea City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday expressing opposition to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in watershed areas near the reservoirs from which the city draws its drinking water.   [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
CEA says it’s seen no fracking-related earthquake claims
R Street
R J Lehmann

The California Earthquake Authority, the state-run insurance pool that is the primary source of residential earthquake coverage in the Golden State, says it hasn’t received any claims that assert human-caused activity like hydraulic fracturing or deep-well injection were the cause.   [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
As with many things in Texas, fracking fight goes big
Watchdog.org
Rob Nikolewski

A Texas-sized argument over hydraulic fracturing regulations has one side calling small-government advocates hypocrites while the other side claims some critics go to extremes. A tweet comparing fracking to rape raised the ante. Two bills making their way through the Texas Legislature call for state regulations to supersede any local government action concerning hydraulic fracturing, the process of extracting oil and natural gas by using a mixture of water, sand and chemicals pumped into a well at high pressure.  [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
Cheniere cleared to expand Sabine Pass LNG
Fuel Fix
Rhiannon Meyers

Federal regulators cleared Cheniere Energy to expand its Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas export terminal but construction will hinge on the company’s ability to secure financial backing for the project. LNG companies may have a difficult time persuading buyers to commit to new long-term contracts amid a global collapse in crude oil prices, Moody’s Investors Services said in a new report. Although U.S. gas remains inexpensive, international buyers now have access to cheap oil and gas products closer to home, making it less attractive to import from the U.S., Moody’s said. In addition, the demand in Asia, which triggered the flurry of new LNG products, no longer appears strong enough to soak up all the excess LNG that could flood the market by 2020. Against that backdrop, Moody’s expects many of the 30 proposed LNG export terminals will get canceled.   [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
Denver fracking foes to deliver petitions seeking citywide ban
Denver Business Journal
Cathy Proctor

Environmental activist groups that want to ban hydraulic fracturing in Denver said they planned to deliver "nearly 2,000 written and photographic petitions" to Mayor Michael Hancock’s office and city council members Wednesday. The groups launched the “Don’t Frack Denver” campaign in February, a move that drew a strong response from Vital for Colorado, a coalition of more than 35,000 Coloradans, businesses, civic leaders and trade organizations that support the oil and gas industry.  [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
University Lecture: ‘Fracking Is a Feminist Issue’
National Review
KATHERINE TIMPF

ot only is fracking destroying the environment — it’s sexist, too. At least that’s the idea that ecologist/social-justice hero Sandra Steingraber presented to more than 100 students at the University of Pittsburgh on Monday during a lecture titled “Fracking Is a Feminist Issue: Women Confronting Fossil Fuels and Petrochemicals in an Age of Climate Uncertainty.” “This is a feminist issue because [the chemicals used and released in the fracking process] are largely reproductive toxins,” Steingraber said, according to an article in the Pitt News, the school’s official student newspaper.   [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
Grassroots group praises latest ban on oil drilling
Chelsea Standard
James Pruitt

Add Sharon Township to the list of local governments enacting a moratorium on gas and oil drilling. The Sharon Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved a 12-month moratorium on oil and natural gas drilling April 2.  [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
Bloomberg Philanthropies Donates $30M to Transition From Coal to Clean Energy
EcoWatch
Michael Brune

Michael Bloomberg knows a thing or two about numbers, too, and he certainly understands the implications of the ones I just cited about coal power. That’s why, almost four years ago, Bloomberg Philanthropies gave the Sierra Club $50 million for the purpose of moving beyond coal and accelerating the transition to cleaner, cost-effective energy sources. Today I am thrilled and honored to announce that this support will be increased by an additional $30 million.  [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
Bloomberg pledges another $30 M. for anti-coal campaign
Capital New York
David Giambusso

Former mayor Michael Bloomberg is upping the ante in a push to retire U.S. coal plants, making an additional $30 million commitment to the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign. The pledge raises Bloomberg Philanthropies' stake in the campaign to $80 million, which goes to state-based, grassroots efforts to retire coal-burning plants, considered to be the most toxic of fossil fuel-based power generation.   [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
Activists fear dangers of oil trains remain unaddressed by new rule Despite a surge in oil tank car blasts, Obama stops short of strict regulatory action demanded by trackside residents
Al Jazeera America
Marcus Stern

After almost two years of deliberation, Barack Obama’s administration is expected to enact regulations next month that will attempt to protect trackside communities from exploding oil trains. However, the new rule won’t take the one step that could decrease the risk almost immediately — requiring North Dakota oil producers to either reduce their product’s explosiveness or ship it in pressurized cars.  [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
State: Fewer horizontal drilling permits this year
Indeonline
Shane Hoover

State regulators plan to issue fewer horizontal drilling permits in 2015 than they did last year. If that happens, it will mark the first decrease in permits since Utica Shale drilling began in 2010.  [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
Colorado logs fewer violations for each oil and gas well drilled
Denver Post
Mark Jaffe

Colorado, with twenty times the oil and gas drilling intensity, has a fraction of the violations of either Pennsylvania or West Virginia. That is among the findings of a study done by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the FracTracker Alliance – although that probably wasn’t the point they were trying to make.   [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
N.J. lawmakers at odds with southern states over offshore drilling plan
NJ
Jonathan D. Salant

WASHINGTON — While New Jersey's U.S. senators push for banning drilling for oil and gas off the Atlantic coast, their Democratic colleagues to the south are pushing for a share of any revenues from energy fields that the drilling discovers. Both of Virginia's Democratic senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, have joined six Republicans, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott of South Carolina, and Johnny Isakson and David Perdue of Georgia, in seeking legislation that would pay royalties to their states for oil and gas found off their shores.   [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
DG Solar: How Utilities Can Create Shareholder Value
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Net metering and DG solar. Just the words are enough to irk antagonists and protagonists into a heated, and all too often, devolving conversation. On one hand are the owners of DG solar systems who contend that they are not only providing electricity to the grid but also many peripheral benefits. Such benefits, they argue, are based on the avoidance of various inputs like fuel costs, added distribution lines and upgrades to transmission systems. Even pollution costs of NOx and VOC’s are avoided. Some argue that these are net benefits to society as a whole and yet under current accounting methods are not quantified but should be. Then there are the utilities themselves who argue that net metering causes them to buy electricity at retail prices often at times when they don’t need it. Further, customers on DG solar are not paying their fair share of the costs for lines and transmission. This causes a cost shift to the other customers of the utility who are now subsidizing their neighbor’s use of electricity when their solar systems don’t provide enough power. An unnecessary luxury. So which side is right? In fact, they are both correct.   [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
Federal Hydraulic Fracturing Rule Issued; Criticized by NGOs and Challenged by Industry and States
The National Law Review


On March 20, 2015, the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued final regulations addressing hydraulic fracturing “as a much-needed complement to existing regulations designed to ensure the environmentally responsible development of oil and gas resources on Federal and Indian lands.” 80 Fed. Reg. 16128 (March 26, 2015) The regulations, which had been underway since 2010 and will become effective on June 24, 2015, were immediately challenged by industry and states and criticized by several NGO’s. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell explained “the rule will include measures to protect our nation’s ground water, requiring operators to construct sound wells, to disclose the chemicals they use and to safely recover and handle fluids used in the process.” The BLM summarized the key changes to the final rule as follows:  [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
Why fracking is splitting environmental groups apart
Vox
Brad Plumer

Few things inspire angst and bitter disagreement among green groups quite like the question of how to deal with fracking. It's arguably the single most important debate within environmentalism today. To break it down simply: The pro-fracking side points out that the US natural-gas boom, driven by hydraulic fracturing, has been one of the big environmental success stories of the past decade. Electric utilities are now using more cheap gas and less dirty coal to generate power. Since gas burns more cleanly, that reduces pollution: US carbon dioxide emissions have fallen 10 percent since 2005.  [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
North American LNG Export Dream Evaporating
OilPrice.com
Charles Kennedy

The rush to export natural gas from North America was nice while it lasted. But the spot prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Asia have collapsed, leaving a shrinking opportunity on the table for the plethora of export proposals. Much of that has to do with oil prices falling by half over the past year because LNG prices are linked to the price of oil in much of the world. The latest data from Platts shows that the Japan/Korea Marker (JKM) – the benchmark for LNG in northeast Asia – fell to just $7.279 per million Btu (MMBtu) for April delivery, or nearly 60 percent lower than they were at this time in 2014.  [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
If We Dig Out All Our Fossil Fuels, Here’s How Hot We Can Expect It to Get
The New York Times
Michael Greenstone

World leaders are once again racing to avert disastrous levels of global warming through limits on greenhouse gas emissions. An agreement may be in reach, but because of the vast supplies of inexpensive fossil fuels, protecting the world from climate change requires the even more difficult task of disrupting today’s energy markets. The White House last month released a blueprint to reduce United States emissions by as much as 28 percent by 2025. The plan lays the groundwork for the formal international climate talks this December in Paris, where the goal is a treaty on emissions that will seek to limit the rise in global temperatures to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels. Beyond 3.6 degrees, scientists say, the most catastrophic climate consequences will occur, possibly including the melting of the Greenland ice sheet.  [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
EDF Sparks Mistrust, and Admiration, With its Methane Research
InsideClimate News
Lisa Song and Katherine Bagley

Environmental Defense Fund fills a void in tackling critical climate issue, but to some, its collaboration with fossil fuel industry taints findings. The Environmental Defense Fund is one of the nation's most venerable environmental organizations, and many consider it one of the most effective. But its industry-collaborative approach to the study of methane leaks in natural gas drilling has drawn scrutiny from other environmental groups, who worry EDF has strayed into a gray area where science and the fossil fuel industry collide. Those concerns stem from an ambitious project EDF embarked on in 2011, as an oil and gas boom swept the U.S. While environmentalists have increasingly called for an outright ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, amid concerns that it pollutes the air and water, stifles growth of renewable energy, and might accelerate rather than slow climate change, EDF decided to probe the industry's climate impacts. And it did so by collaborating with natural gas companies, which agreed to partially fund the research and give EDF access to gas sites for taking crucial measurements.   [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
EDF Recruits Sprawling Network to Fund Methane Leaks Research
InsideClimate News
Katherine Bagley and Lisa Song

To fund its $18 million, 16-study investigation into methane emissions from the natural gas industry, the Environmental Defense Fund assembled a sprawling network of private donors, foundations, utilities, fossil fuel companies and others. The project attracted backers with a range of sometimes-conflicting stances on fracking. The list varies from clean energy-focused foundations like the TomKat Charitable Trust to fossil fuel companies such as Encana Corp. and TransCanada, the Canadian energy giant behind the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, to multinational conglomerates such as PepsiCo. While EDF has pushed for stronger regulations for the booming natural gas industry, several of the project's sponsors also support efforts to dismantle fracking regulations. Chevron, Shell, Anadarko and XTO Energy, for example, fund Energy in Depth, a group that works to discredit grassroots opposition to fracking, as well as local, state and federal regulations.  [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
PHMSA's pipeline cases drop as accidents increase
E & E Newswire
Mike Lee

Last February, a leaking 30-inch natural gas pipeline sparked an explosion in Knifley, Ky., an unincorporated community a few miles east of the Green River. The fire destroyed two houses, four cars, a carport and three other buildings. Two people were injured, although they didn't require hospitalization. A day after the fire, federal pipeline regulators ordered Columbia Gas Transmission Co. to shut down the line. Allowing it to stay in operation "would result in likely serious harm to life, property and the environment," documents show. A little more than a year later, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the branch of the U.S. Transportation Department that oversees interstate pipelines, closed the case. Despite the damage and the injuries, Columbia hasn't paid a fine. It wasn't an anomaly. In all of 2014, PHMSA issued fewer fines and started fewer pipeline safety investigations than in the previous four years. The decline in enforcement came even though the number of pipeline-related spills, leaks and other accidents rose from 2013 to 2014. It all happened three years after Congress passed a law doubling the fines that PHMSA can impose. One year's worth of cases doesn't constitute a trend, but the drop in enforcement is a big concern to safety advocates, said Carl Weimer at the Pipeline Safety Trust. "It looks like something has gone askew," Weimer said.  [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
Sabine Pass expansion gets green light amid sour climate for LNG
E & E Newswire
Jenny Mandel

Federal regulators yesterday approved Cheniere Energy Inc.'s application to expand the export capacity of its Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas plant, growing an existing project at a time when industry watchers suggest that new projects will struggle to move forward. The new order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission grants Cheniere permission to build two additional LNG processing "trains" in addition to the four trains currently under construction at the Sabine Pass terminal near the Louisiana-Texas border. The new facilities would expand the project's total LNG capacity from about 20 million metric tons per year (mtpa) to about 29 mtpa. The approval also covers construction of additional pipelines to serve the LNG export terminal. Still pending for the company are applications before the Department of Energy for a license to export fuel from the facility to countries that lack a free-trade agreement with the United States. DOE by law issues export permits for sale to free-trade partners quickly and routinely, but permits for exports to non-free-trade partners -- including major markets in Japan, China and India -- require that the department first assess whether the project is consistent with the public interest. That process has been the subject of considerable controversy and accusations of political bias (EnergyWire, Jan. 29).  [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
Royal Dutch Shell To Buy BG Group For Nearly $70 Billion
Huffington Post
MIKE CORDER

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to buy British gas producer BG Group for 47 billion pounds ($69.7 billion) in cash and stock, the companies announced Wednesday. The move gives oil giant Shell a greater stake in natural gas markets in the wake of tumbling oil prices. Consolidations through takeovers and mergers are among the ways energy companies are seeking to reduce costs and become more efficient as oil prices have slumped. A joint statement said the boards of both companies are recommending that shareholders approve the deal that will create a more competitive, stronger company for both sets of shareholders in today's volatile oil price world.   [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
Rise in amount of radon detected
Times Union
Jennifer A. Dlouhy

Washington The amount of radon in Pennsylvania homes has been climbing since 2004, according to research documenting a ramp-up in the naturally occurring radioactive gas that coincides with the surge in hydraulic fracturing to stimulate natural gas production around the state. The assessment, to be published Thursday in Environmental Health Perspectives, and conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, draws heavily on 866,735 indoor radon measurements added to a state database from 1989 to 2013, with most of the readings coming from homes and taken when property is bought or sold.   [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
Second pipeline plan draws response similar to first
The Daily Gazette
Kyle Adams

SCHOHARIE — With opponents still fighting development of the proposed Constitution Pipeline that would carry natural gas from Pennsylvania up through Schoharie County, a second natural gas pipeline has been proposed to follow the same route. The Northeast Energy Direct Project, backed by Philadelphia-based Kinder-Morgan Co. and its subsidiary, the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., has already seen staunch opposition in the first of a series of open house presentations about the project. The first open house, in the town of Schoharie on Monday evening, was dominated by a protest organized by a coalition of 10 environmental groups that oppose the pipeline.  [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
Fractivists renew push for Denver moratorium with petition delivery
Denver Post
Jon Murray

The “Don’t Frack Denver” campaign by environmental and community activists on Wednesday delivered petitions to the Denver City Council and mayor’s offices to underline its push for city officials to take pre-emptive action on two fronts.   [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
Fracking wastewater disposal questioned
Auburn Pub
Associated Press

SIDNEY, Neb. | Two groups say the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission violated state open meeting laws with a hearing last month on a proposed Sioux County wastewater disposal well, and they want the state attorney general to void any action resulting from the hearing. Bold Nebraska and the Nebraska Sierra Club filed a complaint Tuesday with the office of Attorney General Doug Peterson, requesting an investigation.  [Full Story]

Apr 8, 2015
Local Fracking Bans in California Face No Remaining Active Legal Challenges
IndyBay


The only oil company to sue San Benito County over a local ban on fracking and other high-intensity petroleum operations announced on April 6 it has dropped its lawsuit, leaving the voter-approved ordinance in place. Citadel Exploration’s decision to dismiss its own case means that local fracking bans in California face no remaining active legal challenges, despite threats from the oil industry.   [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Dominion to withdraw lawsuits against landowners over pipeline surveys — and start over
Richmond Times-Dispatch
MICHAEL MARTZ

RICHMOND — Dominion Transmission Inc. is withdrawing lawsuits against 116 landowners who had refused access to their properties to survey the route of a proposed pipeline from West Virginia to the southeastern coast of Virginia and North Carolina. And then the company, as part of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, will start the process over. The pipeline consortium, formed in September, said Tuesday it will resend notices to landowners notified by Dominion last spring and summer that it planned to come onto their properties to survey. At the same time, the pipeline is withdrawing lawsuits to enforce a hotly contested 2004 state law that allows natural gas companies to come onto private property without the owner's consent to survey.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
OH Supreme Court Holds Home Rule Amendment to the Ohio Constitution Does Not Grant Local Governments the Power to Regulate Oil and Gas Activities and Operations Within Their Borders
Law of the Land
Patricia Salkin

Beck Energy Corporation (“Beck Energy”), obtained a state permit through R.C. Chapter 1509 from a division of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (“ODNR”) for the purpose of drilling an oil and gas well on property within the corporate limits of the city of Munroe Falls, Ohio. Soon after Beck Energy began drilling, the city issued a stop-work order. The Court of Common Pleas granted injunctive relief prohibiting the company from drilling until it complied with all local ordinances. Beck Energy appealed. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded.   [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Study Finds Frackers Average at Least Two Violations a Day
Public News Service


CHARLESTON, W.Va. - On average, fracking companies commit more than two-and-a-half drilling violations a day, according to a new study drawn from just a small portion of available public record information. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) studied five years' worth of online reports for West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Colorado. According to report co-author and NRDC policy analyst Amy Mall, she and her team totaled up at least 4,600 citations – about 18 per week. She says some of the 68 drillers they looked at ran up hundreds of violations, including wastewater spills, well leaks and pipeline ruptures.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Employees negotiate for industry jobs under agency's eye
E & E Newswire
Hannah Northey and Kevin Bogardus

Employees at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have deep ties to the industry they regulate, according to agency documents detailing their job negotiations and stock holdings. Ethics records throughout 2014 show agency staff seeking employment with grid operators, law firms and utilities that the agency has jurisdiction over and often meets with as it sets new orders and rules. In addition, FERC employees have held stock in or remain part of pension plans from companies that can be affected by the agency's work. Greenwire obtained the 88 ethics documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The disclosures reflect how FERC, which oversees the interstate transmission of electricity and permitting of gas infrastructure, is regulating an industry that many of its staffers are well-suited for and often courted to work in. The documents show more than 40 instances last year when FERC employees entered into negotiations for jobs outside the agency. Those interested in hiring agency staff included Van Ness Feldman LLP, Dominion Resources Inc., Xcel Energy Inc., Crowell & Moring, General Electric Co., TransCanada Corp., Florida Power & Light Co., Steptoe & Johnson LLP, FirstEnergy Corp., and American Electric Power Company Inc..  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
How scientists are annotating climate reporting
Columbia Journalism Review
Laura Dattaro

WHEN MELTING ICE DISAPPEARS from the arctic, it exposes more of the ocean’s dark surface, which absorbs the sun’s warming rays. The water heats up and more ice melts, the cause and effect feeding each other in a example of a phenomenon known as climate feedback. It’s an appropriate name for a group that’s attempting to slow some of the runaway misinformation about climate change, by doing what scientists do with their published work: review it. To achieve this, Climate Feedback—less an organization at this point than an amorphous gathering of climate scientists, oceanographers, and atmosperic physicists—is making use of a browser plugin from the nonprofit Hypothes.is to annotate climate journalism on the Web. Readers with the plugin, or with a link created through it, can read an article while simultaneously reading comments and citations from a cadre of experts. Click on the headline, and you’ll see an overall rating, based on the article’s accuracy, fairness, and adherence to evidence.   [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Top academics ask world's universities to divest from fossil fuels
The Guardian
Emma Howard

It is unethical and untenable for universities, that seek to advance global development and health, to invest in the fossil fuels that cause climate change, say a group of 2,000 researchers at Academics Stand Against Poverty  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
ARCTIC: As latest battle commences, opponents say drilling is 'just not compatible' with U.S. climate commitments
E & E Newswire
Margaret Kriz Hobson

A small team of Greenpeace activists sailing in the Pacific Ocean yesterday left their home ship, the Esperanza, and scrambled onto a heavy-lift vessel that's hauling Royal Dutch Shell PLC's Polar Pioneer drill rig from Singapore to Seattle. After stalking the Blue Marlin haul ship from the South China Sea, the protesters approached the ship in inflatable boats, climbed up the side of the vessel and set up camp on the underside of the Polar Pioneer's main deck. Greenpeace's latest act of guerilla environmentalism, which was described in play-by-play detail on social media sites across the globe, occurred 750 miles northwest of the Hawaiian Islands.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Oil trains keep on rolling
Times Union
Eric Anderson

Albany Crude oil train traffic in March was down 7 percent nationwide from year-earlier levels, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. But in the Capital Region, a spokeswoman for People of Albany United for Safe Energy said her group hasn't noticed any slowdown in oil train traffic at the Port of Albany. Sandy Steubing of PAUSE said trains are still flowing into the port, where oil is transferred to barges, oceangoing tankers and to other trains for shipment to refineries up and down the East Coast. She added that a 7 percent drop in train traffic wouldn't make the shipments measurably safer. "They'd have to cut back 99 percent before we were safer," Steubing said.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
County [Tompkins] legislature looks to impose tougher rules on fracking waste
WHCU


Tompkins County legislators are trying to keep toxic waste associated with fracking out of local communities. A proposal under consideration by the legislature’s Planning, Energy, and Environmental Quality Committee would ban the sale, distribution, or disposal of fracking waste in Tompkins County. This would stop leftovers from the fracking process, mostly liquids, from being repurposed and sold back to communities where it could possibly harm the environment even more. “That water absorbs what’s underground: a lot of it we’d just call salt,” said Tompkins County legislator Dan Klein, who is backing the proposal. “But there’s lots of other stuff in there too: there’s chemicals and radioactivity, and the gas companies need to get rid of this stuff somehow. And the best solution they’ve probably come up with is that there are some people who are willing to buy in at a pretty cheap rate to spread on roads.”  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Chris Gibson, an Upstate Republican, Starts Early on a Possible Run for Governor
The New York Times
ALEXANDER BURNS

The national Republican brand is deeply unpopular in important areas, especially New York City. And Mr. Gibson has staked out some positions that could prove problematic statewide: He opposed the Safe Act, a gun control law that Mr. Cuomo signed, and has voted for restrictions on abortion, though he does not favor banning the procedure early in pregnancy. Peter E. Kauffmann, a spokesman for state Democrats, criticized Mr. Gibson as a conservative seeking to position himself toward the middle. “Calling yourself a moderate doesn’t make it so,” Mr. Kauffmann said. “Chris Gibson is anti-choice, anti-gun safety, with the same out-of-touch conservative philosophy that New Yorkers continue to reject every election cycle.”  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Report: The way we power our homes may be on the verge of a major change
The Washington Post
Chris Mooney

n recent years, the growth of the rooftop solar market has been astounding. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the growth rate for at-home solar has been above 50 percent for three years running (2012, 2013, and 2014). But if a new study is to be believed, the changes have only begun. The way we get power is “at a metaphorical fork in the road,” says the new report released today by the Rocky Mountain Institute, an influential energy policy think tank. The reason is not just rooftop solar but, beyond that, the growing feasibility of home electricity systems combining solar panels with batteries for storage of energy.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Citizens need a role in oversight, rule-making
philly.com
Barry Kauffman, Opinion

Last month, the U.S. Department of the Interior punted on an opportunity to close the so-called Halliburton loophole, a law that precludes the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating hydraulic fracturing operations. The loophole was championed by former Vice President Dick Cheney and has been dismissed by environmentalists as a gift to the oil and natural-gas industry. In fact, it is a classic example of rule-making by a captive regulatory agency. Regulatory capture is a depressingly common phenomenon. It occurs when regulatory agencies become dominated by the industries they oversee. Though an agency may have been formed to serve the public interest, once it devolves into a captive agency, it too often acts in ways that benefit the industry it regulates rather than the citizens it was intended to protect. In Pennsylvania, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that we've witnessed regulatory capture by the natural-gas industry. It has become increasingly apparent that the state's rules governing natural-gas drilling operations were not up to protecting the environment, citizens, and landowners.   [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
EPA analysis details water usage in fracking
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Stephanie Ritenbaugh

Drillers in Pennsylvania used about 11 billion gallons of water to tap shale formations in the Appalachian Basin between 2011 and 2013, according to an analysis by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA examined more than 39,000 disclosures submitted across the country between January 2011 and February 2013 to the website FracFocus, an industry-backed registry of the components used to frack shale formations, including the Marcellus and Utica shales that span Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. For Pennsylvania, the EPA examined 2,483 disclosures by natural gas drillers. Pennsylvania is among the states that require oil and gas producers to use FracFocus to inform the public of the amount of water and chemical additives they use. However, the rules vary from state to state, and some do not require disclosure. Last month, the Obama administration also mandated that drillers start using the registry to operate on federal lands. Nationally, nearly 92 billion gallons of water were used for fracking between January 2011 and February 2013. That includes 36 billion gallons in 2011; 52 billion gallons in 2012; and 3.8 billion gallons in the first two months of 2013 in the U.S., according to the EPA’s analysis.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Frac sand industry feels the effects of low oil prices, less drilling
Star Tribune
David Shaffer

Low oil prices and reduced drilling in shale regions like North Dakota are hurting the once fast-growing frac sand industry, slashing demand and forcing price cuts that have led some players to reduce jobs. U.S. sand mines, including 63 in Wisconsin and six in Minnesota, are projected to ship significantly less sand to oil drillers in 2015, compared with last year, when companies like Fairmount Santrol, U.S. Silica and Superior Silica Sands set production records, industry officials say. “This whole ripple effect has taken hold and it is going to continue,” Richard Shearer, CEO of Superior Silica Sands, a Texas-based company that operates sand mines in Wisconsin, said in an interview with the Star Tribune. “There are peak cycles and trough cycles, and we have hit a trough.”  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Could testing streams be a new tool to monitor for methane leaks?
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Laura Legere

Groundwater surveys around natural gas drilling sites usually begin at a homeowner’s water well or kitchen faucet. The tests provide a snapshot of water quality at a specific site and time. Now researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Utah are finding that streams running through areas of gas development can be a portal for detecting the migration of gases through aquifers on a broader scale. In a paper published recently by the journal Environmental Science and Technology, the researchers studied methane levels in northeastern Pennsylvania streams to look for both natural conditions and possible signs of leaks from natural gas wells. At one stream in Lycoming County they discovered evidence pointing to just such a leak. High levels of methane bubbling up in Sugar Run had characteristics of gas that is generally found in deep underground layers of rock, possibly from the Marcellus Shale. After the researchers finished their sampling in 2013, they learned that the state Department of Environmental Protection had determined that at least five residential water wells had been affected by stray methane from gas drilling and issued a violation notice for defective casing or cement in a nearby shale gas well.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Global supply glut threatens British Columbia’s LNG projects
The Globe and Mail
Brent Jang

Most liquefied natural gas export projects are at risk of being cancelled in North America as a result of a looming global glut of LNG, putting a damper on British Columbia’s energy dreams. Moody’s Investors Service Inc. issued a stark outlook for the fledgling North American LNG industry, arguing it doesn’t make economic sense to invest billions of dollars on each venture especially as Asian buyers slow down their LNG ordersfor new LNG supplies.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
ODNR Orders Kleese to Shut Down 5 Injection Wells
The Business Journal
Dan O'Brien

VIENNA, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has ordered five injection wells operated by Kleese Development Associates, Warren, to cease operations after it found the company is responsible for contamination of a nearby pond and wetland. ODNR oil and gas chief Richard Simmers issued the order April 3, one day after the agency became aware of the spill, according to documents. Kleese must also remediate any contamination at the site, the regulatory agency said. Kleese uses a single surface facility at 5061 Warren-Sharon Road for all five of its Vienna Township wells, according to the ODNR report. The operation was built to accommodate two wells initially, but was expanded in 2012 with ODNR’s authorization.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
EPA Proposes Prohibition on Discharge of Unconventional Wastewater to POTWs
Shale Energy Law Blog
Abigail Faulkner Jones

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a proposed rule under the Clean Water Act that would prohibit the discharge of unconventional oil and gas extraction wastewaters to publicly owned treatment works (POTWs). The rule would apply to wastewater associated with production, field exploration, drilling, well completion and well treatment for unconventional operations, but would not apply to wastewater produced by conventional operations. According to EPA, the industry does not currently discharge unconventional wastewater to POTWs and this rule “will ensure that such current industry best practice is maintained over time.” The rule would be immediately effective on the date of publication of the final rule. Comments on the proposed rule must be received on or before June 8, 2015.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Oregon committee considers bill banning fracking until 2025
The Oklahoman


ALEM, Ore. (AP) — The oil and gas industry is pushing back on a bill that would ban hydraulic fracturing in Oregon until 2025. The bill sponsor, Democratic Rep. Ken Helm, told a House committee Tuesday the proposal puts the state ahead of the curve in case oil and gas companies want to start fracking in Oregon. Representatives from the oil and gas industry say legislation is unnecessary because there are already a number of rules in place on the practice.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Actor Edward Norton pushes for fracking ban in Maryland radio ad
Reuters
John Clarke

(Reuters) - Hollywood actor Edward Norton is lending his voice to a radio advertisement in his home state of Maryland paid for by a consumer rights group calling for a moratorium on the drilling process known as fracking.   [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Oil wastewater used on Kern County crops
Bakersfield Now
Adam Herbets

If you've lived in Kern County long enough, you've heard the old saying, whether it's from a farmer, on a billboard, or from a politician: "Kern County farmers feed the world."   [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Duchesne man fatally injured in gas plant accident
Deseret News


DUCHESNE — A Duchesne man died Friday, one day after he was injured at a natural gas compressor station in Duchesne County, according to investigators and the man's family. Daniel Patrick Roach was working Thursday at Kinder Morgan's East Compressor Station about one mile east of Altamont when he was critically injured, Duchesne County Sheriff's Lt. Jeremy Curry said.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Pipeline that spilled into Yellowstone to be removed
Great Falls Tribune
MATTHEW BROWN

BILLINGS (AP) – The company responsible for a 30,000-gallon oil spill into Montana’s Yellowstone River will try to remove its breached pipeline Wednesday as regulators investigate the cause of the accident that contaminated downstream water supplies. The broken section of pipeline will be pulled from the river by divers, then sent to a laboratory for a metallurgical analysis as required under a federal order, Bridger Pipeline LLC spokesman Bill Salvin said. January’s breach in the Casper, Wyo., company’s pipeline temporarily fouled water supplies for thousands of people downstream in Glendive.   [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Bill to pause fracking gains ground in General Assembly Md. Senate approves House version of bill that would not allow fracking permits for 2 years
WMDT


Maryland Senators on Tuesday voted 45-2 in favor of a House version of the bill, which also stops the issuing of hydraulic fracturing drilling permits until October 2017.   [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
New York Just Quietly Raided Its Climate Program, And Environmentalists Are Worried
Climate Progress
Emily Atkin

A relatively small provision buried in New York state’s $150 billion budget has got environmentalists in a bit of a tizzy. In the budget passed last week, lawmakers agreed to take $41 million away from state’s climate change mitigation program and sweep that money into the general fund. The program is the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, also known as RGGI (pronounced “Reggie”), and is essentially a cap-and-trade system operated by nine Northeastern states and Eastern Canada. First, a primer on how RGGI works. Under the initiative, states agree to put limitations the amount of carbon that power plants can emit every year. If those power plants want to emit more than they’re allowed, they buy “allowances” — or simply, the right to pollute a little more — from other entities that did not pollute enough to meet their emissions limit. Part of the money from the sale is given to the state, and used to invest in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other clean energy technologies. The $41 million that is being taken away from RGGI is the money that was collected from those sales. Right now, according to the Times Union, New York has approximatively $760 million that it has collected from carbon auctions. So, instead of $760 million, the state now has $719 million to spend on energy efficiency and conservation and so on.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Opponents of W.Va.-NC-Va. gas pipeline to press McAuliffe
Washington Times
AP

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Opponents of a natural gas pipeline through Virginia are pressing Gov. Terry McAuliffe to join forces with them. They plan to deliver more than 5,000 signatures to the governor on Tuesday demanding that he rescind his support of the $5 billion project. McAuliffe and his West Virginia counterpart, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, support the 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline. McAuliffe calls it a “game changer” that would bring deliver cheap natural gas and jobs.   [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
France: 'Buried shale gas report' kicks off new row
The Local


The row over whether France should exploit its deep reserves of shale gas was unexpectedly back on the table on Tuesday after it emerged the French government had buried a controversial report that suggested alternative and safer methods to mine the gas other than the much-maligned "fracking". The French government was left embarrassed on Tuesday after it emerged that a controversial report, in which experts stated France's shale gas deposits could be cleanly removed without the need for the divisive hydraulic fracturing or fracking, had been buried to keep the Greens onside.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Fracking criticism spreads, even in Alberta and Texas
cbc news
Michelle Leslie

"It was beautiful up until fracking started," said Nielle Hawkwood. Nielle and Howard Hawkwood say their ranch outside Cochrane, Alta., northwest of Calgary, hasn't been the same since 2009, when fracking began. Water started tasting strange and cows began to die off in large numbers. Instead of an average of two to three cows per year, they were losing closer to 20. By the spring of 2011, Nielle Hawkwood noticed her hair falling out in clumps every spring. They had their soil tested and found a three-fold increase in the amount of chlorine, nitrogen and phosphorus. The testing also showed a large increase in the concentration of strontium and uranium. The Hawkwoods blame fracking.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
New law in Germany to tighten fracking restriction
Hydrogen Fuel News


Hydraulic fracturing will be permitted only in certain areas of the European nation. While fracking has not yet been fully banned in Germany, under a new law, the controversial mining practice will be heavily restricted and banned in certain regions of the country in order to protect the environment, health, and drinking water and would also lead to overall stricter rules for conventional oil and gas production. Hydrofracturing would be banned in national parks and nature reserves. In addition to national parks and nature reserves, the draft laws would also prohibit the use of fracking at depths lower than 3,000 meters (10,000 feet).  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Shale accessible without fracking, says hidden government report
Shale Energy Insider
James Perkins

A buried French government report found that the country’s shale gas reserves could be extracted without the use of hydraulic fracturing, according to French newspaper Le Figaro. The report was originally commissioned in 2013 by the industry minister at the time Arnaud Montebourg to investigate alternatives to fracking in order to extract shale gas. The paper was completed in 2014 and taken by the French government, who then insisted that shale gas could not be extracted due to possible environmental damage from fracking. However, Le Figaro has issued an investigative piece which suggests that the report claims France’s shale gas could be extracted using “clean technologies” so that there would be no need for fracking and minimise any possible environmental harm.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Vermont Gas starts 2 eminent domain proceedings for gas pipeline project
Penn Energy
AP

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Vermont Gas has started eminent domain proceedings against two landowners in Monkton for its natural gas pipeline. The properties are along the route between Colchester and Middlebury in a section that would be constructed next year. State regulators approved the pipeline in 2013; their certificate of public good gives Vermont Gas the right of eminent domain. The company says the landowners haven't responded to its efforts to contact them. James Sinclair, a company vice president, said the filings are a last resort and the company is hopeful the landowners will engage with them to reach an agreement. The company didn't name the landowners.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
STRIKE THREE FOR TAR SANDS PIPELINES?
On Earth
Brian Palmer

TransCanada announced on Thursday a two-year delay in the completion of its proposed Energy East pipeline, which would transport tar sands oil across Canada from Alberta to New Brunswick. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada recommended that beluga whales in the St. Lawrence River be declared endangered, forcing TransCanada to scrap a planned oil export terminal in Cacouna, Quebec, where the whales migrate and raise calves. The company now has two pipelines on hold due to environmental concerns, as Keystone XL is also stalled. Here are a few takeaways from the tar sands industry’s most recent setback. THE MORE YOU KNOW The Harper government promised “timeline certainty” for the Energy East pipeline in February 2014, which is government-speak for a fast-tracked review process. TransCanada had good reason to seek an expedited approval process: The more the public learns about tar sands pipelines, the less they like them.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
BNSF Challenges Lawsuit From Engineer Who Ran For His Life From Exploding Oil "Bomb Train"
DeSmog Blog
Steve Horn

Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) has responded defensively to the oil-by-rail lawsuit filed by former BNSF locomotive engineer Bryan Thompson, a case recently reported on by DeSmogBlog. BNSF — the top rail carrier of oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in North Dakota's Bakken Shale basin — denied all charges. The company also argued that some federal laws protect the company from liability for injuries allegedly suffered by Thompson. The Answer to the Complaint signals the likelihood of a protracted legal battle ahead. Lee A. Miller, a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based attorney representing BNSF against Thompson, filed the company's response in Cass County, North Dakota.   [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Maryland lawmakers pass two-year fracking ban
The Hill
Timothy Cama

Maryland’s Senate passed a bill that would institute a two-year ban on the controversial hydraulic fracturing process. The 45-2 vote Monday follows a House vote to ban fracking for oil and natural gas for three years and require a study into its health and economic impact, The Baltimore Sun reports.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Md. county wants more info on fracking's economic impact
MyFoxdc.com
AP

FRIENDSVILLE, Md. (AP) - The Garrett County Commissioners say they want an objective study of the potential economic impact of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in western Maryland. The Cumberland Times-News (http://bit.ly/1GHFEkS ) reports that board members expressed support for such a study Monday after hearing from some businesses near Deep Creek Lake that depend largely on tourism and second-home buyers. An economic study done last year by Towson University said there is a dearth of usable data about the impact of fracking in tourist areas  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Rensselaer County lawmakers add voices against proposed natural gas pipeline route
Times Union
Brian Nearing

The head of the Rensselaer County Legislature and two other county lawmakers are adding their voices to a chorus of concern over a proposed natural gas pipe that could cut through the county. Legislative Chairman Martin Reid, along with Alex Shannon, head of the environmental committee, and lawmaker Judith Breselor, are sponsoring resolutions against the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline, which would connect the hydrofracked gas fields of Pennsylvania to the northeastern U.S. near Boston.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Pennsylvania drillers have used 11 billion gallons of water, EPA says
Ohio.com
Bob Downing

Drillers in Pennsylvania used about 11 billion gallons of water to tap shale formations in the Marcellus Shale between 2011 and 2013, according to an analysis by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA examined more than 39,000 disclosures submitted from across the country between January 2011 and February 2013 to the website FracFocus, an industry-backed registry of the components used to frack shale formations. Nationally, nearly 92 billion gallons of water were used for fracking between January 2011 and February 2013, according to the EPA’s analysis. Pennsylvania’s water usage for shale development came in second only to Texas drillers, which used 45 billion gallons during that period.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Community members fight proposed pipeline through Capital Region
wnyt.com
Anna Meiler

SCHOHARIE – A proposed natural gas pipeline that would cut through five local counties had property owners in an uproar Monday night. As NewsChannel 13 attempted to interview a spokesman for Kinder Morgan, the company proposing the project, a homeowner abruptly joined him on camera and asked: “Excuse me how do you feel about people’s homes being taken for this project?” “I’m going to do my interview. If you want to talk afterwards, we can,” said Allen Fore, vice president of Public Affairs for Kinder Morgan. “I’d like your answer right now,” said the property owner. As sheriffs worked to calm him down, others say they have the same concerns. “You think about the worst things that can happen to you in a life and I've had some things happen to me in life, but this is right up on the scale. It is really up there,” said Dan Brignoli.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
White House to release draft report on impact of climate change on health
CBS News


The White House announced Tuesday the release of a draft report on the observed and potential future impacts of climate change on the health of Americans. The administration says that the report, which is being put together by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, is the sum of existing scientific literature on the matter. It covers, according to the White House, "weather and climate extremes, air quality, vector borne diseases, water- and food-related issues, mental health and well-being, and risks facing vulnerable segments of the population, such as children, the elderly, and people with existing health conditions."   [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Moody’s Predicts Cancellation of Most Proposed U.S. LNG Export Terminal Projects Due to Low LNG Prices
LNG Law Blog


Moody’s Investor Service has released a new report “Lower Oil Prices Cause Suppliers of Liquefied Natural Gas to Nix Projects,” which predicts that low LNG prices will result in the cancellation of most of the gas liquefaction and export terminal projects currently proposed in the United States and Canada. The report also predicts that such projects “already under construction [worldwide] will continue as planned, which will lead to excess liquefaction capacity over the rest of this decade.” Read more in the press release.  [Full Story]

Apr 7, 2015
Announcement: Moody's: Liquefied natural gas projects nixed amid lower oil prices
Moody's
Press Release

Global Credit Research - 07 Apr 2015 New York, April 07, 2015 -- Liquefied natural gas (LNG) suppliers are curtailing their capital budgets, amid low oil prices and a coming glut of new LNG supply from Australia and the US, Moody's Investors Service says in a new report, "Lower Oil Prices Cause Suppliers of Liquefied Natural Gas to Nix Projects." Moody's says low LNG prices will result in the cancellation of the vast majority of the nearly 30 liquefaction projects currently proposed in the US, 18 in western Canada, and four in eastern Canada. "The drop in international oil prices relative to US natural gas prices has wiped out the price advantage US LNG projects, reversing the wide differentials of the past four years that led Asian buyers to demand more Henry Hub-linked contracts for their LNG portfolios," says Moody's Senior Vice President Mihoko Manabe.  [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Energy pressure is America’s weapon of choice - oil expert
RTCC


War always happens for a reason. In the last decades, war has seen violence breaking out over resources, with control over oil being the most contested and cherished goal. Even terrorists join the hunt for black gold. But will that change? How much geopolitical power does oil have? We ask an expert these questions - author of numerous books on energy, Professor Michael Klare is on Sophie&Co today.   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Lancashire village’s fightback against fracking lorry plans
Lancashire Evening Post


BROUGHTON residents have launched a fight against plans of fracking firm Cuadrilla to run 25 HGVs a day through the village’s crossroads. One of the proposals to tackle objections to Cuadrilla’s plans to extract shale gas at Roseacre Wood near Elswick is to bring traffic in through Broughton and Woodplumpton instead.   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Fracking Study on Water Contamination Under Ethics Review
Inside Climate News
Neela Banerjee

Chesapeake Energy paid undisclosed fees to the lead author, whose study was based on water samples provided by the company. Drinking-water wells in Pennsylvania close to natural gas sites do not face a greater risk of methane contamination than those farther away, according to a new study published in Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T). But the study is now being called into question because of its methodology and some undisclosed ties to energy giant Chesapeake Energy.  [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Condors, Already F*cked, Get Fracked Expanding fracking in a California condor sanctuary could kill an endangered species we’ve worked hard–and spent millions–to save.
In These Times
Hannah Guzik

Now, a new report suggests that the condors may face another enemy. A draft environmental impact report by California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) suggests that oil and gas production could have significant and unavoidable impacts for endangered species, potentially devastating entire populations.   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Fracking: Not “Abnormally Dangerous” Says Middle District of PA
JD Supra
Eugene E. Dice

Civil liability for damages normally requires evidence of a defendant’s negligence as the cause of the property damage or injury involved. An exception recognized in most states is the doctrine of “abnormally dangerous activity” (sometimes called “ultra-hazardous activity”). This legal doctrine states that if an activity is determined by a court to be abnormally dangerous, the person conducting that activity is liable for harm caused, even in the absence of any negligence. This is referred to as “strict liability.”  [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
A battle for America’s trust The war between the fossil fuel industry and Big Green may boil down to who can tell the best story.
High Country News


“Five percent of the population already knows that major dams kill salmon,” Eberle said. “We’ve got those people in our pocket. We want to reach the other 5 or 10 percent” — and here he jerked his thumb toward the bartender, a backcountry snowboarder in his 20s who’s typical of a demographic that sees the effects of climate change and water issues on their lives and sports, but don’t belong to environmental groups and haven’t taken any action. “I want,” Eberle said, “to reach that guy.”  [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
How Will Low Oil Prices Affect Natural Gas?
Energy Collective


The growth of US natural gas output in recent years has been sustained partly by gas produced in conjunction with shale or "tight" oil. The slowdown in oil drilling in response to lower oil prices could also affect future natural gas production, and thus prices, especially in the US.   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
China's Elusive Shale Gas Boom The best way for the government to get the production it wants is providing incentives for the leaders of CNPC and Sinopec to show results
CAIXIN
Wang Zhongmin

In the coming decade, China's natural gas market is expected to undergo robust growth fueled by a number of environmental and economic drivers. A much discussed natural gas strategy for China is to develop its shale gas resources – an unsurprising choice given that the country is home to the largest technically recoverable shale gas reserves in the world.   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Program needed to determine drilling’s impact on health
Citizen's Voice
Editorial

Pennsylvania still has declined to launch a comprehensive program to determine the impact widespread natural gas drillilng on public health, even though many health care professionals across the Marcellus Shale fields have asked for such information.   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Floodplain managers see threat in drilling legislation
Muskogee Phoenix
Associated Press

TULSA (AP) — A group responsible for managing Oklahoma’s floodplains says bills moving through the Legislature that prohibit cities from regulating oil and natural gas drilling operations could prevent the state from participating in the National Flood Insurance Program. The Oklahoma Floodplain Managers Association sent a letter to lawmakers last month warning that the local control legislation might prevent flood insurance policies from being written and renewed, the Tulsa World reported Sunday. Officials said fixing the legislation would be fairly simple by adding language that would not change the bills’ purpose.   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Despite Historic Drought, California Used 70 Million Gallons Of Water For Fracking Last Year
Think Progress
Katie Valentine

Even in the midst of its historic, ongoing drought, California used millions of gallons of water for hydraulic fracturing last year, according to state officials. The state used nearly 70 million gallons of water to frack for oil and gas in 2014, Reuters reported last week. That amount is actually less than the 100 million gallons officials previously estimated the state uses for fracking operations every year. Steven Bohlen, California’s oil and gas supervisor, noted to Reuters that not all water used for fracking operations is freshwater: some of it is produced water, which rises to the surface during the fracking process and can’t be used for drinking or irrigation. In all, Bohlen said, fracking uses the same amount of water as about 514 households each year.   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
How The Oil Industry’s ‘Dr. Evil’ Is Running A Campaign To Sell Off America’s Public Lands
Think Progress
Clare Moser

With a series of four nearly identical op-ed articles written by one of its front groups and published in western newspapers last week, the oil industry and its allies appear to be taking a more active and public role in a controversial campaign to seize and sell America’s national forests and public lands. The op-eds were written by the director of a group called the Environmental Policy Alliance, a front group for the public relations firm of Richard Berman. Known as “Dr. Evil” for his aggressive fights against animal rights groups, labor unions, and environmental organizations, Berman has advised major oil and gas interests, including the Western Energy Alliance (WEA), a trade association headquartered in Denver. The op-eds from Berman’s Washington, D.C.-based front group appeared with three different headlines in four newspapers — the Helena Independent Record and the Fairfield Sun Times in Montana, the Las Vegas Review Journal in Nevada, and the Deseret News in Utah.   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
The Link Between Fracking and Oklahoma's Quakes Keeps Getting Stronger
Mother Jones
Tim McDonnell

Over the last few years, Oklahoma has experienced an insane uptick in earthquakes. As we reported in 2013, the count exploded from just a couple per year back in the mid-2000s to over a thousand in 2010, growing alongside a boom in the state's natural gas drilling industry. There is now a heap of peer-reviewed research finding that Oklahoma's earthquake "swarm" is directly linked to fracking—not the gas drilling itself, but a follow-up step where brackish wastewater is re-injected into disposal wells deep underground.   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
SHOCK CLAIM: Eco-Activists Say ‘Fracking’ Is ‘Rape’
Daily Caller
Michael Bastasch

After years of failing to stem the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the U.S., some environmentalists have resorted to another tactic: claiming that fracking is tantamount to rape.   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Fracking's false promise
Baltimore Sun
Letter to Editor

Letter writer Matthew Dempsey wants us all to jump on the fracking bandwagon, quoting governors of both parties, including former Gov. Martin O'Malley, that "regulations will effectively manage the risks of fracking" ("Fracking causes no harm," April 2).   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Ohio Business Owner: Fracking Stifling Local Food Movement
Public News Service


COLUMBUS, Ohio - Sustainably produced foods are becoming more popular among consumers, but some Ohioans say the state's fracking boom is stifling the growth of the local food movement. According to the EPA, dozens of chemicals are used in hydraulic fracturing, which some growers say puts air, water and soil at risk for contamination.  [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
North Dakota Requests to Intervene in Lawsuit Challenging Federal Fracking Regulations
JC Supra Business Advisor
Michael Mills, Andrew Pieper & Shannon Morrissey

On Wednesday, April 1, the state of North Dakota filed a motion to intervene in Wyoming’s lawsuit challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s (“BLM”) federal hydraulic fracturing regulations. (Wyoming v. U.S. Dept. of Interior, Case No. 15-CV-43-5 (Mar. 26, 2015).) The BLM’s Final Rule, released on March 26, 2015, governs fracking on Federal and Indian lands. The Final Rule supplements existing federal fracking regulations by imposing additional requirements such as chemical disclosure and wellbore cement integrity testing.   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
A disaster waiting to happen in Oklahoma? The link between fracking and earthquakes is causing alarm in an oil-rich town
The Independent
Andrew Dewson

Oil is stored in vast quantities at Cushing in above-ground storage containers that litter the fields surrounding the town. This is a place where “oilfield” has nothing to do with drilling, in a state where the oil and gas industry has become as powerful as it is anywhere in the United States. Now, thanks to fracking, it’s also one of the most active seismic areas in the entire United States.  [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Comment: Tighter regulations are key with fracking
The Scotsman


Strict rules cut contamination in the US, writes Sandy Telfer DLA Piper has recently completed its analysis of 252 reports by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in the US which show a marked improvement in the environmental performance of shale oil and gas wells following the imposition of new strict state regulation. The study clearly shows the incidence of water supply contamination from shale gas development fell to 0.17 per cent in 2013 – a 92 per cent improvement on preceding years.  [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Fracking in Colorado: Did the Oil and Gas Taskforce Finish Its Tasks?
Union of Concerned Scientists
Gretchen Goldman

When Colorado officials announced that they would set up a blue-ribbon taskforce charged with making informed recommendations on oil and gas development in the state, there were high hopes. In fact, I commended the state for establishing a strong procedure and promising mechanism for informed decision-making for fracking in Colorado. What an opportunity, I thought, for a science-informed decision in an otherwise science-lacking debate. Now that the commission has issued recommendations, it’s worth revisiting what happened. Did the taskforce succeed? Let’s walk through its moves.   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Campaigners vow to fight fracking CAMPAIGNERS have vowed to fight on against fracking as the first public meeting with Ineos approaches.
Evening Times
Victoria Brenan

The petrochemical giant is pitching its pro-fracking message at a series of local meetings, starting in just over a week. The Grangemouth company last month revealed plans for community consultation in East Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire and offered landowners and homeowners a share of £2.5billion for hosting fracking sites. Directors said conventional gas in the North Sea was drying up and the company wants to develop shale gas after acquiring full fracking rights for a 127sq mile site that stretches to Bishopbriggs.   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Pipelines: The New Battleground Over Fracking
WESA 90.5
Susan Phillips

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]

Apr 6, 2015
7 Key Facts About the Drought Everything you ever wanted to know about California's drought but were too afraid to ask.
Mother Jones
Julia Lurie

What about fracking? Fracking uses a lot of water, since the process involves injecting water and chemicals into the earth to release oil and gas. According to a recent Reuters article, California oil producers used about 70 million gallons of water in 2014—about the amount that San Francisco homes use collectively in two days. But that's just the water from fracking. The amount of water that was produced by California's oil and gas production in 2014—which is to say, the groundwater that bubbled up during production and wasn't returned to the original aquifers—was about 42 billion gallons. That's enough to fuel San Francisco homes for 3 years.  [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Interstate pipeline project in CT approved by FERC
Fairfield Sun


The first of five interstate pipeline projects in Connecticut was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on March 3, 2015. Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project, a $1 billion venture, crosses the entire state, entering at Danbury and exiting at Putnam. AIM is the first of the interstate pipeline projects, designed to ship massive quantities of “natural” gas from the Marcellus Shale to New England, and on to Canada and proposed liquified natural gas (LNG) export facilities.  [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Germany’s Merkel Now Comes Out as Basically a U.S. Agent
The Peoples Voice
Eric Zuesse

On Wednesday, April 1st, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet approved a measure to bring fracking (the patents for which are owned mainly by “large American companies, including Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Schlumberger”) into Germany. This is a prelude not only to U.S. President Obama’s secret Trans-Atlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) pact with Europe to subordinate national laws and regulations to trans-national mega-corporate panels that will be dominated by U.S. firms and that will override the participating nations’ environmental and labor regulations and consumer protections (and harm European economies generally), but it is also a major step toward removing Europe from Russia’s energy-market, and bringing U.S. and European oil companies to dominate there instead.  [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
This Animated Map Shows How Moving Oil by Rail Exploded in the Past Five Years Literally and figuratively
Bloomberg Business
Tom Randall

America's oil boom has unearthed new supplies of crude so fast that the nation's system of pipelines hasn't been able to keep up. And so an industry is born: Crude by rail. The animated map below shows the remarkable rise of trains that ship oil to refineries across the country. There was a 50-fold increase in crude by rail between January 2010 and January 2015, according to the Energy Information Administration, which started to comprehensively track the industry for the first time last week. In 2014, more than a million barrels of crude a day traveled by rail.   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Five things you need to know in Texas energy this week
Houston Business Journal
Jordan Blum Blog

...here are five things to know in Texas energy this week: — Denton may have gotten the ball rolling by banning hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, last year. But legislation is progressing that could make Denton both the first and the last to do so. Compromise legislation would retain authority for municipalities on numerous issues, but prevent them from banning fracking going forward. There also are pending bills to promote waterless fracking, energy infrastructure growth and much more.  [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Report: Silence and denial surround Oklahoma’s “frackquake” problem Why isn't Oklahoma doing more to address its massive uptick in seismic activity?
Salon
Lindsay Abrams

The New Yorker’s Rivka Galchen this week takes a deep dive into Oklahoma’s “frackquakes,” the seismic activity linked to new methods of gas and oil extraction – mostly, the injection wells used to dispose of fracking wastewater – that by last year was occurring at triple the rate of California’s quakes. Her piece depicts a state struggling to come to terms with its new designation as the reigning earthquake capital of the U.S., and of state legislators and regulators who really, really don’t want to be talking about this.   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Climate-change deniers are in retreat
The Washington Post
Dana Milbank

There is no denying it: Climate-change deniers are in retreat. What began as a subtle shift away from the claim that man-made global warming is not a threat to the planet has lately turned into a stampede. The latest attempt to deny denial comes from the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, a powerful group that pushes for states to pass laws that are often drafted by industry. As my Post colleagues Tom Hamburger, Joby Warrick and Chris Mooney report, ALEC is not only insisting that it doesn’t deny climate change — it’s threatening to sue those who suggest otherwise.  [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Feminism and Fracking: Activist speaks at Pitt
The Pitt
Mark Pesto

Even after twice spending more than two weeks in jail, Sandra Steingraber emits passion — but not anger — when she talks about her opposition to fracking. Steingraber, a biologist, author of four books and grassroots activist, spoke to more than 100 people about the roles she and other women play in the anti-fracking movement on Monday at 7 p.m. in the William Pitt Union. In her lecture, “Fracking Is a Feminist Issue: Women Confronting Fossil Fuels and Petrochemicals in an Age of Climate Uncertainty,” Steingraber spoke about the 15 days in 2013 she spent in a Chemung County, N.Y., jail for trespassing after she blocked trucks from entering a natural gas facility in upstate New York.   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
DEP extends public comment period for changes to oil and gas rules
Pittsburg Post Gazette
Laura Legere

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is adding 15 days and three hearings to the public comment period it opened on Saturday to gather responses to its proposed changes to the state’s oil and gas development rules. The comment period was extended from 30 days to 45 days and will now close on May 19. DEP will also hold two public hearings in northern Pennsylvania and one in southwestern Pennsylvania, but times and sites for those hearings have not yet been announced. DEP is in the midst of a four-year-old process of updating its rules for surface activities associated with the development of conventional and unconventional oil and gas wells. The agency has to finalize the rules by early 2016 in order to keep to a mandated timeline for the development of regulations. The agency’s leaders have vowed to meet the deadline. If they miss it, the regulation package will be considered withdrawn and the review process will have to start again.  [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Fracking moratorium passes Senate
Baltimore Sun
Michael Dresser and Timothy B. Wheeler

e natural gas extraction method known as "fracking" would be banned in Maryland until October 2017 under legislation approved Monday night by the Maryland Senate. lRelated Fracking splits Garrett County THE BALTIMORE SUN Fracking splits Garrett County SEE ALL RELATED 8 cComments Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website which literally saved me. I started working for them online and in a short time after I've started averaging 15k a month... The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I... MARIAANDERSON191 AT 12:10 PM APRIL 07, 2015 ADD A COMMENTSEE ALL COMMENTS 3 By a 45-2 vote, senators sent the measure to the House, which has passed a version of the bill that environmental advocates believe is stronger. The House bill calls for a three-year moratorium and further study of the health and economic development impact of the practice. The Senate bill does not require a study. Opponents of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, say the technique has been linked to contamination of water supplies and increased earthquake activity. The natural gas industry and its supporters insist it is safe and credit it with increasing the amount of energy produced in the United States.  [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Senate: No pause in support for bill to halt fracking
San Francisco Chronicle
AP

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Senators are supporting a bill that would put a two year stop to any fracking in the state. Senators on Monday voted 45-2 in favor of the bill, which sets adoption and implementation deadlines for hydraulic fracturing regulations, and prevents drilling permits from being issued until October 2017. The bill originally proposed an eight-year moratorium on the controversial drilling method so that impacts to public health and the environment could be studied. Sen. George Edwards, a western Maryland Republican who has voiced concern about being too strict on the drilling practice, called the bill a good step.  [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Oregon debates fracking moratorium
Statesman Journal
Tracy Loew

Should Oregon temporarily ban fracking? A legislative committee will hear testimony Tuesday on a bill that would put a 10-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas exploration and production in the state. In the United States, more than a million wells have been “fracked,” a process that usually involves injecting water, sand and chemicals into rock under high pressure to fracture it and release trapped hydrocarbons. Proponents tout the economic benefits brought to communities with wells and the energy independence they afford.  [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Study Finds Pennsylvania Frackers Average at Least Two Violations a Day
Public News Service


HARRISBURG, Pa. - On average, fracking companies commit more than two-and-a-half drilling violations a day, according to a new study drawn from just a small portion of available public record information. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) studied five years' worth of online reports for Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Colorado. According to report co-author and NRDC policy analyst Amy Mall, she and her team totaled up at least 4,600 citations – about 18 per week.   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Few oil trains for Keystone XL to replace, federal data show
Lincoln Journal Star
NICHOLAS BERGIN

Opponents of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline say recently released data on oil shipments by rail undermine the argument that the proposed project would displace rail as a safer means of moving crude. The U.S. Department of Energy last week released a first monthly report on the movements of crude oil by train, which showed that only a small percentage of the tankers crossing North America move oil along the path the Keystone XL would take from Western Canada to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast. “While there has been a crude by rail boom, it does not involve tar sands by rail to the Gulf,” said Anthony Swift, an attorney with the environmental advocacy group Natural Resources Defense Council.  [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
Oil Industry Drops Lawsuit Over California County's Fracking Ban
Center for Biological Diversity
Press Release

Oil Company Dismisses Own Case, Ending Only Active Legal Challenge to San Benito's Measure J HOLLISTER, Calif.— The only oil company to sue San Benito County over a local ban on fracking and other high-intensity petroleum operations announced today it has dropped its lawsuit, leaving the voter-approved ordinance in place. Citadel Exploration’s decision to dismiss its own case means that local fracking bans in California face no remaining active legal challenges, despite threats from the oil industry. Last November, San Benito County residents voted overwhelmingly to pass Measure J, a local land-use ordinance that prohibits fracking, cyclic steam injection and other high-intensity petroleum operations. Measure J, which passed despite the oil industry spending more than $2 million on attack ads and other campaigning, also prohibits land use for any oil and gas development in residential zones. Citadel Exploration filed suit against the county last month, alleging that Measure J was preempted by state law. No other legal challenges have been filed against Measure J.   [Full Story]

Apr 6, 2015
In California, Farmers Rely on Oil Wastewater to Weather Drought
Newsweek
Zoe Schlanger

Updated | The wet, white noise of gushing water rises above a background track of twangy guitar. Water is tumbling out of a pipe into a holding pond that looks as though it has sat nearly empty for ages, its sandy sides the color of parched desert. It looks like the California of recent headlines: drought so bad the ground is blowing away. Except now, here, in this promotional video for Chevron, there is water. Lots of it. “The sound of that water is music to my ears,” David Ansolabehere, the general manager of the Cawelo Water District in Kern County, says in the video, gazing out over the rapidly filling pond. “Chevron is being environmentally conscious, and this is a very beneficial program, and it’s helped a lot of our farmers, helped our district, tremendously.” The oil fields of Kern County, where Chevron is the largest producer, pump out more oil than those of any other county in the United States. It also happens to be one of the country’s most prolific agricultural counties, producing over $6 billion in crop value every year. But after three years of strangling drought, all that agriculture is on life support.  [Full Story]

Apr 5, 2015
Litchfield County Town First to Pass Fracking Waste Ban
Litchfield County Times
Kaitlin McCallum

WASHINGTON, Conn. - A vote to make Washington the first town in the state to say no to fracking waste passed unanimously. The vote was held March 5 at a Washington town meeting at the request of the Washington Environmental Council. The ordinance reads as follows: “No person may accept, receive, collect, store, treat, transfer or dispose of any waste or fluid from hydraulic fracturing. No person may sell, offer for sale, offer, barter, manufacture, distribute or use any product for anti-icing, de-icing, pre-wetting or dust suppression that is derived from or that contains waste from hydraulic fracturing.   [Full Story]

Apr 5, 2015
Energy companies explore lower shales for greater yields of gas, liquids
Trib Live
Katelyn Ferral

Low natural gas prices that have companies balancing spending cuts with promises of ramped-up production are driving some new development in the Utica and Point Pleasant shale, where deeper wells can yield more gas and liquids.   [Full Story]

Apr 5, 2015
This conservative group is tired of being accused of climate denial — and is fighting back
Washington Post
Tom Hamburger

Facing a loss of high-profile corporate sponsors, a conservative state-level policy group — the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — threatened action in recent weeks against activist groups that accuse it of denying climate change.   [Full Story]

Apr 5, 2015
Memo To California: If You've A Shortage Of Something Then Change The Price
Forbes
Tim Worstall

People over in California are rather scratching their heads over what to do about the shortage of water in the State. There’s a drought, yes, there’s a shortage of water as a result. So, what they’re facing is a scarce resource and they’ve got to make a decision about what they should do. How, for example, should they allocate this scarce resource? Fortunately, we actually have a science that studies this very question. How should we allocate scarce resources? That science is known as “economics” and it really can be most illuminating when we try to decide upon public policy. In this case this new fangled economics actually has the answer.  [Full Story]

Apr 5, 2015
Fracking waste stirs controversy in Athens
The Columbus Dispatch
Laura Arenschield

TORCH, Ohio — The tractor-trailers arrive at a steady pace, turning off Rt. 50 and climbing a hill to a collection of tall, green metal tanks. The trucks haul long, white tanks that are bare except for a number that identifies their company and one word that has riled a vocal population in Athens County: brine. Brine is another name for the fracking wastewater that bubbles up in oil and gas wells in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.   [Full Story]

Apr 5, 2015
Fracking wastes may be toxic, tests show Chemicals in the wastes can fool the body by mimicking hormones or disrupting their actions
Student Science
Beth Mole

DENVER, Colo. — Fracking is a procedure used to extract oil or gas from deep underground. The process uses lots of water and lots of chemicals. This means it also produces lots of watery wastes. A series of new tests now show those wastes may be toxic. Scientists found the wastewater can contain chemicals that alter the action of the body’s hormones. In mice exposed in the womb, the heart and reproductive tissues did not develop normally. Researchers described their new findings here on March 23 at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society.  [Full Story]

Apr 5, 2015
Safety fears over fracking checks
UK News Yahoo
Press Association

Anti-fracking campaigners have accused the shale industry of wanting companies "to be allowed to mark their own homework" by suggesting independent checks on wells could be done in-house. A report by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering on shale set out recommendations to ensure fracking for oil and gas in the UK could be done safely, including measures to ensure wells do not leak methane into water supplies.   [Full Story]

Apr 5, 2015
Cornish Company Geothermal Engineering Aiming To ‘Recycle’ Fracking Wells
Clean Technica
James Ayre

The Cornwall-based company Geothermal Engineering is pushing forward with its very interesting idea to ‘recycle’ used and exhausted fracking (hydraulic fracturing) wells from the oil and gas industries as geothermal power sources, according to recent reports.   [Full Story]

Apr 5, 2015
Disclosure Fail: Industry Reps Testifying for Denton, Texas Fracking Bill Left Ties Undisclosed
DeSmobBlog
Steve Horn, DeSmogBlog

A March 24 hearing prior to the passage of a controversial bill out of committee that preempts cities in Texas from regulating hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for oil and gas obtained from shale basins, featured numerous witnesses who failed to disclose their industry ties, including some with ties to the Koch brothers.   [Full Story]

Apr 5, 2015
Widespread stream monitoring needed in fracking zones Methane found in stream near faulty Pennsylvania natural gas well
Summit County Voice
Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Gathering baseline water quality data from streams in fracking zones could help pinpoint impacts to drinking water, researchers at Penn State and the U.S. Geological Survey said after finding high levels of methane in a Pennsylvania stream. Multiple samples from the stream, Sugar Run in Lycoming County, showed a groundwater inflow of thermogenic methane, consistent with what would be found in shale gas. The samples came from an area near the site of a reported Marcellus shale gas well leak.  [Full Story]

Apr 5, 2015
Bill would prohibit compulsory pooling
Bakken.com
Zach Potter

SANFORD — A bill filed in the N.C. House of Representatives Thursday would prohibit compulsory or forced pooling, a practice that gives the state the right to compel non-consenting landowners to allow hydraulic fracturing companies to extract oil and gas from beneath their properties.   [Full Story]

Apr 5, 2015
Editorial: Oil and gas drillers need to pay for more watchdogs
The Salt Lake Tribune
Editorial

A former Bureau of Land Management employee's research has revealed that Utah has more than 700 old, unplugged oil wells, most of them in the Uinta Basin. The wells, which can spread contaminants above and below the surface, are required by federal regulators to be capped when they stop producing. This follows a similar analysis by The Associated Press last year that found that more than half of recently drilled wells on federal land in Utah have not been inspected by the feds as required. The wells were being drilled so fast that the government wasn't hiring enough inspectors to keep up.  [Full Story]

Apr 5, 2015
Indiana County commissioners urge agencies to withhold permits for injection wells
Post Pioneer


Indiana County's commissioners are urging state and federal agencies to reject permit applications from firms searching for to dispose of hydraulic fracking waste applying injection wells in the county.  [Full Story]

Apr 5, 2015
Bill would prohibit compulsory pooling [NC]
The Sanford Herald
Zach Potter

SANFORD — A bill filed in the N.C. House of Representatives Thursday would prohibit compulsory or forced pooling, a practice that gives the state the right to compel non-consenting landowners to allow hydraulic fracturing companies to extract oil and gas from beneath their properties. House Bill 586, sponsored by Rep. Bryan Holloway (R-Rockingham, Stokes), would not only prohibit forced pooling, but it would also require drilling companies to obtain surface owners' consent in cases where the owner of the surface property does not own the oil and gas rights to the property.  [Full Story]

Apr 4, 2015
Californians Outraged As Oil Producers & Frackers Excluded From Emergency Water Restrictions
wearechange.org
alecope88

California’s oil and gas industry is estimated (with official data due to be released in coming days) to use more than 2 million gallons of fresh water per day; so it is hardly surprising that, as Reuters reports, Californians are outraged after discovering that these firms are excluded from Governor Jerry Brown’s mandatory water restrictions, “forcing ordinary Californians to shoulder the burden of the drought.” From Reuters, California should require oil producers to cut their water usage as part of the administration’s efforts to conserve water in the drought-ravaged state, environmentalists said on Wednesday. Governor Jerry Brown ordered the first statewide mandatory water restrictions on Wednesday, directing cities and communities to cut their consumption by 25 percent. But the order does not require oil producers to cut their usage nor does it place a temporary halt on the water intensive practice of hydraulic fracturing. California’s oil and gas industry uses more than 2 million gallons of fresh water a day to produce oil through well stimulation practices including fracking, acidizing and steam injection, according to estimates by environmentalists. The state is expected to release official numbers on the industry’s water consumption in the coming days. “Governor Brown is forcing ordinary Californians to shoulder the burden of the drought by cutting their personal water use while giving the oil industry a continuing license to break the law and poison our water,” said Zack Malitz of environmental group Credo.   [Full Story]

Apr 4, 2015
Senators join calls for Algonquin do-over
The Journal News


New York's two senators have joined the chorus calling on a federal agency to retract its approval of the Algonquin pipeline expansion. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, along with Rep. Nita Lowey, signed a joint letter Friday asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to rescind its March 3 decision approving the natural gas line's expansion. "Since the decision to approve this project, our offices have continued to receive comments from impacted communities and from local elected officials who have serious concerns about the safety and potentially negative environmental impacts of the proposed pipeline expansion," the Democratic officials' letter stated.   [Full Story]

Apr 4, 2015
California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth
The New York Times
ADAM NAGOURNEY, JACK HEALY and NELSON D. SCHWARTZ

LOS ANGELES — For more than a century, California has been the state where people flocked for a better life — 164,000 square miles of mountains, farmland and coastline, shimmering with ambition and dreams, money and beauty. It was the cutting-edge symbol of possibility: Hollywood, Silicon Valley, aerospace, agriculture and vineyards. But now a punishing drought — and the unprecedented measures the state announced last week to compel people to reduce water consumption — is forcing a reconsideration of whether the aspiration of untrammeled growth that has for so long been this state’s driving engine has run against the limits of nature. Continue reading the main story RELATED COVERAGE Some Californians have cut down on watering their lawns, and others have decided to forgo greenery for native plants.Californians Who Conserved Wonder if State Can Overcome Those Who Didn’tAPRIL 2, 2015 How to Save Water: The California WayAPRIL 2, 2015 Houseboats are dwarfed by the steep banks of Lake Don Pedro in La Grange, Calif. Some studies suggest the drought is the worst in more than a thousand years.California Drought Is Worsened by Global Warming, Scientists SayAPRIL 1, 2015 video California’s Extreme Drought, ExplainedAPRIL 1, 2015 Houseboats float in California’s drought-lowered Oroville Lake.California Imposes First Mandatory Water Restrictions to Deal With DroughtAPRIL 1, 2015 With Dry Taps and Toilets, California Drought Turns Desperate OCT. 2, 2014 The 25 percent cut in water consumption ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown raises fundamental questions about what life in California will be like in the years ahead, and even whether this state faces the prospect of people leaving for wetter climates — assuming, as Mr. Brown and other state leaders do, that this marks a permanent change in the climate, rather than a particularly severe cyclical drought.   [Full Story]

Apr 4, 2015
Syracuse University divests
The Ithacan
Faith Meckley

On the last day of March, Syracuse University announced it will be divesting — or withdrawing its endowment fund investments — from coal and other fossil fuel companies. The Orange Nation is joining a growing list of colleges and universities who are taking this step, in addition to municipalities, religious institutions, foundations and more. The movement to divest has primarily been led by college students and broadcasted by environmental activist organization 350.org. With hundreds of active student organizations across the country, sit-ins, marches and banner drops are becoming more and more common. The City of Ithaca is on the list of municipalities who have divested, and the Park Foundation — an invaluable financial source for the Park School of Communications and Ithaca College as a whole — is among the list of divested foundations. The college, however, is nowhere to be found on 350’s “Divestment Commitments” list.  [Full Story]

Apr 4, 2015
Insufficient Data And Loose Regulations Worsen Fracking’s Impact, Studies Find
Mint Press News
Deirdre Fulton

A slew of studies released this week, each examining different aspects of the fossil fuel extraction method known as ‘fracking,’ provide new evidence of problems with the practice. The first, an investigation by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the FracTracker Alliance into oil and gas company violations, found that information about such transgressions is only publicly accessible in three states. “Although 36 states have active oil and gas development, most state and federal oil and gas regulatory agencies publish little or no information regarding oil and gas companies’ compliance records,” reads the report, Fracking’s Most Wanted: Lifting the Veil on Oil and Gas Company Spills and Violations (pdf).  [Full Story]

Apr 4, 2015
PODCAST: Energy: 24/7: Solar jobs may benefit economy more than oil and gas jobs
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Solar jobs growth has outperformed the overall economy by a factor of 20 times. And more and more solar jobs were created as prices fell. Significantly more. This is in direct contrast to oil and gas where when prices fall, men and women end up out of work. And herein lies the crux: we can only create new jobs in oil and gas if we also create higher prices in the overall economy. High energy costs spill over into virtually everything else because energy is our economic bedrock. It is an interesting dichotomy. Oil and gas creates jobs only if prices and inflation rise whereas solar jobs are created if prices and inflation fall.  [Full Story]

Apr 3, 2015
Voters want next president to favor climate policies, poll finds
The Hill
Timothy Cama

Most voters want the next president to favor policies to fight climate change, outnumbering those who want a president who opposes such policies by nearly 2-to-1. The Washington Post-ABC News poll released Friday said that 59 percent want a president who “favors government action to address climate change,” compared with 31 percent who want someone who opposes government action.   [Full Story]

Apr 3, 2015
As oil jobs falter, North Dakota feels the squeeze
NPR Marketplace
Annie Baxter

One of the weak spots in the U.S. jobs report for March was mining, especially oil and gas extraction. Employers that provide services to that industry dumped 11,000 jobs last month. A big reason? The massive drop in oil prices over the past few months. When oil trades low, companies do less drilling. And in a place like North Dakota, they also do less fracking. That's the process used there to draw the oil out of the shale rock. The upshot in North Dakota is simply less work on the oil fields for people like Mike Waliezer. His company, Century Crane Services, provides equipment, including cranes, to the oil patch. Last year, Waliezer did about $20 million in sales. This year, he’s expecting about half as much.  [Full Story]

Apr 3, 2015
Senate [MD] advances fracking moratorium bill
WBAL NBC Baltimore
David Collins

ANNAPOLIS, Md. —The Maryland Senate gave preliminary approval Friday to a two-year moratorium on fracking.The bill's supporters want more time to study the potential health and environmental impacts of fracking. Opponents of fracking are pinning their hopes on two bills that they believe have momentum. The question remains, will the governor sign them? Based on public events alone, opponents of fracking seem to have out-demonstrated, out-lobbied and outdone those who support the controversial process of extracting natural gas from Marcellus Shale.   [Full Story]

Apr 3, 2015
Creditors Pulling The Rug From Under U.S. Shale Sector
OilPrice.com


Back in early 2007, just as the first signs of the bursting housing and credit bubble were becoming visible, one of the primary harbingers of impending doom was banks slowly but surely yanking availability (aka "dry powder") under secured revolving credit facilities to companies across America. This also was the first snowflake in what would ultimately become the lack of liquidity avalanche that swept away Lehman and AIG and unleashed the biggest bailout of capitalism in history. Back then, analysts had a pet name for banks calling CFOs and telling them "so sorry, but your secured credit availability has been cut by 50%, 75% or worse" - revolver raids. Well, the infamous revolver raids are back. And unlike 7 years ago when they initially focused on retail companies as a result of the collapse in consumption burdened by trillions in debt, it should come as no surprise this time the sector hit first and foremost is energy, whose "borrowing availability" just went poof as a result of the very much collapse in oil prices. As Bloomberg reports, "lenders are preparing to cut the credit lines to a group of junk-rated shale oil companies by as much as 30 percent in the coming days, dealing another blow as they struggle with a slump in crude prices, according to people familiar with the matter.  [Full Story]

Apr 3, 2015
Flawed Steel Still in Wide Use in Oil Pipelines
InsideClimate News
Elizabeth Douglass

The two-year anniversary of ExxonMobil's oil pipeline rupture in Arkansas is once again putting the spotlight on old pipe that can harbor cracks and other dangerous defects—and that's still in widespread use across the country.  [Full Story]

Apr 3, 2015
Kinder Morgan denies surveying land for pipeline against owner's will
The Republican
Mary Serreze

PLAINFIELD - A Plainfield man claims contractors for the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. surveyed his land against his will, but a spokesman for parent company Kinder Morgan says the company is merely "profiling the public roadway to determine where the road easement is." Mike Paulsen lives on Windsor Avenue, a rural stretch of road reached from West Street in West Cummington. His property is along the proposed route of the Northeast Energy Direct natural gas pipeline. Paulsen said he came home Thursday to find stakes and flags on his property anywhere from eight to 17 feet from the edge of the roadway. Paulsen earlier had filed a form specifically denying Kinder Morgan the right to enter his property for surveying purposes.  [Full Story]

Apr 3, 2015
Suit says Fish and Wildlife sacrificing flower for oil shale
The Salt Lake Tribune
BRIAN MAFFLY

Another lawsuit is challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision not to include two wildflowers on the Endangered Species List. The rare desert blossoms grow almost exclusively over Colorado and Utah's oil shale deposits. Last year, the service cited a new conservation agreement it forged with Utah officials in ruling that Graham's and White River beardtongue do not need federal protection.  [Full Story]

Apr 3, 2015
California water restrictions should cover oil companies, activists say
RT


One day after California Gov. Jerry Brown issues the state’s first-ever mandatory water restrictions, environmental activists are calling on officials to limit the use of water by oil companies, Reuters reported. The executive order signed by Brown on Wednesday requires cities and towns to cut their water usage by 25 percent over the next nine months – an effort that could save up to 1.5 million acre-feet of water (the size of Lake Oroville) – but there’s nothing in the mandate regarding the oil industry, which uses some 2 million gallons of water every day during the production process. Read more ‘This historic drought demands unprecedented action’: California issues 1st mandatory water restrictions However, environmentalists say that by leaving the oil companies outside of the mandate’s power, the state is ignoring an industry that relies heavily on water. The process of hydraulic fracturing, in particular, is especially water-intensive, as it relies in pumping highly pressurized water into the ground alongside other material in order to free up oil and gas.   [Full Story]

Apr 3, 2015
Exclusive: California used 70 million gallons of water in fracking in 2014
Channel NewsAsia


California oil producers used 214 acre-feet of water, equivalent to nearly 70 million gallons, in the process of fracking for oil and gas in the state last year, less than previously projected, state officials told Reuters on Thursday.  [Full Story]

Apr 3, 2015
Fracking’s Most Wanted
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

How easy is it to get information about an oil or gas company’s legal violations in your state—any spills, contaminations or equipment failure that may have occurred? In 33 of the 36 states with active drilling operations, it’s almost impossible. And in the three which do make information available to the public—Colorado, Pennsylvania and West Virginia—that information is often incomplete, hard to access and difficult to interpret.  [Full Story]

Apr 3, 2015
N. Carolina Lifts Fracking Ban and Punts on Toxic Air Emissions
InsideClimate News
Zahra Hirji

North Carolina is the latest state to green-light hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, within its borders. In mid-March, the state's fracking moratorium was lifted and 72 pages of new oil-and-gas regulations went into effect. The rules cover, among other things, public disclosures about certain chemicals used in fracking; how far wells must be from homes, business and waterways; and ways to dispose of drilling waste. But one major aspect of drilling operations was entirely left out: air emissions. That's despite increasing concern that the myriad oil-and-gas sources of toxic emissions—from the well pad to refineries to waste sites—pose significant public health risks.   [Full Story]

Apr 3, 2015
As Quakes Rattle Oklahoma, Fingers Point to Oil and Gas Industry
The New York Times
RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr. and MICHAEL WINES

PRAGUE, Okla. — Yanked without warning from a deep sleep, Jennifer Lin Cooper, whose family has lived near here for more than a half-century, could think only that the clamor enveloping her house was coming from a helicopter landing on her roof. She was wrong A 5.0-magnitude earthquake — the first of three as strong or stronger over several days in November 2011 — had peeled the brick facade from the $117,000 home she bought the year before. Ms. Cooper could not get out until her father pried a stuck storm door off the front entrance. Earthquake repairs have so far cost $12,000 and forced her to take a second job, at night, to pay the bill.  [Full Story]

Apr 3, 2015
Company Wants 100 West Virginians’ Land For A Pipeline
ThinkProgress
KATIE VALENTINE

A pipeline company is suing more than 100 landowners in West Virginia in an attempt to get access to their land, claiming that its proposed pipeline has the right of eminent domain. Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court last week to force more than 100 property owners and three corporations in 10 West Virginia counties to open their land to surveying for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The proposed pipeline, if approved, would carry natural gas about 300 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia. Since it’s an interstate pipeline, the approval lies with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
Drought-Stricken California Exempts Big Oil and Big Ag from Mandatory Restrictions
EcoWatch
Cole Mellino

The April 1 snowpack assessment in California, which set an all-time record for lowest snowpack levels in the state’s history, finally spurred Governor Brown’s office to issue an executive order to residents and non-agricultural businesses to cut water use by 25 percent in the first mandatory statewide reduction in the state’s history.  [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
Earthquakes shake up fracking debate
The Daily Item
John Finnerty

HARRISBURG — A Republican state lawmaker who fears injection wells used to dispose natural-gas drilling waste may trigger earthquakes and imperil Pennsylvania’s water supply wants to halt the practice until additional studies are conducted. The move by freshman Rep. Cris Dush, of Indiana, comes on the heels of a U.S. Geological Survey report linking injection wells to earthquakes in five states, including Ohio — where much of Pennsylvania’s fracking waste is mechanically thrust thousands of feet underground. Critics worry that the waste might leak from the well shafts on the way down. And there is increasing evidence that the pressure from pumping waste into the rock is contributing to a spike in earthquake activity across the country.  [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
Pipeline Foes in 4 States Join to Fight Spectra Expansion
Peekskill-Cortlandt Patch
Lanning Taliaferro

Individuals, grassroots groups and towns from New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts have formed a coalition to file a Request for Rehearing in response to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of the first phase of Spectra Energy’s expansion program.   [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
After Warmest Winter, Drought-Stricken California Limits Water But Exempts Thirstiest Big Growers
Democracy Now!


As California’s record drought continues, Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered residents and non-agricultural businesses to cut water use by 25 percent in the first mandatory statewide reduction in the state’s history. One group not facing restrictions under the new rules is big agriculture, which uses about 80 percent of California’s water. The group Food & Water Watch California has criticized Brown for not capping water usage by oil extraction industries and corporate farms, which grow water-intensive crops such as almonds and pistachios, most of which are exported out of state and overseas. Studies show the current drought, which has intensified over the past four years, is the worst California has seen in at least 120 years. Some suggest it is the region’s worst drought in more than a thousand years. This comes after California witnessed the warmest winter on record. We speak with environmental reporter Mark Hertsgaard, author of the book, "Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth." TRANSCRIPT  [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
Why oil trains (don't have to) explode: Everything you need to know
Oregon Live


The federal government, which regulates train safety, has slowly moved to make oil trains more secure. Regulators are focusing on strengthening the tank cars carrying the oil. But safety experts say regulators have ignored steps that would make oil trains less likely to go off like a bomb when they derail.  [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
BNSF Engineer Who Manned Exploding North Dakota "Bomb Train" Sues Former Employer
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

A Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF)employee who worked as a locomotive engineer on the company's oil-by-rail train that exploded in rural Casselton, North Dakota in December 2013 hassued his former employer. Filed in Cass County, the plaintiff Bryan Thompson alleges he “was caused to suffer and continues to suffer severe and permanent injuries and damages,” including but not limited to ongoing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) issues. Thompson's attorney, Thomas Flaskamp, told DeSmogBlog he “delayed filing [the lawsuit until now] primarily to get an indication as to the direction of where Mr. Thompson's care and treatment for his PTSD arising out of the incident was heading,” which he says is still being treated by a psychiatrist. The lawsuit is the first of its kind in the oil-by-rail world, the only time to date that someone working on an exploding oil train has taken legal action against his employer using the Federal Employers' Liability Act.  [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
State climate program funding shift under RGGI risks court test
Times Union
Brian Nearing

Albany Environmental groups were generally pleased with the newly enacted 2015-16 state budget, with one glaring exception: a $41 million raid on the state's climate change program. The money was swept into the general budget. It is the second time in five years funds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have been moved into the general budget. Opponents warned that move will give climate change denial groups a legal avenue to attack the six-year-old program as an illegal tax. The program is vulnerable because it was adopted by the governor but not passed by the Legislature as taxes must be  [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
Do-over hearings urged for Algonquin pipeline expansion
The Journal News
Ernie Garcia

A group of activists and elected officials are asking a federal regulator to reconsider its approval of the Algonquin pipeline expansion. In multiple petitions filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Thursday the applicants argued that FERC's March 3 approval of a natural gas pipeline expansion running through the Lower Hudson Valley violated several federal laws. A petition filed by Westchester County Legislator Peter Harckham stated that FERC violated the federal Clean Water Act by issuing its approval prior to New York's issuance of a water quality certificate. Harckham also wrote that the project had a flawed environmental impact statement and that its adverse effects outweigh its alleged benefits, among other matters.  [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
Landowners look to stop eminent domain
WBNG
Josh Martin

(WBNG Binghamton) Residents from New York and Pennsylvania spoke out Thursday against eminent domain, or the right of a government to take private property for public use. Landowners from both states voiced their concerns about the proposed Constitutional Pipeline, that would go through their property, and affect their businesses.  [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
States Fail to Properly Manage Fracking Waste, Says Groundbreaking Report
EcoWatch
Anatasia Pantsios

It might seem illogical, but in 1988 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put a loophole in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) which regulates hazardous and solid waste, exempting the waste from oil and gas exploration, development and production (E &P) from oversight. While it conceded that such wastes might indeed be hazardous, it said that state regulations were adequate. A new study, Wasting Away: Four states’ failure to manage oil and gas waste in the Marcellus and Utica Shale, conducted by Earthworks, explore just how inadequate state oversight of drilling operations is today. It specifically looks at four states that sit on top of the lucrative Marcellus and Utica shale deposits—New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia—to discover exactly how well they are doing in overseeing the identification and handling of the potentially hazardous waste materials left behind after the shale has been fracked.   [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
Vitter-Udall Chemical Bill a ‘Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing,’ Say Advocacy Groups
EcoWatch
Lorraine Chow

The bipartisan chemical safety reform bill introduced by senators David Vitter (R-La.) and Tom Udall (D-NM) has been overwhelmingly opposed by more than 50 environmental justice, health, sustainable business and community organizations. The groups have composed several letters to the U.S. Senate pointing out some of the major flaws in the bill, which would stymie states from taking new actions to protect consumers and communities from exposure to toxic chemicals.   [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation plans to bring smaller fracking companies in Texas to India
Economic Times
Sanjeev Choudhary

NEW DELHI: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is planning to bring smaller fracking companies in Texas and North Dakota to Indian fields to compete with the dominant oilfield services giants, such as Schlumberger and Haliburton, and bring down prices.   [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
Staggering Rise in Fracking Earthquakes Triggers Kansas to Take Action
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

It seems unlikely that Kansas, known as one of the most conservative states in the U.S. and home to fossil fuel barons the Koch Brothers, would take action against the oil and gas industries. But in the face of a new wave of earthquakes attributed to the underground injection of fracking wastewater, its industry regulating body, the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC), ordered a reduction of wastewater injection in two counties abutting Oklahoma, finding that increased earthquake activity correlated with increasing volumes of injected fracking water.   [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
German Environment Minister defends new bill to regulate fracking
EurActiv


After much debate, the Merkel government has signed off on a draft law that would permit fracking in Germany, causing an uproar among opposition politicians and environmentalists, as well as coalition members. EurActiv Germany reports.   [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
Pipelines: The new battleground over fracking
State Impact PA
Susan Phillips

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]

Apr 2, 2015
Is Your Local Fracking Company Breaking the Rules? You'll Probably Never Know Just three states have readily accessible databases of violations by oil and gas companies.
Mother Jones
Tim McDonnell

One of the biggest differences between fracking and other kinds of industrial development is that fracking often occurs extremely close to towns and homes. That's because oil and gas wells take up far less space than open-pit coal mines and cement factories. One 2013 analysis estimated than at least 15.3 million Americans have a gas well within a mile of their home. So you might think that data on the performance records of oil and gas companies—how often they have spills, or exceed air pollution standards, etc.—would be readily available to locals who have an immediate stake in knowing about what's going on in their backyard. Not so, according to a new study from the Natural Resources Defense Council and the FracTracker Alliance, a nonprofit that collects data on the gas industry.   [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
German cabinet approves fracking ban
Interfax Energy Natural Gas Daily


The German cabinet has approved a draft law banning the use of fracking above a depth of 3,000 metres or near water supplies, nature reserves and national parks. The current moratorium on fracking will only be lifted to provide legal clarity and not to allow unconventional drilling, according to Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks.   [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
Pro-fracking group spends $20K for Martinez
Coloradoan
Nick Coltrain

A pro-fracking group has spent $20,000 to support city council candidate Ray Martinez, city campaign finance records show. Larimer Energy Action Project, whose website declares “We can frack safely in Larimer County,” spent the money to canvass and distribute literature in the east-central district Martinez hopes to represent. Martinez, a former mayor, is facing school board member Nancy Tellez in the contest.  [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
Port Ambrose opponents dominate Council hearing
Capital New York
David Giambusso

The Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas project may be in regulatory limbo, but opponents continued to make their case Wednesday during a City Council hearing on a resolution calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto the facility. Liqueified natural gas, or L.N.G., is natural gas that has been cooled to liquid form and placed on barges. The estimated $600 million plant, which would sit 19 miles off the coast of Long Beach, would receive ships, vaporize the gas and deliver it to Long Island through buried pipelines. It would have the capacity to move 400 million cubic feet of gas a day with the aim of easing transmission bottlenecks on the island.  [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
U.S readies emergency oil train safety measures
Reuters
Patrick Rucker

WASHINGTON, April 2 (Reuters) - The U.S. Transportation Department is completing work on a package of measures to control oil train dangers before the Obama administration finalizes a national safety plan expected by May, an official with knowledge of the plans said on Thursday. The measures, which could include emergency orders, safety advisories, or other controls, should be in force within days, said the source who was not authorized to discuss the plans.   [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
Politicians, activists demand federal regulators revoke pipeline approval
Boston Globe
Jack Newsham

oston politicians and regional activist groups have asked federal regulators to reconsider their approval last month of a controversial pipeline expansion. The administrative appeals are the latest challenge to the Algonquin Incremental Market project, which would expand the main pipeline that supplies New England with natural gas. If the requests are rejected, opponents could file a federal lawsuit that could stop or significantly slow the project.  [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
3 Reasons Solar and Wind Energy Will Take Over Our Power Grid Much Sooner Than You Think
New York Magazine
Sarah Laskow

Getting power from the wind and the sun no longer seems like a hippie fantasy: Elon Musk is betting that solar power will be so profitable it will help fund space travel, and big tech companies like Apple and Google are buying in, too. Today most homes and businesses are still powered by fossil fuels, but in just a few decades — maybe even as little as 15 years — most energy could be coming from renewable sources. An enormous new survey of industry experts shows how fast things are moving. Recently, DNV GL, an international energy consulting company, asked 1,600 people who actually work in the field — at equipment manufacturers, power producers, utilities, policy-making agencies, energy retailers, regulators, and equity investment firms — about the future of renewables. One of the main questions: How quickly will renewables be generating 70 percent of the energy in the markets you work with?   [Full Story]

Apr 2, 2015
Feature: Five years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, scars linger
Science Magazine
Warren Cronwall

BARATARIA BAY, LOUISIANA—The scene of one of the nation's most dramatic environmental disasters is serene now. Waist-tall marsh grasses shiver in the wind, the tan and green carpet stretching to a hazy blue horizon. The quiet is broken only by small waves clapping a rhythm on the metal hull of a skiff, beached at the edge of the latte-colored Gulf of Mexico. At first glance, it's hard to see anything amiss.   [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
How big is the Marcellus Shale in the U.S.?
Pittsburgh Business Times
Sam Kusic

The Marcellus Shale now accounts for 36 percent of U.S. shale gas production, yielding 14.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, according to the U.S Energy Information Administration. Overall, the Marcellus is delivering more than 18 percent of the total of the country's dry gas production.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
Pennsylvania shale drillers to release monthly reports on gas production
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Laura Legere & Anya Litvak

Pennsylvania’s unconventional natural gas producers pulled 390 billion cubic feet of gas from the Marcellus Shale and other resource-rich rock layers in January, according to the first monthly production reports the companies filed with the Department of Environmental Protection.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
Senate panel votes for two-year fracking delay
Baltimore Sun
Timohty B. Wheeler

Senate panel voted Wednesday to impose a two-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in Western Maryland, a pause to allow lawmakers to review any limits the Hogan administration might put on the controversial drilling practice.   [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
As drilling slows, lawmakers question Wolf’s gas tax projections
State Impact PA
Marie Cusick

State lawmakers are questioning whether the Wolf administration is being consistent in its projections on how much money gas drilling can bring into state coffers. Earlier this year the governor imposed a moratorium on new gas leasing for public parks and forests. His executive order undid an attempt by his predecessor, Republican Governor Tom Corbett, to sign more leases and raise an extra $95 million to plug a state budget hole.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
Exclusive: Flush with capital, new Houston energy company ready for buying spree
Houston Business Journal
Jordan Blum

Now that the newly formed Kinetics Energy Services is flush with $100 million in new financing, the CEO said the Houston startup is ready to start acquiring oilfield services companies.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
Consol Energy Says Its Airport Fracking Exceeds Environmental Standards
CBS Pittsburgh
Joe Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When it comes to drilling for natural gas at the Pittsburgh International Airport, Consol Energy officials say no one in the nation is fracking with their level of environmental protection.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
MU research team uncovers link between fracking, endocrine-disrupting chemicals The team published results suggesting chemicals from fracking spills find their way through the local water system.
The Maneater
Esther Seawell

As friction and controversy continue to surround the industry of natural gas hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, an MU research team is investigating the link between fracking activity and hormone disruption. Susan Nagel, associate professor of women’s health, is leading the team of MU graduate students and professors to study how natural gas drilling may impact local water supplies. The team recently published evidence of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which affect hormone function, making their way into local water supplies following drilling-related incidents.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
Shell’s Arctic Drilling Plans Approved by Department of Interior
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

It seems like the battle to save the wild and remote Arctic seas from predatory oil and gas companies never ends. Despite court cases finding it had illegally sold oil and gas exploration leases in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska and despite its own environmental impact study depicting the dangers of drilling there, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has opened the door to selling offshore drilling leases in the Arctic seas again. Currently there are no gas or oil operations in the Arctic seas, and environmental groups would like to keep it that way.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
Oil and Gas Billionaire Pressured Oklahoma Scientist to Ignore Fracking-Earthquake Link
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

Hillary Clinton’s emails aren’t the only ones making news, at least not in Oklahoma. A trove of emails were released by the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS), which regulates the state’s oil and gas industries, in response to public records requests from news outlets such as Bloomberg and EnergyWire. They appear to reveal that oil and gas billionaire Harold Hamm, known as the founding father of the U.S. fracking boom, inserted himself into the conversation about whether fracking was causing a dramatic upsurge in earthquakes in the state.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
EPA Report Finds Nearly 700 Chemicals Used in Fracking
EcoWatch
Cole Mellino

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report on Friday that found there are nearly 700 chemicals used in the fracking process. The EPA completed the analysis by looking at more than 39,000 FracFocus disclosures in the last two years. The FracFocus Chemical Disclosure Registry was developed by the Groundwater Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission in response to public concern about the contents of fracking fluid, says the EPA report.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
Lawyers Accuse Gas Giant of Deficient Records Filing in Fracking Case
The Tyee
Andrew Nikiforuk

Lawyers representing Jessica Ernst in her landmark lawsuit challenging the regulation and practice of hydraulic fracturing in Canada have accused Encana Corporation of failing to meet its legal obligations on full disclosure of documents. Calgary-based Encana is Canada's largest extractor of natural gas and an early pioneer of the hydraulic fracturing of low-quality rock formations in British Columbia, Wyoming, Texas, Alberta and Colorado.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
German cabinet imposes high barriers for fracking
The Globe and Mail
Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet signed off on a draft law on Wednesday that imposes an effective ban on the controversial technique of fracking for shale gas. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves blasting chemicals and water at underground rock formations to release trapped gas. Opposition is strong in densely-populated Germany due to concerns about the contamination of drinking water. “Protecting health and drinking water are priorities. For this reason, we want to prevent fracking as far as possible,” Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks told a news conference.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
Guardian Media Group to divest its £800m fund from fossil fuels
The Guardian
Damian Carrington

The Guardian Media Group (GMG) is to sell all the fossil fuel assets in its investment fund of over £800m, making it the largest yet known to pull out of coal, oil and gas companies. The decision was justified on both financial and ethical grounds, said Neil Berkett, GMG chair: “It is a hard-nosed business decision, but it is influenced by the values of our organisation. It is a holistic decision taking into account all of those things.”  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
KBR charged with anti-whistleblowing violation
Houston Chronicle
Sarah Scully

Federal regulators charged Houston-based KBR on Wednesday with violating whistleblower protection laws in confidentiality agreements. It was the commission's first enforcement against a company for language that could prevent whistleblowing in such an agreement. KBR, an engineering and construction firm and military contractor, agreed to pay $130,000 in penalties to the SEC and changed confidentiality language.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
EARTHQUAKES: Kan. links quakes to oil and gas, sharply limits waste disposal
E & E Newswire
Mike Soraghan

BLUFF CITY, Kan. -- Regulators in Kansas have imposed sharp restrictions on oil and gas activity in two southern counties in response to increased earthquakes in the area. The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) cited an "immediate danger" to public safety as the reason for limiting the pressure that can be used to inject wastewater into disposal wells and the volumes that can be injected. "Because individual earthquakes cannot be linked to individual injection wells, this order reduces injection volumes in areas experiencing increased seismic activity," commission officials stated in the March 19 order. "The Commission finds damage may result if immediate action is not taken."   [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
Keystone XL Traded For Arctic Drilling Rights?
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Few debates in energy have been more contentious than Keystone XL (KXL). Environmental groups opposed the pipeline and turned out a grass roots movement that astonished even battle weary Enviros. It also caused serious problems for the industry as their assets became stranded and they were forced to ship crude by rail and barge. It is estimated that this amounted to approximately $17B over the past few years in lost revenue due to public accountability campaigns. But it looks as though the Obama Administration and Big Oil merely traded KXL for Arctic drilling rights. An announcement was made, rather quietly, this week which did not seem to receive much attention. It came from the Department of Energy’s Oil Council which is made up largely of energy company executives, some government officials, analysis firms and nonprofit organizations. The Council released a study which was produced by the National Petroleum Council at the request of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. It claims that the U.S. should begin Arctic drilling immediately. Then another announcement was made a day later.   [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
PennEast Payola? Buying Support One Community at a Time
Marcellus Drilling News


In March 2014 MDN wrote about Williams spreading money around with local fire departments and other non-profit organizations in communities where they want to build the much-needed Constitution Pipeline (see Constitution Pipeline Payments to Groups – Donations or Payola?). The Constitution ended up paying out more than $1 million in grants to local groups. Our point at that time was maybe Williams should wait until the pipeline is approved and built before they hand out money. It just seemed to us like a not-so-transparent attempt at influencing (buying?) support for the project. Do we need that support? Sure! But wait until the pipeline is approved and built, and THEN help out those communities and be a good corporate citizen. Seems our advice fell on deaf ears. PennEast Pipeline is now trying the same tactic. Yesterday PennEast announced another round of community grants–handing out $70,000 this time around. PennEast is giving $5,000 each to 14 different organizations, most of them fire & ambulance departments in Pennsylvania and New Jersey…  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
Possible new laws considered nearly 2 years after West blast
TimesUnion
J.B. SMITH

WACO, Texas (AP) — Nearly two years after a fire set off a deadly ammonium nitrate explosion at the West Fertilizer Co., Texas businesses selling the chemical aren't subject to any new laws, and only a handful store it in fireproof buildings as experts recommend, state officials said. The Waco Tribune-Herald (http://bit.ly/1xXqdUa ) reports now the window of opportunity for state-level reform of ammonium nitrate safety standards may be closing. As the biennial legislative session heads toward the June finish line, the two bills targeting ammonium nitrate storage are in legislative limbo. One of the bills is written by Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, the former chairman of the House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security. The committee has held hourslong hearings about the regulatory failures that led to the April 17, 2013, disaster  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
Kan. links quakes to oil and gas, sharply limits waste disposal
Climate Wire
Mike Soraghan

BLUFF CITY, Kan. -- Regulators in Kansas have imposed sharp restrictions on oil and gas activity in two southern counties in response to increased earthquakes in the area. The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) cited an "immediate danger" to public safety as the reason for limiting the pressure that can be used to inject wastewater into disposal wells and the volumes that can be injected. "Because individual earthquakes cannot be linked to individual injection wells, this order reduces injection volumes in areas experiencing increased seismic activity," commission officials stated in the March 19 order. "The Commission finds damage may result if immediate action is not taken." Kansas' move is a contrast with neighboring Oklahoma, where officials dealing with the same problem just across the border are focusing on finding wells drilled too deep (EnergyWire, March 26). The Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) has not limited injection volumes or pressures but has not ruled out doing so in the future.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
ARCTIC: Shell looks to 'next chapter' as Interior clears way for next steps in summer drilling
E&E Publishing
Margaret Kriz Hobson

The Interior Department yesterday ended a legal battle that blocked oil drilling in the American Arctic, clearing the decks for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to begin formally reviewing Royal Dutch Shell PLC's application to explore this summer in the Chukchi Sea. In a move that was immediately attacked by national environmental groups, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell issued a record of decision reaffirming the government's 2008 decision to sell oil and gas leases in Alaska's Chukchi Sea (E&ENews PM, March 31). The lease sale was suspended last year after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the government's 2007 environmental review vastly underestimated how much oil could be developed as a result of auctioning the offshore region. Since then, BOEM has followed a breakneck schedule to revise its flawed supplemental environmental impact statement in time for Shell to drill during this summer's open water season (EnergyWire, March 23).  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
Miami Beach 'rising' to challenge of encroaching seas
E&E Publishing
Manon Verchot

In Miami Beach, Fla., flooding is not unusual. Vehicle owners are accustomed to salt water getting into their cars, corroding the metal, and getting stuck in traffic when floods turn streets into shallow canals. Several years ago, flooding got so bad, people were kayaking through the city. "Everything becomes a challenge," said Eric Carpenter, public works director for the city of Miami Beach. To cope with the sea-level-rise-related flooding, the city is changing its coastline. In the next five years, 70 to 80 pumps will be installed to keep the streets free of water -- a project that will cost $300 million to $500 million, according to Carpenter. Funding comes primarily through city bonds and should buy the city about 30 years in its efforts to adapt to sea-level rise, he said. At the same time, the city may raise roads and sidewalks by 1.5 to 2 feet along the west side that faces the Biscayne Bay. "We're anticipating that the elevation of roadways will not cost more than 10 to 15 percent more for stormwater improvements," Carpenter said. "It's a long-term prospect."  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
China to unveil measures to fight water pollution
Reuters


(Reuters) - China is to launch an action plan to protect the quality of its scarce water resources after years of rapid economic growth that have left much of its water supply too polluted for human consumption or for growing food. The plan, expected to be published this month, will require firms in heavily polluting industries such as paper mills and dye and chemical plants to treat discharged water and it will set higher penalties for those that violate rules on discharging pollutants, according to official media reports. One third of China's major river basins and 60 percent of its underground water are contaminated, according to official data, posing a major threat to public health and food security. The long-awaited action plan is expected to be approved by the cabinet this month to give it legal powers to hold polluters and local authorities responsible. "The plan will ring an alarm bell with local authorities who did little to protect water and will help to remove the regional segregation that constrained the growth of the water treatment business," said He Yuanping, executive vice president of Originwater, a private clean water technology company. He estimated the treatment business could be worth more than 2 trillion yuan ($323 billion) in terms of the total investment involved, including assets owned by local governments.   [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
How Ohio’s Energy Economy Became a Radioactive 19th Century Relic
EcoWatch
Harvey Wasserman

hwassermanbwBack in early 2010 Ohio stood at the cusp of a modern 21st century technological revolution. It had won a new federal-funded rail line to finally re-join Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati. Tesla electric sales networks were moving into the state, bringing full player status in the spread of the world’s most advanced automobiles. And we had adopted a forward-looking green energy package poised to bring billions of new investments along with thousands of new jobs. Then the 19th century re-took control. Today Ohio’s fossil-fueled, landlocked capital city is the western world’s largest with neither internal commuter light rail nor access by passenger train service from anywhere else. After trying to ban them altogether, Ohio has strictly limited sales of advanced electric Tesla cars. And after being at the cusp of major solar and wind power advances, the state has all but killed the prospects for any large new green energy projects. The state may now miss one of history’s biggest and most profitable technological transformations. Meanwhile Ohio’s three largest electric power utilities are demanding billions from the PUCO in bail-outs for obsolete fossil and nuke burners that are fast being abandoned elsewhere around the world. If that money goes for these relic generators, investment in advanced energy in the state will disappear, and Ohio’s fossil/nuke dinosaurs will give new meaning to the terms rust belt, global warmers and technological bankruptcy. What happened? Let’s count the ways. With the coming of John Kasich in 2011, $400 million in federal grants won by decades of hard grassroots efforts to restore north-south passenger rail service were flung back at Washington with a nasty note. With neither public hearings nor open debate, Kasich made clear his contempt for those who worked decades to re-connect central Ohio by rail to the rest of the world. There have been no passenger trains in or out of Columbus since 1979. But the prospect of score of jobs restoring and maintaining the lines meant an enhanced future for the cities being reconnected and the towns along the route. It was unclear how many Ohioans would regularly commute between the state’s major cities. But both Cleveland and Cincinnati are tied to the Amtrak network, and the connectors to Columbus and Dayton would mean travelers could come here by rail from all over the country. Now they can’t. The development money and jobs are gone. Columbus and Dayton remain isolated backwaters. Their prospects for future large-scale conventions etc. are diminished. The money went to Florida, whose Governor Rick Scott is generally to the right of Kasich. What once would’ve connected the 3C’s now helps you get from Tampa to Orlando. Ohio lawmakers have also assaulted the electric car. These self-proclaimed defenders of the “free market” came to the defense of auto dealers who fund them by worrying that Teslas would have an “unfair advantage” because their internet sales operations would not provide similar service being given gas-fired cars. But electric cars have far fewer moving parts and can be much more easily maintained than the old fossil burners. They are, in short, the automobiles of the future … just not in Ohio. Tesla did get permits for a couple of showrooms in the state (there’s one at Easton). But to celebrate the retrograde triumphs over the train and Tesla, the state has dumped billions into instantly obsolete freeway upgrades which do not come with electric charging stations. The biggest turn back to the 19th century has come with the murder of Ohio’s green energy program. With great effort and almost total bi-partisan unity, Ohio in 2008 adopted a wide-ranging program to encourage the development of wind and solar within the state. Northern Ohio is especially good for large-scale wind farms. The lake breezes are strong, the region is flat and the sites are in ag land close to big urban areas where rates are high. Billions of dollars poised for willing communities like Leipzic promised jobs and business. Likewise solar facilities proposed for southern Ohio bore great promise. But while Germany, California and other post-industrial competitors surge ahead into a green-powered world, Ohio has gone in reverse. With absolutely no possible health, safety or ecological reason, Kasich slipped into law a restriction on turbine tower siting that renders the future of wind power in Ohio virtually nil, costing billions in investment and countless jobs. The destabilization of tax, subsidy and regulatory programs has done the same to large-scale solar projects, one of which has already been cancelled south of Columbus. Overall, a corporate-owned regime has relegated Ohio to pre-green museum status. No region dependent on fossil and nuclear fuels can look forward to any kind of reliable, long-term transition into the 21st century global economy. Solar, wind, electric cars, passenger rail service and the other high-tech industries are the future of post-industrial prosperity. They’re at the core of a green-powered revolution in energy supply that is redefining how the world does business. Just not in Ohio.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
California governor orders water restrictions amid historic drought
The Guardian
Lauren Gambino

The governor of California has ordered unprecedented and mandatory water restrictions in the state as officials are set to announce historically low levels of snowpack in the state’s mountain range. Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday ordered the State Water Resources Control Board to reduce statewide water use by 25%. The action – the first time ever state officials have imposed mandatory water restrictions – is expected to save 1.5m acre-feet of water by the year’s end.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
Explosion and fire on the oil platform in Gulf of Mexico — 4 dead and dozens hurt
Business Insider
REUTERS AND MICHAEL B KELLEY

Mexican state-run oil company Pemex said at least four people died after a fire broke out on a production platform in the Gulf of Mexico early on Wednesday, sparking the evacuation of around 300 workers. Local emergency services said as many as 45 people were injured in the blaze, which erupted overnight on the Abkatun Permanente platform in the oil-rich Bay of Campeche. Pemex said it was battling the flames with eight firefighting boats and that a contractor for Mexican oil services company Cotemar was one of the dead.   [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
1 dead, 16 injured in Gulf of Mexico oil rig fire
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
RACHELLE BLIDNER

One person was killed and 16 were injured after an oil rig burst into flame in the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday, Mexico's state-run oil company said. The Abkatun platform, which sits in the middle of Campeche Bay, erupted in fire in the early morning and forced the evacuation of nearly 300 workers, Pemex said.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
Poll Results About Fracking Are Reason For Concern
E&P Magazine
Mark Brownstein

Oil and gas companies spend a lot of time and money reminding us just how much good they’re doing in the world. But according to a new Gallup poll released March 23, when it comes to fracking, the American people aren’t convinced.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
Bill to prohibit local fracking bans clears Senate panel
KOCO


OKLAHOMA CITY —A Senate panel has approved a bill that would limit cities and towns from passing local ordinances restricting oil and gas drilling and exploration. The Senate Energy Committee voted 10-1 on Wednesday to advance the bill by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman. The measure now heads to the full Senate.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
'Would you drink it?' video from Nebraska fracking hearing goes viral
Casper Star Tribune


A video of an Ainsworth, Nebraska man asking the state's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission “Would you drink it?” has gotten more than a million views on YouTube. James Osborn was first up to testify at an almost three-hour public comment session last week on a proposal by Colorado-based Terex Energy to open a commercial site in Sioux County to dispose of wastewater from oil and gas production, including the practice of hydraulic fracturing known as fracking.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
California Counties Must Not Wait for Illusory State Protections from Fracking
NRDC
Giulia C.S. God Stefani Blog

In a disappointing 3-2 vote, on Tuesday, March 17, the Board of Supervisors in Monterey County, California found that there was insufficient evidence of urgency to warrant a countywide moratorium on fracking. At a public hearing before the vote, at least two of the supervisors stated that they were hesitant to act now because they wanted to wait for the California Department of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to finalize its statewide environmental impact review (or EIR) and to implement its well stimulation regulations later this summer. The County is waiting for protections that aren't coming.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
What If They Disclosed Fracking Chemicals & Nobody Cared?
Clean Technica
Tina Casey

Did we miss something? Last Friday, the US Environmental Protection Agency finally released the results of its long-awaited study on fracking chemicals, and nobody seems to have much to say about it. If you were looking for some kind of press release or big announcement about the fracking study from EPA, keep looking — there isn’t one.   [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
Senate committee favors bare bones fracking moratorium bill
WBAL TV


ANNAPOLIS, Md. —A Senate environmental committee is supporting watered down legislation aimed at limiting fracking in Maryland. In a unanimous vote Wednesday, committee members voted in favor of an amended proposal to adopt and implement hydraulic fracturing regulations no earlier than October 2017.   [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
A geoscientist’s take on new U.S. fracking rules
Science Magazine
Susan Cosier

New federal rules aimed at making a controversial oil and gas drilling technique safer and more transparent reflect numerous suggestions from technical experts, says a geoscientist involved in the process. Late last month, the U.S. Department of the Interior released new regulations governing the use of hydraulic fracturing techniques, better known as fracking, by oil and gas companies drilling on federal and tribal lands. The rules—updated for the first time in 30 years—apply to 283 million hectares of public land and 23 million hectares of American Indian land. About 90% of new or planned wells on federal land use fracking, officials estimate. Overall, wells on federal and tribal lands produce less than 25% of the country’s oil and gas.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
Fracking starts at Pittsburgh International Airport
WPXI


PITTSBURGH — Consol Energy has started drilling for natural gas under the Pittsburgh International Airport. Company officials expect six gas wells on the property to generate $500 million in royalties in the next two decades, money that will go toward airport improvements and other initiatives.  [Full Story]

Apr 1, 2015
California activists want water restrictions to include oil industry
Reuters
RORY CARROLL

(Reuters) - California should require oil producers to cut their water usage as part of the administration’s efforts to conserve water in the drought-ravaged state, environmentalists said on Wednesday. Governor Jerry Brown ordered the first statewide mandatory water restrictions on Wednesday, directing cities and communities to cut their consumption by 25 percent. But the order does not require oil producers to cut their usage nor does it place a temporary halt on the water intensive practice of hydraulic fracturing.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
How One Group of Activists Disrupted a Major Fracking Event
AlterNet
Lauren Steiner

We were 20 minutes into one of the most boring Power Point presentations I have ever seen. While we looked at “shaded areas of cross-sections of multiple productive zones of oil fields,” the regulator was droning on and on. You’d think I’d be nodding off. But no, my heart was beating and my palms were sweating. I was about to do one of the boldest actions I have done since becoming an activist three and a half years ago. Professionally dressed in a sedate gray dress and heels, I was seconds away from disrupting something called an “aquifer exemption workshop” led by DOGGR, the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, the very state agency that recently had been exposed for illegally allowing oil companies to inject toxic fracking wastewater into 2,500 wells near California aquifers.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
ND to join Wyoming lawsuit against federal fracking rules
The State
James MacPherson

BISMARCK, N.D. North Dakota, whose oil riches have been unlocked by the use of hydraulic fracturing, said Tuesday it will join Wyoming in a lawsuit challenging a new federal rule requiring more information about the process when it's used on U.S. government lands. The Obama administration announced in March that it will require companies that drill on federal lands to disclose the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management rule, under consideration for about four years, takes effect in June.   [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Methane monitoring method reveals high levels in Pennsylvania stream
EurekAlert


A new stream-based monitoring system recently discovered high levels of methane in a Pennsylvania stream near the site of a reported Marcellus shale gas well leak, according to researchers at Penn State and the U.S. Geological Survey. The system could be a valuable screening tool to assess the environmental impact of extracting natural gas using fracking.   [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Myersville protesters reject Dominion Transmission expansion
Frederick News Post


MYERSVILLE — An open house Tuesday night on Dominion Transmission’s expansion plans — including the addition of a second compressor at its Myersville station — drew a small but vocal group of protesters to Town Hall. The event was the fourth and final in a series of open houses throughout the region on Dominion’s Leidy South Project, which includes expanded compression along its interstate natural gas pipeline in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland. If approved, the project would add a second, 15,900-horsepower compressor at the Myersville compressor station, which went into service late last fall.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Pipeline Industry Promises to Review Disclosure Rules After Kinder Morgan Secrecy Scandal
DeSmogBlog Canada
CAROL LINNITT

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) is working hard to undo damage caused by pipeline company Kinder Morgan’s refusal to release oil spill response plans in British Columbia. The company's lack of disclosure angered the province of B.C., especially when it was revealed that Kinder Morgan released detailed spill response plans in Washington State for portions of the pipeline that extend across the border. The pipeline association recently announced it would form a task force to address the issue, hoping to waylay growing public concerns by developing “guiding principles” for disclosure.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Aww, FERC is frustated
NewsLeader
Anne Witschey Adams

"Unprecedented opposition." That, according to Cheryl LaFleur, chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is what faces the nation's natural gas pipeline development. Where's the story? As widely reported, LaFleur made comments at a National Press Club event in Washington in January. She talked about the volume of those opposed to building more pipelines, and how these folks are overwhelming her office and staff. "We have a situation here," she said. "Pipelines are facing unprecedented opposition from local and national groups including environmental activists … These groups are active in every FERC docket, as they should be, as well as in my e-mail in-box seven days a week, in my Twitter feed, at our open meetings demanding to be heard, and literally at our door closing down First Street so FERC won't be able to work." There's a reason for that, Ms. LaFleur. The way things are set up, pipeline developers and the gas industry as a whole have enormous power, advantages, and privileges over the regular citizens they affect. These people are tired of being pushed around, tired of their own land being taken away, and tired of the effects this industry has on their health and environment. The recent behaviors associated with the FERC process aren't doing anything to inspire public trust, either.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Emails show Big Oil pressured US scientists over fracking's link to quakes
The Sydney Morning Herald
Benjamin Elgin and Matthew Philips

In November 2013, Oklahoma's state seismologist, Austin Holland, got a request that made him nervous. It was from David Boren, president of the University of Oklahoma, which houses the Oklahoma Geological Survey where Holland works. Boren, a former US senator, asked Holland to his office for coffee with Harold Hamm, the billionaire founder of Continental Resources, one of Oklahoma's largest oil and gas operators. Boren sits on the board of Continental, and Hamm is a big donor to the university, giving $US20 million ($26 million) in 2011 for a new diabetes center. "It was just a little bit intimidating," Holland says.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Update: Senate panel OKs fracking bills [Florida]
Tallahassee Democrat
Jeff Burlew

Bills that would create a regulatory framework for fracking in Florida and allow chemicals used in the process to be kept secret from the public easily cleared their first committee stops Tuesday. Members of the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee voted 6-2 along party lines in favor of Senate Bill 1468, which would require the state to adopt rules regulating high-pressure well stimulation, a form of fracking, and Senate Bill 1582, which would create an exemption in public-records laws for chemicals used in fracking. Both bills are sponsored by Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, who was out of town at the time of the hearing.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Syracuse University announces it will divest from fossil fuels
The Daily Orange
Sara Swann

Syracuse University announced Tuesday that it is formally divesting endowment funds from coal mining and other fossil fuel companies. SU will continue to seek investments through its endowment in companies that are focused on developing new technology involving solar energy, biofuels and advanced recycling, according to an SU News release. This commitment means that SU will not “directly invest in publicly traded companies whose primary business is extraction of fossil fuels.” External investment managers at SU will also be directed to halt investments in these public companies, according to the release.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
RPT-North Dakota's new oil train safety checks seen missing risks
Reuters
PATRICK RUCKER

(Reuters) - New regulations to cap vapor pressure of North Dakota crude fail to account for how it behaves in transit, according to industry experts, raising doubts about whether the state's much-anticipated rules will make oil train shipments safer. High vapor pressure has been identified as a possible factor in the fireball explosions witnessed after oil train derailments in Illinois and West Virginia in recent weeks. For over a year, federal officials have warned that crude from North Dakota's Bakken shale oilfields contains a cocktail of explosive gas - known in the industry as 'light ends.' The new rules, which take effect on April 1, aim to contain dangers by spot-checking the vapor pressure of crude before loading and capping it at 13.7 pounds per square inch (psi) - about normal atmospheric conditions.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Gas Utilities Reduce Leaks of Methane, Study Finds
The New York Times
JOHN SCHWARTZ

Utilities are making progress in reducing leaks from their natural gas distribution networks, a new study has found, but the industry and regulators can do more. Methane, a major component of natural gas, is a powerful greenhouse gas, having some 85 times the effect of carbon dioxide on climate change over a 20-year period. The Obama administration has promoted the use of natural gas as a power source, since it produces far less carbon dioxide than burning coal, but has also pressed for industry to measure and reduce leaks. The new study from Washington State University, released on Tuesday, involved direct measurements at 13 gas distribution centers around the country, including 230 underground pipeline leaks and 229 metering and regulating facilities.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Inveestments in Renewables Herald "Paradigm Shift"
Climate Central
Bobby Magill

Amid rising concern about the role of fossil fuels in climate change, there was an unprecedented boom in renewables across the globe in 2014, suggesting that countries are already shifting toward more low-carbon energy as the cost to build solar and wind farms falls quickly. That’s one of the conclusions of a United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance report published Tuesday showing that global renewable energy investments in 2014 totaled $270 billion, an increase of 17 percent over the previous year. A solar power generating station in the Ukraine. Credit: Activ Solar/flickr Less money bought more renewables in 2014 — sometimes without subsidies — as costs of building solar and wind farms fell even as fossil fuels became cheaper to use with the plunge in oil prices. Bloomberg estimates that the cost of solar power projects have fallen 59 percent since 2009, and the cost of onshore wind farms has fallen 11.5 percent. In 2011, a record $279 billion in global renewables investments built wind and solar farms that were able to generate 70 gigawatts of renewable energy. Three years later, $270 billion built 95 gigawatts of solar and wind power generation worldwide — more than ever had been built before as costs fell. The renewables that came online worldwide last year can generated the same amount of electricity as all the nuclear power plants in the U.S. combined — more than 100 gigawatts. All told, all forms of renewable energy, excluding large hydroelectric plants, contributed to 9.1 percent of global electric power generating capacity in 2014, up from 8.5 percent the year before, the report says. “The numbers seem to be telling a story of an energy paradigm shift well underway,” Eric Usher, head of the United Nations Environment Programme finance initiative, said during a news conference Tuesday. “There is a climate story: Renewables definitely seem to be contributing to the stabilization of CO2 emissions.” RELATED Cities Could Be Ideal for Utility-Scale Solar Plants Solar Energy Jobs Growing By Leaps and Bounds Sunny Side East: Solar Takes Off in Eastern U.S. The International Energy Agency announced in March that CO2 emissions related to energy consumption had stabilized in 2014, primarily from global efforts to build more renewables to reduce climate-changing CO2 emissions. IEA officials said that stabilization — the first during a period of economic growth — shows a booming economy is no longer tied to increasing use of fossil fuels. All of that could be a game changer for renewables, the report’s authors say. “There is now nobody who thinks the energy system of the future will look like the energy system of the past,” Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said. “Renewable energy is now not seen as an indulgence or something that is to be tolerated at the fringes of a network. Renewables are growing rapidly in both the developed and the developing world, with China leading the way. China saw more than $83 billion in investments in renewables, 39 percent over 2013. The U.S. came in second worldwide, with about $38 billion in investments, up 7 percent in 2014. Japan ranked third with nearly $36 billion. Investments in renewables totaled $131.3 billion in developing nations, up 36 percent over 2013. Six developing countries are leading the way in solar and wind: Indonesia, Chile, Mexico, Kenya, South Africa and Turkey. An array of solar mirrors in New Mexico. Credit: Sandia Labs/flickr The rationale for building renewables in many of those countries may be related to lower costs of wind turbines and solar panels as much as it is a need to slash CO2 emissions as a way to tackle climate change, Liebreich said. “It’s partly around favorable policy environments, but also energy shortages and high costs of electricity for businesses and consumers,” he said. “At these now-lower costs of wind and solar, it just makes sense to build those resources. Renewables in those countries are not just a question of slavering on subsidies — in many cases, subsidies are not needed at all.” Though it may appear that falling oil prices would hurt investments in renewables, the report says that cheaper oil isn’t much of a concern for solar and wind.   [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Syracuse to Drop Fossil Fuel Stocks From Endowment
NY Times
John Schwartz

Syracuse University is dropping all fossil fuel stocks from its endowment, the university announced on Tuesday. At $1.2 billion, Syracuse’s is the largest endowment to divest entirely of fossil fuel stocks. (Stanford University last year pledged to drop coal stocks from its $21.4 billion endowment.) The university’s chancellor, Kent Syverud, said the move was part of Syracuse’s “long record of supporting responsible environmental stewardship and good corporate citizenship.”  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Port Ambrose faces delay
Long Island Herald
Matthew Ern

The federal regulators responsible for making a determination on the controversial plan to build a liquefied natural gas import facility 19 miles off the coast of Jones Beach have suspended the federal license application process. In a March 17 letter posted online a week later, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Federal Maritime Administration announced that under the law, they had only 21 more days to hold the last public hearings on Port Ambrose, the facility proposed by Liberty Natural Gas LLC. But now those agencies have said they will be unable to do so by then, and have “stopped the clock” on the project. Liberty Natural Gas needs federal and state approval to build the terminal, but many environmental groups, along with Long Beach city officials and state legislators, have voiced their opposition to the proposed facility. The public comment period for the project, usually only 45 days, was extended to 90, and ended on March 16 — day 219 of the 240-day period in which public hearings must be concluded, according to federal law, the letter stated.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Methane monitoring method reveals high levels in Pennsylvania stream
Penn State News
Matthew Carroll

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A new stream-based monitoring system recently discovered high levels of methane in a Pennsylvania stream near the site of a reported Marcellus shale gas well leak, according to researchers at Penn State and the U.S. Geological Survey. The system could be a valuable screening tool to assess the environmental impact of extracting natural gas using fracking. Multiple samples from the stream, Sugar Run in Lycoming County, showed a groundwater inflow of thermogenic methane, consistent with what would be found in shale gas, the researchers report in a recent issue of Environmental Science and Technology. Victor Heilweil, research hydrologist, Utah Water Science Center, USGS, was lead author on the paper.   [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
East Village Explosion Might Have Followed Attempt to Hide Gas Siphoning
The New York Times
PATRICK McGEEHAN and AL BAKER

Law enforcement officials are investigating whether the explosion that destroyed three buildings and killed two men in the East Village last week resulted from an attempt to hide the unauthorized siphoning of natural gas for tenants in one of the buildings. Their working theory is that one or more gas lines were surreptitiously tapped over several months; then the siphoning apparatus was dismantled or hidden on Thursday before Consolidated Edison conducted an inspection. As soon as the utility inspectors left, an attempt to resume the diversion of gas went awry, setting off the explosion, according to two law enforcement sources with knowledge of this working theory.   [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Advocates praise energy provisions for the poor
Capital New York
David Giambusso

Low-income communities that historically bear the brunt of ill-conceived energy policy fared well in the first official ruling on the state's Reforming the Energy Vision, advocates say. The R.E.V.'s first official phase, issued in February by the Public Service Commission, makes several provisions for low-income communities, including emissions standards and an allowance for utilities to own renewable energy sources that serve poorer residents. Advocates say the rules handed down by the P.S.C. are a good first step.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Blue-Collar Solar
Slate
Daniel Gross

Renewable energy doesn’t have to be a luxury purchase. Here’s how one company makes it a cost-saver for the working class. reen, energy-saving technologies are essentially luxury products. Solar rigs and energy-efficiency upgrades require big upfront investments in equipment that may not pay off for many years. Spend $40,000 on solar panels for your roof, and you won’t get your money back in lower electricity bills for a dozen years or more. You’d have to drive a hybrid car tens of thousands of miles to recapture the extra costs in the form of lower spending on gasoline. As a result, going green has historically only been an option to those who can afford to make conspicuous displays of virtuous consumption—not the 1 percent, perhaps, but certainly the top 25 percent.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Wildfire Threatening Gas Wells and Homes
WDAZ ABC


KX News - A major grass fire is threatening natural gas wells and other structures in Harding County, South Dakota. A spokeswoman for Great Plains Fire Info says over 6400 acres have burned southeast of Camp Crook.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
FRACKING What the Frack Is Happening? Hailing the Major Activist Victories in the Anti-Fracking Movement
AlterNet
Reynard Loki

The nation's first federal regulations on fracking, unveiled by the Obama administration last week, sparked immediate criticism from leading anti-fracking activists. Americans Against Fracking, a coalition of 250 environmental and liberal groups that includes Greenpeace, 350.org, MoveOn.org, CREDO, Food & Water Watch, Rainforest Action Network and Friends of the Earth, issued a statement characterizing the new rules—meant chiefly to reduce the threat of fracking-related water contamination—as "toothless."  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
New York court: Drilling leases expired despite state ban
Utica Observer-Dispatch
MICHAEL VIRTANEN

ALBANY The New York moratorium on hydraulic fracturing doesn't allow energy companies to extend leases with landowners beyond the expiration dates in their contracts, the state's highest court ruled Tuesday. The Court of Appeals answered that question for a federal appeals court reviewing the case. It follows a federal judge's 2012 ruling for the landowners, also concluding the leases expired. "Basically it's going to be the end of the case," said attorney Thomas West, representing Inflection Energy and other companies. "We expect the Second Circuit issues its decision applying the certified answer."  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Environmentalists question objectivity of firm conducting pipeline study
citizensvoice.com
Elizabeth Skrapits

A group of environmentalists say the engineering firm preparing the environmental impact study for the proposed PennEast pipeline has a conflict of interests because the firm also does work for the natural gas industry. Pasadena, California-based Tetra Tech, which has branches all over the world — including an office in the Twin Stacks Center in Dallas — is performing the study required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on how the PennEast natural gas pipeline could affect the environment. The Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association, New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation wrote to U.S. Inspector General Gregory H. Friedman on March 24, asking him to investigate how Tetra Tech was selected to be consultant for the $1 billion project when the firm has financial and organizational conflicts. PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC, a joint venture among UGI Energy Services, AGL Resources, New Jersey Resources, Public Service Enterprise Group and South Jersey Industries, is looking to build the pipeline, which will run from Dallas Township to Mercer County, New Jersey and supply gas from Marcellus Shale wells to utilities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
After blast, San Bruno wants big PG&E fine, tougher safety measures
Los Angeles Times
MARC LIFSHER

ty of San Bruno officials are supporting a proposed, record-high fine against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. but are complaining that the punishment for a fatal pipeline blast in 2010 fails to ensure the utility would act safely in the future. Mayor Jim Ruane wants the commission to order more safety reforms, including the creation of an independent pipeline safety monitor. "We need something in place to ensure that it will not be business as unusual just because fines were paid," he said. PUC's Peevey pushed terms of 2003 SDG&E energy deal, lawyer testifies PUC's Peevey pushed terms of 2003 SDG&E energy deal, lawyer testifies Such an oversight agency would help restore the commission's "culture of safety and help the public regain confidence and trust in a corrupted system," he explained.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Before Fracking Begins, Air and Water Tests Still a Rare Precaution
inside climate news
David Hasemyer

Frank Varano knows what's coming. His land near Williamsport, Pa., abuts property that has been leased for gas exploration––and he's certain it will be fracked. What is less certain is how that fracking could affect the air he breathes and the water he drinks. That's why he welcomed the opportunity to have two Columbia University scientists test the air inside his house and the water in his well before fracking gets started late this year. "I feel better having someone independent more than just having the industry tell me what's happening," Varano said. "I want to double-check whatever the industry tells me."  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Methane monitoring method reveals high levels in Pennsylvania stream
Penn State News
Matthew Carroll

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A new stream-based monitoring system recently discovered high levels of methane in a Pennsylvania stream near the site of a reported Marcellus shale gas well leak, according to researchers at Penn State and the U.S. Geological Survey. The system could be a valuable screening tool to assess the environmental impact of extracting natural gas using fracking. Multiple samples from the stream, Sugar Run in Lycoming County, showed a groundwater inflow of thermogenic methane, consistent with what would be found in shale gas, the researchers report in a recent issue of Environmental Science and Technology. Victor Heilweil, research hydrologist, Utah Water Science Center, USGS, was lead author on the paper. “I found it startling that our USGS and Penn State team of four people did a reconnaissance of 15 streams and discovered one instance of natural gas degassing into a stream that may very well be explained by a nearby leaking shale gas well,” said Susan Brantley, distinguished professor of geosciences and director of the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at Penn State.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Health professionals call: ban fracking for five years
The Ecologist
Paul Mobbs

Medact, the UK-based public health group concerned with the social and ecological determinants of health, have published their long-awaited report on the impacts of fracking upon public health. First announced last year, following Public Health England's questionable report into the impacts of shale gas, Medact's review considers a number of existing reviews of the evidence of 'fracking' on public health.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Fracking Companies Keep 10% of Chemicals Secret, EPA Says
Inside Climate News
Neela Banerjee

Oil and gas companies refuse to disclose 10 percent of the hundreds of chemicals they use during hydraulic fracturing, according to a new analysis by the Environmental Protection Agency. The revelation comes in a major installment of the EPA's study of the potential risks of fracking on drinking water. The agency's assessment of more than 39,000 reports from the website FracFocus about the composition of fracking fluid also showed that "at least one chemical was identified as confidential business information in 70 percent of the disclosures analyzed," wrote Tom Burke, EPA's science adviser, in an agency blog.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Bill barring ‘fracking bans’ advances out of committee
Dallas Morning News
Marissa Barnett

AUSTIN–The Texas Energy Resources Committee overwhelmingly approved a bill that would keep cities from regulating certain aspects of oil and gas, including adopting hydraulic fracturing bans. As approved, cities would be limited to enacting ordinances that affect above-ground oil and gas activity, including regulating traffic, lights and noise. Cities could also enact “reasonable” drilling setbacks. Regulatory power would otherwise be at the discretion of the state. Municipal oil and gas-related ordinances would have to meet four standards. Under the bill, ordinances must be “commercially reasonable;” allow for oil and gas production; be legal under other state and federal laws; and be related to above-ground activity.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Renewable energy investment heats up worldwide
LA Times
SAMANTHA MASUNAGA

From China to Mexico, renewable energy investments are hot. Global investment in renewable power and fuels reached $270.2 billion last year, nearly 17% higher than in 2013, according to a new study on renewable energy investment from the United Nations Environment Programme. This figure marks the first increase in three years. Together, wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-power, geothermal, small hydro and marine power are estimated to have generated 9.1% of the world's electricity in 2014, compared to 8.5% in 2013.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Graph of the Day: Renewable energy boom underestimated by nearly all
RE New Economy
Sophie Vorrath

The coming of the renewable energy revolution has long been heralded by many of the world’s energy market authorities, and as solar and wind energy capacity is installed at record rates, these predictions seem to be being borne out. But a new infographic published by Meister Consultants Group has shown that almost all of these expert predictions have vastly underestimated the scale at which the renewable energy revolution would happen. As the first two charts below show, out of a number of predictions made by authorities including the IEA and the US Energy Information Administration over the past 15 years, only the most aggressive growth projections, such as Greenpeace’s Energy [R]evolution scenarios, have been even close to accurate on the actual scale of growth in installed solar and wind power.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Obama Offers Major Blueprint on Climate Change
NY times
Coral Davenport

WASHINGTON — The White House on Tuesday introduced President Obama’s blueprint for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by nearly a third over the next decade. Mr. Obama’s plan, part of a formal written submission to the United Nations ahead of efforts to forge a global climate change accord in Paris in December, detailed the side of the United States in an ambitious joint pledge that the president made in November in Beijing with President Xi Jinping of China. The United States and China are the world’s two largest greenhouse gas polluters. Mr. Obama said the United States would cut its emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025, while Mr. Xi said that China’s emissions would drop after 2030.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Reducing Climate Change Would 'Create One Million Jobs'
newsweek
Luke Hurst

As the March 31 deadline for countries to submit their proposals for tackling irreversible climate change passes, a new report claims lives could be spared, the climate could be saved from catastrophic and irreversible change, and one million jobs could be created if green policies are initiated. The report from the New Climate Institute (NCI) - a green pressure group - says more ambitious action to reverse climate change would yield even greater economic and social co-benefits in the form of job creation and a healthier climate. Countries are putting forward their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) - a set of commitments which will form the basis of the agreement which the 196 nation states in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change are aiming to formalise at the Paris Climate Summit in December this year.  [Full Story]

Mar 31, 2015
Soil organic matter vulnerable to climate change
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Anne M Stark

Soil organic matter, long thought to be a semi-permanent storehouse for ancient carbon, may be much more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought. Plants direct between 40 percent and 60 percent of photosynthetically fixed carbon to their roots and much of this carbon is secreted and then taken up by root-associated soil microorganisms. Elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere are projected to increase the quantity and alter the composition of root secretions released into the soil. In new research in the March 30 edition of the journal, Nature Climate Change (link is external), Lawrence Livermore scientists and collaborators found that the common root secretion, oxalic acid, can promote soil carbon loss by an unconventional mechanism — freeing organic compounds from protective associations with minerals. Root secretion-induced soil carbon loss is commonly attributed to “priming” — a short-term increase in microbial mineralization of native soil carbon as a result of fresh carbon inputs to the soil.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Study: Global warming causes more global warming
CBSNews
Michael Casey

It is bad enough that warming temperatures are being blamed for the drought in California or melting sea ice in the Arctic. Now, a new study finds a warmer world could actually be causing an increase in emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane from ecosystems on land. Using data from ice cores dating back nearly 1 million years, researchers uncovered what is called positive feedback in climate, where effects of one factor serve to amplify another and thus worsen the cycle of climate change. Taking 800,000 years of ice core data and putting it into a mathematical model, the researchers, writing in the journal Nature Climate Change on Monday, were able to demonstrate a correlation between the rising temperatures and a spike in greenhouse gas emissions across several ice ages. "This gives a direct deduction from this past data that there is a strong effect of the temperature on concentrations on carbon dioxide and methane, in other words two major greenhouse gases," Tim Lenton, a co-author on the paper from the University of Exeter, told CBS News. "That gives us a direct confirmation purely from the data that there is this positive feedback loop."  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Towns take on gas industry, at their own peril
State Impact PA
Marie Cusick

Local governments all over the country are trying stop the surge in oil and gas development by embracing a novel legal tactic–community-based rights ordinances. It’s a strategy that carries risks. In rural Conestoga Township, Lancaster County concerned residents want to stop a $3 billion interstate gas pipeline from coming through their community. Oklahoma-based Williams Partners Atlantic Sunrise project is one many proposed pipelines in Pennsylvania facing intense opposition. If approved, it would cut through 10 counties and carry Marcellus Shale gas as far south as Alabama. As Williams prepares its formal application for federal regulators, Conestoga Township residents are fighting for more local control.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Big Oil Pressured Scientists Over Fracking Wastewater's Link to Quakes
Bloomberg Business
Benjamin ElginMatthew Philips

In November 2013, Austin Holland, Oklahoma’s state seismologist, got a request that made him nervous. It was from David Boren, president of the University of Oklahoma, which houses the Oklahoma Geological Survey where Holland works. Boren, a former U.S. senator, asked Holland to his office for coffee with Harold Hamm, the billionaire founder of Continental Resources, one of Oklahoma’s largest oil and gas operators. Boren sits on the board of Continental, and Hamm is a big donor to the university, giving $20 million in 2011 for a new diabetes center. Says Holland: “It was just a little bit intimidating.” Holland had been studying possible links between a rise in seismic activity in Oklahoma and the rapid increase in oil and gas production, the state’s largest industry. During the meeting, Hamm requested that Holland be careful when publicly discussing the possible connection between oil and gas operations and a big jump in the number of earthquakes, which geological researchers were increasingly tying to the underground disposal of oil and gas wastewater, a byproduct of the fracking boom that Continental has helped pioneer. “It was an expression of concern,” Holland recalls.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Grandmother quits job and leaves family to join anti-fracking protesters
Grimsby Telegraph


A grandmother has spoken about why she quit her home, job and family to join the anti-fracking protesters on an oil exploration site at Immingham. Louise Hammond, 52, said: "I could not just sit at home and do nothing, so I joined the protest camp. "It's the first time in my life I have done anything like this."   [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
The epicenter of the 21st-century oil boom acknowledges fracking is linked to earthquakes
Fusion
Rob Wile

The Canadian province that gave birth to the 21st-century oil boom is no longer waiting to determine whether hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, may be responsible for a recent slew of earthquakes. Alberta’s energy regulator has issued a new set of “traffic light” rules governing fracking in the province in the wake of two major quakes. All oil producers must now show how fracking could impact local faultlines, and put in place a seismicity monitoring and response program. If a magnitude 4.0 quake occurs within 5 kilometers of the well, all operations must be halted and can’t be restarted without the province’s consent.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Medical chiefs call for immediate fracking ban to avoid serious health risks
Click Green


A group of senior health professionals have called for an immediate moratorium on fracking because of the serious risks to public health A report published today concludes that fracking poses significant risks to public health and calls for an immediate moratorium to allow time for a full and comprehensive health and environmental impact assessment (HIA) to be completed. The report, ‘Health & Fracking: the impacts and opportunity costs’, concludes that fracking generates numerous public health risks, including: * Potential health hazards associated with air pollution and water contamination: these include toxins that are linked to increased risks of cancer, birth defects and lung disease   [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Simon Poll: Illinois voters wary of fracking
The Southern Illinoisan


Almost half of Illinois voters — 48.6 percent — tend to oppose hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” because of concerns about the environment, according to a new poll released Monday by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University. By contrast, 31.8 percent believe fracking should be encouraged for its economic benefits, and 20 percent are not sure about the issue. Fracking is a process that uses high-pressure injection of water, sand and chemicals to extract oil and natural gas from underground shale formations.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Local call for input Town leaders ask U.S. senators to speak on gas pipeline proposal
times union
Brian Nearing

Supervisors from three southern Rensselaer County towns want the state's two U.S. senators to jump into the debate over a proposed natural gas pipe that could cut through the county. Supervisors from Stephentown and Schodack sent U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand a letter this month urging them to publicly address a proposed natural gas pipeline that could pass through the southern edge of the county. Houston-based Kinder Morgan, owner of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, wants to build its 36-inch Northeast Energy Direct pipeline to connect the natural gas hydrofracking fields of Pennsylvania to the Northeast.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Iran riches coveted by Big Oil after decades of conflict
Fuel Fix


Outside the boardroom of BP Plc’s headquarters on London’s swanky St. James’s Square, a display case houses the geological data from Masjid-i-Solaiman, Iran’s first oil well. The discovery of crude in 1908 laid the foundations for the company that would become British Petroleum and opened one of the richest opportunities that Western oil companies have ever enjoyed in the turbulent Middle East. Since then, the industry’s history in Iran is intertwined with CIA-backed coups, colonial exploitation and the anti-Western resentment surrounding the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Now, as Iran and the U.S. enter 11th-hour negotiations to reach a nuclear deal and ease sanctions, the Middle Eastern country is emerging again as a potential prize for Western oil companies such as BP, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Eni SpA and Total SA. The Chinese can also be expected to enter the race, while U.S. companies, more burdened by sanctions and legacy, will be further down the pack.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
The truth behind Costa Rica’s renewable energy
The Guardian
Lindsay Fendt

his month, Costa Rica’s state-run electricity company announced that the country had gone 75 days using only renewable resources for electricity. Costa Ricans are the first in the world to power their country for so long without the use of fossil fuels, and the record-breaking achievement was quickly picked up by news agencies all over the world. Costa Rican residents have certainly benefited from the clean energy, with electricity prices set to tumble between 7% and 15% in April. But despite the world’s congratulatory backslaps for the renowned green country, its clean energy production is not likely to last at this scale, nor is it a model that would work in many other parts of the world.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Limiting climate change could have huge economic benefits, study finds
The Guardian
Arthur Neslen

Major economies would boost their prosperity, employment levels and health prospects if they took actions that limited global warming to 2c, according to the first analysis of emissions pledges made before the UN climate summit in Paris later this year. Europe has promised a 40% emissions cut by 2030, compared to 1990 levels – and the report says this will bring real benefits, including 70,000 full-time jobs, the prevention of around 6,000 pollution-related deaths, and a €33bn cut in fossil fuel imports.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
With So Much Oil Flowing, U.S. May Be Reaching Storage Limits
NPR
Chris Arnold

Never before has the U.S. had so much oil spurting up out of the ground and sloshing into storage tanks around the country. There's so much oil that the U.S. now rivals Saudi Arabia as the world's largest producer. But there has been some concern that the U.S. will run out of places to put it all. Some analysts speculate that could spark another dramatic crash in oil prices.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Cheap Oil Unlikely to Slow Growth of Renewables, Citigroup Says
Bloomberg
Ehren Goossens

Bloomberg) -- Cheap oil will do “little to derail” the long-term growth of renewable power, according to Citigroup Inc. Oil generates about 5 percent of global electricity and doesn’t generally compete directly with wind and solar power, Citigroup researchers wrote in a report Monday. Only 11 countries get more than 20 percent of their electricity from oil, mainly in the Middle East and the Caribbean.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Houston energy company weighs restructuring with "severe" money woes
Houston Business Journal
Jordan Blum

Houston-based Harvest Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: HNR) is considering a major restructuring in the face of "severe" financial problems. The financially struggling, oil and gas exploration and production company has seen its woes compounded by the block of the sale of some of its Venezuelan assets by the government and greatly diminished global oil prices.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Tesla to unveil new product — likely a battery — next month
The Washington Post
Associated Press

DETROIT — Tesla Motors says it will reveal a new product next month, but it’s not a car. CEO Elon Musk tweeted Monday that “a major new Tesla product line” will be revealed April 30. Tesla shares rose 3 percent to $190.60 after the tweet.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
In wake of explosion, new scrutiny of city’s gas lines
Capital New York
David Giambusso

Last week's explosion in the East Village has put the city's aging gas infrastructure under closer scrutiny in the form of a policy brief issued Monday by the Center for an Urban Future. Though no one has been formally blamed for the blast, which killed two people and injured nearly two dozen others, a narrative has emerged of a potentially illegal gas-hookup inside 121 2nd Avenue, where the explosion occurred. The think-tank's paper, "Aging Gas Lines" calls on the city, utilities and private real estate to pay closer attention to vulnerabilities all along the gas grid, from underground mains kept by the city's two main utilities, Con Edison and National Grid, to the pipes leading to individual apartments.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Doctors and academics call for ban on 'inherently risky' fracking
The Guardian
Karl Mathiesen

Fracking should be banned because of the impact it could have on public health, according to a prominent group of health professionals. In a letter published by the British Medical Journal on Monday, 20 high-profile doctors, pharmacists and public health academics said the “inherently risky” industry should be prohibited in the UK. “The arguments against fracking on public health and ecological grounds are overwhelming. There are clear grounds for adopting the precautionary principle and prohibiting fracking,” they said.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Spring 2015
EcoWatch
Ted Glick

Spring makes me feel much more often that I am lucky to be alive and relatively well for 65. But spring sometimes brings other reasons to have hope and love life. Often over the 46 years that I have been an activist and organizer, a revolutionary, spring has brought with it major mobilizations of people into the streets for mass demonstrations around war and peace, justice, climate or other issues. I am involved with one such initiative, Beyond Extreme Energy, which has had a productive winter building an escalating campaign against FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Two months from now we will be nonviolently blockading the FERC entrances for a week-plus, following up on our successful week-long blockades in November. We will keep demanding that they stop serving the fossil fuel industry and instead protect the American people and the world’s destabilizing climate. We expect many hundreds of people to take part from May 21-29.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Two Years After Exxon's Mayflower Spill, Will Tougher Pipeline Rules Go Beyond Talk?
InsideClimate News
Elizabeth Douglass

t's been two years since a broken 1940s ExxonMobil pipeline flooded an Arkansas neighborhood with Canada's heaviest oil, and the ripple effects of the spill have made it to Washington D.C., where regulators are poised to end decades of complacency by addressing the dangers of older pipelines across the country. For the first time, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is proposing a rule to address problematic vintage pipe and other obvious risks that were factors in the rupture of ExxonMobil’s Pegasus pipeline in Mayflower, Ark. "The Pegasus spill seemed to be a tipping point," said Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, a nonprofit watchdog group. "PHMSA is now telling pipeline companies, 'here's what you should think about if you have older pipelines, and when you should replace them,'—and you never would have heard that coming out of their mouths before Mayflower."  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
For FERC’s Sake, Regulate
In These Times
JUSTIN MIKULKA

The most important government agency you’ve never heard of has never met a fracking lobbyist it didn’t like “In the energy world, FERC regulates ‘midstream everything.’ ” So said Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) in a July 2014 floor speech, answering her own question about why nominations to the little-known Federal Energy Regulatory Commission mattered. “Midstream,” in energy parlance, is the business of getting energy from where it is produced to where it is used. FERC’s purview of “midstream everything” includes oil and gas pipelines and storage facilities—infrastructure that is experiencing rapid growth, thanks to the shale oil and gas boom driven by hydraulic fracturing, aka fracking. There is a lot more energy to move around, and if you want to build new infrastructure to move it, you need FERC’s permission.   [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Exclusive: Morgan Stanley to sell natural gas business scrutinized by Fed
KFGO
Lauren Tara LaCapra

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley has agreed to sell a compressed natural gas business that came under regulatory scrutiny shortly after its launch last year, according to a document obtained by Reuters and three people familiar with the matter. The bank will transfer the gas business, Wentworth, to a newly formed company called Pentagon Energy LLC. Two Morgan Stanley managers who were involved with Wentworth, Alberto Chiesara and Ryan Comerford, are leaving to join the new company as principals, according to those sources.   [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Simon Poll: Illinois voters wary of fracking
The Southern


Almost half of Illinois voters — 48.6 percent — tend to oppose hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” because of concerns about the environment, according to a new poll released Monday by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University. By contrast, 31.8 percent believe fracking should be encouraged for its economic benefits, and 20 percent are not sure about the issue. Fracking is a process that uses high-pressure injection of water, sand and chemicals to extract oil and natural gas from underground shale formations.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Lawmakers targeting hydraulic fracturing
Herald-Star
Casey Junkins

WHEELING - A small group of U.S. House Democrats has introduced legislation to give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency full oversight over natural gas drilling operations that use hydraulic fracturing. The move comes on the heels of the Obama administration's action to authorize the EPA to oversee hydraulic fracking on federal lands. The group, known as the "Frack Pack," includes Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Colo.; Jered Polis, D-Colo.; Matt Cartwright, D-Pa.; and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
As natural gas pipes drop, budgets, jobs are scaled back
marcellus.com
DANIEL TYSON | The Register-Herald, Beckley, W.Va.

When “Dallas” was a top-rated television show back in the ’80s, oilmen were portrayed as wildcatters, the last of a breed of take-no-prisoners businessmen who took risk after risk. Wildcatters, even fictional ones like J.R. Ewing, and real ones like T. Boone Pickens, drilled where their gut told them. Sometimes they won, sometimes they didn’t. The wildcatters were true boom or bust men. Lost a fortune yesterday, but won it back today. Pass the bourbon. Those days, even those men in fiction, are long gone. Now the bottom line in the oil industry is just that, the bottom line. Money men with CPA degrees hanging on their office walls and chief financial officer titles on their business cards make decisions based on charts, maps, analysis and Wall Street. This could be the reason why so many oil and natural gas companies are seeking more stakeholders to spread out the risk for their billion-dollar projects.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Environmental groups seek federal investigation into PennEast Pipeline application
NJ.com
Keith Brown

A coalition of environmental groups has called for a federal investigation into a possible conflict of interest in the application for the $1 billion PennEast natural gas pipeline project through Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The environmental groups sent a letter last week to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Inspector General Gregory H. Friedman asking him to look into whether there is a conflict of interest with the choice of Tetra Tech to produce a study of the possible environmental impacts of the natural gas pipeline proposal. The groups seeking the review include the New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club, New Jersey Conservation Foundation and the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association.  [Full Story]

Mar 30, 2015
Local towns put senators on spot over pipeline
Times Union
Brian Nearing

Town supervisors in the Rensselaer County towns of Nassau, Stephentown and Schodack want U.S. senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to publicly address a proposed natural gas pipeline that would pass through the southern part of the county. Houston-based Kinder Morgan, owner of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, wants to build its 36-inch Northeast Energy Direct pipeline to connect the natural gas hydrofracking fields of Pennsylvania to markets in the northeastern U.S.  [Full Story]

Mar 29, 2015
Northeast Resists More Pipelines, Despite Higher Energy Costs
Huffington Post
Rik Stevens

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — There is near universal agreement that the Northeast has to expand its energy supply to rein in the nation's highest costs and that cheap, abundant, relatively clean natural gas could be at least a short-term answer. But heels dig deep when it comes to those thorniest of questions: how and where? Proposals to build or expand natural gas pipelines are met with an upswell of citizen discontent. At the end of last year, a Massachusetts route selected by Texas-based Kinder Morgan generated so much venom that the company nudged it north into New Hampshire — where the venom is also flowing freely. During this winter's town meetings, a centuries-old staple of local governance in New England, people in the nine towns touched by the route voted to oppose the project.  [Full Story]

Mar 29, 2015
Pipeline opponents target deals Aim to block approval of natural-gas contracts
The Lowell Sun
Todd Feathers

Opponents of a proposed natural gas pipeline that would run through parts of eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, and end in Dracut, are attempting to stop the project by obstructing deals signed by regional utility companies to buy gas from the pipeline. Kinder Morgan, the company behind the project, has said for more than a year that it has secured preliminary contracts with companies like National Grid and Liberty Utilities to purchase about 40 percent of the 1.2 billion cubic feet per day of gas that the pipeline, in its smallest form, could supply to the region.   [Full Story]

Mar 29, 2015
Lawmakers Target Hydraulic Fracturing
The Intelligencer
Casey Junkins

WHEELING - A small group of House Democrats has introduced legislation to give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency full oversight over natural gas drilling operations that use hydraulic fracturing. The move comes on the heels of the Obama administration's action to authorize the EPA to oversee hydraulic fracking on federal lands. The group, known as the "Frack Pack," includes Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Colo.; Jered Polis, D-Colo.; Matt Cartwright, D-Pa.; and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.  [Full Story]

Mar 29, 2015
Texas city opts for 100% renewable energy – to save cash, not the planet
The Guardian
Tom DArt

News that a Texas city is to be powered by 100% renewable energy sparked surprise in an oil-obsessed, Republican-dominated state where fossil fuels are king and climate change activists were described as “the equivalent of the flat-earthers” by US senator and GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz. “I was called an Al Gore clone, a tree-hugger,” says Jim Briggs, interim city manager of Georgetown, a community of about 50,000 people some 25 miles north of Austin. Briggs, who was a key player in Georgetown’s decision to become the first city in the Lone Star State to be powered by 100% renewable energy, has worked for the city for 30 years. He wears a belt with shiny silver decorations and a gold ring with a lone star motif, and is keen to point out that he is not some kind of California-style eco-warrior with a liberal agenda. In fact, he is a staunchly Texan pragmatist.  [Full Story]

Mar 29, 2015
Just Who Are These Investors in Shales?
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Issuing additional shares of stock is a very expensive, and less than ideal, way for a company to get money. And yet, shale companies are issuing new shares at the fastest rate in more than a decade. The first three months of 2015 have seen about $8B in new issuance. But the market appears aberrant. Investors are pouring money into crude ETF’s while the largest producer in the Bakken cannot find a buyer for their assets. So what’s going on? In a recent Bloomberg Business piece, Troy Eckard of Eckard Global LLC which has interests in the Bakken, had this to say: “Equity does not have to be paid back and requires no disbursements of revenue and net profits…it buys into your plan and works for companies that can make it through the downturn in commodity prices.” Really?  [Full Story]

Mar 29, 2015
Increase in fracking trucks has drawbacks
The Columbus Dispatch
Rick Rouan

CADIZ, Ohio — The warning signs and convoys of semi trucks have become part of the landscape in eastern Ohio’s shale country, where a drilling surge has brought more big rigs to rural roads. Oil and gas truck traffic ahead. The orange placards and the trucks they portend might be the clearest sign yet of the dual role locals say the region’s oil and gas industry has assumed as both economic engine and potential danger for drivers sharing winding two-lane roads with 18-wheelers.  [Full Story]

Mar 28, 2015
Fracking Town’s Desperate Laid-off Workers: ‘They Don’t Tell You It’s All a Lie’
AlterNet
Evelyn Nieves

WILLISTON, N.D.—From the looks of it, the nation’s boomtown is still booming. Big rigs, cement mixers and oil tankers still clog streets built for lighter loads. The air still smells like diesel fuel and looks like a dust bowl— all that traffic — and natural gas flares, wasted byproducts of the oil wells, still glare out at the night sky like bonfires.   [Full Story]

Mar 28, 2015
Plan calls for pipeline to carry natural gas liquids
My San Antonio


LEBANON, Ky. (AP) — A proposal to "repurpose" a natural gas pipeline that runs through 18 counties in Kentucky is drawing some concerns. The Lexington Herald-Leader (http://bit.ly/1HxNA6j) reports officials in central Kentucky say they worry about the ramifications if there's a leak or an explosion, especially near rivers and lakes that supply communities with water.  [Full Story]

Mar 28, 2015
Constitution crisis: Landowners facing condemnation
Press Connects
John R. Roby

HARFORD TOWNSHIP, Pa. – The first sign that something unexpected is happening in the spreading, metal-roofed outbuilding on Cathy and Tom Holleran's property here comes from the steam pumping out of twin stacks on a frosty afternoon in early March. Inside, the air is thick and sweet and glasses-fogging warm. A shiny metal evaporator holds gallons of sap tapped from the Hollerans' maple trees, with a raging wood fire fueling the boil. Tom Holleran offers a tour of the evaporator, a tour he loves to give. He explains the smoke and steam stacks, the chambers, the front and back pans and floats, and points proudly to a bubbling channel of sap flowing the length of the contraption.  [Full Story]

Mar 28, 2015
Dallas doctor gets no answers on frack fluid ingredients
eaglefordtexas.com


DALLAS TWP. — After his failed attempts to fight the state’s oil and gas law in court, Alfonso Rodriguez, M.D., is ready to sign a nondisclosure form to view a full list of ingredients in hydraulic fracturing fluid. If only someone could tell him where to find it. Since 2010, the kidney specialist has been trying to obtain information on the chemical mix used to frack a specific Chesapeake Energy Corp. well in Bradford County. He said he believes it could be the source of serious problems affecting one of his patients, a Luzerne County man who was coated in flowback fluid during a well blowout about five years ago.  [Full Story]

Mar 28, 2015
New Brunswick Bans Fracking – GO CANADA!
NO FRACKING WAY
Richard Averett

PORTLAND — Lawmakers in New Brunswick voted on Thursday to prohibit fracking in the eastern Canadian province, committing to study the controversial method of extracting oil and gas for one year before reconsidering the ban in 2016. The province’s Liberal-led government said it will require five conditions be met before the moratorium is lifted. These include beefed-up environmental and health regulations, a plan for waste water disposal, consultations with aboriginal groups, a royalty structure, and the establishment of a “social license,” which is the approval by local communities and stakeholders. “It is responsible and prudent to do our due diligence and get more information regarding hydraulic fracturing,” said Energy and Mines Minister Donald Arseneault.   [Full Story]

Mar 28, 2015
New York Launches Innovation Lab To Study Renewable Energy and the Advanced Grid
NO FRACKING WAY


The next-gen smart grid R&D laboratory will be largest in the world. Andrew Burger, Correspondent This week New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the signing of an agreement between the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and State University of New York Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Polytechnic) that aims “to create a world-class facility devoted to energy technology innovation and the rapid deployment of smart-grid technology to modernize New York’s electric grid.” Dubbed AGILe (Advanced Grid Innovation Laboratory for Energy), the lab would be New York state’s first electric power and development facility. Making use of “Big Data” analytics, AGILe researchers will “simulate, develop, deploy and integrate the next-generation electric grid and position New York State as a global center for electric grid research,” NYPA explained.  [Full Story]

Mar 28, 2015
Nebraska Farmer Makes Room Full Of Fracking Supporters Go Silent With Just A Glass Of Water (VIDEO)
Addicting Info
Jameson Parker

Sometimes all the talk in the world can’t prepare you for cold, hard reality. At a Nebraska Oil & Gas Conservation committee hearing, a room full of fracking supporters were left in utter silence when a farmer brought in three cups of fracking water and offered each of them to take a sip. It’s a brilliant visual reminder that what’s at stake when we talk about the dangers of fracking isn’t dollars and cents, but something much simpler: Security in knowing that one of the most basic necessities of life, access to clean drinking water, is safe from harmful pollutants.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
Coast Guard, MARAD suspend review of Port Ambrose LNG
LNG Industry


The US Coast Guard and the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) have temporarily suspended their review of the proposed Port Ambrose deepwater LNG import terminal. The project, proposed by Liberty Natural Gas, will be located off the coasts of New Jersey and New York. The regulatory review period has been extended to account for the weight of public comment, amounting to mover 10 000 statements. The suspension has been implemented to allow the Coast Guard and MARAD to complete their final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project and to allow Liberty to submit financial responsibility data. In response to public request, MARAD extended the draft EIS public comment period from 45 days to 90 days, which concluded on 16 March 2015. However, in a letter addressed to Liberty Natural Gas, the Coast Guard explained that it still lacks “information necessary to complete development of the final EIS and make a determination of financial responsibility”.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
Most Drillers Keep Chemicals Secret in FracFocus, EPA Says
Bloomberg Business
Mark Drajem

(Bloomberg) -- Most oil and gas drillers kept secret at least one chemical used in hydraulic fracturing, an analysis by the Environmental Protection Agency found, raising environmentalists’ concerns about risks from unknown and possibly dangerous ingredients. The EPA scoured filings on the industry-backed FracFocus online registry and found 11 percent of ingredients used in fracking were deemed a business secret and not disclosed. The EPA said Friday 70 percent of wells examined used at least one chemical that was unidentified. “The fracking industry is hiding a lot of information about the chemicals they are using in our communities,” Kate Kiely, a spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said of the findings. “Even without that information, it is clear that there is widespread use of dangerous chemicals.”  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
EPA releases first part of frack study, an analysis of chemical disclosure
StateImpact PA
Susan Phillips

The Environmental Protection Agency released an analysis of frack water on Friday, based on data that drillers supplied to the website FracFocus. The EPA’s report is just one part of the agency’s long awaited fracking study, which will assess the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water supplies. The full report is due out this spring. The EPA researchers say less than one percent of frack fluid in their analysis of 39,000 wells contained additives, while water made up 88 percent of the fluid, and sand, or quartz, made up ten percent. The agency identified 692 separate frack water ingredients. Maximum concentrations of these chemicals were usually below 2 percent of the total mass, while half of the chemicals were below 0.3 percent of mass. EPA science advisor Tom Burke told reporters on a press call that the chemical additives and volumes of water varied greatly from well to well. Water usage for each fracked well ranged from 35,000 gallons to 7.2 million gallons.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
The Passive House in New York
The New York Times
ALISON GREGOR

It was less than a decade ago that a building design philosophy from Germany called “passive house” jumped the Atlantic Ocean and quietly took root in Brooklyn. Now, with a few dozen homes and small projects built or retrofitted to this still exotic standard, passive buildings appear poised to enter New York City’s housing market in a much bigger way. Large projects delivering hundreds of new passive units to market are in the works, and city officials are watching closely.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
Local, national LNG projects on the rise
The Times-Tribune
Brendan Gibbons

Liquefied natural gas exporters are eyeing Pennsylvania natural gas, and Northeast Pennsylvania will likely get its own liquefaction facility for domestic sales. Gulf Oil Senior Director of Marketing and Business Development Jonathan Carroll spoke at a Lackawanna College event Friday, promoting liquefied natural gas, or LNG. He offered more details on the company’s plan to build a liquefaction plant in Great Bend Twp., Susquehanna County. Converting natural gas to liquid form requires chilling it from roughly 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit to negative 260 degrees, reducing its volume by 600 times. The volume reduction makes LNG attractive for shipping large amounts of gas. $50 million investment  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
Dallas doctor gets no answers on fracking fluid ingredients
Citizens Voice
Brendan Gibbons

DALLAS TWP. — After his failed attempts to fight the state’s oil and gas law in court, Alfonso Rodriguez, M.D., is ready to sign a nondisclosure form to view a full list of ingredients in hydraulic fracturing fluid. If only someone could tell him where to find it. Since 2010, the kidney specialist has been trying to obtain information on the chemical mix used to frack a specific Chesapeake Energy Corp. well in Bradford County. He said he believes it could be the source of serious problems affecting one of his patients, a Luzerne County man who was coated in flowback fluid during a well blowout about five years ago. Flowback is mostly made up of hydraulic fracturing fluid but can include “produced water” that has sat inside the rock formation for millions of years. Gas companies cannot control the composition of produced water, but they carefully control the chemical mix used in frack fluid to reduce scale buildup and friction, kill microbes and other functions. Exposure to flowback fluid is a known occupational hazard for gas industry workers. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has identified at least four deaths from acute exposure to flowback since 2010, though little reliable information is available on the frequency of exposure or long-term health effects.   [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
FERC directs Texas pipeline company to investigate alternatives
Fuel Fix
AP

AKRON, Ohio — A federal agency has directed the Texas-based company behind a proposed northeastern Ohio natural gas pipeline to investigate an alternative route that would relocate the $2 billion project to less populated areas. The city of Green has proposed moving about 103 miles of the Nexus pipeline away from southern Summit County and northern Stark County into southern Stark and Wayne counties, then western Wayne, Medina and Lorain counties. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which approves such pipeline projects, filed its directive to the company in a memo Tuesday, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
Oil council: Shale won’t last, Arctic drilling needed now
The Seattle Times
JONATHAN FAHEY

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. should immediately begin a push to exploit its enormous trove of oil in the Arctic waters off of Alaska, or risk a renewed reliance on imported oil in the future, an Energy Department advisory council says in a study submitted Friday. The U.S. has drastically cut imports and transformed itself into the world’s biggest producer of oil and natural gas by tapping huge reserves in shale rock formations. But the government predicts that the shale boom won’t last much beyond the next decade.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
Colorado City Vows to Be Carbon Neutral, Defying Partisan Politics
InsideClimate News
Naveena Sadasivam

Copenhagen and Melbourne have committed to the most aggressive carbon reduction goals on the planet. Now those two cities––homes to 4.5 million people––have been joined by a perhaps unlikely companion on the fast track to carbon neutrality: the Colorado college town of Fort Collins, home to 150,000.   [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
New DEP rules for shallow oil and gas wells draw industry ire
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Laura Legere

HARRISBURG — The conventional oil and gas industry’s frustrations with proposed new environmental regulations boiled up at a Department of Environmental Protection advisory board meeting on Thursday, where representatives of the Pennsylvania’s legacy drilling industry questioned whether new rules should apply to them now or even at all. Leaders of several industry trade groups who sit on the advisory board or addressed it Thursday said proposed rules for limiting surface impacts from conventional oil and gas operations should be withdrawn and the 4-year-old process of drafting them should start again to address the specific situation of small operators in the state’s traditional, shallow drilling industry.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
Maryland Legislature takes veto-proof action against fracking
watchdog
Moe Lane

Well, they went ahead and did it: “Lawmakers in both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly are taking a stand against fracking.” The House of Delegates decided to go with a three-year ban; the state Senate chose instead to pass a bill that would put severe liability obligations on companies that engage in hydraulic fracking in Maryland. Both of these bills were passed with veto-proof (and mostly Democratic) majorities, which presumably means that whatever eventually ends up on Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk will likewise be veto-proof. So Hogan will veto the bill, the Legislature will override it, and Maryland will continue to miss out on good, blue-collar energy jobs.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
New Brunswick bans fracking for one year
Ptero Global News
Nicolas Torres

Legislators in New Brunswick, Canada voted Thursday to implement a one year fracking moratorium as the province conducts further studies into hydraulic fracturing. The ban will be up for reconsideration in 2016. “It is responsible and prudent to do our due diligence and get more information regarding hydraulic fracturing,” New Brunswick Department of Energy and Mines minister Donald Arseneault said. The province has appointed a three member committee to study a variety of issues tied to drilling including public health and safety, royalty payments, infrastructure use issues and environmental impact.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
EPA: Nearly 700 chemicals used in fracking
The Hill
Timothy Cama

The Environment Protection Agency on Friday released a new analysis that concludes almost 700 chemical additives are used in hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas. Ninety-eight percent of the fluid injected into wells is water mixed with sand, which is used to keep fractures open so that oil and gas can be removed from shale. But the EPA’s analysis released Friday provides a more comprehensive look at the remainder of the fracking chemicals, which the industry says are used to protect equipment, reduce bacteria and keep fluid flowing, among other things. The EPA’s analysis was based on more than two years of data from FracFocus, an industry-backed website that fracking companies in 20 states must use to publicly disclose the chemicals they inject into wells.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
Is Fracking a Catalyst for Increasing Global Warming?
newsmax
Jerry Shaw

Fracking appeared to hold the promise of reducing carbon emissions into the air to slow global warming. The process consists of injecting liquid into the ground and rocks to open fissures and extract gas or oil. It seemed like a great way to diminish dependency on coal-burning plants, a major cause of pollution and the effects on climate change. Unfortunately, it had the opposite effect because America suddenly became the world's biggest producer of oil, thanks to fracking. With the huge supply of oil, gas prices began plummeting in late 2014. So people began driving more, burning more fuel, and the global warming effects continued. ALERT: Is Global Warming a Hoax? Vote Now "Society is certain to extract more gas and oil due to fracking," according to Stanford University environmental scientist Robert Jackson, who led a 2014 study that discovered the ironic results, according to EurekAlert.org. Fracking has initial positive effects on the environment, but people now must figure out a way to keep down emissions, he said. Although fracking could help natural gas to displace coal and reduce greenhouse gas, that is "not the only effect," noted Haewon McJeon, a scientist with the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. There is also the human behavior of consuming more fuel with cheaper prices, he said.   [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
A Bright Future for Renewable Energy
fuel fix
Brigham McCown

During the preceding decade, adoption of renewable technologies experienced rapid growth. This advancement is in response to new technologies, available energy storage, policy changes, and greater investment in renewable sources. Renewables, solar and wind power especially, have far surpassed coal and natural gas in industry growth. According to an article in the Washington Post, energy capacity for wind and solar has tripled in the U.S. since 2008. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that, since 2004, the net generation of coal decreased more than 392,604 thousand megawatt-hours, while the net generation for renewable sources increased 197,993 thousand megawatt-hours. Although the EIA report shows fluctuation in net generation throughout the past several years with a notable increase in renewable sources, natural gas is still ahead of other energy sources, creating a total of 411,828 thousand megawatt-hours since 2004. This boom in energy production with natural gas is mainly a result of the growth of the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, industry within the past decade.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
Port Ambrose LNG held up by public consultation
Natural Gas Daily


Liberty Natural Gas’s application to build the Port Ambrose deepwater port to receive LNG in the New York/New Jersey harbour has been delayed by the United States Maritime Administration after it received more than 100,000 public comments about the project’s final environmental impact study.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
ENVIRONMENT Why on Earth Did the Feds Approve a High-Pressure Gas Pipeline Near a Nuke Plant?
AlterNet
Alison Rose Levy

While fires, explosions, plane crashes and others disasters are considered newsworthy, drawing people and the media to the scene, the quiet dramas of government policy, approval and planning that set the stage for—or can prevent—disastrous events are every bit as riveting. Many accidents occur due to unavoidable human or material error, such as inadequate inspection, corroded pipes or faulty valves. But some accidents arise when two things never meant to happen at the same time and place just do. Like the tsunami that overwhelmed inadequate safety protections at the aging Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. That deadly event exemplifies what the National Transportation Safety Board defines as “interactive threats,” two or more high-risk conditions that unpredictably meet and produce an outcome far worse than the risks of either one acting alone.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
Texas-sized Dose of Hypocrisy Served Up To Local Governments Statewide in an Effort to Overturn Denton's Fracking Ban
DeSmogBlog
Julie Dermansky

On March 24, the Texas House of Representatives’ Energy Resources Committee passed a bill that would rescind the fracking ban in Denton and other efforts by local Texas municipalities to protect themselves from the oil and gas industry. Once language in the bill is finalized, which could happen today, the legislation will make its way to the full Texas Senate for a vote. “The oil and gas industry are getting what they always wanted – to get these pesky cities out of the way. They’re utilizing the lack of diligence and gullibility of state government – who are bought and paid for by industry, by using the Denton fracking ban to get what they want,” Denton Councilman Kevin Roden told DeSmogBlog.   [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
Wyoming Is Suing The Federal Government Over New Fracking Rules
ThinkProgress
Samantha Page

When the federal government introduced stronger standards for fracking on public lands earlier this month, the oil and gas industry was quick to file lawsuits. On Thursday, the state of Wyoming joined the fray. Claiming that the new Bureau of Land Management (BLM) set of rules released last week “unlawfully interferes” with the state’s existing fracking regulations, Wyoming filed a suit Thursday against the U.S. Department of the Interior, Sec. Sally Jewell, and BLM, requesting judicial review of the rules.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
Inhofe on Fracking, Water Contamination
FactCheck.org


en. James Inhofe says there has never been “an instance of ground water contamination” caused by hydraulic fracturing — fracking — for oil and natural gas. Inhofe’s office told us he is referring only to “the physical act of cracking rocks through hydraulic fracturing.” But drilling operations that involve fracking include other actions that have caused contamination. A peer-reviewed study published in 2014 found that drinking water wells near fracking sites in Pennsylvania and Texas were contaminated with methane that had the chemical signature of gas normally found only deep underground. Rob Jackson, a Stanford University professor of earth system science who coauthored the 2014 study, told us that drilling that uses hydraulic fracturing has “contaminated ground waters through chemical and wastewater spills, poor well integrity, and other pathways.”  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
Senator Warner Pens a Letter to FERC
NBC 29


Groups opposing Dominion's proposed natural gas pipeline are applauding Senator Mark Warner. Warner sent a letter to federal regulators this week, asking them to clarify their policies for gathering public input on projects that could impact the environment. In that letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Warner says he's heard complaints in Nelson and Augusta counties about a recent series of scoping meetings. That's where the commission gathers input from the public about environmental concerns. The Friends of Nelson group says Dominion may have rigged the comment sections.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
Gas line talks go on
Times Union
Brian Nearing

Albany Owners of a proposed natural gas pipeline that could pass through Rensselaer County are continuing discussions with National Grid over using the utility right of way that now carries high-voltage electrical lines. Houston-based Kinder Morgan is looking at locating its 36-inch Northeast Energy Direct gas line either at — or near — the National Grid right of way and at any "associated impacts," company spokesman Richard Wheatley said on Friday. Among such impacts are potential safety risks caused by electrical interference from high-voltage lines that can corrode underground pipes over time, according to numerous scientific studies. There is also an electrocution risk to workers who come in contact with pipes.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
LNG Ltd confirms US exports to start in 2018
The Sydney Morning Herald
Angela Macdonald-Smith

WILLISTON, N.D.—From the looks of it, the nation’s boomtown is still booming. Big rigs, cement mixers and oil tankers still clog streets built for lighter loads. The air still smells like diesel fuel and looks like a dust bowl— all that traffic — and natural gas flares, wasted byproducts of the oil wells, still glare out at the night sky like bonfires. Not to mention that Walmart, still the main game in town, can’t seem to get a handle on its very long lines and half­ empty shelves. But life at the center of the country’s largest hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, boom has definitely changed. The jobs that brought thousands of recession­-weary employment­-seekers to this once peaceful corner of western North Dakota over the last five years have been drying up, even as the unemployed keep coming.   [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
Renewed Push For Oil Train Regulations As Communities Prepare For Disaster
WAMC
Dave Lucas

Once again, New York's U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are calling on federal regulators to pass tighter safety restrictions for crude oil transported by rail. The newest cry came Thursday: The Senators submitted a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan calling on him to pass legislation requiring new standards as soon as possible.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
Canada: Alberta Energy Regulator Responds To Earthquakes Possibly Linked To Fracking
mondaq
Alan Harvie

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has issued new rules which create a "traffic light" process in response to earthquakes believed to have been caused by hydraulic fracturing. Subsurface Order No. 2 comes after several seismic events that may be related to hydraulic fracturing were recorded in the Duvernay play near Fox Creek in northwestern Alberta. A 3.8 magnitude earthquake measured on the Richter scale happened on January 214, 2015 and a 4.4 magnitude earthquake was recorded on January 22, 2014. Both were felt by residents of Fox Creek but there were no injuries or damage. Some researchers believe that these and other recent shallow earthquakes in the area are consistent with being induced by hydraulic fracturing operations although it is impossible to definitely state that they were not naturally occurring earthquakes. The Fox Creek area historically has not had a lot of seismicity until hydraulic fracturing operations started in 2013. Since then, researches have recorded hundreds of very minor earthquakes and aftershocks at depths much shallower than where natural earthquakes typically occur. The Alberta Geological Survey, a part of the AER, regularly monitors seismic activity throughout Alberta through the 53-station Regional Alberta Observatory for Earthquake Studies Network (RAVEN).  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
Activists protest at Algerian fracking facility
BBC News
Howard Johnson

Since the start of January thousands of protestors have gathered in the southern Algerian town of Ain Salah to rally against plans to exploit shale gas there. Demonstrators say the government's $70 billion dollar hydraulic fracturing project will pollute the groundwater and damage the environment. Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has vowed to continue with the exploratory work, insisting the public's health and the environment will be protected.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
STATE OF WYOMING FILES SUIT AGAINST FEDERAL FRACKING RULE CHANGES
Basin Radio Network
Press Release

Press Release – Thursday morning, Governor Mead took action against the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) effort to regulate fracking. At the Governor’s direction, the Attorney General’s office filed a petition for review of final agency action in federal court. “The BLM proposed this rule that exceeds their authority. This is troubling both legally and from a policy standpoint,” said Governor Mead. “Wyoming has fracking rules – these rules have been in place for years and provide for the safe development of minerals.”  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
See How Local Drilling Rules Vary Across Texas
Texas Tribune
Jim Malewitz and Ryan Murphy

Does your town regulate oil and gas drilling? City drilling ordinances have taken center stage in the legislative brouhaha triggered by Denton’s vote last November to ban hydraulic fracturing, the revolutionary — and controversial — way of bolstering oil and gas production. Texas law says the state intends its mineral resources to be “fully and effectively exploited,” but courts have said the power isn’t absolute. Local governments have the right to regulate for health and safety. Some cities have long regulated noise and controlled the location of wells or related sites like compressor stations. But petroleum groups say that some city drilling rules go too far, particularly those that require particularly large “setbacks” – or buffer zones — between wells and homes or businesses. State lawmakers have filed nearly a dozen bills in response to some of those concerns.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
Oil and gas exploration could increase in spite of crude price slump say experts
Herald Scotland


OIL and gas companies will slash exploration budgets by 30 per cent in 2015 in response to the oil price fall but activity could increase next year as work gets cheaper, experts have predicted. Wood Mackenzie says while exploration budgets are likely to be a prime target for cost-cutting in the oil and gas sector a fall in the price of services will allow firms to do more for less in future. The oil and gas consultancy's prediction will be studied with interest in the UK, following a big fall in exploration activity in the North Sea in recent years. With much of the area's remaining oil and gas though to be held in relatively small fields, companies may be reluctant to bear the costs of exploring in the UK North Sea. Norway provides generous tax breaks for exploration. The fall in exploration costs could have most impact on the economics of projects in deep water areas.  [Full Story]

Mar 27, 2015
Cuomo urged to veto Long Island LNG import facility as federal comment period ends
E & E Newswire
Colin Sullivan

Public attention to a proposed deepwater liquefied natural gas import facility off the coast of Long Island has picked up recently after the end of the federal public comment period and renewed calls from those opposed on regional governors to veto the project. The project, from Liberty Natural Gas LLC, would mean construction of underwater LNG processing buoys, regasification vessels and undersea pipelines about 16 nautical miles south of Jones Beach, N.Y., and 27 nautical miles from the entrance to New York Harbor. If constructed, the $300 million facility could bring up to 400 million cubic feet of gas per day into Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co.'s existing network. Perhaps more crucially, it could set the stage for LNG exports offshore, though the developer denies this is the ultimate goal. Extensive comments posted on the Federal Register are now being reviewed by the Maritime Administration and the Coast Guard, which issued a draft environmental impact statement late last year. The company has been through this routine before. In 2010, Liberty proposed a similar plan to connect with regional gas pipelines, but New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) vetoed the idea with questions about the wisdom of industrializing an ocean region known for tourism and coastal attractions. The latest plan is Liberty's answer to the fallout back in 2010. The company says it has revised its blueprint to reduce the number of submerged loading buoys from four to two, to vaporize the gas on site and to connect to a Transco New York Bay pipeline 2 miles south of Long Beach. Liberty argues that the terminal would bring jobs to the region and help it convert from heating oil to natural gas. The company denies it has plans to one day convert the facility from import-capable to export-ready, despite the high cost of gas overseas relative to the United States. Environmentalists counter that conversion to exports is inevitable when it becomes clear the market for imported natural gas in the United States has run dry, noting that Liberty wants to get product from a plant in Trinidad and Tobago that currently sells its gas in other parts of the world. Moreover, local activists have slammed Liberty -- a subsidiary of Calgary, Alberta-based Sonde Resources Corp. -- for siting the new proposal in a region that has been studied as a likely offshore wind site for the last decade. Wind competition The most recent round of comments was dominated by Long Islanders, environmental groups and regional politicians opposed to the plan. They all note that the governors of New York and New Jersey retain the right to veto the idea and are urging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in particular to get involved. Also reflected in the comments is the position that Liberty Natural Gas has more work to do in terms of providing background information on what the project's effects would be on a range of concerns, among them habitat destruction, safety of the facility and its market need. Comments from U.S. EPA, for instance, rated the project "environmental concerns, insufficient information," much as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offered that it needs more data on a range of issues under its purview. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expressed deep reservations about the need for the facility given the plenitude of domestic U.S. gas, while the New York Power Authority insisted the site overlaps with what the agency views as a more pressing opportunity for offshore wind. "The project need is not defined fully and the need for the project has not been adequately demonstrated," wrote John Bullard, regional administrator for NOAA. "The applicant should present documentation that shows the proposed service area has a need or a committed customer lined up." NYPA said it prefers a wind farm 350 to 700 megawatts in size on the site and argued it overlaps with a proposal there, though Liberty has responded that the two projects need not cancel each other out. Given all this, the Maritime Administration has suspended its timeline for review to process the comments. The agency's website explains that without complete information it is standard process to trigger a "stop clock" to consider any of the following: inadequate information on project finance, further fisheries analysis, review of air quality impacts and other factors. All of the above had Kit Kennedy, director of energy and transportation at the Natural Resources Defense Council, proclaiming the project "dead in the water" even before completion of the final EIS, noting a recent letter by 52 New York lawmakers asking Cuomo to veto it. Kennedy referenced opposition from the city of New York and the NYPA, saying she expects Cuomo to follow suit in much the same manner he decided to ban hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. "Whether it's the feds rejecting the permit or a Cuomo or Christie veto, I just don't see this thing going anywhere," she said. "This is where we find ourselves." Kennedy added that she believes the power authority "is serious about moving forward" with an offshore wind project in the region and cited a forthcoming lease auction to identify a developer. Also vocal on the matter has been New York City Councilman Donovan Richards, a Democrat from the coastal Rockaways region who is chairman of the city's Environmental Protection Committee. Richards said he and Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) are urging Cuomo to follow his fracking ban with similar treatment of Port Ambrose. "We're stuck doing things the old way, but it's a new day," he said of efforts to profit from fossil fuel development in the region. "The old network is not working anymore, and it's time for companies to get with the new program." Richards also called for the offshore wind project, saying he and his constituents support it, as does the mayor. "I haven't met one person on the ground who says they support this project," he added of the LNG facility. 'An alternative to fracking' For its part, Liberty issued a press release this week in an attempt to counterbalance the opposition in New York. Liberty CEO Roger Whelan said one of the strategic points all along has been to supply the tri-state region with gas that is not derived from high-volume fracking. "The fact is we have always viewed the Port Ambrose project as an alternative to fracking," he said in the statement. "We will be importing traditional natural gas (non-fracked) from conventional large gas fields in Trinidad and elsewhere." The release went on to argue that the project would be consistent with the Empire State's fracking prohibition and cited support from the Long Island Association and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Asked whether Cuomo will veto the plan, a spokeswoman in the governor's office said staff is reviewing the proposal. Christie's office did not return a call seeking comment. Click here to see the Federal Register's comment page on Port Ambrose.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
McConnell amendment slows EPA regulations
The Hill
Jordain Carney

The Senate passed an amendment Thursday night that makes it harder for the White House to enforce environmental regulations. Senators voted 57-43 on the proposal by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The amendment blocks the administration from withholding highway funds if a state doesn't submit an implementation plan for a proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation. Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) switched sides and voted with Republicans.   [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Northfield wary of “windfall” pitched by pipeline company
Northfield Recorder
DAVID RAINVILLE

NORTHFIELD — Town officials have warned residents not to be lured by pipeline proponents’ promises of easy money. The Kinder Morgan Co. told the town it could receive millions in annual tax revenue if its planned pipeline and 80,000-horsepower compressor station are built in town. “Kinder Morgan has indicated in writing that the project could bring Northfield $3 million in taxes,” said Selectboard Chairman John “Jack” Spanbauer. “Our research has shown that’s not the case,” Spanbauer continued. “It’s probably going to be on the order of one-tenth of that.” Spanbauer’s words were delivered to a packed house in a Tuesday forum to gather public concerns about the pipeline and figure out the town’s next steps in fighting the project.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
The Most Challenging Oil and Gas Projects in the World
Huffington Post
James Stafford, Oilprice.com

The fifth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster is approaching, but in the intervening years since the well blowout deep offshore, oil and gas drillers have pushed even deeper and even farther afield. Oil exploration companies are hitting the pause button in 2015 due to the bust in prices and the supply glut, and may not take on massive new projects. But over the long-term, in order to boost flagging production, the oil majors' directive is pretty clear. A lot of the "giant" oil fields are mature and declining while fewer and fewer are being discovered each year to replace depleting output. As easy oil runs out, drillers are forced to look in difficult places for new sources of oil. Here's a look at several of the most challenging oil projects currently underway around the world.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Lawsuit Filed to Protect Rare Colorado, Utah Wildflowers Threatened by Oil Shale Mining
Center for Biological Diversity
Press Release

DENVER— Conservation groups filed a lawsuit today in federal court in Denver challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to deny Endangered Species Act protection to two imperiled wildflowers that live only on oil shale formations in Colorado and Utah. Oil shale and tar sands mining and traditional oil and gas drilling threaten 100 percent of known White River beardtongue populations and over 85 percent of the known Graham’s beardtongue populations. Graham's beardtongue Graham's beardtongue photo by Susan Meyer. This photo is available for media use. In August 2013, the Service proposed to provide Endangered Species Act protection to the wildflowers and nearly 76,000 acres of their essential habitat, recognizing the threat posed by mining and drilling. One year later—after lobbying by industry and its supporters, including the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) and Uintah County—the Service reversed-course and denied Endangered Species Act protections. The Service based its decision on a 15-year “conservation agreement” negotiated behind closed doors with pro-industry stakeholders.   [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Okla. officials expand scrutiny of disposal in quake-prone zones
E&E Publishing
Mike Soraghan

OKLAHOMA CITY -- State oil and gas officials here are doubling the number of disposal wells under scrutiny for signs they could be causing earthquakes. As part of that scrutiny, officials at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) also could order about nine wells, and possibly many more, to shut down and be temporarily reworked because they permitted companies to drill too deep. About 380 wells already must record daily the volume of drilling waste they inject deep underground and the pressure they use. They are in "areas of interest" because they're within 6 miles of where a magnitude-4 earthquake has occurred. But yesterday, OCC made public its plan to expand areas of interest to include wells within 6 miles of an earthquake swarm. The agency defines a swarm as two earthquakes within a quarter-mile of each other, if one of the quakes is magnitude 3 or greater. That will put another 350 wells that inject into the Arbuckle formation under that extra scrutiny.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
In New York state, fracking ban fuels secession talk
eaglefordteas.com
Tina Susman | The Los Angeles Times

REPORTING FROM WINDSOR, N.Y. — From this village of dairy farms and friendly diners, Carolyn Price can see across the border into Pennsylvania, and it is a bittersweet view. The rolling hills a few miles away are as green as the ones here, and the Susquehanna River is icy and beautiful on both sides of the state line as it meanders toward the Atlantic. Price sees something else, though: towns brimming with money extracted from the gas-rich Marcellus Shale, where the high-pressure drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has spurred an economic boom.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Renewables to Get Most of $1 Billion ExIm Bank Credit
Bloomberg Business
Reed Landberg

(Bloomberg) -- Renewable energy developers will receive “the vast majority” of a $1 billion credit line the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. extended to India, the institution’s president said. Regulatory policies in India, including terms for selling power, are conducive to financing solar- and wind-power projects, and make it easier for the bank to ensure it will be repaid, said Fred Hochberg, who is also chairman of the Washington-based lender.   [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Senators Introduce Legislation After Series Of Oil Train Accidents
Huffington Post
Kate Sheppard

WASHINGTON -- A group of Democratic senators wants to improve the safety of transporting oil by rail in the United States, following a series of high-profile derailments that led to fires and explosions. Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Wednesday introduced the Crude-By-Rail Safety Act, which would direct the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to bar the use of older, riskier types of tankers and ask it to set standards for the volatility of gases in tank cars -- meaning they won't explode as easily. The legislation would also set standards for new tankers, requiring thicker shells, thermal protection and pressure relief valves. In one recent major incident, a train carrying 3 million gallons of crude oil derailed last month in West Virginia, causing a massive fire and requiring an evacuation. Another train derailed and caught fire in Illinois in early March.   [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Here’s How Canada Could Have 100% Renewable Electricity by 2035
DeSmog Canada
Kyla Mandel

Canada could become 100 per cent reliant on low-carbon electricity in just 20 years and reduce its emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, a new study shows. The report calls for bold policies to be adopted immediately in order for Canada to transition to a sustainable society. “Twenty years ago Canada was a leader on the climate change file. But today our reputation on this issue is in tatters,” James Meadowcroft, political science professor at Carleton University and one of the report’s authors told DeSmog Canada. “It is time for us to get serious and take vigorous action to move towards a low carbon emission economy.” The report is a collaboration between 60 Canadian scholars and outlines a 10-point policy framework to achieve dramatic emission reductions. At the top of the list is the need to put a price on carbon which was unanimously recommended by the report’s authors.   [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
New Brunswick bans fracking
Upstream
Reuters

Lawmakers in New Brunswick voted on Thursday to prohibit fracking in the eastern Canadian province, committing to study the controversial method of extracting oil and gas for one year before reconsidering the ban in 2016. The province's Liberal-led government said it will require five conditions be met before the moratorium is lifted. These include beefed-up environmental and health regulations, a plan for waste water disposal, consultations with aboriginal groups, a royalty structure, and the establishment of a "social license," which is the approval by local communities and stakeholders.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Fracking opponents wary of Weymouth pipeline plan
Patriot Ledger
Patrick Ronan

By Patrick Ronan Posted Mar. 26, 2015 at 11:38 PM Updated at 1:42 AM QUINCY A Texas-based natural-gas transmission company offered plenty of freebies to the public Thursday at the Quincy Sons of Italy hall. There were snacks and beverages, and promotional items, like lip balm, that featured the company’s logo. What Spectra Energy didn’t offer, critics say, were convincing explanations as to how its planned expansion of the Algonquin gas pipeline would not harm the environment by encouraging more hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and how building a compressor station near the Fore River Bridge would not expose neighbors to noise, air or water pollution.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Obama’s Trade Deals Could Overturn New York’s Fracking Ban and Accelerate Climate Change
EcoWatch
Alison Rose Levy

Thanks to a recent Wikileaks’ leak, certain truly onerous provisions of President Obama’s secret trade deals are no longer secret. As reported this week in the New York Times, the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) would “grant broad powers to multinational companies operating in North America, South America and Asia. Under the accord, still under negotiation but nearing completion, companies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings—federal, state or local—before tribunals organized under the World Bank or the United Nations.”  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Will Maryland Close Its Borders to Fracking?
InsideClimate News
Zahra Hirji

ill Maryland soon close its borders to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking? The state's House of Delegates voted 94-45 Tuesday in favor of legislation that seeks a three-year ban on fracking, the controversial practice for extracting oil-and-gas reserves.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Amid oil glut, frac sand mining layoffs to hit Wisconsin
The Capital Times
Mike Ivey

As crude oil prices were dropping earlier this year, frac sand companies in Wisconsin maintained the glut of oil on the market would have little impact on their business. But the jobs cuts are already starting, with a Chippewa Falls-based sand hauler this week announcing it was laying off 55 hourly workers beginning in May.   [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
In New York state, fracking ban fuels secession talk
Los Angeles Times
TINA SUSMAN

From this village of dairy farms and friendly diners, Carolyn Price can see across the border into Pennsylvania, and it is a bittersweet view. The rolling hills a few miles away are as green as the ones here, and the Susquehanna River is icy and beautiful on both sides of the state line as it meanders toward the Atlantic. Price sees something else, though: towns brimming with money extracted from the gas-rich Marcellus Shale, where the high-pressure drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has spurred an economic boom. It is a different story here on the New York side, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo in December declared a statewide ban on fracking — one of only two in the country — saying he was not convinced it is safe.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Railroad Commissioner Rallies for Natural Gas
The Texas Tribune
Jim Malewitz

A Texas oil and gas regulator is taking a leading role in promoting new uses for natural gas. “It’s abundant, it’s clean, it’s affordable,” Railroad Commissioner David Porter said Thursday in an interview. The Republican kicked off his “2015 Natural Gas Initiative” with a half-day gathering of lawmakers and industry leaders at the Railroad Commission’s office to discuss ways to utilize the fuel, whose low price has benefited some power generators but bedeviled operators and other energy companies that bet big on it years ago.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Despite Leak Of TPP Text, Obama Officials Say Trade Deal Will Not Let Companies Overturn US Laws

David Sirota

Less than three weeks after a classified draft of its proposed 12-nation trade pact included provisions that critics say empower foreign companies to overturn domestic regulations, the Obama administration explicitly declared that the deal would not permit such actions. The declaration came in an email challenging the veracity of a report about earlier leaks of language in the proposed agreement. The email challenged an International Business Times report noting the details of a 2013 draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That draft proposed to let foreign companies file lawsuits in international tribunals seeking payments for financial losses incurred by domestic laws -- a power that critics say could ultimately compel governments to overturn those laws, for fear of facing even more lawsuits and damage payments.   [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
WHY GOVERNOR CUOMO WON’T /CAN’T UNILATERALLY BAN FRACKING
NO FRACKING WAY
Chip Northrup

BECAUSE GOVERNOR CUOMO CAN’T “BAN” FRACKING. ONLY THE LEGISLATURE COULD DO THAT WITH GOVERNOR CUOMO’S SIGNATURE HOW MANY ALL CAPS HEADLINES DOES IT TAKE TO GET THAT ACROSS ? Got another breathless missive about how Governor Cuomo may not “ban fracking” in New York. Even after he said he’d “ban fracking” in New York. Why is it that “ban fracking” is in quotes (?), you may ask. Because all the dSGEIS has ever addressed is the use of over 300,000 gallons in a frack job – which is the DEC’s guesstimate of the minimal amount of water (not propane or diesel oil or PlayDo) that it would take to commercially frack a shale well.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Schumer leads Democratic push for oil train regulations
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—Sen. Chuck Schumer is leading a group of Democratic senators from states that have heavy oil train traffic to push for the immediate strengthening of federal regulations on oil tanker cars. “The feds need to know we mean business and expect them to issue the most stringent regulations possible,” Schumer said in a statement. “The people who live in these communities, who want to see tough, new safety standards, cannot wait on the grating gears of bureaucracy.”  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Mayor: East Village explosion possibly caused by natural gas
Capital New York
Ryan Hutchins, Sally Goldenberg and Gloria Pazmino

A massive explosion that shook the East Village on Thursday, injuring at least a dozen people and sending a thick plume of smoke across Manhattan, appears to have been caused by natural gas, Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials said. The incident happened about an hour after inspectors from Consolidated Edison had been in the building on 2nd Avenue where the blast occurred, officials said. The utility company had reviewed the work of a private crew that was there to install a new gas line, Con Ed president Craig Ivey said at a late afternoon press conference with the mayor. The inspectors arrived at 121 2nd Ave. around 2 p.m., deemed the work “unacceptable” and ordered changes, Ivey said at the scene.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
What the solar market looks like now, and where it's headed
Utility Dive
Herman K. Trabish

Solar is firing on all cylinders and running all-out — but a new report shows there are pitfalls as well as opportunities ahead. The U.S. installed more than 6.2 GW of photovoltaic (PV) solar in 2014, up 30% on the year before, making it the best year ever for PV. The expansion was fueled by record growth for both residential sector and utility-scale solar, but there's reason to believe that the explosive growth for both sectors could soon sputter. “We are now coming off three years in a row, 2012, 2013, and 2014, where the residential market grew 50% each year,” said GTM Research Senior Vice President Shayle Kann, co-author of the recently-released report, "U.S. Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review," which his researchers produced in partnership with the Solar Energy Industries Association.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Don’t fall in love with natural gas
The Boston Globe
Ann Berwick

MASSACHUSETTS’ POLITICAL leadership is in love with natural gas. Governor Charlie Baker wants to bring in more of it, and Representative Patricia Haddad — a member of speaker Robert Deleo’s leadership team — has filed legislation to expand the capacity of the region’s natural gas pipelines. They are correct about the need for more such fuel. In the short term at least, adding pipeline capacity will help reduce painfully high electricity prices and address the threat of electricity shortages. But natural gas isn’t an easy remedy for steep utility bills. It’s fraught with risk, and we ignore that at our peril.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Podcast: Energy: 24/7: EVs plus Solar equals Disruption
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Prior to Tesla, when we thought of electric vehicles (EVs) it often conjured up images of Jetson flying cars or funky looking contraptions that were really glorified golf carts. They were anomalies that might have made you smile when someone drove past. That is not the case anymore. Tesla took care of that once and for all. We now have a sexy, powerful automobile with zero emissions that will take your breath away the moment you touch the accelerator. They also cost $100K and are clearly out of reach for most of us. There is, however, an underlying current which is swelling and could potentially disrupt the transportation markets and thereby strand crude oil assets. No, we are not all going to get super wealthy and be able to buy a Tesla. Tesla will come to us. So will BMW…and Google. Listen for all the details…  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
WikiLeaks exposes White House misinformation on TPP investment chapter
Friends of the Earth
Press Release

Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica had this to say about the TPP investment chapter text released by WikiLeaks: Politely speaking, the release of the Trans Pacific Partnership investment chapter leaked through WikiLeaks demonstrated that the Obama administration is guilty of spreading false information about the potential implications of TPP on our ability to protect people and environmental from foreign investors. A more blunt assessment would be that the Obama administration is deliberately misleading Congress and the American people on the far reaching implications of this pro-corporate, pro-foreign investor, anti-environmental trade deal.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Colombian tribe scores ‘historic’ victory versus Big Gas
The Guardian
David Hill

The indigenous U’wa people living in north-east Colombia have won what observers call an “historic” and “decisive” victory after state oil and gas company Ecopetrol dismantled a gas drilling site in their territories. The U’wa Association of Traditional Authorities and Councils (Asou’wa) reported in February last year the arrival of an “avalanche of heavy machinery” and increasing numbers of soldiers at the site, called Magallanes, where Ecopetrol intended to drill three wells. After statements fiercely opposing operations and a series of meetings with government and company representatives, Ecopetrol agreed to suspend operations last May and announced a decision in July to withdraw equipment - but only finished doing so in January this year.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
NEPA under drought watch
The Times-Tribune
DAVID SINGLETON

A week ago, people worried about flooding along the ice-jammed Susquehanna River. The new concern is drought. The state Department of Environmental Protection has declared a drought watch for Lackawanna County and surrounding counties because of below-average groundwater levels the agency said could cause public and private well-fed water supplies to go dry. In all, 27 counties, mostly in the eastern and central part of the state, are covered by the watch.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Water Use for Fracking Has Skyrocketed, USGS Data Show
National Geographic
Christina Nunez

As a concept, hydraulic fracturing has changed very little since the first wells were drilled in the late 1940s. In practice, however, what most people now know as fracking has undergone a transformation. Then, as now, a well is drilled into a shale rock formation, and then fluid is pumped in at high pressure, opening cracks that release oil, gas, or both. The combination of this technique with horizontal drilling and other advances has brought both the boom and the controversy now associated with fracking.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Aww, FERC is frustrated
The Recorder


“Unprecedented opposition.” That, according to Cheryl LaFleur, chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is what faces the nation’s natural gas pipeline development. As widely reported, LaFleur made comments at a National Press Club event in Washington in January. She talked about the volume of those opposed to building more pipelines, and how these folks are overwhelming her office and staff. “We have a situation here,” she said. “Pipelines are facing unprecedented opposition from local and national groups including environmental activists … These groups are active in every FERC docket, as they should be, as well as in my e-mail in-box seven days a week, in my Twitter feed, at our open meetings demanding to be heard, and literally at our door closing down First Street so FERC won’t be able to work.” There’s a reason for that, Ms. LaFleur.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Policy makers warned on UK shale gas - assume there won't be any
The Ecologist


High ranking academics have issued a stark warning to policy makers on the future of Britain's shale gas - your best bet is that we have none that can be recovered consistent with policy objectives.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Bonnie Raitt, Indigo Girls Contribute to Anti-Fracking LP
Rolling Stone
Ryan Reed

Bonnie Raitt, Indigo Girls, John Butler Trio and Michael Franti are among two dozen musicians who have contributed songs to Buy This Fracking Album, a two-disc compilation LP intended to educate listeners about hydro-fracking, a controversial method of extracting natural gas from the earth's shale. In a statement, Raitt said, "One of the most critical environmental issues of our time is banning fracking everywhere because it destroys our water, our communities and our planet." The 24-track set, produced by Jason Samel, features a mix of original recordings, previously released tracks and live versions of older songs – all of which share the theme of environmental awareness. Standout tracks include a new song from Meshell Ndegeocello ("Never Still Water"), Raitt's 1994 track "Hell to Pay" and an unreleased live version of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" from the late Pete Seeger. Other featured artists include Marco Benevento and Dave Dreiwitz, Natalie Merchant and the Felice Brothers, Rusted Root, Anti Flag and Steve Earle.   [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
High court appears split over EPA air quality rule
The Hill
Lydia Wheeler

The Supreme Court appeared split Wednesday over a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency's first-ever limits on mercury, arsenic and acid gases emitted by power plants, slated to take effect next month for some plants. The court is tasked with determining whether EPA unreasonably refused to consider costs in deciding whether it was appropriate to regulate hazardous air pollutants emitted by electric power plants under the Clean Air Act.   [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
New fracking regulator needed, report says
BBC News


The UK fracking industry needs a new regulator to give the public more confidence in the fledgling sector, an industry-backed body has concluded. Current regulation, involving a number of government departments, is "complex and relatively unapproachable", says a report by the Task Force on Shale Gas. It said a new regulator should independently monitor fracking sites. "Britain has one of the most robust set of regulations in the world for shale gas," a government spokesperson said.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Oil price fall forces North Dakota to consider austerity
Bakken.com
James Macpherson

BISMARCK, N.D. — Two years ago, North Dakota was so flush with money from the energy boom that lawmakers spent over $1 million to spruce up the cafe at the state Capitol. Now, the fall in oil prices has tightened the revenue tap and the nation’s fastest-growing state is contemplating a dose of austerity. The price of North Dakota sweet crude has fallen by nearly half from a year ago to about $47 a barrel. On Tuesday, only 100 rigs were drilling in the state’s oil patch, barely half the number a year ago and the lowest since March, 2010. Each active oil rig represents about 175 direct and indirect jobs in North Dakota.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Here's the next big hit that could put more oil and gas companies into distress
Dallas Business Journal
Nicholas Sakelaris

Another shoe is about to drop on energy companies as banks adjust credit limits to meet the falling price of crude oil. “Most of their credit is tied to reserves,” Douglass Rayburn, an energy lawyer and partner at Baker Botts’ Dallas office. “A lot of people are facing cuts in their borrowing base. The value of those reserves are falling significantly. A lot of people are facing stress on their system.”  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Justice Half Served
The Ithacan
Faith Meckley

Dwain Wilder, Colleen Boland, Sandra Steingraber, Roland Micklem, Susan Mead, Judy Leaf, Jimmy Betts, John Dennis, Michael Clark and Kelsey Erickson. They all have at least two things in common. 1) They are outstanding and involved citizens in both their regional and global communities. 2) They went to jail for their efforts to protect Seneca Lake and expose the problems with Texas-based company Crestwood Midstream’s plan to store highly-pressurized gas in crumbling salt caverns. Outstanding, involved, passionate and concerned citizens, going to jail. For a violation trespass — not a criminal trespass. They went to jail over something equivalent to a parking ticket.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
REGULATION: Public Power's Ditto pushes legislative fix to FERC's power plan role, federal agency moves
E & E Newswire


Transcript Monica Trauzzi: Hello, and welcome to OnPoint. I'm Monica Trauzzi. With me today is Joy Ditto, senior vice president for legislative and political affairs at the American Public Power Association. Joy, thank you for coming on the show. Joy Ditto: Thank you so much for having me, Monica. Monica Trauzzi: Joy, as electric utilities transform their business models to accommodate new consumer demands, abundant natural gas supplies and the cost competitiveness of renewables as well, what do you see as the role of the federal government in sort of helping guide that transition?   [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Ted Cruz Compares Himself to Galileo, Calls Those Who Believe In Climate Change ‘Flat-Earthers’
Climate Progress
Ari Phillips

A few days after accusing “global warming alarmists” like California Governor Jerry Brown (D) of ridiculing and insulting “anyone who actually looks at the real data” around climate change, newly-declared presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-TX) upped his rhetoric against those who care about the issue. Speaking to the Texas Tribune on Tuesday, Cruz said that contemporary “global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-Earthers.” “You know it used to be it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier,” he said. In Cruz’s opinion, when it comes to climate change, his denier position places him alongside 17th Century scientist Galileo Galilei, who was also considered to be denying the mainstream knowledge of his day. According to Cruz’s logic, he is taking the minority view that human-caused climate change is not happening, just as Galileo took the minority view that the scientific method should be trusted over the Catholic Church. Galileo, who helped perpetuate the notion that the Earth rotates around the sun, was eventually excommunicated from the Church for his views. In the centuries since he has come to be known as the “father of modern physics” and “the father of modern science.” Cruz mentioned in the interview that his parents were mathematicians; however he himself studied public policy before going to law school. Cruz also said he had read a 1970s Newsweek article that morning about “global cooling.” He explained how all the people who believed in global cooling suddenly switched over to global warming when the evidence on cooling didn’t line up. The solutions to both warming and cooling, Cruz said, involved “government control of the energy sector and every aspect of our lives.” Either Cruz is suddenly interested in minor 1970s scientific theories or he is scrambling to find ways to push back against the overwhelming evidence that human-caused climate change is happening. Cruz is not the first to compare Galileo to those who speak out against the accepted science of climate change. In 2011, former presidential candidate and Texas governor Rick Perry dropped Galileo’s name as justification for his anti-climate position. As the website Skeptical Science points out, “the comparison is exactly backwards.” “Modern scientists follow the evidence-based scientific method that Galileo pioneered,” the website reads. “Skeptics who oppose scientific findings that threaten their world view are far closer to Galileo’s belief-based critics in the Catholic Church.”   [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
This Is The Man Exxon Chose To Lead Its Effort Against Climate Science
DeSmogBlog
Brendan Montague

In 1997, BP’s British boss, John Brown, stunned the world by endorsing the science of climate change and calling for government regulation to reduce carbon emissions. Exxon’s Lee Raymond (pictured), however, was an entirely different beast: brash, bullish and brutal. This real life J.R. Ewing came from working class stock all the way from the Great Plains and fought his way to the top of the oil giant Exxon. Raymond lived in a 8,642-square-foot, five-bedroom brick-façade home in Dallas, had around-the-clock access to the Exxon fleet of nine corporate planes for personal and work trips, and enjoyed the protection of an armed bodyguard and chauffeur who was a former New York police officer. ‘Oil and Gas Purist’ According to Steve Coll, the author of the award-winning Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power, Raymond ruled the company with a “drill sergeant-inspired ethos” and he “considered himself unabashedly to be a ‘free-market capitalist’ and resisted government intervention and regulation instinctively.” Raymond was also an “oil and gas purist” and, in taking over the company, ended the brief flirtation with environmentalism that had taken place under the former chairman Clifton Garvin, who had installed solar panels to heat his home's swimming pool. “It seemed the worst thing an Exxon manager could be in Raymond’s eyes was dishonest, but the second-worst thing was to be stupid,” according to one senior colleague. “‘Stupid shits’ was one of the direct phrases by which he conveyed his judgements.”  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Will 'Mining' Watchdog Hold Multinationals to Account?
The Tyee
Jeff Bone

Mining companies are unique in that they have always had to go where resources are physically located. These areas are often remote, environmentally delicate and inhabited by Indigenous people who will not share equally in the economic benefits of development. Canadian mining companies' international assets have increased in the past 10 years from a value of $30 billion to $210 billion. In light of these investments, some argue that the environment and communities from where these minerals are extracted have sometimes faced negative impacts. For instance, Hudbay Minerals Inc. is expected to go to trial in Ontario for alleged human rights abuses in Guatemala where it and a former subsidiary operated a nickel mine. The company has denied the allegations and they have not been proved in court.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Global Warming Is Slowing Ocean Currents Causing Dire Consequences, Warns Climate Expert Michael Mann

Cole Melino

Climate scientists Michael Mann and Stefan Rahmstorf announced the findings of their new study yesterday, which shows that the rapid melting of the polar ice has slowed down currents in the Atlantic Ocean, particularly since 1970. The scientists say “the slowdown in ocean currents will result in sea level rise in cities like New York and Boston, and temperature changes on both sides of the Atlantic,” reports NPR’s Jeremy Hobson. Mann, who is a professor and the director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, joined Hobson yesterday on Here and Now to discuss the study and the implications of its findings. Mann explains the consequences of the Gulf Stream shutting down and how it would drastically alter the climate in Europe and North America. The last time this happened, about 12,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age, North America and Europe went back into a mini-ice age, Mann says. Not only would North America and Europe experience colder temperatures, but “If those current systems shut down, then suddenly the North Atlantic [fisheries] would no longer be productive,” says Mann.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Exxon Shareholder Climate Vote Blocked, Chevron's Approved by SEC
Inside Climate News
Elizabeth Douglas

Shareholder resolutions at Exxon and Chevron propose that instead of investing in exploration projects that are chasing reserves that might become unsellable in a carbon-constrained world and in low-oil-price scenarios, the prudent course is for the companies to return that cash to shareholders instead. Credit: Max Mozart, flickr Government officials last week blocked a groundbreaking shareholder proposal on climate change from going to a vote at ExxonMobil. The move has confounded proponents, because the decision came just five days after the same agency cleared a similar resolution for Chevron's shareholder ballot.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
U.S. justices divided over challenge to mercury air pollution rule
Reuters
Lawrence Hurley

The U.S. Supreme Court appeared closely divided on Wednesday as it weighed whether the Obama administration had to consider costs before deciding whether to regulate emissions of mercury and other hazardous pollutants mainly from coal-fired power plants. Justice Anthony Kennedy could be a possible swing vote on the nine-justice court, with liberals backing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's rationale and conservatives hostile to the government's arguments.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Plan to expand regional support for wind power takes shape in the Midwest
E&E Publishing
Daniel Cusick

MINNEAPOLIS -- To be sure, Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, and Bob Inglis, the former Southern Republican congressman and free-market enthusiast, are not political soul mates. So when they got together in the Twin Cities last week for a discussion about the future of U.S. energy, their banter at times showed they were two distinct political species.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Maryland Senate Passes Bill To Declare Fracking An ‘Ultrahazardous Activity’
ThinkProgress
NATASHA GEILING

On Tuesday, Maryland legislators passed legislation that would place strong limits on the extraction of natural gas in the state. The Maryland House of Delegates passed a three-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — in the Western part of the state, while the Maryland Senate approved a bill that would impose strict financial liabilities on fracking companies and would declare fracking an “ultrahazardous and abnormally dangerous activity.” The bills must pass through the other chambers before heading to the desk of Republican Governor Larry Hogan for approval. Maryland has been under a de facto fracking ban for more than three years, following former Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley’s hold on permits while the state conducted studies of the fracking industry. The results of those inquiries were mixed, with one study raising concern over fracking’s impact on air quality and another finding that, under best practices, fracking would pose no threat to Maryland’s drinking water.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Naomi Klein: Let's kick oil while the price is down – video
The Guardian
Naomi Klein

Climate change should be a catalyst for a major change, but we're not treating it as a real emergency. Naomi Klein believes that capitalism is at war with the climate, but she says sometimes it gives us a gift – the sudden drop in oil prices. So let's not blow what could be our best chance to prevent catastrophic global warming  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Trans-Pacific Partnership Seen as Door for Foreign Suits Against U.S.
The New York Times
JONATHAN WEISMAN

WASHINGTON — An ambitious 12-nation trade accord pushed by President Obama would allow foreign corporations to sue the United States government for actions that undermine their investment “expectations” and hurt their business, according to a classified document. The Trans-Pacific Partnership — a cornerstone of Mr. Obama’s remaining economic agenda — would grant broad powers to multinational companies operating in North America, South America and Asia. Under the accord, still under negotiation but nearing completion, companies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings — federal, state or local — before tribunals organized under the World Bank or the United Nations.   [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Funds for safety went to utility execs' pay instead, PUC president says
Los Angeles Times
MARC LIFSHER

Money collected from ratepayers and earmarked for pipeline safety was instead spent on executive pay raises by the state's largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., in the months before a deadly pipeline explosion in 2010, lawmakers were told Wednesday. “In some cases, the utility did divert dollars we approved for safety purposes for executive compensation,” the new president of the Public Utilities Commission complained to members of the state Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee at an oversight hearing.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
‘Get them off rails now,’ Sen. Cantwell says of some oil tank cars
McClatchyDC
CURTIS TATE

WASHINGTON — Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., introduced legislation on Wednesday that would immediately ban the least sturdy tank cars from carrying crude oil after a series of recent fiery train derailments. The bill also would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to regulate the volatility of crude oil transported by rail, particularly oil extracted from shale formations in North Dakota’s Bakken region. Cantwell’s bill follows four recent derailments in West Virginia, Illinois and Ontario that have drawn new scrutiny to the large volumes of oil moving by rail across North America. Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/03/25/260915/get-them-off-rails-now-sen-cantwell.html#storylink=cpy  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Oil Downturn Slows Progress in Bringing Solar Power to Mines
Bloomberg Business
James Paton

(Bloomberg) -- High oil prices spurred mining companies to look at renewable energy to cut their diesel fuel bills. With crude plunging, it’s a different story today. An almost 50 percent drop in crude oil in the past year has pushed diesel prices lower, leading mines and other energy users to delay adding solar and wind projects. “There’s no doubt about it there are a lot of parts of the world that see the drop in price as a reason for them to stall the decision on whether to proceed,” said John Eccles, director of global hybrid generation at First Solar Inc., the largest U.S. solar panel manufacturer.   [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
House member questions impact of gas pipeline rupture on Indian Point nuke
SNL
Matthew Bandyk

A U.S. lawmaker whose district is home to Entergy Corp.'s Indian Point nuclear power plant on March 24 grilled Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Stephen Burns over whether the agency is underestimating the threat of a natural gas pipeline rupture damaging the plant. "I strongly believe that the NRC has not adequately investigated the risk nor responded substantively to the concerns that have been raised" over the planned expansion of a Spectra Energy Corp pipeline that traverses part of the site of Indian Point, Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said to Burns during a House Appropriations Committee Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Groups Want David Koch Unseated From Smithsonian, AMNH Boards
Inside Climate News
Neela Banerjee

A new campaign urging science museums to cut ties with David Koch has thrown a spotlight on the billionaire Koch brothers' enormous philanthropic footprint and their oil interests, as they continue to undercut climate science, environmental regulations and clean energy. Fifteen non-profits, including the Sierra Club, Greenpeace and Daily Kos, launched a petition calling on the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and the American Museum of Natural History in New York to remove David Koch from their boards of trustees, because "he bankrolls groups that deny climate science." The non-profits cite a letter to museums, also sent Tuesday, by more than 30 scientists asking for a severing of ties to all fossil fuel interests.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
NHS game-changers: The rising threat of climate change
New Scientist
Catherine Brahic

It has been called the single most important public health issue of the 21st century. Climate change is a challenge for UK healthcare, not just because it could bring nasty insect-borne diseases closer to the country's shores, but because of the way it will exacerbate existing problems, such as the deadly effect of heatwaves, particularly on the elderly. Average UK temperatures have been rising by about 0.25 °C a decade since the 1960s, and they are projected to be between 2 °C and 5 °C higher still by 2080. Death rates go up in the days following peaks in temperatures and air pollution. Although people rarely die of heatstroke itself, high temperatures can make you more likely to die of an existing heart or lung condition.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Family accuses Antero of property encroachment
The West Virginia Record
Carol Ostrow

WEST UNION — A Doddridge County mother and daughter have sued an energy company. Genevieve V. Stanley, as administrator of the estate of Toby Douglas Stanley and Kathryn L. Stanley, filed a lawsuit March 2 in Doddridge Circuit Court against Antero Resources Corporation, Antero Resources Appalachian Corporation, EQT Gathering and Wells Fargo Bank.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Judge Praises Seneca Lake Gas Storage Protesters, Drops Charges
Democracy Now!


In upstate New York, a judge has dismissed charges against 42 protesters arrested for civil disobedience against plans by the firm Crestwood Midstream to expand gas storage in caverns at Seneca Lake. According to the group We Are Seneca Lake, Judge Raymond Berry dismissed the charges "in the interests of justice," and commended the protesters, saying, "I’m very proud of you. You had a cause and you fought for it to the best of your ability." Another 100 protesters arrested as part of the campaign will also see their charges dismissed.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Slides: Shales 101: A Failed Business Model?
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Want to learn more about shales? Start here with this slide deck and see why the shale business model faces so many hurdles.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Fracking deserves a pause
Baltimore Sun
Opinion

The Maryland House of Delegates gave final approval Tuesday to legislation that would place a moratorium on the use of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to produce natural gas in this state for the next three years. The vote was 93-to-45, a two-thirds majority. The proposal offers the kind of compromise that the state Senate and Gov. Larry Hogan ought to embrace.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Maryland House, Senate pass hydraulic fracturing bills
Penn Energy
AP

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Lawmakers in both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly are taking a stand against fracking. Senators and delegates voted Tuesday in favor of their chamber's respective bills to hold drilling companies more responsible for damages and place a three-year moratorium on the natural gas drilling method. Senators voted 29-17 in favor of a bill that holds drilling companies strictly liable for injuries to residents or their property, and in the case of legal action companies would have to disclose what chemicals they use for drilling. In a 93-45 vote in the House, delegates voted to support a three-year moratorium on the drilling practice while more studies are done on fracking's impact on public health. The bills now head to the opposite chambers for consideration.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Lawyers argue over Abita Springs' fracking lawsuit
Times Picayune
Robert Rhoden

The appropriateness of Abita Springs' fracking lawsuit was the subject of more than an hour of sparring between attorneys Tuesday (March 24) at the St. Tammany Parish courthouse, but the judge took the matter under study without issuing any rulings. State Judge William Knight, who noted the opposing sides' "very entrenched" positions, did not indicate when he would rule. Lawyers representing defendants Helis Oil & Gas Co. and the state Department of Natural Resources argued that the lawsuit aimed at blocking a proposed oil drilling and fracking project northeast of Mandeville is similar to the suit filed by St. Tammany Parish. The town's suit should be dismissed, put on hold or joined with the parish's case, which is pending in 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, they argued.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
“We’re the frackers and we’re here to protect you” — Really?
Dallas Morning News
Jim Mitchell

The Texas Oil & Gas Association has fired a new shot in the contentious debate over whether cities should have the authority to regulate oil and gas drilling within municipal limits. And it misses the target. In a video titled “The Facts on Overreaching Bans and Predatory Ordinances,” the Texas Oil & Gas Association argues that cities are imposing excessive setbacks and then ignoring those restrictions and allowing new subdivisions to develop within the setback radius. Therefore, the state should have control over setbacks and other oil and gas drilling activity to protect cities from themselves. Denton is the targeted city featured in the video: “Both their own actions and scientific studies show that extreme setbacks on energy development are not necessary to protect health and safety. This is why the state of Texas, not cities, should continue to be in charge of regulating and setting stands for oil and gas development and production. The state has expertise that cities do not and is in the best position to ensure public safety and economic growth through common sense rules.” The video misses a couple important points. Denton residents voted to ban hydraulic fracturing within city limits. Period. And other cities that had allowed development to take place closer to drilling cities have learned over time that this was a mistake.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Fox's Cavuto, Heartland's Lehr In Denial About Fracking Pollution
MedisMatters
Denise Robbins

Fox News host Neil Cavuto and the Heartland Institute's Jay Lehr denied that hydraulic fracturing has ever been "proven" to pollute water supplies, despite the hundreds of documented cases of leaky fracking wells causing groundwater contamination. Cavuto also dismissed the Bush administration's role in creating the so-called "Halliburton loophole," which exempts fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act's restrictions on injecting toxic chemicals into the ground.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
House, Senate pass measures to curb fracking
The Baltimore Sun
Erin Cox and Timothy B. Wheeler

Both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly separately passed measures Tuesday that mark the most aggressive action the legislature has taken to curb natural gas extraction in the state.   [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Pennsylvania lawmakers dig in on natural gas severance tax
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Stephanie Ritenbaugh

Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers are maintaining a hardline stance against Gov. Tom Wolf’s Marcellus Shale severance tax proposal, saying they won’t discuss a tax until bills dealing with pensions and liquor privatization are settled. And with Mr. Wolf’s proposal to use a severance tax to reinvest in education being a campaign cornerstone, the stage is set for legislative horse trading this spring. “Voters elected him, and Pennsylvania understands this issue,” said John Hanger, Mr. Wolf’s director of planning and policy. “We are interested in good faith negotiation and conversation about the details. But we need a drilling tax.” Drew Crompton, chief of staff for state Sen. Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, the Senate president pro tempore said pensions must be dealt with first.   [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Don't Frack with Denton: A Community's Fight to Defend Home Rule
EcoWatch
Cole Mellino

Citizens of Denton, Texas are still fighting to keep fracking banned within city limits despite the vote last November in favor of the ban. Ever since the vote, state lawmakers in cahoots with the oil and gas industry and the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, have attempted to strip municipalities like Denton of home rule authority to override the city’s ban, according to Frack Free Denton.   [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Federal regulators 'stop the clock' on evaluating Port Ambrose gas plan off Jones Beach
Newsday
ELLEN YAN

Federal regulators facing a key deadline have "stopped the clock" in evaluating a controversial plan to build a natural gas transfer station 19 miles off Jones Beach. In a March 17 letter posted online Tuesday, the Coast Guard and the federal Maritime Administration noted it had only 21 more calendar days under the law to hold the last public hearings on Port Ambrose, proposed by Liberty Natural...  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Utah confirms spike in infant deaths in oil and gas boomtown, but the state won’t bother finding out why
Raw Story
Zoe Schlanger

  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
State may challenge federal fracking rules
Bismarck Tribune
Nick Smith

North Dakota's attorney general will be looking at the possibility of challenging new rules concerning fracking that were issued last week by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management. “We need to take action,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple, adding that the fracking rules are an overreach that could interfere with the work of the state’s water commission and health department.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Can Cruz win the oil primary?
Politico
Andrew Restuccia and Elana Schor

His aggressive support for legalizing oil exports and abolishing the ethanol mandate stand out even in a pro-fossil-fuel GOP.   [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Science Museums Urged to Cut Ties With Kochs
The New York Times
JOHN SCHWARTZ

Dozens of climate scientists and environmental groups are calling for museums of science and natural history to “cut all ties” with fossil fuel companies and philanthropists like the Koch brothers. A letter released on Tuesday asserts that such money is tainted by these donors’ efforts to deny the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change. “When some of the biggest contributors to climate change and funders of misinformation on climate science sponsor exhibitions in museums of science and natural history, they undermine public confidence in the validity of the institutions responsible for transmitting scientific knowledge,” the letter states. “This corporate philanthropy comes at too high a cost.”  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Congressman authors bill to restore property rights of landowners hurt by fracking bans
watchdog.org
Karen Beseth

In what many perceived as a purely political move that was based on questionable science, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo banned hydraulic fracturing last year, dashing the hope for economic revitalization for many upstate New York residents. Thanks to the ban, landowners with property on the Marcellus Shale lost out on lucrative fracking leases, and the state lost out on the prospect of thousands of new jobs. Proponents of fracking promised to mount a legal challenge to the ban, and Rep. Tom Reed’s proposed legislation could make that challenge a little easier.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
New Fracking rules: Wyoming drills most on federal lands
CNBC
Tom DiChristopher

The state that could be most affected by new federal fracking rules isn't top U.S. crude producer Texas, or even booming North Dakota. It's Wyoming, the Cowboy State. On Friday, the U.S. government released its first regulations for hydraulic fracturing, the controversial drilling method that involves injecting a mix of water and chemicals into the earth in order to release hydrocarbons from rock formations. The new guidelines apply only to exploration on federal and Native American land.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Environmentalists Say Obama Caved on Fracking
Newsmax
Drew MacKenzie

Environmental activists have accused President Barack Obama of turning his back on the chance to crack down on the procedure of fracking for oil and natural gas. They claim that the Interior Department missed out on a golden opportunity to rein in the hydraulic fracturing process when it released the first major fracking regulations for federal lands last week, according to The Hill. With Congress exempting fracking from many environmental laws on private and state lands in 2005, the conservationists say that the new regulations were a bonus to the oil and natural gas industry by allowing drillers to continue their environment-destroying practice.   [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Fracking commission appointed to study shale gas conditions
cbc news


The New Brunswick government has appointed a commission to study hydraulic fracturing and report back to cabinet within one year on whether the government's conditions for shale gas development can be met. Donald Arseneault Energy Minister Donald Arseneault says it is "responsible and prudent" for the government to do its due diligence and get more information about hydraulic fracturing. (CBC) Energy and Mines Minister Donald Arseneault says the government has a responsibility to consider the controversial method of natural gas extraction as a possible way to create jobs. The commission will be led by Guy Richard, former chief justice of the Court of Queen's Bench.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
A $600-Million Fracking Company Just Sued This Tiny Ohio Town For Its Water
Climate Progress
Samantha Page

A tiny town in eastern Ohio is being sued by an Oklahoma-based oil and gas company that bought more than 180 million gallons of water from the town last year. That water use, combined with a dry fall, prompted the village to temporarily shut off water to Gulfport Energy. Now, a second company has a water agreement, and there might not be enough water to go around. Gulfport Energy alleges in the lawsuit that the village of Barnesville, population 4,100, violated its agreement to provide water from its reservoir by entering into a contract with oil and gas company Antero Resources. Gulfport says the village’s contract with Antero allows for withdrawals beyond what Gulfport is allowed to take. Gulfport’s water supply can be shut off whenever water levels in the reservoir create a risk to the health and safety of the village residents and businesses. Last fall, the reservoir was down three feet below average when village officials stopped all outside withdrawals.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Say It Ain’t So: Is Brown Really a Fracking Whore?
Calbuzz


Gov. Jerry Brown is dedicated to preserving the environment and leading the fight against climate change. He’s fearless enough to slap Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as a “disgrace” for trying to incite the states to reject White House efforts to reduce carbon emissions. And he’s deft enough to label Sen. Ted Cruz, a climate-change-denying GOP presidential candidate, as “absolutely unfit to be running for office.” All of which renders Brown’s persistent defense of fracking – the environmentally dangerous and water polluting practice of drilling for oil by hydraulic fracturing – such a huge disappointment. On the one hand, he calls for – and even leads – a “crusade to protect our climate”; on the other he allows oil companies to engage in a practice that science and common sense insist is destructive, wasteful and unsafe to the environment and to Californians. So, more in sadness than in anger, we must ask: Why is Brown acting a fracking whore?  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Deal Reached for Drilling Under Ohio River
WV Public Broadcasting


The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register reports that Norway-based Statoil plans to drill on about 474 acres of state-owned land under the river in Marshall and Wetzel counties. Statoil has agreed to pay an average price of $8,732 per acre. The state also will receive 20 percent production royalties. Department of Commerce spokeswoman Chelsea Ruby tells the newspaper that the state is still finalizing drilling agreements with Gastar Exploration and Noble Energy.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
2 more cities consider opposing offshore drilling
PilotOnline.com


The cities of Charleston and Myrtle Beach are both taking up resolutions opposing offshore drilling and the use of seismic testing to survey for oil and natural gas off the South Carolina coast. City councils in both communities consider the resolutions during their meetings on Tuesday. If the resolution is passed in Charleston, the city would become the largest in the state opposing offshore drilling. Myrtle Beach is the heart of the state's $18 billion tourism industry. To date, seven coastal communities in South Carolina and 12 in North Carolina are on record against drilling. Opponents of offshore drilling worry that spills could damage fisheries and the important coastal tourism industry. Supporters say drilling can be done safely and will mean jobs and new revenues.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Maryland House, Senate pass fracking bills
wral.com


ANNAPOLIS, MD. — Lawmakers in both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly are taking a stand against fracking. Senators and delegates voted Tuesday in favor of their chamber's respective bills to hold drilling companies more responsible for damages and place a three-year moratorium on the natural gas drilling method. Senators voted 29-17 in favor of a bill that holds drilling companies strictly liable for injuries to residents or their property, and in the case of legal action companies would have to disclose what chemicals they use for drilling.   [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
As Obama administration weighs Arctic drilling, Shell moves rigs to region
Fuel Fix
Jennifer A Dloughy

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is set to announce within days whether it will reaffirm a 7-year-old government auction of oil leases in the Chukchi Sea — a decision critical to Shell’s plans to resume drilling in those Arctic waters this summer. Even before the pending decision, Shell Oil Co., has begun moving its drilling rigs to the region, marking the clearest sign yet that the firm expects to be boring new Arctic wells this summer. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is tasked with deciding whether to affirm, modify or void the 2008 lease sale at which Shell spent $2.1 billion buying its existing drilling leases, following years of legal challenges to the auction.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
A small victory in the fight against fracking-related earthquakes in Kansas
Pitch Weekly
David Hudnall

Down in Harper County, Kansas, a recent and sudden rise in earthquakes has caused structural cracks and damages to the courthouse, with repairs estimated at $1.1 million. In adjacent Sumner County — also located in the Sunflower State along the Kansas-Oklahoma border — earthquakes continue to damage homeowners' walls and roofs. Last November, the largest earthquake ever recorded in Kansas occurred in Sumner County. These quakes are a new phenomenon. From 1977 to 2012, only about 30 earthquakes happened in Kansas that were strong enough to feel, Rex Buchanan, interim director at the Kansas Geological Survey, has said. From January 2014 until today, Kansas has experienced 113 quakes strong enough to require study by the Kansas Geological Survey. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — a controversial drilling practice of oil and gas companies, whose expanded operations in southern Kansas correlate to the rising number of quakes — is widely believed to be the cause of these earthquakes. The United States Geological Survey has connected seismic activity to the disposal of fracking waste fluids into injection wells. There are 71 injection wells in Harper County filled with a total of 2 billion gallons of waste fluids. In Sumner County, 79 injection wells are home to 450 million gallons of waste fluids. In Kansas, the Kansas Corporation Commission has been slow to regulate the oil and gas companies. But an order it issued last week will require oil and gas producers to reduce the amount of waste saltwater they can pump back into the earth. A gradual reduction will take place over the next 100 days, resulting in a 60 percent reduction in allowable disposal. Jon Spease, chairman of the Hydraulic Fracturing Committee for the Kansas Sierra Club says it's a step in the right direction. "It's a good start, and we're grateful the KCC is acting on this," Spease tells The Pitch. But he says that because Harper and Sumner Counties are located along fault lines, oil and gas companies need to relocate entirely from there. "Recent reports by the U.S. Geological Survey make it clear that once faults are activated, reducing the amount of fluids isn't going to help as long as any fluids at all are still going into those wells," he says. "People say, 'There's all kinds of drilling going on in North Dakota, how come they're not having these crazy earthquakes?' It's because those sites aren't located along geological fault lines where rocks can slip and cause earthquakes. When these wells are located near faults and you inject fluids, things just start slipping, and that's what's happening in southern Kansas and Oklahoma, which are part of the Arbuckle formation." Once those faults have been activated, Spease says, it will take a period of absence of injection to halt the earthquakes. "So while we're appreciative of any action on this, what really needs to happen is these companies completely stop using these wells on sites located near fault lines." He adds, "We're encouraging people to stay alert and contact the KCC if they're still experiencing earthquakes."   [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
US shale oil firms raise enough equity to avoid loan reset squeeze
Reuters


HOUSTON, March 24 (Reuters) - Despite a 50 percent slide in crude prices since last summer, U.S. shale oil producers are enjoying remarkably easy access to capital markets and this will allow them to avoid getting squeezed when banks reset their loans in April. A surge in equity issuance so far this year by oil and gas companies has surprised many who in December thought the price drop would hurt the ability of producers to tap capital markets. But investor appetite has held up in the first quarter, amounting to a vote of confidence in the ability of shale oil companies to weather the storm by relying on hedges and slashing spending to show a commitment to capital discipline. "Because the capital markets are so good companies that are more worried about their borrowing base are able to ... raise either debt or equity, take those proceeds, and reduce their borrowing base," said Timothy Perry, a managing director for energy investment banking at Credit Suisse in Houston.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Utah Confirms Spike in Infant Deaths in Oil and Gas Boomtown After Midwife Sounds Alarm
Newsweek
Zoe Schlanger

Donna Young was right. In 2013, more infants died in Vernal, Utah, than was normal for the area. Last year, Young, who has been delivering babies as a midwife for nearly two decades, noticed several fresh graves for infants in the cemetery in her tiny city. She sensed that something wasn’t right. She didn’t have access to official death records, so she started combing through obituaries online. Vernal’s population is under 10,000. According to Young’s findings, the town put in 191 graves in 2010, of which two were for infants. A year later, three infants died, and in 2012, four. The following year, 13 infants died shortly after birth. Total burials in Vernal numbered 176 in 2013, so roughly one in every 15 new graves was for an infant. Vernal’s rate of neonatal mortality appears to have climbed from about average in 2010 (relative to national figures) to six times the normal rate three years later, Young’s calculations show. Eventually, she, along with several advocacy groups and the pediatric medicine department at the University of Utah, got the attention of state officials, who agreed to look into the statistics.   [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Has California’s megadrought already begun?
Grist
Eric Holthaus

This story was originally published by Slate and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. As California limps through another nearly rain-free rainy season, the state is taking increasingly bold action to save water. On March 17, the California state government imposed new mandatory restrictions on lawn watering and incentives to limit water use in hotels and restaurants as part of its latest emergency drought regulations. On March 19, California Gov. Jerry Brown announced a $1 billion plan to support water projects statewide and speed aid to hard-hit communities already dealing with shortages. Last month, federal water managers announced a “zero allocation” of agricultural water to a key state canal system for the second year in a row, essentially transforming thousands of acres of California farmland into dust.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Climate-denying senator given money by BP PAC
Grist
Simon Bowers

his story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. One of America’s most powerful and outspoken opponents of climate change regulation received election campaign contributions that can be traced back to senior BP staff, including chief executive Bob Dudley. James Inhofe, a Republican senator from Oklahoma who has tirelessly campaigned against calls for a carbon tax and challenges the overwhelming consensus on climate change, received $10,000 from BP’s political action committee (PAC).  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Fracking bills in Legislature fuel city-control debate
Dallas Morning News
Marissa Barnett

AUSTIN — It was standing room only at a House hearing on two bills that would restrict how cities can regulate oil and gas activities. The bills would prevent cities from passing oil and gas ordinances that are not “commercially reasonable” and require them to make up tax revenue lost because of oil and gas restrictions. Opponents view the legislation as part of a slate of bills this session aimed at limiting local control, but supporters say otherwise. “Local regulations must be reasonable and ensure that property owners have the regulatory certainty that they will be able to access their minerals,” said Todd Staples, head of the Texas Oil and Gas Association.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Green groups attack Hillary Clinton over fracking, Keystone
Washington Times
Valerie Richardson

Environmentalists turned up the heat Monday on former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, urging her to “come clean” on issues like the Keystone XL pipeline and hydraulic fracturing in a protest outside her speech at a journalism awards ceremony. Three climate-change groups — Friends of the Earth, the Center for Biological Diversity and 350.org — brought 10 demonstrators and “Frostpaw the Polar Bear” to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where Mrs. Clinton was the keynote speaker for the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting.   [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Scientists Launch Study Of Emissions Over Fracking Site
Denver cbs local


BOULDER, Colo. (AP) – Researchers are taking to the air to measure trace emissions over oil and gas production sites in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota, the Niobrara shale formation of northern Colorado and Wyoming, and the Four Corners. Scientists from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plan 15 research flights out of Colorado and Texas between now and May, the Daily Camera, a Boulder, Colorado, newspaper, reported Monday. The researchers are using aircraft equipped with chemical instruments, and tell the Camera that once their data is collected, it will take more than a year to synthesize.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
The Shale Debt Redux
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Shale debt, falling prices and slack demand has tight oil producers in trouble. And yet, there is still burgeoning production. Why? Well, we’ve seen this before. It’s the shale debt redux. Operators did it a few years ago in natural gas and prices have yet to recover. Unfortunately cheap money in the form of debt can mean poor investment choices for businesses and for investors. But it can also lead to an aberrant market because operators deep in debt won’t curtail production even though it is glutted. Debt coupons simply have to be met. The shale revolution has always been funded by massive debt. Operators who were drilling for gas back in 2009-2011 used debt extensively. And just like now, they overproduced. By 2011, supply exceeded demand by four times. Then prices tanked. It is curious that so few asked the questions: why did they produce so heavily and glut the market; and why did they continue to produce into a glutted market? The answer is really quite simple. Many couldn’t afford to pull back production to help stabilize prices. Had they done so, they would not have been able to meet their debt payments. So they kept pumping…and pumping…and pumping. And now they’ve done it again.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Pa. counties seek to keep impact fee on shale wells
Pocono Record


HARRISBURG (AP) — An organization of Pennsylvania's county commissioners is lining up against Gov. Tom Wolf's proposal to replace a fee on Marcellus Shale natural gas wells with a flat annual payment to the same recipients, primarily governments where wells are hosted. Keeping the three-year-old impact fee is a top priority of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, its executive director, Doug Hill, said Monday during the group's annual spring conference. Wolf was asked about his proposal during the gathering at a downtown Harrisburg hotel. The $225 million annual payment he is proposing would allow public schools to benefit from the new money that is gathered from the severance tax he wants to impose on the industry.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Florida's unspeakable issue leaves climate change official tongue-tied.
The Guardian
Katherine Krueger

he latest victim of Florida governor Rick Scott’s unwritten ban on state officials using the words “climate change” is his own disaster preparedness lieutenant, who stumbled through verbal gymnastics to avoid using the scientific term in a newly surfaced video.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Quitting the Bakken: one oil worker walks away
MARKETPLACE
Emily Guerin

In the past few years, workers from all over America have flocked to North Dakota for jobs in the booming oil industry. For a lot of people struggling through their own hard times, it’s been an opportunity for a second chance. And for some, it was their last resort. But since summer 2014, oil prices have dropped by half. Some 75,000 oil workers nationwide have lost their jobs, and more have had their hours cut. Apryl Boyce is one of those workers. She's 42, tall, tough-looking and pretty, with long blond hair tucked beneath a crocheted beanie. She came to the Bakken last fall and has spent months driving a one-ton truck all over the oil field, at all hours of the day, as a hot shot, a driver who hauls equipment from one job site to another. Recently, things have slowed down a lot. "It used to be you’d get called out at four in the morning and be doing runs until 10 at night," she said. Now, she waits by the phone most of the day. There are 80 fewer drilling rigs here in North Dakota than there were six months ago. That means less to haul around.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Ithaca area’s Congressman: N.Y. should pay for damage done by fracking ban
The Ithaca Voice
REP. TOM REED

Editor’s Note: The following is an opinion column written by Rep. Tom Reed, who represents the Ithaca area in the U.S. Congress.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Quick wit, hometown values buoy outgoing FERC chief
E & E Newswire
Hannah Northey

Cheryl LaFleur will give up her gavel next month after a short, tumultuous run at the helm of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In her 17 months as chairwoman, grass-roots grumbling over natural gas infrastructure erupted into protests with demonstrators disrupting commission meetings and blocking doors to the agency's Washington, D.C., headquarters. U.S. EPA's draft Clean Power Plan sparked a politically charged debate over whether FERC will safeguard the grid. A fight brewed over a capacity auction in LaFleur's native New England with a loud call for her resignation.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Confusion Swirls Over Bill to Clarify Drilling Rules
The Texas Tribune
Jim Malewitz

Texas cities shouldn’t fear his proposed legislation to clarify when and how cities can regulate regulate oil and gas activities, a top state lawmaker said Monday. “We recognize that the cities have the right to do ordinances,” Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, said Monday at a hearing of the House Energy Resources Committee, which he chairs. “Purposeful municipal regulation can be important in developing the minerals in this state.” Those words, however, did not appear to assure many of the local officials who came to Austin to voice their concerns.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
State legislative Dems want Gov. Cuomo to reject Port Ambrose gas project
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Ken Lovett

Here is an expanded fourth item from my "Albany Insider" column in Monday's editions: Fifty-two state legislative Democrats have joined the effort to kill a proposed natural gas project off the Long Island coast. The Dems sent a letter to Cuomo asking that he kill the Port Ambrose project the same way he rejected upstate hydrofracking late last year. They join a host of bipartisan critics of the project, including Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos and Democratic City Controller Scott Stringer.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Americans Split on Support for Fracking in Oil, Natural Gas
Gallup
Art Swift

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The practice of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," has emerged as a divisive issue across the U.S., reflected in Americans' opinions about it; 40% of Americans say they favor the procedure, while 40% oppose it, and a substantial 19% do not have an opinion. This is amid the Obama administration last week announcing the first nationwide safety rules for fracking.   [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Wonks vs. greens
Politico
Alex Guillén

One of the most technocratic agencies in the federal government has become an unlikely magnet for unruly eco-protesters. That’s turned meetings of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission into monthly spectacles far different from the agency’s usually dry debates about transmission planning, pricing disputes and electric reliability standards. Activists angry about fracking and climate change are chanting, shouting and squatting on the floor until uniformed officers haul them away — and, of course, they’re uploading the whole drama to YouTube. At least twice last year, officers arrested dozens of protesters for blocking the entrance to FERC’s headquarters near Union Station, while the agency has felt compelled to issue its first official edict against “disruptive” behavior. The activists plan to go even bigger in May, when they hope to draw at least 500 people for a weeklong series of protests against the agency, at which some intend to be arrested. They even have anti-FERC signs — bearing messages like “Fracking Expansion Rubberstamp Commission” — and T-shirts, with slogans like “FERC Doesn’t Work.” It’s an unusual amount of ruckus for an agency that most Americans probably couldn’t name, and which says it has no jurisdiction over either climate change or fracking. But FERC plays a role in vetting projects to export natural gas — and it holds monthly board meetings open to the public. The activists aren’t buying the argument that the commissioners lack the power to act.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Costa Rica Is Cutting Electric Rates by 12% Because It Has So Much Renewable Energy
Green Tech Media
Stephen Lacey

ThinkProgress: Costa Rica Has Gotten All of Its Energy From Renewables for 75 Days Straight Costa Rica got 100 percent of its energy from renewables for 75 days straight this year, the state-run Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) announced this week. The Latin American country hasn’t had to use fossil fuels at all so far in 2015, due to heavy rains that have kept hydroelectric power plants going strong. Wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy have also helped power the country this year.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
His Chemical Romance: Tom Udall Teams Up With the Chemical Industry, With Explosive Results
Mother Jones
Jenna McLaughlin

A lot of environmentalists are mad at Tom Udall. And they're surprised about this. The Democratic senator from New Mexico has a long and distinguished record as an environmentalist, and two weeks ago he introduced legislation to reform the testing and regulation of chemicals. But his former green allies—including environmentalists, lawmakers, professors, and public health officials—oppose the legislation, and accuse Udall of becoming too cozy with the chemical industry, which spends over $60 million a year to lobby Congress. They claim that Udall is sacrificing public health for chemical-industry profits and that his bipartisan bill, which is cosponsored by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), doesn't protect people from dangerous chemicals, such as asbestos, BPA, and formaldehyde, and, moreover, cripples the regulatory efforts of individual states. "To be 100 percent candid and direct, [Udall's] bill has been generated by the chemical industry itself," Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said at a press conference last Wednesday. Indeed, the chemical industry has been outspoken in its support of Udall. "This bill is the best and only opportunity to achieve a pragmatic, bipartisan solution to reform chemical regulation," said American Chemistry Council president Cal Dooley last week in a press release.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Protesters Removed After Disrupting Monthly FERC Meeting
EcoWatch
Ted Glick

Last week at the monthly meeting of the five Commissioners of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington, DC, a group of 20 Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) activists took action. Two people, myself and Ellen Taylor, attempted to read the statement below just before the meeting began, but as Ellen began to speak FERC security moved on the two of us and moved us out of the room and out the front door of the building. But BXE wasn’t done.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Gulfport Energy suing Ohio village over access to water for fracking
Columbus First Business
Tom Knox

One of the most-active drillers in eastern Ohio is suing a Belmont County village to draw water for its hydraulic fracturing operations. Gulfport Energy Corp. (NASDAQ:GPOR) is suing Barnesville to get water from the Slope Creek Reservoir, the Intelligencer reports. Barnesville in 2012 agreed to allow Gulfport, which has the second-most Utica shale drilling permits in the state, to buy water from the reservoir, as long as it isn’t drawn down to dangerous levels. About a month later, village officials signed a mineral lease with Denver-based Antero Resources Corp. (NYSE:AR), the third-most-active driller in Ohio, the Intelligencer reports.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
FERC Chair LaFleur sees trouble ahead for gas pipeline permitting
SNL
Sean Sullivan

Environmental and public resistance to natural gas pipelines will make it more difficult to build the infrastructure that helped smooth energy deliveries this winter, Cheryl LaFleur predicted at the last FERC meeting she led as chairman. LaFleur discussed opposition to pipelines following FERC's March 19 meeting, after SNL Energy asked about challenges such as a push by the White House Council on Environmental Quality to have federal agencies do more on climate change, and recent court decisions affecting FERC approvals of gas pipeline projects. "We're still assessing what the impact of the new CEQ guidance would be, but we are certainly prepared to work with any CEQ guidance," she told SNL Energy at a news briefing. "We've always tried to take into account in our [National Environmental Policy] work all the reasonably foreseeable outcomes of a project." "But I do see additional challenges in permitting pipeline infrastructure given the increased opposition and controversy surrounding pipeline infrastructure, particularly in the Northeast," she continued.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Finally, A Climate Change Message That Just Might Work
Huffington Post
Jonathan Mingle

n recent years, many approaches to framing climate change have been tested on the largely indifferent American public. Some major environmental organizations have tried to call our attention to the spoilage of nature, emphasizing everything from the threat to photogenic polar bears to the loss of coral reefs from acidification of the oceans. Others have highlighted the economy-reviving potential of elusive "green jobs." The Pentagon and intelligence community are now describing climate change as an immediate national security threat. Some commentators have even tried to get Americans to care by pointing out that climate change could mean the end of coffee and red wine. And of course, a growing chorus of scientists have also been trying to let us know that, ahem, it could also mean the end of human civilization. None of these have really worked: we're still on track to soar past the agreed-upon goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial temperatures. (Billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer summed up the situation recently for The New York Times thus: "One side argues morality and polar bears, and the other side argues jobs. You're never going to win with polar bears.") But there are signs that policy-shapers might finally have hit on a winning way to frame the threat-cum-opportunity posed by the pollution-driven phenomenon of climate change: it is first and foremost an urgent public health crisis.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
More Landowners Resisting Gas Pipelines
Public News Service
Dan Heyman and RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Huge pipelines intended to carry Marcellus and Utica natural gas to eastern markets are running into spreading resistance from landowners. Richmond-based Dominion Resources and its partners have filed about 100 lawsuits against landowners who are resisting surveying crews for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Now landowners in the path of a different pipeline, the Mountain Valley Pipeline, have filed preemptive suits to stop surveying crews hired by the Pittsburgh-based EQT energy company and its partners.   [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Costa Rica is now running completely on renewable energy
Quartz
Adam Epstein

Costa Rica is running without having to burn a single fossil fuel, and it’s been doing so for 75 straight days. Thanks to some heavy rainfall this year, Costa Rica’s hydropower plants alone are generating nearly enough electricity to power the entire country. With a boost from geothermal, solar, and wind energy sources, the country doesn’t need an ounce of coal or petroleum to keep the lights on. Of course, the country has a lot of things going in its favor. Costa Rica is a small nation, has less than 5 million people, doesn’t have much of a manufacturing industry that would require a lot of energy, and is filled with volcanoes and other topographical features that lend themselves to renewable energy.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Renewable energy isn’t boosting electric bills study contends
Denver Post
Mark Jaffe

Renewable energy is seen as the culprit behind higher electricity bills by Colorado Republican lawmakers, but a new study contends it just ain’t so. The Colorado Senate passed a bill rolling back the state’s renewable energy standard – which requires that investor-owned utilities get 30 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020 and rural electric coops to get 20 percent — to 15 percent for both. “We want to make sure we’re not pushing the envelope so far that we’re hurting consumers, especially the rural consumers,” said the sponsor, Sen. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Renewable Energy Growth Mitigates Climate Change While Boosting Economy, IEA Reports
Eco Watch
Steven Cohen

The International Energy Agency (IEA) announced this month that 2014 carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector leveled off—the first time in 40 years this has happened without being linked to an economic downturn. According to the IEA: “Global emissions of carbon dioxide stood at 32.3 billion tonnes in 2014, unchanged from the preceding year. The preliminary IEA data suggest that efforts to mitigate climate change may be having a more pronounced effect on emissions than had previously been thought. The IEA attributes the halt in emissions growth to changing patterns of energy consumption in China and OECD countries. In China, 2014 saw greater generation of electricity from renewable sources, such as hydropower, solar and wind, and less burning of coal. In OECD economies, recent efforts to promote more sustainable growth—including greater energy efficiency and more renewable energy—are producing the desired effect of decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions.”  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Pope: Earth’s water must be protected, available to everyone
The Washington Post
Associated Press

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is encouraging the world to ensure its water supplies are protected and available to all. Francis noted the United Nations was marking Sunday as an occasion to draw attention to water’s importance. He quoted St. Francis of Assisi, who inspired his choice of name as pope, in praising water for its usefulness and purity.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
A cautionary tale for shale My grandmother’s community near Pittsburgh was dosed with radiation during an earlier energy boom
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Heather Theoret Rockwell

For most of my life, my grandmother, who died in 1998 at the age of 84, was plagued with paranoid thoughts about a massive conspiracy that threatened the health and well-being of her family. When I was a child, she conducted a “sweep” for listening devices at my house while helping my mom tidy up. Holidays at her house were spent talking in hushed tones so “the people in the walls” wouldn’t hear us. She repeatedly shoved a dog-eared, highlighted copy of the book “Silkwood” in our faces in a fruitless attempt to prove her point that we were at risk. Over time, we had to accept that our otherwise intelligent and productive grandma was losing her mind. The catalyst for her obsession? A nuclear fuels company called Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp., which sat right across the river from her home in Vandergrift, Pa.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Obama's controversial new fracking rules, explained
Vox
Brad Plumer

The new rules only apply to federal lands — but they'll provide a template for states On Friday, the Bureau of Land Management unveiled its new fracking rules. There are a few key parts: Oil and gas companies operating on federal and Indian lands will have to publicly disclose the chemicals they use 30 days after fracking a well. They'll use FracFocus, an industry website for self-disclosure. Drillers will have to conduct well integrity tests on every well they drill to ensure that the cement is holding up and nothing can leak out to nearby groundwater. Companies will have to store the wastewater that flows back out after fracking in tanks — they won't be allowed to use pits.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Frackman's accidental activist: 'There's blood in the water and I'm the shark'
The Guardian
Luke Buckmaster

osh Fox’s 2010 anti-fracking exposé GasLand has one jaw-dropping moment, the kind of gasp-inducing money shot that singlehandedly sold it as a must-see documentary. Investigating the effects of coal seam gas exploration on land around his property in rural Pennsylvania, the first-time film-maker visits a neighbour who promises to show him something shocking. Stuck to the wall above the kitchen sink is a piece of paper with a handwritten warning reading: “Do Not Drink This Water.” To demonstrate why, the neighbour puts a cigarette lighter directly underneath the tap and turns it on. What we see next beggars belief: the water has become so contaminated it erupts into a gigantic fireball.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Editorial: Overreaching bill could bring fracking to your doorstep
The Dallas Morning News
Editorial

Oil and gas operators have economic rights, and it seems some Austin lawmakers think those are the only rights that matter. HB 40, sponsored by Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, would strip the authority of cities to regulate oil and gas drilling on the grounds that the state has the sole authority to regulate oil and gas and mineral rights. This bill is an all-out assault on local control, seemingly designed to punish cities like Dallas and Denton that dared exercise their home-rule rights to protect their residents. It is a bad bill.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Shale gas pipeline to Northeast progresses, much to some landowners' dismay
FOX Business
Associated Press

HARPERSFIELD, N.Y. – The 124-mile Constitution Pipeline will likely bring some relief from relatively high natural gas prices to residents of New York City and New England. But it will also bring anguish to many landowners in the wooded hills and valleys in its path. Some will be unable to build retirement homes they had been planning, or subdivide and sell building lots because of the pipeline's route through their property. Others are dismayed at the clear-cutting of treasured forest.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Exports and eminent domain: Delegation weighs in on pipeline issues
The Roanoke Times
Duncan Adams

A rush to transport natural gas from extraction wells in Marcellus shale formations to customers that include natural gas-fired power plants helped hobble early communication between companies that want to build pipelines and the communities through which the pipes might pass. At least that’s the take of U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
New Federal Fracking Rule Faces Fight From Industry, Congress
Inside Energy
Stephanie Joyce

The new regulations require things like the disclosure of chemicals used in fracking and more tests to prove that a well isn't leaking into underground aquifers. Environmental and public advocacy groups pushed for the rules because of concerns about the effects of fracking, which along with horizontal drilling, has allowed shale production in the US to boom in recent years. Industry is opposed to federal rules though, saying they unnecessarily duplicate existing state regulations and don't actually address the fracking process. Just hours after the rule was unveiled, the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Western Energy Alliance filed suit, arguing those issues, and also that the rules require disclosure of confidential business information.   [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Green groups, energy firms equally annoyed by US fracking rules
Oman Tribune


The Obama administration’s new rules governing fracking on federal lands drew swift criticism from all sides late on Friday, with green groups calling the measures “toothless” and the energy industry slamming “unnecessary” regulation of a drilling process that has brought the United States to the cusp of oil and gas self-sufficiency. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a controversial technique that involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into a well to extract oil or gas. The new federal rules include beefed-up measures to protect ground water, one of the main health and safety concerns arising from the drilling process. Within minutes of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposal being released, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and Western Energy Alliance filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Wyoming on grounds that the rulemaking was based on “unsubstantiated concerns” over safety. The rules also require energy companies to reinforce boreholes to prevent water leakage, and to reveal chemical ingredients that are injected into the ground under high pressure to extract crude oil and gas. Although only about 10 per cent of fracking occurs on federal lands, the Obama administration is hoping its new rules can become a model for industry across the country. Drilling has been operating under state by state regulations, ranging from relatively strict operating rules in California to no rules in other states.   [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
A cautionary tale for shale
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Heather Theoret Rockwell

For most of my life, my grandmother, who died in 1998 at the age of 84, was plagued with paranoid thoughts about a massive conspiracy that threatened the health and well-being of her family. When I was a child, she conducted a “sweep” for listening devices at my house while helping my mom tidy up. Holidays at her house were spent talking in hushed tones so “the people in the walls” wouldn’t hear us. She repeatedly shoved a dog-eared, highlighted copy of the book “Silkwood” in our faces in a fruitless attempt to prove her point that we were at risk. Over time, we had to accept that our otherwise intelligent and productive grandma was losing her mind. The catalyst for her obsession? A nuclear fuels company called Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp., which sat right across the river from her home in Vandergrift, Pa.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
New saltwater disposal well plan in Nebraska Panhandle becomes a proxy fight over fracking
Omaha.com
David Hendee

MITCHELL, Neb. — A small Colorado oil company’s attempt to ignite oil and gas exploration in northwest Nebraska has instead sparked a grass-roots firestorm. Oil field operators commonly use wells to dispose of saltwater that is a byproduct of oil production. But when Terex Energy Corp. filed an application last fall to convert an inactive oil well near this town in the Nebraska Panhandle to a disposal well, the notion rattled many local people. They didn’t like the size of the project, and they saw it as a looming environmental apocalypse. In the Keystone XL pipeline era, oil and water don’t mix.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
It’s Official: Everybody Hates The New Fracking Rules… Not
Clean Technica
Tina Casey

The US Bureau of Land Management finally got around to posting its final fracking rules in the Federal Register on Friday, and before the ink was dry on the Intertubes, the American Petroleum Institute fired off a statement of objection. However, if you were expecting the nation’s premier fossil fuel lobbying organization to rip into the new rules with long daggers, you’ll be sorely disappointed. The statement was, to put it softly, mild as a pair of nail clippers. What gives?  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Phila. again ponders allure of liquefied natural gas
philly.com
Andrew Maykuth

Despite Philadelphia City Council's "unqualified" rejection nine years ago of a terminal for liquefied natural gas, the city is once again flirting with the money-making allure of LNG. Several entrepreneurs are promoting plans to increase LNG production at the Philadelphia Gas Works plant in Port Richmond, hoping to capitalize on growing interest in creating an energy hub linked to the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom. The most ambitious plan floated publicly is a $2.1 billion proposal to expand the Port Richmond plant's capacity to export LNG to European markets.   [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Exports and eminent domain: Delegation weighs in on pipeline issues
Roanoke.com
Duncan Adams

A rush to transport natural gas from extraction wells in Marcellus shale formations to customers that include natural gas-fired power plants helped hobble early communication between companies that want to build pipelines and the communities through which the pipes might pass. At least that’s the take of U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem. Griffith said this sense of urgency helps explain, but does not excuse, what he described as the “bull in the china shop” behavior of companies that want to build interstate pipelines to move natural gas from West Virginia through Virginia to customers in Virginia, North Carolina and elsewhere — including, perhaps, overseas. Griffith, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County, and U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both Democrats, were asked recently about the proposed Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines, surveying for pipeline routes without a property owner’s permission and natural gas exports.   [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Global Shale Fail: Oil Majors Leaving Fracking Fields Across Europe, Asia
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

With some analysts predicting the global price of oil to see another drop, many oil majors have deployed their parachutes and jumped from the hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) projects rapidly nose-diving across the world. As The Wall Street Journal recently reported, the unconvetional shale oil and gas boom is still predominantly U.S.-centric, likely to remain so for years to come. “Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC have packed up nearly all of their hydraulic fracturing wildcatting in Europe, Russia and China,” wrote The Wall Street Journal.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Fracking Fumes Force Texas Resident to Shutter Home Business After a Decade
InsideClimate News
David Hasemyer

The Buehrings' property on the south Texas prairie is surrounded by more than 50 wells and nine oil-and-gas facilities, all within 2.5 miles of their home.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Natural Gas Prices To Crash Unless Rig Count Falls Fast
oilprice.com
Arthur Berman

Spending cuts for oil-directed drilling have dominated first quarter 2015 energy news but rig counts for shale gas drilling are too high. Investors should pay attention to this growing problem. Bank of America fears sub-$2 gas prices now that winter heating worries are over. Low natural gas prices affect the economics for gas-rich oil production in the Eagle Ford Shale and Permian basin plays as well as for the shale gas plays. Meanwhile, an orgy of over-production is taking place in the Marcellus Shale. Well head prices are now below $1.50 per thousand cubic feet of gas because of limited take-away capacity and near-saturation of regional demand. Even companies in the Wyoming, Susquehanna, Allegheny and Washington County core areas of the Marcellus play are losing money at these prices.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Nebraska commission blocks some from testifying about fracking disposal site
tucson.com


LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will not allow residents who live more than a half-mile radius from a proposed disposal site for a Sioux County injection well to testify at a public hearing. The Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1Cz6mfJ ) reports that about two dozen people and corporations qualify as interested parties, and will be allowed to testify before the three-member commission on March 24. Oil and Gas Director Bill Sydow said the commission is merely following the rules by blocking some people from testifying. "We're going to go on the rule of law," Sydow said. "This hearing is about the technical merits and engineering merits of this well bore. It is not about policy, because policy is set on this at the federal level."  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Abinanti Pushes Bill To Ban Fracking Waste On Highways
Greenburgh Daily Voice
y Cassandra Huerta

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, D-Greenburgh/Mount Pleasant, has introduced legislation (A.211) to ban the use of hydrofracking wastewater on highways. Due to its salty nature, fracking wastewater is being promoted by some to deice roads in the winter. “Spreading toxic, hazardous and radioactive fracking waste on our roads would be devastating to the health and safety of New Yorkers,” said Abinanti. “This wastewater has the potential to cause irreversible damage to our water, air, land and food supplies. It has no place in New York.” The legislation would apply statewide some of the prohibitions approved in Westchester County. Westchester bans the sale of fracking waste, the processing of fracking waste at wastewater treatment plants and the spreading of fracking wastewater on roads.  [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Why The European Shale Revolution Is Dead
Bidnes ETC
Michael Kaufman

y The European Shale Revolution Is Dead  [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
How Big Oil and Big Tobacco get respected scientists to lie for them
Vox
Julia Belluz

By the 1950s, Big Tobacco knew smoking caused cancer. By the 1960s, the companies knew nicotine was addictive and that smoking could lead to heart disease. But three decades later, tobacco executives stood up before Congress and, under oath, denied the facts. The same story has played out with other major scientific issues of our time, from climate change to the health harms of various chemicals. As scientists build consensus, industry tries to obscure their findings outside the ivory tower, turning non-debates into ginned-up controversies. A new documentary, Merchants of Doubt, shows exactly how for-profit players covertly shape popular thinking about the biggest science questions of the day. The movie helps explain that the fight about climate change — and smoking, and environmental chemicals — is actually about political ideology and questions of how people should live and govern themselves.  [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Work resumes on pipeline after court denies petition
The Times-Tribune
Brendan Gibbons

Pipeline crews returned to work Friday on an expansion of a Williams interstate gas line after a judge denied an environmental group’s petition. Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s petition halted work on the line for a little more than a week while the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals considered its challenge of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s review of the pipeline’s expansion. In December, FERC approved Williams’ plans to add more than half a billion cubic feet per day to the Leidy Line section of its Transco gas line. The plan involved adding parallel “loops” to portions of the line in Luzerne and Monroe counties and New Jersey.  [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Podcast: Energy 24/7 The Shale Revolution A Bust for Investors
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Shale companies which are considered the best and brightest in their plays have provided dismal returns for shareholders for the most part. The latest podcast from energy 24/7.  [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Natural gas industry criticizes Pennsylvania DEP
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Laura Legere

HARRISBURG — Natural gas industry trade groups railed against the state Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed changes to rules governing the industry at an advisory board meeting on Friday, saying they are being held to stricter standards than those that apply to similar industries. Representatives of the Robinson-based Marcellus Shale Coalition and the Wexford-based Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association questioned the agency’s legal authority to make some of its proposed changes, and criticized the DEP for offering little warning before proposing new standards for subjects like noise mitigation and waste reporting requirements.  [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Special Report: How safe are pipelines?
Indeonline.com
Shane Hoover

SUGAR CREEK TWP. Engineers have distilled the danger from an exploding natural-gas pipeline to a simple equation. Plug in the pressure and the diameter of the pipe and out comes the potential impact radius — the distance from the pipeline at which an explosion could cause death, injury or property damage. A 42-inch pipeline at a pressure of 1,440 pounds per square inch has a potential impact radius of 1,100 feet. Daniel Hershberger, his wife and their seven children live about 50 feet from the prospective path of two such pipelines.  [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Many Pa. municipalities hesitant to regulate drilling through zoning
Trib Live
David Conti

Faced with arguments from gas drilling opponents at nearly every township meeting, officials in Middlesex decided their only chance at settling the contentious issue of where to allow wells was to update the zoning ordinance. “We really need something in writing because … I can't keep doing this every month,” former township manager Scot Fodi recalled during a recent appeal hearing on the ordinance. The ensuing legal fight over that legislation will cost the Butler County community tens of thousands of dollars and potentially last years. Despite court rulings that affirmed the rights of such municipalities to regulate some drilling activities through zoning, few communities followed Middlesex's path over the past three years. Municipal leaders say that might change soon, though.   [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Congress comments on rules for fracking
Minot Daily News
Eloise Ogden

North Dakota's congressional delegation has responded to the U.S. Department of Interior's release on Friday of its final rule on hydraulic fracturing safety and standards for federal and tribal lands. The rule will be administered by the Bureau of Land Management. "It is my hope these new rules will give adequate deference to states, like North Dakota, who have been effectively regulating oil and gas production for decades in a safe and environmentally friendly manner," said Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. "We cannot let misguided bureaucrats under the influence of extreme environmentalists derail the energy security fracking has brought to the United States. North Dakota has been at the forefront of this American energy renaissance revitalizing rural America and driving our economy all across our great country."  [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Fracking Costs Exceed Benefits for Europe - Report
Sputnik


MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The environmental impact of the shale gas extraction in Europe is disproportionate to the raw materials gained by hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, a new study said. Fraking is a drilling technology, which involves pumping a highly-toxic mix of chemicals into the ground at high pressure to break up rocks and release natural gas and crude oil. It has been surrounded with controversy amid evidence that it pollutes ground water and causes shifts in the crust. In ten years, fracking could contaminate drinking water in Europe and cause severe environmental damage, the study by the Berlin-based Energy Watch Group said, as cited by EurActiv media outlet on Friday.   [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Costa Rica Has Gotten All Of Its Energy From Renewables For 75 Days Straight
ThinkProgress
KATIE VALENTINE

Costa Rica got 100 percent of its energy from renewables for 75 days straight this year, the state-run Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) announced this week. The Latin American country hasn’t had to use fossil fuels at all so far in 2015, due to heavy rains that have kept hydroelectric power plants going strong. Wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy have also helped power the country this year. “The year 2015 has been one of electricity totally friendly to the environment for Costa Rica,” ICE announced in a press release in Spanish this week.  [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Frack off: Dayne Pratzky's fight against coal seam gas
The Age


Dayne Pratzky went from pig shooter to passionate anti-coal seam gas activist - a journey that's made him an unlikely film star. Amanda Hooton meets him.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Judge: Suit against Shell’s Arctic-drilling ‘homeport’ in Seattle can go ahead
Seattle PI
Joel Connelly

Critics are on solid legal ground in a legal challenge to the location of a “homeport” for Shell Oil’s Arctic-drilling fleet at the Seattle waterfront, a King County Superior Court judge ruled Friday. The ruling by Judge Mariane Spearman allows a suit against the Port of Seattle, brought by four environmental groups, to go ahead. The judge backed up foes’ argument that proposed uses of Terminal 5 go far beyond the “cargo terminal” allowed under the current shoreline development permit that the port has with the city of Seattle.   [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Five Things About Obama’s Oil and Natural-Gas Fracking Rules
The Wall Street Journal
AMY HARDER and DANIEL GILBERT

The Obama administration on Friday unveiled long-awaited regulations setting new standards for hydraulic fracturing in the oil and natural-gas industries, a process that has helped fuel a U.S. energy boom. Here are five things to know about the rules. What Are The Regulations Designed To Protect? Water. Much of the concern surrounding hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, is over the potential for natural gas to seep out of a well and into groundwater. Regulators are also concerned about toxic fluids used in the drilling process spilling into aquifers.   [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Fracking costs outweigh benefits for Germany and Europe, study says
EurActive


For only a ten year supply of energy, fracking in Europe would contaminate drinking water, cause severe environmental damage and create vast industrial landscapes, says a study on fracking, as the German government pushes to legalise the controversial extraction method. EurActiv Germany reports. The environmental impact of shale gas extraction in Germany and Europe are in no way proportionate to the raw materials gained using this method of drilling, a new study argues. “We should not compare the conditions in Germany with those in the United States,” said Werner Zittel, the author of the study released by the NGO Energy Watch Group. For one thing, Germany is much more densely populated, he said, increasing the risk for people and the environment near extraction sites. To date, few scientifically sound analyses are available on the effects of fracking on people and the environment. But severe environmental damage can be observed in the United States, where fracking is already widespread. Some scientific investigations have also found evidence that fracking has increased the danger of earthquakes in the United States. And the University of Innsbruck recently discovered that fracking pollutes the air with gases that are harmful to human health and the climate.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Lawmakers demand oil firms stop pumping waste into aquifers
San Francisco Chronicle
David R. Baker

Eight influential California legislators urged Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday to immediately shut down nearly 2,500 wells that are injecting oil-field wastewater into aquifers that were supposed to be protected by federal law. “The State should not wait until sources of drinking or irrigation water are polluted, especially given the dire situation that has been created by the current drought,” the legislators wrote in a letter to Brown. The signatories include state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills (Los Angeles County), who chairs the Natural Resources and Water Committee, and state Sen. Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, who leads the Environmental Quality Committee.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
U.S. to Set Fracking Standards on Federal Land
FOX Business


The Obama administration on Friday is due to unveil rules for oil companies that frack on federal land, included beefed-up safety measures, but won't likely require strict oversight as environmental groups want, according to sources. The standards have been in the works for more than three years and gone through several drafts with environmentalists and the energy industry fighting over its scope.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Obama Administration Unveils Federal Fracking Regulations
The New York Times
CORAL DAVENPORT

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday unveiled the nation’s first major federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing, the controversial technique for oil and gas drilling that has led to a dramatic increase in American energy production but has also raised concerns about health and safety risks. The Interior Department began drafting the rules in Mr. Obama’s first term after breakthroughs in the technology, also known as fracking, led to a surge in the production of oil and gas.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Gas industry slams DEP over new drilling rules
State Impact PA
Marie Cusick

Representatives from the state’s Marcellus Shale industry are criticizing the way the Wolf administration has handled proposed changes to drilling regulations. At a meeting of the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board (TAB) Friday, industry groups questioned the level of transparency around new draft rules. Kevin Moody, of the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, was among the critics.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Meth use tied to fracking workers in Pennsylvania
WIVB
Rich Newberg

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – U.S. Attorney William Hochul of the Western District of New York says a rise in the production of methamphetamine may be tied to use among workers in the fracking fields of northern and western Pennsylvania. “The concern is workers coming from the mid-west who had already been using methamphetamine,” Hochul said. “They have more money in their pocket, than perhaps they had before.” He believes one of the drug’s effects,a surge of energy, may be the reason for their addictions.   [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Judge Rules Shale Gas Pipeline Can Proceed
WAMC
Dave Lucas

A federal judge says backers of a 124-mile pipeline designed to ferry cheap Marcellus Shale natural gas to New York can build across seven northeastern Pennsylvania properties whose owners had not agreed to it. U.S. District Judge Malachy Mannion ruled this week the Constitution Pipeline had the necessary permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and that it serves the public interest. The Judge pointed out Susquehanna County landowners stood be compensated by the pipeline's owners.   [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Activists Protest Pipeline At Public Service Board Meeting
WAMC
Pat Bradley

A number of protesters and activists this week were at the Vermont Public Service Board as it met with Vermont Gas for a routine meeting about its natural gas pipeline permit review. In 2012 Vermont Gas filed a petition for approval to build a 43-mile natural gas pipeline from Colchester to Middlebury. The project’s estimated cost at that time was just under $84 million. According to the budget summary presented to the Public Service Board on January 21st, current Phase 1 costs are now projected to be over $153 million.   [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Shale Producers Have Found Another Lifeline: Shareholders
Bloomberg
Bradley Olson

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. oil producers are issuing new shares of stock at the fastest pace in more than a decade, looking to investors for a cash lifeline to pay down debt and keep drilling as crude prices continue to sink. Tapping equity markets has become the best option for companies such as Dallas-based RSP Permian Inc., which announced March 17 it’s seeking to raise as much as $232 million by selling additional shares. Calgary-based Encana Corp. and Noble Energy Inc. of Houston also have issued shares in the past two months to reduce debt.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Fla. official says he was punished for using ‘climate change’ in report
The Washington Post
Terrence McCoy

Bart Bibler’s wife is angry. It’s late Thursday night in Tallahassee, Fla., and she just hung up the phone on another reporter pestering her husband with questions. Just stay quiet, she told him. Don’t say anything more. But Bibler couldn’t. He had to talk. He cared about the issue too much. The nation had to know what happened to him. This month, Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection suspended him, according to Bibler, a state land management plan coordinator, and ordered him to see a doctor before returning to work. This came as a surprise to Bibler who, according to his employee evaluation, was considered “exceptionally good” at his job. Even more surprising, Bibler said, was the reason he was suspended from the environmental agency. It was about the words “climate change,” he said. Not the science. Not what Florida’s doing about it. Just the words. He had put them into a report. Then refused to take them out when he was told to.   [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
U.S. Sets First Fracking Standards in More Than 30 Years
Bloomberg
Mark Drajem

(Bloomberg) -- The Obama administration issued the first federal regulations for fracking since the drilling technique fueled a domestic energy boom, requiring extensive disclosures of the chemicals used on public land. After years of debate and delay, the Bureau of Land Management on Friday said drillers on federal lands must reveal the chemicals they use, meet certain well construction standards and safely dispose of contaminated water that flows back from fracked wells. The oil and gas industry said the rule isn’t necessary because state regulations already govern hydraulic fracturing.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
New Fracking Rules on Public Lands ‘A Giveaway to Oil and Gas Industry,’ Advocates Say
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

Earlier this week, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said that the new regulations for fracking on federal lands from the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would be released “within the next few days,” following a four-year process that included receiving more than 1.5 million public comments. Today she unveiled those new rules, which take effect in 90 days. The BLM claimed they would “support safe and responsible hydraulic fracturing on public and American Indian lands.”  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
From doughnut-filler to chairwoman, Greenwire's Northey profiles FERC's Cheryl LaFleur
E & E Newswire


After presiding over her final public meeting as chairwoman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this week, what is next for Cheryl LaFleur? On today's The Cutting Edge, Greenwire reporter Hannah Northey discusses her new feature on LaFleur and her uphill climb to becoming chairwoman. Transcript Monica Trauzzi: Welcome to The Cutting Edge. FERC Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur presiding over her final public meeting as chair this week. In a new Greenwire profile, Hannah Northey explores her journey to becoming chair and previews her next steps. Hannah, LaFleur's had many jobs, as a doughnut filler, news clipper, produce counter attendant. What brought her to the utility world?  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Department Of Interior Issues New Rules For Fracking On Public Lands
Huffington Post
Kate Sheppard

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Interior released new rules for hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas on public lands in the United States on Friday, the first significant update to the regulations in three decades. "Decades-old regulations don't take into account current technology for hydraulic fracturing," said Interior Sec. Sally Jewell in a call with reporters Friday. The new rules will require companies drilling on public lands to disclose the chemicals they are using to the Bureau of Land Management, will set higher standards for the storage of wastewater from the fracking process, and will require validation of well integrity.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Industry groups file lawsuit against new federal fracking rules
ohio.com
Bob Downing

DENVER, March 20, 2015 — After a regulatory review process lasting more than three years, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued today a final rule purporting to govern hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands. Given BLM’s failure to correct flaws in earlier versions of the rule – flaws that were addressed expressly in public comments responsive to the agency’s proposal -- BakerHostetler immediately filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of the two most prominent national trade associations representing independent oil and gas producers: the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and Western Energy Alliance (the Alliance). The associations’ Complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming, asserts that BLM’s final rule is both substantively meritless and the product of a procedurally deficient rulemaking process. The Complaint requests that the federal court set aside the final rule.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Industry swiftly challenges feds’ new fracturing rule
Fuel Fix


new drilling rules in federal court. The lawsuit brought by the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Western Energy Alliance challenges the new mandates as “a reaction to unsubstantiated concerns.” The Bureau of Land Management’s new rule, unveiled Friday, is set to take effect in 90 days. It would impose new requirements for constructing wells on federally managed lands and storing waste water from the sites. The measure also would force oil companies to disclose the chemicals they pump underground in hydraulic fracturing operations to stimulate the wells into production. The IPAA and Western Energy Alliance lawsuit was filed by BakerHostetler in a federal district court in Wyoming, less than an hour after the Interior Department unveiled the final rule.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Hydraulic fracking rules issued by Washington require extensive disclosure of chemicals
Financial Post
Mark Drajem, Bloomberg News

The Obama administration issued the first federal regulations for fracking since the drilling technique fuelled a domestic energy boom, requiring extensive disclosures of the chemicals used on public land. After years of debate and delay, the Bureau of Land Management on Friday said drillers on federal lands must reveal the chemicals they use, meet well construction standards and safely dispose of contaminated water used in fracking. The rule had been highly anticipated by drillers, who oppose added regulation, and by environmentalists who have raised alarms about water contamination. Both sides had complaints with the outcome: groups representing the oil and gas industry sued to block its implementation and an environmental group said the regulation favoured industry over public health.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Local View: Moratorium needed on fracking wastewater
Journal Star
KEN HAAR

An out-of-state company wants to bring 80 to 100 semi-truckloads a day of potentially toxic fracking wastewater from Colorado to Nebraska and dump it into an abandoned well in western Nebraska. A lot of people think this is a bad idea. The Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (NOGCC) is holding a public hearing on this subject March 24 in Sidney, Nebraska. The NOGCC has indicated they intend to limit testimony on this proposal to people who have a property interest within one-half mile of the proposed site. Really? Limiting testimony like this violates several fundamental Nebraska principles and supports the conclusion that we need a moratorium on importation of fracking waste until appropriate legal protections are established.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Foes of fracking wastewater well cry foul over speaker limits
omaha.com
AP

LINCOLN — At a public hearing next Tuesday, the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will not hear testimony from anyone living more than a half-mile from a Panhandle site where a company has applied to dispose of fracking wastewater by injecting it underground. That means about two dozen people and corporations may testify, the Lincoln Journal Star reports.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Why the new federal fracking rules won’t change much about fracking in America
Fusion
Rob Wile

After years in the works, the White House will finally release rules on Friday to regulate hydraulic fracturing more commonly known as fracking, according to The Wall Street Journal. But the rules will only apply to fracking done on federal lands, which account for 11 percent of the natural gas and 5 percent of the oil used in the U.S., the Journal notes. (And not all of that gets extracted through fracking, which involves shooting enormous volumes of water into the ground to free up hydrocarbons.) States are still in charge of most of America’s fracking.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Kansas regulators order limits on certain fracking-related activities
Wichita Business Journal


Companies that are using hydraulic fracturing to access oil in Harper and Sumner counties will have to curtail some of their activities. KSN News reports the Kansas Corporation Commission has ordered limits on saltwater disposal wells in certain areas of the Arbuckle formation. Companies that perform hydraulic fracturing use disposal wells to get rid of saltwater afterward. The Kansas Geological Survey has found a correlation between that practice and seismic activity in Harper and Sumner counties.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Two bills to curb hydraulic fracturing advancing in Annapolis
The Baltimore Sun


Two bills that would restrict drilling for natural gas in Maryland advanced in both chambers of the General Assembly Friday, setting the stage for another round of debate on how far the state should go to allow a lucrative industry that concerns environmentalists. One bill would impose strict legal responsibilities on drillers and the other sets a three-year ban on the practice.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Fossil fuels: Scientists draw up investment principles
BBC News
Helen Briggs

Climate scientists at leading universities are joining forces to discuss the basis of a set of principles governing investment in fossil fuels. They include academics at Oxford, Imperial College London and Harvard. Prof Myles Allen, of Oxford University, said the move was similar to principles governing investment in South Africa under apartheid in the 1980s. "This is a challenging question being put to universities," he told BBC News.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Protests Continue — on Camera — at FERC
RTO Insider
Rich Heidorn Jr.

WASHINGTON — About 10 protesters were led or carried out of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s open meeting Thursday after defying the commission’s “no interruptions” rule with chants of “Stop construction at Cove Point!” Last week, the commission issued an order saying it no longer will allow protesters to read statements before its meetings, as Chairman Cheryl LaFleur previously had permitted since the activists began appearing regularly at commission meetings last fall.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Oil and gas industry groups sue over U.S. fracking rules
Reuters
AYESHA RASCOE

(Reuters) - The oil and gas industry moved quickly on Friday to challenge new U.S. regulations for hydraulic fracturing on public lands, minutes after the Obama administration issued the rules. In what could be the start of a broad industry assault on the rules, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and Western Energy Alliance sued the U.S. Interior Department. Other industry groups and companies are expected to follow suit.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Government limits drilling on public land
Al Jazeera America


Madeline Stano, an attorney with the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, discusses the new regulations  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Md. bill to protect residents from fracking advances
Herald Mail


  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
New fracking regulations to impact Louisiana
Fox8 New Orleans


Energy companies fracking in Louisiana will face new rules in 90 days. The White House announced new regulations Friday intended to protect groundwater near fracking sites. Drillers will need to ensure that wells and cement barriers are structurally sound. They will also have to publicly disclose chemicals used in their injecting water. According to our partners at Nola.com-The Times Picayune, Helis Oil's plan to frack north of Interstate 12 has received a water quality certification from the state. Many people who oppose the fracking plan cite environmental concerns, including the impact fracking would have on groundwater.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Global Shale Revolution On Hold
oilprice.com
James Stafford

Along with the rest of the energy world, we have been closely tracking rig counts (now down 40 percent from last fall) and other data to try to determine where the oil markets are heading. This week, the Energy Information Administration reported that production is finally set to decline in several key U.S. shale regions; a long-awaited development. The Eagle Ford, Bakken, and Niobrara shales are expected to see a combined 24,023 barrel-per-day decline in production in April, the first significant dip in output since oil prices collapsed last year. The monthly data may be a bit obscured by the fact that the Permian basin is expected to see production increases of 21,254 barrels per day. Overall, total U.S. production may stay flat. There is still a great deal of uncertainty about the next few months, but with declines beginning in the Eagle Ford and Bakken especially – two critical regions that drove the U.S. shale revolution – there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel for the oil glut.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Interior Department Releases Final Rule to Support Safe, Responsible Hydraulic Fracturing Activities on Public and Tribal Lands Fundamental Standards Address Well Integrity, Water Protection, Disclosure of Chemicals
Us Department of Interior
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following a robust and transparent public process that included more than 1.5 million public comments, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today released final standards that will support safe and responsible hydraulic fracturing on public and American Indian lands. The commonsense standards will improve safety and help protect groundwater by updating requirements for well-bore integrity, wastewater disposal and public disclosure of chemicals.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
'Frackademia' Report Reveals Ties Between Government, Universities, and Shale Industry
DeSmogBlogUK


What started out as a grassroots campaigning tactic to lobby big institutions to stop backing non-renewable energy production, has this week gained large-scale mainstream support. The Guardian’s “keep it in the ground” has now gathered a petition with over 60,000 signatures to ask the world’s largest charitable foundations to divest their endowments from fossil fuels. The UN has also come out in open support for the increasingly global movement. And this week a report published by TalkFracking, a campaign group supported by Vivienne Westwood, on ‘Frackademia’ seeks to raise awareness about the influence of the fracking industry in university research departments.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Texas city to go 100% solar, wind – because it’s cheaper, more reliable
Renewable Economy
Sophie Vorrath

A city in Texas – home to the “Gusher Age” of American oil – is aiming to become 100 per cent renewable within two years, after finalizing a deal with SunEdison to supply it with solar power for 25 years. Georgetown – population 54,000 – will take the output from the 150MW solar plant and another 144MW from a new wind farm to source its needs from renewables. The local utility saying it has turned to wind and solar because it is cheaper and more reliable, and requires a lot less water.   [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
France decrees new rooftops must be covered in plants or solar panels
The Guardian
Agence France-Presse

All new buildings in commercial zones across the country must comply with new environmental legislation  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Union Pacific aims to be first railroad to haul liquefied natural gas
World-Herald
Russell Hubbard

Union Pacific Railroad has applied for permission to haul liquefied natural gas, which would add another combustible cargo to a U.S. rail network already being criticized for transporting ethanol and crude oil through populated areas. The Omaha-based railroad said the application for a permit from the Federal Railroad Administration is in response to a request for liquefied natural gas transportation from an existing customer. Union Pacific operates 32,000 miles of track in the western United States, which is home to many natural gas production and storage installations.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Prince Charles Presses Climate-Change Agenda With Obama
Newsmax


While Prince Charles's visit to the White House lacks the buzz created when his son called on the U.S. president in December, President Barack Obama still cares enough to time a climate-change announcement to the British royal's arrival. Prince Charles, 66, has adopted climate change as his signature issue and called Earth a "sick patient" because of global warming. Obama on Thursday signed an executive order requiring the U.S. government to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent over the next decade from 2008 levels. Climate change was to be the chief topic of conversation as Prince Charles, his wife Camilla Parker Bowles, the duchess of Cornwall, and met with Obama Thursday in the Oval Office. The royals are on a three-day Washington tour with Charles returning to the White House for the first time since 2011. He hosted a reception for Obama in September in Wales when world leaders gathered there for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit.   [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Judge rules shale gas pipeline can cross holdout properties
Fuel Fix
Associated Press

SCRANTON, Pa. – The companies backing a 124-mile pipeline designed to ferry cheap Marcellus Shale natural gas to New York and New England can build across seven northeastern Pennsylvania properties whose owners had not agreed to it, a judge ruled. U.S. District Judge Malachy Mannion ruled that the Constitution Pipeline has the necessary permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and that it serves the public interest by providing additional natural gas pipeline capacity. Mannion also wrote in the Tuesday ruling that the Susquehanna County landowners stand to gain adequate compensation from the pipeline’s owners. Some of the defendants did not respond to the lawsuits seeking access to their land. The lead partners in the Constitution Pipeline are Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Williams Partners LP and Houston-based Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Quicksilver bankruptcy deals blow to LNG terminal
Campbell River Mirror
J. R. Rardon

A proposed LNG production and shipping terminal at the former Elk Falls Mill site suffered a setback this week when Quicksilver Resources Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. court. Tuesday’s filing in a Delaware court does not include the Texas company’s Canadian operations through its Alberta-based subsidiary, Quicksilver Resources Canada, Inc. Its Canadian assets include natural gas-rich deposits in the Horn River Basin in northeast B.C., and in 2013 it purchased the shuttered Elk Falls Paper Mill for $8.6 million and announced plans to explore creation of the Discovery LNG terminal on the site.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Former Obama Officials Say Oil Export Ban Hurts U.S. Credibility
Bloomberg
Jim Snyder

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski is drafting legislation to end the four-decade-old ban. Bloomberg) -- Two former Obama administration officials said a four-decade-old ban on oil exports limits U.S. geopolitical influence and makes it harder to get other nations to embrace free trade. The issue of the ban “arose constantly” in negotiations with other countries, including when the U.S. sought support for sanctions on Iran’s oil production to halt its nuclear ambitions, said Carlos Pascual, a former top energy envoy at the U.S. State Department.   [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Ontario oil-train wrecks ignite worry over Canada crude flammability
Reuters
Nia Williams

(Reuters) - Two recent oil-train derailments in Canada have opened a new front on the debate over safety, highlighting how even shipments of Alberta's oil sands crude can contain components just as volatile as North Dakota's Bakken. Although Canada is best known for producing viscous bitumen that is not prone to ignite on its own, it is often blended with as much as one-third super-light oil - known as condensate - before it is shipped in rail cars, injecting the same kind of volatile gases that can explode in derailments, industry experts say.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Pipeline opposition knows no borders
Queens Chronicle
Anthony O’Reilly

Lynn Meyer lives in Bayside, about 40 miles away from where a proposed controversial liquefied natural gas terminal could be placed off New York’s shore. Despite the fact that Meyer is far removed from the facility’s proposed physical location, she said its potential effects could reach her and those beyond New York. “It’s a very dangerous thing,” she said of the terminal. “It would damage the biosphere on the ocean floor and more importantly it would occupy the space where there could be a windfarm.”  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Plant project foes escorted from commission meeting
The BayNet News


Washington, DC – Thursday morning, March 19, singing and chanting members of We Are Cove Point (WACP) from Lusby and their supporters from Beyond Energy (BXE) attempted to sit in and read a statement at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's(FERC) monthly meeting, protesting FERC's failure to rule on a Request for Rehearing of its Sept. 29, 2014 order approving Dominion Resource's construction permit for Cove Point even while construction at the hotly-challenged site continues. They were immediately removed from the building and the doors were locked behind them. The prepared statement read:  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Obama announces order to cut greenhouse gas output by 40 percent
The Washington Post
Juliet Eilperin

President Obama signed an executive order Thursday directing the federal government to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by 40 percent from 2008 levels over the next decade, and to increase the share of renewable energy in the government’s electricity supply to 30 percent over the same period. Simultaneously, federal suppliers including IBM, General Electric, Honeywell and United Technologies are pledging to reduce their carbon emissions by 5 million metric tons over the next 10 years, compared with 2008 levels. Taken together, the government and private-sector proposals would cut overall U.S. emissions by 26 million tons by 2025, the equivalent of taking nearly 5.5 million cars off the road for a year.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
In Texas, Chris Christie to Raise Funds, Reassure Donors
The Wall Street Journal
Heather Haddon

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s political-action committee is taking a fundraising jaunt next week through Texas, the home of potential 2016 presidential rivals Sen. Ted Cruz and former Gov. Rick Perry. On March 26, Mr. Christie’s leadership PAC, Leadership Matters for America, will hold a fundraising luncheon in Houston, according to an invitation viewed by The Wall Street Journal. The event is co-hosted by Paul Loyd, a Texas oil man and donor to Mitt Romney‘s 2012 presidential bid, and Ray Washburne, Mr. Christie’s PAC’s finance chairman and the former finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Obama Orders Cuts in Federal Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The New York Times
JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS

WASHINGTON — President Obama signed an executive order on Thursday to set new goals for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of federal agencies, his latest use of his executive authority to address the root causes of climate change and press private companies and foreign governments to follow suit. Mr. Obama’s directive orders federal agencies over the next decade to cut their emissions by an average of 40 percent compared with their levels when he won office in 2008, and to increase their use of electricity from renewable sources by 30 percent.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
North Dakota reviews oil-train safety
UPI
Daniel J Graeber

BISMARCK, N.D., March 19 (UPI) -- There's no way to offer a single solution that would allay concerns about the safety of crude oil transit by rail, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. Dalrymple spoke with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to discuss efforts to improve the safe transport of crude oil by rail from the state. The Republican governor said he called on the secretary to adopt new standards for rail cars carrying crude oil as soon as possible.   [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
The Climate Post: McCarthy Says States Must Comply With Clean Power Plan
Huffington Post
Tim Profeta

On Tuesday, a lawyer hired by the world's largest coal mining company told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power that proposed requirements to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants are reckless, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, in an op-ed, said states should ignore them, but U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy warned that the regulations will be enforced whether or not states chose to cooperate. "The EPA is going to regulate. Mid-summer is when the Clean Power Plan is going to be finalized," McCarthy said, noting that the EPA is developing a federal implementation plan that will apply to states that fail to submit their own compliance plans. "If folks think any of those pieces aren't going to happen and [the Clean Power Plan] isn't going to be implemented, I think they need to look at the history of the Clean Air Act more carefully. This isn't how we do business."  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Feds should take over protecting groundwater
The Sacramento Bee
DANA STOTSKYAND DAVID REED

California has lost control of its quickly diminishing water. While state officials lose no opportunity to tout California’s environmental leadership to the world and to plead with residents to conserve water, regulators have allowed oil companies to dump billions of gallons of toxic wastewater each year into protected underground drinking water. This water contains known carcinogens, including benzene and hexavalent chromium, in concentrations sometimes hundreds of times above federal limits. In other cases, the oil industry has left polluted water in exposed, unlined pits near rows of crops. Farmers are worried since they feed the nation. Residents are worried since they drink the water. And if you eat lettuce, almonds, peaches or pistachios or enjoy a glass of California cabernet, it should have you worried, too.   [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) Mothers & Climate Change: Mothers Demanding Change
ClimateMama
Harriet Sugarman & Linda reik

We are your mothers and your sisters. We are your neighbors, your co-workers and your friends. At different times in our lives we have been called farm worker, engineer, professor, economist, scientist, daughter, and mommy. What we have never been called, until now is: pipeline and fossil fuel infrastructure expert, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authority, activist or terrorist. These are new names for us, as we work to understand what is happening in our communities. We are pulling together studies, stories and testimonies of people who live in oil and gas producing states across our country and in proximity to fossil fuel infrastructure like gas-fired electricity plants, pipelines, compressor stations and waste stations. We are listening closely as we hear repeated accounts about children who are ill, crops that are failing, tainted water, farm animals whose progeny die young, incessant noise, dust and smells in the air, and declining property values which threaten our ability to insure our homes and businesses.   [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Obama cracks down on another emissions giant – the US government (+video)
Christian Science Monitor
Jared Gilmour

In his latest executive action, President Obama is targeting greenhouse emissions from the federal government. It's all part of his climate change agenda, which has taken center stage in his second term.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
North Dakota Considers Weaker Landfill Rules, Less Oversight Fracking Radiation
CounterPunch
JOHN LaFORGE

Radioactive waste produced by hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is making headlines all over gas land, particularly in North Dakota’s booming Bakken gas and oil field. National news coverage of the scandalous illegal dumping of radioactive filter “socks” there — on Indian Reservations no less — has led North Dakota’s legislature to consider changes to its radioactive waste laws so that fracking’s contaminated wastes can be dumped in ordinary landfills.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
DiNapoli rips plan for administration control of oil spill fund
Capital New York
David Giambusso

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has voiced his strongest opposition yet to a state budget proposal that would wrest control of New York's oil spill fund from his office and put it in the hands of the Cuomo administration's Department of Environmental Conservation. "There are real threats to New York communities if an oil train derails and the state doesn't have the money to rapidly respond and properly clean it up," DiNapoli said in a statement Wednesday. "We need to boost the money flowing into the oil spill fund to deal with spills, and the management of the money should stay with the Office of the State Comptroller."  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Delaware Riverkeeper continues pipeline opposition
The Intelligencer
Freda R. Savana

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is keeping up pressure on its challenge to the PennEast pipeline and expansion of the Transco Southeast Leidy pipeline. Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum said while the Southeast Leidy project is “a bit of a different beast” from PennEast, both pose potential for significant environmental damage.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Europe: The perennial LNG sponge
Platts
Desmond Wong

This winter saw record volumes of LNG arriving on the shores of Europe, as cargoes sought value in an environment of weak LNG spot pricing. Cargoes flowed in from not only Qatar, but also from production sites like Trinidad and Tobago as portfolio players sought to optimize volumes into Europe while purchasing Asia Pacific delivery cargoes elsewhere to fulfill existing commitments. This triggered sustained sendout from LNG terminals, primarily in the UK and Belgium, as capacity holders monetized gas into the European grid, which was well supported over the period thanks to outages in Norwegian fields, a production cap on Groningen output in the Netherlands and geopolitical instability in Ukraine.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Senators hotly debate language in fracking bill Bill would hold companies accountable for damages during fracking
WBAL NBC Baltimore
David Collins

ANNAPOLIS, Md. —The debate over whether to allow fracking in Maryland lit up the state Senate chamber Wednesday.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Obama to Order Cuts in Federal Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The New York Times
JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS

WASHINGTON — President Obama will sign an executive order on Thursday to cut the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions, a White House official said, his latest use of presidential power to address the root causes of climate change. It is part of Mr. Obama’s effort during his last two years in office to use an expansive interpretation of his presidential authority to counter strong opposition from the Republican-controlled Congress to enacting climate legislation.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Brown, lawmakers to unveil $1-billion emergency drought relief plan
Los Angeles Times
MELANIE MASON AND CHRIS MEGERIAN

As California braces for a fourth consecutive year of drought, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders on Thursday will unveil a $1-billion relief plan, two sources told The Times late Wednesday. This will mark the second consecutive year in which the Legislature has had to act on emergency drought relief. In 2014, Brown signed a $687.4-million drought package, which offered aid to communities facing acute water shortages and food and housing assistance to those harmed by the drought.   [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Report: Oil and gas on public lands a ‘blind spot’ in climate fight
Fuel Fix
Jennifer A. Dlouhy

WASHINGTON — Oil, gas and coal development on America’s public lands could undermine the Obama administration’s ambitious plans for combating climate change, including new curbs on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, according to a report set to be issued Thursday. The analysis by the Center for American Progress and The Wilderness Society, shared exclusively with FuelFix ahead of its release, pinpoints rising methane emissions from oil and gas wells on public lands and waters as a significant share of the heat-trapping gases tied to all energy development nationwide. “The Department of the Interior has long been in the business of approving well after well, mine after mine, without assessing the impacts of its energy policies on U.S. carbon pollution levels,” said Matt Lee-Ashley, senior fellow and director of the public lands project at the Center for American Progress.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
No Fracking in State Parks, Ohio House Democrats and Republicans Surprisingly Agree
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

In a surprising move for a polarized Ohio legislature controlled by far-right Republicans cozy with fossil fuel interests, its House Energy and Natural Resources committee voted 12-0 Tuesday to ban fracking in state parks. The full bill, which aims to speed up the drilling permitting process, was then passed unanimously on the House floor Wednesday. It now heads to the Senate.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Charges Dismissed ‘In the Interests of Justice’ for 42 Seneca Lake Gas Storage Protesters
EcoWatch
Mariah Plumlee

[Author’s Note: As this goes to press, Reverend Nancy Kasper’s charges were dismissed in the interest of justice. She was one of 42 dismissals at the Reading Town Court on March 18. (See video below) Reverend Kasper will still go to trial for her second arrest.] It was 4 degrees on February 23, on the drive from Mecklenburg to the Reading Town Court. It had become a familiar route. Since October, I’ve been part of a local movement protesting the expansion of gas storage beside Seneca Lake by a company called Crestwood Midstream. The argument is a familiar one. People against the expansion cite environmental concerns: unstable caverns with a history of collapse, air quality issues and their associated health risks, increased train and truck traffic. Local winemakers are concerned about their grapes, being sullied by an industry known for its cavalier destruction.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Doctor loses lawsuit that challenged secrecy of fracking fluid
The Times-Tribune
TERRIE MORGAN-BESECKER

A federal appellate court has upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by an area physician challenging a law that precluded him from releasing information he obtained regarding chemicals contained in hydraulic fracking fluid. Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez of Dallas challenged Act 13 of 2012, which allows medical professionals to learn the ingredients in fracking fluid if the information is used to treat patients, but requires them to enter a confidentiality agreement. Hydraulic fracking is a process that involves blasting chemically-treated water into the Marcellus shale to release natural gas. The chemicals include substances that are potentially harmful to human health. Dr. Rodriquez, a kidney specialist who has questioned the health impact of the fracking process, filed a federal lawsuit in 2012 that alleged the “medical gag rule” interfered with his ability to treat patients, some of whom worked in the natural gas industry and had been exposed to fracking chemicals.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Constitution Pipeline can access properties, judge orders
The Times-Tribune
Brendan Gibbons

Constitution Pipeline Co. can access properties in Susquehanna County the company seeks to condemn to build its new natural gas pipeline to New York, a federal judge ordered Tuesday. Constitution argued it needs to access seven properties in New Milford, Jackson, Oakland and Harmony townships that it has not been able to obtain through negotiation. A joint partnership among midstream company Williams, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., Piedmont Natural Gas and WGL Holdings, Constitution is ready to begin work on its 124-mile line from Brooklyn Twp. to Schoharie County, New York. The 30-inch thick line is designed to carry 650 million cubic feet of gas per day.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Fracking Rules Expected to Be Unveiled by Obama Administration Friday
The Wall Street Journal
Amy Harder

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration on Friday is expected to issue long-awaited regulations setting new standards for hydraulic fracturing in the oil and natural-gas industries, people familiar with the matter said. The drilling technology has been key to unlocking vast reserves of oil and gas across the U.S., but qualms about its environmental impact have made it controversial. The regulations will set standards for wells and disposal of wastewater—and also require companies to disclose chemicals used, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said on Tuesday in remarks discussing the rules.  [Full Story]

Mar 18, 2015
Connect The Dots – A Gas Pipeline Close to A Nuclear Power Reactor: What Could Go Wrong?
Progressive Radio Network


Interview with Susan van Dolsen, co-founder of SAPE2016 and scientific researcher, Courtney Williams, about the risks of the Algonquin Pipeline.  [Full Story]

Mar 18, 2015
Federal agencies drag feet on oil train lobbying, group says
Akron Beacon Journal
Bob Downing

From ForestEthics: Federal Agencies Drag Feet on Oil Train Lobbying: Groups Appeal Delay on Freedom of Information Request [Bellingham, WA] -- ForestEthics today filed formal appeals with federal agencies that have refused to provide records on oil and rail industry lobbying on new oil train safety rules. In January five groups filed FOIAs requesting correspondence between federal officials and 97 named oil and rail lobbyists, including six former members of US Congress. Under FOIA rules the agencies had 20 days to provide the information. Today, two months later, the agencies remains unresponsive and the group filed formal FOIA appeal letters. On March 6, while a derailed oil train burned for the second day in Illinois, rail lobbyists, met with the White House Office of Management and Budget. Four of the lobbyists named in the FOIA attended the OMB meeting: Rollin Bredenberg (BNSF), Edward Hamberger (AAR), Gregory Fox, (BNSF), and Michael Rush, (AAR).  [Full Story]

Mar 18, 2015
Post Frack-Ban Impacts on New York's Water Resources
The Marcellus Effect


Three months ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the state of New York. So – at least for now - contamination from active drilling is off the table. But there are other ways that hydrofracking puts New York’s water resources at risk. Water monitoring in Tioga Co. NY Steve Penningroth, director of the Community Science Institute recently spoke about how shale gas waste disposal and infrastructure development threaten the state’s water resources despite the federal Clean Water Act and the state-wide frack ban. State regulations that address wastewater treatment plants, factories, landfills, and even concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) allow a certain amount of pollution. That’s because the SPDES permits (State Pollution Discharge Elimination System) specify the source and quantities of pollutants that operations can “legally discharge” into streams, rivers, and lakes.   [Full Story]

Mar 18, 2015
Fracking liability bill given another day for work
News OK


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The Maryland Attorney General's office is weighing in on a bill to hold fracking companies more responsible for personal injury and property damage. Sen. George Edwards, a Republican who represents western Maryland, on Wednesday asked for a postponement on the legislation so he could submit a letter from the Attorney General's office. He said the advisement of the office would show that the proposed legislation to label the natural gas drilling method as "ultrahazardous and abnormally dangerous" was another way of saying the drilling companies are strictly liable for injuries. The bill's lead sponsor, Sen. Robert Zirkin, said the bill is not about whether or not there should be fracking in Maryland, but ensures the industry is held responsible for any damage to residents or their property.  [Full Story]

Mar 18, 2015
Permitting for North Carolina fracking begins
ABC11
Jon Cam

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- After years of wrangling by lawmakers, commissioners, and North Carolinians, the Tar Heel State is now open for fracking. Tuesday, the application process opened up for companies interested in drilling for natural gas in North Carolina. Critics came out swinging, charging that the new rules which went also went into effect, are poorly crafted and don't keep the promise made by lawmakers in recent years that they would ensure North Carolina had the strongest fracking laws in the country. "The rules are simply insufficient to move forward with the issuing of permits," said Sen. Mike Woodard (D-Durham). "We've been promised over the last five years that North Carolina would have the nation's toughest fracking rules, and here we are at zero hours and we do not have those rules. We need to stop, slow down and we need to spend more time living up to the promise we made to the people of North Carolina to implement the nation's toughest rules." Concerns about the new rules run the gamut from lack of local control to the question of who pays for damage done by fracking equipment to the concern over major environmental disaster. Rep. Robert Reives (D-Sanford) expressed concern that the required minimum $1 million in disaster mitigation bond wouldn't be enough. "Whatever somebody feels about the issue of fracking, what you have to recognize is, just like any other industry, there will most likely be some sort of accident," said Reives, "and if we don't have appropriate bonding for these companies coming in then that will be left for the taxpayers to pay for that." Reives also worried that local governments are shutout of the process and have little control over fracking in their backyard. "We ought to allow local governments to have the right to regulate the noise," said Reives. "We ought to have them have the right to be able to regulate where they can do their fracking, what neighborhoods are affected. We want local governments to have the opportunity to regulate fracking. Right now, we've got issues galore with the rules with the fact that they do not address who's going to pay for all the damage, whenever trucks are coming back and forth on your roads in your counties. How do you get that damage paid for?" But David McGowan, with the North Carolina Petroleum Council said the rules have been carefully crafted over three years and says they may, in fact, amount to the strictest in the country. "There's 34 states that have gone before us," said McGowan. "It's not like we're recreating the wheel here in North Carolina. This is an ongoing process and as technology develops and as procedures develop and as standards develop, this needs to be an ongoing rulemaking process. That's something we'll have in North Carolina. We're always adjusting and improving our rules to make sure this is done safely and responsibly." WTVD By Jon Camp Wednesday, March 18, 2015 09:39AM RALEIGH (WTVD) -- After years of wrangling by lawmakers, commissioners, and North Carolinians, the Tar Heel State is now open for fracking. Tuesday, the application process opened up for companies interested in drilling for natural gas in North Carolina. Critics came out swinging, charging that the new rules which went also went into effect, are poorly crafted and don't keep the promise made by lawmakers in recent years that they would ensure North Carolina had the strongest fracking laws in the country. "The rules are simply insufficient to move forward with the issuing of permits," said Sen. Mike Woodard (D-Durham). "We've been promised over the last five years that North Carolina would have the nation's toughest fracking rules, and here we are at zero hours and we do not have those rules. We need to stop, slow down and we need to spend more time living up to the promise we made to the people of North Carolina to implement the nation's toughest rules." Concerns about the new rules run the gamut from lack of local control to the question of who pays for damage done by fracking equipment to the concern over major environmental disaster. Rep. Robert Reives (D-Sanford) expressed concern that the required minimum $1 million in disaster mitigation bond wouldn't be enough. "Whatever somebody feels about the issue of fracking, what you have to recognize is, just like any other industry, there will most likely be some sort of accident," said Reives, "and if we don't have appropriate bonding for these companies coming in then that will be left for the taxpayers to pay for that." Reives also worried that local governments are shutout of the process and have little control over fracking in their backyard. "We ought to allow local governments to have the right to regulate the noise," said Reives. "We ought to have them have the right to be able to regulate where they can do their fracking, what neighborhoods are affected. We want local governments to have the opportunity to regulate fracking. Right now, we've got issues galore with the rules with the fact that they do not address who's going to pay for all the damage, whenever trucks are coming back and forth on your roads in your counties. How do you get that damage paid for?" But David McGowan, with the North Carolina Petroleum Council said the rules have been carefully crafted over three years and says they may, in fact, amount to the strictest in the country. "There's 34 states that have gone before us," said McGowan. "It's not like we're recreating the wheel here in North Carolina. This is an ongoing process and as technology develops and as procedures develop and as standards develop, this needs to be an ongoing rulemaking process. That's something we'll have in North Carolina. We're always adjusting and improving our rules to make sure this is done safely and responsibly." McGowan later reached out to ABC11 to say he misspoke - there are only 33 states that have gone before North Carolina. It's been an open question as to whether energy companies will want to set up shop in North Carolina. No one can say for sure just how much natural gas is underground. But McGowan says he believes there to be "a lot of interest." "They wanted to see the rules become affected," McGowan said. "They wanted to know the regulatory operating environment that they would be under. And they also want to understand what the resources are here. Part of that process is getting rules in places so they can go do the exploratory drilling and the exploration they need to understand what the resource is and how best to go about producing that. I think we will see meaningful interest in North Carolina. I don't know if that will be tomorrow or a year from now but I do think we'll see meaningful interest." Even for companies applying Tuesday, the process could take months. Companies first have to apply for a unit of land to build on. The Mining and Energy Commission will review those applications at scheduled meetings (the next is set for mid-June). Then energy companies submit a final application to the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources.   [Full Story]

Mar 18, 2015
Finding out what's in 'fracking' wastewater
Phys.Org


In early January, almost 3 million gallons of wastewater from a hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") operation in North Dakota spilled into nearby creeks. The accident highlighted ongoing concerns about what's in fracking fluids and wastewater, and whether they pose a threat to human health or the environment. An article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, details what scientists are doing to answer these questions.Celia Henry Arnaud, a senior editor at C&EN, notes that figuring out what potential harm fracking wastewater might cause is a major challenge. Oil and gas companies that practice the extraction method closely guard the recipes for the fluids they use. To complicate matters, the so-called "produced" water that flows back up from gas wells brings with it natural substances from below ground. Some of these substances, if spilled, could potentially harm the environment. And the composition of these additional compounds depends on the geology of the drill site. Scientists are using the latest analytical techniques to get a better picture of what's in fracking wastewater, how they might break down in the environment and whether there are by-products of concern. Knowing the answers to these questions will help inform efforts to dispose and treat the water—and deal with accidental leaks.   [Full Story]

Mar 18, 2015
Exclusive: Canada regulator probing TransCanada over safety allegations
Reuters
MIKE DE SOUZA

Reuters) - Canada's energy regulator is investigating up to a dozen new allegations of natural gas pipeline safety-code violations at TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO), according to documents reviewed by Reuters. The regulator, the National Energy Board (NEB), and the company confirmed an investigation is under way but offered few details of the allegations.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Fracking opponents push statewide ban [Florida]
Tallahassee Democrat
Jeff Burlew

Activists gathered Tuesday at the Capitol to push for a bill that would ban fracking in Florida and speak out against legislation they say would lay the groundwork for the controversial form of natural-gas extraction to occur. Sen. Darren Soto, D-Orlando and sponsor of the bill (SB 166) that would ban the practice, said fracking would cause environmental damage as well as harm to the tourism industry. Soto spoke during a news conference hosted by ReThink Energy Florida and the Sierra Club Florida.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Obama administration wants more renewable energy, tighter pollution controls on public lands
The Washington Post
Joby Warrick

The Obama administration will seek tougher standards for companies extracting oil, gas and coal on taxpayer-owned land during its remaining months in office, even as it pushes for expanded solar and wind projects, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Tuesday. Jewell, in a major speech outlining energy priorities for the administration’s final 22 months, said she intended to see that Americans get a better return — financially and environmentally — from energy development on the 500 million acres of surface land and nearly 2 billion acres of off-shore territories managed by the federal government.   [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
President Obama: Some in Congress Are ‘Shills for the Fossil Fuel Industry’
Eco Watch
Anastasia Pantsios

President Obama sat down with Vice founder Shane Smith yesterday and talked candidly about a range of issues including Iran, gridlock in DC, ISIL, marijuana and climate change. And on climate change, he emphasized the urgency of action—and the short-sightedness of Republican opposition.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Wind Energy Will Be Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels Within a Decade
Mother Jones
Tim McDonnell

Wind energy is growing fast. While it still accounts for less than 5 percent of the United States' total electricity mix, wind is by far the biggest source of renewable energy other than hydroelectric dams, and it accounted for 23 percent of new power production capacity built last year. Some experts think wind could provide a fifth of the world's energy by 2030. But wind in the US is always in a perilous position, thanks to its heavy reliance on a federal tax credit that is routinely attacked in Congress; the subsidy was allowed to expire at the end of last year, and its ultimate fate remains unclear. Fortunately, wind won't be subject to the whims of legislators for much longer, according to a new analysis from the Energy Department. The new report found that within a decade, wind will be cost-competitive with fossil fuels like natural gas, even without a federal tax incentive.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Interior secretary seeks cleaner, safer energy on public lands
The Hill
Timothy Cama

In the final years of the Obama administration, officials want to focus on reforms to make energy production on public lands cleaner and safer, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said. The Interior Department is also working to improve the way it manages leases, in part to ensure that the government and taxpayers get a fair price for resources. ADVERTISEMENT Jewell outlined her plans Tuesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, framing her speech as the middle of an eight-year-long process by the Obama administration to reform how the country’s main land management agency deals with oil, gas, coal and renewable energy on its property.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Canadian Safety Board Says Oil Tank Cars Need To Be Made Safer, Sooner
Huffington Post
Rob Gillies AP

TORONTO (AP) — Canada needs to implement tougher standards for oil trains earlier than a 2025 target, the transportation safety board said Tuesday. The government proposed tougher standards for tank cars this month in response to a string of fiery crashes. The new proposal would require the cars to have a layer of thermal protection and thicker steel walls. It said the new standards should be phased in by 2015. But in a report about a fiery March 7 derailment in northeastern Ontario, the Transportation Safety Board said the target date isn't soon enough.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
The natural gas price crash could be next
Business Insider
ANDREW CRITCHLOW, THE TELEGRAPH

Finance More: The Telegraph Gas The natural gas price crash could be next The Telegraph ANDREW CRITCHLOW, THE TELEGRAPH MAR. 17, 2015, 9:20 AM 3,392 1 FACEBOOK LINKEDIN TWITTER a gas flare is seen at an oil well site gas flares are created when excess flammable gases are released by pressure release valves during the drilling for oil and natural gas Getty Images/Andrew Burton A gas flare is seen at an oil well site. Gas flares are created when excess flammable gases are released by pressure release valves during the drilling for oil and natural gas. See Also The good times are over for the shale boom The US oil bust just got worse Big oil must make big changes if it wants to survive Thought you had seen the last of the huge price movements in the energy markets? Well, think again. The supply glut which has led to a 50% slide in oil prices over the past year will begin to grip the other major hydrocarbon product vital to global economies, liquefied natural gas (LNG).   [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
House Republicans' budget envisions more drilling, fewer regulations
E&E Publishing
Nick Juliano

The annual spending and policy blueprint House Republicans released today envisions expanded domestic energy production and fewer environmental regulations among its prescriptions to grow the economy and eliminate the federal deficit. House Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) unveiled his budget proposal today, outlining a set of policy proposals that tracks closely with the approach Republicans have championed for the last several years. "Through policies like fundamental tax reform, expanded energy production and the streamlining or outright elimination of unnecessary regulations, our budget would create an environment where folks can plan for the future with greater confidence and optimism," Price wrote in a USA Today op-ed today. The budget is nonbinding but sets a blueprint for spending and policy goals over the coming year. The Senate's budget is expected to be released tomorrow, and both chambers are likely to pass their respective plans before adjourning for recess next week. By mid-April, the Budget committees hope to have their differences reconciled in order to set spending targets for the Appropriations committees to move the dozen annual spending bills before the next fiscal year begins Oct. 1.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Republicans Push Climate Change Cuts at CIA, Defense Department
National Journal
Clare Foran

Climate change is on the chopping block. If Republicans get their way, the CIA and the Defense Department could soon have a lot less cash for climate research. The House GOP budget unveiled on Tuesday calls for cuts to CIA and DOD programs devoted to the study of global warming, despite the fact that the military has identified climate change as a major national security threat and a key priority.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
General To Congress: Climate Change Will Threaten Our National Security
WLRN
Luis Hernandez

Military leaders depend on imagination. Conflict can spring up anywhere in the world, so leaders must be thinking about every possible scenario, every consequence on action taken or not taken. And that's what a group of retired admirals and generals are asking of political leaders: Have imagination. Consider all the possible consequences of climate change and its impact on the national security of the United States. Credit FL Center for Environmental Studies The group makes up a military advisory board as part of the CNA Corporation. It recently published a report called National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
California could power itself three to five times over with solar
The Washington Post
Puneet Kollipara

Deserts and remote fields are popular spots for building vast arrays of solar panels, which generate dramatically more energy than individual homeowner rooftop installations. These areas are rich in sunlight while offering plenty of clear, flat land to work with. But what if we didn’t always have to go all the way out to these remote and potentially ecologically fragile areas? What if we could simply drive down the street and make use of the buildings and lands in areas we’ve already developed? A new study suggests that such a strategy could work in a state like California, which is working aggressively to boost its renewable energy use. And it could provide a lot of power. There’s enough space suitable for solar power on or near land that humans occupy in the state to power three to five of today’s Californias, researchers report in Nature Climate Change today.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Rotting ties, loose bolts found on CSX track near Rockland
The Journal News
Khurram Saeed

Crumbling railroad ties and loose bolts were some of the defects recently discovered on the freight line used by oil trains to travel through Rockland. State and federal inspectors found five problem spots along 22 miles of track, including two switches, on CSX's River Line from Newburgh to Haverstraw. The most serious defect was a number of deteriorated cross ties along a short section of track near the Rockland border in Fort Montgomery, Orange County.   [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Monterey County Supervisors split on fracking issue, fail to approve moratorium
KCBX FM
RANDOL WHITE

A temporary ban on fracking in Monterey County was not approved at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, following passionate public comment and split opinions from the board members themselves. A majority of the board indicated there is no need for a moratorium sighting that there are currently no oil and gas operations in the county using hydraulic fracturing.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Underwater Aussie wave farms pump both power and water
engadget
Andrew Tarantola

t isn't the motion of the ocean that matters so much as what you do with the waves. At one Australian naval base, those waves are being put to use providing steady streams of both electricity and potable water, all while generating zero emissions. It's all thanks to an innovative green energy production system -- the first in the world to provide both power and water with networked generators -- from Carnegie Wave Energy Limited.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Segmentation – A Pipeline Loophole
NO FRACKING WAY
DORY HIPPAUF

n 2014 the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) successfully won a lawsuit against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The lawsuit involved the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s (TGP) Northeast Upgrade Project (NEUP). The NEUP project involved the interdependence of its 300 Line upgrade project components. TGP tried to hide this interdependence to avoid critical environmental regulation and oversight. Avoiding interdependence and thus finding a loophole by segmenting projects eliminates the need to look at cumulative impacts of the project will have. Segmenting projects eliminates the need to take existing pipelines and known future projects. It puts the specific pipeline in a vacuum.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Denton Fracking Ban Tees Up Local Control Fight
The Texas Tribune
Jim Malewitz

As policy dilemmas go, the one triggered when Denton voters decided last fall to ban hydraulic fracturing in their city looked like a whopper: The oil and gas industry versus local control — two things Texas holds dear — in intractable opposition. There seemed little doubt lawmakers would weigh in upon their return to Austin. But four months after the North Texas city’s historic vote, top state lawmakers don’t appear to be scratching their heads. Petroleum is winning hands down, and local control appears headed for a beating. Several legislative proposals so far leave less wiggle room for Texas cities to regulate oil and gas production.   [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Ineos pledge £2.5 billion to Scottish communities that agree to fracking
Evening Times
Victoria Brenan

Despite a moratorium on the practice, bosses told a press conference at Grangemouth they believed gas was the key for the future of their business. They said there was a 'very rapid decline' in North Sea gas and the company was spending £400m in importing shale gas from the U.S. Chief executive Gary Haywood said they realised there were concerns about fracking in Scottish communities and claimed there was 'misinformation' . He said the company was today launching a community engagement process so people could find out the facts for themselves. A series of dates have been set up for meetings in Falkirk, Kilsyth and Cumbernauld next month.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Start your drills: Fracking can begin in North Carolina today
Indy Week
Lisa Sorg

It seems so long ago, 2012, the year fracking became legal in North Carolina. With additional permitting and environmental rules still to put in place, there was a (small) hope that someone would come to his or her senses and call the whole thing off. But no, here we are in 2015, and all the "rules" are in place to allow fracking to begin today. Those rules, which state officials promised three years ago would be the most stringent in the U.S., have since been weakened. Last night, the Senate passed House Bill 157, a stewpot of environmental rule changes. Among them,removing the requirement for the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) to create rules to limit toxic air emissions from fracking operations. Nor is there clarity on how to dispose of the millions of gallons of contaminated wastewater left over from fracking operations. As studies have indicated, municipal wastewater systems are not equipped to deal with naturally occurring radioactive materials in these fluids. Nor have there been discussions of the possibility of earthquakes resulting from hydraulic drilling operations. Areas of Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas, where earthquakes had been rare, now experience them with some regularity—and they are much stronger.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Community Rights vs. Corporate Rights: Citizens Fight for Home Rule Against Fracking and Pipelines
Eco Watch
Anastasia Pantsios

Across the country, battles are raging as communities attempt to protect the air, soil and water within their borders and the safety of their residents. These battles are taking the form of debates about whether state regulations can or should erase local home rule. Colorado and Texas are engaged in such high-profile battles after voters in communities like Denton, Texas and Boulder, Longmont and Fort Collins, Colorado, passed fracking bans. That has opened up ongoing maneuvers and lawsuits as state governments work with oil and gas companies to uphold the exploration and extraction interests of the latter despite citizen concerns about environmental pollution, noise, traffic and infrastructure stress.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Importation of Frackwater in Violation of City Ordinance Puts Public Health, Safety at Risk
Niagara Falls Reporter
James Hufnagel

A local waste disposal firm may be transporting toxic fracking wastewater through the LaSalle section of the city of Niagara Falls in direct and flagrant violation ofa 2012 city ordinance prohibiting the activity. According to waste facility reports available at www.marcellusgas.org, an industry web site, Allied Waste Systems, LLC, located at 5600 Niagara Falls Blvd in the city,has landfilled over 913,000 barrels of fracking wastewater imported from Pennsylvania drilling rigs and 90 tons of solid drill cutting waste since the Niagara FallsCity Council banned importation of the materials on March 6, 2012. Passed unanimously, and sponsored by councilmen Glenn Choolokian, the city's anti fracking ordinance prohibits the "storage, transfer, treatment or disposal of naturalgas exploration and production wastes" within city limits. While the Niagara Falls Water Board eventually complied with the decision and has, for the time being,ceased efforts to cash in on fracking, it appears Allied Waste, a subsidiary of Republic Services, Inc. of Phoenix, AZ, has other ideas.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
N.C. fracking rules take effect today
Fayetteville Observer


Associated Press | RALEIGH - Rules governing the hydraulic fracturing method for drilling natural gas are expected to take effect today, creating the potential for drilling to start later in the year. The set of 120 rules that govern issues including well construction, water testing and buffer zones was developed by the state Mining and Energy Commission over nearly two years and approved in December by a separate state panel. With the fracking rules in place, companies interested in finding natural gas can begin applying for fracking permits. A member of the Mining and Energy Commission, James Womack, said a company interested in fracking would first have to acquire the mineral rights for several hundred acres to create what's known as a drilling unit.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
‘Bitterly disappointed’ Oxford students occupy over fracking divestment deferral
RT


University of Oxford students have seized a campus building in protest over the deferral of a decision to divest in fracking shares. Fifteen students carrying a banner have occupied the Clarendon Building. Former University of Oxford Finance Director John Clements threw his lot in with the protestors. “We are bitterly disappointed about the university’s failure to come to a decision,” Clements told the Guardian. “Oxford should be leading the move away from investment in all world-destroying fossil fuel companies to more sustainable forms of energy.”  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Dow Is Latest US Business To Throw Natural Gas Under The Bus
Clean Technica
Tina Casey

The intertubes are abuzz with news of a major wind energy buy engineered by corporate giant Dow Chemical. The company has announced that it has sealed the deal on an agreement with a soon-to-be-built wind farm in South Texas. Once up and running, the wind farm will provide Dow’s facility in Freeport with 200 MW annually. That’s gotta be a stab in the heart to Texas natural gas suppliers, which are already suffering the effects of a gas and oil boom turned bust. The big question is, why not gas? After all, until now natural gas has been the go-to choice as a replacement for coal power plants…  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Trout Unlimited keeps eye on shale gas drilling impact
Morning Call
Gary R. Blockus

Michaels Creek and Martins Creek in the Poconos are about to get some very important oversight. Trained members of the Brodhead Chapter of Trout Unlimited will begin monitoring a variety of data in those streams and turn the results over to the Pennsylvania Council of TU. The council will include the information in a national database to keep track of the shale gas drilling industry's potential impact on streams. The work is part of the Pennsylvania TU Coldwater Conservation Corps, and the Brodhead Chapter is ready to collect the data and put eyes on the streams, according to Ann Foster, a board member of the Brodhead TU chapter who is the coordinator for the chapter's CCC efforts.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Are the good times over for growth in U.S. shale gas?
philly.com
Scott DiSavino, Reuters

Reuters) - U.S. natural gas production could decline in 2016 for the first time in 10 years, driven by low oil prices after a decade of gangbusters growth from shale plays. While most analysts forecast gas production will continue growing year-over-year, albeit at a slower pace, a couple of outlier analysts believe low oil and gas prices will prompt drillers to cut spending enough to reduce gas production next year. Any talk of cutbacks is an early sign that low oil prices have slowed the U.S. shale gas boom that has revolutionized global markets and is expected to transform the nation into a net exporter of gas by the end of the decade.   [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
NRDC To Feds: Deny Permit for Port Ambrose LNG Project. Promote Clean Energy Instead.
NRDC Blog


For NRDC, the choices can't be clearer or the stakes higher--when there's a conflict between clean energy and fossil fuels, clean energy should always prevail. That's the drama that is playing out right now off the south shore of Long Island. There, Liberty Natural Gas, a developer, wants to site a proposed offshore, liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal, in the same area as a proposed offshore wind project that has the potential to supply our area with clean wind power. NRDC, like other stakeholders, elected officials and ordinary citizens, submitted comments yesterday and were joined by Riverkeeper and Sierra Club in opposing the LNG terminal. We urge the two federal agencies charged with approving the project permit--the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the U.S. Coast Guard--to deny the Port Ambrose LNG terminal once and for all. Moreover, New York State and New Jersey should use their authority to veto the project, should the two federal agencies approve it.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Groups urge two governors to veto Port Ambrose LNG plan
ohio.com
Bob Downing

New York, NY – A letter sent today by advocacy group Food & Water Watch to Governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo, signed by 217 national, state and local organizations, called on the governors to veto an offshore liquid natural gas (LNG) port being proposed for construction in the waters just off New York and New Jersey. As the letter states, the proposed Port Ambrose LNG facility would pose a significant explosion and pollution threat to nearby costal communities, would increase dependence on fossil fuels and fracking throughout the region, and would impede the prospect of offshore wind energy development in the same location. Both Christie and Cuomo have the ability to veto the proposal outright. Additionally, as the public comment period on Port Ambrose came to a close today, Food & Water Watch submitted more than 27,000 comments to the U.S. Coast Guard and the federal Maritime Administration opposing the plan. The letter opposing Port Ambrose was signed by organizations from 24 different states, including prominent national organizations such as Sierra Club and 350.org. “Governor Christie vetoed a similar offshore LNG proposal in 2011 and we hope he’ll once again do the smart thing for the safety and prosperity of the Jersey Shore,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “Governor Cuomo recently became a national leader on the environment and public safety when he banned fracking in New York. For him to allow Port Ambrose now would be a real contradiction, and an about-face on fracking and fossil fuels. We urge both governors to reject this unneeded, unwanted offshore hazard.”  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
New Yorkers Urge Cuomo to Veto Port Ambrose LNG Terminal
Indypendent
Alex Ellefson

Scores of environmental advocates joined with their elected officials outside City Hall on Monday to urge Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto the Port Ambrose natural gas terminal, which would be built almost 20 miles off the coast of Long Island’s South Shore. Opponents of the Port Ambrose terminal say the project will increase demand for natural gas, which is extracted through a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that injects a toxic chemical cocktail into the earth and can poison nearby water supplies. Anti-fracking activists scored a major victory in December when Cuomo banned fracking in New York State. “We have some victories that we can celebrate. We banned fracking,” said City Councilman Donovan Richards, who is chairman of the Committee on Environmental Protection. “I think we have an opportunity to work with the governor once again to get it right. I think that he has a chance to be two for two, instead of one for two.” The rally was held on the last day for public comments on an environmental impact study released by the Maritime Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard, the federal agencies tasked with accessing how the project might affect surrounding communities. More than 60,000 comments had been submitted by Monday morning. An overwhelming majority of the comments opposed building Port Ambrose and disputed the study’s conclusion that the project would have a minimal impact on the environment. The speakers at the rally argued that the Port Ambrose terminal threatened the marine ecosystem and there was a risk the volatile fuel might explode and pollute the waters around coastal communities. They also said that the terminal would interfere with plans to build an offshore wind farm in the same area. City Councilman Corey Johnson, who was arrested in 2013 along with a dozen anti-fracking activists for protesting the construction of the Spectra pipeline in the West Village, called on the community and environmental groups who fought for the New York fracking ban to bring the same attention to the Port Ambrose terminal. “I’m very glad and happy that the state health commissioner and Governor Cuomo saw the light of day and did the right thing [by banning fracking]. But they only did the right thing because activists put pressure on them,” said Johnson. “I’m willing to get arrested again. You let me know where and when.” Liberty Natural Gas, the developer behind Port Ambrose, has said the terminal would only be used to import natural gas and would reduce energy costs during peak consumption periods, such as the recent cold snap this winter. However, those who oppose the project argue that it doesn’t make sense to import natural gas considering that domestic gas prices are much lower than they are in the rest of world. They believe that once the terminal is built, Liberty will apply for a new license to allow the Port Ambrose facility to export natural gas, which would increase demand for fracked gas. “It doesn’t make sense economically,” said Jessica Roff, programs manager for the environmental group Catskill Mountainkeeper. She pointed out that 31 permits for liquefied natural gas terminals have been submitted to the federal government. Port Ambrose is the only one to apply only for an import permit. “We’re all confident that this is going to get transitioned over to an export facility if it is indeed passed. This means greater pressure to frack in the Northeast,” she said. “We’re very lucky in New York State that Governor Cuomo started us on the right path by banning fracking in New York. But that means that our neighbors in Pennsylvania pick up the slack and that’s not okay either. We don’t want there to be fracking anywhere.” Long Island resident and activist George Povell said that opposition to Port Ambrose is almost unanimous in the coastal communities closest to the proposed facility. Many of the area’s elected officials, including Senate Republican majority leader Dean Skelos, have vocally opposed the project. Aileen Sheil, NYPIRG Board of Directors Chairperson and Queens College student, said that stopping the Port Ambrose Terminal was a chance for New York State to once again show leadership in the global battle against fracking. She said that it would be huge victory for advocates of renewable energy to stop the Port Ambrose terminal and build a wind farm in its place. “To be a leader in renewable energy is really a great responsibility and one we shouldn’t screw up,” she said.   [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Survey of GW National Forest for gas pipeline wins U.S. OK
Penn Energy


ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — The builders of a proposed natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina have the green light to survey a 12.6-mile slice of the George Washington National Forest. The Forest Service announced Tuesday it is issuing a temporary special use permit for the survey of the forest for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The survey will assess soils, federally listed threatened and endangered plants and animals and cultural resources. The Forest Service stressed that the survey approval does not clear the way for the pipeline's construction. Dominion Resources is partnering with other energy companies to build the $5 billion, 550-mile pipeline. It would deliver natural gas from Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania to the Southeast.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
State seeks natural gas storage extension in its largest park
Times Union
Brian Nearing

Albany The state is proposing to extend a decades-long lease for underground storage of natural gas in its largest state park by another 15 years. The state Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation is proposing a lease extension in the 65,000-acre Allegany State Park with New York-based energy company National Fuel Gas. The park is about 60 miles southeast of Buffalo and attracts more than 1.8 million visitors annually.   [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
5 Ways Energy Is Transforming U.S. Railroads
Scientific American
Marianne Lavelle and The Daily Climate

U.S. railroads have not hauled so much crude oil since the short period at the dawn of the petroleum age, when John D. Rockefeller relied on trains to build his Standard Oil empire. But the long, black tanker trains are only the most visible way that the changing U.S. energy picture is transforming railroads. The fracking revolution has brought other business to railroads, from pipes to propane, and more change is underway.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Train Deaths Rise Amid Energy-Driven Rail Transformation
Scientific American
Marianne Lavelle and Daily Climate

Every week in the United States in 2014, about 16 people were killed by trains—a 17 percent increase over the previous year and adding up to the highest number of rail casualties since 2007, federal government data shows. None of these victims died in fiery crude oil explosions like the ones visible for miles around train derailment sites this month in Illinois and Ontario. But in some regions, there are signs that the increasing deaths may be tied to a massive energy-driven transformation underway on U.S. railroads. (See sidebar, "Five ways energy is driving new railroad traffic.")  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
NYC officials, activists oppose ocean gas terminal
Newsday
JONATHAN LEMIRE (Associated Press)

NEW YORK - (AP) -- Some New York City elected officials and environmentalists rallied on Monday against a plan to build a liquid natural gas terminal near New York Harbor and called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto the proposal they deemed an environmental danger. Liberty Natural Gas wants to build a deep-water port in federal waters 19 miles off Jones Beach, New York, and 29 miles off Long Branch, New Jersey. The company says the Port Ambrose terminal would bring additional natural gas into the New York area during times of peak demand, thereby lowering home-heating prices. But activists from both states -- as well as some lawmakers, including State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Long Island) -- have voiced concerns about the plan. Several rallied at City Hall on Monday and asked Cuomo to put a stop to the massive project.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Constitution Pipeline: Headed to Completion or to Court?
RTO Insider
William Opalka

Opponents of a 124-mile natural gas pipeline that would provide New York and New England access to Pennsylvania shale gas have threatened to go to court next week to force federal regulators to reconsider their approval of the project (CP13-499, CP13-502). The proposed Constitution Pipeline won a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Dec. 2. Stop the Pipeline, a citizens group intervening in the case, said it will go to court if FERC does not consider its request for a rehearing “on the merits” by Friday. The group is being assisted by the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, which lists environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as a supervising attorney.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Texas LNG seeking approval of Eagle Ford gas exports to Mexico
Marcellus.com
Zachary Toliver

The business of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is going strong in places like Brownsville, Texas where one company is submitting a request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to export processed LNG to Mexico. Texas LNG Brownsville LLC, a Houston-based company, submitted the pre-filing letter to the federal agency on March 9. The natural gas company will take gas produced in the Eagle Ford Shale and process the product in its Brownville facility. According to a recent press release, Texas LNG plans to build the Brownsville project in two phases, each with LNG production of 2 million tons per year (“MTA”). Pending FERC’s final approval to construct the project, Phase 1 is expected to commence production in 2020.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Opposition to Port Ambrose project gathers political steam
Capital NY


Official opposition to the planned Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas plant off the coast of Long Island is growing, as elected officials call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto the project. In January, Senate Republican majority leader Dean Skelos wrote to Cuomo to express his opposition to the project in its current form. At noon today, New York City comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James are scheduled to join City Councilman Donovan Richards to call on Cuomo to block it. The drumbeat against the facility, a floating offshore loading station in the waters between New Jersey and Long Island, started in living rooms and union halls on Long Island and has gathered mainstream political support. The state's potent anti-fracking movement is also using its network of activists to fight the plan.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Campaign aimed at altering Va. route of natural gas pipeline
Washington Times
STEVE SZKOTAK - Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Opponents of the proposed Virginia route of a 550-mile natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina have launched a campaign to enlist more allies in their fight. The “All Pain, No Gain Campaign” delivered that message Sunday in paid media spots in central and western Virginia markets. The campaign contends that everyone in Virginia and even Washington, D.C., has a stake in the ultimate path of the 42-inch Atlantic Coast Pipeline because it would carve up private property and scenic vistas and threaten water supplies. The campaign wants the pipeline shifted to existing rights of way.   [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Figuring Out Fracking Wastewater
Cen.ACS
Celia Henry Arnaud

Almost 3 million gallons of concentrated salt water leaked in early January from a ruptured pipeline at a natural gas drilling site near Williston, N.D. The brine, a by-product of the oil and gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, spilled into two creeks that empty into the Missouri River, according to news reports. Although a state health official said the salty water was quickly diluted once it reached the Missouri, the spill—large by North Dakota standards—raised questions about the contents of the brine. Accidental spills like this one occur with some frequency, so scientists would like to understand the contaminants they release into waterways and elsewhere in the environment. Their findings could help officials guide the cleanup of sites or mitigate damage.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
DOT quietly floats overhaul for aging U.S. oil pipeline network
E & E Newswire
Mike Lee

Almost two years after an Exxon Mobil Corp. pipeline split open and sent Canadian crude flowing through a neighborhood in Mayflower, Ark., federal regulators have quietly proposed a sweeping rewrite of oil pipeline safety rules. If the proposal is finalized in its current form, as much as 95 percent of the U.S. pipelines that carry crude, gasoline and other liquids -- 182,000 miles -- would be subject to the new rules and about half the system may have to undergo extensive tests to prove it can operate safely, according to information from the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.   [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Could Absolute Consensus on Global Warming Come in a Suitcase?
Inside Climate News
David Hasemyer

NASA scientist Emily Wilson has big plans for a little gadget. She has developed a suitcase-sized instrument that measures carbon dioxide and methane wafting into the atmosphere from ground level to four miles into the sky. "I have a pretty big vision," Wilson said. She wants to create a worldwide network of these portable monitors to track the two potent greenhouse gases that have been identified as major contributors to global warming.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
'Fracking' rules take effect Tuesday, clearing way for permits
WRAL
JONATHAN DREW

RALEIGH, N.C. — Rules governing the hydraulic fracturing method for drilling natural gas are expected to take effect Tuesday, creating the potential for drilling to start later in the year. The set of 120 rules that govern issues including well construction, water testing and buffer zones was developed by the state Mining and Energy Commission over nearly two years and approved in December by a separate state panel. With the "fracking" rules in place, companies interested in finding natural gas can begin applying for fracking permits. A member of the Mining and Energy Commission, James Womack, said a company interested in fracking would first have to acquire the mineral rights for several hundred acres to create what's known as a drilling unit.   [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Couple Forced Out As Leak Threatens Potential Gas Explosion At Finleyville Home
CBS Pittsburgh
Andy Sheehan

FINLEYVILLE (KDKA) — They’re an couple enjoying their retirement years in Finleyville, Washington County, but a gas leak has driven them from their home. It’s been a month and half, but the continuing threat of a gas explosion has kept Joyce and Harry Hill out of their house. And nobody knows where the gas is coming from. Joyce Hill: “We’ve lived here almost 38 years.” KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “But you can’t go inside?” Joyce: “No.” Imagine calling a place home for most of your adult life and not being able to live in it. The mortgage is paid off and the taxes are up to date. It’s just that it’s in danger of exploding any time. “Not being able to sleep, eat,” said Joyce. “All we think about is our house.”  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. files environmental report with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
The Republican
Mary Serreze

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, has filed a key environmental report with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as it seeks approval to build its interstate Northeast Energy Direct natural gas pipeline system. The March 13 report, embedded below, provides new information about the controversial project, but falls short of revealing the specific location of two 80,000 horsepower compressor stations planned for Berkshire and Franklin counties here in western Massachusetts. Those locations will be described in a future filing, according to the report.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
SolarCity, a Vocal Critic of the Utility Industry, Joins It
The New York Times
DIANE CARDWELL

As SolarCity, the rooftop solar system provider, has rapidly expanded its reach over the last few years, its executives have pushed hard against the utility industry, criticizing it as a hidebound monopoly standing in the way of change. Now, SolarCity officials are trying a different tactic: moving into that business themselves. On Monday, company executives announced a program aimed at cities, remote communities, campuses and military bases under which they will design and operate small, independent power networks called microgrids. While the move will not turn the company into, say, Con Edison overnight, it represents a step in that direction.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Environmental group halts work on pipeline
Citizens Voice
Brendan Gibbons

DORRANCE TWP. — Freshly felled pine trees lay strewn next to siblings Brian and Sheila Cooper’s mother’s home on Blue Ridge Trail, filling the air with their sharp scent. “It looks like a tornado hit it,” Cooper said, surveying the logs piled atop one another like a giant game of pick-Up sticks. Cooper walked to the top of the hill above his mother’s home, where the light filtered through a stand of half-century old pines that once connected to the cleared zone. “I hope they clean this mess up now,” he said, looking down on the log pile. “This was a nice piece of woods.”  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
US Oil Pipeline Industry Quietly Building Network That 'Dwarfs Keystone'
Common Dreams
Deirdre Fulton

Despite public opposition that has so far blocked the building of the Keystone XL pipeline, the fossil fuels industry has successfully—and quietly—expanded the nation's domestic oil network by installing thousands of miles of pipeline across the country, according to new reporting by the Associated Press. "Overall, the network has increased by almost a quarter in the last decade," the AP reports. "And the work dwarfs Keystone. About 3.3 million barrels per day of capacity have been added since 2012 alone—five times more oil than the Canada-to-Texas Keystone line could carry if it's ever built."  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Opposition to Port Ambrose project gathers political steam
Capital New York
David Giambusso

Official opposition to the planned Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas plant off the coast of Long Island is growing, as elected officials call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto the project. In January, Senate Republican majority leader Dean Skelos wrote to Cuomo to express his opposition to the project in its current form. At noon today, New York City comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James are scheduled to join City Councilman Donovan Richards to call on Cuomo to block it.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Stringer joins opposition to Port Ambrose
Capital New York
David Giambusso

City Comptroller Scott Stringer has joined a growing bloc of elected leaders opposed to Port Ambrose, an offshore liquefied natural gas facility currently under federal review. "We should not be talking about building a natural gas facility before we talk about rebuilding homes and lives in the Rockaways," Stringer said today, flanked by dozens of clean energy and environmental advocates in front of City Hall. "How in good conscience can you talk about a facility that will poison our waters, potentially harm our people and think about moving that project before we have restored ferry service?" Stringer said. "This is something that, from a community perspective, makes absolutely no sense." Stringer joined City Council members Corey Johnson and Donovan Richards, chair of the council's environmental protection committee, at the rally today. The list of elected officials opposing the project includes Senate Republican majority leader Dean Skelos, Rep. Kathleen Rice, the entire City Council environmental protection committee, as well as a host of local elected officials from Long Island. "Dean Skelos has signed on [in opposition] so that should be a clear indication that no one wants the project anywhere in this world," Richards said.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
NYC officials, activists oppose ocean gas terminal
Newsday
JONATHAN LEMIRE

NEW YORK - (AP) -- Some New York City elected officials and environmentalists rallied on Monday against a plan to build a liquid natural gas terminal near New York Harbor and called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto the proposal they deemed an environmental danger. Liberty Natural Gas wants to build a deep-water port in federal waters 19 miles off Jones Beach, New York, and 29 miles off Long Branch, New Jersey. The company says the Port Ambrose terminal would bring additional natural gas into the New York area during times of peak demand, thereby lowering home-heating prices.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Rally held against proposed natural gas plant
News 12 Long Island


LONG BEACH - Protesters rallied against a proposed natural gas plant off Long Island's South Shore Monday. Port Ambrose, the proposed deepwater port, would be built about 19 miles off the coast of Long Beach. It would be used to import liquefied natural gas – or LNG – onto Long Island.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
As environmental, landowner advocates step up their game, FERC finds itself in the crosshairs
Platts


Once a quiet agency whose quasi-judicial reviews occurred with little fanfare, FERC has found itself in the new and uncomfortable position of being the focus of grassroots environmental groups bent on ending fossil fuel use through escalating tactics of protest and civil disobedience. Environmentalists in recent interviews with Platts vowed that they will continue their engagement with FERC, criticizing the agency for turning a deaf ear to local concerns and ignoring the broader environmental impacts of natural gas development. But Chairman Cheryl LaFleur and others are defending the commission's processes for reviewing pipelines and other infrastructure, rejecting the view that FERC is a "rubber stamp." LaFleur noted the rise in citizen activism in January in comments to the National Press Club. “Pipelines are facing unprecedented opposition from local and national groups including environmental activists. These groups are active in every FERC docket, as they should be, as well as in my email inbox seven days a week, in my Twitter feed, at our open meetings demanding to be heard, and literally at our door, closing down First Street so FERC won’t be able to work. We have a situation here," she said. But it remains to be seen whether the activists can go beyond making noise at FERC meetings to reshaping policy. Among their enumerated goals is setting a moratorium on new gas infrastructure approvals until FERC is reconstituted as a leader in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. A frequent charge they make is that the agency must begin taking account of massive regional environmental impacts of cumulative gas development — such as fracking in the Marcellus and Utica shales — as it reviews individual pipeline projects.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Figuring Out Fracking Wastewater
Chemical & Engineering News
Celia Henry Arnaud

Almost 3 million gallons of concentrated salt water leaked in early January from a ruptured pipeline at a natural gas drilling site near Williston, N.D. The brine, a by-product of the oil and gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, spilled into two creeks that empty into the Missouri River, according to news reports. Although a state health official said the salty water was quickly diluted once it reached the Missouri, the spill—large by North Dakota standards—raised questions about the contents of the brine. Accidental spills like this one occur with some frequency, so scientists would like to understand the contaminants they release into waterways and elsewhere in the environment. Their findings could help officials guide the cleanup of sites or mitigate damage.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Late Friday, the US government proposed what looks like a stealth bailout of the oil industry
Business Insider
Wolf Richter

Oil industry lobbyists must have been working the government over for months. The price of oil has plunged nearly 60% since June. Smaller oil companies are going bankrupt. Larger ones are bleeding. Energy junk-bondholders are getting massacred. Wall Street investment banks are fretting about losing the fees. Lenders are worried about their energy loans.   [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Obama: It's 'Disturbing' That A Climate Change Denier Chairs Senate Environmental Committe
Huffington Post
Sam Levine

President Barack Obama told Vice News in an interview released on Monday that it was "disturbing" that the chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works denied the existence of climate change. Obama was referring to Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who threw a snowball on the Senate floor earlier this month to help make his case that climate change isn't real. Even though Inhofe cited record low temperatures across the country as evidence that climate change was overplayed, the country has actually been experiencing a warmer than average winter. "That's disturbing," Obama said when Vice's Shane Smith pointed out that the stunt would have been funny if it weren't for Inhofe's chairmanship. Inhofe, who wrote the book The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, has also cited Scripture as part of his argument for why climate change isn't real.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
NYC LAWMAKERS BLAST CONTROVERSIAL NJ-EXXON DEAL
City & State
BOB HENNELLY

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s controversial deal with Exxon Mobil to settle an $8.9 billion natural resources damage claim for less than 3 cents on the dollar is now coming under additional scrutiny from New York City elected officials. Officials claim the settlement will short-change the public because the energy giant's toxic hotspots located in Linden and Bayonne have contaminated the marshes and wetlands along water bodies like the Arthur Kill tidal strait and Newark Bay, both of which share shoreline with New York. They have also raised concerns about the precedent set by the Christie administration last year of diverting the proceeds from these kinds of environmental damage claims into the state’s general fund and away from environmental restoration projects.   [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
After Congress Gutted Propane Market Reform, Industry Doubles Down on Secretive Storage Plan
DC Bureau
Peter Mantius

After failing to convince Congress to fix the root causes of propane shortages and price spikes that rocked the Midwest and Northeast last winter, the U.S. propane industry is now throwing its full weight behind a secretive underground storage project in western New York. Industry’s renewed support for that private sector option comes after Congress gutted a 2014 bill to scope out and fund regional propane storage sites. Now even the make-do private solution is in serious jeopardy. State regulators have already taken five years to evaluate Crestwood Midstream’s plan to store 88 million gallons of liquid petroleum gas, or LPG, in abandoned salt caverns near Seneca Lake. They are still, at a minimum, months away from deciding whether to grant the storage permit.   [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
PennEast gas pipeline may run past water supply
THE MORNING CALL
NICOLE RADZIEVICH

The idyllic Carbon County acreage where Bethlehem gets its drinking water — called one of the last great places on Earth by one conservancy group — might get a natural gas pipeline. On a 114-mile route from the Wilkes-Barre area to a distribution terminal outside Trenton, New Jersey, the proposed PennEast pipeline would pass close to a pair of spring-fed reservoirs holding 10 billion gallons of water. The pipeline would run past the historic Three O’Clock Spring in Towamensing Township, the source of Wild Creek, which fills the city’s reservoirs, and farther south over a water main carrying 12 million gallons of water a day toward the spigots of 115,000 customers in the Lehigh Valley.  [Full Story]

Mar 15, 2015
Rethink the Grid: Personal Power Stations
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Rethinking the grid is quickly emerging as one of the hottest topics. The concept of our own personal power stations can be seductive…and just might save us a whole lot of money too. “Get big or get out!” Those were the famous, and controversial, words of Earl Butz, Secretary of Agriculture in the seventies. Considering the combination of renewable technology and battery storage, a new popular mantra may emerge: get small and be free.  [Full Story]

Mar 15, 2015
Where do Pennsylvania oil and gas drillers get their pipe?
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Sean D. Hamill

State Sen. Jim Brewster was angry when he heard in June that U.S. Steel was about to close a plant in McKeesport that made pipe to transport natural gas. “When I have a plant shut down with 175 to 200 jobs, I have a problem with that,” said Mr. Brewster, a Democrat who is a former mayor of McKeesport and whose late father worked at a pipe plant in the city. When he heard from U.S. Steel officials that a big part of the reason for shutting down the plant was that the oil and gas industry here was buying a lot of pipe made in other countries, he got angrier. Before that, Mr. Brewster said, “I hadn’t given much thought to where the pipe was coming from.” There is no requirement that drillers use domestic steel, but Mr. Brewster believed the industry should work to provide American jobs.  [Full Story]

Mar 15, 2015
Proximity to air base raises concerns about National Fuel subsidiary’s pipeline plans
Buffalo News
Thomas Prohaska

WHEATFIELD – A National Fuel subsidiary’s plans for a major new natural gas pipeline may undergo some changes because of its proximity to Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. Town Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe said the plans for the upgrade of the Empire Pipeline currently call for a natural gas dehydration station to be built at the southern end of Vantage International Pointe, as the former Inducon Industrial Park is now known. “The place is right at the end of the main runway of the Niagara Falls air base,” Cliffe said. It’s about 1,000 feet from the end of the runway. Cliffe said he mentioned the situation at a recent meeting of the Niagara Military Affairs Council, a group that promotes and lobbies for added missions and more development of the facilities at the base, which is now Niagara County’s largest employer.  [Full Story]

Mar 15, 2015
As fight over Keystone XL drags on, oil industry vastly expands its pipeline network
Star Tribune
Henry C. Jackson AP

WASHINGTON — In a far corner of North Dakota, just a few hundred miles from the proposed path of the Keystone XL pipeline, 84,000 barrels of crude oil per day recently began flowing through a new line that connects the state's sprawling oilfields to an oil hub in Wyoming. In West Texas, engineers activated a new pipeline that cuts diagonally across the state to deliver crude from the oil-rich Permian Basin to refineries near Houston. And in a string of towns in Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota, local government officials are scrutinizing the path of pipeline extensions that would pass nearby. While the Keystone project awaits a final decision, scenes like these are unfolding almost every week in lesser-known developments that have quietly added more than 11,600 miles of pipeline to the nation's domestic oil network.  [Full Story]

Mar 15, 2015
USGS study points out huge fracking data gaps
Summit County Voice
Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Oil and gas companies like to present fracking as benign, and, for the most part, government regulators play along. For example, a recent oil and gas task force in Colorado barely touched on the subject of groundwater impacts from fracking. But the reality is that we know very little about how the injection of massive quantities of fracking fluids will play out in the long run. And we probably won’t know the full scope until it’s too late, following the classic pattern of environmental pollution problems. But despite scores of examples of serious site-specific water quality impacts, a recent U.S. Geological Survey study found there’s not nearly enough data to evaluate fracking’s potential risks to water quality on a regional or national scale.  [Full Story]

Mar 15, 2015
Crude oil joins rail industry staples as key revenue producer
Jamestown Sun


NEW YORK - U.S. railroads generated almost as much money last year hauling crude oil and sand, largely used in hydraulic fracturing, as they did moving industry staples like field crops and motor vehicles, according to a Reuters' analysis of newly released federal data. The previously unreported company data submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation provides the latest piece of evidence of the blossoming marriage between the energy and rail industries, forged on the back of the U.S. shale oil boom.  [Full Story]

Mar 15, 2015
Compulsory Integration Shot Down in W. Virginia
NO FRACKING WAY
Chip Northrup

Tea Party Republicans in W. Va. prove they are not stooges to the oil and gas lobby and deny frackers privatized eminent domain, aka compulsory integration or pooling. Somewhere Barry Goldwater is smiling. In a 49-49 tie vote, Democrats and tea party Republicans helped kill a forced pooling bill that drew outcry about infringement of people’s property rights. It would have allowed horizontal drilling from unwilling mineral rights owners when 80 percent of the surrounding mineral owners had drilling agreements, which could have forced the remaining 20% into participating in the well under the same terms – against their will – in effect privatized eminent domain.  [Full Story]

Mar 15, 2015
Colorado’s Fracking Wars Reignite
CounterPunch
Phillip Doe

You’ve got to have a mind of winter to fully appreciate the pall Colorado Governor Hickenlooper’s Task Force on Oil and Gas cast over the concept of good government in this state. Termed Blue Ribbon by the governor, it easily was not. It included not one person from the many local citizen groups that have organized to protect themselves against a rampaging oil industry given free license to drill at will by a benighted legislature and a puppet governor. Thurgood Marshall was fond of saying, “ The Constitution does not prohibit legislatures from enacting stupid laws.” The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Act is one of those stupid laws. It established a small bureaucracy, called the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which was invited to walk hand in hand with the oil and gas industry in developing a poison garden of oil and gas wells in the state. This alliance would serve the state’s economic interests, reasoned they. To ensure their dim design they took away the public’s rights of self-government and gave them to the adoring hand holders.   [Full Story]

Mar 14, 2015
W.Va. Senate clears forced pooling bill for oil, gas rights
News OK


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The West Virginia Senate has passed a bill allowing some natural gas drilling even when mineral rights owners can't be found or won't agree to leases. The Senate approved the bill Saturday on a 24-10 vote. The proposal moves back to the House of Delegates, which has passed a different version. The so-called forced pooling bill would allow horizontal drilling from those properties when 80 percent of the surrounding mineral owners had worked out drilling agreements. Property owners would be compensated. Opponents have said the bill infringes on property rights.  [Full Story]

Mar 14, 2015
The collapse of Big Oil: How the industry priced itself into oblivion
Salon
Michael T. Klare

Many reasons have been provided for the dramatic plunge in the price of oil to about $60 per barrel (nearly half of what it was a year ago): slowing demand due to global economic stagnation; overproduction at shale fields in the United States; the decision of the Saudis and other Middle Eastern OPEC producers to maintain output at current levels (presumably to punish higher-cost producers in the U.S. and elsewhere); and the increased value of the dollar relative to other currencies. There is, however, one reason that’s not being discussed, and yet it could be the most important of all: the complete collapse of Big Oil’s production-maximizing business model.   [Full Story]

Mar 14, 2015
State says Atmos doesn’t have to tell customers about untreated natural gas
Star Telegram
Max B. Baker

Atmos Energy will not be required