Archive for the ‘US Energy Policy’ Category

Saving Science

December 17, 2016

Suddenly, it’s a thing.

Perhaps climate science advocates are operating under an abundance of caution, but they’re willing to take that chance. Their goal is to protect painstakingly collected data and safeguard their work as they prepare to operate under an administration that is demonstrably hostile towards climate research.

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Cartoon by Sidney Harris

“It’s truly remarkable the quick attention that it’s received and the number of people that are volunteering to help,” says meteorologist Eric Holthaus, host of the @ourwarmregards podcast, in a December 14 interview with Audie Cornish on NPR.  

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The Year Of The Ban – 2014

December 28, 2014

Fracking Bans Sweep Across North America, And That Was Just The Month Of December

A steady uptick in citizen activism, and a broadening awareness of hydraulic fracturing’s negative impact on everything from climate to wildlife to water, resulted in successful anti-fracking measures on ballots across North America in 2014. Then, in mid-December, the state of New York banned it. They’re not the first, Vermont holds that distinction, yet they are the first state with significant shale gas reserves to do so. People are pumped.

Naturally, the issue is emotionally charged. Shale gas development not only damages land, air and water, it destroys people’s lives. Fracking promises to be a factor in the upcoming 2016 Presidential race. Let’s make of sure of it.

Despite customarily downplaying the successes of the anti-fracking movement in the media, activists across the county have racked up a handful of amazing, longshot victories. Fracking bans were won, far and wide, and they can be found in the unlikeliest places.

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Merry X-Mess!

December 25, 2014

All through the year…

This share extraordinaire is via fellow fractivista, Kim Triolo Feil, a self-described “Detective for Loopholes in our Gas Drilling Ordinance” and Arlington TX Shale Blogger. Thanks, Kim! Follow Feil on Twitter: @kimfeil

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like a Frack Mess

Video by Defend Community Rights, posted on December 24, 2014.

Maile Bush commented on the Facebook share: “Christmas in a frack mess. Yes, my neighborhood is featured in this lovely song.”  

       

                   Keep On Keepin On, Fractivists and Fractivistas                  

                          Warmest Wishes for a Clean, Green 2015!

 

 

What’s It Gonna Be, DRBC?

November 1, 2013

Deciding The Fate Of “The Little Giant”

Outgoing Delaware River Basin Commission Director, Carol Collier, has done an impressive job withstanding extreme political pressure. I’ve been highly critical of the DRBC, yet I do believe Collier deserves our gratitude – as long as she doesn’t do anything rash.

The small interstate agency has received sharp letters of admonition from an impatient, gas-happy governor, experienced even sharper budget cuts, and suffered an uneasy tension with an increasingly feckless PA DEP.  By July, 2013, the working relationship between the two agencies had deteriorated so badly that former DEP secretary, and current gubernatorial candidate, John Hanger informed readers of The Times-Tribune that “DRBC Should Have ‘No Confidence’ In Corbett’s Drilling Oversight.

It’s true, DRBC has approved too many pipelines.  In March 2013, Maya van Rossum, The Delaware Riverkeeper pressed the Commission on the need for greater oversight of planned projects. Deforestation and watershed fragmentation are growing concerns, as are leaks, ruptures and explosions.

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But generally speaking, under Collier’s leadership, DRBC has stood firm in the face the mighty gas extraction lobby, and it has managed to keep them at bay, and protect our vital, shared fresh water resources all this while. For this, we owe Collier our thanks. She must be exhausted.

Carol Collier, DRBC  Credit:  www.nj.gov

At this point, it seems unlikely that Collier, who departs in March, 2014, will rally a vote on gas drilling regulations in the Delaware River basin, but one never knows. All you can do is check the DRBC website from time to time.

Taking the long view, however, has been a hallmark of Collier’s tenure. Meetings are long and tedious, populated by scientists and engineers, and packed with data. Collier has led the agency along this plodding, empirical course for the past 15 years, so there’s little reason to suspect she’s planning to suddenly go out with a bang.   (more…)

Keep Calm And Ban Fracking

October 26, 2013

When it comes to the fight for a sustainable, frack-free future, environmental activist, Daryl Hannah, and United For Action founder and New Yorkers Against Fracking lead organizer, David Braun, are in it for the long haul. Pictured here, in October, at the 23rd Environmental Media Association Awards, these two dynamic friends of the earth got a lot of attention for the fashion they’re promoting.

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Everybody Wants One

Braun posted the photo a few days ago, and now fractivists are clamoring to get their tees.  Sorry, I don’t have a  link, but you can follow this Facebook thread and ask Braun for one personally.

I can share Braun’s eloquent video in which he calls on  President Obama to quit fracking around with our nation’s energy policy.

President Obama, I Worked For You. Listen To The Science!

I can also share this cool word cloud. It was texted out by Food and Watch Watch after the recent 2013 worldwide Global Frackdown. I don’t think you can ever have too many anti-fracking images, what with the latest  gas industry advertising blitzkrieg. Wonder if those shirts come in kid’s sizes…

“So many great reasons people supported the Global Frackdown…” These are most commonly used words describing their reasons:

Global_Frackdown_Mobile_Word_Cloud

Philadelphia Water Drive Starts Today!

September 24, 2013

Pennsylvanians Take A Local Stand To Support People Impacted By Fracking

Imagine finding your tap water has suddenly turned milky, red, or black and sludgy. Imagine taking a shower and finding that it burns your nostrils and stings your skin. Imagine learning that your well water is laced with industrial pollutants such as benzene, toluene and formaldehyde.” –ShaleGasOutrage.wordpress.com

Over 1,000 complaints like these have been filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection through the end of 2012. PA DEP has determined that 161 water wells have been contaminated as a result of hydraulic fracturing, with more tests results inconclusive or disputed. And the complaints keep coming. In these impacted households, tap water is no longer safe for consumption, yet the nearest water utility line is often many miles away. People are forced to rely on bottled water to meet their daily water needs. Large blue “water buffalos” have become ubiquitous across the Marcellus Shale region.   (more…)

Putting Frack-Free Food On The Table

August 2, 2013

A Pennsylvania Gas Worker’s Conscious Dilemma

 “What is to be said for a father of two who lives in southwestern Pennsylvania that needs a job to support his family and the only jobs in this area are in the pipeline/ fracking industry for a person with no other education than a high school diploma? I haven’t done it yet because clearly I am against fracking since I am a member of this group but I also need to keep shoes on my kids feet, a roof over their heads and food in their mouths….moral dilemma”

This comment was posted on the wall of an anti-fracking Facebook page. I’ll leave off his name in case the author does decide to seek a job in the gas industry or related services.

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Dear President Obama, Please Meet With Citizens Impacted By Fracking

July 11, 2013

Right after the release of Gasland II on HBO, Josh Fox sent this letter to President Obama, and he asked fellow fractivists to share it, too.

Finally got to see the film, and I felt relieved and recharged because Fox has successfully captured, in granular detail, an accurate portrait of big energy fracking U.S. democracy, and a fossil-free movement that is growing larger and ever more determined. The complexity of images, information, and emotions validated my impression of the shale gas invasion over the past few years, both in Pennsylvania and around the world. Given that this form of extreme fossil fuel extraction is ramping up exponentially worldwide, and entire regions of my home state are being transformed into endless industrial zones, the request seems pretty damn reasonable. Sharing!

Request to President Obama: Please meet with the Scientists and Families in GASLAND, Part II

Josh’s letter to President Obama, July 8th, 2013:

Dear President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary Moniz, Heather Zichal and Valerie Jarrett,

I write to request a meeting with you and families directly impacted by oil and gas drilling and fracking—as documented in Gasland Part II—to…gether with a small group of scientists and engineers who are also featured in the film.   (more…)

Think About It – Cement Won’t Last Forever

June 21, 2013

Energy From Shale is yet another generic new front group created by America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) to advertise the illusion that the highly polluting process of shale gas production is really shiny, clean and green. They recently launched their first PR effort, asking us to “Think About It.” Believe me, ANGA, I have.

Even when done correctly, fracking cannot be done safely. 

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All cement wellbore seals, every last one of them, will fail over time. Cement simply doesn’t last forever. Steel can crack. Even if drillers get everything exactly right the first time, cement will become porous due to heat and pressure. Earthquakes, whether caused by nature or deep waste injection wells, hold the potential to damage seals. In about 50-60 years tops, according to gas industry estimates, most wellbore seals will fail, eventually enabling pathways for fluids and gases to communicate  with aquifers, geological formations or the environment.

Image Credit: George E. King Engineering, March, 2009

This is an aspect of the drilling issue that simply cannot be ignored. When it comes to the future security of our drinking water supplies, this is the crux of it.

Now, It’s About Gas. Ultimately, It’s About Water.

It’s not roulette. It’s a certainty,” Gasland II filmmaker and citizen of the United States, Josh Fox, recently said on HBO’s Real Time With Bill MaherThis is a problem the gas industry can’t fix.”

Headless Fed: EPA Punts Fracking Study

The good news is, drillers have the technology to reseal and replug failed wellbores. The bad news is, they have to do it fairly often. More than 5% of wellbore seals fail immediately.    (more…)

Ways and Memes: PA Lawmakers Seek To Ban Photography Of Gas Drilling Activity

June 17, 2013

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but apparently it says a lot more when it’s a photo of frackers fracking. In Pennsylvania recently, the battle to control the images used to depict the national debate over shale gas drilling has officially heated up.

In February, 2013 PA House Bill 683 was proposed by nine Pennsylvania lawmakers – Reps. Gary Haluska [D-73rd], Carl Metzgar [R-69th], Stephen Barrar [R-160th], M. K. Keller [R-86th], Dick Hess [R-78th], Dan Moul [R-91st], Mike Fleck [R-81st], C. Adam Harris [R-82nd] and Tom Murt [R-152nd]. Steve Todd was among the first to report it in his February 26 post, PA State House Judiciary Committee: NO on HB683. This bill would prohibit people from photographing oil and gas operations because they are occurring on agricultural lands. By fracking farmland, gas drillers would gain new impunity under a piece of anti-whitsle blower legislation, commonly known as an “Ag-gag.”

Yes, you’re reading it correctly. PA HB683 would make it illegal to photograph images of gas drilling operations – the good, the bad, the mundane and the incendiary.

And in case you’re wondering, Pennsylvania has about 63,163 farms. That’s roughly 7.8 million agricultural acres out of the total 29.5 million acres in Pennsylvania, which ranks 20th in the U.S. for agricultural production.

HB683 makes it illegal to photograph a farm, a cow, a horse, sheep, goats, pigs, haystacks, tractors, chickens, corn fields, pumpkin patches, vegetables, fruits, and natural gas wells. Fracktivists have been filming frack sites, FROM PUBLIC ROADS, their videos are invaluable in documenting fracking’s destruction of PA.”                          ~ MarcellusProtest.org

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Credit: Marcellus Protest 

The bill is currently in committee, but environmentalists are keeping an eye on it. HB 683 is exactly the sort of legislation the PA GOP tucks into other bills and passes late at night.

Unsurprisingly, HB 683 has its roots (tentacles?) in similar ALEC-sponsored legislation proposed in other states. Dory Hippauf relates its absurdity in Arresting Monet – AG-GAG Pennsylvania House Bill 683, Blog.ShaleShockMedia.org:

HB683 is modeled after ‘proposed legislation’ written by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wish lists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC’s operations.

PLEASE SIGN ON to the PETITION To Say NO to HB 683 HERE.

And if you have more time, please CONTACT YOUR PA STATE REP.

Meme’s The Word   (more…)

It’s Time To Mother Earth

April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day, 2013! 

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As they say, every day is Earth Day. What Will You Do To Protect The Planet Today?

There are EARTH DAY RALLIES TODAY at DEP Offices ACROSS PENNSYLVANIA!    (more…)

5 Things U.S. Must Do To Keep Sucking At Fracking

April 13, 2013

Forbes Contributor, Jeff McMahon, Joins Hal Harvey In The Methane Fact Bubble   

Speaking at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy on Thursday April 11, Hal Harvey, CEO of the lobby firm Energy Innovation and former Energy Advisor to Clinton and H. W. Bush, offered up his playbook for frackers. On April 12, Forbes contributing writer, Jeff McMahon, covered Harvey’s speech in the article, “5 Things U.S. Must Do To Win At Fracking.” I wasn’t there, but I’m guessing it must have been a bit like preaching to the choir.   (more…)

Sierra Club’s Brune Braves Fox Fact Bubble, Remains A Gentleman

February 16, 2013

Interviewed, and often talked over, on Fox NewsVarney & Co.Sierra Club Executive Director, Mike Brunenot only keeps his cool but remains a polite and informative guest.

Despite Stuart Varney’s ill-informed scoffing and scorn, the unflappable Brune manages to state a few facts on climate change, solar power, wind, natural gas and the Keystone XL Pipeline – facts like how KXL isn’t any more inevitable than other planned, non-existent pipelines; and how the number of US solar installations broke the record in 2012, and will do so again in 2013.

A vociferous climate denier, Varney appears to think fossil fuels will last “forever” while one of his co-hosts would simply deny wind power altogether because he’s never seen a windmill turning. (Here’s a hint: just like the sun is more likely to shine in the daytime, the wind is more likely to blow at night – maybe go look then?)

Photo: sierra.org

Brune isn’t baited or cowed by Varney & Co.’s carnival-esque atmosphere. I’ve been unable to embed the video, as is usually the case with Fox clips, but here’s the link:

Sierra Club ExecutiveDirector Mike Brune On His Efforts To Stop The Completion Of The Keystone Pipeline

http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/2165321833001/

Way Beyond Coal   (more…)

Range Gets ‘Creative’ With Water Tests; When Pipelines Fail; A Mother’s Work & More

February 2, 2013

Got Frack? (We all do.) Get caught up on the Gas issues bounding around this week:

  • Deny Deny… Range’s Resourcefulness

In Range Resources Accused Of Water Test Tampering Dory Hippauf explains how Range isn’t such a great neighbor after all.

“According to Rende’s logic, it is the plaintiff’s own fault for believing the Range Resource test report was accurate and truthful.  Does this mean Rende is also saying Range Resources is not to be trusted?”

  • The Must-Read

Mother Jones: The Surprising Connection Between Food and Fracking

“As they fight the expansion of fracking and push for tighter regulations on it, concerned citizens can count on an opponent nearly as powerful and monied as Big Oil: Big Ag…” 

  • League Of Women Worriers? 
PA League of Women Voters published Pipelines in Pennsylvania: A Case Study of Lycoming Countya 65-page, photo rich eye-opener about the very specific impacts of developing vast webs of gas pipelines across a single county, slicing up communities.   (more…)

Are We Shocked Yet?

November 18, 2012

Bill Moyers talks about Climate Change and Capitalism with Shock Doctrine author, Naomi Klein.

I believe it’s the biggest challenge humanity has faced, and we’ve been kidding ourselves about what it’s going to take to get our emmissions down to the extent that they need to go down,” Naomi Klein.