Archive for gas companies

He's Doing Time For Us

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Tim DeChristopher

Who is Bidder 70 and what does he have to do with us? He's Tim DeChristopher and he is us. He's an American who's gone to jail because big oil didn't like that he was threatening them -- by attending and bidding in open to the public auctions of government land, beautiful and pristine. And he was doing it to save that pastoral beauty for generations to come, the keep it free from oil rigs and fracking.

On December 19, 2008 Tim DeChristopher attended a highly Utah BLM Oil and Gas lease auction. Tim entered the auction hall and registered as bidder #70. He outbid industry giants on land parcels (which, starting at $2 an acre, were adjacent to national treasures like Canyonlands National Park), winning 22,000 acres of land worth $1.7 million before the auction was halted.

chesler_park_trail_canyonlands_national_park_utah_us

Within two months Interior Secretary Ken Salazar invalidated the auction. He had just been sworn in and this was one of his first actions. Think he got some lobbyist money? Probably. But what DeChristopher got  was indicted on two federal felonies with penalties of up to 10 years in prison and $750,000 in fines.

After two years and nine postponements, his trial began on February 28, 2011. Outside the courtroom, hundreds rallied in solidarity with Tim. Inside, Judge Dee Benson disallowed every defense his lawyers put forth. After a five-day trial, DeChristopher was found guilty. His sentencing was scheduled for summer 2012.

On July 26th Tim was sentenced to two years in federal prison and removed immediately from court in chains.

Tim is serving the remainder of his sentence.

He did this for all of us. Why not take a look at the video trailer and see how our government is in bed with big oil and are out to crush anyone who gets in their way. We need to hold both the government AND big oil to blame for this. Get ready to become inflamed.

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"Natural gas fire continues to burn after well blowout." But, hey, no worries: "So far" no "immediate danger."

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gas explosion blowout gulf maddow show

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Yesterday I posted Here we go again: Natural gas spews “uncontrolled” into Gulf after blowout. I am grateful to Rachel Maddow for being the only news source I happened to see that covered that catastrophe. Please watch the video above for the entire story.

The Los Angeles Times had more coverage, and theirs is titled "Natural gas fire continues to burn after well blowout." After these disasters, the (ir)responsible parties (along with government agencies) rush in to reassure everyone how everything is under control, no worries, there's very little, if any, damage, and yippee! nobody was killed! Like this:

"There is no immediate danger to humans or wildlife" related to the incident, said staff at the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, part of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Along with the Coast Guard, it is the lead agency responding.

Let's examine how accurate claims like those are in this case:

Blackmon said it was not clear how long it would take to drill a relief well but it would likely take days. [...]

The U.S. Coast Guard restricted vessel traffic within 500 meters of the rig, recommending vessels stay five miles away, said Lt. j.g. Tanner Stiehl. They were also enforcing Federal Aviation Administration temporary restrictions on air travel up to 2,000 feet above the area, he said.

But there's no immediate danger, see. Key word: "Immediate." Because, they say, so far nobody has seen signs of environmental damage. Key words: "So far."

And because there's no immediate danger, vessels and air travelers... keep your distance!

The workers "experienced a loss of control" of the well at 8:45 a.m. Central Time on Tuesday, according to the BSEE. Soon after, inspectors reported a cloud of natural gas above the rig and a light sheen on the water spanning one-half mile by 50 feet.

Blackmon said the environmental impact of the leak had been minimal at this point because what was leaking was "dry natural gas" that evaporated instead of contaminating the air and water.

Well then, so long as it's "dry" gas. Is that anything like, "Hey, at least it's not humid. Dry heat is so much easier to take!"

There are environmental groups that are concerned about potential contamination from condensate, or liquid released with the gas, because condensate contains the carcinogen benzene and other toxic chemicals. Feel reassured now?

Wilma Subra, a chemist from New Iberia, Louisiana and advisor to the non-profit Louisiana Environmental Action Network, was concerned with "how quickly things can go bad in the Gulf." Ya think?

Dave Valentine, a UC Santa Barbara professor of microbial geochemistry who studied the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf, said, "It's not oil. It's not floating to the surface and causing toxicity issues. But there may be this other level of impact and we just haven't been able to study it effectively."

Marine life and "the seafloor community" could be hurt. Again.

The worry stems from the many unknowns. But rest assured, it's all under control.

UPDATE:

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Here we go again: Natural gas spews "uncontrolled" into Gulf after blowout

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gas oil rig blowout off coast via Common Dreams

"Rupture caused by failed attempt to expand well..."

Here we go again. Luckily, there were no injuries... if you don't count how lives (plant, animal, human) are affected by environmental disasters after the fact as well as during the fact, of course. Via WRAL:

NEW ORLEANS — Natural gas spewed uncontrolled from a well off the Louisiana coast on Tuesday after a blowout that forced the evacuation of 44 workers aboard a drilling rig, authorities said. [...]

Experts from Wild Well Control Inc. were to assess the well site overnight and develop a plan to shut down the flow of gas, said Jim Noe, executive vice president of Hercules Offshore Inc, owner of the drilling rig where the blowout occurred. [...]

[T]he Coast Guard kept nautical traffic out of an area within 500 meters of the site, where the spewing gas posed a fire hazard... BSEE said inspectors flying over the site soon after the blowout saw a light sheen covering an area about a half-mile by 50 feet.

So the company that owns the rig still hasn't developed a plan to shut down said rigs in the event of a blowout? How reassuring. Drill, baby, drill!

And via Common Dreams:

This has been the second incident this month regarding an off-shore natural gas well leaking into the Gulf of Mexico. During the previous incident, a well in the process of being abandoned poured natural gas into Gulf waters for several days before being sealed off.

These spills are a "reminder that deep water drilling for fossil fuels is volatile and dangerous, and that we need to transition as soon as possible to safer, cleaner forms of energy like wind and solar," said Deb Nardone, director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Natural Gas campaign, following the earlier spill.

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Fracking could lead to demand for more potentially explosive ammonia factories

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what the frack sign Via The Tyee.ca

So much madness, so little time.

The last safety “inspection of the West fertilizer plant happened in– 1985.” Because, you know, fertilizer components aren't flammable and dangerous and don't require any regulation whatsoever. Nor are ingredients such as ammonium nitrate ever used in, say, domestic terrorist attacks like, oh I dunno, the Oklahoma City bombing.

Nor do they ever explode.

Nor do they pollute the air with noxious fumes when they never explode.

Nor do those explosions that never happen ever kill people.

So, of course, no forward-looking country with clear-thinking leaders would ever consider exposing its citizens to even more noxious ammonia factories. Nor would they encourage any powerful corporations to engage in any undertakings that would rely on chemicals that could easily pollute and ignite the way the plant in West, Texas did.

Grist:

The U.S. could soon be home to a lot more ammonia factories — not a comforting thought after a deadly explosion at an ammonia fertilizer plant in Texas on Wednesday evening. You can blame the fracking boom. [...]

Australian company Incitec Pivot this week announced [PDF] that it will be building a hulking new $850 million ammonia facility in Waggaman, La., just outside New Orleans. [...]

U.S.-based Mosaic announced in December that it may build a $700 million ammonia plant in St. James Parish, La. U.S.-based CHS Inc. said in September that it would construct a $1.2 billion ammonia plant in North Dakota. Also in September, Egypt’s largest company, Orascom Construction, said it would spend $1.4 billion to build a fertilizer plant in Iowa.

Well, erm, okay, but surely ammonia production has a good safety record overall, and the Texas disaster was just an anomaly. Right?

The history of ammonia production and storage is littered with spectacular accidents.

Oh, and there's this:

The Dallas Morning News reports that the Texas fertilizer plant that exploded Wednesday night told the Environmental Protection Agency and local public safety officials that it presented "no risk of fire or explosion."

They lied to the EPA and were not in compliance with EPA regulations (EPA regulations do not allow felony violations of 18 USC 1001). If the company was in compliance with EPA regulations, then the 540,000 lbs of the explosive ammonium nitrate, stored at the facility, would not have blown up.

"The EPA said the company corrected the deficiencies and filed an updated plan in 2011. It said it now complies with EPA regulations."

Now think about all those impending new ammonia facilities. What could possibly go wrong?

All our posts on the environmental rapes perpetrated by frackers can be found here (scroll).

forward off cliff

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Mining sand for fracking is turning Wisconsin farmland owners against each other

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Several months ago I posted Let’s get the truth about fracking, and if you haven't watched Gasland yet, please do that asap.

Fracking is causing even more problems these days, this time in Wisconsin, eastern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa, and northwestern Illinois.  Those are states in which sand formations are most prevalent, sand that the oil and gas industries need in their endless quest for profits by way of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). 

But in Wisconsin, it's pitting farmland owners who prioritize employment and royalties for land usage against those who are distraught over the potential negative health problems due to elevated concentrations of small sand particulates from airborne dust, along with concerns about high water usage required for fracking, and, of course, the usual environmental damage.

Via the L.A. Times:

The rapid expansion of sand mining through the quiet of western Wisconsin has raised fears among some residents and hope in others, often pitting neighbors against one another, just as fracking has done elsewhere [...]

High-volume hydraulic fracturing involves shooting millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals underground to crack shale formations and unlock oil and gas. The sand props open the fissures, and hydrocarbons flow through the porous sand up the well.

Residents worry about winds blowing around the sand from outdoor piles, resulting in respiratory problems from inhaling the dust.

One cattle farmer and anti-mining activist said, "Individual rights end when you start affecting others' health and welfare."

The companies that build the plants that process the sand pay tens of thousands of dollars in property taxes. Supporters feel that the payoff for Wisconsin is jobs, and for the country, cheap energy. They seem to be ignoring this "payoff":

Western Wisconsinites worry that airborne dust, or crystalline silica, as it is known, can lead to a potentially deadly respiratory ailment called silicosis. Research has shown the dangers crystalline silica poses on the job to miners and even to workers at fracking sites. But little is known about its effect on people who live near mine sites.

Critics want the air around mines monitored, but so far, only one air monitor has gone up in Chippewa County. In fact, air quality around mines is barely monitored, in part because of budget cuts at the state's Department of Natural Resources.

Good old Scott Walker and his GOP minions. Austerity first! Did they think about all the water needed for fracking, including to wash sand? They should. Additionally, in rural areas, mines can be built next to homes or schools.

But money talks... at least to some Wisconsinites.

One mining supporter "declined to specify how much he makes off his lease, he said it was more than $10,000 a month."

A cranberry farmer, in tears, said this:

"Fighting this just seems so hopeless... The companies just have so much money. They can just buy everybody. It seems like nothing can stop them. There's got to be better ways than this."

All of our posts on fracking can be found here.

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Video- Stossel Guest: In Terms Of Profit, "Oil And Gas Companies Actually Don't Do All That Well"

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The guy was a jackass at ABC and has now perfected it. Via Media Matters.

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