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May 23, 2015
What the Frack Is Happening Under Long Beach, CA?
CounterPunch
Joshua Frank

I’ve always wondered how an oil spill can be called an accident when we know that they’re inevitable. The recent disaster in Santa Barbara is a case in point. The Los Angeles Times reported Texas-based Plains-Pipeline, which was responsible for the pipe that ruptured off the coast — spilling at least 105,000 gallons of oil — was handed 175 safety and maintenance infractions since 2006. Yet Plains-Pipeline wasn’t put out of business, in fact they continued to profit. In 2014 the company brought in $43 billion in revenue. The environment be damned. Last month, OC Weekly published an investigative piece I wrote on fracking and oil production in Long Beach, California where a similar catastrophe may just be a little earthquake away. Is anyone out there listening? - JF   [Full Story]

May 22, 2015
Court of Appeals rules pipeline company does not have power of eminent domain in Kentucky
Lexington Herald-Leader
GREG KOCHER

In a 3-0 decision, the Kentucky Court of Appeals said Friday that Bluegrass Pipeline LLC did not have the power of eminent domain because it was not a utility regulated by the Public Service Commission. Because the natural gas liquids are not directly reaching Kentucky consumers, "the pipeline cannot said to be in the public service of Kentucky," the court said. Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2015/05/22/3865010_court-of-appeals-rules-pipeline.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy  [Full Story]

May 22, 2015
Crude oil project on back burner
Times Union
Brian Nearing

Albany Amid neighborhood concerns over air pollution around the Port of Albany from massive crude oil trains, the state pulled back an earlier ruling that a proposed crude oil heating project — a potential processor of Canadian tar sands oil — would not pose any environmental threat. The ruling by the state Department of Environmental Conservation came as the agency also quietly revealed plans to add a permanent air pollution sensor in the nearby South End neighborhood where residents fear increasing emissions from a surge in crude trains that started arriving at the port from the Midwest about three years ago. "This is a huge victory for the community, on both fronts," said Dorcey Applyrs, a city Common Council member from the South End. "This is what the community has been asking for. We want to know what is in the air that we are breathing."  [Full Story]

May 22, 2015
Denton, Texas, banned fracking last year – then the frackers fought back
The Guardian
Tom Dart

The framed newspaper article in Adam Briggle’s office with the headline “Fracking banned” is from last November. It already reads like ancient history. The north Texas city of Denton became a beacon for the anti-fracking movement when residents voted to prohibit the practice inside city limits. But victory was fleeting. The oil and gas industry was alarmed by the grassroots insurgency and the state’s Republican politicians struck back with a flurry of measures aimed at asserting the primacy of state control over local regulations. How a ruby-red Texas town turned against fracking Read more On Monday the Texas governor, Greg Abbott, signed House Bill 40, a law that in effect bans Denton’s ban and others like it elsewhere in the state. On Wednesday, trucks were moving equipment on to a future fracking site in a field by a busy road on the western outskirts of town.  [Full Story]

May 22, 2015
Report: Fossil Fuels Receive $5.3 Trillion A Year In Subsidies Worldwide
ThinkProgress
Samantha Page

The world pays $5.3 trillion a year in hidden costs to keep burning fossil fuels, according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This is in addition to the $492 billion in direct subsidies offered by governments around the world — write-offs and write-downs and land-use loopholes. In case these numbers are too big to imagine, $492 billion is enough to buy every taxable property in the city of Boston nearly five times over. Basically, governments buy oil, gas, and coal producers five Bostons every year. It’s hard to imagine $5.3 trillion a year. It’s about a third of America’s gross domestic product. It’s enough to buy 55 Bostons. And it’s the amount of money it costs us, every year, to make up for the damage caused by fossil fuels.  [Full Story]

May 22, 2015
The TPP Is a Grave Threat to Climate Action
Common Dreams
Naomi Klein

Dear MoveOn member, I’m writing because President Obama and the U.S. Congress need to hear from you before they rush toward approving a massive new trade agreement that would benefit corporations and undercut serious efforts to fight climate change. This deal—the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP—has been called “NAFTA on steroids.” It’s the latest and largest in a series of international agreements that have attacked working women and men, fueled mindless and carbon-intensive consumption, and prevented governments from enforcing their own laws to cut greenhouse gas emissions. NAFTA-esque deals around the world have been a disaster for democracy, good jobs, and environmental justice, which is why I hope you’ll click here and sign the petition to stop the TPP from being rushed through Congress.  [Full Story]

May 22, 2015
Local pols seek to intervene in pipeline deal
The Recorder
RICHIE DAVIS

Several area state legislators are joining anti-pipeline groups seeking legal status to intervene in Berkshire Gas Co.’s request to become a customer of the planned Tennessee Gas Pipeline project. Rep. Stephen Kulik has joined with an affiliate of Massachusetts PipeLine Awareness Network in its formal filing for intervenor status in the state Department of Public Utilities’ proceeding on Berkshire Gas’s plans to buy gas from the controversial Northeast Energy Direct project, which would run through Franklin County.  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Glencore chairman Tony Hayward calls for an end to subsidies for fossil fuels
The Guardian
Fiona Harvey

The chairman of the world’s biggest commodity trader has called for an end to subsidies for fossil fuels. Tony Hayward, the chairman of Glencore Xstrata, told a conference on climate and business in Paris that the subsidies were incompatible with combating climate change. He also called on rich countries to provide financial assistance that would allow poorer ones to cut their greenhouse gas emissions using renewable energy. But Hayward, who headed the oil giant BP during the Gulf oil spill disaster, added an important caveat: subsidies must be eliminated as a prelude to setting a tax or price on carbon dioxide emissions, he said.  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Sullivan second-home owners voting rights upheld
Times Herald Record
Steve Israel

COCHECTON - A state appeals court on Thursday overturned a 2013 Sullivan County Supreme Court decision and ruled that the votes of 29 second-home owners in the western Sullivan hamlet of Lake Huntington should have been allowed. Cochecton Supervisor Gary Maas had challenged the votes of the November 2013 election – most from residents of the Lake Huntington Summer Community Cooperative – because he essentially claimed they were only summer residents whose real homes were in New York City and New Jersey. Sullivan County Supreme Court Judge Stephan Schick agreed with Maas and cited state law that defines a residence as “a fixed, permanent and principal home” to which you intend to return. He noted that the cooperative members had voted from New York City and New Jersey for some 30 years before switching their votes to Sullivan.   [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Well Explosion Douses Texas Neighborhood Already Weary of Fracking
InsideClimate News
Lisa Song

Jeanne Shepherd was on her way to a church gathering when an oil and gas well in Karnes County, Texas blew its top on Tuesday afternoon. A mixture of liquid petroleum products gushed high into the air. Some of it splashed onto Shepherd’s truck, coating her windshield in an opaque, milky film. Shepherd said the well looked like the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park. "It spewed and it spewed … It was all over everywhere, and I knew I wasn't going home that night," she said. No one was injured, but families were left scrambling on how to respond. The blowout is only the most recent in a long line of life-altering consequences of the fracking boom in the Eagle Ford Shale. Shepherd was among those evacuated on Tuesday, which is not the first time oil and gas drilling has driven her from her once-idyllic home.   [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
State to require full environmental review of crude-heating facility
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—After 18 months of pressure from environmental and community groups, state officials have reversed an earlier position, and will now require a full environmental review of a crude-heating facility that would allow tar sands oil to be shipped down the Hudson River. On Thursday, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced that it will conduct a full review of a proposal by Global Partners to install a crude-heating facility at the Port of Albany. “Our review of Global’s application has focused on protecting the health of people living around the facility and the environment,” D.E.C. commissioner Joe Martens said in a statement. “This community has voiced its concerns and raised some serious issues. Through the environmental review process, DEC will continue to evaluate the project’s impacts.”  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
After Fracking Win, N.Y. Environmental Groups Turn to GMO Fight
Bloomberg
Freeman Klopott

New York state environmental groups are taking the black villain hats off drilling companies like Chesapeake Energy Corp. and placing them on Monsanto Co. and other sellers of genetically modified produce.  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
DEC Issues Letter of Intent to Rescind Negative Declaration for Global Companies' Port of Albany Proposed Air Permits
NYS DEC
Press Release

Letter Begins Process to Require Environmental Review After a thorough review of Global Companies application and supporting documents for a Title V air permit modification to its facilities at the Port of Albany, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today its intent to rescind the Negative Declaration and Notice of Complete Application for the project. DEC identified significant proposed project changes and new information submitted after the Negative Declaration and the Notice of Complete Application that must be considered as part of a full environmental review of the project. "Our review of Global's application has focused on protecting the health of people living around the facility and the environment," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "This community has voiced its concerns and raised some serious issues. Through the environmental review process, DEC will continue to evaluate the project's impacts." Global has 10 calendar days to respond to DEC's notice.  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Week of Protests Gets Under Way at FERC
DC Media Group
: John Zangas and Anne Meador

About 30 activists from as far away as New Mexico rallied today in the first of a series of protests at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC, they say, harms thousands of people through the pipelines and gas infrastructure projects it approves. Carrying signs and banners, they picketed FERC headquarters. Dozens of heavily armed Federal Protective Service officers erected barricades and were stationed at the doors and a carport entryway. “We’re here at FERC because they systematically destroy communities basically by making their local community rights null and void,” said Jimmy Betts of Beyond Extreme Energy, the coalition group which organized the protest. He called FERC’s actions “communicide.”  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Kinder Morgan Paid Pennsylvania Police Department to ‘Deter Protests’
Earth Island Journal
ADAM FEDERMAN

ACLU calls arrangement “flat out unconstitutional” Between June and October 2013, Kinder Morgan, the largest energy infrastructure company in North America, paid a local Pennsylvania police department more than $50,000 to patrol a controversial pipeline upgrade. The company requested that the officers, though officially off-duty, be in uniform and marked cars. Kinder Morgan’s aim, according to documents obtained by Earth Island Journal, was to use law enforcement to “deter protests” in order to avoid “costly delays.”   [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
After Fracking Win, N.Y. Environmental Groups Turn to GMO Fight
Bloomberg
Freeman Klopott

New York state environmental groups are taking the black villain hats off drilling companies like Chesapeake Energy Corp. and placing them on Monsanto Co. and other sellers of genetically modified produce. After beating back an attempt by energy companies to get Governor Andrew Cuomo to allow fracking in December, groups that only a few months ago were studying seismic activity in Ohio and Pennsylvania have pivoted to genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Food & Water Watch, the New York Public Interest Research Group and Catskill Mountainkeeper, all of which were part of New Yorkers Against Fracking, have helped form a new group called the New York GMO Labeling Coalition.   [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Second Karnes County well blow-out capped
KSAT
Van Darden

KARNES COUNTY, Texas - Another blown well in Karnes County was reported Thursday afternoon, spewing natural gas into the air, Karnes County Sheriff DeWayne Villanueva said.  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
President Obama: Climate Change Is an ‘Immediate Risk to Our National Security’
EcoWatch
Ecowatch

When President Obama delivered the keynote address at the Coast Guard Academy graduation ceremonies Wednesday, the theme was one he’s been hitting with increasing frequency as he nears the end of his time in office: climate change. He has emphasized its impact on the economy, public health and national security. He focused on the latter at the Coast Guard ceremony, with an increased sense of urgency.   [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Judge Says No to Fracking
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

A judge in North Carolina has blocked the start of fracking in that state over a challenge to the membership of the commission charged with issuing the permits.  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Lawmakers grill Cuomo officials about energy plan
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—The Cuomo administration's top energy officials came under heavy questioning from state legislators on Wednesday over delays in some of New York's key energy initiatives.   [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Oklahoma Senate passes bill preventing local fracking bans
KOCO


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) —Oklahoma cities and counties would be unable to ban hydraulic fracturing -- a process also known as fracking -- or other oil and gas operations within their boundaries under a bill heading to the governor's desk.  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
Study: Fracking's effect on air quality not as damaging as expected Drexel researchers assess impact at sites in Pennsylvania
Philly Voice
Frank Burgos

Concerns over fracking in the Marcellus Shale, one of the largest natural gas resources in the United States, have largely centered on chemical pollutants leaking into Pennsylvania's underground drinking water. But should the air above the ground be a concern as well? Drexel University researchers attempted to provide some answers. In  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
With the passage of HB 1057, have Democrats once again killed your right to vote on fracking, this time in 2016?
Boulder Weekly
Cecelia Gilboy

On Aug. 4, 2014, more than a quarter of a million signatures belonging to Colorado voters were on their way to the Secretary of State’s office for the purpose of putting two citizens-initiatives that would potentially amend the state’s constitution on the November ballot. The initiatives, known as Amendments 88 and 89, would have offered greater control to local communities over oil and gas extraction/fracking, as well as establishing a 2,000-foot setback between drilling operations and inhabited buildings. But as few Coloradans will forget, at the last minute, the ballot measures were pulled as the result of what was touted as a political compromise between the initiatives’ principle financial supporter Democratic Congressman Jared Polis, and oil and gas industry supporter, Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper.  [Full Story]

May 21, 2015
TransCanada's Keystone Pipeline Network Under Investigation by Federal Regulators
DeSmogBlog
Julie Dermansky

A month after revealing that TransCanada is under a compliance review for the Keystone 1 Pipeline, the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) disclosed it is also investigating the operations of Keystone XL's southern route, renamed the Gulf Coast Pipeline when the project was split in half. The results of these investigations could play a part in President Obama's final decision on the Keystone XL permit that TransCanada needs to complete its Keystone pipeline network. According to the State Department’s website, one of the factors the KXL presidential permit review process focuses on is compliance with relevant federal regulations. At TransCanada's latest shareholder meeting in Calgary, Evan Vokes, a former employee turned whistleblower, asked CEO Russ Girling why the company had not disclosed the ongoing investigations in its current annual report. Girling acknowledged that the company is under review, but assured shareholders that pipeline safety remains the company's top priority.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Texas bans fracking bans and more Lone Star State prohibitions
Chronicle


Gov. Greg Abbott’s signing of the legislation received widespread attention. It also overrides a local ordinance in Denton, near Dallas, that would’ve banned the potentially environmentally damaging practice. As a detailed story on HoustonChronicle.com pointed out, the irony is obvious: “Critics pointed out that Abbott and other top Republicans often take umbrage when the federal government appears to infringe on state authority, suggesting they now are doing the same to local communities.”   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
NY Fracking rules 'major contradiction'
The Tribune
Jason Jordan

Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning) on Monday continued to hammer at New York state's ban on fracking. "Right now I'm watching an amazing contradiction between what New York state has done in regards to banning natural gas development in New York state and the state's own admission that it will lose 54,000 jobs in relation to the ban."   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Utah joins lawsuit against BLM for new proposed fracking rules
Good4Utah
Kimberly Nelson

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - The Bureau of Land Management wants more oversight when it comes to fracking, but the state of Utah says no way. Utah has joined three other states in a lawsuit to protect the state's authority to regulate fracking on federal lands. Drilling applications on federal land in utah have increased by close to 250% over the last five years according the Bureau of Land Management. More than 1,000 applications were processed statewide in 2011 alone. Now the BLM wants more oversight of those wells.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
‘Time is running out’ to slow climate change, Obama tells Coast Guard grads
Politico
Sarah Wheaton

President Barack Obama delivered a somber lecture on the science of climate change to the graduates of the United States Coast Guard Academy on Wednesday as argued that global warning poses a threat to national security.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Why Many Experts Missed This: Cheap Oil Can Hurt US Economy
New York Times
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — If there was one thing most economists agreed on at the start of the year, it was this: Plunging oil prices would boost the U.S. economy. It hasn't worked out that way.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Gas opponents rebuffed by regulators
Press Connects
Tom Wilber

A proposal to store gas in salt mines near the shores of Seneca Lake received an emphatic blessing from federal regulators Wednesday who dismissed claims that it's an accident waiting to happen. In an "Order Denying Rehearing" issued Wednesday afternoon, the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission notified Gas Free Seneca that the commission has done due diligence in granting a permit for the project, and it would not be revisiting the issue. The decision, while not unexpected, was a blow to opponents of expansion of the fossil fuel industry in the popular Finger Lakes tourism destination.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Riverkeeper sues feds over new oil train rules
The Journal News
Khurram Saeed

Riverkeeper is suing the federal government, claiming new rules for oil trains leave the public and environment vulnerable to accidents or spills. Critics say the U.S. Department of Transportation regulations for moving crude oil by rail are too weak, offer too much time for private industry to implement mandated tougher tank car safety standards like thicker shells and better brakes, and contain too many loopholes. “It’s time to stop taking little toddler steps and take the sort of action that will truly protect New Yorkers and that’s why we’re going to court,” Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay said. There have been six fiery derailments of trains hauling Bakken crude oil in the last six months, Gallay said.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Encana loses control of well in Karnes County, homes evacuated
Fuel Fix
Jennifer Hiller

Encana Corp. lost control of a well north of Karnes City in the Eagle Ford Shale Tuesday afternoon. Karnes County officials evacuated some homes nearby. The incident happened near the intersection of FM 792 and County Road 343 about four miles east of Karnes City. The Karnes County Sheriff’s Department on its Facebook page said that FM 792 between FM 719 and Texas 80 is closed until further notice. “Please avoid this area, find an alternate route. Be safe!” Encana released this statement: At approximately 3:30 p.m. CST on May 19, 2015 Encana experienced a well control situation at the Dromgoole 8BH well located near the intersection of Highway 792 and Highway 343 approximately 4 miles east of central Karnes City, Texas.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Texas city will still enforce fracking regulations
UPI
Daniel J. Graeber

DENTON, Texas, May 20 (UPI) -- The city of Denton, Texas, will continue enforcing regulations regarding drilling operations, but can't predict how the courts will react, a spokeswoman said. Denton in November became one of the first cities in the United States to pass voter-backed legislation restricting hydraulic fracturing. Texas Gov. Greg Abbot signed a bill into law this week, however, that diminishes what he said was the "heavy hand" of local regulations on oil and natural gas.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Santa Barbara oil spill raises questions about California pipelines
Christian Science Monitor
Daniel B. Wood

LOS ANGELES — Environmental groups are pointing to an oil spill near Santa Barbara, Calif., to highlight what they say are the dangers of expanding tar sands oil production 10-fold during the next decade, which would result in transporting large volumes of oil along the California coast. Federal, state, and local agencies will be investigating the Santa Barbara spill, which has been estimated at as much as 105,000 gallons, checking details such as why an automatic shutoff valve did not deploy.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
US Oil and Gas Drilling Boom's Economic Impact, at a Glance
ABC News


Most economists had expected cheaper energy to be an overall boon to the U.S. economy. It hasn't been. Consumers have been reluctant to spend their savings from the pump. As a result, they haven't offset the blow the economy has absorbed from reduced investment in oil and gas drilling.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Broadview Heights won't appeal ruling allowing gas drilling
Cleveland.com
Mary Kilpatrick

BROADVIEW HEIGHTS, Ohio — The city of Broadview Heights won't appeal a Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas ruling that allows oil and gas drilling in the city. The city consulted two large downtown law firms on a possible appeal and deemed further legal action futile, Law Director Vince Ruffa said in a phone interview Wednesday.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Fayetteville, Hoke Co., Scotland Co. to have exploratory drilling for oil, natural gas
Fayetteville Observer
Paul Woolverton

RALEIGH - Exploratory drilling for oil and natural gas could start as soon as next week in Fayetteville. The exploration will not be affected by a Wake County Superior Court judge's ruling this month that prevents commercial extraction of oil and natural gas via the controversial fracking technique.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Oklahoma State Bans Oklahoma Towns From Banning Fracking
Good Magazine
Jed Oelbaum

Oklahoma residents have been looking for ways to protect themselves after an alarming and unprecedented number of earthquakes—widely believed to be a direct result of oil and gas drilling operations—have rocked the state over the last year. But now, Reuters reports, state lawmakers are finalizing legislation to actually block towns and cities from enacting their own local bans or regulations on drilling activity.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
EDF Dubious of Natural Gas
Go by Truck News


A new report released by the Environmental Defense Fund casts doubt on the potential for natural gas powered vehicles to reduce global warming. In fact, the organization claims that the release of methane at natural gas drilling sites makes the fuel more damaging to the environment than diesel.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Is Renewable Energy From Natural Gas Really Worth It?
Cheat Sheet
Micah Wright

Forbes hit us with an interesting thought a while back: “Why aren’t natural gas-powered cars selling well?” Compressed Natural Gas (or CNG for short) has been used by fleet vehicles like buses, delivery trucks, and work vans for years now, but it has been slow to catch on with the consumers.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Lansing Delays Public Hearing for Drilling Ban
Ithaca.com
Michael Nocella

Lansing town board members unanimously voted to push back the scheduling of a public hearing for 2015 Local Law #6 “Implementing Further Amendments to Land Use Ordinance to Effect Oil and Gas/HVHF Drilling Ban” after Councilperson Edward LaVigne motioned to do so.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Judge temporarily halts 'fracking' permits in NC
WRAL
Jonathan Drew

RALEIGH, N.C. — A judge has halted the approval of gas drilling operations in North Carolina until a higher court weighs in on the legality of the appointment of several boards that manage state resources and the environment. Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens' decision earlier this month prevents the Mining and Energy Commission from approving drilling units for hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," until the state Supreme Court decides a separate case regarding how the state panels are formed. No drilling units had been approved before the judge issued his order. Stephens issued a preliminary injunction that stops the commission from accepting or processing applications for drilling units. He also delayed proceedings in the lawsuit filed against the state's Mining and Energy Commission pending the other case's outcome.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
California Regulators Miss First Reporting Deadline For Oil Industry Water Use
DeSmogBlog
MIKE GAWORECKI

California is facing such a severe drought and water crisis that Governor Jerry Brown issued the first mandatory water restrictions in state history last month. But it appears that the state’s oil and gas regulators did not get the memo about just how urgent the situation is. The Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), the oil and gas regulatory agency within the California Department of Conservation, reported last week that it had missed the April 30 deadline for making public the critical information about water usage by oil and gas production, claiming it was simply too much data to process.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
California State of Emergency: Up To 105,000 Gallons of Oil Spill in Santa Barbara from Plains All American Pipeline
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

Up to 105,000 gallons of oil obtained via offshore drilling have spilled from a pipeline owned by Plains All American at Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County in California. At least 21,000 gallons have poured into the Pacific Ocean and the spill's impacts stretch nine miles, according to the Associated Press. As a result, California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County, which he said in a press statement “cuts red tape and helps the state quickly mobilize all available resources.”   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
U.S. Military Concerned As Oil "Bomb Trains" Roll Dangerously Close to Nuclear Bomb Silos
DeSmogBlog
JUSTIN MIKULKA

The latest oil train derailment and explosion in Heimdal, North Dakota is another frightening reminder of the danger this industry poses to communities across the country. Thankfully evacuating Heimdal wasn’t that big an operation because there are only 27 residents in the town. Which is a significantly smaller number than the 150 nuclear missiles buried in the ground under North Dakota. A recent report by Rachel Maddow reveals that the U.S. military is concerned about the proximity of the oil train tracks to those missile silos. Images like this one are why they are concerned.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Puffy, Feathered Sticking Point of a $612 Billion House Bill
The New York Times
JENNIFER STEINHAUER

WASHINGTON — Representative Bruce Westerman, an Arkansas Republican, spoke for many Americans this week when he conceded during a House hearing that he had never laid eyes on a sage grouse. Had he seen one, he surmised, he would have thought “a bobwhite quail got friendly with a Dominecker hen.” But a Republican maneuver on the $612 billion military bill to block the Interior Department from adding the bird to the endangered species list has set off a major congressional skirmish that has spilled over into Western states, where the sage grouse is revered, and among environmental groups that fear a steady erosion of the Endangered Species Act.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
This wind turbine has no blades — and that’s why it’s better
Grist
Amelia Urry

What do you get if you take the blades off a wind turbine? A better wind turbine. That sounds like a joke, but that’s actually more or less the model of a new wind turbine prototype. Instead of blades that turn in the breeze, the turbine is just a hollow straw that sticks up 40 feet from the ground and vibrates like a guitar string when the wind thrums by. The Spanish engineers who founded Vortex Bladeless in 2010 said they were inspired by the Tacoma Narrows Bridge disaster (maybe not the best pitch for clean energy to a disaster-wary public, but I’ll leave that to their marketing department). Here’s how it actually works, from Wired:  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Pope's climate change aide urges business to favor planet over profit
Reuters
Alessandra Galloni

Pope Francis' top aide on climate change urged businesses on Wednesday not to let the pursuit of profit get in the way of protecting the planet. The remarks came as the Vatican is due to release a papal encyclical, or formal letter, on the issue.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Together to Add Voice to Climate Debate
Bloomberg Business
Tara Patel & Javier Blas

Europe’s largest oil companies are banding together to forge a joint strategy on climate-change policy, alarmed they’ll be ignored as the world works toward a historic deal limiting greenhouse gases. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA, BP Plc, Statoil ASA and Eni SpA are among oil companies that plan to start a new industry body, or think tank, to develop common positions on the issues, according to people with knowledge of the matter.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
In Alberta, Oil, Cowboys … and Liberalism?
The New York Times
Russel Cobb

EDMONTON, Alberta — WHEN I moved from Houston to Edmonton, Alberta, in 2008, I was told to prepare for a soft landing, politically speaking. Alberta was supposed to be just like the Lone Star State: a place full of backslapping good ol’ boys in cowboy hats, riding high on the hog of oil money. The province’s politics were even more predictable than Texas’. The Progressive Conservative Party had been in power longer than I’d been alive. By the time I arrived, one writer for The Globe and Mail, the country’s leading newspaper, had labeled the place “Saudi Alberta.” Alberta had indeed become a petrostate: 30 percent of its gross domestic product came directly from oil and gas. Conversations about housing, jobs, health care and even academic research revolved around the price of oil.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
In Heavily Fracked Ohio County, Unsafe Levels of Toxic Pollutants
InsideClimate News
David Hasemyer

Emissions generated by fracking operations may be exposing people to some toxic pollutants at levels higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for long-term exposure, according to scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Cincinnati. The researchers took air samples in Carroll County, the home of 480 permitted wells––the most in any of Ohio's 88 counties. The team found chemicals released during oil and gas extraction that can raise people's risk of cancer and respiratory ailments.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Fracking Halted And House Takes Up Budget Proposal
WCQS
Laura Lee

A superior court judge in Wake County today halted fracking in the state. The court order prohibits the Mining and Energy Commission from accepting or processing fracking permits.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
Preliminary Injunction Motion Filed To Stop BLM’s Final Fracking Rule
JD Supra Business Advisor
Press Release

Last Friday, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and the Western Energy Alliance (WEA) opened their arguments on a preliminary injunction motion to halt the federal Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on public lands until resolution of the litigation.   [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
‘Shale-ionaires' Suffering from Wave of Bankrupt Oil Drillers
Yahoo News
Kelly Gilblom

At the height of the U.S. energy boom, Texas landowner John Baen received about $100,000 a month in royalty payments from companies producing oil and natural gas on his property. Now the checks are much smaller, and when he opens his mailbox each day, he’s afraid he’ll find yet another bankruptcy notice. So far, four of the producers sending him checks have caved in to rising debts as oil prices slumped, seeking court protection from their creditors. “I feel like crying because I know I’m going to get another 10 notices,” said Baen, 67, who owns 10,000 acres of land and mineral rights on other property.  [Full Story]

May 20, 2015
In Step with Texas, Oklahoma Poised to Outlaw Local Drilling Bans
Common Dreams
Lauren McCauley

Despite mounting scientific evidence that fracking is increasing seismic activity in the state, Oklahoma legislators are poised to pass legislation preventing municipalities from passing local bans on drilling operations. Senate Bill 468 would overturn an 80-year-old statute and explicitly prohibits local regulation of certain oil and gas activities—even if such regulation is approved by Oklahoma voters. Following the lead of Texas lawmakers, who on Monday passed a law forbidding towns or cities from enacting local restrictions on any gas or oil drilling operations, both the Oklahoma House and Senate passed SB 468 with strong majority support. The bill now awaits changes in the Senate before advancing.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Let’s not build a gas pipeline near a nuclear reactor
Al Jazeera America
David Cay Johnston

Our federal government says that it’s safe to build a giant high-pressure natural gas pipeline 105 feet from the Indian Point nuclear power plant complex along the Hudson River near New York City. But its reasons for making that judgment are secret. How this decision was reached illustrates a basic public policy problem vexing our nation: We often ask the wrong questions. How we frame public policy questions often shapes the answers. And if we get the answers wrong because we didn't ask the right questions in the first place, death and disease, needless accidents and a less prosperous future will result. In the case of a pipeline 42 inches in diameter moving natural gas under more than 800 pounds of pressure per square inch, the wrong question is ‘What are the odds that the pipeline will explode right where it passes a nuclear power plant?’  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
How to Prevent an Oil Train Disaster
The New York Times
Marcus Stern

SIX days before last week’s deadly Amtrak derailment, a train carrying crude oil went off the tracks in rural North Dakota and burst into flames. Thankfully, no one was killed. But it should not take a deadly disaster — like the one that took 47 lives in the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, in July 2013 — for us to grasp the risk from oil trains, which pass through many densely populated parts of the United States. The Obama administration recently issued new safety rules for oil trains, to take effect in October. But it didn’t do the one thing many independent petroleum engineers say could immediately reduce the risk of a deadly disaster: require energy producers to remove more of the volatile gases that the oil contains when it comes out of the ground, before they load the crude into rail tankers.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Pipeline bursts, spills oil into ocean off California coast
The Washington Post
Associated Press

GOLETA, Calif. — Officials say a broken pipeline has spilled oil and created a slick about four miles wide in the ocean off the central California coast. Capt. Dave Zaniboni of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department says a pipeline on the land near Refugio State Beach broke Tuesday and spilled oil into a culvert that ran under the U.S. 101 freeway and into the ocean. The pipeline has been shut off, but it’s not yet clear how much oil spilled. Zaniboni says the initial slick was about 100 yards by a half-mile, but the U.S. Coast Guard says it has since spread to about four miles of coastline.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
The 'Shocking' Cost of Letting Companies Pollute for Free
Bloomberg
Eric Roston

"Energy subsidy," as the phrase is tossed around Washington, typically refers to any financial help the government gives to producers of oil, wind, or other sectors of the energy industry. But there's another way to consider energy subsidies that takes a bigger picture and conceives of all manner of help—financial or otherwise—as a subsidy. In that context, letting companies pollute for free, when that pollution carries a real social cost, can be thought of as a subsidy. That's how researchers at the International Monetary Fund describe energy subsidies in a sobering new paper that puts a comprehensive price tag on global aid to the energy industry. The price tag, which IMF officials describe as "shocking," is a big one: This year, the report estimates, fossil fuels are being subsidized to the tune of $5.3 trillion, or 6.5 percent of global gross domestic product.   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Shale Set to Pummel Another Market as U.S. LNG Plants Arrive
Bloomberg Business
Anna ShiryaevskayaIsis Almeida

When the first tanker carrying liquefied natural gas from shale fields leaves the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana in December, it will turn consumers into traders with more bargaining power. That will transform a market dominated by long-term contracts into one where spot trading gains prominence, similar to crude oil. Since the first LNG cargo went to the U.K. from Algeria under a long-term contract in 1964, buyers opted for guaranteed supply because the fuel was scarce. That’s changing because gas from the Eagle Ford and other fields will transform the U.S. into the third-biggest exporter by 2020. Spot trading will probably account for almost half of transactions by then, from 29 percent last year, and LNG is poised to overtake iron ore as the most valuable commodity after oil. “We see the U.S. as a major contributor to the development of the LNG spot market as the volumes start to ramp up,” Jamie Buckland, head of investor relations at GasLog Ltd. in London, which owns 22 LNG tankers, wrote in an e-mail May 14. “There should be a lot more flexibility and you could see some buyers of U.S. volumes selling product on to others.”  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
LNG, crude oil export resolutions now headed to governor's desk
San Antonio Business Journal
Sergio Chapa

Resolutions asking for Congress to lift the ban to export crude oil and to expedite the permitting process to build liquified natural gas (LNG) export terminals along the Texas Gulf Coast are now headed to the governor's office for signature. The Texas House of Representatives voted unanimously on Tuesday afternoon to approve Senate Concurrent Resolution 32. Originally filed by Texas State Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), SCR 32 urges Congress to expedite the natural gas exports process.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Shell adopts climate plan, defends Arctic oil drilling -
RTCC
Megan Darby

Shell today committed to reveal how its oil and gas assets will fare in a safer climate future, in response to a shareholder campaign. Scientists estimate half of world gas reserves and a third of oil must stay in the ground to hold global warming to 2C. If burned, these fossil fuels would blow the carbon budget. Shell’s controversial – and high cost – Arctic and tar sands ventures are among the most exposed to the risk of being “stranded” by climate action, analysts have warned. Chief executive Ben van Beurden admitted the argument “sounds quite convincing” at the company’s AGM on Tuesday, under intense questioning by shareholder activists. But he said: “That particular theory ignores the reality of our industry… It risks distracting from the real issues.”   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Irving-area quakes are likely due to fault lines, geologist says
Star Telegram
ROBERT CADWALLADER

The frequent but mild earthquakes giving shivers to the Irving area — but not other areas in North Texas — likely should be blamed on geologic fault lines rather than gas drilling practices, a geologist said Tuesday. “Based on known geology and known science, the most likely explanation is that it’s occurring in a known faulted zone of an old buried mountain range,” Craig Pollard, vice president of exploration for Cinco Resources, said after a presentation hosted by the Institute for Policy Innovation. IPI is an nonprofit pro-economic-growth organization that has been fighting municipal efforts to restrict drilling and fracking. The correct message hasn’t been getting out, Pollard said during his 90-minute speech and discussion to an audience of about 50 people, including many geologists.   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Rochester Hills enacts oil and natural gas drilling regulations despite objections
Macomb Daily
Paul Kampe

After months of revisions, officials in Rochester Hills approved a pair of measures intended to regulate potential oil and gas drilling operations in the city of more than 70,000 residents known for its natural features. A zoning ordinance amendment and a separate ordinance regulating pipelines were approved after much discussion by residents and the Rochester Hills City Council at Monday’s meeting. The legislation includes a ban on hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” restricts the activity to industrially zoned areas of the city and requires setback distances of 1,000 feet from homes, schools, hospitals and places of worship. Mayor Bryan Barnett said the regulations are the right balance between property rights and protecting residents.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Study: Lower than expected air pollutants detected at Marcellus drilling sites
State Impact PA
SUSAN PHILLIPS

An article in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, published today, says measurements of air pollution from Marcellus drilling and transportation sites in Bradford and Sullivan counties were lower than the researchers expected. The study, “Atmosphere Emission Characterization of Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Development Sites,” also reports levels of methane emissions were higher than those indicated in previous research. Peter DeCarlo is assistant professor in the civil, architecture and engineering department at Drexel University and lead researcher on the report. “We had seen a lot of data from other natural gas or oil development areas and we had seen pretty high levels of pollutants,” said DeCarlo. “So we went in expecting to see similar things in the Marcellus. The geology in the region is different in that [it produces] a lot of natural gas but we didn’t see a lot of the air quality pollutants that we expected.” The researchers used a more sophisticated measuring technique than is typically available to researchers or regulators such as those at the Department of Environmental Protection. The researchers used tracers to track the plume of emissions in order to measure levels of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
United States: OSHA Adds Employers In The Upstream Oil And Gas Drilling Industry To Its Severe Violator Enforcement Program
Mondaq
Darren A. Crook and Michael T. Taylor

On February 11, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA") announced revisions to its Severe Violator Enforcement Program ("SVEP"). Under SVEP, employers in designated industries can be subject to unlimited return or unannounced inspections for a period of at least three years. Employers in the upstream oil and gas drilling industry were previously exempt from this program, which is otherwise dominated by construction and manufacturing firms. The changes announced by OSHA mean that, effective February 11, 2015, employers in the upstream oil and gas industry will be added to SVEP upon a triggering event. Inclusion in SVEP is triggered after a non-fatality inspection results in two or more willful or repeated violations or failure-to-abate notices (or any combination of these violations or notices) for high-gravity, serious violations. In announcing these changes to SVEP, OSHA cited the upstream oil and gas drilling industry's "significant worker fatality rate over time." By subjecting employers in this industry to more exhaustive inspections for triggering non-fatality events, OSHA aims to rein in the fatality rate in the industry that it claims is five to eight times higher than the national average for all industries in the United States.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Drilling decline in Pennsylvania hurts funding for DEP regulators
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Laura Legere

Low natural gas prices that have companies dispatching fewer drilling rigs to Pennsylvania’s fields and forests are taking a toll on the industry’s regulators, too. The state Department of Environmental Protection is exploring additional funding options for its oil and gas regulatory program because permit applications to drill shale gas wells — the program’s dominant revenue source — are down about 30 percent compared to this point last year. DEP uses permit fees, fines and $6 million each year from the state’s impact fee levied on Marcellus Shale and other u  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
US Rig Count Falls for Twenty-Third Week in a Row - Analyst Blog
Nasdaq


In its weekly release, Houston-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. BHI reported another fall in the U.S. rig count (number of rigs searching for oil and gas in the country). This marks a record decline and the twenty-third one in a row. This can be primarily blamed on cutbacks in the tally of oil-directed rigs, which saw another reduction and dropped to the lowest level since Sep 2010, in reaction to the steep drop in the commodity's price since last summer.   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Duke to retire Asheville coal plant, convert to natural gas
Blue Ridge Now
DEREK LACEY

HomeSection COMMENTS SHARE EMAIL PRINT REPRINTS VIEW ONE PAGE ENLARGE TEXT More Videos Nellie Bly Snow in Henderson County Forget The iPhone 6. Next Apple Sensation Leaked The Motley Fool The Black Card That's Changing the Face of NYC JustLuxe | Select The Highest Paying Cash Back Credit Card Has Just Hit The Market NextAdvisor 35 Of The Most Powerful Photos Ever Taken. #16 Will Give You Shivers Buzzlamp by TaboolaPromoted Links 1 COMMENTS Duke to retire Asheville coal plant, convert to natural gas Company will seek rate increase in 2019 to cover project's $1.1 billion cost Sen. Tom Apodaca speaks before news media at the Duke Energy conference. The company plans to build a natural gas-fired plant and install solar generation at the site off Interstate 26. Derek Lacey / Times-News By DEREK LACEY Times-News Staff Writer Published: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 8:56 a.m. Last Modified: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 8:56 a.m. ASHEVILLE — Duke Energy's coal-burning Asheville power plant, which has provided electricity to the area for more than half a century, will be replaced by a cleaner, more efficient natural gas facility, the company announced Tuesday. As part of its $1.1 billion Western Carolinas Modernization project, the Asheville plant, which first began power generation in 1964, will cease generation sometime in early 2020. “This project is a comprehensive solution that will transform the energy system in the region to best meet the growing needs of our customers and support economic development well into the future,” Lloyd Yates, Duke Energy executive vice president of market solutions and president of the Carolinas region, said at a news conference at the Asheville plant Tuesday morning.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Natural Gas for Heavy-Duty Trucks Could Increase Global Warming, New Report Says
Transport Topics


A switch to cleaner-burning natural gas as a fuel for heavy-duty trucks could increase global warming due to the release of methane at drilling sites and the fact that natural gas-powered engines get fewer miles per gallon than traditional diesel-powered engines, according to a report issued May 19 by the Environmental Defense Fund. “Natural-gas trucks have the potential to reduce overall climate impacts compared to diesel, but only if we clean up the highly potent greenhouse-gas emissions from the systems that produce and deliver the fuel,” said Jonathan Camuzeaux, co-author of the report and a senior economic analyst at EDF in Washington, D.C. The report drew a critical response from Matthew Godlewski, president of Natural Gas Vehicles for America, a trade group that is collaborating with EDF and others to study the issue of methane leaks. “It’s confusing that the Environmental Defense Fund has chosen to conduct and release another study, outside of the cooperative work already underway,” Godlewski said in a statement.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Solar Is the Fastest-Growing Source of Renewable Energy in America
Eco Watch
Rhone Resch

From the end of 2004 through the end of 2014, the deployment of solar energy in the U.S. grew at an unprecedented rate, according to a new video report, Solar Energy in the United States: A Decade of Record Growth, released yesterday by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). According to a detailed SEIA analysis, in 2004, there were 500 megawatts (MW) of solar energy installed nationwide. But by the end of 2014, there were 20,000 MW—enough to power more than 4 million homes—with 97 percent of that capacity added after passage of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Over the same time period, the cumulative investment in installed solar installations in the U.S. soared from $2.6 billion to $71.1 billion.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Bill putting renewable requirements on hold hitches ride on natural gas bill
NC Capitol
Mark Binker

RALEIGH, N.C. — The running battle over renewable energy standards and solar energy that invaded the House budget debate Monday and brought controversy to the House floor earlier this month spilled over into the Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday. Renewable energy producers say the measures will cost jobs, but Reps. Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, and Chris Millis, R-Pender, said requirements that power companies buy a certain portion of their energy from renewable sources drive up costs for consumers. "What we're trying to do on that is protect those folks in each of your districts that can least afford to pay more on their power bills," Hager told senators on the Commerce Committee. The changes Hager is seeking have already passed the House as part of a regulatory reform package. But such reg reform bills are often controversial, with members of the House and the Senate often disagreeing over what constitutes reform. Those bill often ping-pong between the two chambers before the end of session, and their futures are far from certain.   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
New York Backs Up its Decision to Ban Fracking
Care2.com
s.e. smith

Last December, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made national headlines with a ban on fracking, backed by mountains of scientific evidence suggesting that it posed an environmental and health risk. The decision sparked a firestorm of controversy, including threats from some New York counties to secede in protest. It also marked an important milestone in American environmental policy, as New York is often a legislative trendsetter. Now, the state has backed up its findings and solidified the ban with a detailed review of literature relating to fracking, confirming that the ban was a sound decision for the state. The report issued by the state makes for some thick bedtime reading — it’s nearly 2,000 pages long — but the findings within are important. They show that in a cost/benefit analysis of the potential social and economic benefits of fracking weighed against environmental and public health costs, results point in favor of a ban: Fracking, argue researchers, just isn’t worth it.   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Texas Tackles Local Fracking Bans
RigZone
Deon Daugherty|

With the sweep of his pen, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into a law legislation Monday that effectively wipes out individual city rules on hydraulic fracturing. Roughly, one-third of Texas’ 950-plus cities have passed some measure to contain – or outright ban, in the case of Denton – fracking within their city limits. House Bill 40 by state Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, designed a four-prong test to determine whether those ordinances are in line with state intent. If they fail the test, the city rule is pre-empted by the new state law. The bill passed both the House and the Senate with the bipartisan support from more than two-thirds of state lawmakers. HB 40 is the third House bill the governor has signed this year; it becomes effective immediately.   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
New studies link fracking activity to earthquakes, and the unknown leaves some East TX residents concerned
KYTX 19
Dave Goldman

MARSHALL, Tx. (KTBS) -The ground is shaking in Texas - and several new studies link that seismic activity to the Oil and Gas industry. This comes as the Texas legislature recently approved a bill that prohibits counties and cities from banning hydraulic fracking . Seismic activity in north Texas and Oklahoma has increased dramatically in recent years - and it's documented. According to the US Geological Survey, the Dallas area has suffered almost 40 small earthquakes this year alone. And the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) documented the seismicity rate in 2013 was 70 times greater than the baseline before 2008. Last month OGS issued a report saying it "considers it very likely that the majority of recent earthquakes...are triggered by the injection of produced water in disposal wells." That is - not from hydraulic fracturing itself, but from the injection or disposal of water used in oil and gas production. Southern Methodist University has been studying this too. Released last month, "an SMU-led seismology team finds that high volumes of wastewater injection combined with saltwater (brine) extraction from natural gas wells is the most likely cause of earthquakes occurring near Azle, TX, from late 2013 through spring 2014."  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Utah to join North Dakota in lawsuit over BLM fracking rule
The Bakken Magazine
Patrick C Miller

Utah will join North Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado in a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s recently issued fracking rule. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert made the announcement Monday during his remarks at the annual business meeting of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, a group he chairs. "There is no question the practice of hydraulic fracturing should be regulated in order to ensure protection of the environment," Herbert said. "However, adoption of the proposed rule would create an inconsistent, costly and inefficient regulatory system that provides no additional environmental protection or public safety than is offered by programs already enforced by the state."  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Texas ban on fracking bans criticized
UPI
Daniel J Graeber

AUSTIN, Texas, May 19 (UPI) -- The governor of Texas has seized control of the energy narrative in the state by passing a ban on local measures against fracking, advocacy groups said. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that prevents city-level ordinances against hydraulic fracturing. Abbott said the bill does a "profound job" of protecting property owners from the "heavy hand" of local regulation. "This law ensures that Texas avoids a patchwork quilt of regulations that differ from region to region, differ from county to county or city to city," he said in a statement.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
New York's fracking decision will be hard to replicate or overturn
WRVO
Matt Richmond

Regulators in New York are moving ahead with a plan to prohibit hydrofracking within its borders. In the latest step, the state released its final environmental review last week. And New York’s unique stance on fracking could have wide-ranging effects. After about seven years of research, public hearings, rallies, elections and rumors that a decision was imminent, the final environmental impact statement on hydrofracking was released last Wednesday. Its findings aren’t a surprise. Back in 2012, the state Department of Environmental Conservation asked the Department of Health to add a health review to its review. It was the final stage in preparing the report. And in December, the acting health department commissioner, Howard Zucker, famously said this about high volume hydraulic fracturing, or HVHF:  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Radon and Fracking: A New Study
NRDC
Bemnet Alemayehu

According to a new study published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the level of Radon in Pennsylvania houses is increasing in areas where hydraulic fracturing is used to produce natural gas from the Marcellus tight shale formation. The peer-reviewed research article, titled Predictors of Indoor Radon Concentrations in Pennsylvania, 1989-2013, examines associations of Radon concentrations with underlying geology, sources of water for homes, characteristics of buildings, seasons of the year, weather, and a community's socioeconomic status and type, as well as so-called unconventional natural gas development measures based on numbers of drilled and producing natural gas wells. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. It is a radioactive gas which comes from the natural decay of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into air we breathe. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into homes through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon from soil gas is the main cause of problems. Sometimes radon enters the home through well water. In a small number of homes, the building material can give off radon too.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
After months of prep, Consol Energy begins fracking first wells at airport
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Daniel Moore

A dense cluster of pipes, pumps, silos and engines hummed harmoniously across a rugged field on a wet morning earlier this month. “This is about as much excitement as you see on a fracking site,” said Steve Snyder, completions manager for Consol Energy Inc. Mr. Snyder was referring to Pad 2, the first of six total drilling sites to be developed by the Canonsburg energy company on property owned by the Pittsburgh International Airport. With the help of Halliburton, Consol began drilling the top vertical portions of six wells on the pad in August, then drilled the horizontal portions in December with an electric rig. The company began fracking April 1.   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Drexel Researchers First to Detect Air Quality Effects of Natural Gas Extraction in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale Region
Drexel Now


A team led by environmental engineers from Drexel University are the first independent researchers to take a closer look at the air quality effects of natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania. The group used a mobile air quality monitoring vehicle to survey regional air quality and pollutant emissions at 13 sites including wells, drilling rigs, compressor stations and processing areas. Their work establishes baseline measurements for this relatively new area of extraction. While there have been a number of studies focusing on water quality impacts related to natural gas extraction in shale regions across the country, few have looked at the effect on air quality. In a paper recently published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, Peter DeCarlo, PhD, an assistant professor in the College of Engineering and College of Arts and Sciences, and J. Douglas Goetz, a doctoral researcher in the Drexel Air Resources Research Laboratory, present the findings of a two-month mobile air monitoring campaign in several counties in the northeastern and southwestern Pennsylvania. The team looked specifically at gaseous chemicals and particulate matter released into the air from natural gas extraction.   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Banning Fracking Bans: The Paradox of Local Control
Center for Effective Government
Amanda Frank

The oil and gas industry firmly opposes federal fracking standards, claiming that states know best how to govern their own lands. States are currently responsible for the majority of industry oversight, and rules can vary significantly among them. But this staunch support for local control doesn’t extend to counties and cities. At least, it doesn’t when those locals are not interested in having fracking in their backyard. Drilling companies have supported state efforts to strip communities of their rights to ban fracking and repeatedly challenged local fracking bans and restrictions in court. The justification? Local restrictions lead to a "patchwork of regulations" that inhibits industry growth. Of course, differing state standards also create a patchwork of policies, but oil and gas companies don’t mind this because most states have rules or practices that favor the industry. Local control is championed until industry profits are at stake. What the oil and gas industry actually wants is “industry control.”  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
DOT Commissioner rejects Palmetto Pipeline
Savannah Morning News
Mary Landers

Ga. Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry today denied Kinder Morgan’s application for a public needs certificate. Without it, the energy company cannot condemn property along the proposed 210-mile Palmetto Pipeline route in Georgia. “After careful consideration of information in the application submitted by Kinder Morgan on behalf of Palmetto; numerous public comments submitted at seven public meetings held by Palmetto; two public hearings hosted by the Georgia DOT; and approximately 3,000 public comments submitted online and by mail to myself and the Utilities staff, the Department has determined that it will not issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity,” McMurry said in a written statement.  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
Texas Governor Prohibits Cities And Towns From Banning Fracking
News OK
Huffington Post

HOUSTO- Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday signed a bill into law that prohibits cities and towns from banning an oil drilling practice known as hydraulic fracking, giving the state sole authority over oil and gas regulation, Reuters reports.   [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
DREXEL RESEARCHERS FIRST TO DETECT AIR QUALITY EFFECTS OF NATURAL GAS EXTRACTION IN PENNSYLVANIA'S MARCELLUS SHALE REGION
Drexel


A team led by environmental engineers from Drexel University are the first independent researchers to take a closer look at the air quality effects of natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania. - See more at: http://drexel.edu/now/archive/2015/May/Marcellus-Shale-AQ/#sthash.GaXTOe1m.dpuf  [Full Story]

May 19, 2015
By Banning Fracking Bans, Texas Picks Gas Drillers over Local Democracy
Common Dreams
Jon Queally

Governor Greg Abbott signs law designed to make null and void the hard-fought victory by the people of Denton, Texas who banned the hazardous drilling practice in their small town  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Where there is oil and gas there is Schlumberger
The Guardian
James Ball and Harry Davies

In the dying hours of a high-level conference on the banks of the Thames late in April, two oil executives are sitting patiently waiting on faded leather chairs in the lobby of a five-star Tower Bridge hotel, briefcases, architects’ plans and a folded flipchart pad at their feet. The two bespectacled executives, looking much like soberly-suited bank managers, soon disappear into a private room to meet with Dr Abdullahi Haider, a senior adviser to the Somalian government, and a Canadian middleman, emerging an hour or so later. Somalia could be one of the great untapped sources of offshore oil, if someone can secure a deal to find and extract it, and if anyone can, it’s the company these men work for.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
The Fracking End-Game Begins
RiverKeeper
Mike Dulong

The Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (“SGEIS”) on High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (“HVHF”) is a document to be celebrated. It contains the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (“DEC”) finding that “there is currently insufficient scientific information to conclude that [HVHF] can be undertaken without posing unreasonable risk to public health.” Therefore, DEC will grant exactly what fracking activists have called for: a formal, legal prohibition on HVHF in New York. The bulk of the Final SGEIS contains an analysis of the potential adverse environmental impacts of permitting HVHF in New York State. The document discusses potential air emissions, surface and groundwater contamination, soil contamination, and increases in traffic, noise, odors, and demand for housing and medical care, among many others. Remarkably, with respect to climate change, DEC found natural gas is a hindrance rather than a benefit: “Recent research demonstrates that low-cost natural gas suppresses investment in and use of clean energy alternatives (such as renewable solar and wind, or energy efficiency), because it makes those alternatives less cost competitive in comparison to fossil fuels.” Activists around the nation should take note of these findings and demand their states live up to the scientific standard set in New York. Sometime after Memorial Day, DEC will issue a Findings Statement containing further reasoning behind the State’s decision to ban HVHF. There has been some concern about the longevity of the ban and DEC’s ability to later revise and reissue a new Findings Statement that would permit HVHF. Riverkeeper’s understanding is that state law requires DEC’s Findings Statement and determination on HVHF to be based on conclusions in the SGEIS, which clearly states that the best scientific research is insufficient to prove HVHF can be undertaken safely. Therefore, to reverse the ban, DEC would have to prepare a new environmental impact statement that fully reviews available science and reaches a different conclusion. In that case, thousands of interested citizens would have yet another chance to make their voices heard during a new round of public commenting. As the evidence is only mounting against the possibility that the oil and gas industry can or will operate HVHF wells safely for the health, environment and economy of New Yorkers, it will be extremely difficult for DEC to reverse the ban. In the off chance that DEC attempts to sidestep these procedural requirements, Riverkeeper and its many partner organizations would have firm grounds to challenge those actions in court.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Insurers prohibited from excluding coverage for fracking under earthquake endorsements
Lexology
Merlin Law Group, PA

Last month, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department (“PID”) issued a notice to all insurance carriers writing homeowners insurance policies in Pennsylvania prohibiting them from denying coverage under the earthquake endorsements of their polices for damage as a result of fracking. For those that haven’t seen the very interesting documentaries on fracking entitled “Gasland” and “Gasland 2,” fracking is another term for natural gas drilling or hydraulic fracturing. Without getting too technical, hydraulic fracturing, “is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.”1 How earthquake endorsements become involved is as follows: Increases in seismic activity following hydraulic fracturing along dormant or previously unknown faults are sometimes caused by the deep-injection disposal of hydraulic fracturing flowback (a byproduct of hydraulically fractured wells), and produced formation brine (a byproduct of both fractured and nonfractured oil and gas wells).2  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Oil groups ask court to temporarily block U.S. fracking rules
Grand Forks Herald
Reuters

WASHINGTON, May 18 (Reuters) - Two oil and gas groups have asked a federal court to block the implementation new U.S. rules for hydraulic fracturing on public lands until their lawsuit challenging the regulations is resolved. The Independent Petroleum Association Of America (IPAA) and the Western Energy Alliance filed a motion on Friday for a preliminary injunction to prevent the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management from enforcing the regulations, arguing the standards will cause their members irreparable harm.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Texas Prohibits Local Fracking Bans Newly signed law is one of several across the U.S. to curtail municipal governments’ power
Wall Street Journal
Russell Gold

On Monday, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law that prohibits bans of hydraulic fracturing altogether and makes it much harder for municipal and county governments to control where oil and gas wells can be drilled. Similar efforts are cropping up in states including New Mexico, Ohio, Colorado and Oklahoma, where both chambers of the legislature have passed a bill that limits local governments to “reasonable” restrictions on oil and gas activities.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Sources: D.E.C. says options limited for opposing crude facility
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—State environmental officials have said in private meetings that it may be legally difficult for them to oppose construction of a heating facility at the Port of Albany that would allow tar sands crude to be transported through New York, according to people who attended the meetings. Local environmental groups oppose the transport of tar sands crude, which is extremely difficult to clean up, and which they say poses a risk to the Hudson River, Lake Champlain and other areas where railroad tracks run along the shoreline. Tar sands crude is considered less volatile than the millions of gallons of Bakken crude that now travels through the state each week. The crude heating facility needs a state air permit before it can begin construction.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Ted Glick: It’s Time to Stop FERC’s Rubber Stamping of Fracking Infrastructure Projects
EcoWatch
Ted Glick

Follow EcoWatch tglickbw“If someone is upset with fracking, they should probably talk to the states.” —Norman Bay, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), May 14, 2015 Why protest? Why demonstrate? Why nonviolent direct action? Part of the reason is to put pressure on those in power to smoke them out, to get them to say things publicly they might otherwise not say, to expose the truth about how and why things are working the way they are.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Gov. Greg Abbott Gives Big Wet Kiss To Oil And Gas
Fort Worth Weekly


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB40 into law today. The law, as described by Abbott’s press office, preempts “regulation of oil and gas activity at the city level and resides that duty with the state, and ensures that any local regulation of surface activity is commercially reasonable and does not effectively prohibit an oil and gas operation.” Another way to say it: Urban areas that have been adversely impacted by an extremely dirty (and lightly regulated) oil and gas drilling industry can no longer try to protect themselves from drillers through municipal regulation.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Oil wastewater dumped into shallow Central Valley wells
San Francisco Chronicle
David R. Baker

California officials have identified 260 oil company wastewater injection wells that are so shallow or so close to wells used for drinking or irrigation that they could threaten the state’s precious groundwater supplies, new data show. All of the wells inject water left over from oil field operations into aquifers that were supposed to be protected by law. While most of those aquifers contain salty water that would need treatment before use, state and federal officials want them preserved as a potential supply for cities and farms in the future. So far, no wells used for drinking or irrigation have been found to be tainted by the injections. But in a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday, the California office that oversees oil drilling said it would seek water-sampling data from each of the wells. The office — the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources — has ordered 23 wells shut down so far.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
California concerns grow over oilfield operations near water
The Sacramento Bee
ELLEN KNICKMEYER

California regulators on Monday expanded their list of thousands of state-permitted oil and gas wells where below-ground injections may be contaminating drinking-water reserves. State water officials already have acknowledged that improperly permitted oilfield operations have contaminated underground aquifers that are federally protected because they hold current or potential sources of drinking water. An ongoing state review ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has yet to break that down into whether any Californian is drinking contaminated water as a result of the improperly authorized oilfield operations, a state water official said. "We don't really know yet," and the answer "is not going to be tomorrow," John Borkovich, chief of the state water board's groundwater monitoring section, told reporters. "There's a lot of data to collect."   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
From fracking to tainted fish, how the Trans-Pacific Partnership could affect the West.
On Earth
Alisa Opar

Here’s something for conspiracy theorists: In order to gain access to a certain document, members of Congress must descend to the basement of the Capitol, hand over their cell phones and other electronic devices, and enter a secured, soundproof room. Then they can’t speak to the public about what they glean from their visit. What’s so hush-hush? A draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an enormous international trade agreement that 12 nations, including the United States, Japan, and Australia, have been hashing out in secret for the last half-decade. It’s a big deal: The dozen national economies make up nearly 40 percent of global GDP.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Atlantic Coast Pipeline already affecting Nelson County property values
The Roanoke Times
Rachael Smith

Business and landowners in the path of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline are worried about how their real estate and property values would be impacted by the Dominion Resources project that would run from West Virginia through Nelson County and into North Carolina. Time after time, Dominion has dismissed these claims and said studies have been completed finding no evidence that the pipeline would result in decreased property values. But several area real estate agents have said they already have seen property sales impacted by the as-yet-unapproved and unconstructed pipeline.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Oil groups ask court to temporarily block U.S. fracking rules
Reuters
Ayesha Rascoe

May 18 Two oil and gas groups have asked a federal court to block the implementation new U.S. rules for hydraulic fracturing on public lands until their lawsuit challenging the regulations is resolved.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
New energy secretary Amber Rudd says Tory government will back fracking
City AM
Lauren Fedor

The Tory-led government will back fracking, according to the new energy and climate change secretary. Shale gas extraction will be allowed under national parks under the new government, Amber Rudd told The Sunday Times in an interview this weekend.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Fracking fight almost over NY is one step closer to a ban on fracking
Legislative Gazette
Richard Moody

Getting one step closer to a ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing, the Department of Environmental Conservation last Wednesday issued its final environmental impact statement that lists the potential dangers of the controversial gas drilling method.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Flagler Commissioners Formalize Opposition to Fracking and Seismic Testing for Oil and Gas
FlaglerLive.com


Two weeks ago Flagler County commissioners said they wanted to formalize their opposition to off-shore oil and gas drilling and to fracking, the technique of drilling for oil through hydraulic fracturing of soil and rock beneath the surface. This evening, commissioners are expected to approve to resolutions to that effect.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Fracking Pros and Cons: Oil Tycoon Harold Hamm Wants University Scientists Studying Dangers of Fracking Fired
Latin Post
Nick Younker

According to Bloomberg, one of those billionaire oil tycoons, Harold Hamm, told the dean of the University of Oklahoma's Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, Larry Grillot, that he wanted those scientists fired, or dismissed from the OGS. Hamm, who is the CEO of Continental Resources based in Oklahoma City, has quite some weight to throw around at the university, considering he is one the school's biggest donors.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Local activists say fracking poses threat to Fayette County’s water
Marcellus.com
Cody Neff & Danielle Wente

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink. That’s what’s going on in the Lochgelly area of Fayette County, according to local activists. To warn the public about the danger to their water, a meeting took place Saturday at the Historic Oak Hill School in Oak Hill.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Jewell Asked to Monitor Fracking near Chaco Canyon
Public News Service


SANTA FE, N.M. – New Mexico's congressional delegation is asking U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to monitor a possible escalation of fracking in an area considered sacred by many Native Americans. In a letter to Jewell, Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan stress the historic, cultural and ecological significance of Chaco Culture National Historic Park.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Fracking chemicals contaminate drinking water A new study has found traces of a chemical compound used in drilling fluids in the drinking water of homes near shale gas wells.
My Broadband


Samples of drinking water from outdoor taps were found to contain traces of 2-Butoxyethanol (2BE), a chemical compound in the drilling fluids used on the Marcellus Shale. This is according to a report in The New York times, which cited a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Coalition presses for fracking ban in California
Wisconsin Gazette


A coalition of more than 100 mayors, city council members and other local officials from dozens of communities want California Gov. Jerry Brown to halt fracking to protect the water supply from contamination during a devastating drought.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Fracking near Preston: Decision days in late June announced
Blog Preston


A much-delayed decision on whether to allow fracking at two sites near Preston is now due to happen in late June. Cuadrilla has tabled plans to drill for shale gas at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood but asked for more time when Lancashire County Council planners met in January.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Old School Meets New: Fracking Technology Could Unlock Billions Of Barrels Worldwide
Oil and Gas Investor
Emily Moser

The technology that fueled the U.S. shale revolution could breathe new life into old oil fields outside of North America. More than 170 mature oil plays worldwide have the potential from horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to produce as much as 141 billion barrels (Bbbl) of oil, according to an IHS report on May 13.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Air pollution from fracking may be ‘health hazard’
Air Quality News


Scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Cincinnati found that hydraulic fracturing – a technique for releasing natural gas from below-ground rock formations – emits PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), some of which are linked with an increased risk of cancer and respiratory ailments.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Two Graphs Show Exactly Why Saudi Arabia Wants To Crush Fracking Photo of Michael Bastasch
Daily Caller
Michael Bastasch

There’s an oil price war going on, and OPEC thinks it can win by not cutting production and pricing out companies producing oil from U.S. shale formations. And now, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) has some charts that show why Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations are afraid of America’s energy potential.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Salford community project fights fracking with solar power
H&V News


A community-led renewable energy project launched in Cadishead on May 17 with a ‘DIY solar panel making’ workshop, Mancunian Matters has reported. Moss Community Energy was created by local residents in response to drilling by fracking firm iGas during the winter of 2013/14.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Utica and Marcellus well activity in Ohio
Marcellus.com


Activity in the Utica and Marcellus shale formations in Ohio have both seen very little change, if any, change when compared to last week’s well activity update. However, one well in Ohio isn’t exactly producing like it was hoped to. The idea of waterless fracking excited the entire oil and gas industry, but now it may not be the light at the end of the tunnel for fracking. EV Energy Partners LP and eight other companies joined forces with GasFrac Energy Services and drilled a waterless fracking test well in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. Last week, the well had officially been producing for 90 days, but its production wasn’t even close to its neighboring well. The Nettles test well produced about half the amount of oil when compared to the well next to it.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Green Party's Hawkins to challenge Syracuse Auditor Masterpole
Syracuse.com
Michelle Breidenbach

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Green Party's Howie Hawkins will challenge Syracuse City Auditor Marty Masterpole, a Democrat, in November, the party announced this morning. Hawkins has carried the Green Party platform in races from city council to U.S. Senate, but has not won. He ran for governor last year.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Denver, Houston companies team on oil and gas rail hubs in Colorado, Texas
Biz Journals
Cathy Proctor

Denver’s ARB Midstream LLC is teaming up with Houston’s Hi-Crush Partners LP, which mines and ships sand used in fracking, to build two rail hubs. The two companies will jointly develop and operate a rail hub near Evans, in the Denver-Julesburg Basin north of Denver, plus a second rail hub near Big Spring, Texas, to serve oil and gas companies working in the Permian Basin, they said in an announcement.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
US 'Frack Master' Urging UK to Ditch Enviro Concerns and Pursue Shale Gas
Sputnik News


The CEO of a leading American energy company, who is known as the 'frack master' has called on the British government to defy environmental concerns and push ahead with exploration of the country's shale oil and gas reserves.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Governor Abbott signs Denton fracking bill Gov. Greg Abbott signed into a law legislation that prohibits cities from banning drilling and limiting their control of the process. These signs went up in Denton last year during a vote on the state’s first - and last - ban on fracking.
Ft Worth Star-Telegram
Max B Baker

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that he will sign into law a bill that reasserts the state’s control over oil and gas drilling and prohibits cities from banning hydraulic fracturing, giving them only limited control over the oil and gas process within their city limits.   [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Opposition to fracking increases again, finds Sunday Times poll
The Carbon Brief
Simon Evans

The British public is becoming increasingly opposed to fracking for shale gas, a series of polls for the Sunday Times show. However, as with some previous polling on energy and climate issues commissioned by the paper, it has not reported the findings. Support for shale gas extraction has fallen to its lowest level since the series began, falling below one third of respondents for the first time. Opposition has reached its highest level. The latest survey also finds majority support for allowing or encouraging onshore windfarms and a strong majority in favour of the government either maintaining or scaling up its action on climate change. Carbon Brief has the numbers, which should provide interesting reading for the new Conservative government, given its support for fracking and opposition to subsidised onshore wind.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
DRBC should conduct own hearing on pipeline plan
The Morning Call


Morning Call reporter Christina Tatu's article, "Delaware River Basin Commission wants joint review of the PennEast pipeline," offers an excellent discussion of the commission's oversight review of the controversial PennEast proposal. cComments Got something to say? Start the conversation and be the first to comment. ADD A COMMENT 0 The DRBC, a four-state agency formed in 1961, works as a co-equal with the federal government to safeguard the Delaware River watershed, which supplies water for 15 million Americans. Contrary to PennEast spokeswoman Patricia Kornick's opinion that the DRBC would have "some input into the project," the commission plays a crucial role. Unfortunately, the DRBC has indicated that it may combine its public hearing with a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hearing for the entire environmental review. Merging the meetings would diminish DRBC oversight and reduce the public's chances to participate meaningfully.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Texas Governor signs HB40 into law, guts community rights
EarthJustice
Press Release

Faced with widespread municipal opposition, oil and gas industry backs big government power grab Austin, TX - Today Texas Governor Abbott signed HB 40 into law. Written by former ExxonMobil lawyer Shannon Ratliff, the statute forces every Texas municipality wanting common sense limits on oil and gas development to demonstrate its rules are “commercially reasonable”. It effectively overturns a Denton ballot initiative banning fracking that passed last November. “HB 40 was written by the oil and gas industry, for the oil and gas industry, to prevent voters from holding the oil and gas industry accountable for its impacts,” said Earthworks’ Texas organizer Sharon Wilson. Wilson, who played a key role in the Denton ballot initiative, continued, “It was the oil and gas industry’s contempt for impacted residents that pushed Denton voters to ban fracking in the first place. And now the oil and gas industry, through state lawmakers, has doubled down by showing every city in Texas that same contempt.”  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
EPA involved in 1 million gallon brine leak investigation
Grand Forks Herald
Amy Dalrymple

MANDAREE, N.D. – The Environmental Protection Agency is investigating whether Crestwood Midstream violated the Clean Water Act last year when a pipeline spill leaked about 1 million gallons of brine on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. The EPA has issued Crestwood Midstream and Arrow Pipeline a Notice of Potential Violation for the July 2014 pipeline spill near Mandaree.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Did an oil tycoon try to get researchers fired?
CBS News
Jonathan Berr

Here's a story that's shaking up the Oklahoma oil patch. Oil tycoon Harold Hamm pressured the University of Oklahoma to fire scientists that published research linking the more than 400-fold increase in earthquakes in the Sooner State to activity from the oil and natural gas industry, according to Bloomberg News. Officials in Oklahoma, however, claim that Hamm didn't act on his threat. The Bloomberg story quotes from an email, obtained through an open public records act, that quotes Larry Grillot, the dean of the University of Oklahoma's Newbourne College of Earth and Energy, saying "Mr. Hamm is very upset at some of the earthquake reporting to the point that he would like to see select OGS (Oklahoma Geological Survey) staff dismissed." Hamm also indicated to Grillot that he was "would be very interested and would be willing to sit on your search committee" for a new director.  [Full Story]

May 18, 2015
Dominion announces alternate routes for proposed pipeline
The Wichita Eagle
ALAN SUDERMAN

Dominion Resources Inc. said Monday it has come up with alternative segments for portions of a 550-mile proposed natural gas pipeline in two Virginia counties where many local landowners have been fighting the project. The company said the alternative segments of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Augusta County and Nelson County will potentially have "the least impact to environmental, historic and cultural resources" compared to initial plans. But pipeline opponents said the proposed alternatives amount to "tiny" changes that don't allay any of their concerns with the proposal.   [Full Story]

May 17, 2015
Lancashire County Council urged to look at US fracking report
Lancashire Evening Post


Anti-fracking campaigners have welcomed the publication of a report into the environmental risks of fracking in New York state. The report was seven years in the making and was published by the NY Department of Environmental Conservation. It highlights risks including air impacts which could affect respiratory health, drinking water impacts from underground migration of methane or fracking chemicals, surface spills affecting soil and groundwater surface water contamination, and seismic risk.  [Full Story]

May 17, 2015
The real story behind Shell's climate change rhetoric In the first of an investigative series into the fossil fuel giants from which we are calling on Gates and Wellcome Trust to divest, we reveal Shell’s pursuit of ever riskier reserves is at odds with its own forecasts for dangerous global warming
The Guardian
Terry Macalister

“Follow the money,” was his mantra during a stint at Shell’s chemicals division, according to one colleague. Now, his message to the industry was: follow the overwhelming evidence on greenhouse gas emissions and join the debate on climate change, or risk the fossil fuel industry being sidelined.   [Full Story]

May 17, 2015
Athens to join multi-county talks about injection wells Group wants to discuss lobbying effort for stronger regulation

David DeWitt

Athens County will send a representative to a meeting of other county officials in Ohio looking to discuss making a push to change laws regulating oil-and-gas waste injection wells.   [Full Story]

May 17, 2015
Reisman: Gas pipeline. Indian Point. Why tempt fate?
The Journal News
Phil Reisman

Last weekend, Indian Point returned to the forefront of public consciousness when a transformer exploded and caught fire. This has happened before. But this time, a new concern has emerged, namely a controversial plan by a natural gas company, Spectra Energy Corp., to expand and re-route a pipeline only a few hundred feet from the nuclear plant. One wonders what kind of disaster would have occurred had that fire erupted near the expanded gas line.  [Full Story]

May 17, 2015
Actor/Director Mark Ruffalo to Receive 2015 Rose-Walters Prize for Global Environmental Activism
Dickinson College
Christine Baksi

Dickinson will present Mark Ruffalo, the award-winning actor, director and advocate for addressing climate change and increasing renewable energy, with The Sam Rose ’58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism. The prize was created to focus attention on the need to reduce the impact of human lives on the planet, particularly given the rising population predictions for this century. It will be presented during the college’s Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 17. Ruffalo, one of Hollywood’s most respected and sought-after actors, has successfully leveraged his celebrity in defense of America’s waterways and freshwater supplies. In 2011, he co-founded Water Defense to raise awareness about the impact of energy extraction on water and public health. In a 2014 interview with HuffPost Live, he said, “Water Defense was started to give people a place to go who are being affected by fossil-fuel extraction. We wanted to create a hub for communities that are disenfranchised and don’t have media attention to get their stories out in the world. I’m a focal point. I get the spotlight on me and pass it on to places like Aliceville, Alabama; Casselton, North Dakota; and Mayflower, Arkansas.”  [Full Story]

May 17, 2015
U.S. natural gas projects face Keystone-like resistance
USA TODAY
Bill Loveless

The U.S. is producing record amounts of natural gas, a fuel widely viewed as cleaner and preferable to coal for electric power generation. But building the infrastructure necessary to bring that fuel to market is increasingly difficult for the industry. That was the message from industry executives at an "Infrastructure Week" event held in Washington by America's Natural Gas Alliance, an industry group. Among them was Diane Leopold, the president of Dominion Energy, whose company is proposing a 550-mile gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina and just got final government approval to export liquefied natural gas from a plant in Maryland. "While this may be the most exciting time in our history, it also may be the most challenging," Leopold said, citing an "increase in high-intensity opposition" to infrastructure projects. "It is becoming louder, better funded and more sophisticated." As she spoke, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which issues permits for interstate pipelines and LNG export facilities, was meeting in a session that had been rescheduled to avoid large-scale protests planned later this month by critics of hydraulic fracturing. The technology has unlocked gas from shale in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.  [Full Story]

May 17, 2015
Columbia Gas to replace pipeline under Bald's Run in Culpeper
Daily Progress


As Dominion moves forward with its controversial plan for the 500-mile natural Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline, a much smaller-scale natural gas expansion project is moving forward in the town of Culpeper to serve increased demand for the heating source.  [Full Story]

May 17, 2015
New studies link fracking activity to earthquakes, and the unknown leaves some East TX residents concerned
KTBS
ELSA GILLIS

MARSHALL, Tx. (KTBS) - The ground is shaking in Texas - and several new studies link that seismic activity to the Oil and Gas industry. This comes as the Texas legislature recently approved a bill that prohibits counties and cities from banning hydraulic fracking.   [Full Story]

May 16, 2015
Young people don't like fracking -- but they should
Grand Forks Herald
ISAAC ORR

CHICAGO — A new Gallup poll shows young people are no fans of hydraulic fracturing, the technology that has made the United States the largest producer of natural gas and oil in the world. According to the survey, 44 percent of Americans ages 18-29 oppose hydraulic fracturing, 32 percent favor fracking, and 24 percent have no opinion on the subject.  [Full Story]

May 16, 2015
Oklahoma oil billionaire demanded university fire scientists studying dangers of fracking
Raw Story
TOM BOGGIONI

billionaire oil tycoon, who is a major donor to the University of Oklahoma, approached a dean at the school demanding that the university fire scientists who were studying the link between fracking and the increase of earthquakes in the oil-rich state. According to Bloomberg Business, Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm met with Larry Grillot, dean of the university’s Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, in 2014 and expressed his dismay with work being done on the school’s Oklahoma Geological Survey.  [Full Story]

May 16, 2015
This Billionaire Tried To Get University Scientists Fired For Doing Their Job
ThinkProgress
KILEY KROH

Despite a growing body of scientific research connecting oil and gas activity to a dramatic spike in earthquakes across several U.S. states, some industry leaders are fighting this characterization. Harold Hamm, billionaire CEO of Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources, told a dean at the University of Oklahoma last year that he was so displeased by the university’s research on the topic that he wanted certain scientists dismissed, Bloomberg News reported. In an email to colleagues dated July 16, 2014 and obtained by Bloomberg, Larry Grillot, the dean of the university’s Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, said that he had met with Hamm, a major donor to the university, to discuss his concerns about earthquake reporting by the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS), which is housed in the university. “Mr. Hamm is very upset at some of the earthquake reporting to the point that he would like to see select OGS staff dismissed,” Grillot wrote, adding that Hamm indicated he would be meeting with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) to discuss moving the OGS out of the university.  [Full Story]

May 16, 2015
UGI plans $60M LNG plant
Philadelphia Inquirer
Andrew Maykuth

UGI Energy Services is doubling its capacity to produce liquefied natural gas, aiming to capture a bigger share of an alternative-fuel market for which Philadelphia Gas Works also has ambitions. UGIES, a subsidiary of UGI Corp. of Valley Forge, announced Friday that it plans to build a $60 million plant in northeastern Pennsylvania to produce up to 120,000 gallons of LNG a day from 10 million cubic feet of Marcellus Shale natural gas. Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20150516_UGI_plans_to_double_LNG_production_capacity_with_new__60M_plant.html#V4KXxZoyMTD0j0RX.99  [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
Farmers Fight a New Kind of Pipeline Spill--Salty Wastewater
The Wall Street Journal
CHESTER DAWSON

WILLISTON, N.D.—For most of the years since wildcatters began tapping the prairies here for oil, energy companies have existed peacefully with the farmers and ranchers who still dominate the state’s economy. But now a dispute has broken out between the two groups over pipeline spills, not of oil but of salty wastewater. The latest such leak came last week, when some 220,000 gallons of brine leaked on an Indian reservation. In particular, agricultural interests are frustrated that oil drillers and pipeline companies haven’t agreed to use technology that farmers say could quickly detect brine leaks.  [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
Fracktivist faces 6 felony charges for recording lawyer
NPR State Impact PA
MARIE CUSICK

Anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins has been charged with six felonies for violating Pennsylvania’s wiretapping laws by recording a Montrose lawyer and his secretary without their permission. The charges stem from a 2013 incident in which Scroggins was denied an application to have her anti-fracking group participate in the town’s Fourth of July parade.  [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
US Crude Oil Consumption Peaked a Decade Ago
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

A world without crude oil is almost unthinkable. And yet, there are indications that such a transition is happening. OPEC is jockeying for market share. Russia is increasing production and US tight oil producers as well as their Canadian oil sands counterparts have found themselves priced out of the market. So what is going on? As humans, we tend to like to place things in neat little boxes. So we look at coal and natural gas and think electricity generation. We look at crude oil and think transportation sector. And all this is correct. But trends are emerging that are likely to turn this on its head. For instance, on shore wind and solar are gaining traction as viable energy production means. Costs are falling rapidly and Lazard now estimates that onshore wind is the cheapest provider of electricity on a levelized cost basis. Solar is not far behind due to a rapid and precipitous drop in costs and is expected to compete with onshore wind as soon as 2018. This means that coal and natural gas will then be the higher cost producers and almost certainly lose market share for electricity generation. Investment going into new capacity additions is already hinting at this trajectory in that investment in renewable capacity has outpaced hydrocarbons each year since 2011. This is occurring globally. Michael Liebreich, founder of BNEF, recently stated:  [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
Marcellus April Natural Gas Production: Up 17.6% from a Year Ago
Market Realist
Alex Chamberlin

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (or EIA) released its Drilling Productivity Report (or DPR) on May 11, 2015. The EIA estimates Marcellus shale natural gas production in April at 16.7 billion cubic feet per day (or bcf/d). That’s 0.4% more than March’s production and 17.6% higher than a year ago.   [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
Why Did NY Ban Fracking? The Official Report Is Now Public
InsideClimate News
Neela Banerjee

New York issued its long-awaited environmental assessment of fracking Wednesday detailing a wide range of health and climate concerns that underpinned Governor Andrew Cuomo's decision last December to impose a statewide ban on the practice. High-volume hydraulic fracturing "raises new, significant, adverse impacts not studied" in the state's last major analysis of oil and gas development in 1992, the 2,000-page report concludes. The negative effects that fracking could bring to the state include:   [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
We Are Seneca Lake: Josh Fox & Fracking Opponents Fight Natural Gas Storage Site in Upstate NY
Democracy Now!


On Wednesday, Josh Fox, director of "Gasland," the documentary which exposed the harms of the fracking industry, was arrested along with 20 other people after forming a human barricade at a natural gas storage facility in upstate New York. The action was part of a long-standing campaign against plans by Crestwood Midstream to expand gas storage in abandoned salt caverns at Seneca Lake, a drinking water source for 100,000 people. We speak to Fox and air his new documentary short, "We Are Seneca Lake." TRANSCRIPT   [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
100 California Officials Ask Gov. Brown for Fracking Moratorium
Center for Biological Diversity
Press Release

ANAHEIM, Calif.— More than 100 mayors, city council members and other local officials from dozens of communities want Gov. Jerry Brown to halt fracking to protect California’s water supply from contamination during a devastating drought. In a letter being unveiled today at a press conference at the Democratic State Convention in Anaheim, officials warn Gov. Brown that fracking and other dangerous oil production techniques “will exacerbate many of our environmental threats, particularly local air and water pollution and climate disruption.” “Fracking pollution threatens the air we breathe and the water we drink, and Latino communities are especially at risk,” said Robert Rivas, San Benito County supervisor and supporter of San Benito County’s new fracking ban. “Thousands of Latino children in California go to school near fracked oil wells. We need Gov. Brown to halt fracking to give every child in California a better chance at a healthy life.” Joining Supervisor Rivas at today’s press conference are Jose Gurrola, Arvin city council member; Eduardo Martinez, Richmond city council member; and Elliot Gonzales, Long Beach sustainability commissioner.  [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
Faith Against Fracking
EcoWatch


As pressure mounts for Gov. Jerry Brown to take action on fracking and other extraction methods putting communities and the environment at risk, Californians Against Fracking released a new film Wednesday showcasing several faith leaders across a variety of faiths who are calling for a statewide moratorium and a switch to 100 percent renewable energy. Here is an exclusive clip from the film made exclusively for EcoWatch readers:  [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
Canada to Regulate Oil and Gas Emissions With New 30% Target
Bloomberg Business
Josh Wingrove

Canada pledged to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by about a third by 2030 in a move quickly dismissed by environmentalists and energy analysts as lacking detail and unrealistic without major policy changes.   [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
The Pipeline That Texans Are Freaking Out Over (Nope, Not Keystone)
Mother Jones
Bryan Schatz

Earlier this year a couple of billionaires landed a nearly $770 million contract to run a 143-mile-long natural gas pipeline through Texas's pristine Big Bend region. As of May 11, rail shipments of pipe had begun to arrive in Big Bend's Fort Stockton area. This recent progress on the pipeline project is fueling pushback from locals who've been concerned about this project since it was announced in November 2014. Big Bend is one of Texas' last unspoiled wilderness areas and one of few remaining holdouts in a state riddled with energy transmission pipelines and large-scale oil and gas activity. Fearing potential land grabs, increased traffic, and environmental desecration, locals have been mobilizing through town hall meetings and launching activist campaigns to oppose it. What is the Trans-Pecos pipeline? At 42 inches wide and under 1,400 pounds of pressure per square inch, the Trans-Pecos pipeline will carry as much as 1.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day after its projected completion in early 2017. The gas will originate in Texas's Permian Basin, travel the length of the pipeline to the border at Presidio, Texas, and Ojinaga, Mexico, where it will be piped further into Mexico for industrial use and power generation. The project was commissioned by the Mexican Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) as part of the country's push to modernize its energy systems.  [Full Story]

May 15, 2015
Report: PA dishes out $3.2 billion in fossil fuels subsidies while state faces $1.5 billion deficit
PublicSource
Natasha Khan

A new report out Tuesday says Pennsylvania provided more than $3.2 billion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, much of which went to the state’s booming natural gas industry, at a time when the state carries a $1.5 billion budget deficit and very little investment in the renewable energy industry. "This report is about transparency," Rob Altenburg, director of PennFuture’s Energy Center, the group that put out the report, said in a statement. "Creating billions of dollars worth of fossil fuel subsidies while neglecting sensible long-term investments is a choice that has consequences not only for the citizens of Pennsylvania today but for our children and future generations.”   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Links in natural gas supply chain worry about Wolf’s proposed severance tax
Times Leader
Jerry Lynbott

LA PLUME — As much as the Marcellus Shale has fueled an energy boom in the state, business owners and others who are links in the supply chain to the natural gas industry expressed their concerns about the effects of a proposed severance tax. They had the opportunity Thursday to share their successes and worries with state Speaker of the House Mike Turzai and local lawmakers during an energy forum at Keystone College.   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Advocates: Fracking Battle Far From Over
YNN
Jackson Wang

But on Wednesday, the DEC released their final version of an environmental impact review on hydrofracking, which is expected to lead to a ban on the controversial method of gas drilling in the state. “I think it falls in line with what we expected after the December 17 press conference with DOH, DEC, and Governor Cuomo,” said Bruce Ferguson, of Catskills Citizens for Safe Energy. He has been fighting for years to ban fracking in the state. Ferguson saw the review as a victory. “It certainly buys us time," Ferguson said. "Is it forever a ban on fracking? No. But we didn’t expect that.”  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
UGI Energy Services to build an LNG plant in heart of the Marcellus Shale
Market Watch
Press Release

WYOMISSING, Pa., May 14, 2015 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- UGI Energy Services, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UGI Corporation UGI, +1.26% today announced plans to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) production facility in northern Pennsylvania that will utilize Marcellus Shale gas.   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Denmark allows Total to resume fracking
RT


French energy giant Total was granted a permission to continue shale gas exploration in Denmark following a week-long ban over using hazardous chemicals not approved by local authorities in its drilling process.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Fracking could increase risk of cancer, new study finds
Newsweek
Conor Gaffey

Living near to active fracking sites could increase the risk of cancer as the process harmful chemicals into the air, a new study has found. Researchers from Oregon State University (OSU) and the University of Cincinnati found that hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, releases polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are linked to cancers and respiratory diseases.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Congressman Reed Not Impressed With DEC Fracking Report
TWC News
Ryan Whalen

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Despite a massive report released by the Department of Environmental Conservation, Congressman Tom Reed said he's not impressed with the findings. He said rather than find solid evidence fracking is harmful, it just says there's not enough evidence that it's not. The report, seven years in the making, took more than 260,000 public comments into consideration. It laid out both the positives and negatives of the process of using water, sand and chemicals to release natural gas from underground.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
New York Fracking Report Edges Closer to Statewide Ban
Sputnik News


MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The US state of New York is less than two weeks away from issuing a ban on fracking following the release of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) final impact statement on the controversial oil and gas extraction technique. The DEC's Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), published on Wednesday, found that the health, environmental and community hazards posed by fracking to residents far outweigh its advantages. DEC Commissioner Joe Martens is now due to issue a legally binding Findings Statement within 10 days of the release of the Final SGEIS.   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
State Chamber to Fight Against "Let's Stop Fracking" Petition Drive
WKZO
Gary Stevens

LANSING, MI (WHTC) - The Michigan Chamber of Commerce began a statewide campaign to discourage voters from signing anti-hydraulic fracturing ballot petitions. The group “Let's Ban Fracking” has started another effort to put the matter on the ballot next year, looking to get at least 340 thousand signatures, after a similar initiative failed to gain enough valid signatures for the 2014 election. Fracking is seen as a way to get to oil and natural gas reserves; opponents cite possible environmental hazards with the method.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
USGS Study Shows Wide Chemical Variation In Fracking Wastewater
Manufacturing.net
Andy Szal

Geological Survey links the duration of hydraulic fracturing to the concentration of organic compounds in drilling wastewater. In addition, researchers speculated that increased microbial activity in water with high levels of organic compounds could prove useful in future efforts to clean up fracking accidents.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Fylde braces itself for new fracking D-Day
Blackpool Gazette


Residents are preparing themselves for fracking D-Day after new dates were set to decide on whether shale gas development can go ahead on the Fylde.   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
How Fracking Affects the Chemistry of Waters
EP Online


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently conducted a fracking case study that examined the produced water of 13 hydraulically fractured gas wells in Pennsylvania. Produced water is “the water brought to the land surface during oil, gas, and coalbed methane production.” During the study, researchers discovered that the microbiology and organic chemistry of waters produced from fracking vary significantly from well to well.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
PSC: ‘Wet Spring’ Led To Pipeline Ruptures
Wheeling News-Register
Casey Junkins

WHEELING - Seven natural gas pipelines have ruptured across northern West Virginia over the last month, the state's chief pipeline inspector said Wednesday. Although Mary Friend's small staff in the pipeline division of the Public Service Commission of West Virginia works to track more than 14,000 miles of monitored lines across the Mountain State, the seven recent ruptures did not happen on her watch. "They fall into the unregulated gathering line category," Mary Friend, pipeline safety director for the Public Service Commission of West Virginia, said while addressing members of the state's Oil and Natural Gas Association at Oglebay Park.   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
7 Senators Push for Federal Energy Standard of 30% Renewables by 2020
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

Just because you know doing something is a long shot doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. That’s the attitude of seven Democratic senators who introduced a bill in Congress this week that would set a federal Renewable Energy Standard (RES).   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Could Fracking Ruin Your Vacation?
EcoWatch
Hugh MacMillan, Food & Water Watch

As the start of summer draws ever closer, Americans and international tourists will begin to flock to U.S. national parks, forests and other public lands for summer vacations, recreation and appreciation of our natural heritage. But there is something threatening the future of these lands and the communities that surround our national parks. Fracking.   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
EIA Puts Out Conflicting Natural Gas Production Forecasts
Seeking Alpha


Summary The latest monthly EIA Short-Term Energy Outlook has raised its estimate of lower 48 natural gas production and expects continued growth in oil and natural gas production into 2016. The latest monthly EIA Drilling Productivity Report specifically estimates a decline in both oil and natural gas production in June. The failure of the EIA to embrace the data in its own Drilling Productivity Report is causing it to over-estimate 2015 natural gas production.   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Haley should reverse course on offshore drilling
Post and Courier


Gov. Nikki Haley should be listening to the growing opposition to offshore drilling from this state’s coastal communities instead of hewing to the oil industry’s line about its potential benefits. And the governor should tell the state Department of Health and Environmental Control to start listening to coastal residents during the permitting process.   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Agency refuses to acknowledge widespread outrage at role in burgeoning gas infrastructure
DC Media Group
Anne Meador and John Zangas

On May 14, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in its monthly open Commission meeting took up the issue of the electrical grid’s vulnerability to geomagnetic disturbances. But the government agency’s own vulnerability to public disturbance was front and center. Federal Protective Services took extraordinary measures to prevent disruption of the Commission meeting by planned protests, barring access to about 30 members of the public. FPS also banned the use of recording devices, brushing aside FERC’s own rule expressly permitting it. Two people were escorted out of the meeting room, five detained and three arrested.   [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
US House subcommittee examines gas pipeline permitting delays
Oil & Gas Journal
Nick Snow

Reforms should be considered to ease delays that have developed for interstate natural gas pipeline projects requiring federal permits, two witnesses told a US House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. But a third warned that trying to facilitate approvals is unnecessary and could jeopardize protections for states under three major federal statutes. The committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee held the hearing to consider draft legislation that would require the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, as lead permitting agency under the 2005 Energy Policy Act (EPACT), to identify all agencies considering aspects of an application and establish a review schedule, including a deadline for a final decision.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Could Fracking Ruin Your Vacation?
EcoWatch
Hugh MacMillan

As the start of summer draws ever closer, Americans and international tourists will begin to flock to U.S. national parks, forests and other public lands for summer vacations, recreation and appreciation of our natural heritage. But there is something threatening the future of these lands and the communities that surround our national parks. Fracking.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Study maps hundreds of methane gas leaks under streets in L.A. region
Los Angeles Times
TONY BARBOZA

An environmental group has identified nearly 250 locations where planet-warming methane is leaking from natural gas lines under streets in the Greater Los Angeles region. Environmental Defense Fund researchers outfitted a Google Street View mapping car with real-time air monitoring equipment that can detect elevated levels of methane, the main component of natural gas. Starting in August, they drove the vehicle over more than 1,000 miles of roadways in Chino, Inglewood and Pasadena. After analyzing the data in collaboration with scientists from Colorado State University, the researchers plotted the leaks and their relative size on an interactive map and reported the results to Southern California Gas Co., which serves millions of customers in Central and Southern California.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
Reversing Grassroots Win, US Senate Approves Fast Track Trade Measure
Common Dreams
Deirdre Fulton

Progressives reacted with dismay as the U.S. Senate on Thursday approved a motion to begin debate on the Fast Track authority President Barack Obama needs to advance controversial trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The measure passed 65-33. Senate Democrats blocked the first attempt to proceed on the trade legislation on Tuesday, but backtracked in the wake of further negotiations—and intense pressure from the White House. The 13 Democrats who voted with big business and the Republicans Thursday are: Michael Bennet (D-CO), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). The full Senate roll call is here.  [Full Story]

May 14, 2015
NY Fracking Report Underscores Quake, Climate Risks
Climate Central
Bobby Magill

New York is 2,000 pages closer to becoming the first fossil fuels-rich state in the U.S. to ban fracking indefinitely because of the climate-changing methane it could emit and the earthquakes, air pollution and water contamination it could cause. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in December that fracking, short for the natural gas extraction process called hydraulic fracturing, would be banned in New York, where the energy-rich Marcellus shale holds up to 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The state followed up this week with a 2,000-page final environmental report outlining why it would be better off without the environmental, climate and public health implications of the process.  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Enviro groups protest BLM plans for increased fracking in Colorado
Denver Post
Bruce Finley

Environment groups are protesting federal plans that would allow increased oil and gas production through hydraulic fracturing on public lands in western Colorado. They argue that the plans for up to 16,342 new wells across 2.5 millon acres would deplete scarce water and hurt wildlife.   [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Oklahoma Revenues Fall With Oil, Natural Gas
SW Times Record
Randy Ellis

OKLAHOMA CITY — State budget watchers in Oklahoma take note. Plunging oil and natural gas prices have helped cause year-to-date state general revenue fund collections in April to drop below the official estimate for the first time this fiscal year.   [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
NY releases final environmental review of fracking for natural gas; ban expected in 10 days
Daily Journal
Mary Esch

ALBANY, New York — New York regulators have released the final version of an environmental impact review of natural gas development that's expected to lead to the nation's first ban on a drilling process called fracking by a state with significant shale gas deposits.   [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Drilling Begins 3 Miles From Epicenter of BP Oil Spill
ABC News
Cain Burdeau

Just 3 miles from the catastrophic BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a Louisiana company is seeking to unlock the same oil and natural gas that turned into a deadly disaster. Drilling has begun in the closest work yet to the Macondo well, which blew wild on April 20, 2010, killing 11 people and fouling the Gulf with as much as 172 million gallons of crude in the nation's worst oil spill. Federal regulators gave their blessing last month to LLOG Exploration Offshore LLC. to drill the first new well in the same footprint where BP was digging before.   [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Canadian Aboriginal Group Rejects $1 Billion Fee for Natural Gas Project
New York Times
Ian Austen

OTTAWA — A small aboriginal community in British Columbia has rejected a $1 billion payment for a natural gas project, the latest setback for the Canadian energy industry’s effort to bolster exports.  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Fracking may affect air quality, human health
Science Daily


People living or working near active natural gas wells may be exposed to certain pollutants at higher levels than the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for lifetime exposure. Air pollution from fracking operations may pose an under-recognized health hazard to people living near them, the researchers concluded.  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Senate GOP launches attack on EPA climate rules
The Hill
Timothy Cama

Senate Republicans introduced a bill Wednesday that would overturn the Obama administration’s landmark climate regulations for power plants and make it nearly impossible to rewrite them. The bill is the GOP’s first major legislative push against the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions limits since Republicans seized control of the Senate in November. The rules have drawn intense criticism from Republicans and industry groups, who warn they will cost billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of jobs and have negligible environmental benefits. “Our bipartisan legislation would empower the states to protect families and businesses from electricity rate increases, reduced electrical reliability and other harmful effects of the president’s Clean Power Plan,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), the bill’s sponsor, told reporters Wednesday.  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Michigan Launches New Effort To Stop Would Be Hydro-Fracking
WILX


The Michigan Chamber of Commerce has launched a new effort to defeat an effort that would stop hydro-fracking in the state. It's called "decline to sign".  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Fracking ban regulations could change if bill becomes law
News Channel 10


Amarillo, TX - Fracking ban regulations could change if a controversial bill becomes law. This would give the Texas Railroad Commission authority to override city laws when it comes to subsurface oil and gas operations.   [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Key Senate aide likely to replace departing commissioner
E & E Newswire
Hannah Northey

Philip Moeller, an outspoken Republican member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, announced yesterday that he plans to leave the agency in the coming months, creating an opening expected to be filled by a senior Senate GOP aide. Moeller's likely replacement is Patrick McCormick, senior counsel for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, who has deep ties in the energy world. A source familiar with the situation said McCormick would be the nominee. The move, assuming McCormick is confirmed by the Senate, would place at FERC a top aide to Senate ENR Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) as she tries to usher through Congress the first comprehensive, bipartisan energy bill in nearly a decade. Moeller, first nominated to the agency by President George W. Bush in 2006 and renominated by President Obama in 2010, said he plans to serve the remainder of his term through June 30 -- or until his replacement is confirmed. Moeller also said he has no future plans lined up at this point. "It's been an honor and a privilege to serve on the Commission every single day since I joined the Commission in July 2006," Moeller said in a statement. "I send thanks to President Bush and President Obama for nominating me, as well as the members of the United States Senate who unanimously confirmed me to both terms." In recent months, Moeller has warned that time is running out for the agency to provide suggestions to U.S. EPA on its Clean Power Plan, which is expected to be finalized in the coming months (E&ENews PM, May 4). Moeller has joined his Republican colleague on the panel, Tony Clark, in calling for the commission to have a more formal advisory role as the EPA proposal takes shape.  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
After nearly 7 years, NY releases final fracking review
The Journal News
Jon Campbell

ov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration late Wednesday released a years-in-the-making review that lays the groundwork for prohibiting large-scale hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. FrackPA (1) The state Department of Environmental Conservation released a final version of the 2,000-page document, known as the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement or SGEIS, just after 4 p.m. Now, DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens must wait at least 10 days before issuing a legally binding “findings statement,” which he has said will formally put the state’s fracking ban into place.  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Read: State releases its finalized fracking review
Times Union
Matthew Hamilton

Years after the still-heated debate over the use of hydraulic fracturing in New York began, the state has released its finalized review of the controversial practice. The Department of Environmental Conservation released Wednesday its final supplemental generic environmental impact statement, roughly five months after it was announced that fracking, as it’s commonly known, would not be allowed to take place in New York. That decision touched off joyous celebration among environmental advocates and sharp criticism from both the business community and those who saw the practice as a potentially region-rebounding business for the Southern Tier. “Would I live in a community with HVHF (high-volume hydraulic fracturing) based on the facts I have now?” Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said in December. “Would I let my child play in the school field nearby, or my family drink the water from the tap or grow their vegetables in the soil? After looking at a plethora of reports … my answer is no.”   [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
DEC Releases Final Hydrofracking Review
State of Politics


The Department of Environmental Conservation on Wednesday afternoon released its finalized review of hydrofracking, a long-sought document that signals the start of the formalized move toward a ban on the controversial natural-gas extraction process. The document, known as the Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, concludes there are “major uncertainties about potential significant adverse health and environmental impacts” associated with high-volume fracking. “The Final SGEIS is the result of an extensive examination of high-volume hydraulic fracturing and its potential adverse impacts on critical resources such as drinking water, community character and wildlife habitat,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a statement. “We considered materials from numerous sources, including scientific studies, academic research and public comments, and evaluated the effectiveness of potential mitigation measures to protect New York’s valuable natural resources and the health of residents. I will rely on the FSGEIS when I issue a Findings Statement in accordance with state law.”  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Exclusive: Anti-Fracking Filmmaker Josh Fox Arrested In Finger Lakes Protest
The Daily Beast
James Joiner

The creator of the award-winning film ‘Gasland’ was just arrested at a protest in rural New York. Here’s the mini-documentary he made on the eve of his arrest. Award-winning documentary filmmaker Josh Fox, who wrote and directed the acclaimed fracking film Gasland, was arrested this afternoon while engaging in a human barricade at a natural-gas storage facility in the Finger Lakes. “People need to see what’s happening at Seneca Lake, and also understand that this isn’t isolated, it is happening everywhere,” Fox told The Daily Beast before the protest. “We need to educate people that our dependency on fossil fuels has got to change, and it has to change now.”  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Groups File IRS Complaint Alleging ALEC is a Lobbying Vehicle, Not a Charity
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) and Common Cause have filed an 18-page supplemental complaint to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which calls for a termination of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)'s status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and requests civil and criminal charges be brought against ALEC. Eric Havian, an attorney at the firm Constantine Cannon, submitted over two dozen exhibits attached to the supplement demonstrating that ALEC operates much more like a corporate bill mill connecting corporate-friendly state legislators to lobbyists than it does a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The submission is an update to the original complaint made by Common Cause back in 2012 and the 2013 supplement brought by CMD and Common Cause. Among the exhibits cited in the supplement are examples of corporations themselves admitting that ALEC serves as a useful lobbying organ for their corporate bottom-lines. Those on the list of corporations include fossil fuel industry goliaths such as Chevron, BP, ExxonMobil, Duke Energy and Peabody Energy.   [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
We Are All Connected by Water: Our Elected Officials Must Be Held Accountable For Protecting This Natural Resource
Huffington Post
Mark Ruffalo, John Pratt and Scott Smith

Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014 marked the four-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill ("BP Spill"). The BP spill should have been a wake-up call for elected officials and organizations tasked with responding to this type of disaster, but it seems like those in charge of protecting our waters have learned nothing. The procedures and technologies adopted, endorsed, and proven during the BP spill cleanup efforts have yet to become the standard. Instead of evolving, our officials are regressing -- focusing more on damage control than solving the issue. Four years later, we ask why? Let's take a look at the very basis of science: data. Without data, there is no science. At Water Defense, we decided to take a second look at the process of water testing itself, and the results came up wanting. Here are a few examples:  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
DEC Issues Water Permits for 1st Algonquin Pipeline Expansion Project
Peekskill-Cortlandt Patch
Lanning Taliaferro

Spectra’s Algonquin Incremental Market project moved another step closer to startup today as the New York state Department of Conservation issued permits and water quality certification. AIM would expand a few sections of Spectra’s pipeline from Pennsylvania to Canada through Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties. The AIM project is, as its name implies, the first of three expansion projects on that pipeline that Spectra has discussed with local residents and officials. Opponents of the pipeline expansion project had objected when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave the project a green light before the DEC had ruled on the water permits.  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Portland mayor pulls support for fracked gas terminal amid protests
The Guardian
Chris McGreal

Portland’s mayor has all but killed off a plan to build a $500m terminal to ship fracked gas from Canada in the face of overwhelming popular opposition and fears about damage to the city’s progressive image. The mayor, Charlie Hales, has cancelled a council hearing scheduled for next month to hear a planning application by a Canadian company, Pembina, to build one of the largest industrial facilities in Portland to deliver propane gas, mostly to Asia.  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
State releases final fracking statement
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—The Cuomo administration on Wednesday released one of the final reports required to make its fracking ban official. The Department of Environmental Conservation released the 2,000-page final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement for fracking, which opponents and proponents around the country have been awaiting since Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a ban on fracking in December.  [Full Story]

May 13, 2015
Exclusive: Anti-Fracking Filmmaker Josh Fox Arrested In Finger Lakes Protest
The Daily Beast
James Joiner

The creator of the award-winning film ‘Gasland’ was just arrested at a protest in rural New York. Here’s the mini-documentary he made on the eve of his arrest. Award-winning documentary filmmaker Josh Fox, who wrote and directed the acclaimed fracking film Gasland, was arrested this afternoon while engaging in a human barricade at a natural-gas storage facility in the Finger Lakes.   [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
F.B.I. Says It Broke Its Rules in Inquiry of Keystone Pipeline Opponents
New York Times
Michael S. Schmidt

WASHINGTON — The Federal Bureau of Investigation violated its own guidelines in 2013 when it investigated environmental advocates who opposed the Keystone XL pipeline, the F.B.I. acknowledged on Tuesday.   [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Obama’s Catastrophic Climate-Change Denial
The New York Times
Bill McKibben

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — THE Obama administration’s decision to give Shell Oil the go-ahead to drill in the Arctic shows why we may never win the fight against climate change. Even in this most extreme circumstance, no one seems able to stand up to the power of the fossil fuel industry. No one ever says no. By “extreme” I don’t just mean that Shell will be drilling for oil in places where there’s no hope of cleaning up the inevitable spills (remember the ineptness of BP in the balmy, accessible Gulf of Mexico, and now transpose it 40 degrees of latitude north, into some of the harshest seas on the planet). No, what’s most extreme here is the irresponsibility of Shell, now abetted by the White House. A quarter century ago, scientists warned that if we kept burning fossil fuel at current rates we’d melt the Arctic. The fossil fuel industry (and most everyone else in power) ignored those warnings, and what do you know: The Arctic is melting, to the extent that people now are planning to race yachts through the Northwest Passage, which until very recently required an icebreaker to navigate.   [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Oil Industry Asks Court to Block Rail Transport Safety Rules
The New York Times
JAD MOUAWAD

The oil industry is challenging new federal rules intended to improve the safety of oil-by-train transportation, opening the first legal fight in a two-year effort to reduce the risks of moving hazardous materials on railroads. The American Petroleum Institute, the industry’s main trade group, petitioned the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to block key provisions of the rules, which were unveiled this month by Anthony Foxx, the transportation secretary. The petition was filed on Monday.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Shell’s Record Adds to the Anger of Those Opposing Arctic Drilling
The New York Times
JOHN SCHWARTZ and CLIFFORD KRAUSS

When the Obama administration announced on Monday that it would let Shell drill for oil off the Alaskan coast this year if it met certain conditions, environmentalists were outraged — not just by the administration’s decision to allow drilling, but by its decision to give Shell, in particular, the green light. They said that the company’s track record in the Arctic should rule out another chance for it. Shell tried to drill in the Arctic in 2012, and the company’s multibillion-dollar drilling rig, the Kulluk, ran aground. The operator of a drill ship hired by Shell also pleaded guilty to eight felony offenses and agreed to pay $12.2 million over shoddy record-keeping that covered up hazardous conditions and jury-rigged equipment that discharged polluted water.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Energy industry invests in Philly mayor’s race
State Impact PA
Susan Phillips

Since Marcellus Shale development boomed, Philadelphia has been a thorn in the side of the gas industry. The city has not seen many of the economic benefits that places like Williamsport, or Pittsburgh have. And it tends to be home to well-organized, experienced environmental groups used to taking on powerful adversaries. When the industry invited Mayor Michael Nutter to speak at its annual convention in Philadelphia, Shale Insight, back in the fall of 2012, he chided them, as protestors chanted outside. “Many of us are deeply concerned about water quality in our watershed,” Nutter told the assembled industry executives. “There is no economic opportunity for which jeopardizing our water quality is acceptable.”  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
5 dangers of oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean
Mother Nature Network
russell McLendon

The Arctic is the final frontier of the oil era. Overused oil fields around the planet are dwindling, tempting energy firms to tap the top of the planet despite its hostile environment. An estimated 13 percent of Earth's undiscovered oil lies underneath the Arctic, totaling about 90 billion barrels. At our current rate of consumption, that would be enough to meet worldwide demand for about three years. Russia broke the ice, so to speak, in 2013 with its Prirazlomnaya platform, the world's first commercial oil-drilling effort in the Arctic Ocean. Oil companies are also vying to drill in Arctic waters off Canada, Greenland and Norway, although fickle oil prices have dampened some enthusiasm lately. In the U.S., Royal Dutch Shell has has spent nearly $6 billion since 2005 on leases, permits and lawsuits in its quest for Alaska's oil-rich Beaufort and Chukchi seas. That quest suffered a string of setbacks in 2012 — most notably when its Kulluk drilling rig ran aground off Kodiak Island — but Shell hasn't given up. And this week, U.S. regulators rewarded Shell's determination by granting the company conditional approval to begin drilling in the Chukchi Sea. That marks "a major victory for the petroleum industry and a devastating blow to environmentalists," as the New York Times put it. Why would oil rigs be "devastating" in such a remote part of the world? Here are five of the biggest concerns about trying to extract oil from the Arctic Ocean: bowhead whales An adult bowhead whale and calf swim through sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. (Photo: Corey Accardo/NOAA) 1. The noise. Even if nothing goes wrong — which history suggests is unlikely — a lot can go wrong. "[T]here will be unavoidable impacts from each phase of oil development in the Arctic Ocean — seismic exploration, exploration drilling, production platforms, pipelines, terminals and tankers," writes conservation biologist Rick Steiner, a former marine researcher at the University of Alaska who now runs a sustainability consulting project called Oasis Earth. "The acoustic disturbance to marine mammals from offshore oil development is of particular concern, as underwater noise can affect communication, migration, feeding, mating and other important functions in whales, seals and walrus," he adds. "As well, noise can affect bird and fish migration, feeding and reproduction, and can displace populations from essential habitat areas." Chukchi Sea Discontinuous sea ice floats in the Chukchi Sea in September 2013. (Photo: Tom Cronin/USGS) 2. The remoteness. Remember how hard it was to wrangle the Gulf of Mexico's Deepwater Horizon oil spill five years ago? It took several months, even though it occurred just 40 miles off a heavily populated and industrialized U.S. coast. The response effort involved mobilizing an armada of vessels, crews and equipment, not to mention coordinating how and when it would all be used. Now imagine if the spill had occurred off Alaska instead of Louisiana. Even getting the necessary ships and gear to the spill site would be a herculean task. Shell has a legally mandated safety plan in case of a spill — including a local stock of tugboats, helicopters and cleanup equipment — but as the Deepwater Horizon illustrated, failsafes like blowout preventers can fail and pre-spill plans can fall woefully short. sea ice Melt ponds sit atop sea ice in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northern coast. (Photo: NASA) 3. The sea ice. Even when response crews do mobilize to clean up an Arctic Ocean oil spill, their options will be limited. As the World Wildlife Fund points out, "there is no proven effective method for containing and cleaning up an oil spill in icy water." Dispersants helped break up the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010, but they also proved dangerous in their own right, with a 2012 study suggesting they made the oil 52 times more toxic to wildlife. On top of its remote location, the Chukchi Sea is frequented by chunks of sea ice for most of the year. That can make navigation difficult, not to mention oil-spill cleanup. "A major spill in the Arctic would travel with currents, in and under sea ice during ice season," Steiner writes, "and it would be virtually impossible to contain or recover." Exxon Valdez Alaska's Prince William Sound is still recovering from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. (Photo: Chris Wilkins/AFP/Getty Images) 4. The slow ecological recovery. As bad as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill was, at least it occurred in a large, warm gulf populated by microbes that can eat oil. The Arctic Ocean, on the other hand, has low temperatures and limited sunlight, making an oil spill more likely to fester — as seen after the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. "A large spill would undoubtedly cause extensive acute mortality in plankton, fish, birds and marine mammals," according to Steiner. "[T]here would be significant chronic, sub-lethal injury to organisms — physiological damage, altered feeding behavior and reproduction, genetic injury, etc. — that would reduce the overall viability of populations. There could be a permanent reduction in certain populations, and for threatened or endangered species, a spill could tip them into extinction. With low temperatures and slow degradation rates, oil would persist in the Arctic environment for decades." natural gas flaring Gas flaring can produce particulate matter that's bad for Arctic ice as well as human health. (Photo: Ken Doerr/Flickr) 5. The emissions. In addition to 90 billion barrels of oil, the Arctic may hold as much as 1.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas — about 30 percent of the planet's undiscovered supply. Natural gas is harder to transport than oil, requiring either pipelines or facilities that convert it to liquefied natural gas (LNG), at which point it can be shipped by tankers. That kind of infrastructure is sparse in the Arctic, so offshore rigs might be more likely to burn off the extra natural gas on-site, a process known as flaring. That's better than letting the gas escape, since methane is a potent greenhouse gas, but flaring can produce other pollutants like black carbon, which causes snow and ice to melt more quickly by absorbing more heat. Flaring can also cause more direct problems, says Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, an environmental justice advisor for the Alaska Wilderness League in Barrow, Alaska. Ahtuangaruak began working in Barrow as a community health aide in 1986, when a boom in onshore oil drilling — and gas flaring — was associated with a spike in health problems. "One of the things we saw right away were the respiratory illnesses," she tells MNN. "On nights when there were many natural gas flares, I was only getting a couple hours of sleep because of all the patients coming into the clinic." Oil drilling also brought benefits like running water and better medical care, Ahtuangaruak says, but the influx of patients convinced her the negatives outweighed the positives. And on top of that, oil booms have a long association with social problems like crime, she notes. "Our national energy policy should not cost the health and safety of people who live where the oil and gas development is going to occur." Of course, any new oil or gas drilling also poses a much broader public-health problem: climate change. Every barrel of oil removed from the Arctic Ocean will presumably be burned, releasing carbon dioxide that will spend centuries trapping solar heat in the atmosphere. Burning the Arctic Ocean's oil could release an additional 15.8 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, which is equivalent to all U.S. transportation emissions over a nine-year period. It would raise global CO2 levels by 7.44 parts per million (ppm), nearly 10 percent of the global rise in atmospheric CO2 over the past 50 years. Earth's air already has more CO2 than ever before in human history — recently reaching 400 ppm for the first time since the Pliocene Epoch — and it's growing at an unprecedented pace. Not only would Arctic Ocean drilling release more CO2, but any new commitment to fossil fuels means that much less demand for renewable energy that doesn't contribute to climate change. "Society faces a fundamental choice with the Arctic," Steiner writes. "Let's hope we choose wisely." Related on MNN: Earth's oceans hit warmest temperatures ever seen Huge oil spill 'footprint' found on Gulf of Mexico floor Too hot to handle: 2014 was the hottest year on record The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information. PREVIOUS POST 50 whales may be a new (and very endangered) species Related Topics: Arctic, Climate Change, Ecology, Energy, Oceans, Offshore Drilling, Oil Spill Facebook Twitter g+ e-mail YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE What does your facial shape say about your personality? What does your facial shape say about your personality? 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SPONSORED SPONSORED QUICK LINKS MNN TOOLS CONNECT CHANNELS FOLLOW MNN FOOTER MENU About Us Advisory Board Editors' Blog Press Privacy Terms of Service Blogs Eco-glossary Infographics Lists Photos Videos Contact Us Newsletters RSS Social TreeHugger Mobile Login Earth Matters Health Lifestyle Green Tech Eco-Biz & Money Your Home Family Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tumblr Google+ StumbleUpon COPYRIGHT © 2015 MNN HOLDING COMPANY, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. SPONSORS the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies Pegasus Capital Advisors NAPA the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies (Family Activities) DunkinCoca-Cola Company UL Mercedes-Benz Aflac SC Johnson CSX Georgia-Pacific - Research and Innovations Georgia-Pacific - Green Workplace AT&T Southern Company   [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Fracking chemicals found in Pennsylvania drinking water supply
Michigan Radio
Reid Frazier

A study released by a team of Penn State scientists found evidence that groundwater near a shale gas well in Bradford County, Pennsylvania was tainted by chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing and drilling for natural gas. The study suggests the chemicals traveled through sideways cracks in the ground. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. One of the authors, Susan Brantley, distinguished professor of geosciences at Penn State, said the results were the first to show chemicals used in drilling migrating through rock formations. And they went a good distance—1 to 3 kilometers. "We really laid out all the data and showed that it did move through the rock at shallow and intermediate depths, and it moved a long way,” Brantley said.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
FBI Violated Internal Policy to Spy on Keystone Pipeline Protesters
Ring of Fire
The Guardian

Internal documents show that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) violated its own internal policies while spying on people protesting the Keystone XL pipeline, The Guardian reported. The FBI did not get approval before getting informants and opening files on protesters, the documents said. From The Guardian: Internal agency documents show for the first time how FBI agents have been closely monitoring anti-Keystone activists, in violation of guidelines designed to prevent the agency from becoming unduly involved in sensitive political issues. … The documents reveal that one FBI investigation, run from its Houston field office, amounted to “substantial non-compliance” of Department of Justice rules that govern how the agency should handle sensitive matters. One FBI memo, which set out the rationale for investigating campaigners in the Houston area, touted the economic advantages of the pipeline while labelling its opponents “environmental extremists”.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Resistance to Pipeline Bigger than Keystone Thwarts Enbridge in Wisconsin
Inside Climate News
David Hasemyer

Enbridge wants to triple the volume of oil it pumps through Dane County, which wants a $25 million safety net. Pipeline giant Enbridge, Inc., is in a standoff with a Wisconsin zoning committee over the company's plans to vastly increase the amount of tar sands oil pumped through one of its lines.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Old pipeline, new purpose: FERC scoping deadline nears
The Morehead News
Larry DeHart

Part three of series The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a notice April 17 stating it plans to prepare an assessment on the environmental impacts of the Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline repurposing project. That starts with a scoping process to be used in the agency’s decision-making process to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity. The study will look at the impacts that could occur as a result of the construction and operation of the repurposed pipeline to soils, land use, water and wetlands, vegetation and wildlife, air quality, and public safety. If approved, Tennessee Gas plans to disconnect and transfer the abandoned line and facilities to Utica Marcellus Texas Pipeline (UMTP) for the transportation of volatile and toxic natural gas liquids (NGL). The NGL products that will travel through this line are said to be 150 times more explosive than the natural gas currently flowing through the pipeline.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
New rules to protect threatened bats could affect natural gas site construction
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Braden Kelner

Little bats that are being decimated by a big disease in 28 states are now protected by the Endangered Species Act as a threatened species, a decision that could impact oil and gas operations. The oil and gas industry has decried the possible effects that protecting the northern long-eared bat, effective May 4, under the act could have on their operations, while pointing out that other industries are not facing the same restrictions. The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) has stated that because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enacted the listing in response to a fungal disease called white-nose syndrome, and not habitat change, drillers should not be subjected to increased restrictions for new projects.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
As gas boom cuts into forests, scientists study how to put it back together
State Impact PA
Marie Cusick

In the seven years since Marcellus Shale gas companies began working in Pennsylvania’s state forests, none of the nearly 1,700 affected acres has been fully restored and put back the way it was before drilling began. Now state foresters and Penn State scientists are trying to plan for the future and help gas companies figure out the best ways to clean up after themselves. Kelly Sitch spends a lot of time in the woods, keeping an eye on how gas development is changing the landscape. As a botanist with the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, his latest project is studying a one-acre plot of land in the Tiadaghton State Forest. “We are building a mock wellpad to test different soil and ecological restoration techniques,” he says. ”We want to go from a wellpad that is non-forest, to a reclaimed site, where we’re restoring ecosystem function.”  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Fracking battle wages on
Duranbo Herald
Peter Marcus

DENVER – Colorado lawmakers only made modest progress this year addressing concerns surrounding hydraulic fracturing. Members of Coloradans Against Fracking had a little fun last week outside the Capitol, staging a performance in which two figures – one representing the Colorado Legislature, the other Hickenlooper – wore dunce caps and were given failing grades for a lack of progress on curbing hydraulic fracturing in Colorado. Enlarge photo Peter Marcus/Durango Herald Members of Coloradans Against Fracking had a little fun last week outside the Capitol, staging a performance in which two figures – one representing the Colorado Legislature, the other Hickenlooper – wore dunce caps and were given failing grades for a lack of progress on curbing hydraulic fracturing in Colorado. The Legislature set aside money to implement recommendations from a task force that met earlier this year. The task force was convened by Gov. John Hickenlooper as part of a deal to end a more sweeping 2014 ballot effort that would have cracked down on the oil and gas industry. Those nine task force recommendations included addressing local and urban planning as it relates to the industry; local input on wells; and certain health, environment and nuisance issues.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Sioux County landowners appeal Oil and Gas Commission’s decision on injection well
Star Herald
Bart Schaneman

Sioux County landowners with land adjacent to a proposed fracking wastewater well have filed an appeal seeking to overturn a Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (NOGCC) decision last month. The owners of the Hughson ranch and Jane Grove filed their appeal with the Cheyenne County District Court on May 6. The NOGCC voted 2-0 to approve an injection well at a hearing in Sidney on April 22. The converted oil well would be operated by Terex Energy Corporation out of Broomfield, Colorado, and would be open to injecting out-of-state wastewater generated by the process of hydraulic fracturing oil extraction, also known as fracking. The “interested parties,” mainly nearby landowners, had 30 days to file an appeal. After the April 22 hearing, Jenny Hughson said the landowners were waiting to see what would happen with the Open Meetings complaint filed by Nebraska environmental groups Bold Nebraska and the Sierra Club. When their complaint was denied by the special prosecutor appointed by the Nebraska Attorney General’s office, the landowners went ahead with the appeal. “We had to go ahead and do something,” Hughson said.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Illinois community wages debate over fracking center
Bellevill News Democrat
AP

small city in northern Illinois is at odds over a proposed transportation center to ship and store a central ingredient of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Earlville City Council approved an international oil and gas company's plan to build a multimillion-dollar facility for silica sand. The Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/1EAcC1M ) reports some community leaders, like the school district superintendent, support it because of potential economic benefits. But the plan also has drawn plenty of opposition from residents who worry it would present a public health threat to the community. Mayor Mike Hall has assured residents that the center would be safe. The owner of plastics molding business across from the facility's proposed site has filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the plan. A court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.   [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
3 Climate Leadership Openings Corporate America Can’t Afford to Miss
Environmental Leader


Too much ink has been spilled on the anti-climate furor of the Koch brothers. If we lose on climate, it won’t be because of the Koch brothers or those like them. It will be because too many potential climate champions from the business community stood quietly on the sidelines at a time when America has attractive policy opportunities to drive down economy-endangering greenhouse gas emissions. Corporate executives have the savvy to understand the climate change problem and opportunity. They have the incentive to tackle it through smart policy, and the clout to influence politicians and policy makers. Perhaps most importantly, they can inspire each other.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Ohio waterless fracking well's output lagging
Columbus Business First
Tom Knox

The waterless fracking well tested in eastern Ohio has produced disappointing results, dealing a blow to the innovative technology that could help use less water in oil and gas operations and open up Ohio’s oil window. The $22 million test well, drilled by EV Energy Partners LP (NASDAQ:EVEP) and eight other companies in Tuscarawas County, has produced for 90 days. The well, called Nettles, produced half the amount of oil as a nearby well fracked using a lot of water, EV Chairman John Walker told analysts Monday in an earnings call. "We clearly have work left to do in the volatile oil window to determine its economic potential," he said, "but are separately making progress working toward a drilling joint venture to provide the capital for drilling a portion of our operated Utica wet gas window acreage."  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Gov. Brown on Climate Change: “We’re dealing with it and it’s damn serious.” Then Why Haven’t You Put Any Restrictions on Big Oil and Big Ag?
San Diego Free Press
John Lawrence

2 Gov. Brown on Climate Change: “We’re dealing with it and it’s damn serious.” MAY 12, 2015 BY JOHN LAWRENCE 1 COMMENT Then Why Haven’t You Put Any Restrictions on Big Oil and Big Ag? California Governor Jerry Brown photo Photo by USACE HQ By John Lawrence Governor Jerry Brown is leading the nation and perhaps even the world in his efforts to do something about climate change and global warming which is causing epic drought conditions in California. He has mandated that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to 40 percent below 1990 levels over the next 15 years. Brown called this the most aggressive benchmark enacted by a government in North America. All well and good. In addition to getting more electric cars on the road and making power plants get their energy from renewable sources, Brown has also addressed California’s water crisis. With the Sierra snowpack virtually nonexistent, California is having to get creative about where it gets its water supply. “With this order, California sets a very high bar for itself and other states and nations, but it’s one that must be reached — for this generation and generations to come,” Mr. Brown said. These efforts come as this state has been struggling with a drought that Mr. Brown has said is, at least in part, exacerbated by global warming. With Green House Gasses (GHGs) reaching the benchmark level of 400 ppm for the entire month of March 2015 for the first time in world history, actions to reduce those levels to a sustainable 350 ppm have been lagging behind. Meanwhile, severe weather such as the recent extreme floods in Chile and Australia, daily tornado watches in the US and the early advent of hurricane season are pounding into our consciousness the extreme seriousness of the global warming threat. But the Governor, formerly known as Governor Moonbeam, has done little to refrain Big Oil and Big Ag from using most of the water in the state. The large population of California only uses 10% of the total water; agriculture uses 41%, with the rest diverted for environmental causes and captured by the state’s dams, reservoirs, aqueducts, and other infrastructure. Agriculture accounts for roughly 80 percent of human-related water consumption in the state. Much of that comes from large-scale farms in California pumping billions of gallons a year of fresh groundwater to keep producing thirsty crops and animal products for supermarkets across the country—a “case study in the unwise use of natural resources,” the New York Times wrote last month.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
How should sources of air pollution be evaluated?
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Laura Legere

A Pennsylvania judge this week will consider whether state environmental regulators were right to add together the air emissions from a well pad and those from a compressor station producing gas from a state forest in Lycoming County, and then evaluate them as a single pollution source. Two companies — National Fuel Gas Midstream Corp. and Seneca Resources Corp. — that share a common corporate parent are challenging the Department of Environmental Protection’s decision to add up the emissions, even though the combined facilities are not large enough emitters to be considered a “major” air pollution source and therefore trigger more regulatory scrutiny and pollution controls. The appeal is one of at least six that the companies — both wholly owned subsidiaries of Williamsville, N.Y.-based National Fuel Gas Co. — have filed in recent years to argue that emissions from separate facilities should be evaluated independently. All of the aggregated emissions were below major source triggering thresholds, but the companies said in legal filings that the DEP’s “incorrect” conclusions about which facilities should be combined could carry forward to other DEP actions at other gas well and compressor sites, where the consequences might be greater.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Mixed views heard on Algonquin Pipeline at FERC session
Mid Hudson News


YORKTOWN – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) held a scoping session for the residents of Yorktown and the surrounding area Monday night regarding the proposed project for the replacement of the Algonquin Pipeline and its environmental review. Attendees at the session conveyed mixed reviews about the Atlantic Bridge project proposed by the Algonquin Gas Transmission. Maggie Suitor, environmental project manager for FERC, said the proposal would traverse three states. “The current project includes 18.1 miles of pipeline in five pieces throughout New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts,” said Suitor. “It also includes the addition of compression at two existing compressor stations in Connecticut and one new compressor station in Massachusetts.” Those in opposition to the project maintain it will have crucial environmental impact to the surrounding areas and pose danger of pipeline rupture to those who live in the surrounding communities. However, it seems the main concern in respect to the validity of the project is its assumed association with other pipeline projects in New York and the Northeast.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Is Elizabeth Warren Really a Leader on Global Warming?
Mother Jones
Ben Adler

It has been the dream of the Democratic Party's left wing since her rousing speech to the 2012 Democratic National Convention: Elizabeth Warren for president. Warren has repeatedly said she isn't running, but many progressive activists, including some veterans of President Obama's campaigns, have coalesced around Ready for Warren, a political action committee that hopes to persuade her to run and lay the groundwork for her campaign. They truly believe she could beat front-runner Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. Other liberals, watching from the sidelines, wonder if she could at least force Clinton to move leftward to head off her challenge.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
US taxpayers subsidising world's biggest fossil fuel companies
The Guardian
Damian Carrington and Harry Davies

The world’s biggest and most profitable fossil fuel companies are receiving huge and rising subsidies from US taxpayers, a practice slammed as absurd by a presidential candidate given the threat of climate change. A Guardian investigation of three specific projects, run by Shell, ExxonMobil and Marathon Petroleum, has revealed that the subsidises were all granted by politicians who received significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry. The Guardian has found that: A proposed Shell petrochemical refinery in Pennsylvania is in line for $1.6bn (£1bn) in state subsidy, according to a deal struck in 2012 when the company made an annual profit of $26.8bn.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
CLIMATE:Opponents of NEPA climate guidance hoping for Republican White House
E & E Newswire
Hannah Northey

Manufacturers and lobbyists yesterday said it may take a Republican in the White House to reverse draft federal climate guidance that they believe will stall new gas pipelines and export terminals. Republicans are unlikely to muster enough support to block the Obama administration's new plan for how federal agencies should integrate climate change into their National Environmental Policy Act reviews, lobbyist and former GOP aide Mike Catanzaro told attendees at an event on Capitol Hill. But a Republican administration come 2017 could get the job done, said Catanzaro, a partner with lobbying firm CGCN Group who previously worked for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.). "I would think the Republicans would come in and one of the first things on their agenda at [the White House Council on Environmental Quality], I would think, would be to toss this out," said Catanzaro, who also held top environmental jobs in the George W. Bush administration. Catanzaro said a Republican president would need to build the case for why the guidance should be rescinded -- a move he supports. Catanzaro made the comments ahead of a House Natural Resources Committee hearing tomorrow to examine the revised draft guidance the CEQ issued in December after years of delay. The CEQ guidance seeks to streamline how agencies address the causes and effects of climate change when permitting projects (E&E Daily, May 11).  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
New Senate leader [Flanagan] questions climate change
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—Newly elected Senate majority leader John Flanagan on Tuesday questioned whether climate change caused by human activity was occurring, because of the cold New York winter. In a radio interview on "The Capitol Pressroom," Flanagan, a Republican from Long Island, said, “Based on the winter we just had, you say to yourself, are we really going through climate change." Pressed by the host on the scientific consensus around climate change, Flanagan said he needed to talk with his staff before commenting further, admitting he wasn't familiar with the statistics.  [Full Story]

May 12, 2015
Chevron Making a Killing with Water in California—But at What Cost?
WhoWhatWhy
Klaus Marre

The drought in California is bad news for residents, farmers and authorities—but not for Chevron, which is making a killing by selling treated oil-field wastewater to the state. It wouldn’t be the first time Chevron had engaged in shady environmental activity that resulted in a killing, both financially for Chevron and literally, in that case, for some Ecuadorian citizens. The Chevron water is being sold for irrigation purposes, not personal consumption. That’s because it would likely not be safe to drink the millions of gallons that the oil giant recycles daily. But irrigation water is, of course, intimately involved with agricultural products, Which raises the question: can it be dangerous to consumers, even if it’s not consumed directly? Toxic Chemicals and Oil Found in Chevron Water  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
American Eagle Energy Becomes Fourth U.S. Bankruptcy Of The Oil Bust
Forbes
Nathan Vardi

American Eagle Energy became the fourth U.S. energy producer to file for bankruptcy protection in the aftermath of the big drop in crude oil prices. The Colorado-based company that buys and develops oil wells in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota and Montana filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday in Denver’s bankruptcy court. American Eagle Energy, which recently missed an interest payment on its debt, listed assets of $222 million and liabilities of $215 million.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Fracking The Reason For Texas' Earthquakes? Report Rules Out ‘Natural’ Causes For More Tremors
International Business Times
Phillip Ross

The ground under North Texas didn’t always shake, but today the tremors never really stop. Researchers have pinned the recent rise in small earthquakes around the region on fracking, the process of injecting water into the ground at high pressure to break apart the rock and release oil and natural gas. All of the earthquakes in the last seven years have occurred above the Barnett Shale, a geological formation that has become a major fracking site for petroleum companies. It’s “most likely” that many of the quakes were manmade, according to a recent report by researchers from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Drilling into legal issues surrounding fracking
Albuquerque Journal
Marshall Martin

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” continues to be legal news, despite the collapse in world oil pricing. Fracking is important to New Mexico since it is the primary production method in the southeastern and northwestern New Mexico oil fields and oil revenue is a key source of state government financing.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Altering impact fee structure seen burdening Pennsylvania counties with extra costs
Pennsylvania Business Daily


Impact fees from natural gas drilling are critical for Pennsylvania local governments, and preserving the current floating structure of those fees is needed in the event that additional production places a greater burden on infrastructure and local services, the head of a county association said.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Nuclear, Fracking Decisions on Tap for New U.K. Energy Secretary Industry and environmental groups praise Amber Rudd ahead of decisions that other nations will be watching
Wall Street Journal
Selina Williams

LONDON—The U.K.’s new energy secretary, Amber Rudd, drew praise from both the oil-and-gas industry and green lobby groups ahead of decisions on the nuclear industry and hydraulic fracturing that other nations will be watching.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Fracking science: Why oil and gas extraction is causing earthquakes
Raw Story


If you’ve been following the news lately, chances are you’ve heard about – or even felt – earthquakes in the central United States. During the past five years, there has been an unprecedented increase in earthquakes in the North American mid-continent, a region previously considered one of the most stable on Earth. According to a recent report by the Oklahoma Geological Survey, Oklahoma alone has seen seismicity rates increase 600 times compared to historic levels.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Stokes County town could be first fracking site in region
Bakken
Taft Wireback

WALNUT COVE – These days, the Piedmont Triad’s debate over hydraulic fracturing centers on a chunk of ground just a few inches wide at the edge of this small Stokes County town. State officials plan to drill a “core hole” that size deep into the rock formation under a piece of land the town owns along a rutted, dirt road on the perimeter of a suburban neighborhood.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
House lawmakers take another swipe at Denton fracking ban
Trail Blazers Blog
Marissa Barnettand & James Osborne

AUSTIN—House lawmakers took another swipe at the Denton fracking ban Monday by approving legislation to bar cities from holding an election on citizen petitions that would restrict a person’s use of their mineral or other private property rights for economic gain.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
UK Conservative Government Vows To Support Shale Gas, Fracking
London South East


LONDON (Alliance News) - The Conservative party has vowed to support the shale gas and fracking industry in the UK, especially in the north of England in the wake of the party's election victory last Friday, despite public and political opposition as the party tries to improve the UK energy industry.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Local authorities have a say on fracking, according to Virginia’s attorney general
Shale Energy Insider
James Perkins

Local authorities are able to restrict or ban fracking in Virginia, according to the state’s attorney general, who expressed this view in an advisory opinion. Attorney General Mark Herring issued the notice after a request from Senator Richard Stuart, whose district has a rich shale gas basin.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
The Chemistry of Waters that Follow from Fracking: A Case Study
USGS
Press Release

In a study of 13 hydraulically fractured shale gas wells in north-central Pennsylvania, USGS researchers found that the microbiology and organic chemistry of the produced waters varied widely from well to well.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Truck driver sues after he’s burned by secret chemicals in drilling company’s ‘harmless’ fracking water
Raw Story
David Edwards

West Virginia truck driver has filed a lawsuit against Range Resources after he was burned by water used for fracking that the company told him was harmless. According to a complaint obtained by the Observer-Reporter, Russell Evans had stopped at a “sloppy bond” used to store reused frack water when he noticed that his truck was leaking in May of 2013.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Denton frack ban spawns another bill that limits city petitions
Dallas Businss Journal
Nicholas Sakelaris

Another bill that quashes city frack bans passed the Texas House of Representatives and is heading to the Texas Senate. House Bill 2595 would prohibit cities from validating petitions that would restrict the right of any person to use or access private property for economic gain.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
EARTHQUAKES: Hamm says he wasn't pressuring Okla. scientist, but seeking information
EE News
Mike Soraghan

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Continental Resources Inc. founder, chairman and CEO Harold Hamm says he wasn't trying to bully Oklahoma's state seismologist when he sought a meeting in 2013, but simply trying to learn what proof the scientist had for saying hydraulic fracturing was causing earthquakes.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Recovery notwithstanding, expect low oil prices to be the new normal
The Globe and Mail
Bessma Momani

International oil prices have reached a six-month high after a devastating plunge, but Canada’s energy sector is still bracing for what the newly elected NDP government in Alberta might bring. The TSX dropped as Canada’s energy titans took a hit after the election, but global money managers, hedge funds and markets are still generally happy to reap a bit of good news about international oil prices. Canadian markets might be confused, but low oil prices will be the new normal – and it’s not because of politics.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Journal Says Energy Company Paid Syracuse Professor for Fracking Study
Chronicle
Andy Thomason

A Syracuse University professor was paid by Chesapeake Energy, an oil-and-natural-gas company, to produce a study that reflected favorably on the controversial petroleum-extraction process known as fracking, The Post-Standard reports.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Rudd in U.K. Energy Post Signals No Backtrack on Climate
Bloomberg
Alex Morales & Louise Downing

Amber Rudd was named to serve as the U.K. Cabinet minister in charge of energy and climate, easing concerns that the Conservative government would quickly backtrack on pledges to reduce fossil-fuel pollution.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Climate Denial Takes a Toll on Scientists—and Science
Inside Climate News
Katherine Bagley

When scientists spend time refuting denialist theories, they add credence to their antagonists' campaigns, study says. Climate denial campaigns have helped slow the public's acceptance of man-made climate change and delay political action for years, but a new study published last Thursday finds these contrarian arguments have also had an impact on climate scientists.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Drillers Answer Low Oil Prices With Cost-Saving Innovations
The New York Times
CLIFFORD KRAUSS

KENEDY, Tex. — These are lean days in the South Texas oil patch, with once-bustling roads and hotels now empty as the price of oil has plunged and rig after rig now sitting idle. Still, production has barely declined, a testament to the rapid gains that oil producers are making in coaxing ever more oil from older wells and the few new wells they are still drilling — and doing both while investing far less money. The Norwegian oil giant Statoil, for instance, is experimenting here in the Eagle Ford shale field with a host of new drilling tools and techniques. It is trying out different grades of sand to blast along with water and chemicals to better loosen the hard rock deep underground and increase a well’s production, and varying the depths of wells to squeeze out even more oil. It is using new well chokes that technicians can operate remotely from a computer or even a smartphone to quickly adjust flows to maximize production without overtaxing pipelines.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Week ahead: Senate panel launches energy reform effort
The Hill
Timothy Cama

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will formally kick off its efforts toward comprehensive energy policy reform next week, while the House Energy and Commerce Committee continues its own reform efforts. The Senate Energy panel will host a hearing Thursday on 17 bills that Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said this week could make up a comprehensive package. The bills range in subject from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to hydropower, electric reliability and methane production.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Iowa landowner claims he was offered prostitute by oil pipeline company rep
KCRG.com
Erin Murphy, Gazette-Lee Des Moines Bureau

DES MOINES — A southeast Iowa landowner claims he was offered the services of a prostitute in exchange for allowing a crude oil pipeline to go through his property. Hughie Tweedy of rural Montrose told reporters Monday that a regional representative of Dakota Access LLC on three separate occasions offered “the sexual services of a woman” if Tweedy would allow the pipeline to run through his property. A Dakota Access representative said the company is looking into the allegations. Dakota Access, a subsidiary of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, wants to construct a 1,134-mile pipeline to carry crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. The $3.8 billion pipeline would span 343 miles and 18 counties in Iowa, from the state’s northwest corner to the southeast corner. Tweedy said he does not want the pipeline to run through his property, and as a self-described Libertarian, he does not think the government should force him to acquiesce via eminent domain. Tweedy said he has expressed his position multiple times to Dakota Access officials. Tweedy said the company’s regional representative offered “a $1,200 teenage prostitute” in exchange for his cooperation.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Pipeline Should Be Scrapped After Indian Point Incident, Puglisi Says
Cortlandt Daily Voice


WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi said the Spectra Energy gas pipeline should not proceed as planned since it will pass so close to Indian Point Energy Center, the power plant where a transformer fire occurred Saturday. "The incident is another reason why the recently approved Spectra natural gas line by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should not be allowed to go forward," Puglisi said in a statement, "especially since it's been rerouted only a few hundred feet from Indian Point and these nuclear plants. "What if this explosion and fire had been in close proximity to this new expanded gas line. It could have been a disaster."  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Bill would exempt pipeline companies from FOIA requests
Times Herald
Beth LeBlanc

A bill introduced last week in the state House would make it harder for residents in St. Clair County to obtain information on pipelines running under their communities. House Bill 4540 would exempt information about existing and proposed energy infrastructure from disclosure under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. The bill would exempt information that "could be useful to a person in planning an attack."  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Cyclists dazzled by pipeline route's beauty
News Leader
Patricia Borns

WEST AUGUSTA— Kendall King is the first to admit she’s not necessarily the outdoors type. “Most of us are activists, not athletes," said King, a University of Virginia freshman who set out from Braley Pond Road on Saturday to bike the Atlantic Coast Pipeline route through Virginia with other members of the state’s Student Environmental Coalition. “It was an incredible day, half sunny, half cloudy. Everywhere we turned we had a new scenic outlook,” King said. Coming from mostly urban schools, some of the cyclists on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Resistance Ride had never seen land so pristine. Pitching camp next to Jack and Mary Wilson’s home alongside George Washington National Forest, they got their first lesson from the couple on human impact on plant and animal life. The Wilsons, who hope to open a refurbished White’s Wayside this summer, showed them American Chestnut saplings that will never make it to maturity because of a blight that befell the trees 100 years ago. They spoke of their declining bat population and white-tailed deer, both plagued by diseases that spread as species migrate to avoid human disruptions like logging trucks — or pipeline construction.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
U.S. Will Allow Drilling for Oil in Arctic Ocean
NY Times
Coral Davenport

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Monday gave conditional approval to allow Shell to start drilling for oil off the Alaskan coast this summer, a major victory for the petroleum industry and a devastating blow to environmentalists. The decision adds a complex new chapter to the legacy of President Obama, who has pursued the most ambitious environmental agenda of any president but has sought to balance those moves by opening up untouched federal waters to new oil and gas drilling. Shell has sought for years to drill in the icy waters of the Chukchi Sea.   [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Rising tide of opposition to pipelines, other natural gas projects
LancasterOnline
Gil Smart

It's not just Lancaster County where new infrastructure to transport natural gas is generating opposition - even protests. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, has moved its regular monthly meeting up a week due to anticipated protests outside FERC headquarters in Washington D.C., NGI's Daily Gas Price Index reports. The commission will now meet on May 14 instead of the originally scheduled date of May 21 in an attempt to sidestep protests being organized by a group called Beyond Extreme Energy, or BXE, which staged a week-long series of protests outside FERC headquarters last year.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Transformer Fire at Indian Point Raises More Questions About AIM Pipeline Siting By Assemblywoman SANDY GALEF
Yonkers Tribune


ALBANY, NY – May 11, 2015 — This Saturday’s transformer fire at the Indian Point Energy Center is a reminder that we must be extremely vigilant with safety protections and oversight at this facility. Over the past few months, I have actively opposed the siting of the 42? high pressure AIM gas pipeline near the nuclear power plant. I am well aware that there are numerous safety protections in place at Indian Point, with back-ups upon back-ups. In fact, transformer fires do happen and the plant did take appropriate actions to deal with this one.  [Full Story]

May 11, 2015
Oil waste doesn’t belong in California’s water supply
San Francisco Chronicle
Editorial

It’s time to stop temporizing about a bureaucratic foul-up that threatens underwater water supplies across a swath of California’s oil fields. Two environmental groups are going to court, demanding Sacramento ban the practice of pumping drilling wastes into the earth where the fluids can taint drinking supplies. In a drought-damaged state, the situation is mind boggling. Due to a mix up, federal and state authorities have allowed oil firms to inject left over drilling run-off back underground to get rid of it. When the problem was finally noticed, the state moved to shut down 23 injection wells but allowed hundreds more to operate for another two years while health studies are done.  [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
Start-up company eyes West Texas opportunities
MRT.com
Mella McEwen

New companies continue to be drawn to Permian Basin oil fields, with founders saying low oil prices open up opportunities to snap up assets and develop them at lower costs. Luxe Energy LLC is one such start-up, having closed on a $500 million private equity financing commitment with Natural Gas Partners. The company is now looking for opportunities in West Texas.   [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
Widely-Used Tool Can Lowball Methane Pollution Rates, Scientists Report, With Huge Implications for Climate Policy
DeSmogBlog
Sharon Kelly

An EPA-approved methane sampler widely used to measure gas leaks from oil and gas operations nationwide can dramatically under-report how much methane is leaking into the atmosphere, a team of researchers reported in a peer-reviewed paper published in March. The researchers, one of whom first designed the underlying technology used by the sampler, warn that results from improperly calibrated machines could severely understate the amount of methane leaking from the country’s oil and gas wells, pipelines, and other infrastructure. “It could be a big deal,” study co-author Amy Townsend-Small, a geology professor at the University of Cincinnati, told Inside Climate News, adding that it’s not yet clear how often the machine returned bad results, in part because figuring out whether there’s an error would have required using a different kind of device to independently test gas concentrations at the time levels were originally recorded.  [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
Groups to converge on Capitol seeking action on earthquakes
Tulsa World
Barbara Hoberock

OKLAHOMA CITY – A group of organizations is calling on Gov. Mary Fallin to sign a proposed executive order for a moratorium on injection wells in 16 counties that have seen an increase in earthquakes.   [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
Stokes County town could be first fracking site in region
News & Record
Taft Wireback

WALNUT COVE — These days, the Piedmont Triad’s debate over hydraulic fracturing centers on a chunk of ground just a few inches wide at the edge of this small Stokes County town. State officials plan to drill a “core hole” that size deep into the rock formation under a piece of land the town owns along a rutted, dirt road on the perimeter of a suburban neighborhood.  [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
Einhorn's Fracking Concerns Are Nothing New, But They Matter For Investors (Part 1)
Seeking Alpha
Opinion

As most investors are aware, David Einhorn recently presented his concerns about the poor economics of U.S. shale production at the Sohn conference. ...While I think Einhorn should be commended for going against the grain and highlighting the problems in the industry, there really was nothing groundbreaking in his presentation.  [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
Researchers: Fracking Responsible for 4.0-Magnitude Texas Earthquake
Sputnik News


A 4.0-magnitude earthquake rocked Northern Texas on Thursday as one of the most powerful earthquakes to strike the region since November 2013. Now, some scientists are speculating whether fracking, the controversial oil-drilling method, is responsible for this seismic activity.   [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
Tory victory a huge blow to UK green energy industry, campaigners warn
Independent
Tom Bawden

The Conservative election victory has dealt a severe blow to Britain’s green energy industry, campaigners have warned, as the new majority government prepares to scrap crucial subsidies for renewable power; champion the development of polluting shale gas; and make significant cuts to spending.   [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
OUR VIEW: RETREAT ON HIKE OF FRACKING TAX NOT IN INTEREST OF OHIO CITIZENS
Hudson Hub Times
Opinion

An Ohio House vote that eliminates Gov. John Kasich's proposal to raise the state's tax on oil and gas generated by fracking is said to be a response to an industry lately depressed by the falling price of both. And yet, as the governor has often pointed out, Ohio's current 1 percent tax on oil and 3 cent tax per thousand cubit fee of natural gas is one of the lowest in the nation. Even with his proposed tax increases, it would remain one of the lowest.   [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
In Pennsylvania, Fracking Is Most Likely To Occur In Poor Communities
UK Progressive


Whether the industry is responsible or not, new research makes it clear: If you see a fracking site in Pennsylvania, chances are it’s in a poor, rural community. In a study published in the June issue of Applied Geography, Clark University scientists showed that when it comes to potential pollution exposure from fracking, “the poor are the most affected population group.”   [Full Story]

May 10, 2015
Judge orders Greenpeace to stay away from drill ships
Economic Times


ANCHORAGE (ALASKA): A federal judge has ordered Greenpeace protesters to stay away from Royal Dutch Shell PLC ships. US District Court Judge Sharon Gleason also prohibited Greenpeace yesterday from flying unmanned vehicles over the offshore Arctic area where Shell plans to drill.   [Full Story]

May 9, 2015
Fracking’s impact on air quality in Carroll County? More studies needed
Times Reporter
Jon Baker

WHY IT MATTERS: More than 1,800 horizontal natural gas wells have been permitted in Ohio since 2006, but until the University of Cincinnati and Oregon State University conducted a study in Carroll County in 2014, no studies had been done to determine the impact that natural gas drilling has on air quality.  [Full Story]

May 9, 2015
U.S states move to quash local limits on drilling
Denton Record-Chronicle
Emily Schmall & Will Weissert

MANSFIELD — Lawmakers in Texas and energy-producing states across the nation are rushing to stop local communities from imposing limits on oil and gas drilling despite growing public concern about the health and environmental toll of such activities in urban areas.   [Full Story]

May 9, 2015
Va. attorney general: Localities have say over fracking
News Leader
Associated Press

RICHMOND – Localities can prohibit or regulate a drilling process called hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas, Virginia’s attorney general wrote in an advisory opinion. Attorney General Mark R. Herring issued the nonbinding opinion at the request of Sen. Richard H. Stuart, whose 28th District includes the natural gas rich Taylorsville Basin.  [Full Story]

May 9, 2015
Historic Earthquakes Spur Action Over Fracking
CBS DFW


FORTH WORTH (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Thursday’s 4.0 magnitude quake near Johnson County has reinvigorated the fracking debate; the Texas Railroad Commission is requiring operators of five disposal wells to perform a series of tests.  [Full Story]

May 9, 2015
What's causing Texas earthquakes? Fracking 'most likely,' report says
CNN
Chris Lett and Jason Morris

Irving, Texas (CNN)Jim and Gail Wells have lived in the upscale Las Colinas area of Irving, Texas, for 14 years. Nestled between Dallas and Fort Worth, they love their quaint neighborhood for its custom homes amid rolling hills and large trees. One of the neighborhood's newer features is a spate of seismic activity. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Dallas area has suffered almost 40 small earthquakes (magnitude 2.0 or higher) since the beginning of this year, the latest a magnitude-2.7 quake near Farmers Branch on Saturday. Many of the epicenters were recorded in Farmers Branch and Irving, with a couple to the south in Venus.  [Full Story]

May 8, 2015
More disposal wells shut down for testing after 4.0 earthquake near Mansfield
Dallas Business Journal
Nicholas Sakelaris

Five disposal wells have been shut down for testing after a 4.0 magnitude earthquake rocked the Venus area south of Mansfield Thursday evening. The Texas Railroad Commission wants to look at the pressures withinrock formations for all wells in a 100-mile radius of the quake's epicenter. The goal is to determine whether there's a link between the disposal wells, used to inject waste water from oil and gas wells, and increased seismic activity in the area.  [Full Story]

May 8, 2015
DEP receives tests from Range impoundments
Observer-Reporter
Emily Petsko

Range Resources will continue to monitor the water quality surrounding several of its defunct impoundments in Washington County, but the company wants to “discontinue” its tests for substances typically associated with fracking fluids, including benzene, toluene, methanol and glycols. Those so-called constituents “have never been detected or have been detected at such low levels that they do not constitute a concern,” according to a report submitted on behalf of Range to the state Department of Environmental Protection. If the DEP agrees, it could bring an end to a long and costly ordeal for the natural gas drilling company.  [Full Story]

May 8, 2015
UPDATE: Hundreds met in Waynesboro about Palmetto Pipeline
WRDW Atlanta


WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW)- People are wanting answers about a controversial pipeline that could run through our area. Despite major push back, that possibility is still moving forward. Last night's meeting in Waynesboro was one of the most important. The meeting had hundreds of people for and against it, and just wanted answers. The pipeline will run up from Jacksonville to Belton, South Carolina going through six of our local counties: Screven, Burke, Richmond, Aiken, Edgefield, and McCormick counties. How Kinder Morgan will be getting that land is really the big issue.  [Full Story]

May 8, 2015
In reversal, Virginia AG says localities may ban fracking
Daily Kos


irginia Attorney General Mark Herring issued an official advisory opinion on May 5 holding that Virginia localities have the right to prohibit hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) as part of their power to regulate land use within their boundaries. The letter reverses a two-year-old opinion by former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Herring’s opinion cites §15.2-2280 of the Virginia Code, which grants broad zoning powers to localities. These include the power to “regulate, restrict, permit, prohibit, and determine” land uses, such as “the excavation or mining of soil or other natural resources.” Thus, writes Herring, “I conclude that the General Assembly has authorized localities to pass zoning ordinances prohibiting fracking. The plain language of the stature also authorizes localities to regulate fracking in instances where it is permitted.”   [Full Story]

May 8, 2015
Scientific journal: SU prof paid by Chesapeake for pro-fracking study
Syracuse Post-Standard
Glenn Coin

Syracuse, N.Y. -- A leading scientific journal has run a lengthy correction clarifying that a Syracuse University professor and his co-authors were paid by the gas industry on a recent study. Environmental Science & Technology says that SU prof Donald Siegel was paid by Chesapeake Energy for his work, and at least one of his co-authors worked for Chesapeake during the study period. The original article, published online last month, simply said "the authors declare no competing financial interest."  [Full Story]

May 8, 2015
Gas pipeline critics warn of health hazards
Times Herald Record


Three years ago, federal regulators declared that a $43 million natural-gas compressor station proposed for Minisink wouldn't have a significant impact on humans. The compressor station was built a year and a half ago. Now Pramilla Malick, a weekend resident of Minisink and one of hundreds who opposed the plan, says their fears are being realized. In March 2012, a 78-page report prepared by the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) found the project "with appropriate mitigation, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment." Malick, who at the time called FERC's assessment "completely inadequate," says her experiences since have reinforced that judgment.   [Full Story]

May 8, 2015
Journal Corrects Fracking Study Over Undisclosed Industry Funding
InsideClimate News
Neela Banerjee

An influential science journal has issued a correction to a paper on fracking and water safety, after revelations that the authors did not disclose their financial ties to energy giant Chesapeake Energy. The correction was prompted by an article in InsideClimate News in April. The paper, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, concluded that drinking water wells near natural gas sites are not at greater risk of methane contamination than those farther way. It was based on more than 11,000 water samples from Pennsylvania fracking country. Citing its breadth, the authors said the paper challenges smaller studies that link gas drilling to methane pollution.  [Full Story]

May 8, 2015
Dimock, PA Lawsuit Trial-Bound as Study Links Fracking to Water Contamination in Neighboring County
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

A recent peer-reviewed study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has confirmed what many fracking critics have argued for years: hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas can contaminate groundwater. The study's release comes as a major class action lawsuit filed in the District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in 2009 winds its way to a jury trial later this year. The lawsuit over fracking groundwater contamination pits plaintiffs based in Dimock, PA against Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation. For the study, researchers examined groundwater contamination incidents at three homes in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale basin in Bradford County. As The New York Times explained, the water samples showed “traces of a compound commonly found in Marcellus Shale drilling fluids.”  [Full Story]

May 8, 2015
Planned protests change FERC meeting schedule
Argus Media


Washington, 8 May (Argus) — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has decided to hold its next open meeting a week early because of safety concerns related to protests that environmental activists plan for later this month. Advocacy group Beyond Extreme Energy has been planning for months to hold protests at FERC's headquarters in Washington, DC, that would begin on 21 May, the scheduled date for the panel's next open meeting. The group expected 500 or more protesters will come to the week-long protests, which are focused on the environmental impact of FERC's infrastructure licensing decisions. But FERC said that at the recommendation of the Federal Protective Service, a division of the US Department of Homeland Security, it had decided to move its regular monthly meeting to 14 May to "better ensure the safety of its staff and the public" during the protests that are planned for the following week.  [Full Story]

May 8, 2015
Track was inspected day before derailment, FRA says
The Dickinson Press
Mike Nowatzki

HEIMDAL, N.D. – Railroad tracks where an oil train derailed Wednesday in central North Dakota had been inspected by BNSF Railway a day earlier and by the Federal Railroad Administration about three months before the fiery derailment, an FRA spokesman said Friday. “Neither of those inspections noted any defects or violations,” Kevin Thompson said.  [Full Story]

May 8, 2015
More Bad News For North Dakota’s Oil Industry
OilPrice.com


This hasn’t been a good week for the oil industry in North Dakota. First, a train carrying crude for Hess Corp. derailed and burned in central North Dakota on May 6, forcing the evacuation of 40 people from the nearby town of Heimdal. It was at least the third oil-car accident in North America so far this year. Now a pipeline spill of 63,000 gallons of highly concentrated saltwater, a byproduct of oil production, has snaked its way along a tributary to taint the waters of Smishek Lake in northwestern North Dakota. But the accident isn’t expected to pollute local drinking water.  [Full Story]

May 8, 2015
OFFICIAL: 'SIGNIFICANT' BRINE SPILL ENTERS NORTH DAKOTA LAKE
AP News
KEVIN BURBACH

A 63,000-gallon saltwater spill that leaked from an underground pipeline entered a lake via a tributary in northwest North Dakota, a state Department of Health official said Wednesday. He said the spill will not affect any drinking water in the area. Water Quality Director Karl Rockeman said it's unclear how much of the saltwater has entered Smishek Lake near the town of Powers Lake, which is about 75 miles northeast of the oil boomtown Williston. Saltwater, or brine, is an unwanted byproduct of oil production and is considered an environmental hazard by North Dakota. It is many times saltier than sea water and can easily kill vegetation.  [Full Story]

May 8, 2015
FERC:Commission shifts meeting date to duck protests
E & E Newswire
Hannah Northey

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has moved up its monthly meeting to avoid a scheduled large-scale protest. Acting on a recommendation from the Federal Protective Service, the commission shifted the date of its regular monthly meeting from May 21 to May 14 to "better ensure the safety of its staff and the public" and to avoid protests planned for the agency's Washington, D.C., headquarters, FERC spokesman Craig Cano said. At issue: a day of "mass action" that Beyond Extreme Energy is planning at FERC's headquarters from May 21 to May 29. The group says more than 500 people are expected to participate.  [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
Environmental groups sue feds over natural gas export project
The Hill
Devin Henry

Environmental groups have sued the federal government in an attempt to block a new liquefied natural gas export facility in Maryland. The groups, led by Earthjustice, sued the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) over its decision to authorize Dominion Resources' $3.8 billion Cove Point natural gas export project, arguing the commission did not consider whether it would hurt the environment or increase air and water pollution by encouraging new hydraulic fracturing.   [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
When an energy company takes your land
Al Jazeera America
Bryan Myers & Adam May

DAVENPORT, N.Y. – Three years ago, Anne and Bob Stack moved from Nevada to the hills of central New York. They planned to build their retirement home on a lot next to Anne’s brother’s house, and were working with a local builder whose eco-friendly homes they had been reading about for years. But days after reaching New York, the Stacks received a letter of behalf of Oklahoma-based energy giant Williams Companies, Inc. saying that the company was planning to build a pipeline that would run 75 feet from their future home – and that they would need about three acres of the Stacks' land for construction. What's more, there was nothing the Stacks could do about it. “You get it on the computer and there it is,” said Anne Stack, referring to the court notice giving their land to Williams. “They win. We lose ... It feels surreal.”  [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
How America’s biggest swamp could become fracking wasteland Environmental groups, locals worry Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin might be destroyed by a proposed industrial facility
Aljazeera America
Julie Dermansky

BELLE RIVER, La. — In the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun country, Julie and Lee Hines considered themselves lucky when they purchased a riverfront property. “I have the bayou in my blood,” said Julie Hines, a lifelong resident of the area.   [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
Fracking could cut value of Manchester homes by thousands, warn experts
Mancunian Matters
Tommy Wilson

Potential fracking sites in Greater Manchester are likely to wipe tens of thousands of pounds off the value of nearby properties and make homes harder to sell, according to new research.   [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
Chesapeake Energy to scale back Utica Shale drilling in eastern Ohio
Akron Beacon Journal
Bob Downing

Low prices for natural gas and related liquids are forcing Chesapeake Energy Corp. to cut into Ohio operations. The Oklahoma-based energy giant said Wednesday that it intends to scale back its Utica Shale drilling in the coming months as profits drop and production continues to climb.   [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
Judge Halts Work On Maryland Pipeline Due To Environmental Concerns
ThinkProgress
KATIE VALENTINE

onstruction on a natural gas pipeline set to run through Maryland has been halted after a judge found that the state hadn’t done enough to protect the environment and hadn’t given residents enough of a chance to weigh in on the project. Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Judge Justin J. King ruled last week that the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) must go back and revise the permit it issued for the 21-mile pipeline, which is being constructed by Columbia Pipeline Group and is slated to run through Baltimore and Harford counties. According to the judge’s ruling, the permit’s water safety requirements were too general, “rendering it impossible for this court to determine whether the permit complies with state and federal water quality regulations.” In addition, King wrote, the permit didn’t allow enough time for public input, and there wasn’t enough evidence that Maryland took a close enough look at how the project would affect historic sites. Construction on the pipeline, which is about halfway complete, has been temporarily halted. It will only resume after the state revisits the permit or, in the case of an appeal, if the ruling is overturned.  [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
Public Process—Nearly Avoided—Just Killed that Proposed North Portland Propane Terminal
The Portland Mercury
Dirk VanderHart

An enormous propane terminal was nearly allowed to sneak into St. Johns without public process. Now public process has killed it. The prospects of a $500 million export terminal—proposed by Canadian firm Pembina Pipeline and pushed by the Port of Portland—largely died yesteday, when Mayor Charlie Hales called both the Port and Pembina to let them know he no longer supports the proposal. This is shocking news. Hales was an early booster for the terminal, which he said would bring cash and jobs to the city. But Hales' office says the public—the very public that, but for a smudge of zoning code, would have been largely left out of weighing in on the project—has turned too far against Pembina's proposal. "They lost the public opinion in Portland in such a dramatic manner," says Dana Haynes, Hales' chief spokesman. "The letters and phone calls and emails we get ran so far in the anti-propane direction."   [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
Texas Bans Fracking Bans Last election, the people of Denton, Texas, voted to ban fracking from their city. In response, the Texas Legislature took away their democratic power.
Mint Press News
Kit O"Connell

s Senate on Monday approved the so-called “Denton Fracking Bill,” a proposed new law that prevents cities from exerting any local control over the energy industry. The law is a response to a successful referendum in Denton, Texas, which banned the fracking industry from operating inside the progressive college town, located about 40 miles northwest of Dallas. Denton’s fracking ban was inspired by concerns for air and water quality, but also the fear that the industry may have caused a recent, dramatic, increase in earthquakes — a link confirmed both by local Texas scientists and a federal study by the U.S. Geological Survey that suggested fracking can activate dormant fault lines.  [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
Fracking in the Yukon? Kaska and community groups say no way!
Rabble.ca
Emma Lui

Opposition to fracking has been brewing in the Yukon for a number of years. The Yukon Party government's recent decision to allow fracking in the Liard basin in southeast Yukon has reignited resolve in the territory to protect the lakes and rivers from fracking, a practice that was recently found to contaminate drinking water in Pennsylvania.  [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
Coloradans Give Gov. Hickenlooper and State Legislature an ‘F’ for Failing to Address Fracking
EcoWatch
Sharon Carlisle

As Colorado lawmakers wrapped up their legislative session on Wednesday, members of Coloradans Against Fracking set up a mock classroom on the capitol steps and staged a performance to draw attention to the legislature’s failure to protect constituents from fracking.  [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
David Cameron: No rush on fracking
Blackpool Gazette


On the eve of the General Election, David Cameron vowed any future Conservative government would not rush into fracking for shale gas. The Tory leader said he wanted to reassure communities on the Fylde coast there will be “no dash into technology without the safeguards in place”.  [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
Train hauling crude from ND oil patch derails, catches fire
Chron
Blake Nicholson & Matthew Brown

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A train that derailed and caught fire early Wednesday in rural North Dakota was hauling crude from the state's oil patch, raising questions about whether new state standards intended to reduce the volatility of such shipments are sufficient.   [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
LAWSUIT SEEKS TO HALT ILLEGAL DUMPING OF TOXIC OIL WASTE INTO CALIFORNIA’S IMPERILED WATER SUPPLIES
EarthJustice


San Francisco, CA — A lawsuit filed today by environmental organizations seeks to halt illegal oil industry operations that are dumping millions of gallons of toxic oil waste a day into California’s dwindling underground water supplies. The lawsuit, filed by Earthjustice in Alameda County Superior Court on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club, challenges recently unveiled “underground injection control” regulations from California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR). The regulations allow oil companies to continue injecting oil industry wastewater and other fluids into protected aquifers until February 2017, in violation of state and federal law and despite a water-scarcity crisis caused by the worst drought on record. DOGGR pushed the rules through in just a few days, characterizing inconvenience to the oil industry from interrupting its illegal injections as a public “emergency.”  [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
How America’s biggest swamp could become fracking wasteland
Al Jazeera America
Julie Dermansky

BELLE RIVER, La. — In the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun country, Julie and Lee Hines considered themselves lucky when they purchased a riverfront property. “I have the bayou in my blood,” said Julie Hines, a lifelong resident of the area. The Hines family values the outdoors, like most of the other members of the 107 households in the tiny town of Belle River. Many in the region are fishermen, making their living on the water, of which there is plenty. But the Hines’ dream faded quickly after they felt the impact of nearby industrial facilities’ fugitive emissions and increased truck use. They don’t believe the rules to protect them are enforced rigorously enough and found there is little they can do when the rules are broken.  [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
GROUPS APPEAL FEDERAL APPROVAL OF COVE POINT FRACKED GAS EXPORT FACILITY
Chesapeake Climate Action Network


LAWSUIT CHARGES THAT REGULATORS ILLEGALLY IGNORED THE PROJECT’S IMPACT ON FRACKING, CLIMATE CHANGE, AND THE CHESAPEAKE BAY WASHINGTON, D.C.—Environmental groups sued the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today over its decision to approve a massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal along the Chesapeake Bay in southern Maryland without conducting a rigorous environmental review. The lawsuit, filed in the federal appeals court for the D.C. Circuit, charges that FERC circumvented the law by failing to consider how Dominion Resources’ $3.8 billion Cove Point project would trigger expanded fracking for natural gas in the Marcellus shale region, leading to significant new amounts of air, water and climate-disrupting pollution. Additionally, the groups contend that FERC failed to adequately consider the impact of foreign ships dumping dirty wastewater into the Chesapeake Bay. Earthjustice filed the suit today on behalf of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Patuxent Riverkeeper, and Sierra Club. “After months of delay, we will finally get our day in court to challenge the fundamentally flawed approval of Dominion’s climate- and community-wrecking project,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “Time and again, FERC has shown a blatant disregard for the health and safety of people and the climate and, we believe, the law. Tragically, FERC’s foot-dragging has allowed Dominion bulldozers to start construction before Calvert County residents had legal recourse to challenge the agency’s decision.”  [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
The debate over offshore Arctic drilling - what's at stake as protesters get ready in Seattle
US News & World Report
Dan Joling

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Seattle's mayor and environmentalists have vowed to block Royal Dutch Shell PLC from parking two Arctic offshore drilling rigs on Seattle's waterfront, an effort to thwart the new frontier in oil exploration and spark a national debate about fossil fuels and climate change.   [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
Prosecutors: Skelos' scheme extended to fracking debate
Lohud
Jon Campbell

ALBANY – As Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration weighed whether to allow large-scale hydraulic fracturing, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos allegedly tried to help shape regulations that would benefit a company paying his son, according to federal prosecutors.   [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
Reluctant minister introduces fracking bill
DW


Germany's parliament has begun debate on fracking legislation, with members split on the oil and gas extraction method. Environment Minister Barbara Henricks wants "very strict rules" based on scientific analysis.   [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
Joe Blundo: Deference to fracking demands shake-up
Columbus Dispatch
Joe Blundo Opinion

If you didn’t read the story about fracking and earthquakes by my colleague Laura Arenschield in the Monday edition of The Dispatch, I’ll take you right to the most amazing quote from a quake researcher: “Before they do the wastewater injection, they should study the geology a lot more. .?.?. But that’s tough because a lot of these (injection wells) are mom-and-pop operations.”  [Full Story]

May 7, 2015
Legislature spotlights fracking concerns
Lincoln Journal Star
Don Walton

The Legislature served notice Thursday that it is attentive to public concerns about injecting oil and gas fracking waste materials into commercial wells in Nebraska and actively engaged in pursuing the issue. In an unusual move, senators suspended their rules to allow introduction of a new bill in the fading weeks of the 2015 legislative session that would require a listing of all chemicals contained in fracking wastewater.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
FORWARD TO A FRACKING BAN
Folio Weekly
Susan Cooper Eastman

The Florida House and Senate may be in complete dysfunction, but Florida itself may benefit from their turmoil. With several bills still in limbo, the state’s House of Representatives packed up and adjourned three days before the session was to officially end on May 1. For Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, president of Our Santa Fe River and Save Our Suwannee, thedisruption gives environmentalists an opportunity to launch a statewide campaign to ban fracking in the state of Florida.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
Fracking activist permanently barred from Cabot gas sites
State Impact PA
Marie Cusick

Anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins will be permanently barred from sites operated by Cabot Oil and Gas, according to a recent court order.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
Fracking lawsuit not up for discussion at St. Tammany Parish Council meeting
Times-Picayune
Robert Rhoden

Fracking will not be up for discussion after all at Thursday night's (May 7) meeting of the St. Tammany Parish Council. Chairman Richard Tanner had said the council would likely discuss in private and public sessions whether to appeal a recent state court judge's ruling that the parish could not use its zoning regulations to block a controversial proposed drilling and fracking project.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
ODNR wants state panel to dismiss anti-fracking appeal
Athens News
David DeWitt

The Ohio Department of Resources has asked the state Oil and Gas Commission to dismiss an appeal against the ODNR's decision to allow a third K&H Partners injection well in eastern Athens County. The appeal was filed by the Athens County Fracking Action Network (ACFAN) in April, and alleges that the ODNR oil and gas chief's permit for the well issued in March was "unreasonable and unlawful."  [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
Columbia Leaders Opposed to Offshore Drilling
WLTX 19


CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - The City of Columbia and Charleston County have gone on record opposing offshore seismic surveys and drilling for oil and natural gas.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
Dominion confronted by protests outside annual shareholder meeting
Augusta Free Press


As many as 140 protesters from across Virginia and Maryland greeted Dominion Resources executives and board members arriving for the company’s annual shareholder meeting Wednesday morning, in a sign of the growing citizen backlash over the company’s dirty energy investments and dirty politics. More than 50 landowners and concerned citizens from Buckingham County, Nelson County, and Augusta County—all in the path of the company’s controversial proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline— journeyed by bus. They were joined outside the entrance to Dominion’s training facility by citizens who had packed vans from Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, and other communities fighting the company’s climate-threatening plans and its anti-democratic lock on Virginia politicians.  [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
GAO: Gov't waste of natural gas costing taxpayers millions
Fox News
Associated Press

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office also said the Bureau of Land Management failed to conduct production inspections for hundreds of high-priority oil and gas wells -- roughly 1 out of 5 -- to ensure full payment of royalties to the U.S.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
Canadian Northwest Territories open to exploratory drilling: minister
Platts


The government of Canada's Northwest Territories hope to see exploratory drilling return to the Arctic Beaufort Sea by decade's end, after an absence of more than 30 years, a territory official said. "Our hope is we see drilling activity back in the Canadian Beaufort in the next four to five years," Investment Minister David Ramsay said on the sidelines of the Offshore Technology Conference Tuesday in Houston.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
Seneca appeals drilling permit decision in Ridgway Township
Bradford Era
Colin Deppen

RIDGWAY — A Marcellus Shale driller is challenging Ridgway Township’s decision to deny it a drilling permit application, arguing the decision wrongly refused it permission to build a wellpad there and misinterpreted municipal zoning law.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
What to know about gas laws
Argus Observer
April Ehrlich

Idaho has officially dug its teeth into the gas industry by passing a slew of gas and oil legislation....Here is a summary of oil and gas bills passed in the 2015 legislative session.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
The Trans-Pacific Partnership could mean more beef imports and natural gas exports
Colorado Springs Independent
Joshua Zaffos

The largest-ever free-trade agreement negotiated by the United States, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, is on a fast track to national approval, and it could mean bonanza and bust for Western states and their traditional industries.  [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
D.E.C. responds to critics of Finger Lakes gas project
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—The state Department of Environmental Conservation has quietly weighed in on a contentious gas storage project proposed for the Finger Lakes. The Finger Lakes LPG storage project was first proposed more than five years ago and was given a preliminary state permit late last year. Houston-based Crestwood Midstream wants to store 88 million gallons of propane and butane in former salt mines along Seneca Lake near Watkins Glen. Local anti-fracking activists, community groups and wine makers have all joined together to oppose the project. D.E.C. staff held an issues conference on the proposed project in February. In a mid-April issues brief filed as a result of the conference, staff quietly weighed in on the project, Capital has learned. They found that the region had a long history of similar projects without major incident and that the opponents were relying on unscientific information in some of their concerns about the project.  [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
GAO: Gov't waste of natural gas costing taxpayers millions
TimesUnion
HOPE YEN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Significant amounts of natural gas on federal lands are being wasted, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars each year and adding to harmful greenhouse gas emissions, a congressional investigation has found. The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office also said the Bureau of Land Management failed to conduct production inspections for hundreds of high-priority oil and gas wells — roughly 1 out of 5 — to ensure full payment of royalties to the U.S. The report, obtained by The Associated Press before its public release, is the latest to highlight substantial gaps in oversight. An AP review of government records last May found the agency, which manages oil and gas development on federal and Indian lands, had been overwhelmed by a boom in a new drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The GAO report said it had been urging BLM, an agency of the Interior Department, to update guidelines for the burning or venting of natural gas since at least 2010, when it found 40 percent of it could be captured economically and sold. BLM has yet to do so, although agency officials now say they are in the process of putting together various orders and a proposed rule for comment later this year. Until then, government investigators called BLM's management of oil and gas "high-risk" for waste and fraud. "The Interior Department has known for at least a decade that companies have been wasting natural gas from oil and gas wells on public lands," said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. "Venting and flaring natural gas from these wells hurts the environment and speeds up global warming, and it shortchanges the taxpayers."  [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
Tesla makes itself the center of the energy-storage universe
E&E Publishing
David Ferris

The experts who watched Tesla's announcement of its new batteries last week noticed two things that may forever change the trajectory of energy storage: They're cheap, and they're hip. Tesla Energy, as the company's new division is called, will sell batteries for the home for as little as $3,000, though the installed price may end up being double that. And the company did something that no one has been able to do -- put batteries in a sleek package that lit up Twitter and Facebook and got regular people excited at the prospect of having a battery in the home. The consequences for other companies in the energy storage space are profound. With one announcement, experts said, Tesla's batteries have become the price point that customers seek, with specs against which other designs are compared. Competitors can compare or contrast themselves with Tesla, but they can't ignore it. "As I go and talk to investors, everybody's asking the question of 'how are you going to be competing with Tesla?'" said Sam Jaffe, the CEO of Cygnus Energy Storage, a startup in Colorado. "Technically, we're not, but they're the 800-pound gorilla, and they're throwing their weight around." Tesla's batteries are intended for homes, businesses and the power grid, and are meant to be coupled with solar power. This is Tesla's sweet spot. Tesla, the leading electric-car company, is creating the world's largest battery factory, called the Gigafactory, in the Nevada desert and is closely allied with SolarCity, the country's largest installer of solar panels. As with electric cars, Tesla appears to be achieving in the young field of energy storage a level of scale and name recognition that stand out in a market that barely exists. That dominance poses risks for Tesla and the energy-storage industry. But experts said that Tesla's aggressive moves are likely to accelerate the demand for energy storage, which will benefit every set of players in the industry -- with some exceptions. "I don't think anyone stands to lose," said Haresh Kamath, an energy-storage program manager at the Electric Power Research Institute, "because a huge part of the population had no idea that this product could exist until now." An outsized impact Tesla introduced its new home battery, called Powerwall, at a glitzy event in California on Thursday. Two versions are available: a 7-kilowatt-hour version for $3,000 and a 10-kWh version for $3,500. The price, however, doesn't include installation, certain power electronics or the inverter that enables it to harmonize with solar panels. SolarCity is offering Tesla's battery system to homeowners for more than $7,000. The larger version is intended to keep the lights on during blackouts, and the smaller is for "daily cycle applications." Tesla also announced a larger battery, the Powerpack, a 100-kWh tower intended for businesses and to feed the power grid. Tesla said that both battery sets can be "stacked" to meet any scale of power need.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
Yet Another Oil Bomb Train Explosion Proves New Regulations Fail to Protect Us
AP
Cole Mellino

The town of Heimdal, North Dakota was evacuated this morning after yet another train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded. A BNSF Railway oil train derailed around 7:30 a.m., setting at least 10 oil tanker cars on fire. No injuries or fatalities have been reported.“The tank cars involved in the incident are the unjacketed CPC-1232 models,” BNSF spokesperson Amy McBeth told Valley News Live. These newer tank cars are suppose to be safer than older models, but the four oil train accidents in the first three months of 2015 all involved the newer cars, according to Common Dreams. “Again another derailment and explosion of a train carrying crude. Again another community evacuated and its people counting their blessings this didn’t happen half a mile down the track in the middle of town,” said Earthjustice attorney Kristen Boyles. “Under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) new rules, the type of oil tank cars that are burning in Heimdal will stay on the rails for five to eight years. DOT’s new industry-pleasing rule is too weak and too slow. We need to get these exploding death trains off the tracks now.” Last week, the DOT released new oil-by-train safety standards, but many environmental groups believe the standards are not strong enough and “leave communities at risk of catastrophe.” The Center for Biological Diversity is one of the groups calling for a moratorium on these so-called “bomb trains.” “We will continue to see these fiery derailments even with the new regulations in place, because they fail to take sufficient actions to prevent oil trains wrecks,” said Jared Margolis, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity. “As this accident demonstrates, people, wildlife, rivers and lakes will continue to pay the price for the government’s failure to take steps to adequately protect us from these dangerous oil trains.” Oil train derailments have become more and more frequent in recent years across North America, as oil shipments via rail have increased.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
Fracking played role in Skelos corruption charges
The Journal News
Jon Campbell

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration weighed whether to allow large-scale hydraulic fracturing, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was trying to help shape regulations that would benefit a company paying his son, according to federal prosecutors. As part of the 43-page criminal complaint against Skelos, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office pointed to emails, wiretapped phone calls and interviews with a cooperating witness to show the Nassau County Republican had conversations with his son, Adam, about trying to influence regulations surrounding fracking wastewater. Adam Skelos was a paid consultant for AbTech Industries, an Arizona-based company that uses a sponge-based technology to treat wastewater.  [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
North Dakota town evacuated after oil cars derail and catch fire
Bismarck Tribune


HEIMDAL, N.D. -- The small North Dakota community of Heimdal and surrounding farmsteads have been evacuated after an oil tanker train derailed Wednesday morning. Wells County Emergency Manager Tammy Roehrich said the BNSF Railway oil tanker train derailed about 7:30 a.m. about a mile and half east of Heimdal. Heimdal is about 80 miles southeast of Minot.  [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
Poor Communities Bear Greatest Burden from Fracking
Scientific American
Brian Bienkowski and Environmental Health News

Fracking wells in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region are disproportionately located in poor rural communities, which bear the brunt of associated pollution, according to a new study. The study bolsters concerns that poor people are more likely to deal with hydraulic fracturing in their community and raises concerns that such vulnerable populations will suffer the potential health impacts of air and water pollution associated with pulling gas from the ground.  [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
Athens has more than one law in its anti-fracking arsenal
Athens News
Terry Smith

With its aggressive efforts to keep oil and gas drilling, and related injection wells, from occurring within its limits, the city of Athens has drawn a lot of recent attention, not just locally but nationally as well. But that attention may be focused on the wrong law.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
President Obama’s pipeline safety agency waits for a leader
Politico
ANDREW RESTUCCIA and ELANA SCHOR

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has been without a permanent boss for 214 days. President Barack Obama has blown past the legal deadline to name a permanent boss for the agency that oversees the safety of the nation’s oil trains and fossil-fuel pipelines — while potentially life-or-death regulations continue to sit in limbo. It’s part of a pattern for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, where an internal structure that gives deference to industry has helped stymie safety initiatives for years, even as pipeline accidents have caused more than 170 deaths, 670 injuries and $5 billion in property damage during the past decade. Critics say the agency is in dire need of an overhaul — and want Obama to appoint a leader who’s willing to carry one out.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
Scientists: Fracking Is Not Causing Earthquakes Photo of Michael Bastasch
Daily Caller
Michael Bastasch

Earthquakes are on the rise in Oklahoma and Texas, and media reports have made sure to link hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operations to quakes rocking parts of the country. But connecting fracking to earthquakes is frustrating scientists working on the issue.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
Texas Lawmakers Pass Ban on Fracking Bans
My High Plains
Kelly James

AMARILLO -- Hydraulic fracturing gets a boost from Texas lawmakers. The state legislature has passed a ban on fracking bans. All that's needed now is governor Greg Abbott's signature, which he has indicated he will sign.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
Fracking regulators served with lawsuit
Smoky Mountain News
Holly Kays

A section of legislation giving the Mining and Energy Commission the authority to decide which local ordinances are OK and which are not when it comes to fracking could be struck down, if a state court sides with a lawsuit recently filed by Clean Water for North Carolina.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
British Watchdog Bans Anti-Fracking Ad Over ‘Misleading’ Claim
Sputnik News


MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Britain’s advertising watchdog banned on Wednesday an anti-fracking ad designed by Greenpeace, claiming that it contains a misleading statement concerning expert opinion on the issue.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
Denmark’s first taste of fracking halted by ministry Energy Ministry halts fracking after company uses unauthorised chemicals at northern Jutland site
CPH


The Energy Ministry has brought a halt to exploratory drilling for shale gas near Vendsyssel in north Jutland just a day and a half after it started on Monday morning. Total – the French company in charge of the drilling, which uses the controversial process known as fracking – has apparently used a chemical not authorised in environmental guidelines set out for the procedure by Frederikshavn Municipality.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
What Alberta's shocking election results could mean for the oil sands
Vox
Brad Plumer

As a rule, provincial elections in Canada don't attract a ton of attention in the United States. Why would they? It's not like people in Canada are fixated every time there's a governor's race in Pennsylvania. But then came Tuesday's stunning election in Alberta — and, suddenly, the entire world was interested in the results.  [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
Denmark suspends fracking over ‘hazardous’ chemicals
RT News


Denmark has suspended the first exploratory drilling for shale gas which lasted only one day after it discovered that French gas-giant Total, in charge of the project, had used “unauthorized” chemicals. "They used a product that was not part of those authorized" for the procedure, Ture Falbe-Hansen, a Danish Energy Agency spokesman told AFP Wednesday. The type of defoamer known as Null Foam is used in fracking to extract shale gas and is considered hazardous to the environment, according to Danish public broadcaster DR.  [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
Hydrocarbons identified at southern Golan Heights drilling site
Jerusalem Post
Sharon Udasin

While hydrocarbons were identified, comprehensive scientific evaluations are required to determine whether the presence of such materials indicates oil, gas, condensate or none of the above.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
NEWS 2 more SC governments on record opposed to offshore drilling
WRAL


CHARLESTON, S.C. — The City of Columbia and Charleston County have gone on record opposing offshore seismic surveys and drilling for oil and natural gas. Both governments passed resolutions Tuesday night, making 23 communities in the Carolinas on record against exploring for fossil fuels off the coast of the Carolinas.   [Full Story]

May 6, 2015
BANNED: "Experts agree - fracking won't cut our energy bills"
Click Green


The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has this week banned a Greenpeace anti-fracking advert after ruling it is misleading because it claimed that fracking "won't cut our energy bills".   [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Pennsylvania: Fracking chemicals detected in drinking water, says report
The Independent UK
ANDREW BUNCOMBE

Residents in parts of Pennsylvania are confronting the danger that chemicals associated with fracking have seeped into drinking water. A report published in an academic journal reported that an analysis of drinking water sampled from three homes in the state’s Bradford County, had found traces of chemicals commonly found in Marcellus Shale drilling fluids. Tests shows the water in one household contained tiny amounts of 2-Butoxyethanol or 2BE, a common drilling chemical. Reports say the chemical is known to have caused tumors in rodents, though it is unclear if it could produce similar effects in humans.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Scientists Discover Fracking Chemicals In Pennsylvania Drinking Water
Think Progress
Emily Atkins

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, the research showed three homes in Bradford County with water wells containing multiple compounds similar to the mix used by drilling companies. The amount of those compounds were small, however, and did not pose a health risk, the authors said.   [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Lawmakers OK Rules Stopping Fracking Bans
CBS DFW


AUSTIN (AP) – Texas moved Monday to ban its own cities from imposing prohibitions on hydraulic fracturing and other potentially environmentally harmful oil and natural gas drilling activities within their boundaries — a major victory for industry groups and top conservatives who have decried rampant local “overregulation.”  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
The 'monster' beneath the Marcellus
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Laura Legere

Range Resources Corp. tested the shale well with the best ever initial flow rate in the Appalachian Basin and possibly the country in December in Washington County. But the “monster well,” as financial analysts called it, wasn’t hiding in the Marcellus. Production rates for wells, like Range’s, that have been drilled into Pennsylvania’s Utica Shale — the lesser known cousin of the Marcellus that can run a mile deeper than its kin — have been raising eyebrows in recent months.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Details of the debate in US states on oil drilling, fracking
The Washington Post
Associated Press

Clashes are growing between cities and states across America over oil and gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, the practice of high pressure injections of water, sand and chemicals underground to free deposits of oil and gas. Energy-rich states are rushing to quash some of the local activism. Following is a summary of state debates. In Texas, which leads the nation in oil and natural gas production, a measure to limit local regulations to those deemed “commercially reasonable” has passed the Legislature and is expected to be signed into law by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. Cities would be allowed to regulate surface activities such as noise, lights and traffic but not drilling itself. No less than 11 bills have been introduced to the Texas Legislature this session to put limits on local control.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Local codes and safe drilling in communities
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Don Crowson

As Chief of Arlington’s Fire Department, my job is to protect our city’s nearly 400,000 residents from undue harm in emergency situations. For that reason, I’m compelled to comment on House Bill 40, which the Texas Senate passed on Monday.   [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Flawed Methane Monitor Underestimates Leaks at Oil and Gas Sites
InsideClimate News
Lisa Song

A popular scientific instrument used to measure methane leaks from oil and gas operations severely underestimates emissions under certain conditions, a preliminary study found. The results could have major implications for federal policies as the Obama administration moves to regulate methane from the natural gas industry. The research paper raises serious questions about the validity of existing methane data. Measurements taken by the instrument are frequently used by the Environmental Protection Agency to estimate industrial releases of methane—a greenhouse gas dozens of time more potent than carbon dioxide. In fact, the EPA lists the device as an approved tool that oil and gas companies can use to measure and report their methane emissions.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Ewart: Oh God, Christian churches embrace climate science
Calgary Herald
Stephen Ewart

Galileo, Nicholas Copernicus and Charles Darwin must be rolling over in their graves. The long history of Christian churches opposing scientific progress in their dogmatic defence of theological beliefs hasn’t deterred the Roman Catholic church or the Church of England from taking strong positions on climate change ahead of a major UN conference later this year. Pope Francis hosted a summit with religious, scientific and policy experts at the Vatican last week to discuss sustainable development and respect for the environment while the Church of England released a report on climate change and will divest its interests in companies that produce fossil fuels. The report — which mentions both oilsands and fracking — calls climate change “an urgent ethical issue.”  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Texas Passes Ban on Fracking Bans (Yes, You Read that Right)
EcoWatch
Cole Mellino

The Texas state legislature voted yesterday to ban fracking bans. Ever since the people of Denton, Texas voted to ban fracking last November, 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. In response, citizens banded together to form Frack Free Denton to fight for home rule. The group has put together a powerful film, which premieres on Friday, documenting their fight to ban fracking within city limits in the heart of oil and gas country. The vote comes despite recent findings by a team of researchers from Southern Methodist University that linked the earthquakes in one area of Texas, which did not have earthquakes prior to the fracking boom..  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Fracking Chemicals Detected in Pennsylvania Drinking Water, Study Says
TIME Magazine
Dan Kedmey

Researchers raise questions about the integrity of drilling wells in the Marcellus Shale Environmental scientists have detected chemical compounds used for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the drinking water of three Pennsylvania households, according to a new study. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University said samples of drinking water contained trace amounts of 2-Butoxyethanol, a compound used in drilling fluid as well as household paint and cosmetics, the New York Times reports. The contaminant was found in such microscopic concentrations that it posed no immediate health risk.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
California Farmers Are Watering Their Crops With Oil Wastewater
ThinkProgress
NATASHA GEILING

As California farmers face a fourth year of the state’s historic drought, they’re finding water in unexpected places — like Chevron’s Kern River oil field, which has been selling recycled wastewater from oil production to farmers in California’s Kern County. Each day, Chevron recycles and sells 21 million gallons of wastewater to farmers, which is then applied on about 10 percent of Kern County’s farmland. And while some praise the program as a model for dealing with water shortages, environmental groups are raising concerns about the water’s safety, according to a recent story in the Los Angeles Times. Tests conducted by Water Defense, an environmental group founded by actor Mark Ruffalo in 2010, have found high levels of acetone and methylene chloride — compounds that can be toxic to humans — in wastewater from Chevron used for irrigation purposes. The tests also found the presence of oil, which is supposed to be removed from the wastewater during recycling.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Pipeline poses hidden threat to trout in Pennsylvania
Al Jazeera America
Nate Schweber

PARRYVILLE, Pennsylvania — On the last weekend in April, Tyler A. Frantz, an elementary school teacher from Annville, Pennsylvania, drove about an hour into the Pocono Mountains to learn more about trout, an animal that tells the story of two energy booms in his state’s history. The colorful fish, which need cold, clean, water to survive, were devastated in Pennsylvania during the coal boom of the early 20th century. For decades, old mines leached acidic poisons into thousands of streams. After many years of work and millions of dollars spent on stream rehabilitation, trout have returned to some of these waters, including Swatara Creek in Frantz’s eastern Pennsylvania hometown of Pine Grove, which when he was a boy ran barren and the color of rust.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Farmers lose court battle to stop Rover natural gas pipeline survey
Daily Telegram
Dennis Pelham

ADRIAN Objections by two farm owners failed to prevent a court order Monday, giving surveyors access to the proposed Rover Pipeline route through Lenawee County. Farm owners argued their rights as private land owners are being violated. Lenawee County Circuit Judge Margaret M.S. Noe said she cannot ignore state and federal law giving the pipeline company eminent domain powers for a project in the public interest. “This is an absolute violation of personal property rights we have as American citizens,” said Greg Hardy, a Tipton-area farm owner. He argued the pipeline company has no right to enter his land before a federal permit is granted for the project. “This is a private company for profit,” Hardy said. Allowing a survey, he said, would strengthen an eminent domain claim in the future. Hardy said he told the company a year ago to find a route that does not cross his land. Rover’s answer has been land owners cannot stop it, he said. “They should at least have some respect for people’s personal property rights.” Hardy said.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
In the Marcellus gold rush, accidents will happen…
Lancaster Online
Gil Smart

And in today’s least shocking development, traces of fracking chemicals have been identified in drinking water in Bradford County, right smack dab in the heart of fracking country. Gee, I wonder how that could have happened? The Marcellus Shale Coalition said the researchers did not prove that gas drilling put 2-BE in the water well. The trade group also said the industry is getting better at protecting water supplies. “It’s absolutely critical to acknowledge that important technological advancements have been and continue to be made, along with the fact that Pennsylvania’s regulations were dramatically strengthened over the past several years … aimed at protecting groundwater, which is a top industry priority,” Travis Windle, a spokesman, said in a statement. They’re “getting better.” They’ll drink a toast to that in Bradford County, raising a glass with all three hands. This falls into the category of “oopsie,” except the problem is that where the Marcellus gold rush is concerned, there’s always the danger of more “oopsies” due to the scale of the development, the amount of gas, the size of the (potential?) profits and more.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
‘Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline’ holding informational meeting
News 10
Ali Stewart

RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A group opposed to a proposed natural gas pipeline in Rensselaer County is hosting a public information meeting. It’s happening at Maple Hill High School in Castleton on Hudson. The group ‘Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline’ will present information about potential environmental and economic impacts. Kinder Morgan is behind the plans for the pipeline, which would carry natural gas from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, through New York. The company has also held meetings to inform.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Pipeline poses hidden threat to trout in Pennsylvania
Aljazeera America
Nate Schweber

PARRYVILLE, Pennsylvania — On the last weekend in April, Tyler A. Frantz, an elementary school teacher from Annville, Pennsylvania, drove about an hour into the Pocono Mountains to learn more about trout, an animal that tells the story of two energy booms in his state’s history. The colorful fish, which need cold, clean, water to survive, were devastated in Pennsylvania during the coal boom of the early 20th century. For decades, old mines leached acidic poisons into thousands of streams. After many years of work and millions of dollars spent on stream rehabilitation, trout have returned to some of these waters, including Swatara Creek in Frantz’s eastern Pennsylvania hometown of Pine Grove, which when he was a boy ran barren and the color of rust.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Court halts stream crossings by natural gas pipeline in Baltimore County
Baltimore Sun
Timothy B. Wheeler

A Baltimore County judge stopped completion — at least temporarily — of a 21-mile natural gas pipeline through northern Baltimore and Harford counties, declaring that state regulators failed to do enough to protect environmentally sensitive waterways and historic properties in the controversial project's path. Circuit Judge Justin J. King ordered the Maryland Department of the Environment to revise the permit it issued last year to Columbia Gas Transmission to lay a 26-inch pipeline from Owings Mills to Fallston. King said state regulators failed to spell out safeguards the company must follow in crossing rivers and streams, making it impossible to tell if the project meets state and federal water-quality regulations.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Energy rich US states move to quash local limits on drilling
San Antonio Express
Emily Schmall and Will Wessert

MANSFIELD, Texas (AP) — Lawmakers in Texas and energy producing states across the nation are rushing to stop local communities from imposing limits on oil and gas drilling despite growing public concern about the health and environmental toll of such activities in urban areas. The slump in oil prices that has led to job losses in the oil patch has only added to the urgency of squelching local drilling bans and other restrictions the industry views as onerous. The number of jobs nationwide in the sector that includes energy production has fallen 3.5 percent since December, and Texas alone lost about 25,000 jobs in March, according to federal data.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Idaho fracking activist files $1.5 million claim against Payette County for wrongful arrest
Idaho Statesman
CYNTHIA SEWELL

Alma Hasse alleges her arrest at a Payette County Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing and her subsequent incarceration were illegal, according to a tort claim filed with the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office. During an Oct. 9 hearing pertaining to Alta Mesa Idaho natural gas facility’s permit, Hasse gave testimony critical the county and then later spoke out during a portion of the meeting when the public is not allowed speak. Planning Commission Chairman Chad Henggler called the Payette County Sheriff and told him to remove Hasse from the public hearing. She was charged with trespass and restricting and obstructing officers, both misdemeanors. Hasse refused to speak to officers or give her name while being booked into jail. As a result she was held in isolation for five days with “no access to a shower, no contact with her husband, no access to clean clothes, and was forced to use the toilet while a male prison guard watched her,” according to the claim. On day five she was arraigned and bond was set at $10,000. She remained incarcerated for three more days. Both charges against Hasse are “patently inapplicable” and she was wrongfully jailed, according to the claim filed April 6 by Hasse’s attorney, Nick Warden with Boise-based Fisher Rainey Hudson.   [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
The 10 scariest chemicals used in hydraulic fracking
SFGate
Michael B Kelley

Vast deposits of natural gas have driven a drilling boom across 32 states. Although the boom is helping the US generate more energy on its own soil, a study published Monday, May 4 points out a potential health problem linked with the practice, known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking."   [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
How Texas Lawmakers Are Protecting Their Fracking Overlords
Ring of Fire


Both chambers of the Texas state legislature have passed a measure that would outlaw Texas towns from passing their own bans against hydraulic fracturing (fracking), reported CBS News. Within the last month, the bill sailed easily through the Texas House of Representatives and passed through the state senate yesterday. The bill will likely be signed into law once it reaches Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) desk. The push to ban fracking bans started last year when the town of Denton, TX banned fracking operations within city limits. After the ban passed in November, Texas lawmakers who are in bed with the energy industry and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have been working on a way to dissolve Denton’s ban. The Texas Oil and Gas Association (TOGA) and the General Land Office are challenging the Denton ban in court. If these pro-fracking groups succeed in passing their bill, “Denton’s fracking ban [will be] impossible to enforce,” reported The Dallas Morning News.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
LOS ANGELES TIMES ATTACKS JERRY BROWN FOR SUPPORTING FRACKING
Breitbart.com
WILLIAM BIGELOW

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times published an op-ed by environmental activist Middlebury College professor Bill McKibben in which he attacks California Governor Jerry Brown’s support for fracking, calling fracking during a drought an “obscenity” because of its use of water. McKibben, who has functioned as an advisor for the Obama Administration on environmental issues, has made statements like these: If you carpooled [six miles per day], you’d have about three pounds of CO2 left in your daily ration — enough to run a highly efficient refrigerator. Forget your computer, your TV, your stereo, your stove, your dishwasher, your water heater, your microwave, your water pump, your clock. Forget your light bulbs, compact fluorescent or not.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Conflict over smelly fracking water site in Whitewater hits boiling point
KKCO 11 News
Kelsey Perkins

WHITEWATER, Colo. The Whitewater community's frustration over what they call an 'unbearable' and 'consuming' smell that is coming from the Deer Creek Wastewater Facility has reached a boiling point. The community met with the company that owns the facility, Alanco, and Mesa County officials to demand a solution to the issue that they say they’ve deserved for over a year now. Attendees were angry and shouting that they've had enough. Gwen Russell is just one of the many residents who is suffering from the odor. "Headaches, a metallic taste in the mouth, Saturday night my eyes watered for the first time because it was so strong,” said Russell. She has been living in the same home for 14 years and says she's not going anywhere. "We should matter, every voice should matter,” said Russell.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
New York Official Took Bribes for Fracking Favors - US Attorney
Sputnik International


Though fracking was banned in New York State in 2014, a new case filed by federal prosecutors on Monday brings allegations against the state’s senate majority leader. It’s a bizarre case, blending code words, wiretaps, bribery, and nepotism, all under the distorting haze of shale gas. "I’m going to be president of the Senate. I’m going to be majority leader. I’m going to control everything. I’m going to control who gets on what committees, what legislation goes to the floor, what legislation comes through committees, the budget, everything." A tape recorder caught New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos saying these words. They’ve been entered into a complaint filed against him by US Attorney Preet Bharara.   [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
New research on cumulative ecological impact of oil and gas
High Country News
Cally Carswell

If you live in northwest New Mexico, northeast Colorado, Utah or Wyoming, or especially western North Dakota, you've probably noticed big changes in your local landscape of late. There are more roads, more traffic, more dust. There are more flares and bright lights piercing the night sky, and more trucks emblazoned with names like Halliburton. There are more pipelines and pump jacks. These are the things booming oil and gas communities live with so that we might all have cheaper natural gas and energy independence, that coveted and elusive prize. The dust and traffic and lights aren't always easy to live with, and sometimes they create tension between local residents and industry. Rarely, however, do we stop to consider what all of this new infrastructure collectively costs us. How much vegetation is being lost to the boom nationwide, and how much does its loss matter? How fragmented is habitat becoming at a regional or continental scale?   [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
GOP Lawmaker Wants Drilling-Waste Injection Well Ban
Water Online
y Sara Jerome

A lawmaker has proposed a ban on drilling-waste injection wells in Pennsylvania, one of the fracking capitals of the U.S. "A state lawmaker who fears injection wells used to dispose of waste from natural-gas drilling may trigger earthquakes and imperil Pennsylvania’s water supply wants to halt the practice until additional studies are conducted," the Sharon Herald reported. Rep. Cris Dush of Indiana County introduced the measure at a time when evidence is mounting that injection wells are linked to earthquakes. A study by USGS scientists published last year in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America found that "the deep injection of wastewater underground is responsible for the dramatic rise in the number of earthquakes in Colorado and New Mexico since 2001," according to an announcement.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
The 'monster' beneath the Marcellus
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Laura Legere

Range Resources Corp. tested the shale well with the best ever initial flow rate in the Appalachian Basin and possibly the country in December in Washington County. But the “monster well,” as financial analysts called it, wasn’t hiding in the Marcellus. Production rates for wells, like Range’s, that have been drilled into Pennsylvania’s Utica Shale — the lesser known cousin of the Marcellus that can run a mile deeper than its kin — have been raising eyebrows in recent months. Activity in the Utica is generally focused in Ohio, where the shale produces oil and wet gas that contains valuable hydrocarbons like ethane and propane along with methane, the primary component of natural gas. Still, some companies have also been prospecting for wet Utica gas in Lawrence, Mercer and other Western Pennsylvania counties. But recently operators have reported remarkable production results for dry gas — mostly methane — from wells hundreds of miles east of the heart of Utica development in Ohio.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Exclusive: Chevron lists more Marcellus acreage
Pittsburgh Business Times
Sam Kusic

Chevron Corp.'s Appalachia business unit is continuing to restructure its operations, putting about 11,700 Marcellus Shale acres in Pennsylvania on the market. According to a listing on EnergyNet, Chevron (NYSE:CVX) is accepting sealed bids on the acreage in Clearfield and northern Cambria counties until May 21. The acreage, about 52 percent of which is held by production, includes six producing Marcellus wells. In February, Chevron listed for sale about 15,600 gross acred in Cambria, Blair and Bedford counties.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
PublicSource: Eight facts about the shale industry's air pollution
Observer Reporter
Natasha Khan and Eric Holmberg

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently released data on air emissions from the shale gas industry in 2013. PublicSource looked into the data and built a series of interactive charts so you can more easily explore the information. Overall, the data showed emissions from the shale gas industry increased from 2012 to 2013 for five major pollutants: • nitrogen dioxides • particulate matter • sulfur dioxide • volatile organic compounds, or VOCs • carbon dioxide (CO2) (Click here to see a chart of what these pollutants are and their potential health effects.) But emissions decreased for methane and carbon monoxide.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Proposed rule on noise limits for oil, gas sites in Pa. pleases none
Marcellus.com
Katelyn Ferral | The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Gas industry leaders and fracking critics in Pennsylvania have found common ground in their views on one aspect of proposed environmental regulations for drilling: A rule aimed at limiting noise from sites is too vague to be effective. The state Department of Environmental Protection is proposing noise regulations for oil and gas sites as part of its rewrite of surface rules around wells. They would require companies to record noise levels and formulate a plan to keep them down for neighbors. But the proposal introduced last month does not specify a decibel limit or how to monitor levels. “Right now the regulation is unenforceable because there’s no objective standard,” said George Jugovic, general counsel for Penn Future, an environmental group that has lobbied for tougher regulations for the oil and gas industry in the state. “How do you determine that someone has minimized the noise?”  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Hedge fund star David Einhorn calls fracking companies a joke
CNN Money


A top hedge fund manager thinks America's oil fracking companies are a joke. David Einhorn, founder of Greenlight Capital, gave a humorous speech that was nothing short of a takedown on big oil Monday at the Sohn Conference in New York.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
Delaware River Basin Commission wants joint review of PennEast pipeline
The Morning Call
Christina Tatu

Citing concerns about adverse effects on the Delaware watershed, the Delaware River Basin Commission says the proposed PennEast pipeline is subject to a commission review and public hearing. The commission, which oversees the watershed, is requesting a joint meeting and public hearing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency tasked with ultimately approving the project. The natural gas pipeline will require both the withdrawal and discharge of a substantial quantity of water for hydrostatic testing, says an April 23 letter the DRBC sent to federal commission.  [Full Story]

May 5, 2015
“Motherfrackers” and Big Oil Hypesters
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Forbe’s contributor Christopher Helman has always been an unapologetic supporter of shales. For instance, only last September he wrote a piece entitled “America’s Energy Outlook is Fracking Great, For Now”. Never mind that oil prices had begun their downward spiral three months prior to this statement. Never mind that every shale gas play in the US with the exception of the Marcellus had already tipped into decline. And never mind that reserve estimates had been repeatedly downgraded culminating with the colossal downgrade of the Monterey shale in California by 96% by EIA. You bet…fracking great! Christopher Helman, however, is paid to hype Big Oil. And to his credit, he does occasionally mention a few problems as he tries to gloss over their implications. For instance, in this same article dated September 2014 he states: “At the same time, they have to get their volumes up high enough that they can generate enough free cash flow to pay back their debt. If you can’t drill economically it all unravels.” Yes, it does.  [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Study links foam in water wells to shale well sites
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Laura Legere

White foam in northeastern Pennsylvania water wells likely was caused by Marcellus Shale gas well sites that have already been blamed for causing natural gas to infiltrate residential water supplies, a paper published by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported on Monday. Environmental consultant Garth Llewellyn and biochemistry and geosciences researchers with Penn State University used a novel method to identify low levels of organic compounds that they said likely explain foaming from three water wells in Bradford County between 2010 and 2012. Test results from commercial laboratories during investigations at the sites had not picked up on what was causing the foaming — they reported no unsafe levels of compounds other than natural gas in the water, while other compounds, like glycols and surfactants, had appeared inconsistently or at barely detectable levels. The same or similar organic compounds that the researchers traced in the water, including 2-n-Butoxyethanol, or 2-BE, are known to be used in drilling and hydraulic fracturing additives or to appear in waste fluids from oil and gas operations.  [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
How fracking for shale gas is becoming a foreign policy issue – video
The Guardian
Andrew Johnstone, Les Stone, Nainita Desai and Malcolm Laws,

Until recently, the extraction of shale gas through the process of fracking has only faced serious opposition from anti-fracking campaigners who argue that the process is harmful to the environment. But now the shale gas industry is facing a new challenge from the tumbling price of oil. In the US, some fracking supporters are trying to reframe the debate as a geo-political matter in an oil-price war with the Middle East  [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Fracking and Earthquakes
Food and Water Watch


Fracking, a process that intentionally causes thousands of “microearthquakes” when the rock containing oil or gas is fractured apart, is shaking things up — literally. Fracking, along with the disposal of toxic fracking waste through underground injection control wells, has been linked to induced seismicity — in other words, to human-caused earthquake activity.   [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Obama Administration Weakens Endangered Species Act Requirements for Federal Agencies to Consider, Mitigate Cumulative Harm to Wildlife
Center for Biological Diversity
Press Release

WASHINGTON— New Endangered Species Act regulations finalized by the Obama administration put hundreds of plants and animals at greater risk of extinction by allowing federal agencies to avoid quantifying and limiting harm to endangered species from federal projects such as timber sales, oil and gas drilling, or other activities. The change was proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, which have repeatedly failed to track how projects they approve are cumulatively impacting rare and vanishing species. “Species like spotted owls and Indiana bats are in real trouble today, not because of one single timber sale or development project, but because hundreds of such projects are being permitted every year,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “These death-by-a-thousand cuts scenarios are a major cause of species extinction. Today’s regulation all but ensures this problem will continue by allowing federal agencies to rubber-stamp projects that individually may only inflict a minor wound, but combined with hundreds of other such projects amounts to a mortal blow.” The new regulations issued on Friday specify that federal agencies, such as the U.S Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management, need not quantify or limit the amount of harm to endangered species that will be allowed to occur under overarching management plans, including regional forest plans, plans for individual national forests, plans for BLM resource areas and many others. This will all but ensure that cumulative impacts from individual timber sales, development projects and oil and gas drilling operations will never be considered or curbed. A 2009 Government Accountability Office report found that the Fish and Wildlife Service routinely fails to track cumulative impacts to endangered species, concluding that the Service “lacks a systematic method for tracking cumulative take of most listed species.” It noted that the agency only had such a system for three out of 497 federal protected species in the western states. The new Obama administration policy essentially codifies this problem.  [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Fracking: Jerry Brown's environmental blind spot
Los Angeles Times
Bill McKibben

But Brown continues to support fracking in the state's oil patch, and oil production increases. And that's a problem. It doesn't matter if everyone in California someday drives a Tesla. That oil will get shipped somewhere, and when it's burned, it will push global warming yet higher. It's as if the governor banned smoking in California but turned the Central Valley over to growing tobacco. And given the physics of climate change, secondhand carbon smoke is as damaging as burning it yourself. That means Brown's legacy is double-edged: visionary on one side but status quo on the other. And even worse, fracking in a time of drought is a remarkable obscenity. The process uses a tremendous amount of water. Trucks line up on rural roads in Kern County, not to deliver water to those communities where wells have run dry but to deliver it to drillers who inject it underground. What they bring back up is polluted wastewater.  [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
How Can Regulation Reduce the Risks of Fracking
Reg Blog
Alexandra Hamilton

One major concern is the release of methane during the fracking process, which can contribute to detrimental climate change effects. Methane releases at some fracking sites are minimal, making the benefits of cheap natural gas appear to outweigh the environmental risks. Other sites, however, experience far greater releases of methane, which may tip the balance of benefits and costs in the other direction.  [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Fracking linked to earthquakes and increased levels of radon in homes
World Socialist Web Site
Phillip Guelpa

A newly released study indicates that a significant correlation exists between areas where fracking (high volume hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal directional drilling used to extract oil and natural gas from shale deposits) is taking place and elevated levels of radon.  [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Clean Water for N.C. challenges fracking board's authority
INDY Week
Billy Ball

An environmental nonprofit and three North Carolina residents living in possible fracking destinations are legally challenging the authority of the appointed board that drafted the state's drilling rules. The complaint, which was filed Friday in Wake County Superior Court, comes from Clean Water for N.C., a group that has lobbied to ban fracking in North Carolina for several years. The legal challenge contends that the N.C. General Assembly violated the state constitution in giving the appointed N.C. Mining and Energy Commission the authority to pre-empt local ordinances in crafting fracking regulations.   [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Farmers are watering your food with fracking chemicals
Grist
Nathanael Johnson

A story in the Los Angeles Times raises disturbing questions about the practice of irrigating California farmland with the wastewater from fracking. Here’s what’s happening:   [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Denton fracking bill sails through Texas Senate Texas Senate approved a bill Monday limiting municipal control over oil and gas drilling and prohibiting any city from banning fracking. The Denton ban could eventually fall if the bill is signed by the governor.
Ft Worth Star-Telegram
Max Baker

With little discussion, the Texas Senate approved a bill Monday limiting municipal control over oil and gas drilling and prohibiting any city from banning fracking. The Senate voted 24-7 for House Bill 40 — also known as the Denton fracking bill. It reasserts state control over drilling while spelling out some limited powers that cities have in regulating surface operations. The bill will now go to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for his signature.   [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Residents Concern Over Water Disposal Facility
Western Slope Now
Angelo Vargas

WHITEWATER, Colo. - Residents want their voices heard about health issues revolving around an odor coming from the Deer Creek Water Disposal Facility. Residents say an odor from the facility is causing them to have nosebleeds and severe headaches.   [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Texas Legislature OKs rules prohibiting city fracking bans
12 News
Will Weissert

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Cities and counties statewide could no longer prohibit hydraulic fracturing under a sweeping, oil and gas industry-backed bill that has cleared the Texas Legislature. The proposal was easily approved by the Senate on Monday after passing the House last month. It now heads to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's desk for signature into law.   [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Belmont County residents worried about fracking near reservoir
Akron Beacon Journal
Bob Downing

COLUMBUS, OH – More than 2,300 citizens served by Slope Creek Reservoir in Belmont County and supporters signed their names to a petition to protect the water supply from risks associated with shale gas development (AKA fracking), and stop Gulfport Energy Corporation’s plans to place multiple well pads as close as 500 feet from the reservoir.   [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Future dustbowl? Fracking ravages Great Plains land and water
The Ecologist
Tim Radford

The fracking boom has caused massive vegetation loss over North America's rangelands, writes Tim Radford, as 3 million hectares have been occupied by oil and gas infrastructure and 34 billion cubic metres of water have been pumped from semi-arid ecosystems.   [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Colchester County won't take fracking wastewater
Daily Business Buzz


Treated frack water from Atlantic Industrial Services in Debert will not be flowing in the municipal sewer system. The Sewer Use Appeals Committee Chairman Tom Taggart. Other news Canning village commission concerned multi-complex project could be jeopardized Halifax examines commercial tax options to give small businesses a break Amherst restaurant installs portable defibrillator Technology gives employees, companies an edge in safety Putting the hammer down on safety in construction industry Fishing industry safety plan to be “a game changer" Trucking safety improving in Nova Scotia Cultivating a Safety Culture “The Sewer Use Appeals Committee has unanimously decided to overturn the December 2014 decision of the director of Public Works to allow the discharge of treated hydraulic fracturing waste water into the sewer systems of Colchester County,” committee chairman Tom Taggart announced, at the conclusion of the April 30 council session.   [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Clean Water files suit against state mining commission, DENR
Fay Observer
Andrew Barksdale

Clean Water for North Carolina is legally challenging the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission's authority to overturn local ordinances that would seek to restrict hydraulic fracturing and natural gas development in their communities. The complaint was filed Friday in Wake County Superior Court, according to a Clean Water for North Carolina news release issued today.  [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
SKELOS ARRESTED ON CORRUPTION CHARGES
City & State
ASHLEY HUPFL

City & State compiled a timeline of the “greatest hits” from recorded conversations of Skelos and his son: On Dec 17, 2014, ADAM SKELOS spoke to CW-2 on the phone about the slow pace of work and payment under the Nassau County contract, telling CW-2 in substance and part, “[M]y father sat with [the Nassau County Executive] two weeks ago. [Nassau County Executive] promised that it’d be done and that they’d find the funding for it.” On Dec 17, 2014 the governor publicly announced that hydrofracking would not in fact be permitted in the State. ADAM SKELOS and DEAN SKELOS, the defendants, spoke on the phone immediately following the announcement (AS$942). During the call, DEAN SKELOS assured ADAM SKELOS, using coded language, that although the governor’s announcement meant that ADAM SKELOS would not be able to receive commissions from the Environmental Technology Company related to hydrofracking, DEAN SKELOS would work with ADAM SKELOS so that he would continue to profit from stormwater projects. ADAM SKELOS: Ahhh! This day sucks!  [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Shale Oil Drillers Plunge After Einhorn Slams Fracking Costs
Bloomberg
Joe Carroll and Kelly Gilblom

Money manager David Einhorn slammed the shale drilling industry that ushered in a new era of U.S. oil production as wasteful, expensive and a terrible investment. Shale explorers including Pioneer Natural Resources Co. and EOG Resources Inc. plunged as investors heeded Einhorn’s remarks at the Sohn Investment Conference in New York on Monday.  [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
New study links gas drilling to water contamination in NE Pa.
NPR State Impact PA
Susan Phillips

New research published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows evidence of a connection between gas drilling and water contamination that occurred in Bradford County in 2010. The researchers used a new method of testing for contaminants that can detect much smaller amounts of chemicals than the instruments typically used in commercial laboratories. “[It's] probably the most equipped technique to find a problem like this,” said Frank Dorman, a professor of biochemistry at Penn State University and one of the authors of the study. “It can see lower down than many techniques and it can see a wider variety and more complex samples than other techniques. It could be a game changer. We found something that wasn’t findable by commercial laboratories.” The report could point to a new tool for those who believe they have suffered from gas drilling contamination, only to have water tests say otherwise.  [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Fracking, wastewater-injection wells raise Ohio’s quake risk, feds say
The Columbus Dispatch
Laura Arenschield

It wasn’t that long ago that Denison University professor Erik Klemetti added a caveat when he taught his students about earthquakes. “When I used to show (seismicity) maps in my intro class, I’d say, ‘Ohio is about as earthquake-free as you get,’??” Klemetti said. “Now, it has a bull’s-eye on it, at least to some degree.” That bull’s-eye, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey report, is directly linked to hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas and to injection wells for fracking wastewater.   [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Old gas field opens up new drilling opportunities
The Shreveport Times
Vicki Welborn

An old field that's produced natural gas since the 1940s and '50s, the Cotton Valley formation has opened up new opportunities for drilling for operators in Caddo, DeSoto and even Lincoln parishes looking for more economical ways to extract the resources during the stagnant energy market.  [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Natural gas may be putting in a long-term bottom
Market Watch
Mike Paulenoff

On April 10, we noted that natural gas (NG) could be bottoming. We quoted a colleague (a former trader at Drexel Burhnam), who told us: "I know that NG looks awful and made fresh three-year lows today, but at some point, I feel that the market is going to find a long-term bottom."   [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Complaint describes alleged Skelos attempt to profit from fracking
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos allegedly attempted to pressure the state health department to create fracking regulations that would favor a company that employed his son, according to a criminal complaint from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office. Skelos acted to pressure the state starting in 2013, when he believed Governor Andrew Cuomo was preparing to legalize fracking, according to the criminal complaint from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office. Cuomo eventually banned fracking.   [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Fracking Chemicals Detected in Pennsylvania Drinking Water
The New York Times
NICHOLAS ST. FLEUR

An analysis of drinking water sampled from three homes in Bradford County, Pa., revealed traces of a compound commonly found in Marcellus Shale drilling fluids, according to a study published on Monday. The paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, addresses a longstanding question about potential risks to underground drinking water from the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The authors suggested a chain of events by which the drilling chemical ended up in a homeowner’s water supply. “This is the first case published with a complete story showing organic compounds attributed to shale gas development found in a homeowner’s well,” said Susan Brantley, one of the study’s authors and a geoscientist from Pennsylvania State University.   [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
'Denton fracking bill' headed to Abbott's desk
WFAA
Jim Malewitz

The so-called "Denton fracking bill" is headed to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk. The Senate on Monday approved House Bill 40, which would pre-empt local efforts to regulate a wide variety of oil and gas activities and has stirred concerns in some towns that have sought to blunt the effects of drilling close to homes, schools and businesses.   [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Hedge fund star David Einhorn calls fracking companies a joke
CNN Money


A top hedge fund manager thinks America's oil fracking companies are a joke. David Einhorn, founder of Greenlight Capital, gave a humorous speech that was nothing short of a takedown on big oil Monday at the Sohn Conference in New York.  [Full Story]

May 4, 2015
Democratic voters care about climate change, and they could put the heat on Clinton
Grist
Ben Adler

A new poll from The Wall Street Journal and NBC News finds that 15 percent of Democratic voters named climate change as the most important issue facing the country. That was the third most common response among Democrats, behind jobs and health care. This marks a potentially major shift in public opinion (if it turns out the WSJ/NBC poll isn’t an outlier — a Gallup poll from last year found that even Democrats are less likely to name climate change a top issue than economic or national security concerns). For years polls have consistently shown that a majority of Americans, and a large majority of Democrats, accept climate science and want to reduce carbon emissions. The problem is that people believe lots of things but don’t necessarily vote on them. Those same polls have generally shown that relatively few Americans view climate change as a pressing issue or their top policy priority.  [Full Story]

May 3, 2015
Could fracking destroy the value of your home? New survey suggests fracking could slash home value by 10%
AOL
Sarah Coles

Fracking could slash tens of thousands of pounds off the value of your home. A survey of estate agents found that on average they expected it to take 10% off the value of properties. Some suggested it could destroy value by as much as 70%.   [Full Story]

May 3, 2015
Pipeline politics: Virginia's Keystone? The pipeline opponents say their fight is neither Republican nor Democratic.
Politico
Elana Schor

A core group of Virginia Republicans and other landowners is leading the charge against a proposed natural gas pipeline near their backyards and using tactics similar to the environmental crusade against the Keystone XL oil pipeline — the very project Republicans in Congress have elevated into a matter of national economic survival. Story Continued Below   [Full Story]

May 3, 2015
Methane anomaly in Four Corners area under investigation
KSL
John Hollenhorst

DURANGO, Colo. — There's something in the air in the Four Corners region. Methane. Natural gas. Four research planes and more than two dozen scientists and technologists have descended on the region to figure out where it's coming from. In the region where Utah rubs shoulders with three other states, satellite imagery detected the nation's worst methane hot spot.  [Full Story]

May 3, 2015
Would fracking in Walnut Cove pose earthquake danger?
Winston-Salem Journal
Bertrand M. Gutierrez

A former director of the county’s emergency services department, Stevens has had to contemplate catastrophic scenarios as part of his job. Imagine what scenarios he can picture now as state geologists prepare to assess the area for the possible existence of shale gas reserves. Fracking, the drilling method used to extract shale gas, has been linked with earthquakes.   [Full Story]

May 3, 2015
Greens pounce on research linking drilling to quakes
The Hill


Green groups and lawmakers are seizing on new government research linking earthquakes to oil and gas drilling as evidence of the need for tougher federal regulations. ... But a government report released in April raised a new issue: wells meant for disposing wastewater in oil and gas production are causing small earthquakes in drilling fields across the country.   [Full Story]

May 3, 2015
Tremors out west piling up Hundreds a year rock Oklahoma
Arkansas Online
Kenneth Heard

The number of 3.0-magnitude or greater earthquakes around Oklahoma City has increased tenfold over the past three years since the drilling began, prompting the U.S. Geological Survey to issue a report arguing that the injection process is inducing the temblors.  [Full Story]

May 3, 2015
Companies profiting with cheap natural gas
Tyler Morning Telegraph
Alex Mills

As crude oil prices continue to meander around $50 per barrel, the drilling rig count and drilling permits also decline. But one segment of the petroleum industry continues to move forward because of low prices and that is liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.   [Full Story]

May 3, 2015
The rolling bombs go on
Times Union
Editorial

Our opinion: The delay in oil train safety measures, inadequate ones at that, means years of living with potential disaster. Imagine that day after day, a line of vehicles passes within feet of your home, each car carrying 1,000 tons of TNT, barrelling along at 50 miles an hour – more than half a million tons of TNT a week. That’s what people dwelling near freight tracks in parts of the Capital Region live with. And they will be living with this reality for years to come if the federal government doesn’t rethink rules that seem designed more to please rail and oil executives than protect vulnerable citizens. The U.S. Department of Transportation took steps last week to make crude oil transport somewhat safer. But it still gave an extraordinarily rich industry up to a decade to retrofit its fleet. Even the flimsiest rail cars – DOT-111s – can remain in service, and they’ll have two to three years before a retrofit is required.  [Full Story]

May 3, 2015
The Shale Boom Has Already Gone Bust - At Least For Now
Bloomberg
Bradley Olson and Dan Murtaugh

The meteoric rise in U.S. oil production has ended, easing a global glut and driving a rebound in crude prices from below $50 a barrel, according to crude trader and hedge fund manager Andrew J. Hall. Oil production from Texas to North Dakota peaked at almost 10 million barrels a day in February and has been falling since then, Hall said in a letter Friday to investors in Astenbeck Capital Management LLC, his commodities hedge fund. A drastic reduction in drilling rigs is starting to shrink U.S. oil output, according to U.S. government data cited by Hall.  [Full Story]

May 3, 2015
Earthquake: 3.9 quake strikes in Baldwin Hills area
Los Angeles Times


shallow magnitude 3.9 earthquake was reported Sunday morning one mile from View Park-Windsor Hills, Calif., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 4:07 a.m. Pacific time at a depth of 5.6 miles. The quake was classified by the USGS as "light" but was felt over a wide area of the L.A. basin. The Los Angeles Fire Department said it was going into "earthquake mode," meaning it was checking for any reports of damage. No damage was immediately reported. cComments Got something to say? Start the conversation and be the first to comment. ADD A COMMENT 0 A 3.5 quake rattled the same general area on April 12. Both quakes were centered on the Baldwin Hills/Inglewood border. The Newport-Inglewood fault runs along that   [Full Story]

May 3, 2015
Danger in the Heartland: Man-Made Quakes Mark New Hazard Map
The Weather Channel
Zain Haidar

There's a new hazard in the Heartland. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently released a map highlighting the future risk for man-made earthquakes, and up to eight states have an increased chance to see ground shaking.   [Full Story]

May 3, 2015
Michigan Hit With Its Second-Largest Earthquake Ever Recorded
ThinkProgress
EMILY ATKIN

Michigan was hit with a 4.2 magnitude earthquake on Saturday, the second-strongest in the state’s recorded history, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported. There have been no reports of damage or injuries, though the earthquake was big enough that it was reportedly felt in parts of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. A 4.2 quake is not terribly large — people indoors are expected to feel to movement, and hanging objects might swing back on forth. Still, the event was decidedly unexpected. Michigan is rarely ever affected by seismic activity. According to the USGS, the area where Saturday’s quake occurred has just a 6 to 10 percent chance of any seismic activity in the next 50 years. And if Michigan is impacted by an earthquake, it’s not expected to be very strong — the state’s strongest recorded event was in August 1947, a 4.6 magnitude in almost the exact same location.  [Full Story]

May 3, 2015
West Virginia Host Farms Leads Fracking Tours
WBOY
Mike Marut

MILETUS - Fracking is a hotly debated subject in West Virginia. One volunteer organization is out to educate citizens about it. The West Virginia Host Farms organization led Maryland residents on a six-hour tour Sunday to help them learn about the gas and fracking industry throughout the state.   [Full Story]

May 3, 2015
Energy Pipeline: In New York state, fracking ban fuels secession talk
The Tribune


The national debate over fracking, which critics say can pollute groundwater and endanger public health, heated up last week when the Obama administration announced the first-ever federal regulations on the practice. But nowhere is fracking as heated an issue as in the stretch of New York known as the southern tier, where Cuomo’s ban has spurred talk of secession.   [Full Story]

May 2, 2015
Who pays if a crude oil train crashes? No mandates for rail insurance
Times Union
Brian Nearing

lbany Lessons learned in Canada about woefully inadequate insurance after a runaway crude oil train's fiery explosion incinerated 47 people and the heart of a small town are seemingly being lost here in the U.S.  [Full Story]

May 2, 2015
With a month to go, Texas Legislature races to pass bills Only a half-dozen bills had been sent to Gov. Greg Abbott as of late last week, meaning the 84th Legislature will do most of the heavy lifting during crunchtime before lawmakers go home June 1.
Ft Worth Star-Telegram
Dave Montgomery

Texas lawmakers are entering the final month of a 140-day session marked by tension between the House and Senate as they struggle to find accord on billions of dollars in tax relief and shape a budget to run the state for the next two years.   [Full Story]

May 2, 2015
Central Valley's growing concern: Crops raised with oil field water
Los Angeles Times
Julie Cart

Here in California's thirsty farm belt, where pumpjacks nod amid neat rows of crops, it's a proposition that seems to make sense: using treated oil field wastewater to irrigate crops. Oil giant Chevron recycles 21 million gallons of that water each day and sells it to farmers who use it on about 45,000 acres of crops, about 10% of Kern County's farmland. State and local officials praise the 2-decade-old program as a national model for coping with the region's water shortages. As California's four-year drought lingers and authorities scramble to conserve every drop, agricultural officials have said that more companies are seeking permits to begin similar programs. The heightened interest in recycling oil field wastewater has raised concern over the adequacy of safety measures in place to prevent contamination from toxic oil production chemicals.  [Full Story]

May 1, 2015
Governor Cuomo Applauds New Federal Safety Regulations for Shipment of Crude Oil by Rail
Governor Andrew M Cuomo


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued the following statement in response to the federal government’s adoption of new safety regulations for the shipment of crude oil by rail: “I applaud President Obama and the U.S. Department of Transportation for adopting tougher safety regulations for crude oil shipments, and urge them to implement these strengthened regulations as quickly as possible,” Governor Cuomo said. “  [Full Story]

May 1, 2015
Fracking Could Be More Dangerous Than We Realize
Clean Technica
Roy L Hales

The first indication sounded like a jet plane taking off, only it kept reoccurring day and night. Then there were the blinking lights. Her taps started whistling like there was a train coming. She developed “terribly caustic burns” after bathing. Ten years later, Jessica Ernst still does not know what chemicals Encana used when they fractured into her community’s water supply. Her lawsuit against Encana and the Alberta government agencies that failed to protect her has become famous. How uncommon is her story? A number of reports from British Columbia suggest fracking could be more dangerous than we realize.  [Full Story]

May 1, 2015
Federal regulators issue new rules for oil trains
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—Oil trains will be thicker, have more advanced braking systems and additional protective shields under new federal rules announced Friday, but the most dangerous cars could remain on the tracks for an additional three years. Oil trains have exploded about a dozen times in the last two years in North American, killing dozens and narrowly avoided more significant catastrophes. Yet, their use has increased more than 4,000 percent in just a few years as a fracking boom in North Dakota fuels a major domestic expansion of crude oil production. The new oil train regulations released Friday are among the first major attempts by American and Canadian regulators to address the danger posed by the trains, which travel throughout New York every day.  [Full Story]

May 1, 2015
Fracking New York: It's Not Over 'Till It's Over
Huffington Post
Marcia G. Yerman

When Governor Andrew Cuomo decided to ban fracking in New York State in December 2014, New Yorkers thought their worries were over. They were wrong. It was a great start, but too many people don't realize that the state is riddled with infrastructure that supports the fracking industry through the construction of pipelines, compressor stations, and storage facilities for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).  [Full Story]

May 1, 2015
DOT issues final rules on flammable oil trains
Politico
ELANA SCHOR and KATHRYN A. WOLFE

The Obama administration imposed tougher safety regulations Friday for trains carrying crude oil, responding to growing alarm about a series of fiery derailments that killed dozens of people in a small Canadian town and have rattled U.S. communities from North Dakota to Alabama to Virginia. Details of the rules provoked a furious rebuke from the railroad industry’s main lobbying group, which called DOT’s mandate for advanced brakes “a rash rush to judgment,” while oil refiners said its requirements for retrofitting tens of thousands of older tank cars by as early as 2018 are “unrealistic” and may disrupt commerce. On the other hand, the rules fall far short of some environmental groups’ call for banning oil train shipments altogether, and they don’t require oil companies to process their fuel to make it less volatile before shipping it.   [Full Story]

May 1, 2015
Freedom, Tesla-Style The company’s new home-based battery isn’t just nifty. It’s liberating.
Slate
Daniel Gross

n Thursday night the eyes of a chunk of the nation were on the headquarters of Tesla, where founder Elon Musk delivered a long-hyped product announcement. As all the buzz and leaks suggested, the company unveiled a new home-based battery that can store electricity and serve as a backup generator. From 30,000 feet, that doesn’t sound that exciting. Batteries aren’t exactly a new technology. Lots of other companies make industrial-strength batteries. Home-based generators are neither sexy nor rare. But the frisson surrounding the announcement speaks to a larger point about Tesla—one that many of its critics don’t seem to grasp, and one that helps explain why a company that struggles to make money has a market capitalization of $28.4 billion.  [Full Story]

May 1, 2015
Mapping the Dangers of Fracking
EcoWatch
Briana Kerensky

It feels like spring only just arrived, but as of tomorrow we’re less than a month away from the official start of summer: Memorial Day. National parks and forests across the country will welcome millions of hikers, campers, photographers “picnic-ers,” and others this summer: people looking to leave home for a while and enjoy America’s natural beauty.  [Full Story]

May 1, 2015
Company says oil pipeline idea still alive
The Record
Scott Fallon

A company that wants to build an oil pipeline through parts of North Jersey has delayed the submission of plans to state regulators but says it is still moving forward with the project. Officials with the company proposing the 178-mile Pilgrim Pipeline had originally said they would submit the plans by March. The project was dealt a blow in February, however, when Public Service Electric and Gas said it would not allow it to be built on a long strip of land owned by the utility.   [Full Story]

May 1, 2015
PROFESSOR DEBUNKS CLAIM THAT FRACKING CONTAMINATES WATER, GETS ATTACKED BY PEERS
The College Fix
NATHAN RUBBELK

In debunking nationally acclaimed research, a Syracuse University professor recently testified to Congress that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, actually does not contaminate water. Donald Siegel, professor of Earth Science, testified his findings on April 23 before the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The two-hour hearing, dedicated solely to fracking, sought to “examine the science behind claims that hydraulic fracturing causes groundwater contamination and other environmental concerns.” Siegel’s findings contradict highly touted research from scientists at Duke University, who since 2010 have released studies that indicate fracking is responsible for contaminating water with methane. Siegel has infuriated his peers, who have clung to the Duke studies as proof that fracking harms the environment and have tried to discredit Siegel’s findings in a variety of ways.   [Full Story]

May 1, 2015
$175 oil tanker penalty sought
Times Union
Eric Anderson

Albany On the eve of the announcement of new oil train safety standards, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer has introduced legislation levying a fee on the least-safe tank cars and offering incentives to phase out those cars more quickly. Transport Canada and the U.S. Department of Transportation will announce new tank car safety standards during a press conference Friday morning in Washington. Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will make the announcement.  [Full Story]

May 1, 2015
Feds Consider Pipeline Expansion Foes' Requests for a Rehearing
Yorktown-Somers Patch
Lanning Taliaferro

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today acknowledged requests from foes of Spectra Energy’s expansion plans in Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties that the federal agency revisit its order approving the AIM pipeline project. By issuing a “tolling order,” FERC showed it is still considering the merits of those requests, which were filed by local, state and national politicians, residents, advocacy and environmental groups after the agency approved the first of Spectra’s projects expanding the Algonquin pipeline. Spectra’s AIM project would:  [Full Story]

May 1, 2015
Company asks top court to re-hear gas lease appeal
The Journal News
Jon Campbell

A Colorado-based energy company is asking New York’s top court to re-hear a case that freed Tioga County landowners from their oil-and-gas leases. Fracking In March, the state Court of Appeals decided against Inflection Energy, which had appealed a lower court’s ruling that ended a series of mineral-rights leases between the company and various Tioga property owners. The case centered on “force majeure,” a clause found in most contracts that allows the terms to be extended if a government action or act of god prevent one side or the other from carrying out their obligations.  [Full Story]

May 1, 2015
Kinder Morgan pipeline leak reaches 300,000 gallons in South Carolina
Savannah Morning News
SARITA CHOUREY

More than 300,000 gallons of gasoline have leaked from Texas-based energy company Kinder Morgan’s pipeline in Belton, S.C., since a structure failure in December, according to the Savannah Riverkeeper. The spill was originally reported as 800 gallons, but was actually 800 barrels, Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus said. There are 42 gallons per barrel. The incident, located on Lewis Drive near the junction of West Calhoun Road in Belton, was reported Dec. 8 and was the result of a sleeve failure in the 27-inch pipeline, said Jim Beasley, spokesman for the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. Kinder Morgan spokeswoman Melissa Ruiz said in an email Thursday the pipeline sleeve that failed was installed in 1979 and has been repaired.  [Full Story]

May 1, 2015
Natural-gas prices slide for San Juan Basin ‘Bottom line is it’s lost revenue to the county’
The Durango Herald
Chuck Slothower

The price for San Juan Basin natural gas has halved in the past year, a foreboding sign for property taxpayers and La Plata County coffers. San Juan Basin natural gas is fetching only $2.27 per thousand cubic feet at the Ignacio-Blanco Hub, according to a chart with data gathered by Finney Land Co. and produced by Allen & Associates. That’s down from $4.57 a year ago.   [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
Study links air pollution in Baltimore, DC to fracking outside Maryland
The Baltimore Sun
Timothy B. Wheeler

Even though Maryland has yet to permit any hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, emissions linked to the controversial drilling technique have been detected in the air in Baltimore and Washington, according to a new study. In a paper published in the journal Atmospheric Environment, University of Maryland scientists reported finding that levels of ethane, a component of natural gas, rose 30 percent from 2010 through 2013 in air samples taken at a monitoring station in Essex.  [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
Landmark Fracking Case Gets a Supreme Court Hearing
The Tyee
Andrew Nikiforuk

The Supreme Court of Canada said today that it will hear the landmark case of Jessica Ernst, which squarely challenges how the Alberta government has treated landowners and regulated hydraulic fracturing. The decision both stunned and exhilarated the 57-year-old Ernst. "I've always known my case was important for water and all Canadians, that's why I am taking this legal stand," said Ernst who lives in Rosebud, Alberta. "The court will now hear my appeal that provincial energy regulators not be legally immune from violating the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms when trying to intimidate citizens harmed by fracking," added Ernst. Her stand against the industry and the Alberta government has made her a folk hero throughout North America and parts of Europe.   [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
Pope Francis has given the climate movement just what it needed — faith
The Washington Post
Chris Mooney

This week — and it still feels strange to write this — the major climate change news story came out of the Vatican. There, at the center of global Catholicism, church leaders joined with politicians, scientists and economists to draft a statement declaring not only that climate change is a “scientific reality” but also that there’s a moral and religious responsibility to do something about it. And an even more powerful statement is expected soon from Pope Francis himself, who is slated to release a major papal encyclical on the environment this summer.  [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
Marcellus natgas producers curtail output on weak prices -Williams
Reuters


(Reuters) - U.S. natural gas pipeline company Williams Cos Inc said on Thursday a couple of gas producers in the Marcellus shale in the U.S. Northeast will curtail production due to low prices. "We're seeing decisions to shut in production because of extremely low prices in some of the constrained areas in the far northeast part of the Marcellus," Williams Chief Executive Officer Alan Armstrong said during an analyst call following the release of the company's earnings. The Marcellus, centered under Pennsylvania and West Virginia, is the nation's biggest and fastest growing shale gas play, producing about 20 percent of the nation's gas output.  [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
How Shale Is Becoming The .COM Bubble Of The 21st Century
OilPrice.com
Leonard Brecken

As I review the financials of one of the largest shale producers in the United States, Whiting Petroleum (WLL), I can’t help but notice the parallels to the .COM era of 1999 which, to some extent, has already returned to the technology and biotech sectors of today. Back then, the faster you burned cash to capture customers regardless of earnings to drive your topline, the higher your valuation. The theory was that after capturing the customers (in energy today, it is the wells) spending would slow and so would customer additions allowing companies to generate cash. By the way, a classic recent case is none other than Netflix (NFLX) which, in the past was exposed for accounting gimmicks that continue even today. It is still following this path of burning cash for the sake of customer additions, while never generating any cash in its entire existence. Cash was plentiful in 1999 so it could always be raised as the Federal Reserve began its easy money era creating a series of bubbles for the next 15 years. Does this sound familiar to what is occurring now? It will end the same way and that process has already started as currency wars heat up and our economy grinds to a halt proving QE does not, in fact, create wealth (temporary yes for the 1%, short term, until POP) but instead it destroys it by distorting asset prices, misallocating investments, and ultimately creating an equity crash.  [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
Ron Wyden proposes fee on 'dangerous' oil train cars
Oregon Live
Rob Davis

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, proposed legislation Thursday meant to accelerate the transition away from outdated, less-safe tank cars hauling millions of gallons of crude oil around the country. Wyden's proposal comes a day before U.S. and Canadian transportation officials will announce new specifications for train cars moving oil as well as a schedule to phase out old ones.  [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
Tar Sands Mining Coming to the Tennessee River Valley
EcoWatch
David Whiteside

The Alabama Oil & Gas Board has been authorized by the state legislature to create regulations to allow for the strip mining of tar sands in North Alabama. The agency has stated that they will release a draft of these proposed regulations soon, along with a public notice and opportunity for a public hearing to comment on the rules.   [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
Cuomo’s Southern Tier stimulus plan slow to start
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—Progress on the modest economic plan Governor Andrew Cuomo promised to the Southern Tier after he banned fracking has been halting. On Wednesday, Cuomo announced that his proposed $20 million clean energy competition to bring new companies to the Southern Tier had been cut in half, with the rest of the funds going to existing companies. And separately, the administration's effort to rejuvenate the wood products industry in the rural region has stalled thus far.   [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
Royal Dutch Shell Earnings Fell 56% in First Quarter
The New York Times
Stanley Reed

ABERDEEN, Scotland — Royal Dutch Shell said on Thursday that its earnings for the first quarter fell by 56 percent compared with a year earlier, as improved performance in marketing and refining failed to offset the effects of the plunge in oil prices. The Anglo-Dutch company’s profit, adjusted for inventory changes and one-time items, was $3.2 billion, compared with $7.3 billion in the same period a year earlier. Still, the results beat analysts’ consensus forecasts, and Shell’s shares rose about 1.5 percent in morning trading in London.  [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
Why community shared solar is ready to be the 'great equalizer
UtilityDive
Herman K. Trabish

About half of all American rooftops are suited to solar installations and about 0.5% now have solar. That means solar could get up to 100 times bigger than it is now. But that’s not the big news in a just-released study. The really big news is that community shared solar is poised to reproduce the sharp upward growth that the industry has seen over the last five to six years with solar leasing, according to researchers at the Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL). That would give the other half of households and small businesses the opportunity to buy in.  [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
Brother of Hillary Clinton's Top Campaign Aide Lobbied for Fracked Gas Export Terminal Co-Owned by Qatar
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

Anthony “Tony” Podesta began lobbying in late 2013 on behalf of a company co-owned by ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum aiming to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the global market. Tony is the brother of John Podesta, former top climate change adviser to President Barack Obama and current top campaign aide for Hillary Clinton's 2016 bid for president. In October 2012, Podesta Group began lobbying on behalf of the proposed ExxonMobil-Qatar Petroleum Golden Pass LNG facility in Sabine Pass, Texas, according to lobbying disclosure forms. The forms indicate that Tony Podesta himself, not just his staff, lobbied on behalf of the terminal beginning in quarter four of 2013.  [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
Fracking Wells Could Pollute The Air Hundreds Of Miles Away
Climate Progress
Katie Valentine

Air pollution from hydraulic fracturing operations can likely travel hundreds of miles, even into states with little or no fracking, a new study has found. The study, published in the journal Atmospheric Environment, looked at hourly measurements of air pollutants like ethane and methane — gases that are found in natural gas — in Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C. between 2010 and 2013. It found that ethane measurements increased by 30 percent between 2010 and 2013 in the region.   [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
State hears comments on new fracking regulations
State Impact PA
Reid Frazier

The Wolf administration heard for the first time public comment on its newer, tougher proposed rules for the fracking industry. More than 70 speakers were signed up to speak at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) hearing in Washington, Pa. Wednesday. It was the first of three hearings scheduled for the latest round of proposed changes to Pennsylvania’s drilling regulations.   [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
Senate committee approves Denton fracking bill A bill making its way through the state Legislature would prevent cities from adopting bans on fracking, such as the one approved by voters in Denton in November.
Ft Worth Star-Telegram
Max B Baker

Despite a recent poll indicating the public believes cities should have the authority to ban hydraulic fracturing, a key state Senate committee approved a bill Thursday that would limit municipal control over oil and gas drilling and prohibit any city from adopting a prohibition against fracking.   [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
High court to hear suit over Alberta fracking
Global News


OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada will decide whether an Alberta woman can sue the province’s energy regulator over her claim that hydraulic fracturing has so badly contaminated her well that the water can be set on fire.   [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
New Docu-Series Paints a Complicated Picture of Life in a Fracking Town 'BOOMTOWNERS' examines how American communities weather rapid transformation in the thick of an oil boom.
City Lab
Laura Bliss

Whatever your view, you've probably spent less time considering the communities behind the controversy. BOOMTOWNERS, a new documentary series on the Smithsonian Channel, follows the lives of the workers flooding into towns across the Bakken shale formation, dreaming of better lives made of black gold. While the show focuses heavily on the labor involved in hydraulic fracturing, it also raises questions about the meaning of community and the value of city planning as small towns across Montana and North Dakota struggle to meet the needs of a soaring—and transient—population.   [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
Planned DEP rules don’t satisfy gas industry, environmentalists
Bakken.com
Tony Raap

Tighter environmental rules proposed by state regulators would hurt Pennsylvania’s oil and gas producers, industry officials said Wednesday. Environmentalists argue the proposed rules don’t go far enough.  [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
Exmoor National Park ruled unsuitable for fracking
Western Daily Press


Most of the country's national parks are unsuitable for fracking because of their geology, a report has found. Scientists from Durham University's Department of Earth Sciences have reviewed existing data for each of our 15 national parks and found only four where it could be considered.   [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
SCC to hear case over Alta. well said to be contaminated by fracking
CTV News


OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada will decide whether an Alberta woman can sue the province's energy regulator over her claim that hydraulic fracturing has so badly contaminated her well that the water can be set on fire.   [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
Dangers of the fracking industry remain a complete unknown
Click Green
Roy L. Hales

The first indication sounded like a jet plane taking off, only it kept reoccurring day and night. Then there were the blinking lights. Her taps started whistling like there was a train coming. She developed “terribly caustic burns” after bathing. Ten years later, Jessica Ernst still does not know what chemicals Encana used when they fractured into her community’s water supply. Her lawsuit against Encana and the Alberta government agencies that failed to protect her has become famous. How uncommon is her story? A number of reports from British Columbia suggest we really don’t know how dangerous Fracking is.   [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
Florida Lawmakers Put Off Vote on Fracking Chemicals Bill
Sputnik News


The Florida State Senate opted to avoid a vote on a bill that would require oil and gas companies to publish for public use the chemicals used in hydraulic drilling, also known as fracking.   [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
Majority of Young Americans Oppose Fracking - Poll
Sputnik News


Fifty-eight percent of US citizens aged 18-29 oppose hydraulic fracturing, according to a recent poll released by Harvard University. WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Thirty-five percent of young Americans “somewhat oppose” and 23 percent “strongly oppose” fracking, compared to 9 percent who said they “strongly support” and 31 percent who “somewhat support” fracking, the poll revealed on Wednesday.   [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
New federal fracking rules are insufficient, Slocum says
Akron Beacon Journal
Bob Downing & Doug Livingston

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new federal rule doesn’t go far enough to protect the environment from the dangers of fracking, Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, said today. On March 20, U.S. Department of Interior officials announced a new rule governing hydraulic fracturing – commonly known as “fracking” – on public and tribal lands. Today, the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining will hold a hearing on the rule.   [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
FRACKING PROTESTERS GATHER AT STATEHOUSE IN COLUMBUS
Hudson Hub Times
Marc Kovac

Columbus -- Groups that oppose horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, gathered outside the Statehouse April 28 to urge lawmakers to kill a bill they say would make it easier to drill for oil and gas on state-owned land.   [Full Story]

Apr 30, 2015
NYU senate votes against ‘new investments’ in fossil fuel
Capital New York
Conor Skelding

New York University's senate passed a non-binding resolution today asking that the board of trustees "immediately cease any new investments in fossil fuel companies in its directly held accounts." It will be presented to the university trustees, who set investment policy.  [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
New comment period opened for gas pipeline proposal
Daily Gazette
Kyle Adams

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has announced a new public comment period on a water quality review for the proposed Constitution Pipeline, which would cross four New York counties before ending in the Schoharie County town of Wright. The new 15-day comment period opened Wednesday and will close May 14. The first public comment period, which had been extended, ended Feb. 27.   [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
Gov. Brown's Important New Climate Goal Undermined by Fracking Pollution California Plan Makes Important Step Toward Fighting Climate Disruption, But Fails to Confront Threats of Unconventional Oil Production
Center for Biological Diversity
Press Release

SACRAMENTO, Calif.— Gov. Jerry Brown today announced an important new plan to reduce California’s greenhouse gas pollution by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. But the governor’s executive order on climate change is undermined by his support for fracking and dangerous oil production. Leading climate experts have called on the governor to impose a moratorium on fracking in the state.   [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
Strong odor from fracking water disposal site concerns Whitewater residents
NBC 11 News
Kelsey Perkins

WHITEWATER, Colo. A fracking wastewater disposal site near Whitewater is causing a big stink. Neighbors in the area complain of a horrible odor from the plant, and say they have been battling with it for two years to no avail.  [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
Wilber returns as investigative reporter
Press Connects
Jeff Platsky

Tom is rejoining the staff of the Press & Sun-Bulletin as a part-time investigative reporter concentrating on the environment Tom Wilber, the author of the critically acclaimed "Under the Surface: Fracking, Fortunes and the Fate and the Marcellus Shale" is rejoining the staff of the Press & Sun-Bulletin as an investigative reporter concentrating on the environment.   [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
Lawsuit challenging BLM fracking rules?is not a state effort
The Daily Sentinel
Dennis Webb

RIFLE — Gov. John Hickenlooper and his administration are not supporting state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman’s decision to join a lawsuit challenging the federal Bureau of Land Management’s new rules governing hydraulic fracturing. “She is exercising her own independent authority. She has every right to do that. We recognize that,” said Mike King, executive director of the state Department of Natural Resources.   [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
Poll says majority of Americans back fracking bans by cities
The Olympian
Max B. Baker

FORT WORTH, TEXAS — A majority of Americans and Texans support allowing cities to ban hydraulic fracturing, even if state law otherwise permits it, according to a national online poll released Wednesday by the University of Texas at Austin. The UT Energy Poll shows that 58 percent of the people surveyed nationally support giving cities the authority to adopt bans such as the one passed by Denton, Texas, in November.   [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
Environmental groups sound alarm over 'self-destructive' fracking in Colorado Bureau of Land Management aims to ramp up oil and natural gas production in western states that activists say would threaten an already stressed area
The Guardian
Peter Moskowitz

The Center for Biological Diversity and three other groups based in Colorado filed a protest against the Bureau of Land Management this week seeking to stop the federal agency from instituting rules that would vastly increase the amount of fracked oil and gas produced on public lands in the state. If the BLM’s rules go through, the number of fracked wells in north-west Colorado could increase from about 1,800 to 17,000 over the next two decades.  [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
Florida fracking bill won't pass this year
Orlando Sentinel


Senators on Wednesday tabled a controversial bill about the oil and natural-gas drilling process known as "fracking," ensuring the measure will not pass this year.  [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
UT Survey Finds Support for City Fracking Decisions
Texas Tribune
Jim Malewitz

A hefty slice of Americans support local control over hydraulic fracturing, according to new University of Texas at Austin survey. Of Americans familiar with the controversial method of bolstering oil and gas production, 58 percent said that cities should be able to ban its use within their borders, while just 25 percent said local governments should not wield that authority, according to the annual UT Energy Poll, whose results were made public Wednesday.   [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
USGS Adds Fracking-Induced Quakes to Seismic Projections
Care2
S.E. Smith

For the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), earthquake monitoring, projections and predictions are all a big part of the job. Keeping track of earthquakes and estimating where and when the next big one might hit is critical for public safety. In recent years, though, the agency has begun facing a new challenge: Fracking-induced earthquakes. The science on the subject is officially in, and the USGS has started weighing considerations about fracking in its larger earthquake predictions. It has to, because the number of earthquakes in the U.S. is skyrocketing, and while correlation is not causation, it’s notable that the increase is heavily linked with the rise of fracking in oil and gas production. That’s right: A problem caused by humans has become so pervasive that a government agency is treating it like a natural phenomenon.   [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
Ohio City in Legal Battle Repeals Oil/Gas Drilling Ordinances
NGI Shale Daily
Jamison Cocklin

The northeastern Ohio city of Munroe Falls has repealed drilling ordinances that landed it at the center of a legal battle regarding the conflicts between local zoning and the state's preemptive regulatory authority over the oil and gas industry.   [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
College students are making global warming a moral issue. Here's why that scares people.
VOX
David Roberts

The Pope plans on delivering an encyclical on climate change this summer, and it has American conservatives freaking out. The Heartland Institute, a leading anti-environmental "think tank," has even dispatched a crack team of deniers to Rome to dissuade His Holiness.  [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
Things to know about California’s plan to cut emissions
Washington Post
Juliet Williams

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Here are some things to know about California Gov. Jerry Brown’s new target for reducing carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.   [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
BREAKING: California Governor Issues North America’s Most Aggressive Climate Goal
ThinkProgress
ARI PHILLIPS

On Wednesday morning, four-term California Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order that aims to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Brown called it the most aggressive GHG target by any North American government to date. Under Brown’s guidance, California has made ambitious steps to confront climate change, which has contributed to the state’s current water woes. But this is his boldest gambit yet. His carbon reduction target is even more aggressive than the Obama administration’s, which aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.  [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
Pipeline opponent arrested at public meeting in Lancaster County
NPR State Impact PAR


An opponent of a controversial natural gas pipeline project was arrested Tuesday night and charged with disorderly conduct for speaking out at a public meeting in Lancaster County. Conestoga Township supervisor Craig Eshleman says resident Kim Kann was removed by police because she violated the rules of the meeting. He says the gathering was not an official board meeting, but rather an educational forum about home rule– an effort to gain more local control by residents.  [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
State to make fracking ban official, not permanent
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—Governor Andrew Cuomo's fracking ban may be more of a freeze. The state is soon to release its final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement for fracking and, shortly after that, a findings statement that will lay out the reasons for the state's decision to prohibit it in New York. Since Cuomo announced the decision in December, he has resisted environmentalists' calls to change the law and make the ban permanent. That's why some lawmakers who oppose fracking still plan to push bills that restrict fracking in New York.  [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
Call for national debate on fracking in Scotland
BBC News


Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has called for a "national debate" on fracking in a BBC Scotland interview. The Scottish government is facing demands from environmental campaigners for a permanent ban on unconventional oil and gas extraction. It follows Mr Ewing's announcement in January of a "moratorium" on fracking. Mr Ewing told MSPs the temporary ban would remain in place until the Scottish government had carried out a full public consultation. There will also be a public health assessment, planning guidance is to be strengthened and environmental regulations are to be reviewed.  [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
How the Electricity World has Changed Demand Response and the Story of this Clean Energy Resource
Medium
Michael Panfil

n the very near future (maybe even as early as even next week), the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether or not to hear a case known as EPSA v. FERC. Hidden within these dueling acronyms is a vitally important resource known as demand response. Although few people even know this tool exists, it invisibly benefits the life of many Americans. Simply put, demand response is an innovative tool that rewards people who use less electricity during times of peak, or high, energy demand. Our current system largely balances energy demand and supply with fossil fuel power plants, so greater demand has traditionally been met with more power plants coming online. Demand response instead approaches this balance from the demand side (hence the name): it reduces or delays unessential demand, resulting in cleaner, cheaper electricity.   [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
Frack-Happy Texas Shuts Down Earthquake-Prone Injection Wells
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

Texas is not known for using caution when it comes to oil and gas development. Fracking has swept the state like a hurricane, despite attempts by some environmental and community activists. The city of Denton passed a ban on new fracking operations in last November’s elections, and the Texas legislature is currently considering legislation that would overturn that vote and take away the ability of cities and towns to regulate virtually any aspect of drilling within their borders.  [Full Story]

Apr 29, 2015
Marcellus Production Outlook: Has Well Productivity Peaked in the Nation’s Largest Shale Gas Play?
Post Carbon Institute
David Hughes

The Marcellus shale gas play of Pennsylvania and West Virginia came onto the scene in 2007 in a big way and has grown to become the nation’s largest. It has accounted for much of the growth of U.S. shale gas production, and made up for declines in former shale gas giants like the Haynesville and Barnett plays of Louisiana and eastern Texas. Companies have scrambled to build pipeline infrastructure to connect the Marcellus to consumers in the U.S. northeast. Canadians, once supplied by gas from western Canada, are also looking to the Marcellus (and the much smaller Utica play in Ohio) for future supply; the pipelines that delivered gas to the east might be converted to instead deliver bitumen from the western tar sands. Companies in both the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada are looking to build LNG terminals to export the shale gas bounty, and the first LNG export terminal on the Gulf coast will open later this year. The prognosis for the Marcellus is therefore very important, as it is being counted on to supply abundant cheap gas to the northeast and elsewhere for decades to come. One of the big problems in figuring out what is happening with the Marcellus is the tardiness with which the states provide production data to the general public and to data vendors such as Drillinginfo, which I utilize extensively to analyze shale plays. West Virginia provides data in one-year chunks, and won’t release what happened in 2014 until mid-2015. Pennsylvania is somewhat better, releasing data in six-month chunks. In the absence of recent accurate production data, there has been much speculation on Marcellus production using proxies such as pipeline receipts and algorithms to estimate what production might be. Pennsylvania’s recent release of data from the last half of 2014, however, provides an opportunity to take an updated look at the Marcellus, considering that Pennsylvania comprises 85% of Marcellus production.  [Full Story]

Apr 28, 2015
Projections show U.S. becoming a net exporter of natural gas
OilVoice


In its recently released Annual Energy Outlook 2015 (AEO2015), EIA expects the United States to be a net natural gas exporter by 2017. After 2017, natural gas trade is driven largely by the availability of natural gas resources and by world energy prices. Increased availability of domestic gas or higher world energy prices each increase the gap between the cost of U.S. natural gas and world prices that encourages exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), and, to a lesser extent, greater exports by pipeline to Mexico. The AEO2015 examines alternate cases with higher and lower world oil price assumptions, which serve as a proxy for broader world energy prices given oil-indexed contracts, as well as with higher assumed U.S. oil and natural gas resources. These assumptions significantly affect projected growth in annual net LNG exports after 2017. Net LNG exports make up most of the natural gas exports in most cases. By 2040, LNG exports range from 0.2 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in the Low Oil Price case to 10.3 Tcf in the High Oil and Gas Resource case. For comparison, 2040 natural gas net exports by pipeline range from 1.1 Tcf in the High Oil Price case to 2.9 Tcf in the High Oil and Gas Resource case.  [Full Story]

Apr 28, 2015
Algonquin Pipeline Foes Lobby in Albany
Peekskill Cortlandt Patch
Lanning Taliaferro

Local residents joined advocates and officials from across New York in Albany yesterday to urge state officials to employ a consistent policy evaluating health impacts of the full lifecycle process of shale gas development. Amid growing scientific evidence of potential risks, they requested that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the departments of Environmental Conservation and Health conduct an independent, transparent, cumulative Health Impact Assessment (HIA) with public participation, to fully evaluate and address the impacts of the build-out of extensive gas infrastructure in New York State. The infrastructure includes, but is not limited to, pipelines, compressor stations, gas-fired power plants, metering and regulating stations, pigging stations and gas processing and storage facilities.  [Full Story]

Apr 28, 2015
No Bright Lines for Pipelines
National Law Review


The United States Supreme Court recently issued a 7-2 decision that dismantled almost 70 years of bright-line jurisprudence in the energy industry and, instead, instituted a “make-it-up-as-you-go-along” approach. The decision upholds states’ rights to regulate conduct under antitrust principles in the energy industry even though the same conduct is concurrently subject to federal regulation. While some may consider the case to be isolated and insignificant, perhaps the better view is that the decision signals a shift toward greater tolerance for state regulation of conduct that would otherwise fall under federal province. The impact may be to subject businesses in a host of industries, many of whom rely heavily on the uniformity that federal regulation provides, to inconsistent regulation across all 50 states.  [Full Story]

Apr 28, 2015
New federal rules on hydraulic fracturing a good start, say experts
Phys.org
Mark Golden

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management recently revamped 25-year-old rules for oil and gas drilling on federal and Indian lands to deal with environmental concerns about hydraulic fracturing. Both sides of the environmental debate are on the attack. Wyoming, North Dakota and two industry groups are suing to stop the rules, and Republican U.S. senators introduced legislation to prohibit federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing. Meanwhile, some Democratic members of Congress moved to ban hydraulic fracturing on federal land completely. The 100-page final rule boils down to three main rule changes, which will take effect next month. Gas and oil companies will have to store wastewater from wells in tanks rather than open-air pits. Also, the companies will have to disclose publicly the chemicals they use at each drilling site. Third, drillers must test all wells before production begins, rather than testing only the first well of a new type. In states that have stricter rules than the new federal requirements, the state rules will apply to federal lands.   [Full Story]

Apr 28, 2015
Environmentalists say gas, coal & oil cause deadly climate change
NJ Today.net


The United States is poised to bet its energy future on natural gas as a clean, plentiful fuel that can supplant coal and oil. But new research by the Environmental Protection Agency—and a growing understanding of the pollution associated with the full “life cycle” of gas production—is casting doubt on the assumption that gas offers a quick and easy solution to climate change. Advocates for natural gas routinely assert that it produces 50 percent less greenhouse gases than coal and is a significant step toward a greener energy future. But those assumptions are based on emissions from the tailpipe or smokestack and don’t account for the methane and other pollution emitted when gas is extracted and piped to power plants and other customers. The EPA’s new analysis doubles its previous estimates for the amount of methane gas that leaks from loose pipe fittings and is vented from gas wells, drastically changing the picture of the nation’s emissions that the agency painted as recently as April. Calculations for some gas-field emissions jumped by several hundred percent. Methane levels from the hydraulic fracturing of shale gas were 9,000 times higher than previously reported.  [Full Story]

Apr 28, 2015
AMERICA HITS MAJOR MILESTONE IN RENEWABLE ENERGY
Blue Nation Review
Shawn Drury

Over the past several months, renewable energy advocates have celebrated tremendous progress in solar energy development and received the public support of President Obama. Still, there’s a long way to go. But Monday another major milestone was reached. The first-ever offshore wind farm broke ground off the coast of Rhode Island. According to a statement from the Sierra Club, the 30-megawatt project will power every home and business on Block Island, which has a population of just over 1,000. Undersea cables will supply excess electricity to Rhode Island, 13 miles to the north. When the project is finished in 2016, the five wind turbines will lower electricity rates for residents on Block Island by as much as 40 percent.   [Full Story]

Apr 28, 2015
Scientists and Religious Leaders Discuss Climate Change at Vatican
NY Times
Elisabetta Povoledo

VATICAN CITY — For a 2,000-year-old institution hardly known for its mutability, there was a sense of urgency at the Vatican on Tuesday when scientists, diplomats and religious and political leaders discussed climate change and its impact on the world’s poor. “We are the first generation that can end poverty, and the last generation that can avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations said at an international symposium on climate change organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The event presaged a keenly anticipated papal letter on the environment that Pope Francis is expected to issue in June. Mr. Ban met with the pope ahead of the one-day conference here and told reporters afterward that the pope’s message in his scheduled papal teaching, known as an encyclical, would come at “a critical time,” one that “demanded a collective action.” “Climate change is approaching much faster than one may think,” he said.  [Full Story]

Apr 28, 2015
More Fatal Earthquakes to Come, Warn Climate Change Scientists
Newsweek
Alex Renton

The untold – and terrifying – story behind the earthquake that devastated Nepal last Saturday morning begins with something that sounds quite benign. It’s the ebb and flow of rainwater in the great river deltas of India and Bangladesh, and the pressure that puts on the grinding plates that make up the surface of the planet. Recently discovered, that causal factor is seen by a growing body of scientists as further proof that climate change can affect the underlying structure of the Earth. Because of this understanding, a series of life-threatening “extreme geological events” – earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis – is predicted by a group of eminent geologists and geophysicists including University College London’s Bill McGuire, professor emeritus of Geophysical and Climate Hazards.  [Full Story]

Apr 28, 2015
The invisible organisms that threaten to make climate change much worse
Washington Post
Chelsea Harvey

When we think about greenhouse gas emissions, a few obvious culprits — coal-fired power plants or automobiles — come to mind. But the burning of fossils fuels isn’t the only process spewing carbon into the atmosphere. A much less talked-about, but increasingly concerning source of carbon emissions is the slowly thawing permafrost, or frozen soil, in the Arctic. We know that permafrost is a formidable threat to our changing climate, covering nearly a quarter of all the land surface in the Northern Hemisphere and containing about 1,700 gigatons of stored carbon. We also know the basic processes that can cause it to leak that carbon into the atmosphere. As permafrost thaws, microbes in the ground, including bacteria and other microorganisms, start snacking on the dead plants and other tasty organic matter contained in the soil, releasing methane and carbon dioxide. But what we haven’t clearly understood until now is how global warming can affect the microbes, themselves.  [Full Story]

Apr 28, 2015
Trout Unlimited watching streams in PennEast path
mcall.com
Gary R. Blockus

ogress is ready to slice through the Delaware River Basin once final approval is given and construction begins on the proposed $1-billion PennEast Pipeline that will carry Marcellus Shale-industry natural gas in a 36-inch pipeline from near Dallas, Luzerne County, all they way into Mercer County, N.J., near Princeton. The proposed route will cross the Lehigh River twice. The first proposed crossing comes on State Game Lands 91 before the Lehigh reaches the Frances E. Walter Dam. The other crossing comes between Bethlehem and Easton. Both of those crossings are listed as horizontal directional drillings, according to Katy Dunlap, the Eastern Water Project Director at Trout Unlimited who is based in Virginia. Those drillings for the pipeline will begin in the mountainside above the river, go horizontal underneath the river, and then come out vertically in the mountain or hillside on the opposite side of the river.  [Full Story]

Apr 28, 2015
Anti-fracking activists now fight against oil infrastructure
Innovation Trail
Jenna Flanagan

Hydraulic fracturing is currently not allowed in New York state. But a group of medical professionals, advocates and residents are warning that the industry still poses a grave risk to the empire state. It’s not fracking that’s causing worry. It’s the industry infrastructure that has a large footprint in the state, despite the fact the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced late last year that fracking would not be permitted in New York. Energy companies are planning on building pipelines, power plants, regulating stations, storage facilities and compressor stations all over New York. Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at SUNY Albany says the state needs to act now because the federal government has failed to regulate the industry.  [Full Story]

Apr 28, 2015
Could Fracking Spark a Modern-Day Dust Bowl?
Eco Watch
Tim Radford

Oil wells and natural gas may have made individual Americans rich, but they have impoverished the great plains of North America, according to new research. Fossil fuel prospectors have sunk 50,000 new wells a year since 2000 in three Canadian provinces and 11 U.S. states, and have damaged the foundation of all economic growth: net primary production—otherwise known as biomass, or vegetation. Brady Allred, assistant professor of rangeland ecology at the University of Montana’s College of Forestry and Conservation, and colleagues write in the journal Science that they combined years of high-resolution satellite data with information from industry and public records to track the impact of oil drilling on natural and crop growth.  [Full Story]

Apr 28, 2015
Texas Family Still Waiting for $2.9 Million Fracking Verdict
Inside Climate News
David Hasemyer

A year after a Texas jury awarded $2.9 million to a family who claims to have been sickened by gas and oil wells, the case remains in limbo because critical court documents needed for an appeal have not been prepared. The landmark case is being anxiously watched by industry and environmentalists for the legal precedent it may set. The verdict, if upheld, would open the door to other lawsuits against industry by people living nearby oil and gas production, according to legal experts.  [Full Story]

Apr 28, 2015
“They just don’t care as far as I can tell…” oil/water mix leaks into family farm
KFOR
Adam Snider

OKLAHOMA COUNTY — Oklahoma homeowners are furious, after a salt water mix leaks from a nearby oil and gas facility. The leak sprung sometime late Tuesday afternoon, and as it ran into the family’s vegetation, they demanded to know what’s in it. When David Loftis returned to his rural Oklahoma County home Tuesday, he found a muddy mess. “There was a leak at this well site…and it came down the road,” explained Loftis. “[It] then went under the road into our pasture.”  [Full Story]

Apr 28, 2015
Biggest Fracking Company in Utah Hires BP Executive Involved in Gulf Oil Disaster as CEO
DeSmogBlog
Anne Landman

Fidelity Exploration and Production Company, the largest hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) operator in southeastern Utah, has chosen Patrick O'Bryan to replace its outgoing CEO, Kent Wells. Both executives have ties to the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and both have links to BP's questionable accountability structure, poor safety record and overall bungled responses to the oil disasters.   [Full Story]

Apr 28, 2015
New York Needs a Climate Action Plan
Environmental Advocates of New York
Peter Iwanowicz

Nations across the globe, including the U.S., are putting together bold new plans for climate action. The push is on for agreements later this year in Paris. The Pope will be in New York this September delivering a major speech and policy document for Catholics about the importance of action on climate change.? ? It is sad with all the momentum that New York State's efforts are lagging. Poor policy choices like the recent raid of the state’s premier carbon abatement program – are a consequence of New York lacking a climate action plan.? ?   [Full Story]

Apr 28, 2015
U.S., Canada will have oil train safety plan Friday -sources
Reuters
Patrick Rucker and Mike De Souza

(Reuters) - The top U.S. and Canadian transportation officials will meet in Washington on Friday to outline a cross-border oil train safety plan, a sign the two governments may have harmonized efforts for tougher cars and other measures to curb fiery derailments, said industry and government officials familiar with the proposal.  [Full Story]

Apr 28, 2015
Fracking politics trump science as oil industry, environmental lobby push biased views
Washington Times
Valerie Richardson

The old saw about statistics — that, given enough spin, they can be used to support anything — is being increasingly applied to science, especially, critics say, when it comes to the fight over hydraulic fracturing. Finding out who conducted a fracking study, and who funded it, has become as important as the results of the research itself as the powerful fossil fuel industry and media-savvy environmental movement spar to claim the scientific high ground.   [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Good Luck Going After the Pope, Climate Deniers
Mother Jones
Jeremy Schulman|

If you write about climate change for a living, you get used to being on the receiving end of tweets, emails, and comments explaining why manmade global warming is a colossal hoax. But it turns out that if you're the pope, the trolls take things a bit further. From our partners at the Guardian: A US activist group that has received funding from energy companies and the foundation controlled by conservative activist Charles Koch is trying to persuade the Vatican that "there is no global warming crisis" ahead of an environmental statement by Pope Francis this summer that is expected to call for strong action to combat climate change. The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based conservative thinktank that seeks to discredit established science on climate change, said it was sending a team of climate scientists to Rome "to inform Pope Francis of the truth about climate science."  [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Frackers talk a good game in TV ads, but let's look at reality
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


As I listen to and watch the advertisements on the radio and television promoting the shale gas industry, I wonder why we can’t have an honest conversation about fracking. The spokesperson in the advertisement invariably tells us how they have looked into this activity and found it to be “safe.” The spokesperson goes on to say that fracking has been done for more than 60 years. The real fact is that slick water fracking, which is what is being done in Pennsylvania, has only been done since 2004. And, as for “safe,” there have been hundreds of documented spills, accidents and fines levied by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Lawsuits are now increasingly common — against the drillers, against local officials who have refused to protect their residents and even against leaseholders who have leased their land and jeopardized their neighbors’ health, safety and property values.   [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Jon Stewart is shocked Oklahoma finally accepted scientific evidence that fracking causes earthquakes
Business Insider
ELLIE KINCAID

Human activity isn't just warming the planet. We're also causing earthquakes, and have been for decades. Scientific evidence points to fracking as the cause of dramatically more frequent earthquakes in Oklahoma and other high fracking areas of the US, including Texas.   [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
NYS urged to apply fracking health standards to growing gas pipeline networks
Times Union
Brian Nearing

With a web of new and expanded natural gas pipelines on the drawing board in the state, as energy companies seek to move gas from a hydrofracking boom in Pennsylvania to the Northeast for sale and potential export, opponents warned Monday that chronic pollution leaks from the pipes would threaten public health. Opponents from 21 counties across the Capital Region, Southern Tier, Finger Lakes and lower Hudson Valley — which could be along the path of hundreds of miles new high-pressure pipes — urged the state to delay air pollution permit approvals until after conducting a comprehensive health study of potential risks to people who would live near the projects.  [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Plant flares emit more pollutants than previously thought, the EPA reports
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Don Hopey

A new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency formula for calculating the amount of pollutants released by flares at refineries and chemical plants nationwide shows that those emissions are four times higher than previously thought. The EPA said last week that the court-ordered update of a decades-old method used by the government and individual industrial facilities to calculate pollution releases will provide more accurate estimates of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds released by the flaring or burning of waste gases at those facilities.  [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Public panning the pipeline
Augusta Chronicle
Opinion

The massive unpopularity of a petroleum pipeline near the Savannah River and through coastal Georgia was on full display for state officials at a public hearing in Richmond Hill on April 21. We sincerely hope those officials – namely Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry – were paying attention. Next month, he’ll decide whether the Texas-based pipeline company can use the government’s power to condemn private property. The public hearing was no ordinary exhibition of public repudiation. Nearly 600 people, some wearing anti-pipeline T-shirts and carrying signs such as “DOT asleep at the wheel,” crowded into a meeting hall set up for 150. The overwhelming majority who spoke opposed Kinder Morgan’s proposed Palmetto Pipeline, which would cross 210 miles of mostly private property in Georgia using eminent domain – the power to take private property at whatever price an appraiser deems “fair.”  [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Dame Vivienne Westwood: Fracking is 'a crime against humanity'
International Business Times
Adam Justice

British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood took to the streets of London on Monday 27 April, cradling a "fracked baby of the future" in her latest show of opposition to hydraulic fracturing. The 74 year old, known for her environmental campaigning as well as her bold designs, held a doll covered in bloodstains and with a missing hand, which initiative Talk Fracking called a "limbless, radiation-scabbed fracked baby of the future".  [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
WILL FLORIDA LET GAS COMPANIES KEEP FRACKING CHEMICALS SECRET?
Broward Palm Beach New Times
Deirdra Funcheon

The Senate is set to vote Tuesday on two bills — SB 1582 and SB 1468 — that opponents are calling "The Fracking Secret Chemicals bill[s]."   [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Fracking regulation bill passes House but companion records bill delayed
Saint Peters Blog
Peter Schorsch

A bill that Republicans said would clamp down on oil and gas hydraulic fracturing but some Democrats said would provide a welcome mat for the practice passed the House 82-34 on Monday.   [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Fracking is not the cause of quakes. The real problem is fracking’s wastewater
Washington Post
Becky Oskin

New earthquake hazard maps show that fracking’s byproducts are clearly to blame for recent swarms of earthquakes plaguing several states.   [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Freaking out over fracking
Washington Examiner
Zack Colman

Erie, Colo.--The center of Colorado's next fight over fracking is here, on Interstate-25 just north of Denver. Hydraulic fracturing, as it is properly known, has unlocked an energy boom and turned the U.S. into the world's top oil and gas producer.  [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
EPA Okays More Permits Allowing Fracking Waste Water On Reservation
Wyoming Public Media
Melodie Edwards

An environmental watchdog group says the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest permits violate the Clean Water Act by allowing thousands of gallons of fracking fluids to be released onto Wind River Reservation lands. The group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility or PEER, say the permits were originally issued in the 1970’s to provide drinking water for livestock and wildlife in the arid West. Director Jeffrey Ruch says, since then, fracking fluid ingredients have become much more complex.  [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Over 1,000 UK election candidates sign Greenpeace pledge to oppose fracking
Shale Energy Insider
James Perkins

Around 300 UK parliamentary candidates for the Labour and the Liberal Democrats are amongst over 1,000 prospective MPs who have signed a Greenpeace pledge to oppose fracking. Most of the main parties support fracking in some capacity, however, many election candidates including seven of the Liberal Democrat front bench have registered their opposition to official policy.  [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Oklahoma may block local fracking bans
PetroGlobal News
Nicolas Torres

Oklahoma’s state House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday designed to block local officials from banning hydraulic fracturing. The bill was approved by a 64-32 vote and will now be sent back to the state senate for further review, the Oklahoman said.   [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
New federal rules on hydraulic fracturing a good start, say Stanford experts Hydraulic fracturing has unleashed massive new supplies of natural gas, as well as anxiety about contaminated drinking water and earthquakes.
Stanford News
Mark Golden

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management recently revamped 25-year-old rules for oil and gas drilling on federal and Indian lands to deal with environmental concerns about hydraulic fracturing. Both sides of the environmental debate are on the attack.   [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Colorado sues federal government over fracking
Shale Energy Insider
James Perkins

Colorado has joined Wyoming and North Dakota in challenging the US federal government’s rules to regulate fracking on federal public lands, which were issued in March. The lawsuit argues that the new rules supersede the state’s authority and “invade” the jurisdiction of the state regulatory bodies.   [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
International LNG import terminals head offshore, EIA says
Fuel Fix
Robert Grattan

HOUSTON — Offshore LNG import terminals have gone international, as a number of smaller importers are hoping to use the floating facilities to bridge the gap until onshore facilities can be built, according to a government report. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Monday that of the four countries planning to start LNG imports in 2015, three have chosen to do so using offshore facilities. Those facilities, known as regasification plants because they take liquefied natural gas and return it to a gas fuel, are in Pakistan, Jordan and Egypt.  [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Aqua PA representative to address UDC
The News Eagle
Peter Becker

NARROWSBURG - Aqua Pennsylvania’s wastewater treatment plant serving the Masthope Mountain Community has shown no effluent violations for 2014. Furthermore, the last Discharge Monitoring Report violation was reported in January 2013, according to the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Question of whether there were violations was raised by the National Park Service, Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River after complaints were made of seeing raw effluent coming from Masthope Creek where it enters the Delaware River. These complaints surfaced following peak summer holiday weekends when more people are visiting the private community in Lackawaxen Township.  [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Former Shell boss: Fossil fuel industry must 'change profoundly' James Smith of the Carbon Trust argues there is a future for oil and gas firms, but only if they embrace low carbon technology
Business Green
James Murray

The former chairman of Shell UK has today argued the entire oil and gas industry needs to "strengthen its voice" in its response to climate change and step up efforts to develop low carbon technologies. Writing exclusively for BusinessGreen, James Smith, who now serves as chairman of green consultancy Carbon Trust, warns that the increasingly high profile "divestment" and "unburnable carbon" campaigns had focused attention on whether oil and gas companies can survive in their current form.   [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Kansas oil production up; natural gas production continued decline in 2014
University of Kansas
James Murray

LAWRENCE — Oil production in Kansas increased in 2014, boosted mainly by activity in a few south-central and northwestern counties, while natural gas production continued to decline, according to estimates from the Kansas Geological Survey (KGS) at the University of Kansas.   [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Well Drilling Has Deep Impact on Health of Great Plains
Truthdig
Tim Radford

LONDON—Oil wells and natural gas may have made individual Americans rich, but they have impoverished the great plains of North America, according to new research. Fossil fuel prospectors have sunk 50,000 new wells a year since 2000 in three Canadian provinces and 11 U.S. states, and have damaged the foundation of all economic growth: net primary production—otherwise known as biomass, or vegetation.   [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Bust a double whammy in San Juan
Albuquerque Journal
Kevin Robinson-Avila

Until oil prices collapsed last fall, oil exploration in the Mancos shale in the San Juan Basin was the one bright spot in an otherwise dismal situation in the Four Corners region. San Juan County, where New Mexico’s natural gas production is concentrated, has never really emerged from the Great Recession because natural gas producers are still earning a fraction of what they received prior to the financial collapse in 2008. Prices remain stuck below $3 per 1,000 cubic feet, compared to $6 or more before the recession.   [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Dip in drilling fuels worries about tax fallout
New Castle News
John Finnerty

HARRISBURG — New evidence shows Pennsylvania’s gas boom may be slowing, even as Gov. Tom Wolf pushes for a production tax on the industry. Permits for new wells in the first quarter of the year were down 30 percent compared to the first quarter of last year. The 601 new permits granted by the state was the fewest in five years, since the days when the gas industry was just getting started here.   [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Pennsylvania anti-fracking activist fined $1,000 by judge
Ohio.com
Bob Downing & Doug Livingston

Pennsylvania anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins was fined $1,000 by a judge after she violated court orders and went too close to natural gas drilling site earlier this year. The fine was imposed by a Susquehanna County judge in a long-running legal battle between Scroggins and Cabot Oil and Gas  [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Floating LNG regasification is used in smaller markets
Ohio.com
Bob Downing & Doug Livingston

Floating regasification is a flexible, cost-effective way to receive and process shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Floating regasification is increasingly being used to meet natural gas demand in smaller markets, or as a temporary solution until onshore regasification facilities are built. Of four countries planning to begin importing LNG in 2015, three of them—Pakistan, Jordan, and Egypt—have chosen to do so using floating regasification rather than building full-scale onshore regasification facilities.   [Full Story]

Apr 27, 2015
Moniz: Gas Pipelines a 'Very Obvious' Vulnerability
US News and World Report
Alan Neuhauser

America’s natural gas pipelines are a critical weak link in the nation’s sprawling electric grid, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said Monday. “The natural gas system, the distribution pipes, are a big issue,” Moniz said, speaking at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “About half of the distribution pipes in the country are 50 years old or older, so that’s a very obvious area.”   [Full Story]

Apr 26, 2015
President ignores fracking risks in the Everglades
Miami Herald
Jorge Auilar Opinion

But despite the clarity of his climate-change warning here last week, the president’s choice to highlight South Florida could not have been more ironic or more disconnected from reality. While urging action to stem climate change and protect the Everglades, Obama is actively promoting the extreme, climate-damaging practice of oil fracking within the very region of preserved federal marshland where he spoke.   [Full Story]

Apr 26, 2015
As NY readies to ban fracking, lawyers prepare to sue
The Journal News
Jon Campbell

ALBANY – For the past four months, the state Department of Environmental Conservation's staff — and attorneys — have been putting the finishing touches on a several-thousand-page document that will lay the groundwork for a statewide ban on large-scale hydraulic fracturing. The agency has reason to be careful: The natural-gas industry and fracking supporters are looking for an opportunity to sue. DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens says the report, known as the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement or SGEIS, is "literally at the printer." Its impending release will be closely scrutinized by advocates and opponents of shale-gas drilling, who have clashed in a seven-year battle that has long seemed destined to end in a courtroom.  [Full Story]

Apr 26, 2015
Lawyers scrutinize NY's next fracking move
Democrat & Chronicle
Jon Campbell

For the past four months, the state Department of Environmental Conservation's staff — and attorneys — have been putting the finishing touches on a several-thousand-page document that will lay the groundwork for a statewide ban on large-scale hydraulic fracturing. The agency has reason to be careful: The natural-gas industry and fracking supporters are looking for an opportunity to sue.  [Full Story]

Apr 26, 2015
US to launch blitz of gas exports, eyes global energy dominance
Telegraph
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

The US Energy Department prepares a wave of LNG gas permits in the latest move to redraw the world's oil and gas landscape The United States is poised to flood world markets with once-unthinkable quantities of liquefied natural gas as soon as this year, profoundly changing the geo-politics of global energy and posing a major threat to Russian gas dominance in Europe.  [Full Story]

Apr 26, 2015
Water from fracking is the likely cause of Texas earthquakes
Tyler Morning Telegraph
Alex Mills

A study of seismic activity in North Texas was released on Tuesday that concluded that water extracted during oil and gas operations and reinjected “is the most likely cause of earthquakes” in the area during a three-month period from November 2013 to January 2014.  [Full Story]

Apr 26, 2015
Business regulators say firm lied about fracking plans
Fresno Bee
Associated Press

GRAND JUNCTION, COLO. — Colorado business regulators have accused a Texas company and its owner of defrauding investors by falsely telling them the firm was working on a new technology to dispose of water used in hydraulic fracturing. The state Securities Division has issued a cease and desist letter to Weldon Walker and Premier Water Solutions, telling him to stop the sale of any unregistered stocks in Colorado.   [Full Story]

Apr 26, 2015
Greens push bill to give landholders the right to refuse fracking
ABC News
Jane Ryan

A bill that would give landholders the right to refuse shale gas and coal seam gas mining on their property has been referred to a Senate standing committee. The Landholder's Right to Refuse Bill 2015 was introduced by the Greens and also seeks to ban fracking in Australia outright.  [Full Story]

Apr 25, 2015
Giant Gas Pipeline to Flank NY Nuclear Plant
Huffington Post
Ellen Cantarow

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 New York metropolitan region's population of 20 million people, which stands to be impacted by a nuclear catastrophe. Experts say a disaster as great as or greater than Fukushima could be triggered by a potential gas explosion at the nuclear complex. I urge readers of this blog to read the original report for Truthout on which it is based, "Doing the Unthinkable: A Giant Gas Pipeline to Flank a Nuclear Plant."  [Full Story]

Apr 25, 2015
Idaho earthquake cluster ‘a real mystery’
The Spokesman-Review
David Wasson

Inland Northwest earthquakes tend to be more mysterious than others. “We’re a long way from the nearest plate boundary,” said Ken Sprenke, a professor of geophysics at the University of Idaho, explaining the Yellowstone hot spot is too far away to have caused the four earthquakes that shook North Idaho late Thursday and again Friday. “These are a real mystery.”   [Full Story]

Apr 25, 2015
NY Appellate Court Voids Use Variance Finding Insufficient Proof That Land Could Not Yield a Reasonable Return
Law of the Land


Petitioners owned property adjacent to property owned by respondents Rosa Kuehn and Perry Kuehn, on which respondent K–Tooling operated an industrial manufacturing business as a nonconforming use. The lower court determined that K–Tooling and the Kuehns unlawfully expanded their nonconforming use by constructing an addition onto the manufacturing facility in 2001 after a zoning code was enacted prohibiting manufacturing use in the zone in which the property was located. The court and issued an injunction prohibiting use of the addition for any nonresidential purposes. Respondents applied for and received a use variance from respondent Village of Hancock Zoning Board of Appeals allowing the continued use of the addition in the manufacturing process. Petitioners commenced this CPLR article 78 proceeding to annul the ZBA’s determination, arguing that respondents failed to establish an unnecessary hardship warranting a use variance for the addition. The Supreme Court dismissed the petition, prompting this appeal.  [Full Story]

Apr 25, 2015
State orders two energy firms to prove wells aren't causing North Texas earthquakes
Dallas Business Journal
Paul O'Donnell

The state agency that regulates the oil and gas industry is ordering an Exxon Mobil Corp. subsidiary and another energy company to prove their wells aren't responsible for a swarm of earthquakes in North Texas. On Friday, the Texas Railroad Commission told officials at Fort Worth-based XTO Energy Inc., the Exxon subsidiary, and EnerVest Operating LLC to appear at hearings scheduled for June to explain why their wells near Azle shouldn't be shut down.  [Full Story]

Apr 25, 2015
Gas pipelines surprise land owners
The Columbus Dispatch
Laura Arenschield

NEW MATAMORAS, Ohio — At first, the black hoses snaking through her property made no sense to Ginny Narsete. She saw them one day as she walked near the cabin she owns next to the Wayne National Forest just east of Marietta. She hadn’t put them there. Neither had her husband, Jim. Narsete followed a hose for a short distance, over a little stream and under some trees, until it went beneath the gravel driveway that leads to the couple’s cabin.  [Full Story]

Apr 24, 2015
Justices Prolong North Texas Fracking Battle
The Texas Tribune
Jim Malewitz

A Fort Worth-based oil and gas company may continue seeking defamation damages from a Parker County man who claimed its drilling fouled his well, but may not go after his wife. The Texas Supreme Court on Friday allowed Range Resources to continue its defamation and disparagement suit against Steve Lipsky, whose accusation that the company polluted his family's drinking water sparked a bitter dispute between the Texas Railroad Commission and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Range,however, may not pursue conspiracy claims against Lipsky's wife, Shyla Lipsky, or Alisa Rich, a toxicologist the couple hired to test their well, the high court said, upholding a 2013 appeals court ruling.  [Full Story]

Apr 24, 2015
8 States Dealing With Huge Increases in Fracking Earthquakes
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

A new report, released Thursday from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), identified eight states in the eastern and central U.S. where fracking operations have led to dramatic increases in earthquakes, primarily from the injection of the wastewater byproduct of drilling operations into underground wells. This process can activate faults that in some cases were previously unknown.  [Full Story]

Apr 24, 2015
Study: Oil and gas drilling consuming millions of acres
Midwestern Energy News
Karen Uhlenhuth

Drilling for oil and gas, which has increased substantially in many parts of the country over the past decade, has impacted millions of acres of agricultural and range land, according to researchers.   [Full Story]

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
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. The fees would be levied outside the typical utility rate cases that need state approval and can drag on for months. The goal is to replace the pipelines more rapidly and to target those lines that could be rupture-prone, P.S.C. chairwoman Audrey Zibelman said in a statement. There are 12,000 miles of leak-prone pipe running through the state, according to the P.S.C. The current timeline for replacement is about 40 years, but the P.S.C. wants to cut that in half.  [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 involv