Hot Earth Links: A Fracked Earth News report.
International Women’s Day, feeding the world
__Almost 50% of working women worldwide are engaged in agriculture. If given the same resources as men, women could boost food production in developing countries by 4%, reducing “the number of undernourished people in the world by 150 million.”
Water, its polluters & protectors
__Michigan’s State Auditor General recommends “thorough review” and tightening of the state’s Safe Water Drinking Act, among other corrections, in response to the Flint lead-laden drinking water scandal.
__Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has placed a hold on “a bill to provide federal aid to Flint, Michigan, amid its water crisis.” He’s accused other lawmakers of “political grandstanding” on the issue.
__Chutzpah much? Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and Attorney General expect taxpayers to fork over $2.7 million to cover legal costs in the Flint lead-contamination matter.
__Never mind the fragile water supply in the semi-arid region, shale gas exploration is scheduled for South Africa’s Karoo this year.
__Berta Caceres was murdered by “multiple gunmen” while trying to protect the Gualcarque River in Honduras. Officials won’t allow the lone witness, wounded during the attack, to leave Honduras to return to Mexico.
Global warming, human reaction
__Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and US President Obama agree to take the lead in: reducing methane emission, establishing a “low carbon global economy … preserving the Arctic and focusing on biodiversity, science-based decision-making, indigenous people and building a sustainable Arctic economy.” Whew!
__Sea rise so threatens south Florida that “a coalition of 15 South Florida municipal leaders wrote to Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov Jeb Bush,” urging them “to pledge firm steps against global warming.”
__They had to bring 7,000+ gallons of snow in by train to even get the Iditirod off to a start this year.
__Weather scientists are saying we may experience only a moderate increase in rain and snow, but each will be falling with greater intensity, everywhere.
__A team of Pacific Northwest glacier cave explorers is racing against time to explore and map Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainer ice caves before they vanish.
__With the solar energy credit extended for five years, a boom in the US solar sector is expected, with solar adding “more new electricity-generating capacity than any other—including natural gas and wind.”
__Disparate groups developed a compromise bill to boost solar power 12-fold over five years in Maine—and add 800 jobs. Grumpy Gov. Paul LePage (R) said no, but the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee will consider the matter next week.
__Republicans are so bogged down in Deep Denial that a North Carolina businessman is struggling to turn them on to his “conservative clean energy” (hydro power, clean coal, nuclear and natural gas–all sure-fire solutions).
_Colombia in energy emergency, trying to figure out how to “avoid power outages and avoid rationing” as temperatures soar and drought sets in.
__China has cut its coal consumption by 3%—and increased solar power (by 74%) and wind power (by 34%) between 2014-2015. Climate change economist Lord Stern, says carbon emissions in China “may have peaked.”
Global warming contributors: The oil & gas industries
__Oil prices Thursday am: $37.22/barrel New York, $39.75 Brent.
__They’ve finally figured it out: oil prices to go lower.
__”Every point” in the oil supply line “is increasingly reliant on sensors that monitor and measure pressure, fuel levels, pipeline flows, quantities of oil, temperatures and whether equipment is working properly.” A magnet for hackers, and they’re on it.
__According to Corporate Knights, New York State’s Common Retirement Fund investments “lost at least $5.3 billion [due to] investments in the top 200 coal, oil and gas companies.” Better returns to be had in “new clean energy.”
__Wow! Two families in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania just won their suit against Cabot Oil & Gas for negligence “in its natural gas drilling,” leading to drinking-water contamination. $2.75m to one family; $1.49m to the other. Jury took two days. h/t EE
__Iowa’s just issued that last permit needed for the Dakota Access, or Bakken pipeline. Appeal is probable.
__Oklahoma oil and gas regulators have ’asked’ that 411 injection wells in Central Oklahoma cut back by 40% “the amount of oil and gas wastes they are injecting deep into the earth.” In February, they had injections in northwest Oklahoma wells reduced 40%, also.
__Worry in Ohio about the state becoming the “major wastewater dump for the fracking industry,” the impact on groundwater and occurrence of “abnormally dangerous” earthquakes. Of the 29 million barrels of wastewater pumped into the ground in 2015, 13 million barrels were from other states.
__Some are eager to exploit the Rogersville Shale formation in central Kentucky. Others, however, are concerned about radioactive drilling waste impact on health, drinking water and the environment.
__Greeley, Colorado’s City Council overrode its Planning Commission and voted to issue permits for 22 oil and gas wells. “Hundreds” of citizens attended the meeting, most reportedly against the permits.
__The town of Solon, Maine has erred on the side of caution and banned fracking.
__US methane emissions increased 30+% over the past ten years. Shale gas production “increased nine times during the same period.” Latest data are “based on independent satellite measurements,” not EPA estimates.
__Citigroup’s being sued “for fraud by investors and creditors of a bankrupt Mexican oil services firm,” Oceanografia, which created a $1.1bn loss for Rabobank Groep of Holland. More entities involved, including Pemex. The US Securities and Exchange Commission is also investigating.
__Britain may be under an organized frack attack, but the Nana’s have launched some counter-action.
__Increasing concern that Europe’s biofuels cannot compete with import of Poland’s super-cheap biofuels, which some say is actually “regular diesel.”
__Wild times in Brazil with many political luminaries hauled in for questioning in the “colossal graft scandal” swirling around Petrobras, including former President Lula da Silva.
__Omitted from an emergency aid list despite the thousands of barrels of oil leaked from Petroperu’s 40-year old pipeline deep in the Amazon (here and here), the Wampis seized a military helicopter and took “at least” 8 government officials hostage. Is the government clueless?
Mining wins and losses
__Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) told Twin Metals Minnesota that “the state will oppose any new mining agreements on state lands” near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, considered the “crown jewel in Minnesota and a national treasure.”
__Oxbow Mining, one of William Kochs’ subsidiaries, sought a refund of $14m in royalties on its Elk Creek coal mine. US Bureau of Land Management: “Denied.”
__US Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon): Let’s end the US coal leasing program.
__Resistance by residents of Lake Butler, Florida, “against an ambitious, multi-million-dollar” phosphate mine because of “health risks, lowered property values and a vulnerable aquifer.” Board of Commissions will vote on the matter March 21st.
__The O’odham nation, environmentalists, even nuns, have fought Hudbay Minerals’ $1.5bn development of the Rosemont copper mine in Arizona’s Santa Rita mountains. At the moment, Hudbay (Canadian firm) “is mired in debt during a period of low copper prices,” so the mine’s on hold. Meanwhile, El Jefe is lending his support to keep the mine out.
__28 local gold miners working a wildcat mine near Tumeremo, Venezuela have gone missing. Officials are denying anything happened to initiating investigations. Locals contend murder and grisly disposal of the miners’ bodies occurred.
__Their union claims 1000 Queensland, Australia coalminers could have black lung disease and that “150,000 screening x-rays … have not been properly processed.”
__Two workers dead, five missing at Glencore’s open-pit Katanga copper mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, after a pit wall collapsed.
__This one’s been going on for years (and it’ll probably be back, because $$$$s), but, for now, the U.S. Forest Service halted development of “hundreds of homes, retail shops and hotels outside Grand Canyon National Park.”
__Sumatra may have 14,600 orangutans, over twice previous estimates. Encouraging news, but their numbers are still quite small.
__Hello to Caspar, newly-discovered sea creature.
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