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Mar 5, 2015
The Mora River Valley Faces a New Battle
The New York Times
ELIZABETH ZACH

The endless, serene landscape there belies the fact that the fate of the land is being contested. The valley sits in Mora County, which in April 2013 became the first county in the nation to outlaw oil exploration and extraction. Since then, according to the nonprofit Food & Water Watch, 70 counties have approved such bans. In Mora County, the commissioners wanted to be clear, naming the restriction the “Mora County Community Water Rights and Local Self-Government Ordinance.” Their aim was to protect water for use in local agriculture and other endeavors; in short, guaranteeing that the rights of nature and people supersede that of corporations. The ordinance was a response to a proposal by Royal Dutch Shell to start hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, here. The company’s response to the response was to take the county to court, claiming the commissioners were robbing it of its “corporate personhood.” A second case was then brought by three Mora landowners who want to lease their property to oil and gas corporations. In each case, the plaintiffs say their rights under the Fourteenth Amendment are threatened; they equate the ban with seizing property without due process. Whatever the court decides could have broad implications for other municipalities that want to stave off the oil industry.  [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
We need leadership from Obama on fracking or history will repeat itself
The Hill
Lois Marie Gibbs

When my neighbors and I first put the facts together – that our Love Canal neighborhood of Niagara Falls was built atop a chemical waste dump that made our kids sick – we had many questions. How could our public officials and institutions have let this happen? A decade after we learned our families were being exposed to toxins, then-New York Health Commissioner David Axelrod reflected that the episode would long remain “a national symbol of a failure to exercise a sense of concern for future generations.”   [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
Exclusive: White House mulled, then balked at curbing explosive gas on oil trains
Reuters
PATRICK RUCKER

(Reuters) - The Obama administration weighed national standards to control explosive gas in oil trains last year but rejected the move, deciding instead to leave new rules to North Dakota alone. Current and former administration officials told Reuters that they were unsure of federal jurisdiction to force the energy industry to drain volatile gas from crude oil originating in North Dakota's fields.  [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
Oil Can’t Compete With Renewables, Says National Bank of Abu Dhabi
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

You wouldn’t expect a bank in the oil-rich Middle East to be touting the future of renewable energy over that of oil. But that’s just what the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) is doing with its new report, Financing the Future of Energy: The opportunity for the Gulf’s financial services sector.  [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
New Map Shows Koch’s Connection to Keystone
EcoWatch
Stefanie Spear

The International Forum on Globalization released new maps yesterday of tar sands assets in Alberta, Canada. The maps clarify the connection between the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and the Koch Brothers, who are top donors to the Republican Party and have worked to make fast-tracking the pipeline Congress’ top priority.   [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
Documents Reveal EPA's National Fracking Study Halted by Industry Pressure
Huffington Post
Jesse Coleman

Fracking companies had extensive influence over a critical study of the groundwater impacts from fracking, according to insider documents released by Greenpeace. In 2010, amidst growing worries about the environmental impacts from fracking, Congress compelled the EPA to conduct a study. The study was supposed to be a definitive look at the issue, exploring if and how fracking contaminates groundwater supplies. That study was supposed to be released in 2012, but has been delayed until 2016.  [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
State Legislature Continues Fight for Fracking on Public Parks Land
Clevescene
Eric Sandy

Even after Gov. John Kasich unexpectedly reversed his position and threw down a de facto moratorium on fracking across Ohio's public parks land, the Republican-fronted state legislature is still pushing for that sweet drilling action.   [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
Questions remain as hearing date for fracking wastewater site nears
Star Herald
Bart Schaneman

Less than three weeks before a proposal for a fracking wastewater injection well in Sioux County goes before the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (NOGCC), area residents still have plenty of concerns and are continuing to meet to discuss the issue.  [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
Whiteface young scientists study fracking Water Warriors' award-winning project tests seed germination in flowback water from hydraulic fracturing
Lubbock Online
Josie Musico

WHITEFACE — The Water Warriors don’t want to stop fracking — they just want to find ways to make it more environmentally friendly. Whiteface Middle School’s team of Elizabeth Casarez, Dwayne Scott, Kaden Moses and Kaleb Ruthardt was concerned about the amount of water used in hydraulic fracturing. Each fracking instance uses about 1 million gallons, said Kaleb, 12.  [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
Coalition will rally at state Capitol to call for moratorium on injection wells, fracking
News OK
Corey Jones

The Coalition to Stop Induced Seismicity is hosting a rally Saturday afternoon at the state Capitol to call for a 12- to 24-month moratorium on wastewater injection wells and hydraulic fracturing. The gathering will take place 1 p.m. at the South Plaza of the Capitol. Organizers said a diverse mix of local and statewide grassroots groups will attend.  [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
Shock: Fracking Used to Inject Nuclear Waste Underground for Decades
Activist Post
Aaron Dykes & Melissa Melton

Unearthed articles from the 1960s detail how nuclear waste was buried beneath the Earth’s surface by Halliburton & Co. for decades as a means of disposing the by-products of post-World War II atomic energy production.   [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
More data needed on fracking, water La Plata County commissioner says to look at entire process
Durango Herald
Peter Marcus

ENVER – La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt worries that studies about the impact hydraulic fracturing has on water do not delve deep enough into the issue. A study released Tuesday by the U.S. Geological Survey found a lack of data available relative to impacts to water quality in areas where fracking is prevalent.   [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
New anti-fracking TV spot unveiled New York groups focus on woes affecting Pennsylvania residents
Albany Times Union
Casey Seller

ALBANY — A coalition of groups opposed to New York's implementation of the controversial natural gas drilling technique known as hydrofracking brought in Pennsylvania residents Wednesday to share their allegations of health and environmental damage resulting from the process. The news conference also unveiled a new TV spot that New Yorkers Against Fracking said would be running in the Albany and New York City markets.  [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
Oil & gas execs ‘pressured’ Oklahoma geologists not to reveal fracking-quakes link
RTCC


Newly-obtained emails reveal that Oklahoma geologists were pressured by oil industry big-shots not to push on with their assessments of possible links between earthquakes in the state and hydraulic fracturing industry, most often referred to as fracking. More than a year since a sharp spike in earthquakes in the region, which coincided with fracking for oil and gas, the Oklahoma Geological Survey say there might be a possible link. The rise resulted in magnitude 3 earthquakes almost twice daily on average – three times as many as in disaster-prone California.  [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
Duncan, Oklahoma, property owners denied class-action status in Halliburton pollution lawsuit Landowners contend Halliburton is liable for contamination found in residential water wells
Nws OK
Brianna Bailey

A federal judge in Oklahoma City has denied class-action status to a group of Duncan property owners who are suing Halliburton after pollution from rocket fuel seeped into the groundwater in their neighborhood.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Local communities standing against and for fracking
Fuel Fix


On Thursday, voters in Washington, Connecticut will vote on whether to reject the storage or disposal of waste from hydraulic fracturing, according to the News-Times. The ban would be the first in state, and would go farther than Connecticut legislators did in June 2014 when they imposed a three-year moratorium on fracking waste disposal to give state regulators time to study its effects.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Aurora and Arapahoe county get the attention of oil companies and anti-fracking activists Aurora is the only city in Colorado to have an informal oil and gas committee composed of oil and gas industry representatives, homebuilders and city staff
Aurora Sentinel
Rachel Sapin

AURORA | A growing checkerboard of mineral rights and new oil and gas leases in urban, populated areas of Arapahoe County and Aurora has made the area a focal point for the state’s pro- and anti-fracking activists. “If it’s done right, it’s a boon to our economy and the state,” said former Aurora City Councilwoman Polly Page, who last fall formed AREA, or Arapahoe Responsible Energy Advocates. Page is also a former Arapahoe County Commissioner and Republican appointee to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Christie’s Office Drove Exxon Settlement, Ex-Official Says
The New York Times
BENJAMIN WEISER

For more than a decade, the New Jersey attorney general’s office conducted a hard-fought legal battle to hold Exxon Mobil Corporation responsible for decades of environmental contamination in northern New Jersey. But when the news came that the state had reached a deal to settle its $8.9 billion claim for about $250 million, the driving force behind the settlement was not the attorney general’s office — it was Gov. Chris Christie’s chief counsel, Christopher S. Porrino, two people familiar with the negotiations said.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
More data needed on fracking, water La Plata County commissioner says to look at entire process
Durango Herald
Peter Marcus

DENVER – La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt worries that studies about the impact hydraulic fracturing has on water do not delve deep enough into the issue. A study released Tuesday by the U.S. Geological Survey found a lack of data available relative to impacts to water quality in areas where fracking is prevalent.   [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Solon voters asked to ban fracking
Central Maine
Doug Harlow

The controversial natural gas mining method is suspected of contaminating groundwater, but the state geologist said fracking is happening "nowhere" in Maine and probably never will. SOLON — Voters at the Town Meeting on Saturday will be asked if they want to become the first town in Maine to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.   [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Berea council tables anti-fracking resolution
Richmon Register
Andy McDonald

Citing the need to conduct more research, the Berea City Council unanimously voted to table a resolution condemning the practice of extracting oil and gas by hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking. Before the vote, the council discussed the proposal in a work session. At that point, Mayor Steve Connelly noted there were several passages of the draft he would change, particularly those that contain too much technical detail about the fracking process, such as the list of chemicals used.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Keystone XL Veto Override Fails in Senate
EcoWatch
Stefanie Spear

The U.S. Senate today attempted to override President Obama’s veto of legislation that would force approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, but fell short with a vote of 62-37. To override the President’s veto it would have required 67 votes in the Senate.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Divided NC House drops fracking provision from funding bill Air emissions provision was attached to unrelated measure
News Observer
Colin Campbell & John Murawski

RALEIGH In a move that divided Republicans, the state House dropped a fracking provision from an unrelated funding bill Tuesday – reversing a vote taken Monday night. The late legislative flurry took place just days before an expected March 17 deadline to lift the state’s fracking moratorium. And the 77-41 vote against the amendment was an unusual loss for House Majority Leader Mike Hager, who’d sponsored the proposal.   [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Wolf’s budget would restore bulk of funding for Delaware River Basin Commission
NPR-State Impact PA
Susan Phillips

In a reverse from the previous administration’s budget, Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed plan would restore much of Pennsylvania’s share of funding to the Delaware River Basin Commission. Former governor Tom Corbett had slashed in half Pennsylvania’s contribution to the multi-state commission in last year’s budget. Corbett cut the DRBC’s funding while maintaining funds to the Susquehanna River Basin Commission. Some speculated that the move was retribution for the DRBC’s continued moratorium on natural gas drilling in Pike and Wayne counties, which lie within the commission’s jurisdiction. Corbett was unsuccessful in convincing other members of the DRBC to lift the moratorium on gas drilling in the basin. Wolf’s budget proposal includes $750,000 for the DRBC, a 73 percent increase over last year’s funding.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Schumer: Feds must lower explosion risk of Bakken crude on Upstate NY oil trains
The Post-Standard
Mark Weiner

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer on Wednesday turned up the heat on oil companies shipping volatile Bakken crude oil by rail across Upstate New York to refineries in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia. Schumer, D-N.Y., demanded that federal officials require oil companies to make their crude oil less flammable before it's loaded into 200 to 300 tanker cars per day that travel through Syracuse and other Upstate cities.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
House of Delegates [WV] passes leased integration 'pooling' bill 60-40
The State Journal
Erin Timony

In a 60-40 vote, members of the House of Delegates passed House Bill 2688, which would allow for the pooling of interests in drilling units as they relate to horizontal oil or gas wells. Delegates cast their votes March 4 after the 41-page measure was read word-for-word, a request made by Delegate Pat McGeehan, R-Hancock. The proposal would create a seven-person commission that would oversee the unit orders. Nonvoting members of the commission would be the director of the Division of Environmental Protection, the chief of the office of oil and gas and the state geologist. The governor would appoint four other voting members who would be an independent producer, a petroleum engineer a mineral owner and an individual engaged in agricultural industry or farming.   [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
How volcanoes could help power the planet—but barely do.
National Geographic
Wendy Koch

PANGALENGAN, Indonesia—In this serene corner of Java, farmworkers pick tea leaves from striped-green hills threaded with pipes. The three-foot-wide pipes carry steam from a broiling underground reservoir, a reminder of the volcano that once erupted.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Tweaking Bacteria, Scientists Turn Sunlight Into Liquid Fuel
National Geographic
Christina Nunez

A few years ago, Daniel Nocera pioneered an "artificial leaf" that—just like the real thing—uses only the sun and water to produce energy. He touted the silicon cell as a breakthrough that could allow every home to become its own power station. His compelling invention, a cheap wafer-thin device, attracted lots of publicity but hasn't quite taken off. The leaf works well, Nocera says, but there's a key flaw. "The problem with the artificial leaf," Nocera says, is that "it makes hydrogen. You guys don't have an infrastructure to use hydrogen." (See related profile: "Daniel Nocera: Maverick Inventor of the Artificial Leaf.") By "you guys," Nocera means the world outside the lab. Although Toyota and others companies are making cars built to run on hydrogen, emitting only water vapor, filling up is a problem: Most gas stations are set up to serve liquid fuel. Storing the Sun Enter Nocera's latest creation, a collaboration with biologists at Harvard University and detailed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Monday. The researchers created a specially engineered bacteria that can convert hydrogen (from the artificial leaf or another source) into alcohol-based fuel. The Harvard researchers are aiming to solve a problem known to any electric utility: Capturing energy from the sun has come a long way, but how can it be stored for times when there's no sunlight? Going a step further, how can that stored energy be used for purposes other than electricity? In natural photosynthesis, biomass is produced when sunlight meets with water and carbon dioxide. Another step is typically required to turn that biomass into fuel—breaking down corn to make ethanol, for example. (Take the quiz: "What You Don't Know About Biofuel.") Instead, the researchers made a genetically modified bacterium that could bypass the biomass step and go straight to producing liquid fuel. Using the artificial leaf, they split water into oxygen and hydrogen. The special bacterium absorbed the hydrogen, combining it with carbon dioxide to produce isopropanol: an alcohol fuel comparable to ethanol. The resulting system would look like an algae farm, Nocera says, except that the bacteria wouldn't need the continuous light or maintenance that algae require.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Japan’s Growth in Solar Power Falters as Utilities Balk
NY Times
JONATHAN SOBLE

MAKURAZAKI, Japan — Rice fields, golf courses and even a disused airport runway. All over the southern Japanese region of Kyushu, unexpected places gleam with electricity-producing solar panels. Solar use in Japan has exploded over the last two years as part of an ambitious national effort to promote renewable energy. But the technology’s future role is now in doubt. Utilities say their infrastructure cannot handle the swelling army of solar entrepreneurs intent on selling their power. And their willingness to invest more money depends heavily on whether the government remains committed to clean energy. “It’s upsetting,” said Junji Akagi, a real estate developer on Ukushima, a tiny island near Nagasaki. Mr. Akagi said he hoped to turn a quarter of the island’s 10-square-mile area into a “mega-solar” generating station, and has already lined up investors and secured the necessary land.Then last September, Kyushu Electric Power Company, the region’s dominant utility, abruptly announced that it would stop contracting to buy electricity from new solar installations. Other power companies elsewhere in Japan soon followed suit. “It was a shock,” Mr. Akagi said. “Now we don’t know if Kyushu Electric will buy our power.” The faltering solar boom is threatening an important goal for Japan as a whole: finding clean sources of power to replace the nuclear output lost after the Fukushima disaster four years ago. So far, the country has been relying mostly on fossil fuels like coal and natural gas to fill the gap, leading to sharply higher emissions of greenhouse gases. Some solar advocates fear the government is retreating from its clean-energy commitments. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing to bring back into service some of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors, all of which are now closed as public concern lingers over their safety. If they reopen, it could reduce the need for alternatives like solar power, which many in Mr. Abe’s circle, including the powerful industry ministry, see as expensive and unreliable. Mr. Abe has initiated a review of the renewable-energy policies introduced after Fukushima by a previous, more left-leaning administration. Environmentalists worry he will gut them. The government recently reduced the amount of clean power that utilities are required to buy from outside producers, and additional measures to curb supply are expected this spring, including cuts to price subsidies. “It would put a brake on the spread of solar power,” Yuji Kuroiwa, the ecologically minded governor of Kanagawa Prefecture, next to Tokyo, said at a news conference in December, referring to the new restrictions. Like other countries that have promoted the technology with generous state support, Japan is also struggling with the financial and technical consequences of its rapid solar growth. Solar power here is costly for consumers because of high state-mandated prices, and handling the fluctuating output of thousands of mostly small solar producers is tricky for utilities. Necessary improvements in the infrastructure have not kept pace, experts say. Continue reading the main story “The homework wasn’t done,” said Nobuo Tanaka, former executive director of the International Energy Agency. Utilities, he said, need to install more hardware — transmission cables, substations and the like — and develop new kinds of expertise to avoid disruptions. “To make renewables work in reality, they have to be properly connected to the power system.” The problem is especially acute in Kyushu, where relatively plentiful sunshine and low land prices have attracted a disproportionate share of solar development. Installed solar capacity roughly doubled in the two years from mid-2012, when a law took effect requiring utilities to buy renewable energy from outside producers at rates far above market prices. By last summer it stood at 3.4 gigawatts, about equal to the output of three modern nuclear reactors — at least during those hours when the sun was shining at full strength. More challenging for electric-company planners is what is in the pipeline. An additional 8.4 gigawatts’ worth of projects, including Mr. Akagi’s on Ukushima, have received government approval but are in limbo after Kyushu Electric’s edict. That is more power than the region consumes on some low-demand days — and far too much for Kyushu Electric’s grid to handle without the risk of failures, the utility argues. “If we accept everybody’s electricity, the system will become unmanageable,” said Shinichi Futami, an official at the utility. It is laying new transmission cables as fast as it can, he added, but has been stymied by the slow, expensive task of securing land rights. Solar projects have already changed the landscape and economy in Kyushu. They have taken over reservoirs, bankrupt golf courses and idle industrial parks, as well as the more familiar locations of residential rooftops.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Kenya: Bowleven Misses Kenya Operation Deadline
cajnews Africa
Maria Marachia

Nairobi — BOWLEVEN, the Africa focused oil and gas exploration group, announced it would be unable to meet its seismic operations deadline in Kenya owing to logistical issues. In a statement, the United Kingdom-based company said Adamantine, operator of block 11B, had advised it had applied to the Kenyan authorities for a 15 month extension to allow for the acquisition, processing and evaluation of 2D seismic. "Logistical issues, including security concerns, have delayed the commencement of seismic operations, such that the programme will be unable to be completed prior to the expiry of the first exploration phase of the licence on 26 May 2015," said Bowleven in a statement. Bowleven started operation in Kenya in late 2012, presenting a new venture for the Group. Located in an emerging hydrocarbon province, block 11B is situated at the intersection of the tertiary and cretaceous East African Rift systems. Block 11B is early stage exploration acreage in a region that has attracted high profile attention from industry majors and leading independents. Drilling activity by one operator in the region has demonstrated prospectivity with hydrocarbon discoveries. Meanwhile, the company will announce its interim results for the six months ended December 31 as planned on March 25.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Litchfield County town to vote on fracking waste ban
Register Citizen
Kaitlin McCallum

WASHINGTON, Conn. >> Washington could become the first town in Connecticut to ban the storage or disposal of fracking waste, if voters agree on Thursday. Voters in Washington will face the question at a special town meeting Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Bryan Memorial Town Hall, proposing an ordinance to ban “the storage, disposal or use of fracking waste, or any derivative thereof, in the town of Washington, Connecticut.” The issue was raised by Carlos Canal of the Washington Environmental Council, along with Margaret Miner of the Rivers Alliance of Connecticut. Canal attended several selectmen’s meetings to raise the issue of the ordinance, First Selectman Mark Lyon said.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
EPA Report on Fracking Heavily Influenced by Industry Pressure
EIN Newsdesk


The Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 study of the risks of natural gas drilling was supposed to be a thorough investigation of the industry’s impact on the environment. Instead, the study was influenced and shaped by the very companies it was supposed to investigate. Environmental activists were cautiously optimistic when Congress tasked the EPA with launching the ambitious investigation into hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. “This is about using the best possible science to do what the American people expect the EPA to do – ensure that the health of their communities and families are protected,” Paul Anastas, Assistant Administrator for the EPA's Office of Research and Development, said in 2011. But the study relied heavily on cooperation from the natural gas industry. That enabled companies like Chesapeake Energy and Range Resources to secure promises from the EPA, while their leverage increased as other companies in the industry declined to participate. In 2011, after energy companies made a number of unfeasible demands, the EPA dropped one of the study’s key goals: to measure pollution levels before and after fracking at two new well sites, according to documents obtained by DeSmogBlog. Energy company officials were allowed to edit documents, insisted on vetting EPA contractors, and demanded to review scientist's notes, photographs and lab results before they were published, the documents show. And apparently, the EPA consented. “[Y]ou guys are part of the team here,” one EPA representative wrote to Chesapeake Energy as they together edited study planning documents in October 2013, “please write things in as you see fit”. Even though the EPA had announced that the study would focus on all stages of the process (drilling, wastewater disposal and others), Chesapeake officials repeatedly pressured the agency to focus solely on the fracturing stage. “It appears the EPA has extended the scope of the study to include all development activities,” a company representative wrote, objecting to language used in study plans in October 2013. “CHK [Chesapeake Energy] recommends that the EPA focus only on hydraulic fracturing.” In another instance, Chesapeake started drilling operations before the EPA could conduct baseline testing. Chesapeake also used their ability to edit documents to raise additional objections that ultimately led the EPA to cancel their testing plans altogether. “Given the current schedule, there does not appear to be enough time to capture the seasonal variation in sample characteristics, however this is critical to determining if a change is significant,” Chesapeake warned the EPA in October 2013. The US Environmental Protection Agency is going to review California’s underground injection control program amid concerns about the impact of oil and gas companies on the quality of drinking water in the region. © AP Photo/ Federal environmental officials later cited this issue in explaining why they had been unable to find any suitable well sites to conduct their testing. In a June 2014 email to a Greenpeace, Claudia Meza-Cuadra, Office of Science Policy of the EPA, wrote “it is necessary to gather a minimum of one year of characterization data for ground water and surface water prior to and following unconventional exploration activities in the study area.” Range Resources struck a confidential agreement with the EPA, which led to a series of concessions by federal officials, including three-day’s notice prior to visiting the drill site, allowing Range reps to accompany EPA scientists, and access to test results showing possible contamination, among others.   [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Bills call for moratorium on fracking in Md.
SoMd News
Sarah Fleischman

After the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission’s reports to satisfy then-Gov. Martin O’Malley’s executive order, the only bills related to hydraulic fracturing during this year’s state legislative session are anti-fracking, while environmentalists say there is a “notable absence” of legislation to allow fracking in Maryland. Four bills, one of which is backed by a coalition of more than 100 environmental groups, seek to put a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing until further study can be done. Bolstered by the fracking ban in New York state, where the New York Department of Health did a six-year public health study before the ban, Senate Bill 409 and House Bill 449 would require a team to evaluate research currently underway by the National Institute of Health, looking into the specific public health impacts of hydraulic fracturing, including cancer and birth defects, said Shilpa Joshi, Maryland campaign coordinator with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Firm warns landowners to allow surveys or face possible lawsuit
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Daniel Tyson

BECKLEY — Questions have been raised about whether natural gas producer EQT Corp. can legally force West Virginia landowners to allow surveyors onto their property while charting a proposed natural gas pipeline route. In a letter to landowners, EQT’s attorney Stephen E. Hastings wrote the state Legislature recognized the surveying process as important enough that it placed in State Code a law that allows natural gas companies to enter private property for the purpose of examining, surveying and laying out the lands, ways and easements. “If we have not received consent to access your property for the surveys, appraisals, tests and studies requested in this letter by March 9, 2015, legal action will likely be taken in order to obtain the necessary access. We hope this will not be required and look forward to working with you,” the letter concludes. EQT, which along with NextEra Energy, plans to building a 42-inch diameter, 300-mile pipeline through 10 West Virginia counties and into Virginia, said the letter was sent to highlight the importance of gaining access to property, so surveyors can help design the pipeline’s best route.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Senate Republicans push for $1 billion clean water fund
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—A group of nearly two dozen state senators is calling for creation of an $800 million clean water infrastructure fund to help municipalities replace aging pipes and sewers. A letter from the group urges Senate majority leader Dean Skelos to push for creation of the $800 million fund as part of the state budget negotiations. At least 21 lawmakers—Republicans and their allies in the Independent Democratic Conference—signed the letter, which was pushed by Senator Carl Marcellino of Long Island, chairman of the Senate's infrastructure and capital investment committee. A copy of the letter was obtained by Capital. “If we do not invest in drinking and wastewater infrastructure now, the problem will only be compounded in future years,” the group wrote.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Election 2015: Hermosa Beach voters soundly reject Measure O’s oil-drilling proposal
Daily Breeze
Sandy Mazza

Hermosa Beach voters on Tuesday soundly rejected an oil company’s hard-fought bid to tap millions of barrels of black gold under the small beach town. Final results showed 78.9 percent of voters —a more than 3-to-1 margin —had turned thumbs down on Measure O. “I think we’ve had a record number of ballots, judging by all the vote-by-mail we received and the steady stream that just kept going into the polling places today,” said City Clerk Elaine Doerfling, who conducted the first city-run election since 1999. The county usually oversees city elections.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
EDITORIAL: ExxonMobil settlement must be blocked
Asbury Park Press
Editorial

New Jersey environmentalists these days have been kept busy by a Gov. Chris Christie administration that seems intent on doing everything it can to put economic considerations and the governor's presidential aspirations ahead of the short- and long-term protection of the state's natural resources. The latest outrage is the apparent agreement, first reported last week in The New York Times, of the administration's decision to settle New Jersey's 11-year-old, $8.9 billion environmental damage lawsuit against ExxonMobil for a paltry $250 million. The lawsuit, which dates back to the Gov. Jim McGreevey administration and has been pursued by three successive governors, including Gov. Christie, has sought compensation for the contamination and loss of use of more than 1,500 acres of wetlands, marshes, meadows and waters surrounding the company's former Bayway and Bayonne refineries. What makes the news of the settlement even more disturbing is that the liability in the case had already been determined at trial. The only matter to be determined was the amount of the damages. And last month, when a state Superior Court judge was believed close to rendering a decision on the damages, the Christie administration twice petitioned the court to hold off because settlement negotiations were under way, according to the Times.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
A Christie giveaway to corporate polluter?
Asbury Park Press
Bob Jordan

TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie's administration wants to settle New Jersey's 11-year-old environmental damage lawsuit against ExxonMobil for a fraction of the $8.9 billion that was sought, a potential deal criticized by an environmentalist as "a complete giveaway to corporate polluters.' The parties have not announced the deal publicly and it still must be approved by a judge, according to the New York Times, which reported the settlement Friday and said New Jersey will receive around $250 million. However, the proposed settlement still is also subject to a public process. The notice of the consent judgment is scheduled to be published April 6 and there will be a 30-day public comment period that the state Department of Environmental Protection must consider.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Oklahoma knew fracking caused earthquakes but stayed quiet to appease energy industry
Raw Story
Travis Gettys

Oklahoma has suspected for years that fracking caused earthquakes, but they stayed quiet about the connection under pressure from the oil industry. The Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) finally admitted a possible link more than a year ago between oil and gas extraction and the recent outbreak of earthquakes in the state – which last year experienced 1.6 quakes per day of magnitude 3 or greater. That’s three times as many as California.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Oil refineries need to heed concerns, implement safety improvements
Los Angeles Times
ANTONIA JUHASZ

"The most important thing is to shelter in place, stay indoors, no outdoor activity, turn the air conditioners off, keep the windows closed.” This was the instruction Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey gave to neighbors of the Exxon Mobil refinery, including the children at 14 schools, for three hours following a massive explosion at the facility Feb. 18. Four workers were injured. The force of the explosion, in a pollution control unit, was so great it registered as a magnitude 1.4 earthquake. Photographs showed a scene straight out of “Mad Max,” with heavy white ash coating twisted debris, and a blown-apart multi-story structure. For 28 hours, twin stacks shot flames into the air, burning off volatile gases.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Stranded Assets in Oil and Gas a Reality
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Just a few short years ago a friend called me to chat about the possibility of stranded assets in oil and gas due to climate change and the expected legislation and new regulations that would entail. This was an interesting idea coming out of the UK at the time. Since then, the idea has gained more and more traction. What is starting to emerge, however, is that stranded assets in oil and gas are not going to 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. So what are these potentially disrupting events? Let’s start with just one.   [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
California Shuts Down Oil Wells To Protect Groundwater
Huffington Post
Scott Smith

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A dozen wells used to pump oil and gas in California's Central Valley have been ordered to stop production to protect underground drinking water from contamination, officials said Tuesday. The operators of 10 oil wells in Kern County voluntarily stopped production, while two were issued cease-and-desist orders, said Steven Bohlen, head of oil, gas and geothermal resources for the California Department of Conservation.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Canadian government pushing First Nations to give up land rights for oil and gas profits
The Guardian
Martin Lukacs

The Harper government is trying to win support for its pipelines and resource agenda by pushing First Nations to sideline their aboriginal rights in exchange for business opportunities, documents reveal. The news that Canada’s Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs is working to this end by collaborating with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is sparking strong criticism from grassroots Indigenous people. Funded by the federal government, the Working Group on Natural Resource Development held private meetings in Toronto and Edmonton in the fall of 2014 that were attended by several invited Chiefs and representatives from Enbridge, Syncrude and other oil corporations, as well as mining companies and business lobby groups.   [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Legislators want hearing on proposal for gas pipeline
Albany Times Union
Kenneth C. Crowe II

Troy Rensselaer County legislators are seeking a public meeting on the proposed Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline that would run through the southern part of the county. Republican legislators Alex Shannon and Judith Breselor said Monday they want Kinder Morgan to schedule a public forum. The proposed pipeline may carry gas from the hydrofracked fields in Pennsylvania. Richard Crist, a spokesman for the legislature, said company representatives have been contacted in an effort to hold the meeting at the legislature's chambers or another location. Shannon and Breselor said they also want a resident group opposing the project included in the meeting.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Federal Agency Approves Controversial Algonquin Pipeline Expansion
The Daily Voice
Tom Auchterlonie

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The controversial Algonquin Pipeline expansion proposal has received approval from a federal agency that conducted an environmental review for the project. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued its approval decision on Tuesday with details presentation in a 66-page document that included expansions for the conclusion.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
California orders 12 oil-field wells shut to protect groundwater
Los Angeles Times
CHRIS MEGERIAN

California officials, responding to concerns about groundwater contamination, are closing 12 wells in the Central Valley used to dispose of chemical-laden water from oil and gas production, regulators announced Tuesday. Steve Bohlen, who leads the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, said the wells are being shut down "out of an abundance of caution for public health." High levels of benzene found in fracking waste water Ten of the wells, including some owned by Chevron, have been closed voluntarily and the companies have surrendered their permits. Two more are being ordered to cease operations.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Okla. agency linked quakes to oil in 2010, but kept mum amid industry pressure
E & E Newswire
Mike Soraghan

Oklahoma's state scientists have suspected for years that oil and gas operations in the state were causing a swarm of earthquakes, but in public they rejected such a connection. When the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) did cautiously agree with other scientists about such a link, emails obtained by EnergyWire show the state seismologist was called into meetings with his boss, University of Oklahoma President David Boren, and oil executives "concerned" about the acknowledgement.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
California oil drilling regulators are worried 12 underground wells could contaminate drinking water
Business Insider
Rory Carroll, Reuters

Science More: Environment Oil Energy Fossil Fuels California oil drilling regulators are worried 12 underground wells could contaminate drinking water Reuters RORY CARROLL, REUTERS MAR. 3, 2015, 8:23 PM 586 1 FACEBOOK LINKEDIN TWITTER GOOGLE+ PRINT EMAIL California oil drillingREUTERS/Hector MataA general view shows oil wells in Los Angeles, California May 6, 2008. See Also The US has so much crude oil that it is running out of places to put it The oil crash is devastating Colombia's richest city The golden age of gas is arriving SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California oil drilling regulators on Tuesday ordered operators of 12 underground injection wells in Kern County to halt injections out of fear that they could contaminate drinking water supplies. The action is part of a statewide review of California's 50,000 underground injection wells, which oil companies use to dispose of billions of barrels of undrinkable water produced every year during oil production. The review began last summer after it was discovered that some injection was taking place into zones not approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the terms of the Safe Drinking Water Act.   [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
IOP councilman pushes other cities to say no to off-shore drilling
abcnews4.com


ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCIV) -- Isle of Palms councilman Jimmy Ward is charging Lowcountry city and town leaders to follow a resolution against off-shore drilling in South Carolina. “I urge all of our fellow city council members in all of our coastal communities in South Carolina to join in this opposition,” said Ward. “Our strength in numbers is the main thing we have to combat big oil companies.” Ward spearheaded the Isle of Palms vote after the Obama administration announced a 5-year plan to lease parts of the Carolina coast for oil and natural gas exploration. “The main risk is an oil spill,” said Ward. “They still have trouble in Alabama and Louisiana, I understand, from many years ago. Our economy is just too fragile. The tourism industry brings in billions of dollars and to lose that would just be devastating for isle of palms and South Carolina.” Isle of Palms is the fourth community in South Carolina to formally pass a resolution. Edisto Island, Beaufort and Port Royal also oppose off-shore drilling and seismic airgun blasting.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Algonquin pipeline approved by feds
lohud
Ernie Garcia

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an order Tuesday issuing a certificate for Spectra Energy's Algonquin Incremental Market Project stretching from New York through Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Pipeline safety bill dead in 2015 Kentucky legislature
WDRB.com
Marcus Green

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- A sweeping pipeline safety bill is dead for this session of the Kentucky General Assembly due to concerns about whether it would apply to utilities serving homes and businesses, the measure's chief sponsor said Tuesday. House Bill 272 was meant to target companies with large transmission pipelines carrying natural gas between cities or pipes moving crude oil and natural gas liquids, which could seep undetected into the ground during a leak, said Rep. David Floyd, R-Bardstown. Among other things, the bill would have created a safety fund by charging operators $120 for each mile of pipeline in the state, producing an estimated $3 million per year. The measure is co-sponsored by House Democratic Reps. Terry Mills of Lebanon and Tom Riner of Louisville.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Federal Agency Approves Controversial Algonquin Pipeline Expansion
Putnam Daily Voice
Tom Auchterlonie

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The controversial Algonquin Pipeline expansion proposal has received approval from a federal agency that conducted an environmental review for the project. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued its approval decision on Tuesday with details presentation in a 66-page document that included expansions for the conclusion. The proposal is from Spectra Energy. It involves replacing about 20.1 miles of natural gas pipeline that is 26 inches in diameter with larger pipeline material of 42 inches in diameter, according to FERC. An existing compressor station in the Putnam County town of Southeast would undergo several changes, according to FERC. The work includes adding a 10,320-horsepower compressor unit that is natural-gas fired and adding gas cooling for it, FERC notes.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Houston County rejects proposal to ban frac sand mining
TwinCities.com
Robb Jeffries

CALEDONIA, Minn. -- What would have been a historic ban of frac sand mining did not come to pass Tuesday in Houston County, as a county commission meeting devolved into a shouting match between protesters and commissioners. The commission voted 3-2 against approving an ordinance amendment that would ban industrial mining of silica sand, an ingredient in hydraulic fracturing in the Bakken oilfields of North Dakota and other oil and gas areas. Sand mines in southeast Minnesota and western Wisconsin have become key suppliers to energy industry, but have drawn protests from people concerned about air quality near the mines and the practice of fracking. Tuesday morning, an overflow crowd began yelling at the commission, which required a supermajority of four votes to pass the ban, which would have been the first such ban in Minnesota. "Audience members began yelling right away," said Jeremy Chipps of Families Resisting Energy Extraction. "They were boiling over. People were yelling at the commissioners, and the commissioners were yelling back at people." The Houston County sheriff's office removed several members of the overflow crowd. None was arrested, the department said.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
State Admits That Thousands of Oil Wells Are Dumping into Protected Aquifers
NBC Bay Area
Stephen Stock, Mark Villareal and Scott Pham

In a stunning admission, the California Environmental Protection Agency wrote on Monday that state officials have allowed thousands of oil and fracking wells to dump waste water into protected underground aquifers. In February, California's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) admitted that over 500 wells were injecting waste into clean aquifers protected by the EPA. Now, the state EPA has identified 2,500 wastewater disposal wells that are injecting waste into protected aquifers. List of Wastewater Wells Dumping into Aquifers Grows The memo was sent to Governor Jerry Brown and John Laird, California's Secretary of Natural Resources. The letter indicated that 2,100 of the 2,500 offending waste water wells are currently active. The state Water Board has identified 200 of those wells that are of the highest concern.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Assessing Water Quality in Areas with Hydraulically Fractured Oil and Gas Wells
USGS


More data and research are necessary to best understand the potential risks to water quality associated with unconventional oil and gas development in the United States, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey study. “We mined the national water-quality databases from 1970 - 2010 and were able to assess long-term trends in only 16 percent of the watersheds with unconventional oil and gas resources,” said Zack Bowen, USGS scientist and principal author of the article that appears in American Geophysical Union’s Water Resources Research. “There are not enough data available to be able to assess potential effects of oil and gas development over large geographic areas.”  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Algonquin opponents 'dumbfounded' pipeline plan OK'd
LoHud
Ernie Garcia

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an order Tuesday issuing a certificate for Spectra Energy's Algonquin Incremental Market Project stretching from New York through Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. A federal agency has given its approval to the Algonquin natural gas pipeline expansion in New York. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an order Tuesday issuing a certificate for Spectra Energy's Algonquin Incremental Market Project stretching from New York through Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The expansion will allow an increased flow of natural gas from Ramapo to various cities' delivery points in the Northeast.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Energy company could end funding for climate change denier
The Guardian
Jessica Glenza

Funders appear to be backing away from a prominent climate change denier who may have failed to disclose that his peer-reviewed articles were funded with grants from petroleum companies. On Monday, the scientist defended accepting the grants through one of the largest climate denial lobbying groups in the United States, even as former donors are discontinuing contracts. Documents obtained by Greenpeace showed that Dr Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon, who worked at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, accepted $1.25m in funding from companies such as Exxon Mobil and the industry group American Petroleum Institute.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
We are already seeing the first examples of
Business Insider
Chelsea Harvey

Climate change is reshaping the planet in a big way. Rising temperatures, melting ice, and surging seas are just a few of the obvious effects that we're already observing. And, according to recent climate reports, these events could bring on a whole host of other consequences, including bigger storms, increases in infectious disease, shifts in plant and animal life, famines, droughts, and even increased poverty and civil unrest.   [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
The Brief: Climate Change as National Security Issue
Texas Tribune
John Reynolds

The Big Conversation In a House committee hearing on Monday, one witness sought to redefine the climate change debate as one with clear implications for national security. The Tribune's Neena Satija wrote: A Texas-based expert on energy and national security labeled climate change much differently: “threat multiplier.” “Climate change is often seen through a political lens,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Ken Eickmann, a senior research fellow at the University of Texas at Austin's Energy Institute. “I’d like to discuss it from a military perspective. … Climate change poses a serious threat to America’s national security.” Eickmann told the House International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee that rising temperatures and sea levels related to global warming are security threats worldwide.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Study Shows Sun's Influence On Climate Change More Pronounced During Cooler Periods
Tech Times
Sumit Passary

The sun influences the patterns of climate change on Earth, but its influence is more pronounced during cooler periods, suggests a new study. Professor Marit-Solveig Seidenkrantz from the Aarhus University in Denmark, one of the researchers of the study, believes that even though the sun affects the climate of the Earth, such impact is not constant and varies over time. The last Ice Age on Earth ended about 12,000 years ago and since then the Earth has been relatively warmer than before. However, there have been variations to the planet's climate since the end of the Ice Age, but scientists suggest that the Earth has been cooler in the last 4,000 years. The North Atlantic ocean currents have also been weaker in the last 4,000 years.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
US running out of room to store oil; price collapse next?
Yahoo News
JONATHAN FAHEY

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. has so much crude that it is running out of places to put it, and that could drive oil and gasoline prices even lower in the coming months. For the past seven weeks, the United States has been producing and importing an average of 1 million more barrels of oil every day than it is consuming. That extra crude is flowing into storage tanks, especially at the country's main trading hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, pushing U.S. supplies to their highest point in at least 80 years, the Energy Department reported last week.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
CSU researchers track nationwide methane emissions
The Collegian
Jessie Trudell

Colorado State researchers are becoming methane monitors. The group is attempting to pinpoint key contributors to methane emissions across the country by investigating the level of methane gas released nationally, through the storage and transmission of natural gases. Anthony Marchese, a CSU professor of mechanical engineering and a key researcher in the study, said the process of the study was daunting but important. “The main goal of the study was to try to monitor methane emissions from two different natural gas sectors,” Marchese said. “We went to 130 facilities throughout the U.S., and measured the total methane emissions at each one of the natural gas facilities.”  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
EPA's National Study into Fracking Narrowed as Key Goals Fall by Wayside Due to Industry Pressure
DeSmog Blog
Sharon Kelly

In 2010, when Congress tasked the EPA with launching a national study of the risks posed by hydraulic fracturing, environmentalists were cautiously optimistic. “At least the EPA is paying attention,” Don Young, founder of Fort Worth Citizens Against Neighborhood Drilling Operations told the Christian Science Monitor in 2010. And for a while, there seemed to be strong signs that the EPA planned to conduct a rigorous investigation. At the outset, the agency's plans included investigations into public health impacts, air pollution, well failures, run-off, and a range of other harms associated with the shale drilling rush. And into 2011, EPA withstood intense pressure from the shale gas industry and its supporters in Congress to sharply narrow the scope of their research, and in particular to focus exclusively on one part of the process, the actual frac job, rather than to look at the full range of impacts from shale oil and gas extraction. But at the same time, the goals of the national study were drastically narrowed. Plans, for example, to model the hazards potentially posed by dumping radioactive fracking wastewater at sewage treatment plants — essentially flushing it down the drain and allowing it to enter rivers only partially treated, as was common in Pennsylvania at the time — were slashed from the study.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
USGS: Fracking water quality data “scarce”
State Impact PA
Susan Phillips

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey say there’s just not enough data to figure out the impact of fracking on water quality. The American Geophysical Union’s Water Resources Research published an article about the USGS study today. “We mined the national water-quality databases from 1970 – 2010 and were able to assess long-term trends in only 16 percent of the watersheds with unconventional oil and gas resources,” said Zack Bowen, USGS scientist. “There are not enough data available to be able to assess potential effects of oil and gas development over large geographic areas.” The researchers say public information on how hydraulic fracturing impacts water quality is “scarce,” and point out that no nationwide water-quality monitoring focusing on shale gas and shale oil production exists. Working within the limits of existing data, researchers found “no widespread and consistent trends in water quality, such as chloride and specific conductance, in areas where unconventional oil and gas wells are prevalent.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
In first crack at fracking issue, Pa. judge sides with driller
Pittsburgh Business Times
Gina Passarella

A federal judge took a literal definition of “adjacent” when determining whether a natural gas company’s compression sites should be lumped together when looking at potential Clean Air Act violations. In Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future v. Ultra Resources, the environmental advocacy group alleged oil and natural gas extraction company Ultra Resources violated the Clean Air Act because its eight compression sites, all within 5 square miles of one another, emitted more than 100 tons of nitrogen oxide per year.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Federal energy commissioner concerned about gas pipeline critics: 'We have a situation here'
Times of Trenton
Keith Brown

The head of the federal commission that will decide whether the PennEast pipeline gets built expressed concern in a recent speech over the "unprecedented opposition' to the construction of new natural gas pipelines, prompting new criticism from pipeline opponents. "We have a situation here,' Cheryl A. LaFleur, director of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said at a National Press Club luncheon in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 27.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Oil And Gas Lobby Says Up Means Down
Breaking Energy
ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND ENERGY EXCHANGE BLOG

The Environmental Protection Agency just released the draft of its yearly greenhouse gas emissions inventory. It shows in no uncertain terms that methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector are going in the wrong direction: Up. Emissions from this overall sector are up two percent in 2013, which includes emissions from oil (petroleum) systems which were at their highest levels ever since estimates began in 1990 – and up 68 percent since 2005. Emissions from natural gas processing, where impurities are removed to produce pipeline quality gas, are up 38 percent since 2005. From transmission and storage: Up 11 percent. Yet the industry’s public relations machine says emissions are falling. So what’s the disconnect?  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Fracking Opponents Rally At State House
wbal.com


Bob Orr is worried what fracking might do to Deep Creek Lake. Tiffany Blackden is scared for her son. The two are among a growing number of concerned business owners and residents in Western Maryland, which is targeted for future natural gas drilling. "Economically we have a golden goose in western Maryland: Deep Creek Lake," said Orr, owner of Offlake Rental & Leasing. "It is our economy, it is our industry. People who come to Garrett County come here because of how beautiful everything is. There's nothing beautiful about Marcellus Shale exploration."   [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
RTW: Compensation for government intervention is flawed concept
Olean Times
Glenn Wahl Commentary

It’s funny how the very people who typically complain about government handouts now have their hands out. On Jan. 22, U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, introduced a bill in Congress that would allow property owners to sue if they decide that government has harmed the value of their property. In other words, landowners could sue New York because the state will not let gas and oil companies drill using hydraulic fracturing. job net employer 300x250Prizels 300x250 There are many things wrong with the idea of compensating landowners for their shale gas. First, there has been no devaluation of land values. Landowners who have gas underground don’t have that value added to their assessment, and now that New York has banned fracking, there won’t be a reassessment devaluing the land. It’s worth just as much now as it was before the ban. Second, the gas is still there — nothing has been taken. Suppose the government pays landowners. Later, New York approves fracking or some other extraction technique, and gas is removed. Who gets paid for that gas, New York or the landowner?  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Venezuela's New Exhibit On Hydraulic Fracturing Drops The F-Word On Fracking
Interntaional Business Times
Brianna Lee

Venezuela is not mincing words with a new Caracas exhibit outlining the environmental dangers of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. The exhibit’s not-so-subtle title: “F------ Fracking, Fracturing the Earth.” The exhibit, opened Monday by Venezuela’s federal district government, features interactive games, videos and images aimed at spurring a conversation on the environmental and political impact of fracking, a government press release said. It also takes clear jabs at the U.S. role in fracking’s rise. “It’s an educational look at the phenomena of hydraulic fracturing, by which the U.S. government and energy companies have been exploiting our nature, caused damage to the earth’s crust and also knocked down oil prices with the geopolitical objective of harming Russia, Iran and Venezuela,” said Ernesto Villegas, head of the federal district government, according to government television broadcaster Venezolana de Televisión.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Lawmakers wade into debate over fracking in Western Maryland
Baltimore Sun
Timothy B Wheeler

Lawmakers in Annapolis are wading once again into the heated debate over whether to allow "fracking," or hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, in Maryland. Environmentalists and Western Maryland business owners and residents worried about fracking's risks are holding a rally outside the State House at noon Tuesday. They are pressing for legislative action to prevent the state from going ahead with the controversial drilling techinique.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Oil-drilling bans on Hermosa Beach, La Habra Heights ballots
mynewsla
Debbie Sklar

Voters in Hermosa Beach will decide Tuesday whether to support a proposed oil-drilling project in the city, while La Habra Heights residents will consider restrictions on fracking and ban the drilling of new wells. Hermosa Beach’s Measure O would allow a drilling project proposed by E&B Natural Resources Management Corp., with proponents contending in a ballot argument that the project could generate “hundreds of millions of dollars of new revenue,” that could be used to hire firefighters and police officers, while upgrading the city’s infrastructure. Backers insisted that the drilling proposal will not involve fracking or off-shore drilling platforms and “no permanent equipment visible above the walls at the currently contaminated city maintenance yard.”  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
In West Texas oil boomtowns, 'the end is near'
LA Times
Nigel Duara

ar blew in fierce over a patch of West Texas late last year, falling fast and without warning through gray skies to alight on the shoulders of men and women who depend on oil for their livelihoods. Oil that was once $100 a barrel started selling for $75, then $60. Well drillers started pulling out. The rumbling truck traffic slowed. Andrews National Bank director Russell Shannon has been through this before, back when he helped found the bank in 1983 and an oil glut sent prices spiraling down three years later. He experienced it again in the late 1990s, watching oil prices drop and a minor recession take hold. And when the Great Recession struck in 2008, months became years of belt-tightening.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Oil companies wait to frack in hopes prices will rebound
Casper Star Tribune
Benjamin Storrow

When it comes to fracking, patience increasingly is a virtue. Oil companies are delaying frack jobs on already drilled wells, in a bid to conserve cash and weather a period of $50 oil. EOG Resources recently announced it would delay fracking 285 wells. Chesapeake Energy said it will wait until 2016 to complete some 100 wells. And Devon Energy reported it was halving its number of frack crews in Texas to finish about 200 uncompleted wells there. "Would you rather complete a 1,000 barrel a day well and get $50 a barrel or would you rather wait a couple months and get $70 a barrel," said James Williams, president of WTRG Economics in London, Arkansas. "That’s basically what these guys are doing."  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Shale gas “fracking” in the Sahara is worse for water
Green Prophet
Linda Pappagallo

Shale gas exploitation in the Sahara is not the same as shale gas exploitation in the US. There are added complications, namely the dependence of fracking activities on a trans-boundary hydraulic system (the North Western Sahara Aquifer System), in a water stressed region, that depends primarily on that very system for its own water needs. As shown by the recent waves of protests that spread from the southern region of Algeria to the rest of the country as the government announced the beginning of shale gas extraction, a very new threat is set to destabilize the Saharan region. With the discovery of significant shale gas reserves in the region, and at a time when fracking has been banned in France and it has become increasingly controversial in the UK; multinationals are pushing to exploit reserves in the Saharan region. But the real implications surrounding shale gas extraction applied to the Saharan context have been highly overlooked by domestic governments, worse still there is limited transparency surrounding these activities.   [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Studies target health, fracking
Denton Record
Randy Lee Loftis

Dogs serve as living recorders of toxic exposure. Cattle have trouble breeding. People report headaches, dizziness, difficulty breathing and a raft of other ills. Those are a few of the findings in a new suite of academic studies on natural-gas production and health being published today. People’s and animals’ troubles subside, one study found, when they move away from places where companies are producing natural gas with unconventional methods — that is, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the process already used on tens of thousands of wells in North Texas. The research, mostly by university scientists, centers mostly on another region where gas production has moved into established communities, the Marcellus Shale field in Pennsylvania. But it explores the same questions that arise in North Texas neighborhoods that now find wells and processing plants as newcomers.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Low Oil Price May Stifle Deepwater Drilling And Oil Sands But Not Fracking
Hellenic Shipping News


Saudi Arabia and OPEC may have dropped oil prices to stifle production in the U.S. and other competing nations, but they didn’t drop it enough to stifle the U.S. oil and gas boom from fracking, a senior expert with McKinsey and Company said in Chicago. “If the Saudis think they’re going to put U.S. shale players out of business, they’re probably not, although there will be less drilling,” Joe Quoyeser told about 125 people, mostly graduate students, at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Energy Conference on Wednesday. ”But there are other elements of oil supply that are needed to balance the market that will have a hard time competing at $50 a barrel, including oil sands in Canada and much of the deepwater resources.”  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Mexico’s energy reforms will include fracking
Energy Live News
Sumit Bose

Fracking will be a vital part of the energy mix for Mexico going forward. The country’s Secretary of the Economy believes it is a safe and important part of Mexico’s energy reforms and it faces little opposition from the public. Ildefonso Guajardo told ELN: “For us fracking is more in terms of gas and for us having access to cheaper gas is very important. We have a huge reserve in northern part of Mexico which has been unexploited up to now. We are getting ready to exploit our own reserves.”  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Wisconsin sand mining is big business, but health effects questioned
WISN.com
Chris Gloninger

Wisconsin sand is in great demand by the natural gas industry. The sand, used in frac mining, is creating a business boom for the state while some debate the merits of the mining practice.   [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Oil company sues to overturn San Benito County fracking ban; could affect other counties
Santa Cruz Sentinel
Paul Rogers

An oil company has sued to block San Benito County’s voter-approved fracking ban in a move that could affect the growing trend of California cities and counties’ efforts to stop the controversial oil drilling practice of hydraulic fracturing. In the lawsuit, Citadel Exploration, based in Newport Beach, is attempting to overturn Measure J, approved by 59 percent of San Benito County voters four months ago. If the company is successful, the lawsuit could impact other places where local officials are discussing bans, and where activists are considering ballot measures in 2016, including Santa Clara, Alameda, Monterey and Butte counties, along with Santa Cruz County, whose board of supervisors approved a countywide ban on fracking last spring. Measure J supporters say they are frustrated that Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers haven’t banned fracking, a technique in which water and chemicals are pumped underground to release oil and gas — so they decided to go around them.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Green-Lighting the Oil Companies
Huffington Post
Tom Engelhardt

If Sarah Palin were president, we'd know just what it was: a drill-baby-drill administration. Of course, there's no mama grizzly in the White House, yet these last years have been a grizzly tale of the expansion of American oil and natural gas exploration and drilling from the fracking fields of Texas and North Dakota to the energy-rich Gulf of Mexico. Most recently, the southern Atlantic seaboard, where there are an estimated untapped four billion barrels of oil and 37 trillion cubic feet of gas, was provisionally opened for future exploration and drilling. So keep in mind that it wasn't under Palin's tutelage but Barack Obama's that the United States experienced its staggering resurgence in the oil and gas sweepstakes, turning itself into "Saudi America." The math, which this president undoubtedly knows well, isn't that complicated. According to climate change scientists, of all the fossil fuel reserves believed to be left on the planet -- and the ability of oil companies to successfully tap ever more extreme deposits has been a regular surprise in these years -- scientists estimate that 80 percent must remain underground to prevent a planetary disaster. And yet, it seems that ever fewer waters off ever fewer American coasts are now sacrosanct.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Environmental agency gets money for oil and natural gas enforcement
Penn Live
Wallace McElvey

At a glance: Gov. Tom Wolf's budget includes a 3 percent increase, to $699 million, in funding for the Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees environmental regulations and planning. What it means: The biggest changes here come in the form of $7 million in additional funding to plug abandoned wells and $5 million in new funding for oil and natural gas enforcement. Both are elements Wolf has emphasized as environmental priorities due to the state's burgeoning energy industry. Other noteworthy increases come in the areas of the state's energy development fund, which provides money for alternative energy projects, and reclaiming surface mines. Verdict: After years of budget cuts under Gov. Tom Corbett, even a modest increase is a win for the department.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Study Examines Housing and Marcellus Shale Development
Gant Daily


The Center for Rural Pennsylvania commissioned a Marcellus Shale Impacts study, the fifth looking at impacts on housing. Marcellus Shale development brings gas company workers, subcontractors and workers in related areas to the locations in which natural gas exploration and drilling occur. An immediate issue is where to house these workers. The fifth impacts study examines housing. This includes looking at housing stock (numbers and age of housing units), rental and vacancy rates, housing costs and housing affordability in the four study counties of Bradford, Greene, Lycoming and Washington. Housing was identified as an important topic because of the influx of gas industry and related workers that has resulted from Marcellus Shale development.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
More local control sought over Michigan oil drilling
Detroit News
Jim Lynch

Shelby Township — Oleg and Iryna Rybchenko put their faith in Nino Homes Inc. to build their split-colonial dream home — the place they intended to share with their young child and the others they hoped for in the future. The builders seemingly delivered, selling the couple a lot and constructing a 4,000-square-foot residence in a quiet development just off Dequindre in Shelby Township. But a new lawsuit claims Utica-based Nino Homes secretly agreed to lease mineral rights for land to West Bay Exploration Co. for the purpose of setting up an oil well 500 yards from the new home.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Upstate New York towns consider seceding to Pennsylvania
Legislative Gazette
Michael Hill, AP

Plenty of people leave New York state but in a job-hungry stretch of upstate, folks talk about staying put and seceding to Pennsylvania. Local officials stung by a recent decision to ban natural gas fracking have raised the idea of redrawing the Keystone State's border. Even though they don't expect it to happen, members of the Upstate New York Towns Association hope the specter of secession will result in something — anything — good for a struggling part of the state peering enviously over the state line. "It's not like were looking across the border into Mexico or even looking across the border at Canada," said Candor supervisor Bob Riggs, whose rural town is one of about 15 in the association. "We're looking across the border into the United States, and it's very different."  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
15 Upstate NY Towns Consider Seceding To PA
WAMC
Dave Lucas

Angered over the state’s ban on hydraulic fracturing, some towns in New York's Southern Tier have raised the idea of seceding to Pennsylvania. The local municipalities' "wishful thinking" has attracted national attention. One of the many placards that appeared during the time New York couldn't make up its mind about fracking. One of the many placards that appeared during the time New York couldn't make up its mind about fracking. Beneath New York's economically distressed Southern Tier: the same gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation that has allowed Pennsylvania and other states to cash in on the fracking boom. In December, after years "on hold," the Cuomo administration finally addressed hydraulic fracturing, banning it based on potential health risks and "overstated" economic benefits. Local officials began brainstorming about leaving New York in a favor of becoming part of Pennsylvania, where the fracking industry has a strong foothold.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Hydraulic fracturing drives proppant use to 135 million pounds in 2014
Midland Reporter Telegram
Melia McEwen

Advances in hydraulic fracturing, coupled with advancing horizontal drilling technology, have received much of the credit for helping revive the nation’s oil and natural gas production. “The United States is now the largest producer of natural gas in the world, producing in excess of 70 billion cubic feet per day,” said Brian Olmen, lead author of the 10th Annual Proppant Market Report released by PropTester Inc. and KELRIK LLC. “The country reversed a so-called irreversible decline in domestic oil production to where we now produce over 9 million barrels per day, thereby significantly reducing dependency on oil imports while further enhancing domestic employment and revenues — whether that be generated on a West Texas oil rig or a Wisconsin frac sand plant. This success of North American unconventional oil and gas production simply is not feasible without the use of hydraulic fracturing and proppants.”   [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
House backs off last minute fracking change
WRAL.com
Mark Binker

RALEIGH, N.C. — A last minute amendment that would change the air quality rules related to fracking caused a tussle on the House floor Tuesday, with members ultimately voting down the measure, at least for the time being. Many lawmakers said they did not understand the measure when it first appeared Monday night. It was presented as an amendment to a bill making quick fixes for budget items dealing with the Common Core and coal ash. It was offered by Rep. Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, the House Majority leader, who initially sold it as "technical" fix.   [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Pipeline foes ask DEC to block permit
The Daily Star
Joe Mahoney

Opponents of the proposed Constitution Pipeline have flooded state regulators with comments urging the rejection of water permits the $700 million natural gas transmission system needs before it can be built. Anne Marie Garti, an environmental lawyer from East Meredith and one of the organizers of Stop the Pipeline, estimated that the state Department of Environmental Conservation fielded some 8,000 comments in opposition to the project before the close of business last Friday, the agency’s deadline for taking public input on the permit applications. She said more than 5,000 of those comments were hand-delivered to DEC in Albany that day by Stop the Pipeline activists. “That’s a huge number of comments, coming from a rural area with such a small population density,” Garti said. The underground pipeline, 30 inches in diameter, would run through fields, forests and farms from northeastern Pennsylvania to the town of Wright in Schoharie County, crossing into Broome, Chenango and Delaware counties along its 124-mile route.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Assessing water quality in areas with fracked oil, gas wells
ohio.com
Bob Downing

More data and research are necessary to best understand the potential risks to water quality associated with unconventional oil and gas development in the United States, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey study. “We mined the national water-quality databases from 1970 - 2010 and were able to assess long-term trends in only 16 percent of the watersheds with unconventional oil and gas resources,” said Zack Bowen, USGS scientist and principal author of the article that appears in American Geophysical Union’s Water Resources Research. “There are not enough data available to be able to assess potential effects of oil and gas development over large geographic areas.”  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
The Shale Revolution Did Not Pay Investors Well
Energy Collective
Deborah Lawrence

We have all heard of the “shale revolution”. It has been touted as the energy panacea of our time. Given the extreme hype, one would expect that such enthusiasm would translate into above average share performance for shale operators. This has not been the case. Share performance has actually been quite mediocre and in some cases just downright poor. The shale revolution started with shale gas. The Marcellus shale which spans Pennsylvania, parts of NY, West Virginia and Ohio has probably received the greatest amount of attention since the State of New York had a drilling moratorium for years which was recently replaced in favor of an outright ban on the controversial technique used to unlock shale reserves called hydrofracture stimulation or more commonly referred to as “fracking”. Looking at the top producers in the Marcellus, one would expect that these companies would have enjoyed returns on their shares which were commensurate with their expectation of future growth potential for their product. Interestingly, this has not occurred.  [Full Story]

Mar 3, 2015
Special issue of journal looks at fracking's effects on people, animals
Public Integrity
Jim Morris

On February 18, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group, announced that natural gas production from hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania had broken another record, exceeding 4 trillion cubic feet in 2014. “That number – nearly 1 trillion cubic feet more than 2013 – represents more than a quarter of the nation’s total natural gas production,” the coalition said, adding that more than 243,000 Pennsylvanians were “working across the industry.”   [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Renewable energy is conquering quirky nature of Britain’s climate
The Guardian
Paul Brown

Britain’s energy supply is increasingly driven by the weather. As spring progresses, large numbers of new solar farms will make a noticeable difference to the energy mix. Wind farms on and offshore are also being brought on line. At the same time the decision over whether to go ahead with Britain’s first new atomic plant in 30 years in Somerset has been put off again. Even if it is built the station is unlikely to be producing power before 2030. This leaves 15 years in which the electric output from renewables in their many forms will grow dramatically as costs fall. Solar, wind and small-scale hydropower are all now cheaper than new nuclear build and undersea turbines and even wave power are getting more competitive. One big drawback to acceptance of renewables has been opponents drawing attention to the quixotic nature of British weather causing output to vary; but even that problem is being conquered. I  [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Towns, counties ask for role in oil-gas rules in flood zones
KOAA


DENVER (AP) - Some local governments are asking Colorado regulators to recognize their authority to restrict oil and gas drilling near waterways. Torie Jarvis of the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments made the request Monday to the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. The council represents 22 towns and Eagle, Grand, Jackson, Pitkin and Summit counties.   [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Why Isn't the Oil Industry Worried About Hillary Clinton?
New Republic
Rebecca Leber

On the run-up to her likely presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton has assured top environmental groups like the League of Conservation Voters that she is committed to their causes. So why aren’t oil industry representatives worried? Erik Milito, the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) Director of Upstream and Industry Operations, told conservatives last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that Clinton could be "better" on oil and gas than the current president. “We hope no matter who's in there it's better than what we have there now, because it's been nothing but barrier after barrier of delay,” Milito said during a presentation on the natural gas boom in America.  [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Former governors urge no vote on Barr Pinelands appointment
Press of Atlantic City
CINDY NEVITT

Four former New Jersey governors took the extraordinary step Monday of writing to all 40 state senators, urging them to reject the appointment of Robert Barr to the Pinelands Commission. The four — Brendan T. Byne, Thomas H. Kean, Christine Todd Whitman and James J. Florio — each signed the letter, dated March 2, expressing their concern that Barr, of Ocean City, would compromise the independence of the agency. “Recent events threaten to erode that independence,” the governors wrote, alluding to Gov. Chris Christie’s systematic removal of commissioners who voted against a proposed natural gas pipeline through the Pinelands last year.  [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Gas Industry’s Solution to Toxic Wastewater: Spray It on Roads
Newsweek
ZOË SCHLANGER

In parts of Pennsylvania and New York, the answer to ice-slick wintry roads is simple: Put some gas production waste on it. Municipalities in the northern parts of both states use the salty wastewater from oil and gas production to melt ice in winter and suppress road dust in summer. The salty liquid does a great job: The brine can be as much as 10 times saltier than typical road salt. Plus it comes cheap; oil and gas companies, glad not to have to pay for disposal, will sell it to towns for cheap, or give it away free. Both states’ environmental protection departments consider brine spreading to be a “beneficial use” of the industrial waste, meaning, in legal terms, that recycling it in this way “does not harm or threaten public health, safety, welfare or the environment.” But according to new research, the brine is anything but benign.   [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Oklahoma counts the cost of fracking boom Earthquakes blamed on process
Leader Post
RAF SANCHEZ

Sometimes the dogs begin to bark a moment before the earthquake hits, sensing something that their owners cannot. Sometimes you can feel a change in air pressure on your face just as the shaking is about to begin. But usually the earthquakes in Oklahoma - as many as three a day - arrive without warning. "You never know when it's going to happen," said Ilke Crismon, a 75-year-old who grew up in Nuremberg under Allied bombing during the Second World War, and now lives on a ranch outside the town of Glencoe. "We always had alarms before the bombers came. Here you just stand here and get it." It wasn't always like this. The cause, most Oklahomans and almost all scientists agree, is the millions of gallons of water fired underground during the oil extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking.  [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Fracking With Your Health and Your Home
Huffington Post
Michael Green

At the Center for Environmental Health (CEH), we have raised many serious concerns about the health and environmental risks from chemical used in fracking. We are especially concerned that communities living near fracking operations are bearing the greatest burden from this risky technology. Given the dangers from fracking, it's not surprising when these communities have fears about the effect that fracking could have on property values. But it's often surprising to hear how few rights land owners often have when conflicts arise around fracking. After giving a talk on the dangers of fracking at the 2013 SXSW Eco Conference in Austin, TX, I was approached by a real estate broker from San Antonio named Michelle Doerr of Doerr Realty, who was concerned about the dangers from fracking and the lack of real estate disclosures in Texas about these issues. Michelle is licensed as a National Association of Realtors Green Certified broker, and she was concerned about the fracking industry's impact on her clients, who could be buying properties without being aware of the risks from fracking. She also worried about subsurface rights and the potential liability for realtors and home buyers who may not know that this issue even exists.  [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Business leaders to rally for block on gas drilling method
MyFoxDC


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Opponents of the natural gas drilling method known as fracking are rallying in Annapolis ahead of a hearing on prohibiting the practice in Maryland. A rally planned for Tuesday is being led by Don't Frack Maryland, a campaign of environmental activists and businesses in western Maryland, where fracking is being considered. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a process by which highly pressurized water, chemicals and sand are pumped into the ground, shaking loose rocks and releasing gas.  [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
The Government Has a Plan to Stop Fracking Earthquakes, But Will the Oil Industry Cooperate?
care2.com
RYOT

The US Geological Survey sent tremors across the web last week when they released a study stating that fluid injection, aka fracking, is responsible for the rapid rise of earthquakes in states like Oklahoma and called upon the oil and gas industries to work with them on a plan to stop these quakes that pose a real threat to the environment and the people who live there. In an exclusive interview with RYOT, USGS Geophysicist Art McGarr talks about the public response to the study and explains exactly how government and industry can collaborate to control these quakes without hurting the economy. “In Oklahoma, the official response is that we’re way off target, that these earthquakes have not been proven to be caused by fluid injections,” McGarr said with a laugh. “I know at least in some quarters the response has been very negative.”   [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Fracking: Oil company sues to overturn San Benito County fracking ban; could affect other counties
San Jose Mercury News
Paul Rogers

An oil company has sued to block San Benito County's voter-approved fracking ban in a move that could affect the growing trend of California cities and counties' efforts to stop the controversial oil drilling practice of hydraulic fracturing. In the lawsuit, Citadel Exploration, based in Newport Beach, is attempting to overturn Measure J, approved by 59 percent of San Benito County voters four months ago.  [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Studies explore concerns about natural-gas production and health
The Dallas Morning News
RANDY LEE LOFTIS

ogs serve as living recorders of toxic exposure. Cattle have trouble breeding. People report headaches, dizziness, difficulty breathing and a raft of other ills. Those are a few of the findings in a new suite of academic studies on natural-gas production and health being published Tuesday. People’s and animals’ troubles subside, one study found, when they move away from places where companies are producing natural gas with unconventional methods — that is, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the process already used on tens of thousands of wells in North Texas.  [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
N.Y. walls off utilities from renewable generation assets
E & E Newswire
Colin Sullivan

New York regulators last week published a major order meant to form the backbone of the state's ambitious drive to reform its electricity grid to encourage growth of distributed, decentralized power resources. The state's Public Service Commission issued its "track one" order to lay out the basic policy framework for how the "reforming the energy vision," or REV, will proceed by year's end. In the order, the PSC effectively told traditional utilities that they will not be permitted to own renewable generation sources except in rare circumstances to, in theory, enhance competition and create markets that will allow on-site wind and rooftop solar to flourish.  [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Final plea to ban frac sand in Houston County
wxow.com
Brittany Lake, MMJ

La Crescent, MN (WXOW) - Houston County residents made a final plea Monday to call for a ban on frac sand mining. Tuesday morning the county board is expected to vote on an ordinance that would ban mining frac sand, a special type of sand used by energy companies in other parts of the country in a practice called hydraulic fracturing, a process that extracts oil and gas deposits underground. Houston County would be the first county in both Minnesota and Wisconsin to enact a frac sand mining ban. On Monday, a group of citizens from Houston County encouraged the commissioners to "do the right thing" and listen to what the people want.  [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Colorado oil, gas regulators OK rules to limit flood damage
Greeley Tribune
DAN ELLIOTT, AP

DENVER — The commission that oversees oil and gas regulation in Colorado adopted new rules Monday designed to limit spills during major floods like the one that struck the Front Range in 2013. But the panel rejected a request that it grant local government the authority to impose stricter rules. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission also rejected suggestions that it try to discourage companies from drilling wells or installing storage tanks in flood-prone areas. One official said those questions can be addressed in the commission’s normal permitting process.  [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Oil train shipments expand under Cuomo
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—The companies involved in shipping crude oil through New York State have dramatically expanded their operations in New York during Governor Andrew Cuomo's first term, while spending nearly $1 million on lobbying efforts.   [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Can Fracking Pollute Drinking Water? Don't Ask the EPA
InsideClimate News
Neela Banerjee

Can fracking pollute drinking water? The Environmental Protection Agency embarked in 2010 on what was intended to be a definitive study to find out. The answer could prove critical to future U.S. regulation of the multibillion-dollar fossil fuel sector and to ensuring water safety for millions of Americans. But after five years of fighting with the oil and gas industry, the agency may still be unable to provide a clear answer when a draft of the study is published this spring, based on internal EPA documents and interviews with people who have knowledge of the study.   [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Constitution Pipeline: ‘The Keystone Pipeline of Natural Gas’
EcoWatch
Ted Glick

“This Constitution pipeline is about enriching a few billionaires by impoverishing the people of New York State,” Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. told Ed Schultz on MSNBC’s The Ed Show. “And the bullying that we’ve seen go along with this, the corruption—FERC is really a rogue agency, it’s a classic captive agency, it issued this permit illegally.”  [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Internal Documents Reveal Extensive Industry Influence Over EPA's National Fracking Study
DeSmogBlog
Sharon Kelly

In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched an ambitious and highly consequential study of the risks that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, poses to American drinking water supplies. “This is about using the best possible science to do what the American people expect the EPA to do – ensure that the health of their communities and families are protected,” Paul Anastas, Assistant Administrator for the agency's Office of Research and Development, said in 2011.  [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
California Beach Community Prepares for High-Stakes Vote on Oil Drilling
The New York Times
ADAM NAGOURNEY

HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. — This quaint and quirky seaside community south of Los Angeles has had a conflicted relationship with the oil industry for close to a century. It has variously approved oil drilling, banned it, approved it and prohibited it again. During one yes-on-oil stretch, it contracted with an energy company to put 34 wells on a 1.3-acre city maintenance yard a few blocks from a stretch of beach that normally bustles with surfers and swimmers.   [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Fracking Brings Big Health Concerns for Workers
Truthout
Roger Drouin

Research is making it clear just how hazardous fracking can be for industry workers. Silica and benzene exposure top the list of hazards. Oil and gas exploration has always been dangerous. But recent research - along with documented incidents in the field - are making it clear just how hazardous fracking can be for industry workers. From frack hands to field engineers, workers are exposed to hazards that range from silica dust clouds lifted as delivery trucks dump sand that's blended with fracking fluids to dangerous levels of benzene in the air. Breathing silica can cause silicosis, a lung disease, and exposure to high levels of benzene can cause cancer. Other concerns include the use of heavy equipment operated at night and extremely high pressures, which are used to push liquids into the ground.  [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
DOZEN NEW YORK TOWNS LOOK TO SECEDE Local governments want out for economic reason



A dozen-plus towns in upstate New York say they’re on the cusp of seceding and joining Pennsylvania due to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announced ban on fracking. “We have no jobs and no income,” said Conklin Town Supervisor Jim Finch, in the New York Post. “The richest resource we have is in the ground.”   [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Microbes could help clean up after fracking
CBS News


As fracking has exploded across the country, so have toxic ponds of salty and contaminated water that litter places like North Dakota and Texas. Now, a team of researchers may have come up with process they believe will treat this wastewater, helping address one of the industry's biggest headaches.   [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Gibson, Maloney split on effort to aid fracking lawsuits
Poughkeepsie Journal
John Ferro

Two local congressional representatives are divided on a legislative effort that would make it easier for property rights owners to sue because of New York's announced ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a Cold Spring Democrat who represents the southwestern portion of Dutchess County, said he opposes a bill introduced by western New York Republican Tom Reed. Chris Gibson, the Republican from Kinderhook who represents all of Ulster County and the remaining portion of Dutchess County, said he supports the bills' goals.  [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Can Fracking Pollute Drinking Water? Don't Ask the EPA
Inside Climate News
Neela Banerjee

The EPA has been unable to collect the data it needs from the multibillion dollar oil and gas sector, which has stymied a five-year federal study.   [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Honey producers in WA oppose fracking in Beekeepers Nature Reserve
ABC News
Claire Moodie

Western Australia's beekeepers are opposing a plan to clear part of a nature reserve named after them for shale gas exploration. The company behind the venture said Beekeepers Nature Reserve would not be fracked and would be rehabilitated, but opponents said they wanted it to be out of bounds for the oil and gas industry.   [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Fracking: Yes! There’s Insurance Coverage for That!
JC Supra Business Advisor
Lorelie Masters, Koorosh Talieh, Perkins Cole

A typical fracking case alleges bodily injury or property damage arising out of contaminated groundwater (methane or other pollutants such as fracking fluid). However, cases also seek damages from alleged air pollution, nuisance and trespass, well blowouts, disposal of fracking fluids, earthquakes, and even corporate malfeasance by directors and officers.   [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Oklahoma counts the cost of fracking boom Earthquakes blamed on process
Leader-Post
Raf Sanchez

You never know when it's going to happen," said Ilke Crismon, a 75-year-old who grew up in Nuremberg under Allied bombing during the Second World War, and now lives on a ranch outside the town of Glencoe. "We always had alarms before the bombers came. Here you just stand here and get it." "It wasn't always like this. The cause, most Oklahomans and almost all scientists agree, is the millions of gallons of water fired underground during the oil extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking.  [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Fracking Center Expands Wastewater Treatment Standard
Environmental Leader


The Center for Sustainable Shale Development, a collaborative established in 2013 between Chevron, Shell and other natural gas companies and environmental groups to set fracking standards, has expanded its wastewater Performance Standard 1 to address the treatment of shale wastewater at permitted facilities.   [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
No-go zones for fracking as German brewers battle to keep beer pure
Independent
Stefan Nicola

German brewers have won government backing to protect the springs they use from fracking, which they say could taint the purity of their beer. The government plans to allow federal states to identify locations where fracking can't take place to preserve the quality of the ground water used by brewers and producers of bottled mineral water, the Environment Ministry said last week.   [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Maryland business owners, residents to rally in support legislation to prohibit fracking
Daily Journal
Meredith Somers

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland — Bob Orr is worried what fracking might do to Deep Creek Lake. Tiffany Blackden is scared for her son. The two are among a growing number of concerned business owners and residents in Western Maryland, which is targeted for future natural gas drilling.   [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
Gas Industry’s Solution to Toxic Wastewater: Spray It on Roads
Newsweek
Zoe Schlanger

In parts of Pennsylvania and New York, the answer to ice-slick wintry roads is simple: Put some gas production waste on it. Municipalities in the northern parts of both states use the salty wastewater from oil and gas production to melt ice in winter and suppress road dust in summer.   [Full Story]

Mar 2, 2015
What's Next Politically For Oil & Gas In Colorado?
KUNC
Bente Birkeland

Governor John Hickenlooper's oil and gas task force recently proposed nine recommendations to try and easy concerns for people living near energy development, but it did not vote to give local communities more control over oil and gas drilling. The big question on everyone's mind now: What's next for the state Legislature and for a possible anti-fracking initiative going before voters in 2016?   [Full Story]

Mar 1, 2015
W&J alumnus creates frack water recycling process
Observer-Reporter
Emily Petsko

Recycling drilling wastewater is a little like turning lemons into lemonade. At least it seems that way to Ray Roccon, a chemist who created a process to treat flowback water so that it can be reused in fracking operations.  [Full Story]

Mar 1, 2015
Upstate New York towns consider secession after state bans fracking
PSB Newshour
Carey Reed

An initially playful remark by an upstate New York town official about seceding to Pennsylvania after New York State banned hydraulic fracturing in December has spurred community interest into the possibility. The statement came late last year from Jim Finch, a supervisor for the town of Conklin, located along the northern border of Pennsylvania in New York’s Southern Tier.  [Full Story]

Mar 1, 2015
Was Climate Science Denialist Willie Soon Funded To Do Science Or Was It Just PR Cash From The Fossil Fuel Industry?
DeSmogBlog
Graham Readfearn

So one of the climate science denial industry’s most celebrated scientists has been caught describing his research work as “deliverables” to his fossil fuel funders. Dr Willie Soon, the aeronautics engineer who dabbles in public health, atmospheric science, solar physics and sea level rise, describes himself as an “independent scientist”. More often though over the years, he is described by others as an “astrophysicist” at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, lending him credibility which most serious climate scientists would argue Soon’s science doesn’t deserve.  [Full Story]

Mar 1, 2015
Shale drilling boom a bust for some Western Pennsylvania towns
Tribune-Review
Craig Smith

t's all part of the “great shale divide” that some say has split the county into the haves and have-nots. “We don't see people clamoring to fill jobs or hotel accommodations in the Mon Valley,” Mollenauer said. “We don't see that coming our way.”   [Full Story]

Mar 1, 2015
Academics urge University of Edinburgh to end fossil fuel investment
The Guardian
Libby Brooks

Staff back student and global calls for fossil fuel and arms trade divestment in open letter to vice-chancellor before crucial funding deadline Fifty academics from Edinburgh University have signed an open letter calling for the institution to divest its £230m endowment fund from fossil fuels and the arms trade.   [Full Story]

Mar 1, 2015
Fracking stirs debate in Annapolis
Herald-Mail Media
Kaustuv Basu

ANNAPOLIS — Debate about the economic and environmental consequences of fracking in Western Maryland is raging in Annapolis, with some bills that would severely restrict the process of extracting natural gas making their way through the Maryland General Assembly.   [Full Story]

Mar 1, 2015
Fracking Opponents Feel Police Pressure In Some Drilling Hotspots
NPR
MARIE CUSICK

Wendy Lee, an anti-fracking activist and philosophy professor at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, has always protested peacefully. So she was stunned last winter when a state trooper came to her home to ask her about eco-terrorism and pipe bombs. The trooper was investigating an alleged trespassing incident that involved Lee and two other activists visiting a gas compressor in Pennsylvania's Lycoming County in June 2013. Lee says they stayed on a public road and left when security guards told them to go away.  [Full Story]

Mar 1, 2015
Fighting Fracking: Calvin Tillman Shares His Story of Standing Up to the Fossil Fuel Industry
EcoWatch
Walker Foley

Since I joined the fight to end fracking three years ago, I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many inspiring people across the U.S. fighting the oil and gas industry in their communities. Most recently, I met Calvin Tillman, Mayor Emeritus of DISH, Texas, who visited Southern California on a speaking tour of Carson, Brea and La Habra Heights. Each city is engaged in its own, unique struggle against Big Oil, but Tillman’s story of standing up to the industry hit home for residents of each of these communities.  [Full Story]

Mar 1, 2015
U.S. Fracking Boom Won't Bring Manufacturing Home: Analysts
Forbes
Jeff McMahon

While cheap natural gas and oil is drawing petrochemical companies back to the United States, companies that produce consumer goods are unlikely to follow because of high labor costs, a partner with the strategy and management consulting firm AT Kearney said in Chicago Wednesday. “The thought of actually shutting down capital investments in other parts of the world completely and bringing them back to the U.S. for energy advantage, we think that’s just overstated. It doesn’t make economic sense,” Vance Scott told about 125 people at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management on Wednesday, during Kellogg’s 2015 Energy Conference, which focused on the impact of cheap gas and oil from the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of shale.  [Full Story]

Mar 1, 2015
Dow Bets $6 Billion That U.S. Fracking Boom Will Last Another Decade
Forbes
Jeff McMahon

Dow Chemical is investing $6 billion to enlarge its manufacturing facilities in the United States by 40 percent, based on a wager that low natural gas prices here will persist into the middle of the next decade, a Dow executive said in Chicago this week. The investment reverses Dow’s vocal exodus from manufacturing in the United States, said Doug May, Dow’s business president of olefins, aromatics, and alternatives, during the Kellogg Energy Conference Wednesday at Northwestern University.  [Full Story]

Mar 1, 2015
Algeria: Violence Erupts at Protest Over Shale Gas Drilling Project
The New York Times
CARLOTTA GALL

Protests against hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for shale gas in southern Algeria turned violent over the weekend when the police clashed with demonstrators outside a base run by the American company Halliburton near the town of Ain Salah. Tensions were still running high on Sunday, but no further violence was reported. Antifracking protests against the government oil and gas company Sonatrach and its international partners have occurred almost daily for two months, but had been peaceful until now. Clashes broke out when protesters approached Halliburton’s walled compound and burned tires in the roads. The police fired tear gas and detained at least a dozen. About 20 protesters were injured, three of them seriously, according to a local hospital. Algeria, which gets much of its revenue from the export of oil and gas, has been conducting a pilot project to test for shale gas near Ain Salah and announced in December that it was ready to start extracting gas by hydraulic fracturing. Groups that oppose the government have joined the local protesters in Ain Salah to demand a moratorium on fracking, citing environmental concerns.   [Full Story]

Feb 28, 2015
Wolf Administration To Show How It’ll Challenge Gas Industry
CBS Philly


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, who ran last year with the backing of environmental groups, will soon be giving a first glimpse at how his administration will approach the powerful Marcellus Shale natural gas industry. Next week, Wolf’s Department of EnvironmentalProtection is preparing to release its plans to update various rules over the drilling industry, including how it must prevent methane leaks and how it must handle toxic wastewater.  [Full Story]

Feb 28, 2015
Pipeline company didn’t use remote sensors before leak
The Dickinson Press
Amy Dalrymple

WILLISTON — The pipeline that ruptured and spilled nearly 3 million gallons of saltwater, contaminating a nearby creek and two rivers near Williston, could have been monitored remotely but the system wasn’t turned on, a regulator said last week.   [Full Story]

Feb 28, 2015
Bill would allow property owners to sue over drilling ordinances
Star-Telegram
Max B. Baker

The latest bill to be filed after Denton banned hydraulic fracturing would make cities that adopt restrictive drilling regulations pay mineral owners for their loss of property. State Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, filed legislation last week that he says would set up a mechanism allowing a qualified group of property owners with a state-issued drilling permit to seek payment if they believe that ordinances make it impossible to profit from the oil or gas underneath their land. “Taking someone’s property without paying for it is wrong. You can’t take people’s property without compensation,” Taylor said. A city can implement any ban it wants and set any distance regulations it like, but should just be prepared to compensate for it, Taylor said.   [Full Story]

Feb 28, 2015
Hundreds of illicit oil wastewater pits found in Kern County
Daily Republic
Associated Press

BAKERSFIELD — Inspections by water officials have found numerous oil-industry wastewater pits operating without permits across Central California. Oil producers have been dumping chemical-laden wastewater into as many as 300 unlined, shallow troughs in Kern County, according to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.   [Full Story]

Feb 28, 2015
Communities sign up to oppose fracking for unconventional gas in WA's Mid West
ABC News
Emily Piesse

Jim Clarke, 83, is an unlikely environmental campaigner but that is exactly what the navy veteran, from Jurien Bay in Western Australia, is fast becoming. He is part of a growing movement in the Mid West to oppose fracking for unconventional gas, driven largely by the fear of potential contamination of underground water supplies.   [Full Story]

Feb 28, 2015
Fracking fault lines forecast a future fight over gas
Press Connects
Jon Campbell

Seven years and 10 days later, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration announced a decision that shocked them both: A ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing, the much-debated technique that promised to unlock the gas in the Marcellus Shale formation a mile below the surface. The decision has reverberated from the state Capitol down Interstate 88 to the Southern Tier and beyond, leaving Diffendorf, Hamlin and the thousands of others who participated in the often-heated debate on shale-gas drilling to ponder what happened and what's next.   [Full Story]

Feb 28, 2015
Fracking boosters, foes ponder what's next
Ithaca Journal
Jon Campbell

KIRKWOOD – Without hesitation, Kirkwood resident Marchie Diffendorf can recall the exact date of the phone call: Dec. 7, 2007. It was a landman with a natural-gas company: Would he be interested in leasing the natural-gas rights to his 60-acre property in the rural Broome County town he's lived in his whole life?   [Full Story]

Feb 27, 2015
2015: Oil Industry Off to a Rough Start
InsideClimate News
Elizabeth Douglass

So far, 2015 has not been good to the oil industry. In just the last two weeks, the bad news included two fiery oil railcar accidents, a refinery explosion, a scandal involving an industry-funded climate skeptic, a high-profile setback for an oil-by-rail project, a big retrenchment in Canada’s oil sands, and the president's veto of the Keystone XL oil import pipeline.  [Full Story]

Feb 27, 2015
5,000 say 'no' to gas line
Times Union
Brian Nearing

Albany Opponents of a proposed $750 million, 124-mile pipeline to carry hydrofracked natural gas from Pennsylvania into New York, where it could move on into Canada and New England, filed more than 5,000 individual comments with the state Department of Environmental Conservation on Friday. The Constitution Pipeline would begin in the Marcellus Shale fracking fields around Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, just south of Binghamton. The pipeline would travel northeast through Broome, Chenango and Delaware counties before ending at the Schoharie County town of Wright, about five miles south of Interstate 88. From there, the pipeline would connect to the existing Iroquois Gas and Tennessee Gas pipelines that carry natural gas north, south and east. "The pipeline simply cannot be done without violating laws that are meant to protect us," said Anne Marie Garti, a founding member of the Stop the Pipeline, an environmental attorney working with the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic on behalf of the group.  [Full Story]

Feb 27, 2015
How New York Activists Banned Fracking
In These Times
Eric Weltman

On December 17, years of relentless organizing culminated in the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo announcing a ban fracking in New York. In winning this historic victory, we defeated the oil & gas industry, with its massive financial clout and political influence. We also undermined the conventional wisdom that a ban was not feasible—a sentiment widely held by political insiders but also by many green groups who easily conceded that fracking would be permitted.  [Full Story]

Feb 27, 2015
PSE&G: Pilgrim Pipeline can't use our right-of-way between Montville and Woodbridge
The Star-Ledger
Ben Horowitz

Public Service Electric & Gas Co. has told Pilgrim Pipeline that it may not use its right-of-way between Montville and Woodbridge to build its proposed oil pipeline, according to a PSE&G spokeswoman. Pilgrim is planning to construct a 178-mile pipeline between Albany, N.Y. and Linden and has said it plans for the majority of its route to be built along established rights-of-way.   [Full Story]

Feb 27, 2015
Constitution pipeline officials hold last conference for public comment
ABC News 10
Ali Stewart

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Friday was the last say for public comment on the DEC’s constitution pipeline. ‘Stop the Pipeline’ and the Center for Sustainable, Rural Communities held a press conference before revealing thousands of written comments regarding the pipeline. Officials say by delivering these public comments they hope to support the DEC’s continued efforts to protect the State of New York and its efforts to the people, its wildlife economy, and environment for the destruction that this fracking project would bring.  [Full Story]

Feb 27, 2015
Shale Revolution Did Not Pay Investors Well
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

We have all heard of the “shale revolution”. It has been touted as the energy panacea of our time. Given the extreme hype, one would expect that such enthusiasm would translate into above average share performance for shale operators. This has not been the case. Share performance has actually been quite mediocre and in some cases just downright poor. The shale revolution started with shale gas. The Marcellus shale which spans Pennsylvania, parts of NY, West Virginia and Ohio has probably received the greatest amount of attention since the State of New York had a drilling moratorium for years which was recently replaced in favor of an outright ban on the controversial technique used to unlock shale reserves called hydrofracture stimulation or more commonly referred to as “fracking”. Looking at the top producers in the Marcellus, one would expect that these companies would have enjoyed returns on their shares which were commensurate with their expectation of future growth potential for their product. Interestingly, this has not occurred.  [Full Story]

Feb 27, 2015
Over 5k comments to DEC asking to deny “Constitution” pipeline
Stop The Pipeline
Press Release

Stop the Pipeline (STP) delivers over five-thousand written comments to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regarding the proposed “Constitution” pipeline. For the past two months, STP has been educating the public and organizing a letter writing campaign to respond to applications for a 401 water quality certificate and four related permits needed for a controversial 124-mile pipeline project, proposed to carry fracked gas from Susquehanna County Pennsylvania to Wright, New York. To grant the 401 Water Quality Certificate, DEC needs to find that the project would not violate New York State’s strict water quality standards. If DEC denies the application, the pipeline would not be built. “This project is like trying to force a square peg into a round hole,” said Anne Marie Garti, a founding member of STP, and an environmental attorney working with the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, Inc. on behalf of the group. “It simply cannot be done without violating laws that are meant to protect us.”  [Full Story]

Feb 27, 2015
Governor Wolf asks Obama to strengthen oil train safety
NPR State Impact PA
Susan Phillips

Writing that the “potential for disaster is too great to ignore,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has sought help from President Obama regarding oil train safety. In a letter to the President, Wolf wrote the “tools and options available to me are limited.” The recent oil train derailment in West Virginia has focused more attention on the safety of crude oil transport. Shipments have risen in the past several years because of the shale oil boom in North Dakota, and the lack of pipeline infrastructure to carry all that crude to refineries on the East Coast. Pennsylvania has experienced four train derailments since January 2014. Two of those derailments happened in heavily populated Philadelphia, but none resulted in a fire.  [Full Story]

Feb 27, 2015
$200 bn in debt looms over American oil and gas
RT News


Plummeting Brent oil prices are putting pressure on North American shale, which has sunk hundreds of billions of dollars into investment, and could soon come crashing down. Tempted by big returns, shale companies have borrowed more than $200 billion in bonds and loans, from Wall Street and London, to cover development and projects that may not even come to fruition. Oil producers' debt since 2010 has increased more than 55 percent, and revenues have slowed, rising only 36 percent from September 2014, compared to 2010, according to the Wall Street Journal.  [Full Story]

Feb 27, 2015
After Washington, Petraeus Is Under Radar, but Not Out of Spotlight
The New York Times
SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

WASHINGTON — As the top American military commander who oversaw the Middle East and Central Asia, Gen. David H. Petraeus worked hard to court the political elite in Kazakhstan. So the first time he met there with President Nursultan Nazarbayev, he made a joke to dispel fears that the United States had designs on the region’s oil. “We could have bought all the oil in the region for 100 years for what we’ve spent in Iraq!” the general said. Today, General Petraeus is Citizen Petraeus, a new partner in KKR & Company, a New York private equity firm. Last month he was back in Kazakhstan, this time courting the business elite at Nazarbayev University, founded by the Kazakh leader.  [Full Story]

Feb 27, 2015
State regulators approve plan to overhaul energy grid
Capital New York
Scott Waldman and David Giambusso

ALBANY—The plan adopted by the Public Service Commission on Thursday sets in motion the Cuomo administration's attempt to modernize the state's energy grid. The Reforming Energy Vision plan will encourage the growth of wind and solar power to make the state's electrical grid more reliant on technology and reward customers for reducing energy usage. It will also allow utility companies to distribute, but not own, renewable power sources.  [Full Story]

Feb 27, 2015
Over 150 professors plan to send letter to Bollinger calling for fossil fuel divestment
Columbia Spectator
Catie Edmondson

Over 150 Columbia University faculty members including history professor Eric Foner and political science department chair Page Fortna, in the past week have signed and circulated an open letter to President Bollinger and the board of trustees asking that the University divest from holdings in fossil fuel corporations as soon as practicable.   [Full Story]

Feb 27, 2015
Most Americans see combating climate change as a moral duty
Reuters
Bruce Wallace

(Reuters) - A significant majority of Americans say combating climate change is a moral issue that obligates them – and world leaders - to reduce carbon emissions, a Reuters/IPSOS poll has found. The poll of 2,827 Americans was conducted in February to measure the impact of moral language, including interventions by Pope Francis, on the climate change debate. In recent months, the pope has warned about the moral consequences of failing to act on rising global temperatures, which are expected to disproportionately affect the lives of the world’s poor.   [Full Story]

Feb 27, 2015
What happened to the lobbyists who tried to reshape the US view of climate change?
The Guardian
Graham Readfearn

In early 1998, some of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world were hatching a plan to hijack the science of human-caused global warming. Representatives from major fossil fuel corporations and industry groups had joined forces with operatives from major conservative think tanks and public relations experts to draft what they called their Global Climate Science Communications (GCSC) plan.   [Full Story]

Feb 27, 2015
Sixteen U.S. senators question large-volume LNG exports
Akron Beacon Journal
Bob Downing

The Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) genuinely thanks the sixteen U.S. Senators who championed a letter to the Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz urging him to consider the impact of large-scale LNG exports on American consumers and businesses. Referring to the DOE sponsored NERA Economic Consulting study, the Senators state that, “we are concerned with the conclusions you draw from these analyses, which we believe demonstrate that large volumes of LNG exports are not consistent with the public interest.” “We agree with their conclusion,” said Paul N. Cicio, President of IECA. “The larger the LNG export volume, the larger the cumulative risk to consumers. And, consumers do not have a substitute. ” (View Cicio’s verbal and written testimony on S. 33, the “LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act.”)  [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Health comes second in the gasfields
Brisbane Times
Dr David Shearman

Doctors are worried by the potential health effects of all forms of unconventional gas mining. The Senate Inquiry into Certain Aspects of Queensland Government Administration is considering the approval process for the development of projects for the export of resources. If all submissions are considered properly, the inquiry should report on the effects of CSG and coal mining. The Australian Medical Association and Doctors for the Environment Australia share concerns about the rapid expansion of CSG. These are:  [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Google invests $300 million in U.S. residential solar projects
Reuters


(Reuters) - SolarCity Corp on Thursday said it created a $750 million fund to finance about 25,000 residential solar projects, with Google Inc investing nearly half the funding. The money will be used by SolarCity to put solar panels on homes. Homeowners then will pay a monthly fee to lease the panels from the company. The growth of such financing has made generating electric power from the sun an option for households who do not want to shell out the $20,000 to $30,000 upfront cost of a typical residential solar system.  [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
North Texas fracking ban becomes case of state v. local control
Watchdong.org
Lou Ann Anderson

The November election saw voters in Denton, a college town north of Dallas/Fort Worth, approving a hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, ban and while legal challenges loom, debate over a larger issue – state v. local control – is now emerging.  [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Teaching union calls for ban on fracking
Blackpool Gazette


Teachers’ leaders have called for fracking to be banned on the grounds it could pose a health threat to pupils at Fylde schools.  [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
State approves Westchester power experiment
Capital New York
David Giambusso

A group of energy advocates in Westchester scored a significant victory Thursday when the state Public Service Commission gave the green light for a contested plan to let towns and cities in the downstate county purchase their own power, bypassing a role utilities have played for decades. Community Choice Aggregation, or C.C.A., is a system whereby municipalities, either by referendum or legislation, determine where their electricity will come from and who will generate it. It gives residents and small businesses a level of clout they would not have on their own, allowing them to negotiate competitive prices from independent energy service companies.  [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
German Beer Brewers Win Fracking Protection for Spring
Bloomberg
Stefan Nicola

(Bloomberg) -- German brewers have won the backing of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to protect the springs they use from fracking, which they say could taint the purity of their beer.  [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Fracking rights dealt major blow by Government Bill
Farmers Guardian
Joel Durkin

FARMERS affected by fracking have lost the right to be notified when the controversial gas extraction technique is happening beneath their land. Changes to the Infrastructure Bill which became law on February 12 removed requirements for fracking companies to tell landowners about fracking taking place under their land.   [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Tasmania's fracking moratorium extended
The Advocate
Emily Woods

THE state government will introduce a five year moratorium on fracking, after considering a review into its impact on Tasmania.  [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Going Off the Rails
OurFuture.org
Emily Schwartz

When 27 CSX tanker cars loaded with fracked North Dakota crude tumbled onto a West Virginia riverbank on President’s Day, the ensuing fireballs leveled a house and forced hundreds of people to flee amid a heavy snowstorm. Even though 19 of the derailed cars — each carrying 30,000 gallons of oil — erupted into flames, nobody died in this particular disaster. But it may have fired a fatal shot into the argument that trains can “safely” haul crude across North America. After most of these increasingly frequent accidents, critics urge the government to make operators use “safer” tanker cars. Yet the cars that went off the rails, exploded into flames, and then smoldered for days alongside the Kanawha River were the new-and-improved model.  [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Commission blocks citizens' fracking questions
Courier-Journal
James Bruggers

Kentucky citizens on Wednesday were blocked by a state commission from asking their questions about a rare permit for a proposed deep horizontal natural gas well that might that officials said would likely use a type of "fracking" technology that's been controversial in other states.  [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Tasmania extends fracking ban
AU News


The Tasmanian government will extend its ban on fracking for five years to protect the state's agricultural industry. The decision was announced on Thursday after a review into the mining practice of hydraulic fracturing, a popular method to source coal seam gas.  [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Group backs off plan to put fracking ban on Colorado ballot
KRDO
Associated Press

DENVER - An activist group is backing off its earlier announcement that it would to try to get a statewide fracking ban on the Colorado ballot. Karen Dike of Coloradans Against Fracking said Thursday the group will try to persuade Gov. John Hickenlooper to impose a ban on the practice but isn't actively working on a ballot issue.   [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Increase in Kentucky Fracking Prompts Lawmakers to Update Rules
Insurance Journal
Adam Beam

As Kentucky mines less coal and produces more natural gas, state lawmakers want to update the environmental protection rules that drilling companies are required to follow. But some landowners worry the state’s rush to welcome the practice of hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, puts their land and their health at risk. In fracking, drillers inject water and chemicals into the ground to break up rocks and extract oil and gas.   [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Keystone XL Veto Could Make A Case Against Fracking
CBS Boston
Shawn Thomas

President Barack Obama recently vetoed a bill approved by both Congress and the Senate to build the Keystone XL pipeline, an oil pipeline system commissioned to transport oil from Canada and the North Dakota Bakken Shale region to Midwest and Gulf Coast refineries. The move to veto this bill showcases the Obama administration’s focus on climate change at a time when environmentalists are concerned with the pipeline causing more oil spills in sensitive areas of the U.S. and increasing greenhouse gas emissions in total.   [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
USGS: Fracking Wastewater Disposal Wells Are Causing Oklahoma Earthquakes
DeSmogBlog
MIKE GAWORECKI

Some of the most heavily fracked parts of the US have experienced an unprecedented wave of earthquakes in recent years even though they’ve long been considered geologically stable. But the oil and gas industry is quick to reject any suggestion that fracking is to blame. The United States Geological Survey, for its part, has said in the past that the injection of fracking wastewater into deep geologic formations was a likely cause of the increased seismic activity in Oklahoma. Now the agency has made it official.  [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
New York town to find a way to frack the Marcellus Shale despite state ban
The Patriot News
John Luciew

WINDSOR, NY - This town of 5,000 people situated near the Pennsylvania border and directly over one of the richest deposits of the gas-laden Marcellus Shale formation is moving forward with ordinances that would clear the way for fracking. Yes, that is right, Windsor Town officials are planning to approve fracking - "gas and oil development," as they term it - despite New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's fracking ban, issued late last year. But as Town Supervisor Carolyn Price points out, the state ban covers only "high-volume hydraulic fracturing." And there are many other forms of fracking and drilling, Price said.   [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Hundreds of illicit oil wastewater pits found in Kern County
Los Angeles Times
Julie Cart

Water officials in Kern County discovered that oil producers have been dumping chemical-laden wastewater into hundreds of unlined pits that are operating without proper permits. Inspections completed this week by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board revealed the existence of more than 300 previously unidentified waste sites. The water board’s review found that more than one-third of the region’s active disposal pits are operating without permission.  [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
David Cameron's New Definition of Fracking ‘Political Not Scientific’
DeSmogBlogUK
KYLA MANDEL

Last week, DeSmog UK revealed how David Cameron’s government snuck a new definition of fracking onto the statute books. Kyla Mandel investigates where this definition actually came from. The definition of hydraulic fracturing adopted by the UK coalition government has all the hallmarks of industry influence, finds DeSmog UK. The fracking definition was slipped into the controversial Infrastructure Act without a chance for MPs to vote on it. And it is almost identical to that recommended by the European Commission in January 2014. However, both of these definitions are based solely on the volume of fluid used during fracking and are closely aligned with the shale gas industry’s specific definition of hydraulic fracturing. ‘Political Definition’   [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Heard about the FBI Tracking of Keystone XL Activists? It’s Worse than You Thought.
Earth Island Journal
ADAM FEDERMAN

The energy industry is now firmly hitched to the national security state. This is a sneak peak from our forthcoming Spring edition. If you value dogged reporting like this, please become a subscriber today. In August 2010, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit distributed an intelligence bulletin to all field offices warning that environmental extremism would likely become an increasing threat to the energy industry. The eight-page document argued that, even though the industry had encountered only low-level vandalism and trespassing, recent “criminal incidents” suggested that environmental extremism was on the rise. The FBI concluded: “Environmental extremism will become a greater threat to the energy industry owing to our historical understanding that some environmental extremists have progressed from committing low-level crimes against targets to more significant crimes over time in an effort to further the environmental extremism cause.”   [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Rep. Petri and Delaware Riverkeeper discuss pipeline
The Intelligencer
Freda R. Savana

While state Rep. Scott Petri, R-178, called the PennEast pipeline a “done deal,” Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum said the battle to block the $1 billion project can still be won. The two shared their views on the controversial pipeline Wednesday with the Bucks County Courier Times editorial board. The Bucks County Courier Times is the sister newspaper of The Intelligencer. In a 90-minute discussion, with Petri joined in by phone from Harrisburg, the pair voiced differing opinions on the lawmaker’s proposal to grant the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission the ability to use its right of way for a pipeline and the need for investment in clean energy over fossil fuels.   [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad EPA?
InsideClimate News


The Environmental Protection Agency has been accused of everything from running this country to waging an economy-destroying war on coal. But it turns out the GOP's prime target isn't that big after all.   [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Green groups divided on Hillary Clinton's oil interest ties
Reuters
TIMOTHY GARDNER

(Reuters) - Hillary Clinton's connections to oil and gas interests has created a dilemma for some environmental groups, troubling activists for whom she would be the natural candidate to support for president. The presumptive Democratic presidential candidate's environmental record has come under renewed scrutiny after the Wall Street Journal reported that the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative have accepted large donations from major energy companies Exxon Mobil and Chevron. The groups also got money from foreign governments, including Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, and from an office of the Canadian government in charge of promoting the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would help transport crude oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico but is opposed by environmentalists.  [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Marcellus Shale fracking foe: Drillers are 'vampires' who 'suck blood and leave'
The Patriot News
John Luciew

BINGHAMTON, NY -- To hear fracking opponents tell it, the New York ban on deep, high volume, water-driven drilling on the rich Marcellus Shale is the best thing to ever happen to the Southern Tier. This is a 180-degree view from the depressing, put-upon sentiment among residents most directly affected by the ban -- those with properties and livelihoods tied to the struggling towns that stand to be economically transformed by fracking.  [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Ohio oil well output doubles in a year; natural gas triples
Fox 19


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - State statistics show oil production has more than doubled and natural gas has tripled in Ohio in the past year. The Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday that more than 3.5 million barrels of oil and 164 billion cubic feet of natural gas were produced during the last three months of 2014. During the same quarter in 2013, Ohio wells produced 1.4 million barrels of oil and 43 billion cubic feet of natural gas.   [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Lorain Schools may sue over Admiral King gas leak
Chronicle Telegram
Evan Goodenow

LORAIN — The school district is considering suing Kent-based Emerald Environmental Inc., over the Admiral King Elementary School gas leak. King closed as a precautionary measure Sept. 30 after low levels of natural gas were detected. The school’s 350 students attended Toni Morrison and Washington elementary schools until King reopened Jan. 5 after a gas well found under the school gymnasium was capped.   [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Col. County receives first drill application in three months
WKBN 27


LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – After what many have seen as a slowdown in the natural gas and oil drilling industry in the area, Columbiana County has received its first application for a new drill site in three months, The drilling site would be off Route 644 in Franklin Township.   [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Group Backs off Plan to Put Fracking Ban on Colorado Ballot
ABC News
Dan Elliott

An activist group on Thursday backed off its earlier announcement that it would to try to get a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing on the Colorado ballot and said it would instead try to persuade Gov. John Hickenlooper to halt the practice. Karen Dike of Coloradans Against Fracking said the group has not ruled out a campaign to put a ban on the 2016 ballot if the governor doesn't act.  [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Greens petition California to ban fracking
The Hill
Timothy Cama

Dozens of environmental groups filed a legal petition Thursday asking California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) to ban hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas in the state. The groups said their case is bolstered by recent news that oil and gas drillers were allowed by the state to inject wastewater from 140 wells, some of which were fracked, into protected waters.   [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
Marcellus Shale fracking foe: Drillers are 'vampires' who 'suck blood and leave'
PennLive
John Luclew

BINGHAMTON, NY -- To hear fracking opponents tell it, the New York ban on deep, high volume, water-driven drilling on the rich Marcellus Shale is the best thing to ever happen to the Southern Tier. This is a 180-degree view from the depressing, put-upon sentiment among residents most directly affected by the ban -- those with properties and livelihoods tied to the struggling towns that stand to be economically transformed by fracking.  [Full Story]

Feb 26, 2015
REFILE-Whiting shares tumble on plans to keep fracking despite cheap oil
Reuters
Ernest Scheyder

Feb 26 (Reuters) - North Dakota's largest oil producer, Whiting Petroleum Corp, struck a confident tone for 2015 on Thursday, saying it will hydraulically fracture all wells it drills even as peers scale back, but its bold tactic prompted a sharp drop in its share price.   [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Shale Gas Project Encounters Determined Foes Deep in Algerian Sahara
New York Times
Carlotta Gall

ALGIERS — Deep in the Algerian Sahara, daily protests against a pilot hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, project are now well into their second month. The demonstrations have spread to several towns and have provided opposition parties with a new platform at an especially precarious moment for the government, as oil prices have slumped and the declining health of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has removed him almost completely from public view.   [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Politicians for local control, except when it comes to fracking, wages
News Observer
Froma Harrop

The people of Denton, Texas, recently voted to ban fracking within the city limits. They were tired of the noise, lights and fumes caused by the 277 gas wells, some placed right next to housing developments. A blowout in 2013 covered homes in clouds of benzene. Some had to be evacuated. One can hardly blame the citizens for trying to regulate industrial activity in a populated area unless one is the governor of Texas. Greg Abbott has denounced the vote and decisions by other local governments to regulate junkyards and ban litter-prone plastic bags as an affront to the “Texan model,” often defined as letting businesses do pretty much as they please.   [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Keystone Solution Runs Through Canada
Bloomberg
Michael R. Bloomberg Opinion

The Keystone XL pipeline has become a perfect symbol of Washington’s dysfunction. Democrats exaggerate its environmental impact while Republicans exaggerate its economic benefits. In the debate, each side talks past the other, because each cares more about gaining a political advantage than a policy achievement. Yet a path exists for President Barack Obama to transcend these differences and allow both sides to declare victory.   [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Fracking may not stand chance in Maryland Poll: Majority oppose fracking; lawmakers say regulations too strict for fracking to occur
WBAL TV
David Collins

According to a new Goucher College poll released Wednesday, 45 percent of those polled oppose the extraction of natural gas from Marcellus Shale deposits, a process called fracking. Thirty-six percent said they support fracking and 19 percent said they weren't sure or didn't have an answer.  [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Oil Leases Proliferate in Northwestern New Mexico as Diné and Pueblo Call for Oversight
Indian Country Today Media Network
Laura Paskus

Traffic roars along US Highway 550 on the Navajo Nation as the four-lane thoroughfare cuts through the tiny reservation towns of Counselor and Lybrook. Nearby, rigs churn and burn away, 24 hours a day, seeking to squeeze oil from the Mancos shale thousands of feet below. During the early stages of drilling, the rigs flare off gases, their flames stretching 30, 50 or more feet into the air.   [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Legal Petition Urges Gov. Brown to Impose Emergency Fracking Moratorium After Oil Waste Illegally Dumped Into California Aquifers
Center for Biological Diversity
Press Release

150 Community, Environmental and Health Groups Press Governor for Urgent Action Amid Revelations of Aquifer Contamination, Benzene in Fracking Wastewater SACRAMENTO—After California officials admitted allowing the oil industry to illegally inject wastewater into protected aquifers via disposal wells, more than 150 environmental and community groups filed a legal petition today urging Gov. Jerry Brown to use his emergency powers to place a moratorium on fracking and other well stimulation techniques. The groups point to tests showing dangerously high levels of cancer-causing benzene in fracking flowback fluid, which is often dumped into California injection wells. “Millions of Californians living near oil and gas wells face grave health and safety threats from fracking and all phases of the oil and gas production process,” the groups wrote in a formal legal petition delivered to Brown’s office. “The oil industry is polluting our air, contaminating our aquifers, using dangerous chemicals near homes and schools, increasing earthquake risk by injecting vast quantities of wastewater into disposal wells near active faults, and speeding climate change. These harms and risks pose an emergency and must be halted immediately.”  [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Koch Brothers, ExxonMobil and Big Coal Fund Climate Denier Scientist Willie Soon
EcoWatch
Stefanie Spear

Kert Davies, executive director at Climate Investigations Center, joined Amy Goodman and Juan González today on Democracy Now! to discuss a new investigation that exposes how one of the top scientists involved in denying climate change has failed to disclose his extensive funding from the fossil fuel industry.   [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Delaware supervisor: Town won't try to secede from state
Times Herald-Record
Andrew Beam

TOWN OF DELAWARE - The supervisor of this western Sullivan County town has only one thing to say about New York towns trying to secede and join Pennsylvania: “It’s stupid.” Supervisor Ed Sykes said the Town of Delaware will not join the more than 10 members of the Upstate New York Towns Associations in their threat to secede.   [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Fracking, Benzene, and Public Health: A California Nightmare
KCET
Char Miller

Benzene is back -- and scarily so. Drawing on analyses that the Center for Biological Diversity conducted, Bettina Boxall, an investigative journalist for the Los Angeles Times, has reported that "significant concentrations" of benzene, a cancer-causing petroleum derivative, are in fracking waste liquid in California.  [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Chesapeake Energy to cut 2015 capital budget, scale back drilling operations amid falling prices for natural gas, oil
Akron Beacon Journal
Bob Downing & Doug Livingston

Chesapeake Energy Corp. is cutting its 2015 capital expenditure budget by 26 percent as it expects to operate its lowest number of drilling rigs since 2004. Citing lower prices for oil and natural gas, the Oklahoma-based energy giant said it plans to operate between 35 and 45 rigs this year, including three to five in the Utica Shale region of in eastern Ohio.   [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Md. bill would hold gas drilling companies strictly liable
Fox DC


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A measure under consideration by state lawmakers would hold natural gas drilling companiesliable for damages in Maryland. A Senate panel held a hearing on the bill Wednesday.   [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Senate committee approves shale gas health bill
NPR State Impact PA
Susan Phillips

A bill to create a Marcellus Shale health advisory panel, which never made it out of committee last year, was approved by the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee almost unanimously today. Senate Bill 375, introduced by Senate Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati (R-Jefferson), would create a nine-member panel to advise the legislature on the health impacts of shale gas production. The board would be chaired by the state’s health secretary, and include the head of the Department of Environmental Protection. The General Assembly would appoint seven advisors, who would be required to have an expertise in either public health, earth and mineral sciences, environmental studies, shale gas extraction or the use of natural gas. All members of the bipartisan committee voted in favor of the bill, with one member not voting.  [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Sacre blow! Eiffel Tower embraces wind power
BusinessGreen
James Murray

One of the world's most iconic sites has become the latest high profile venue to embrace onsite renewables, after the Eiffel Tower installed two vertical axis wind turbines as part of its high profile renovation project. US-based onsite renewables specialist Urban Green Energy (UGE) announced yesterday that it has fitted two turbines at the site capable of delivering 10,000kWh of electricity annually, equivalent to the power used by the commercial areas on the Eiffel Tower's first floor.  [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Activist faces fines, jail time for getting too close to Cabot site
NPR State Impact PA
MARIE CUSICK

A Susquehanna County judge has found anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins in contempt of court for getting too close to a Cabot Oil & Gas site last month. She now faces a fine and possible jail time. This latest ruling was a win for Cabot in its protracted legal battle against the self-described “gas tour guide.” She frequently brings visitors to Cabot sites and points out its environmental violations. The company says she has repeatedly trespassed on its property and poses a safety risk.  [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
The Trans-Pacific Partnership clause everyone should oppose
The Washington Post
Elizabeth Warren

The United States is in the final stages of negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive free-trade agreement with Mexico, Canada, Japan, Singapore and seven other countries. Who will benefit from the TPP? American workers? Consumers? Small businesses? Taxpayers? Or the biggest multinational corporations in the world? One strong hint is buried in the fine print of the closely guarded draft. The provision, an increasingly common feature of trade agreements, is called “Investor-State Dispute Settlement,” or ISDS. The name may sound mild, but don’t be fooled. Agreeing to ISDS in this enormous new treaty would tilt the playing field in the United States further in favor of big multinational corporations. Worse, it would undermine U.S. sovereignty.   [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Shale Gas Project Encounters Determined Foes Deep in Algerian Sahara
The New York Times
Carlotta Gall

ALGIERS — Deep in the Algerian Sahara, daily protests against a pilot hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, project are now well into their second month. The demonstrations have spread to several towns and have provided opposition parties with a new platform at an especially precarious moment for the government, as oil prices have slumped and the declining health of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has removed him almost completely from public view. Hundreds of police officers sealed off streets to block an antifracking march in the capital, Algiers, on Tuesday as opposition groups held rallies around the country in solidarity with the southern protesters in the distant oasis town of Ain Salah.  [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
20 LNG project protestors argue for their defense in court
The Calvert Recorder
Andrea Frazier

In multiple court proceedings involving 20 defendants accused of minor charges stemming from late-2014 protests, Calvert residents as well as out-of-state advocates defended their actions they claimed were necessary to protect public health and safety. During three separate incidents during November and December 2014, protestors who vehemently oppose the export project at the Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas plant in Lusby faced charges for their roles in staged protests at Offsite Area B in Solomons as well as at the offices of a contractor involved in the construction of the project  [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Obama administration agrees to N.J. public hearing on Atlantic oil drilling
NJ Advance Media
Jonathan D. Salant

WASHINGTON — Obama administration officials have agreed to hold a public hearing in New Jersey before deciding whether to let companies drill for oil and gas off the Atlantic Coast, lawmakers said today. The U.S. Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management hearing likely will take place in March at a time and place yet to be announced. The agency last month proposed selling leases during the five-year period beginning in 2017 to drill for oil and gas in 14 new sites, including one encompassing areas off the shores of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. The other sites were in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Alaska.  [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
As Oil Prices Collapse, North Dakota Considers Weakening Standards on Radioactive Drilling Waste
DeSmogBlog
Sharon Kelly

As the collapse of oil prices threatens North Dakota's shale drilling rush, state regulators are considering a move they say could save the oil industry millions of dollars: weakening the state's laws on disposing of radioactive waste. The move has been the subject of an intensive lobbying effort by drillers, who produce up to 75 tons per day of waste currently considered too hazardous to dispose of in the state.  [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
The Solar Eclipse of Shales
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Share price matters and solar stocks have significantly outperformed their oil and gas counterparts by multiples. When looking for market trends it is always useful to examine share price. This can often be your first clue as to emerging paradigm shifts or just health of a particular industry in general. In the case of energy, some interesting shifts are occurring. Moreover, they seem to be flying under the radar. For instance, a quick comparison of the share price of oil and gas companies, particularly those engaged in the self styled “shale revolution” to those engaged in alternative energy activities such as solar, is eye opening to say the least.  [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Bay Area Workers and Unions Finance the Fracking Boom
East Bay Express
Darwin BondGraham

Bay Area workers and unions are increasingly joining the climate justice movement, but their pension funds have been quietly investing in the oil and natural gas boom.  [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Colorado anti-fracking groups launch campaign for statewide ban
The Denver Post
Bruce Finley

Anti-fracking activists crashed a Colorado oil and gas task force meeting Tuesday and launched a campaign for a statewide ban — a push organizers said could lead to a ballot measure for voters. About two dozen activists representing health, environment, youth, faith, business and other community groups denounced the task force as too close to industry. The Coloradans Against Fracking coalition paraded into a final task force session on recommendations for resolving disputes over oil and gas and presented members a compendium on how hydraulic fracturing can hurt people.  [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Judge OKs eminent domain for pipeline
The Daily Star
Joe Mahoney

The proposed Constitution Pipeline project has taken a major advance forward, with a federal judge granting it eminent domain rights to easements on properties whose owners had been resisting right-of-way agreements. Pipeline construction is now expected to begin this summer, said Christopher Stockton, a spokesman for Williams Partners, the energy company that is the lead partner in the consortium of firms behind the $700 million project, which would run 124 miles from northeastern Pennsylvania to the Schoharie County town of Wright.  [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
The Impact Of HBP Leases On Marcellus Production
RBN Energy
Sheetal Nasta

Will hold-by-production (HBP) drilling by producers acting to preserve their leases for the longer term end up sending U.S. oil and gas production volumes higher when energy fundamentals and prices suggest production should slow down? This has happened before, with one of the highest profile instances in the Haynesville Shale between 2009-13, leading to even lower natural gas prices. Could it happen again in the Marcellus this year? Today we continue our look at HBP lease provisions with a focus on the Marcellus.  [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Appalachian Labs employee sentenced to nearly 2 years in prison for faking water samples
WBOY


A Daniels, WV man who admitted to conspiring to violate the Clean Water Act has been sentenced to 21 months in prison. John W. Shelton, 47, an employee of Appalachian Labs, admitted he and other employees tampered with water samples to make them appear to be within permissible levels of pollutants. Shelton told the court he diluted samples by adding distilled water and substituted water samples from an area they called the "honeyhole," so named because samples from that spot were always within permissible limits. Each time samples were dilutes or water was substituted, Shelton allowed excessive pollutants to be discharged from mining operations into adjacent rivers and creeks, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said.  [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Economy, jobs, taxes top priorities in Goucher College poll Poll: Gov. Hogan approval rating at 39%; General Assembly at 46%
WBAL TV


Forty-five percent of those surveyed oppose hydraulic fracking, and 57 percent think the word "fracking" carries a negative connotation.   [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
Technology could make treatment and reuse of oil and gas wastewater simpler, cheaper
PHYS.org
Laura Snider

Oil and gas operations in the United States produce about 21 billion barrels of wastewater per year. The saltiness of the water and the organic contaminants it contains have traditionally made treatment difficult and expensive.   [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
SEN. JULIAN CARROLL PUSHES BILL TO UPDATE FRACKING REGULATIONS Rep. Rocky Adkins' companion bill passes unanimously in House
State Journal
Brad Bowman

While landowners pleaded to senators for a moratorium on fracking during a bill hearing to update regulations on oil and gas production, some later felt silenced at a permit hearing, which could allow the first deep-well horizontal fracking site in the state.   [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
The Government Has a Plan to Stop Fracking Earthquakes, but Will the Oil Industry Cooperate?
RYOT
Eric Pfeiffer

The US Geological Survey sent tremors across the web last week when they released a study stating that fluid injection, aka fracking, is responsible for the rapid rise of earthquakes in states like Oklahoma and called upon the oil and gas industries to work with them on a plan to stop these quakes that pose a real threat to the environment and the people who live there.   [Full Story]

Feb 25, 2015
How ‘Orphan’ Wells Leave States Holding the Cleanup Bag
The Wall Street Journal
DAN FROSCH and Biography dan.frosch@wsj.com @djfroschWSJ RUSSELL GOLD

GILLETTE, Wyo.—After a natural-gas boom in the Powder River Basin here petered out several years ago, few energy companies were interested in the leftover wells pockmarking the prairie. Then Ed Presley came along. The burly, bearded speculator acquired roughly 3,000 idle wells, many for a few dollars. With a salesman’s charm, he vowed to revive the wells with a contraption called the Gazmo.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
For Spilling Crude Oil Into A River, Company Will Pay $361,000
ThinkProgress
EMILY ATKIN

Virginia environmental officials have proposed a $361,000 civil fine against CSX Transportation Inc. as punishment for a 2014 derailment that saw nearly 30,000 gallons of Bakken crude oil dumped in and around the James River. In a consent order released Monday, the state Department of Environmental Quality said CSX should also pay the agency $18,574 for costs associated with investigating the April spill. In that incident, 17 oil tankers came off the tracks, and three were sent directly into the James. Local officials reported an explosion “causing extensive flames and dense black smoke.”  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Superior Court hears arguments on release of gas well chemicals
Observer-Reporter
Emily Petsko

PITTSBURGH – A Range Resources attorney argued in Superior Court Tuesday the natural gas drilling company should not bear the burden of producing a full list of products and chemicals it used at a well site in Amwell Township. A three-judge panel heard arguments stemming from Range’s appeal of a Washington County Court order from last June that held Range responsible for obtaining a list of all chemicals, including proprietary products, from its manufacturers. Range requested that the issue be argued separately from the main case, in which three Amwell families alleged that Range’s operations at the Yeager well site contaminated their water supplies and caused bodily harm.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Ten People Arrested While Protesting Pipeline That Would Run Through Virginia
ThinkProgress
KATIE VALENTINE

Ten people were arrested in Richmond, Virginia on Monday while protesting a natural gas pipeline that’s being proposed to run through Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. The protesters had created a blockade at an intersection near the headquarters of Dominion Virginia Power, after participating in the Richmond People’s Climate March, which began at the state capitol Monday morning. They were voicing their opposition to Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 550-mile long natural gas line that would carry 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day from West Virginia to North Carolina. Nine people were arrested for blocking a road and released after being issued court summons, and one person was arrested for disorderly conduct after refusing to accept the court summons.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Democrats Target Climate-Deniers-for-Hire
New Republic
Rebecca Leber

ver the weekend, The New York Times and The Guardian reported that the fossil fuel industry paid astrophysicist Wei-Hock "Willie" Soon $1.25 million in grants in exchange for 11 scientific papers that cast doubt on the role humans play in climate change. Soon never disclosed the grants from the Charles G. Koch Foundation, ExxonMobil, Southern Company, and American Petroleum Institute, while publishing research that blamed climate change on anything but pollution (Soon faulted the sun) and spun the impact as a net benefit for the environment (helping trees and polar bears thrive, according to Soon). By itself, the revelation isn't likely to slow Soon's lucrative romp through G.O.P. talking points. When the Boston Globe reported in 2013 that the same companies had contributed more than a million dollars to Soon's climate research, Republicans continued to cite his work and his double-barrelled affiliation with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Which is why two Democrats are launching investigations into the climate-change denial machine.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Fighting another pipeline
MSNBC
Ed Schultz

Pristine forests and waterways of central New York and Pennsylvania are at risk if the controversial Constitution pipeline is built. Ed Schultz and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. discuss the potential impact. Duration: 7:30  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Fracking poses a real threat to rural areas – Carthy
Agriland
Margaret Donnelly

The proposed Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could limit the power of the Governments of Member States within the EU to ban fracking, Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy recently said. “Hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking, has the potential to cause serious environmental pollution and damage to fish stocks and livestock,” the Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West said.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Chevron's Fracking Failure is People's Victory - Greenpeace Campaigner
Sputnik International


US company Chevron’s decision to cease fracking in Romania is mostly a victory of the common people, defending their interests against big business and the government, a campaign coordinator of Greenpeace Romania told Sputnik on Monday. A night worker hauls garbage at Dixon Landing Chevron © AP PHOTO/ NOAH BERGER Romania’s Anti-Fracking Activists Cheer Chevron's Exit, Say Fight Not Over MOSCOW (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko – US energy giant Chevron announced a pullback from its projects in Romania on Friday, after continuous protests in the country against controversial shale gas extraction techniques. "[It is] mostly a victory of the common people, the villagers, who stood up for their villages, for their land and their children against both the careless corporates and the Romanian Government (which has acted in support of these corporates, not in its citizens’ interests, as it is supposed to)," Alexandru Riza, Greenpeace Romania campaign coordinator, told Sputnik.   [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Students lobby in Annapolis for bill to prevent fracking policy across Maryland
Diamondbackonline.com
Grace Toohey

College students across the state convened in Annapolis yesterday afternoon to fight for stricter state environmental regulations. About 45 college students — including about 25 from this university — lobbied representatives to vote in favor of a bill that would prevent any hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the state until 2023. They also showed their support for a bill that would increase the state’s use of renewable energy sources, said Maya Spaur, the Student Government Association Sustainability Committee’s director of governmental affairs. The group was brought together primarily by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, a nonprofit organization fighting global warming in this state, Washington and Virginia.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Interstate farmers want a ban on fracking in Tasmania
ABC.net.au


A Queensland farmer and a NSW farmer have joined the campaign against fracking in Tasmania as the State Government reviews its moratorium. The moratorium on fracking in Tasmania began in March last year, but is due to expire. Exploration is being carried out in a wide area of the Southern Midlands in Tasmania to see if it is viable to extract shale oil gas. Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek. 00:00 00:00 00:00 AUDIO: Farmers from New South Wales and Queensland speak out against fracking (ABC Rural) Gunnedah farmer David Quince and Chinchilla farmer Narelle Nothdurft have asked Tasmanian Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff and the Mines Minister Paul Harriss to put a permanent fracking ban in place.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Interior Secretary: Feds won’t overrule tougher state fracking regulations
Fuel Fix
Jennifer A Dloughy

WASHINGTON — Coming government mandates for hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands will not trump the rules in states that already have tougher regulations in place, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Tuesday. At issue are proposed regulations from the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management that would govern the design and stimulation of wells on public lands. The agency is set to unveil the final mandates “soon,” Jewell told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during a wide-ranging hearing Tuesday. They are poised to be the first major update of Interior Department rules governing oil and gas wells on public land since they were first written three decades ago.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Twenty Cove Point Protectors Move Calvert County Court
We Are Cove Point
Margaret Flowers

Prince Frederick, MD – On Monday, February 23, twenty Cove Point Protectors went to trial in the Calvert County District Court for actions last November and December to raise awareness and build resistance to a new gas refinery, liquefaction train, power plant and export terminal being built by Dominion Resources in the neighborhood of Cove Point in Southern Maryland. The Cove Point Protectors, as a group, were charged with 20 counts of trespass, 19 counts of failure to obey a lawful order and 2 counts of disorderly conduct. The gas refinery and export project, which will emit carcinogens and other toxins into the community and present a risk of chemical spill, fire and explosion, are the first to be placed in a densely-populated area. In fact, Dominion Resources lied during the permitting process by leaving out 90% of the more than 44,000 local people in its application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). That permit is being challenged by a number of groups, which have asked for a halt to construction until the permit is reviewed, but construction on the project continues.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Ohio Supreme Court Limits Municipal Regulation of Oil and Gas But Leaves the Door Open for Future Zoning Moratoriums
Natiional Law Review


Last week, the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled that certain oil and gas-related ordinances of the city of Munroe Falls are preempted by the state’s oil and gas law. State ex rel. Morrison v. Beck Energy Corp., Slip Opinion No. 2015-Ohio-485. The decision is the latest in an ongoing battle being waged over the authority of local governments to zone or regulate the operations of oil and gas companies. Often, the success or failure of a local government’s ordinance depends on whether it aims to “regulate” oil and gas operations or simply control their location according to traditional zoning principles. While a win for industry in this case, the Supreme Court’s holding in State ex rel. Morrison v. Beck Energy Corp. was limited to the ordinances at issue in the case and does not go as far as recent rulings in Pennsylvania and New York that were focused on zoning authority. Previously, in July 2012, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional certain sections of the recently passed “Act 13” that would have removed a municipality’s ability to zone out oil and gas drilling in Pennsylvania. Huntley & Huntley, Inc. v. Oakmont Borough Council, 600 Pa. 207, 964 A.2d 855 (2009). Then, in August 2014, the New York State Court of Appeals held that municipalities can effectively “zone out” oil and gas operations by passing zoning ordinances that ban oil and gas production activities.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Ron Littlepage: Thanks to Obama, our coast is in danger
Jacksonville.com
Ron Littlepage

If this isn’t already on your radar screen, it should be. With the blessing of President Barack Obama, plans are proceeding to allow seismic airgun testing in the Atlantic off of Florida’s coast in the search for oil and gas. For those concerned about the environment, there was some good news last month when the federal government released its five-year plan for offshore drilling leases in the Atlantic and didn’t include Florida. With the memory of the devastating impact of the BP disaster on Florida’s Gulf Coast still fresh, that provided some relief. But energy companies would still be able to explore off Florida’s Atlantic coast for drilling sites that could be approved when the next five-year plan rolls around. And they would do that exploration by using seismic airguns that are towed behind vessels that shoot pulses of compressed air to the seabed to locate hydrocarbon deposits.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
A whale of a fight is brewing over Atlantic coastal drilling
McClatchy DC
SEAN COCKERHAM

WASHINGTON — Oil and gas companies hoping to drill in the Atlantic Ocean will have to contend with a new federal proposal to declare waters off the Carolinas and Georgia as critical for endangered whales. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is proposing a huge expansion in the critical habitat area for endangered North Atlantic right whales. The new area would include coastal waters from Georgia to Cape Fear, N.C. The proposal comes as nine companies have applied to use seismic cannons to start exploring for oil and gas in the Atlantic, including in areas that would be deemed critical habitat for the endangered whales. Claire Douglass, a campaign director for the environmental group Oceana, called the new critical habitat proposal a potential “game changer” for her group’s attempt to block the seismic exploration program.   [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Ohio Judge Who Banned Local Fracking Regulations Backed by Oil Industry
Governing
Darrel Rowland and Jim Siegel

An Ohio Supreme Court justice lamented last week that "the oil and gas industry has gotten its way" in a decision that says local governments can't regulate drilling. "What the drilling industry has bought and paid for in campaign contributions they shall receive." RELATED Should Judges Be Allowed to Court Campaign Donors? Supreme Court Debates Judges' Rights to Campaign 45 State Officials Have Ties to Fracking Industry in Pa. State Impact of the Supreme Court's Campaign Donations Ruling The dissenting opinion of Justice William M. O'Neill in a fracking case was not without factual basis: Ohio's oil-and-gas industry poured about $1.4 million into the campaign coffers of legislators and other state officials in 2013-14 -- including about $8,000 for the justice who wrote the pro-industry ruling and $7,200 for another who concurred -- a Dispatch computer analysis shows.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
New oil rush? Private equity starts to buy into energy assets
CNBC
Reuters

Earning $7 on the dollar is any investor's dream. Buyout group Apollo has shown with its investment in oil exploration and production company Athlon Energy that such reveries can become reality. A slump in oil prices has spurred activity among private equity investors around the world hoping for their own bumper returns by scooping up assets on the cheap.   [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Colorado oil, gas panel takes last run at resolving drilling conflicts
Denver Post
Mark Jaffe

A plan to create new state rules that include local-government input on the siting of large-scale oil and gas facilities in developed communities garnered wide support from the governor's oil and gas task force Tuesday. The task force, created by Gov. John Hickenlooper in September, is trying to to find ways to resolve land-use conflicts between the oil and gas industry and suburban communities. The task force was part of a compromise to keep two citizen-backed initiatives off the November ballot that would have bolstered local control over drilling.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Chevron pulls out of shale gas exploration in Romania
Penn Energy
AP

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — U.S. oil company Chevron says it has pulled out of shale gas drilling in Romania, weeks after ending business in Poland. The company began drilling for shale gas at its exploration well in northeastern Romania in 2014, a project that drew protests. It is also ending its three other concessions in Romania. In a statement Monday, Chevron said it was pulling out due to "a business decision .... this project in Romania does not currently compete favorably with other investment opportunities in our global portfolio."  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Landowners, oil companies seek to shape Wyoming setback proposal
Casper Star Tribune
BENJAMIN STORROW Star-Tribune staff writer

February is political season in Wyoming. But this year, state lawmakers are not the only ones receiving letters, competing studies and poll results meant to sway their thinking. A proposal by the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to increase the buffer between drilling rigs and residences has been subject to considerable politicking this year. By Monday, the deadline for submitting written comments, the commission had received around 150 responses opining on the plan to increase the minimum distance from 350 feet to 500 feet. The proposal pits landowners worried about the adverse impact of nearby drilling on their health and property values against oil companies with the legal right to drill beneath homes and other buildings. The vast majority of comments focused on Laramie County, where subdivisions and pump jacks are increasingly likely to brush shoulders.   [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Small LNG Is in as Oil Collapse Crimps Spending on Megaprojects
Bloomberg Business
Rebecca Penty

(Bloomberg) -- Suddenly small is the next big thing in the natural gas business. Slumping energy prices are crimping the ability of suppliers to finance new export terminals, giving small, highly-focused efforts the edge over the megaprojects the industry has favored for years. In Canada a group led by AltaGas Ltd. is moving forward on a C$600 million ($475.7 million) plan to be among the first companies to export liquefied natural gas from that country’s Pacific Coast in 2018. It’s a project that could bypass a plan by Petroliam Nasional Bhd. to build a terminal that would handle 21 times more product that’s been stalled as the company considers how to trim its C$36 billion cost.   [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Natural gas liquids not as shiny as they once were
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Anya Litvak

Wet gas is a uniquely southwestern Marcellus Shale problem. Until recently, it was a uniquely southwestern Marcellus advantage, but then natural gas liquids began losing value and the cost to separate them from dry gas, or methane, began to obscure their promise. At least that’s how EQT Corp.’s CEO David Porges explained it during a company earnings call last month. “What’s usually called the liquids uplift,” he said, “now we call it the liquids impact.” Downtown-based EQT doesn’t have a lot of wet gas, a term that refers to natural gas that also contains liquids, in its production mix — less than 10 percent, according to Bloomberg Industries. But its experience is just a scaled down version of what’s happening across the shale play, said Steve Schlotterbeck, the company’s president of exploration and production. Natural gas liquids include ethane, propane and butane. “Ethane prices are very weak, especially netted back to the wellhead,” he said. “And propane, because of the storage situation, is also quite weak.”  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
As fracking increases, lawmakers look to update the rules
Washington Times
ADAM BEAM - Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - As Kentucky mines less coal and produces more natural gas, state lawmakers want to update the environmental protection rules that drilling companies are required to follow. But some landowners worry the state’s rush to welcome the practice of hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, puts their land and their health at risk. In fracking, drillers inject water and chemicals into the ground to break up rocks and extract oil and gas. Tuesday, the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee approved a bill to update the state’s oil and gas regulations for the first time in two decades.   [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
N.H. House GOP Leader Pens Opposition to Gas Pipeline
nhpr.org
Sam Evans-Brown

The Republican Majority Leader in the New Hampshire House of Representatives has asked federal regulators to reject a proposal to build a natural gas pipeline in Southern New Hampshire. Jack Flanagan – who represents two towns on the proposed pipeline’s route – says he prefers a competing project in Massachusetts that would widen existing pipelines. “It made sense to me that if you have an existing pipeline, why would you need a new one? Let’s just make the existing one a little bit larger to handle the demand,” Flanagan said in a phone interview. Pipeline developer Kinder Morgan has put forward the New Hampshire proposal: it would span 71 miles and cross 17 towns, mostly alongside an existing power-line right-of-way.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Climate Change Skeptic Received Energy Industry Research Funding
Philanthropy News Digest


The work of a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics whose research is often cited by climate change skeptics has been funded almost entirely by the fossil fuel industry, the Guardian reports. Documents obtained by Greenpeace under the Freedom of Information Act show that Wei-Hock "Willie" Soon, who claims that variations in the sun's energy, not greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity, can largely explain global warming, received $1.25 million over the last fourteen years from a variety of corporate interests, including Southern Company Services, a subsidiary of a large utility holding company with significant investments in coal-burning power plants ($410,000); Exxon Mobil ($335,000); the American Petroleum Institute; and the Charles Koch Foundation ($230,000). While Exxon Mobil and API appear to have stopped funding Soon in recent years, the documents show that as support from the oil industry fell, he received an additional $324,000 in donations through DonorsTrust, an organization that enables donors to give anonymously to conservative causes.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Apollo’s Black Sees Private Equity Opportunities in Energy Sector
The New York Times
Chad Bray

BERLIN — The sharp drop in oil prices in recent months has opened up opportunities for private equity firms if they pay attention to the details, Leon Black, the founding partner of Apollo Global Management, said on Tuesday. Speaking at the SuperReturn International conference in Berlin, Mr. Black said energy companies had entered into a variety of lending arrangements, including high yield, in recent years based on the belief that oil prices would remain near $90 or $100 a barrel.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
La Habra Heights voters to decide on anti-oil ballot measure Tuesday
Whittier Daily News
Mike Sprague

LA HABRA HEIGHTS >> The city Tuesday will take center stage in what has become a national battle over fracking and other oil-drilling techniques. Voters will decide the fate of Measure A, an initiative that would ban the drilling of any new oil and gas wells, halt the reactivation of old wells and bar certain treatments to enhance oil or gas drilling, including fracking. The measure is similar to initiatives approved in November 2014 in Mendocino and San Benito counties and rejected in Santa Barbara County.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Goldman Seeks to Raise Fund to Buy Energy Sector Debt
The New York Times
WILLIAM ALDEN

Wall Street money helped fuel the North American energy boom in recent years. Now that oil prices have collapsed, Wall Street is again looking for ways to profit. Goldman Sachs is seeking to raise capital from wealthy individuals and other investors for a new fund to invest in the debt of troubled companies in the energy sector, according to confidential marketing materials obtained by DealBook.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Colorado anti-fracking groups launch campaign for statewide ban
Denver Post
Bruce Finley

Anti-fracking activists crashed a Colorado oil and gas task force meeting Tuesday and launched a campaign for a statewide ban — a push organizers said could lead to a ballot measure for voters.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Colorado fracking opponents plan drive to put ban on ballot
Washington Times
DAN ELLIOTT - Associated Press

DENVER (AP) - Activists say they’ll try to put a measure on the 2016 ballot to ban hydraulic fracturing in Colorado. Coloradans Against Fracking announced the campaign Tuesday, just as a task force was trying to finish up recommendations that were supposed to help settle disputes over oil and gas. The panel could begin voting on its final recommendations Tuesday. Its final report is due to Gov. John Hickenlooper on Friday. The panel has been wrestling with how much power local governments should have to regulate drilling, how to protect the rights of surface owners when someone else owns the minerals underground, and what health and safety restrictions should be imposed.   [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Fracking row: Greenpeace accuse our MPs on water risk
Spaulding Today
Opinion

Environmental campaign group Greenpeace is accusing local MPs John Hayes and Nick Boles of allowing drinking water supplies in their constituencies to be put at risk by frackers. Greenpeace say the two men are among five Lincolnshire Tory MPs who voted to loosen fracking regulations and allow firms to drill through sensitive water catchment areas. Greenpeace say most of south Lincolnshire is licensed for fracking – hydraulic fracturing – a hugely controversial technique for extracting gas or oil from shale rock. Greenpeace campaigner Simon Clydesdale said: “Lincolnshire’s MPs have failed their constituents by voting to open up vital groundwater areas to frackers, putting drinking water at risk. The lack of robust regulation around fracking just proves how badly we need a moratorium to protect our countryside, water and environment.” But Mr Hayes, the South Holland and The Deepings MP, has accused Greenpeace of being “alarmist” and says: “The argument about drinking water is a completely specious one because the statute is absolutely clear about the responsibilities for protecting drinking water – in any case, the fracking takes place well below the aquifer so the prospect of affecting drinking water is absolutely minimal.” The MP pointed to a clause in the new law that says: “ ... hydraulic fracturing will not take place within protected groundwater source areas”. Stamford and Grantham MP Mr Boles, whose constituency includes Bourne, has not commented. Fracking was halted in the UK in 2011 after minor earthquakes near Blackpool were attributed to test wells drilled by energy company Cuadrilla. Three independent experts said future earthquakes stemming from fracking could not be ruled out, but the risk from any tremors was low and structural damage was unlikely. Other concerns about fracking include: • Leaks of the ‘greenhouse gas’ methane • Potential risk from a cocktail of chemicals in the fracking fluid used for drilling • Waste water containing things like naturally occurring radioactive material On February 11, MPs voted to allow fracking to resume in the UK. Greenpeace say some safeguards suggested by Labour were stripped out of the legislation, but Mr Hayes says there are sufficient measures in the new law to protect the public and he feels it unlikely that there will be fracking in South Holland. A county council spokesman said there are no sites in Lincolnshire with planning consent for extraction of shale gas or fracking and no applications are pending. 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Search over 160,000 used cars nationwide.motors logo wowimagereworkFind out what's on in your area. Your local entertainment guide.wowlogo rework dealmonsterimage reworkMonster deals in your area. Save money with our exclusive offers.dealmonsterlogo rework finditimage reworkFind a business in your area. Search for recommended businesses.businessdirectory logo agepartlogoEquity Release Calculator See how much equity you can you release today?Finance propertyimage reworkFind the right property for you. Buying or renting? Your search starts here.property logo motorsimage reworkFind the right motor for you. Search over 160,000 used cars nationwide.motors logo wowimagereworkFind out what's on in your area. Your local entertainment guide.wowlogo rework dealmonsterimage reworkMonster deals in your area. Save money with our exclusive offers.dealmonsterlogo rework finditimage reworkFind a business in your area. Search for recommended businesses.businessdirectory logo agepartlogoEquity Release Calculator See how much equity you can you release today?Finance propertyimage reworkFind the right property for you. Buying or renting? Your search starts here.property logo Comments Get involved in the discussion and have your say... Sign in 2 comments Sort by: Rate: Interested Incomer 8:27 PM on 24/02/2015 Fracking or not I wouldn't drink the water that comes through our taps any way. It is so full of chemicals it actually smells like bleach so God knows what is in it for Anglian Water to think it needs treating to that extent. It is only fit for domestic purposes. Drinking & water used for cooking we buy in bottles. An absolute disgrace Rate: LukeAshley 7:41 PM on 24/02/2015 No amount of science or robustness of a regulatory regime can prove fracking is safe or ensure the level of safety now or in the future. NOBODY can predict that human error or machine and equipment failure will not occur. But history tells us that the hydrocarbon extraction industry experiences human error and equipment failure on a daily basis resulting in serious injuries and fatalities along with catastrophic environmental damages. In light of this knowledge, and the fact that fracking gone wrong can cause irreversible damage to, aquifers, soil, air quality and the climate, that affect the majority, the long-term impacts that surround the shale and coal bed methane extraction industries outweigh, * BY FAR*, the short term economic advantages to be gained by a select few. Neither can anybody predict whether natural events such as earthquakes, ground movements or build up in formation pressures will or will not occur during drilling, production or long after plug and abandonment that can impact on the integrity of a well. The overall weight of the evidence from the cumulative body of information demonstrates that there are significant uncertainties about the kinds of adverse health outcomes that may be associated with high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF), the likelihood of the occurrence of adverse health outcomes, and the effectiveness of some of the mitigation measures in reducing or preventing environmental impacts which could adversely affect public health. Until the science provides sufficient information to determine the level of risk to public health from high volume hydraulic fracking, the British Anti-Fracking Action Network recommends that HVHF should not proceed.   [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Mansfield bans fracking on Saturdays and holidays as it updates drilling rules
Dallas Business Journal
Nicholas Sakelaris

The city of Mansfield made some big changes to its drilling ordinance on first reading Monday night, but left the 600-foot setback the same, the Star-Telegram reported. Amendments include stricter air emission monitoring, improved emergency procedures and no hydraulic fracking on Saturdays or holidays. Mansfield, which has hundreds of Barnett Shale wells, already prohibits fracking activities on Sundays.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Kentucky "fracking" bill clears House committee on unanimous vote
WDRB.com
Marcus Green

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) – A Kentucky House panel on Tuesday easily passed a bill supporters say will modernize Kentucky's oil and gas laws and protect the environment from hydraulic fracturing. House Bill 386, which sets standards for water testing and chemical disclosures and requires cleanup plans for drilled wells, unanimously cleared the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee and now heads to the full House. The measure, whose chief sponsor is House Majority Floor Leader Rep. Rocky Adkins, is the result of a 17-member work group that began meeting last summer. Environmental groups, energy industry representatives and state regulators are among those that crafted the bill.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Latest: California fracking companies inject protected aquifers with wastewater
High Country News
Jeremy Miller

BACKSTORY California oil production has slid since the mid-1980s, but one drilling byproduct has soared. In some fields, the ratio of “produced water” to oil is greater than 10 barrels to one (“Oil and water don’t mix with California agriculture,” HCN, 12/15/10). Produced “water” is actually a briny fluid often laced with contaminants including benzene, heavy metals and radiation. Most of the 130 billion gallons generated annually is pumped into underground disposal wells, or dumped into evaporation ponds. State regulation has remained spotty. FOLLOWUP In February, the Environmental Protection Agency found that state regulators had permitted more than 2,500 wells to inject produced water into federally protected aquifers — many of which may contain water clean enough to drink. Nearly half the permits were issued in the last four years, according to the Associated Press, corresponding to increased drilling in the Monterey shale formation, which underlies much of central California. In addition to tighter injection regulation, clean water advocates want to ban the dumping of oil wastewater from hundreds of sumps and ponds.  [Full Story]

Feb 24, 2015
Another Bid for Local Control Over Fracking Is Thwarted
Inside Climate News
Zahra Hinji

Munroe Falls became the nation's latest community to lose a protracted legal battle over local control of oil-and-gas drilling, as the result of a recent Ohio Supreme Court ruling. But there's a silver lining: Buried in the 31-page court decision is guidance for Munroe Falls and other Ohio towns trying to flex some muscle over the industry in the future. On Tuesday, Feb. 17, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that Munroe Falls lacks the authority to regulate permitting, location and spacing of oil-and-gas wells and related development.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Ohio Supreme Court decision makes future of local fracking regulations unclear
Lexology
Frost Brown Todd LLC

On February 17, 2015, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a 4-3 decision inState ex rel. Morrison v. Beck Energy Corp., holding that the Home Rule Amendment to the Ohio Constitution does not grant local governments the power to regulate oil and gas activities and operations within their limits. Specifically, the Court held that Ohio Revised Code Chapter 1509 gives state government “sole and exclusive authority” to regulate the permitting, location, and spacing of oil and gas wells and production operations within the state. Background Beck Energy Corporation obtained a permit, pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Chapter 1509, to engage in drilling operations within the corporate limits of the City of Munroe Falls. Despite obtaining the proper state-issued permit, the City sought to prevent Beck Energy from drilling within its limits by issuing a stop-work order and filing a complaint for injunction in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. The City argued that the drilling operations were in direct violation of five local ordinances, which provided additional regulations regarding oil and gas drilling (think fracking) and prohibited construction or excavation without a zoning certificate issued by the City’s zoning inspector.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Demonstrators create blockade downtown in protest of Atlantic Coast Pipeline
WTVR CBS 6
ALIX BRYAN AND JAKE BURNS

RICHMOND, Va. — The “Richmond People’s Climate March” created traffic disruptions early Monday morning. The march began at 7 a.m. at the Capitol Bell Tower and demonstrators headed to 2nd and Tredegar Streets, where they blocked traffic. A post on social media called for others to join the blockade near Dominion’s offices. The group, some dressed in costumes, carried environmentally political signs that expressed sentiments about fracking and the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The ACP is a 550-mile natural gas pipeline that will travel through the state, including national forests, the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Gillibrand: ‘Can’t Imagine’ Breaking Up New York
Capital Tonight
Nick Reisman

As some local officials talk about peeling the Southern Tier off of New York and joining Pennsylvania over the state’s ban on hydrofracking, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said on Monday the state is great “the way it is.” “I love New York, so I can’t imagine why you would want to do that,” she said earlier today to reporters in the Southern Tier. “I would not recommend it, we have a great state the way it is.”  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Lobbyist dubbed Dr Evil behind front groups attacking Obama power rules
The Guardian
Suzanne Goldenberg

Richard Berman routed funding for at least 16 studies and five front groups attacking Environmental Protection Agency rules on power plant emissions  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
9 Gov & Academic Studies Take Aim at Fracking in USA
Investigative Headline News
Susanne Posel

The US Geological Survey (USGS), the University of Colorado (UC), the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) and the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory (LBNL) conducted a study on the sudden man-made earthquakes happening in Oklahoma, California, Pennsylvania and Ohio and found that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is the causation. Data from the Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity (CCSA) on oil and natural gas producers was given to the researchers to determine the correlation between earthquakes and fracking.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Senator Calls For Investigation Into The Climate Change 'Denial-For-Hire Scheme'
Huffington Post
Kate Sheppard

WASHINGTON -- Recently released documents show that fossil fuel interests paid more than $1.2 million to fund the research of a prominent climate change-denying scientist affiliated with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Now, a Democratic senator is calling for an investigation into whether other coal and oil companies are funding climate deniers. The New York Times reported this weekend on documents that Greenpeace obtained under the Freedom of Information Act that show that Wei-Hock Soon, known as Willie, has accepted funding from Southern Company, Exxon Mobil, the American Petroleum Institute and the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
After West Virginia Explosion, Oil Trains Quietly Rerouted Through Virginia Towns
ThinkProgress
EMILY ATKIN

After a CSX Corp. train carrying 3 million gallons of crude oil derailed and exploded in West Virginia last week, the company is quietly rerouting its volatile cargo through 16 Virginia cities and counties, according to Reuters. Among those is Pembroke, a riverside town with a population of about 1,128. After visiting Pembroke and speaking with store owners and town officials, Reuters reporter Edward McAllister said “barely anyone” aside from the 35-member fire department was aware that large oil trains would be hugging the nearby New River and briefly traveling through town limits.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
The fracking bust is deepening
Business Insider
Wolf Richter

The fracking bust that is following the phenomenal fracking boom is deepening relentlessly, week after week, and there is still no respite in sight. Drilling activity peaked in October last year, when 1,606 rigs were drilling for oil, with a four-month lag behind oil prices. But by October it was clear that the oil-price plunge wasn’t a blip, and in November oil fell off the chart.   [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Washington County hamlet's residents worry about safety of tap water
Tribune-Review
Jason Cato

Sunlight spilled through a window into Pat West's darkened kitchen as she filled a glass with water. “It smells fine. It looks fine,” said West, 70, holding the etched glass to her nose and peering at it. “I still drink the water, but my kids won't.” West and her husband, Don, raised 13 children in their two-story house in Millsboro, a hamlet in East Bethlehem, Washington County. Theirs is one of four houses on Harmony Avenue, where the Wests have lived since 1959. Between them and the Monongahela River is Tri-County Joint Municipal Authority, which is under orders from the state Department of Environmental Protection to reduce potentially carcinogenic chemicals in the water it pumps to homes.   [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Turning off the gas: Region’s last exploratory natural gas well to be plugged
Citizens Voice
ELIZABETH SKRAPITS

Since the Marcellus Shale drilling boom started in 2008, seven natural gas wells have been drilled in and around Luzerne and Lackawanna counties. Six of them were plugged when they failed to produce enough gas to market. This week, the seventh — WPX Energy’s Martin well on state Route 487 in Sugarloaf Township, Columbia County, between Ricketts Glen and Benton — will also be shut down for good. “From what I understand, we’re the last well to be plugged,” WPX Energy spokeswoman Susan Oliver said. In December, WPX Energy announced the sale of its Marcellus Shale assets to Southwestern Energy Co. as part of a $300 million deal. Oliver said these assets are primarily in Susquehanna County. They consist of approximately 46,700 net acres of physical operations, about 50 million cubic feet per day of net natural gas production and 63 horizontal wells, according to WPX. Oliver said the company is focusing on where it makes more money: Colorado, New Mexico and North Dakota.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Fracking Water Is Shaking Oklahoma
Bloomberg
Mary Duenwald

Not so many years ago, earthquake science was no more relevant to Oklahoma than marine biology. But these days the state is shaking way more often than California, and giving many people there an unwanted crash course in seismology.   [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
UM report challenges state, industry fracking practices
Detroit News
Jim Lynch

Ann Arbor — A report released Friday on hydraulic fracturing conducted by University of Michigan researchers challenged several state and industry practices for the controversial gas extraction technique and was rebuffed in turn by the oil and gas industry.   [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Tasmania fracking ban: Pressure ramps up over as end to fracking ban approaches
ABC News
Stephen Smiley

With a year-old ban on fracking in Tasmania set to expire, the Government is weighing up whether to extend the ban while the State Opposition accuses it of hypocrisy. The Liberal government's ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, will expire on March 31.   [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
GOP MOVES PRO-FRACKING MEASURE AHEAD OF REPORT
Star Tribune


DENVER Republicans in Colorado's Senate have advanced a pro-fracking measure that makes a statement in advance of a long-awaited report on new limits on the oil and gas industry. The Senate bill approved Friday would penalize local governments that limit drilling procedures, especially hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Taranaki fracking site spills oil
3 News


Maritime New Zealand is monitoring a small oil spill off Taranaki's coast. The ocean watchdog was alerted on Friday to a spill from the floating oil storage ship Raroa, which is operating in the Maari Field about 70km off the South Taranaki coast.   [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Could fracking ban fracture New York State? NY towns talk secession to join Pa.
PennLive
Jon Luclew

All along the Keystone State's border with New York, there are big, blue roadside signs proclaiming, "Pennsylvania Welcomes You." Only now some Upstate New York towns may be interpreting this invitation as far more than a typical tourists greeting. A move is afoot in some parts of New York's economically suffering Southern Tier to secede from that state and join Pennsylvania.   [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Assessing the impacts of fracking in Michigan--draft report released
Risk Science


A draft final integrated assessment report addressing the potential impact of hydraulic fracking in Michigan was released on February 20 for public comment, by the University of Michigan Graham Sustainability Institute. The report is the result of a two and a half year collaboration between the University of Michigan Graham Sustainability Institute, Energy Institute, Erb Institute and Risk Science Center.   [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Green group challenges U.S. approval of fracking off Calif. coast
Reuters
Ayesha Rascoe

(Reuters) - An environmental group has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Interior Department accusing it of allowing hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas drilling off the California coast without proper review of safety hazards and impacts on marine life. The Center for Biological Diversity filed a complaint on Thursday with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The group asked the court to bar the department from issuing permits for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, until it complies with various federal laws.   [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
AUTRIS Develops Green "Nitrogen Fracking" Solution Through Wholly Owned Subsidiary NITROHEAT
Money CNN


Nitroheat files patent for an environmentally clean solution for the removal of toxic materials, chemicals and waste created during the hydraulic fracking process PORTLAND, Ore., Feb. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- AUTRIS (OTCQB: AUTR), is proud to announce that its wholly owned subsidiary, NITROHEAT has designed an innovative dual action mega pressure nitrogen solution for the fracking and secondary oil recovery operations. The patent pending solution will be marketed under the product name MaxFrack-N2.   [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Settlement Reached in Wyoming Fracking Disclosure Lawsuit: Heavier Burden of Proof for Companies Claiming Trade Secret or Confidentiality Protections
JD Supra
Matthew Poppe & Ghazal Tajmiri

As we’ve previously discussed, a patchwork of state regulations requiring disclosure of chemicals used in fracking have been enacted by several states in recent years. One such regulation was by the State of Wyoming. While environmental groups initially lauded Wyoming’s new rule, the applause was short-lived as the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission began granting trade secret exemptions that prevented disclosure of this information to the public under the state public records act. This led the environmental groups to sue the Commission. After nearly three years of litigation, including an appeal to the Wyoming Supreme Court, the parties reached a settlement that was approved by the state district court late last month.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Montana's Carbon County farmers sue for protection from fracking
Ecologist


Seven Montana landowners last week filed a legal challenge in state district court to the Carbon County Commission's rejection of their petition for land use regulations to protect their private properties from the harmful effects of oil and gas drilling.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Ohio Supreme Court Invalidates Local Fracking Restrictions
National Law Review


On Monday, February 16, 2015, a sharply divided Ohio Supreme Court held in a 4-3 decision that Ohio local governments do not have authority to enact certain local zoning ordinances restricting hydraulic fracturing. The Court found that an Ohio statute regulating oil and gas well production operations that gives state government “sole and exclusive authority” to regulate such operations does not allow for a municipality to impose its own permit requirements on oil and gas drilling operations.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Deerfield amends its claim against the federal government to include the Department of Energy
MassLive
Fred Contrada

DEERFIELD -- The town has amended its claim against the federal government concerning the Tennessee Gas Pipeline to include the U.S. Department of Energy as a defendant.   [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Climate Denyin' Scientist Willie Soon Says 'I'm Lovin' It'...
DeSmogBlogUK
BRENDAN MONTAGUE

Climate scientists tempted by the millions of dollars paid by the oil industry to researchers who happen to come up with the right conclusions have been warned – you would be better off flipping burgers. Willie Soon, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, has accepted cash from the oil baron Koch brothers, oil behemoth ExxonMobil and the American Petroleum Institute – the troika of industry-funded climate denial. The New York Times on Sunday published new revelations based on documents obtained through Freedom of Information showing Soon promised “deliverables” including scientific papers and Senate testimony when negotiating terms with energy companies.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Fracking Is Shaking Oklahoma
Bloomberg
Mary Duenwald

Not so many years ago, earthquake science was no more relevant to Oklahoma than marine biology. But these days the state is shaking way more often than California, and giving many people there an unwanted crash course in seismology. Last year, Oklahoma had 585 earthquakes with a magnitude 3.0 or greater (big enough for people to easily feel) -- almost three times as many as California had and up from an average of just two a year before 2009. Not coincidentally, that's when oil and gas drillers began injecting wastewater from fracking operations into thousands of underground wells. In the past week alone, Oklahomans have felt the earth move eight times -- which is probably eight times more than nature intended them to. It's enough to get officials, even in a drilling-friendly state, to take action to manage wastewater wells.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
New York State: Continued Threats from Fracking & Fracking Infrastructure
ClimateMama
Harriet Sugarman

By now it’s “old news” that on December 17th, 2014, New York state banned High Volume Hydraulic Fracking (HVHF). This ban was passed in large part due to the overwhelming evidence presented that HVHF poses unacceptable health risks to individuals and communities. In fact, NY State Acting Commissioner of Health Howard Zucker said clearly and loudly that he would NOT want his children to live or play near a fracking site. This honest and simple statement has made government officials, parents, oil and gas workers as well as folks who have no direct connection to frack sites, wake up and pay attention.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
US Natural Gas Market To Remain Under Pressure Into 2016
Value Walk
Clayton Browne

Things are already ugly in U.S. natural gas markets, and its only going to get worse, according to research firm Sterne Agee. SA analysts Tim Rezvan and Truman Hobbs argue that the double whammy of continued supply growth amid weak demand mean that natural gas prices are still not done dropping, and slash 2015/2016 estimates across the board for the natural gas firms in their coverage universe.   [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Time to turn off the gas
Times-Tribune
Elizabeth Krapits

Since the Marcellus Shale boom started in 2008, seven natural gas wells have been drilled in and around Lackawanna and Luzerne counties. Six of them were plugged when they failed to produce enough gas to market. This week, the seventh — WPX Energy’s Martin well on Route 487 in Sugarloaf Twp., Columbia County, between Ricketts Glen and Benton — also will be shut down for good.   [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Wolf sets new pace in first month
Times-Tribune
Robert Swift

In his first month in office, he’s taken far-reaching executive actions, held informal sessions with lawmakers at the governor’s residence and dropped by their offices. In office since only Jan. 20, Mr. Wolf has charted a different direction for the state on natural gas drilling, health care coverage and the death penalty.   [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
New York Report Analyzes Industry Science Behind Fracking
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Glynis Board

A new report released in the wake of New York State's decision to ban the horizontal gas drilling process known as fracking analyzes more than 100 scientific studies that have been approved and distributed by oil and gas industry representatives.   [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Climate Denier’s Funding from Fossil Fuel Industry Exposed at a Staggering $1.25 Million
EcoWatch
Andy Rowell

For nearly two decades avid researcher, Kert Davies, has been hunting climate deniers and exposing their links to the fossil fuel industry. Davies, who used to run Greenpeace USA’s Research Department, developed Exxon Secrets a decade ago which highlighted many of these links. It remains an invaluable tool today.   [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Fossil fuel divestment effort comes to energy-rich Colorado FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT EFFORT COMES TO ENERGY-RICH COLORADO
Star Tribune
Dan Elliott

DENVER — A campaign to get universities to stop investing in greenhouse gas-producing fuels has come deep into energy country as activists ask the University of Colorado to divest from coal and petroleum companies. A group called Fossil Free CU planned to make the request to the university's governing Board of Regents on Friday. The board wasn't expected to make any immediate decisions.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Eagle Ford shale oil boom turns to bust
Fuel Fix
Jennifer Hiller

TILDEN – From a dusty parking lot along Texas 16, Jose Rodriguez sees what’s not yet obvious in the numbers. The Eagle Ford Shale oil field is a shadow of its former self, fading at the edges as the energy industry slashes spending. Plenty of trucks rumble past Rodriguez – but not as many as before. Workers pull over to browse the merchandise folded on wooden tables – piles of blue jeans, used coveralls and flame-resistant shirts. But Rodriguez’s business is down about 40 percent in three months. “A lot of this I buy off of people that are getting laid off,” said Rodriguez, who lives in southern Bexar County but follows oil field workers to Tilden and Pleasanton a few days each week. “There’s a lot of turnover in the oil field.”  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
European shale dream is dying before it started
CNBC
Everett Rosenfeld

Oil and gas giant Chevron is giving up on its shale gas plans for Romania, marking the end of its European efforts for the resource. And it's not alone in scrapping European plans. The California-based company said that the fracking project does not make economic sense at this time, so it is relinquishing its concessions in the country. Less than a month earlier, Chevron pulled out of shale gas exploration in Poland, citing similar reasoning.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
10 arrested in Atlantic Coast Pipeline protest near Dominion headquarters
Richmond Times-Dispatch


Ten people were arrested Monday morning protesting the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in a demonstration near Dominion Virginia Power's downtown riverfront headquarters, Richmond police said. Nine people were cited for being in a roadway and given summonses, said James Mercante, a Richmond police spokesman. One person was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after refusing to accept the summons, Mercante said.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Govern Yourselves, State Lawmakers Tell Cities, but Not Too Much
The New York Times
SHAILA DEWAN

Darren Hodges, a Tea Party Republican and the mayor pro tem of the windy West Texas city of Fort Stockton, is a fierce defender of his town’s decision to ban plastic bags. It was a local solution to a local problem and one, he says, city officials had a “God-given right” to make. But the power of Fort Stockton and other cities to govern themselves is under attack in the state capital, Austin. The new Republican governor, Greg Abbott, has warned that several cities are undermining the business friendly “Texas model” with a patchwork of ill-conceived regulations. Conservative legislators, already angered by a ban on fracking that was enacted by popular vote in the town of Denton last fall, quickly followed up with a host of bills to curtail local power.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Is Bolivia going to frack 'Mother Earth'?
The Guardian
David Hill

The momentum is building. Bolivia’s state oil and gas company YPFB announced in early 2013 it would begin studies to identify shale gas deposits, and in November that same year it gave a presentation in Santa Cruz on shale gas and the country’s probable reserves. Also in 2013 it ordered companies to take samples of one particularly promising geological formation, sent a delegation to the Vaca Muerte shale gas deposits in Argentina, and signed an agreement with YPF, Argentina’s state oil and gas company, to “evaluate shale gas potential” in Bolivia’s Chaco region and train Bolivians in shale gas techniques.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Jeb Bush facing questions over claims he urged businesses to invest in fracking – while he stood to personally profit via private equity group
Daily Mail
Lydia Willgress

A former governor who pushed states to approve plans for fracking was stood to personally benefit from profits reaped from the controversial drilling. Jeb Bush, Florida's governor for eight years until 2007, said that neglecting to approve fracking plans would lead to areas in America languishing. But one of the 62-year-old's private equity enterprises was simultaneously raising $40 million to back a company acquiring fracking wells, the Tampa Bay Times reported on Friday. Inflection Energy, based in Denver, already had active leases in Pennsylvania and hoped that New York would lift its ban.   [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
New York Report Analyzes Industry Science Behind Fracking
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Glynis Board

A new report released in the wake of New York State's decision to ban the horizontal gas drilling process known as fracking analyzes more than 100 scientific studies that have been approved and distributed by oil and gas industry representatives. “Industry-funded science can be great for technical things,” said the report’s lead author Robert Galbraith, “when the industry has an interest in having the outcome be the most accurate information possible.” Galbraith works for a nonprofit in Buffalo, New York, called The Public Accountability Initiative. Among other things, the organization says it is is dedicated to exposing conflicts of interest within industry-sponsored studies.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Oil-by-rail shipments are playing Russian roulette: Kemp
Reuters
John Kemp

(Reuters) - Train derailments involving crude oil and ethanol in the United States will cost more than $18 billion over the next 20 years, according to an assessment by the U.S. Department of Transportation. USDOT forecasts there will be just over 200 derailments involving trains carrying 20 or more tank cars of crude or ethanol between 2015 and 2034, an average of more than 10 per year, based on analysis of previous accidents and predicted growth in traffic volumes. Most will be "lower-consequence events" involving limited damage to property, environmental clean-up and only a few injuries or fatalities, with the bill totaling less than $5 billion. But up to 10 could have more serious consequences because they occur in more densely populated areas, with an estimated cost of $1.2 billion per incident.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Derailed Oil Train in Ontario Was Within Speed Limit
Wall Street Journal
Paul Viera and Russell Gold

A train that derailed in northern Ontario just over a week ago—igniting and spilling more than 6,000 barrels of oil—was traveling at a restricted speed and carrying oil in structurally enhanced tank cars, Canadian investigators said Monday. Initial findings on the accident from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada suggest it bore stark similarities to a fiery derailment that occurred days later in West Virginia. The findings are likely to add to concerns that recent regulatory steps to make the transport of oil by rail don’t go far enough.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Fuel Trains Could Derail Up To 10 Times A Year Over Next Two Decades, Feds Predict
Huffington Post
MATTHEW BROWN and JOSH FUNK , AP

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The federal government predicts that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of 10 times a year over the next two decades, causing more than $4 billion in damage and possibly killing hundreds of people if an accident happens in a densely populated part of the U.S. The projection comes from a previously unreported analysis by the Department of Transportation that reviewed the risks of moving vast quantities of both fuels across the nation and through major cities. The study completed last July took on new relevance this week after a train loaded with crude derailed in West Virginia, sparked a spectacular fire and forced the evacuation of hundreds of families.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Senator Calls For Investigation Into The Climate Change 'Denial-For-Hire Scheme'
Huffington Post
Kate Sheppard

WASHINGTON -- Recently released documents show that fossil fuel interests paid more than $1.2 million to fund the research of a prominent climate change-denying scientist affiliated with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Now, a Democratic senator is calling for an investigation into whether other coal and oil companies are funding climate deniers. The New York Times reported this weekend on documents that Greenpeace obtained under the Freedom of Information Act that show that Wei-Hock Soon, known as Willie, has accepted funding from Southern Company, Exxon Mobil, the American Petroleum Institute and the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Climate Change Denial A Bargain At $1.2 Mil
Clean Technica
Sandy Dechert

Ultraconservative news media, the new Congress, and some state governments have heavily relied on the testimony of Dr. Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon to discredit national and international reports on climate change by mainstream scientists. It turns out they’re probably making a big mistake. Dr. Soon has claimed repeatedly that variations in the sun’s energy, rather than atmospheric carbon dioxide increases, are the prime cause of global warming. Here’s what he says: Dr. Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon (thinkprogress.org)“The evidence in my paper is consistent with the hypothesis that the Sun causes climatic change in the Arctic…. It invalidates the hypothesis that CO2 is a major cause of observed climate change—and raises serious questions about the wisdom of imposing cap-and-trade or other policies that would cripple energy production and economic activity, in the name of ‘preventing catastrophic climate change’.” Because Soon is a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (not a full-time climate or atmospheric scientist, but a part-time aerospace engineer who works for the Smithsonian Institution, not Harvard), people have tended to believe him. Politicians opposed to action on climate frequently cite his work. Many critics, however, say Soon’s climate change denials are based on spurious links between solar output and climate factors, out-of-date information, and inadequate study of anthropogenic sources of climate change. For almost 10 years, the DeSmogBlog Project has been investigating Soon’s connections and contributing to major media such as ABC News, Associated Press, and the BBC World Service about their findings.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
US safety chief in warning over railcars
Financial Times
Robert Wright

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/fd151938-bb9a-11e4-b95c-00144feab7de.html#ixzz3SlaUj1NW The failure of regulators, operators and manufacturers to agree higher safety standards for railcars carrying dangerous materials poses long-term risks to safety, the acting head of the US’s main transport safety investigator has warned. Christopher Hart, acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, was writing on the board’s website after 28 cars in a 109-car crude oil train operated by CSX derailed near Mount Carbon, West Virginia. The resulting huge explosions and fires destroyed at least one house, injured one person and forced the evacuation of the homes of 600 nearby residents.   [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Federal antitrust suit filed over low Marcellus Shale natural gas royalty payments
Penn Live
John Beauge | Special to PennLive

SCRANTON -- Two Marcellus Shale natural gas companies have been accused of attempting to monopolize, to the detriment of royalty payments, certain natural gas services in the Marcellus Shale region of northcentral and northeastern Pennsylvania. The allegation against Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Access Midstream Partners is contained in a civil suit filed last week in U.S. Middle District Court by more than 90 landowners and other owners of royalty interests in gas produced from more than 6,000 acres in Bradford, Sullivan and Wyoming counties. The focus of the suit that alleges an unlawful and anti-competitive conspiracy among several Chesapeake companies and Midstream in violation of the Sherman Act, but Anadarko, Statoil and Mitsui also are named defendants. Williams Partners recently took over Midstream.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Minnesota county considers frac-sand ban
Marcellus.com
Josephine Marcotty | Star Tribune

Houston County is close to adopting a permanent ban on frac-sand mining — a step that would be a first in Minnesota and a new twist in the Midwest’s sand-mining boom. The County Board adopted the ordinance 5-0 this week in a preliminary vote, and it is expected to give it final approval this month after the county attorney reviews the language. The vote followed an emotional three-hour public meeting Wednesday, where local residents argued that industrial sand mining would destroy the county’s scenic Mississippi River bluffs and perhaps contaminate their water and trout streams.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
U.S. Geological Survey: Fracking waste is the primary cause of the dramatic rise in earthquakes
Daily Kos
Jen Hayden

The U.S. Geological Survey has backed-up what scientists have been suggesting for years–that deep injection of wastewater is the primary cause of the dramatic rise in detected earthquakes: Large areas of the United States that used to experience few or no earthquakes have, in recent years, experienced a remarkable increase in earthquake activity that has caused considerable public concern as well as damage to structures. This rise in seismic activity, especially in the central United States, is not the result of natural processes.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Could fracking ban fracture New York State? NY towns talk secession to join Pa.
Bakken.com
JOHN LUCIEW | The Patriot-News

All along the Keystone State’s border with New York, there are big, blue roadside signs proclaiming, “Pennsylvania Welcomes You.” Only now some Upstate New York towns may be interpreting this invitation as far more than a typical tourists greeting. A move is afoot in some parts of New York’s economically suffering Southern Tier to secede from that state and join Pennsylvania. So what’s the catalyst for such a cataclysmic shift among Northeastern states? None other than the politically controversial but potentially economically lucrative practice of natural gas hydraulic fracturing.  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
Center for Biological Diversity Files Complaint Against Federal Agencies to Halt Offshore Fracking in California
JD Supra
Michael Mills

On Thursday, Feb. 19, the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”) filed suit against the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”), the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (“BSEE”), and the Department of the Interior (“DOI”) in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. (CBD v. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management et al., Case No. 2:15-cv-01189.) The complaint alleges that the federal agencies issued permits for drilling off the coast of California without adequate environmental review. Specifically, CBD claims that the federal government violated the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Coastal Zone Management Act “without analyzing fracking pollution’s threats to ocean ecosystems, coastal communities and marine wildlife, including sea otters, fish, sea turtles and whales.” (CBD Press Release, Feb. 19, 2015.)  [Full Story]

Feb 23, 2015
New York State Exposed: Project under review could impact Finger Lakes wine industry
WHEC
Brett Davidsen

Should fuel be stored in the Finger Lakes region if it could put one the state’s biggest industries in jeopardy? The Finger Lakes wine industry brings in millions of dollars and creates thousands of jobs in the region but those businesses say a project currently under review by the state could destroy what they've built. "It would be devastating. Not only to the landscape, but to all these people who have invested millions of dollars into planting grapes and building new businesses." says Kim Aliperti. Aliperti and her husband are owners of Billsboro Winery in Geneva on the shores of Seneca Lake. She's concerned that if the state Department of Environmental Conservation grants a permit to store propane at the southern end of the lake, it will drive tourists away and impact the community character.  [Full Story]

Feb 22, 2015
WILL AMERICA’S SHALE BOOMTOWNS BUST? A REPORT FROM THE HEART OF NORTH DAKOTA’S FRACKING COUNTRY
Fortune Magazine
Jennifer Reingold

We’re standing on a windswept, snow-covered expanse of frozen ground in western North Dakota, imagining a future that is hard to picture here. Gesturing toward a grassy field, hatless in the 10-degree chill, Terry Olin and Ellen Simone Weyrauch, the principals of a real estate development firm called Stropiq, lay out their vision for Williston Crossing. They’ve planned a $500 million, 219-acre complex with 900 residential units, a hotel, a water park, and tons of big-box retail. As soon as Stropiq gets the expected approval from the county, it will break ground later this year and hopes to finish the first phase of construction by 2018. Just 10 years ago the area was an American Empty Quarter, with nothing but a few grain farms and the occasional oil well, conjoined by the lonely two-lane U.S. Route 85, part of the CanAm Highway that connects Mexico to Canada. But then came an oil boom propelled by the advent of fracking, the technology for getting oil out of formerly impenetrable rock by fracturing it. In North Dakota’s Bakken Shale, oil once considered irretrievable flowed freely.   [Full Story]

Feb 22, 2015
Jeb Bush Championed Fracking While Standing To Profit From It, Report Alleges
Huffington Post
Sam Levine

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) pushed states to approve the controversial drilling practice known as fracking while he personally stood to profit from the practice, the Tampa Bay Times reported on Friday. According to the Times, Bush, a likely 2016 presidential contender, urged a group of New York conservatives in 2013 to support fracking, even while he was involved with a private equity group that was raising $40 million for a company acquiring fracking wells.   [Full Story]

Feb 22, 2015
Obama’s Expected Keystone Pipeline Veto Is Likely to Be the First in a Wave
New York Times
Michael D. Shear & Coral Davenport

WASHINGTON — Wielding the weapon of his pen, President Obama this week is expected to formally reject a Republican attempt to force construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. But in stopping the transit of petroleum from the forests of Alberta to the Gulf Coast, Mr. Obama will be opening the veto era of his presidency.   [Full Story]

Feb 22, 2015
Fed predicts up to 10 derailments a year of fuel-hauling trains
Star Tribune
Matthew Brown & Josh Funk

BILLINGS, Mont. — The federal government predicts that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of 10 times a year over the next two decades, causing more than $4 billion in damage and possibly killing hundreds of people if an accident happens in a densely populated part of the U.S.   [Full Story]

Feb 22, 2015
Natural gas heats up as oil prices cool
Star Tribune
Neal St. Anthony

The oil boom may have gone bust for now above the Bakken reservoir of North Dakota and Montana, but the rush is just starting to harvest more of the natural gas that is the byproduct of oil extraction.  [Full Story]

Feb 22, 2015
Glut, lease terms ding gas royalty checks
Tribune-Review
Katelyn Ferral

When Craig Sweger started getting royalty checks for mineral rights he leased to Range Resources in 2001, the extra money amply funded new equipment for his hay farm and allowed him to help out his family and community. But his generosity is being hurt by the low price of natural gas and lower production volumes, which have cut his royalty check by more than half. It means less money is available to give to family and groups he cares about, including his local church and the University of Pittsburgh. “Anytime you're getting less money than what you were getting before, it affects you,” he said. “We won't have it to give.” Sweger, who farms hay in Hopewell Township in Washington County, says his checks have been cut by one-third in the past three years and by half in the past three months. He declined to give exact figures. Royalties are the payments land and mineral rights owners receive for allowing drillers to tap the gas beneath their properties. The payments are based on the price drillers receive for gas in commodity markets. The fortunes are not as good these days because of a glut in natural gas caused by soaring production and transportation bottlenecks. Natural gas prices have dropped to $2.62 per million British thermal units, down from $5.66 in January 2014 and $13.09 in 2008.  [Full Story]

Feb 22, 2015
Nobel Prize Winner Joseph Stiglitz To Speak At TPP Forum
Popular Resistance


Stiglitz has written that the people of the United States are on the wrong side of globalization and warns that the American people need to be paying attention to the TPP and other trade agreements being negotiated by President Obama. He points out the TPP has negotiated in secret since 2010 and that we have to rely on leaked drafts. He writes that when Fast Track trade authority was introduced in 2014, it cased a lot of controversy. Stiglitz writes: Controversy has erupted, and justifiably so. Based on the leaks — and the history of arrangements in past trade pacts — it is easy to infer the shape of the whole TPP, and it doesn’t look good. There is a real risk that it will benefit the wealthiest sliver of the American and global elite at the expense of everyone else. The fact that such a plan is under consideration at all is testament to how deeply inequality reverberates through our economic policies.  [Full Story]

Feb 22, 2015
Michigan could strengthen oversight of fracking, U-M study says
The Ann Arbor News
Associated Press

TRAVERSE CITY -- Michigan could strengthen its supervision of a natural gas development process known as "fracking" by keeping a closer eye on surface and ground water near production wells and ordering companies to disclose more information about the chemicals they use, researchers said in a report released Friday. The University of Michigan study also said regulators could require companies to do more up-front emergency planning and reuse wastewater before disposing of it, and could give the public a bigger voice in setting policies dealing with fracking.  [Full Story]

Feb 22, 2015
Drug explosion follows oil boom on North Dakota Indian reservation
Los Angeles Times
CINDY CARCAMO

Tribal Police Chief Chad Johnson first noticed a change on the wind-swept prairies of the reservation around six years ago. Small-time methamphetamine dealers known to the police officers for the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes — known as the MHA Nation — were ceding territory to dealers from California, Colorado, Utah and even Latin America. Many were heavily armed and dealing in pounds of meth. Local and federal officials estimate 90% of the drugs on the reservation now come from other states or countries. And it's not just meth. In 2012, Justice Department officials spotted heroin on the reservation for the first time.  [Full Story]

Feb 22, 2015
USGS: Fracking is causing Oklahoma earthquakes
KSWO


The debate about the cause of earthquakes in Oklahoma has really heated up within the last year. A press release from the USGS states, "…the increased seismicity is due to fluid injection associated with new technologies that enable the extraction of oil and gas…" The USGS is currently looking to develop a hazard model for induced earthquakes in the U.S. that can be updated frequently in response to changing trends in energy production.  [Full Story]

Feb 22, 2015
Fracking task force nears possible compromise
KDVR
Eli Stokols

DENVER — If a debate between one of the state’s leading environmentalists and a powerful oil and gas industry consultant is any indicator, don’t expect a major breakthrough compromise that will solve the state’s ongoing local control impasse. The task force created last summer by Gov. John Hickenlooper, hatched as a last-minute way out of a potentially messy battle over ballot measures last fall, is due to issue its recommendations on Tuesday.   [Full Story]

Feb 22, 2015
Hydroelectric Water Pipes: Portland’s Pipes Have Been Tapped For Electricity
Quark
Jolene Creighton

By this point, everyone knows that we have an energy issue. It does not matter whether your first concern is the environment or the economy, the fact is, change is necessary. Fortunately, when it comes to science, change is always on the horizon. With that in mind, it’s time to meet a new renewable energy system: The LucidPipe Power System A company called Lucid Energy (you got to love that name) has developed a renewable energy system that uses water as its source of energy production. This may not sound like anything new, as we have been using water-power to produce energy for years; however, this company built its device around other exiting features of modern society, allowing us to “double-dip,” so to speak. Last month, the 200kW LucidPipe Power System that was recently installed in a Portland Water Bureau water pipeline came online. As it did so, it began generating renewable energy by converting pressure in water pipelines into electricity.  [Full Story]

Feb 22, 2015
Oklahoma-Salt Water Disposal Well Explosion Claims Life Of Oklahoma Worker
The American Driller


The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has reported there was a tank explosion at the Cheyenne Salt Water Disposal well south of Cheyenne Oklahoma. The disposal well is owned owned Overflow Energy of Texas. One man was found dead after the explosion Friday   [Full Story]

Feb 22, 2015
AP Exclusive: Fuel-hauling trains could derail at 10 a year
AP News
MATTHEW BROWN and JOSH FUNK

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - The federal government predicts that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of 10 times a year over the next two decades, causing more than $4 billion in damage and possibly killing hundreds of people if an accident happens in a densely populated part of the U.S. The projection comes from a previously unreported analysis by the Department of Transportation that reviewed the risks of moving vast quantities of both fuels across the nation and through major cities. The study completed last July took on new relevance this week after a train loaded with crude derailed in West Virginia, sparked a spectacular fire and forced the evacuation of hundreds of families.   [Full Story]

Feb 21, 2015
Feds Charge Duke Energy With Violations Of Clean Water Act For Coal Ash Pollution
Huffington Post
MICHAEL BIESECKER and MITCH WEISS

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Federal prosecutors filed multiple criminal charges against Duke Energy on Friday over years of illegal pollution leaking from coal ash dumps at five North Carolina power plants. The three U.S. Attorney's Offices covering the state charged Duke with nine misdemeanor counts involving violations of the Clean Water Act. The prosecutors say the nation's largest electricity company engaged in unlawful dumping at coal-fired power plants in Eden, Moncure, Asheville, Goldsboro and Mt. Holly.  [Full Story]

Feb 21, 2015
Oil industry’s toxic wastewater threatens California water supplies
The Sacramento Bee
HOLLIN KRETZMANN

It’s California’s other water problem – and, like the drought, it poses a profound threat to our future. Every year the state’s oil industry produces some 130 billion gallons of wastewater. But where do oil companies put this dirty fluid, and how dangerous is it to human health? We got some answers recently, and they raise troubling new questions about Gov. Jerry Brown’s support for fracking and his administration’s failure to protect California’s water from oil industry pollution.   [Full Story]

Feb 21, 2015
Documents Reveal Fossil Fuel Fingerprints on Contrarian Climate Research
InsideClimate News
David Hasemyer

After finishing a study contending that solar activity is increasing global warming, scientist Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reported his news to a utility company that was a major funder of his work. "I have a big super-duper paper soon to be accepted on how the sun affects the climate system," Soon wrote in a 2009 email to Robert Gehri, a research specialist with Southern Company Services, a mega utility company in the southeastern U.S. that generates power largely from coal.  [Full Story]

Feb 21, 2015
Regulator let PG&E investigate itself after San Bruno blast
San Francisco Chronicle
Jaxon Van Derbeken

California Public Utilities Commission officials allowed Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to investigate itself after the company revealed in 2012 that it had failed to police its major gas pipelines to the point where trees, buildings and even swimming pools blocked access to them, The Chronicle has learned. A commission official explained in an e-mail to PG&E executives that it would be better for the company to do its own investigation so the state agency could avoid “a lot of ... red tape.” The findings of PG&E’s self-investigation remain secret, more than two years after the company turned them over to the state. What is known is that regulators have yet to levy any fines against PG&E for what one former utilities commission lawyer called a major safety problem.  [Full Story]

Feb 21, 2015
Jeb Bush's private investments in fracking dovetail with public advocacy
Tampa Bay Times
Adam C. Smith and Alex Leary

In the summer of 2013, well before he became an all-but-declared presidential candidate, Jeb Bush spoke to conservatives gathered in New York. He talked up the promise of education reform, immigration and policies to boost America's economy — standard lecture circuit talk for which the former Florida governor often commanded $40,000 a speech. Still, the part about "a patriotic energy policy" was especially timely, coming amid heated debate over whether Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo should lift the state's moratorium on the controversial oil and natural gas drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing. Fracking. "Some states, like yours here in New York, are choosing not to grow. They won't approve fracking," Bush said, his veiled shot at Cuomo drawing roars of approval from Republicans gathered at a Sheraton in Manhattan. "Meanwhile, in parts of New York where huge opportunities exist for the restoration of economic activity, people languish."  [Full Story]

Feb 21, 2015
Petroleum found in fish near Yellowstone River spill
Great Falls Tribune
Associated Press

BILLINGS (AP) – Lab tests have detected petroleum in of some of the fish taken from the Yellowstone River downstream from where a ruptured oil pipeline spilled an estimated 30,000 gallons near Glendive in January. As a result, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has continued its fish consumption advisory for the stretch of river. “We weren’t expecting to find it,” Trevor Selch, FWP’s pollution control biologist, said Friday.   [Full Story]

Feb 21, 2015
Small Earthquakes linked to Fracking could become Bigger
Perfect Science
Diana Brettin

A new research published on February 19 in the journal Science calls for better monitoring of earthquakes caused due to human activity. A federal research was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science by a US Geological Survey scientist William Ellsworth. According to him, Southern Kansas and Oklahoma are experiencing small, daily quakes linked with fracking. These tremors are increasing the future probability of a larger and more destructive earthquake. Although the immediate chances of a big earthquake in these regions are low, about 1 in 2,500 years' chance, the likelihood of occurrence is on the rise.  [Full Story]

Feb 21, 2015
WPX Energy asks its vendors for 20 percent cut
The Daily Times
James Fenton

FARMINGTON — Local contractors in the oil and gas industry are facing severe cuts in the wake of fallen oil prices. One industry leader in the San Juan Basin, WPX Energy, has asked its contractors for a 20 percent price cut on goods and services. "I am writing to request a 20 percent cost reduction in the goods and services you provide WPX Energy ...," Ken McQueen, WPX's vice president of San Juan Basin operations, wrote to the company's vendors in a Feb. 9 letter. "WPX has enjoyed a long and productive history with our vendor community in the San Juan Basin. I hope you understand that this in no way reflects poorly on you or your company. Instead, this is my only alternative to keep a modicum of activity intact during this depressed commodity price environment."  [Full Story]

Feb 21, 2015
USGS: Fracking is the cause of earthquakes in Oklahoma
KFOR
M.DELATORRE AND LA'TASHA GIVENS

OKLAHOMA — It’s the million dollar question in Oklahoma: What’s causing all the earthquakes? There have been a lot of theories about fracking causing earthquakes. But now, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) says that fracking, is indeed, to blame. The debate about the cause of earthquakes in Oklahoma has really heated up within the last year. But now, the USGS is making strong statements about what they believe is the root of the problem.   [Full Story]

Feb 21, 2015
Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher
New York Times
Justin Gillis & John Schwartz

For years, politicians wanting to block legislation on climate change have bolstered their arguments by pointing to the work of a handful of scientists who claim that greenhouse gases pose little risk to humanity.... But newly released documents show the extent to which Dr. Soon’s work has been tied to funding he received from corporate interests.   [Full Story]

Feb 21, 2015
Chevron withdraws from shale gas activities in Romania
Romania-Insider


American oil and gas company Chevron recently said it is quitting its shale gas concessions in Romania, after making a similar decision for Poland. Romania was Chevron’s last shale gas project in Europe. The company did not say why it was giving up its Romanian operations. The announcement was made by a Chevron spokesman, quoted by Wall Street Journal.  [Full Story]

Feb 21, 2015
Fracking Industry Distorts Science To Deceive Public And Policymakers, Says Watchdog Group
Huffington Post
Lynne Peeples

A fracking opponent protests in Sacramento, California. The oil and gas industry sponsors and spins research to shape the scientific debate over horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. That's the conclusion of a watchdog group's analysis of more than 130 documents distributed to policymakers by industry representatives. "Research and statistics can be manipulated to say whatever the person using them wants to say," said Robert Galbraith, an analyst with the nonprofit Public Accountability Initiative and co-author of the report released on Wednesday. Public Accountability Initiative, which describes itself as a non-partisan advocate of corporate and government transparency, receives some financial support from groups opposed to fracking.  [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
Sued by Chesapeake Energy for Stealing Trade Secrets, Aubrey McClendon Hires PR Giant Edelman
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

Chesapeake Energy has sued its former CEO, Aubrey McClendon, for allegedly stealing its trade secrets in the months between his resignation and the formation of his new company, American Energy Partners. To defend itself outside of the courtroom, American Energy Partners has hired Edelman, the 'world's largest' and often controversial public relations firm.  [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
Chevron to Give Up Romanian Shale-Gas Interests
The Wall Street Journal
SELINA WILLIAMS

LONDON--In a setback to Europe’s nascent shale-gas industry, Chevron Corp. said Friday it is relinquishing its interests in shale-gas concessions in Romania, the U.S. oil giant’s last shale-gas project in Europe. It follows Chevron’s announcement last month that it was quitting shale-exploration activities in Poland. Last year Chevron terminated shale-gas agreements in Lithuania and Ukraine. “That leaves Romania, where we are in the process of relinquishing our concession interests,” a Chevron spokesman said.  [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
Hein vetoes propane gas van measure
Mid-Husdon News Network


KINGSTON – Saying the use of propane to fuel Ulster County vehicles is neither environmentally nor fiscally sound, County Executive Michael Hein vetoed the measure on Friday. The county legislature earlier this week approved a measure to retrofit five sheriff’s office transport vans to propane in a pilot project.  [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
League of Women Voters hosting talk on fracking ban
Press Connects
John R. Roby

The League of Women Voters of Broome and Tioga Counties will host a discussion by author and journalist Tom Wilbur on New York’s ban on high-volume hydrofracking. The talk will be held Tuesday at the Vestal Public Library, 320 Vestal Parkway East, starting at 6:45 p.m.  [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
World’s Biggest PR Firm Quits American Oil Lobby
EcoWatch
Conor Gibson

Perhaps you heard the good news—the world’s largest public relations firm, Edelman, just spun off an advertising subsidiary so that it could show a commitment to not aiding the denial of climate change science. The Guardian explains how American Petroleum Institute’s (API) contracts with Edelman were so massive—tens of millions of dollars—that it was up to 10 percent of the PR giant’s income.  [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
Glendive Oil Spill Still Impacting Environment
KFYR-TV NBC


It's been over a month since oil spilled from a Bridger pipeline near Glendive into the Yellowstone River, but the impact from the accident is still being felt. Detectable levels of petroleum were found in tests on fish taken downstream from the broken pipeline. This week the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Service (FWP) advised fishermen to use caution when deciding whether to eat fish caught in the area affected by the oil spill.  [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
Cabot to cut gas drilling rigs working in Marcellus
Tribune-Review


Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. will reduce its gas drilling rig count in the Marcellus shale to three from five by the middle of this year as the energy company copes with low oil and gas prices. The Houston-based company, which is the second largest shale gas producer in Pennsylvania, said Friday it was cutting its capital budget by about 40 percent to $900 million, following a trend of drillers making less money because of the low commodity prices. It still plans to drill about 70 wells in the Marcellus and increase production by up to 18 percent over last yea   [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
TransCanada has big new plans for moving oil around, and you won’t like them
Grist
John Light

TransCanada, the company pushing the Keystone XL plan, is cooking up some new projects. Watch out. First: A pipeline going in the other direction. This one would move oil from North Dakota, where drilling is booming, up to Canada. The company hopes it will be particularly appealing since the alternative method of moving that volatile crude is by rail — and, unfortunately, the trains keep blowing up. From the Associated Press: TransCanada Corp.’s proposed $600 million Upland Pipeline would begin near the northwestern North Dakota oil hub of Williston and go north into Canada about 200 miles. At peak operation it would transport up to 300,000 barrels of oil daily, connecting with other pipelines including the Energy East pipeline across Canada. …  [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
Governors expect Atlantic coast seismic testing for oil and gas in about 18 months
McClatchyDC
RENEE SCHOOF

Seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean could begin in a year and a half, and plans already are under way about whether coastal states will need more roads, refineries and other infrastructure for offshore oil and gas production, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, chair of the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition, said on Friday. The coalition met Friday during the National Governors Association meeting in Washington. Their agenda included discussion of how to get a regional revenue-sharing bill through Congress, McCrory said. The legislation would determine how money from fossil fuels from U.S. waters would be divided between the federal government and the states.   [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
Martens On Fracking Secession: ‘I Can Understand The Disappointment’
Capital Tonight
Nick Reisman

“The communities in the Southern Tier are very split,” Martens said. “Some have invited fracking, others have proposed moratoriums or enacted moratoriums. The towns are all over the place, but individual landowners have lost an opportunity to benefit from a resource that’s deep under the ground, beneath their property. I can understand the disappointment. But frankly, the health and safety of New Yorkers is our first concern.”  [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
Duke Energy Is Charged in Huge Coal Ash Leak
The New York Times
JONATHAN M. KATZ

RALEIGH, N.C. — Federal prosecutors have filed criminal charges against Duke Energy, the nation’s largest electric utility, accusing the company of violating the federal Clean Water Act by illegally dumping millions of gallons of toxic coal ash into the Dan River in North Carolina. They also accused the company of failing to maintain equipment around at least two plants. The misdemeanor charges are the result of an investigation that began about a year ago and quickly became a major political scandal in a state whose governor, Pat McCrory, has longstanding ties to the Charlotte-based energy giant.  [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
Health Concerns Mount After Refinery Explosion Coats California City With White Ash
ThinkProgress
EMILY ATKIN

The white ash that rained on the city of Torrance, California after a refinery explosion on Wednesday has been deemed non-toxic by city officials, but some oil industry workers and community members are questioning that claim. Members of the USW Local 675, the union which represents workers at ExxonMobil’s Torrance refinery, believe that the ash contained chemicals that could be harmful to human health beyond general irritation of the eyes, nose and throat. The ash — something called “catalyst dust” — is made up from particles that come from a piece of refinery equipment called a fluid catalytic cracking unit, which converts crude oil to gasoline. The unit produces a fine, almost volcanic-looking ash, which is usually made up of aluminum oxide and smaller amounts of nickel and vanadium.  [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
No More Exploding Tank Cars
The New York Times
Editorial

By some miracle, considering how close it was to the city of Charleston, the huge fireball from an enormous explosion of oil tank cars in West Virginia this week did not cost lives. But this latest explosion has served as a terrifying reminder that the industry’s ability to safely ship oil from North Dakota’s booming oil fields lags well behind its capacity to get that oil out of the ground. There are two important ways to make transporting oil much safer than it is now. One is to impose tough new standards on tank cars, improving valves and brakes and generally making them more resilient. A final rule from the Department of Transportation aimed at doing that is awaiting approval at the Office of Management and Budget, which needs to move quickly.  [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
CSX notifies W. Virginia officials of plans to bypass derailment
The Dickinson Press
Reuters

NEW YORK -- CSX has notified West Virginia officials of its plans to bypass the scene of a crude train derailment and continue deliveries to eastern Virginia, according to the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. A train carrying North Dakota crude to an oil depot in Yorktown, Virginia, derailed on Tuesday in a small town 33 miles southeast of Charleston, causing 20 tank cars to catch fire. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were still small fires at the scene.  [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
Quakes in Gas Fields Ignored for Years, Dutch Agency Finds
The Tyee
Andrew Nikiforuk

A report from the Dutch Safety Board has accused the oil and gas industry and Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs of willfully downplaying the risk of earthquakes caused by the rapid depletion of Europe's largest gas field. The board's conclusions offer lessons for other regions coping with earthquakes caused by fluid injection and hydraulic fracturing.   [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
Gas infrastructure is a bridge to nowhere
Ithaca Journal
David Ritchie

The Feb. 6 Guest Viewpoint ("Gas provides bridge to cleaner energy tech") fails on several points. It ignores the life cycle of natural gas, first by not counting the huge leakages in drilling, capturing, transport, processing and distribution (plus liquefying into LNG, and its transport and re-distribution if that's done) before burning. Second, natural gas is mostly methane, and methane has been tagged as 80 times more damaging than carbon dioxide in trapping heat in the atmosphere over a 20-year period by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — it's a super-bad greenhouse gas. Studies by NASA and others give the more complete life-cycle story: natural gas is as bad for the climate as coal. Further, gas industry forecasts show that the available shale-gas supply has already peaked (2013), and will run out by 2040. Natural gas is the bridge fuel to nowhere.  [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
Jeb Bush's private investments in fracking dovetail with public advocacy
Tampa Bay Times
Adam C. Smith & Alex Leary

Bush left unmentioned that fracking in the Marcellus Shale beneath the New York-Pennsylvania border also presented a big opportunity for himself.   [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
Solar energy’s new best friend is … the Christian Coalition
The Washington Post
Chris Mooney

The politics of solar power keeps getting more and more interesting. In Indiana, a fight over net metering — basically, whether people with rooftop solar can return their excess power to the grid and thereby lower their utility bills — has drawn out groups ranging from the state chapter of the NAACP to the conservative TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed) in favor of the practice. Arrayed on the other side of the issue, meanwhile, are the Indiana Energy Association, a group of utilities, and Republican Rep. Eric Koch, sponsor of a bill that would potentially change how net metering works in the state. The legislation, in its current form, would let utility companies ask the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to include various “tariffs, rates and charges, and credits” for those customers generating their own energy at home.  [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
Utilities May Get a Break from EPA on Cutting CO2
Climate Central
Bobby Magill

Bruce Braine, the vice-president of American Electric Power, a major regional utility, voiced the concerns shared by many utilities when he spoke at the Morgan Stanley headquarters in New York last fall about the Obama administration’s plan to snuff out emissions from coal-fired power plants as a way to tackle climate change. Braine complained that the plan forces them to cut too many emissions too quickly. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy hinted this week that the EPA is not only listening, but is also considering allowing utilities to take more time to cut their CO2 more gradually. The change, allowing the cuts over the next 15 years instead of requiring most of them in the next five, could appear when the final version of the plan is unveiled this summer.  [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
NYS DEC Commissioner Just LIED On Statewide TV
Daily Kos


New York State Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation Joseph Martens just appeared on Time Warner Cable News' program "Capitol Tonight". Discussing the issue of crude oil trains, he claimed that the state has no power to prevent these trains from coming through New York. Clearly he has no familiarity with the law, as will be shown below the fold.   [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
WRITE ON: The waiting game begins
Finger Lake Times
Michael J. Fitzgerald

The waiting game has started. Communities around Seneca Lake are unlikely to hear until late June or even July any legal outcome from last week’s state Department of Environmental Conservation “issues conference” on a proposal to store 88 million gallons of liquid propane gas in salt caverns on Seneca Lake’s shore near Watkins Glen.  [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
Shale Reserves Parallel Rise In Costs
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Shale operators have claimed that as they have became better and better at drilling for shale gas and tight oil in the US, the costs of producing such shale reserves fell. This is simply not the case. Ernst and Young, a preeminent accounting firm, carries out an annual survey of reserves and cost analysis for oil and gas. Production costs have risen steadily since 2009 right in line with increased shale reserves. So although shale reserves have increased, they have not increased without additional expense. This problem has been obfuscated by the large investment banks which were earning lucrative fees off shale transactions.  [Full Story]

Feb 20, 2015
Appraising Solar Energy’s Value
The New York Times
LISA PREVOST

New research sponsored by the Department of Energy shows that buyers are willing to pay more for homes with rooftop solar panels — a finding that may strengthen the case for factoring the value of sustainable features into home appraisals. The study, conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, examined sales data for almost 23,000 homes in eight states from 2002 to 2013. About 4,000 of the homes had solar photovoltaic systems, all of them owned (as opposed to being financed through a lease with the solar company).  [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Illinois legislators introduce groundbreaking clean energy bill
MidWest Energy News
Kari Lydersen

llinois legislators are introducing a sweeping bill today that would “fix” the state’s troubled Renewable Portfolio Standard, create ambitious goals and policies for energy efficiency and solar energy and, backers say, create 32,000 clean-energy jobs per year. The bill is being sponsored by state Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and state Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook). It realizes the stated goals of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, a group of 26 organizations and 33 businesses that launched earlier this month (and includes members of RE-AMP, which publishes Midwest Energy News).  [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Gas Vapor Eyed as Factor in West Virginia Oil Train Fireball
The New York Times
Reuters

WASHINGTON — Federal investigators will examine whether pressurized gas played a role in the massive blast that followed the derailment of a train carrying crude oil through West Virginia this week, the U.S. Transportation Department said on Thursday. Questioning the possible role of gas vapors in the West Virginia fire broadens the debate over how to ensure public safety at a time when drastically larger volumes of crude oil are being shipped by rail and roll through cities and towns.  [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Fracking ban weighed in Santa Clara County
San Jose Mercury News
John Woolfolk

In what may have been a mild fore-shock to a coming shaker, the topic of a fracking ban was injected into a Santa Clara County committee meeting this week. A proposal to bring the subject to the board of supervisors was put forth by the county’s Advisory Commission on Consumer Affairs and sent to the Public Safety Committee for action, which detoured it to the Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee, where officials said it belongs.  [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Four Oil-Related Spills Reported In North Dakota, The Latest In A Week Of Oil Mishaps
ThinkProgress
EMILY ATKIN

Safe to say this has not been a great week for the oil industry. Four “significant” oil-related spills, including two that impacted wetlands, were reported by North Dakota state officials this week. It’s the fourth time this week that a big mishap involving the North American oil industry has occurred. On Monday, a train carrying 3 million gallons of crude oil derailed and exploded in West Virginia. On Wednesday, another explosion occurred at the ExxonMobil oil refinery in Torrance, California, injuring at least three people. And this weekend, a crude oil train derailed, spilled, and caught fire in Ontario, Canada.  [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Call Repeated To 'Stop The Oil Trains'
WAMC
Dave Lucas

With another oil train crash making headlines, activists in Albany are heading over to city hall this evening to demand something be done about the tankers that pass through some of downtown Albany's most densely populated areas.  [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Gas vapor eyed as factor in West Virginia oil train fireball
Reuters
PATRICK RUCKER

Feb 19 (Reuters) - Federal investigators will examine whether pressurized gas played a role in the massive blast that followed the derailment of a train carrying crude oil through West Virginia this week, the U.S. Transportation Department said on Thursday. Questioning the possible role of gas vapors in the West Virginia fire broadens the debate over how to ensure public safety at a time when drastically larger volumes of crude oil are being shipped by rail and roll through cities and towns.  [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
As Extreme Cold Engulfs Eastern U.S., Fossil Fuel Mishaps Leave Disaster Areas on Fire
Democracy Now!


As extreme cold temperatures blast the eastern third of the United States, the fossil fuel industry has seen a series of disasters in less than a week. On Wednesday, an explosion at an ExxonMobil refinery south of Los Angeles rocked the surrounding area with the equivalent of a 1.4-magnitude earthquake. The blast in California happened as oil tank cars from a derailed train remained on fire Wednesday in West Virginia, two days after the accident. The derailment forced the evacuation of two towns and destroyed a house. The derailment in West Virginia happened just two days after another oil train derailment in Ontario, Canada, which also left rail cars burning for days. We are joined by Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International. "Climate policy and energy policy are not usually discussed together in this country," Kretzmann says. "Climate change means that we need to transition away from fossil fuels, sooner rather than later."  [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Report: Small or large, all fracking companies break rules
AltEnergyMag


New York, NY]- From Fortune 500 companies like Cabot Oil, to mom-and-pop operators, to firms like Chevron who tout their clean records, virtually all frackers are prone to infractions of environmental rules, a new report says. The analysis of Pennsylvania's oil and gas industry over a four-year period found that the top offenders of air, water, and health protections averaged more than a violation each day.   [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Oil trains on Pa. tracks getting more scrutiny after W. Va. explosion
NPR State Impact PA
Susan Phillips

The fiery oil train derailment in West Virginia on President’s Day, which forced the evacuation of nearby residents and sent Bakken crude into the Kanawha River, has environmentalists and local lawmakers taking a more critical look at the oil trains running across Pennsylvania’s tracks. The burning CSX rail cars in the West Virginia accident carried shale oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields. Dozens of those same oil trains role across Pennsylvania each day on their way to Philadelphia area refineries. And driving, walking or biking around Philadelphia these days it’s hard to miss the rows of black cylindrical tanker cars lining the city’s railroad tracks.  [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
McCarthy: Clean Power Plan Targets May Change
National Geographic
Tim Profeta

The EPA Administrator this week, suggested (subscription) that interim goals for existing power plants to comply with the agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan could be softened before the rule is finalized this summer. The proposal unveiled last year calls for a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and sets state-by-state emissions targets, beginning as early as 2020. Regulators and electric utilities have complained that a lack of time could destabilize electric supplies. According to the News and World Report, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy stated that changes to the 2020 date are “very, very much on the table.”  [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
TransCanada Will Seek U.S. Approval For Upland Pipeline From North Dakota To Canada
Huffington Post
BLAKE NICHOLSON and JAMES MacPHERSON

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The Canadian company behind the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline will seek U.S. government approval for another pipeline — this one going north. Industry officials in North Dakota say the proposed Upland Pipeline could reduce reliance on the railroads to ship crude following recent concerns about safety.  [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Scotts Bluff County board doesn't like spot for fracking water disposal site in Sioux County
Casper Tribune
Associated Press

GERING, Neb. — Scotts Bluff County's commissioners don't like the location of a proposed disposal well for fracking water in nearby Sioux County and have appealed for help from a state regulatory board. The commissioners on Tuesday approved a letter to the Nebraska Oil and Gas Commission, which has scheduled a March 24 public hearing on the proposal. The county commissioners cited concerns about wear and tear on county roads and state highways.  [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Californians Against Fracking slams hearing process, calls for fracking ban
Indy Bay
Dan Bacher

Two weeks after the largest anti-fracking protest in U.S. history took place in Oakland, a broad coalition of environmental groups renewed their call on Governor Jerry Brown to ban fracking and other unconventional oil drilling following reports of illegal wastewater injection into protected aquifers.   [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Fracking unlikely for 20 years
BQ Live


A new report has claimed significant production of shale gas or oil in the UK and Europe is unlikely for at least 20 years.   [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Opposition to fracking on rise
Farm Weekly
Andrew Miller

Most farmers are stewards; we want to hand something on to the next generation." "This industry is extractive, for short-term gain for a few; farmers are in it for the long haul, for the benefit for everybody."   [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
New hopes that tar sands could be banned from Europe
The Guardian
Arthur Neslen

A landmark directive with the potential to ban tar sands oil from Europe has been reprieved, the Guardian has learned. The EU’s most senior energy official confirmed that the fuel quality directive (FQD) to encourage greener road fuels will not be scrapped at the end of the decade, as had been thought. Around 15% of Europe’s carbon emissions come from road transport and ambitious plans for cutting emissions from vehicles are expected to form a significant chunk of the bloc’s ‘Energy Union’ proposals next week.  [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Wolf Says No Ban On Gas Drilling, Black Madam Trial Begins, CCD Says Housing District Strong
I Radio Philly


Governor Wolf, who proposed a tax on natural gas drilling last week says he wants the natural gas industry to succeed in the state and denies that he's threatening a ban. Wolf insists he wants a vibrant natural gas industry , and not just for Pennsylvania’s sake. He added he "disagrees" with New York's ban on natural gas drilling.   [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
15-year delay undermines Northern Michigan drilling suit
Great Lakes Echo
Eric Freedman

An Alcona County, Michigan, man waited too long to sue an energy company that may have drilled a natural gas well too close to his property line, a federal judge has ruled.  [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Halt to new gas leases will improve oversight of existing ones, Wolf appointee says
PennLive
Wallace McKelvey

In her post as the state's acting conservation and natural resources secretary, Dunn will oversee the Pennsylvania's 120 state parks and 2.2 million acres of forest land. That also means supervising forestry and natural gas drilling, the latter of which is now the subject of a moratorium on new leases signed by Gov. Tom Wolf last month.   [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Gov. Wolf Seeks Healthy Pa. Natural Gas Industry; Again Denies Ban Threat
CBS Philly
Tony Romeo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Governor Wolf, who proposed a tax on natural gas drilling last week, told KYW Newsradio’s sister station KDKA Wednesday he wants the natural gas industry to succeed in the state and denies that he’s threatening a ban.  [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Hendrix professors, students find gas drilling hurts habitats
River Valley & Ozark
Tammy Keith

An almost year-long environmental study by Hendrix College professors and students found that gas drilling is negatively affecting the habitat in Faulkner, Cleburne, Conway, Van Buren and White counties.   [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Study finds relatively low emissions of methane from major US gas fields After a series of alarming reports, scientists estimate leak rate of about 1% for three major US gas formations.
Nature
Jeff Tollefson

Data show that methane emissions from major natural-gas fields in the eastern United States are relatively low, suggesting that overall methane emissions from gas production may not be as high as feared. Total methane emissions from three regions — the Haynesville, Fayetteville and Marcellus formations — average about 1% of the gas produced there. That is roughly in line with US government estimates and lower than similar measurements for older fields in the West, according to a study published on 18 February in the Journal of Geophysical Research1.   [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Harvard prepares to fight fossil fuel divestment case in court
The Guardian
Suzanne Goldenberg

World’s richest university will appear in court on Friday to seek dismissmal of lawsuit brought by students calling for it to pull investments out of coal, oil and gas companies Lawyers for Harvard University will appear in court on Friday to fight off attempts to force the world’s richest university to dump coal, oil and gas companies from its $36bn (£23bn) endowment. A lawsuit filed late last year by seven law students and undergraduates argues the university has a duty to fight climate change by pulling out of fossil fuel companies.   [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Company Presses Forward on Plans to Ship Fracking Wastewater via Barge in Ohio River, Drawing Objections from Locals
DeSmogBlog
Sharon Kelly

A major dispute is brewing over transporting wastewater from shale gas wells by barge in the Ohio River, the source of drinking water for millions of Americans. On January 26, GreenHunter Water announced that it had been granted approval by the U.S. Coast Guard to haul tens of thousands of barrels from its shipping terminal and 70,000-barrel wastewater storage facility on the Ohio River in New Matamoras, Ohio.   [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Ohio Supreme Court Says Towns Aren’t Allowed To Ban Fracking
Think Progress
Bill Corriher & Sean Wright

Ohio cities and towns cannot enact fracking bans through their zoning laws, a sharply divided Ohio Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. In a slim 4-3 decision, the state’s high court ruled that Ohio has “sole and exclusive” authority over oil and gas production, determining that the Ohio Constitution does not permit a local community to ban drilling approved by the state Department of Natural Resources.  [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Miffed at the fracking ban, these New York towns hope Pennsylvania might adopt them
Washington Post
Jeff Guo

Take this latest effort, by a set of New York towns on the Pennsylvania border. Upset by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s hydraulic fracturing ban in December, these places have threatened to abscond for Pennsylvania, which allows fracking. Yesterday, local television station WBNG reported that the Upstate New York Towns Association is preparing research on behalf of 15 municipalities interested in secession.  [Full Story]

Feb 19, 2015
Germany flirts with fracking on road to renewable energy
Christian Science Monitor
Nick Cunningham

Opposition to hydraulic fracturing has been very strong in Germany, but the government is flirting with the idea of allowing oil and gas drillers to begin fracking as an answer to energy security issues. The German government has taken bold steps to move its electricity generation mix towards renewable energy, having put in place a groundbreaking feed-in-tariff years ago to provide strong incentives for solar and wind. Germany kicked its plan to shift to renewable energy into overdrive after the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima. Germany’s strong environmental ethos has made the transition possible – opposition to nuclear power is fierce, and the broad desire to shutter nuclear reactors among the populace helped overcome entrenched interests and convince the German Chancellor to make an about-face on her plan to keep nuclear reactors open for years to come.  [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Fracking Is Significantly Dangerous, Elon Musk Says (Video)
Clean Technica
Cynthia Shahan

Elon Musk points out that fracking is significantly dangerous, in a quick explanation at a recent conference. He sums up the immensity of the danger and then leads into the need for electric cars that do not use fossil fuels.   [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Local governments cannot regulate fracking, Ohio Supreme Court rules
Norwalk Reflector


An asphalt-shingle recycler on the Far East Side in Columbus has promised to run its grinder indoors and only during daytime. Those conditions were enough to persuade the city’s Development Commission to vote recently to recommend the rezoning of 6.5 acres to limited manufacturing for Green Earth Recycling at 2932 Brice Rd.   [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
No ruling given in fracking case
Denton Record-Chronicle
Peggy Weinkel-Wolfe

AUSTIN — A Travis County judge heard arguments Wednesday morning on whether the state’s case against Denton’s ban on hydraulic fracturing should be moved to Denton County. After Tim Sulak, district judge for the 353rd District Court, heard about 45 minutes of arguments from both sides, he made no ruling on whether to change the venue of the case and gave no announcement about when to expect the ruling.   [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Fracking Flowback From California Oil Wells Found To Contain Dangerous Levels Of Carcinogenic and Toxic Chemicals
DeSmog Blog
Mike Gaworecki

Adding to the already lengthy list of reasons to be concerned about the disposal of oil industry wastewater in California, the Center for Biological Diversity says it has found dangerous levels of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals such as benzene and toluene in fracking flowback.   [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Fossil fuel industry protests over 'risky' assets warning from energy secretary
The Guardian
Damian Carrington & Xaquin GV

Oil and gas industry expresses concern in a letter to Ed Davey about his comments on fossil fuel assets becoming unburnable to stop dangerous climate change The fossil fuel industry was deeply “unsettled” by comments from energy secretary Ed Davey raising the prospect that their assets could be rendered worthless by global action on climate change, according to a letter of protest sent to the secretary of state.   [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Ohio Drilling Law Trumps Local Joins W.Va. in Giving All Authority to State
Intelligencer
Casey Junkins

ST. CLAIRSVILLE - By a 4-3 vote, Ohio Supreme Court justices decided Tuesday that cities, townships and counties cannot impose regulations on oil and natural gas drillers, effectively overruling any local fracking bans passed throughout the state.  [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Report says Dutch authorities, energy companies put gas revenues ahead of people's safety
US News & World Report
Mike Corder

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — An independent report into natural gas drilling that has triggered a rash of small earthquakes in the northern Netherlands said Wednesday that energy companies and the government put production ahead of people's safety in their decision making.  [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Cabot continues legal fight against fracking activist
NPR State Impact PA
MARIE CUSICK

Houston, Texas-based Cabot Oil & Gas is headed back to court again next week in an ongoing legal battle with an anti-fracking activist. The year-and-a-half long feud between Cabot and 64-year-old Vera Scroggins appeared to be over last fall, when Susquehanna County judge Kenneth Seamans ruled she would be permanently barred from Cabot sites and must observe buffer zones ranging from 25 to 100 feet. But Cabot is continuing to challenge her movements and wants her to be punished for allegedly coming too close to a wellpad access road last month. The two sides will meet again in a Susquehanna County courtroom on February 25th.  [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Oil spill could reach Cincinnati water supply
Cincinnati Business Courier
Staff

Cincinnati Business Courier Crude oil spilled in a train derailment in West Virginia on Monday could reach Cincinnati's water supply, WCPO reports. Greater Cincinnati Water Works crews are monitoring the Ohio River and taking precautions to keep crude oil out of the city's water supply after the spill in the Kanawha River about 285 miles upstream.  [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Fracking waste must be dealt with responsibly
Poughkeepsie Journal
Editorial

After wrestling with the issue for years, top state officials have made it clear that fracking won’t be allowed within New York’s borders, saying the health and environmental risks are too great. So far, so good. But what about the hundreds of thousands of tons of fracking waste coming into New York and being deposited in landfills throughout upstate? This issue, too, needs far more attention — and action. A revealing, in-depth report from Environmental Advocates of New York analyzed state data from Pennsylvania showing where natural-gas drillers reported to take their waste. The analysis has shown that at least 460,000 tons and 23,000 barrels of waste from Pennsylvania drilling operations have been taken to New York landfills since 2010.  [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Photo of stored drilling rigs says lots about oil, natural gas
MarketWatch
MYRA P. SAEFONG

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch)—It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and this picture of stored drilling rigs says a lot about what’s happening to the oil and natural-gas industry. Charles Perry, chief executive officer of energy-consulting firm Perry Management, took a photo of what he said showed about 20 big drilling rigs stored by Helmerich & Payne Inc. HP, -2.49% in a yard near Odessa, Texas. Drilling contractors normally “stack” rigs disassembled and laying down to save costs, but there is speculation that these rigs were stored in the standing position because there was not enough yard space to lay them all down, he told MarketWatch.  [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Houston County Commissioners vote to ban frac sand mining
WXOW ABC Wisconsin
Brittany Lake

CALEDONIA, MN (WXOW) - Houston County commissioners added language to their mining ordinance that essentially bans frac sand mining. Houston County would be the first county to ban frac sand mining in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. The decision came after a three-hour long public hearing Wednesday morning where the majority of residents pleaded with commissioners to put a ban in place. The language added bans sand, quartz, and/or silica crystals mined for uses other than local construction or agriculture.  [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Southern Tier towns looking to cut NY ties
WBNG
Caroline Goggin

Conklin, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The local economy is pushing one organization in Upstate New York to pose a question: Is it possible to secede to Pennsylvania? The Upstate New York Towns Association is researching this very topic. The group says a few factors pushing its research are high property taxes, low sales tax revenue and the recent decision to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York. "The Southern Tier is desolate," said Conklin Town Supervisor Jim Finch (R). "We have no jobs and no income. The richest resource we have is in the ground." Finch said the ground in Conklin is rich with natural gas in the Marcellus Shale. However, that shale is unable to be tapped. He described this ban as a violation of his natural rights as a property owner. There are 15 towns interested in the secession, according to the Towns Association. These towns are in Broome, Delaware, Tioga and Sullivan counties. The association declined to name the towns without their permission and also declined to comment on specifics at this time. As of now, research is ongoing. The group will be updating Action News with all of their findings in the coming weeks.  [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Court of Appeals hears arguments on drilling leases
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—The state's highest court is debating whether natural gas drilling leases have been extended indefinitely by a previous six-year fracking moratorium and, by exension, the recently enacted ban on the practice. On Wednesday, the Court of Appeals heard the case of a group of 30 Tioga County landowners who signed gas leases with energy companies. The leases were originally signed in 2001, then renewed in 2006. They contained a “force majuere” clause, which stated that if there was disruption as a result of a regulation that time should not be counted against the lease.  [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Oil accidents cause another day of distress
MSNBC
Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow reports on an oil refinery explosion in California and the continuing situation in West Virginia where an oil tanker derailment caused massive explosions on Monday. Duration: 4:09  [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Opening Address of Public Health Response to Climate Change
New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine
Hon Peter Dunne Associate Minister of Health

16 February 2015 Speech Opening Address of the Public Health Response to Climate Change - Mitigation, Adaptation and Action, University of Otago, Wellington Tena koutou katoa, good morning, and thank you for the invitation to speak today at the opening of the 2015 public health summer school course on public health responses to climate change. I would like to begin by welcoming all of you, including those of you who have elected to attend by internet-based video conference. And I would like to acknowledge the organisers and today's speakers who have travelled from around New Zealand to be here. Climate change, and its impacts, is widely recognised as one of the most pressing issues of our time. It is often seen in the context of a major environmental problem, or a human development and population issue. It is all of those things, but I want to focus this morning on climate change as a public health issue. The 2014 World Health Organisation conference on climate and health made pointed reference to the fact that human beings really are the most important species endangered by climate change. I have worked on the fringe of climate change issues for a long time. I led the New Zealand delegation to the first international governmental conference on climate change in Nordwijk, Holland over 25 years ago in 1989, and as Associate Minister for the Environment around that time was closely involved in first stages of the development of New Zealand's response in advance of the major United Nations sponsored conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1993. More recently, in 2009 I chaired the multiparty select committee which carried out the review of New Zealand's emissions trading scheme. Now, as Associate Minister of Health, I am working with the public health implications of climate change, given my delegated responsibility for environmental health. And I am pleased at the work the Ministry of Health is currently doing in this space. The Ministry has funded the development of environmental health indicators on climate change which include hot days - that is the numbers of days reaching temperatures of 25degrees or above - and soil moisture. We are also watching the incidence of diseases like salmonellosis and cryptosporidiosis, as Health experts believe that we will see higher rates of these diseases as conditions gets warmer. Health officials are also implementing programmes to detect new species of mosquitoes entering New Zealand, that may establish here and cause arboviral diseases. If we do detect new species of mosquitoes early, we are more likely to be able to eradicate them. Starting in 1998, the Ministry of Health initiated the eradication of the southern saltmarsh mosquito from New Zealand, because this mosquito is able to vector diseases such as Ross River virus disease. This programme took over ten years and cost the Government more than $50 million dollars, but by the time it ended in 2010 under the stewardship of the Ministry of Primary Industries, it was the first time a saltmarsh mosquito species had been successfully eradicated anywhere in the world. However, Ross River virus disease is actually one of the less serious mosquito-borne diseases. While it can cause an arthritic condition that can last for weeks or months, some other arboviral diseases cause even worse symptoms and can have high mortality rates. Warmer and wetter weather increases opportunities for these dangerous mosquito species becoming established in New Zealand if they are not detected on arrival and public health officers are frequently responding to mosquitoes intercepted at the border. Thankfully most of these are local species, but we have found mosquitoes at the border that would be able to transmit yellow fever, dengue or malaria if they established in New Zealand. Health officials have estimated that a dengue fever outbreak in New Zealand would conservatively cost the country in the order of $250 million. If 100,000 people were exposed, we would expect around a thousand cases of dengue fever and ten cases of dengue haemorrhagic fever. A hundred people would need to be hospitalised for a week and ten people would need intensive care. At least one person would die. The costs to tourism and business from cancelled bookings would be in the order of five percent of foreign exchange earnings for the year. So not something to take lightly. Needless to say I also recognise that the health sector cannot work in isolation. Ministry for Primary industries biosecurity officers ensure aircraft are disinsected and risk goods are fumigated. Ministry of Health officials work with agencies such as the Ministry for the Environment, who are responsible for leading the development, coordination and implementation of 'whole-of-government' climate change policy as it relates to both climate change mitigation and adaptation and, where appropriate, impacts on human health.  [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Swamps And Wetlands Can Help Decrease Carbon Emission; Stops Climate Change
News Every Day
Jennibeth Loro

Researchers from Deakin's Centre for Integrative Ecology within the School of Life and Environmental Sciences in Australia are now investigating the potential of swamps and wetlands in acting as 'carbon sinks' that will absorb carbon emission in the atmosphere and thus can help in alleviating climate change. The first of its kind, the study which is led by International expert on freshwater and estuarine ecology Dr Rebecca Lester, aims at making the study more scientific by quantifying the amount of carbon stocks in south-west Victorian wetlands, Phys.org reported. Also, the researchers want to find out if the increase of wetlands or the restoration of some wetlands that have dried up for sometime will contribute to the increase of carbon stocks. As cited by ABC News Australia, Dr. Lester said, "We know from those initial studies that the potential for carbon to be stored in these systems is huge. Wetlands can store approximately 50 times as much carbon as quite high carbon sequestration ecosystems such as tropical rainforests. But we need to do a little more research to actually bed down some of those numbers." The study is said to be internationally-funded and will become Australia's contribution for the worldwide campaign in stopping climate change. It is expected to take at least two years of data gathering and will include wetlands in New South Wales. As to why the researchers chose wetlands, Dr. Lester said that the organic matter and sediments deposited at the bottom of wetlands are slow to decompose and will act as 'carbon sinks.' "Our preliminary studies suggest that wetlands can sequester up to 33 per cent of the carbon in terrestrial soils, yet they only take up about 4 per cent of the earth's land surface," the scientist said.   [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Judge hears gas storage debate
Observer-Reporter


HORSEHEADS--With legal arguments concluded, the wait begins for the next step regarding a possible hearing on Crestwood's proposed liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage project in the town of Reading. This follows the conclusion of the two-day Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issues conference held in Horseheads Thursday and Friday, Feb. 12 and 13, which was attended by more than 150 people. The purpose of the conference was to determine party status for the nine groups who filed a petition and whether there are any issues that should be examined at a possible future hearing. DEC spokesperson Thomas Mailey said the DEC has no estimated time frame to come to a decision.  [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
National Grid signs on to Spectra gas pipeline expansion
The Recorder


National Grid is joining the former Northeast Utilities in a $3 billion project to bring an additional 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day to the region for electricity generation. Eversource Energy — formerly Northeast Utilities — and Houston-based Spectra Energy on Wednesday helped announce that National Grid was joining as a co-developer of the Access Northeast project, which they say could lead to a more than 20 percent increase in natural gas supply to New England.  [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Canadian mounties' secret memo casts doubt on climate change threat
The Guardian
Suzanne Goldenberg

Intelligence report identifies anti-petroleum movement as a threat to Canadian security and suggests those concerned with climate consequences occupy political fringe The US security establishment views climate change as real and a dangerous threat to national security. But Canada takes a very different view, according to a secret intelligence memo prepared by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The memo, stamped “Canadian eyes only”, repeatedly casts doubt on the causes of climate change – the burning of fossil fuels – and its potential threat. The 44-page intelligence assessment of Canada’s environmental protest movement was prepared for the government of Stephen Harper, who is expected to roll out new anti-terror legislation. In the memo, obtained by Greenpeace and seen by the Guardian, the RCMP repeatedly departs from the conclusions of an overwhelming majority of scientists – and the majority of elected leaders in the international arena – that climate change is a growing threat to global security.  [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Fallout from the Ohio Supreme Court Munroe Falls ruling
WKSU
KAREN KASLER

The high court's ruling The court split 4-3, saying Munroe Falls in Summit County couldn’t block Beck Energy from drilling on a residential property with permission of the owner and a permit from the Department of Natural Resources. The majority ruled that state law bans local communities from passing ordinances specifically aimed at obstructing drilling activities. Bans have passed in several communities, including Athens, Broadview Heights in suburban Cleveland, Mansfield, Oberlin and Yellow Springs. Chief among the group of organizations approving of the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision is the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. Executive vice president Shawn Bennett says the court was correct in deciding that the permitting experts at ODNR are the right ones to decide where drilling should be done – because local officials don’t have the expertise to oversee a complex and technical industry. And Bennett says these local laws prohibiting drilling were pointless anyway. “Honestly, those bans were obsolete when they were passed – you know, those were, at the most, ceremonial bans. So all this court ruling does is reaffirm what was already in state laws. Those bans, even though they were passed, really weren’t doing anything. All they are is a ceremonial effort.”   [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Tompkins water agency targets fracking waste
Ithaca Journal
Andrew Casier

Waste disposal from hydraulic fracturing still threatens New York state water, two Tompkins groups said.   [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Fracking waste must be dealt with responsibly
Poughkeepsie Journal
Editorial

After wrestling with the issue for years, top state officials have made it clear that fracking won’t be allowed within New York’s borders, saying the health and environmental risks are too great. So far, so good.  [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
U.S. EPA Chief Hints at Softening Carbon Rule Interim Timeline
Downstream Today
Valerie Volcovic

WASHINGTON, Feb 17 (Reuters) - The Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday that it may ease an interim deadline for states to meet tougher carbon emission standards after regulators and electric utilities complained a lack of time may destabilize electricity supplies. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told an audience of state utility regulators meeting in Washington that she was giving them a "big hint" the agency may loosen the interim targets set in its proposed rule for existing power plants, under which each state would need to show an assigned average emission reduction between 2020 and 2029.  [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Oil Train Derailment Shows Need For Action
Popular Resistance
Center for Biological Diversity

West Virginia Oil Train Derailment Highlights Need for Significant Safety Reforms The oil train burns after the derailment in Mount Carbon, West Virginia. Photograph: Marcus Constantino/Reuters Note: There have been multiple oil train disasters causing people to demand more attention on safety. Common Dreams emphasizes that tens of millions live in the blast zones of oil trains, writing:   [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
Don’t Give Up on Home Rule in Ohio. Get it Right.
NO FRACKING WAY
Chip Northrup

Home Rule has been dealt a set-back in Ohio, but not a death blow. As Lady Chainsaw (aka Deborah Goldberg) explains, the court ruling did not negate a municipality’s ability to apply land use laws – zoning – to oil and gas activity – provided the ordinance is based on a comprehensive land use plan and is limited to land use zoning. The ruling just prevents towns from trying to regulate the activity of oil and gas drilling – what the court refers to as “double licensing” of the activity by the town as well as the state. No can do. Not in New York, not in Texas, not in New Mexico, not nowhere. As we have seen before, there are right ways to use zoning ordinances and there are wrong ways. Nutshell, the Ohio town took the wrong approach.   [Full Story]

Feb 18, 2015
U.K. Approves World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm, Farthest Ever From The Coast
ThinkProgress
ARI PHILLIPS

The United Kingdom has approved what will become the world’s biggest offshore wind farm, and one of the U.K.’s biggest power stations of any sort. When completed, the Dogger Bank Creyke Beck project will have a total generating capacity of 2.4 gigawatts, enough to power about 2.5 percent of the country’s electricity needs. Made of up two separate 1.2-gigawatt farms of up to 200 turbines each, the project will be located about 80 miles off the coast and occupy up to 430 square miles.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
8 ways Obama sucks on climate
Grist
Ben Adler

But many of the administration’s moves, including a string of recent actions by federal agencies under Obama’s control, show this conventional wisdom to be false. Here are the president’s top eight climate failings, many of them from just the three months since the midterm elections:   [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Update: Fire still burning at train derailment site
The Charleston Gazette
Rusty Marks

The fire from Monday’s derailment of a train carrying crude oil in Fayette County continued to burn Tuesday morning, and emergency shelters for hundreds of people who had to evacuate after the derailment remained open. The CSX train, hauling 107 tank car loads of Bakken Shale crude oil from North Dakota to a terminal in Yorktown, Virginia, derailed in Adena Village near Mount Carbon and Deepwater about 1:30 p.m. Monday, setting at least one house ablaze and causing numerous tank cars to burn and explode. The train also included two cars of sand, which were used as buffers at either end. A Fayette County emergency dispatcher said the fires continue to burn this morning. Flames also burned power lines in the area, knocking out electricity to about 900 customers. Appalachian Power spokeswoman Jeri Matheney said electricity has not yet been restored because repair crews are having trouble accessing the extent of the damage.   [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
West Virginia In State Of Emergency After Massive Oil Train Explosion
ThinkProgress
EMILY ATKIN

Crude oil is pouring into a river that supplies drinking water and approximately 1,000 people have been evacuated from their homes due to an oil train derailment and explosion in southern West Virginia on Monday, according to media reports. The train, owned by CSX Corp., was carrying more than 100 tankers of crude oil from the Bakken shale in North Dakota when it derailed at about 1:30 p.m., the L.A. Times reported. Officials estimated that approximately 14 of those tankers were involved in the derailment and subsequent fire, which as of 9 p.m. was still raging. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency at around 5:40 p.m.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Court Tosses Illegal Gas Lease Extension
NO FRACKING WAY
Chip Northrup

A Pennsylvania court has tossed Cabot’s attempt to unlawfully extend gas leases. Bravo: This from Lady Chainsaw (aka Deborah Goldberg) at Earth Justice: “We submitted an amicus brief on behalf of small landowners in a PA case, in which Cabot attempted to extend its lease term after an unsuccessful lease challenge by landowners it had duped. The case was filed in federal court, but the Third Circuit certified the question to the PA Supreme Court, which today rejected the claim that the lease should be “equitably extended.” There is a long quote from our brief on page 10 below.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Law cuts solar farm profits
Times Union
Larry Rulison

Rensselaer Monolith Solar's plans to move from Rensselaer and build a new $4.6 million headquarters in Slingerlands has been jeopardized by a recent state regulatory ruling that makes certain types of solar farms unprofitable. Solar installation firms like Monolith have been expanding rapidly in New York in recent years building large, off-site solar farms for universities, school districts and municipalities. The projects are popular — and profitable — because utilities such as National Grid are required under state law to buy the power generated by the remote solar farms. The utilities must also pay a premium for the electricity — typically 30 percent to 35 percent above what they normally charge the same customer.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
West Virginia, Canada derailments renew focus on oil tank cars
McClatchyDC
CURTIS TATE

WASHINGTON — The tank cars involved in back-to-back crude oil train derailments since the weekend were an improved design built since 2011, raising new questions about the safety of the tank car fleet used to haul North America’s energy bounty. With the latest incidents in West Virginia on Monday and eastern Canada on Sunday, the updated cars, called CPC-1232s, have failed at least four times in spite of their additional puncture and rollover resistance. Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/02/17/256891/west-virginia-derailment-renews.html#storylink=cpy  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Extent of Stealth Fracking in Gulf of Mexico Revealed
Inside Climate News
Al Jazeera America

While a debate rages over the use of hydraulic fracturing to exploit fossil fuel reserves inland, the practice has quietly taken hold offshore, in the Gulf of Mexico. Documents obtained by "Fault Lines" reveal that the world's largest oil firms are now fracking in some of the Gulf's deepest waters—raising questions about how it is being regulated.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Ohio court strikes down local fracking bans
The Hill
Timothy Cama

Towns and cities in Ohio cannot regulate hydraulic fracturing on their own, the state’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. The court ruled 4-3 that Ohio’s legislature gave state agencies exclusive authority over all aspects of oil and natural gas drilling, including fracking, in a 2004 law, and any local ordinances would violate that exclusivity.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Ohio City Loses Fight for Control Over Oil and Gas Drilling
Bloomberg
Andrew Harris

(Bloomberg) -- An Ohio city lost a battle for control over oil and gas drilling permits within its borders with the Ohio Supreme Court saying the authority belongs to the state. The ruling on Tuesday runs counter to decisions issued by New York’s top court last year and the highest Pennsylvania court in 2013 as local municipalities concerned over the effects of hydraulic fracturing seek to limit the practice. More than 400 measures to prevent or control fracking have been passed by U.S. cities and counties according to Food & Water Watch, a Washington-based environmental advocacy group. The process, which involves the injection of water, chemicals and sand below ground to extract oil and gas from shale formations, has been criticized as environmentally dangerous, even as its use has driven U.S. natural gas production to new highs.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
BP says CO2 emissions unsustainable, warns on global warming
The Telegraph
Andrew Critchlow

BP has warned that carbon dioxide emission levels from burning fossil fuels are unsustainable unless the international community unilaterally introduces tougher binding regulations on atmospheric pollution. The stark warning from the UK’s second-largest oil company came with the publication on Tuesday of its closely-watched long-term outlook for global energy markets, which predicts that CO2 emissions will increase by 1pc per year, or 25pc in total, through to 2035.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
‘Anti-petroleum’ movement a growing security threat to Canada, RCMP say
The Globe and Mail
SHAWN MCCARTHY

The RCMP has labelled the “anti-petroleum” movement as a growing and violent threat to Canada’s security, raising fears among environmentalists that they face increased surveillance, and possibly worse, under the Harper government’s new terrorism legislation. In highly charged language that reflects the government’s hostility toward environmental activists, an RCMP intelligence assessment warns that foreign-funded groups are bent on blocking oil sands expansion and pipeline construction, and that the extremists in the movement are willing to resort to violence.   [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
After Oil Train Derailment, Will West Virginia Finally Protect Its Water Supply?
ThinkProgress
KATIE VALENTINE

West Virginia is reeling from an oil train derailment that destroyed a house, forced the evacuation of about 2,400 people and spilled oil into the state’s Kanawha River. Experts say that the official response to the spill makes it clear that the state has learned from its past experiences with water contamination — namely the chemical spill that shut off water for 300,000 people in the state last year. But questions still remain as to whether or not the water protection reforms enacted in the wake of the historic chemical spill will withstand recent efforts to weaken them, and whether state lawmakers will take further steps to protect the water supply after the derailment.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
8 ways Obama sucks on climate
grist
Ben Adler

The new conventional wisdom among the political class is that President Obama is doing everything he can without the cooperation of Congress to fight climate change. His administration set higher fuel-economy standards for cars and trucks. It has proposed the first-ever regulations on carbon emissions from power plants, and on methane leakage from oil and gas wells and pipelines. He got China on board with a plan to limit emissions, potentially paving the way for an international climate agreement later this year in Paris. Obama feeds this perception with his public statements, such as emphasizing the importance of climate change in his State of the Union address and musing to Vox.com about how the media fails to cover climate change with the urgency of other national security threats. But many of the administration’s moves, including a string of recent actions by federal agencies under Obama’s control, show this conventional wisdom to be false. Here are the president’s top eight climate failings, many of them from just the three months since the midterm elections:  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Feds holding public meeting on environmental impacts of drilling for oil, gas off Carolinas
Daily Journal
Associated Press

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, North Carolina — The federal government is holding a public meeting to gather public comment on the possibility of opening tracts off the coast of the Carolinas to oil and gas exploration. Tuesday's meeting in Wrightsville Beach allows Carolina residents to comment for the first time since the Obama administration last month said it was including Atlantic Ocean tracts in a draft proposal of areas that could be opened to oil and gas exploration later this decade. The session is to take comments on what areas should be included in environmental studies. Politicians generally say oil exploration will boost the economies of the Carolinas and help the nation toward energy independence. Conservationists worry that oil spills could damage the thriving coastal tourism of the states.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Local governments cannot regulate fracking, Ohio Supreme Court rules
The Columbus Dispatch
Randy Ludlow

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled today that local governments cannot use their home-rule powers – including zoning laws -- to regulate oil and gas drilling. In a 4-3 ruling, the majority concluded that the Summit County city of Munroe Falls could not enforce its fracking and zoning regulations because they conflict with the state’s “exclusive authority” over drilling.   [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Colorado: Mapping project shows potential for huge fracking impacts in Arapahoe County
Summit County Citizens Voice
Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — If the next wave of fracking in Colorado sweeps toward Arapahoe County, residents will be able to better inform themselves about potential drilling sites and impacts to schools and neighborhoods thanks to a new mapping project. The maps identify areas that are leased for fossil fuel exploitation, showing where they overlap with residential areas, and where there’s potential for impacts. “These maps and information are a stark portrayal for Arapahoe County residents that drilling and fracking could be coming soon to their neighborhood,” Conservation Colorado director Pete Maysmith said in a prepared statement. Many of the leases are fairly recent. The map should be a clear warning sign elected officials and residents of Arapahoe county, said Senate Minority Leader Morgan Carroll. “Our state government exists to protect our citizens, but right now our local governments don’t have the tools to exercise their rights to determine where oil and gas development occurs or how close it should be to our schools, homes and open spaces,” Carroll said, describing the mapping project as a way to raise public awareness in the face of fracking industry ad campaigns that present the industrial process as something completely benign. PI am concerned the Governor’s oil and gas task force will miss an opportunity to support true protections that will give more certainty to industry while giving local governments their rightful say in what occurs within their borders,” Carroll said. Conservation advocates said the map is sorely needed because the state-run oil and gas website is difficult to navigate. The patterns of land use and potential energy development revealed in the map show that fracking can happen nearly anywhere. That reinforces the need for the Governor’s oil and gas task force to come up with meaningful measures that give local governments and Colorado residents “meaningful protections when facing heavy industrial impacts of drilling and fracking,” Maysmith said. “I am extremely troubled to see the checkerboard of mineral rights and new oil and gas leases – right in urban, populated areas of Aurora and our county,” said Arapahoe County resident Dawn Mortimer. Mortimer said it’s critical to ensure adequate protection for homes and schools before drilling is permitted, and that local officials also need to consider potential impacts water quality. The mapping shows active leases obtained since 2010 near schools, among urban neighborhoods and under open spaces and city parks, totaling more than 187,000 acres across Arapahoe County. According to the data, more than 30 schools are on top of mineral rights held by oil and gas companies, while 12 schools are directly over oil and gas leases filed since 2010. The data also shows 192,000 acres in Arapahoe County contain mineral rights owned by oil and gas companies. “Unlike what the industry would have you believe, oil and gas development is not all puppies and flowers but is a heavy industrial polluting practice that needs to be held accountable for its impacts on Coloradans,” said Maysmith. “The public has the right to know where drilling may occur and local citizens should have the ability to urge their local governments to provide protections above and beyond what our state government provides.   [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Environment: Georgia groups come together to oppose offshore drilling
Connect Savannah.com
Jessica Leigh Lebos

WHEN the Obama administration announced last month that the Atlantic coast could soon be open to drill for offshore gas and oil prospecting, environmental activists immediately joined forces. Representatives from Center for a Sustainable Coast, the Georgia Conservancy, the Sierra Club, the Savannah Riverkeeper and One Hundred Miles were among over a dozen conservation groups that met last week to mount a strategy to fight the development of gas and oil extraction in Georgia’s coastal waters. They came for a full-day summit at the Coastal Georgia Center at the invitation of Oceana, a national organization that advocates for the protection and restoration of the world’s oceans. “We hosted this forum to identify the key players in Georgia’s conservation movement,” explained Samantha Siegel, a campaign organizer with Oceana.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
A proposed Ohio gas pipeline is raising safety and property rights concerns for landowners in Ohio
PRI
Julie Grant

He’s a businessman. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have been renovating their dream home in fast-growing Medina County, in northeastern Ohio, for the past two years. But before they even finished moving in, the Gieroskys got a notice: Their new property was in what’s called a "study corridor" for the Nexus pipeline.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
EPA Considers Delaying Carbon Deadline After Utilities Object
Bloomberg
Mark Drajem

Bloomberg) -- The Obama administration may ease off on a deadline for power companies to start meeting new rules to cut carbon emissions, the top environmental regulator said, a win for utilities that complained too much was required too soon. Gina McCarthy, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, offered Tuesday what she said was a “big hint,” saying she heard complaints that the 2020 deadline for states to make steep cuts is too strict. The final climate standards take effect in 2030, and many state regulators said the pace could endanger the reliability of the electric grid.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Federal pipeline case scheduled for Thursday hearing
News Leader
Calvin Trice

Churchville landowner William Little is scheduled to have his federal lawsuit heard Thursday challenging the state law that allows natural gas pipeline companies to survey private property without permission. Little is suing Dominion, whose study corridor for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline would pass along a corner of his lot, threatening a tree stand that provides his home privacy. The underground natural gas line would run for 43 miles in Augusta County along a 550-mile route connecting gas mined to the north and west to North Carolina to serve eastern energy markets.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Volatility Has Natural-Gas Traders Scrambling
Wall Street Journal
TIMOTHY PUKO

The natural-gas market is costing Todd Gross a lot of sleep. Mr. Gross, chief investment officer at Qeri LLC, a small commodity hedge fund in New York, used to wake up at 5 a.m. to look at the latest market data. Now he increasingly rises in the middle of the night to check the latest weather models and adjust his wagers. He doesn’t want to miss what he calls an “oh my God” move of 5% or more. Mr. Gross, 48 years old, says it has become common for those moves to start as early as midnight when electronic-trading programs react to weather updates hours before most human traders are awake.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
County Committee to Draft Call for Action on ‘Bomb’ Trains
Philllipstown.info
Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong

With Philipstown residents urging it on, a Putnam County legislative committee last week threw its unofficial support behind environmental efforts on three major issues — trains that carry volatile fuel oil along the Hudson River, the proposed Algonquin gas pipeline, and PCBs in the Hudson and adjacent waterways — and began considering a fourth, a ban on plastic shopping bags. Meeting Wednesday night (Feb. 11) at the county office building in Carmel, the Health, Social Educational and Environmental Committee (Health-Environment Committee, for short), joined by several other members of the nine-person legislature, agreed to prepare resolutions expressing county concern about the hazards associated with the oil trains, which currently run on the Hudson’s western shore, and a thorough cleanup of PCB pollution in and near the Hudson River.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Germany Edges Towards Lifting Fracking Ban
Inside Climate News
Business Green

The German government has tabled a draft law that could allow fracking in the country before the end of the decade, effectively overturning a moratorium on the controversial technology. The proposed rules, which could yet be changed as they pass through the country's parliament, would allow fracking below 3,000 meters. However, fracking in water protection zones would continue to be banned, while fracking at depths shallower than 3,000 meters would initially only be allowed for research purposes.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
As Fracking Nears Schools, Parents Push Back
WESA
Reid R. Frazier | The Allegheny Front

Last week, Joanne Wagner got what —for her—is good news. The drilling company Range Resources withdrew its application to drill near her childrens’ school in Washington County, Pennsylvania. The company already developed one well nearby. The latest plan would have added three more. “Our school ultimately would be completely surrounded by wells,” if the plan had gone ahead, Wagner says. But citing low oil and gas prices, the company said it was backing off its drilling plans near Fort Cherry School District, a small district southwest of Pittsburgh. Fort Cherry is one of many school districts where drilling rigs are becoming commonplace. A 2013 report from the environmental group Penn Environment found 26 wells permitted in the state within a half-mile from a school.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Re-fracking Old Wells Is Extending the Fracking Revolution
New American
Bob Adelman

News that the oil industry is importing many of the new technologies developed by natural-gas producers, which led to steadily declining natural-gas prices, was greeted with great disappointment by at least one green group. Upon learning that fracking was not only a long way from disappearing in the face of declining oil prices but was actually on the verge of a resurgence, Sharon Wilson, a Texas organizer for Earthworks, told Bloomberg, “It’s terribly disappointing.” It might be disappointing to Wilson, but it’s the natural reaction of the free market to adversity: Instead of hunkering down or closing up shop, producers are now motivated to expand production on existing wells, using the newest technology called “refracking” — the practice of returning to older shale oil and gas wells that had been fracked in the recent past to capitalize on newer, more effective, and less costly extraction technology.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Methane Emissions From Natural Gas Industry Higher Than Previously Thought
Clean Technica
Glenn Meyers

f you think natural gas is a clean fossil fuel, you’re correct — when it comes to the combustion side of the formula. The production and distribution side and their role in emissions is another matter though — a bad matter. Here, methane emissions are abundant, even without flaring. Traditional US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calculations regarding the issue of natural gas leaking have linked at least one-quarter of human-caused methane emissions to the production of natural gas, including processing and distribution to the end-user. Sadly, researchers now believe that number is considerably higher.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Cancer-causing Chemicals Found in Fracking Flowback From California Oil Wells
Indy Bay


Flowback fluid from fracked oil wells in California commonly contains dangerous levels of cancer-causing chemicals, a new analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity has found. Flowback fluid is a key component of oil-industry wastewater from fracked wells, which is commonly disposed of in injection wells, which often feed into aquifers, including some that could be used for drinking water and irrigation. Oil wastewater is also dumped into open pits. Benzene levels over 1,500 times the federal limits for drinking water were found in fracking flowback fluid tests dating back to April 2014 obtained and analyzed by the Center. Benzene in excess of federal limits was found in 320 tests, and chromium-6 was detected 118 times. Both chemicals can cause cancer. “Cancer-causing chemicals are surfacing in fracking flowback fluid just as we learn that the California oil industry is disposing of wastewater in hundreds of illegal disposal wells and open pits,” said Hollin Kretzmann, the Center lawyer who conducted the analysis. “Gov. Brown needs to shut down all the illegal wells immediately and ban fracking to fight this devastating threat to California’s water supply.”   [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
West Virginia Oil Train Derailment Sends Crude Tanker Into River
Huffington Post
AP

MOUNT CARBON, W.Va. (AP) — Fires were still burning more than a day after an oil train carrying more than 3 million gallons of crude derailed in a snowstorm, shooting fireballs into the sky and leaking oil into a West Virginia waterway. Hundreds of families were evacuated and two water treatment plants were temporarily shut down after 19 of the tanker cars left the tracks and caught fire, burning a nearby house down to its foundation.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Crude oil's growing rail transport problem
cnbc
Heesun Wee

A CSX train carrying Bakken oil derailed and erupted into flames in West Virginia on Monday, adding to the growing debate about the safety of transporting crude on America's railroads. The crash is the second in 10 months involving a CSX train, carrying oil from North Dakota. "It is not safe to transport oil by train, full stop, period," said Eric de Place, policy director for Sightline Institute, a sustainability-focused research firm in Seattle. Monday's train derailment affected two counties, and forced some West Virginia residents to flee their homes in winter weather as power cut out and drinking water was threatened.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
A Community Copes With Hydraulic Fracturing
Huffington Post
Madeline Cottingham

Play Grounds, depicts Montrose, Pennsylvania, a rural community on the front lines of the natural gas revolution, and the local residents who have been transformed by the industry. In Montrose, numerous household water supplies have been contaminated, traditional farmers are concerned for the safety of their products, and families have begun to invest in expensive air-to-water technology in order to monitor the quality of their drinking water. The surrounding Susquehanna County, holds the highest number of drilling violations in the state of Pennsylvania. Hydraulic fracturing, the process for extracting natural gas, injects large amounts of water, chemicals, and sand over a mile beneath the earth's crust to release gas. In the United States, the process benefits from a unique exemption from aspects of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Around the globe governments are on the fence about gas extraction, from Scotland, the most recent country to enact a moratorium, to China's desperate plans to alleviate their reliance on coal via drilling. In the United States, the process has ignited a fierce controversy, as the nation drastically searches for more energy within its own borders. Last year, New York banned hydraulic fracturing, the second of three states to do so, due to health and safety concerns. Within the industry if an area is expected to be profitable it is said to have 'shale play'. After living in Montrose for the summer of 2014, Play Grounds documents my exploration of the landscape and community members I engaged with on a daily basis.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Hundreds attend public meeting on drilling off Carolinas
wncn


WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. - Hundreds of people have turned out for a public meeting sponsored by the federal government to gather comment on opening tracts off the coast of the Carolinas to oil and gas exploration. In the first 90 minutes of a five-hour meeting on Tuesday in Wrightsville Beach more than 200 people turned out. That's almost as many as earlier meetings in Norfolk, Virginia and Washington, D.C., combined. The meeting allows Carolina residents to comment for the first time since the Obama administration last month said it was including Atlantic Ocean tracts in a draft proposal of areas that could be opened to oil and gas exploration later this decade.   [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Funding Dries up for New U.S. Gas Export Terminals
Wall Street Journal
TIM PUKO

Look for financing to slow down for U.S. natural gas exports this year. This burgeoning industry is running out of customers and investors to fund new multibillion-dollar projects, according to panelists who spoke Tuesday at a New York University symposium on U.S. gas exports. Oil and gas producers are flooding the market, sinking prices and giving pause for what had been one of the most active sectors in finance. The U.S. shale-gas boom has pushed producers to look abroad to boost their returns. Prices in overseas markets, especially Asia, have been four times as high as the U.S. benchmark. That convinced producers to seek federal permission to export as much as 35 billion cubic feet a day, half of all U.S. production, according to the Department of Energy.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Spilled Oil Keeps Flames Burning After a Train Derailment in West Virginia
The New York Times
DAN HEYMAN and RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA

BOOMER, W.Va. — A train hauling millions of pounds of crude oil that derailed on Monday was still burning Tuesday night as oil poured from the wreckage. Residents relied on bottled water that was trucked into town after the utility West Virginia American Water, fearing that oil had been dumped into the Kanawha River, closed a treatment plant downstream, in Montgomery, on Monday. The company reopened the plant on Tuesday afternoon, saying tests had shown “nondetectable levels of the components of crude oil” in the river. Still, aerial photographs appeared to show oil in a nearby creek, and the utility advised its 2,000 customers in the area to boil water before using it.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
North Dakota regulators say 21,000-gallon saltwater spill contained at Divide County oil well
Daily Journal
Associated Press

BISMARCK, North Dakota — North Dakota regulators say a spill involving 21,000 gallons of saltwater was contained on-site at an oil well in Divide County. The state Oil and Gas Division says the spill at a well site about 5 miles south of Fortuna was reported Sunday. Murex Petroleum Corp. reported that 500 barrels of saltwater were contained and recovered on site. One barrel holds 42 gallons.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Five significant oil-related spills reported over weekend in N.D.
Grand Forks Herald
Amy Dalrymple

TIOGA, N.D. – “Suspicious activity” may be to blame for two oil-related spills reported in Williams County over the weekend that released produced water and affected at least one nearby wetland.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
The corporate coup d'etat: TTIP, TTP, CETA, NAFTA
The Ecologist
Joyce Nelson

The raft of 'free trade' agreements under negotiation represents a massive seizure of power by corporations, writes Joyce Nelson - effectively stripping democratic governments of their power to legislate for health, environment, labour or anything else that could reduce corporate profit. But the mainstream media are mysteriously silent. A really important news story - one that should be getting lots of coverage in the US because of its huge financial and environmental implications - is instead getting the silent treatment from corporate media. A massive trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is almost completely flying under the media radar in the US. This trade deal includes a provision that basically gives multinational corporations the ability to sue national governments over environmental or other regulations and policies they don't like. As a result, US taxpayers could be on the hook for potentially billions of dollars in payouts and legal fees. You'd think that might be worth at least some media coverage.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
DOE Used Gas Lobbyist Analysis to Greenlight LNG Exports
NO FRACKING WAY
Chip Northrup

In order to approve the exportation of gas, the DOE has to weigh the economic benefit of exporting gas vs the increased cost of gas to American industry and consumers. The benefit of exporting the gas has to be much more than the increased cost of doing business to American companies – who use gas in manufacturing and power generation. And to American retailers and consumers, who use it in cooking and heating. So far so good. Turns out that the DOE used a gas industry lobbyist to run the numbers on that economic analysis. And guess what the results were. Simply put, these LNG export schemes are strictly by the 1%, for the 1% and of the 1%. And no one else. Not US consumers, not US manufacturers, not US workers. They are not in the public interest.   [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
States Drag Their Feet on Congressman's Frack Waste Investigation
InsideClimate News
David Hasemyer

A Pennsylvania congressman wanted to know how his state and two neighboring states oversee the disposal of the often toxic waste generated by fracking oil-and-gas wells. Now, Matthew Cartwright has some answers, and he finds them late–and lacking.   [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
The sky filled with fire after oil train derailed in W.Va.
The Washington Post
Nick Kirkpatrick and Justin Moyer

After a train carrying more than 100 tankers filled with crude oil derailed in southern West Virginia on Monday, a fireball hundreds of feet high filled the sky. The derailment is just the latest in the history of mishaps involving oil and other hazardous materials transported by rail. A derailment in Lynchburg, Va., in July, prompted renewed calls for greater regulation of how crude is shipped. Another train carrying oil derailed in Ontario just two days ago.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Derailed CSX train in West Virginia hauled newer-model tank cars
Reuters
Reuters

(Reuters) - A CSX Corp (CSX.N) oil train that derailed and erupted in flames in West Virginia on Monday was hauling newer model tank cars, not the older versions widely criticized for being prone to puncture, the firm said. All of the oil tank cars on the 109-car train were CPC 1232 models, CSX said late Monday. The train, which was carrying North Dakota crude to an oil depot in Yorktown, Virginia, derailed in a small town 33 miles (54 km) southeast of Charleston. The CPC 1232 is the newer, supposedly tougher version of the DOT-111 cars that were manufactured up until 2011. The DOT-111 cars have been faulted by regulators and operators for a number of years. U.S. and Canadian authorities, under pressure to address a spate of fiery accidents, are seeking to phase out the older models.   [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
Rep. Boback Introduces Bill To Create Marcellus Shale Health Registry
PA ENVIRONMENT DIGEST


Rep. Karen Boback (R-Luzerne) recently introduced legislation to create a Marcellus Shale Health Registry. The bill was introduced as House Bill 252. "I remain committed to tracking the potential health risks to people who live near drilling sites," Rep. Boback said. "Our state's natural gas industry is the fastest growing in the nation. This bill would keep an eye on any health effects caused by drilling activity." The measure would create a population-based registry. All health-related data, which may be associated with drilling activity, would be provided by healthcare practitioners to the state Department of Health.  [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
After W. Virginia oil explosion, fears linger in Philly
Metro International


With clean-up efforts still ongoing a day after trains carrying tankers of crude oil exploded in a West Virginia derailment, local concerns have heightened over similar tankers that run crude and other substances daily through Philadelphia. “It’s an accident waiting to happen,” said Tracy Carluccio, deputy director of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. “These trains are rolling through Philadelphia every single day and exposing this city to the kind of disaster that has just been experienced yesterday along the Kanawha River,” she said. “That could be the Delaware. That could be the Schuylkill.”   [Full Story]

Feb 17, 2015
CN Rail says still cleaning up Northern Ontario derailment
Reuters


CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canadian National Railway Co CNR.TO is still cleaning up spilled oil and removing damaged rail cars after a weekend derailment on its line at a remote site about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Timmins, Ontario. Patrick Waldron, a spokesman for the country's largest railway, said in an email that crews, working in -31C (-24F) weather, are allowing a controlled fire at the site to continue to burn. Crude spilled during the incident has been contained on the site. He did not say when the line, which runs between Montreal and Winnipeg, Manitoba, would return to service.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Gas Burned Off at Oil Production Sites Is Equivalent to Emissions From 70 Million Cars
EcoWatch
Kieran Cooke

It’s like burning banknotes. Latest statistics from the World Bank (WB) indicate that the amount of gas flared each year is enough energy to supply electricity to several small countries or many millions of households.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Democrats fail to separate oil promotion from regulation
Bakken.com
Rob Port

Over the last several years one of the favorite talking points of North Dakota Democrats is the idea that the state’s oil regulators are a bit too cozy with the oil industry. Specifically the Democrats gripe about the opening words of Chapter 38-08 of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to the regulation of oil and gas resources. It states: “It is hereby declared to be in the public interest to foster, to encourage, and to promote the development, production, and utilization of natural resources of oil and gas.” According to the Democrats, it is a conflict of interest for the state to both regulate and promote the oil industry. Last week the state Senate debated a bill introduced by Senator Connie Triplett (D-Grand Forks) which would have stripped the notion of promotion out of the law. The bill was SB2366. What was interesting is that despite all the griping from Democrats about this issue – and to be sure, it’s been a central theme of Democrat politics for years now – there were a couple of things which seemed to indicate that Democrats didn’t really want to pass the law. For one thing, the only person to speak in favor of the bill was Senator Triplett herself (she got a little overheated, claiming at one point that the Senate should pass her bill because she doesn’t want more explosive train derailments “on my head”). No other Democrat in the chamber rose to support it.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Governor declares State of Emergency after oil train derails, sets house ablaze
The Charleston Gazette
Rusty Marks

A train carrying crude oil derailed in Fayette County on Monday afternoon, sending at least one car into the water where a tributary meets the Kanawha River, setting a house on fire, leading to the evacuation of nearby residents and prompting the governor to declare a State of Emergency for Fayette and Kanawha counties. Twenty-five cars of the 109-car CSX train derailed in the community of Adena Village near Mount Carbon and Deepwater, according to Theresa White, director of Fayette County Emergency Management. At least one tank car ended up in the water, and another car slammed into a house and burst into flames, said Lawrence Messina, communications director for the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. The train was carrying oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to a refinery in Yorktown, Virginia, according to Chris Stadelman, spokesman for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s office. Last year, a train taking the same route derailed, causing an explosion in Lynchburg, Virginia.   [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
IMP: Is A Baltimore County Senator's Liability Bill An End Run On Fracking?
WYPR
Fraser Smith

Sen. Bobby Zirkin, D-Baltimore County, introduced legislation last year to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Western Maryland but that bill died in committee. This year, Zirkin introduced a different bill that will go through the committee he chairs that would set extremely tough liability standards on gas drillers.   [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Small Earthquakes Linked To Fracking Could Lead To Major Ones, Government Scientist Says
Think Progress
Katie Valentine

The earthquakes that have been linked to oil and gas development so far might be minor, but they could be putting states like Oklahoma and Kansas at risk for a major earthquake later on, new research indicates.   [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Congressional Democrats seek to step up fracking oversight
The State Journal
Hope Yen

WASHINGTON — Democrats on a congressional oversight panel are stepping up their investigation into how well states are regulating the disposal of oil and gas waste, citing continuing public concern about the potential environmental and health risks of hydraulic fracturing. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., the lead Democrat on a health subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, says he will be pressing environmental agencies in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia for fuller answers to his panel's questions on their level of inspections and enforcement actions.   [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
The Holdouts Three families who took a pass on the fracking boom—and what it cost them
Texas Observer
Priscilla Mosqueda

But across the shale plays—primarily the Barnett in the north and the Eagle Ford in the south—there are some who reject the landmen’s offers. Known in the industry as “holdouts,” these mineral rights owners dare to challenge Big Oil in Texas. It’s a kind of principled madness that often baffles neighbors, family members and the industry itself. Unlike many fracking foes, the holdouts stand to benefit personally from oil and gas drilling. Yet they risk much more than money fighting to keep the fossil fuels in the ground. Some lose their health, their homes and their faith in the government as an arbiter of competing rights. Rarely are they able to stop the companies from drilling. For this uncommon breed, no amount of money can buy peace of mind. These are the stories of three families who were willing to walk away from thousands of dollars—and battle loved ones, their communities and their government—to make a stand, even when facing insurmountable odds.   [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Germany Moves to Legalize Fracking
Earth Island Journal
Arthur Neslen

Four-year moratorium on shale drills set to be overturned as country initiates process to allow regulated hydraulic fracturing for shale gas Germany has proposed a draft law that would allow commercial shale gas fracking at depths of over 3,000 metres, overturning a de facto moratorium that has been in place since the start of the decade.   [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Abita Springs files suit again to stop fracking well
The Advocate
Faimon A. roberts III

The town of Abita Springs has launched yet another legal challenge intended to block the drilling of a fracking well in St. Tammany Parish. The latest maneuver, a lawsuit filed in federal court against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, alleges that the Corps illegally denied the town’s request for a public hearing on Helis Oil and Gas Co.’s application for a permit to drill at a site designated as wetlands. That application is under consideration by the Corps.   [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Democrats on House panel led by Pennsylvania lawmaker probe oversight of oil and gas drilling
Daily Journal
HOPE YEN Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Democrats on a congressional oversight panel are stepping up their investigation into how well states are regulating the disposal of oil and gas waste, citing continuing public concern about the potential environmental and health risks of hydraulic fracturing. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., the lead Democrat on a health subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, says he will be pressing environmental agencies in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia for fuller answers to his panel's questions on their level of inspections and enforcement actions. Republicans on the committee, including subcommittee chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio, have not yet taken a position on whether to join the investigation, citing in part jurisdictional questions. Of particular concern is making sure their waterways are not contaminated by waste from fracking, which uses millions of gallons of high-pressure water mixed with sand and chemicals to break apart rocks rich in oil and gas.   [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Eco-groups continue fighting natural gas pipelines across Ohio
Ohio.com
Bob Downing

From Ohio's FreshWater Accountability Project last week: Planned large pipeline installations for Northwest Ohio are causing concern for many people, especially those who are targeted to have them installed near their residence. An additional concern that many are not aware of is the specific geology throughout the area that could cause problems, both upon installation and in the future. Much of Northwest Ohio is in Karst Terrain, which means the geology is made up of layers of carbonate rocks. Carbonate rocks are known to be dissolved by water, especially acidic water. Because sinkholes can be found throughout the area, and some go undetected when they are formed underground, there is a real concern that a pipeline could unknowingly be built over underground terrain containing what is called “incipient” sinkholes. The fact that there are earthquake fault zones in the area compounds the likelihood of sinkholes due to the channeling of water along underground faults and fissures.   [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
The Holdouts
Observer
Priscila Mosqueda

Three families who took a pass on the fracking boom—and what it cost them When the landman comes knocking, most people living in the Texas oil patch experience something like joy, or at least sweet relief. Here’s someone offering you money up front and the promise of hefty royalty checks in exchange for producing oil and ?gas from the ground. Imagine winning the lottery without even buying a ticket. Landmen are agents of oil and natural gas producers; it is their job to get the mineral rights owner to claim a piece of the pie. Just sign right here, ma’am. The purse is their power of persuasion. For some, the earnings amount to mere hundreds. The luckier souls who own the mineral rights to big ranches or whose properties sit atop particularly productive parts of the shale plays can receive tens of thousands of dollars in signing bonuses. Fat royalty checks roll in monthly. Newly minted “mailbox millionaires” can be spotted driving new pickups, or towing new bass boats, or returning from a couple of weeks off in Aspen.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
FACT FINDER: It's not fracking, but what is happening at Cass County well sites?
WBST
Annie Chang

CASS COUNTY - It's never been done before in the United States, and now it's happening in our backyard. Vapex is a relatively new method being used to get oil from underground. And for some who live in Cass County, it's a mystery.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Offshore fracking steps into national spotlight
Bakken.com
Marissa Hall

The use of hydraulic fracturing in the Gulf of Mexico has come under the spotlight this year after the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in January for failing to release documents to the public regarding the oil and gas activity. A recent investigation by Al Jazeera revealed over 100 well sites operated by oil companies such as BP, ConocoPhillips and Shell utilized fracking. Those companies and almost two dozen others, Al Jazeera reports, were approved for offshore fracking in 2013. The list of well sites was provided to Al Jazeera by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, though the bureau also noted that the list was not complete. Instead, the list was only comprised of wells which used the most common type of offshore fracking. Prominent areas featuring fracking of course included the United States’ offshore drilling powerhouse, the Gulf of Mexico, though it has become a growing concern for environmentalists in California. Reports in 2013 showed that fracking was permitted for hundreds of well sites off the West Coast. Because the Environmental Protection Agency’s general wastewater permit allows oil and gas companies to discharge fracking chemicals to a certain degree, many are concerned about the chemical content and its effects on the ocean. Among other concerns in offshore drilling is the fact that a fast-track process has been developed called categorical exclusion, which exempts industry activities from a full environmental review, reports Al Jazeera.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Update: CSX oil train derails in W. Virginia; 14 cars on fire
Bakken.com
Reuters

NEW YORK, Feb 16 – A CSX Corp train hauling crude derailed in West Virginia, setting 14 cars ablaze and forcing the evacuation of two nearby towns in the second significant oil-train incident in three days, local media reported on Monday. At least one of the tank cars careened into the Kanawha River another plowed into a house before bursting into flames, wvgazette.com cited Lawrence Messina, communications director for the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, as saying in a report on its website. WOWK television reported that the nearby towns of Adena Village and Boomer Bottom were being evacuated after the incident, which occurred at 1:30 p.m. EST (1830 GMT). There were no initial reports of any injuries or fatalities. A CSX spokesperson did not immediately reply to messages seeking comment. It was not immediately clear where the train was heading or whose oil it was carrying. However, the crash occurred less than 200 miles (320 km) west of Lynchburg, Virginia, where another CSX train bound for an East Coast oil terminal run by Plains All American Pipelines derailed and erupted in flames last April.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Oil, gas leases to be offered in Pawnee National Grassland
Bakken.com
AP

DENVER — Federal land managers will sell oil and gas leases on nearly 40 square miles in the Pawnee National Grassland of northeastern Colorado with the stipulation that all drilling be done from adjacent land and not on the preserve. The Bureau of Land Management said Friday the May 14 sale will include 44 parcels in the national grassland, which is administered by the U.S. Forest Service. The Forest Service analyzed the parcels and consented to the sale with a stipulation that all drilling be done horizontally from outside the grassland parcels. The 300-square-mile grassland is 25 miles northeast of Greeley in Weld County. It’s popular among bird watchers.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
8 Reasons to Be Optimistic About the Climate Movement in 2015
Eco Watch
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez |

I have a feeling 2015 is going to be huge for the climate movement. Here are my top eight reasons to get excited about what we are building together. 1. Frontline Communities are Leading  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Ulster County Legislature to vote on fuel switch for Sheriff’s Office vehicles
Daily Freeman
Patricia Doxsey

KINGSTON >> A controversial proposal to convert five vehicles in the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office fleet to run on liquid petroleum gas will go before county lawmakers for a vote Tuesday. The measure would establish a pilot program to determine whether it is feasible to convert the entire county fleet so that it can ran run on liquid petroleum gas, commonly known as propane. Under the plan, the county would spend $25,000 to retrofit three transport vehicles used by the Sheriff’s Office to bring inmates to and from court.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Residents ‘Frustrated, Anxious’ After Maps Created Showing Oil & Gas Leases
CBS Denver


ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – There’s concern drilling and fracking could soon be happening in Arapahoe County after the group Conservation Colorado released maps showing the oil and gas leases filed in the last five years. Conservation Colorado says information is power. They say 30 schools sit on top of mineral rights owned by oil and gas companies, while another 11 schools are on leases filed in 2010 or later.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
LATEST: More shelters set up in connection with train derailment
WTRF NEWS 7 WV
Douglas Fritz

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D) declared a state of emergency for Fayette and Kanawha Counties at 5:40 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 16, 2015. The declaration was in response to the CSX train derailment that lead to the evacuation of the Powelltown Hollow area, which includes Boomer and Adena Village. No other counties were included in this declaration. "Declaring a State of Emergency ensures that residents of both Kanawha and Fayette counties have the access they need to resources necessary to handle all stages of the emergency," said Gov. Tomblin. "State official are on site and will continue to work with local and federal officials, as well as CSX representatives throughout the incident."  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Judge: Oil and gas firms not liable for Louisiana coastal erosion
Penn Energy
AP

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a New Orleans-area levee authority's lawsuit charging oil and gas companies with destroying Louisiana's coastal wetlands. The lawsuit was filed by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East in 2013 against nearly 100 oil and gas companies over damage they allegedly caused to Louisiana's wetlands. The authority is one of two regional boards set up by the state after Hurricane Katrina to better protect the New Orleans area from flooding. The companies had faced billions of dollars in damages if the suit had been successful. The suit argued that the defendant oil companies did not fulfill their obligations to clean up the damage caused by drilling and related activity on Louisiana's coast. In dismissing the lawsuit Friday, U.S. District Judge Nanette Jolivette Brown said federal and state laws did not provide any avenue by which the levee authority could successfully bring suit.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Alachua County Approves Resolution In Support Of Statewide Ban On Fracking
WUFT
Katherine Brown

The Alachua Board of County Commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday, February 10, in support of a statewide ban on fracking. The commissioners voted unanimously on the resolution, which supports two bills currently in the Florida legislature that would ban hydraulic fracturing (Senate bill 166), also known as fracking, and well stimulation treatments (House bill 169). Fracking is defined in Senate bill 166 as the process of sending fluid into the ground “in order to create fractures in rock for the purpose of producing or recovering oil or gas.”  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Abita Springs is taking the Army Corps to court
Marcellus.com
Marissa Hall

As the debate over hydraulic fracturing in St. Tammany Parish continues on, the town of Abita Springs is reinforcing its anti-fracking presence by filing its own lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. According to the Times-Picayune, Abita Springs levied the suit against the Corps because it refused to hold a public hearing regarding Helis Oil & Gas Co.’s application for a wetlands permit, which the company will need in order to move forward with its proposed well pad near Mandeville. The Army Corps denied initial requests for a public hearing when Helis first applied for the permit in 2014. However, St. Tammany Parish residents were once again declined a public hearing after Helis submitted a 500-page document to the Army Corps addressing concerns about wetland use and protection.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Small Earthquakes Linked To Fracking Could Lead To Major Ones, Government Scientist Says
Climate Progress
Katie Valentine

The earthquakes that have been linked to oil and gas development so far might be minor, but they could be putting states like Oklahoma and Kansas at risk for a major earthquake later on, new research indicates. The research, which hasn’t yet been published, was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science by U.S. Geological Survey scientist William Ellsworth. Ellsworth said that states in which small, hydraulic fracturing-related earthquakes are a fairly regular occurrence shouldn’t “expect a large earthquake tomorrow,” but they should know that these small earthquakes could increase the risk of a larger, more damaging one occurring eventually. “The more small earthquakes we have, it just simply increases the odds we’re going to have a more damaging event,” Ellsworth said.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Germany Moves to Legalize Fracking
Earth Island Journal
Arthur Neslen, The Guardian

Germany has proposed a draft law that would allow commercial shale gas fracking at depths of over 3,000 metres, overturning a de facto moratorium that has been in place since the start of the decade.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
How Safe Are Natural Gas and Oil Pipelines?
The Legal Examiner
Patrick Austin

The latest federal report on measures being taken to ensure the safety of natural gas pipelines across the United States raises serious concerns. While acknowledging that catastrophic, and fatal, failures such as the 2010 explosion of a Pacific Gas & Electric gas transmission line in San Bruno, California (CA), remain rare, National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart said on January 27, 2015, that much work remains to be done to limit risks. A natural gas pipeline exploded in California in 2010, killing eight. “Improving pipeline safety is a critical human safety issue that can and must be improved now,” said Hart while announcing his agency’s release of Integrity Management of Gas Transmission Pipelines in High Consequence Areas. In short, according to the report, pipeline owners, as well as federal, state and local government inspectors, must conduct more thorough and more frequent assessments of pipelines’ structural integrity, safe carrying capacity and hazards from new construction and changes in ground conditions. “Effective oversight and management of these programs save lives, preserve property and protect the environment,” noted Hart.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
'Numerous effects' of climate change on tropical diseases
Medical News Today


The behavior of mosquitoes - the vectors, or carriers, of diseases such as malaria - is known to be sensitive to temperature and rainfall, and the "inevitable" effect of climate change on this and other vector-borne diseases is the subject of a new collection of papers published today. Among the theories is that Europe could, within decades, become a "highly suitable" place for the mosquitoes that transmit, for example, dengue.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Climate Change Solutions: Wetlands Are More Powerful In Fighting Climate Change Than Previously Thought
International Business Times
Maria Gallucci

Swamps and wetlands play a greater role in fighting climate change than previously thought. The marshy areas are powerfully effective at capturing carbon dioxide emissions and keeping them out of the atmosphere, Australian researchers found. Climate experts in recent years have largely focused on the role of rainforests in soaking up carbon, with billions of dollars in public and private money spent on protecting and replanting trees. But new research suggests wetlands are up to 50 times more effective than forests at storing CO2, mainly because the watery areas last longer than trees. “Our preliminary studies suggest that wetlands can sequester up to 33 percent of the carbon in terrestrial soils, yet they only take up about 4 percent of the Earth’s land surface,” Rebecca Lester, a freshwater and estuarine ecology expert at Australia’s Deakin University, said Monday in a statement.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
West Virginia governor declares state of emergency after train derailment
Los Angeles Times


A train derailment Monday afternoon in West Virginia caused multiple explosions and a massive fire, officials said. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency around 6 p.m.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Two oil trains derail, tank cars burning in West Virginia, Ontario
Seattle PI
Joel Connelly

Two oil trains have derailed and caught fire, one in a populated area of Fayette County, W.V., and the other in a remote Ontario forest, during the past 48 hours. The West Virginia accident has seen 14 tankers and a house catch on fire, with at least one tanker car going into the Kanawha River. A nearby water-treatment plant was shut down. The train was carrying Bakken field crude oil from North Dakota, the same somewhat volatile oil that is now passing by rail along waterfronts of Puget Sound cities en route to oil refineries at Anacortes and Cherry Point on northern Puget Sound.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Oil Tanker Derails In West Virginia, Triggering Evacuations
The Wall Street Journal
KRIS MAHER

A train carrying crude oil derailed and burst into a fireball in rural West Virginia on Monday, forcing residents to evacuate and sending oil leaking into a river. At least one tanker car, and possibly more, fell into the Kanawha River, some 30 miles from the state capital of Charleston. That prompted concerns about potential contamination of water-treatment facilities that serve two small downstream communities, according to Lawrence Messina, a spokesman for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.   [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Congressional Democrats want to raise fracking oversight, target Pa., W.Va., Ohio
Tribune-Review
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Democrats on a congressional oversight panel are stepping up their investigation into how well states are regulating the disposal of oil and gas waste, citing continuing public concern about the potential environmental and health risks of hydraulic fracturing. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., the lead Democrat on a health subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, says he will press environmental agencies in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia for fuller answers to his panel's questions on their level of inspections and enforcement actions. Republicans on the committee, including subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio, have not taken a position on whether to join the investigation, citing in part jurisdictional questions.   [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Crude oil train derails in Fayette County, WV
Charleston Daily Mail
Marcus Constantino

Residents who were near the derailment of a crude oil train in Fayette County say it shook and rocked their community like a Biblical judgment. Around 1:20 p.m. Monday, a CSX train carrying crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken formation derailed in the Mount Carbon area of Fayette County, sending oil tankers off the tracks, with some reaching the Kanawha River.   [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Wastewater pipelines often leak in North Dakota
High Country News
Emily Guerin

Joanne Njos noticed something was wrong with Blacktail Creek in late September. The water had turned a rusty orange. In mid-November, when temperatures dipped below 20 degrees for nearly two weeks, the creek didn’t freeze. Weeks later, Njos dipped her finger in the water and tasted it. It tasted like “pure, pure salt,” she said, “worse than table salt.” She brushed her teeth immediately. Njos and her husband, Larry, live on a farm encircled by pumpjacks about 20 miles north of Williston, North Dakota, the heart of the Bakken oil boom. Initially they suspected that the Army Corps of Engineers, which they’d heard was fiddling with an upstream dam, was responsible for the changes in the creek rather than the oilfield. Then, on Jan. 7, a man from Summit Midstream, a pipeline company, knocked on their door. He said workers had detected a major break in a gathering line, which carries wastewater away from oil wells. Nearly 3 million gallons of salty, oily wastewater had spilled into Blacktail Creek — as much as spilled in North Dakota throughout the previous year. The incident was eclipsed in the news by the pipeline that leaked oil into Montana’s iconic Yellowstone River the same month, although this spill was as much as 100 times bigger.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Statistical realism
High Country News
Jeremy Miller

David Hughes crunches unpopular numbers for the shale oil boom. I first met energy analyst David Hughes last July in a miasma of diesel and gasoline fumes. It had taken me a three-hour drive and three ferryboats to arrive at beautiful and remote Cortes Island, one of dozens of islets wedged like ice floes in the Strait of Georgia, off the west coast of British Columbia. Hughes, waiting in the cab of his Toyota pickup, surveyed the new arrivals as they disembarked the boat. Many were in their early 20s and, judging by their enormous backpacks and heavy boots, determined to experience this northern island paradise properly. Hughes swung a beckoning arm out the window. “You made it,” he said, in a tone that suggested that he’d had his doubts. “Are you ready for the whirlwind tour?”  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Climate Scientist Tries Arts To Stir Hearts Regarding Earth's Fate
npr
Joe Palca

A decade ago, physicist Robert Davies wasn't all that interested in Earth's climate. His field was quantum optics. But while he was working at the University of Oxford in England, he became intrigued by what was going on at Oxford's Environmental Change Institute, just down the road from his lab. Davies started going to seminars at the Institute, and was taken aback, he says, by "the broad gap between what science understands about climate change, and what the public understands." He assumed it was simply a problem of science communication. So, to help remedy the situation, he began giving public lectures on the looming dangers of climate change, and what it could mean for the sustainability of life on this planet. The results weren't what he expected. "The audiences would understand it on an intellectual level," says Davies. "The science is pretty self-explanatory and very compelling." But they didn't seem to personally connect with the information. They understood it, but they weren't feeling it, he says — and weren't taking any action.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Huge fire in West Virginia after oil train derails, sending tanker into river
The Guardian
Associated Press

A train carrying more than 100 tankers of crude oil derailed in southern West Virginia on Monday, sending at least one tanker into the Kanawha River, igniting at least 14 and sparking a house fire, officials said.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Property owners brace for Constitution pipeline eminent domain
The Times-Tribune
Brendan Gibbons

HARFORD TWP. — With the sugaring season ahead, the Holleran family should be installing sap-gathering lines on the mature maple trees growing on their property on Three Lakes Road. They’re not going to bother this year. They don’t see a point in tapping trees that could soon fall to the chain saws of Constitution Pipeline Co., which covets a strip of their land roughly 125 feet wide to build a natural gas pipeline to New York. After two years of planning, public comment and government reviews, Constitution is anxious to get started. The maps are drawn. The pipe is stacked. More than a thousand people are ready to work.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Another pipeline proposal meets opposition in Schuylkill County
Republican Herald
MARK GILGER JR.

PINE GROVE — Jack Zerbe II was about 10 years old when the Sunoco pipeline was built through his family’s farm in Washington Township, but he remembers that it took 15 to 20 years for production on that land to return to where it was before construction. As three generations of Zerbes continue to oppose the proposed construction of The Williams Companies pipeline through their portion of the county, they received a letter Jan. 26 from another company looking to put another pipeline through their property.  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Chris Gibson Says He’d Frack New York as Governor
NO FRACKING WAY
Chip Northrup

In order to keep up with his flop-flipping on just about every issue, Congressman Chris Gibson has conveniently grown another head. Two days after Governor Cuomo announced his politically popular ban on fracking, Gibson supported the ban – comparing fracking to Agent Orange and saying that the state should compensate landowners who did not get to frack their land (with Agent Orange.) Gibson said his “intuition” supported the scientific studies that were preponderantly negative on fracking, even though they had only been published two (2) days before. All 1,697 pages of them. Now, he’s talking out of his other head on frack studies. Because he wants to run for Governor as a Two Headed Politician:  [Full Story]

Feb 16, 2015
Oil Train Derails In Canada, Spills Unknown Amount Of Crude Oil
ThinkProgress
KATIE VALENTINE

A train carrying crude oil derailed in northern Ontario, Canada late Saturday night, spilling oil and causing a fire. Twenty-nine of the 100 cars on the train went off the track near Timmins, Ontario, and seven of those cars were still on fire as of Sunday afternoon. The derailment prompted Canadian National Railway Co. to close its main rail line, a decision that could end up causing a delay in oil shipments in eastern Canada. That delay would add to the disruption Canada’s rail industry is currently experiencing due to the weekend strike of 3,000 Canadian Pacific Railway workers, who are at odds with their company over wages and benefits.  [Full Story]

Feb 15, 2015
Pooling legislation would ease development of shale gas wells
Charleston Daily Mail
Whitney Burdette

Legislation moving through the West Virginia House of Delegates seeks to allow lease integration for deep well horizontal drilling. House Bill 2688, introduced by Energy Committee chairman Delegate Woody Ireland, R-Ritchie, would allow property owners to come together and agree to allow gas companies to drill deep horizontal wells on their properties. Under current law, one holdout can prevent development and royalties for all other rights owners. Lease integration, also referred to as forced or fair pooling — depending on which side you’re on — would take care of that.   [Full Story]

Feb 15, 2015
German govt under pressure to legalize fracking, critics call on people to protest
RTCC


Germany has proposed a draft law to allow commercial shale gas fracking, overturning a moratorium that has been in place for the last two years. The proposal has drawn fire from environmentalists who have urged people to protest before the exploration begins.  [Full Story]

Feb 15, 2015
W.Va. county health board opposes natural gas pipeline
WTRF NEWS 7 WV


BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) - The Board of Health in West Virginia's Monroe County is taking a stand against the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would run from northwestern West Virginia to southwest Virginia. In an open letter, the county's health officer says the proposed natural gas pipeline poses a "significant and substantial risk" to residents. Dr. J. Travis Hansbarger notes that the pipeline would pass close to a public school and a long-term care center.   [Full Story]

Feb 15, 2015
Humor Fuels Fracking Fight
EcoWatch
Gary Wockner

When you think of the leading fracking fighters, you probably think of Americans Against Fracking, Oil Change International and Food & Water Watch. But the newest commentary that’s turning heads and adding humor to the mix comes from The Onion. Its recent post, “Scientists Working To Harness Energy Produced By Intense Fracking Debates,” has received significant engagement from readers with more than 6,000 interactions on Facebook and 750 engagements on Twitter, numbers that make most environmental groups drool with social media envy.  [Full Story]

Feb 15, 2015
Twin Cities hospitals are front line in treating Bakken burn victims
Star Tribune
MAYA RAO

Flames seared the pants off Kyle’s legs as he raced across a bed of ruddy red rocks, screaming for help. A pipe on a machine processing oil at high heat had burst, soaking him in methanol and sparking a fire. “You could just feel it cooking my legs,” he said. “It almost sounded like chicken frying in an oiler.” Hours later, Kyle woke up at Regions Hospital in St. Paul last month, after a 600-mile plane ride from the oil fields of North Dakota. His legs were burned so deeply that the bottom layer of skin would never grow back. It was the worst pain he’d ever felt.  [Full Story]

Feb 15, 2015
Hydraulic Fracturing Good or Bad for Our Environment?
KBTX
Haley Jennings

COLLEGE STATION -- We've all heard about hydraulic fracturing, but why is it so controversial that cities and states starting to ban it? Sharon Wilson used to live in Denton and initially thought fracking was a good idea. Wilson says, "No one I know was against fracking in the beginning." But that feeling didn't last long. "When they start drilling, the noise is intolerable, a lot of vibrating and a lot of horrible odors," says Wilson. She now works with an environmental group called Earthworks, advising citizens concerned about fracking, including folks here in College Station.   [Full Story]

Feb 15, 2015
Natural gas drilling proposal for Harmar land to be presented
TribLive
Brian C. Rittmeyer

Two energy companies want to strike a deal with Harmar for Marcellus shale natural gas, but if a contract is reached, it could be years before any extraction. Huntley & Huntley, working with Range Resources, has proposed a subsurface lease for about 90 acres of township land, including the municipal building along Freeport Road and the athletic field behind it.   [Full Story]

Feb 15, 2015
REGION BRIEFS: Maryland group seeks looser gas drilling rules
Fredericksburg.com
Associated Press

GRANTSVILLE, Md.—A coalition of western Maryland landowners, businesses and labor groups says the state’s proposed rules for natural gas drilling go too far. The Energy and Property Rights Coalition asked the administration of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday to put on hold the regulations proposed by his predecessor, Democrat Martin O’Malley, shortly before O’Malley left office last month.   [Full Story]

Feb 15, 2015
Federal environmental review makes Arctic drilling more likely
Phys.org
Nigel Duara

A revised environmental review of a contested Arctic oil lease makes drilling in the area far more likely, a development that has infuriated environmentalists. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released the new environmental assessment of drilling leases on Thursday, upping the projected oil yield but saying little otherwise about the potential environmental impact.   [Full Story]

Feb 15, 2015
Anti-Fossil Fuel Movement Grows
Oil Price
Nick Cunningham

Don’t look now but the anti-fossil fuel movement is quickly building momentum. Climate activists have campaigned against oil, gas, and coal for years. And while legislation in the U.S. Congress addressing climate change seems as remote as ever, outside of the beltway the anti-fossil fuel movement is building support at a breakneck pace.  [Full Story]

Feb 15, 2015
Proposed frac sand mining operation could be biggest in Minnesota
Twin Cities
Robb Jeffries

A proposed silica sand mining project in southeastern Minnesota could change the nature of the industry in the state. Or not. No one is sure what to expect at the end of February, when Minnesota Sands LLC submits its revised business plan to the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board. The size of the project has varied wildly since Minnesota Sands founder Rick Frick and his partners began pursuing operations in the area to extract a key ingredient used in hydraulic fracturing across the globe, including in North Dakota's Bakken Oil Patch.   [Full Story]

Feb 14, 2015
Judge says landowner filed drilling suit too late
Record-Eagle
Eric Freedman

LANSING – An Alcona County man waited too long -- much too long -- to sue an energy company that may have drilled a natural gas well too close to his property line, a federal judge ruled. U.S. District Judge Thomas Ludington said Richard Brilinski missed the deadline by waiting about 15 years to start the litigation.   [Full Story]

Feb 14, 2015
Energy Companies Keep Quiet on This Front
ecoRI
TIM FAULKNER

Left out of the talking points that support expanding pipelines in New England are the efforts by energy companies to deliver that natural gas to Canada for export overseas. Documents show that developers are already moving forward with this concept. Last October, Pieridae Energy filed a federal application to send domestic natural gas from Massachusetts to Nova Scotia, where it would be converted to liquefied natural gas (LNG) and exported. According to Peiridae, a company in Germany has already agreed to buy the exported LNG.  [Full Story]

Feb 14, 2015
Tiny Quakes Linked to Fracking Raise Risks, Geophysicist Says
NBC NEWS


SAN JOSE, Calif. — Small earthquakes shaking Oklahoma and southern Kansas daily and linked to energy drilling are dramatically increasing the chance of bigger and dangerous quakes, federal research indicates. This once-stable region is now just as likely to see serious damaging and potentially harmful earthquakes as the highest-risk places east of the Rockies, such as New Madrid in Missouri, and Charleston in South Carolina, which had major quakes in the past two centuries.   [Full Story]

Feb 14, 2015
Fracking has collapsed
Business Insider
Wolf Richter

The word “boom” can never be thought of as a stand-alone concept that everyone loves, particularly governments because they get to rake in the big bucks. It’s always attached to its miserable twin that no one wants to see, the “bust.” They come invariably in cycles, one after the other. You can’t have one without the other. It’s just a question of time. And in the world of fracking, it’s no different.   [Full Story]

Feb 14, 2015
The Solar Economic Engine
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Solar prices have plunged over the past five years. Average PV systems prices dropped more than 50% between 2010-2014. As these costs came down, more and more solar was installed. This meant more and more investment and subsequently economic benefit. The value of solar installations has risen steadily since 2010 and has trebled in a mere 5 years in spite of the precipitous drop in prices. Economists often refer to virtuous circles. The Oxford dictionary defines a virtuous circle as follows: “A recurring cycle of events, the result of each one being to increase the beneficial effect of the next”.  [Full Story]

Feb 14, 2015
Lacking integrity? State regulatory officials don’t follow EPA guidance on saltwater disposal wells
The Dickinson Press
Andrew Brown

The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources’ Division of Oil and Gas has allowed saltwater disposal wells to continue injecting fluid underground even as mechanical integrity tests — meant to detect weaknesses in the well’s construction — have indicated leaks in parts of the wells’ multiple layers of casing. A review of 449 well files and more than 2,090 mechanical integrity test reports show how state officials conditionally approve disposal wells even after they don’t meet widely accepted pressure testing standards.  [Full Story]

Feb 14, 2015
Fracking concerns lead to complaint against Carbon Co. Commission
KPAX
David Jay

BILLINGS - Landowners who are worried about oil exploration filed a complaint against the Carbon County Commissioners on Friday. The suit came about after the ccommissioners rescinded their approval to zone 2,700 acres in a potential Silvertip District in January. Landowners say in their filing in Carbon County Dsitrict Court that this is about preserving their property, health and way of life. They say a zoning district is the only way to get an enforceable regulation and oversight on possible fracking.   [Full Story]

Feb 14, 2015
Hearings continue to clarify zoning for Middlesex fracking
TribLive
Rick Wills

Zoning regulations that permit fracking in 90 percent of Middlesex are based on a sample ordinance provided to the township by a drilling company, township and company officials say.   [Full Story]

Feb 14, 2015
Germany moves to legalise fracking
The Guardian
Arthur Neslen

Four-year moratorium on shale drills set to be overturned as country initiates process to allow regulated hydraulic fracturing for shale gas   [Full Story]

Feb 14, 2015
PennEast natural gas pipeline economic study questioned: Is it 12,160 or 2,500 jobs?
Keith Brown
Times of Trenton

For months during public meetings, PennEast company representatives said it was going to take about 2,000 construction workers to build its proposed $1.2 billion natural gas pipeline from Northeastern Pennsylvania to Mercer County. But on Monday, PennEast -- a consortium of major East Coast natural gas providers - released a study backed by Drexel University's business school saying the construction of the bi-state pipeline would "support" 12,160 jobs. The difference comes from the definition of "support."  [Full Story]

Feb 13, 2015
Keystone XL, Cold War 2.0, and the GOP Vision for 2016 How Energy Coordination on One Continent Could Bring the Planet to Its Knees
TomDispatch
Michael T. Klare

It’s a ritual long familiar to observers of American politics: presidential hopefuls with limited international experience travel to foreign lands and deliver speeches designed to showcase their grasp of foreign affairs. Typically, such escapades involve trips to major European capitals or active war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, however, has broken this mold. Before his recent jaunt to London and into the thickets of American vaccination politics, he chose two surprising destinations for his first trips abroad as a potential Republican candidate. No, not Kabul or Baghdad or even Paris, but Mexico City and Alberta, Canada. And rather than launch into discussions of immigration, terrorism, or the other usual Republican foreign policy topics, he focused on his own top priority: integrating Canada and Mexico into a U.S.-led “North American energy renaissance.” By accelerating the exploitation of fossil fuels across the continent, reducing governmental oversight of drilling operations in all three countries, and building more cross-border pipelines like the Keystone XL, Christie explained, all three countries would be guaranteed dramatic economic growth. “In North America, we have resources waiting to be tapped,” he assured business leaders in Mexico City. “What is required is the vision to maximize our growth, the political will to unlock our potential, and the understanding that working together on strategic priorities... is the path to a better life.”  [Full Story]

Feb 13, 2015
Fracking concerns lead to complaint against Carbon County Commissioners
KTVQ
David Jay

Landowners worried about oil exploration filed a complaint against the Carbon County Commissioners on Friday. The suit came about after the commissioners rescinded their approval to zone 2,700 acres in a potential Silvertip District in January. In their filing in the district court in Carbon County, landowners say this is about preserving their property, health and way of life.   [Full Story]

Feb 13, 2015
Issues Debated at Liquefied Petroleum Gas Conference
TWC News
Matt Jarchow

HORSEHEADS, N.Y. -- Noise impacts, site alternatives, and cumulative effects. Those were topics of discussion on day two of an issues conference on Crestwood's plans to expand an LPG storage facility near Seneca Lake. Opponents made their case to stop the expansion. "Sandstone investigated residents concerns and documented the fact that noise from the west side carries to the other side of the lake at potentially intrusive levels," Earthjustice Attorney Deborah Goldberg said. "The applicants failure to consider a range of reasonable alternatives is a fatal defect in the DSEIS," Seneca Lake Communities Representative Jon Krois said.   [Full Story]

Feb 13, 2015
N.J. officials try to stop pipeline
The Record
SCOTT FALLON

Lawmakers are trying to make it more difficult for a company to build a controversial oil pipeline through northern New Jersey by requiring state approval before the company can acquire private property through eminent domain. Bills were introduced this week in the state Legislature that would require Pilgrim Pipeline to get permission from the state Board of Public Utilities before homeowners could be forced to sell land for the proposed pipeline, which may cut through parts of Bergen, Passaic and Morris counties. The legislation is partly in response to letters some homeowners received from Pilgrim's lawyers last year threatening to take them to court for refusing to let the company's surveyors on their property. The lawyers said they had eminent domain powers. Unlike public utilities such as PSE&G, state law bolstered by an old court ruling allows private pipeline companies to use eminent domain to acquire land without state regulators approving it.  [Full Story]

Feb 13, 2015
Conservatives studying LNG tax breaks in federal budget
Business News Network


The Canadian government is studying the idea of providing new tax breaks in the upcoming federal budget for companies that build liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals, according to internal records obtained by Reuters. Such incentives could help companies move forward with stalled developments in Canada, even as they cut spending around the world in response to plummeting oil prices.   [Full Story]

Feb 13, 2015
LNG tankers lie unused around Singapore as gas downturn turns to crisis
Reuters
HENNING GLOYSTEIN AND OLEG VUKMANOVIC

(Reuters) - Over a dozen liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers are parked, many idle, in and around Singapore - one of the world's biggest trading hubs for the fuel - in a sign that the slowdown engulfing world gas markets may be worsening into a crisis. With Asian spot LNG prices down by almost two-thirds since February 2014 as slowing demand combines with rising output, shippers are parking their tankers close to ports like Singapore where unused ships can be easily maintained and serviced until new orders come in. Leading ship brokers estimate over one-tenth of the global fleet of 400 LNG tankers is currently unused because of slowing growth in Asia's biggest economies. The impact just in Singapore suggests the problem could be worse.  [Full Story]

Feb 13, 2015
LANDOWNERS SEEK AIR, WATER AND LAND ZONING REGULATIONS, PROTECTION FROM UNREGULATED OIL DRILLING
EarthJustice
Press Release

Red Lodge, MT — Today, seven landowners filed a legal challenge in state district court to the Carbon County Commission’s rejection of their petition for land use regulations to protect their private properties from the harmful effects of oil and gas drilling. The landowners collectively seek to establish the “Silvertip Zoning District” to cover nearly 3,000 acres of agricultural land north of Belfry, Montana. Creation of the district is the first step to establish solid protections for land, air and water quality, giving landowners an essential voice in the development of oil and gas on their properties. Although some oil and gas development has occurred in Carbon County for decades, the Silvertip landowners were pressed to take action in October 2013 after Energy Corporation of America’s (ECA) CEO John Mork announced plans to hydraulically fracture 50 wells along the Beartooth Front—an area that includes Carbon and Stillwater counties in Montana and forms the northeastern flank of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Mork boasted that ECA hoped to bring “a little bit of the Bakken” to the Beartooths.  [Full Story]

Feb 13, 2015
Doctor Battles Gag Rule in Fracking Statute
The National Trial Lawyers
Eleanor Smith

A Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, kidney specialist has been involved in a three-year legal battle against a state law that prohibits him from sharing what he believes to be crucial treatment information to his patients. In a case before the Third US Court of Appeals, Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez is challenging Act 13, the state’s fracking law, which prohibits the disclosure of the chemicals and fluids used by natural gas-drilling companies in hydraulic fracking. The law allows for such a disclosure only to doctors who agree to sign a strict confidentiality agreement.  [Full Story]

Feb 13, 2015
Exclusive: Extent of stealth fracking in Gulf of Mexico revealed
Al Jazeera America
Paul Abowd

While a debate rages over the use of hydraulic fracturing to exploit fossil fuel reserves inland, the practice has quietly taken hold offshore, in the Gulf of Mexico. Documents obtained by “Fault Lines” reveal that the world’s largest oil firms are now fracking in some of the Gulf’s deepest waters — raising questions about how it is being regulated. A list of about 100 well sites offers one of the first snapshots of the practice, which until just a couple years ago was unknown to the public.  [Full Story]

Feb 13, 2015
Backers of Delaware Basin bill see more support this time
WDDE Delaware Public Media
JON HURDLE

Environmentalists are seeking political support for a fresh attempt to give federal protection to water quality, fish stocks and recreational opportunities in the Delaware River Basin. The Delaware River Basin Conservation Act, expected to be reintroduced to Congress in early March, would elevate safeguards on environmental quality in the region that stretches from upstate New York to the mouth of the Delaware Bay by requiring that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service coordinates the work of an array of state and local environmental groups.   [Full Story]

Feb 13, 2015
Mr. Obama’s Easy Call on Keystone Bill
The New York Times
Editorial

Congress has delivered to President Obama a bill commanding him to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, accompanied by a warning from House Speaker John Boehner to ignore the “left-fringe extremists and anarchists” who oppose the project. It was not immediately clear whom Mr. Boehner had in mind, unless he meant the 90 scientists, economists and Nobel laureates who appealed this week to Mr. Obama to reject the pipeline on the grounds that the United States should not be complicit in unlocking some of the dirtiest fuel on the planet. In any case, Mr. Obama should ignore the speaker and, as he has promised, veto the bill. Because the pipeline would cross an international border, the decision about whether to proceed is his to make, not Congress’s, and the State Department review that will help guide that decision is not yet complete.  [Full Story]

Feb 13, 2015
Enck: Treating Climate Change Symptoms Is Not Enough
TWC News
Liz Benjamin

Gov. Andrew Cuomo generally treads a very careful line when discussing climate change. Generally speaking, the Democratic governor tries to avoid the debate over whether climate change exists – deeming that a “distraction” – in favor of addressing the symptoms of the disease (mostly in the form of extreme weather, which he calls the “new normal”) rather than its cause.  [Full Story]

Feb 13, 2015
Fracking Go-ahead For [British] National Parks as Controversial Infrastructure Act Becomes Law
DeSmogBlog
KYLA MANDEL

Weak fracking rules have officially been enshrined in law as the controversial Infrastructure Bill became an act last night. The new act will see national parks and groundwater protection zones at risk from fracking as the government backtracked on amendments agreed only weeks ago to increase the safety of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas.  [Full Story]

Feb 13, 2015
Shocking Deterioration In Tight Oil
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Tight oil in the US is experiencing shocking deterioration in production vs. declines percentages just since November. Rig counts have plunged and though production overall is still rising, the amount used to offset the steep declines in older tight oil wells is skyrocketing. For instance, in the Bakken as recently as November 2014, 71% of all new production coming online was being used to do nothing but offset the declines in older wells. This was a very high figure. But over the ensuing three months as crude prices crumbled and capital expenditure has been slashed this figure has soared to 86%. The same thing is happening in the Eagle Ford where 72% of all new production was needed in November 2014 but has now risen to 89%. This is problematic because these figures are rapidly approaching 100% which means that the plays are quickly falling into decline. The amount of new production simply cannot keep up with the steep declines in older wells. Unfortunately “older” in shale gas and tight oil means a mere 4-5 years. These are not long lived wells.   [Full Story]

Feb 13, 2015
Hidden Faults Explain Earthquakes in Fracking Zones
Yahoo News
Becky Oskin

Oklahoma, Ohio and Arkansas have experienced an unusually large number of earthquakes in recent years. The shaking is rising at the same time that oil and gas production have increased. But other states that are hotbeds for new drilling have stayed seismically quiet, such as Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.  [Full Story]

Feb 13, 2015
German government approves fracking
EurActive


The German government has tabled a draft law permitting fracking in the country, with environmental associations criticising the draft as fragmented and risky, calling on the government to concentrate on implementing the Energiewende, instead. EurActiv Germany reports. After a long debate over the use of fracking technology in Germany, the federal government issued a draft law allowing the controversial gas extraction method under certain conditions and in isolated cases. German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks made every effort to dispel concerns over the controversial gas extraction technology. “In this way, we are applying the strictest rules that have ever existed in the fracking industry,” the Social Democratic Party (SPD) politician assured.  [Full Story]

Feb 13, 2015
Blowing away myths: Study says wind energy could be even more reliable than baseload power
MidWest Energy News
Kari Lydersen

What happens when the wind doesn’t blow? That’s a question that wind power skeptics or critics frequently ask. While coal, nuclear and gas plants theoretically run uninterrupted whenever they are called upon, humans have no control over when wind turbines stop and start spinning. Some utility and power company officials say this is a reason that “reliable,” baseload power should be valued more than wind.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Seneca LPG Facility Goes Before DEC Judge
WETM
Torri Singer

HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (18NEWS) -- The Department of Environmental Conservation held the first day of a issues conference to determine if a permit for an LPG facility on Seneca lake will be granted, denied, or be adjudicated. Houston-based Crestwood wants to use salt caverns beneath the salt plant on Seneca lake to store large amounts of propane and butane. Opponents fear this will affect quality of life and tourism on the lake.   [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
What Kinder Morgan is Keeping Secret About its Trans Mountain Spill Response Plans
DeSmogBlog
CAROL LINNITT

Kinder Morgan, the company currently seeking permission to nearly triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline to carry Albertan crude to the west coast, has engaged in a protracted fight with the province of British Columbia in an effort to keep its oil spill response plans a secret. The company alleges its motivation has to do with ‘security concerns’ although a look back at the to and fro with the province of B.C. paints a story of either incompetence or pure, defenseless hubris. Either way, what Kinder Morgan is refusing to produce for B.C. and other intervenors in the pipeline review process, the company willingly disclosed south of the border for portions of the pipeline that extend to Washington State.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Hearing examines Crestwood's LPG permit application
Star Gazette
Ray Finger

HORSEHEADS – More than 100 people were drawn Thursday to the first day of an issues conference on Crestwood Midstream's permit application to build a liquefied petroleum gas facility at Seneca Lake. Scheduled by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the conference is being held at the Holiday Inn Express in Horseheads to determine whether there are significant, substantive points of dispute that would require an adjudicatory hearing to litigate the disputed issues.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
A Forest’s Family Roots Stand in a Pipeline’s Path
The New York Times
COREY KILGANNON

HARPERSFIELD, N.Y. — With snowshoes strapped to his feet and a fedora atop his head, Dev Kernan tramped deep into the snowy woods and finally stopped to admire a majestic red oak. “Now there’s a beauty,” he said. Then he pointed to a black cherry tree: “There, with the scaly bark — that grows beautifully here.” “Here” is the Kernan family forest, which covers a remote patch of upstate New York between Albany and Binghamton. Known as Charlotte Forest, it is a sanctuary of woods and wetlands that the family has maintained for nearly seven decades.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Northern Arapaho announce Devon Energy withdraws from boundary appeal
County 10 News


Northern Arapaho announce Devon Energy withdraws from boundary appeal (Ethete, Wyo.) — Devon Energy has withdrawn from their appeal of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Treatment as a State (TAS) decision on the Wind River Indian Reservation, according to a news release from the Northern Arapaho Business Council. Text of the news release is copied below” On December 13, 2013, the EPA approved the Tribes’ application for TAS under the Clean Air Act. It also issued an 83-page legal analysis concluding that a 171,000-acre area, which includes the City of Riverton, remains part of the reservation. Devon appealed that decision on February 18, 2014.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Nebraska Judge Halts TransCanada's Use Of Eminent Domain For Keystone Route
Huffington Post
Kate Sheppard

A Nebraska judge has issued a temporary injunction barring TransCanada from using eminent domain to force landowners to sell rights allowing the proposed Keystone XL pipeline on their property. Pipeline owner TransCanada said it will suspend all eminent domain proceedings, including those against landowners who are not among those who sued the company. The company said in a statement that it will seek an accelerated schedule for a trial. TransCanada filed paperwork in late January to begin using eminent domain to acquire land along the pipeline path from owners who didn't agree to sell rights to the company. This came shortly after the Nebraska state Supreme Court issued a decision that essentially cleared the way for the pipeline, though it left some open legal questions about the process the state had used to approve the route.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Vatican mulling new department to tackle environmental issues
Reuters


(Reuters) - The Vatican is considering setting up an environmental think tank, a spokesman said on Thursday, which could influence the opinion of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics on such thorny issues as climate change. Father Federico Lombardi said the proposal was discussed at a closed-door meeting of cardinals from around the world who are at the Vatican to deliberate a reform of the Church's central administration, known as the Curia. "We see a growth in the awareness (of environmental problems) and in the importance of reflection, commitment, and study of environmental issues and their relation to social and human questions," he told reporters at a briefing.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Climate science denialists in tailspin over hottest years
The Guardian
Graham Readfearn

All the recent declarations that 2014 was the hottest year on record seems to have prompted a spate of panic denial among climate change contrarians, denialists and ideologues. We’ve had a declaration of one of the “most extraordinary scandals of our time” from UK climate science manglers Christopher Booker and James Delingpole. The accusation is that climate scientists have been “fiddling” the world’s temperature data with the express motivation of showing the world is warmer than it really is.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Law cuts solar farm profits
Times Union
Larry Rulison

Rensselaer Monolith Solar's plans to move from Rensselaer and build a new $4.6 million headquarters in Slingerlands has been jeopardized by a recent state regulatory ruling that makes certain types of solar farms unprofitable. Solar installation firms like Monolith have been expanding rapidly in New York in recent years building large, off-site solar farms for universities, school districts and municipalities.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Extreme Levels of Cancer-Causing Chemicals Found in State’s Fracking Wastewater
AllGov


On the heels of reports quantifying for the first time how often California oil drillers use fracking and injection wells to blast into the Earth and deposit accompanying wastewater back into the ground, new analyses of data are finding dangerous levels of cancer-causing chemicals.   [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
High Levels of Benzene in California Fracking Waste Water
Circle of Blue


Fracking waste water in California is showing off-the-charts benzene contamination, and residents of Detroit suburbs will likely see a huge hike in water rates. The United Nations is funding flood relief in Malawi, and the European Union and Unicef are funding a training center for water workers in Angola. Lawmakers in South Carolina are working on a bill to better control surface water withdrawals for large farms.   [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Fracking warning
The Scotsman
Opinion Roy Lackner

At what point will the Scottish Government’s moratorium on hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – developments end? How conclusive will the scientific evidence on the geological and environmental impact be? Even more to the point, will it be thorough enough to refute Ineos Upstream’s Gary Haywood’s warning about the future of the industrial site at Grangemouth (your report, 11 February)?  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Oka. Lawsuit Targets Connection Between Fracking And Earthquakes
Chem Info
Bridget Bergin

Jennifer Lin Cooper and her attorney, Scott Poynter, claim the November 2011 earthquakes in Prague, Oklahoma caused significant property damage. They also allege that New Dominion LLC, Spess Oil Co., and 25 unnamed energy companies are to blame.   [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Editorial Amid a lack of fracking data, the state should halt new operations
Los Angeles Times
Editorial

The wastewater from oil drilling, hydraulic fracturing and other extraction processes is supposed to be injected only into wells where the groundwater is already too toxic to be used for drinking or irrigation, even if heavily treated. But last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identified 10 California wells where that rule had been ignored. Since then, the number of wells where wastewater was improperly injected has ballooned to 490, though 109 of them are no longer in use. That's more than a fourth of all the wells — known as injection wells — currently used to dispose of industrial wastewater. It represents a tremendous failure by the state, which wrongly issued injection permits for wells in areas with protected groundwater.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Dispatches from the Seneca Lake Uprising
EcoWatch
Sandra Steingraber

[Editor’s note: Since the We Are Seneca Lake campaign began on Oct. 23, 2104, there have been 216 arrests, with six of those arrests yesterday. The campaign is working to protect Seneca Lake and the surrounding Finger Lakes region from the gas storage expansion project by Texas-based energy company, Crestwood Midstream. Crestwood’s intention is to repurpose the crumbling salt mines underneath Seneca Lake’s hillside into massive gas tanks for highly-pressurized products from fracking: methane, propane and butane.] ssteingraberbwI told the guy at the wilderness outfitter store that I needed footwear appropriate for standing motionless in frigid temperatures with occasional bouts of below-zero wind chill. For possibly long periods of time. He asked if I was going ice fishing. There are no guidebooks for how to carry out a sustained civil disobedience campaign during winter—let alone one that involves human blockades that intercept trucks attempting to enter a compressor station site on a steeply sloping lakeshore with 18 inches of snowpack.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Did Fracking Cause Oklahoma to Have 3 Times as Many Earthquakes as California in 2014?
EcoWatch
Michael Corey

Earthquakes are synonymous with California to most Americans, but West Coasters might be surprised to learn they’re far from the new center of the seismic landscape in the U.S. Oklahoma recorded more than three times as many earthquakes as California in 2014 and remains well ahead in 2015. Data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that Oklahoma had 562 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater in 2014; California had 180. As of Jan. 31, Oklahoma recorded 76 earthquakes of that magnitude, compared with California’s 10. According to the Advanced National Seismic System global catalog, in 2014, Oklahoma even beat Alaska, the nation’s perennial leader in total earthquakes, though many small events in remote areas go unrecorded there.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Extreme Levels of Cancer-Causing Chemicals Found in State’s Fracking Wastewater
AllGov


On the heels of reports quantifying for the first time how often California oil drillers use fracking and injection wells to blast into the Earth and deposit accompanying wastewater back into the ground, new analyses of data are finding dangerous levels of cancer-causing chemicals. The Center for Biological Diversity said its analysis found benzene levels at more than 1,500 times the federal limits for drinking water in tests dating back to last April. Chromium-6 was found at levels 2,700 times that recommended by the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA).   [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Fracking will be allowed under national parks, UK decides
The Guardian
Damian Carrington

Fracking companies will be allowed to drill horizontally under national parks and other protected areas if the wells start just outside their boundaries, after the government rowed back on its earlier acceptance of new environmental protections. Ministers were forced to accept a series of new regulations from Labour on 26 January after facing defeat by concerned backbenchers, but the final amendments passed by MPs on Monday unpicked many of them. Green Party MP Caroline Lucas accusing ministers of “doing the dirty work of fracking companies for them”, but the government move was welcomed by the nascent shale gas industry.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Oka. Lawsuit Targets Connection Between Fracking And Earthquakes
chem.info
Bridget Bergin

ennifer Lin Cooper and her attorney, Scott Poynter, claim the November 2011 earthquakes in Prague, Oklahoma caused significant property damage. They also allege that New Dominion LLC, Spess Oil Co., and 25 unnamed energy companies are to blame. A similar lawsuit was filed in August by Sandra Ladra, also represented by attorney Scott Poynter. Ladra was injured during the magnitude 5.6 earthquake, but her case was dismissed in October. The Oklahoma Supreme Court agreed to review the ruling in December. To win, Poynter will need to successfully argue that fracking wastewater disposal methods cause earthquakes, and that the energy companies engaging in the disposal are liable for damages caused by the earthquakes.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Senate weighs payments to mineral owners over fracking rules
Denver Post
Associated Press

DENVER (AP) — Mineral owners would get compensation from local governments that restrict fracking under a bill being considered by Colorado lawmakers. Whether more regulations over fracking are needed is expected to be one of the most hotly debated questions lawmakers will take on this legislative session.   [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Group to protest fracking, coal ash dump in Anson Co.
WSOC TV


ANSON COUNTY, N.C. — A group in Anson County plans to gather in front of the county courthouse Thursday to protest fracking and Duke Energy's plan to dump toxic coal ash in the county. The group -- Protecting Our Water, Air, Land and Lives -- will call for a community veto.   [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
S.B. Residents Join Big Anti-Fracking Rally
Santa Barbara Independent
Lyz Hoffman

More than 100 Santa Barbara County residents took part in an 8,000-person rally in Oakland last weekend, pushing Gov. Jerry Brown to outlaw fracking, cyclic-steam injection, and other oil-drilling methods in California as a way to move toward renewable energy sources.   [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Thursday Must Reads: Fracking Wastewater More Toxic Than Suspected;
East Bay Express
Robert Gammon

1. Wastewater from fracking in California is far more toxic than suspected — it contains on average about 700 times the level of benzene, a carcinogen, that federal standards allow, the LA Times reports.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Fracking ban fails Board of Supervisors fails to vote on the controversial practice
News Review
Tom Gascoyne

After nearly five hours of discussion, public input and professional testimony on the proposed countywide ban of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the Butte County Board of Supervisors failed on Tuesday (Feb. 10) to adopt an ordinance that has been more than 10 months in the making.   [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Fracking to be allowed beneath national parks despite ban pledge Ministers accused of watering down commitment to ban controversial shale gas exploration in protected areas
The Telegraph
Emily Gosden

Fracking will be allowed to take place beneath national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, ministers have announced, despite committing to a ban in such areas less than three weeks ago.   [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
95 Scientists and Economists Call on Obama to Veto Keystone XL Pipeline Bill
EcoWatch
Jennifer Skene

Yesterday, 95 scientists and economists released a letter urging President Obama and Secretary Kerry to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, calling it a “step in the wrong direction” if the Obama administration is serious about addressing climate change.   [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Ban, don’t delay, fracking in Maryland
Frederick News Post
Editorial

Maryland should follow in New York state’s footsteps and ban fracking, then acknowledge there are some kinds of economic development for which the price paid is outweighed by the ramifications to our health and environment. Fracking, a process also called hydraulic fracturing from the water, sand and chemicals blasted into underground rock to fracture and release gas, received a boost from a favorable report delivered recently based on the recommendations of an advisory commission appointed three years ago to study fracking risks. Shortly afterward, draft regulations were drawn up by the O’Malley administration.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
DOES DENVER HAVE A FRACKING PROBLEM?
Westword
Alan Predergast

On a freakishly warm Tuesday in February, a group of activists gathered downtown to announce that they are bringing their anti-fracking campaign to Denver. More specifically, they are bringing it to Hizzoner, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, urging him to impose a moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the city to stall the march of rigs that could end up on the doorstep of his own neighborhood, Green Valley Ranch.   [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Have Frackers’ Shares Hit Rock Bottom?
DeSmogBlogUK
BRENDAN MONTAGUE

A major investor in British fracking has suffered a catastrophic fall in share price as protesters continue to fight attempts to drill the countryside in pursuit of shale gas. Allan Campbell has now resigned as chief executive of AJ Lucas in Australia after two decades at the helm, as the company heads perilously close to the rocks. “It is time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life,” he said.   [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Wisconsin Orders Up 'Frac Sand' Study in Response to Petition
InsideClimate News
Zahra Hirji

Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources will soon study the myriad impacts of the state's frac sand boom, thanks in part to a petition written by the green group Midwest Environmental Advocates. The last major state review of the industry was published in January 2012. Until now, regulators have denied repeated requests from concerned citizens for an updated version.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Federal agency hears both sides of pipeline debate
Pittsburgh Business Times
Tom Ragan

About 200 people showed up to hear testimony regarding information being gathered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Wednesday. Several speakers paraded to the podium to give their impact statements — pro and con — regarding a proposed pipeline project by PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC, a partnership of six member companies including UGI Energy Services, AGL Resources, New Jersey Resources Pipeline Co., South Jersey Industries, Public Service Electric and Gas Co. LLC, and Spectra Energy Partners.   [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Droughts Will Hammer U.S. West as 21st Century Unfolds
InsideClimate News
Katherine Bagley

As harsh as the current long-running California drought has been, conditions in the American West will substantially worsen in coming years, according to new research. Later this century, the American Southwest and Central Plains are likely to experience catastrophic drought worse than any in the last millennium, according to research published today by scientists from NASA, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Cornell University. The hotter and dryer conditions will be "driven primarily" by human-caused climate change and could be so severe that communities will struggle to adapt, the study finds.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
BLM pulls back most leases proposed for culturally sensitive Alkali Ridge in southeastern Utah
The Salt Lake Tribune
BRIAN MAFFLY

The Bureau of Land Management has put off plans to sell oil and gas leases around Alkali Ridge, Montezuma Canyon and other culturally rich areas in southeastern Utah. The agency announced this week it was deferring leasing decisions on 36 of the 53 parcels on the block at its next quarterly auction, set for Feb. 17 in Salt Lake City, bowing to concerns raised by numerous conservation and preservation groups that the sale could harm archaeological resources. Federal land managers also yanked nine "split estate" state trust land parcels where BLM owned the minerals.   [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Sunoco touts natural gas liquids pipeline in Lebanon
NPR State Impact PA
MARIE CUSICK

Philadelphia-based Sunoco Logistics hosted a public forum in Lebanon Thursday night to discuss a proposed $2.5 billion pipeline that would carry natural gas liquids from Ohio to the Marcus Hook industrial complex in Philadelphia. The 350-mile Mariner East 2 is a new pipeline that would traverse southern Pennsylvania. It would run parallel to its predecessor, the Mariner East 1– an existing line which Sunoco recently retrofitted. Late last year Mariner 1 partially came online, and it’s already shipping propane across the state.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Will New Jersey remain the Garden State or be a pipeline state?
Examiner
Michele S. Byers, Guest Column

New Jersey is currently awash in proposals for the construction of new pipelines. They will transport gas and oil from supply sources, crossing this state we’re in to deliver fuel to distribution and export points. These plans are not good news for preserved open space and farmland. There is the proposed PennEast pipeline, which would carry natural gas from the Marcellus Shale “fracking” region of Pennsylvania to a location north of Trenton, crossing through a substantial amount of preserved land in Hunterdon and Mercer counties, including important watersheds. Then there is the proposed Diamond East pipeline, which would follow a parallel route a few miles to the east.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Frackademia in Depth An analysis of the oil and gas industry's case for fracking
Public Accountability Initiative


In the wake of New York State’s decision to ban fracking, drilling proponents have criticized Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration for basing the decision on “pseudo science” and “junk science.” When asked about the New York fracking ban at his 2015 “State of American Energy” press conference, American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard called for “more thoughtful consideration as to economics, environment, and sound science – because the science is clearly on the side of development and on the side of industry.” Over the years, some of this science has proven less than reliable. In a trend that became known as “frackademia,” several universities issued industry-friendly fracking studies that the institutions later retracted and walked back due to erroneous central findings, false claims of peer review, and undisclosed industry ties. The studies bore the hallmarks of an industry effort to manipulate and corrupt the scientific debate around fracking, much like the tobacco industry manipulated the scientific debate around the dangers associated with smoking.  [Full Story]

Feb 12, 2015
Mirroring oil, this fossil fuel is plunging, too
CNBC
John W. Schoen

Oil isn't the only fossil fuel that's getting cheaper. The plunge in oil prices is mirrored by the cost of coal, which has been cut in half since 2011 and is expected to keep falling. What's more, the drop in prices is adding pressure to U.S. coal producers.   [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
House Passes Keystone Bill Despite Obama’s Opposition
New York Times
Coral Davenport and MARJORIE CONNELLY

WASHINGTON — The House on Wednesday passed a bill approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, setting up a confrontation with President Obama, who has vowed to veto the measure. The bill, which passed the Senate last month, headed to Mr. Obama’s desk Wednesday night.  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Fossil fuel lobby goes on the attack against divestment movement
The Guardian
Damian Carrington & Xaquin GV

The speed at which the fossil fuel divestment campaign is growing seems to have rattled its opponents in the coal and oil lobby “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you,” said Mahatma Gandhi. The climate change campaign to divest from fossil fuels seems to be moving through those stages at express speed, with a sudden barrage of attacks from the coal and oil lobbies ahead of its global divestment day on Valentine’s day.  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Dominion Meeting Overrun By Darth Vader & Stormtroopers
Popular Resistance


NEW YORK, NY, Feb. 9, 2015 – Monday morning a coalition of concerned citizens from across the Northeast and Appalachia protested Dominion Resources’ analyst meeting held at the Waldorf Astoria. Dominion, one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, was promoting expansion projects of its subsidiary Dominion Midstream and its $3.8billion Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) export terminal at Cove Point, MD  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Apple deal, tax change could spark corporate solar stampede
Reuters
NICHOLA GROOM

(Reuters) - Apple Inc's deal to buy nearly $1 billion of power from a massive First Solar Inc plant could be the first of a stampede of contracts driven by the looming change in a solar tax incentive that makes such projects particularly attractive. Together with a sharp drop in the cost of solar power and corporate efforts to rack up green credentials, the expiring tax subsidies have large energy purchasers taking a hard look at buying solar under big long-term contracts.  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Ethane leak causes evacuation of multiple homes in Chartiers Township
Observer-Reporter


Multiple homes on Ullom Road and Western Avenue were evacuated Wednesday night following an ethane leak of a pipeline in Chartiers Township, according to Washington County emergency responders. The leak along Route 519 near the MarkWest natural gas processing plant was reported about 6:45 p.m. No injuries were reported and the leak was contained, but Route 519 was closed for precautionary reasons.  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
State warns that Oregon LNG project could disrupt fishing
Daily Astorian
Derrick DePledge

State warns that Oregon LNG terminal could have significant disruption on fishing WARRENTON — Warning of a potentially substantial disruption, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife has recommended that Oregon LNG perform a thorough analysis of the impact of its proposed terminal on commercial and recreational fishing in the Columbia River. The department, in comments on the project in January to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, found that Oregon LNG has not sufficiently characterized the local importance of fishing and the possible disruption during the construction and operation of a liquefied natural gas export terminal on 96 acres along the Skipanon Peninsula.   [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Pennsylvania governor proposes new tax on natural gas extraction
Reuters
HILARY RUSS

(Reuters) - Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf on Wednesday proposed a new 5 percent severance tax on the state's booming natural gas extraction industry, a turnabout from his Republican predecessor who opposed such a tax. The measure could generate $1 billion or more, Wolf said again on Wednesday, repeating a figure he touted during his campaign. He said he would use "the lion's share" of the additional revenue to boost education funding. Wolf, a Democrat, ousted incumbent Tom Corbett in November in part because some voters believed Corbett had dramatically underfunded the school system.  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
PennEast pipeline blasted by nearly 300 who attend Pa. public meeting
Times of Trenton
Keith Brown

NORTHAMPTON, PA. -- Environmentalists, property owners and municipal officials were among the nearly 300 people who attended a meeting Tuesday in Northampton, Pa. to rail against the proposed $1.2 billion PennEast pipeline, according to LehighValleyLive.com. Supporters of the proposed 114-mile natural gas pipeline were sparse at the nearly three-hour meeting, called by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Two hours into the meeting, 32 people had spoken with six voicing support for the project, LehighValleyLive.com reported.  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Fracademic Shills for Gas Bomb in a Partially Collapsed Salt Cavern
NO FRACKING WAY
Chip Northrup

Without much to frack about in New York, local fracademics adjust. Don Siegel, who teaches Rocks For Jocks at Syracuse, is now an expert on storing millions of gallons of pressurized propane in partially collapsed salt caverns next to America’s cleanest lake. Yep, that Don Siegel. http://www.nofrackingway.us/2013/04/19/don-siegel-rocks-for-jocks-shale-for-shills/ “Don Siegel, a Syracuse University professor and hydrogeologist/geochemist, said the Seneca Lake storage site has unique geologic attributes that protect the environment. “I can think of no better geological environment in New York state to store liquid gas than salt caverns filled with brine,” he wrote in a March 12, 2013, letter to DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens. “Indeed, if ‘proof is in the pudding,’ brine-filled salt caves near Seneca Lake already have been used to store liquid gas for decades and have had no problems.”  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Court denies appeal by worker who claimed fracking chemicals blinded him
The Patriot News
Matt Miller

A Commonwealth Court panel has refused to award workers' compensation benefits to a natural gas industry employee who claimed he was partially blinded by accidental exposure to fracking chemicals. The state judges made that call Wednesday by upholding a workers' compensation judge's decision that James Dershem had not proven his vision problems were related to a mishap at a gas drilling site.  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
The EPA’s Natural Gas Problem
NOVA News Now
Phil McKenna

When U.S. President Barack Obama recently announced plans to reign in greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas production, the opposing drum beats from industry and environmental groups were as fast as they were relentless. The industry group America’s Natural Gas Alliance bombarded Twitter with paid advertisements stating how little their industry actually emits. Press releases from leading environmental organizations deploring the plan’s reliance on largely voluntary actions flooded email inboxes.  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
California's Wastewater Injection Problem Is Way Worse Than Previously Reported
DeSmogBlog
MIKE GAWORECKI

Documents released this week as part of the EPA’s investigation into the state of California’s underground injection control program show that in addition to hundreds of wastewater injection wells there are thousands more wells illegally injecting fluids from “enhanced oil recovery” into aquifers protected by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. At a time when California is experiencing extreme and prolonged drought, you might expect state regulators to do everything they can to protect sources of water that could be used for drinking and irrigation. But that simply isn’t the case.  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Poll: Marylanders like Hogan, but oppose effort to slow school funding [oppose fracking]
The Washington Post
John Wagner and Scott Clement

Q: Thinking about energy needs and environmental concerns in Maryland, would you support or oppose the use of fracking, a drilling method that uses high-pressure water and chemicals to extract oil and natural gas from underground rock formations? A majority of Marylanders are wary of Hogan’s call to open up Western Maryland to drilling for natural gas. Although he has not put forward a specific proposal, Hogan has said he believes that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, could be an “economic gold mine.” Fifty-six percent of Marylanders polled said they oppose the use of fracking; 36 percent support it.  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
High levels of benzene found in fracking waste water
Los Angeles Times
Julie Cart

Hoping to better understand the health effects of oil fracking, the state in 2013 ordered oil companies to test the chemical-laden waste water extracted from wells. Data culled from the first year of those tests found significant concentrations of the human carcinogen benzene in this so-called "flowback fluid." In some cases, the fracking waste liquid, which is frequently reinjected into groundwater, contained benzene levels thousands of times greater than state and federal agencies consider safe. The testing results from hundreds of wells showed, on average, benzene levels 700 times higher than federal standards allow, according to a Times analysis of the state data.  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Frackademia in Depth An analysis of the oil and gas industry's case for fracking
Public Accountability Initiative


n the wake of New York State’s decision to ban fracking, drilling proponents have criticized Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration for basing the decision on “pseudo science” and “junk science.” When asked about the New York fracking ban at his 2015 “State of American Energy” press conference, American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard called for “more thoughtful consideration as to economics, environment, and sound science – because the science is clearly on the side of development and on the side of industry.”  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Sens. Schumer, Gillibrand Want Independent Review Of Pipeline Expansion
The Daily Voice
Javier Simon

PEEKSLILL, N.Y. – U.S. Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to allow an independent entity to study the potential impacts of the Algonquin Incremental Market pipeline expansion project, before giving it a final approval. Citing concerns from constituents and local officials, the two Democrats, want this independent party to investigate potential environmental and safety hazards. In a letter to the FERC, Schumer and Gillibrand noted that the project would replace the current 26-inch in diameter pipeline with a 42-inch one that transports natural gas through communities in Rockland, Putnam and Westchester counties. They asked about potential hazards that may arise due to the pipeline’s proximity to the Indian Point Energy Center, which houses two power plants. They also asked about the project’s effect on park land as well as the potential affects of exposure to airborne contaminants.  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Wolf proposes 5 percent tax on gas drillers to fund education
NPR State Impact PA
KATIE COLANERI

Governor Tom Wolf made good on a campaign promise Wednesday and proposed a severance tax on natural gas drilling. Speaking in an elementary school classroom in Thorndale, Chester County, Wolf said the “lion’s share” of the revenue will go to hiking overall funding for public education.   [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Junk Science? Report Finds Shale Industry Cited 'Retracted and Discredited' Studies
DeSmogBlog
Sharon Kelly

Since the beginning of the shale gas rush, the drilling industry has insisted that the process is relatively benign, arguing that its critics are simply fear-mongering and that a sober scientific review of the data fails to prove, for instance, that fracking has ever contaminated water supplies. In the wake of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's decision to disallow fracking in that state, for example, one of the most active boosters of the shale drilling rush, the industry-funded Energy in Depth, issued a statement labeling the ban “'Junk Science' and 'Political Theater.”  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Energy policy insanity, from both sides
The Hill
Erik Molvar, contributor

I live in the resource colony of Wyoming, so when I woke up last week I heard Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) expounding on the nation's energy policy. Said Enzi of President Obama: "He has no energy policy. He's anti-energy and he's doing everything he can to stop it and he's successful on all the public lands." Lummis commented on the unusually low price of gasoline at the pump as follows: "It is — it is really low and it's because it is a global market. But when we restrict the production of oil and gas from federal land, when we don't allow things like the Keystone pipeline, we minimize our ability to make the current price of gasoline sustainable." The Obama administration should be blamed, the narrative goes, for America's faltering energy industry, even though American fossil fuel production is presently glutting markets on every hand. Obama's energy policy isn't much more coherent. We've had "all of the above" as an energy goal (translation: whatever works). This year's State of the Union address included the tidbit "today, America is No. 1 in oil and gas," as if the federal government had much to do with it. Even as the president closes the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, he proposes opening up offshore drilling off the southeast Atlantic coast as if we learned nothing from the BP Deep Horizon spill and its destruction of marine ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico.  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Western Md. coalition seeks looser gas drilling regulations
WRAL


GRANTSVILLE, MD. — A coalition of western Maryland landowners, businesses and labor groups says the state's proposed rules for natural gas drilling go too far. The Energy and Property Rights Coalition asked the administration of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday to put on hold the regulations proposed by his predecessor, Democrat Martin O'Malley, shortly before O'Malley left office last month. O'Malley said in November that the proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing represent "what many believe to be the gold standard" for environmentally sound drilling. They include a requirement that permit applicants produce a five-year, comprehensive plan for all their anticipated wells.   [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Bill to prohibit municipal drilling ordinances advances in Oklahoma House
Tulsa World
RANDY KREHBIEL

OKLAHOMA CITY — Legislation that would ban local governments from prohibiting oil and gas drilling in their corporate limits advanced from committee in the Oklahoma House of Representatives on Tuesday. House Bill 2178, by Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, is one of several targeting local ordinances on drilling. It is not clear how the measure, as currently written, would affect Tulsa’s drilling ordinance, which was adopted in 1906 — a year before statehood — and revised in 2010.  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
US agency seeking public's comments Wednesday on oil, gas exploration off Virginia's coast
Daily Journal
AP

NORFOLK, Virginia — The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is seeking the public's say on the prospect of oil and gas drilling off Virginia's coast. The agency has scheduled a public meeting Wednesday in Norfolk to collect comments on the Obama administration's plan to open Atlantic waters to drilling. Waters off Virginia are included. BOEM's visit to Virginia is expected to attract a wide array of opinions.  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
HIGH-PRESSURE PIPELINE WOULD TRAVERSE THREE COUNTIES IN FAST-GROWING SOUTH JERSEY
NJ Spotlight
Tom Johnson

Map for proposed project: http://assets.njspotlight.com/assets/15/0211/0007 New Jersey Natural Gas wants to build a 28-mile high-pressure gas transmission line through parts of Burlington, Ocean, and Monmouth counties, a project the utility says will increase resiliency and redundancy for customers in one of the fastest-growing areas in the state. The Southern Reliability Link aims to provide a secondary feeder line into the southern portion of the utility’s franchise territory, an area hard hit by disruptions that lasted up to eight weeks after Hurricane Sandy devastated much of its infrastructure, particularly along the barrier islands in Ocean County. Currently, the Wall Township utility obtains approximately 90 percent of the gas needed to supply its more than half-million customers from an interstate pipeline in Middlesex County. The proposed pipeline, beginning in Chesterfield in Burlington County, would largely run along roads and then through about 10 miles of the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst before ending in Manchester, according to utility executives.  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Cancer-causing Chemicals Found in Fracking Flowback From California Oil Wells Analysis of State Documents Reveals High Levels of Benzene, Chromium-6
Center for Biological Diversity
Hollin Kretzmann

SAN FRANCISCO— Flowback fluid from fracked oil wells in California commonly contains dangerous levels of cancer-causing chemicals, a new analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity has found. Flowback fluid is a key component of oil-industry wastewater from fracked wells, which is commonly disposed of in injection wells, which often feed into aquifers, including some that could be used for drinking water and irrigation. Oil wastewater is also dumped into open pits.   [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Fracking panel head calls for collaboration on carbon tax
The Chronicle Herald
Erin Pottie

SYDNEY — Cape Breton University president David Wheeler says the Atlantic provinces must collaborate on a carbon pricing system, or a carbon tax, that would create wealth by recycling its revenue through tax deductions. Pointing to British Columbia as the prime example, Wheeler said there is mounting evidence that carbon pricing can put money back into taxpayers’ pockets while reducing their fossil fuel reliance.   [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Fracking raises concerns for environment, health
Times Colonist
Opinion

Recently, I attended a town-hall meeting in Nanaimo regarding liquefied natural gas and the process of its extraction called fracking. Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker Damien Gillis, in addition to scientist Eoin Finn, presented excellent research and visuals on this subject with local B.C. and national information. The truth about fracking is disturbing.   [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
As more fracking looms, Kentucky lawmakers consider bill reworking regulations on drilling
Kentucky.com
Bill Estep

With the potential looming for a jump in high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to drill for oil and gas in Kentucky, state lawmakers will consider a bill that includes stronger reclamation standards and more protection for water sources near wells. House Bill 386, introduced this week, would upgrade rules to cover a type of drilling in which operators can inject millions of gallons of chemical-laced water under high pressure into deep, horizontal bore holes to break up rocks, unlocking oil and gas.   [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Va. County Calls for Disclosure of Fracking Chemicals
WHSV


ABINGDON, Va. (AP) -- The Washington County Board of Supervisors says drilling companies should disclose chemicals they use in fracking.   [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Williams CEO: Politics, not prices, slowing natural gas pipeline development
Fuel Fix
Robert Grattan

HOUSTON — While cheap prices might be slowing production of natural gas, it’s political fights that are really hurting the midstream sector, said Williams Co. chairman and chief executive officer Alan Armstrong. The decline in prices hasn’t changed the need for pipelines, as the continued position of natural gas as a cheep feedstock for electricity generators and other producers has offset any slowdown in drilling, Armstrong said in an interview with FuelFix. Instead, he said, it’s political hassles and complex regulation that make moving natural gas from the wellhead to the market more uncertain and expensive.  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Gov. Tom Wolf outlines 5 percent tax on natural gas drilling
Patriot-News
Wallace McKelvey

Gov. Tom Wolf outlined his proposal for a 5 percent severance tax on natural gas production, most of the proceeds of which will go toward education funding. "It's not like this is out of the blue," he said, in a speech from a Chester County elementary school. "We're the only state in the union with natural resources without a severance tax."   [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
House Passes Keystone XL, Bill Heads to Obama’s Desk
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

This afternoon, after some debate that broke no new ground, the House of Representatives passed the Senate’s version of the Keystone XL pipeline bill by a vote of 270-152, the Senate passed the bill on Jan. 29 by a vote of 62-36. The House had quickly approved it—for the tenth time— just days after the current session of Congress convened in early January, sending the bill to the Senate. There it passed for the first time, thanks to Republicans taking control of the Senate following last November’s mid-term elections.   [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
EU Shutters Most Coal, Natural Gas Power in Six Years
Bloomberg
Matthew Carr

(Bloomberg) -- European utilities shut more coal and natural gas power plants in 2014 than in any year since at least 2009 amid falling demand for electricity and tougher pollution curbs, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. European Union power companies turned off 63 percent more coal- and gas-fed generation than they started, James Cooper, an analyst for New Energy Finance in London, said by e-mail. Net decommissioning of 5 gigawatts, equivalent to about five nuclear power plants, was the most in at least six years.  [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Local fracking foes find solid ground
Brookhaven Courier
Erin Alexis Goldman

Texas produced about a third of the nation’s natural gas last year, the greatest share of any state, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In early November 2014, Denton, Texas, made national news after voters approved a ban on hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking.   [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Thanking the Anti-Fracking Troops
Ithaca.com
Opinion Roy Lackner

It was seven years ago—thank you Ithaca Times for printing the “Clarion Call” on hydro-fracking. Unfortunately the State of Pennsylvania had already allowed the onslaught of landmen and women to bamboozle farmers and landowners as to the real nature of the type of hydrocarbon exploitation. Trenton/Black River [limestone formations] this was not, but the willful wasteful use of our precious fresh water resources. American energy independence this was neither. But the rush to supply the International market, hence the rush to build pipelines to export terminals—the same as the Keystone XL.   [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
UK fracking: the pursuit of safety
The Lawyer
Adam Brown

Further changes to the Infrastructure Bill have addressed the potential problems for the UK unconventionals industry introduced by a Labour amendment, but the approach of Scottish and possibly Welsh ministers is less encouraging for would-be shale developers.   [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Texas and Oklahoma Question whether Fracking Disposal Wells Cause Earthquakes
AllGov


Experts in two of the nation’s biggest oil and gas states have linked earthquakes to injection wells used in hydraulic fracturing and other drilling operations but politicians in those states aren’t listening to the evidence.   [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
Oklahoma shale booming
UPI
Daniel J. Graeber

HOUSTON, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- An emerging shale play in Oklahoma is likely on par with rival basins in Texas and North Dakota, even with low oil prices, analysis finds. Analysis from Wood Mackenzie finds the South Central Oklahoma Province, or SCOOP, to be economical with a price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, as low as $41 per barrel, more than 15 percent below the current price.   [Full Story]

Feb 11, 2015
The Hidden Ways Manipulated Science Harms Our Health, From Measles To Organics
Huffington Post
Lynne Peeples

The current outbreak of measles, on pace to become the largest since the disease was declared eliminated in the U.S. more than a decade ago, was made possible in large part by a single black mark in the medical research literature -- a discredited 1998 study from Dr. Andrew Wakefield that purported to link the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism. The Lancet, the journal in which Wakefield's study appeared, pulled the study after investigations by a British journalist and a medical panel uncovered cherry-picked data and an array of financial conflicts of interest, among other trappings of fraudulent science. Wakefield, a British gastroenterologist, had gone as far as to pay children at his son's birthday party to have their blood drawn for the research. He had also collected funds for his work from personal injury lawyers who represented parents seeking to sue vaccine makers.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Coalition urges Brown to shut down illegal injection wells
East Bay
Dan Bacher

“Gov. Jerry Brown must immediately ban fracking and halt the use of illegal injection wells in California,” said Adam Scow, California director of Food and Water Watch, on behalf of Californians Against Fracking. Photo of the front of the March for Real Climate Leadership in Oakland on February 7 by Dan Bacher. Over 8,000 Californians, including a diverse group of Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, Latinos, African Americans, Asians, labor union activists, doctors, nurses, clergy, conservationists, environmental justice advocates, students and others, marched through downtown Oakland demanding that Jerry Brown Brown declare a statewide ban on fracking.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Debate Rages Over Keystone and Offshore Drilling, Yet Data Lacking
US News and World Report
Alan Neuhauser

The warnings are stark, the images dire. "If drilling is allowed off the East Coast of the United States, it puts our beaches, our fishermen, and our environment in the crosshairs for an oil spill that could devastate our shores," Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said in a press conference last month.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
3 drilling violations and 35 permits
Allied News
Monica Pryts

Three violations and 35 permits for local gas and oil drilling were issued over the past month by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. DEP issued these violations in December in and around the Allied News coverage area: - One environmental, health and safety violation in Butler County to Re Gas Dev LLC on Dec. 15 for failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of a residual waste at a drill site in Middlesex Township. - Two in Venango County: One to Trimont Energy LLC on Dec. 3 for inadequate, insufficient and/or improperly installed cement at a drill site in Cranberry Township; and one administrative violation to Sylvan Energy LLC on Dec. 8 for failure to mark plugged well at a drill site in Clinton Township.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
NASA Wallops concerned with potential offshore drilling
DELMARVA Times
Rachel Pacella

Twenty days after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill rocked the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the U.S. Department of Interior canceled the proposed sale of a gas and oil drilling lease, Lease 220, off Virginia's coast. Almost five years later, the possibility of oil and gas drilling off Delmarva has reappeared, with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announcing in January that a draft oil and gas leasing program for 2017-2022 would include one sale in the Atlantic.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Board of Supervisors says fracking companies should disclose chemicals used
WCYB
CAllan Gray

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. - Gas drilling companies may have to tell people what chemicals they're putting in the ground when fracking for natural gas. The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy is in favor of the disclosure and called for it in a set of proposed rule changes earlier this month, according to DMME spokesperson Tarah Kesterson. Governor Terry McAuliffe still needs to approve the changes, which is why the Washington County Board of Supervisors have come up with an official message of support.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
State DEQ plans new rules for local oil, gas drilling
Crain's Detroit
AP

Michigan officials are planning new rules related to advance notification and precautions for oil and gas companies seeking to put new wells in the Detroit area. The Detroit News reports the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality plans to send new instructions for companies intending to drill wells in counties with populations exceeding 750,000 — Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties. A summary memorandum of the rules obtained by the newspaper says changes would require more residents and government officials be told about prospective drilling. The rules require that companies study other locations than the proposed site; adopt ways to reduce noise and light caused by drilling; and install at least one ground water well in the area to monitor for possible contamination of the water supply in residential areas.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
FERC approves Constitution pipeline to move Marcellus gas northeast
Oil & Gas Journal
Greg Gethard

The Marcellus and Utica natural gas plays have made headlines for years, but moving the gas to end users to the East has not been easy due to a limited pipeline capacity. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved Constitution pipeline. Several other pending projects also seek to deliver Marcellus-Utica gas to customers in the Northeast, a region growing more dependent on gas for electric power generation.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
New oil and gas regulations could be a test for the Wolf administration
Power Source
Laura Legere

The next draft of a controversial package of state environmental rules for oil and gas well sites is due to be revealed near the beginning of March, and observers will be watching to see how Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration leaves its mark on the standards. The wide-ranging revisions will change how the oil and gas industry operates above ground, and influence everything from pits and pipelines to the protection of public resources around drilling sites. A draft of the final rules was expected to be discussed by an oil and gas advisory board to the state Department of Environmental Protection on Jan. 22, two days after Mr. Wolf was inaugurated. The meeting was canceled because the draft “had not undergone sufficient review at that point,” a DEP spokeswoman said.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Mass. town challenges FERC's right to permit pipelines linked to gas exports Colin Sullivan and Hannah Northey
E & E Newswire
Colin Sullivan and Hannah Northey

Federal energy regulators are facing an innovative constitutional challenge aimed at their ability to regulate natural gas pipeline developers that may have future export traffic in mind. A tort action claim from the town of Deerfield, Mass., against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission filed last week is meant to block a proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline application there. The case is notable for its unique assault on FERC that could spark far-reaching implications if the agency decides to award damages or if it goes to court. The claim accuses FERC of negligence under the Federal Tort Claims Act and was sent to FERC, the Energy Department and the U.S. attorney general by a local lawyer, Cristobal Bonifaz, who is representing the town free of charge "because the issue is of critical importance," he said. Bonifaz argues that changes to the Natural Gas Act in 2005 meant to give FERC more leeway to involve itself in export infrastructure are not constitutional because selling gas to foreign nations is not in the public interest of the United States. The claim cites two reasons for why that is so. First, it says exporting liquefied natural gas "depletes a national resource for future usage ... without bringing any benefit whatsoever to the public interest." Second, the claim argues that burning gas in other countries contributes to "the catastrophe of climate change" and adds costs at home to deal with it. Bonifaz goes on to write that the 2005 amendments to the NGA are unconstitutional because a Fifth Amendment takings claim is not justified. "FERC has been negligent in not realizing this constitutional flaw," the claim states.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Dominion ‘Going to Get Our Share’ of Marcellus Buildout
Cetology
Joe Fisher

Dominion CEO Tom Farrell says his company’s pipeline infrastructure makes up “the spine of the Marcellus/Utica shale.” On Monday he outlined how Dominion is working a slate of producer-push and market-pull infrastructure projects to meet the region’s continually growing demand for takeaway capacity. “There’s a lot of infrastructure demand to get the gas out of the Marcellus and Utica region,” Farrell said during a meeting with financial analysts following the company. “We’re obviously not going to get all of this, but we’re going to get our share of it.”  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
The Solar Industry Is a Friend, Not a Frenemy
INSTITUTE FOR ENERGY ECONOMICS AND FINANCIAL ANALYSIS
Deborah Lawrence

Oil can be both a job creator and a job destroyer. It’s the nature of a boom-and-bust beast, and lately the beast has been a destroyer. As tight oil production from shales has ramped up in a drilling frenzy over the past few years, U.S. oil has disrupted the global market pricing equilibrium and consequently oil prices has been in free fall last summer. They’re down now about 60 percent since June. Not surprisingly, the companies involved in shale extraction—or fracking—have suffered. One result of their pain is that they’ve slashed their capital-expenditure budgets for 2015.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Seneca LPG facility goes before judge
The Leader
Derrick Ek

The state Department of Environmental Conservation will hold a two-day hearing this week on Crestwood’s proposed LPG facility on Seneca Lake, beginning a process that could eventually lead to decision on the project as the DEC’s review heads into its sixth year. The issues conference - as it’s known in DEC terms - is set to begin at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Holiday Inn Express in Horseheads and continue for two days. It’s open to the public, but seating is limited.   [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
DOJ requests additional information related to Halliburton acquisition of Baker Hughes
World Oil


HOUSTON -- Halliburton and Baker Hughes have announced that, as expected, the companies have each received a request for additional information from the United States Department of Justice in connection with Halliburton's pending acquisition of Baker Hughes. The second requests were issued under the notification requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended. The second requests are a standard part of the regulatory review process by the DOJ and were expected by Halliburton and Baker Hughes. The effect of the second requests is to extend the waiting period imposed by the HSR Act until 30 days after Halliburton and Baker Hughes have substantially complied with the requests, unless that period is extended voluntarily by both parties or terminated sooner by the DOJ. Halliburton and Baker Hughes are working cooperatively with the DOJ as it conducts its review of the transaction, which remains subject to shareholder and other approvals, as well as customary closing conditions.   [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Drones seen as boon to monitoring energy infrastructure, but FAA remains roadblock
Columbus First Business
Tom Knox

Drones could soon be buzzing over oil and gas infrastructure in eastern Ohio as engineering firms eye the devices as a cost-saving way to better survey massive developments. The use of drones – small, unmanned aerial vehicles that are increasingly finding business uses – is already happening in the Utica shale play, but it's nascent. Uses range from flying over new and existing pipelines for maintenance to reviewing large projects that a potential buyer wants to ensure are in solid shape. Drones could be cheaper than manned airplanes and record better images from multiple angles.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Scientists using sunlight to make liquid fuel
CBS News
MICHAEL CASEY

Daniel Nocera became an instant celebrity in renewable energy circles in 2011 when he invented the artificial leaf. More an idea than an actual leaf, the Harvard professor came up with a way to harness sunlight with silicon to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. From there, it was theorized, it was just a step further to create hydrogen fuel cells.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Seneca LPG facility goes before judge
The Leader
Derrick Ek

The state Department of Environmental Conservation will hold a two-day hearing this week on Crestwood’s proposed LPG facility on Seneca Lake, beginning a process that could eventually lead to decision on the project as the DEC’s review heads into its sixth year. The issues conference - as it’s known in DEC terms - is set to begin at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Holiday Inn Express in Horseheads and continue for two days. It’s open to the public, but seating is limited.   [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Natural Gas Pipeline Battle in Michigan Moves South
InsideClimate News
David Hasemyer

To a dogged Michigan township supervisor, the recent decision by a Texas company to scrap plans to run a natural gas pipeline across the property of hundreds of landowners shows that people can fight—and win. Atlas Township Supervisor Shirley Kautman-Jones said she believes the voices of outraged residents were heard loud and clear by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners when it decided to abandon plans for its ET Rover pipeline in six central Michigan counties. "Never underestimate the power of determined people," she said.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Western Mass anti-pipeline group MassPLAN mobilizes against Canadian LNG export facility
Mass Live
Mary Serreze

The Western Massachusetts-based anti-pipeline group MassPLAN petitioned this week to intervene in a U.S. Dept. of Energy proceeding that would authorize the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) through a planned Canadian shipping port. An "overall scheme of massive pipeline expansion and export of natural gas" is not in the public interest, said MassPLAN director Katherine Eiseman in a statement. MassPLAN stands for Massachusetts Pipeline Awareness Network. The application from Pieridae Energy requests 20-year authorization to export up to 800 million cubic feet of domestically-produced natural gas per day through the Goldboro LNG facility, which is currently under development in Nova Scotia.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Groups plan full-court press for Denver fracking moratorium
Denver Post
Jon Murray

Years into Colorado's war over fracking, environmental and community activists Tuesday will try to open a new front by targeting Denver city hall. An alliance that also includes breweries, civil rights groups and nature photographer John Fielder will press during a news conference at noon Tuesday outside the City and County Building for a pre-emptive fracking moratorium. They say they also will push Mayor Michael Hancock and the City Council to weigh in against potential plans to lease out hundreds of thousands of acres of federal land for fracking in the South Platte River watershed in South Park. The river is a major source of Denver metro drinking water, and the activists fear contamination from spills.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Drillers Take Second Crack at Fracking Old Wells to Cut Cost
Bloomberg Business
David Wethe

Bloomberg) -- Beset by falling prices, the oil industry is looking at about 50,000 existing wells in the U.S. that may be candidates for a second wave of fracking, using techniques that didn’t exist when they were first drilled. New wells can cost as much as $8 million, while re-fracking costs about $2 million, significant savings when the price of crude is hovering close to $50 a barrel, according to Halliburton Co., the world’s biggest provider of hydraulic fracturing services. While re-fracking offered mixed results in the past, earning it the nickname “pump and pray,” the oil crash is forcing companies to pursue new technologies to produce oil more cheaply. Analyzing reams of data from older wells has become a key piece of the puzzle, identifying the best candidates for re-fracking instead of picking them simply at random, said Hans-Christian Freitag, vice president of integrated technology at Baker Hughes Inc.   [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Vermont Gas Cancels Second Phase Of Pipeline
Vermont Public Radio
Taylor Dobbs

Vermont Gas Systems has canceled plans for the second part of the company’s three-phase pipeline project. Phase II was the company's plan to run a natural gas pipeline under Lake Champlain to a mill owned by International Paper in Ticonderoga, New York. Vermont Gas said updated cost estimates for the second stage of the project were to blame for the changed plans. With the new estimates, Vermont Gas said in a filing to regulators, International Paper pulled out of the agreement after the companies could not agree on a path forward.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
VT Gas pulls the plug on pipeline expansion to NY
Burlington Free Press
DAN D’AMBROSIO

Vermont Gas President and CEO Don Rendall is still waiting for a dull moment. Nearly two weeks before he officially took over as CEO from his predecessor Don Gilbert on Jan. 1, Rendall announced a second cost increase for Phase 1 of Vermont Gas' natural gas pipeline expansion from Colchester to Middlebury. The price went from $121.6 million to $154 million. The original cost estimate was $86 million. Then, on Tuesday afternoon, Rendall dropped another bomb. Vermont Gas is pulling out of Phase 2 of the expansion project from Middlebury to the International Paper plant in Ticonderoga, N.Y.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Perry appointment to ETP board draws mixed reactions
Ames Tribune
Gavin Aronsen

Critics of Energy Transfer Partners’ plans to build a crude oil pipeline across Iowa were quick to jump on news that former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was appointed to the company’s board of directors last week, suggesting that Perry’s ties to Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad could influence the outcome of the project despite his proclaimed neutrality. But others, including a representative for a labor union hoping to reap the benefits of the construction jobs that would be created by the Texas company’s project, seemed unconcerned about the new position of Perry, a Republican who has made recent visits to central Iowa as he considers a second run for president in 2016. The Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition, which was formed late last year, pointed to lucrative fundraising events Branstad held with Perry in Texas last year during the Iowa governor’s re-election campaign to question whether Perry might ask for a favor in return.   [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Spectra Files Next Stage of Algonquin Pipeline Expansion
New City Patch
Lanning Taliaferro

The second stage of Spectra Energy’s expansion plan for its natural gas pipeline to New England and Canada moves forward with the company’s request that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission allow it to start the Pre-Filing Review Process for the Atlantic Bridge project. Spectra Energy said its letter to FERC that the “Atlantic Bridge project will create additional capacity between a receipt point on Algonquin’s system at Mahwah in Bergen County, New Jersey, and various delivery points on the Algonquin and Maritimes systems. The Project capacity will be created primarily through take up and relay, looping and additional compression on the existing Algonquin system, as well as bi-directional flow on the existing Maritimes system.”  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Environmental Groups To California Governor: 'Climate Leaders Don't Frack'
Huffington Post
Lydia O'Connor

Days after possibly the largest anti-fracking protest in history, environmentalists delivered a petition to California Gov. Jerry Brown demanding a ban on the controversial practice. The petition, which contained 184,000 signatures, was delivered Monday by a coalition of environmental progress groups, including the California-based Courage Campaign, Daily Kos, 350.org, Food and Water Watch, CREDO, Environmental Action, Presente, Forecast the Facts, and RH Reality Check. “Gov. Brown has painted a bold vision to make California a global leader on climate change, but he has made zero mention of the extreme dangers of fracking or made any substantial attempt to address it,” the Courage Campaign's Tim Molina said in a statement to The Huffington Post. “We met with Governor Brown to urge him to follow the lead of New York Governor Cuomo and acknowledge the real threat that fracking poses to the health and safety of our communities – and implement a statewide ban on fracking."  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Colorado anti-fracking activists import N.Y. strategies
Power Source
Jennifer Oldham

c) 2015, Bloomberg News. DENVER — Activists are importing New York tactics to the West after attempts to curtail fracking in Colorado failed in the state legislature, the courts and at the ballot box. Environmentalists, parents and nature photographer John Fielder will kick off a “Don’t Frack Denver” campaign today using strategies they say persuaded Governor Andrew Cuomo to initiate the nation’s only statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing. Like their New York counterparts, the coalition plans to use the potential for drilling near Denver’s watershed and a 103-page compendium of health studies to mobilize the region’s 1.3 million residents against oil and gas development.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
113,000 Californians Petition Against Fracking
Courthouse News
Nick Cahill

SACRAMENTO (CN) - Thousands of anti-fracking protesters marched through Gov. Jerry Brown's hometown of Oakland Saturday and by Monday 113,000 of their signatures had crossed his desk at the state Capitol. The activists submitted a petition demanding a ban on fracking in California, asking Brown to adopt similar legislation to that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo did in December 2014. The petition crossed Brown's desk two days after the largest fracking protest in U.S. history. More than 8,000 people marched through downtown Oakland, bearing signs such as, "Don't frack your mother" and "Leaders don't frack." The more than 100,000 signatures were packed into a box and delivered to Brown's office by Daily Kos campaign director Paul Hogarth.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
New York continues its clean energy transition
Digital Journal
Robert Magyar

Albany - As nearby Pennsylvania places the majority of its energy bet on its shale gas industry, New York State takes a decidedly different approach going with expanded Clean Energy initiatives. New York State is continuing to move forward to bring distributed energy resources such as PV solar, wind, battery storage and energy efficiency into the forefront of its energy mix. New York is taking a decidedly different energy path than its neighbor Pennsylvania, as recent events are now showing. This past December New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo formally banned hydraulic fracking from the state's shale formations to the approval of some and the outright anger of others. At the same time the state is significantly expanding the resources of its main energy entity, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).   [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Congress Stalls as Evidence of Fracking Harm Mounts
Epoch times
Sharon Guynup. Opinion

Last month, the Senate voted for the first time on closing a dangerous loophole in the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Acts. The “Halliburton loophole” allows oil and gas drillers to inject hazardous chemicals into the ground during fracking operations—without revealing the content of their chemical cocktail. The vote failed 35–63. This comes at a time when evidence of health and environmental damage caused by fracking is growing. The United States is amid an unprecedented drilling boom, spurred by hydraulic fracturing, which uses pressurized water, sand, and a secret mix of chemicals to shatter shale bedrock, releasing deep-earth natural gas and oil deposits.  [Full Story]

Feb 10, 2015
Md. General Assembly To Mull 8-Year Fracking Ban
Law360
Juan Carlos Rodriguez

A group of Maryland legislators this week will introduce a bill that would enact an 8-year ban on hydraulic fracturing in the state, the latest state lawmakers to weigh in against the controversial practice. Maryland Del. David Fraser-Hidalgo, D-Montgomery County, and Sen. Karen Montgomery, D-Montgomery County, along with 46 other state General Assembly members, said on Thursday they will introduce the Protect Our Health and Communities Act, a bill to enact a long-term, statewide moratorium on fracking. Maryland would follow the lead of New York, which banned...  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Activists: NY A Dump For Fracking Waste
WAMC
Dave Lucas

A new report examines the possibility and practice of potentially radioactive out-of-state fracking waste getting dumped in New York despite Governor Cuomo’s ongoing implementation of a ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing.  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Fracking, climate will be topics at DEP confirmation hearing
TribLice
Robert Swift

HARRISBURG — Sparring over gas drilling and climate change will likely spice up the Senate confirmation hearing for John Quigley as state environmental secretary sometime this spring. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources secretary from 2009 to 2011 during the Rendell administration, Quigley knows about being grilled by senators. This time around there is more material for senators to pore over as Quigley takes the helm at the Department of Environmental Protection. Quigley has been the DEP acting secretary since Tom Wolf took the governor's office, but whether the title becomes permanent depends on a majority of senators voting to confirm him. Republicans control the chamber 30-19 with one vacant seat.   [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
The FBI Is Making House Calls to Keystone XL Opponents
Think Progress
Katie Valentine

Tar sands activists in several states have been getting visits from the FBI, and no one knows yet exactly why. Federal agents have been contacting activists who have participated in anti-Keystone XL and anti-tar sands protests, according to the Canadian Press. The visits have been happening to activists in Oregon, Washington state, and Idaho, and a lawyer working with the activists told the Canadian Press that he has advised them not to talk to the agents. “It’s always the same line: ‘We’re not doing criminal investigations, you’re not accused of any crime. But we’re trying to learn more about the movement,'” he said.   [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Pope Francis: A Christian who does not protect creation ‘does not care about the work of God’
Washington Post
David Gibson

VATICAN CITY — If you are a Christian, protecting the environment is part of your identity, not an ideological option, Pope Francis said Monday (Feb. 9). “When we hear that people have meetings about how to preserve creation, we can say: ‘No, they are the greens!’” Francis said in his homily at morning Mass, using a common name for environmental activists. “No, they are not the greens! This is the Christian!” he said. “A Christian who does not protect creation, who does not let it grow, is a Christian who does not care about the work of God; that work that was born from the love of God for us,” Francis continued. “And this is the first response to the first creation: protect creation, make it grow.”  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
NY senators end silence on Algonquin pipeline
lohud
Ernie Garcia

New York's two senators sent a letter Monday to the federal agency considering a natural gas pipeline expansion asking for more public input. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the Algonquin pipeline expansion in Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties raises many questions. Specifically, the senators want FERC's board to consider the pipeline's proximity to the Indian Point nuclear power plant; impacts on parkland; possible airborne contaminant releases; and water quality effects. "In light of the significant potential health, safety, and environmental concerns raised throughout the approval process, we ask that FERC not issue a final determination on this proposal until a thorough, independent review of all the project's potential impacts is completed and made available to the public, with full opportunity for comment and review, including additional public meetings," their letter stated.  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
U.S. Fracking Bet Gone Wrong Hurts Guar Growers: Corporate India
Bloomberg
Prabhudatta Mishra

(Bloomberg) -- A big bet on the U.S. fracking boom is coming back to haunt India’s guar industry. Orders for guar gum -- used to extract shale oil and gas -- are drying up as U.S. companies cut investments following the plunge in crude oil prices. For Vikas WSP Ltd., India’s second-largest exporter, that’s meant idling 40 percent of its 140,000 metric ton capacity, a sign of industry stress. “It’s going to be very difficult for the guar industry to survive the current crisis,” Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan-based Vikas’ Managing Director B.D. Agarwal said in a phone interview on Jan. 28. “The situation is very bad. We neither have control over it, nor can we predict what’s in store.”  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
NY senators end silence on Algonquin pipeline
The Journal News
Ernie Garcia

New York's two senators sent a letter Monday to the federal agency considering a natural gas pipeline expansion asking for more public input. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the Algonquin pipeline expansion in Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties raises many questions. Specifically, the senators want FERC's board to consider the pipeline's proximity to the Indian Point nuclear power plant; impacts on parkland; possible airborne contaminant releases; and water quality effects.  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Former Hazleton mayor Quigley hearing could stir debate
Times-Tribune
Robert Swift

HARRISBURG — Sparring over gas drilling and climate change will likely spice up the Senate confirmation hearing for John Quigley as state environmental secretary sometime this spring. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources secretary from 2009 to 2011 during the Rendell administration, Mr. Quigley knows about being grilled by senators.   [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Naomi Klein on why low oil prices could be a great thing
Grist


May Boeve: There’s a lot of talk right now in the news about falling oil prices. Can you speak to the role that falling oil prices play in energy and climate politics in particular, and what we should be thinking about in this moment? Naomi Klein: That’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about, because the book I wrote before was called The Shock Doctrine, and the message of that book was that these moments are often catalysts for the wrong kind of change. It is not preordained that low oil prices will either hurt or help the climate movement.   [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Monday Must Reads: Fracking Makes Oklahoma No. 1 in Earthquakes; Thousands Gather for Climate Protest in Oakland
East Bay Express
Robert Gammon

Stories you shouldn’t miss: 1. Fracking for oil and natural gas has led to a massive increase in earthquakes in Oklahoma, and the state now leads the nation in the number of temblors each year, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting. In 2014, Oklahoma registered three times as many earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or higher as California, and even had more than Alaska, the nation’s traditional leader for quakes. Until the fracking boom began in 2009, earthquakes were uncommon in Oklahoma.  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Oil Jobs Start Drying Up Energy prices can be a frenemy of the American worker
Bloomberg
Jordan Yadoo & Vince Golle

It's been a Spindletop-like five years for the American oilman. As fracking projects mounted from the expanse of south Texas to North Dakota's Drift Prairie, hiring did too. Last year, about 198,000 workers were employed in oil and gas extraction, the most since 1987.   [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Has fracking rid California of its earthquake crown?
Cal Coast News


Geologists recorded three times as many earthquakes in Oklahoma last year than in California, leading some scientists to finger fracking in Oklahoma as a cause or major factor. [Reveal] In 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey reported 562 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater in Oklahoma and 180 in California. In addition to Oklahoma, states such as Kansas, Texas, Ohio and Colorado have seen increased seismic activity.  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Bill would mandate eight-year moratorium on fracking
My Eastern Shore MD
Katelyn Newman

ANNAPOLIS — Environmentally stringent and costly drilling regulations are not enough to protect the public’s health from hydraulic fracturing’s pollutants, according to a coalition of legislators, environmental groups and health professionals who rallied Thursday, Feb. 5 in support of a moratorium bill.  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Legal Settlement Delivers Blow to Blanket of Secrecy over Fracking Chemicals in Wyoming
AllGov


Drilling companies have fought far and wide to keep secret the list of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. But this effort has lost ground in Wyoming, where a lawsuit and subsequent settlement (pdf) will make it more difficult for frackers to withhold this information from the public.   [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
NEW CALL TO HALT FRACKING IN NORTHWEST TERRITORIES
My Yellow Knife Now
Ollie Williams

A group named Fracking Action North wants hydraulic fracturing in the NWT to be postponed until an environmental review is completed. This isn’t the first time the group, which includes Alternatives North, Ecology North and the Council of Canadians, has petitioned for fracking in the North to be reviewed.   [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Fracking, climate will be topics at DEP confirmation hearing
Scranton Times-Tribune
Robert Swift

HARRISBURG — Sparring over gas drilling and climate change will likely spice up the Senate confirmation hearing for John Quigley as state environmental secretary sometime this spring. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources secretary from 2009 to 2011 during the Rendell administration, Quigley knows about being grilled by senators.   [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Baird’s Gas Plan ignores air pollution, chemical expert says
Northern Star
Hamish Broome

A LOCAL toxic chemicals expert who successfully campaigned for a fracking ban in Scotland says the NSW Gas Plan ignores evidence of dangerous pollution caused by the gas industry.  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Pink Is Not Green: Companies That Support Fighting Cancer Should Not Use Chemicals That Cause It
EcoWatch
Annie Sartor

Everyone remembers the Komen vs Planned Parenthood scandal from a couple years ago, right? To recap: Susan G. Komen for the Cure defunded Planned Parenthood because, in addition to providing breast health services, they also offer—gasp—contraception and abortions. While Komen eventually caved to public pressure and reversed their decision, the damage was done. The scandal outed Komen as a right-wing institution.   [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
California Strengthens Oil Drilling Waste Rules
Capital Public Radio
Katie Orr

Drilling for oil can be messy. About 90 percent of the fluid that comes up is waste water and the oil companies have to dispose of it somewhere. California lets them inject the waste back into the ground in designated locations. But last summer the state became aware that some of these injections were happening in unauthorized locations. That prompted a review of the practice. The Conservation Department released a new plan for dealing with injection wells today. The department’s Jason Marshall says about 2,500 of the state’s 50,000 injection wells were injecting waste into unauthorized zones. He says this new plan will address lapses in oversight.  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Hey, California: Oklahoma had 3 times as many earthquakes in 2014
Reveal News
Michael Corey

Earthquakes are synonymous with California to most Americans, but West Coasters might be surprised to learn they’re far from the new center of the seismic landscape in the United States. Oklahoma recorded more than three times as many earthquakes as California in 2014 and remains well ahead in 2015. Data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that Oklahoma had 562 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater in 2014; California had 180. As of Jan. 31, Oklahoma recorded 76 earthquakes of that magnitude, compared with California’s 10. According to the Advanced National Seismic System global catalog, in 2014, Oklahoma even beat Alaska, the nation’s perennial leader in total earthquakes, though many small events in remote areas go unrecorded there. In California, earthquakes always have been relatively common, but in Oklahoma, they were much more rare – at least until 2009.  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Eastern Canadian LNG export plans face supply quandary
Daily Times
Reuters

PORTLAND: Eastern Canada has joined a race to export North America’s vast natural gas riches to energy-hungry markets overseas, with four projects betting the far-flung Atlantic provinces will be the easiest route to Europe and India. But firms behind those proposals, such as Spanish oil giant Repsol and Australia’s Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd have one major hurdle to clear: huge investments are needed to expand regional pipeline capacity to feed them, and it is unclear who will pay. “They have come at a rush over the last four or five months,” said analyst Mark Pinney, of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. “But these plants will need to get their act together quickly, both at the supply and demand end.”  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
State "Reforming the Energy Vision" Initiative Explained, Hearings This Week
Ithaca Times
Josh Brokaw

Fair energy advocates presented a webinar Monday evening on “Reforming the Energy Vision,” an initiative undertaken by the state Public Service Commission to look at ways to make the energy grid more locally controlled and sustainable. “(REV) is a sweeping reform to New York's energy policies,” said Jessica Azulay, from the Alliance for a Green Economy. “There hasn't been a lot of engagement with New York's environmental grassroots and local elected officials.”  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Oil train foes rally
Times Union
Brian Nearing

Albany Opponents of continued rail shipments of crude oil into the Port of Albany rallied Monday in a snowstorm outside the downtown Albany headquarters of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, renewing calls that the state take a closer look at potential environmental and safety risks. "We are asking for full transparency and scrutiny by DEC for the health and safety of all Capital District residents," said Albany County Legislator Doug Bullock, a resident of Albany who represents the 7th Legislative District  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Bill would mandate eight-year moratorium on fracking
My Eastern Shore MD
Katelyn Newman Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS — Environmentally stringent and costly drilling regulations are not enough to protect the public’s health from hydraulic fracturing’s pollutants, according to a coalition of legislators, environmental groups and health professionals who rallied Thursday, Feb. 5 in support of a moratorium bill. Del. David Fraser-Hidalgo, D-15-Montgomery, is sponsoring the Protect Our Health and Communities Act that would delay hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in western Maryland for the next eight years to provide more time to investigate health and environmental ramifications.  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Foes of proposed gas pipeline lose fight in General Assembly
NewsOK


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Opponents of a proposed natural gas pipeline across the Blue Ridge Mountains lost a legislative battle Monday. Environmentalists and property owners in the path of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline were seeking repeal of a 2004 state law that allows interstate natural gas companies to do testing and surveying on private property without the consent of the owner. Richmond-based Dominion Resources is joining other utilities seeking to build the $5 billion, 550-mile pipeline that would bring gas to the coast from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. State Sen. Emmett Hanger's bill to repeal the 2004 law died for lack of a motion in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
California proposes closing 140 oil wells that inject drilling fluids, waste into aquifers
Trib Live
AP

SAN FRANCISCO — California has proposed closing by October up to 140 oilfield wells that state regulators allowed to inject production fluids and waste into federally protected drinking water aquifers, state officials said Monday. The deadline is part of a broad plan the state sent the federal Environmental Protection Agency last week for bringing state regulation of oil and gas operations back into compliance with federal safe-drinking water requirements. State authorities made the plan public Monday. An ongoing state review mandated by the EPA found more than 2,500 oil and gas injection wells that the state authorized in aquifers that were supposed to be protected as current or potential sources of water for drinking and watering crops.   [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Quigley hearing could stir debate
Bakken.com
Robert Swift

HARRISBURG – Sparring over gas drilling and climate change will likely spice up the Senate confirmation hearing for John Quigley as state environmental secretary sometime this spring. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources secretary from 2009 to 2011 during the Rendell administration, Mr. Quigley knows about being grilled by senators. This time around there is more material for senators to pore over as Mr. Quigley takes the helm at the Department of Environmental Protection. Mr. Quigley has been the DEP acting secretary since Mr. Wolf took office, but whether the title becomes permanent depends on a majority of senators voting to confirm him. Republicans control the chamber 30-19 with one vacant seat.  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
DELAWARE RIVER ADVOCATES SEEK SUPPORT FOR REVIVED FEDERAL LEGISLATION
NJ Spotlight
JON HURDLE

Water quality, natural habitats, and public access in the Delaware River Basin would get more federal protection under a proposed law that’s expected to be reintroduced to Congress in coming weeks. The Delaware River Basin Conservation Act would implement a conservation program to improve water quality, manage fish stocks, control flooding, and improve recreational opportunities in the area that supplies water to some 16 million people in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
After the Fracking Ban
Earth Island Journal
ADAM FEDERMAN

It’s been just over a month since Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration announced that fracking would be banned in New York State. This decisive victory for environmental activists who had campaigned for years to keep the industry out of the state also presents a dilemma: Without a high profile issue to rally around, will the state’s environmental movement be able to achieve more far-reaching goals?  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Algeria's Sonatrach to press on with shale gas exploration: CEO
Platts


Algeria's Sonatrach will complete its initial shale gas pilot well within a few days and will continue feasibility studies on exploiting the non-conventional resource, the national oil company's CEO said Sunday despite continuing public controversy over the drilling program.   [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Frack foes: Drill waste sent to NY landfills
Daily Star
Joe Mahoney

On one hand, the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced a statewide ban on shale gas drilling. On the other, the state accepts truckload after truckload of drilling waste from Pennsylvania fracking operations at several upstate landfills, most of them located in the Southern Tier region.  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Developer drops plans for Berks County gas-to-liquids plant
NPR State Impact PA
MARIE CUSICK

Canadian developer, EmberClear, has dropped plans to build a $1 billion gas-to-liquids plant in Berks county. The company had planned to purchase a 63-acre site in South Heidelberg Township, about 10 miles west of Reading. The idea for the plant was to turn Pennsylvania’s cheap, abundant natural gas into more expensive liquid fuel. However, project manager Jim Palumbo told the Reading Eagle the company has decided not to pursue the project, citing community push back and the time involved in getting the necessary permits.  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Wolf being pressured to restrict gas drilling
Philadelphia Inquirer
ANDREW MAYKUTH

Environmental advocates are applying pressure on the Wolf administration to broaden restrictions on natural gas drilling on Pennsylvania state lands. Gov. Wolf's Jan. 29 moratorium on new gas leasing, signed on his 10th day in office and hailed by environmentalists, had symbolic importance, but it went only so far.   [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Quake Debate: Scientists warn of potential for 'large earthquake' as injection well discussion continues
Tulsa World
ZIVA BRANSTETTER

The warning may have seemed a little dramatic at the time, but OSU geology professor Todd Halihan wanted to get lawmakers’ attention about the risk of a damaging earthquake. “We knew the dust bowl would happen scientifically, but as scientists we did not communicate it effectively to the people of the state; I don’t want to do it again with a large earthquake,” states a slide in Halihan's presentation to an interim study committee last October.  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Gov. Kasich’s fracking-tax hike proposed at ‘worst time,’ industry says
Columbus Dispatch
Runday Ludlow

Gov. John Kasich is back for a third go-around in his quest to dramatically increase the taxes paid on the oil and natural gas that drillers extract from Ohio’s Utica shale fields. And the governor wants more money than ever, prompting the industry to counter that Kasich is renewing the fight at the “absolute worst time.”  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Thousands rally in Oakland to call for an end to fracking
SF Gate


Despite early signs of rain, thousands of people converged in Oakland on Saturday in what organizers are billing as the largest anti-fracking demonstration in U.S. history, calling on Governor Jerry Brown to put an end to hydraulic fracturing in California.   [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
WHEN SHAKESPEARE MEETS FRACKING
LA Weekly
Jenny Lower

Shakespeare gets a contemporary, democratic, and highly customized makeover in California: The Tempest, a migrating world premiere from Cornerstone Theater Company, directed by artistic director Michael John Garcés. This touring production celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the community-based theater troupe’s Institute Summer Residency program, a month-long training academy in developing collaborative theater. The show’s latest stop is Pacoima, a working-class Latino neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles, where local residents have joined the core cast onstage in a reimagining not only of the Bard, but the future of our state.   [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Two thirds of residents near Doncaster oppose fracking
The Star
Sarah Marshall

Two out of three residents living in villages on the Doncaster and Nottinghamshire border are opposed to fracking, a Doncaster community group has claimed. The Misson Community Action Group this week presented the results of a door to door survey on fracking to Misson Parish council, which found that 71.8 per cent of households were opposed to fracking in or near their village.  [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
U.S. Fracking Bet Haunts Vikas After Oil Plunge: Corporate India
Bloomberg
Prabhudatta Mishra

(Bloomberg) -- A big bet on the U.S. fracking boom is coming back to haunt India’s guar industry. Orders for guar gum -- used to extract shale oil and gas -- are drying up as U.S. companies cut investments following the plunge in crude oil prices. For Vikas WSP Ltd., India’s second-largest exporter, that’s meant idling 40 percent of its 140,000 metric ton capacity, a sign of industry stress.   [Full Story]

Feb 9, 2015
Florida’s Expanding Sinkholes Won’t Deter Fracking
Triple Pundit
Jan Lee Blog

Years ago, I had a part-time job working in the back office of a Florida engineering firm that handled foundation restoration claims. Its commercial success was not only evidence of Tampa’s burgeoning population, but also the growing number of sinkholes that were beginning to appear across West Florida’s “Sinkhole Alley” at the center of the state.  [Full Story]

Feb 8, 2015
Voices in Arlington, Texas Unify to Protect Environment and Community From Fracking
DeSmogBlog
Julie Dermansky

Liveable Arlington, a new Texas grassroots environmental group, joins the growing number of anti-fracking groups forming around the world. The group was established at the end of January, as the battle to impose stricter ozone standards intensifies and the call for fracking bans and tighter ordinances on industry increase nationwide.  [Full Story]

Feb 8, 2015
Butte supervisors to act on proposed fracking ban
ChicoER News
Roger Aylworth

OROVILLE>>Tuesday the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to act on an proposed ordinance that would ban the use of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” within Butte County. At their April 8, 2014, meeting the supervisors voted 4 to 1, with Chico Supervisor Larry Wahl the only nay, to have the county staff prepare an ordinance banning fracking.  [Full Story]

Feb 8, 2015
Washington County supervisors Board to revisit fracking resolution Members seek disclosure of chemicals used in extraction of natural gas
TriCities
Allie Robinson

ABINGDON, Va. — The Washington County Board of Supervisors is set to revisit a resolution to support the disclosure of chemicals used in the extraction of natural gas. The resolution, presented by board members James Baker and Bill Gibson, has been tabled three times since it was originally presented to the board in October.   [Full Story]

Feb 8, 2015
Natural gas shale drillers in US undaunted by 32% price plunge
Gulf Times


US natural gas production is poised to reach a record for a fifth year as shale drillers boost efficiency, driving prices toward a low of more than a decade. Output will rise 3.2% in 2015, led by gains at the Marcellus formation, the nation’s biggest shale deposit, according to the Energy Information Administration. Marcellus production will increase 2.8% through February after a 21% gain in 2014, a year when prices tumbled 32%. Producers in Pennsylvania and West Virginia have cut break-even costs by half since 2008, according to Oppenheimer & Co.   [Full Story]

Feb 8, 2015
Is solar poised for shale-like breakthrough?
USA TODAY
Bill Loveless

Declining oil prices may be slowing the U.S. shale boom. But there's no denying that the nation will remain a leading global producer of oil and natural gas well into the future, thanks to advances in drilling technology. So, what's next when it comes to big breakthroughs in U.S. energy supply? The Scotland-based consultancy Wood Mackenzie sees solar energy as the best candidate now for such change.   [Full Story]

Feb 8, 2015
Wheeling Community Expresses Concerns at WJU's Public Discussion on Fracking
WTRF NEWS 7 WV


Wheeling Jesuit University hosted a public discussion Saturday at 1 p.m. concerning the hot button issue of fracking under the Ohio River. Gastar Exploration recently bid to drill natural gas wells underneath the Ohio River in Marshall County. The decision to drill under the river has brought concerns and questions about safety to the forefront. WJU's Appalachian Institute decided those questions needed to be answered at a public discussion.   [Full Story]

Feb 8, 2015
Bill would mandate 8-year moratorium on fracking
Cecil Whig
Katelyn Newman

ANNAPOLIS — Environmentally stringent and costly drilling regulations are not enough to protect the public’s health from hydraulic fracturing’s pollutants, according to a coalition of legislators, environmental groups and health professionals who rallied Thursday in support of a moratorium bill.  [Full Story]

Feb 8, 2015
Marcellus Life: A Native American protest to stop a PA pipeline
Public Source
Natasha Khan

Chief Carlos Whitewolf beat a small hand drum and sang a Native American prayer for Mother Earth in the cold January air in Hershey, Pa. Many of the 50 or so other protesters outside the Hershey Lodge, where national Republican leaders attended a retreat, demonstrated against issues like the Keystone XL pipeline and climate change.   [Full Story]

Feb 8, 2015
Sonatrach to use fracking in southern Algeria despite protests
Fox News


The head of state-owned oil company Sonatrach said Sunday that gas exploration in southern Algeria would not be halted despite protests by residents against the use of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."   [Full Story]

Feb 8, 2015
Some wetlands receive fracking protection
Surfbirds


Some of the UK’s most important natural places will be protected from hydraulic fracturing by the Government – a move which has been welcomed by the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust. Last year, WWT co-researched a report called Are we fit to frack? with other conservation organisations: It concluded that some areas of the country should be exempted from fracking due to the risk to the natural environment, including National Parks, designated Areas of Natural Beauty, and Sites of Special Scientific Interest – many of which are wetlands (eight of WWT’s nine Wetland Centres have SSSI status).   [Full Story]

Feb 8, 2015
Tuscaloosa Marine Shale Fracking Slows as Operators Watch Oil Prices
Huffington Post
Susan Buchanan

When crude oil prices sank this winter, companies scaled back their fracking plans in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale deposit, running from central and southeast Louisiana into Mississippi. Exploration and drilling is mostly on hiatus there until crude rebounds, industry members said last week. Oil dropped below $45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange in late January from over $100 last summer. In early February, prices were edging up again.  [Full Story]

Feb 8, 2015
Rick Perry, exploring Iowa caucus bid, joins pipeline board
Des Moines Register
William Petroski

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is exploring an Iowa caucus bid for the Republican presidential nomination, has joined the board of a company planning to build a controversial Bakken oil pipeline across 18 Iowa counties. Energy Transfer Partners, based in Dallas, provided details about Perry's appointment to its board in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing last week. The underground pipeline, which would transport up to 570,000 barrels of oil daily, is proposed by Dakota Access LLC, a unit of Energy Transfer Partners. The pipeline would begin in North Dakota's Bakken oil fields and would pass through South Dakota and Iowa en route to a distribution point at Patoka, Ill. The Iowa section would cover 343 miles, including some of the state's richest farmland.   [Full Story]

Feb 7, 2015
Critics say proposed oil pipeline along New York State Thruway presents bigger danger than rail, barge transport
Daily Freeman
Brian Hubert

Riverkeeper attorney Kate Hudson likens choosing among rail, river barges and pipelines for transporting crude oil through the region to “picking your poison.” She said she has grave concerns about the proposed 178-mile Pilgrim Pipeline that, if built, would more or less follow the New York State Thruway right-of-way and carry Bakken crude oil from a terminal in Albany to refineries in Linden, New Jersey, and refined products back north.  [Full Story]

Feb 7, 2015
'Game-Changing March for Climate' as Californians Rise Up Against Fracking
Common Dreams
Sarah Lazare

Thousands of people from across California kicked off a march through Oakland on Saturday to demand that Governor Jerry Brown show "real climate leadership" by halting all fracking and shifting to 100 percent renewable energy in the state. The demonstration brought together more than 100 grassroots groups, from labor to indigenous to environmental justice organizations, and is being billed as a a "game-changing moment for the climate movement in California." Ahead of the protest, organizers estimated it would exceed 10,000 people.  [Full Story]

Feb 7, 2015
THOUSANDS MARCH IN OAKLAND AGAINST FRACKING
ABC News
Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Thousands of environmental and labor activists took to the streets of Jerry Brown's hometown with a simple message for the governor: end fracking. Carrying signs calling on Brown to "stop fracking with our health" and "follow the science," the marchers said the governor's legacy as an environmental leader was at stake if he didn't ban the practice.  [Full Story]

Feb 7, 2015
Protesters march in Oakland, push for Jerry Brown to ban fracking
San Francisco Chronicle
Victoria Colliver

Thousands of antifracking activists took to Oakland’s streets Saturday to call for Gov. Jerry Brown to change his stance and ban the controversial practice, which uses large amounts of a pressurized water mixture to crack subterranean rocks and release oil or natural gas. Chanting, playing music and waving signs reading “Don’t Frack Your Mother” and “There’s No Planet B,” demonstrators wove their way along an almost two-mile route, starting at Oakland’s City Hall and then moving through downtown Oakland to Lake Merritt.  [Full Story]

Feb 7, 2015
EmberClear Corp. drops plans for natural gas plant in Berks County
Reading Eagle
Matthew Nojiri

The $1 billion natural gas project that inspired an uproar from residents in South Heidelberg Township is not coming to the municipality, or anywhere else in Berks County, a company official said Friday. Citing concerns about the time needed for permits and community feedback, EmberClear Corp. decided to stop pursuing the project, said James Palumbo, a project manager for the company.   [Full Story]

Feb 7, 2015
The New School Divests Fossil Fuel Stock and Refocuses on Climate Change
The New York Times
JOHN SCHWARTZ

Many universities have decided to drop fossil fuel stocks from their investment portfolios, but the New School in New York City has decided to go a step further. The eclectic, historically progressive school said not only would it divest itself of all fossil fuel investments in coming years, but it is also reshaping the entire curriculum to focus more on climate change and sustainability.   [Full Story]

Feb 7, 2015
Will This Ruin $124 Billion in Natural Gas Investments? (Hint: It's Not OPEC)
The Motley Fool
Maxx Chatsko

One industry's waste is another industry's treasure. While the United States is home to some of the cheapest natural gas reserves in the world, it lacks the infrastructure needed to fully process all of the components in natural gas. Hydrocarbons such as ethane that cannot be used in gas-fired power plants or chemical facilities at the other end of a pipeline are instead typically burned off. Not only is this wasteful from an environmental standpoint, but it creates inefficiencies from an economical standpoint, too, sapping potential revenue streams for drillers. That point is illustrated by the fact that the United States produces over 300,000 barrels per day of ethane that it cannot use. Luckily, companies such as ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM ) and Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW ) have raced to provide solutions by building or expanding dozens of domestic petrochemical facilities, which represent an industrywide investment of $124 billion, according to the American Chemistry Council. These petrochemical plants, called ethane crackers, will convert excess ethane into ethylene (the starting point for higher-value fibers, plastics, detergents, and various other everyday products) at such low costs that not even the OPEC-induced oil pricing war will challenge the economics. But that doesn't mean the investments are entirely safe. In fact, a new process for manufacturing ethylene developed by Brazilian chemical leader Braskem (NYSE: BAK ) could be the biggest global threat in the long term. It's secret ingredient? Ethanol. Ethanol vs. Big Oil, Round 2?  [Full Story]

Feb 7, 2015
Fracking company defies Wales's shale gas moratorium
The Ecologist


This week the Welsh Assembly voted for a moratorium on fracking. But IGas company bosses insist that the Welsh Government is powerless to stop them pushing ahead with test drilling plans - as all the key decisions are made in Whitehall.  [Full Story]

Feb 7, 2015
Remap of Dallas-area quakes shows fault closer to fracking wells than thought
The Dallas Morning News
ANNA KUCHMENT AND AVI SELK

Scientists finally have a rough picture of the ancient fault that’s been rattling the Dallas area, and the fissure isn’t where the public thought it was. Armed with more equipment and better data, SMU scientists have relocated dozens of quakes on the federal government’s imprecise maps. The team released a new map on Friday that shifts the epicenters of nearly all of last month’s temblors, arranging them in a neat line that shadows a fissure miles beneath the earth.  [Full Story]

Feb 6, 2015
Unanswered questions after Kinder Morgan open house
WWLP
Alessandra Martinez

Pipeline project could cut through a rail yard, unused aquifer and native american burial grounds GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Many Franklin county residents were unhappy with Thursday night’s natural gas pipeline open house in Greenfield. People left the event about the pipelines proposal than they came in with. 400 Franklin county residents met at Greenfield Community College Thursday night to asked Kinder Morgan representatives about the natural gas pipeline they want to build through Franklin county. But some weren’t happy with the information they received.  [Full Story]

Feb 6, 2015
Nigeria looks to harness natural gas
Deutsche Welle
Damon van der Linde and Johan Demarle

n Nigeria's Delta region, oil is pumped, the gas is burned off, and the liquid crude is exported. Though natural gas is not a renewable energy, it's a source of power otherwise lost in the oil extraction process. Estimates show enough gas is flared to reliably power much of the country. The toxic fumes have been linked to health problems for people who live nearby. They release huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  [Full Story]

Feb 6, 2015
Thumbs Down: Officials OK fracking fluid into aquifers
Desert Sun
Editorial

Regulators have been rumbling down a dangerous path in a state suffering through a serious drought. The Associated Press reported this week that California officials have authorized oil companies to inject fracking waste into federally protected aquifers, putting underground water supplies at risk.   [Full Story]

Feb 6, 2015
LPG Storage in NY Salt Cavern Linked to Salinity Spike in Drinking Water
DC Bureau
Peter Mantius

For decades, scientists have puzzled over why Seneca Lake, the largest of New York State’s Finger Lakes, is by far the saltiest of the 11 glacier-carved water bodies. Now a Nevada hydrologist claims he’s solved the mystery. Tom Myers, who was hired by opponents of a plan to store liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in salt caverns at the southern end of Seneca, pins the blame on LPG storage in the same group of caverns between 1964 and 1984. “The risk of saline influx to the lake from LPG is very high and should be avoided,” Myers wrote in January.  [Full Story]

Feb 6, 2015
Rand Paul and Strange Associations with Anti-Science
DeSmogBlog
JOHN MASHEY

In “Rand Paul Is Linked to Doctors' Group That Supports Vaccination Challenges” the New York Times documented his long involvement with the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), but only scratched the surface of the strangeness. AAPS Executive Director Jane Orient and her associates run a tightly-coupled group of 501(c)(3) public charities. They seem to reject much modern science and spend their efforts to promote political views, perhaps beyond the 501(c) rules.  [Full Story]

Feb 6, 2015
Fracking Puts California Governor, Environmentalists at Odds
ABC News
JULIET WILLIAMS

In the 1970s, the environmental movement had no bigger political hero than California Gov. Jerry Brown. He cracked down on polluters, ended tax breaks for oil companies and promoted solar energy. Forty years later, in his second go-around as governor, conservationists are among his harshest critics. Climate change is one of Brown's key issues, and he said in his inaugural address last month that his goal is to have California get half its energy from renewable sources within 15 years.  [Full Story]

Feb 6, 2015
New England senators comment on pipeline, but not NY's
The Journal News
Ernie Garcia

More U.S. senators are weighing in on a proposed natural gas pipeline expansion traversing the Lower Hudson Valley, while New York's two senators keep mum. Masachusetts senators Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren, both Democrats, wrote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission about Spectra Energy's Algonquin pipeline expansion that would run through Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties, passing near the Indian Point nuclear power plant on its way to New England.  [Full Story]

Feb 6, 2015
Wine Business Coalition Appeals to Governor
The Lansing Star
Will Ouweleen

Seneca Lake, New York - The Finger Lakes Wine Business Coalition (FLXWBC), a newly formed coalition of businesses in Upstate New York, has written Governor Cuomo to express grave concern for the pending DEC permit of Crestwood Midstream, a Texas-based gas company. The permit is required to store 88 million gallons of propane and butane in the abandoned salt caverns on the shores of Seneca Lake. The four page letter outlines specific concerns of the FLX Wine Business Coalition and is signed by over 100 local businesses that depend on Finger Lakes Wine Country tourism to survive.   [Full Story]

Feb 6, 2015
Yellowstone Oil Spills Expose Threat to Pipelines Under Rivers Nationwide
InsideClimate News
Elizabeth Douglass

Bridger Pipeline LLC was so sure its Poplar oil line was safely buried below the Yellowstone River that it planned to wait five years to recheck it. But last month, 3.5 years later, the Poplar wasn't eight feet under the river anymore. It was substantially exposed on the river bottom—and leaking more than 30,000 gallons of oil upstream from Glendive, Montana.  [Full Story]

Feb 6, 2015
Facing Felony Charges, Rick Perry Joins Board of Energy Transfer Partners, Owner of Proposed Oil Pipeline Across Iowa
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

Former Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry has joined the board of directors at Energy Transfer Partners, a natural gas and propane company headquartered in Dallas, Texas that has proposed to build a controversial Bakken crude oil pipeline across Iowa. The announcement, which appeared in Energy Transfer Partners' February 3 Form 8-K filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), comes as Perry faces two Texas state-level felony charges for abuse of power. Perry pleaded not guilty to both charges and District Judge Bert Richardson recently ruled against dismissing Perry's case.   [Full Story]

Feb 6, 2015
8-Year Fracking Moratorium Bill Introduced in Maryland as Californians Demand Real Climate Action
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

On his way out of office last November, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley opened the door to allowing fracking in that state, albeit under heavy regulation. That raised concerns that incoming pro-fracking Republican Governor Larry Hogan would dispense with many of the regulations, allowing extraction companies free reign.  [Full Story]

Feb 6, 2015
Fracking pits Jerrry Brown against ‘fracktivists’
The Desert Sun
Juliet Williams

SACRAMENTO – In the 1970s, the environmental movement had no bigger political hero than California Gov. Jerry Brown. He cracked down on polluters, ended tax breaks for oil companies and promoted solar energy. Forty years later, in his second go-around as governor, conservationists are among his harshest critics.  [Full Story]

Feb 6, 2015
Murky responses cloud plan to ship frack waste on Ohio River
E & E Newswire
Mike Lee

A Texas company's announcement that it plans to ship fracking wastewater on the Ohio River has touched off a controversy, with environmentalists worrying that the company got around federal permitting requirements and federal agencies hedging on just how much permission they've given the company. GreenHunter Resources Inc., based in Grapevine, Texas, announced last week that it had secured permission from the Coast Guard to ship thousands of barrels of wastewater from the Marcellus and Utica shale fields to its disposal wells in Ohio. The Army Corps of Engineers gave it permission to build a barge facility on the Ohio side of the river, the company said,  [Full Story]

Feb 6, 2015
Investing in Energy Efficiency Pays Off
The New York Times
DAVID BORNSTEIN

A junior and senior economist are walking down the street. The junior one spots a $20 bill on the ground and says, “Hey, look, 20 dollars! Should I pick it up?” The senior economist replies: “Don’t bother. It can’t be real. If it were, someone would have taken it already.” The idea that money is available for the taking defies economic logic. But sometimes it’s true. That’s the case with a vast opportunity that’s routinely overlooked by institutions across the country — from universities to hospitals, companies to governments.  [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Fracking-induced earthquake puts B.C. gas bonanza on shaky ground
Vancouver Observer
Derek Leahy

The small town of Fox Creek in northern Alberta may have broken the world’s ‘fracking earthquake’ record with the 4.4-magnitude shaker that hit last month. The most probable cause, according to Alberta’s energy regulator, was nearby gas fracking operations. The recent quake was on many people's mind as they listened to a presentation in Ottawa on the shale gas "bonanza" happening across North America today. Fracking and earthquakes  [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Groups urge DEC to toughen frack waste disposal rules from Pa. drill sites
Times Union
Brian Nearing

Albany Critics of natural gas hydrofracking called on the state Thursday to toughen rules that allow fracking companies in Pennsylvania to send low-level radioactive fracking waste for disposal at up to seven landfills in central New York. A report by Environmental Advocates of New York, relying on public records from Pennsylvania, found the landfills between 2010 and 2014 took about 460,000 tons of solid waste — ground-up, naturally radioactive rock brought to the surface by drilling — and 724,000 gallons of liquid waste.  [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Fracking ban ensures water protection, public health Supes have an obligation to ensure public health
News Review
Dave Garcia

Frack-Free Butte County’s steering committee wishes to commend the members of the Board of Supervisors for voting 4-1 last April to craft an ordinance banning fracking in Butte County.   [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Denmark to reconsider fracking ban after Total shale tests
RTCC
Sophie Yeo

Total drilling near Frederikshavn will help government decide whether to lift its moratorium on fracking Denmark will consider removing its ban on fracking following the results of test drilling by Total. The government issued a moratorium on new fracking licenses in 2012, but did not revoke two already granted to the French oil major in Jutland and Zealand.   [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Anti-Fracking and No Nukes Activists Join Forces Demanding Renewable Energy Revolution
EcoWatch
Harvey Wasserman

Our Earth is being destroyed by fracking and nukes. These two vampire technologies suck the energy out of our planet while permanently poisoning our air, water, food and livelihoods.   [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Report: N.Y. landfills accept 460,000 tons of Pa. drilling waste
The Journal News
Jon Campbell

ALBANY – At least 460,000 tons and 23,000 barrels of waste from Pennsylvania drilling operations have been taken in by a few New York landfills since 2010, a new analysis Thursday indicates. The report from Environmental Advocates of New York analyzed state data from Pennsylvania showing where natural-gas drillers reported taking their waste. Drillers hauled waste to five New York landfills from 2010 through 2014, including three along the Pennsylvania border: Chemung County Landfill in Lowman; Hakes Landfill in Painted Post, Steuben County; and Hyland Landfill in Angelica, Allegany County.  [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
New year, new severance tax proposals
NPR State Impact PA
Susan Phillips

A bipartisan group of lawmakers say they’ve got the right formula for getting a natural gas tax through the legislature. It would include a 3.2 percent tax on gas production, while keeping the current impact fee. The group led by Bucks county Republican Representative Gene DiGirolamo, say keeping the impact fee, which helps boost the budgets of small towns and rural counties where drilling occurs, is key. And DiGirolamo says a 3.2 percent tax along with the impact fee, is equivalent to a 5 percent tax. Governor Wolf campaigned on a 5 percent tax as a way to solve the state’s education funding crisis. Another group of liberal lawmakers led by Philadelphia state senators Art Haywood (D-4) and Vincent Hughes (D-7) will announce a proposed 8 percent tax today. Last year Hughes proposed a 5 percent severance tax, which like all the drilling tax proposals never gained traction. Pennsylvania charges a per well impact fee, but is the only major gas producing state not to tax production at the wellhead. DiGirolamo says his proposal, which combines the two, will get that discussion going.  [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
California authorizes oilfield dumping into drinking water
Miami Herald
Ellen Knickmeyer

BAKERSFIELD, CALIF. Regulators in California, the country's third-largest oil-producing state, have authorized oil companies to inject production fluids and waste into what are now federally protected aquifers more than 2,500 times, risking contamination of underground water supplies that could be used for drinking water or irrigation, state records show. While some of the permits go back decades, an Associated Press analysis found that nearly half of those injection wells — 46 percent — were permitted or began injection in the last four years under Gov. Jerry Brown, who has pushed state oil and gas regulators to speed up the permitting process. And it happened despite warnings from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency since 2011 that state regulators were failing to do enough to shield groundwater reserves from the threat of oilfield pollution.   [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
UPDATE: Equipment failure blamed in blaze at North Strabane gas well site
WTAE Pittsburgh


NORTH STRABANE TOWNSHIP, Pa. —Officials said an equipment malfunction appears to have sparked a fire at a Washington County gas drilling site Wednesday evening.  [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Proposed bill would stop a natural gas drilling method in western Maryland
Daily Journal
Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland — A Maryland lawmaker is hoping to block the start of a hotly debated natural gas drilling method in the western part of the state. Del. David Fraser-Hidalgo, a Democrat from Montgomery County, is set to announce a proposed moratorium on fracking during a news conference in Annapolis on Thursday.  [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Large fire under investigation at a Range drilling site in N. Strabane Firefighters stage tanker shuttle to supply water
Observer-Reporter


A large fire Wednesday at a Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling operation in North Strabane Township was believed to have been caused by a machinery malfunction in a building on the well pad, the state Department of Environmental Protection said.  [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Assembly vote in favour of devolved powers to prevent fracking
Wouth Wales Argus
Carys Thomas

WELSH Assembly ministers today voted in favour of devolved energy powers to prevent fracking in Wales. Assembly ministers debated a Plaid Cymru motion tabled by Elin Jones AM for Ceredigion to devolve energy matters and to do everything within its power to prevent fracking from taking place in Wales until it is proven to be safe for the environment and public health. The motion was approved by 37 votes to 16 at the Senedd.   [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Halting Fracking in California: The Time Is Now
Huffington Post
Michael Green

Governor Brown's state of the state address in January included a warning on climate change and a vision for California's energy future. Quoting Edward O. Wilson, Brown noted that, "The evidence for climate warming...is now overwhelming...we are needlessly turning the gold we have inherited from our forbearers into straw, and for that we will be despised by our descendants." The Governor's proposals to cut vehicle fuel use, increase energy efficiency, and most importantly to increase the amount of electricity California derives from renewable sources to 50 percent should be widely supported. But the Governor has been less forthcoming on his position on fracking.   [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Delegate to propose moratorium on fracking in western Md.
Washingtn Times
Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Maryland lawmaker is hoping to block the start of a hotly debated natural gas drilling method in the western part of the state. Del. David Fraser-Hidalgo, a Democrat from Montgomery County, is set to announce a proposed moratorium on fracking during a news conference in Annapolis on Thursday.   [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Environmental advocates release fracking report
News 10
Sara Rivest

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)– An environmental group is releasing a report on the dangers of fracking following the recent announcement of the state’s ban. Despite Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent announcement of a state-wide ban on fracking, the Environmental Advocates of New York is releasing a report alleging that the state will still be participating in accepting toxic fracking waste.   [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Environmentalists Fear Use of Fracking in Uruguay
Latin American Herald Tribune


MONTEVIDEO – The Uruguay Free of Megamining environmental group said Tuesday it was concerned that officials might allow the use of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to produce oil in the Salto and Piedra Sola formations if petroleum is discovered in the areas.   [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
London pressed to ban fracking Welsh, Scottish government bans leave London out of step, advocates say.
UPI
Daniel J. Graeber

LONDON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- An environmental advocacy group said it's time for the British government to follow its peers and enact a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.   [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Western States Petroleum Association Spent $8.9M Lobbying Against Climate and Fracking Efforts in California Last Year
DeSmogBlog
Dan Bacher

The oil industry continued its long reign as the top spender on lobbying in California in 2014, according to data just released by the California Secretary of State. The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) led the list with $8.9 million spent on lobbying in 2014, nearly double what it spent in the previous year. WSPA spent $4.67 million in 2013.  [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Fracking's methane risk cannot be ignored
The Engineer
Jane Burton Opinion

I was one of the witnesses called to give evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee inquiry on the potential environmental risks of fracking. The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) had provided written evidence to the Committee, and I was asked to provide more details on some aspects of this, particularly the risk of fugitive methane emissions, or leaks.   [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Delegate to propose moratorium on fracking in western Md.
WRAL


ANNAPOLIS, MD. — A Maryland lawmaker is hoping to block the start of a hotly debated natural gas drilling method in the western part of the state. Del. David Fraser-Hidalgo, a Democrat from Montgomery County, is set to announce a proposed moratorium on fracking during a news conference in Annapolis on Thursday.   [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Health, environmental groups seek fracking moratorium
The Baltimore Sun
Timothy B. Wheeler

Public health and environmental advocates gathered in Annapolis Thursday to push for a long-term moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, arguing that more time is needed to look into health threats posed by the drilling process commonly called "fracking."  [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Proposed pipelines cause controversy in upstate
NPR Innovation Trail
Matt Ryan

Environmentalists cheered last December when Health Commissioner Howard Zucker urged Governor Cuomo to prohibit hydraulic fracturing for natural gas because of unknown health risks it posed to New Yorkers. However, this DOES NOT mean the fuel won’t still flow through our state. Dig a few feet below the surface and you’ll find a complex network of pipes carrying gas and fuel to heat homes, cook food and sell for profit. This week our Jenna Flanagan of the Innovation Trail takes a look at two proposed pipelines in upstate that are causing a controversy in in the Leatherstocking and Capital Regions.  [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Gov. Jerry Brown's fracking problem
Los Angeles Times
MARK HERTSGAARD

California Gov. Jerry Brown has done more to fight climate change than perhaps any other elected official in the United States. So what accounts for the environmentalists heckling him during speeches and planning to confront him Saturday at an Oakland March for Real Climate Leadership? One word: fracking. “I challenge anybody to find any other state” that's doing as much about climate change, Brown shot back to anti-fracking protesters during his speech at the California Democratic Party's convention last March. California was on track to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 25 billion tons by 2020, Brown accurately pointed out. The state will also obtain at least 33% of its electricity from solar, wind or other non-carbon fuels by then, he added.  [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Marcellus suppliers being asked to take 10 percent cuts as gas prices fall
Pittsburgh Business Times
Sam Kusic

Pressured by low commodity prices, oil and gas producers in the Marcellus Shale have begun asking for discounts of at least 10 percent on the price of goods and services. Although oil prices have begun to rise slightly, they remain below $50 per barrel. Natural gas prices are no better, hanging at under $3 per million British thermal units. While there are exceptions, producers have been paring their 2015 capital spending plans, cutting down on the projects they undertake in southwestern Pennsylvania and in other shale regions.  [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Lancaster County pipeline protesters plead guilty to trespassing
NPR State Impact PA
MARIE CUSICK

Eight protesters who were arrested for opposing an interstate natural gas pipeline in Lancaster County pleaded guilty to trespassing Thursday and each paid a $100 fine. The demonstrators were arrested January 5th after they linked arms and refused to leave a site where Oklahoma-based Williams was doing testing for its proposed Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. The protesters included members of the Northern Arawak Native American tribe who claim Williams was improperly drilling test bores on sacred grounds in Conestoga Township.  [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Lawmaker asks for halt on fracking plans in Maryland
The Washington Post
Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Health officials and environmental advocates in Maryland are asking for a temporary stop to fracking plans. Del. David Fraser-Hidalgo, D-Montgomery County, on Thursday proposed the Protect Our Health and Communities Act, which includes an 8-year moratorium on the natural gas drilling method so that more information can be gathered about public health risks that critics say was not properly studied by a review board.  [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Adversity stirs innovation at hydraulic fracturing conference
Fuel Fix
Collin Eaton

THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS – Try your hand at this oil field engineering problem. You have to get a massive amount of gritty, grimy sand into an oil well – it’s one of the ingredients in the powerful slurry of water and chemicals used to crack open shale rocks two miles underground, a process known as hydraulic fracturing. Can you do it without letting the sand erode the steel in the high-horsepower pumps that blast the mixture into the well? Give up? The question had bugged Ron Gusek for a decade.  [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Wales Says No To Fracking Until ‘Proven Safe’
ThinkProgress
ARI PHILLIPS

On Wednesday, the Welsh parliament voted in favor of a measure calling on the government to prevent fracking from taking place “until it is proven to be safe in both an environmental and public health context.” The vote comes just one week after Scotland announced a temporary fracking ban in order to allot time for a full public health assessment of the process. “It’s a historic day,” said North Wales assembly member Llyr Gruffyd, of the Plaid Cymru party. “This is a clear statement from the National Assembly for Wales that we want a frack-free Wales.”  [Full Story]

Feb 5, 2015
Dominion Resources EPS Expectations Down Over Past Month
Forbes


Leading up to Dominion Resources’ announcement of its fourth-quarter earnings on Friday, February 6, 2015 analysts have become more wary as expectations have fallen over the past month to earnings of 85 cents per share from earnings of 90 cents per share.   [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Bringing Microgrids to New York State
TWC News
Cara Thomas

UTICA, N.Y. -- Back in 2006, three institutions in the city of Utica found a way to save a little money on their energy bills. John Maynihan, from Cogen Power Technologies, said, "On average about 15 to 25 percent of their annual utility budget has been reduced." Faxton St. Luke's Hospital, St. Luke's Nursing Home and Utica College teamed up to build a community based microgrid. It's provided the hospital with 90 percent of it's electricity, 60 percent of the college's, and half of the nursing home's electricity, as well as a majority of their steam and hot water needs.   [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Economists forecast a recession for Houston
Houston Business Journal
Olivia Pulsinelli

After robust economic growth in 2014, Houston is facing a possible recession this year due to the collapse in oil prices, national economists predict. Chief Economist Mark Zandi doesn't expect low oil prices to drive all of Texas into a recession — but Houston might be heading that way, the Dallas Morning News reports. A recession is generally defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth.  [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Cuomo on lifting fracking ban: "I would never"
Lohud
Joseph Spector

Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday said "I would never" lift the state's ban on hydraulic fracturing after his top aides Dec. 17 recommended a ban on the controversial drilling practice. Cuomo was asked in Buffalo by a reporter on whether his planned ban would be strong enough or could be lifted.  [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Council Votes No on Fracking Moratorium for County Parks
WESA 90.5


Despite passionate pleas from local activists, Allegheny County Council on Tuesday voted down a measure that would have placed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in county parks for the next two years.   [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Most Scots believe fracking is dangerous, despite evidence
Scotland Times


Scots oppose fracking and believe it is unsafe and damaging to the environment, despite expert evidence to the contrary, a poll for The Times reveals. The technology is more unpopular north of the border than in the rest of the UK — and is particularly opposed by independence supporters, according to the research by YouGov.   [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Fracking prohibited across 40% of prospective land
Shale Energy Insider
James Perkins

A study by the Guardian has revealed that up to 40% of the land due for the 14th round of licensing for shale exploration is now protected from hydraulic fracturing, following legislation amendments. Labour’s shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex is certain that all of the amendments are to be upheld and protections for all areas enforced.  [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Report: Wind and solar energy have tripled since 2008
The Washington Post
Chris Mooney

We worry a lot about the problem of climate change. And we try to fix it — again, again and again — by changing how the country uses energy. What we don’t stop and ponder enough, though, is that the country is changing how it uses energy. It’s certainly not enough to silence all environmental concerns. But nonetheless, the progress, when you sample it, is really impressive.  [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Cuomo on lifting fracking ban: “I would never”
The Journal News
Joseph Spector

Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday said “I would never” lift the state’s ban on hydraulic fracturing after his top aides Dec. 17 recommended a ban on the controversial drilling practice. Cuomo was asked in Buffalo by a reporter on whether his planned ban would be strong enough or could be lifted. His only response was: “I would never, so.”  [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
BANNED FROM FERC?
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Ted Glick

A few weeks ago I was invited by Green America to be part of a meeting they had set up with FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller. It was at 10 AM today, February 4th. There were two people from GA and me. We got through front door security OK, I was given a badge to wear, and a security cop took us up to the 11th floor and a conference room there. He went to get Moeller and whoever else was coming with him, and about a minute later he comes back into the room and says I need to leave. I push back, ask him why, he says I “am banned from the building.” So I go back down the elevator with him and go to the front entrance security desk, where a top FERC security guy—I recognized him from our past actions—was standing there, and he started to leave as I arrived. I stopped him, asked him directly why I was being removed, he said something like, after I pressed him, “we are looking into what we can do legally to deal with people who do not follow FERC procedures,” something like that. He made it clear that it wasn’t just me that they don’t want in their building.   [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Wales votes against shale gas fracking
Yahoo News
Reuters

LONDON, Feb 4 (Reuters) - The Welsh parliament has voted against the use of shale gas fracking in Wales, just one week after Scotland passed a fracking moratorium, highlighting growing discontent with the British government's push to tap shale gas resources. A proposal against shale gas fracking was voted through in the Welsh Assembly late on Wednesday, effectively making it impossible for shale gas developments to receive planning permits in Wales.   [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
It’s time for California to end risky fracking
The Sacramento Bee
Michael Brune

At the end of last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned hydraulic fracturing in New York, citing the threat it poses to public health. His state’s acting health commissioner put it this way: “The potential risks are too great. In fact, they are not even fully known.” Here in California, however, fracking is already happening and is poised to spread more widely. A report released last month from the California Council on Science and Technology showed that as many as 175 new fracking wells are drilled in the state every month, even though most residents are against it.   [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
As More Oil Spills into the Yellowstone, More Infuriating Indifference
Field & Stream
Hal Herring

For the second time in less than four years, a broken pipeline spilled oil into the Yellowstone River, this time about five miles upstream of Glendive, Montana. More than two weeks later, most of the oil is still in the river. This is the mighty Yellowstone River we are talking about, born in the high country snows of the nation’s first national park, the major artery of life-giving water in a bone dry land, a river that has appeared on every map of the American West since those maps were drawn with ochre and campfire soot on a scrap of pronghorn hide.  [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Halting Fracking in California: The Time Is Now
Huffington Post
Michael Green

Governor Brown's state of the state address in January included a warning on climate change and a vision for California's energy future. Quoting Edward O. Wilson, Brown noted that, "The evidence for climate warming...is now overwhelming...we are needlessly turning the gold we have inherited from our forbearers into straw, and for that we will be despised by our descendants." The Governor's proposals to cut vehicle fuel use, increase energy efficiency, and most importantly to increase the amount of electricity California derives from renewable sources to 50 percent should be widely supported.  [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Ministers promise to oppose fracking in Wales
BBC


The Welsh government has indicated that it will try to block fracking anywhere in Wales until its safety is proven. Powers over the gas drilling technique lie at Westminster, but Welsh ministers have called for them to be devolved.   [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Could fracking be increasing south TX quakes?
KENS 5
Jeremy Baker

According to Columbia University geologists, the number of earthquakes in the central United States is up 1,000 percent in the last thirty years. The number of quakes in Texas has also risen significantly.   [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Shropshire anti-fracking group hails stand by Scots Anti-fracking campaigners in Shropshire have welcomed the Scottish government’s decision to delay drilling for gas.
Shropshire Star


The group, Frack Free Dudleston, said the decision means all existing drilling or fracking applications will be refused and the Scottish government has promised a review before the pause is lifted.   [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
State orders injection well shut down after northwestern Oklahoma earthquake
Tulsa World
ZIVA BRANSTETTER

Staff at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission directed that an injection well operated by SandRidge Energy be shut down Tuesday due to continuing earthquakes in Alfalfa County near the Kansas border. The well is the second active wastewater injection well directed to “shut in” or halt operations by the agency since it began a new monitoring system in 2013. Matt Skinner, a spokesman for the commission, said agency staff issued the directive Tuesday morning due to a magnitude-4.1 earthquake recorded in the area Friday. The well is just west of the Alfalfa County town of Cherokee.  [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Council Votes No on Fracking Moratorium for County Parks
90.5 WESA
Liz Reid

Despite passionate pleas from local activists, Allegheny County Council on Tuesday voted down a measure that would have placed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in county parks for the next two years. The bill was written and introduced into Council by the residents themselves, using a provision of the county’s charter that has never actually been put into practice. Activists with the group Protect our Parks gathered nearly 2,000 signatures, well beyond the 500 signatures required to put the bill before Council. The legislation would have made an exception for Deer Lakes Park, where fracking activity has already received approval from Council.  [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
How To Frack a Mortgage. It’s Easy as Pie !
NO FRACKING WAY
Chip Northrup

Just a sign a fracking lease. That effectively puts your loan into default. And gives the lender the right to foreclose. The intrepid Alma Hasse, explains how: Some people, like Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (IRAGE) Co-Founder Alma Hasse, are sounding the alarm about possible mortgage conflicts and declining property values before Idaho’s gas and oil industry even has a chance to inflict damage on the market, and people’s pocketbooks and personal investments. Prior to moving to Idaho nine years ago, Hasse worked in the mortgage industry for 14 years in California, doing everything from “filling out applications,” to managing the Palmdale branch of the American Bankers Mortgage Corporation.  [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Health sector should divest from fossil fuels, medical groups say
The Guardian
Damian Carrington

The health sector should get rid of its fossil fuel investments on moral grounds, as it previously did with its tobacco investments, according to a report by a coalition of medical organisations. The report cites climate change as “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century” and says air pollution from fossil fuels also causes millions of premature deaths a year. The organisations argue that the health sector, and in particular the £18bn Wellcome Trust, should not be helping to fund the harm they exist to tackle.   [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
How Tobacco Shills Inspired Climate Denial
DeSmogBlog
BRENDAN MONTAGUE

DeSmog UK’s history series examines how the tobacco industry’s PR tactics proved inspirational for the army of climate change deniers. Dr Fred Singer and his sceptic Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) would become an increasingly important platoon in the army assembling against climate science. Along with the late Dr Frederick Seitz – a founder of the Marshall Institute – the SEPP would use PR tactics developed by the tobacco industry to question and undermine climate science.   [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Welsh Government set for 'historic' block on fracking amid health and climate fears
Wales Online
David Deans

Ministers are backing a Plaid motion against the controversial method of gas extraction in a move that will delight campaigners  [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Deerfield will file federal negligence claim against FERC
The Recorder
TOM RELIHAN

DEERFIELD — The town of Deerfield plans to file a negligence claim against the United States government today in its fight against the planned natural gas pipeline through Franklin County. The tort action claims that a 2005 change in the federal Natural Gas Act that gave the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authority to regulate the transportation and sale of natural gas destined for sale overseas is unconstitutional. Filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act, which gives private parties the right to sue the federal government for damages if they are injured due to the negligence of one of its employees, the claim takes aim at Tennessee Gas Co.’s proposed 36-inch diameter natural gas pipeline and is the latest salvo in the town’s battle to keep the pipeline from passing through its limits.  [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Picketers protest gas compressor expansion in Milford
Pocono Record
Jessica Cohen

MILFORD — Accusing Columbia Pipeline Group of flagrant disregard for clean air and local laws, about 40 people braved temperatures in the teens Saturday to picket on Broad Street and at CPG’s gas compressor construction site on Fire Tower Road. Construction workers began showing up in January, within a day or two of successive federal and state approvals, to clear trees and demolish the old compressor station. They work seven days a week, often from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., according to a neighbor of the site.  [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Decline in fracking impacting once prosperous oil boomtowns
CCTV


Plunging prices for global crude oil and natural gas has hit one-time oil boomtowns in the United States hard as companies cut back on investment and new production. CCTV America’s Jessica Stone reported this story from Towanda, Pennsylvania and Albany, New York.   [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Interest in Utica Shale growing: Cole Memorial Hospital leasing property to drilling company
The Bradford Era
Amanda Nichols

Cole Memorial Hospital in Coudersport is the latest in a growing list of property owners in Potter County to lease out land to a drilling company, as industry interest in the Utica Shale continues to mount.  [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Southwestern president says company will start drilling in W.Va. soon
Metro News
Shauna Johnson

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Southwestern Energy Corporation will be moving forward quickly with work at Chesapeake Energy sites throughout West Virginia following Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s Wednesday signing of new legislation allowing natural gas well work permits to be transferred between companies.   [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
LEX 18 Investigates: Fracking
Lex18


Like any technology, there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. Poor fracking techniques can have devastating effects on the environment. LEX 18 Investigates was told that there are two out of state companies offering to lease land for an oil and gas fracking operation.   [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Fracking waste water topic of meetings in Trumbull County
WYTV


WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – Property owners in Trumbull County will have an opportunity to voice their concerns and ask questions about the oil and gas drilling that is taking place across the area.  [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Geologists look for earthquake and fracking correlation
KAKE
Associated Press

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — For at the last 15 months, Kansas geologist Rex Buchanan estimates, he's spent 90 percent of his time studying something once relatively rare in the state - earthquakes.   [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition presentation warns of natural-gas fireballs, breached levees, illnesses
Times Leader
Eileen Godin

WILKES-BARRE — The Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition is hoping U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright will fight natural-gas pipelines that cut through the Wyoming Valley. The coalition will show Cartwright, D-Moosic, a presentation showing environmental and health problems they say are caused by the natural-gas industry. The group is fighting the proposed PennEast Pipeline.   [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Renewables Beat Natural Gas, Provide Half of New US Generating Capacity in 2014
Renewable Energy World
Kenneth Bossong

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Ending a year-long race that had been nip-and tuck every month, renewable energy sources cumulatively provided more new electric generating capacity in 2014 than did natural gas. According to the latest "Energy Infrastructure Update" report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, wind) provided nearly half (49.81 percent - 7,663 MW) of new electrical generation brought into service during 2014 while natural gas accounted for 48.65 percent (7,485 MW).  [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
WYOMING FRACKING VICTORY LIFTS VEIL OF SECRECY
EarthJustice
Alyssa Ritterstein

Oil and gas wells are a fact of life in Wyoming. Many families need only look out their windows to see oil and gas rigs working away. What those families can’t see are the thousands of gallons of chemical-laced water pumped into the ground around their homes when those wells are hydraulically fractured during oil and gas drilling. But the water isn’t just hidden from sight. The identities of many chemicals in the water are a closely guarded secret. That means homeowners, like me, who drink from wells on their property and plant gardens in their backyards have no way of knowing what’s getting into the soil and water they depend on.  [Full Story]

Feb 4, 2015
Crude Awakening: How the Keystone Veto Dashes Canada's 'Superpower' Dreams Oil prices are crashing and Obama has vetoed Keystone XL. Will Canada double down on its dirty tar sands?
Rolling Stone
Tim Dickinson

arack Obama's veto of Keystone XL has placed the export pipeline for Canadian tar-sands crude on its deathbed. Earlier in February, the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that Keystone could spur 1.37 billion tons of excess carbon emissions — providing the State Department with all the scientific evidence required to spike the project, permanently. If the news has cheered climate activists across the globe, it also underscored the folly of Canada's catastrophic quest, in recent years, to transform itself into a dirty-energy "superpower."   [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Anti-Fracking Signs Vandalized In Payne County
News 9
Dana Hertneky

STILLWATER, Oklahoma - The controversy over hydraulic fracturing and the use of injection wells seems to be growing more contentious in Stillwater. Residents there are reporting vandalism to signs opposing the oil production techniques.   [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
EPA Confirms Keystone XL Fails President’s Climate Test
EcoWatch
Anthony Swift

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drove what may prove to be the final nail in the coffin for the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in comments released today, linking the project to an expansion of the tar sands and a significant increase in greenhouse case emissions.   [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
List of places than ban fracking keeps growing
Chron
Dylan Baddour, Houston Chronicle

Scotland banned fracking last week, implementing an indefinite moratorium while the government studies environmental and health impacts of the oil and gas extraction technique, the BBC reports. The nation joins a small but growing group of cities, counties, states and countries that have prohibited fracking, including some locations in the technique's Texas birthplace. Scottish officials stated several concerns with fracking that will be investigated: earthquakes, water pollution and "inappropriate development in the countryside," according to the BBC.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
EPA: Cheap oil weakens the case for the Keystone XL pipeline
The Washington Post
Joby Warrick and Juliet Eilperin

Plummeting oil prices have undermined one of the primary arguments for building the Keystone XL pipeline, the Environmental Protection Agency has told the State Department in a letter that implicitly urges a White House rejection of the controversial project. The EPA letter to the State Department’s special envoy on the issue also cites new analysis suggesting that the 1,100-mile pipeline would be more harmful to the environment than earlier studies had predicted. The note was released less than a week before the Republican-controlled House is expected to cast a vote that could put the pipeline’s fate squarely in the hands of President Obama.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
EPA: Keystone XL’s climate impacts need to be revisited
The Washington Post
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — With the recent dip in oil prices, the Environmental Protection Agency wants the State Department to “revisit” how much of a toll the Keystone XL oil pipeline would have on global warming. The EPA suggests that lower oil prices could make the pipeline more important in the development of the oil sands, and thus a chief culprit in the “significant greenhouse gas emissions” they would produce. A January 2014 environmental analysis by the State Department found that the oil sands — which it said would significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions over conventional crude oil — would be developed regardless of whether the pipeline was built. But that conclusion was based on higher oil prices. Oil, the EPA points out, was trading at $50 per barrel last week.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Lack of Rain Isn’t the Only Story Behind the West’s Brutal Drought
Wired
NICK STOCKTON

California fracks itself up Kern County—located at the southernmost end of California’s ag-centric Central Valley—is as rich in petroleum as it is in crops. And recently the county’s oil interests have been cashing in on the hydraulic fracturing boom. Squirt chemicals into the ground, and oil and natural gas come out. Water gets burped up in the fracking process, too, but it’s too loaded with salt, hydrocarbons, and other chemicals for irrigation or drinking. Standard practice is to pump it back into the ground.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Range withdraws conditional use applications in Mt. Pleasant; new supervisor appointed
Observer-Reporter
Francesca Sacco

Range Resources withdrew conditional-use applications Tuesday for the Yonker, Uchida and Patsch well pad locations in Mt. Pleasant Township, citing a reduction in the company’s capital expenditures. Matt Pitzarella, Range spokesman, said Range decided to pull the applications because of “the recent falling oil prices.” “Our capital spending this year is down about 43 percent from last year. We’re currently active at two other locations in Mt. Pleasant Township and very much intend on remaining active in the township, and we’re hopeful that next year provides us with the opportunity to develop these or other locations in the township,” Pitzarella said in an email.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Horrible oil and gas inspector snafu in California presents Colorado with cautionary tale
Colorado Independent
John Tomasic

News this week from California dovetails with news from Colorado to send a chill down the spines of water watchers across the state. As the San Francisco Chronicle website SFGate reported Sunday, overworked, confused, techno-bureaucratically challenged California regulators over the course of years gave oil and gas companies the greenlight to drill 464 wells into the state’s precious aquifers and unload millions of gallons of produced water from hydraulic fracturing bearing brine and chemicals, which are now mixed with drinking and crop-irrigation water. This at a time when California is experiencing record drought conditions.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Community advocates, proposed gas pipeline developer to hold meetings
Troy Record
Danielle Sanzpne

STEPHENTOWN >> Two public meetings have been scheduled to discuss a proposed major gas pipeline which would be routed through the Capital District, including southern Rensselaer County. A community-organized public forum is slated for Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Stephentown Town Hall on Grange Hall Road, while an open house organized by the project’s developer will take place on Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Green Meadow Elementary School on Schuurman Road in Schodack. The pipeline, proposed by Kinder Morgan-owned Tennessee Gas Pipeline, would carry gas through areas of the towns of Schodack, Nassau and Stephentown. There is also the possibility of a large compressor station being located in the East Schodack area, officials said.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
State drilling panel weighs disclosure of fracking chemicals
KJCT 8
Associated Press

DENVER (AP) Gov. John Hickenlooper's task force on oil and gas is discussing proposals to force energy companies to disclose all the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing.   [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Environmentalists fear use of fracking in Uruguay
Fox News


The Uruguay Free of Megamining environmental group said Tuesday it was concerned that officials might allow the use of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to produce oil in the Salto and Piedra Sola formations if petroleum is discovered in the areas. The National Fuel, Alcohol and Portland Administration, or ANCAP, confirmed on Jan. 13 that 20 potential oil wells existed in the Salto and Piedra Sola formations in northern Uruguay.   [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
CA officials allowed fracking to taint drinking water amid record drought
Turkish Weekly


Oil companies in drought-ravaged California are pumping wastewater from their operations into aquifers, potentially contaminating groundwater supplies that have become increasingly important.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Six counties cut from pipeline work; Livingston remains
Livingston Daily
Keith Matheny

A large natural-gas transmission pipeline proposed for construction through southeast Michigan will now impact far fewer counties. A deal with an existing pipeline operator means the ET Rover pipeline will no longer be built in Oakland, Macomb, St. Clair, Genesee, Shiawassee and Lapeer counties, Rover Pipeline announced Monday. The pipeline, which still requires federal approval, would carry more than 3 billion cubic feet of gas per day from the production areas of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to Midwest markets including Michigan and beyond through a major gas hub near Sarnia, Ontario.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Cash-Starved Oil Producers Trade Treasured Pipelines for Money
Bloomberg
Rebecca Penty

Bloomberg) -- Oil and natural gas producers confronting a cash drain are auctioning off the family silver: pipelines and processing plants. Bakken shale billionaire Harold Hamm and Canadian gas giant Encana Corp. are among the latest to peddle some of their most valuable assets and steadiest earners. They don’t have much choice -- as the oil price collapse deflates the value of drilling operations, pipes and plants are about the only things attracting big payments for producers vying to stay afloat. The deals for quick cash are another facet of the energy industry meltdown leading to more than $40 billion in spending cuts and thousands of job losses. The capital infusion comes with a trade-off because producers pay more to process and transport fuel over the lines and in the facilities they used to own.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Water may be leverage in thwarting pipeline in Boyle County
The Advocate Messenger
Pam Wright

Danville's water source may be the leverage Boyle County pipeline opponents need to fight a proposed repurposing of an aging pipeline to carry natural gas liquids through the county, said a panel of experienced anti-pipeline activists. More than 50 area residents gathered Monday at InterCounty Energy for a second "informal" meeting to discuss ways to thwart a plan by Kinder Morgan. The company wants to abandon a Tennessee Gas Pipeline, currently carrying natural gas, and reverse the flow to carry much heavier, and many would say more dangerous, natural gas liquids through the county from the fracking plays in Ohio and Pennsylvania to the Gulf Coast.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Large pipelines proposed to carry gas from shale formations
Bakken.com
Mark Gillispie | The Associated Press

CLEVELAND — The growing supply of natural gas being pulled from the Marcellus and Utica shale regions of Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania has become a potential boon for businesses that build large interstate pipelines and a potential nightmare for people who don’t want massive amounts of gas surging through their property. Several underground pipeline projects are proposed to transport natural gas across the state from the Utica and Marcellus shale regions to northwest Ohio. The project that has drawn the most opposition is the NEXUS pipeline, which is being proposed by a partnership of Houston-based Spectra Energy and Detroit-based DTE Energy. NEXUS is a 200-mile corridor of 42-inch-diamater pipe capable of transporting as much as 2 billion cubic feet of gas per day, an amount that would meet the needs of around 20,000 homes for a year. Gas from the pipeline would be made available to industry and to gas-fired power plants.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Permitting, prices holding back new pipelines
Fuel Fix
Jennifer A. Dlouhy

WASHINGTON — The United States needs more pipelines and rail lines to move crude, natural gas liquids and other fuels to consumers nationwide, but regulatory delays and the decline in oil prices are making it tougher to build that essential infrastructure, energy industry representatives warned Congress on Tuesday. “This may be the most difficult time ever to expand pipeline capacity,” conceded Andrew Black, CEO of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines. “First, pipelines must secure long-term agreements with shippers to provide financial support for expansion projects,” Black told a House Transportation subcommittee. “Pipeline operators need prompt decisions from government agencies for environmental permits and approvals. Some states are slowing down their consideration of pipeline route issues.”   [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Alternative routes considered for WV to Va. pipeline
State Journal
AP

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - Developers are considering alternative routes for a proposed pipeline that would carry deliver natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia. Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC spokeswoman Natalie Cox tells The Roanoke Times that the company wants to find a route that has the least overall impact on landowners, the environment and cultural resources. Cox says looking at alternative routes isn't unusual in this early stage of seeking federal regulators' approval of the project.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Why people are mad at the EPA’s methane rules
Watchdog.org
Rob Nikolewski

Proposed rules unveiled by the Obama administration earlier this month calls for the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas production sites for the first time ever. The potential regulations have been criticized by environmentalists for not going far enough while the industry says they’re not necessary. “The Obama administration must reconsider their strategy on methane and put out a much stronger proposed rule,” said Greenpeace, Public Citizen and Friends of the Earth in a joint news release.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Study: Many Calif. Areas Could Be Exposed to Unhealthy Emissions
California Healthline


Many California communities could be contaminated with unhealthy levels of toxic oil and gas emissions in the air, according to a new study by Earthworks and the Clean Water Fund, InsideClimate News/Sacramento Bee reports. Details of Study For the study, researchers took five air samples and surveyed a total of 40 residents in: Lost Hills in Kern County; and Upper Ojai in Ventura County. The locations were selected because residents said they had smelled hydrocarbon odors or experienced health issues related to nearby oil-and-gas facility operations.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
With US offshore oil and gas plan, what you see will likely be what you get
Platts
Brian Scheid

Last week, the Obama administration drew the ire of environmentalists when it revealed early plans to open some of the mid and south Atlantic Ocean to oil and gas drilling. The plan exposes the Eastern Seaboard “to the hazards of offshore drilling,” said Peter Lehner, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a sentiment largely shared by most environmentalists and several congressional Democrats. But despite the possible inclusion of drilling off the US East Coast in the administration’s next five-year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing, the reviews from the fossil fuel industry were far more negative. Rather than focusing on the potential East Coast lease sale, currently slated for late in the 2017-2022 plan, industry instead focused on just how many federal planning areas were left out of the proposal.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Task force likely won’t suggest bigger buffer zone for wells
Washington Times
DAN ELLIOTT - Associated Press

DENVER (AP) - Proposals to increase the required distance between houses and oil and gas wells probably won’t be among the recommendations a state task force presents to Gov. John Hickenlooper after backers said Tuesday they didn’t have the votes. Some task force members wanted to increase the minimum to as much as 1,000 feet from homes and 2,000 feet from schools. The requirement also would have applied to oilfield storage tanks. The current requirement is 500 feet from homes and 1,000 feet from schools.   [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Colorado oil, gas task force votes yea on increased local control
Denver Post
Mark Jaffe

The governor's oil land gas task force Tuesday in a straw vote supported a series of proposals that would provide an enhanced role for local governments in the permitting of drilling operations. At least 14 of the 21 task force members backed recommendations that would more closely involve communities in the siting of oil and gas operations. A two-thirds vote is necessary for the task force to send a proposal to the governor.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
NY to Allow LNG Storage
Go By Truck News


The potential value of liquefied natural gas is finally outweighing the risks in New York. The state has just announced the end of a 40-year ban on LNG storage. Starting February 26, LNG facilities will be permitted under strict regulations. The LNG storage ban began in 1973, when an explosion on Staten Island killed 40 people. The state Department of Environmental Conversation first opened the possibility of allowing LNG facilities last year, when it began accepting public comments on the subject. Partly based on those comments, DEC developed a series of regulations proposed facilities must meet to obtain a permit. “New York’s new regulations provide the most comprehensive program to safely site build and operate LNG facilities in the country,” said Joe Martens, DEC Commissioner. “New York’s environment and economy will benefit from safely providing liquefied natural gas vehicles opportunities to fill up in the state.”  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Federal fracking rules due out soon
The Hill
Timothy Cama

Rules for hydraulic fracturing on federal land will be made final within weeks, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said. Jewell told reporters Monday that the rules from Interior’s Bureau of Land Management are “very close” and can be expected “in the coming weeks.”  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
CA Officials Allowed Fracking to Taint Drinking Water Amid Record Drought
Sputnik News


As the historic drought presses on in California – including San Francisco, which recorded zero rainfall in January – state regulators let oil companies inject wastewater into aquifers that held water reserved for drinking and irrigation. WASHINGTON, February 2nd (Sputnik) — Oil companies in drought-ravaged California are pumping wastewater from their operations into aquifers, potentially contaminating groundwater supplies that have become increasingly important. State regulators permitted companies to drill hundreds of waste-disposal wells into aquifers that store water for drinking or irrigation, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Companies injected a blend of briny water, hydrocarbons and trace chemicals.   [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Anthony Hilton: Fracking just doesn’t pay, so why bother?
Standard UK
Anthony Hilton

Given the passions aroused by the current debate about fracking, it is interesting how seldom people look at the economics. The Government talks about energy sufficiency, jobs and growth; opponents talk about unproved technology, destruction of countryside, danger of earthquakes and environmental damage; the companies talk about how hundreds of years of energy resource are waiting to be tapped beneath our feet, and it would be criminally short-sighted not to take advantage of it. What few people say, but is surely relevant, is that for a large number of people, fracking has been an extremely good way to lose a great deal of money. The fact that it and shale oil tend to be lousy investments is one reason big oil companies such as Shell, having tried it, are now heading rapidly in the opposite direction.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Dominion buys Carolina Gas Transmission for nearly $493M
WSB2
AP

RICHMOND, Va. — Energy provider Dominion Resources Inc. has completed its purchase of Carolina Gas Transmission for about $492.9 million. The Richmond-based company says the acquisition includes nearly 1,500 miles of natural gas pipeline in South Carolina and southeastern Georgia that were owned and operated by Carolina Gas Transmission. CEO Thomas Farrell II has called the acquisition a compelling strategic opportunity as Dominion expands its regulated natural gas businesses into the Southeast.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
I’m Marching for Real Climate Leadership: Stop Fracking California
Eco Watch
Michael Brune

Earlier this month, almost every Republican in the U.S. Senate went on record that “climate change is real and not a hoax.” All but a handful, however, balked at agreeing that humans are contributing to that change. The “not a scientist” club has a new line in the sand: “Climate change? Sure, whatever, but humans are not the problem.”  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Government poll reveals public support for fracking falls to record low
Click Green
Staff

new survey released today by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) shows that public support for shale gas drilling has slumped to all-time low. The poll results also reveal that those in favour of onshore wind farms has increased to 68%, while total opposition fell to just 10%. Support for offshore wind also remained rock solid at 74%. There was an increase in support for Britain’s wave and tidal energy industry, which went up to 74%. Public support for hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’ for shale gas fell from 26% to 24%. The poll found 39% of the public supported the use of nuclear energy to generate electricity in the UK in December 2014/January 2015, compared to 42% in September 2014.   [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
NDP call for independent review after earthquake felt near Fox Creek fracking operations
Edmunton Sun


The Alberta NDP is calling for an independent "science-based" investigation into the possible connection between a recent earthquake felt near Fox Creek and fracking operations in the area. On January 22, a 4.4-magnitude earthquake was recorded roughly 30 kilometres west of Fox Creek, a town of about 2,000 people 260 kilometres northwest of Edmonton. Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) spokesperson Ryan Bartlett said the earthquake was preceded by a "cluster" of smaller seismic events "and that suggests it may have been an induced earthquake."  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Colorado oil, gas task force winnows 57 ideas for easing drilling woes
Denver Post
Mark Jaffe

The governor's oil and gas task force on Monday began to home in on recommendations for dealing with concerns about drilling in Colorado with most agreement, at least initially, on bolstering state oversight. The group, however, struggled over the key issue of creating a larger role for local government in oversight. "The role of local government is the central issue," said task force member Jon Goldin-Dubois, president of the environmental group Western Resource Advocates. The 21-member panel reviewed 57 recommendations proposed by its members ranging from disclosure of drilling chemicals to more local control of operations. The group is slated to continue its deliberations Tuesday. It has until Feb. 27 to deliver a recommendation to Gov. John Hickenlooper.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Plummeting oil prices have fracking states like North Dakota on edge
Land Line
Clarissa Hawes

As consumers revel in lower fuel prices at the pump, the dramatic plunge in oil prices over the past few months has the oil and gas industry in North Dakota, as well as the United States, on edge. As a result of falling oil prices in the U.S., oil services provider Schlumberger Ltd. announced it was cutting 7.5 percent of its workforce, or 9,000 jobs, in early January. Many of those jobs are in the top two oil producing states in the country, including North Dakota and Texas. In the past three months, the production price for sweet crude oil in North Dakota has dropped from nearly $69 per barrel to around $29.25 per barrel, according to a report issued by Lynn Helms, director of the North Dakota Industrial Commission, Department of Mineral Resources. The report states that the all-time high price per barrel in North Dakota reached $136.29 in July 2008. Helms’ report also states that since October 2014 the number of operating rigs in North Dakota has dropped from 191 to 156, the lowest number of operating rigs since December 2008. The highest number of operating rigs in the state reached 219 in May 2012.   [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
California Has Been Letting Oil Companies Dump In Protected Water Sources, And Conservationists Are Livid
Huffington Post
Lydia O'Connor

Conservationists are calling on California to shut down injection wells after a scathing San Francisco Chronicle report found the state has been letting oil companies drill and dump in protected, drinkable water sources amid a historic drought. "Put simply, California regulators are not up to the task of managing safe wastewater disposal and cede residents' safety and health to oil and gas production," Dan Jacobson, state director for lobbying group Environment California, said in a statement sent to The Huffington Post. "Preserving and protecting California's water and farms is not something to take lightly." According to the Chronicle's review of state data, since 1983 California's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources has been allowing oil companies to dispose of produced water -- leftover water from the drilling process that is contaminated with oil, brine and other chemicals -- by pumping into the earth through wastewater injection wells that reach into the state's aquifers.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
The End of the Barnett Shale? Recent Earthquakes and an Epic Fault Line May Erode Enthusiasm for Further Fracking in Dallas County
Huffington Post
Stacy Clark

A 2.4 magnitude earthquake ushered in the New Year near the old Texas Stadium in Irving, TX. The event was yet one more in a series of frequent seismic episodes to rattle Dallas County residents. Then, eleven earthquakes hit Irving five days later on January 6th and another quake struck the same area at 1 a.m. on the 7th. Notably, the twelve tremors over just 24 hours followed five earthquakes occurring over four days in late November, the largest of which was felt by many tens of thousands of residents. The old Texas Stadium is located at the intersection of Highways 114 and 183 in Irving, TX, about three miles west of Dallas Love Field Airport.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Shale gas remains UK’s most divisive energy source, poll shows
The Carbon Brief
Mat Hope

The public remains divided on whether the UK should exploit its shale gas resources, new government polling shows. The statistics come a week after Lancashire council delayed a decision on whether to permit fracking at two sites, due to concerns over noise and traffic. The shale gas circus has been in town for a couple of years now. In that time, protesters have taken to the streets and gone home again, companies have fired up their drills and shut them down, and Scotland cautiously welcomed and then banned the industry. It seems such drama has split the public, with similar numbers of people opposing and supporting fracking. The data shows that, of all the UK's energy options, shale gas remains the most divisive.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
Tasmanian farmers have asked to have a ban on fracking extended
The Advacate
Emily Woods

WITH debate over fracking in Tasmania intensifying, the state's major farming organisation has expressed its concerns about the state government review, and current landowner permission regulation. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves drilling into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. A one-year moratorium on fracking in Tasmania will expire on March 31. In a submission to the state government's Review of Hydraulic Fracturing the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association made strong recommendations that the one-year moratorium be extended.  [Full Story]

Feb 3, 2015
The Fault Line: Ohio quakes offer lessons for Texas
WFAA
Byron Harris

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A few decades ago, Youngstown, Ohio pulsed to the beat of the steel industry. The banks of the Mahoning River were lined with mills. These days, Youngstown and northeastern Ohio occasionally shiver to the beat of the oil and gas industry. From earthquakes. What Ohio is experiencing may hold some lessons for Texas, because a growing number of studies and state regulators link the tremors to oil and gas waste disposal wells and hydraulic fracturing.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
West Texas frac sand proposal abandoned
Fuel Fix
MIchael Brick

Faced with public opposition and grim oil field economics, a West Texas businessman has abandoned his proposal for a rail facility to load sand onto trucks across from a residential neighborhood. The businessman, Lee Pfluger, ended months of increasingly rancorous debate with a dramatic flourish, making his announcement during a highly anticipated civic meeting in San Angelo on Monday. “The parties involved in the Hill Street sand depot hearing have agreed that such a facility will not be located on the San Angelo property,” city officials announced on a social media account.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Industry built on sand sees its growth eroding
Express News
Robert Grattan, Houston Chronicle

After several years of growth, the sands are shifting among businesses that supply grit for the technology driving the oil shale boom. From 2011 to 2014, the oil and gas industry’s massive embrace of hydraulic fracturing pushed demand for industrial sand from about 50 billion pounds to 100 billion pounds, according to energy consulting firm IHS. That growth ignited a boom in the sand supply and shipping business that followed the surge in the oil patch and now is slowing down along with it.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
In fracking hot spots, police and gas industry share intelligence on activists
State Impact Pa
Marie Cusick

Last month an anti-fracking group settled a lawsuit against Pennsylvania, after it was erroneously labeled a potential terrorist threat. The case dates back to 2010 and was an embarrassment for then-Governor Ed Rendell. But documents obtained by StateImpact Pennsylvania show law enforcement here and in other parts of the country continue to conduct surveillance on anti-fracking activists, leading some to claim their Constitutional rights are being violated.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
WASTEWATER IN’FRACK’TION IN CALIFORNIA’S DROUGHT-PLAGUED CENTRAL VALLEY
Earthjustice
Miranda Fox

Thirsty? How about a glass of frackwash from the tap? Don’t mind that little bit of arsenic swirling around like an invisible noose. For residents in central California’s Kern County, this is unfortunately the reality they face after a recent investigation found that nearly 3 billion gallons of fracking wastewater containing toxins and carcinogens was injected into central California aquifers.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
State Drilling Panel Reviews Proposals As Deadline Nears
CBS Denver


DENVER (AP) – Gov. John Hickenlooper’s task force on oil and gas discussed proposals Monday that would force energy companies to disclose all the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing and give local governments more of a say on where wells can be drilled. The task force is winnowing down a list of 56 suggestions from members before making its recommendations to Hickenlooper on Feb. 27 on ways to resolve disputes over local control and landowner rights. The 21-member panel hasn’t taken any final votes, and it wasn’t yet clear whether the proposals on chemicals and local government would be among its final suggestions.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
In fracking hot spots, police and gas industry share intelligence on activists
NPR State Impact PA
MARIE CUSICK

Last month an anti-fracking group settled a lawsuit against Pennsylvania, after it was erroneously labeled a potential terrorist threat. The case dates back to 2010 and was an embarrassment for then-Governor Ed Rendell. But documents obtained by StateImpact Pennsylvania show law enforcement here and in other parts of the country continue to conduct surveillance on anti-fracking activists, leading some to claim their Constitutional rights are being violated.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Researchers Recommend Nanoporous Materials for Methane Storage in Cars
Azom.com
Alexander Chilton

Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley and EPFL have conducted a collaborative study using computer simulations in order to determine the best material to store methane obtained from natural gas. The results showed that the materials can only meet up to 70% of the energy targets set by a US Department of Energy organization, ARPA-e.Natural gas is a popular choice for automotive fuel but its low energy density requires it be liquefied or compressed, thus making it difficult to integrate into vehicles. The best solution is to store natural gas within materials containing nano-sized pores, with governmental targets usually being the driving force behind the search for these materials.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Pontrhydyfen residents oppose gas test drilling application
BBC News


A bid to test drill for shale gas in Port Talbot woodlands has been the focus of a meeting by campaigners who want to halt the plans. Residents of Pontrhydyfen fear the proposal by Bridgend's UK Methane could pollute and industrialise Foel Fynyddau Forest. An earlier application was rejected by Neath Port Talbot council over noise level concerns. The new proposal is the same but now has a noise management plan. The company wants temporary permission to drill an exploratory borehole to test for coal bed methane and shale gases.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
6 Investigates: Whistleblower says hazmat truckers, companies risk your safety
KRIS-TV Corpus Christi TX
Rick Spruill

CORPUS CHRISTI - He says it's all about luck. "Jerry", as we've named him to protect his identity, spends about 70 hours a week behind the wheel of a hazardous materials ("hazmat") tanker truck. Based out of Corpus Christi, Jerry says he ranges the Eagle Ford Shale every day, delivering dangerous chemicals throughout South Texas.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Bill to monitor Marcellus Shale health effects reintroduced in state Senate
State Impact PA
Marie Cusick

A bill aimed at creating an advisory panel to monitor potential public health effects of Marcellus Shale drilling has been reintroduced in the state Senate. Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati (R- Jefferson) first proposed the measure in 2013. He reintroduced it on Friday. SB 375 would create a nine-member advisory panel that would meet at least twice a year to consult with experts to analyze the health effects of natural gas extraction.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Company wins federal approval to ship liquid drilling wastes by barge on Ohio River
Akron Beacon Journal
Bob Downing

A $3 million plan by a Texas company to ship liquid drilling wastes via barges on the Ohio River is gaining steam. GreenHunter Resources said the U.S. Coast Guard quietly approved its proposal in the fourth quarter of 2014. No announcement was made at the time.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Fracking Quakes Pose Added Risks and Require Study, Expert Warns
The Tyee
Andrew Nikiforuk

One of Canada's foremost experts on earthquake hazards recently told an audience of Calgary engineers that earthquakes triggered by hydraulic fracturing can exceed "what the natural hazard was in the first place" and pose risks to infrastructure only built to withstand natural earthquake hazards. As well, earthquakes induced by fracking can produce more damaging ground motion at lower magnitudes than natural quakes due to their shallowness, said Gail Atkinson, the NSERC/TransAlta/Nanometrics Industrial Research Chair in Hazards from Induced Seismicity at Ontario's Western University.   [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Offshore Drilling Puts Fragile Virginia Coast at Risk
Cape Charles Wave


The Obama administration has announced plans to allow oil wells to be drilled off the coast of Virginia and several other southeastern states, with Virginia’s coastline placed at particular risk. Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper Jay Ford expressed “extreme disappointment” with the decision — “Potential spills would have devastating consequences for one of the most unique habitats on our planet. Our aquaculture industry, fisheries, tourism, and culture would all be put at risk,” he said.   [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Fracking is making state and Phila. energy leaders
Philadelphia Inquirer
Kevin L. Colosimo

Gov. Wolf has fulfilled a campaign promise to ban natural-gas drilling on state parklands, but he should ignore suggestions that he go further by instituting a statewide fracking ban. Simply put, a ban would kill the goose that has delivered a lot of golden eggs to the commonwealth.   [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Fracking set to be banned from 40% of England's shale areas
The Guardian
Damian Carrington & Xaquin GV

Fracking is set to be banned on two-fifths of the land in England being offered for shale gas exploration by the government, according to a Guardian analysis. Such a wide-ranging ban would be a significant blow to the UK’s embryonic fracking industry, which David Cameron and George Osborne have enthusiastically backed.   [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Fracking would have hurt, not helped,economy
LoHud Community View
Janette Barth

My family and I love New York state and want to see it prosper in the long term by supporting industries that create good jobs. As an economist, I'm committed to looking at things empirically. That's why I'm glad that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his administration followed the science and data when they decided to prohibit high volume hydraulic fracturing. I have been researching economic impacts of shale gas development since 2008. My findings consistently show that industry estimates of economic benefits from shale gas development, and particularly job creation, are highly exaggerated and that significant costs are routinely ignored. Extractive industries, including shale gas development, are known for their boom and bust cycles, so claiming future job creation is misleading. Any short-term jobs created disappear when the industry inevitably leaves.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
NY, MA and NH Anti-Pipeline Groups Join Forces
WAMC
Jim Levulis

In the latest anti-pipeline move, groups from New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire have joined forces to combat a proposed natural gas pipeline that would run through the three states. More than two dozen organizations are banding together against Kinder Morgan’s proposed Northeast Energy Direct project. The Tennessee Gas pipeline would carry fracked gas from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania through New York’s Capital Region, western Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire and re-enter Massachusetts ending at Dracut, about 30 miles north of Boston. Before a change in December to run along power line corridors, the initial route kept most of the pipeline in Massachusetts. Katy Eiseman is with the Massachusetts Pipeline Awareness Network, a member group of the newly formed StopNED Coalition. “Let everyone know that this is a unified front,” Eiseman said. “Nobody was happy that the pipeline got moved in large part to New Hampshire. It’s still in everybody’s backyard and it’s everybody’s problem.”  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Obama proposes more pipeline safety money in new federal budget
The Morning Call
Laura Olson

The Federal pipeline inspectors would have more money to improve oversight of those aging networks, under the budget proposal that released by the White House today. That funding plan would provide another $30 million for pipeline safety programs in the next fiscal year, for a total of $176 million. The current federal budget includes $146 million for pipeline safety under the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. That was a $27 million increase over the previous year, but less than the president's $158 million request.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Pipeline Controversy Heads to the General Assembly
wmra
ANDREW JENNER

Many residents in the path of the proposed Dominion natural-gas pipeline say that they are not being heard when they raise concerns about its effect on their property. As WMRA's Andrew Jenner reports, at least two lawmakers in the General Assembly are responding to those concerns. The proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline crosses the Shenandoah Valley and rural Southside Virginia. But right now, the intense controversy around this Dominion natural gas pipeline has come to Richmond, where the General Assembly is in session.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
State Investigators Raid Homes of Former CPUC Chief, PG&E Executive
Natural Gas Intelligence
Richard Nemec

Investigators from the California Attorney General's Office reportedly raided the homes of the state’s former chief regulator and a former Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) executive who was fired last year in an e-mail scandal that is still unfolding with state and federal probes ongoing. Law enforcement officials last Tuesday searched the Los Angeles suburban home of Michael Peevey, long-time president of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), who stepped down after a dozen years on the job at the end of last year. The investigators seized computer equipment and smart phones at the Peevey residence. In addition, the AG Office investigators also seized similar items in a search of the residence of former PG&E vice president for regulatory affairs Brian Cherry in an East San Francisco Bay suburb, according to a report Friday in the Los Angeles Times. Neither the Attorney General's office, nor the two men targeted, would comment on the state investigative action. In addition to the state probe, the U.S. Attorney's office in San Francisco launched an investigation in September when PG&E self-reported improper communications between the CPUC and the San Francisco-based combination utility (see Daily GPI, Sept. 16, 2014). Peevey, a former president at Southern California Edison Co. and an energy industry entrepreneur before being appointed to the CPUC in 2002, left the regulatory agency's top position under a cloud in December (see Daily GPI, Dec. 19, 2014). Since Peevey left office, PG&E has made public additional revealing e-mails and on Friday turned over a total of 65,000 communications to the CPUC. “The vast majority have been completely appropriate," according to PG&E CEO Tony Earley, who said that for the "few instances" that were in violation of commission rules, the utility took "immediate and definitive action." A spokesperson emphasized that the controversial e-mails were part of a voluntary review PG&E undertook last year. Earley said PG&E is "fully cooperating" with all of the independent law enforcement investigations of surrounding the e-mails and the utility-CPUC relationship. Separately on Friday, the CPUC assessed two citations totaling $200,000 against PG&E and a separate $100,000 citation on West Coast Gas Co.'s pipeline operations in the state for various safety related violations. The companies have 10 business days to pay or contest the citations under a program created in the wake of the San Bruno natural gas transmission pipeline failure (see Daily GPI, Jan. 27). Most of the communications likely will reveal routine communications between the CPUC and the utility, Sullivan noted, but San Bruno city officials that have long been critical of the CPUC for allegedly having "too cozy" a relationship with PG&E praised the state Attorney General's office for taking strong action to uncover the facts of the controversial communications pattern between the regulators and utility. Meanwhile, a consumer activist attorney in San Diego, Mike Aguirre, argued that the state probe should include communications between Peevey's CPUC and the major utilities in Southern California -- SCE and Sempra Energy's two utilities, Southern California Gas Co. and San Diego Gas and Electric Co. In addition, Gov. Jerry Brown defended Peevey publicly by calling him a "real champion of advancing the state's environmental goals," according to the Times report. inShare 1 RECENT ARTICLES BY RICHARD NEMEC A Niche Within the NGV Niche: Renewable Natural Gas Examined Oxy to Focus on Permian With Capex Down 33% Investigators from the California Attorney General's Office reportedly raided the homes of the state’s former chief regulator and a former Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) executive who was fired last year in an e-mail scandal that is still unfolding with state and federal probes ongoing. Law enforcement officials last Tuesday searched the Los Angeles suburban home of Michael Peevey, long-time president of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), who stepped down after a dozen years on the job at the end of last year. The investigators seized computer equipment and smart phones at the Peevey residence. In addition, the AG Office investigators also seized similar items in a search of the residence of former PG&E vice president for regulatory affairs Brian Cherry in an East San Francisco Bay suburb, according to a report Friday in the Los Angeles Times. Neither the Attorney General's office, nor the two men targeted, would comment on the state investigative action. In addition to the state probe, the U.S. Attorney's office in San Francisco launched an investigation in September when PG&E self-reported improper communications between the CPUC and the San Francisco-based combination utility (see Daily GPI, Sept. 16, 2014). Peevey, a former president at Southern California Edison Co. and an energy industry entrepreneur before being appointed to the CPUC in 2002, left the regulatory agency's top position under a cloud in December (see Daily GPI, Dec. 19, 2014). Since Peevey left office, PG&E has made public additional revealing e-mails and on Friday turned over a total of 65,000 communications to the CPUC. “The vast majority have been completely appropriate," according to PG&E CEO Tony Earley, who said that for the "few instances" that were in violation of commission rules, the utility took "immediate and definitive action." A spokesperson emphasized that the controversial e-mails were part of a voluntary review PG&E undertook last year. Earley said PG&E is "fully cooperating" with all of the independent law enforcement investigations of surrounding the e-mails and the utility-CPUC relationship. Separately on Friday, the CPUC assessed two citations totaling $200,000 against PG&E and a separate $100,000 citation on West Coast Gas Co.'s pipeline operations in the state for various safety related violations. The companies have 10 business days to pay or contest the citations under a program created in the wake of the San Bruno natural gas transmission pipeline failure (see Daily GPI, Jan. 27). Most of the communications likely will reveal routine communications between the CPUC and the utility, Sullivan noted, but San Bruno city officials that have long been critical of the CPUC for allegedly having "too cozy" a relationship with PG&E praised the state Attorney General's office for taking strong action to uncover the facts of the controversial communications pattern between the regulators and utility. Meanwhile, a consumer activist attorney in San Diego, Mike Aguirre, argued that the state probe should include communications between Peevey's CPUC and the major utilities in Southern California -- SCE and Sempra Energy's two utilities, Southern California Gas Co. and San Diego Gas and Electric Co. In addition, Gov. Jerry Brown defended Peevey publicly by calling him a "real champion of advancing the state's environmental goals," according to the Times report.   [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Boston Has a Methane Problem
care2
s.e. smith

A team of researchers led by Kathryn McKain of Harvard University has recently discovered that approximately three percent of the natural gas delivered to Boston leaks directly into the atmosphere, taking with it a heavy load of methane, a known greenhouse gas. Their study doesn’t just have significant environmental implications: It’s estimated that the city is losing around $90 million to leaks every year. Correcting leaks is a relatively straightforward task, though it would require some investment in natural gas infrastructure and consumer education. However, these costs would be mitigated by the substantial savings offered if Boston was able to cut down on its methane problem.   [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
No benefits to come from Keystone XL pipeline
Journal Review
Opinion

The most recent State of the American Energy Report published by the American Petroleum Institute clearly and unambiguously states, “Few things threaten America’s future prosperity more than climate change.” This may be the first time the American Petroleum Institute has acknowledged climate change and it’s potentially detrimental effects. That they did so almost immediately after 2014 was declared the hottest year in recorded history is no coincidence. Continuing to deny global warming — when 9 of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred during the 21st century — would seriously undermine their credibility. Despite this, much of their 24-minute video summary of the written report congratulates Americans for being the new world leaders in energy production while delivering their sales pitch that — regardless of the environmental consequences — emission regulations and monitoring must be eliminated and the Keystone XL pipeline must be approved to provide energy independence, thousands of new jobs and lower gas prices in the United States. Many are swayed, but a close examination of the claims show most of the supposed benefits are unfounded, and that the Keystone XL pipeline will present an unprecedented violation of property rights and unacceptable level of risk to many along its path.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
President Obama's 2016 Budget Urges States To Make Deeper Cuts To Power Plant Emissions
Reuters via Huffington Post
Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON, Feb 2 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's fiscal 2016 budget proposes $7.4 billion to fund clean energy technologies and a $4 billion fund to encourage U.S. states to make faster and deeper cuts to emissions from power plants, officials told Reuters. Obama's budget, which will be published later on Monday, also calls for the permanent extension of the Production Tax Credit, used by the wind industry, and the Investment Tax Credit, used by the solar industry, the officials said. Obama has made fighting climate change a top priority in his final two years in office. The White House sees it as critical to his legacy.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Bulgaria to keep fracking moratorium
Shale Energy
James Perkins

Bulgaria is set to keep its fracking moratorium in place for the foreseeable future according to the country’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, but he is hopeful that alternative extraction methods to hydraulic fracturing may be developed to allow the development of Bulgaria’s shale industry. Speaking at the annual forum of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria, examining the “Priorities of the Bulgarian Government in 2015: Policies and measures for economic growth, attracting investments and implementation of the operational programmes”, Borisov outlined the key issues facing Bulgaria, one of which is shale gas.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Pennsylvania changes rules on fracking sludges with radiation
ohio.com
Bob Downing

Pennsylvania has changed its rules of fracking wastes with low-level radiation, and some fear that the rule chnage could trigger additional shipments to Ohio and other states. Effective Jan. 1, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection adopted monthly radioactivity caps for landfills that take fracking sludges. The state said the radiation was not being diluted with other wastes as had been expected.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
MPs demand halt to fracking in UK
Supply Management


Shale fracking in the UK should be put on hold as its effect on health and the environment is uncertain, according to a committee of MPs. In a report published last week, The Environmental Risks of Fracking, the Environmental Audit Committee concluded the process would be incompatible with UK climate change targets and could pose significant localised environmental risks to public health. The committee’s report warned only a very small fraction of UK shale reserves can be safely burned to keep global temperatures below two degrees. It added there are still considerable uncertainties about the impact on groundwater quality, air quality, health and biodiversity. It also concluded that continually tightening carbon budgets under the Climate Change Act will have significantly curtailed the scope for fossil fuel energy by the time shale gas is likely to be commercially viable on a large scale.   [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
View: Fracked gas alive in NYS through pipeline project
lohud
Community View Bill Meyer

When the public learned that New York state had stopped "fracking," there were widespread celebrations. Those opposed to fracking praised Gov. Andrew Cuomo for wisdom and clarity in rejecting a dangerous, unhealthy, and destructive industrial process that many feel can never be done safely. However, while New York state's fracking review proceeded, another fracked gas controversy was garnering far less media attention, even though it will impact many local communities every day.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
New Environmental Legislation to Compromise 97% of Fracking Sites in UK
sputnik news


MOSCOW, February 2 (Sputnik) – The UK House of Lords will soon debate a draft bill envisaging a ban on shale gas extraction in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and some groundwater protection zones. The majority of the blocks, offered last year for fracking tenders by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), might be affected by the new legislation if passed by the House of Lords, the Greenpeace study suggested.   [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Scotland adds to growing list of places that ban fracking
Fuel Fix
Dylan Baddour

Scotland banned fracking last week, implementing an indefinite moratorium while the government studies environmental and health impacts of the oil and gas extraction technique, the BBC reports. The nation joins a small but growing group of cities, counties, states and countries that have prohibited fracking, including some locations in the technique’s Texas birthplace. Scottish officials stated several concerns with fracking that will be investigated: earthquakes, water pollution and “inappropriate development in the countryside,” according to the BBC. Fracking–short for hydraulic fracturing–is a process in which a mixture of water, sand and chemicals is pumped at extremely high pressure down a well to shatter shale bedrock. Many small pockets of oil or gas, trapped as if in Swiss cheese, are cracked open and sucked to the surface. Since 2008, the technique has made available massive swaths of oil and gas reserves and boosted U.S. oil production to the world’s highest.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Gov. Wolf reinstates moratorium on fracking in state parks and forests
Herald Standard
Susy Kelly

Fullfilling a campaign promise, Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday signed an executive order reinstating a moratorium on new leases for oil and gas development in state parks and forests. “Natural gas development is vital to Pennsylvania’s economy, but so is the economic and environmental viability of our parks and forests,” said Wolf in a statement released Thursday. “This is about striking the right balance. Our state parks and forests are unique assets that should be preserved, protected, and utilized by our residents for recreational purposes.” He went on to say parks across the state host 38 million visitors annually, support over 13,000 jobs, and provide $1.2 billion to the state’s economy.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
O'Malley op-ed calls offshore drilling "a big mistake"
Baltimore Sun
Erin Cox and John Fritze

Former Gov. Martin O'Malley criticized the Obama administration's plan to open a swath of the southeastern Atlantic seaboard to oil and gas drilling, writing in a New York Times op-Ed Moday that the proposal is "a big mistake." O'Malley, who left office last month, called the plan released last week a "whiplash decision" to sell leases in federal waters from Virginia to Georgia. He wrote that a potential disaster would impact states far beyond them, and referenced the lingering effect of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Canada May Have Just Set A Fracking Earthquake World Record
io9.com
George Dvorsky

Late last month, a 4.4 magnitude earthquake shook the town of Fox Creek, Alberta. The province's energy regulator is pointing the finger at hydraulic fracturing which, if confirmed, would make it the largest earthquake ever to have been induced by the method. The earthquake, which was severe enough to cause minor damage, happened on January 22. It was the largest of a swarm of earthquakes to strike the region across a 50 kilometer (31 mile) radius. The town, which is primarily sustained by oil and gas development, is located about 260 kilometers (161 miles) north of Edmonton and is home to about 2,000 people.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Federal Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing Spurned by Senate
JD Supra
Michael Mills

On Wednesday, January 28, the Senate voted against Amendment 48 which would allow the federal Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to regulate hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) on state and private lands. The measure was presented by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) as a negotiated amendment to the Keystone XL Pipeline Act. The amendment would have repealed sections of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which exempt fracking from the underground injection control (UIC) provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act (“SDWA”). (SDWA § 1421(d).) Environmental organizations refer to this provision as the “Halliburton loophole.” Other attempted amendments to the Keystone XL Pipeline Act have focused on reducing fossil fuel use and regulation of carbon (climate change regulation).  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
The boom (and bust?) of fracking
National Catholic Reporter
Vinnie Rotondaro

"North Dakota’s numerous gas flares, even visible from the International Space Station, are flickering out as tens of thousands of energy workers are being given their pink slips," Weathers writes. "Small North Dakota towns recently bustling with workers and other fortune seekers are returning to the rural tranquility they once knew."   [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Scientist Slams Daily Caller For Distorting His Research To Suggest Climate Change Is Fake
climate progress
Emily Atkin

Last week, a new, peer-reviewed paper from scientists at Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute was published in the journal Nature Geoscience. The paper is important: for the first time, it shows that scientists can use incredibly old permafrost to find out what temperatures were like in Siberia thousands of years ago. By using this permafrost, the scientists found that temperatures in Siberia have been gradually rising for the past 7,000 years. Enter the climate denier media. After the findings were published, notorious climate denier Anthony Watts re-published portions of the Alfred Wegener Institute’s press release for the research on his site, Watts Up With That. It was then picked up by Michael Bastasch at the Daily Caller, who wrote that “solar radiation has been melting Siberian ice for 7,000 years,” evidence that “global warming is nothing new.”  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Obama's Budget Goes All-In on Climate Change
National Journal
Jason Plautz

President Obama is going all-in on his climate action plan, unveiling on Monday a multibillion-dollar push for states to start cutting emissions faster than required and millions to deal with extreme weather. Obama is calling for a slight budget increase for the Environmental Protection Agency -- from $8.1 billion enacted to $8.6 billion -- emphasizing the agency's plan to slash greenhouse-gas emissions from new and existing power plants.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Obama Budget Would Pour Funds Into Climate, Renewable Energy
Wall Street Journal
Amy Harder

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama ’s fiscal 2016 budget plan would pour billions of dollars into climate-change and renewable-energy technologies, and repeal nearly $50 billion in tax breaks from the oil, natural-gas and coal industries. The budget proposal, released Monday, underscores an intensifying push by Mr. Obama on his climate agenda, which he hopes to cement as a presidential legacy in his final two years in office.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Renewable energy costs to drop 40 percent in next two years
inhabitat
Charley Cameron

The report, “Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014,” echoes data from a recent report by Deutsche Bank, which predicts grid parity in 80% of solar markets by 2017. Indeed, we have already seen dramatic drops in the cost of solar PV over the last few years; between 2010 and 2014, the cost of utility-scale solar dropped a whopping 50 percent, and since the end of 2009, solar PV module costs have fallen 75%. In some areas utility-scale solar costs as little as USD 0.08 per kilowatt-hour. Meanwhile in markets such as France, Germany and Australia the cost of residential solar is already below that of the grid price of electricity. And these costs are all set to fall further. Other forms of renewable energy are also equally competitive. According to Renew Economy “The average cost of wind energy ranges from $0.06/kWh in China and Asia to $US0.09/kWh in Africa. North America also has competitive wind projects, with an average cost of USD 0.07/kWh, and some as low as USD 0.04/kWh.” Furthermore, IRENA reports “Biomass for power, geothermal and hydropower have provided low-cost electricity – where untapped economic resources exist – for many years.”   [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
View: Fracking would have hurt, not helped, economy
Lohud
Janeette m. Barth Opinion

My family and I love New York state and want to see it prosper in the long term by supporting industries that create good jobs. As an economist, I'm committed to looking at things empirically. That's why I'm glad that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his administration followed the science and data when they decided to prohibit high volume hydraulic fracturing.  [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
Anti-fracking rally in Corner Brook gets plenty of support, no opposing views
The Western Star
Dave Kearsey

Don’t Frack NL. That’s the wording on the small cards Graham Oliver was selling for $5 after a public forum on oil and fracking in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Sunday at Grenfell Campus of Memorial University of Newfoundland.   [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
View: Fracked gas alive in NYS through pipeline project
Lohud
Bill Meyer Opinion

The Cuomo administration's decision to ban fracking has received much support. But the Spectra pipeline project would transport fracked gas, presenting several potential dangers.   [Full Story]

Feb 2, 2015
DN Editorial: Tracking fracking Besides an extraction tax, we need some regulatory oversight
Philadelphia Inquirer
Editorial

WE SUPPORT newly elected governor Tom Wolf for restoring a moratorium on natural-gas hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on state parklands. His action last week reversed a move by Gov. Tom Corbett, a guy who never met a fracker he didn't like, who lifted an earlier ban on the activity less than a year ago.   [Full Story]

Feb 1, 2015
Frackers Have Stricter Chemical Disclosure Rules In Wyoming
Clean Technica
Roy L. Hales

There was a legal loophole when, in 2010, Wyoming became the first state to require the disclosure of chemicals used while fracking. Corporations did not have to reveal chemicals that were “trade secrets.” This qualification was too loose, and some chemicals have been linked to respiratory distress, rashes, convulsions, organ damage, and cancer. So Earthjustice, acting on the behalf of represented the Powder River Basin Resource Council, Wyoming Outdoor Council, Earthworks, and the Center for Effective Government, sued the state’s Oil and Gas Commission to demand more transparency. A settlement was reached on January 26, 2015, and now frackers have stricter chemical disclosure rules in Wyoming   [Full Story]

Feb 1, 2015
Is Fracking Really Dying?
alternet
Cliff Weathers

Two short years ago, industry analysts and television pundits were toasting North Dakota as the “Saudi Arabia of North America.” But the fracking rush that made the Peace Garden State the poster child of the U.S. energy boom has gone bust. North Dakota’s numerous gas flares, which have been notably visible from space, are flickering out as drilling rigs shut down and tens of thousands of energy workers face reduced hours and pink slips. Small North Dakota towns recently bustling with workers and other fortune seekers are returning to the rural tranquility they once knew.  [Full Story]

Feb 1, 2015
Drilling, Pipeline Accidents Taking Toll
Intelligencer
Casey Junkins

WHEELING - The ATEX Express pipeline explosion that burned nearly 24,000 barrels of ethane in Brooke County last week is the latest in a series of explosions, fires, leaks and other accidents across the Marcellus and Utica shale fields since 2010.   [Full Story]

Feb 1, 2015
Yudichak supports gas drilling halt on state parks and forests
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Tom Venesky

State Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) released the following statement regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s Executive Order that that reinstates a drilling moratorium in Pennsylvania state forests and state parks: “I applaud Gov. Wolf for taking a stand to protect our environment and ensuring that we close the door on additional leasing and unconventional drilling in our pristine Pennsylvania state forests and state parks. The Executive Order issued by the governor today rightly reinstates the drilling moratorium on state forest and state park land that we fought for in 2010 under then Governor Ed Rendell.  [Full Story]

Feb 1, 2015
EPA's methane crackdown to come slow and easy
McClatchyDC
Neela Banerjee

The Obama administration on Jan. 14 announced its long-awaited plan to control the oil and gas industry's emissions of methane, saying it would in the next decade cut in half leaks of the potent global-warming pollutant. The White House called its approach a crucial step to achieving the greenhouse-gas emissions targets President Barack Obama announced in November in Beijing, but some environmental advocates said the plan, which relies heavily on voluntary efforts, does not go far enough.   [Full Story]

Feb 1, 2015
Opposition greets proposed Marcellus Shale-Trenton pipeline
Philadelphia Inquirer
ANDREW MAYKUTH

SERGEANTSVILLE, N.J. - A blanket of snow overlay the idyllic landscape of farms, stone walls, and New Jersey's oldest surviving covered bridge last week. Alix Bacon, a regional manager for the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, swept her arm across the postcard vista. "All of this is preserved," said Bacon, whose organization played a key role in securing the development rights to maintain the region's rural character. Last year, a consortium of utilities announced plans to build the 110-mile PennEast Pipeline to deliver natural gas from Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale region to an interconnection near Trenton. The proposed route would cut a swath across this part of Hunterdon County hugging the Delaware River.   [Full Story]

Feb 1, 2015
Kids Caught in Crossfire of Climate Education Battle
InsideClimate News
Katherine Bagley

While President Barack Obama wants to protect young people from the catastrophic effects of global warming, school boards and lawmakers in some states are fighting to prevent students from learning the science of climate change. In the most recent skirmish, parents and science educators in West Virginia blocked an attempt to weaken the teaching of climate change in elementary and secondary school classrooms. Responding to petitions and protests, the state Board of Education voted Jan. 14 to undo revisions to teaching guidelines that would have cast doubt on global warming and the reasons for it.  [Full Story]

Feb 1, 2015
... but pipelines often are bigger, more costly than we bargained for
The Lowell Sun
Frank Katulak

There is a phrase that can quickly change the mood from festive to foul for any child opening a shiny, new toy: Batteries not included. What about that product featured on a home-shopping channel or infomercial? You know, the one that'll make you happy, solve all your problems, and is a great deal. It certainly looks like a bargain, until you realize that there are a bunch of hidden costs. Suddenly the final charge is a lot more than the advertised price. And when it finally arrives, you don't even use it every day like the commercial said you would. In fact, you only use it a few days a year. So when you consider the price per usage, the cost is really high. Would you still consider the purchase a bargain?   [Full Story]

Feb 1, 2015
OIL WORKERS ON STRIKE IN HOUSTON AND ACROSS U.S.
ABC KTRK Houston


HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Oil workers from coast to coast are on strike. They started to walk off the job around midnight when their union failed to reach a deal with the energy industry. It's not clear how many workers are on strike. The contract in dispute covers about 30,000 workers at refineries, pipelines, oil terminals, and petrochemical plants across the country, including about 5,000 workers here in Houston. A representative for the United Steelworkers Association, which is the union for the workers, say there are work stoppage at these facilities in the Houston area: LyondellBasell in Houston, TX; Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City, TX; Marathon Houston Green Cogeneration facility, Texas City, TX; Shell Deer Park Refinery, Deer Park, TX; and Shell Deer Park Chemical Plant, Deer Park, TX.  [Full Story]

Feb 1, 2015
Fracking part 1: background on Mon's ZBA mtg
Concho Valley Homepage
Stephanie Garland

It is a story we have been following for months now and Monday there may be a resolution. Hundreds are expected to attend the Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting where the ZBA board will decide whether silica sand transloading facilities qualify under light or heavy manufacturing. This is the first part in our "fracking in San Angelo" series.   [Full Story]

Feb 1, 2015
State let oil companies taint drinkable water in Central Valley
San Francisco Chronicle
David R. Baker

Oil companies in drought-ravaged California have, for years, pumped wastewater from their operations into aquifers that had been clean enough for people to drink. They did it with explicit permission from state regulators, who were supposed to protect the increasingly strained groundwater supplies from contamination. Instead, the state allowed companies to drill more than 170 waste-disposal wells into aquifers suitable for drinking or irrigation, according to data reviewed by The Chronicle. Hundreds more inject a blend of briny water, hydrocarbons and trace chemicals into lower-quality aquifers that could be used with more intense treatment.  [Full Story]

Feb 1, 2015
Texas family devastated by fracking health problems warn Scots to consider severe risks
Daily Record
Mark Aitken

A TEXAN family who suffered severe health problems as a result of fracking near their ranch including; rashes, nose bleeds, sores and a potentially fatal brain aneurysym have urged Scots to consider the risks.   [Full Story]

Feb 1, 2015
Fracking opponents say oil, gas industry statements mislead
Richmond Register
Machaela Ballard

During the Frack Free Foothills community forum Tuesday, several speakers disagreed with statements submitted to media before the meeting by the Kentucky Oil and Gas Association (KOGA).   [Full Story]

Feb 1, 2015
The False Promise of Fracking and Local Jobs
The Epoch Times
Susan Christopherson Opinion

In a surprise decision that led to consternation in the oil and gas industry and elation among fracking opponents, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in December banned fracking in the state. He attributed his decision to unresolved health risks associated with this drilling technique, but the governor surely also weighed the economics and the politics. During the past five years, I’ve researched and written about the economic impacts of fracking and, as a longtime resident of New York, I have observed its fractious politics. What I’ve found is that most people, including politicians and people in the media, assume that fracking creates thousands of good jobs.  [Full Story]

Jan 31, 2015
The myth of economic growth
News Leader
Roland Micklem Opinion

I will cut to the chase and declare that out-of-control economic growth, driven by a growing dependency on energy derived from fossil fuels, is totally incompatible with a discipline of ecological sustainability needed to assure our continuation as a species.   [Full Story]

Jan 31, 2015
S. Tier link to NY fracking ban
Ithaca Journal
Steve Orr

[Elaine Hill's] 2012 working paper was one of the first studies to suggest a link between fracking and ill health. Provocatively, it suggested that newborns might be affected. And that study found its way, prominently, into the state Department of Health review released last month that justified the Cuomo administration’s decision to ban high-volume fracking in New York.  [Full Story]

Jan 31, 2015
The Super Bowl: Football, Food and…Fracking Ads
Common Dreams
Katherine Cirullo

Super Bowl commercials are famous for being the most expensive ad buys of the year. These commercials are designed to persuade by using tactics that tug at our heartstrings, make us laugh or promise a better life. The oil and gas industry is no stranger to these strategies. After what must have been a devastating loss to the industry—the ban on fracking in New York announced by Governor Cuomo this past December—the American Petroleum Institute (API) is dropping $100,000 dollars on a 30-second ad blitz during halftime that will air in the D.C. area, where many of our country’s decision makers and major influencers will be watching the event. API’s Super Bowl commercial, which touts fracking as the key to American energy independence and job creation, is the most expensive spot the lobbyist group has bought in their recent string of ads. Couple this with API’s spending as a whole, and you’ll understand the outrage.  [Full Story]

Jan 31, 2015
Activists, localities work to keep fracking rare in Michigan
Record-Eagle
COLLIN KRIZMANICH

LANSING — Across Michigan, citizen activists and environmental groups are working to prevent the expansion of the fracking industry, which they view as a threat to Michigan’s environment. Hydraulic fracturing, most commonly referred to as “fracking,” is a method used by energy producers to extract natural gas and oil from wells drilled thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface. Environmental groups believe fracking poses a significant threat to the environment. In the past year local governments have worked with environmental groups to pass ordinances that restrict the fracking industry.  [Full Story]

Jan 31, 2015
Map pinpoints gas leaks in your neighborhood
The Journal News
Ernie Garcia

The leaks in Miller’s neighborhood, along with hundreds of others in Westchester County, appeared on Con Edison’s new gas leaks map, which debuted Dec. 17. The dynamic map changes daily as minor and more serious leaks are identified and repaired. The map showed 602 leaks on Wednesday, but the utility doesn’t consider them a threat.  [Full Story]

Jan 31, 2015
11 TRAIN CARS DERAIL IN SOUTH PHILADELPHIA
ABC 6 WPVI Philadelphia


Philadelphia firefighters and Hazmat crews swarmed the area near Lincoln Financial Field and the Philadelphia Naval Yard after 11 train cars went off the tracks early Saturday morning. The derailment happened after 3:00 a.m. near South 11th Street just south of Interstate-95.   [Full Story]

Jan 31, 2015
Waiting For Wolf’s Help: “Fracking could literally kill me”
Public Herald
Melissa Troutman

Public Herald has made nearly a dozen attempts to talk to Pennsylvania’s new Governor, Tom Wolf, to share our investigations and talk about how Wolf plans to handle the problems from fracking inherited by previous administrations. Some of these problems are outlined in Public Herald’s first documentary, Triple Divide. We still haven’t heard back from Wolf. Governor Wolf has been sworn in, his new Press Office has been contacted again, and though Public Herald received immediate reply concerning press passes for the governor’s inaugural celebration there has still been no reply to our requests for an interview.  [Full Story]

Jan 31, 2015
Map pinpoints gas leaks in your neighborhood
Lohud
Ernie Garcia

Hundreds of Westchester County gas leaks appear on Con Edison’s new gas leaks map, which debuted Dec. 17. The dynamic map changes daily as leaks are identified and repaired.   [Full Story]

Jan 31, 2015
Fracking possible cause of earthquake near Fox Creek
Global News
Caley Ramsay

EDMONTON — A 4.4 magnitude earthquake recorded near Fox Creek last week was possibly caused by hydraulic fracturing, according to the Alberta Energy Regulator. The earthquake happened on Thursday, Jan. 22 about 30 kilometres west of Fox Creek and was lightly felt in the town of 2,000 people.   [Full Story]

Jan 30, 2015
INSIDE ENERGY: In North Dakota, Oilfield Spill Problems Worsen
NPR Wyoming Public Media
Emily Guerin

The pipeline that burst earlier this month and spewed oil into the Yellowstone River in Montana made headlines. But just across the border in North Dakota another pipeline was quietly leaking a potentially more disastrous substance: wastewater from oil wells. The Blacktail Creek spill is the largest wastewater or "produced water" spill since the oil boom began in North Dakota nearly 10 years ago, and more than twice as large in volume as the Yellowstone River oil spill. And North Dakota's spill problem is getting worse.  [Full Story]

Jan 30, 2015
Gas Free Seneca And We Are Seneca Release Statement On Gas Explosion In Mexico City
Finger Lake Times
Joe Nittler

Gas Free Seneca and We Are Seneca Lake, the groups trying to stop Crestwood Midstream from storing Liquefied Petroleum Gas in the old salt caverns on the west shore of Seneca Lake north of Watkins Glen, issued a joint statement this afternoon on the LPG explosion that leveled a Mexico City hospital Thursday. Gas Free Seneca's Joe Campbell shuttered when he heard of the tragedy.  [Full Story]

Jan 30, 2015
Community-Owned Energy: How Nebraska Became the Only State to Bring Everyone Power From a Public Grid
Yes Magazine
Thomas Hanna

In the United States, there is one state, and only one state, where every single resident and business receives electricity from a community-owned institution rather than a for-profit corporation. It is not a famously liberal state like Vermont or Massachusetts. Rather, it is conservative Nebraska, with its two Republican Senators and two (out of three) Republican members of Congress, that has embraced the complete socialization of energy distribution. In Nebraska, 121 publicly owned utilities, ten cooperatives, and 30 public power districts provide electricity to a population of around 1.8 million people. Public and cooperative ownership keeps costs low for the state’s consumers. Nebraskans pay one of the lowest rates for electricity in the nation and revenues are reinvested in infrastructure to ensure reliable and cheap service for years to come.  [Full Story]

Jan 30, 2015
Will the falling oil price undermine green energy?
BBC News
Michael Shuckman

Common sense would surely tell you that if you slash the cost of one source of energy, then alternatives look less appealing. You might think, therefore, that the crash in the price of oil must be dealing a potentially fatal blow to renewable power. An illustration from recent history seems to back that up. When the oil price spiked in the 1970s, the then US president Jimmy Carter had solar panels fixed to the White House roof, only to see his successor Ronald Reagan rip them off when the oil price tumbled. Fast forward to the past few months and at first sight a similar effect appears to be happening as the share prices of many renewable energy companies take a hit.  [Full Story]

Jan 30, 2015
Head of EPA hopes Pope Francis will convince sceptics over climate change
The Guardian


The head of the US Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday she hoped Pope Francis’s forthcoming message to his flock on the environment would help galvanise concern about climate change and convince sceptics that “the science is real”. The EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, visiting the Vatican to discuss climate change, said President Barack Obama shared the pope’s belief that it was a moral issue because its effects would be felt most by the poorest and weakest nations.  [Full Story]

Jan 30, 2015
Chevron to Abandon Shale Venture in Poland, a Setback to Fracking in Europe
The New York Times
STANLEY REED

LONDON — Chevron said on Friday that it would abandon efforts to find and produce natural gas from shale rock in Poland, in perhaps the biggest setback yet to fledgling efforts to start a European shale oil and gas industry that might help replace the region’s dwindling fuel resources. Shale development in the United States has been one of the reasons the American energy industry has experienced a renaissance in recent years — so much so that it has contributed to the global glut now depressing oil prices. But Europe, heavily reliant on imported fuel, has had trouble getting started with shale, for geological, environmental and political reasons.  [Full Story]

Jan 30, 2015
ET Rover is still working FERC application to build natural gas pipeline
The Ann Arbor News
Jiquanda Johnson

GENESEE COUNTY, MI -- ET Rover officials are still planning to move forward to file an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build a natural gas pipeline. Officials announced late 2014 that the company, which is proposing to build a gas pipeline through parts of southern Genesee County and surround communities, that the application would be turned in sometime in January 2015.  [Full Story]

Jan 30, 2015
Survey: Majority of scientists oppose expanded use of fracking
NPR State Impact PA
MARIE CUSICK

A new survey out this week from the Pew Research Center finds scientists have a more negative view of fracking than the general public. Among scientists, 31 percent favor the increased use of fracking, while a majority– 66 percent– are opposed. The general public is slightly more positive, 39 percent of adults favor it, while about half (51 percent) are opposed.  [Full Story]

Jan 30, 2015
Attorney General Invokes Privileges To Gag Pinelands Commissioners From Discussing Christie’s Office Emails
Wolfe Notes
Bill Wolfe

Gov.’s Office emails with Commission on controversial gas pipeline heavily redacted What is the Governor’s Office hiding by redactions and Privilege claims? Bridge-Gate in the Pines “There was a degree of closeness between the applicant and staff that went beyond the neutrality appropriate to a review process,” said [Pinelands Commission Chairman] Lohbauer, a lawyer. ~~~ Philadelphia Inquirer (1/26/15) At the direction of the Attorney General’s Office, who invoked attorney client and deliberative process Privileges, today the Pinelands Commission passed a Resolution that bars Commission members from publicly releasing or discussing emails between the Governor’s Office and the Pinelands Commission. In other words, a gag order. And the gag is broad: it applies not only to the documents themselves, but also the information contained in the documents:   [Full Story]

Jan 30, 2015
24,000 Ethane Barrels Burned
Wheeling News-Register
Casey Junkins

FOLLANSBEE - Nearly 24,000 barrels of Marcellus and Utica shale ethane burned five acres of Brooke County woodland when the 20-inch ATEX Express pipeline exploded Monday, federal investigators believe. According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the blast east of Follansbee occurred when the 20-inch pipeline failed near a section that had been welded together.  [Full Story]

Jan 30, 2015
The Latest Oil Glut: Once Bitten, Twice Shy
Post Carbon Institute
Richard Heinberg

It comes as little surprise that the author of a book entitled Snake Oil: How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future is a critic of the natural gas industry and a proponent of peak oil theory. With the recent plunge in oil prices, it feels like the right time to check back in with Richard Heinberg of the Post-Carbon Institute and get his perspective on how plunging oil prices will affect the energy and transportation industries. Heinberg and host Alex Wise discuss the impact of cheap oil on the North American natural gas boom, how it may alter consumer behavior in the near term, and the need for sound policy to guide us through the long-term challenge of living in a post-carbon world.   [Full Story]

Jan 30, 2015
PA Resident says Compressor Station is Causing Health Issues
FOX 40 WICZ


Could a Pennsylvania compressor station be causing health problems for some of its surrounding residents? Benjamin Tuttle of Harford, Pennslyvania says it is. Tuttle says the noise from the Miller compressor station, located less than a mile from his home, has worsened his seizures caused by a pre-existing brain injury.   [Full Story]

Jan 30, 2015
Solar Jobs Benefit Economy, Maybe More Than Oil and Gas Jobs
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Job creation is important. Very important. That is why good critical thinking needs to be applied when considering jobs figures and claims. All too often, we read about job numbers in the business press and register it as either good or bad in our minds and then quickly dismiss it. But we should be thinking this through more thoroughly. Why? Because there can be a world of difference between abstract job numbers and concrete ramifications in the real world. For instance, the U.S. has been engaged in a drilling frenzy for shale gas and tight oil. Regardless of what one thinks of fracking, the shale industry has indeed created jobs…but they have proven to be short term jobs and very expensive.   [Full Story]

Jan 30, 2015
Gov. Wolf bans new leases for drilling on state lands
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Laura Legere

Gov. Tom Wolf banned new oil and gas leases in state parks and forests on Thursday, officially ending plans by the Legislature and the previous administration to raise millions of dollars for the budget this fiscal year through new drilling deals. In signing the executive order at a ceremony at Benjamin Rush State Park in Philadelphia, Mr. Wolf said natural gas development is a vital element of the state’s economy, but he made an economic case for preserving the state’s public natural resources as well. “This is about striking the right balance,” he said. “Our state parks and forests are unique assets that should be preserved, protected and utilized by our residents for recreational purposes.”  [Full Story]

Jan 30, 2015
Most Americans Support Government Action on Climate Change, Poll Finds
The New York Times
CORAL DAVENPORT and MARJORIE CONNELLY

WASHINGTON — An overwhelming majority of the American public, including nearly half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford University and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future. In a finding that could have implications for the 2016 presidential campaign, the poll also found that two-thirds of Americans say they are more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate change. They are less likely to vote for candidates who question or deny the science of human-caused global warming.  [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Obama's Climate Plan Could Threaten U.S. Forests
Politico
MICHAEL GRUNWALD

President Obama’s signature environmental initiative, his Clean Power Plan, is designed to fight climate change and crack down on America’s carbon-emitting power plants. But behind the scenes, a dispute is raging over obscure language that could promote the rapid destruction of America’s carbon-storing forests. This highly technical but consequential fight over the Environmental Protection Agency’s approach to “bioenergy”—energy derived from trees, crops, or other plants—has gotten lost in the larger hubbub over the Obama plan’s impact on coal, and the potential upheaval in an electricity sector that will be forced to rein in its greenhouse-gas emissions for the first time. But while the overall plan was hailed by environmentalists and attacked by industry when it was unveiled in draft form last June, the EPA seems to be taking industry’s side on bioenergy.   [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
OUR OPINION: Northern end cares about the lake, too
Finger Lake Times
Editorial

It’s not that the people working and living at the north end of Seneca Lake felt as if they were being left out. Nonetheless, it’s nice to know that We Are Seneca Lake Too has planned an anti-LPG event in Geneva this weekend, one in which people can participate — minus the fear of being arrested. The goal of this rally is to show support for the northernmost municipalities that have passed resolutions opposing Crestwood Midstream’s plan to store liquid butane and propane in Schuyler County.  [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Corporations must not be allowed to dictate fracking issue
The Guardian


What gives you the impression (Editorial, 27 January) that by 2030 “gas will not be needed for power stations, only for domestic and industrial heating”? National Grid, which manages both the electricity and gas transmission networks, does not concur. Under the greenest of its future scenarios, by 2030 total gas demand would decline by 25%, including a 37% decline in power station use. However, this is swamped by smaller percentage decreases in gas use for domestic and industrial heating, which together account for three-quarters of UK gas consumption. Moreover, they amount to more than double the total energy consumed as electricity.   [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
After Years Of Study, Deep Divisions Over Fracking's Risks Remain
WYPR
Christopher Connelly

For more than three years, a state commission has been studying whether to allow hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to get at natural gas trapped in the Marcellus shale beneath the mountains of Western Maryland. Now, the commission is done, state agencies have proposed rules, but commissioners still don’t agree on the central question of whether we can frack safely.  [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Wolf restores fracking ban in state parkland
Philadelphia Inquirer
Ben Finley

Fulfilling a campaign promise, Gov. Wolf on Thursday reinstated a moratorium on natural gas drilling on state parklands, less than a year after his predecessor lifted the ban. The executive order is limited to future drilling and protects only some of Pennsylvania's state parks and forests.   [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Wolf to sign moratorium on new gas drilling leases in Pa. parks, forests
Morning Call
Peter Jackson

HARRISBURG —Gov. Tom Wolf plans to sign an executive order ending a short-lived effort by his predecessor to expand the extraction of natural gas from rock buried deep below Pennsylvania's state parks and forests, his office said Wednesday.   [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Turkish Cypriot negotiator urges suspension of gas drilling
Hurriyet Daily News


Greek and Turkish Cypriots should both agree to suspend the search for offshore natural gas until they have reached a settlement to reunify their divided island, the chief Turkish Cypriot negotiator has said, as Turkey’s foreign minister expressed hopes of finding a solution to the issue with the new Greek government.  [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Robert Redford: Fossil Fuels Need to Stay in the Ground, Renewable Energy Is the Future
EcoWatch
Stefanie Spear

Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman sat down today with Robert Redford, the Oscar-winning director, actor and longtime environmentalist, at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. In the interview, Goodman jumps right in by asking Redford, founder of Sundance Film Festival, about last week’s vote where half of the Senate refuses to formally acknowledge the existence of man-made climate change.  [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Plans for export facilities in doubt
The Acadiana Advocate
Ted Griggs

Plummeting oil prices mean that two natural gas export projects in Cameron Parish that are already underway may be among the few such planned facilities in the U.S. that experts say will actually be built, potentially leaving $31 billion or more in other proposed Louisiana projects at risk of going undeveloped.  [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Fracking ‘to be suspended in Scotland’
Scotsman
Scott Macnab

A MORATORIUM on fracking in Scotland has been imposed by the Scottish Government amid growing concerns over the environmental and health implications.  [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Did Alberta Just Break a Fracking Earthquake World Record?
The Tyee
Andrew Nikiforuk

Hydraulic fracturing, a technology used to crack open difficult oil and gas formations, appears to have set off a swarm of earthquakes near Fox Creek, Alberta, including a record-breaking tremor with a felt magnitude of 4.4 last week. That would likely make it the largest felt earthquake ever caused by fracking, a development that experts swore couldn't happen a few years ago.  [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
After Years Of Study, Deep Divisions Over Fracking's Risks Remain
WYPR-NPR


At the background of all of this is what Maryland’s new governor will do. Edwards says fracking advocates plan to put forward some suggestions for Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, to change the proposed regulations, some of which are considered onerous to energy companies. “We’ll end up having the toughest drilling rules in the country, but you can’t make it to the point that knowingly someone’s not going to come because of the way that it’s written,” Edwards said. Many Democrats are waiting to see what Hogan does with the regulations. If Hogan tries to water them down, he may face a fight and strengthen support for moratorium legislation.  [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Pennsylvania’s New Governor Will Ban Fracking In State Parks And Forests
Think Progress
Emily Atkins

Pennsylvania’s new Governor Tom Wolf will sign an executive order Thursday banning the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in state parks and forests, the Associated Press reports.   [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Fracking fight - St. Tammany Parish Council to consider allocating another $50,000 to legal effort
Times-Picayune
Robert Rhoden

The St. Tammany Parish Council next week will consider putting an additional $50,000 toward its legal effort to block a proposed oil drilling and fracking project northeast of Mandeville. If the resolution by Councilman Steve Stefancik is approved on Thursday (Feb. 5), the budget for the legal fight would increase to $175,000.   [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Scotland announces fracking ban
EurActiv


Scotland has imposed a moratorium on shale gas planning permits two days after a UK-wide ban was rejected by MPs in Westminster. The Scottish Parliament will conduct an public consultation and an investigation into the impact of shale gas extraction - known as fracking - on public health before allowing any new permits to be issued.   [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Al Franken Brings The 'You Didn't Build That' To Fracking Boomers
Huffington Post
Michael McAuliff

WASHINGTON -- With a bevy of fellow senators and natural gas industry experts angling to jack up profits by boosting gas exports, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) had a reminder for them in a Senate hearing Thursday: You didn't build that gas boom -- taxpayers did.  [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Cuomo proposes $15 M. increase for oil spill fund
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—As New York grapples with the rapid influx of millions of gallons of crude oil, Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed increasing the $25 million state oil spill fund to $40 million. The additional funding would come from higher fees on trains that transport oil through New York but do not sell it here.   [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
‘Big Oil’ Cuts $20 Billion in Five Hours to Preserve Dividends
Bloomberg
Tara Patel

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc will cut $15 billion of investment over the next three years as the crash in oil prices saw fourth-quarter profit miss forecasts. Shell, the first of the world’s largest oil companies to report earnings following the slump in crude to a five-year low, will defer or cancel about 40 projects worldwide, Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden said today. Exploration will also be curtailed. “We see pressure on our investment program,” van Beurden said on Bloomberg TV. “It’s a game of being prudent but at the same time not overreacting.”  [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Bakken crude oil rolls over Ohio rails
The Columbus Dispatch
Laura Arenschield & Rick Rouan

Millions of gallons of some of the most volatile crude oil in North America are being transported on rail lines through Ohio each week, according to reports that the state had kept secret until this week. The railroad-company reports show that 45 million to 137 million gallons of Bakken crude oil come through Ohio each week from North Dakota oil fields on the way to East Coast refineries. Two million to 25 million gallons a week come through Franklin County alone.  [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Gov. Wolf bans new drilling in state parks and forests
NPR State Impact PA
Susan Phillips

Governor Tom Wolf fulfilled a campaign promise today by reversing course from his predecessor Tom Corbett and imposing a moratorium on leasing any more state park and forest land to Marcellus Shale drillers. Standing in a cold and windy meadow at Benjamin Rush state park, in the northeast section of Philadelphia, surrounded by a handful of state lawmakers, Wolf said he wants the gas industry to succeed but state land should be off limits. “This is a place where, lets agree, that we can suspend the hostilities,” said Wolf. “In these areas we’re not going to be doing anymore drilling and the purpose of these parks is to allow people to enjoy nature at its best.”  [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Oil spill reported in North Dakota
UPI
DANIEL J. GRAEBER

BISMARCK, N.D., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- The North Dakota Department of Health announced an oil spill in the western part of the state, at the least third release so far this month. The state agency said Oasis Petroleum reported that 490 barrels of oil and 455 barrels of brine, a liquid associated with production, were released as a result of a tank overflow. Nearly all of the released material had been recovered as of the Wednesday announcement.   [Full Story]

Jan 29, 2015
Washington State Officials Kept in the Dark About Oil Spill for Over a Month
Reader Supported News
Curtis Tate

tate and federal officials are investigating an oil spill from a railroad tank car at Washington state’s largest refinery last November, but key agencies were kept in the dark about it for at least a month. The delayed notification of the spill highlights gaps in communication and enforcement as more crude oil shipments travel by rail. According to reports reviewed by McClatchy, when the tank car arrived on Nov. 5 at the BP Cherry Point refinery, Federal Railroad Administration inspectors discovered oil stains on its sides and wheels. A closer inspection revealed an open valve and a missing plug. The car was also 1,611 gallons short, enough to fill the gas tanks of 100 Subaru Foresters .  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Methane Leaks From Gas Pipelines Far Exceed Official Estimates, Harvard Study Finds
InsideClimate News
Lisa Song

Methane is leaking from natural gas infrastructure in Boston and the surrounding region at rates two to three times higher than government estimates, scientists at Harvard University and other institutions found. Published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last week, the researchers' paper is the first peer-reviewed study that quantifies emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from natural gas installations in urban areas—including pipelines, storage terminals and power plants. The amount of methane lost over a year in the study area is worth $90 million, the authors wrote.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
10 Senate Ds Think Drillers Should Be Able to Inject Whatever the Frack They Want into Your Water
Daily Kos


Last night, I reported on the 12 amendments that the Senate voted on in its latest Keystone vote-a-thon. However, I want to focus on one in particular: Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)'s amendment to close the Halliburton loophole. So what is the Halliburton loophole? First of all, it comes from the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which was a corporate giveaway to Big Energy:   [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Natural gas pipeline ruptures; homes evacuated
KSDK
Alexandra Martellaro

PIKE COUNTY, Mo. -- Dozens of homes have been evacuated after a natural gas pipeline ruptured near Bowling Green. The break happened around 6 p.m. Thursday near Highway U in Pike County, which is about 90 miles northwest of St. Louis. Officials estimate at least 50 to 100 homes have been evacuated, but there have been no requests for shelter.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
The Main Problem With Obama’s Climate Policy? It Makes No Sense
The Nation
Zoë Carpenter

Let’s hear that again: the Obama administration proposes to open up nearly 80 percent of the nation’s untapped offshore oil and gas reserves by 2022. The sick irony of that figure is that 80 percent also happens to be the proportion of proven fossil-fuel reserves that must stay in the ground in order to avoid the extremely unpleasant effects of more than 2 degrees Celsius of global warming.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
DEP sets up for air study
Wyoming Country Press Examiner
Brendan Gibbons

Near the site where trains hauling sand for the gas industry will transfer their loads to trucks, air quality specialists with the state Department of Environmental Protection set up a portable weather station Thursday. Instruments strapped to a truck-sized white box with a protruding silver tower will measure precipitation, temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, said Gary LaBelle of the DEP’s air quality monitoring division. He brought the equipment from Harrisburg as part of a special DEP effort to study how the sand plant will affect local air quality.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Report: Fracking failures lead to environmental harm in area and state
Herald-Standard
Susy Kelly

report released Tuesday by a nonprofit environmental research group shows that despite assurances to the contrary, companies who develop unconventional natural gas wells have polluted the environment in Pennsylvania and will continue to do so under current regulatory standards.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
New Report Urges Western Governments to Reconsider Reliance on Biofuels
New York Times
Justin Gillis

Western governments have made a wrong turn in energy policy by supporting the large-scale conversion of plants into fuel and should reconsider that strategy, according to a new report from a prominent environmental think tank.   [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
DEC chief: State can revisit fracking ban, but won’t in ‘near term’
The Journal News
Jon Campbell

New York’s planned ban on large-scale hydraulic fracturing can be revisited by the state at any point, but likely won’t be in the near future, the state’s top environmental regulator said Wednesday. Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens testified before about two dozen state lawmakers for nearly four hours Wednesday, answering questions about the environmental initiatives in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $142 billion budget proposal. But several times, the conversation strayed to the Cuomo administration’s plans to block high-volume fracking from moving forward in New York. Sen. Thomas O’Mara, R-Big Flats, Chemung County, told Martens he finds it “frustrating” that the DEC has dragged out certain decision-making processes, including its review of fracking, which first kicked off in 2008. O’Mara, who heads the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, asked Martens whether the state’s fracking ban can be overturned in the future. Martens, who was appointed by Cuomo in 2011, said the decision can be “revisited at any time when new or significant information comes to light.” “I don’t think it’s going to be revisited in the near term because the conclusion was that there was just far too many risks and we couldn’t minimize them to protect public health and safety,” he said.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Scotland announces moratorium on fracking for shale gas
The Guardian
Libby Brooks

The Scottish government has announced a moratorium on all planning consents for unconventional oil and gas extraction, including fracking. Welcomed by campaigners as “a very big nail in the coffin for the unconventional gas and fracking industry in Scotland”, energy minister Fergus Ewing told the Scottish parliament on Wednesday afternoon that the moratorium would allow time for the government to launch a full public consultation on the controversial drilling technique, and to commission a full public health impact assessment.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Enbridge Gets Another Federal Tar Sands Crude Pipeline Permit As Senate Debates Keystone XL
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

On January 16, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave Enbridge a controversial Nationwide Permit 12 green-light for its proposed Line 78 pipeline, set to bring heavy tar sands diluted bitumen (“dilbit”) from Pontiac, Illinois to its Griffith, Indiana holding terminal. The permit for the pipeline with the capacity to carry 800,000 barrels-per-day of tar sands dilbit came ten days after the introduction of S.1 — the Keystone XL Pipeline Act — currently up for debate on the U.S. Senate floor, which calls for the permitting of the northern leg of TransCanada's Keystone XL.   [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
State Senate unanimously approves gas royalty bills
NPR State Impact PA
MARIE CUSICK

The state Senate unanimously approved two bills Wednesday that aim to give more protections to people who earn royalty money from oil and gas drilling. Both bills were approved by the Senate last year but died in the House. SB 147 would require drillers to disclose more information on royalty check stubs. It would also grant landowners the right to audit companies’ records to ensure proper payment. SB 148 would bar oil and gas companies from retaliating against people who raise questions about their royalty payments. Sen. Gene Yaw (R- Bradford) is the prime sponsor of both measures.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
D.E.C. commissioner: State could revisit fracking ban
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—State Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner Joe Martens said on Wednesday that the state could reevaluate its fracking ban at some point in the future. During a budget hearing, Martens said he does not think New York officials will revisit the fracking ban imposed earlier this year any time soon, but said many of the studies on which his staff and health department officials relied are ongoing. He said if they find fracking can be done safely, state officials will likely review the ban.   [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Earthquakes Rattle Texas Town: Is Fracking to Blame?
EcoWatch
Julie Dermansky

January has been a shaky month for Irving, Texas. Twelve earthquakes rattled the city during a 48-hour period at the end of the first week of the new year.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Ex-FERC Commissioner Spitzer discusses impact of White House NEPA guidance on pipeline, export facility approvals
E & E Newswire


How could the Obama administration's recent proposed guidance for considering climate change as part of the government's environmental reviews impact the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's process for reviewing natural gas pipelines and LNG export terminals? During today's OnPoint, Marc Spitzer, a partner at Steptoe & Johnson and a former commissioner at FERC, discusses how a change to FERC's process could affect natural gas infrastructure investments.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
N.Y. finalizes rules to allow liquefied natural gas sites
The Journal News
Jon Campbell

ALBANY – New York is poised to allow new storage facilities for liquefied natural gas for the first time since the 1970s. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration is to announce Wednesday it will finalize regulations to allow new LNG storage centers outside New York City, capping the amount that can be stored at 70,000 gallons per facility. The state's trucking industry and business groups have pushed the state to allow new LNG facilities, arguing trucking fleets that use the fuel lacked a place to fill up in New York.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
House passes bill to speed up liquefied natural gas exports
The Hill
Timothy Cama and Cristina Marcos

The House on Wednesday passed legislation to expedite the federal approval process for liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. It was approved 277-133, with 41 Democrats voting in favor of the measure sponsored by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio).  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
AGL suspend fracking at Gloucester after dangerous chemicals detected
The Newcastle Herald
Matthew Kelly

UPDATE: THE NSW Environment Protection Authority has slammed AGL for not revealing the results of its BTEX monitoring sooner. “AGL informed the EPA that it was aware of these elevated levels of BTEX chemicals on 15 January, but it did not make these results known to the EPA or the public until today,” EPA chief environmental regulator Mark Gifford said on Wednesday. “The EPA is very concerned at AGL’s lack of timeliness and transparency in informing us of these results and we will be conducting a full investigation. Mr Gifford said fracking fluid additives used at the Waukivory operation were sampled and analysed by government environmental officers in November 2014 before fracking activities were allowed to commence.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
State poised to lift ban on LNG storage sites
Democrat & Chronicle
Jon Campbell

ALBANY – New York is poised to allow new storage facilities for liquefied natural gas for the first time since the 1970s. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration on Wednesday is set to announce it will finalize regulations that will allow new liquefied natural gas — or LNG — storage centers outside New York City, capping the total amount that can be stored at 70,000 gallons per facility.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Cuomo administration facing key pipeline decisions
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—A key decision over two proposed pipelines that would bring natural gas from the Marcellus shale in other states through New York now rests with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Governor Andrew Cuomo has already expanded the state's reliance on natural gas even as he banned fracking in the Marcellus shale that underlies New York. The natural gas pipelines, however, are considered part of the infrastructure needed to meet the growing demand for natural gas in the New England market, which has seen record high prices because it does not have adequate supplies.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Map: Obama's Offshore Drilling Plan
InsideClimate News
Naveena Sadasivam

Southern states see a bonanza, environmentalists see mixed signals from Obama on climate change as moratorium ends after almost three decades.   [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Drilling into complexities of fracking in Illinois
Northern Illinois University


After years of debate and study, horizontal hydraulic fracturing, the controversial oil and natural gas drilling method more commonly known as fracking, is expected to begin in southern Illinois this year.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Village on front-line of fracking protests installs first community-owned solar panels
The Co-operative News
Rebecca Harvey

The West Sussex village of Balcombe, made internationally famous as the site of strong protests over potential drilling by fracking firm Cuadrilla, today completed the installation of its first community-owned solar panels.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Senate votes on fracking & endangered species pave way for Keystone XL passage
Fuel Fix
Jennifer A. Diouhy

WASHINGTON — The Senate knocked down more than a dozen amendments on energy and the environment Wednesday, as Republicans worked to finish a nearly four-week debate over Keystone XL.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Fracking wastewater site proposed for Sioux County
Star Herald
Bart Schaneman

A proposed fracking wastewater injection site in Sioux County has citizens concerned and lawmakers introducing bills to help cover its projected costs. The wastewater would be trucked to the site and injected more than a mile into the ground at the site of an existing Wildcat oil well on a ranch about 14 miles north of Mitchell, just east of Highway 29.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
N.W.T. group calls for fracking moratorium, review Fracking Action North says potential impacts need to be reviewed
CBC News


An N.W.T. group opposed to hydraulic fracturing is rallying support for a moratorium in the territory until all of the controversial practice's potential impacts are reviewed.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
An Opportunity to Protect Our Drinking Water: Overseeing Fracking and Closing Loopholes
Union of Concerned Scientists
Gretchen Goldman

As we’ve discussed here before, the federal government has played a limited role thus far in the regulation and oversight of hydraulic fracturing, leaving states and municipalities to manage a large and fast-paced industry. Today, members of the Senate have a chance to allow the EPA to better protect water resources in oil and gas development across the country.   [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Fracking Earthquake Responsibility Case Goes to Court
AllGov


Oklahoma’s Supreme Court will hear a potential landmark case that may further validate a linkage between fracking and earthquakes.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Wyoming to Strengthen Fracking Chemical Disclosure
Pagosa Daily Post


Under a settlement agreement approved today, the Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission must adopt more rigorous policies for scrutinizing industry requests to keep the identities of fracking chemicals secret.   [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Block on fracking in Scotland announced by minister
BBC News


The Scottish government has announced a block on planned fracking operations, pending further inquiries. Ministers will carry out new work on the environmental and health implications of the controversial gas drilling technique.   [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Colorado liberals make peace with fracking, reject emergency moratorium
Washington Times
Valerie Richardson

DENVER — The U.S. oil and gas industry, under siege from plunging world prices and climate change fears, notched a much-needed win this week in an unlikely place: liberal Boulder County, Colorado. The board of trustees of Erie, which straddles Boulder and Weld counties, voted 4-3 to reject an “emergency” one-year moratorium on new drilling permits within the town’s borders over concerns that the restriction targeting the booming practice of fracking would send an anti-business signal and result in costly lawsuits.   [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
The Catskills Gets Its Groove Back, With Brooklyn’s Help
The Daily Beast
Brandon Presser

Suddenly, “the Catskills” is everywhere, branded and proud. First you notice the word on the cheese at the local greenmarket, then you try Catskills craft brew at your favorite pub, the Catskills then makes the news when its casino plans get the go-ahead, and finally you hear it when Governor Cuomo’s passes his anti-fracking legislation. This sudden omnipresence also reflects the renaissance of the Catskills area itself: around 100 miles north-northwest of New York City, famously home to hundreds of decimated hotels, the Catskills is making a comeback in its own right. It even featured in a New York Times’ hotly anticipated list of must-go destinations in 2015.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Fracking causing environmental concerns of seismic proportions
Eagle Ford Texas
Ross Torgerson

Environmental activists have been dealt a pretty decent hand when it comes to betting against fracking–and as of late–that hand has . Recently, reports of fracking-related earthquakes are popping up in the news nearly as frequent as job cuts in the oil industry. States like Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Ohio have all reported multiple earthquakes recently.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Fracking sites plans on hold as councillors defer drilling decision
Mirror
Paul Byrne

Shale company Cuadrilla wants to explore for shale gas at two sites in Lancashire between Preston and Blackpool Plans for two new fracking sites are on hold after councillors deferred a drilling decision. Shale company Cuadrilla wants to explore for shale gas at two sites in Lancashire between Preston and Blackpool.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Russia May Be Funding Anti-Fracking Efforts In U.S., Says EPA Report
HNGN
Taylor Tyler

Tens of millions of dollars have been funneled to U.S. anti-fracking environmentalist groups by a Bermudan company with ties to top Russian officials, according to a report by the Environmental Policy Alliance.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Study shows challenges of restoring fracking sites
Summit County Voice
Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Restoring areas after drilling and fracking requires more than just spreading out some dirt and sprinkling a few grass seeds around, according to two Colorado scientists who took a close look at 10 drilling sites in Rio Blanco County.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Anti-fracking protesters urged to stand together
The Courier
Jonathan Watson

Anti-fracking protesters throughout Fife are being urged to join forces to take on the energy giants. Glenrothes campaigner Peter Scobie, a member of Frack Off Fife, has told The Courier that a second public meeting in as many months will be held in the town tonight in an effort to create a local alliance against the controversial practise.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Fracking has been with us for more than 60 years. It is evolving.
Environmental News Network


Two new U.S. Geological Survey publications that highlight historical hydraulic fracturing trends and data from 1947 to 2010 are now available. Hydraulic fracturing is presently the primary stimulation technique for oil and gas production in unconventional resource reservoirs. Comprehensive, published, and publicly available information regarding the extent, location, and character of hydraulic fracturing in the United States is scarce. “These national-scale data and analyses will provide a basis for making comparisons of current-day hydraulic fracturing to historical applications,” said USGS scientist and lead author Tanya Gallegos.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection changes rules for oil and gas sludge at landfills
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Anya Litvak

A change in the rules for landfills accepting fracking fluid sludges could mean higher prices for disposal, and more oil and gas waste going out of state. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, concerned that concentrated frack fluid waste wasn’t being adequately diluted at state landfills over the past several years, instituted a new policy starting Jan. 1.  [Full Story]

Jan 28, 2015
Feds Opening Waters to Largest U.S. Offshore Wind Farm
Climate Central
Bobby Magill

The Atlantic’s powerful bluster twirls thousands of wind turbines off the coast of Europe, sending gigawatts of renewable energy coursing into the power grid there. Currently, there is not a single wind turbine generating even a watt of electricity in American waters as oil platforms represent the only offshore energy development in the U.S. But the race is on to change that, beginning with a landmark wind rights auction on Thursday, which aims to open a vast swath in the Atlantic off the Massachusetts coast for what could be the the first and largest offshore wind power project in the U.S.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Blue Skies Ahead For Shared Solar In New York
Solar One


Whether they rent their home, own a condo or have a shaded roof, many New Yorkers are currently unable to install solar energy systems. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, only 22-27% of residential roof space is suitable for on-site solar production. This leaves the majority of homes in the dark, without the economic and environmental benefits associated with solar. 2015 could be the year this changes.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
NTSB: Systemic flaws in safety oversight of gas pipelines
The Charleston Gazette
Joan Lowy

WASHINGTON — Three powerful accidents in recent years — including an explosion and fire that melted a highway in Kanawha County — highlight weaknesses in the oversight of how natural gas providers maintain the largest pipelines in their networks, accident investigators said Tuesday as they issued more than two dozen safety recommendations. A major effort a decade ago by the federal government to check a rise in violent pipeline failures in “high-consequence” areas where people are more likely to be hurt or buildings destroyed has resulted in a slight leveling off of such incidents, but no decline, the National Transportation Safety Board said.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Another day, another pipeline explosion
MSNBC
Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow reports on a natural gas pipeline in Brooke County, West Virginia that exploded in a huge fireball, the fifth pipeline accident in the U.S. so far this month. Duration: 3:36  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Spectra Energy Partners : Fight against pipeline expansion reaches 11th hour
4-Traders


A meme posted to the Facebook page of a local activist group shows Homer Simpson with his hands to his head and his eyes wide as he looks down at the controls of a nuclear power plant. "D'oh!" the meme says up top. Below, it continues, "Indian Point & Spectra AIM Project - What could go wrong." Members of the group Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion, or SAPE, are continuing their push to stop the expansion of a natural gas pipeline that runs through the region despite lopsided odds and a clock ticking down to federal approval that may reach its end as soon as this month.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Groups call for legislative fracking ban [In Maryland]
Bakken.com


CUMBERLAND — A coalition of 79 organizations, including several local organizations, is calling for legislative action to ban hydraulic fracturing in Maryland. “Based on what we know now, we believe that fracking endangers public health and is the wrong approach to building a robust Maryland economy and a clean energy future. We urge Maryland’s legislature to pass an extended moratorium in 2015,” the statement, released Jan.17, reads. The document was released by the Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility and Food & Water Watch. At least one bill to ban the practice has been introduced in the Maryland General Assembly. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the method that would be used to free the gas and allow it to be brought to the surface. In order to get the gas trapped in the shale to the surface, chemicals, water and sand are pumped underground to break apart rock formations and free the gas.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Activists Disrupt Senate Finance Committee Hearing over U.S. Trade Rep’s push to “Fast Track” the TPP
Popular Resistance
Cassidy Regan

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman was greeted with protest at Tuesday’s Senate and House Hearings on Capitol Hill, as people raised concerns about the President’s trade agenda and “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority. Activists with signs and banners chanting “No TPP!” and “No Fast Track!” were escorted from the Senate Finance Committee hearing room shortly after the U.S. Trade Representative took the microphone. The legislation, which Obama requested from both parties during last week’s State of the Union address, would limit congressional oversight of the Administration’s free trade agreements and is widely opposed by hundreds of environmental, labor, public health, food safety, and faith groups nationwide.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
10 PREDICTIONS FOR CLEAN ENERGY IN 2015
Bloomberg
MICHAEL LIEBREICH

For the last two years, I have drawn on Russian imagery to illustrate the state of the clean energy industry. In 2013, it was the battle of Borodino: the clean energy sector had suffered a bruising time, but it had survived and was poised to regain ground. In 2014, it was the River Neva in St Petersburg which provided the analogy for an energy industry frozen for aeons, but about to undergo profound and rapid phase change. This year I want you to go back in time, over 66m years. Dinosaurs roam the earth – in fact they dominate it. They are magnificent creatures, honed by 135m years of competition, huge and fearsome. The very earth trembles as they walk.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Pennsylvania shale gas producers received hundreds of environmental citations in 4 years, PennEnvironment says
Tribune-Review
David Conti

Hundreds of environmental citations issued to shale gas producers over a nearly four-year period provide evidence that Pennsylvania should halt well development and tighten regulations, an anti-drilling group said Tuesday. But gas drillers and their trade association dismissed the report's veracity, saying the group used flawed methodology by including administrative citations in its list of environmental and health violations.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Interior plan: Open Atlantic Coast to offshore drilling
Politico
Darren Goode

The Obama administration proposed an unprecedented opening of the waters off the Atlantic coast for oil and natural gas drilling on Tuesday, even as it put vast areas in the Arctic off-limits. The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s new five-year offshore drilling strategy calls for opening the offshore stretch from Virginia to Georgia, an area the energy industry says could hold large amounts of oil and gas.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Effects of compressor station discussed
The News Eagle


MILFORD - A community workshop was held January 10th at the Milford Public Library to discuss the effects of the expansion of the Milford compressor station. Alex Lotorto of Energy Justice Network led the presentation and talked about how the current compressor station impacts those in Milford. Community members also spoke of their personal experiences which allowed for a diverse span of opinions.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
No ban on fracking in chaotic MPs vote
EnergyLiveNews
Vicky Ellis

MPs rejected a ban on fracking yesterday after an at times confusing debate, with MPs complaining there was little time to thrash over key issues. They voted against an amendment to the government’s Infrastructure Bill which would ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing in the UK outright. The government won with a majority of 256 votes (52 in favour, 308 against).  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Protests Against Fracking in the Sahara Desert Are Spreading in Algeria
Vice News
Pierre Longeray

Anti-fracking protests have escalated in the small Algerian town of In Salah since the start of January, and have now spread to neighboring towns in the region. The demonstrations have continued despite the government's announcement that plans to tap shale gas reserves have been temporarily shelved amid growing public concern over the environmental impact. Residents of In Salah, a town of 36,000 that is located 750 miles south of the capital Algiers, have been protesting relentlessly since January 1 against the government's proposed plans to extract shale gas through the use of hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, following initial drilling tests in the region.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Frac sand opponents protest House hearing
Post Bulletin
Heather J. Carlson

Frac-sand mining opponents are demanding a House committee meeting scheduled for today be canceled because it fails to set aside time for the public to testify. The House Mining & Outdoor Recreation Policy Committee is scheduled to conduct an informational hearing on silica-sand mining this afternoon in St. Paul. Silica-sand producers and state agency representatives are slated to testify. The Land Stewardship Project sent a letter on Friday to the committee's chairman, Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, requesting the hearing be canceled and rescheduled to allow the public to weigh in on silica-sand mining.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Frac sand drilling plans in North Arm, including popular beach, raise concerns
cbc news
Guy Quenneville

Some N.W.T. aboriginal groups are expressing concern with Husky Oil Operation's plan to drill for high-quality silica sand near a popular area on the north arm of Great Slave Lake. The Yellowknives Dene First Nation, the North Slave Métis Alliance and the Tlicho Government have all cited issues with Husky's proposed Chedabucto exploration project, which would take place 50 kilometres west of Yellowknife. At its north end, the claim block where Husky hopes to begin work includes an area called Whitebeach Point, known for its smooth, white sand and a popular area for beachgoers, fishers and even hunters.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Fracking Ingredient "Secrets" to Be Reviewed
public news service


CASPER, Wyo. - A recent lawsuit settlement should make gray areas related to public disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing more transparent in Wyoming. The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will adopt new policies to review industry requests to keep fracking chemicals secret, a change approved by all parties, including Halliburton Energy Services. Earthjustice attorney Katherine O'Brien says the commission needed clear guidelines when faced with industry claims chemicals were "trade secrets," even if public health could be at risk.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Historical Hydraulic Fracturing Trends and Data Unveiled in New USGS Publications
USGS


Two new U.S. Geological Survey publications that highlight historical hydraulic fracturing trends and data from 1947 to 2010 are now available. Hydraulic fracturing is presently the primary stimulation technique for oil and gas production in unconventional resource reservoirs. Comprehensive, published, and publicly available information regarding the extent, location, and character of hydraulic fracturing in the United States is scarce. “These national-scale data and analyses will provide a basis for making comparisons of current-day hydraulic fracturing to historical applications,” said USGS scientist and lead author Tanya Gallegos. “We now have an improved understanding of where the practice is occurring and how hydraulic fracturing characteristics have changed over time.”   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Insurance Industry Adjusts to Earthquake Risk Caused by Fracking
AllGov


In another sign that fracking is increasingly being acknowledged as a cause of earthquakes, the insurance industry has announced that it is now linking the controversial drilling procedure with seismic activity in establishing its rates. Before insurance companies set their rates for an upcoming year, they turn to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for information on quake activity. Specifically, insurers look at the USGS’s National Seismic Hazard Map, which “predicts where future earthquakes will occur, how often they will occur and how strongly they will shake the ground,” according to the Dallas Morning News. But this map will now take into account earthquakes that occur within the vicinity of fracking wells, the USGS has decided. That means insurance rates may go up in some areas considered more at risk of seismic events because of fracking operations.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Dems slam Obama’s Atlantic drilling proposal
The Hill
Timothy Cama

A group of Democratic senators representing northeastern states blasted the Obama administration’s plan to allow drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. The senators — from Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland — said that although the drilling proposal would not include their states, oil spills from the wells could easily travel to them.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Why Fracking Is a Breast Cancer Issue Karuna Jaggar
EcoWatch
Karuna Jaggar

Most people consider fracking a climate change issue. They are able to make the connection between a potent greenhouse gas like methane and its impact on warming the planet. But methane emission leaks at well sites are only one of the many concerns of the fracking boom. The toxic process also uses more than 700 chemicals, many linked to breast cancer. Fracking threatens the necessities of life, and just as this process drives climate change, it also increases our risk for breast cancer.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Pipeline Explodes In West Virginia, Sends Fireball Shooting Hundreds Of Feet In The Air
Think Progress
Emily Atkin

A gas pipeline in Brooke County, West Virginia exploded into a ball of flames on Monday morning, marking the fourth major mishap at a U.S. pipeline this month. No one was hurt in the explosion, but residents told the local WTRF 7 news station that they could see a massive fireball shooting hundreds of feet into the air. An emergency dispatcher reportedly told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the flames had melted the siding off one home and damaged at least one power line. The gas pipeline is owned by Houston, Texas-based The Enterprise Products, L.P., which said Monday evening that it is investigating the cause of the explosion.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Supervisors rule oil-­field waste disposal plants can't operate in farmland
Ventura County Star
Kathleen Wilson

VENTURA, Calif. - The Anterra Corp.’s bid for a zoning change that would have allowed oil-field waste disposal plants to operate in protected farmland in Ventura County was denied Tuesday after a three-hour hearing in Ventura.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Safety Board: Systemic Flaws in Gas Pipelines Oversight
ABC News
Joan Lowy AP

Accident investigators say there are systemic weaknesses in the way natural gas providers protect against the rupture of major, high-pressure pipelines in populated areas. They are pointing to three powerful accidents in California, Florida and West Virginia in recent years. A report by the National Transportation Safety Board urges changes in how pipelines are inspected. It questions whether pipelines in populated areas with the greatest potential for damaging explosions are given adequate priority. In each of the accidents examined by the board, the gas companies failed to conduct inspections or tests that might have revealed pipeline weaknesses.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Obama seeks to open Atlantic to oil, gas drilling
Politico
Darren Goode

The Obama administration will propose an unprecedented opening of the waters off the Atlantic coast for oil and natural gas drilling, even as it puts vast areas in the Arctic off limits, according to sources familiar with the plan. The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s new five-year offshore drilling strategy that is expected to be released later Tuesday would call for opening the offshore stretch from Virginia to South Carolina, an area the energy industry says could hold large amounts of oil and gas.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
CALIFORNIA: Natural gas's role in state's low-carbon future comes with caveats
E&E News
Anne C. Mulkern

LOS ANGELES -- The head of the California agency keeping the state on track to meet its ambitious climate goals didn't rule out the long-term use of natural gas yesterday but said she also sees caveats on the horizon. California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols, speaking at the VerdeXchange 2015 conference here, rejected the premise of the panel she was on, dubbed "Natural Gas -- Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?" ARB is "fuel neutral," she said, when the agency looks at cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The Golden State aims to shrink those to 1990 levels by 2020, and 80 percent below 1990's point by 2050. Nichols added, however, that the state needs "to look at the full life-cycle picture of emissions when we talk about any fuel," including production, transport and use.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Regulating pipelines: Whose job is it?
Penn Live
Candy Woodall

There are thousands of miles of pipelines moving through Pennsylvania, but no single state or federal agency seems to know exactly how many or specifically where they are located. The state Department of Environmental Protection doesn't have a list like that, though it does have a comprehensive map of gas wells in the commonwealth. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has a list from 2011 through 2013 that includes more than 13,000 miles of existing natural gas lines and those carrying hazardous materials through the state.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
House approves bill overhauling natural gas pipeline permits
Pennsylvania Business Daily
Amanda Rupp

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act bipartisan bill (H.R. 161) last week, legislation that could speed up the permit process for the construction of natural gas pipelines. Co-sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), the bill seeks to eliminate permit regulations that are hindering the extraction, transportation and distribution of shale gas.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Center for American Progress Analysis Shows High Levels of Liquefied Natural Gas Exports Could Hurt Consumers
eNews Park Forest
Press Release

Washington, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)--January 27, 2015. With Congress poised to consider legislation to expedite exports of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, the Center for American Progress released a new analysis of the potential impact of high levels of LNG exports on consumers’ natural gas bills in regions across the country. In 2014, the Energy Information Administration, or EIA, examined the energy market impacts of exporting up to 20 billion cubic feet per day, or Bcf/d, of LNG on an aggressive timeline. The EIA concluded that a surge in LNG exports would cause U.S. natural gas supply prices to rise between 4 percent and 11 percent, on average, over current projections for the 2015 to 2040 period, depending on how much LNG is exported.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Potential Consumer Price Impacts of Efforts to Rapidly Expand Exports of Liquefied Natural Gas
Center for American Progress
Alison Cassady

In recent years, the United States has experienced a natural gas boom that has made it one of the largest natural gas producers in the world. Between 2005 and 2013, natural gas production increased 28 percent due to rapid development of shale gas resources. As a result of this new supply, natural gas prices have fallen steadily. Although these low prices have been a boon for consumers, they pose an economic challenge to domestic producers. Consequently, these producers are eager to find new domestic and foreign markets for natural gas in order to boost demand. Exporting more natural gas will tighten domestic supplies and, in turn, increase U.S. natural gas prices.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Ethane Pipeline Blast Creates Fireball
Wheeling News Register
Casey Junkins

FOLLANSBEE - A 20-inch diameter ATEX Express pipeline ruptured Monday in Brooke County, creating flames visable for several miles. Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson said the first calls reporting the fire came at about 10:40 a.m. Monday, and didn't stop for several hours. "We were getting a lot - probably over 100 - 911 calls about an explosion," Jackson said. "We began asking people if they heard two explosions, but they all just reported hearing the one."  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
The false promise of fracking and local jobs
Raw Story
Commentary

In a surprise decision that led to consternation in the oil and gas industry and elation among fracking opponents, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in December banned fracking in the state. He attributed his decision to unresolved health risks associated with this drilling technique, but the governor surely also weighed the economics and the politics. During the past five years, I’ve researched and written about the economic impacts of fracking and, as a long-time resident of New York, I have observed its fractious politics. What I’ve found is that most people, including politicians and people in the media, assume that fracking creates thousands of good jobs.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Energy industry says it’s on top of methane leaks, but environmentalists want oversight
Bakken.com
Katelyn Ferral

Harnessed and burned, methane can power a city — but when it leaks from a well into the air, methane pollutes badly. That cost-benefit balance is a cornerstone of debate between environmentalists who say emissions from gas drilling are rampant and dangerous, and the oil and gas industry that says it’s under control. The dispute reignited this month when the Environmental Protection Agency announced it intends to toughen regulations covering methane emissions by the industry in 2016. Gas producers, researchers and state officials say drillers are adopting advanced technology to eliminate leaks from gas production sites and pipelines.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Report Shows How Fracking Industry’s Failure to Follow Regulations Impacts Human Health
Eco Watch
Stephanie Spear

A new report out today from Environment America Research & Policy Center shows that all types of fracking companies, from small to large, are prone to violating rules intended to protect human health and the environment. The report, Fracking Failures: Oil and Gas Industry Environmental Violations in Pennsylvania and What They Mean for the U.S., analyses Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry over a four-year period and found that the top offenders of regulations—averaging more than one environmental violation every day—represented a wide range of companies from Fortune 500 companies like Cabot Oil, to mom-and-pop operators, to firms like Chevron.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Groups call for legislative fracking ban
Marcellus.com
Cumberland Times News

CUMBERLAND — A coalition of 79 organizations, including several local organizations, is calling for legislative action to ban hydraulic fracturing in Maryland. “Based on what we know now, we believe that fracking endangers public health and is the wrong approach to building a robust Maryland economy and a clean energy future. We urge Maryland’s legislature to pass an extended moratorium in 2015,” the statement, released Jan.17, reads. The document was released by the Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility and Food & Water Watch. At least one bill to ban the practice has been introduced in the Maryland General Assembly.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Fracking Failures Oil and Gas Industry Environmental Violations in Pennsylvania and What They Mean for the U.S.
Environment America


Executive Summary Fracking is dirty. From the very beginning of clearing a site for drilling, through extraction, transport and delivery of finished products, fracking poses significant risks to our air and water and to human health. People who live and work near fracking sites are at greater risk for respiratory and neurological diseases. Oil and gas industry spokespeople routinely maintain that the risks of fracking can be minimized by best practices and appropriate state regulation. Not only is this false – fracking is harmful even when drillers follow all the rules – but drillers also regularly violate essential environmental and public health protections, undermining their own claims. A look at recent data from Pennsylvania, where key industry players pledged to clean up their acts, illustrates the frequency with which companies still break the rules.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Drillers bid millions for oil, gas beneath West Virginia public lands
Trib Live
AP

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia officials have opened millions of dollars in bids to drill for oil and natural gas beneath state-owned lands, including waterways and a wildlife management area. One of the biggest offers the state Department of Commerce opened Friday would let Antero Resources Inc. drill underneath 283 acres of Jug Wildlife Management Area in Tyler County for $2.3 million, plus royalties. The leases for Marcellus and Utica shale mineral rights, which allow for hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, are a new undertaking for the state.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Do low gas prices hurt renewable energy adoption? Not really.
Christian Science Monitor
Stephen Edelstein

Gas prices have fallen dramatically in the U.S.--40 percent in six months--and it's assumed by some that this will hurt the renewable-energy industry. With the financial advantage of solar or wind energy curtailed by cheap oil, the logic goes, consumers will be less interested in switching from fossil fuels. That's not necessarily the case in reality, however.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Millions Bid To Drill In W.Va.
Wheeling News Register


CHARLESTON - West Virginia officials have opened millions of dollars in bids to drill for oil and natural gas beneath state-owned lands, including waterways and a wildlife management area. In one of the biggest offers the state Department of Commerce opened Friday, Jay-Bee Production Company bid amounts ranging from $5,000 to about $16,300 to drill underneath 303 acres of Jug Wildlife Management Area in Tyler County, or about $4.5 million total. The leases for Marcellus and Utica shale mineral rights, which allow for hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, are a new undertaking for the state.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Barriers to renewable energy in Michigan could affect state's economic future, report finds
mlive.com
Emily Lawler

LANSING, MI – A series of roadblocks are preventing Michigan from taking full advantage of its significant potential for renewable energy, according to a report released by the Institute for Energy Innovation on Monday. Those roadblocks could translate into an economic problem. The report, titled Barriers to Advanced Energy in Michigan, was released by the Institute for Energy Innovation with funding from the C.S. Mott Foundation and The Energy Foundation. “I think one of the most interesting transformations that’s happened in the last seven years is that we’ve really moved from a conversation to mandates and subsidies to one that’s about barriers,” said Dan Scripps, president of the Institute for Energy Innovation.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Obama Proposes Oil And Gas Drilling Along East Coast
Climate Progress
Ari Phillips

On Tuesday, the Obama administration released a proposal to sell offshore oil and gas leases in new areas of federally owned waters, including regions along the Atlantic Coast from Virginia to Georgia. The announcement is part of the Department of Interior’s latest five-year plan, which includes federal leases from 2017 to 2022. Congressional bans on offshore drilling in the Atlantic ended in 2008 and Obama first pushed for Atlantic Coast leasing in 2010. Several weeks after announcing lease plans for south and mid-Atlantic drilling the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig blew up in the Gulf of Mexico, and also blew up these plans. Environmental groups see this revisiting of the plans as a case of “oil spill amnesia.” They argue that the technology or regulations have not advanced significantly in the five years since the Deepwater Horizon Spill, the fallout from which continues in economic recovery and prolonged legal battles over fines and compensation.  [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Big oil-and-gas company will cut spending but keep drilling in Bakken
Billings Gazette
Amy Dalrymple

WILLISTON, N.D. — Hess Corp., one of North Dakota’s largest oil and gas producers, will cut spending and operate fewer rigs in the Bakken this year, but plans to drill almost as many wells as last year. Hess plans to operate an average of 9.5 rigs in North Dakota in 2015 and bring an additional 210 oil and gas wells online, the company announced this week. In 2014, Hess operated 17 rigs in the Bakken and added 238 new wells. Hess plans to spend $1.8 billion in the Bakken in 2015, compared to $2.2 billion in 2014. “Hess has some of the best acreage in the Bakken, and we will continue to drill in the core of the play which offers the most attractive returns,” Greg Hill, president and chief operating officer, said in a news release.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
NTSB warnings of systemic flaws in safety oversight of large gas transmission lines
US News
AP

FILE - In this image Dec. 11, 2012 file photo, provided by the West Virginia State Police, shows a fireball erupting across Interstate 77 from a gas line explosion in Sissonville, W.Va. Accident investigators issue a report and safety recommendations based three powerful gas transmission line explosions in California, Florida and West Virginia. In each case, the gas company failed conduct inspections or tests that might have revealed weaknesses in the massive pipelines. In the California accident, 9 people were killed and 70 homes destroyed. In the West Virginia incident, the stretch of pipeline that ruptured, igniting a fire that destroyed three homes and damaged several others, hadn’t been inspected or tested for 24 years. (AP Photo/West Virginia State Police)   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
U.S. Steel warns it may lay off almost 2,000 workers in Alabama, Texas
triblive
Chris Fleisher

U.S. Steel Corp. said it will curtail production at pipe-making plants in Alabama and Texas and may lay off almost 2,000 workers because of “softening market conditions” in the oil and gas industries. The announcement Monday highlights the fallout from the global collapse in oil prices and rising price competition for pipes, U.S. Steel's most profitable product. The Downtown-based steelmaker said it will “temporarily adjust operations” at Lone Star Tubular Operations in Texas, Fairfield Tubular Operations in Fairfield, Ala., and Fairfield Works, the primary flat-roll supplier of rounds to Fairfield Tubular Operations.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Oklahoma Legislature: Several Bills Take Aim At Local Drilling Bans
Times Record
Paul Monies

OKLAHOMA CITY — The power of local communities to regulate oil and natural gas activities inside their city limits could be curtailed under several bills introduced at the Oklahoma Legislature. At least eight bills have been filed that would stop cities and counties from banning drilling operations, including proposals from top leaders in the House and Senate. The measures come as some residents in Norman and Stillwater call for limits or bans on drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Stillwater’s city council last week rejected a ban on drilling on zoned agricultural land, but it directed city attorneys to come up with a new proposal on setbacks from well sites. Norman residents have held several forums on how the city might limit oil and gas development, although nothing concrete has been considered by city officials.   [Full Story]

Jan 27, 2015
Injection wells cause of quakes
Hays Daily News
Dion Lefler

TOPEKA -- Increased waste from increased oil and gas production appears to be linked to the earthquakes that have rattled south-central Kansas in recent years, but "fracking" is not the culprit, state scientists told a legislative committee Monday. The re-injection of the saltwater that comes up with the oil might be causing the increased seismic activity underground in Kansas, but more data and monitoring are needed to figure out what, if any, action can or should be taken.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
#FRACKING – THE BRITISH BAN
The Cherry Creek News


After watching the economic success of hydraulic fracturing in shale fields throughout the United States, many energy executives wanted to translate that success to other parts of the world. But none more so than Lord Browne, the former chief executive for BP, who, in 2007, left the post and founded a small company called Cuadrilla Resources. The sole reason he did it? To bring hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling to the United Kingdom.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Deal requires Wyoming fracking trade-secret justification
localnews8.com


CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A legal settlement will require petroleum companies to provide justification when they ask Wyoming regulators to withhold from the public details about the chemical products they pump underground. Last year, the Wyoming Supreme Court sided with a landowners group and against Wyoming regulators in a lawsuit that sought public disclosure of the ingredients in those products. A state district court judge approved a settlement Friday that requires companies to provide detailed justification when they claim the ingredients are trade secrets.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Junk Bonds And Fracking At Low Oil And Gas Prices: Wave Of Defaults, 'Outright Liquidations' Next
Seeking Alpha


Every rally in crude oil since June turned out to be a pathetic sucker rally. On Friday, West Texas Intermediate fell over 2% to $45.32 a barrel, back where it had been on January 12, annihilating most of the 12% rally in between. WTI is now 58% below the June peak. "If prices stay low well into the latter half of this year and next year, borrowing basis will come down quite significantly" for oil and gas exploration and production companies in the U.S., "and that is when you can start to see liquidity spiraling out," warned Tom Watters, a managing director at Standard & Poor's oil and gas team. And that, he said, is when single-B rated companies could see a wave of defaults. These "junk" debt issuers that rode up the fracking boom with borrowed money are among the higher cost producers globally.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Aging Boston Natural Gas Pipeline Infrastructure: Way Too Many Methane Leaks
Clean Technica
Glenn Meyers

Boston’s natural gas pipeline infrastructure is showing the signs of age, and is starting to leak like a sieve, according to a group of atmospheric scientists at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). Not only are these methane leaks pouring more carbon dioxide into an atmosphere already responsible for severe climate changes, the lost gas is worth almost $90 million. According to a news report released last week, the team estimates that each year about 15 billion cubic feet of natural gas is leaking from the Boston region’s delivery system. This figure was calculated using sophisticated air monitoring equipment in four locations; two atop buildings in the heart of Boston, and two at upwind locations well outside of the city.   [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
N.D. unable to find qualified pipeline inspectors; lawmakers try to add safeguards
Grand Forks Herald
Amy Dalrymple

LLISTON, N.D. – State oversight of more than 20,000 miles of underground pipelines has been “very, very minimal” as it struggles to hire qualified inspectors, a spokeswoman for the North Dakota Industrial Commission says.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Fracking to be banned in national parks, Government concedes Government u-turn introduces outright ban on fracking in national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty as well as new red tape on shale gas companies
The Telegraph
Emily Gosden

Fracking will be banned in national parks and new red tape imposed on shale gas companies, the Government has announced, in a major concession to Labour and opponents of the industry. Amid a mounting political backlash over the Government's staunch support for fracking, ministers on Monday announced a series of u-turns that will significantly restrict where the controversial drilling technique can take place.   [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
UPDATE: Fracking company welcomes scrutiny
Palm Beach Post
Christine Stapleton

Dan A. Hughes, the Texas company that caused a uproar and earned fines when it used hydraulic fracturing at an oil well in Collier County, says it welcomes the “ongoing scrutiny” of the well.  [Full Story]

Jan 26, 2015
Backbench rebellion threat sees fracking regulations toughened
Independent
Tom Bawden

The Government was tonight forced to toughen fracking regulations in the face of a backbench rebellion that would have halted the fledgling UK industry in its tracks.   [Full Story]

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