Hot Earth Links: A Fracked Earth News report.
Greenpeace fracks Parliament
__Greenpeace’s fracking rig replica in London’s Parliament Square set the tone for “a public inquiry into Cuadrilla’s proposals to frack for shale gas at two sites in Lancashire.” Actor and anti-fracking activist Mark Ruffalo joined in.
Drilling for $’s is getting harder
__Oil prices this morning: $26.62 US, $30.57 Brent. Even some “experts”are wondering if prices will ever rebound.
__They’ve also noticed the oil glut is “bigger than previously estimated … increasing the risk of further price losses, as OPEC members Iran and Iraq bolster production while demand growth slows.” Citi proclaims Oilmageddon is upon us! but others charge the “markets are overegging the prospect of a global slump.”
__IHS Inc cautions: “North American oil and natural gas drillers will need to cut an additional 30 percent from their capital budgets … even if crude reaches $40 a barrel” in order to reach an acceptable spending: cash flow ratio.
__Smaller firms are at most risk. They’re selling assets to try and survive; some continue to drill just to make enough cash for debt payments.
__Chesapeake Energy, major Oklahoma-based gas producer, is looking “at restructuring options,”,but is not, repeat not, planning on filing for bankruptcy. Chesapeake’s cut staff by 15% and made fiscal adjustments, but their losses continue in the billions.
__New University of Texas at Arlington study puts the spotlight right back on the great mystery of what’s in fracking fluid, having found in well water near fracking sites “high levels of chlorinated solvents, alcohols and compounds commonly found in petroleum products.” George “P” Bush’s Texas Railroad Commission is non-plussed.
__U.S. Oil Sands of Alberta, Canada has had to “slow down” it’s work in the Utah tar sands region since there are no workers (that contractor quit) and they can’t break even at current oil prices.
__Florida’s House may be gung-ho fracking, but not necessarily the Senate. Sen. Tom Lee (R), for instance, has concerns about fracking in the limestone that underlies Florida, and he’s also aware that areas banning fracking contain 60% of the state’s population! Dr. Lynn Ringenberg, Florida pediatrician and President of Physicians for Social Responsibility has joined in, noting that frackers and their many political allies are “asking us to trade the health of our children and grandchildren to make you wealthy.” Hillsborough County, Cape Coral and Seminole County have just joined the opposition, btw.
__That 22-mile New Jersey Pinelands Pipeline is approved to carry fracked gas to Beesley’s Point, running near the 17 trillion gallon freshwater Kirkwood-Cohenasey aquifer (gulp). A 30-mile fracked gas pipeline bringing Pennsylvania shale product from Burlington County through the Pinelands has been proposed.
__TENORM — “technologically-enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material”– includes radioactive material resulting from fracking. In Michigan, TENORM ends up in storage at Detroit’s Van Buren Township landfills. Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has a report on that, but when will we see it?
__Radioactive leak at Indian Point, New York at one Entergy-operated “underground monitoring well, [although] the public isn’t at risk.” The water could end up in the Hudson, where it’ll settle “in the middle of the river [and become] so diluted that the levels of radioactivity are nearly undetectable.” Feel better now? Me neither.
__It doesn’t stop: will the US Bureau of Land Management “auction off drilling rights for the next 10 years to 259 acres in Hickory Creek … in Santa Fe, New Mexico”? Fracking for gas at Lewisville Lake near Dallas is also possible, to the surprise of residents.
__The Chippewas of the Thames First Nation has challenged Enbridge’s reversing the flow of its aging Line 9 pipeline since the Chippewas were not “consulted properly,” according to Chief Leslee White-Eye who stressed, “The basis of all this is the land, the environment, the requirement of us to be always acting for the betterment of future generations.”
__Saskatchewan seeks $156m from the Canadian government to accelerate clean-up and remediation of 1,000 out-of-production oil wells, providing jobs for oil and related workers idled by the slump.
__As British opposition stiffens against the Frack Attack, villagers in Balcombe and Horsham spread the news “that Water UK has said that no water treatment in the country is prepared to accept fracking waste.”
Global warming accelerates; Supremes block progress
__Global warming occurs unevenly around the globe. E.g., as Arctic ice melts, there’s less ice to reflect sunlight back, so melt accelerates; as a result, Arctic night-time temperatures, currently 2C higher, could “soar by 6C.” Additionally, oceans warm more slowly than land, contributing to the uneven spread of the warming.
__Sea creatures are rapidly moving toward the poles. 1C increase and already, it’s claimed, half the sea dwellers have moved. Land dwellers, too, are moving—up hillsides and mountains, seeking cooler temps. Finland reports “We have lost one third of our ice season.”
__Five of the US Supreme Court justices temporarily blocked regulations developed to curtail CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants:
The heat is on: racing against time
__Nassau, New York has had it with lengthy power interruptions, so has decided to have its town powered by “solar, wind, landfill gas and battery storage by 2020.” Microgrids they’re called and they’re gaining in popularity.
__Dong Energy of Denmark intends to build an offshore wind farm producing enough power for 1 million homes. The Hornsea project will be “about 120km off the Yorkshire coast.”
__Morocco has begun sending electricity from phase one of its large desert solar complex to 650,000 nearby residents. Once completed, they’ll transmit enough energy for 1.1 million people (580MW capacity).
Dangers of deforestation
__Replacing the old broadleaved trees of Europe with fast-growing conifers between 1750-1850 led to a temperature rise “of almost 0.12 degrees … over Europe.” Not only do conifers absorb much less carbon than the broadleaved trees, they also reflect (rather than absorb) solar radiation.
__Those countries “losing pristine forests at strikingly high rates are: Angola, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Papua New Guinea and Paraguay—followed by Cameroon, Central African Republic, Indonesia and Malaysia.
__Palm oil agriculture will devour 150,000 hectares per year in Colombia for the next three years. Colombia is “the largest palm producer in Latin America and fourth largest in the world.” Tearing up countryside disrupts and displaces many people — frequently involving paramilitary operations.
Mining: friends in high places
__Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is the Senate member blocking a bill which would have rescued “health and pension funds on which thousands of retired and disabled miners rely.” The funds may run out of cash as early as this spring. Mine companies not in bankruptcy are shifting toward non-dues-paying workforces.
__El Jefe, the jaguar recently discovered hanging out in Arizona’s Santa Rita Mountains, may be in danger already. Canada’s Rosemount Mining Company wants to set-up “a massive open-pit copper mine” in the area.
__Toxic chemical MCHM, used for washing coal, broke through through an insecure containment and flowed into the Elk and Kanawha Rivers at Charleston, West Virginia in 2014, poisoning drinking water of some 300,000 people. So far, four executives of Freedom Industries have paid fines and done no time—just like the big boys at the Big Banks.
Lead-free pipelines needed
__There are 3.3 – 10 milion lead water pipes still in use across the US, despite a 30-year old federal law banning them. Industry push-back has stifled thorough investigation of the situation. Even the safety level for lead is rigged, since it’s merely “a calculation that water in at least nine in 10 homes susceptible to lead contamination will fall below that standard.”
__More from Erin Brockovich on the state of the nation’s water supplies (ain’t good).
__Flint, Michigan Mayor Karen Weaver announced work will begin in March to remove all lead-contaminated pipes in the city.
This’ll lift your spirits!
__After major effort over 10 years, 9.1m acres in Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest, home of the Spirit Bears, are now protected. Logging can take place on 15% of it, but “‘only under conditions described as the most stringent in North America.’”
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