Archive for environment

Told ya so, frackers: Ohio geologists see link between fracking, sudden burst of earthquakes

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frackers cartoon Clay Bennett

In a previous post, Frackers set sights on largest oil shale reservoir in US... near CA's San Andreas fault, I couldn't help but wonder how greedy Big Oil could ignore the terrorizing prospect of triggering the San Andreas Fault to erupt into The Big One. Apparently, the health of so many people and of our fragile environment means nothing to California frackers.

Did I just say "California frackers"? My bad. I meant Ohio frackers, too. Along with any other frackers, for that matter.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that in Ohio, geologists have found a connection between fracking and earthquakes. Clearly, they've been in contact with Captain Obvious. L.A. Times, previously:

"The process of reinjecting drilling fluids into the ground is thought by some to stimulate minor seismic activity around drilling pads, dubbed 'frackquakes.'"

Take it away, Captain Obvious:

obvious

Ohio geologists have found a probable connection between fracking and a sudden burst of mild earthquakes last month in a region that had never experienced a temblor until recently, according to a state report.

The quake report, which coincided with the state’s announcement of some of the nation’s strictest limits on fracking near faults, marked the strongest link to date between nerve-rattling shakes and hydraulic fracturing -- the process of firing water, sand and chemicals deep into the earth to eject oil and natural gas out of ancient rock.

Last month, Ohio indefinitely shut down Hilcorp Energy’s fracking operation near the Pennsylvania border after five earthquakes, including one magnitude-3 temblor that awoke many Ohioans from their sleep. [...]

They “believe the sand and water injected into the well during the hydraulic fracturing process may have increased pressure on an unknown microfault in the area,” the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said in a statement about the Poland, Ohio, operation.

You just know what frackers will do with the "unknown" word. How did former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld mangle it again? Oh yes:

And how did Hilcorp Energy mangle the truth again? Oh yes. They said they are “fully committed to public safety and acting in a manner consistent with being a good corporate citizen.” Because, hey, corporations are people, too, and they're the best corporate citizens EVER.

Sorry, Hilcorp, but you're no "citizen," but you are a disgrace. Hate to say we environmentally-aware types told you so about that whole "frackquake" thing, but well, we told you so. And don't get us started on climate change, the fracking chemicals that contaminate groundwater, and drought.

Speaking of which, if you've never seen Josh Fox's "Gasland," now's your chance. Our own lwdgrfx posted the entire video here.

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"Only intensive push in next 15 years can stave off climate change disaster"

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tar sands keystone xl protest climate change disaster

The New York Times has an unnerving article about a United Nations report that "only an intensive worldwide push over the next 15 years can stave off" a potential climate change disaster later this century:

The report did find some reasons for cautious optimism. The costs of renewable energy like wind and solar power are now falling so fast that their deployment on a large scale is becoming practical, the report said. In fact, extensive use of renewable energy is already starting in countries such as Denmark and Germany, and to a lesser degree in some American states, including California, Iowa and Texas. [...]

Yet the report found that the emissions problem is still outrunning the will to tackle it, with global emissions rising almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century than in the last decades of the 20th century.

That was posted today. Yesterday, MSNBC's Alex Witt interviewed  John Fiege, the director and producer of "Above All Else," a documentary about lives affected by the Keystone XL tar sands Pipeline project. Juxtaposing these two reports in one post-- one on impending climate change disaster and the other on a short-sighted, corporate disaster-in waiting-- should be a wake-up call. But will it be?

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Witt: If completed, the [Keystone XL] pipeline could stretch 2,000 miles from the oil fields of Canada to refineries in the Gulf Coast. Deep in the heart of Texas, a group of rural land owners and student activists came together in an unlikely union to protest the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. The property owners claim they were manipulated into signing over their land to TransCanada. The energy company for its part is saying the pipeline is a job creator that will ensure North America's energy independence. What happened next is chronicled in a new documentary titled "Above All Else."...

Fiege: The companies building the pipeline were surprised to see such strong opposition from people who lived there. The thing in east Texas, they don't like a foreign company coming in and taking their property and they know how to fight back so it is an interesting conflict...

The folks who signed, as they learned more about what the Keystone XL pipeline is, and that its whole purpose is to transport tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, they didn't know that when they signed the agreement. They also didn't know that the company did not have the permits it needed to build the pipeline. So they felt like they were manipulated and lied to...

You know, another example of an oil project touted as being "state of the art, cutting edge" was the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf Coast that BP ran that exploded. We've heard this over and over again, where oil companies claim they're using state of the art technology-- they probably are-- but we see this over and over again that this infrastructure is not safe. ...

That's one of the main stories the film tells. If you're an individual, if you're an American and you want to fight back against this and you object to a foreign corporation taking your land and you want to do something about climate change, you are putting yourself at great peril and you're going to be crushed by these enormous corporate powers that have emerged and really taken an outsized, you know, section of power and wealth in our society. I think one thing this film chronicles is really a wake-up call for folks in the middle of the country and the reddest parts of red states who don't think this is a good system to have and feel completely disempowered.

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Frackers set sights on largest oil shale reservoir in US... near CA's San Andreas fault

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oil shale Monterey CA fracking Big Oil

California is trying to solve a riddle: how to tap into the largest oil shale reservoir in the United States, one that covers 1,750 square miles, roughly from Bakersfield to Fresno. I'm trying to solve a different riddle: How greedy Big Oil can ignore the terrorizing prospect of triggering The Big One, the health of so many people and of our fragile environment.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting on a gigantic oil trove that's trapped in San Joaquin Valley's Monterey Shale formation, 15 billion barrels, to be exact. While drilling and fracking could be a huge bonanza for oil companies and create a boom that could transform California's economy, the consequences could do just the opposite. "The process of reinjecting drilling fluids into the ground is thought by some to stimulate minor seismic activity around drilling pads, dubbed 'frackquakes.'" Yes, what California needs to kick start a thriving economy is a San Andreas "frackquake."

So far nobody has figured out an affordable way to extract the dirty, polluting fossil fuel. Good.

But that doesn't mean they haven't spent millions and millions of dollars trying. And, as the Times reports, "Oil companies are now paying farmers for their water rights, land and, in some cases, buying their homes outright to get at the reserves that might lie underneath."

Across the southern San Joaquin Valley, oil exploration sites have popped up in agricultural fields and on government land, driven by the hope that technological advances in oil extraction — primarily hydraulic fracturing and acidization — can help provide access to deep and lucrative oil reserves. [...]

The implications are profound, touching on public health, water use, water quality and the loss of agricultural land. The subsequent transformation also would alter the lives of families living in the resolutely rural communities dotting the valley.

For Tom Frantz, a retired teacher and third-generation farmer, the exploratory drilling is already too much.

"This is prime farmland and they have drilled between 200 and 300 wells in the last 10 years in the Monterey Shale," Frantz said. "Every one took out an acre or two of farmland. Every one has used hundreds of thousands of gallons of water. Each one has contributed to our air pollution. Each one has had spills on the ground of different chemicals and crude oil. Each one is emitting methane as we speak. If this thing happens and there are thousands and thousands of wells — that's scary because an accident is bound to happen," he said.

What may be great for California's economy could just as easily destroy it, along with the lives of its residents. Thankfully, the jury is still out on how this can be done profitably. Leave the damned oil shale reservoir alone. Money isn't everything. Life (as the hypocritical Drill Baby Drillers love to tell us) is.

More here.

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Frack Water ad snarkage exposes motives behind Gov. Brown's fracking push

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what the frack

What the frack, Gov. Jerry Brown? First he's in a panic about the "evil weed", and now he supports the evil deed, as you can see in the following press release. Both issues affect my home state of California, and both are rantworthy.

The good news: My old pal Andy Cobb has put out yet another hilarious video filled with snarkitude that skewers his targets in all kinds of memorable and effective ways. We owe you one, Andy. The bad news: The vile F word won't go away: Frack (scroll).

Frack Water Cologne Ad Exposes Motives Behind Gov. Brown’s Fracking Push

New online video and campaign finance analysis highlight dangers of fracking, influence of Big Oil in California

California Governor Jerry Brown is taking a hit today for his penchant for fracking and dirty energy donations with a new satirical online video launched by Oil Change International (OCI) and comedians Andy Cobb and Mike Damanskis of Heavy Crude Video. The video is the latest escalation of the Big Oil Brown campaign effort sponsored by OCI, pushing for a ban on fracking for oil and gas in the state.

The video parody, entitled “Frack Water,” portrays a Governor Brown look-alike outside a southern California oil field accompanied by a California oil industry representative, in a shot for shot remake of a 2004 Stetson cologne advertisement starring actor Matthew McConaughey:

"In a land plagued by drought, one man stands tall….We won’t tell you what’s in it, but Big Oil Brown’s got it all over him…Jerry Brown’s frackwater. A fragrance that smells like a man…a man who doesn’t give a [bleep] about drought or climate change."

Here is the original McConaughey ad:

Also out today is a new analysis released by Oil Change International that outlines the massive contributions from the oil industry to the Governor’s coffers in recent years. The review shows these contributions have surpassed $2 million since 2006.

The campaign contribution analysis can be found here.

“You can’t buy back your legacy, Governor, even with all that Big Oil cash,” Turnbull said. “California is on the brink of climate catastrophe and fracking up the state will help push it over the edge. Californians deserve better than to be beholden to Big Oil’s desires and befouled by their stench.”

The video and analysis come just over a week ahead of a major mobilization in Sacramento planned for March 15th, where thousands of anti-fracking activists from around the state are expected. More information on the March 15th mobilization can be found at www.dontfrackcalifornia.org.

More from the team at Heavy Crude Video can be seen here.

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The Weekly Upchuck: The Most Shocking Religion News of the Last Week

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what's up chuck bugs bunny religion

Please welcome back regular guest contributor, author of Being Christian and the go-to blogger on religion, hypocrisy, and all things church v. state,  K.C. Boyd. You might remember her from her earlier posts. You can link over to her site here for the rest of this post. It’s well worth a look, because I left out a ton of great upchuckable stuff, including antidotes! These are but a few of her weekly "where religion meets your rights" collection:

The Weekly Upchuck

– by K. C. Boyd

Abortion

 Creationism

  • Two Bills-Chuck: Bill Nye to Bill Maher: America can’t afford a generation of ‘scientifically illiterate’ children bit.ly/1f1sgfq

 Criminal, Simply Criminal

  • Christians Rape Too-Chuck: Cover-up of male patriarchy & sexual assault at Patrick Henry (Christian) College. bit.ly/1fvy1wO

Education

  • Southern Comfort Hurl: Bill would require reading of Congressional prayers in Alabama schools http://bit.ly/1iZAGTL
  • Screw the Education-Chuck: (Good Christian) Women Should Go To College To Husband-Hunt. http://bit.ly/1e5mqn7

Elections

  • Run On It Huck-A-Chuck: Huckabee Says Abortion Most Important Political Issue. bit.ly/M2ImbJ
  • The Company You Keep-Chuck: Judged by one’s friends, NRA’s Toxic Ted Nugent Causes Campaign Problem 4 TX Gov. Hopeful Greg Abbott. bit.ly/1gfsOL5

 Fifty Shades Of Loony

  • Then There’s This-Chuck: Snake Salvation’ Pastor Who Died From Snakebite Refused Medical Treatment http://bit.ly/1gOyDAV

 Hate, Pure Hate

  • Racist Redux-Chux: Pat Buchanan wants immigration “timeout”; praises anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic European far-right bit.ly/1nKMmK1

Legislators And Their Sausage

  • Great White Hope-Chuck: Ted Cruz asks that folks ‘Pray’ for discrimination’ & ask God to deny marriage rights to gay and lesbian people. ’bit.ly/1fgMCzH

Lies, Propaganda and Hypocrisy

  • WWJD-Chuck? Jesus would oppose ObamaCare because it involves legalized theft: youtu.be/Xz3T6tcEH0g

Same Sex Issues

  • Ugandan Shuffle-Chuck: In a diplomatic understatement POB says: Uganda Anti-Gay Bill Would Mark Step Backward huff.to/1bes8Z3

Scandal

  • Minister Of Porn: Can’t a parent trust their Fundie church no more? California Assemblies Of God youth minister busted for child porn bit.ly/M9Nmew

Women’s Issues

  • Promise “Em Sex But Give ‘Em Arpege-Chuck:. Christers promising more & better sex to male dominant marriages.bit.ly/1gOzgKN
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Frackers are guzzling water supplies in drought states the way John Boehner guzzles booze.

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don't frack with our water frackers

Yesterday I posted one of my eleventy thousand posts on frackers (which is when water mixed with sand and chemicals is injected deep underground at high pressure to shatter rock formations to unlock oil and gas trapped inside), because fracking is a huge environmental issue that must be confronted head on. It was about how Britain joined the anti-fracking club: "Welcome to the desolate North. Now frack off."

In that post I included a video segment from The Rachel Maddow Show about the possible probable link to unusual and frequent earthquake activity associated with frackers and their little escapades. And let's not forget that fracking is linked to methane risks: “When methane concentrations are that high, water can bubble like champagne.” Salud!

Just when I thought my latest rant would be the last in a while, the Los Angeles Times gave me yet another reason to fill you in on how this idiotic toxic-pollution-for-big-bucks practice is messing with Mother Nature. Did I mention that there are droughts all over the place? And that frackers are guzzling water supplies the way John Boehner guzzles booze?

Colorado sure knows all about that, a state where "every drop of water is precious, another player has lined up at the spigot." L.A. Times:

According to the petroleum industry, most new wells in this country now use fracking to coax an average of 250 barrels of oil or 1.3 million cubic feet of natural gas from the ground per day. But that can't happen without water — about 3 million to 8 million gallons per well before extraction begins.

Last fall the Environment America Research and Policy Center estimated that at least 250 billion gallons of water had been used since 2005 in the estimated 80,000 wells in 17 states. Drought-prone Texas led the way with at least 110 billion gallons.

Good old Texas. Say it with me: Yee. Haw.

Now here's where Colorado comes into play:

The historic city of 95,000 [Greeley] about an hour north of Denver, along Colorado's fast-growing Front Range, has entered into a purchase agreement with oil and gas companies to sell off some of its surplus water to satisfy the thirsty fracking business, even though parts of the West are reeling from drought.

Big Greedy Oil and Big Greedy Gashats are forking out a whole lot of cash to get their hands on access to more, more, more. Some residents are all for it and are happy to sell their water rights directly to the oil and gas companies, because the opportunity for more income apparently takes precedent over the long term (and short term) health and welfare of their neighbors and the environment. Others are as furious and concerned as I am.

The Ceres report showed that as of January, 56% of the 39,000 wells studied that used hydraulic fracturing were in parts of the U.S. experiencing "abnormally dry to exceptional drought" conditions, said Monika Freyman, the study's author, who used federal drought-monitoring statistics to reach her conclusions.

The study also found that in 36% of the wells studied, there was significant groundwater depletion. And in Colorado and California, 97% and 96% of wells, respectively, were in regions with "high or extremely high water stress," she said... Colorado's oil and gas commission has predicted that as the amount of exploration and drilling increases, so will the amount of water needed.

The president of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Unions put it this way: The oil and gas industry could drive prices for water so high it would elbow out already-hurting farmers.

To make matters worse, per the Times, Gov. John Hickenlooper continues to support fracking, "even once reportedly sipping a bit of fracking fluid with an oil company executive to prove it was safe."

Yum, yum! Again I say, salud! Mm-mmm!

And while he's at it, Hickenlooper might want to take a sip of the chemically affected flaming tap water spewing from faucets where fracking is prevalent, as is depicted in the excellent film Gasland.

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Britain joins the anti-fracking club: "Welcome to the desolate North. Now frack off."

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fracking frack off smaller

Regular readers know that fracking (which is when water mixed with sand and chemicals is injected deep underground at high pressure to shatter rock formations to unlock oil and gas trapped inside) is the new F word at The Political Carnival. I write about fracking a lot (scroll), and for good reason. For instance, tap water in the form of chemically induced flames spewed from faucets where fracking is prevalent, as is depicted in the excellent film Gasland.

Did you know that fracking is linked to methane risks: “When methane concentrations are that high, water can bubble like champagne.” Mmm, yummy. Cheers!

And don't even get me started on climate change.

Rachel Maddow has been all over this topic and is currently exposing the possible (ahem, probable) link to unusual and frequent earthquake activity associated with intruding on Mother Nature this way:

oklahoma earthquakes fracking

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Today's Los Angeles Times front-paged a report about how "energy-hungry Britain" residents aren't too thrilled with the practice either; this despite Prime Minister David Cameron being a huge fan, "practically hailing as a miracle" the environmental mess the U.S. is creating in the name of keeping gas prices low.

But one activist, Hytham Chlouk, calls this so-called "miracle" "the selling of Great Britain." How right he is:

"This is the selling of Great Britain," Chlouk said, peering out from behind a pair of glasses and a mop of brown dreadlocks. "I don't want my beautiful country destroyed. I'd hate for it to be like some places in America that look like alien landing zones."

bingo2Here's how the British countryside looks now:

english countryside britain

Hence the obvious reason for blow-back:

The deep-seated hostility is rooted in peculiarly British characteristics and experiences. One is the near-religious reverence among many Brits for the countryside, which makes them especially zealous in driving away any threats to their "green and pleasant land" of hills and sheep and hedgerows, whose beauty has inspired poets and soldiers at war.

Then there were the literally jarring events of the spring of 2011, when two small earthquakes struck near the seaside town of Blackpool in northwestern England. The larger registered a mere 2.3 in magnitude, but the tremors were big news on this seismically docile island — and even more so after government-appointed independent experts concluded that they had been caused by a new fracking operation in the area.

Protesters (they prefer "protectors") call the fracking efforts "rapacious capitalism" and are carrying signs that say things like, "Welcome to the desolate North. Now frack off." Well done, mates.

"Their sole motive is to make profit. They're not here to provide a service or to give cheap gas," said Tim Williams, one of the few camp dwellers clearly older than 30. "We don't want the countryside to be industrialized.... Without the land, what do we have?"

Clear? Now bugger off, frackers, you sad arses are as mad as a bag of ferrets and you're giving everyone collywobbles.

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