Hot Earth Links: A Fracked Earth News report.
Restoring Earth’s balance
__E.O. Wilson, Harvard biologist and biodiversity expert, says we must not only “Keep It In the Ground” (fossil fuels) but we must set aside half the earth for nature, so that all species may thrive. h/t KM, EE
__124 nations are participating in a 3-year Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) study to access “the pace at which animals and plants are dying out.” They’ll cover least to greatest, “bacteria to blue whales.”
__We’re at mid-point in the UN’s Decade of Biodiversity:
__40% of nature’s pollinators, bees and butterflies, “are facing extinction … and that means that one in three bites of food that we eat is at risk.” Solution: “creating more habitat for pollinators and exercising care with the insecticides.”
__The largest solar project begins operation near London’s Heathrow Airport. 23,000 solar panels float on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir, generating energy sufficient to operate Thames Waters’ “water treatment plants for decades.” Similar projects are in development elsewhere, despite government’s slashing of wind and solar subsidies.
__US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts boosted clean air, concluding that the Environmental Protection Agency can continue to enforce “a contentious air pollution rule for power plants.”
__Oregon set to eliminate coal power by 2030 and rely on renewables to meet half its customers’ needs by 2040.
__A US Department of Energy agency claims it’s developed the “next generation” of energy storage batteries, ahead of Elon Musk and Bill Gates.
__Tens of thousands marched in London against resurrecting the Trident nuclear submarines program. People proclaimed “Books Not Bombs,” “Cut War Not Welfare,” “Climate Not Trident.” Here’s Jeremy Corbyn, Liberal leader:
__Greenpeace will provide their own unique enhancement (in the spirit of Gandhi, Rosa Parks and MLK) to the annual oil confab in Auckland, New Zealand, March 21st.
__A lower court ruled that US Fish & Wildlife Service designated an area as critical habitat for polar bears that was “too extensive and not specific” enough. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has overruled the lower court.
Water, lives at risk
__11 huge dams are planned on the Mekong, in addition to the giant Wunonglong Dam China’s already built. Impact on life in and along the banks of the Mekong could be vast, destructive. Flowing from Tibet to the Mekong Delta, the river sustains rich biodiversity as it meanders along, supplying food that sustains “tens of millions of people.”
__Dire warning that the Mosul dam in Iraq “could fail at any time, killing 1m people”; the government’s response of advising people to move 3.5 miles from Tigris River banks is “ridiculous.”
__First effort to analyze water scarcity using a more comprehensive approach, incorporating many key variables.
__Scientific models are being developed concerning sea rise, and its cost. In Copenhagen, for example, a moderate rise would cost $1.1bn/year by 2050 if nothing is done—and that could quadruple if the rate of rise doubles.
__Arctic sea ice remained at record lows during February.
__Industry and agriculture have severely polluted Lake Okeechobee in Florida with “untreated water [containing] toxic chemicals and fertilizers.” Heavy winter rains threatened the lake’s aging dikes, so officials began draining it, releasing toxic water toward the Gulf. Communities and politicians are seeking a solution.
From the oil & gas front
__ExxonMobil didn’t mention in its annual stockholders’ report that the New York Attorney General is investigating the company regarding what it knew but didn’t disclose about global warming for decades.
__Exxon’s also bucking “a shareholder resolution that calls for the company to show how its business will be affected by the global commitment to dramatically slow global warming.”
__Scientists are urging the American Geophysical Union to cease having Exxon sponsor its annual meetings.
__Continental Resources and Whiting Petroleum are quitting the Bakken for the year. They’re slashing costs following their $354m (Continental) and $2.2b (Whiting) net losses last year. Meanwhile, US OSHA is investigating deaths of workers in the Bakken oil fields and the North Dakota legislature is working on “more stringent oversight of workplace safety.”
__Murder in the Bakken as an oil truck firm operator allegedly hired a guy to kill two others “competing for work in . . . [the] oil patch.”
__Oil prices today, up a tad: $34.53/barrel NY, $36.80 Brent.
__Oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico predicted to produce 1.8 million barrels/day in 2017 as new drilling projects come on line. They must drill, regardless of ridiculously low oil prices, as they owe millions in development costs.
__One US presidential candidate opposes the Sandpiper (Bakken oil) and Alberta Clipper (Alberta tarsands oil) pipelines.
__16 Norfolk Southern train cars derailed near Ripley, New York, two of them leaking ethanol. 50 families were evacuated and others told “to shelter in place.”
__The US Coast Guard has withdrawn its proposal to let fracking wastewater be transported by barge down the Ohio River, following 70,000 public comments. Instead, they’ll require applications for hauling the wastewater down the Ohio—but review those applications without any public input.
__Oklahoma’s Legislature has banned bans on local wastewater injection wells by communities around the state. That could be changing, as people increasingly complain about earthquakes caused by wastewater injection—and some politicians seem to be listening.
__Former CEO of Chesapeake Energy, Aubrey McClendon, indicted by the US Justice Department for conspiring “to rig bids to buy oil and natural gas leases in Oklahoma,” dead after driving his car into a wall.
__California’s oil & gas regulator approved frack fluid wastewater disposal near “a protected aquifer near San Luis Obispo” in “underground basins protected by the [federal] Clean Water Act.”
__Louisiana’s carbon emissions could be boosted by 30% (or 68 million additional tons) as 22 natural gas and chemical plant projects begin coming on line.
__It may be all the rage among European politicians, but Scientific American says a “fracking boom in Europe is a long way off—and some experts say it may never arrive.” Exploratory drilling has been quite disappointing.
__Scotland’s Labor Party is pushing the Scottish Nationalist Party to clarify its position on fracking.
Communities rise to the challenge!
__High fives all around! Dedicated Floridians’ efforts paid off as pro-fracking bill SB318 was withdrawn, though the word is it’ll be back.
__Brevard County, Florida commissioners unanimously resolved to oppose pro-fracking bill SB318 and scheduled a public hearing on banning fracking in the county. The League of Women Voters of the Space Coast lent strong support.
__Anti-fracking protesters in Pennsylvania disrupted the Center for American Progress’ climate change event almost as soon as it began. Gov. Tom Wolf (D), on the discussion panel, was the focus of much of the protesters’ attention as they demanded he “Ban Fracking Now.”
__Disgusted with oil contamination in the Peruvian Amazon, the Inter-Ethnic Association (AIDESEP) is demanding Petroperu cease pumping oil “until the company has carried out all the necessary supervisions, checks, and repairs.” AIDESEP also demands water, food, and emergency health services for local communities, and restoration of oil polluted waterways and fields.
__Antrim, Ireland’s Stop the Drill campaign is underway as InfraStrata waits for approval to drill. Trees have already been sacrificed for drilling.
And then there’s mining
__Tintina Montana Inc is rarin’ to go at its Black Butte Copper Project in Meagher County. Is Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality aware of “the mine’s proximity to a tributary of the Smith River [which] jeopardizes the iconic waterway”?
__Five Samarco mining company executives and one contractor are being charged with “aggravated homicide … for the deaths of at least 17 people caused by two of their dams bursting in November” in Minas Gerais, Brazil.
__35 miners dead, 26 still missing, after a methane explosion in the Severnaya Mine in the Russian Arctic. Rescue attempts have been halted; the situation deemed hopeless
__China reduced coal consumption 2.9% in 2014 and 3.7% in 2015, slow but steady progress “to wean itself off fuel that causes local air pollution problems and global warming.”
Return of the Monarchs!
__Monarchs returned to their wintering places in large numbers this year. Fingers crossed for a solid rebound.
Content posted to MyMPN open blogs is the opinion of the author alone, and should not be attributed to MintPress News.