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Mar 26, 2015
NEPA under drought watch
The Times-Tribune
DAVID SINGLETON

A week ago, people worried about flooding along the ice-jammed Susquehanna River. The new concern is drought. The state Department of Environmental Protection has declared a drought watch for Lackawanna County and surrounding counties because of below-average groundwater levels the agency said could cause public and private well-fed water supplies to go dry. In all, 27 counties, mostly in the eastern and central part of the state, are covered by the watch.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Water Use for Fracking Has Skyrocketed, USGS Data Show
National Geographic
Christina Nunez

As a concept, hydraulic fracturing has changed very little since the first wells were drilled in the late 1940s. In practice, however, what most people now know as fracking has undergone a transformation. Then, as now, a well is drilled into a shale rock formation, and then fluid is pumped in at high pressure, opening cracks that release oil, gas, or both. The combination of this technique with horizontal drilling and other advances has brought both the boom and the controversy now associated with fracking.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Obama’s Trade Deals Could Overturn New York’s Fracking Ban and Accelerate Climate Change
EcoWatch
Alison Rose Levy

Thanks to a recent Wikileaks’ leak, certain truly onerous provisions of President Obama’s secret trade deals are no longer secret. As reported this week in the New York Times, the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) would “grant broad powers to multinational companies operating in North America, South America and Asia. Under the accord, still under negotiation but nearing completion, companies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings—federal, state or local—before tribunals organized under the World Bank or the United Nations.”  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
Will Maryland Close Its Borders to Fracking?
InsideClimate News
Zahra Hirji

ill Maryland soon close its borders to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking? The state's House of Delegates voted 94-45 Tuesday in favor of legislation that seeks a three-year ban on fracking, the controversial practice for extracting oil-and-gas reserves.  [Full Story]

Mar 26, 2015
What the solar market looks like now, and where it's headed
Utility Dive
Herman K. Trabish

Solar is firing on all cylinders and running all-out — but a new report shows there are pitfalls as well as opportunities ahead. The U.S. installed more than 6.2 GW of photovoltaic (PV) solar in 2014, up 30% on the year before, making it the best year ever for PV. The expansion was fueled by record growth for both residential sector and utility-scale solar, but there's reason to believe that the explosive growth for both sectors could soon sputter. “We are now coming off three years in a row, 2012, 2013, and 2014, where the residential market grew 50% each year,” said GTM Research Senior Vice President Shayle Kann, co-author of the recently-released report, "U.S. Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review," which his researchers produced in partnership with the Solar Energy Industries Association.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
‘Get them off rails now,’ Sen. Cantwell says of some oil tank cars
McClatchyDC
CURTIS TATE

WASHINGTON — Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., introduced legislation on Wednesday that would immediately ban the least sturdy tank cars from carrying crude oil after a series of recent fiery train derailments. The bill also would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to regulate the volatility of crude oil transported by rail, particularly oil extracted from shale formations in North Dakota’s Bakken region. Cantwell’s bill follows four recent derailments in West Virginia, Illinois and Ontario that have drawn new scrutiny to the large volumes of oil moving by rail across North America. Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/03/25/260915/get-them-off-rails-now-sen-cantwell.html#storylink=cpy  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
High court appears split over EPA air quality rule
The Hill
Lydia Wheeler

The Supreme Court appeared split Wednesday over a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency's first-ever limits on mercury, arsenic and acid gases emitted by power plants, slated to take effect next month for some plants. The court is tasked with determining whether EPA unreasonably refused to consider costs in deciding whether it was appropriate to regulate hazardous air pollutants emitted by electric power plants under the Clean Air Act.   [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
New fracking regulator needed, report says
BBC News


The UK fracking industry needs a new regulator to give the public more confidence in the fledgling sector, an industry-backed body has concluded. Current regulation, involving a number of government departments, is "complex and relatively unapproachable", says a report by the Task Force on Shale Gas. It said a new regulator should independently monitor fracking sites. "Britain has one of the most robust set of regulations in the world for shale gas," a government spokesperson said.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Oil price fall forces North Dakota to consider austerity
Bakken.com
James Macpherson

BISMARCK, N.D. — Two years ago, North Dakota was so flush with money from the energy boom that lawmakers spent over $1 million to spruce up the cafe at the state Capitol. Now, the fall in oil prices has tightened the revenue tap and the nation’s fastest-growing state is contemplating a dose of austerity. The price of North Dakota sweet crude has fallen by nearly half from a year ago to about $47 a barrel. On Tuesday, only 100 rigs were drilling in the state’s oil patch, barely half the number a year ago and the lowest since March, 2010. Each active oil rig represents about 175 direct and indirect jobs in North Dakota.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Here's the next big hit that could put more oil and gas companies into distress
Dallas Business Journal
Nicholas Sakelaris

Another shoe is about to drop on energy companies as banks adjust credit limits to meet the falling price of crude oil. “Most of their credit is tied to reserves,” Douglass Rayburn, an energy lawyer and partner at Baker Botts’ Dallas office. “A lot of people are facing cuts in their borrowing base. The value of those reserves are falling significantly. A lot of people are facing stress on their system.”  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Justice Half Served
The Ithacan
Faith Meckley

Dwain Wilder, Colleen Boland, Sandra Steingraber, Roland Micklem, Susan Mead, Judy Leaf, Jimmy Betts, John Dennis, Michael Clark and Kelsey Erickson. They all have at least two things in common. 1) They are outstanding and involved citizens in both their regional and global communities. 2) They went to jail for their efforts to protect Seneca Lake and expose the problems with Texas-based company Crestwood Midstream’s plan to store highly-pressurized gas in crumbling salt caverns. Outstanding, involved, passionate and concerned citizens, going to jail. For a violation trespass — not a criminal trespass. They went to jail over something equivalent to a parking ticket.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
REGULATION: Public Power's Ditto pushes legislative fix to FERC's power plan role, federal agency moves
E & E Newswire


Transcript Monica Trauzzi: Hello, and welcome to OnPoint. I'm Monica Trauzzi. With me today is Joy Ditto, senior vice president for legislative and political affairs at the American Public Power Association. Joy, thank you for coming on the show. Joy Ditto: Thank you so much for having me, Monica. Monica Trauzzi: Joy, as electric utilities transform their business models to accommodate new consumer demands, abundant natural gas supplies and the cost competitiveness of renewables as well, what do you see as the role of the federal government in sort of helping guide that transition?   [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Ted Cruz Compares Himself to Galileo, Calls Those Who Believe In Climate Change ‘Flat-Earthers’
Climate Progress
Ari Phillips

A few days after accusing “global warming alarmists” like California Governor Jerry Brown (D) of ridiculing and insulting “anyone who actually looks at the real data” around climate change, newly-declared presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-TX) upped his rhetoric against those who care about the issue. Speaking to the Texas Tribune on Tuesday, Cruz said that contemporary “global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-Earthers.” “You know it used to be it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier,” he said. In Cruz’s opinion, when it comes to climate change, his denier position places him alongside 17th Century scientist Galileo Galilei, who was also considered to be denying the mainstream knowledge of his day. According to Cruz’s logic, he is taking the minority view that human-caused climate change is not happening, just as Galileo took the minority view that the scientific method should be trusted over the Catholic Church. Galileo, who helped perpetuate the notion that the Earth rotates around the sun, was eventually excommunicated from the Church for his views. In the centuries since he has come to be known as the “father of modern physics” and “the father of modern science.” Cruz mentioned in the interview that his parents were mathematicians; however he himself studied public policy before going to law school. Cruz also said he had read a 1970s Newsweek article that morning about “global cooling.” He explained how all the people who believed in global cooling suddenly switched over to global warming when the evidence on cooling didn’t line up. The solutions to both warming and cooling, Cruz said, involved “government control of the energy sector and every aspect of our lives.” Either Cruz is suddenly interested in minor 1970s scientific theories or he is scrambling to find ways to push back against the overwhelming evidence that human-caused climate change is happening. Cruz is not the first to compare Galileo to those who speak out against the accepted science of climate change. In 2011, former presidential candidate and Texas governor Rick Perry dropped Galileo’s name as justification for his anti-climate position. As the website Skeptical Science points out, “the comparison is exactly backwards.” “Modern scientists follow the evidence-based scientific method that Galileo pioneered,” the website reads. “Skeptics who oppose scientific findings that threaten their world view are far closer to Galileo’s belief-based critics in the Catholic Church.”   [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
This Is The Man Exxon Chose To Lead Its Effort Against Climate Science
DeSmogBlog
Brendan Montague

In 1997, BP’s British boss, John Brown, stunned the world by endorsing the science of climate change and calling for government regulation to reduce carbon emissions. Exxon’s Lee Raymond (pictured), however, was an entirely different beast: brash, bullish and brutal. This real life J.R. Ewing came from working class stock all the way from the Great Plains and fought his way to the top of the oil giant Exxon. Raymond lived in a 8,642-square-foot, five-bedroom brick-façade home in Dallas, had around-the-clock access to the Exxon fleet of nine corporate planes for personal and work trips, and enjoyed the protection of an armed bodyguard and chauffeur who was a former New York police officer. ‘Oil and Gas Purist’ According to Steve Coll, the author of the award-winning Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power, Raymond ruled the company with a “drill sergeant-inspired ethos” and he “considered himself unabashedly to be a ‘free-market capitalist’ and resisted government intervention and regulation instinctively.” Raymond was also an “oil and gas purist” and, in taking over the company, ended the brief flirtation with environmentalism that had taken place under the former chairman Clifton Garvin, who had installed solar panels to heat his home's swimming pool. “It seemed the worst thing an Exxon manager could be in Raymond’s eyes was dishonest, but the second-worst thing was to be stupid,” according to one senior colleague. “‘Stupid shits’ was one of the direct phrases by which he conveyed his judgements.”  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Will 'Mining' Watchdog Hold Multinationals to Account?
The Tyee
Jeff Bone

Mining companies are unique in that they have always had to go where resources are physically located. These areas are often remote, environmentally delicate and inhabited by Indigenous people who will not share equally in the economic benefits of development. Canadian mining companies' international assets have increased in the past 10 years from a value of $30 billion to $210 billion. In light of these investments, some argue that the environment and communities from where these minerals are extracted have sometimes faced negative impacts. For instance, Hudbay Minerals Inc. is expected to go to trial in Ontario for alleged human rights abuses in Guatemala where it and a former subsidiary operated a nickel mine. The company has denied the allegations and they have not been proved in court.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Global Warming Is Slowing Ocean Currents Causing Dire Consequences, Warns Climate Expert Michael Mann

Cole Melino

Climate scientists Michael Mann and Stefan Rahmstorf announced the findings of their new study yesterday, which shows that the rapid melting of the polar ice has slowed down currents in the Atlantic Ocean, particularly since 1970. The scientists say “the slowdown in ocean currents will result in sea level rise in cities like New York and Boston, and temperature changes on both sides of the Atlantic,” reports NPR’s Jeremy Hobson. Mann, who is a professor and the director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, joined Hobson yesterday on Here and Now to discuss the study and the implications of its findings. Mann explains the consequences of the Gulf Stream shutting down and how it would drastically alter the climate in Europe and North America. The last time this happened, about 12,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age, North America and Europe went back into a mini-ice age, Mann says. Not only would North America and Europe experience colder temperatures, but “If those current systems shut down, then suddenly the North Atlantic [fisheries] would no longer be productive,” says Mann.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Exxon Shareholder Climate Vote Blocked, Chevron's Approved by SEC
Inside Climate News
Elizabeth Douglas

Shareholder resolutions at Exxon and Chevron propose that instead of investing in exploration projects that are chasing reserves that might become unsellable in a carbon-constrained world and in low-oil-price scenarios, the prudent course is for the companies to return that cash to shareholders instead. Credit: Max Mozart, flickr Government officials last week blocked a groundbreaking shareholder proposal on climate change from going to a vote at ExxonMobil. The move has confounded proponents, because the decision came just five days after the same agency cleared a similar resolution for Chevron's shareholder ballot.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
U.S. justices divided over challenge to mercury air pollution rule
Reuters
Lawrence Hurley

The U.S. Supreme Court appeared closely divided on Wednesday as it weighed whether the Obama administration had to consider costs before deciding whether to regulate emissions of mercury and other hazardous pollutants mainly from coal-fired power plants. Justice Anthony Kennedy could be a possible swing vote on the nine-justice court, with liberals backing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's rationale and conservatives hostile to the government's arguments.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Plan to expand regional support for wind power takes shape in the Midwest
E&E Publishing
Daniel Cusick

MINNEAPOLIS -- To be sure, Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, and Bob Inglis, the former Southern Republican congressman and free-market enthusiast, are not political soul mates. So when they got together in the Twin Cities last week for a discussion about the future of U.S. energy, their banter at times showed they were two distinct political species.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Maryland Senate Passes Bill To Declare Fracking An ‘Ultrahazardous Activity’
ThinkProgress
NATASHA GEILING

On Tuesday, Maryland legislators passed legislation that would place strong limits on the extraction of natural gas in the state. The Maryland House of Delegates passed a three-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — in the Western part of the state, while the Maryland Senate approved a bill that would impose strict financial liabilities on fracking companies and would declare fracking an “ultrahazardous and abnormally dangerous activity.” The bills must pass through the other chambers before heading to the desk of Republican Governor Larry Hogan for approval. Maryland has been under a de facto fracking ban for more than three years, following former Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley’s hold on permits while the state conducted studies of the fracking industry. The results of those inquiries were mixed, with one study raising concern over fracking’s impact on air quality and another finding that, under best practices, fracking would pose no threat to Maryland’s drinking water.  [Full Story]

Mar 25, 2015
Naomi Klein: Let's kick oil while the price is down – video
The Guardian
Naomi Klein

Climate change should be a catalyst for a major change, but we're not treating it as a real emergency. Naomi Klein believes that capitalism is at war with the climate, but she says sometimes it gives us a gift – the sudden drop in oil prices. So let's not blow what could be our best chance to prevent catastrophic global warming  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Groups Want David Koch Unseated From Smithsonian, AMNH Boards
Inside Climate News
Neela Banerjee

A new campaign urging science museums to cut ties with David Koch has thrown a spotlight on the billionaire Koch brothers' enormous philanthropic footprint and their oil interests, as they continue to undercut climate science, environmental regulations and clean energy. Fifteen non-profits, including the Sierra Club, Greenpeace and Daily Kos, launched a petition calling on the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and the American Museum of Natural History in New York to remove David Koch from their boards of trustees, because "he bankrolls groups that deny climate science." The non-profits cite a letter to museums, also sent Tuesday, by more than 30 scientists asking for a severing of ties to all fossil fuel interests.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
NHS game-changers: The rising threat of climate change
New Scientist
Catherine Brahic

It has been called the single most important public health issue of the 21st century. Climate change is a challenge for UK healthcare, not just because it could bring nasty insect-borne diseases closer to the country's shores, but because of the way it will exacerbate existing problems, such as the deadly effect of heatwaves, particularly on the elderly. Average UK temperatures have been rising by about 0.25 °C a decade since the 1960s, and they are projected to be between 2 °C and 5 °C higher still by 2080. Death rates go up in the days following peaks in temperatures and air pollution. Although people rarely die of heatstroke itself, high temperatures can make you more likely to die of an existing heart or lung condition.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Family accuses Antero of property encroachment
The West Virginia Record
Carol Ostrow

WEST UNION — A Doddridge County mother and daughter have sued an energy company. Genevieve V. Stanley, as administrator of the estate of Toby Douglas Stanley and Kathryn L. Stanley, filed a lawsuit March 2 in Doddridge Circuit Court against Antero Resources Corporation, Antero Resources Appalachian Corporation, EQT Gathering and Wells Fargo Bank.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Judge Praises Seneca Lake Gas Storage Protesters, Drops Charges
Democracy Now!


In upstate New York, a judge has dismissed charges against 42 protesters arrested for civil disobedience against plans by the firm Crestwood Midstream to expand gas storage in caverns at Seneca Lake. According to the group We Are Seneca Lake, Judge Raymond Berry dismissed the charges "in the interests of justice," and commended the protesters, saying, "I’m very proud of you. You had a cause and you fought for it to the best of your ability." Another 100 protesters arrested as part of the campaign will also see their charges dismissed.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Slides: Shales 101: A Failed Business Model?
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Want to learn more about shales? Start here with this slide deck and see why the shale business model faces so many hurdles.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Fracking deserves a pause
Baltimore Sun
Opinion

The Maryland House of Delegates gave final approval Tuesday to legislation that would place a moratorium on the use of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to produce natural gas in this state for the next three years. The vote was 93-to-45, a two-thirds majority. The proposal offers the kind of compromise that the state Senate and Gov. Larry Hogan ought to embrace.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Maryland House, Senate pass hydraulic fracturing bills
Penn Energy
AP

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Lawmakers in both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly are taking a stand against fracking. Senators and delegates voted Tuesday in favor of their chamber's respective bills to hold drilling companies more responsible for damages and place a three-year moratorium on the natural gas drilling method. Senators voted 29-17 in favor of a bill that holds drilling companies strictly liable for injuries to residents or their property, and in the case of legal action companies would have to disclose what chemicals they use for drilling. In a 93-45 vote in the House, delegates voted to support a three-year moratorium on the drilling practice while more studies are done on fracking's impact on public health. The bills now head to the opposite chambers for consideration.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Lawyers argue over Abita Springs' fracking lawsuit
Times Picayune
Robert Rhoden

The appropriateness of Abita Springs' fracking lawsuit was the subject of more than an hour of sparring between attorneys Tuesday (March 24) at the St. Tammany Parish courthouse, but the judge took the matter under study without issuing any rulings. State Judge William Knight, who noted the opposing sides' "very entrenched" positions, did not indicate when he would rule. Lawyers representing defendants Helis Oil & Gas Co. and the state Department of Natural Resources argued that the lawsuit aimed at blocking a proposed oil drilling and fracking project northeast of Mandeville is similar to the suit filed by St. Tammany Parish. The town's suit should be dismissed, put on hold or joined with the parish's case, which is pending in 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, they argued.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
“We’re the frackers and we’re here to protect you” — Really?
Dallas Morning News
Jim Mitchell

The Texas Oil & Gas Association has fired a new shot in the contentious debate over whether cities should have the authority to regulate oil and gas drilling within municipal limits. And it misses the target. In a video titled “The Facts on Overreaching Bans and Predatory Ordinances,” the Texas Oil & Gas Association argues that cities are imposing excessive setbacks and then ignoring those restrictions and allowing new subdivisions to develop within the setback radius. Therefore, the state should have control over setbacks and other oil and gas drilling activity to protect cities from themselves. Denton is the targeted city featured in the video: “Both their own actions and scientific studies show that extreme setbacks on energy development are not necessary to protect health and safety. This is why the state of Texas, not cities, should continue to be in charge of regulating and setting stands for oil and gas development and production. The state has expertise that cities do not and is in the best position to ensure public safety and economic growth through common sense rules.” The video misses a couple important points. Denton residents voted to ban hydraulic fracturing within city limits. Period. And other cities that had allowed development to take place closer to drilling cities have learned over time that this was a mistake.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Fox's Cavuto, Heartland's Lehr In Denial About Fracking Pollution
MedisMatters
Denise Robbins

Fox News host Neil Cavuto and the Heartland Institute's Jay Lehr denied that hydraulic fracturing has ever been "proven" to pollute water supplies, despite the hundreds of documented cases of leaky fracking wells causing groundwater contamination. Cavuto also dismissed the Bush administration's role in creating the so-called "Halliburton loophole," which exempts fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act's restrictions on injecting toxic chemicals into the ground.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
House, Senate pass measures to curb fracking
The Baltimore Sun
Erin Cox and Timothy B. Wheeler

Both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly separately passed measures Tuesday that mark the most aggressive action the legislature has taken to curb natural gas extraction in the state.   [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Pennsylvania lawmakers dig in on natural gas severance tax
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Stephanie Ritenbaugh

Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers are maintaining a hardline stance against Gov. Tom Wolf’s Marcellus Shale severance tax proposal, saying they won’t discuss a tax until bills dealing with pensions and liquor privatization are settled. And with Mr. Wolf’s proposal to use a severance tax to reinvest in education being a campaign cornerstone, the stage is set for legislative horse trading this spring. “Voters elected him, and Pennsylvania understands this issue,” said John Hanger, Mr. Wolf’s director of planning and policy. “We are interested in good faith negotiation and conversation about the details. But we need a drilling tax.” Drew Crompton, chief of staff for state Sen. Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, the Senate president pro tempore said pensions must be dealt with first.   [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Don't Frack with Denton: A Community's Fight to Defend Home Rule
EcoWatch
Cole Mellino

Citizens of Denton, Texas are still fighting to keep fracking banned within city limits despite the vote last November in favor of the ban. Ever since the vote, state lawmakers in cahoots with the oil and gas industry and the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, have attempted to strip municipalities like Denton of home rule authority to override the city’s ban, according to Frack Free Denton.   [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Federal regulators 'stop the clock' on evaluating Port Ambrose gas plan off Jones Beach
Newsday
ELLEN YAN

Federal regulators facing a key deadline have "stopped the clock" in evaluating a controversial plan to build a natural gas transfer station 19 miles off Jones Beach. In a March 17 letter posted online Tuesday, the Coast Guard and the federal Maritime Administration noted it had only 21 more calendar days under the law to hold the last public hearings on Port Ambrose, proposed by Liberty Natural...  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Utah confirms spike in infant deaths in oil and gas boomtown, but the state won’t bother finding out why
Raw Story
Zoe Schlanger

  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
State may challenge federal fracking rules
Bismarck Tribune
Nick Smith

North Dakota's attorney general will be looking at the possibility of challenging new rules concerning fracking that were issued last week by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management. “We need to take action,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple, adding that the fracking rules are an overreach that could interfere with the work of the state’s water commission and health department.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
House member questions impact of gas pipeline rupture on Indian Point nuke
SNL
Matthew Bandyk

A U.S. lawmaker whose district is home to Entergy Corp.'s Indian Point nuclear power plant on March 24 grilled Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Stephen Burns over whether the agency is underestimating the threat of a natural gas pipeline rupture damaging the plant. "I strongly believe that the NRC has not adequately investigated the risk nor responded substantively to the concerns that have been raised" over the planned expansion of a Spectra Energy Corp pipeline that traverses part of the site of Indian Point, Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said to Burns during a House Appropriations Committee Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
US shale oil firms raise enough equity to avoid loan reset squeeze
Reuters


HOUSTON, March 24 (Reuters) - Despite a 50 percent slide in crude prices since last summer, U.S. shale oil producers are enjoying remarkably easy access to capital markets and this will allow them to avoid getting squeezed when banks reset their loans in April. A surge in equity issuance so far this year by oil and gas companies has surprised many who in December thought the price drop would hurt the ability of producers to tap capital markets. But investor appetite has held up in the first quarter, amounting to a vote of confidence in the ability of shale oil companies to weather the storm by relying on hedges and slashing spending to show a commitment to capital discipline. "Because the capital markets are so good companies that are more worried about their borrowing base are able to ... raise either debt or equity, take those proceeds, and reduce their borrowing base," said Timothy Perry, a managing director for energy investment banking at Credit Suisse in Houston.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Can Cruz win the oil primary?
Politico
Andrew Restuccia and Elana Schor

His aggressive support for legalizing oil exports and abolishing the ethanol mandate stand out even in a pro-fossil-fuel GOP.   [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Science Museums Urged to Cut Ties With Kochs
The New York Times
JOHN SCHWARTZ

Dozens of climate scientists and environmental groups are calling for museums of science and natural history to “cut all ties” with fossil fuel companies and philanthropists like the Koch brothers. A letter released on Tuesday asserts that such money is tainted by these donors’ efforts to deny the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change. “When some of the biggest contributors to climate change and funders of misinformation on climate science sponsor exhibitions in museums of science and natural history, they undermine public confidence in the validity of the institutions responsible for transmitting scientific knowledge,” the letter states. “This corporate philanthropy comes at too high a cost.”  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Congressman authors bill to restore property rights of landowners hurt by fracking bans
watchdog.org
Karen Beseth

In what many perceived as a purely political move that was based on questionable science, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo banned hydraulic fracturing last year, dashing the hope for economic revitalization for many upstate New York residents. Thanks to the ban, landowners with property on the Marcellus Shale lost out on lucrative fracking leases, and the state lost out on the prospect of thousands of new jobs. Proponents of fracking promised to mount a legal challenge to the ban, and Rep. Tom Reed’s proposed legislation could make that challenge a little easier.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
New Fracking rules: Wyoming drills most on federal lands
CNBC
Tom DiChristopher

The state that could be most affected by new federal fracking rules isn't top U.S. crude producer Texas, or even booming North Dakota. It's Wyoming, the Cowboy State. On Friday, the U.S. government released its first regulations for hydraulic fracturing, the controversial drilling method that involves injecting a mix of water and chemicals into the earth in order to release hydrocarbons from rock formations. The new guidelines apply only to exploration on federal and Native American land.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Environmentalists Say Obama Caved on Fracking
Newsmax
Drew MacKenzie

Environmental activists have accused President Barack Obama of turning his back on the chance to crack down on the procedure of fracking for oil and natural gas. They claim that the Interior Department missed out on a golden opportunity to rein in the hydraulic fracturing process when it released the first major fracking regulations for federal lands last week, according to The Hill. With Congress exempting fracking from many environmental laws on private and state lands in 2005, the conservationists say that the new regulations were a bonus to the oil and natural gas industry by allowing drillers to continue their environment-destroying practice.   [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Fracking commission appointed to study shale gas conditions
cbc news


The New Brunswick government has appointed a commission to study hydraulic fracturing and report back to cabinet within one year on whether the government's conditions for shale gas development can be met. Donald Arseneault Energy Minister Donald Arseneault says it is "responsible and prudent" for the government to do its due diligence and get more information about hydraulic fracturing. (CBC) Energy and Mines Minister Donald Arseneault says the government has a responsibility to consider the controversial method of natural gas extraction as a possible way to create jobs. The commission will be led by Guy Richard, former chief justice of the Court of Queen's Bench.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
A $600-Million Fracking Company Just Sued This Tiny Ohio Town For Its Water
Climate Progress
Samantha Page

A tiny town in eastern Ohio is being sued by an Oklahoma-based oil and gas company that bought more than 180 million gallons of water from the town last year. That water use, combined with a dry fall, prompted the village to temporarily shut off water to Gulfport Energy. Now, a second company has a water agreement, and there might not be enough water to go around. Gulfport Energy alleges in the lawsuit that the village of Barnesville, population 4,100, violated its agreement to provide water from its reservoir by entering into a contract with oil and gas company Antero Resources. Gulfport says the village’s contract with Antero allows for withdrawals beyond what Gulfport is allowed to take. Gulfport’s water supply can be shut off whenever water levels in the reservoir create a risk to the health and safety of the village residents and businesses. Last fall, the reservoir was down three feet below average when village officials stopped all outside withdrawals.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Say It Ain’t So: Is Brown Really a Fracking Whore?
Calbuzz


Gov. Jerry Brown is dedicated to preserving the environment and leading the fight against climate change. He’s fearless enough to slap Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as a “disgrace” for trying to incite the states to reject White House efforts to reduce carbon emissions. And he’s deft enough to label Sen. Ted Cruz, a climate-change-denying GOP presidential candidate, as “absolutely unfit to be running for office.” All of which renders Brown’s persistent defense of fracking – the environmentally dangerous and water polluting practice of drilling for oil by hydraulic fracturing – such a huge disappointment. On the one hand, he calls for – and even leads – a “crusade to protect our climate”; on the other he allows oil companies to engage in a practice that science and common sense insist is destructive, wasteful and unsafe to the environment and to Californians. So, more in sadness than in anger, we must ask: Why is Brown acting a fracking whore?  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Deal Reached for Drilling Under Ohio River
WV Public Broadcasting


The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register reports that Norway-based Statoil plans to drill on about 474 acres of state-owned land under the river in Marshall and Wetzel counties. Statoil has agreed to pay an average price of $8,732 per acre. The state also will receive 20 percent production royalties. Department of Commerce spokeswoman Chelsea Ruby tells the newspaper that the state is still finalizing drilling agreements with Gastar Exploration and Noble Energy.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
2 more cities consider opposing offshore drilling
PilotOnline.com


The cities of Charleston and Myrtle Beach are both taking up resolutions opposing offshore drilling and the use of seismic testing to survey for oil and natural gas off the South Carolina coast. City councils in both communities consider the resolutions during their meetings on Tuesday. If the resolution is passed in Charleston, the city would become the largest in the state opposing offshore drilling. Myrtle Beach is the heart of the state's $18 billion tourism industry. To date, seven coastal communities in South Carolina and 12 in North Carolina are on record against drilling. Opponents of offshore drilling worry that spills could damage fisheries and the important coastal tourism industry. Supporters say drilling can be done safely and will mean jobs and new revenues.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
Maryland House, Senate pass fracking bills
wral.com


ANNAPOLIS, MD. — Lawmakers in both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly are taking a stand against fracking. Senators and delegates voted Tuesday in favor of their chamber's respective bills to hold drilling companies more responsible for damages and place a three-year moratorium on the natural gas drilling method. Senators voted 29-17 in favor of a bill that holds drilling companies strictly liable for injuries to residents or their property, and in the case of legal action companies would have to disclose what chemicals they use for drilling.   [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
As Obama administration weighs Arctic drilling, Shell moves rigs to region
Fuel Fix
Jennifer A Dloughy

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is set to announce within days whether it will reaffirm a 7-year-old government auction of oil leases in the Chukchi Sea — a decision critical to Shell’s plans to resume drilling in those Arctic waters this summer. Even before the pending decision, Shell Oil Co., has begun moving its drilling rigs to the region, marking the clearest sign yet that the firm expects to be boring new Arctic wells this summer. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is tasked with deciding whether to affirm, modify or void the 2008 lease sale at which Shell spent $2.1 billion buying its existing drilling leases, following years of legal challenges to the auction.  [Full Story]

Mar 24, 2015
A small victory in the fight against fracking-related earthquakes in Kansas
Pitch Weekly
David Hudnall

Down in Harper County, Kansas, a recent and sudden rise in earthquakes has caused structural cracks and damages to the courthouse, with repairs estimated at $1.1 million. In adjacent Sumner County — also located in the Sunflower State along the Kansas-Oklahoma border — earthquakes continue to damage homeowners' walls and roofs. Last November, the largest earthquake ever recorded in Kansas occurred in Sumner County. These quakes are a new phenomenon. From 1977 to 2012, only about 30 earthquakes happened in Kansas that were strong enough to feel, Rex Buchanan, interim director at the Kansas Geological Survey, has said. From January 2014 until today, Kansas has experienced 113 quakes strong enough to require study by the Kansas Geological Survey. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — a controversial drilling practice of oil and gas companies, whose expanded operations in southern Kansas correlate to the rising number of quakes — is widely believed to be the cause of these earthquakes. The United States Geological Survey has connected seismic activity to the disposal of fracking waste fluids into injection wells. There are 71 injection wells in Harper County filled with a total of 2 billion gallons of waste fluids. In Sumner County, 79 injection wells are home to 450 million gallons of waste fluids. In Kansas, the Kansas Corporation Commission has been slow to regulate the oil and gas companies. But an order it issued last week will require oil and gas producers to reduce the amount of waste saltwater they can pump back into the earth. A gradual reduction will take place over the next 100 days, resulting in a 60 percent reduction in allowable disposal. Jon Spease, chairman of the Hydraulic Fracturing Committee for the Kansas Sierra Club says it's a step in the right direction. "It's a good start, and we're grateful the KCC is acting on this," Spease tells The Pitch. But he says that because Harper and Sumner Counties are located along fault lines, oil and gas companies need to relocate entirely from there. "Recent reports by the U.S. Geological Survey make it clear that once faults are activated, reducing the amount of fluids isn't going to help as long as any fluids at all are still going into those wells," he says. "People say, 'There's all kinds of drilling going on in North Dakota, how come they're not having these crazy earthquakes?' It's because those sites aren't located along geological fault lines where rocks can slip and cause earthquakes. When these wells are located near faults and you inject fluids, things just start slipping, and that's what's happening in southern Kansas and Oklahoma, which are part of the Arbuckle formation." Once those faults have been activated, Spease says, it will take a period of absence of injection to halt the earthquakes. "So while we're appreciative of any action on this, what really needs to happen is these companies completely stop using these wells on sites located near fault lines." He adds, "We're encouraging people to stay alert and contact the KCC if they're still experiencing earthquakes."   [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Has California’s megadrought already begun?
Grist
Eric Holthaus

This story was originally published by Slate and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. As California limps through another nearly rain-free rainy season, the state is taking increasingly bold action to save water. On March 17, the California state government imposed new mandatory restrictions on lawn watering and incentives to limit water use in hotels and restaurants as part of its latest emergency drought regulations. On March 19, California Gov. Jerry Brown announced a $1 billion plan to support water projects statewide and speed aid to hard-hit communities already dealing with shortages. Last month, federal water managers announced a “zero allocation” of agricultural water to a key state canal system for the second year in a row, essentially transforming thousands of acres of California farmland into dust.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Climate-denying senator given money by BP PAC
Grist
Simon Bowers

his story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. One of America’s most powerful and outspoken opponents of climate change regulation received election campaign contributions that can be traced back to senior BP staff, including chief executive Bob Dudley. James Inhofe, a Republican senator from Oklahoma who has tirelessly campaigned against calls for a carbon tax and challenges the overwhelming consensus on climate change, received $10,000 from BP’s political action committee (PAC).  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Fracking bills in Legislature fuel city-control debate
Dallas Morning News
Marissa Barnett

AUSTIN — It was standing room only at a House hearing on two bills that would restrict how cities can regulate oil and gas activities. The bills would prevent cities from passing oil and gas ordinances that are not “commercially reasonable” and require them to make up tax revenue lost because of oil and gas restrictions. Opponents view the legislation as part of a slate of bills this session aimed at limiting local control, but supporters say otherwise. “Local regulations must be reasonable and ensure that property owners have the regulatory certainty that they will be able to access their minerals,” said Todd Staples, head of the Texas Oil and Gas Association.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Green groups attack Hillary Clinton over fracking, Keystone
Washington Times
Valerie Richardson

Environmentalists turned up the heat Monday on former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, urging her to “come clean” on issues like the Keystone XL pipeline and hydraulic fracturing in a protest outside her speech at a journalism awards ceremony. Three climate-change groups — Friends of the Earth, the Center for Biological Diversity and 350.org — brought 10 demonstrators and “Frostpaw the Polar Bear” to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where Mrs. Clinton was the keynote speaker for the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting.   [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Scientists Launch Study Of Emissions Over Fracking Site
Denver cbs local


BOULDER, Colo. (AP) – Researchers are taking to the air to measure trace emissions over oil and gas production sites in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota, the Niobrara shale formation of northern Colorado and Wyoming, and the Four Corners. Scientists from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plan 15 research flights out of Colorado and Texas between now and May, the Daily Camera, a Boulder, Colorado, newspaper, reported Monday. The researchers are using aircraft equipped with chemical instruments, and tell the Camera that once their data is collected, it will take more than a year to synthesize.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
The Shale Debt Redux
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Shale debt, falling prices and slack demand has tight oil producers in trouble. And yet, there is still burgeoning production. Why? Well, we’ve seen this before. It’s the shale debt redux. Operators did it a few years ago in natural gas and prices have yet to recover. Unfortunately cheap money in the form of debt can mean poor investment choices for businesses and for investors. But it can also lead to an aberrant market because operators deep in debt won’t curtail production even though it is glutted. Debt coupons simply have to be met. The shale revolution has always been funded by massive debt. Operators who were drilling for gas back in 2009-2011 used debt extensively. And just like now, they overproduced. By 2011, supply exceeded demand by four times. Then prices tanked. It is curious that so few asked the questions: why did they produce so heavily and glut the market; and why did they continue to produce into a glutted market? The answer is really quite simple. Many couldn’t afford to pull back production to help stabilize prices. Had they done so, they would not have been able to meet their debt payments. So they kept pumping…and pumping…and pumping. And now they’ve done it again.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Pa. counties seek to keep impact fee on shale wells
Pocono Record


HARRISBURG (AP) — An organization of Pennsylvania's county commissioners is lining up against Gov. Tom Wolf's proposal to replace a fee on Marcellus Shale natural gas wells with a flat annual payment to the same recipients, primarily governments where wells are hosted. Keeping the three-year-old impact fee is a top priority of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, its executive director, Doug Hill, said Monday during the group's annual spring conference. Wolf was asked about his proposal during the gathering at a downtown Harrisburg hotel. The $225 million annual payment he is proposing would allow public schools to benefit from the new money that is gathered from the severance tax he wants to impose on the industry.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Florida's unspeakable issue leaves climate change official tongue-tied.
The Guardian
Katherine Krueger

he latest victim of Florida governor Rick Scott’s unwritten ban on state officials using the words “climate change” is his own disaster preparedness lieutenant, who stumbled through verbal gymnastics to avoid using the scientific term in a newly surfaced video.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Quitting the Bakken: one oil worker walks away
MARKETPLACE
Emily Guerin

In the past few years, workers from all over America have flocked to North Dakota for jobs in the booming oil industry. For a lot of people struggling through their own hard times, it’s been an opportunity for a second chance. And for some, it was their last resort. But since summer 2014, oil prices have dropped by half. Some 75,000 oil workers nationwide have lost their jobs, and more have had their hours cut. Apryl Boyce is one of those workers. She's 42, tall, tough-looking and pretty, with long blond hair tucked beneath a crocheted beanie. She came to the Bakken last fall and has spent months driving a one-ton truck all over the oil field, at all hours of the day, as a hot shot, a driver who hauls equipment from one job site to another. Recently, things have slowed down a lot. "It used to be you’d get called out at four in the morning and be doing runs until 10 at night," she said. Now, she waits by the phone most of the day. There are 80 fewer drilling rigs here in North Dakota than there were six months ago. That means less to haul around.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Ithaca area’s Congressman: N.Y. should pay for damage done by fracking ban
The Ithaca Voice
REP. TOM REED

Editor’s Note: The following is an opinion column written by Rep. Tom Reed, who represents the Ithaca area in the U.S. Congress.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Quick wit, hometown values buoy outgoing FERC chief
E & E Newswire
Hannah Northey

Cheryl LaFleur will give up her gavel next month after a short, tumultuous run at the helm of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In her 17 months as chairwoman, grass-roots grumbling over natural gas infrastructure erupted into protests with demonstrators disrupting commission meetings and blocking doors to the agency's Washington, D.C., headquarters. U.S. EPA's draft Clean Power Plan sparked a politically charged debate over whether FERC will safeguard the grid. A fight brewed over a capacity auction in LaFleur's native New England with a loud call for her resignation.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Confusion Swirls Over Bill to Clarify Drilling Rules
The Texas Tribune
Jim Malewitz

Texas cities shouldn’t fear his proposed legislation to clarify when and how cities can regulate regulate oil and gas activities, a top state lawmaker said Monday. “We recognize that the cities have the right to do ordinances,” Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, said Monday at a hearing of the House Energy Resources Committee, which he chairs. “Purposeful municipal regulation can be important in developing the minerals in this state.” Those words, however, did not appear to assure many of the local officials who came to Austin to voice their concerns.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
State legislative Dems want Gov. Cuomo to reject Port Ambrose gas project
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Ken Lovett

Here is an expanded fourth item from my "Albany Insider" column in Monday's editions: Fifty-two state legislative Democrats have joined the effort to kill a proposed natural gas project off the Long Island coast. The Dems sent a letter to Cuomo asking that he kill the Port Ambrose project the same way he rejected upstate hydrofracking late last year. They join a host of bipartisan critics of the project, including Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos and Democratic City Controller Scott Stringer.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Americans Split on Support for Fracking in Oil, Natural Gas
Gallup
Art Swift

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The practice of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," has emerged as a divisive issue across the U.S., reflected in Americans' opinions about it; 40% of Americans say they favor the procedure, while 40% oppose it, and a substantial 19% do not have an opinion. This is amid the Obama administration last week announcing the first nationwide safety rules for fracking.   [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Wonks vs. greens
Politico
Alex Guillén

One of the most technocratic agencies in the federal government has become an unlikely magnet for unruly eco-protesters. That’s turned meetings of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission into monthly spectacles far different from the agency’s usually dry debates about transmission planning, pricing disputes and electric reliability standards. Activists angry about fracking and climate change are chanting, shouting and squatting on the floor until uniformed officers haul them away — and, of course, they’re uploading the whole drama to YouTube. At least twice last year, officers arrested dozens of protesters for blocking the entrance to FERC’s headquarters near Union Station, while the agency has felt compelled to issue its first official edict against “disruptive” behavior. The activists plan to go even bigger in May, when they hope to draw at least 500 people for a weeklong series of protests against the agency, at which some intend to be arrested. They even have anti-FERC signs — bearing messages like “Fracking Expansion Rubberstamp Commission” — and T-shirts, with slogans like “FERC Doesn’t Work.” It’s an unusual amount of ruckus for an agency that most Americans probably couldn’t name, and which says it has no jurisdiction over either climate change or fracking. But FERC plays a role in vetting projects to export natural gas — and it holds monthly board meetings open to the public. The activists aren’t buying the argument that the commissioners lack the power to act.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Costa Rica Is Cutting Electric Rates by 12% Because It Has So Much Renewable Energy
Green Tech Media
Stephen Lacey

ThinkProgress: Costa Rica Has Gotten All of Its Energy From Renewables for 75 Days Straight Costa Rica got 100 percent of its energy from renewables for 75 days straight this year, the state-run Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) announced this week. The Latin American country hasn’t had to use fossil fuels at all so far in 2015, due to heavy rains that have kept hydroelectric power plants going strong. Wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy have also helped power the country this year.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
His Chemical Romance: Tom Udall Teams Up With the Chemical Industry, With Explosive Results
Mother Jones
Jenna McLaughlin

A lot of environmentalists are mad at Tom Udall. And they're surprised about this. The Democratic senator from New Mexico has a long and distinguished record as an environmentalist, and two weeks ago he introduced legislation to reform the testing and regulation of chemicals. But his former green allies—including environmentalists, lawmakers, professors, and public health officials—oppose the legislation, and accuse Udall of becoming too cozy with the chemical industry, which spends over $60 million a year to lobby Congress. They claim that Udall is sacrificing public health for chemical-industry profits and that his bipartisan bill, which is cosponsored by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), doesn't protect people from dangerous chemicals, such as asbestos, BPA, and formaldehyde, and, moreover, cripples the regulatory efforts of individual states. "To be 100 percent candid and direct, [Udall's] bill has been generated by the chemical industry itself," Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said at a press conference last Wednesday. Indeed, the chemical industry has been outspoken in its support of Udall. "This bill is the best and only opportunity to achieve a pragmatic, bipartisan solution to reform chemical regulation," said American Chemistry Council president Cal Dooley last week in a press release.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Protesters Removed After Disrupting Monthly FERC Meeting
EcoWatch
Ted Glick

Last week at the monthly meeting of the five Commissioners of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington, DC, a group of 20 Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) activists took action. Two people, myself and Ellen Taylor, attempted to read the statement below just before the meeting began, but as Ellen began to speak FERC security moved on the two of us and moved us out of the room and out the front door of the building. But BXE wasn’t done.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Gulfport Energy suing Ohio village over access to water for fracking
Columbus First Business
Tom Knox

One of the most-active drillers in eastern Ohio is suing a Belmont County village to draw water for its hydraulic fracturing operations. Gulfport Energy Corp. (NASDAQ:GPOR) is suing Barnesville to get water from the Slope Creek Reservoir, the Intelligencer reports. Barnesville in 2012 agreed to allow Gulfport, which has the second-most Utica shale drilling permits in the state, to buy water from the reservoir, as long as it isn’t drawn down to dangerous levels. About a month later, village officials signed a mineral lease with Denver-based Antero Resources Corp. (NYSE:AR), the third-most-active driller in Ohio, the Intelligencer reports.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
FERC Chair LaFleur sees trouble ahead for gas pipeline permitting
SNL
Sean Sullivan

Environmental and public resistance to natural gas pipelines will make it more difficult to build the infrastructure that helped smooth energy deliveries this winter, Cheryl LaFleur predicted at the last FERC meeting she led as chairman. LaFleur discussed opposition to pipelines following FERC's March 19 meeting, after SNL Energy asked about challenges such as a push by the White House Council on Environmental Quality to have federal agencies do more on climate change, and recent court decisions affecting FERC approvals of gas pipeline projects. "We're still assessing what the impact of the new CEQ guidance would be, but we are certainly prepared to work with any CEQ guidance," she told SNL Energy at a news briefing. "We've always tried to take into account in our [National Environmental Policy] work all the reasonably foreseeable outcomes of a project." "But I do see additional challenges in permitting pipeline infrastructure given the increased opposition and controversy surrounding pipeline infrastructure, particularly in the Northeast," she continued.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Finally, A Climate Change Message That Just Might Work
Huffington Post
Jonathan Mingle

n recent years, many approaches to framing climate change have been tested on the largely indifferent American public. Some major environmental organizations have tried to call our attention to the spoilage of nature, emphasizing everything from the threat to photogenic polar bears to the loss of coral reefs from acidification of the oceans. Others have highlighted the economy-reviving potential of elusive "green jobs." The Pentagon and intelligence community are now describing climate change as an immediate national security threat. Some commentators have even tried to get Americans to care by pointing out that climate change could mean the end of coffee and red wine. And of course, a growing chorus of scientists have also been trying to let us know that, ahem, it could also mean the end of human civilization. None of these have really worked: we're still on track to soar past the agreed-upon goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial temperatures. (Billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer summed up the situation recently for The New York Times thus: "One side argues morality and polar bears, and the other side argues jobs. You're never going to win with polar bears.") But there are signs that policy-shapers might finally have hit on a winning way to frame the threat-cum-opportunity posed by the pollution-driven phenomenon of climate change: it is first and foremost an urgent public health crisis.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
More Landowners Resisting Gas Pipelines
Public News Service
Dan Heyman and RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Huge pipelines intended to carry Marcellus and Utica natural gas to eastern markets are running into spreading resistance from landowners. Richmond-based Dominion Resources and its partners have filed about 100 lawsuits against landowners who are resisting surveying crews for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Now landowners in the path of a different pipeline, the Mountain Valley Pipeline, have filed preemptive suits to stop surveying crews hired by the Pittsburgh-based EQT energy company and its partners.   [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Costa Rica is now running completely on renewable energy
Quartz
Adam Epstein

Costa Rica is running without having to burn a single fossil fuel, and it’s been doing so for 75 straight days. Thanks to some heavy rainfall this year, Costa Rica’s hydropower plants alone are generating nearly enough electricity to power the entire country. With a boost from geothermal, solar, and wind energy sources, the country doesn’t need an ounce of coal or petroleum to keep the lights on. Of course, the country has a lot of things going in its favor. Costa Rica is a small nation, has less than 5 million people, doesn’t have much of a manufacturing industry that would require a lot of energy, and is filled with volcanoes and other topographical features that lend themselves to renewable energy.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Renewable energy isn’t boosting electric bills study contends
Denver Post
Mark Jaffe

Renewable energy is seen as the culprit behind higher electricity bills by Colorado Republican lawmakers, but a new study contends it just ain’t so. The Colorado Senate passed a bill rolling back the state’s renewable energy standard – which requires that investor-owned utilities get 30 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020 and rural electric coops to get 20 percent — to 15 percent for both. “We want to make sure we’re not pushing the envelope so far that we’re hurting consumers, especially the rural consumers,” said the sponsor, Sen. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction.  [Full Story]

Mar 23, 2015
Renewable Energy Growth Mitigates Climate Change While Boosting Economy, IEA Reports
Eco Watch
Steven Cohen

The International Energy Agency (IEA) announced this month that 2014 carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector leveled off—the first time in 40 years this has happened without being linked to an economic downturn. According to the IEA: “Global emissions of carbon dioxide stood at 32.3 billion tonnes in 2014, unchanged from the preceding year. The preliminary IEA data suggest that efforts to mitigate climate change may be having a more pronounced effect on emissions than had previously been thought. The IEA attributes the halt in emissions growth to changing patterns of energy consumption in China and OECD countries. In China, 2014 saw greater generation of electricity from renewable sources, such as hydropower, solar and wind, and less burning of coal. In OECD economies, recent efforts to promote more sustainable growth—including greater energy efficiency and more renewable energy—are producing the desired effect of decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions.”  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Pope: Earth’s water must be protected, available to everyone
The Washington Post
Associated Press

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is encouraging the world to ensure its water supplies are protected and available to all. Francis noted the United Nations was marking Sunday as an occasion to draw attention to water’s importance. He quoted St. Francis of Assisi, who inspired his choice of name as pope, in praising water for its usefulness and purity.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
A cautionary tale for shale My grandmother’s community near Pittsburgh was dosed with radiation during an earlier energy boom
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Heather Theoret Rockwell

For most of my life, my grandmother, who died in 1998 at the age of 84, was plagued with paranoid thoughts about a massive conspiracy that threatened the health and well-being of her family. When I was a child, she conducted a “sweep” for listening devices at my house while helping my mom tidy up. Holidays at her house were spent talking in hushed tones so “the people in the walls” wouldn’t hear us. She repeatedly shoved a dog-eared, highlighted copy of the book “Silkwood” in our faces in a fruitless attempt to prove her point that we were at risk. Over time, we had to accept that our otherwise intelligent and productive grandma was losing her mind. The catalyst for her obsession? A nuclear fuels company called Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp., which sat right across the river from her home in Vandergrift, Pa.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Obama's controversial new fracking rules, explained
Vox
Brad Plumer

The new rules only apply to federal lands — but they'll provide a template for states On Friday, the Bureau of Land Management unveiled its new fracking rules. There are a few key parts: Oil and gas companies operating on federal and Indian lands will have to publicly disclose the chemicals they use 30 days after fracking a well. They'll use FracFocus, an industry website for self-disclosure. Drillers will have to conduct well integrity tests on every well they drill to ensure that the cement is holding up and nothing can leak out to nearby groundwater. Companies will have to store the wastewater that flows back out after fracking in tanks — they won't be allowed to use pits.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Frackman's accidental activist: 'There's blood in the water and I'm the shark'
The Guardian
Luke Buckmaster

osh Fox’s 2010 anti-fracking exposé GasLand has one jaw-dropping moment, the kind of gasp-inducing money shot that singlehandedly sold it as a must-see documentary. Investigating the effects of coal seam gas exploration on land around his property in rural Pennsylvania, the first-time film-maker visits a neighbour who promises to show him something shocking. Stuck to the wall above the kitchen sink is a piece of paper with a handwritten warning reading: “Do Not Drink This Water.” To demonstrate why, the neighbour puts a cigarette lighter directly underneath the tap and turns it on. What we see next beggars belief: the water has become so contaminated it erupts into a gigantic fireball.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Editorial: Overreaching bill could bring fracking to your doorstep
The Dallas Morning News
Editorial

Oil and gas operators have economic rights, and it seems some Austin lawmakers think those are the only rights that matter. HB 40, sponsored by Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, would strip the authority of cities to regulate oil and gas drilling on the grounds that the state has the sole authority to regulate oil and gas and mineral rights. This bill is an all-out assault on local control, seemingly designed to punish cities like Dallas and Denton that dared exercise their home-rule rights to protect their residents. It is a bad bill.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Shale gas pipeline to Northeast progresses, much to some landowners' dismay
FOX Business
Associated Press

HARPERSFIELD, N.Y. – The 124-mile Constitution Pipeline will likely bring some relief from relatively high natural gas prices to residents of New York City and New England. But it will also bring anguish to many landowners in the wooded hills and valleys in its path. Some will be unable to build retirement homes they had been planning, or subdivide and sell building lots because of the pipeline's route through their property. Others are dismayed at the clear-cutting of treasured forest.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Exports and eminent domain: Delegation weighs in on pipeline issues
The Roanoke Times
Duncan Adams

A rush to transport natural gas from extraction wells in Marcellus shale formations to customers that include natural gas-fired power plants helped hobble early communication between companies that want to build pipelines and the communities through which the pipes might pass. At least that’s the take of U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
New Federal Fracking Rule Faces Fight From Industry, Congress
Inside Energy
Stephanie Joyce

The new regulations require things like the disclosure of chemicals used in fracking and more tests to prove that a well isn't leaking into underground aquifers. Environmental and public advocacy groups pushed for the rules because of concerns about the effects of fracking, which along with horizontal drilling, has allowed shale production in the US to boom in recent years. Industry is opposed to federal rules though, saying they unnecessarily duplicate existing state regulations and don't actually address the fracking process. Just hours after the rule was unveiled, the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Western Energy Alliance filed suit, arguing those issues, and also that the rules require disclosure of confidential business information.   [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Green groups, energy firms equally annoyed by US fracking rules
Oman Tribune


The Obama administration’s new rules governing fracking on federal lands drew swift criticism from all sides late on Friday, with green groups calling the measures “toothless” and the energy industry slamming “unnecessary” regulation of a drilling process that has brought the United States to the cusp of oil and gas self-sufficiency. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a controversial technique that involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into a well to extract oil or gas. The new federal rules include beefed-up measures to protect ground water, one of the main health and safety concerns arising from the drilling process. Within minutes of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposal being released, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and Western Energy Alliance filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Wyoming on grounds that the rulemaking was based on “unsubstantiated concerns” over safety. The rules also require energy companies to reinforce boreholes to prevent water leakage, and to reveal chemical ingredients that are injected into the ground under high pressure to extract crude oil and gas. Although only about 10 per cent of fracking occurs on federal lands, the Obama administration is hoping its new rules can become a model for industry across the country. Drilling has been operating under state by state regulations, ranging from relatively strict operating rules in California to no rules in other states.   [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
A cautionary tale for shale
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Heather Theoret Rockwell

For most of my life, my grandmother, who died in 1998 at the age of 84, was plagued with paranoid thoughts about a massive conspiracy that threatened the health and well-being of her family. When I was a child, she conducted a “sweep” for listening devices at my house while helping my mom tidy up. Holidays at her house were spent talking in hushed tones so “the people in the walls” wouldn’t hear us. She repeatedly shoved a dog-eared, highlighted copy of the book “Silkwood” in our faces in a fruitless attempt to prove her point that we were at risk. Over time, we had to accept that our otherwise intelligent and productive grandma was losing her mind. The catalyst for her obsession? A nuclear fuels company called Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp., which sat right across the river from her home in Vandergrift, Pa.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
New saltwater disposal well plan in Nebraska Panhandle becomes a proxy fight over fracking
Omaha.com
David Hendee

MITCHELL, Neb. — A small Colorado oil company’s attempt to ignite oil and gas exploration in northwest Nebraska has instead sparked a grass-roots firestorm. Oil field operators commonly use wells to dispose of saltwater that is a byproduct of oil production. But when Terex Energy Corp. filed an application last fall to convert an inactive oil well near this town in the Nebraska Panhandle to a disposal well, the notion rattled many local people. They didn’t like the size of the project, and they saw it as a looming environmental apocalypse. In the Keystone XL pipeline era, oil and water don’t mix.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
It’s Official: Everybody Hates The New Fracking Rules… Not
Clean Technica
Tina Casey

The US Bureau of Land Management finally got around to posting its final fracking rules in the Federal Register on Friday, and before the ink was dry on the Intertubes, the American Petroleum Institute fired off a statement of objection. However, if you were expecting the nation’s premier fossil fuel lobbying organization to rip into the new rules with long daggers, you’ll be sorely disappointed. The statement was, to put it softly, mild as a pair of nail clippers. What gives?  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Phila. again ponders allure of liquefied natural gas
philly.com
Andrew Maykuth

Despite Philadelphia City Council's "unqualified" rejection nine years ago of a terminal for liquefied natural gas, the city is once again flirting with the money-making allure of LNG. Several entrepreneurs are promoting plans to increase LNG production at the Philadelphia Gas Works plant in Port Richmond, hoping to capitalize on growing interest in creating an energy hub linked to the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom. The most ambitious plan floated publicly is a $2.1 billion proposal to expand the Port Richmond plant's capacity to export LNG to European markets.   [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Exports and eminent domain: Delegation weighs in on pipeline issues
Roanoke.com
Duncan Adams

A rush to transport natural gas from extraction wells in Marcellus shale formations to customers that include natural gas-fired power plants helped hobble early communication between companies that want to build pipelines and the communities through which the pipes might pass. At least that’s the take of U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem. Griffith said this sense of urgency helps explain, but does not excuse, what he described as the “bull in the china shop” behavior of companies that want to build interstate pipelines to move natural gas from West Virginia through Virginia to customers in Virginia, North Carolina and elsewhere — including, perhaps, overseas. Griffith, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County, and U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both Democrats, were asked recently about the proposed Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines, surveying for pipeline routes without a property owner’s permission and natural gas exports.   [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Global Shale Fail: Oil Majors Leaving Fracking Fields Across Europe, Asia
DeSmogBlog
Steve Horn

With some analysts predicting the global price of oil to see another drop, many oil majors have deployed their parachutes and jumped from the hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) projects rapidly nose-diving across the world. As The Wall Street Journal recently reported, the unconvetional shale oil and gas boom is still predominantly U.S.-centric, likely to remain so for years to come. “Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC have packed up nearly all of their hydraulic fracturing wildcatting in Europe, Russia and China,” wrote The Wall Street Journal.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Fracking Fumes Force Texas Resident to Shutter Home Business After a Decade
InsideClimate News
David Hasemyer

The Buehrings' property on the south Texas prairie is surrounded by more than 50 wells and nine oil-and-gas facilities, all within 2.5 miles of their home.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Natural Gas Prices To Crash Unless Rig Count Falls Fast
oilprice.com
Arthur Berman

Spending cuts for oil-directed drilling have dominated first quarter 2015 energy news but rig counts for shale gas drilling are too high. Investors should pay attention to this growing problem. Bank of America fears sub-$2 gas prices now that winter heating worries are over. Low natural gas prices affect the economics for gas-rich oil production in the Eagle Ford Shale and Permian basin plays as well as for the shale gas plays. Meanwhile, an orgy of over-production is taking place in the Marcellus Shale. Well head prices are now below $1.50 per thousand cubic feet of gas because of limited take-away capacity and near-saturation of regional demand. Even companies in the Wyoming, Susquehanna, Allegheny and Washington County core areas of the Marcellus play are losing money at these prices.  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Nebraska commission blocks some from testifying about fracking disposal site
tucson.com


LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will not allow residents who live more than a half-mile radius from a proposed disposal site for a Sioux County injection well to testify at a public hearing. The Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1Cz6mfJ ) reports that about two dozen people and corporations qualify as interested parties, and will be allowed to testify before the three-member commission on March 24. Oil and Gas Director Bill Sydow said the commission is merely following the rules by blocking some people from testifying. "We're going to go on the rule of law," Sydow said. "This hearing is about the technical merits and engineering merits of this well bore. It is not about policy, because policy is set on this at the federal level."  [Full Story]

Mar 22, 2015
Abinanti Pushes Bill To Ban Fracking Waste On Highways
Greenburgh Daily Voice
y Cassandra Huerta

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, D-Greenburgh/Mount Pleasant, has introduced legislation (A.211) to ban the use of hydrofracking wastewater on highways. Due to its salty nature, fracking wastewater is being promoted by some to deice roads in the winter. “Spreading toxic, hazardous and radioactive fracking waste on our roads would be devastating to the health and safety of New Yorkers,” said Abinanti. “This wastewater has the potential to cause irreversible damage to our water, air, land and food supplies. It has no place in New York.” The legislation would apply statewide some of the prohibitions approved in Westchester County. Westchester bans the sale of fracking waste, the processing of fracking waste at wastewater treatment plants and the spreading of fracking wastewater on roads.  [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Why The European Shale Revolution Is Dead
Bidnes ETC
Michael Kaufman

y The European Shale Revolution Is Dead  [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
How Big Oil and Big Tobacco get respected scientists to lie for them
Vox
Julia Belluz

By the 1950s, Big Tobacco knew smoking caused cancer. By the 1960s, the companies knew nicotine was addictive and that smoking could lead to heart disease. But three decades later, tobacco executives stood up before Congress and, under oath, denied the facts. The same story has played out with other major scientific issues of our time, from climate change to the health harms of various chemicals. As scientists build consensus, industry tries to obscure their findings outside the ivory tower, turning non-debates into ginned-up controversies. A new documentary, Merchants of Doubt, shows exactly how for-profit players covertly shape popular thinking about the biggest science questions of the day. The movie helps explain that the fight about climate change — and smoking, and environmental chemicals — is actually about political ideology and questions of how people should live and govern themselves.  [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Work resumes on pipeline after court denies petition
The Times-Tribune
Brendan Gibbons

Pipeline crews returned to work Friday on an expansion of a Williams interstate gas line after a judge denied an environmental group’s petition. Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s petition halted work on the line for a little more than a week while the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals considered its challenge of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s review of the pipeline’s expansion. In December, FERC approved Williams’ plans to add more than half a billion cubic feet per day to the Leidy Line section of its Transco gas line. The plan involved adding parallel “loops” to portions of the line in Luzerne and Monroe counties and New Jersey.  [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Podcast: Energy 24/7 The Shale Revolution A Bust for Investors
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Shale companies which are considered the best and brightest in their plays have provided dismal returns for shareholders for the most part. The latest podcast from energy 24/7.  [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Natural gas industry criticizes Pennsylvania DEP
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Laura Legere

HARRISBURG — Natural gas industry trade groups railed against the state Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed changes to rules governing the industry at an advisory board meeting on Friday, saying they are being held to stricter standards than those that apply to similar industries. Representatives of the Robinson-based Marcellus Shale Coalition and the Wexford-based Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association questioned the agency’s legal authority to make some of its proposed changes, and criticized the DEP for offering little warning before proposing new standards for subjects like noise mitigation and waste reporting requirements.  [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Special Report: How safe are pipelines?
Indeonline.com
Shane Hoover

SUGAR CREEK TWP. Engineers have distilled the danger from an exploding natural-gas pipeline to a simple equation. Plug in the pressure and the diameter of the pipe and out comes the potential impact radius — the distance from the pipeline at which an explosion could cause death, injury or property damage. A 42-inch pipeline at a pressure of 1,440 pounds per square inch has a potential impact radius of 1,100 feet. Daniel Hershberger, his wife and their seven children live about 50 feet from the prospective path of two such pipelines.  [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Many Pa. municipalities hesitant to regulate drilling through zoning
Trib Live
David Conti

Faced with arguments from gas drilling opponents at nearly every township meeting, officials in Middlesex decided their only chance at settling the contentious issue of where to allow wells was to update the zoning ordinance. “We really need something in writing because … I can't keep doing this every month,” former township manager Scot Fodi recalled during a recent appeal hearing on the ordinance. The ensuing legal fight over that legislation will cost the Butler County community tens of thousands of dollars and potentially last years. Despite court rulings that affirmed the rights of such municipalities to regulate some drilling activities through zoning, few communities followed Middlesex's path over the past three years. Municipal leaders say that might change soon, though.   [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Congress comments on rules for fracking
Minot Daily News
Eloise Ogden

North Dakota's congressional delegation has responded to the U.S. Department of Interior's release on Friday of its final rule on hydraulic fracturing safety and standards for federal and tribal lands. The rule will be administered by the Bureau of Land Management. "It is my hope these new rules will give adequate deference to states, like North Dakota, who have been effectively regulating oil and gas production for decades in a safe and environmentally friendly manner," said Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. "We cannot let misguided bureaucrats under the influence of extreme environmentalists derail the energy security fracking has brought to the United States. North Dakota has been at the forefront of this American energy renaissance revitalizing rural America and driving our economy all across our great country."  [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Fracking Costs Exceed Benefits for Europe - Report
Sputnik


MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The environmental impact of the shale gas extraction in Europe is disproportionate to the raw materials gained by hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, a new study said. Fraking is a drilling technology, which involves pumping a highly-toxic mix of chemicals into the ground at high pressure to break up rocks and release natural gas and crude oil. It has been surrounded with controversy amid evidence that it pollutes ground water and causes shifts in the crust. In ten years, fracking could contaminate drinking water in Europe and cause severe environmental damage, the study by the Berlin-based Energy Watch Group said, as cited by EurActiv media outlet on Friday.   [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Costa Rica Has Gotten All Of Its Energy From Renewables For 75 Days Straight
ThinkProgress
KATIE VALENTINE

Costa Rica got 100 percent of its energy from renewables for 75 days straight this year, the state-run Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) announced this week. The Latin American country hasn’t had to use fossil fuels at all so far in 2015, due to heavy rains that have kept hydroelectric power plants going strong. Wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy have also helped power the country this year. “The year 2015 has been one of electricity totally friendly to the environment for Costa Rica,” ICE announced in a press release in Spanish this week.  [Full Story]

Mar 21, 2015
Frack off: Dayne Pratzky's fight against coal seam gas
The Age


Dayne Pratzky went from pig shooter to passionate anti-coal seam gas activist - a journey that's made him an unlikely film star. Amanda Hooton meets him.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Judge: Suit against Shell’s Arctic-drilling ‘homeport’ in Seattle can go ahead
Seattle PI
Joel Connelly

Critics are on solid legal ground in a legal challenge to the location of a “homeport” for Shell Oil’s Arctic-drilling fleet at the Seattle waterfront, a King County Superior Court judge ruled Friday. The ruling by Judge Mariane Spearman allows a suit against the Port of Seattle, brought by four environmental groups, to go ahead. The judge backed up foes’ argument that proposed uses of Terminal 5 go far beyond the “cargo terminal” allowed under the current shoreline development permit that the port has with the city of Seattle.   [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Five Things About Obama’s Oil and Natural-Gas Fracking Rules
The Wall Street Journal
AMY HARDER and DANIEL GILBERT

The Obama administration on Friday unveiled long-awaited regulations setting new standards for hydraulic fracturing in the oil and natural-gas industries, a process that has helped fuel a U.S. energy boom. Here are five things to know about the rules. What Are The Regulations Designed To Protect? Water. Much of the concern surrounding hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, is over the potential for natural gas to seep out of a well and into groundwater. Regulators are also concerned about toxic fluids used in the drilling process spilling into aquifers.   [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Fracking costs outweigh benefits for Germany and Europe, study says
EurActive


For only a ten year supply of energy, fracking in Europe would contaminate drinking water, cause severe environmental damage and create vast industrial landscapes, says a study on fracking, as the German government pushes to legalise the controversial extraction method. EurActiv Germany reports. The environmental impact of shale gas extraction in Germany and Europe are in no way proportionate to the raw materials gained using this method of drilling, a new study argues. “We should not compare the conditions in Germany with those in the United States,” said Werner Zittel, the author of the study released by the NGO Energy Watch Group. For one thing, Germany is much more densely populated, he said, increasing the risk for people and the environment near extraction sites. To date, few scientifically sound analyses are available on the effects of fracking on people and the environment. But severe environmental damage can be observed in the United States, where fracking is already widespread. Some scientific investigations have also found evidence that fracking has increased the danger of earthquakes in the United States. And the University of Innsbruck recently discovered that fracking pollutes the air with gases that are harmful to human health and the climate.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Lawmakers demand oil firms stop pumping waste into aquifers
San Francisco Chronicle
David R. Baker

Eight influential California legislators urged Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday to immediately shut down nearly 2,500 wells that are injecting oil-field wastewater into aquifers that were supposed to be protected by federal law. “The State should not wait until sources of drinking or irrigation water are polluted, especially given the dire situation that has been created by the current drought,” the legislators wrote in a letter to Brown. The signatories include state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills (Los Angeles County), who chairs the Natural Resources and Water Committee, and state Sen. Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, who leads the Environmental Quality Committee.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
U.S. to Set Fracking Standards on Federal Land
FOX Business


The Obama administration on Friday is due to unveil rules for oil companies that frack on federal land, included beefed-up safety measures, but won't likely require strict oversight as environmental groups want, according to sources. The standards have been in the works for more than three years and gone through several drafts with environmentalists and the energy industry fighting over its scope.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Obama Administration Unveils Federal Fracking Regulations
The New York Times
CORAL DAVENPORT

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday unveiled the nation’s first major federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing, the controversial technique for oil and gas drilling that has led to a dramatic increase in American energy production but has also raised concerns about health and safety risks. The Interior Department began drafting the rules in Mr. Obama’s first term after breakthroughs in the technology, also known as fracking, led to a surge in the production of oil and gas.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Gas industry slams DEP over new drilling rules
State Impact PA
Marie Cusick

Representatives from the state’s Marcellus Shale industry are criticizing the way the Wolf administration has handled proposed changes to drilling regulations. At a meeting of the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board (TAB) Friday, industry groups questioned the level of transparency around new draft rules. Kevin Moody, of the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, was among the critics.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Meth use tied to fracking workers in Pennsylvania
WIVB
Rich Newberg

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – U.S. Attorney William Hochul of the Western District of New York says a rise in the production of methamphetamine may be tied to use among workers in the fracking fields of northern and western Pennsylvania. “The concern is workers coming from the mid-west who had already been using methamphetamine,” Hochul said. “They have more money in their pocket, than perhaps they had before.” He believes one of the drug’s effects,a surge of energy, may be the reason for their addictions.   [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Judge Rules Shale Gas Pipeline Can Proceed
WAMC
Dave Lucas

A federal judge says backers of a 124-mile pipeline designed to ferry cheap Marcellus Shale natural gas to New York can build across seven northeastern Pennsylvania properties whose owners had not agreed to it. U.S. District Judge Malachy Mannion ruled this week the Constitution Pipeline had the necessary permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and that it serves the public interest. The Judge pointed out Susquehanna County landowners stood be compensated by the pipeline's owners.   [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Activists Protest Pipeline At Public Service Board Meeting
WAMC
Pat Bradley

A number of protesters and activists this week were at the Vermont Public Service Board as it met with Vermont Gas for a routine meeting about its natural gas pipeline permit review. In 2012 Vermont Gas filed a petition for approval to build a 43-mile natural gas pipeline from Colchester to Middlebury. The project’s estimated cost at that time was just under $84 million. According to the budget summary presented to the Public Service Board on January 21st, current Phase 1 costs are now projected to be over $153 million.   [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Shale Producers Have Found Another Lifeline: Shareholders
Bloomberg
Bradley Olson

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. oil producers are issuing new shares of stock at the fastest pace in more than a decade, looking to investors for a cash lifeline to pay down debt and keep drilling as crude prices continue to sink. Tapping equity markets has become the best option for companies such as Dallas-based RSP Permian Inc., which announced March 17 it’s seeking to raise as much as $232 million by selling additional shares. Calgary-based Encana Corp. and Noble Energy Inc. of Houston also have issued shares in the past two months to reduce debt.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Fla. official says he was punished for using ‘climate change’ in report
The Washington Post
Terrence McCoy

Bart Bibler’s wife is angry. It’s late Thursday night in Tallahassee, Fla., and she just hung up the phone on another reporter pestering her husband with questions. Just stay quiet, she told him. Don’t say anything more. But Bibler couldn’t. He had to talk. He cared about the issue too much. The nation had to know what happened to him. This month, Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection suspended him, according to Bibler, a state land management plan coordinator, and ordered him to see a doctor before returning to work. This came as a surprise to Bibler who, according to his employee evaluation, was considered “exceptionally good” at his job. Even more surprising, Bibler said, was the reason he was suspended from the environmental agency. It was about the words “climate change,” he said. Not the science. Not what Florida’s doing about it. Just the words. He had put them into a report. Then refused to take them out when he was told to.   [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
U.S. Sets First Fracking Standards in More Than 30 Years
Bloomberg
Mark Drajem

(Bloomberg) -- The Obama administration issued the first federal regulations for fracking since the drilling technique fueled a domestic energy boom, requiring extensive disclosures of the chemicals used on public land. After years of debate and delay, the Bureau of Land Management on Friday said drillers on federal lands must reveal the chemicals they use, meet certain well construction standards and safely dispose of contaminated water that flows back from fracked wells. The oil and gas industry said the rule isn’t necessary because state regulations already govern hydraulic fracturing.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
New Fracking Rules on Public Lands ‘A Giveaway to Oil and Gas Industry,’ Advocates Say
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

Earlier this week, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said that the new regulations for fracking on federal lands from the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would be released “within the next few days,” following a four-year process that included receiving more than 1.5 million public comments. Today she unveiled those new rules, which take effect in 90 days. The BLM claimed they would “support safe and responsible hydraulic fracturing on public and American Indian lands.”  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
From doughnut-filler to chairwoman, Greenwire's Northey profiles FERC's Cheryl LaFleur
E & E Newswire


After presiding over her final public meeting as chairwoman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this week, what is next for Cheryl LaFleur? On today's The Cutting Edge, Greenwire reporter Hannah Northey discusses her new feature on LaFleur and her uphill climb to becoming chairwoman. Transcript Monica Trauzzi: Welcome to The Cutting Edge. FERC Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur presiding over her final public meeting as chair this week. In a new Greenwire profile, Hannah Northey explores her journey to becoming chair and previews her next steps. Hannah, LaFleur's had many jobs, as a doughnut filler, news clipper, produce counter attendant. What brought her to the utility world?  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Department Of Interior Issues New Rules For Fracking On Public Lands
Huffington Post
Kate Sheppard

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Interior released new rules for hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas on public lands in the United States on Friday, the first significant update to the regulations in three decades. "Decades-old regulations don't take into account current technology for hydraulic fracturing," said Interior Sec. Sally Jewell in a call with reporters Friday. The new rules will require companies drilling on public lands to disclose the chemicals they are using to the Bureau of Land Management, will set higher standards for the storage of wastewater from the fracking process, and will require validation of well integrity.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Industry groups file lawsuit against new federal fracking rules
ohio.com
Bob Downing

DENVER, March 20, 2015 — After a regulatory review process lasting more than three years, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued today a final rule purporting to govern hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands. Given BLM’s failure to correct flaws in earlier versions of the rule – flaws that were addressed expressly in public comments responsive to the agency’s proposal -- BakerHostetler immediately filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of the two most prominent national trade associations representing independent oil and gas producers: the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and Western Energy Alliance (the Alliance). The associations’ Complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming, asserts that BLM’s final rule is both substantively meritless and the product of a procedurally deficient rulemaking process. The Complaint requests that the federal court set aside the final rule.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Industry swiftly challenges feds’ new fracturing rule
Fuel Fix


new drilling rules in federal court. The lawsuit brought by the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Western Energy Alliance challenges the new mandates as “a reaction to unsubstantiated concerns.” The Bureau of Land Management’s new rule, unveiled Friday, is set to take effect in 90 days. It would impose new requirements for constructing wells on federally managed lands and storing waste water from the sites. The measure also would force oil companies to disclose the chemicals they pump underground in hydraulic fracturing operations to stimulate the wells into production. The IPAA and Western Energy Alliance lawsuit was filed by BakerHostetler in a federal district court in Wyoming, less than an hour after the Interior Department unveiled the final rule.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Hydraulic fracking rules issued by Washington require extensive disclosure of chemicals
Financial Post
Mark Drajem, Bloomberg News

The Obama administration issued the first federal regulations for fracking since the drilling technique fuelled a domestic energy boom, requiring extensive disclosures of the chemicals used on public land. After years of debate and delay, the Bureau of Land Management on Friday said drillers on federal lands must reveal the chemicals they use, meet well construction standards and safely dispose of contaminated water used in fracking. The rule had been highly anticipated by drillers, who oppose added regulation, and by environmentalists who have raised alarms about water contamination. Both sides had complaints with the outcome: groups representing the oil and gas industry sued to block its implementation and an environmental group said the regulation favoured industry over public health.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Local View: Moratorium needed on fracking wastewater
Journal Star
KEN HAAR

An out-of-state company wants to bring 80 to 100 semi-truckloads a day of potentially toxic fracking wastewater from Colorado to Nebraska and dump it into an abandoned well in western Nebraska. A lot of people think this is a bad idea. The Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (NOGCC) is holding a public hearing on this subject March 24 in Sidney, Nebraska. The NOGCC has indicated they intend to limit testimony on this proposal to people who have a property interest within one-half mile of the proposed site. Really? Limiting testimony like this violates several fundamental Nebraska principles and supports the conclusion that we need a moratorium on importation of fracking waste until appropriate legal protections are established.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Foes of fracking wastewater well cry foul over speaker limits
omaha.com
AP

LINCOLN — At a public hearing next Tuesday, the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will not hear testimony from anyone living more than a half-mile from a Panhandle site where a company has applied to dispose of fracking wastewater by injecting it underground. That means about two dozen people and corporations may testify, the Lincoln Journal Star reports.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Why the new federal fracking rules won’t change much about fracking in America
Fusion
Rob Wile

After years in the works, the White House will finally release rules on Friday to regulate hydraulic fracturing more commonly known as fracking, according to The Wall Street Journal. But the rules will only apply to fracking done on federal lands, which account for 11 percent of the natural gas and 5 percent of the oil used in the U.S., the Journal notes. (And not all of that gets extracted through fracking, which involves shooting enormous volumes of water into the ground to free up hydrocarbons.) States are still in charge of most of America’s fracking.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Kansas regulators order limits on certain fracking-related activities
Wichita Business Journal


Companies that are using hydraulic fracturing to access oil in Harper and Sumner counties will have to curtail some of their activities. KSN News reports the Kansas Corporation Commission has ordered limits on saltwater disposal wells in certain areas of the Arbuckle formation. Companies that perform hydraulic fracturing use disposal wells to get rid of saltwater afterward. The Kansas Geological Survey has found a correlation between that practice and seismic activity in Harper and Sumner counties.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Two bills to curb hydraulic fracturing advancing in Annapolis
The Baltimore Sun


Two bills that would restrict drilling for natural gas in Maryland advanced in both chambers of the General Assembly Friday, setting the stage for another round of debate on how far the state should go to allow a lucrative industry that concerns environmentalists. One bill would impose strict legal responsibilities on drillers and the other sets a three-year ban on the practice.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Fossil fuels: Scientists draw up investment principles
BBC News
Helen Briggs

Climate scientists at leading universities are joining forces to discuss the basis of a set of principles governing investment in fossil fuels. They include academics at Oxford, Imperial College London and Harvard. Prof Myles Allen, of Oxford University, said the move was similar to principles governing investment in South Africa under apartheid in the 1980s. "This is a challenging question being put to universities," he told BBC News.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Protests Continue — on Camera — at FERC
RTO Insider
Rich Heidorn Jr.

WASHINGTON — About 10 protesters were led or carried out of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s open meeting Thursday after defying the commission’s “no interruptions” rule with chants of “Stop construction at Cove Point!” Last week, the commission issued an order saying it no longer will allow protesters to read statements before its meetings, as Chairman Cheryl LaFleur previously had permitted since the activists began appearing regularly at commission meetings last fall.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Oil and gas industry groups sue over U.S. fracking rules
Reuters
AYESHA RASCOE

(Reuters) - The oil and gas industry moved quickly on Friday to challenge new U.S. regulations for hydraulic fracturing on public lands, minutes after the Obama administration issued the rules. In what could be the start of a broad industry assault on the rules, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and Western Energy Alliance sued the U.S. Interior Department. Other industry groups and companies are expected to follow suit.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Government limits drilling on public land
Al Jazeera America


Madeline Stano, an attorney with the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, discusses the new regulations  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Md. bill to protect residents from fracking advances
Herald Mail


  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
New fracking regulations to impact Louisiana
Fox8 New Orleans


Energy companies fracking in Louisiana will face new rules in 90 days. The White House announced new regulations Friday intended to protect groundwater near fracking sites. Drillers will need to ensure that wells and cement barriers are structurally sound. They will also have to publicly disclose chemicals used in their injecting water. According to our partners at Nola.com-The Times Picayune, Helis Oil's plan to frack north of Interstate 12 has received a water quality certification from the state. Many people who oppose the fracking plan cite environmental concerns, including the impact fracking would have on groundwater.  [Full Story]

Mar 20, 2015
Global Shale Revolution On Hold
oilprice.com
James Stafford

Along with the rest of the energy world, we have been closely tracking rig counts (now down 40 percent from last fall) and other data to try to determine where the oil markets are heading. This week, the Energy Information Administration reported that production is finally set to decline in several key U.S. shale regions; a long-awaited development. The Eagle Ford, Bakken, and Niobrara shales are expected to see a combined 24,023 barrel-per-day decline in production in April, the first significant dip in output since oil prices collapsed last year. The monthly data may be a bit obscured by the fact that the Permian basin is expected to see production increases of 21,254 barrels per day. Overall, total U.S. production may stay flat. There is still a great deal of uncertainty about the next few months, but with declines beginning in the Eagle Ford and Bakken especially – two critical regions that drove the U.S. shale revolution – there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel for the oil glut.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
'Frackademia' Report Reveals Ties Between Government, Universities, and Shale Industry
DeSmogBlogUK


What started out as a grassroots campaigning tactic to lobby big institutions to stop backing non-renewable energy production, has this week gained large-scale mainstream support. The Guardian’s “keep it in the ground” has now gathered a petition with over 60,000 signatures to ask the world’s largest charitable foundations to divest their endowments from fossil fuels. The UN has also come out in open support for the increasingly global movement. And this week a report published by TalkFracking, a campaign group supported by Vivienne Westwood, on ‘Frackademia’ seeks to raise awareness about the influence of the fracking industry in university research departments.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Texas city to go 100% solar, wind – because it’s cheaper, more reliable
Renewable Economy
Sophie Vorrath

A city in Texas – home to the “Gusher Age” of American oil – is aiming to become 100 per cent renewable within two years, after finalizing a deal with SunEdison to supply it with solar power for 25 years. Georgetown – population 54,000 – will take the output from the 150MW solar plant and another 144MW from a new wind farm to source its needs from renewables. The local utility saying it has turned to wind and solar because it is cheaper and more reliable, and requires a lot less water.   [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
France decrees new rooftops must be covered in plants or solar panels
The Guardian
Agence France-Presse

All new buildings in commercial zones across the country must comply with new environmental legislation  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Prince Charles Presses Climate-Change Agenda With Obama
Newsmax


While Prince Charles's visit to the White House lacks the buzz created when his son called on the U.S. president in December, President Barack Obama still cares enough to time a climate-change announcement to the British royal's arrival. Prince Charles, 66, has adopted climate change as his signature issue and called Earth a "sick patient" because of global warming. Obama on Thursday signed an executive order requiring the U.S. government to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent over the next decade from 2008 levels. Climate change was to be the chief topic of conversation as Prince Charles, his wife Camilla Parker Bowles, the duchess of Cornwall, and met with Obama Thursday in the Oval Office. The royals are on a three-day Washington tour with Charles returning to the White House for the first time since 2011. He hosted a reception for Obama in September in Wales when world leaders gathered there for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit.   [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Judge rules shale gas pipeline can cross holdout properties
Fuel Fix
Associated Press

SCRANTON, Pa. – The companies backing a 124-mile pipeline designed to ferry cheap Marcellus Shale natural gas to New York and New England can build across seven northeastern Pennsylvania properties whose owners had not agreed to it, a judge ruled. U.S. District Judge Malachy Mannion ruled that the Constitution Pipeline has the necessary permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and that it serves the public interest by providing additional natural gas pipeline capacity. Mannion also wrote in the Tuesday ruling that the Susquehanna County landowners stand to gain adequate compensation from the pipeline’s owners. Some of the defendants did not respond to the lawsuits seeking access to their land. The lead partners in the Constitution Pipeline are Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Williams Partners LP and Houston-based Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Quicksilver bankruptcy deals blow to LNG terminal
Campbell River Mirror
J. R. Rardon

A proposed LNG production and shipping terminal at the former Elk Falls Mill site suffered a setback this week when Quicksilver Resources Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. court. Tuesday’s filing in a Delaware court does not include the Texas company’s Canadian operations through its Alberta-based subsidiary, Quicksilver Resources Canada, Inc. Its Canadian assets include natural gas-rich deposits in the Horn River Basin in northeast B.C., and in 2013 it purchased the shuttered Elk Falls Paper Mill for $8.6 million and announced plans to explore creation of the Discovery LNG terminal on the site.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Former Obama Officials Say Oil Export Ban Hurts U.S. Credibility
Bloomberg
Jim Snyder

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski is drafting legislation to end the four-decade-old ban. Bloomberg) -- Two former Obama administration officials said a four-decade-old ban on oil exports limits U.S. geopolitical influence and makes it harder to get other nations to embrace free trade. The issue of the ban “arose constantly” in negotiations with other countries, including when the U.S. sought support for sanctions on Iran’s oil production to halt its nuclear ambitions, said Carlos Pascual, a former top energy envoy at the U.S. State Department.   [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Ontario oil-train wrecks ignite worry over Canada crude flammability
Reuters
Nia Williams

(Reuters) - Two recent oil-train derailments in Canada have opened a new front on the debate over safety, highlighting how even shipments of Alberta's oil sands crude can contain components just as volatile as North Dakota's Bakken. Although Canada is best known for producing viscous bitumen that is not prone to ignite on its own, it is often blended with as much as one-third super-light oil - known as condensate - before it is shipped in rail cars, injecting the same kind of volatile gases that can explode in derailments, industry experts say.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Pipeline opposition knows no borders
Queens Chronicle
Anthony O’Reilly

Lynn Meyer lives in Bayside, about 40 miles away from where a proposed controversial liquefied natural gas terminal could be placed off New York’s shore. Despite the fact that Meyer is far removed from the facility’s proposed physical location, she said its potential effects could reach her and those beyond New York. “It’s a very dangerous thing,” she said of the terminal. “It would damage the biosphere on the ocean floor and more importantly it would occupy the space where there could be a windfarm.”  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Plant project foes escorted from commission meeting
The BayNet News


Washington, DC – Thursday morning, March 19, singing and chanting members of We Are Cove Point (WACP) from Lusby and their supporters from Beyond Energy (BXE) attempted to sit in and read a statement at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's(FERC) monthly meeting, protesting FERC's failure to rule on a Request for Rehearing of its Sept. 29, 2014 order approving Dominion Resource's construction permit for Cove Point even while construction at the hotly-challenged site continues. They were immediately removed from the building and the doors were locked behind them. The prepared statement read:  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Obama announces order to cut greenhouse gas output by 40 percent
The Washington Post
Juliet Eilperin

President Obama signed an executive order Thursday directing the federal government to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by 40 percent from 2008 levels over the next decade, and to increase the share of renewable energy in the government’s electricity supply to 30 percent over the same period. Simultaneously, federal suppliers including IBM, General Electric, Honeywell and United Technologies are pledging to reduce their carbon emissions by 5 million metric tons over the next 10 years, compared with 2008 levels. Taken together, the government and private-sector proposals would cut overall U.S. emissions by 26 million tons by 2025, the equivalent of taking nearly 5.5 million cars off the road for a year.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
In Texas, Chris Christie to Raise Funds, Reassure Donors
The Wall Street Journal
Heather Haddon

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s political-action committee is taking a fundraising jaunt next week through Texas, the home of potential 2016 presidential rivals Sen. Ted Cruz and former Gov. Rick Perry. On March 26, Mr. Christie’s leadership PAC, Leadership Matters for America, will hold a fundraising luncheon in Houston, according to an invitation viewed by The Wall Street Journal. The event is co-hosted by Paul Loyd, a Texas oil man and donor to Mitt Romney‘s 2012 presidential bid, and Ray Washburne, Mr. Christie’s PAC’s finance chairman and the former finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Obama Orders Cuts in Federal Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The New York Times
JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS

WASHINGTON — President Obama signed an executive order on Thursday to set new goals for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of federal agencies, his latest use of his executive authority to address the root causes of climate change and press private companies and foreign governments to follow suit. Mr. Obama’s directive orders federal agencies over the next decade to cut their emissions by an average of 40 percent compared with their levels when he won office in 2008, and to increase their use of electricity from renewable sources by 30 percent.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
North Dakota reviews oil-train safety
UPI
Daniel J Graeber

BISMARCK, N.D., March 19 (UPI) -- There's no way to offer a single solution that would allay concerns about the safety of crude oil transit by rail, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. Dalrymple spoke with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to discuss efforts to improve the safe transport of crude oil by rail from the state. The Republican governor said he called on the secretary to adopt new standards for rail cars carrying crude oil as soon as possible.   [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
The Climate Post: McCarthy Says States Must Comply With Clean Power Plan
Huffington Post
Tim Profeta

On Tuesday, a lawyer hired by the world's largest coal mining company told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power that proposed requirements to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants are reckless, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, in an op-ed, said states should ignore them, but U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy warned that the regulations will be enforced whether or not states chose to cooperate. "The EPA is going to regulate. Mid-summer is when the Clean Power Plan is going to be finalized," McCarthy said, noting that the EPA is developing a federal implementation plan that will apply to states that fail to submit their own compliance plans. "If folks think any of those pieces aren't going to happen and [the Clean Power Plan] isn't going to be implemented, I think they need to look at the history of the Clean Air Act more carefully. This isn't how we do business."  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Feds should take over protecting groundwater
The Sacramento Bee
DANA STOTSKYAND DAVID REED

California has lost control of its quickly diminishing water. While state officials lose no opportunity to tout California’s environmental leadership to the world and to plead with residents to conserve water, regulators have allowed oil companies to dump billions of gallons of toxic wastewater each year into protected underground drinking water. This water contains known carcinogens, including benzene and hexavalent chromium, in concentrations sometimes hundreds of times above federal limits. In other cases, the oil industry has left polluted water in exposed, unlined pits near rows of crops. Farmers are worried since they feed the nation. Residents are worried since they drink the water. And if you eat lettuce, almonds, peaches or pistachios or enjoy a glass of California cabernet, it should have you worried, too.   [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) Mothers & Climate Change: Mothers Demanding Change
ClimateMama
Harriet Sugarman & Linda reik

We are your mothers and your sisters. We are your neighbors, your co-workers and your friends. At different times in our lives we have been called farm worker, engineer, professor, economist, scientist, daughter, and mommy. What we have never been called, until now is: pipeline and fossil fuel infrastructure expert, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authority, activist or terrorist. These are new names for us, as we work to understand what is happening in our communities. We are pulling together studies, stories and testimonies of people who live in oil and gas producing states across our country and in proximity to fossil fuel infrastructure like gas-fired electricity plants, pipelines, compressor stations and waste stations. We are listening closely as we hear repeated accounts about children who are ill, crops that are failing, tainted water, farm animals whose progeny die young, incessant noise, dust and smells in the air, and declining property values which threaten our ability to insure our homes and businesses.   [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Obama cracks down on another emissions giant – the US government (+video)
Christian Science Monitor
Jared Gilmour

In his latest executive action, President Obama is targeting greenhouse emissions from the federal government. It's all part of his climate change agenda, which has taken center stage in his second term.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
North Dakota Considers Weaker Landfill Rules, Less Oversight Fracking Radiation
CounterPunch
JOHN LaFORGE

Radioactive waste produced by hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is making headlines all over gas land, particularly in North Dakota’s booming Bakken gas and oil field. National news coverage of the scandalous illegal dumping of radioactive filter “socks” there — on Indian Reservations no less — has led North Dakota’s legislature to consider changes to its radioactive waste laws so that fracking’s contaminated wastes can be dumped in ordinary landfills.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
DiNapoli rips plan for administration control of oil spill fund
Capital New York
David Giambusso

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has voiced his strongest opposition yet to a state budget proposal that would wrest control of New York's oil spill fund from his office and put it in the hands of the Cuomo administration's Department of Environmental Conservation. "There are real threats to New York communities if an oil train derails and the state doesn't have the money to rapidly respond and properly clean it up," DiNapoli said in a statement Wednesday. "We need to boost the money flowing into the oil spill fund to deal with spills, and the management of the money should stay with the Office of the State Comptroller."  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Delaware Riverkeeper continues pipeline opposition
The Intelligencer
Freda R. Savana

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is keeping up pressure on its challenge to the PennEast pipeline and expansion of the Transco Southeast Leidy pipeline. Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum said while the Southeast Leidy project is “a bit of a different beast” from PennEast, both pose potential for significant environmental damage.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Europe: The perennial LNG sponge
Platts
Desmond Wong

This winter saw record volumes of LNG arriving on the shores of Europe, as cargoes sought value in an environment of weak LNG spot pricing. Cargoes flowed in from not only Qatar, but also from production sites like Trinidad and Tobago as portfolio players sought to optimize volumes into Europe while purchasing Asia Pacific delivery cargoes elsewhere to fulfill existing commitments. This triggered sustained sendout from LNG terminals, primarily in the UK and Belgium, as capacity holders monetized gas into the European grid, which was well supported over the period thanks to outages in Norwegian fields, a production cap on Groningen output in the Netherlands and geopolitical instability in Ukraine.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Senators hotly debate language in fracking bill Bill would hold companies accountable for damages during fracking
WBAL NBC Baltimore
David Collins

ANNAPOLIS, Md. —The debate over whether to allow fracking in Maryland lit up the state Senate chamber Wednesday.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Obama to Order Cuts in Federal Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The New York Times
JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS

WASHINGTON — President Obama will sign an executive order on Thursday to cut the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions, a White House official said, his latest use of presidential power to address the root causes of climate change. It is part of Mr. Obama’s effort during his last two years in office to use an expansive interpretation of his presidential authority to counter strong opposition from the Republican-controlled Congress to enacting climate legislation.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Brown, lawmakers to unveil $1-billion emergency drought relief plan
Los Angeles Times
MELANIE MASON AND CHRIS MEGERIAN

As California braces for a fourth consecutive year of drought, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders on Thursday will unveil a $1-billion relief plan, two sources told The Times late Wednesday. This will mark the second consecutive year in which the Legislature has had to act on emergency drought relief. In 2014, Brown signed a $687.4-million drought package, which offered aid to communities facing acute water shortages and food and housing assistance to those harmed by the drought.   [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Report: Oil and gas on public lands a ‘blind spot’ in climate fight
Fuel Fix
Jennifer A. Dlouhy

WASHINGTON — Oil, gas and coal development on America’s public lands could undermine the Obama administration’s ambitious plans for combating climate change, including new curbs on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, according to a report set to be issued Thursday. The analysis by the Center for American Progress and The Wilderness Society, shared exclusively with FuelFix ahead of its release, pinpoints rising methane emissions from oil and gas wells on public lands and waters as a significant share of the heat-trapping gases tied to all energy development nationwide. “The Department of the Interior has long been in the business of approving well after well, mine after mine, without assessing the impacts of its energy policies on U.S. carbon pollution levels,” said Matt Lee-Ashley, senior fellow and director of the public lands project at the Center for American Progress.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
No Fracking in State Parks, Ohio House Democrats and Republicans Surprisingly Agree
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

In a surprising move for a polarized Ohio legislature controlled by far-right Republicans cozy with fossil fuel interests, its House Energy and Natural Resources committee voted 12-0 Tuesday to ban fracking in state parks. The full bill, which aims to speed up the drilling permitting process, was then passed unanimously on the House floor Wednesday. It now heads to the Senate.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Charges Dismissed ‘In the Interests of Justice’ for 42 Seneca Lake Gas Storage Protesters
EcoWatch
Mariah Plumlee

[Author’s Note: As this goes to press, Reverend Nancy Kasper’s charges were dismissed in the interest of justice. She was one of 42 dismissals at the Reading Town Court on March 18. (See video below) Reverend Kasper will still go to trial for her second arrest.] It was 4 degrees on February 23, on the drive from Mecklenburg to the Reading Town Court. It had become a familiar route. Since October, I’ve been part of a local movement protesting the expansion of gas storage beside Seneca Lake by a company called Crestwood Midstream. The argument is a familiar one. People against the expansion cite environmental concerns: unstable caverns with a history of collapse, air quality issues and their associated health risks, increased train and truck traffic. Local winemakers are concerned about their grapes, being sullied by an industry known for its cavalier destruction.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Doctor loses lawsuit that challenged secrecy of fracking fluid
The Times-Tribune
TERRIE MORGAN-BESECKER

A federal appellate court has upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by an area physician challenging a law that precluded him from releasing information he obtained regarding chemicals contained in hydraulic fracking fluid. Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez of Dallas challenged Act 13 of 2012, which allows medical professionals to learn the ingredients in fracking fluid if the information is used to treat patients, but requires them to enter a confidentiality agreement. Hydraulic fracking is a process that involves blasting chemically-treated water into the Marcellus shale to release natural gas. The chemicals include substances that are potentially harmful to human health. Dr. Rodriquez, a kidney specialist who has questioned the health impact of the fracking process, filed a federal lawsuit in 2012 that alleged the “medical gag rule” interfered with his ability to treat patients, some of whom worked in the natural gas industry and had been exposed to fracking chemicals.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Constitution Pipeline can access properties, judge orders
The Times-Tribune
Brendan Gibbons

Constitution Pipeline Co. can access properties in Susquehanna County the company seeks to condemn to build its new natural gas pipeline to New York, a federal judge ordered Tuesday. Constitution argued it needs to access seven properties in New Milford, Jackson, Oakland and Harmony townships that it has not been able to obtain through negotiation. A joint partnership among midstream company Williams, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., Piedmont Natural Gas and WGL Holdings, Constitution is ready to begin work on its 124-mile line from Brooklyn Twp. to Schoharie County, New York. The 30-inch thick line is designed to carry 650 million cubic feet of gas per day.  [Full Story]

Mar 19, 2015
Fracking Rules Expected to Be Unveiled by Obama Administration Friday
The Wall Street Journal
Amy Harder

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration on Friday is expected to issue long-awaited regulations setting new standards for hydraulic fracturing in the oil and natural-gas industries, people familiar with the matter said. The drilling technology has been key to unlocking vast reserves of oil and gas across the U.S., but qualms about its environmental impact have made it controversial. The regulations will set standards for wells and disposal of wastewater—and also require companies to disclose chemicals used, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said on Tuesday in remarks discussing the rules.  [Full Story]

Mar 18, 2015
Connect The Dots – A Gas Pipeline Close to A Nuclear Power Reactor: What Could Go Wrong?
Progressive Radio Network


Interview with Susan van Dolsen, co-founder of SAPE2016 and scientific researcher, Courtney Williams, about the risks of the Algonquin Pipeline.  [Full Story]

Mar 18, 2015
Federal agencies drag feet on oil train lobbying, group says
Akron Beacon Journal
Bob Downing

From ForestEthics: Federal Agencies Drag Feet on Oil Train Lobbying: Groups Appeal Delay on Freedom of Information Request [Bellingham, WA] -- ForestEthics today filed formal appeals with federal agencies that have refused to provide records on oil and rail industry lobbying on new oil train safety rules. In January five groups filed FOIAs requesting correspondence between federal officials and 97 named oil and rail lobbyists, including six former members of US Congress. Under FOIA rules the agencies had 20 days to provide the information. Today, two months later, the agencies remains unresponsive and the group filed formal FOIA appeal letters. On March 6, while a derailed oil train burned for the second day in Illinois, rail lobbyists, met with the White House Office of Management and Budget. Four of the lobbyists named in the FOIA attended the OMB meeting: Rollin Bredenberg (BNSF), Edward Hamberger (AAR), Gregory Fox, (BNSF), and Michael Rush, (AAR).  [Full Story]

Mar 18, 2015
Post Frack-Ban Impacts on New York's Water Resources
The Marcellus Effect


Three months ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the state of New York. So – at least for now - contamination from active drilling is off the table. But there are other ways that hydrofracking puts New York’s water resources at risk. Water monitoring in Tioga Co. NY Steve Penningroth, director of the Community Science Institute recently spoke about how shale gas waste disposal and infrastructure development threaten the state’s water resources despite the federal Clean Water Act and the state-wide frack ban. State regulations that address wastewater treatment plants, factories, landfills, and even concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) allow a certain amount of pollution. That’s because the SPDES permits (State Pollution Discharge Elimination System) specify the source and quantities of pollutants that operations can “legally discharge” into streams, rivers, and lakes.   [Full Story]

Mar 18, 2015
Fracking liability bill given another day for work
News OK


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The Maryland Attorney General's office is weighing in on a bill to hold fracking companies more responsible for personal injury and property damage. Sen. George Edwards, a Republican who represents western Maryland, on Wednesday asked for a postponement on the legislation so he could submit a letter from the Attorney General's office. He said the advisement of the office would show that the proposed legislation to label the natural gas drilling method as "ultrahazardous and abnormally dangerous" was another way of saying the drilling companies are strictly liable for injuries. The bill's lead sponsor, Sen. Robert Zirkin, said the bill is not about whether or not there should be fracking in Maryland, but ensures the industry is held responsible for any damage to residents or their property.  [Full Story]

Mar 18, 2015
Permitting for North Carolina fracking begins
ABC11
Jon Cam

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- After years of wrangling by lawmakers, commissioners, and North Carolinians, the Tar Heel State is now open for fracking. Tuesday, the application process opened up for companies interested in drilling for natural gas in North Carolina. Critics came out swinging, charging that the new rules which went also went into effect, are poorly crafted and don't keep the promise made by lawmakers in recent years that they would ensure North Carolina had the strongest fracking laws in the country. "The rules are simply insufficient to move forward with the issuing of permits," said Sen. Mike Woodard (D-Durham). "We've been promised over the last five years that North Carolina would have the nation's toughest fracking rules, and here we are at zero hours and we do not have those rules. We need to stop, slow down and we need to spend more time living up to the promise we made to the people of North Carolina to implement the nation's toughest rules." Concerns about the new rules run the gamut from lack of local control to the question of who pays for damage done by fracking equipment to the concern over major environmental disaster. Rep. Robert Reives (D-Sanford) expressed concern that the required minimum $1 million in disaster mitigation bond wouldn't be enough. "Whatever somebody feels about the issue of fracking, what you have to recognize is, just like any other industry, there will most likely be some sort of accident," said Reives, "and if we don't have appropriate bonding for these companies coming in then that will be left for the taxpayers to pay for that." Reives also worried that local governments are shutout of the process and have little control over fracking in their backyard. "We ought to allow local governments to have the right to regulate the noise," said Reives. "We ought to have them have the right to be able to regulate where they can do their fracking, what neighborhoods are affected. We want local governments to have the opportunity to regulate fracking. Right now, we've got issues galore with the rules with the fact that they do not address who's going to pay for all the damage, whenever trucks are coming back and forth on your roads in your counties. How do you get that damage paid for?" But David McGowan, with the North Carolina Petroleum Council said the rules have been carefully crafted over three years and says they may, in fact, amount to the strictest in the country. "There's 34 states that have gone before us," said McGowan. "It's not like we're recreating the wheel here in North Carolina. This is an ongoing process and as technology develops and as procedures develop and as standards develop, this needs to be an ongoing rulemaking process. That's something we'll have in North Carolina. We're always adjusting and improving our rules to make sure this is done safely and responsibly." WTVD By Jon Camp Wednesday, March 18, 2015 09:39AM RALEIGH (WTVD) -- After years of wrangling by lawmakers, commissioners, and North Carolinians, the Tar Heel State is now open for fracking. Tuesday, the application process opened up for companies interested in drilling for natural gas in North Carolina. Critics came out swinging, charging that the new rules which went also went into effect, are poorly crafted and don't keep the promise made by lawmakers in recent years that they would ensure North Carolina had the strongest fracking laws in the country. "The rules are simply insufficient to move forward with the issuing of permits," said Sen. Mike Woodard (D-Durham). "We've been promised over the last five years that North Carolina would have the nation's toughest fracking rules, and here we are at zero hours and we do not have those rules. We need to stop, slow down and we need to spend more time living up to the promise we made to the people of North Carolina to implement the nation's toughest rules." Concerns about the new rules run the gamut from lack of local control to the question of who pays for damage done by fracking equipment to the concern over major environmental disaster. Rep. Robert Reives (D-Sanford) expressed concern that the required minimum $1 million in disaster mitigation bond wouldn't be enough. "Whatever somebody feels about the issue of fracking, what you have to recognize is, just like any other industry, there will most likely be some sort of accident," said Reives, "and if we don't have appropriate bonding for these companies coming in then that will be left for the taxpayers to pay for that." Reives also worried that local governments are shutout of the process and have little control over fracking in their backyard. "We ought to allow local governments to have the right to regulate the noise," said Reives. "We ought to have them have the right to be able to regulate where they can do their fracking, what neighborhoods are affected. We want local governments to have the opportunity to regulate fracking. Right now, we've got issues galore with the rules with the fact that they do not address who's going to pay for all the damage, whenever trucks are coming back and forth on your roads in your counties. How do you get that damage paid for?" But David McGowan, with the North Carolina Petroleum Council said the rules have been carefully crafted over three years and says they may, in fact, amount to the strictest in the country. "There's 34 states that have gone before us," said McGowan. "It's not like we're recreating the wheel here in North Carolina. This is an ongoing process and as technology develops and as procedures develop and as standards develop, this needs to be an ongoing rulemaking process. That's something we'll have in North Carolina. We're always adjusting and improving our rules to make sure this is done safely and responsibly." McGowan later reached out to ABC11 to say he misspoke - there are only 33 states that have gone before North Carolina. It's been an open question as to whether energy companies will want to set up shop in North Carolina. No one can say for sure just how much natural gas is underground. But McGowan says he believes there to be "a lot of interest." "They wanted to see the rules become affected," McGowan said. "They wanted to know the regulatory operating environment that they would be under. And they also want to understand what the resources are here. Part of that process is getting rules in places so they can go do the exploratory drilling and the exploration they need to understand what the resource is and how best to go about producing that. I think we will see meaningful interest in North Carolina. I don't know if that will be tomorrow or a year from now but I do think we'll see meaningful interest." Even for companies applying Tuesday, the process could take months. Companies first have to apply for a unit of land to build on. The Mining and Energy Commission will review those applications at scheduled meetings (the next is set for mid-June). Then energy companies submit a final application to the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources.   [Full Story]

Mar 18, 2015
Finding out what's in 'fracking' wastewater
Phys.Org


In early January, almost 3 million gallons of wastewater from a hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") operation in North Dakota spilled into nearby creeks. The accident highlighted ongoing concerns about what's in fracking fluids and wastewater, and whether they pose a threat to human health or the environment. An article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, details what scientists are doing to answer these questions.Celia Henry Arnaud, a senior editor at C&EN, notes that figuring out what potential harm fracking wastewater might cause is a major challenge. Oil and gas companies that practice the extraction method closely guard the recipes for the fluids they use. To complicate matters, the so-called "produced" water that flows back up from gas wells brings with it natural substances from below ground. Some of these substances, if spilled, could potentially harm the environment. And the composition of these additional compounds depends on the geology of the drill site. Scientists are using the latest analytical techniques to get a better picture of what's in fracking wastewater, how they might break down in the environment and whether there are by-products of concern. Knowing the answers to these questions will help inform efforts to dispose and treat the water—and deal with accidental leaks.   [Full Story]

Mar 18, 2015
Exclusive: Canada regulator probing TransCanada over safety allegations
Reuters
MIKE DE SOUZA

Reuters) - Canada's energy regulator is investigating up to a dozen new allegations of natural gas pipeline safety-code violations at TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO), according to documents reviewed by Reuters. The regulator, the National Energy Board (NEB), and the company confirmed an investigation is under way but offered few details of the allegations.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Fracking opponents push statewide ban [Florida]
Tallahassee Democrat
Jeff Burlew

Activists gathered Tuesday at the Capitol to push for a bill that would ban fracking in Florida and speak out against legislation they say would lay the groundwork for the controversial form of natural-gas extraction to occur. Sen. Darren Soto, D-Orlando and sponsor of the bill (SB 166) that would ban the practice, said fracking would cause environmental damage as well as harm to the tourism industry. Soto spoke during a news conference hosted by ReThink Energy Florida and the Sierra Club Florida.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Obama administration wants more renewable energy, tighter pollution controls on public lands
The Washington Post
Joby Warrick

The Obama administration will seek tougher standards for companies extracting oil, gas and coal on taxpayer-owned land during its remaining months in office, even as it pushes for expanded solar and wind projects, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Tuesday. Jewell, in a major speech outlining energy priorities for the administration’s final 22 months, said she intended to see that Americans get a better return — financially and environmentally — from energy development on the 500 million acres of surface land and nearly 2 billion acres of off-shore territories managed by the federal government.   [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
President Obama: Some in Congress Are ‘Shills for the Fossil Fuel Industry’
Eco Watch
Anastasia Pantsios

President Obama sat down with Vice founder Shane Smith yesterday and talked candidly about a range of issues including Iran, gridlock in DC, ISIL, marijuana and climate change. And on climate change, he emphasized the urgency of action—and the short-sightedness of Republican opposition.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Wind Energy Will Be Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels Within a Decade
Mother Jones
Tim McDonnell

Wind energy is growing fast. While it still accounts for less than 5 percent of the United States' total electricity mix, wind is by far the biggest source of renewable energy other than hydroelectric dams, and it accounted for 23 percent of new power production capacity built last year. Some experts think wind could provide a fifth of the world's energy by 2030. But wind in the US is always in a perilous position, thanks to its heavy reliance on a federal tax credit that is routinely attacked in Congress; the subsidy was allowed to expire at the end of last year, and its ultimate fate remains unclear. Fortunately, wind won't be subject to the whims of legislators for much longer, according to a new analysis from the Energy Department. The new report found that within a decade, wind will be cost-competitive with fossil fuels like natural gas, even without a federal tax incentive.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Interior secretary seeks cleaner, safer energy on public lands
The Hill
Timothy Cama

In the final years of the Obama administration, officials want to focus on reforms to make energy production on public lands cleaner and safer, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said. The Interior Department is also working to improve the way it manages leases, in part to ensure that the government and taxpayers get a fair price for resources. ADVERTISEMENT Jewell outlined her plans Tuesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, framing her speech as the middle of an eight-year-long process by the Obama administration to reform how the country’s main land management agency deals with oil, gas, coal and renewable energy on its property.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Canadian Safety Board Says Oil Tank Cars Need To Be Made Safer, Sooner
Huffington Post
Rob Gillies AP

TORONTO (AP) — Canada needs to implement tougher standards for oil trains earlier than a 2025 target, the transportation safety board said Tuesday. The government proposed tougher standards for tank cars this month in response to a string of fiery crashes. The new proposal would require the cars to have a layer of thermal protection and thicker steel walls. It said the new standards should be phased in by 2015. But in a report about a fiery March 7 derailment in northeastern Ontario, the Transportation Safety Board said the target date isn't soon enough.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
The natural gas price crash could be next
Business Insider
ANDREW CRITCHLOW, THE TELEGRAPH

Finance More: The Telegraph Gas The natural gas price crash could be next The Telegraph ANDREW CRITCHLOW, THE TELEGRAPH MAR. 17, 2015, 9:20 AM 3,392 1 FACEBOOK LINKEDIN TWITTER a gas flare is seen at an oil well site gas flares are created when excess flammable gases are released by pressure release valves during the drilling for oil and natural gas Getty Images/Andrew Burton A gas flare is seen at an oil well site. Gas flares are created when excess flammable gases are released by pressure release valves during the drilling for oil and natural gas. See Also The good times are over for the shale boom The US oil bust just got worse Big oil must make big changes if it wants to survive Thought you had seen the last of the huge price movements in the energy markets? Well, think again. The supply glut which has led to a 50% slide in oil prices over the past year will begin to grip the other major hydrocarbon product vital to global economies, liquefied natural gas (LNG).   [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
House Republicans' budget envisions more drilling, fewer regulations
E&E Publishing
Nick Juliano

The annual spending and policy blueprint House Republicans released today envisions expanded domestic energy production and fewer environmental regulations among its prescriptions to grow the economy and eliminate the federal deficit. House Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) unveiled his budget proposal today, outlining a set of policy proposals that tracks closely with the approach Republicans have championed for the last several years. "Through policies like fundamental tax reform, expanded energy production and the streamlining or outright elimination of unnecessary regulations, our budget would create an environment where folks can plan for the future with greater confidence and optimism," Price wrote in a USA Today op-ed today. The budget is nonbinding but sets a blueprint for spending and policy goals over the coming year. The Senate's budget is expected to be released tomorrow, and both chambers are likely to pass their respective plans before adjourning for recess next week. By mid-April, the Budget committees hope to have their differences reconciled in order to set spending targets for the Appropriations committees to move the dozen annual spending bills before the next fiscal year begins Oct. 1.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Republicans Push Climate Change Cuts at CIA, Defense Department
National Journal
Clare Foran

Climate change is on the chopping block. If Republicans get their way, the CIA and the Defense Department could soon have a lot less cash for climate research. The House GOP budget unveiled on Tuesday calls for cuts to CIA and DOD programs devoted to the study of global warming, despite the fact that the military has identified climate change as a major national security threat and a key priority.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
General To Congress: Climate Change Will Threaten Our National Security
WLRN
Luis Hernandez

Military leaders depend on imagination. Conflict can spring up anywhere in the world, so leaders must be thinking about every possible scenario, every consequence on action taken or not taken. And that's what a group of retired admirals and generals are asking of political leaders: Have imagination. Consider all the possible consequences of climate change and its impact on the national security of the United States. Credit FL Center for Environmental Studies The group makes up a military advisory board as part of the CNA Corporation. It recently published a report called National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
California could power itself three to five times over with solar
The Washington Post
Puneet Kollipara

Deserts and remote fields are popular spots for building vast arrays of solar panels, which generate dramatically more energy than individual homeowner rooftop installations. These areas are rich in sunlight while offering plenty of clear, flat land to work with. But what if we didn’t always have to go all the way out to these remote and potentially ecologically fragile areas? What if we could simply drive down the street and make use of the buildings and lands in areas we’ve already developed? A new study suggests that such a strategy could work in a state like California, which is working aggressively to boost its renewable energy use. And it could provide a lot of power. There’s enough space suitable for solar power on or near land that humans occupy in the state to power three to five of today’s Californias, researchers report in Nature Climate Change today.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Rotting ties, loose bolts found on CSX track near Rockland
The Journal News
Khurram Saeed

Crumbling railroad ties and loose bolts were some of the defects recently discovered on the freight line used by oil trains to travel through Rockland. State and federal inspectors found five problem spots along 22 miles of track, including two switches, on CSX's River Line from Newburgh to Haverstraw. The most serious defect was a number of deteriorated cross ties along a short section of track near the Rockland border in Fort Montgomery, Orange County.   [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Monterey County Supervisors split on fracking issue, fail to approve moratorium
KCBX FM
RANDOL WHITE

A temporary ban on fracking in Monterey County was not approved at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, following passionate public comment and split opinions from the board members themselves. A majority of the board indicated there is no need for a moratorium sighting that there are currently no oil and gas operations in the county using hydraulic fracturing.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Underwater Aussie wave farms pump both power and water
engadget
Andrew Tarantola

t isn't the motion of the ocean that matters so much as what you do with the waves. At one Australian naval base, those waves are being put to use providing steady streams of both electricity and potable water, all while generating zero emissions. It's all thanks to an innovative green energy production system -- the first in the world to provide both power and water with networked generators -- from Carnegie Wave Energy Limited.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Segmentation – A Pipeline Loophole
NO FRACKING WAY
DORY HIPPAUF

n 2014 the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) successfully won a lawsuit against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The lawsuit involved the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s (TGP) Northeast Upgrade Project (NEUP). The NEUP project involved the interdependence of its 300 Line upgrade project components. TGP tried to hide this interdependence to avoid critical environmental regulation and oversight. Avoiding interdependence and thus finding a loophole by segmenting projects eliminates the need to look at cumulative impacts of the project will have. Segmenting projects eliminates the need to take existing pipelines and known future projects. It puts the specific pipeline in a vacuum.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Denton Fracking Ban Tees Up Local Control Fight
The Texas Tribune
Jim Malewitz

As policy dilemmas go, the one triggered when Denton voters decided last fall to ban hydraulic fracturing in their city looked like a whopper: The oil and gas industry versus local control — two things Texas holds dear — in intractable opposition. There seemed little doubt lawmakers would weigh in upon their return to Austin. But four months after the North Texas city’s historic vote, top state lawmakers don’t appear to be scratching their heads. Petroleum is winning hands down, and local control appears headed for a beating. Several legislative proposals so far leave less wiggle room for Texas cities to regulate oil and gas production.   [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Ineos pledge £2.5 billion to Scottish communities that agree to fracking
Evening Times
Victoria Brenan

Despite a moratorium on the practice, bosses told a press conference at Grangemouth they believed gas was the key for the future of their business. They said there was a 'very rapid decline' in North Sea gas and the company was spending £400m in importing shale gas from the U.S. Chief executive Gary Haywood said they realised there were concerns about fracking in Scottish communities and claimed there was 'misinformation' . He said the company was today launching a community engagement process so people could find out the facts for themselves. A series of dates have been set up for meetings in Falkirk, Kilsyth and Cumbernauld next month.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Start your drills: Fracking can begin in North Carolina today
Indy Week
Lisa Sorg

It seems so long ago, 2012, the year fracking became legal in North Carolina. With additional permitting and environmental rules still to put in place, there was a (small) hope that someone would come to his or her senses and call the whole thing off. But no, here we are in 2015, and all the "rules" are in place to allow fracking to begin today. Those rules, which state officials promised three years ago would be the most stringent in the U.S., have since been weakened. Last night, the Senate passed House Bill 157, a stewpot of environmental rule changes. Among them,removing the requirement for the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) to create rules to limit toxic air emissions from fracking operations. Nor is there clarity on how to dispose of the millions of gallons of contaminated wastewater left over from fracking operations. As studies have indicated, municipal wastewater systems are not equipped to deal with naturally occurring radioactive materials in these fluids. Nor have there been discussions of the possibility of earthquakes resulting from hydraulic drilling operations. Areas of Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas, where earthquakes had been rare, now experience them with some regularity—and they are much stronger.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Community Rights vs. Corporate Rights: Citizens Fight for Home Rule Against Fracking and Pipelines
Eco Watch
Anastasia Pantsios

Across the country, battles are raging as communities attempt to protect the air, soil and water within their borders and the safety of their residents. These battles are taking the form of debates about whether state regulations can or should erase local home rule. Colorado and Texas are engaged in such high-profile battles after voters in communities like Denton, Texas and Boulder, Longmont and Fort Collins, Colorado, passed fracking bans. That has opened up ongoing maneuvers and lawsuits as state governments work with oil and gas companies to uphold the exploration and extraction interests of the latter despite citizen concerns about environmental pollution, noise, traffic and infrastructure stress.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Importation of Frackwater in Violation of City Ordinance Puts Public Health, Safety at Risk
Niagara Falls Reporter
James Hufnagel

A local waste disposal firm may be transporting toxic fracking wastewater through the LaSalle section of the city of Niagara Falls in direct and flagrant violation ofa 2012 city ordinance prohibiting the activity. According to waste facility reports available at www.marcellusgas.org, an industry web site, Allied Waste Systems, LLC, located at 5600 Niagara Falls Blvd in the city,has landfilled over 913,000 barrels of fracking wastewater imported from Pennsylvania drilling rigs and 90 tons of solid drill cutting waste since the Niagara FallsCity Council banned importation of the materials on March 6, 2012. Passed unanimously, and sponsored by councilmen Glenn Choolokian, the city's anti fracking ordinance prohibits the "storage, transfer, treatment or disposal of naturalgas exploration and production wastes" within city limits. While the Niagara Falls Water Board eventually complied with the decision and has, for the time being,ceased efforts to cash in on fracking, it appears Allied Waste, a subsidiary of Republic Services, Inc. of Phoenix, AZ, has other ideas.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
N.C. fracking rules take effect today
Fayetteville Observer


Associated Press | RALEIGH - Rules governing the hydraulic fracturing method for drilling natural gas are expected to take effect today, creating the potential for drilling to start later in the year. The set of 120 rules that govern issues including well construction, water testing and buffer zones was developed by the state Mining and Energy Commission over nearly two years and approved in December by a separate state panel. With the fracking rules in place, companies interested in finding natural gas can begin applying for fracking permits. A member of the Mining and Energy Commission, James Womack, said a company interested in fracking would first have to acquire the mineral rights for several hundred acres to create what's known as a drilling unit.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
‘Bitterly disappointed’ Oxford students occupy over fracking divestment deferral
RT


University of Oxford students have seized a campus building in protest over the deferral of a decision to divest in fracking shares. Fifteen students carrying a banner have occupied the Clarendon Building. Former University of Oxford Finance Director John Clements threw his lot in with the protestors. “We are bitterly disappointed about the university’s failure to come to a decision,” Clements told the Guardian. “Oxford should be leading the move away from investment in all world-destroying fossil fuel companies to more sustainable forms of energy.”  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Dow Is Latest US Business To Throw Natural Gas Under The Bus
Clean Technica
Tina Casey

The intertubes are abuzz with news of a major wind energy buy engineered by corporate giant Dow Chemical. The company has announced that it has sealed the deal on an agreement with a soon-to-be-built wind farm in South Texas. Once up and running, the wind farm will provide Dow’s facility in Freeport with 200 MW annually. That’s gotta be a stab in the heart to Texas natural gas suppliers, which are already suffering the effects of a gas and oil boom turned bust. The big question is, why not gas? After all, until now natural gas has been the go-to choice as a replacement for coal power plants…  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Trout Unlimited keeps eye on shale gas drilling impact
Morning Call
Gary R. Blockus

Michaels Creek and Martins Creek in the Poconos are about to get some very important oversight. Trained members of the Brodhead Chapter of Trout Unlimited will begin monitoring a variety of data in those streams and turn the results over to the Pennsylvania Council of TU. The council will include the information in a national database to keep track of the shale gas drilling industry's potential impact on streams. The work is part of the Pennsylvania TU Coldwater Conservation Corps, and the Brodhead Chapter is ready to collect the data and put eyes on the streams, according to Ann Foster, a board member of the Brodhead TU chapter who is the coordinator for the chapter's CCC efforts.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Are the good times over for growth in U.S. shale gas?
philly.com
Scott DiSavino, Reuters

Reuters) - U.S. natural gas production could decline in 2016 for the first time in 10 years, driven by low oil prices after a decade of gangbusters growth from shale plays. While most analysts forecast gas production will continue growing year-over-year, albeit at a slower pace, a couple of outlier analysts believe low oil and gas prices will prompt drillers to cut spending enough to reduce gas production next year. Any talk of cutbacks is an early sign that low oil prices have slowed the U.S. shale gas boom that has revolutionized global markets and is expected to transform the nation into a net exporter of gas by the end of the decade.   [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
NRDC To Feds: Deny Permit for Port Ambrose LNG Project. Promote Clean Energy Instead.
NRDC Blog


For NRDC, the choices can't be clearer or the stakes higher--when there's a conflict between clean energy and fossil fuels, clean energy should always prevail. That's the drama that is playing out right now off the south shore of Long Island. There, Liberty Natural Gas, a developer, wants to site a proposed offshore, liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal, in the same area as a proposed offshore wind project that has the potential to supply our area with clean wind power. NRDC, like other stakeholders, elected officials and ordinary citizens, submitted comments yesterday and were joined by Riverkeeper and Sierra Club in opposing the LNG terminal. We urge the two federal agencies charged with approving the project permit--the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the U.S. Coast Guard--to deny the Port Ambrose LNG terminal once and for all. Moreover, New York State and New Jersey should use their authority to veto the project, should the two federal agencies approve it.  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Groups urge two governors to veto Port Ambrose LNG plan
ohio.com
Bob Downing

New York, NY – A letter sent today by advocacy group Food & Water Watch to Governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo, signed by 217 national, state and local organizations, called on the governors to veto an offshore liquid natural gas (LNG) port being proposed for construction in the waters just off New York and New Jersey. As the letter states, the proposed Port Ambrose LNG facility would pose a significant explosion and pollution threat to nearby costal communities, would increase dependence on fossil fuels and fracking throughout the region, and would impede the prospect of offshore wind energy development in the same location. Both Christie and Cuomo have the ability to veto the proposal outright. Additionally, as the public comment period on Port Ambrose came to a close today, Food & Water Watch submitted more than 27,000 comments to the U.S. Coast Guard and the federal Maritime Administration opposing the plan. The letter opposing Port Ambrose was signed by organizations from 24 different states, including prominent national organizations such as Sierra Club and 350.org. “Governor Christie vetoed a similar offshore LNG proposal in 2011 and we hope he’ll once again do the smart thing for the safety and prosperity of the Jersey Shore,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “Governor Cuomo recently became a national leader on the environment and public safety when he banned fracking in New York. For him to allow Port Ambrose now would be a real contradiction, and an about-face on fracking and fossil fuels. We urge both governors to reject this unneeded, unwanted offshore hazard.”  [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
New Yorkers Urge Cuomo to Veto Port Ambrose LNG Terminal
Indypendent
Alex Ellefson

Scores of environmental advocates joined with their elected officials outside City Hall on Monday to urge Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto the Port Ambrose natural gas terminal, which would be built almost 20 miles off the coast of Long Island’s South Shore. Opponents of the Port Ambrose terminal say the project will increase demand for natural gas, which is extracted through a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that injects a toxic chemical cocktail into the earth and can poison nearby water supplies. Anti-fracking activists scored a major victory in December when Cuomo banned fracking in New York State. “We have some victories that we can celebrate. We banned fracking,” said City Councilman Donovan Richards, who is chairman of the Committee on Environmental Protection. “I think we have an opportunity to work with the governor once again to get it right. I think that he has a chance to be two for two, instead of one for two.” The rally was held on the last day for public comments on an environmental impact study released by the Maritime Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard, the federal agencies tasked with accessing how the project might affect surrounding communities. More than 60,000 comments had been submitted by Monday morning. An overwhelming majority of the comments opposed building Port Ambrose and disputed the study’s conclusion that the project would have a minimal impact on the environment. The speakers at the rally argued that the Port Ambrose terminal threatened the marine ecosystem and there was a risk the volatile fuel might explode and pollute the waters around coastal communities. They also said that the terminal would interfere with plans to build an offshore wind farm in the same area. City Councilman Corey Johnson, who was arrested in 2013 along with a dozen anti-fracking activists for protesting the construction of the Spectra pipeline in the West Village, called on the community and environmental groups who fought for the New York fracking ban to bring the same attention to the Port Ambrose terminal. “I’m very glad and happy that the state health commissioner and Governor Cuomo saw the light of day and did the right thing [by banning fracking]. But they only did the right thing because activists put pressure on them,” said Johnson. “I’m willing to get arrested again. You let me know where and when.” Liberty Natural Gas, the developer behind Port Ambrose, has said the terminal would only be used to import natural gas and would reduce energy costs during peak consumption periods, such as the recent cold snap this winter. However, those who oppose the project argue that it doesn’t make sense to import natural gas considering that domestic gas prices are much lower than they are in the rest of world. They believe that once the terminal is built, Liberty will apply for a new license to allow the Port Ambrose facility to export natural gas, which would increase demand for fracked gas. “It doesn’t make sense economically,” said Jessica Roff, programs manager for the environmental group Catskill Mountainkeeper. She pointed out that 31 permits for liquefied natural gas terminals have been submitted to the federal government. Port Ambrose is the only one to apply only for an import permit. “We’re all confident that this is going to get transitioned over to an export facility if it is indeed passed. This means greater pressure to frack in the Northeast,” she said. “We’re very lucky in New York State that Governor Cuomo started us on the right path by banning fracking in New York. But that means that our neighbors in Pennsylvania pick up the slack and that’s not okay either. We don’t want there to be fracking anywhere.” Long Island resident and activist George Povell said that opposition to Port Ambrose is almost unanimous in the coastal communities closest to the proposed facility. Many of the area’s elected officials, including Senate Republican majority leader Dean Skelos, have vocally opposed the project. Aileen Sheil, NYPIRG Board of Directors Chairperson and Queens College student, said that stopping the Port Ambrose Terminal was a chance for New York State to once again show leadership in the global battle against fracking. She said that it would be huge victory for advocates of renewable energy to stop the Port Ambrose terminal and build a wind farm in its place. “To be a leader in renewable energy is really a great responsibility and one we shouldn’t screw up,” she said.   [Full Story]

Mar 17, 2015
Survey of GW National Forest for gas pipeline wins U.S. OK
Penn Energy


ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — The builders of a proposed natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina have the green light to survey a 12.6-mile slice of the George Washington National Forest. The Forest Service announced Tuesday it is issuing a temporary special use permit for the survey of the forest for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The survey will assess soils, federally listed threatened and endangered plants and animals and cultural resources. The Forest Service stressed that the survey approval does not clear the way for the pipeline's construction. Dominion Resources is partnering with other energy companies to build the $5 billion, 550-mile pipeline. It would deliver natural gas from Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania to the Southeast.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
State seeks natural gas storage extension in its largest park
Times Union
Brian Nearing

Albany The state is proposing to extend a decades-long lease for underground storage of natural gas in its largest state park by another 15 years. The state Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation is proposing a lease extension in the 65,000-acre Allegany State Park with New York-based energy company National Fuel Gas. The park is about 60 miles southeast of Buffalo and attracts more than 1.8 million visitors annually.   [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
5 Ways Energy Is Transforming U.S. Railroads
Scientific American
Marianne Lavelle and The Daily Climate

U.S. railroads have not hauled so much crude oil since the short period at the dawn of the petroleum age, when John D. Rockefeller relied on trains to build his Standard Oil empire. But the long, black tanker trains are only the most visible way that the changing U.S. energy picture is transforming railroads. The fracking revolution has brought other business to railroads, from pipes to propane, and more change is underway.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Train Deaths Rise Amid Energy-Driven Rail Transformation
Scientific American
Marianne Lavelle and Daily Climate

Every week in the United States in 2014, about 16 people were killed by trains—a 17 percent increase over the previous year and adding up to the highest number of rail casualties since 2007, federal government data shows. None of these victims died in fiery crude oil explosions like the ones visible for miles around train derailment sites this month in Illinois and Ontario. But in some regions, there are signs that the increasing deaths may be tied to a massive energy-driven transformation underway on U.S. railroads. (See sidebar, "Five ways energy is driving new railroad traffic.")  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
NYC officials, activists oppose ocean gas terminal
Newsday
JONATHAN LEMIRE (Associated Press)

NEW YORK - (AP) -- Some New York City elected officials and environmentalists rallied on Monday against a plan to build a liquid natural gas terminal near New York Harbor and called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto the proposal they deemed an environmental danger. Liberty Natural Gas wants to build a deep-water port in federal waters 19 miles off Jones Beach, New York, and 29 miles off Long Branch, New Jersey. The company says the Port Ambrose terminal would bring additional natural gas into the New York area during times of peak demand, thereby lowering home-heating prices. But activists from both states -- as well as some lawmakers, including State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Long Island) -- have voiced concerns about the plan. Several rallied at City Hall on Monday and asked Cuomo to put a stop to the massive project.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Constitution Pipeline: Headed to Completion or to Court?
RTO Insider
William Opalka

Opponents of a 124-mile natural gas pipeline that would provide New York and New England access to Pennsylvania shale gas have threatened to go to court next week to force federal regulators to reconsider their approval of the project (CP13-499, CP13-502). The proposed Constitution Pipeline won a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Dec. 2. Stop the Pipeline, a citizens group intervening in the case, said it will go to court if FERC does not consider its request for a rehearing “on the merits” by Friday. The group is being assisted by the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, which lists environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as a supervising attorney.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Texas LNG seeking approval of Eagle Ford gas exports to Mexico
Marcellus.com
Zachary Toliver

The business of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is going strong in places like Brownsville, Texas where one company is submitting a request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to export processed LNG to Mexico. Texas LNG Brownsville LLC, a Houston-based company, submitted the pre-filing letter to the federal agency on March 9. The natural gas company will take gas produced in the Eagle Ford Shale and process the product in its Brownville facility. According to a recent press release, Texas LNG plans to build the Brownsville project in two phases, each with LNG production of 2 million tons per year (“MTA”). Pending FERC’s final approval to construct the project, Phase 1 is expected to commence production in 2020.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Opposition to Port Ambrose project gathers political steam
Capital NY


Official opposition to the planned Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas plant off the coast of Long Island is growing, as elected officials call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto the project. In January, Senate Republican majority leader Dean Skelos wrote to Cuomo to express his opposition to the project in its current form. At noon today, New York City comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James are scheduled to join City Councilman Donovan Richards to call on Cuomo to block it. The drumbeat against the facility, a floating offshore loading station in the waters between New Jersey and Long Island, started in living rooms and union halls on Long Island and has gathered mainstream political support. The state's potent anti-fracking movement is also using its network of activists to fight the plan.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Campaign aimed at altering Va. route of natural gas pipeline
Washington Times
STEVE SZKOTAK - Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Opponents of the proposed Virginia route of a 550-mile natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina have launched a campaign to enlist more allies in their fight. The “All Pain, No Gain Campaign” delivered that message Sunday in paid media spots in central and western Virginia markets. The campaign contends that everyone in Virginia and even Washington, D.C., has a stake in the ultimate path of the 42-inch Atlantic Coast Pipeline because it would carve up private property and scenic vistas and threaten water supplies. The campaign wants the pipeline shifted to existing rights of way.   [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Figuring Out Fracking Wastewater
Cen.ACS
Celia Henry Arnaud

Almost 3 million gallons of concentrated salt water leaked in early January from a ruptured pipeline at a natural gas drilling site near Williston, N.D. The brine, a by-product of the oil and gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, spilled into two creeks that empty into the Missouri River, according to news reports. Although a state health official said the salty water was quickly diluted once it reached the Missouri, the spill—large by North Dakota standards—raised questions about the contents of the brine. Accidental spills like this one occur with some frequency, so scientists would like to understand the contaminants they release into waterways and elsewhere in the environment. Their findings could help officials guide the cleanup of sites or mitigate damage.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
DOT quietly floats overhaul for aging U.S. oil pipeline network
E & E Newswire
Mike Lee

Almost two years after an Exxon Mobil Corp. pipeline split open and sent Canadian crude flowing through a neighborhood in Mayflower, Ark., federal regulators have quietly proposed a sweeping rewrite of oil pipeline safety rules. If the proposal is finalized in its current form, as much as 95 percent of the U.S. pipelines that carry crude, gasoline and other liquids -- 182,000 miles -- would be subject to the new rules and about half the system may have to undergo extensive tests to prove it can operate safely, according to information from the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.   [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Could Absolute Consensus on Global Warming Come in a Suitcase?
Inside Climate News
David Hasemyer

NASA scientist Emily Wilson has big plans for a little gadget. She has developed a suitcase-sized instrument that measures carbon dioxide and methane wafting into the atmosphere from ground level to four miles into the sky. "I have a pretty big vision," Wilson said. She wants to create a worldwide network of these portable monitors to track the two potent greenhouse gases that have been identified as major contributors to global warming.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
'Fracking' rules take effect Tuesday, clearing way for permits
WRAL
JONATHAN DREW

RALEIGH, N.C. — Rules governing the hydraulic fracturing method for drilling natural gas are expected to take effect Tuesday, creating the potential for drilling to start later in the year. The set of 120 rules that govern issues including well construction, water testing and buffer zones was developed by the state Mining and Energy Commission over nearly two years and approved in December by a separate state panel. With the "fracking" rules in place, companies interested in finding natural gas can begin applying for fracking permits. A member of the Mining and Energy Commission, James Womack, said a company interested in fracking would first have to acquire the mineral rights for several hundred acres to create what's known as a drilling unit.   [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Couple Forced Out As Leak Threatens Potential Gas Explosion At Finleyville Home
CBS Pittsburgh
Andy Sheehan

FINLEYVILLE (KDKA) — They’re an couple enjoying their retirement years in Finleyville, Washington County, but a gas leak has driven them from their home. It’s been a month and half, but the continuing threat of a gas explosion has kept Joyce and Harry Hill out of their house. And nobody knows where the gas is coming from. Joyce Hill: “We’ve lived here almost 38 years.” KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “But you can’t go inside?” Joyce: “No.” Imagine calling a place home for most of your adult life and not being able to live in it. The mortgage is paid off and the taxes are up to date. It’s just that it’s in danger of exploding any time. “Not being able to sleep, eat,” said Joyce. “All we think about is our house.”  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. files environmental report with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
The Republican
Mary Serreze

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, has filed a key environmental report with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as it seeks approval to build its interstate Northeast Energy Direct natural gas pipeline system. The March 13 report, embedded below, provides new information about the controversial project, but falls short of revealing the specific location of two 80,000 horsepower compressor stations planned for Berkshire and Franklin counties here in western Massachusetts. Those locations will be described in a future filing, according to the report.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
SolarCity, a Vocal Critic of the Utility Industry, Joins It
The New York Times
DIANE CARDWELL

As SolarCity, the rooftop solar system provider, has rapidly expanded its reach over the last few years, its executives have pushed hard against the utility industry, criticizing it as a hidebound monopoly standing in the way of change. Now, SolarCity officials are trying a different tactic: moving into that business themselves. On Monday, company executives announced a program aimed at cities, remote communities, campuses and military bases under which they will design and operate small, independent power networks called microgrids. While the move will not turn the company into, say, Con Edison overnight, it represents a step in that direction.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Environmental group halts work on pipeline
Citizens Voice
Brendan Gibbons

DORRANCE TWP. — Freshly felled pine trees lay strewn next to siblings Brian and Sheila Cooper’s mother’s home on Blue Ridge Trail, filling the air with their sharp scent. “It looks like a tornado hit it,” Cooper said, surveying the logs piled atop one another like a giant game of pick-Up sticks. Cooper walked to the top of the hill above his mother’s home, where the light filtered through a stand of half-century old pines that once connected to the cleared zone. “I hope they clean this mess up now,” he said, looking down on the log pile. “This was a nice piece of woods.”  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
US Oil Pipeline Industry Quietly Building Network That 'Dwarfs Keystone'
Common Dreams
Deirdre Fulton

Despite public opposition that has so far blocked the building of the Keystone XL pipeline, the fossil fuels industry has successfully—and quietly—expanded the nation's domestic oil network by installing thousands of miles of pipeline across the country, according to new reporting by the Associated Press. "Overall, the network has increased by almost a quarter in the last decade," the AP reports. "And the work dwarfs Keystone. About 3.3 million barrels per day of capacity have been added since 2012 alone—five times more oil than the Canada-to-Texas Keystone line could carry if it's ever built."  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Opposition to Port Ambrose project gathers political steam
Capital New York
David Giambusso

Official opposition to the planned Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas plant off the coast of Long Island is growing, as elected officials call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto the project. In January, Senate Republican majority leader Dean Skelos wrote to Cuomo to express his opposition to the project in its current form. At noon today, New York City comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James are scheduled to join City Councilman Donovan Richards to call on Cuomo to block it.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Stringer joins opposition to Port Ambrose
Capital New York
David Giambusso

City Comptroller Scott Stringer has joined a growing bloc of elected leaders opposed to Port Ambrose, an offshore liquefied natural gas facility currently under federal review. "We should not be talking about building a natural gas facility before we talk about rebuilding homes and lives in the Rockaways," Stringer said today, flanked by dozens of clean energy and environmental advocates in front of City Hall. "How in good conscience can you talk about a facility that will poison our waters, potentially harm our people and think about moving that project before we have restored ferry service?" Stringer said. "This is something that, from a community perspective, makes absolutely no sense." Stringer joined City Council members Corey Johnson and Donovan Richards, chair of the council's environmental protection committee, at the rally today. The list of elected officials opposing the project includes Senate Republican majority leader Dean Skelos, Rep. Kathleen Rice, the entire City Council environmental protection committee, as well as a host of local elected officials from Long Island. "Dean Skelos has signed on [in opposition] so that should be a clear indication that no one wants the project anywhere in this world," Richards said.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
NYC officials, activists oppose ocean gas terminal
Newsday
JONATHAN LEMIRE

NEW YORK - (AP) -- Some New York City elected officials and environmentalists rallied on Monday against a plan to build a liquid natural gas terminal near New York Harbor and called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto the proposal they deemed an environmental danger. Liberty Natural Gas wants to build a deep-water port in federal waters 19 miles off Jones Beach, New York, and 29 miles off Long Branch, New Jersey. The company says the Port Ambrose terminal would bring additional natural gas into the New York area during times of peak demand, thereby lowering home-heating prices.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Rally held against proposed natural gas plant
News 12 Long Island


LONG BEACH - Protesters rallied against a proposed natural gas plant off Long Island's South Shore Monday. Port Ambrose, the proposed deepwater port, would be built about 19 miles off the coast of Long Beach. It would be used to import liquefied natural gas – or LNG – onto Long Island.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
As environmental, landowner advocates step up their game, FERC finds itself in the crosshairs
Platts


Once a quiet agency whose quasi-judicial reviews occurred with little fanfare, FERC has found itself in the new and uncomfortable position of being the focus of grassroots environmental groups bent on ending fossil fuel use through escalating tactics of protest and civil disobedience. Environmentalists in recent interviews with Platts vowed that they will continue their engagement with FERC, criticizing the agency for turning a deaf ear to local concerns and ignoring the broader environmental impacts of natural gas development. But Chairman Cheryl LaFleur and others are defending the commission's processes for reviewing pipelines and other infrastructure, rejecting the view that FERC is a "rubber stamp." LaFleur noted the rise in citizen activism in January in comments to the National Press Club. “Pipelines are facing unprecedented opposition from local and national groups including environmental activists. These groups are active in every FERC docket, as they should be, as well as in my email inbox seven days a week, in my Twitter feed, at our open meetings demanding to be heard, and literally at our door, closing down First Street so FERC won’t be able to work. We have a situation here," she said. But it remains to be seen whether the activists can go beyond making noise at FERC meetings to reshaping policy. Among their enumerated goals is setting a moratorium on new gas infrastructure approvals until FERC is reconstituted as a leader in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. A frequent charge they make is that the agency must begin taking account of massive regional environmental impacts of cumulative gas development — such as fracking in the Marcellus and Utica shales — as it reviews individual pipeline projects.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Figuring Out Fracking Wastewater
Chemical & Engineering News
Celia Henry Arnaud

Almost 3 million gallons of concentrated salt water leaked in early January from a ruptured pipeline at a natural gas drilling site near Williston, N.D. The brine, a by-product of the oil and gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, spilled into two creeks that empty into the Missouri River, according to news reports. Although a state health official said the salty water was quickly diluted once it reached the Missouri, the spill—large by North Dakota standards—raised questions about the contents of the brine. Accidental spills like this one occur with some frequency, so scientists would like to understand the contaminants they release into waterways and elsewhere in the environment. Their findings could help officials guide the cleanup of sites or mitigate damage.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Late Friday, the US government proposed what looks like a stealth bailout of the oil industry
Business Insider
Wolf Richter

Oil industry lobbyists must have been working the government over for months. The price of oil has plunged nearly 60% since June. Smaller oil companies are going bankrupt. Larger ones are bleeding. Energy junk-bondholders are getting massacred. Wall Street investment banks are fretting about losing the fees. Lenders are worried about their energy loans.   [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
Obama: It's 'Disturbing' That A Climate Change Denier Chairs Senate Environmental Committe
Huffington Post
Sam Levine

President Barack Obama told Vice News in an interview released on Monday that it was "disturbing" that the chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works denied the existence of climate change. Obama was referring to Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who threw a snowball on the Senate floor earlier this month to help make his case that climate change isn't real. Even though Inhofe cited record low temperatures across the country as evidence that climate change was overplayed, the country has actually been experiencing a warmer than average winter. "That's disturbing," Obama said when Vice's Shane Smith pointed out that the stunt would have been funny if it weren't for Inhofe's chairmanship. Inhofe, who wrote the book The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, has also cited Scripture as part of his argument for why climate change isn't real.  [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
NYC LAWMAKERS BLAST CONTROVERSIAL NJ-EXXON DEAL
City & State
BOB HENNELLY

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s controversial deal with Exxon Mobil to settle an $8.9 billion natural resources damage claim for less than 3 cents on the dollar is now coming under additional scrutiny from New York City elected officials. Officials claim the settlement will short-change the public because the energy giant's toxic hotspots located in Linden and Bayonne have contaminated the marshes and wetlands along water bodies like the Arthur Kill tidal strait and Newark Bay, both of which share shoreline with New York. They have also raised concerns about the precedent set by the Christie administration last year of diverting the proceeds from these kinds of environmental damage claims into the state’s general fund and away from environmental restoration projects.   [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
After Congress Gutted Propane Market Reform, Industry Doubles Down on Secretive Storage Plan
DC Bureau
Peter Mantius

After failing to convince Congress to fix the root causes of propane shortages and price spikes that rocked the Midwest and Northeast last winter, the U.S. propane industry is now throwing its full weight behind a secretive underground storage project in western New York. Industry’s renewed support for that private sector option comes after Congress gutted a 2014 bill to scope out and fund regional propane storage sites. Now even the make-do private solution is in serious jeopardy. State regulators have already taken five years to evaluate Crestwood Midstream’s plan to store 88 million gallons of liquid petroleum gas, or LPG, in abandoned salt caverns near Seneca Lake. They are still, at a minimum, months away from deciding whether to grant the storage permit.   [Full Story]

Mar 16, 2015
PennEast gas pipeline may run past water supply
THE MORNING CALL
NICOLE RADZIEVICH

The idyllic Carbon County acreage where Bethlehem gets its drinking water — called one of the last great places on Earth by one conservancy group — might get a natural gas pipeline. On a 114-mile route from the Wilkes-Barre area to a distribution terminal outside Trenton, New Jersey, the proposed PennEast pipeline would pass close to a pair of spring-fed reservoirs holding 10 billion gallons of water. The pipeline would run past the historic Three O’Clock Spring in Towamensing Township, the source of Wild Creek, which fills the city’s reservoirs, and farther south over a water main carrying 12 million gallons of water a day toward the spigots of 115,000 customers in the Lehigh Valley.  [Full Story]

Mar 15, 2015
Rethink the Grid: Personal Power Stations
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Rethinking the grid is quickly emerging as one of the hottest topics. The concept of our own personal power stations can be seductive…and just might save us a whole lot of money too. “Get big or get out!” Those were the famous, and controversial, words of Earl Butz, Secretary of Agriculture in the seventies. Considering the combination of renewable technology and battery storage, a new popular mantra may emerge: get small and be free.  [Full Story]

Mar 15, 2015
Where do Pennsylvania oil and gas drillers get their pipe?
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Sean D. Hamill

State Sen. Jim Brewster was angry when he heard in June that U.S. Steel was about to close a plant in McKeesport that made pipe to transport natural gas. “When I have a plant shut down with 175 to 200 jobs, I have a problem with that,” said Mr. Brewster, a Democrat who is a former mayor of McKeesport and whose late father worked at a pipe plant in the city. When he heard from U.S. Steel officials that a big part of the reason for shutting down the plant was that the oil and gas industry here was buying a lot of pipe made in other countries, he got angrier. Before that, Mr. Brewster said, “I hadn’t given much thought to where the pipe was coming from.” There is no requirement that drillers use domestic steel, but Mr. Brewster believed the industry should work to provide American jobs.  [Full Story]

Mar 15, 2015
Proximity to air base raises concerns about National Fuel subsidiary’s pipeline plans
Buffalo News
Thomas Prohaska

WHEATFIELD – A National Fuel subsidiary’s plans for a major new natural gas pipeline may undergo some changes because of its proximity to Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. Town Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe said the plans for the upgrade of the Empire Pipeline currently call for a natural gas dehydration station to be built at the southern end of Vantage International Pointe, as the former Inducon Industrial Park is now known. “The place is right at the end of the main runway of the Niagara Falls air base,” Cliffe said. It’s about 1,000 feet from the end of the runway. Cliffe said he mentioned the situation at a recent meeting of the Niagara Military Affairs Council, a group that promotes and lobbies for added missions and more development of the facilities at the base, which is now Niagara County’s largest employer.  [Full Story]

Mar 15, 2015
As fight over Keystone XL drags on, oil industry vastly expands its pipeline network
Star Tribune
Henry C. Jackson AP

WASHINGTON — In a far corner of North Dakota, just a few hundred miles from the proposed path of the Keystone XL pipeline, 84,000 barrels of crude oil per day recently began flowing through a new line that connects the state's sprawling oilfields to an oil hub in Wyoming. In West Texas, engineers activated a new pipeline that cuts diagonally across the state to deliver crude from the oil-rich Permian Basin to refineries near Houston. And in a string of towns in Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota, local government officials are scrutinizing the path of pipeline extensions that would pass nearby. While the Keystone project awaits a final decision, scenes like these are unfolding almost every week in lesser-known developments that have quietly added more than 11,600 miles of pipeline to the nation's domestic oil network.  [Full Story]

Mar 15, 2015
USGS study points out huge fracking data gaps
Summit County Voice
Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Oil and gas companies like to present fracking as benign, and, for the most part, government regulators play along. For example, a recent oil and gas task force in Colorado barely touched on the subject of groundwater impacts from fracking. But the reality is that we know very little about how the injection of massive quantities of fracking fluids will play out in the long run. And we probably won’t know the full scope until it’s too late, following the classic pattern of environmental pollution problems. But despite scores of examples of serious site-specific water quality impacts, a recent U.S. Geological Survey study found there’s not nearly enough data to evaluate fracking’s potential risks to water quality on a regional or national scale.  [Full Story]

Mar 15, 2015
Crude oil joins rail industry staples as key revenue producer
Jamestown Sun


NEW YORK - U.S. railroads generated almost as much money last year hauling crude oil and sand, largely used in hydraulic fracturing, as they did moving industry staples like field crops and motor vehicles, according to a Reuters' analysis of newly released federal data. The previously unreported company data submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation provides the latest piece of evidence of the blossoming marriage between the energy and rail industries, forged on the back of the U.S. shale oil boom.  [Full Story]

Mar 15, 2015
Compulsory Integration Shot Down in W. Virginia
NO FRACKING WAY
Chip Northrup

Tea Party Republicans in W. Va. prove they are not stooges to the oil and gas lobby and deny frackers privatized eminent domain, aka compulsory integration or pooling. Somewhere Barry Goldwater is smiling. In a 49-49 tie vote, Democrats and tea party Republicans helped kill a forced pooling bill that drew outcry about infringement of people’s property rights. It would have allowed horizontal drilling from unwilling mineral rights owners when 80 percent of the surrounding mineral owners had drilling agreements, which could have forced the remaining 20% into participating in the well under the same terms – against their will – in effect privatized eminent domain.  [Full Story]

Mar 15, 2015
Colorado’s Fracking Wars Reignite
CounterPunch
Phillip Doe

You’ve got to have a mind of winter to fully appreciate the pall Colorado Governor Hickenlooper’s Task Force on Oil and Gas cast over the concept of good government in this state. Termed Blue Ribbon by the governor, it easily was not. It included not one person from the many local citizen groups that have organized to protect themselves against a rampaging oil industry given free license to drill at will by a benighted legislature and a puppet governor. Thurgood Marshall was fond of saying, “ The Constitution does not prohibit legislatures from enacting stupid laws.” The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Act is one of those stupid laws. It established a small bureaucracy, called the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which was invited to walk hand in hand with the oil and gas industry in developing a poison garden of oil and gas wells in the state. This alliance would serve the state’s economic interests, reasoned they. To ensure their dim design they took away the public’s rights of self-government and gave them to the adoring hand holders.   [Full Story]

Mar 14, 2015
W.Va. Senate clears forced pooling bill for oil, gas rights
News OK


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The West Virginia Senate has passed a bill allowing some natural gas drilling even when mineral rights owners can't be found or won't agree to leases. The Senate approved the bill Saturday on a 24-10 vote. The proposal moves back to the House of Delegates, which has passed a different version. The so-called forced pooling bill would allow horizontal drilling from those properties when 80 percent of the surrounding mineral owners had worked out drilling agreements. Property owners would be compensated. Opponents have said the bill infringes on property rights.  [Full Story]

Mar 14, 2015
The collapse of Big Oil: How the industry priced itself into oblivion
Salon
Michael T. Klare

Many reasons have been provided for the dramatic plunge in the price of oil to about $60 per barrel (nearly half of what it was a year ago): slowing demand due to global economic stagnation; overproduction at shale fields in the United States; the decision of the Saudis and other Middle Eastern OPEC producers to maintain output at current levels (presumably to punish higher-cost producers in the U.S. and elsewhere); and the increased value of the dollar relative to other currencies. There is, however, one reason that’s not being discussed, and yet it could be the most important of all: the complete collapse of Big Oil’s production-maximizing business model.   [Full Story]

Mar 14, 2015
State says Atmos doesn’t have to tell customers about untreated natural gas
Star Telegram
Max B. Baker

Atmos Energy will not be required to tell rural customers if untreated natural gas is being pumped into their homes despite evidence that it may damage appliances, shut down service and possibly release elevated levels of carbon monoxide in their homes, state hearing examiners ruled. Texas Railroad Commission examiners Cecile Hanna and Rose Ruiz, granting a request by Atmos to abandon the service to a small neighborhood near Lake Palo Pinto, did not impose tougher notification standards even when the company is selling what has been described as a “raw gas cocktail.” “The examiners find those requests for relief to be outside the scope of this proceeding and not required by applicable statutes and rules,” Hanna and Ruiz wrote in their March 6 ruling.   [Full Story]

Mar 14, 2015
Fracking will ruin sacred, preserved sites in the ‘American cradle of civilization’ - lawsuit
RT News


A Navajo advocacy group has asked a federal judge to halt hydraulic fracking permits in the San Juan Basin of New Mexico, claiming that drilling threatens a historic UNESCO heritage site considered sacred by Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo peoples. Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment and three other groups have sued the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and US Department of Interior, calling on a federal judge to vacate the 130 fracking permits issued by the BLM and enjoin fracking activity in the Mancos Shale of the San Juan Basin until the BLM adheres to the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act, according to Courthouse News.  [Full Story]

Mar 14, 2015
State agency denies Dominion’s request to skip more financial scrutiny
The Washington Post
Jenna Portnoy

RICHMOND — State regulators on Friday denied a new request from Dominion Virginia Power to keep some financial information secret during an upcoming public review. Dominion’s request came just weeks after the General Assembly took away the State Corporation Commission's authority to order customer rate cuts or refunds through 2022.  [Full Story]

Mar 14, 2015
Striking Oil Workers Emerge Victorious Thanks in Part to Green Group Solidarity
Common Dreams
Kate Aronoff

Yesterday afternoon, the United Steelworkers reached a tentative contract agreement with negotiators from Shell Oil Co., which has represented Chevron, ExxonMobil and other oil companies affected by the union’s now nearly six-week strike. Even as the strike continues in many workplaces, yesterday’s victory is the hard-won result of careful organizing and some promising collaboration. Beginning on February 1 — after a particularly contentious round of negotiations — an estimated 3,800 workers kicked off a strike action across nine refineries in Texas, California, Kentucky and Washington. As of Thursday’s truce, the strike had grown to include 7,000 workers across 15 refineries, petrochemical and cogeneration plants, including the nation’s largest refinery in Port Arthur, Texas. In total, the United Steelworkers, or USW, represents 30,000 members, and holds leverage over an impressive 64 percent of the United States’ refining capacity.  [Full Story]

Mar 14, 2015
Where do the filter socks go? Concerns rise with proposed increase to radioactive waste levels
The Dickinson Press
Lauren Donovan

WILLISTON — A special waste landfill in far western North Dakota will seek to dispose of radioactive waste, if it becomes legal. Charles Slaughter, of Canada-based Gibson Energy, said his company plans to step up at its WISCO landfill west of Williston about 1 mile from the Montana line. “We will modify our permit to participate in that market,” said Slaughter, adding that his company has experience with radioactive material landfills in Canada, where 20 times higher than North Dakota’s proposed 50 picocuries is allowed. Currently, the state bans anything above 5 picocuries.  [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
Monterey County supes to weigh fracking moratorium
Monterey Herald
Jason Hoppin

Lockwood >> There are a lot of things grape growers worry about, from drought to crop-killing pests. Paula Getzelman adds fracking to the list. A grower of syrah and grenache varietals and owner of Tre Gatti Vineyards in southern Monterey County, Getzelman wants the Board of Supervisors to take action against the controversial oil development technique. She says the county’s foundational industry could be at stake. “There could be some significant impacts to our water supply, and certainly the Salinas River,” Getzelman said. “With a $4-plus billion agricultural economy in Monterey County, I don’t think we can afford to mess around with our water.”  [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
Wolf supports drilling moratorium in Delaware River Basin
Times Tribune
Brendan Gibbons

Gov. Tom Wolf supports a moratorium on gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin, his spokesman confirmed a day after the issue came up in a legislative committee hearing. “This is a regional decision between Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware and (Mr.) Wolf supports it,” spokesman Jeff Sheridan said in an email Thursday. On Wednesday, state Department of Environmental Protection Secretary-designate John Quigley told the House Appropriations Committee Mr. Wolf supports the de facto moratorium, which has been in effect since 2011. Mr. Wolf’s proposed budget also increases funding to the Delaware River Basin Commission to $750,000, up almost 73 percent from last fiscal year.  [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
What Would Happen If Wind Power Got The Same Tax Breaks As The Fossil Fuel Industry
Inside Climate News
Emily Atkins

After two years of research, the Department of Energy released a report on Thursday estimating how much energy the U.S. could get from wind in the next 35 years. The results were extremely optimistic: under an “ambitious but credible” scenario, America could get 10 percent of its power from wind by 2020; 20 percent by 2030; and 35 percent by 2050, the report said. In order for this to happen, though, the report acknowledged that “new tools, priorities, and emphases” need to be set in place beyond the wind industry’s own efforts. Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), told ThinkProgress that one of the most important priorities is giving tax benefits to the wind industry. “A key determinant is having a stable federal tax policy, which as you may know, every form of other energy source has — at least every other fossil fuel-based source of electric generation,” he said. “They have tax benefits, tax support, that are permanent in the tax code. For wind, major tax support is not permanent.”   [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
Shareholders Flood Fossil Fuel Companies With Climate Resolutions Again
Inside Climate News
Eliuzabeth Douglass

U.S. oil and energy companies are facing a barrage of climate-related shareholder proposals this year, many of them demanding action or disclosures on low-carbon strategies, political spending and lobbying, greenhouse gas emissions, and climate-change risks. Other resolutions address hot-button energy issues such as the dangers of transporting crude oil in mile-long trains, concerns over hydraulic fracturing, and returning money to shareholders instead of spending it on expensive new oil projects.   [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
Some fighting state proposal on disclosure of fracking chemicals
Columbus Dispatch
Laura Arenschield

Environmental groups, people who live in Ohio’s oil-and-gas country, and some emergency responders say that a proposal by Gov. John Kasich to filter information about chemicals used in fracking activities through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources could leave firefighters without what they need during an emergency. The department, some groups and residents argued this week before state legislators, already has proved it can’t get that information to the people who need it when a fracking site catches fire. And that worries people who live near oil and gas sites. Firefighters, not the Department of Natural Resources, should have that chemical information, residents testified this week.  [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
Tennessee Gas Pipeline files environmental report with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Gazettenet.com
Richie Davis

Proponents of a natural gas pipeline that would cross western Massachusetts passed a key milestone Friday by filing its first draft environmental impact report on the roughly $5 billion project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. is proposing that its Northeast Energy Direct project pass through Plainfield in Hampshire County and Ashfield, Conway, Shelburne, Deerfield, Montague, Erving, Northfield and a corner of Warwick in Franklin County before entering southern New Hampshire and reentering Massachusetts just west of its Middlesex County terminus. A second draft environmental report is scheduled in June, followed by a final report in September along with a formal application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Preconstruction work on the proposed 36-inch-diameter pipeline could begin in January 2017, with construction beginning in April 2017.  [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
Oil industry must join U.S. railroads to boost train safety: regulator
Reuters


(Reuters) - Rail operators are going to great lengths to prevent oil train derailments but the energy sector must do more to prevent accidents from becoming fiery disasters, the leading U.S. rail regulator said on Friday. Oil train tankers have jumped the tracks in a string of mishaps in recent months that resulted in explosions and fires. Several of those shipments originated from North Dakota's Bakken energy fields. Officials have warned that fuel from the region is particularly light and volatile. Sarah Feinberg, acting head of the Federal Railroad Administration, said   [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
Speed Limits May Not Stop Fiery Oil Spills, U.S. Rail Chief Says
Bloomberg
Jim Snyder

(Bloomberg) -- Lower speed limits for railroads may be ineffective at keeping oil trains on the tracks and preventing massive fireballs, such as those triggered in a series of recent derailments, the chief U.S. railroad regulator said. “If you’re going to slow trains down, you’re going to have to slow them down to 12 miles an hour,” Sarah Feinberg, acting chief of the Federal Railroad Administration, told reporters in Washington Friday. “And then you would just have other dangers. People queuing up at grade crossings while train car after train car of volatile product goes by,” she said. “That’s not good either.”   [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
Drilling down on fracking in Indiana
Marcellus.com
Lauren Slavin | Herald-Times, Bloomington, Ind.

Fracking is nothing new in Indiana. Frequent earthquakes would be. Geologists and environmental activists have been raising concerns for years about increased hydraulic fracturing — called “fracking” for short — and other unconventional oil production methods in the United States. Hydraulic fracturing is the drilling and injection of fluid into the ground to create cracks in rock formations and release natural gas, oil and other energy-producing resources. Fracking proponents say the practice lessens the U.S. reliance on foreign oil, creates jobs and leads to energy savings in American households. Those who oppose U.S. drilling and using fossil fuels point to accidents at oil wells with detrimental environmental effects, such as a January pipeline leak in North Dakota that spilled 3 million gallons of brine and contaminated two creeks.  [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
Conservation groups launch legal challenge to fracking in the Chaco Canyon region
Summit County Citizens Voice
Bob Berwyn

Staff Report FRISCO — Community and environmental activists are waging an all-out battle to keep oil and gas drilling at bay in the Chaco Canyon region of northwestern New Mexico, an area with cultural and historic values of global importance, under UNESCO’s World Heritage designation. Fracking rigs have crept to within 20 miles of the Chaco Culture National Historic Park, and some outlier sites are at risk, according to WildEarth Guardians. Just a couple of years ago, the Bureau of Land Management proposed leases within 2 miles of Chaco Canyon. Those proposed leases were deferred, but concerns remain that they could be offered again.  [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
CAPITAL NEWS: INJECTION WELLS INDUCING TREMORS IN FRACKING POLICY DEBATE
Aurora Advocate
Marc Kovac

Columbus — There’s one message that has been heard loud and clear at the Statehouse: The good people of the Mahoning Valley are tired of earthquakes and expect their public officials to do everything in their power to prevent future fracking-induced tremors. Companies that pump massive amounts of salty oilfield waste into the ground now are required to install seismic monitors to track earth movement. When those devices record quakes — even small ones — the state can step in and shut down operations until it can assess the situation and devise plans to prevent additional seismic events. Which brings us to the nearly nine-hour hearing that took place in Columbus a few days ago, before a state panel that is considering an appeal to restart operations at a Trumbull County injection well where a couple of minor quakes happened last summer. Both sides have legitimate-sounding arguments.  [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
Fracking Could Topple Anasazi Ruins
Courthouse News Service
victoria Prieskop

ALBUQUERQUE (CN) - The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's approval of 130 fracking permits in the New Mexico's Four Corners region threatens an environment that includes extensive prehistoric Native American relics, Navajo environmentalists claim in court. Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment and three other groups asked a federal judge to vacate the permits and enjoin fracking in the Mancos Shale unless the BLM complies with the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. Diné is the Navajo name for themselves, in their Athapaskan language. The San Juan Basin is a 4,600-square-mile area in the Four Corners region, which hosts a trove of breathtaking archaeological sites, attributed to the Anasazi and other pre-Columbian people. The Mancos Shale and Gallup formations are a potential source of crude oil and natural gas, but the Diné say that horizontal drilling and fracking could destabilize historical sites in the area, and contaminate groundwater.  [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
Sister Elizabeth Of The Eagle Ford
Texas Public Radio
David Martin Davies

Hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – is the practice of extracting oil trapped in shale rock. It’s producing large quantities of oil in South Texas in the Eagle Ford Shale. That’s one reason why the price of oil has dropped. But there are questions about the environmental cost of fracking. And one 78-year old nun wants to make sure fracking is done right. Driving down Texas Highway 72 Sister Elizabeth Riebschlaeger is following a flatbed trailer and calling 9-1-1. “He has pieces of material tied over he open pipes leading off the inverted tank,” she tells the emergency service operator. Sister Elizabeth frequently drives throughout the Eagle Ford Shale, notifying authorities when she believes there are environmental violations.  [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
Beach wonders: Will offshore drilling affect tourism?
PilotOnline.com
Aaron Applegate

VIRGINIA BEACH The city officially supports exploring the sea bed off the coast here for oil and natural gas. But some who make their living from tourism – the city’s golden goose – aren’t so sure. From pizza shop owners to hotel magnates, and those in between, business owners are wondering if any amount of oil and gas is worth risking a catastrophe that could damage one of the most popular beaches on the East Coast. “It worries me!” Oceanfront hotelier Bruce Thompson wrote in an email. “We have a fragile ecosystem and our economy is dependent upon out tourism industry. I have yet to be satisfied that there are adequate safeguards to protect us from an event that might jeopardize our marine environment and tourism industry.”  [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
Special issue delves into the long term consequences of fracking on people, environment
News Medical


Marcellus shale extraction and its potential negative effects on the environment is the subject of a recently published special issue in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A. This issue, comprised of eight different papers, delves into the long term consequences fracking has on people, animals, and the environment. Paper topics range from the positive correlation between the amount of fracking and mercury found in the surrounding wildlife, to the long term impacts of unconventional drilling on human and animal health. The research was presented at the 2013 conference Facing the Challenges: Research on Shale Gas Extraction, held at Duquesne University. "This publication presents some of the biggest topics scientists are grappling with as they study unconventional energy extraction," said Dr. John Stolz, director of Duquesne's Center for Environmental Research and Education and the conference organizer. "Given the importance of fracking and its possible impacts on health and the environment, we welcome this special issue. It provides academics, industry experts and residents with the opportunity to see a number of different aspects gathered in one volume."  [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
Historic Deerfield refuses to let Kinder Morgan survey its land for proposed Tennessee Gas pipeline
Mass Live
Mart Serreze

DEERFIELD -- Historic Deerfield is taking a stand against the proposed Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline by denying the company permission to survey its land. Museum President Philip Zea, in a letter to Kinder Morgan right-of-way agent James D. Hartman, denied the company permission to survey land near Pine Hill, saying the area is the ancestral home of the Pocumtuck Native Americans and the site of an 8,000 year-old village, reports the Greenfield Recorder. The pipeline planned by Kinder Morgan subsidiary Tennessee Gas Co. would pass through the museum's property in Deerfield's North Meadows. Zea wrote that Historic Deerfield lies within the Old Deerfield National Historic Landmark, established by the Department of the Interior in 1962, and as such is provided with additional protection.  [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
100+ Maryland businesses call for fracking moratorium
RT


More than 100 businesses in western Maryland have come out in support of a bill that would establish a moratorium on oil and gas exploration via hydraulic fracturing, citing concerns over pollution, health and tourism consequences. Lawmakers in Maryland are currently considering bills that would either place an eight-year moratorium on fracking or ban the practice completely, much like New York did late last year. However, state Gov. Larry Hogan believes the time is right to allow the practice – which involves blasting highly pressurized water, sand and other chemicals into layers of rock to free up oil and gas – as long as strict regulations are in place. According to the Baltimore Sun, the Maryland Environmental Department is considering regulations that would pave the way for fracking to begin in the state.  [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
Coalition Finds Major Flaws In Proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Port Off New Jersey’s Coast
Atlantic Highlands Herald
Clean Ocan Action

Sandy Hook, NJ - The deadline for citizens to comment on Liberty Gas' proposal to construct a deepwater liquefied natural gas (LNG) port off New Jersey and New York beaches is rapidly approaching. This Monday, March 16th, is the last day citizens can comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) released by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and Maritime Administration (MARAD) back in December. "There is no public benefit from Port Ambrose," said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action. "We've identified numerous dangers in the DEIS, and will be submitting 60 pages of comments to the federal docket on behalf of the Anti-LNG Coalition, a bi-state (NY/NJ) coalition of community groups, maritime organizations, faith-based, union, and civic leaders opposed to LNG facilities." "The risks are great from this port, and the threats to the public and the environment are devastating. If you enjoy the ocean, or depend on it for your livelihood, it is imperative that you speak-up and send in your comments. The ocean is a vibrant and life sustaining resource; it must not fall into the hands of fossil fuel industry," continued Zipf.   [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
UPDATE: DOH Responds to Doddridge County Road Conditions
WDTV
Andrew Havranek

The West Virginia Division of Highways responded to concerns about road conditions in Doddridge County, specifically on Porto Rico Road. In an email to 5 News, the DOH said "WVDOH is aware of the poor condition of Rube Leggett and Hughes Rivers Road and have been in contact with CNX (Consol Energy) to repair the cited routes. District 4 oil/gas coordinator will review Porto Rico Road Friday, 3-13-15 to make arrangements for repairs that CNX is not responsible for." ORIGINAL STORY: After the snow melted this week, many of you started sending us tons of photos of poor road conditions all across The Mountain State.  [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
Fracking Next to a Cemetery? 10 Unlikely Sites Targeted for Drilling
National Geographic
Christina Nunez

Last November, when 6,700 acres of public land in Colorado were auctioned for oil and gas drilling, one lot came with an unusual caveat: It held an active graveyard. Kanza Cemetery sits on a 320-acre expanse east of Colorado Springs offered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The rural graveyard, where more than a hundred people are buried, has been there for at least a century. Its land was leased for $26 an acre.  [Full Story]

Mar 13, 2015
Rockin’ the Bakken 21st Century Style
Eco Watch
Deborah Thomas for Earthworks

North Dakota’s Bakken boom, and potential bust, are definitely in the news. Journalists, documentary filmmakers, landowners and community groups have given it a name and a face. Yet it’s still hard to understand until you put your boots on the ground and watch the oil being drilled, pumped and trucked to rail stations, 24-7, as it’s moved out of the region.  [Full Story]

Mar 12, 2015
Wolf’s environmental chief questioned on gas tax, new drilling rules
State Impact PA
Marie Cusick

Governor Wolf’s pick to head the state Department of Environmental Protection spent much of Wednesday afternoon defending the new administration’s proposed gas drilling policies at a state House budget hearing in Harrisburg. John Maher (R- Allegheny) began by questioning acting DEP Secretary John Quigley about why the administration quickly disbanded the agency’s Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board (TAB). Shortly after dismissing the board, the agency issued new, more stringent draft regulations for the oil and gas industry. A newly formed TAB is scheduled to meet next week to review the changes for Marcellus drillers. Maher asked Quigley who the TAB members are and questioned whether they’d have enough time to review the rules. Quigley said he wasn’t sure who the new members are.  [Full Story]

Mar 12, 2015
Organic Farming vs. Fracking
EcoWatch
Juliana Henao and Samantha Malone

Currently, 11 percent (2,140 of 19,515 total) of all U.S. organic farms share a watershed with active oil and gas drilling. Additionally, this percentage could rise up to 31 percent if unconventional oil and gas drilling continues to grow.  [Full Story]

Mar 12, 2015
Algonquin Pipeline Foes Stage 'Die-in' Protest at Company's Info Session
Yorktown-Somers Patch
Lanning Taliaferro

Residents from Rockland, Putnam, and Westchester Counties conducted a die-in at Spectra’s Atlantic Bridge Open House last night in Yorktown. They were protesting the expansion of the Algonquin Pipeline through the three counties into Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine. In particular they object to the segmentation of the expansion into three projects. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved the first, the AIM project; Spectra is now going through the approval process for the Atlantic Bridge project, which replaces different segments of pipe over the same route, and its Access Northeast project is on the drawing board.  [Full Story]

Mar 12, 2015
Measures banning local oil and gas drilling rules passed by Oklahoma lawmakers
Penn Energy
AP

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Legislation that prohibits cities and other local governments from regulating oil and natural gas drilling operations has been approved by Oklahoma lawmakers in both chambers. House members voted 69-26 for a measure by House Speaker Jeff Hickman of Fairview. The Senate approved a similar bill by President Pro Tem Brian Bingman of Sapulpa by a vote of 36-7. Oil and gas drilling is regulated by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. The measures ban local governments from regulating oil and gas exploration, drilling, fracturing and production but permits local ordinances involving road use, traffic, noise and fencing for health and safety purposes. Opponents say the measures don't go far enough to give local governments the authority to regulate drilling operations near rural homes.  [Full Story]

Mar 12, 2015
Big Oil’s Broken Business Model The Real Story Behind the Oil Price Collapse
TomDispatch
Michael T. Klare

Many reasons have been provided for the dramatic plunge in the price of oil to about $60 per barrel (nearly half of what it was a year ago): slowing demand due to global economic stagnation; overproduction at shale fields in the United States; the decision of the Saudis and other Middle Eastern OPEC producers to maintain output at current levels (presumably to punish higher-cost producers in the U.S. and elsewhere); and the increased value of the dollar relative to other currencies. There is, however, one reason that’s not being discussed, and yet it could be the most important of all: the complete collapse of Big Oil’s production-maximizing business model.  [Full Story]

Mar 12, 2015
Legislators Call Out California Regulators’ “Corrupt, Inept” Management Of Underground Wastewater Injection
DeSmogBlog
MIKE GAWORECKI

The fallout from California officials’ failure to properly oversee the disposal of oil industry wastewater continued this week as lawmakers grilled officials with the state’s oil and gas regulatory agency for two hours while seeking assurances that they were getting the problem under control. According to the LA Times, state senators “called the agency’s historic practices corrupt, inept, and woefully mismanaged.” Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), who said that reading the background materials ahead of the hearing “caused her blood pressure to soar,” per the Times, pretty much nailed it when she said, “There has been a serious imbalance between the role [of] regulating the oil and gas industry and the role of protecting the public.”  [Full Story]

Mar 12, 2015
Dangerous Trains, Aging Rails
The New York Times
Marcus Stern

A CSX freight train ran off the rails last month in rural Mount Carbon, W.Va. One after another, exploding rail cars sent hellish fireballs hundreds of feet into the clear winter sky. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency, and the fires burned for several days. The Feb. 16 accident was one of a series of recent fiery derailments highlighting the danger of using freight trains to ship crude oil from wellheads in North Dakota to refineries in congested regions along America’s coastlines. The most recent was last week, when a Burlington Northern Santa Fe oil train with roughly 100 cars derailed, causing at least two cars, each with about 30,000 gallons of crude oil, to explode, burn and leak near the Mississippi River, south of Galena, Ill.  [Full Story]

Mar 12, 2015
West Face Bets on New York and U.K. Gas Hunger With LNG Projects
Bloomberg
Scott Deveau

(Bloomberg) -- Canadian hedge fund West Face Capital Inc. is investing in two projects that plan to bring natural gas by ship into New York and the U.K., banking on a chronic need for the fuel, according to a person familiar with the strategy. With U.S. utilities paying as much as 15 times benchmark prices during winter peaks, a West Face-controlled company will chill the fuel into liquid in Louisiana or potentially other locations and process it back into gas offshore near New York and east of the Isle of Man.   [Full Story]

Mar 12, 2015
The U.S. Has Too Much Oil and Nowhere to Put It
Bloomberg
Matthew Philips

Seven months ago the giant tanks in Cushing, Okla., the largest crude oil storage hub in North America, were three-quarters empty. After spending the last few years brimming with light, sweet crude unlocked by the shale drilling revolution, the tanks held just less than 18 million barrels by late July, down from a high of 52 million in early 2013. New pipelines to refineries along the Gulf Coast had drained Cushing of more than 30 million barrels in less than a year.   [Full Story]

Mar 12, 2015
Quigley faces House questions on gas drilling
The Standard Speaker
Robert Swift

HARRISBURG — The secretary-designate for the Department of Environmental Protection fielded questions Wednesday from lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee representing Northeastern Pennsylvania about the impact of gas drilling and a moratorium on gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin. John Quigley, a former Hazleton mayor, said he was receptive to a suggestion by Rep. Karen Boback, R-117, Harveys Lake, for an interagency group to examine how drilling impacts air and water quality. Rep. Mike Peifer, R-139, Greene Township., said many of his constituents want to see a vote by the Delaware River Basin Commission on whether to keep or lift a moratorium on gas drilling. He questioned the governor’s proposal to restore previous cuts in state aid without a DRBC moratorium vote. Gov. Tom Wolf has expressed his support for the moratorium in the Delaware basin, said Quigley.  [Full Story]

Mar 12, 2015
Philadelphia City Council Adopts Resolution on Dangerous Oil Trains
Protecting Our Waters
Iris Marie Bloom

alls for substandard tank cars to be prohibited, highest safety standards for new tank cars, public disclosure of train traffic and emergency response community forums Philadelphia, PA – Today Philadelphia City Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling for action by the federal government, rail companies and Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management to address threats posed by the train transport of Bakken crude oil through Philadelphia. The resolution calls for substandard DOT111s and other presently used tank cars that carry Bakken crude to be stopped and urges the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to issue specifications for tank cars that meet the highest safety standards for crude by rail. Councilman Kenyatta Johnson introduced the resolution that was fully supported by the Council today.  [Full Story]

Mar 12, 2015
Pennsylvania environmental regulators plan to create pipeline task force
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Laura Legere

Pennsylvania environmental regulators are planning to create a collaborative task force to develop ways to “plan smarter” as companies build out tens of thousands of miles of pipelines in the next decade to bring Marcellus Shale gas to market. Acting Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection John Quigley told the House Appropriations Committee during a budget hearing in Harrisburg on Wednesday about the pipeline initiative and other programs aimed at modernizing the agency’s operations and diversifying the state’s energy production portfolio. “Over the next 10 years, there will likely be 25,000 or 30,000 miles of gathering lines, and several thousand miles of interstate pipeline built across the face of the Commonwealth,” Mr. Quigley said. “It is very likely that every county in the state is going to be impacted by that development.”  [Full Story]

Mar 12, 2015
Oil Deaths Rise as Bakken Boom Fades
The Wall Street Journal
ALEXANDRA BERZON

BISMARCK, N.D.—At least eight workers have died since October in North Dakota’s oil fields, more than in the preceding 12 months combined. The uptick in fatalities comes as many oil companies are responding to plummeting crude-oil prices by dialing back their drilling activity in the state, one of the hubs of the U.S. energy boom.   [Full Story]

Mar 12, 2015
Project studying illnesses near Minisink gas compressor Resident says family suffering maladies
Times Herald Record
Jessica Cohen

TOWN OF MINISINK - Public health toxicologist David Brown does not call his work with people living around gas compressor stations “research.” “When people are sick, you don’t do a study. You find out what they’re sick from,” he said. Brown is a founder of the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, a nonprofit group begun in 2011, initially devoted to providing public health information and services related to natural gas extraction in Washington County. Now the Environmental Health Project is studying 30 people living near the Millennium Pipeline gas compressor that was built in Minisink 18 months ago.  [Full Story]

Mar 12, 2015
All oil is bad, but some is worse. Here’s the difference
Grist
John Light

Though all oils are dirty, some are dirtier than others. High-profile case in point: the Canadian tar sands. The fact that tar-sands oil is one of the filthiest oils in the world has helped fuel the debate around the Keystone XL pipeline. The good folks at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace thought someone had better analyze which oils were a bad idea to extract, and which oils were a really, really, really bad idea to extract. CEIP teamed up with Stanford and the University of Calgary to develop an oil-climate index; the result of their work is documented in a new report titled “Know Your Oil.”  [Full Story]

Mar 12, 2015
Pennsylvania environmental regulators plan to create pipeline task force
Post Gazette
Laura Legere

Pennsylvania environmental regulators are planning to create a collaborative task force to develop ways to “plan smarter” as companies build out tens of thousands of miles of pipelines in the next decade to bring Marcellus Shale gas to market. Acting Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection John Quigley told the House Appropriations Committee during a budget hearing in Harrisburg on Wednesday about the pipeline initiative and other programs aimed at modernizing the agency’s operations and diversifying the state’s energy production portfolio. “Over the next 10 years, there will likely be 25,000 or 30,000 miles of gathering lines, and several thousand miles of interstate pipeline built across the face of the Commonwealth,” Mr. Quigley said. “It is very likely that every county in the state is going to be impacted by that development.”  [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
Old System, New Solution?: Liquefied Natural Gas Could Be Pipeline Alternative
WBUR NPR Boston
BRUCE GELLERMAN

Second in a two-part series. Here’s Part 1. EVERETT, Mass. — In recent years there has been a revolution in the way New England generates its electricity. Since 2000 the amount produced by burning natural gas has tripled. And today, more than half of our electricity comes from gas imported from outside the region. But as the use of gas has soared, so too have electric bills here, especially in the dead of winter. That’s when the demand for gas for heating and electricity is highest, creating bottlenecks along interstate pipelines. The transformation of our electric generating system has ignited a contentious debate over whether additional pipeline capacity is needed.  [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
3 workers killed in West Texas oil field rig explosion
Fuel Fix
Associated Press

An oil field rig has exploded in West Texas, killing three workers. Investigator Dusty Kilgore of the Upton County Sheriff’s Office said the accident happened Tuesday morning near Rankin, about 40 miles south of Midland. Kilgore says a pulling unit crew was at the site when the explosion happened. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration website describes a pulling unit as a well-servicing outfit.  [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
Legislation prohibiting cities from regulating oil and gas drilling passes both chambers
Daily Journal
AP

OKLAHOMA CITY — Legislation that prohibits cities and other local governments from regulating oil and natural gas drilling operations has been approved by Oklahoma lawmakers in both chambers. House members voted 69-26 for a measure by House Speaker Jeff Hickman of Fairview. The Senate approved a similar bill by President Pro Tem Brian Bingman of Sapulpa by a vote of 36-7. Oil and gas drilling is regulated by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. The measures ban local governments from regulating oil and gas exploration, drilling, fracturing and production but permits local ordinances involving road use, traffic, noise and fencing for health and safety purposes.  [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
Urban-drilling bills called a ‘scorched earth’ approach to regulation
Star Telegram
Max B Baker

Three bills restating the state’s authority over urban oil and gas drilling are being criticized for stripping cities of much of their local control, with one group calling the effort a “scorched earth” strategy by the energy industry. State Rep. Drew Darby, chairman of the powerful House Energy Resources Committee, filed two bills this week outlining the role the state should play in regulating the industry after the passage of a ban on hydraulic fracturing in Denton last year. One bill filed by the San Angelo Republican, HB40, would not allow local governments to ban or limit an oil and gas operation and would require that any other regulation be limited to surface activity that is considered to be “commercially reasonable.” A companion bill, SB1165, was filed by Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee.   [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
Air pollution rules mandate changed by House
Times News
AP

RALEIGH — The North Carolina House agreed Wednesday after all to adjust the mandate upon environmental regulators to set air-quality rules for fracking, just days after the chamber had voted to delete it from another measure unrelated to upcoming natural gas exploration. The provision, now inserted into an environmental bill that largely cleaned up previous laws, would no longer require the Environmental Management Commission to create its own air-toxic rules for drilling operations if it determines federal or state regulations are adequate. Its decision would be based on recommendations of the state mining commission. Interest is magnified now that other rules already approved by state regulators to allow North Carolina's first fracking permit applications are poised for implementation next week.  [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
Groups sue feds to prevent drilling in Chaco region
Santa Fe New Mexican


ALBUQUERQUE — A coalition of environmental groups on Wednesday challenged federal land managers over the approval of dozens of oil and gas drilling permits in northwestern New Mexico. The groups filed their lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Interior Department in federal court as a small group of activists rallied outside the state Capitol. The activists said more development and hydraulic fracturing could harm the environment and sites such as the Chaco Culture National Historical Park. “The Bureau of Land Management is not taking serious consideration of the sacredness of the greater Chaco region and the impacts on surrounding Diné communities as they continue to approve more drilling and fracking,” said Colleen Cooley with Dine Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment. Diné is the Navajo word for “the people.”  [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
Maryland Lawmakers, Residents Split on Fracking Debate
Your4State.com
Kirstin Garriss

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Maryland lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are split when it comes to debate on fracking or hydraulic natural gas drilling. Many are concerned it will harm the environmental while others say it will bring jobs and revenue to rural parts of the state. If fracking starts in Maryland, it would be mostly in Allegany and Garrett counties. Compared to Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Maryland would only be drilling into about two percent of the Marcellus Shale. When it comes to the fracking debate, the majority of the Allegany and Garrett County leadership at the state and county levels support fracking and they want to see it happen in the future. Senator George Edwards (R-District 1) said he wants strict rules and regulations that would allow locals to take advantage of the financial boost from fracking while preserving the area’s natural beauty. "It’s an emotional issue," said Senator Edwards. "My main thing is to make sure if we do it, we do it right and we have the appropriate rules and regulations in place, and monitoring in place to make sure things aren’t destroy along the way."  [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
Get Ready for Oil Deals: Shale Is Going on Sale
Bloomberg


(Bloomberg) -- A decision by Whiting Petroleum Corp., the largest producer in North Dakota’s Bakken shale basin, to put itself up for sale looks to be the first tremor in a potential wave of consolidation as $50-a-barrel prices undercut companies with heavy debt and high costs. For the first time since wildcatters such as Harold Hamm of Continental Resources Inc. began extracting significant amounts of oil from shale formations, acquisition prospects from Texas to the Great Plains are looking less expensive.  [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
Enacting Truth at the FERC: Building to a Crisis Moment
Popular Resistance
Lee Stewart

“This is inappropriate,” said a woman from somewhere behind me. I knew then, with great disappointment, that our time was short. The flier handed out at the Woman of the Year Award for Cheryl LaFleur, The flier handed out at the Woman of the Year Award for Cheryl LaFleur, Ellen and I had been flyering in the lobby of the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC. Like hundreds of others who came to the hotel that evening, we were there for the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment’s 34th Annual Woman of the Year Gala. Nobody noticed when we slipped past the registration table and into the gala itself, despite not having paid for tickets.  [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
Pipelines or Rail for Fossil Fuels are False Choices
NO FRACKING WAY
DORY HIPPAUF

The so called “train bombs” are gaining public attention, mainly due to the media reporting. We have to keep in mind the first rule of reporting news – If it bleeds, it leads. A train derailment with a spectacular fireball is more “entertaining” than a pipeline leak. Transport of fossil fuels by rail is more expensive than transport via pipeline. Due to the cost considerations of rail or pipelines it is obvious the industry would prefer to use a pipeline. The frequency of news reporting around rail accidents involving fossil fuels has put the public in “scare mode” with every train being looked at as a potential disaster. This works to the industry’s benefit in proposing more and more pipelines.   [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
Thanks to California’s disclosure law, we’re finding out what’s in fracking wastewater, and it ain’t pretty
Grist
Ben Adler

On so many issues, California is the green leader, showing other states how it should be done better. But better is not necessarily the same thing as flawless. Right now, California is doing a better job of regulating fracking than any other state that allows it — but, of course, many local activists would rather the state just banned it, as New York has. The federal government doesn’t require fracking companies to disclose the chemicals they use in their operations, and it has failed to produce data on the safety of fracking. Five years after the U.S. EPA announced plans to study fracking’s effect on drinking water, industry resistance has thwarted the effort. It’s up to states to require fracking operations to disclose what chemicals they are using and to find out if those chemicals are getting into the public water supply when frackers inject their wastewater underground. Most state governments, beholden to fossil fuel interests, aren’t doing this.  [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
Lawmakers grill state oil regulators on oversight failures
Los Angeles Times
Julie Cart

On Tuesday, state lawmakers took their turn lambasting California's beleaguered oil and gas agency at a hearing in which senators called the agency's historic practices corrupt, inept and woefully mismanaged.  [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
Lawmakers Move to Regulate Pipelines, After a Record Spill in a Drilling Boom
InsideClimate News
Zahra Hirji

Two months after the biggest fracking-related spill in recent North Dakota history, state lawmakers are pushing legislation that could help prevent similar disasters in the future. More than 2 million gallons of toxic wastewater gushed from a hole in the type of pipeline known as a "gathering line" near the town of Williston between the last week of December and first week of January. The spill contaminated at least two local waterways. The rupture went unnoticed for about 12 days before a pipeline worker discovered it. Gathering lines carry oil, gas and wastewater laced with heavy metals, high salt levels and possibly radioactive material from wells to other sites, for processing or disposal. The number of such lines continues to soar in the midst of the nation’s fracking boom.  [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
Editorial: Rail safety must be improved
Poughkeepsie Journal
Editorial

Improving commuter rail safety is an imperative undertaking — something that has become quite apparent in recent years as Metro-North has dealt with a spate of accidents, some leading to fatalities. After a deadly derailment last year in the Bronx, the Federal Railroad Administration issued a troubling report, citing a host of shortfalls, including delays to track maintenance and upgrades to equipment.   [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
NYSEG says it’s been forced to deny Ithaca area requests for natural gas
The Ithaca Voice
Jeff Stein

Ithaca, N.Y. — Local residents and businesses are being denied their applications to be supplied with natural gas because of opposition to a new pipeline in Dryden, according to the New York Electric and Gas Corporation.  [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
UPDATE 4-Canada toughens oil tank car standards, wants even new ones out by 2025
Reuters
Randall Palmer

(Reuters) - Canada proposed tough new oil tank car standards on Wednesday and said even improved tank cars coming into service now would have to be off the rails by 2025 at the latest. The announcement comes after a rash of fiery derailments in Canada and the United States, including some that involved the newer, improved rail cars, and as more oil increasingly travels by rail due to higher output and a shortage of pipelines.  [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
Three Houston County residents file ethics complaints regarding frac sand mining
WXOW ABC Wisconsin
Taj Simmons

RUSHFORD, Minn. (KTTC) -- Bryan Van Gorp's sprawling Houston County estate is his own slice of heaven. However, he said the recent action of Houston County Commissioners reversing their stance on a potential frac sand mining ban may threaten his way of life. "Just about a quarter of a mile away is where a proposed mine is that would be adjacent to my house," said Van Gorp as he showed off his land. Van Gorp is one of three members of the Houston County Protectors that filed separate ethics complaints against Houston County Zoning Administrator Bob Scanlan on Tuesday. In his complaint, Van Gorp claims Scanlan misrepresented facts in an attempt to allow a frac sand mine in the county to operate illegally.   [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
Wolf’s environmental chief questioned on gas tax, new drilling rules
NPR-State Impact PA
MARIE CUSICK

Governor Wolf’s pick to head the state Department of Environmental Protection spent much of Wednesday afternoon defending the new administration’s proposed gas drilling policies at a state House budget hearing in Harrisburg. John Maher (R- Allegheny) began by questioning acting DEP Secretary John Quigley about why the administration quickly disbanded the agency’s Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board (TAB).  [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
Fearing More Protests, FERC Makes “Sit Down and Shut Up” Rule
Cetology
Darius Dixon

SO, THERE IS A RULE FOR ‘SIT DOWN AND BE QUIET’: FERC leaders have apparently had more than enough of the anti-fracking protests that have disrupted their meetings — and in very FERC-ian fashion, they’ve approved a new rule on it. Order No. 806 clarifies that for the public, the right to observe meetings “does not include disruptive behavior.” The rule notes that “unscheduled statements” are forbidden ex parte communications and “will not be included in the record or considered by the Commission.” It doesn’t impose any real penalties on disruptive individuals, though, so protestors will still simply be escorted out of the room.  [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
Western Maryland business owners, residents call for moratorium on fracking
WBAL NBC Baltimore
David Collins

ANNAPOLIS, Md. —Concerned about public health, dozens of business owners and residents from western Maryland are calling for an eight-year moratorium on fracking in the state.  [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
Break On Through To the Canadian Side—Moving Marcellus Gas to the Maritimes
RBN Energy
Housley Carr

As if there weren’t enough reasons to add new natural gas pipeline capacity through New England, it’s time to consider another: the Sable Island and Deep Panuke gas production areas off the coast of Nova Scotia are quickly losing their oomph, and soon the Canadian Maritimes will need to rely more heavily on gas from other, more distant sources, including the Marcellus. Developing pipelines to move large volumes of Marcellus gas through New England to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia will not be easy though. Today we continue our look at the challenges of supplying gas to New England and its northern neighbors. The gas supply/demand dynamic in the Canadian Maritime provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia adds another layer of complexity to the situation in New England, which already struggles with gas supply during very cold winter days. The Sable Island Offshore Project (SIOP) and Deep Panuke discoveries once were viewed as the next big things for New England gas supply (see Is Late-Arriving Deep Panuke Gas a Case of “Right Time, Wrong Place?”). SIOP started producing in December 1999, and was the first to use the 800 MMcf/d Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline (MNP), which runs 730 miles from Goldboro, NS to near Boston. SIOP for a time was a big deal, producing more than 350 MMcf/d through most of its first 10 years. But in the past five years production has steadily declined (see light olive green layer in Figure #1); in January 2015 it produced only 175 MMcf/d, and gas flows are expected to continue falling until SIOP is shut down a few years shy of its predicted 25-year lifespan. Deep Panuke had been seen as a supplement to--and eventual replacement for—SIOP (and for liquefied natural gas imported through the Canaport terminal in Saint John, NB; blue layer in Figure #1), but it’s turned into something of a disappointment. For one thing, Deep Panuke came online more than three years behind schedule, producing its first gas in August 2013, by which time Marcellus production was approaching 12 Bcf/d (Marcellus/Utica production now tops 19 Bcf/d). For another, Deep Panuke’s production levels—originally targeted at 400 MMcf/d, then dialed back to 300 MMcf/d—fell short of expectations. Production peaked in January 2014 at 282 MMcf/d (teal green layer) and owner Encana Corp. has since decided to focus Deep Panuke production on the winter months (when gas demand and prices are higher). In February 2015 Encana also reduced its estimate for remaining gas reserves at Deep Panuke to 80 Bcf, from its earlier estimate of 200 Bcf. (There’s one other gas producing area in the Canadian Maritimes: the McCully Field near Sussex, NB (orange layer), but it’s a very minor player.) All this suggests that offshore Nova Scotia gas production will be playing a smaller and smaller role.  [Full Story]

Mar 11, 2015
Town residents ban natural gas fracking (CT)
Republican-American
JACK CORAGGIO

WASHINGTON, Conn. — Some 80 town residents at a hearing last week unanimously voted to ban the storage, disposal or use of any waste created from hydraulic fracturing — better known as fracking — a controversial method of extracting natural gas. "No person may accept, receive, collect, store, treat, transfer or dispose of any waste or fluid from hydraulic fracturing," states the new ordinance, which is the first of its kind for Connecticut municipalities. "No person may sell, offer for sale, barter, manufacture, distribute or use any product for anti-icing, de-icing, pre-wetting or dust suppression that is derived from or that contains waste from hydraulic fracturing."   [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
KD Investigates: As Drilling Ramps Up, So Do The Lawsuits
CBS Pittsburgh
Andy Sheehan

CHARTIERS-HOUSTON (KDKA) — Gary Andreis’s house in Chartiers-Houston is just downhill from a natural gas compressor station which he says has flooded his yard and poisoned his well, forcing him and his family to live on bottled water. “My water well’s contaminated,” says Andreis. “I got bad arsenic problems, other chemicals in my water well.” Andreis blames runoff from a containment pond adjacent to the compressor station and has hired an attorney to take the owner and operator, MarkWest Energy, to court.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Environmental groups align efforts to challenge FERC pipeline projects
Augusta Free Press


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is not informing the public about the big picture when it comes to natural gas infrastructure projects related to increased gas drilling in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations according to several environmental groups. The groups represent interests in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia and are concerned that the regional impacts to forests, watersheds, air quality, and wildlife are largely being ignored as FERC approves new gas pipelines and compressor stations across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. The groups contend that FERC’s rush to increase natural gas infrastructure incentivizes fracking for shale gas while stifling the development of renewable energy.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Three Area Farmers Want You to Say 'No' to "Forced Pooling"
WDTV
Alex Wiederspiel

Natural gas may very well be th energy wave of the future. From President Obama to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and all across the political spectrum, there's support for one of the fastest growing industries nationwide and here at home. Local farmers Robert and Tim Spencer and Bill Suan aren't opposed to natural gas, but they are opposed to House Bill 2688. It's a bill that they say will strip farmers of their ability to negotiate in good faith. "Well you really don't know what you're up against, but without your negotiating power you're at their will," said Tim Spencer, referring to Oil and Gas Companies. "But the basis of this is they are taking our private property," said Bill Suan. "This is giving private corporations the right to take our property."   [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Citizen Journalist Operating Frack Tour Bullied Yet Undaunted
Truthout
Opinion Maura Stephens

Many people have claimed to have played a pivotal role in getting New York governor Andrew Cuomo to "ban" fracking, and although the "ban" is more of an extension of a temporary moratorium, it took the hard work of many thousands of activists, both sung and unsung. One person who can rightly claim to have done more than her fair share is Vera Scroggins, retiree, citizen journalist and dedicated "Northeast Pennsylvania frack tour" operator. As a member of Shaleshock Media Alliance, she has posted countless hours of videotaped interviews, fracking operations footage, hearings, meetings, rallies and protests, often accompanied by her own sometimes-amusing commentary. And with fellow Pennsylvanians, she has brought hundreds of people from their home state, neighboring New York and Ohio, and all over the country and the world to see for themselves what the gas and oil industry don't want them to see: what it's like to live in a frack zone. Visitors witness dirty air, poisoned water, heavy traffic, and other unpleasant accompaniments to heavy industrialization - and go home armed with this knowledge, determined to keep frackers from invading their own communities.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Agencies admit failing to protect water sources from fuel pollution
Los Angeles Times
Julie Cart

The agencies charged with overseeing oil production and protecting California's ever-dwindling water sources from the industry's pollution all fell down on the job, one state official told a panel of peeved lawmakers Tuesday. During a testy two-hour oversight hearing, officials from the California Department of Conservation, the department's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources and the state Water Resources Control Board promised senators a top-down overhaul of their regulation of the disposal of oil field wastewater.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
America is literally on fire: How out-of-control oil spills are destroying our population centers
Salon
David Dayan

It’s a good bet that someplace in North America is on fire right now, raging so out of control that officials have to let it burn itself out. And it happened because highly flammable oil was placed on a train for shipping, and something went drastically wrong. Because so much oil is transported by rail these days, the probabilities of catastrophe have elevated significantly. We haven’t ruined a major population center yet only through dumb luck; and we haven’t cracked down on this treacherous practice only because of the enormous power of the industry. Last Thursday, 21 oil tanker cars derailed near Galena, Illinois, and five of them burned for three days. Firefighters gave up combating it because of the intensity of the heat. Tanks tumbled into a bank along the Mississippi River, threatening the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. The EPA said the fire posed an “imminent and substantial danger” to the river. On Saturday, another train caught fire near Gogama, Ontario, damaging a bridge and sending five tank cars into the water. A similar train fire occurred on Feb. 14 near the Ontario town of Timmis, and on Feb. 16 in the almost perfectly named town of Mount Carbon, West Virginia. In all, over the past five weeks there have been five crude oil train derailments, threatening ecosystems and human health. You can follow all the “action” at the DOT-111 Reader.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Money and Policy Now Support Renewables
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Money and energy policy don’t always walk hand in hand unless, of course, it is in the form of campaign contributions. The year 2015, however, may turn out to be the year energy policy for renewables finally commits to the financial sector. And like all great commitments or marriages, it will have its ups and downs, its laughs and its tears. But one thing is certain. It’s gonna be interesting. Ernst and Young, a preeminent, big accounting firm issued a report in March 2015 which proclaims: “The public and private sectors are both committing significant sums to fund ambitious capacity programs and large-scale projects, while policy signals are becoming increasingly positive in many markets.”   [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Officials Investigating Deadly Rig Explosion in Upton County
News Channel 10 CBS


UPTON COUNTY – NewsWest 9 crews are on the scene of a deadly accident in Upton County. Details about the accident are very limited at this time but we're told the accident happened in North Upton County. The Upton County Sheriff's Office tells NewsWest 9, the accident was a rig explosion.   [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
NextDecade pushing pair of billion dollar LNG projects in Texas
Bakken.com
Ross Torgerson | Shale Plays Media

A pair of multi-billion dollar LNG projects are set to take off in the coming months in Brownsville and Galveston. According to the Houston Business Journal, Woodlands-based NextDecade LLC is planning to file applications later this month for an $8 billion Rio Grande LNG project and a $6 billion Pelican Island LNG project near Galveston. NextDecade CEO Kathleen Eisbrenner says both projects aim to export LNG to non-Free Trade Agreement nations like Japan and India. The Rio Grande Project includes a new option-to-lease agreement with the Port of Brownsville and would expand the company’s site from 500 acres to 1,000 acres for its proposed export terminal near the southern-most tip of Texas. The company would also construct a 130-mile pipeline from Brownsville to the Agua Ducle market hub near Corpus Christi. Eisbrenner says the goal is to begin construction in Brownsville as early as 2017 and to begin operations in 2020.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Mexico postpones vote on water bill after pressure from NGOs
BNAmericas
Rodrigo Alonso

The lower house of Mexico's congress has postponed discussion of a water bill in order to listen to all observations and points of view from civil organizations and left-wing movements, PRI majority leader Manlio Fabio Beltrones announced on Monday. Congress had been scheduled to approve the bill on Tuesday after lawmakers of the ruling centrist PRI party, right-wing opposition PAN party and from the PVEM green party approved the proposed legislation on March 4 in the committee stage. Civil organizations and NGOs asked lawmakers to reject the bill, describing it as "unsustainable, unfair and discriminatory," the Coalition of Mexican Organizations for the Right to Water said in a joint statement during a press conference in Mexico City on Monday  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Western Maryland activists to rally March 11 in Annapolis
ohio.com
Bob Downing

From a press release today from Maryland groups: Annapolis, Md. – On Wednesday, March 11, Western Marylanders are coming to Annapolis to help deliver over 20,000 messages to state lawmakers calling for a long-term moratorium on fracking before testifying before the House Committee on Environment and Transportation in favor of the Protect Our Health and Communities Act (HB 449/SB 409). During a noon press conference on Lawyers' Mall, Western Maryland business leaders will emphasize how fracking threatens the region's booming tourism industry, and why a moratorium is needed to protect the local economy. Over 100 business leaders from Western Maryland also signed onto a letter, to be delivered on Wednesday, urging the moratorium. Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo and Senator Karen Montgomery are the two lead sponsors on the Protect Our Health and Communities Act (HB 449/SB 409), introduced in February, to enact a long-term moratorium on fracking in the state. Business owners are in favor of a moratorium due to concerns that fracking will negatively impact the booming tourism industry in Maryland.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Up to 50 fracking wells for yorkshire sites
Yorkshire Post


FRACKING could hit North Yorkshire “on an industrial scale” as a leading energy firm says up to 50 wells could end up being used in the region. Third Energy, one of the firms involved in the shale gas rush in North Yorkshire, has admitted there could be many dozens of wells in rural Yorkshire as it continues to look at just how much shale gas is buried beneath the region. John Dewar, director of operations at Third Energy, told MPs that at the largest estimate, some 50 wells would be needed in drilling locations such as Ryedale.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Panel accepts some fracking safeguards for state parks, rejects others
The Columbus Dispatch
Darrel Rowland

By mostly party-line votes, a legislative panel turned back a pair of amendments today that would have offered additional protections to state parks and forests from fracking. However, a possible final vote on House Bill 8 was delayed for yet another week. The measure would set up a new process in Ohio for combining parcels of land from different owners into a large unit that oil and gas drillers need. An amendment was approved today from Rep. Christina Hagan, an Alliance Republican who is vice chair of the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee, to stipulate that fracking not disturb the surface of any state area included in a fracking unit. She said that, with the change, frackers would need a completely separate agreement for operations that would affect any public land at the surface.   [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Western Md. Realtors support fracking moratorium bills
myfoxdc.com
AP

OAKLAND, Md. (AP) - Real-estate brokers in far western Maryland are supporting a proposal in the Maryland General Assembly for an eight-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas pending further study. The Garrett County Board of Realtors expressed concern Tuesday about the possible impact of fracking on public health. They say fears of health problems from well-water contamination can reduce home values by at least 20 percent. Garrett County contains most of Maryland's share of the gas-rich Marcellus shale. The House version of the moratorium bill is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Gov. Brown Sees No Harm In Fracking; California Report Suggest Otherwise
CBS SF Bay Area
Melissa Culross

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— A new report suggests that fracking operations in California produce highly contaminate wastewater. According to the non-profit, non-partisan Environmental Working Group (EWG), leaders are taking the results of its report to Sacramento. But where does Governor Jerry Brown stand on fracking? The governor is a supporter and like other supporters, he says there is no direct evidence of harm from fracking. Fracking supporters have also said the geology of California means less water is required for fracking here than is needed for the practice in other states.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Environmental groups align efforts to challenge FERC pipeline projects
Augusta Free Press


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is not informing the public about the big picture when it comes to natural gas infrastructure projects related to increased gas drilling in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations according to several environmental groups. The groups represent interests in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia and are concerned that the regional impacts to forests, watersheds, air quality, and wildlife are largely being ignored as FERC approves new gas pipelines and compressor stations across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. The groups contend that FERC’s rush to increase natural gas infrastructure incentivizes fracking for shale gas while stifling the development of renewable energy. “Natural gas is not a bridge fuel but an anchor keeping us stuck in the past,” said Ryan Talbott, executive director of the Allegheny Defense Project in Pennsylvania. “If we want to achieve meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions we need to get beyond all fossil fuels, including natural gas. We will never get to a clean energy future as long as FERC keeps incentivizing more fracking for shale gas through these infrastructure expansions.”  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
'Reawakened' faults could trigger big Okla. earthquakes
USA Today
Doyle Rice

They've been asleep since before the dinosaurs roamed Earth and now we're waking them up. Long-dormant, 300-million-year-old fault lines across Oklahoma are being "reawakened" by recent small earthquakes that have been previously linked to fracking, scientists reported in a new study out this week. The faults could trigger much higher-magnitude and more destructive quakes than most of the smaller ones that have plagued the state in recent years, according to the new research.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Oil Industry Injection Wells Routinely Fracture California Rock Formations
Center for Biological Diversity
Press Release

State’s Troubled Oil Agency Admits Allowing Illegal High-pressure Steam Injections That Create Water Pollution Risk, Deadly Sink Hole Danger SACRAMENTO— California’s troubled oil agency routinely approves high-pressure steam injections into oil wells that fracture rock formations, violating the law and increasing the risk of water pollution and deadly sinkhole accidents like a 2011 incident that killed a Kern County oil worker. This illegal practice was revealed in a new document released by the California Senate ahead of this morning’s oversight hearing on state regulators’ failure to protect scores of aquifers from Monterey to Kern and Los Angeles counties from oil industry injections of toxic waste fluid (see interactive map). The document says the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources, or DOGGR allows cyclic steam injection that “routinely exceeds the fracture gradient of the formation” in violation of state regulations and the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Cyclic steam injection is widespread in California oilfields. “Gov. Brown’s oil regulators are rubberstamping high-pressure steam injections that can pollute our water and cause horrific accidents,” said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity. “This shows once again that state officials have ignored the law and haven’t protected California’s precious aquifers from toxic oil waste.”  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Pennsylvania DEP to revise fracking practises
Shale Energy Insider
James Perkins

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is revising legislation which will discourage and possibly ban the use of open waste pits by shale operations. Under the draft proposals, companies operating in the Marcellus and Utica shale gas site will no longer be able to use waste pits and will have to close or upgrade storage ponds. The change in water storage policy comes following several leaks and suggestions of soil or water contamination from waste which resulted in multi-million dollar environmental fines for several companies. In addition, the DEP is to push for a reduction in noise at drilling sites and increase restrictions around schools and playgrounds, treating them similarly to parks and historical sites. The changes will come as part of a wide overhaul of drilling regulations in the state, following four years of public consultation and comment from the industry and environmental groups.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Analysis of California’s Fracking Wastewater Reveals a Slew of Toxic Chemicals Linked to Cancer and Other Illnesses
Eco Watch
Anastasia Pantsios

California is currently the only state that requires chemical testing of fracking wastewater and public disclosure of the findings. That’s good. What’s not so good is what the testing and disclosure reveal. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has completed an analysis of data released by the state during the first year of new reporting requirements. It found that the high levels of the carcinogen benzene in California’s fracking wastewater isn’t the only thing Californians have to worry about from the state’s extensive oil and gas fracking operations and the injection of chemical-laced wastewater back into the ground once drilling is completed.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Fracking documents raise ire among Yukon conservationists
cbcnews.ca


Internal government documents accidentally released to a reporter last week revealed advanced planning for fracking have raised the ire of Yukoners opposed to the practice. "They're dishonest," says Don Roberts, who heads an advocacy group that is opposed to fracking, of the Yukon government. "They're not up front with Yukoners." The documents include a PowerPoint presentation summarizing the findings of the Legislature's select committee on hydraulic fracturing and a draft speech written for Minister Scott Kent. Both documents show plans to make an economic case for fracking in the territory. Roberts says the documents, reveal that the Yukon government has already made up its mind to frack, regardless of what people told the select committee on the issue.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
South Buffalo supervisors approve 4 horizontal gas wells
TribLive
Liz Hayes

The South Buffalo Supervisors approved a request from MDS Energy Development to drill four Marcellus shale natural gas wells from Biblical Life Institute property. Michael Knapp, vice president of land for West Kittanning-based MDS, told supervisors on Monday the wells would be drilled horizontally from one pad about 100 yards north of an existing MDS vertical well on the same Edwards Road property. If all goes well with the first four wells, Knapp said MDS likely would later request to drill four more horizontal wells from the same pad, for a total of nine Marcellus wells on the property. The first four horizontal wells would gather gas from the northwest, the latter four from the southeast. Knapp said they hope to “spud,” or drill the first 40 feet, of the first well by the end of the month if permits from the state Department of Environmental Protection are approved in time. However, he said the bulk of the drilling work likely won't occur until better, dryer weather that will allow the land to support the heavy equipment.   [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Ineos to embark on ‘fracking’ in northwest England
Ft.com
Christopher Adams

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/0/7b8a1894-c713-11e4-9e34-00144feab7de.html#ixzz3U15QyOzu Ineos, the Swiss-based chemicals group, is to embark on an ambitious “fracking” campaign in northwest England, with plans to spend £138m in the next few years to drill for shale gas after buying exploration rights from rival IGas. The deal with IGas, the UK’s biggest shale gas explorer by acreage, will hand Ineos stakes of 50-60 per cent in seven licence areas in the northwest. These include land where drilling permission has already been granted near Chester and Ellesmere Port in Cheshire and next to the M6 motorway’s Thelwall Viaduct, west of Manchester.   [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Frostburg State Project Records Public Comments On Fracking
CBS Baltimore


FRIENDSVILLE, Md. (AP) — Frostburg State University students are recording public comments about prospects for natural gas drilling in western Maryland. They’re holding a “listening event” Tuesday in Friendsville as part of a project to document local opinions about the drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Associate Professor Kara Rogers Thomas says students in her Appalachian folklore class began making the audio recordings last fall. Students in her environmental sociology course are continuing the work this semester. They’ll share preliminary findings at a Frostburg community event April 22.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
NC House Members Want Air Emission Rules for Fracking
Time Warner Cable News
AP

RALEIGH--Three North Carolina Republican lawmakers want to make clear a state environmental panel must draw up rules designed to minimize toxic emissions related to any upcoming natural gas exploration through fracking. The Wake County House members filed the bill Monday, a week after a flap over a provision inserted into another bill by the House majority leader. That floor amendment would have opened the door for the Environmental Management Commission to avoid developing such rules if it determined current state or federal rules were good enough. The House ultimately decided to defeat the potential exemption for the commission offered by Majority Leader Mike Hager of Rutherfordton. The new bill says the commission also must set standards to minimize leaks of natural gas from fracking operations.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Harold Hamm: 'Cowboyistan' Will Save the American Oil Boom
Newsmax
John Morgan

Fracking billionaire Harold Hamm has a dream scenario for U.S. domination of global oil, according to Forbes. It involves U.S. energy companies dialing back production in unison, and also being allowed to export their production to other nations for the first time in decades. Hamm, the CEO of Continental Resources who has lost nearly half his fortune — about $7 billion — since the oil shock got underway in 2014, is optimistic these days, according to Forbes' Christopher Helman. "Once you get by about a year here it's going to open back up again," Hamm told Helman. "Worldwide demand is going to catch up with supply. And this thing solves itself. We could be sitting here a year from now talking about an undersupply. It's very short term. Just doesn't feel that way."   [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Today @NCCapitol (March 10): Redistricting, 'fracking' bills headline the day
wral.com
Mark Binker

RALEIGH, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Tuesday, March 10. Here's what's going at at the legislature and around state government. FRACKING: Controversial legislative language that would govern air quality standards for natural gas drilling operations will be back in in a legislative committee the week after it was scuttled during House debate on a separate bill. Rep. Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, said Monday night that he would try again to push the amendment, which would remove a requirement that the state's Environmental Management Commission adopt air quality standards for drilling operations exploring for natural gas using hydraulic fracturing, which is often called "fracking." When that amendment failed last week, his colleagues grumbled that he had sprung the legislation on them unannounced and not clearly explained.   [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Fracking Regs Appear Headed for Final Approval at State Capitol
wkms
Stu Johnson

Additional regulations regarding hydraulic fracturing - or fracking - appear headed for legislative approval in Frankfort. Supporters of the measure include members of the oil and gas industry. A group of farmers, environmental activists, and members of the oil and gas industry have worked together on the bill for months. Andrew McNeil with Kentucky's Oil and Gas Association called it, "consensus legislation." "They're regulations that we think meet the needs of protecting the environment, but it's not gonna be something that will create an impediment to investment," McNeil said. McNeil said there is interest in deep shale development in eastern Kentucky. He said the job potential is significant. Tom Fitzgerald with the Kentucky Resources Council says passage of this bill wouldn't mean a major increase in fracking.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Offshore drilling plans meet with skepticism
Miami Herald
Sean Cockerham

WASHINGTON News that President Barack Obama is proposing to open Georgia’s coastal waters to oil and gas drilling has taken many people in the state off guard, and opponents are scrambling to resist the plan. “It’s definitely clear that they woke up,” said Claire Douglass, campaign director for the environmental group Oceana. Offshore drilling is a “little bit of a newer idea” in Georgia than in the Carolinas and Virginia, the other states Obama is proposing to open to offshore drilling after decades of debate, said Hunter Hopkins, executive director of the Georgia Petroleum Council, who has been hearing concerns about the plan. “Communities along the coast of Georgia are very aware of it, and I’ve been getting calls from people all up and down the Georgia coast,” Hopkins said. “Some are just simply looking for more information, some are all for it, and other folks don’t want it to happen.”   [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Natural gas rush could result in higher energy bills in future
ohio.com
Bob Downing

From the Union of Concerned Scientists today: TODAY’S RUSH TO NATURAL GAS COULD MEAN HIGHER ENERGY BILLS TOMORROW NEW REPORT SHOWS DIVERSIFYING ELECTRICITY MIX WITH RENEWABLES, ENERGY EFFICIENCY CAN LIMIT RISKS OF NATURAL GAS OVERRELIANCE WASHINGTON (March 10, 2015) — Homes and businesses across the country are becoming increasingly vulnerable to higher electricity bills as utilities rely more and more on natural gas to generate electricity, according to a report released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Ramping up energy efficiency and renewable energy resources like solar and wind power would help insulate consumers against these economic risks, while also diversifying the power mix and reducing climate risks by cutting heat-trapping carbon emissions. The report, The Natural Gas Gamble, shows that the power sector is leading us into a danger zone by favoring natural gas over renewables and energy efficiency options.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Could solar power overtake natural gas in the US?
Quartz
Frank Jossi

On the outskirts of downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, Xcel Energy’s High Bridge Generating Station offers an iconic view of the current state of electrical generation in the United States. Opened in 2008 as a replacement for an aging coal plant, the 534-megawatt natural gas facility looms over three solar photovoltaic panels that provide a sculptural element to the site in addition to 9.8 kilowatts of electricity. In the United States in 2014, PV accounted for around half of a percent of the nation’s electricity production compared with natural gas’s 27%, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Yet if PV seems more ornamental than a serious energy contender, the data over the past two years documenting a dramatic increase in PV generation show a promising rookie ready to compete in the big leagues.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Anti-fracking coalition responds to Senate hearing on oil regulations
Central Valley
Dan Bacher

“The ongoing contamination of California’s drinking and irrigation water with toxic oil industry waste fluids is yet another example of why oil companies can’t be trusted to operate while ensuring the protection of our communities’ health and the environment,” Dan Jacobson, State Director of Environment California said on behalf of Californians Against Fracking. The California State Senate today held an oversight hearing in Sacramento to examine why California oil regulators issued hundreds of illegal permits that allowed the oil industry to inject toxic wastewater directly into protected aquifers. Speakers at the Joint Hearing of the California Senate Natural Resources and Water and Environmental Quality Committees included Mark Nechodom, Ph.D, Director, Department of Conservation; Jonathan Bishop, Chief Deputy Director, State Water Resources Control Board; Matthew Rodriguez, Secretary, the California Environmental Protection Agency; and John Laird, Secretary, the California Natural Resources Agency. "We all fell down on the job," admitted Director Nechodom. He also said engineers at DOGGR monitoring wastewater injection were "not fully qualified." The hearing, "Ensuring Groundwater Protection: Is the Underground Injection Control Program Working?,” took place as California continues in a record drought and the oil industry is planning to expand the environmentally destructive practice of fracking in California.   [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Report on Offshore Wind Power for New York Provides Roadmap for Reducing Costs, Realizing Potential of Utility-Scale Clean Energy
PR Newswire


NEWARK, Del., March 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study, conducted by the University of Delaware's Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW) for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), offers a roadmap of key strategic stepsNew York State can take to reduce costs of offshore wind power over the next decade. The study finds that ongoing technology and industry advances combined with actions New York could take, independently or with other states, could lower costs for offshore wind power as much as 50 percent and bring the clean-energy source closer to realizing its potential for "delivering utility-scale renewable electric generation" to New York City and nearby areas such as Long Island.   [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
We Keep Spilling Oil Into America’s Greatest Rivers
ThinkProgress
EMILY ATKIN

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a grave warning about the Mississippi River on Saturday. Because of an oil spill, it said, the cultural landmark is in “imminent and substantial danger” of being contaminated. The oil spill came from a train carrying 103 cars of Bakken crude oil from North Dakota. On Thursday afternoon, 17 cars of that train derailed in northern Illinois, each carrying approximately 30,000 gallons of crude. EPA officials aren’t sure how much oil has spilled, but noted that a seasonal wetland has already been affected. The river, one of its tributaries, and the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge are all in danger of contamination, the agency said.  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Offshore oil drilling plan for the Atlantic Coast gets N.J. public hearing
NJ.com
Mary Ann Spoto

When the federal government recently included the Atlantic Coast in a plan for offshore oil and gas drilling, many environmental advocates and lawmakers in the Garden State went ballistic. Next week, they'll be able to deliver their comments directly to federal officials during a public hearing on the issue in Atlantic City. The announcement of the hearing date comes after several of New Jersey's representatives in Washington, D.C., demanded federal officials hear directly from those who would be affected by the drilling. "Oil drilling in the Atlantic would put New Jersey's shore communities and our state's economy at significant risk," U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th Dist.) said in a prepared join statement. "Residents and business owners who will be most seriously impacted must make sure that their voices are heard loud and clear on an issue that is so critical to the Jersey Shore and our state as a whole."  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Christie, Defending Exxon Deal, Says Environmental Damage Will Be Repaired
The New York Times
KATE ZERNIKE and BENJAMIN WEISER

SOMERVILLE, N.J. — Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday defended his administration’s decision to settle a multibillion-dollar pollution suit against Exxon Mobil Corporation for a fraction of what the state had originally sought, saying the $225 million deal was “on top of” the company’s obligation to clean up the damage it caused. “They have to fix everything that they polluted up to state standards, and there is no cap on what they have to pay,” the governor said in his first public comments on the settlement since The New York Times reported the deal last month. “So, no matter what it cost them to fix what they created, they have to pay, and then on top of that they pay another 225 million for having done the act in the first place.”  [Full Story]

Mar 10, 2015
Doctors Connect Climate Change and Worsening of Respiratory Illness
InsideClimate News
David Hasemyer

Doctors seeing worsening of asthma associated with exposure to ozone or other pollutants, more severe allergy seasons, and more cases of lung disease.  [Full Story]

Mar 9, 2015
Croatians 'sleep-walking' into destroying tourism with Adriatic energy industry
The Guardian
Andrew MacDowall

An ancient walled city on a sparkling sea, surrounded by beaches and backed by the Dinaric Alps, Budva in Montenegro is one of dozens of Venetian-influenced towns along the Adriatic coast and the centrepiece of a tourism boom. Holidaymakers are drawn by Croatian islands such as Hvar, favoured by yachters, and Pag, popular with partygoers and foodies alike, as well as the famous city of Dubrovnik, known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic”. However, concerns are rising that this could all be jeopardised by the growth of the oil and gas industry. Amid growing opposition to offshore development in one of Europe’s top travel destinations, a conference promoting Adriatic oil and gas exploration is being held in Budva on Tuesday. Government ministers, energy industry executives and financiers will discuss “key legal issues surrounding oil and gas exploration”.  [Full Story]

Mar 9, 2015
What others say: Walker shocked to find politics going on in Juneau
Peninsula Clarion
Opinion Alaska Journal of Commerce

There was a lot of Louis Renault going around Juneau last week. The Casablanca police captain unforgettably pronounced himself shocked — shocked! — to find out gambling was going on in Rick Blaine’s club. Renault’s supposed ignorance of the routine business in Blaine’s club is of course belied a moment later when an employee hands him a stack of cash: “Your winnings, sir.” “Oh, thank you very much,” Renault says as he pockets the money, “now everybody out!” On March 2, Gov. Bill Walker took his turn as Renault first, proclaiming himself shocked the House leadership introduced a bill to prioritize the ongoing Alaska LNG Project over Walker’s nebulous plan announced Feb. 18 to create a competing project by upsizing the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline. A couple hours later, it was Rep. Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage, who declared he was shocked that the impulsive new governor would fly off the handle in the manner he did at a hastily called press conference by insulting the bill sponsors, declaring House Bill 132 unconstitutional and vowing a veto.  [Full Story]

Mar 9, 2015
Oil Prices Could Fall Again – Goldman Sachs
Oil&Gas 360


Goldman Sachs estimates near-term WTI prices could fall to $40 per barrel Oil prices could give back gains seen over the past few weeks, falling as low as $40 per barrel, according to Goldman Sachs. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil prices rose more than 20% between January and February due to supply disruptions in the Middle East, strong winter demand and high refinery margins, reports Reuters, but Goldman says that “the activity pull is sequentially weakening.” The bank expects that decreased demand from OECD-Asia and record builds in crude inventories in the United States will put continued pressure on the price of WTI. Goldman expects “OECD-Asia demand to decline in 2015 as stronger industrial production is offset by the continued switch to LNG (liquid natural gas) for power generation and the impending start-up of the two Sendai nuclear reactors in Japan.”  [Full Story]

Mar 9, 2015
Tar Sands by Rail Disasters: The Latest Wave in the Bomb Train Assault
DeSmogBlog
JUSTIN MIKULKA

With the first crash and explosion of a unit train of tar sands oil in Canada in February, we learned that the conventional wisdom among people covering the oil-by-rail industry regarding the flammability of tar sands oil has been dead wrong. A second derailment and explosion on March 7th involved synbit, which is a form of bitumen diluted with synthetic crude oil. While there are many examples of this mischaracterization of the dangers of moving tar sands by rail that can be found in the press, here at DeSmogBlog we didn’t have to look far. In an article last year about how to make Bakken crude less dangerous we wrote that the government had plans to allow tar sands oil to be transported in the unsafe DOT-111 rail tank cars “because it is not explosive.”  [Full Story]

Mar 9, 2015
Pressure is growing. A relentless climate movement is starting to win big, unprecedented victories around the world, victories which are quickly reshaping the consensus view.
The Guardian
Bill McKibben

he official view: all eyes are on Paris, where negotiators will meet in December for a climate conference that will be described as “the most important diplomatic gathering ever” and “a last chance for humanity.” Heads of state will jet in, tense closed-door meetings will be held, newspapers will report that negotiations are near a breaking point, and at the last minute some kind of agreement will emerge, hailed as “a start for serious action”. The actual story: what happens at Paris will be, at best, one small part of the climate story, one more skirmish in the long, hard-fought road to climate sanity. What comes before and after will count more. And to the extent Paris matters, its success will depend not on the character of our leaders but on how much a resurgent climate movement has softened up the fossil fuel industry, and how much pressure the politicians feel to deliver something.   [Full Story]

Mar 9, 2015
AM Alert: Is oil and gas drilling threatening California’s groundwater?
The Sacramento Bee
ALEXEI KOSEFF

The state agency regulating the oil industry recently acknowledged that it has fallen short, allowing companies to inject wastewater into federally protected aquifers. Officials ordered a dozen oil and gas wells in the Central Valley to stop production last week over concerns that they might be contaminating nearby underground water resources that could be used for drinking or irrigating crops. Another 11 wells were shut down last year, though testing has not yet uncovered any contamination.   [Full Story]

Mar 9, 2015
Welcome To Cowboyistan: Fracking King Harold Hamm's Plan For U.S. Domination Of Global Oil
Forbes
Christopher Helman

Fracking pioneer Harold Hamm has lost $7 billion since the oil market imploded. But where others see disaster, he sees a vast economic opportunity—for himself, and for America. For someone who has lost nearly half his fortune in six months, Harold Hamm is pretty chipper when we meet up for dinner on a warm January night in Houston. He’s calm, relaxed, fit. He’s been walking a lot, tracking his steps with a pedometer, eating right, and enjoying his hometown Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s even got a lady friend who he likes to spend time with, which is sort of surprising, considering he recently wrote his ex-wife Sue Ann a $975 million check to satisfy a court ruling in their highly public, seemingly endless divorce trial. “I’m just glad that’s in my rearview mirror,” he says with half a smile.   [Full Story]

Mar 9, 2015
Environmental movement blocks fracking in Algeria’s remote south
Financial Times
Borzou Daragahi

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/db622d4c-c0f6-11e4-88ca-00144feab7de.html#ixzz3TtxM9X1P An unprecedented environmental protest movement in a remote part of Algeria has disrupted the country’s multibillion-dollar shale programme and is making political waves across the north African nation and the wider region. Since the start of January, thousands of protesters have turned up daily in the rural town of Ain Salah, in the heart of the Sahara, to take part in increasingly raucous rallies against a $70bn hydraulic fracturing project they say will pollute the groundwater and disturb the environment.   [Full Story]

Mar 9, 2015
Cuomo administration saves power plant, reaps whirlwind
Capital New York
Scott Waldman

ALBANY—The repowering of a coal-fired Western New York power plant has turned into a seemingly unending headache for the Cuomo administration. Just over a year ago, on a frigid Sunday afternoon about a week before Christmas, Gov. Andrew Cuomo made an unusual weekend jaunt to Dunkirk to announce that he had a plan to save the city's power plant that was slated to be mothballed. Cuomo was, at that moment, a local hero, surrounded by desperate local elected officials who called the intervention a “Christmas Miracle,” because it saved jobs and a good chunk of the town's tax base. Later, a Cuomo campaign ad featuring Buffalo Bills great Thurman Thomas listed saving the plant as one of the governor's top achievements in Western New York, mentioned in the same breath as the Buffalo Billions.  [Full Story]

Mar 8, 2015
Former sex trade worker fighting trafficking in oil patch
AP News
Sharon Cohen

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — When she first arrived in town, Windie Lazenko headed to the neon-lit strip clubs and bars catering to lonely oil field workers with extra cash and time on their hands. She knew these were likely gathering spots for the sex trade — the life she'd given up long ago. For nearly two decades, Lazenko was part of that illicit world, starting as a 13-year-old runaway when, she says, she was bought and sold for sex. Prostitution, pornography and strip clubs followed. Then she walked away from it all. She eventually moved to Montana and a few years ago, while counseling at-risk girls, she began hearing about young women being recruited for prostitution in the Bakken oilfields. She wanted to help.  [Full Story]

Mar 8, 2015
Since the City of Denton Banned Fracking, Texas GOP Moves to Preempt Local Control
Truthout
Candice Bernd

"I do feel very strongly that air-quality measures and the engineering and scientific issues of oil and gas should be regulated at the state level, where the expertise is," Texas Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford) told a group of North Texans Monday, March 2, during a meeting in his Capitol office about a bill he introduced that would create barriers to a city's ability to regulate the oil and gas industry. The room was largely filled with people from Denton, which passed Texas' first ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) within city limits. Since the ban passed last fall in a landslide victory, state lawmakers connected to the oil and gas industry and to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have introduced a number of bills aimed at undermining local democracy, ostensibly to prevent other cities from following Denton's lead. Activists, however, says these bills would effectively kill local democracy so that citizens would lose the ability to introduce ballot referendums, and local governments would be unable to regulate industry to protect the health and safety of residents.  [Full Story]

Mar 8, 2015
The U.S. Natural Gas Environment In 8 Charts
Benzinga
Wayne Duggan

According to the most recent report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), natural gas power burn, the use of natural gas for power generation, reached record high levels in January and February. Unfortunately for gas investors, the surge in power burn has done little boost gas' slumping price in the current weak commodity price environment. Here is a breakdown of the state of the natural gas industry in eight images.   [Full Story]

Mar 8, 2015
Gas industry's pain ripples across Western Pennsylvania
Tribune-Review
Chris Fleisher

Lunch crowds in the Hardwood Cafe used to be packed with dozens of workers from the natural gas industry. A lot of them were regulars. Lately, some familiar faces have disappeared. “I would say it was right after the holidays that a lot of them were not coming back,” said Justin Trainor, who owns the restaurant in Penn. “The servers would say, ‘Oh, I haven't seen so and so,' and (the gas workers) would say, ‘Oh, they didn't bring them back.' ” The falloff in customers has put a dent in Trainor's business, which has benefited from the gas industry boom in Western Pennsylvania. But low gas prices have forced companies such as Rex Energy and XTO to pull back on new drilling, and the effects are beginning to ripple throughout the region's economy. Banks, hotels, restaurants and other businesses that have benefited from the boom times stand to share in the pain from a long-term drop in oil and gas prices.  [Full Story]

Mar 8, 2015
Oil train derails, leaks into waterway
The Columbus Dispatch
Jeffrey Hodgson

GOGAMA, Ontario — A Canadian National Railway train carrying crude oil derailed near the northern Ontario community of Gogama, with multiple cars on fire and some oil leaking into a waterway, the company said yesterday. There were no injuries reported from the derailment, Canadian National’s second in the region in just three days and third in less than a month.  [Full Story]

Mar 8, 2015
New concept in solar energy poised to catch on across US
Yahoo News
STEVE KARNOWSKI

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A new concept in renewable energy is catching fire across the country, allowing customers who might find solar panels too expensive or impractical to buy green energy anyway. Community solar gardens first took off in Colorado a few years ago, and the model — also known as community or shared solar — has spread to Minnesota, California, Massachusetts and several other states. Capacity is expected to grow sharply this year, and interest is up among both residential customers who just like the idea and large companies that want to cut their carbon footprints.  [Full Story]

Mar 8, 2015
Terms such as 'climate change,' 'global warming' were outlawed, former Florida DEP employees say (w/video)
Tampa Bay Times
Tristram Korten

DEP officials have been ordered not to use the terms "climate change" or "global warming" in any official communications, emails, or reports, according to former DEP employees, consultants, volunteers and records obtained by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.  [Full Story]

Mar 8, 2015
Protestors rally at Oklahoma capitol against fracking
Oklahoma City Sun Times
Will Hager

Dozens gathers at the Oklahoma capitol on Saturday to protest the increasingly common trend of fracking. Led by “The Coalition to Stop Induced Seismicity,” the protest aimed to place a moratorium on the wells activity for a year. From OKC FOX:  [Full Story]

Mar 8, 2015
As oil trains continue to derail, top Pennsylvania officials demand federal action
LancasterOnline
Ad Crable

With trains carrying explosive Bakken crude oil continuing to derail in Pennsylvania, the United States and Canada, Gov. Tom Wolf, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and Lancaster County’s emergency management director are voicing concerns. “The potential for disaster is too great to ignore,” Wolf wrote in a Feb. 27 letter to President Barack Obama in which he said oil train safety is a top priority for his administration.  [Full Story]

Mar 8, 2015
Pipeline Company Threatens Legal Action Against Survey Holdouts
West Virginia Public Radio
Jesse Wright

Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC sent out letters threatening legal action against property owners who refused access to their land for surveying. Groups opposed to the pipeline believe there is no basis for legal action. The issue appears far from black and white.  [Full Story]

Mar 8, 2015
Pipeline leak causes 10,000-gallon spill in McKenzie County
Bakken.coim
AP

BISMARCK, N.D. — The North Dakota Department of Health says a ruptured pipeline led to a 10,000-gallon oil spill in McKenzie County. The leak occurred after the pipeline owned by Belle Fourche Pipeline Co. was struck by equipment Friday during excavation of the area about 18 miles south of Alexander. Health department officials say the leak was “mostly confined” to the excavated area and has not impacted any waterway. Officials say the spill is not a threat to public health at this time.  [Full Story]

Mar 7, 2015
Waste Disposal Site Near Williston Explodes
KXNT-CBS
Macy Egeland

An oil waste disposal site just south of Williston exploded early this morning. McKenzie County Emergency Manager Karolin Rockvoy says firefighters from Williston and Alexander got the call about the blaze around 3:30AM. She says the fire was so large, that they had to just stand back and watch it burn itself out.   [Full Story]

Mar 7, 2015
Oil Storage Tanks Catch Fire in Killdeer
KFYR-TV NBC ND


Residents in Killdeer reported shaking in their homes after several oil tanks exploded and caught fire this morning. Dunn County's emergency manager says the incident involved 3 oil tanks on a well site owned by Marathon, north of Killdeer. No one was injured and the cause of the explosion is unknown at this time. Fire fighters are monitoring the scene until the fire is put out.   [Full Story]

Mar 7, 2015
Utilities wage campaign against rooftop solar
The Washington Post
Joby Warrick

Three years ago, the nation’s top utility executives gathered at a Colorado resort to hear warnings about a grave new threat to operators of America’s electric grid: not superstorms or cyberattacks, but rooftop solar panels.  [Full Story]

Mar 7, 2015
Another Oil Train Derails and Catches Fire in Ontario
Center for Biological Diversity
Press Release

Fourth Oil Train Accident in Three Weeks Shows Need for Immediate Moratorium GOGAMA, Ont.— An oil train derailed and caught fire early this morning in Ontario near the town of Gogama, the second such incident in Ontario in three weeks, and the fourth oil train wreck in North America in the same time period. Since Feb. 14, there have also been fiery oil train derailments in West Virginia and Illinois. The Illinois wreck occurred just two days ago, and the fire from that incident is still burning. “Before one more derailment, fire, oil spill and one more life lost, we need a moratorium on oil trains and we need it now” said Mollie Matteson, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The oil and railroad industries are playing Russian roulette with people’s lives and our environment, and the Obama administration needs to put a stop to it.” In the United States, some 25 million people live within the one-mile “evacuation zone” of tracks carrying oil trains. In July 2013, a fiery oil train derailment in Quebec resulted in the loss of 47 lives and more than a million gallons of oil spilled into a nearby lake. A report recently released by the Center for Biological Diversity also found that oil trains threaten vital wildlife habitat; oil trains pass through 34 wildlife refuges and critical habitat for 57 endangered species.   [Full Story]

Mar 6, 2015
Another Oil Bomb Train Explodes, Third in Last Three Weeks
EcoWatch
Anastasia Pantsios

Yet another train carrying volatile crude oil from the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota derailed yesterday, this time in northwestern Illinois near the historic tourist area of Galena overlooking the Mississippi River. It follows recent derailments in West Virginia and Ontario. The area in which it occurred was not as remote as the Ontario derailment. However, it did not require as extensive evacuation as the one in West Virginia in which hundreds were forced from their homes in the bitter cold. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, firefighters were allowing the fireball to burn itself out.  [Full Story]

Mar 6, 2015
Are There More Oil and Gas Wells in LA Than Movie Stars?
EcoWatch
James William Gibson

The story of the rise and fall of Edward Doheny, the first oil baron of Southern California, would seem the archetype of a LA noir tale: A man rises from rags to riches and presents a veneer of respectability to the outside world, but behind closed doors lurks corruption, even violence. Elaborate stagecraft—Hollywood’s specialty—hides the machinery and political machinations that fuel what boosters like to call “progress.” A kind of prosperity veils danger. Here’s how the story goes:  [Full Story]

Mar 6, 2015
Ten Found 'Not Guilty' For Flood Wall Street Action
Popular Resistance
Krystle Holmes and John Tarleton,

NYPD Violated First Amendment; Judge Takes Judicial Notice of Climate Change Ten climate activists have been found “not guilty” of criminal charges stemming from the Flood Wall Street protest. New York City Criminal Court Judge Robert Mandelbaum ruled that the NYPD’s order to disperse violated the First Amendment. Following the historic September 21 People’s Climate March, several thousand people took to the street in the Financial District to identify and protest against Wall Street’s central role in fueling climate destruction. At the end of the day, 102 people were arrested for sitting in the street at the intersection of Broadway and Wall. Ten of the arrestees subsequently decided to fight their charges in court.  [Full Story]

Mar 6, 2015
Maine voters asked to ban fracking
Bakken.com
Doug Harlow | Morning Sentinel

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. The measure’s intent is to protect the town’s water resources, but the state geologist said no fracking is going on in Maine because there are no known gas and oil deposits in the state, and the state’s rocky subterrain is simply not suitable for the practice. Fracking is a process of drilling into the earth and directing a high-pressure water mixture at the rock to release shale gas and oil inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure, which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.  [Full Story]

Mar 6, 2015
Crime In North Dakota’s Oil Boom Towns Is So Bad That The FBI Is Stepping In
ThinkProgress
KATIE VALENTINE

High levels of crime in North Dakota’s oil fields have prompted the FBI to set up shop in the region. The FBI is opening an office in Williston, North Dakota and plans to have it fully staffed by later this year, The Hill reported Thursday. The FBI office — which will be North Dakota’s fifth — comes in response to North Dakota lawmakers’ and local officials’ calls for the FBI to step up its presence in North Dakota’s oil fields, which have seen a surge in criminal activity since the state’s oil boom began. “The opening of this office is in response to the unprecedented growth in population and economic activity associated with the oil exploration and production in the Bakken region and the corresponding increase in criminal activity,” Richard Thornton, special agent in charge of the Minneapolis FBI division, which will oversee the Williston office, said in a statement. “The FBI will be in a better position to effectively address these issues in this region of North Dakota through this new office.”  [Full Story]

Mar 6, 2015
EnergyWire's Soraghan discusses new scrutiny facing Okla. oil and gas wells
E & E Newswire


With the U.S. Geological Survey recently raising Oklahoma's earthquake count for 2014 by more than 20, the overall rate of earthquakes in the state appears to be on the rise. Is the increase connected to Oklahoma’s oil and gas operations? On today's The Cutting Edge, EnergyWire reporter Mike Soraghan discusses his latest reporting on the regulatory steps being taken in Oklahoma as a response to the surge in earthquakes. Transcript Monica Trauzzi: Welcome to The Cutting Edge. Oklahoma taking regulatory steps as a response to earthquakes in the state in a new piece in EnergyWire, reporter Mike Soraghan talks about the new scrutiny facing well permits. Mike, this is a follow-up to a story that ran earlier this week. What's the new approach being taken by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and what types of wells are facing extra scrutiny? Mike Soraghan: Well the Oklahoma Corporation Commission regulates oil and gas in Oklahoma and they're taking a closer look at disposal wells. This is not hydraulic fracturing but these are disposal wells that take the wastewater from fracking or production or whatever. There's a lot of suspicion that these are leading to a big rash of earthquakes in the state. So the Corporation Commission is proceeding with what they call yellow light permitting at least with new wells and they are saying, "We are going to put extra restrictions and pay extra attention to new wells when you ask for a permit." If you get a permit and you build a well and there's an earthquake, they're going to clamp down even further and maybe even shut down the well.   [Full Story]

Mar 6, 2015
New York Just Showed Every Other State How To Do Solar Right
Mother Jones
Tim McDonnell

New York wants to get serious about solar power. The state has a goal to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, and it's already among the nation's solar leaders. New York ranks ninth overall for total installed solar, and in 2013 alone it added enough to power more than 10,000 homes. While that's great news for solar companies and environmentalists, it's a bit of a problem for electric utilities. Until recently, the business model of electric companies hadn't changed much since it was created a century ago. (The country's first electric grid was strung up by Thomas Edison in Manhattan's Lower East Side in the 1880s, and some parts of it continued to operate into the 2000s.) Utilities have depended on a steady growth in demand to stay ahead of the massive investments required to build power plants and the electric grid. But now, that tradition is crumbling—thanks to the crazy growth of rooftop solar and other alternative energy sources and some big advances in energy efficiency that have caused the overall demand for electricity to stop growing. Meanwhile, utilities in New York are also required to buy the excess power from solar buildings that produce more than they need—a policy called "net metering".  [Full Story]

Mar 6, 2015
Can Republicans block Obama’s clean energy plans?
Christian Science Monitor
Jared Gilmour

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s push for a cleaner, leaner energy sector has had a rough week. On Tuesday, the Senate’s top Republican advised states not to comply with new power plant rules aimed at cutting carbon emissions. At a hearing a day later, Republican climate change skeptics were grilling Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, questioning the science of global warming, and criticizing the cost of the proposed carbon rules. Underlying the week was an attempt – albeit unsuccessful – to override Mr. Obama’s veto of a bill to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.  [Full Story]

Mar 6, 2015
“Merchants of Doubt”: Meet the sleazy spin doctors who will stop at nothing to obscure the truth
Salon
Lindsay Abrams

In 1994, the CEOs of America’s seven largest tobacco companies sat before Congress and testified, in contradiction to the overwhelming scientific evidence, that cigarettes aren’t addictive and that evidence linking them to cancer is inconclusive. The footage is shocking enough by today’s standards (and by the standards of the time), and is all the more so when juxtaposed with an industry memo from 30 years earlier that states the exact opposite: “We are … in the business of selling nicotine, an addictive drug.” If the climate fight has an iconic image of its own, director Robbie Kenner told Salon, it might be Republican Sen. James Inhofe brandishing a snowball on the Senate floor, his “proof” that climate change isn’t happening, overwhelming scientific evidence be damned. (Scientists, in fact, are as certain that global warming is a “real, man-made threat” as they are that smoking kills.)   [Full Story]

Mar 6, 2015
Can Brown Regulate Fracking in Kern?
Huffington Post
Tm Hayden

Governor Jerry Brown's administration shut down 12 oil wells in the Central Valley this week amidst revelations that the carcinogen benzine has leaked into fracking waste water at seven hundred times higher than federal standards. Brown has staked his opposition to a ban or moratorium on fracking by arguing for what he calls "the toughest regulations in the country" aimed at the oozing center of California's oil industry, in Kern County. The effectiveness of those regulations has come under fire from many environmentalists. Brown's answer is that the regulatory overhaul is only beginning. Last year California shut down eight injection wells which have not been reopened.  [Full Story]

Mar 6, 2015
Oil Train That Caught Fire In Illinois Was Using Supposedly Safer Cars
ThinkProgress
RYAN KORONOWSKI

On Thursday afternoon, six cars from a 103-car train loaded with Bakken oil derailed and two caught fire in northern Illinois, according to the Associated Press. The derailment occurred in a rural area near the town of Galena, Illinois, and prompted authorities to set an evacuation radius of one mile from the crash site. Only one family had obeyed the evacuation notice. As of Friday morning there was not any suggested cause nor reported injuries.  [Full Story]

Mar 6, 2015
Researchers develop method to trace methane emissions to their source
E & E Newswire
Umair Irfan

A new instrument is helping scientists play detective with a potent greenhouse gas, clearing a path for better climate models, developing robust policy on greenhouse gases and more accurate prospecting for natural gas. Methane is the second-most important heat-trapping gas, behind carbon dioxide, emitted into the atmosphere from human activity. It belches up from swamps, leaks from natural gas pipelines and is "emitted" from cows, so finding out where methane in the atmosphere comes from is important in devising rules to curb its impacts on the global climate. "If we know where it's coming from; we can see what we can do about it," said Shuhei Ono, an assistant professor of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.   [Full Story]

Mar 6, 2015
Clean power is right for Virginia
The Washington Post
Jon B. Wellinghoff

In my past role as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, it was my job to understand how states were charting their energy futures. Now, in my private-sector work, I keep up with how states respond to policy trends, such as the federal Clean Power Plan. This plan sets standards for cutting carbon pollution from the oldest and dirtiest power plants.----------------------------------------------- Recent market developments provide the answer. Domestic natural gas is cheap — for now. U.S. gas producers are selling locally produced gas at $3 per million British thermal units. But gas is sold for three times that much in Asia and Europe, and gas producers want to get that higher price. That’s why the United States is in an impressive build-out of 14 natural-gas export terminals that are set to come online over the next decade. For Virginia ratepayers, that means a cheap, local commodity will become an expensive, global commodity. The United States will export a commodity and import price volatility.  [Full Story]

Mar 6, 2015
Denial For Hire: Richard Lindzen Cites Debunked Science to Defend Willie Soon in Wall Street Journal
DeSmogBlog


This is a guest post by Climate Nexus that originally appeared at Huffington Post. Richard Lindzen, an MIT professor and longtime climate contrarian, turned to the Wall Street Journal to rehash a series of oft-disproved claims that deny the growing and now unequivocal evidence of climate change, all in defense of a fellow “skeptic” whose ties to fossil fuels have called into question the impartiality of his science. Lindzen's arguments are a greatest-hits of climate denial, repeatedly and effectively disproved for years. He uses these easily dismissed arguments to defend what's left of the academic integrity of Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon against questions raised by members of Congress, who heard testimony from Soon without disclosure that he was being paid by fossil-fuel interests.  [Full Story]

Mar 6, 2015
Obama admin punts on oil train safety — and another bomb train explodes
Grist
John Light

An oil train derailed and exploded in rural Illinois on Thursday afternoon — the third one in North America in three weeks. As of midday Friday, the fire was still burning, though fortunately no one has been injured. Which makes it all the more galling that the Obama administration passed up a key opportunity to try to make oil trains safer, as Reuters is reporting. For awhile, the administration was considering taking some action to regulate explosive gas in the growing number of trains carrying crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken shale drilling boom throughout North America. But the administration backed off, leaving the job up to North Dakota’s government instead.   [Full Story]

Mar 6, 2015
Green power! Civic energy could provide half our electricity by 2050
The Ecologist
Stephen Hall

What would our energy system look like if the move to a low-carbon society wasn't left to governments and big energy companies but was instead led by civil society? We are all used to the debate between states and markets, private vs public provision in shaping the direction of the energy sector. But communities, citizens and local authorities together can form a 'civic' energy sector that could revolutionise the way we generate and use energy.  [Full Story]

Mar 6, 2015
Pennsylvania rig count slides to lowest point in close to 6 years
Pittsburgh Business Times
Sam Kusic

The number of drill rigs running in Pennsylvania has dropped to its lowest level since the summer of 2009, reflecting the overall downturn in the oil and gas industry. According to the weekly Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE:BHI) rotary rig count, there were 47 rigs running in the state as of Friday. The last time the Pennsylvania count was that low was August 2009, when it stood at 49. The count peaked at 116 several times in 2011 and in early 2012. Nationwide, the number of land rigs fell by 75 to 1,133 in the latest count. And the number of rigs operating throughout the Marcellus Shale fell by 6 to 62.  [Full Story]

Mar 6, 2015
Secession far from what region needs to succeed
Press Connects
EILEEN HAMLIN and SCOTT CLARKE

The hysteria over several Southern Tier politicians claiming to want to secede from New York is nothing more than a ridiculous publicity stunt they think will help their friends in the oil and gas industry. Not only is secession constitutionally impossible, it's far from what our beloved region needs. The truth is, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was right to ban fracking — it was the best decision for the health and safety of those of us living in Southern Tier and for New Yorkers statewide. Southern Tier voters recognized the risks at play — that's why independent polling shows that a vast majority of Southern Tier residents (57 to 33 percent according to Siena College) joined the rest of the state in agreeing with Cuomo's decision.  [Full Story]

Mar 6, 2015
Another Obama regulator refuses to regulate [FERC's Cheryl LaFleur]
Al Jazeera America
David Cay Johnson

Hardly anyone has heard of Cheryl LaFleur, but she is one of America’s most powerful government officials, entrusted with vast authority to oversee the electricity, oil and natural gas industries. She chairs the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), a tiny government agency with only 1,500 employees. Its budget is covered not by taxpayers but by the industries it regulates. Her sworn duties include making sure charges for electricity are always just and reasonable. That means suppliers should be reasonably compensated and customers should pay reasonable prices. But she has consistently ignored this responsibility. When presented with serial indicators of unjust prices, she puts on a blindfold and sits on her hands.  [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
The Speech I Gave to FERC From Baggage Claim Area 3
EcoWatch
Sandra Steingraber

FERC disallows ex parte conversations with staff about projects that are still under review in some way—and that’s a policy I agree with. Thus, I spoke not about the specific risks and harms of the Seneca Lake gas storage expansion project, but instead addressed my comments to larger concerns about the agency’s capitulation to the oil and gas industry. Ulimately, FERC is overseen by President Obama and reflects his failed energy and climate leadership, in spite of good rhetoric. The administration’s unquestioning devotion to natural gas is reflected in remarks made by Commissioner LeFleur in a recent speech before the National Press Club, and her words became the starting point for my own: We’re very fortunate to have abundant and relatively affordable domestic natural gas … But utilizing that gas to meet climate goals require the expansion and construction of gas infrastructure, both pipelines and compressor stations, to get it to where it needs to be to keep the lights on. But while gas is critically important to our climate goals and other environmental goals, it has issues of its own. Pipelines are facing unprecedented opposition from local and national groups including environmental activists. These groups are active in every FERC docket, as they should be, as well as in my email inbox seven days a week, in my Twitter feed, at our open meetings demanding to be heard, and literally at our door closing down First Street so FERC won’t be able to work.  [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
Ted Glick: It’s Time to Seize the Moment and Ratchet Up the Pressure
EcoWatch
Ted Glick

For the third time in less than two years, I met yesterday with the chair of FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. I was not alone. With me from the “good guys” side were Tracey Eno, leader of Calvert Citizens for a Healthy Community in Cove Point, Maryland; Jocelyn D’Ambrosio of Earthjustice and; via phone because her plane arrived late due to weather, Sandra Steingraber from We Are Seneca Lake. On the “power” side were FERC chair Cheryl LaFleur and literally eight other FERC staff from various parts of their bureaucracy.  [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
EV’s plus Solar equals Disruption
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Prior to Tesla, when we thought of electric vehicles (EV’s) it often conjured up images of Jetson flying cars or funky looking contraptions that were really glorified golf carts. They were anomalies that might have made you smile when someone drove past. That is not the case anymore. Tesla took care of that once and for all. We now have a sexy, powerful automobile with zero emissions that will take your breath away the moment you touch the accelerator. They also cost $100K and are clearly out of reach for most of us. There is, however, an underlying current which is swelling and could potentially disrupt the transportation markets and thereby strand crude oil assets. No, we are not all going to get super wealthy and be able to buy a Tesla. Tesla will come to us. So will BMW…and Google.   [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
Cambridge wants to cut ties with TransCanada over KeystoneXL
Boston Globe
Steve Annear

Cambridge officials want to cut ties with the company that supplies electricity to its municipal buildings, citing the contractor’s controversial KeystoneXL proposal for a crude oil pipeline from Canada through the United States. TransCanada, which has offices in Boston, keeps the lights on at many Cambridge facilities, but lawmakers last week passed a policy order requesting that City Manager Richard Rossi refrain from entering into contracts with the company after the current deal expires this year.   [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
An Oil Firm That Raised Money Seven Months Ago Just Missed Its First Bond Payment
Bloomberg
Jodi Xu Klein & Laura J Keller

(Bloomberg) -- A Colorado oil producer is giving debt investors a lesson in the risks of lending to companies that staked their future on the U.S. shale boom. Less than seven months after raising $175 million in a junk-bond offering, American Eagle Energy Corp. said Monday that it wouldn’t make its first interest payment on the debt.   [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
Federal study: More data needed on fracking and water
Cortez Journal
Peter Marcus

ENVER – La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt worries that studies on 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
Fracking Used to Inject Nuclear Waste Underground for Decades
Waking Times
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. Fracking is already a controversial practice on its face; allowing U.S. industries to inject slurries of toxic, potentially carcinogenic compounds deep beneath the planet’s surface — as a means of “see no evil” waste disposal — already sounds ridiculous, dangerous, and stupid anyway without even going into further detail.  [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
Freight train carrying crude oil derails near Illinois city
AP News


GALENA, Ill. (AP) — A freight train loaded with crude oil derailed in northern Illinois on Thursday, bursting into flames and prompting officials to suggest that everyone with 1 mile evacuate, authorities said. The BNSF Railway train derailed around 1:05 p.m. in a rural area where the Galena River meets the Mississippi, according to company spokesman Andy Williams. The train had 103 cars loaded with crude oil, along with two buffer cars loaded with sand. A cause for the derailment hadn't yet been determined. No injuries were reported. Only a family of two agreed to leave their home, Galena City Administrator Mark Moran said at a news conference late Thursday, adding that the suggestion to evacuate was prompted by the presence of a propane tank near the derailment.   [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
Here’s What Gas Would Have To Cost To Account For Health And Environmental Impacts
Climate Progress
Katie Valentine

The average cost of a gallon of gasoline in the U.S. right now is $2.47. If that cost took into account the environmental and human health costs of burning the gasoline, however, it would more than double, according to a new study. The study, published this week in the journal Climatic Change, created models for the “social cost of atmospheric release,” a method of determining the costs of emissions beyond their market value. According to the study, accounting for the social costs of burning gasoline would add an average of $3.80 per gallon to the pump price, raising the price to $6.27. Diesel has an even higher social cost of $4.80 per gallon.  [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
Nws OK
Brianna Bailey

Landowners contend Halliburton is liable for contamination found in residential water wells 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 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
EV’s plus Solar equals Disruption
Energy Policy Forum
Deborah Lawrence

Prior to Tesla, when we thought of electric vehicles (EV’s) it often conjured up images of Jetson flying cars or funky looking contraptions that were really glorified golf carts. They were anomalies that might have made you smile when someone drove past. That is not the case anymore. Tesla took care of that once and for all. We now have a sexy, powerful automobile with zero emissions that will take your breath away the moment you touch the accelerator. They also cost $100K and are clearly out of reach for most of us. There is, however, an underlying current which is swelling and could potentially disrupt the transportation markets and thereby strand crude oil assets. No, we are not all going to get super wealthy and be able to buy a Tesla. Tesla will come to us. So will BMW…and Google.  [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
EXCLUSIVE-White House mulled, then balked at curbing explosive gas on oil trains
CNBC
PATRICK RUCKER

WASHINGTON, March 5 (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
FBI to open field office in North Dakota's oil capital
Reuters
Ernest Scheyder

(Reuters) - The FBI said on Thursday it will open a field office in Williston, North Dakota, capital of the state's oil patch and an area grappling with a rise in drug use and sex trafficking. At least two agents from the FBI, the national law enforcement agency, will have jurisdiction over western North Dakota's oil counties, where the population has spiked due to the development of the Bakken shale formation, one of the world's largest reserves of crude.   [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
Willie Soon A Heartland Institute Star Since 2003: Was He Paid? If So, When And With Whose Money?
DeSmogBlog
JOHN MASHEY

Willie Soon has gained a global spotlight from many recent news articles (New York Times, Boston Globe, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, etc). This was lit by documents obtained from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), whose former director had said of Soon that “no one pays any attention to him.” An impassioned defense was published, not by the CfA, but by the Heartland Institute, for whom he seems vastly more important, a tireless star. Soon's frequent efforts for Heartland started no later than 2003. They raise questions about potential unreported Conflict of Interestm even if unpaid. But did Heartland pay him? If so, how much, when, for what and with whie money? Heartland is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) “public charity” whose climate' anti-science tactics were preceded by a long history of paid efforts for tobacco companies, as per Fakery 2: More Funny Finances, Free Of Tax.  [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
Chemical Exposure Linked to Billions in Health Care Costs
National Geographic
Elizabeth Grossman

Exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals is likely leading to an increased risk of serious health problems costing at least $175 billion (U.S.) per year in Europe alone, according to a study published Thursday. Chemicals that can mimic or block estrogen or other hormones are commonly found in thousands of products around the world, including plastics, pesticides, furniture, and cosmetics. The new research estimated health care costs in Europe, where policymakers are debating whether to enact the world's first regulations targeting endocrine disruptors. The European Union's controversial strategy, if approved, would have a profound effect on industries and consumer products worldwide.  [Full Story]

Mar 5, 2015
Federal jury says gas company shorted owners on royalties
Tribune-Review
Brian Bowling

A natural gas company underpaid the royalties it owed property owners for gas it extracted between 2006 and 2012, a federal jury decided Thursday. Nine Greene County property owners claimed in the lawsuit that Energy Corporation of America improperly charged them for transmission and marketing costs when it sold the gas extracted from their properties to its marketing affiliate, Eastern Marketing Corp. The company claimed its royalties were proper. An eight-person jury agreed with the property owners following four days of testimony. “The damage amount is in excess of $900,000,” said William Caroselli, an attorney for the property owners. “With simple interest, it should be well over $1 million.”  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Why Gas Taxes Won’t Fix Our Infrastructure Problem
Inside Energy
Dan Boyce

In a colorful little Mexican restaurant called Casa de Sanchez in North Denver, Fareed Ali ate with some of his coworkers during a break from their job repairing home exteriors. They drive a lot and have been relishing recent low gas prices. “I would say we cut back a good $600 to $1000 a week, maybe,” Ali said, adding they are not keen on handing that money back to the government through a higher gas tax.   [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
Canadian Pacific wants to limit shipments of dangerous goods
The Globe and Mail
Eric Atkins

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. wants the power to refuse to haul dangerous goods, a signal it has grown weary of the risks and regulations that accompany the business of hauling oil. The country’s second-largest rail company says it wants an overhaul of the so-called common carrier obligations of the Canada Transportation Act that require railways to haul any and all legal goods in rail cars that meet safety standards.  [Full Story]

Mar 4, 2015
America's First Offshore Wind Farm to Start Construction This Summer
InsideClimate News
Zahra Hirji

A small wind project in New England just made history. Deepwater Wind announced Monday that its Block Island wind farm is fully financed and on track to become the nation's first offshore wind project. Set to go online toward the end of 2016, the more than $290 million project involves constructing five wind turbines off the southwestern coast of Block Island, which lies about 13 miles off the coast of Rhode Island.  [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
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 Sentinel
Rachel Sapin

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 | 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
Long Beach's anti-LNG initiative gains support
Long Island Herald
Matthew Ern

A petition circulated by the City Council opposing the construction of Port Ambrose, a proposed liquefied natural gas import facility to be built off the coast of Jones Beach, has reached more than 1,000 physical and electronic signatures. “The Long Beach City Council is unanimously opposed to the offshore LNG facility, Port Ambrose,” the council said in a statement. “There are grave concerns as to the significant negative impact on our public safety. The site would make us even more vulnerable after Sandy, especially when considering the lack of a barrier island hospital.”  [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
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
Danger Around the Bend
FracTracker
Same Malone

Danger Around the Bend Summary The increasingly common practice of transporting Bakken Formation crude oil by rail from North Dakota to points across the nation—including Pennsylvania—poses a significant risk to the health, well-being, and safety of our communities. This risk is due to a confluence of dangerous factors including, but not limited to: Bakken Formation crude oil is far more volatile and combustible than typical crude, making it an incredibly dangerous commodity to transport, especially over the nation’s antiquated rail lines. The routes for these trains often travel through highly populated cities, counties and neighborhoods — as well as near major drinking water sources. Bakken Formation crude is often shipped in massive amounts — often more than 100 cars, or over 3 million gallons per train. The nation’s existing laws to protect and inform the public, first responders, and decision makers are woefully inadequate to avert derailments and worst-case accidents from occurring.  [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. MORE STORIES Homeless man bids fond farewell to his Spalding ‘home under the stars’ Homeless man bids fond farewell to his Spalding ‘home under… Baston hit by trio of house break-ins Baston hit by trio of house break-ins End in sight to town’s traffic nightmare End in sight to town’s traffic nightmare Big year for Methodist church Big year for Methodist church PROMOTED STORIES What Does Your Last Name Say About You? What Does Your Last Name Say About You? (Ancestry) Christianity: 89% of Democrats answered "No" to this question. How would you answer it? Christianity: 89% of Democrats answered "No" to this… (iSideWith) This App is Quickly Replacing Human Financial Advisors This App is Quickly Replacing Human Financial Advisors (Business Insider) These 27-year-olds made $1 million last year while visiting 17 different countries These 27-year-olds made $1 million last year while visiting… (Digital.NYC) Recommended by 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 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-frin