A Fracked Earth News report
In Rome …
__”Thousands marched in Rome” over the weekend, celebrating Pope Francis’ recent encyclical focused on restoring ecological balance on Earth. Colorful and joyful, music and song, attendees came from around the planet. They also urged the pope to emphasize divestment from fossil fuels.
__Meanwhile, some Catholic organizations are urging “people to change lifestyles to help” save our environment.
__Pope Francis’ concern about bioengineering of crops, was emphasized in spite of the US State Department’s lobbying of Pope Benedict, Francis’ predecessor, that such bioengineering was a “moral imperative” (did they really say that?).
__Seems some corals are already genetically equipped “to tolerate warm ocean waters, and humans can help to spread these genes.” Scientists are cautiously hopeful.
__Do not miss! Nifty little graphic revealing what single factor is overwhelmingly associated with global warming.
__Germany set to “mothball largest coal power plants to meet climate targets”—part of their effort “to cut emissions 40% by 2020.”
__Last week we learned the Gulf Stream is changing. This week, researchers report the likely cause.
—“Retreating sea ice in the Iceland and Greenland Seas” which has fed the Gulf Stream for eons.
__”We’re depleting one third or more of the world’s major aquifers at a pretty rapid clip [with] eight to 11 of 37 major world aquifers … losing more water than man or nature returns to them.” Around 2 billion people depend on groundwater for life. Where’s this happening most? Asia and North America.
__Another in the series of studies undertaken as scientists try to capture accurately and comprehensively what we are doing to the planet—and what comes next–in the “unprecedented transformation” of our Earth.
__Residents of Manila facing relocation due to climate change-associated flooding?
Our beautiful earth
—Even developing pink salmon “that begin life in freshwater with high concentrations of carbon dioxide … are smaller and may be less likely to survive,” thus indicating carbon dioxide impacts the planet’s salt and fresh water supplies.
__Thought the Pacific Gyre a problem? Sure is, but seems the “plastic debris in the Mediterranean,” from “the Strait of Gibraltar to Cyprus,” includes “amounts of floating plastic debris comparable to those described for the five subtropical ocean gyres,” including the Pacific.
__The US could benefit from study and possible adaptation of Cuba’s impressive progress in agroecological city farms—but what’ll be the fate of those farms if US Big Ag gains access to Cuba’s agriculture? Vigilance advised.
__”Over 95 percent of the world populations of Elegant Terns and Heerman’s Gulls” nested annually on Isla Rasa in the Gulf of California. Now they’re returning to Isla Rasa briefly, then heading for new nesting grounds, mainly in southern California. No doubt you’ve guessed it: warming sea water and overfishing.
Bill Nye, Science Guy. Bill Nye, Emoji Guy.
Ya’ll think even Sen. Snowball could understand?
__One bastion of resistance to rescuing Earth from what we’ve done to it, the Republican Party in the US House, is planning to halt funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan aimed at reducing power plant emissions across the US by 30% by 2030. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) already has a similar bill in the Senate’s hopper.
__Brazilian President Rousseff and US President Obama have jointly agreed to increase use of renewables—the US by almost tripling and Brazil by doubling non-hydro renewables by 2030. Rousseff’s US visit was announced in April when her popularity had nose-dived in the midst of the Petrobras scandal and the US expressed interest in greater access to Brazil’s $2.2 trillion economy. Then in May Chinese Premier Li toured Brazil and offered $10 billion in financing to Petrobras. And now this. Interesting.
__“Murders of indigenous people up sharply in Brazil.” So are suicides. Legal and illegal mining, oil, deforestation and agriculture forces are pushing many to despair. Decisive government action is urgently needed to halt this assault on life and the human spirit.
Fracking the Earth
__Water wasters! Water used during fracking—“ranging between 2.6 million [to] 9.7 million gallons of water per well—is greatest in the Eagle Ford (Texas) and Marcellus and Utica plays (Pennsylvania and West Virginia). A decade ago about 177,000 gallons of water were used per well.
__Should fossil fuel extractors be required to invest just as much in carbon capture and storage as they invest in taking resources out of the earth? Oxford University academics are suggesting just that.
__Would-be frackers in the UK are up against the wall. Lancashire, England county councillors just turned down “the UK’s first full-scale fracking operation,” following “hot on the heels” of rejection of fracking in Roseacre Wood. Here’s to those beautiful resistors in the UK!
__Shell has received another authorization from the US for drilling in the Arctic, but what does it mean? Does Shell get a pass if drilling harasses polar bears and walruses unintentionally (Houston Chronicle) or is this a “setback” since Shell can’t operate two drilling rigs “simultaneously at a close range”? (UKGuardian)
__The entire state of New York banned fracking! It’s doing so on the basis of “significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated.” Expect law suits.
__He’s been “shot twice, arrested 12 times and had 28 lawsuits filed against him. Several members of his fishing union were murdered during a pipeline protest.” Currently in a federal protection program, Alexandre Anderson (along with his comrades) are fighting to protect Rio de Janiero’s Guanabara Bay from Big Oil.
__Controversy raging in Utah for eight years over expanding the PR Spring Project—“an oil sands mining operation”—despite scientific evidence that nearby water resources could be endangered, which, in turn, is countered by 180 holes reportedly drilled to considerable depth and no water found. U.S. Oil Sands is involved—a Canadian firm, no less.
__Food & Water Watch finally received 100+ pages from the Pennsylvania Dept of Health. “Shocking,” they’re saying: the Dept of Health prevented staff interaction with residents reporting fracking-related health issues.
__Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled homeowners whose homes were damaged by fracking-caused earthquakes can sue New Dominion LLC and Spess Oil.
__At last, United Steel Workers at Marathon Petroleum’s Galveston Bay Refinery have reached agreement with management and will end their “four-month unfair labor practice strike.” Safety was a big concern.
__The US Supreme Court has rejected their argument to the contrary, so BP and Andarko Petroleum now face penalties, possibly near $15 billion, as co-owners of the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Update: BP’s tentatively agreed to pay $18.7 billion for damages to Gulf states following the blowout. Largest such fine yet in the US.
__Natural gas may be a more “environmentally friendly substitute” for coal, but that benefit could be offset by gas leaks as a study on US federal and tribal lands revealed. How bad are such leaks in the rest of the US, one wonders. Only “a tight lid on leaks” would make natural gas truly safe and beneficial.
__In Argentina a judge “has ordered the seizure of assets of oil drilling companies operating in the Falklands Islands, including property held by U.S. firm Noble Energy.” $156 million in bank accounts seized as well as “boats and other property.”
A bit of mining news
__Seems the Hatfield Colliery in South Yorkshire will cease operations. It can’t sell its coal, given the “sharp rise in the UK’s carbon tax.” 500 to be laid off.
__12,000+ children, including 8 year-olds, have been rescued from illegal mining operations in Tanzania over the past three years. Many more rescues to perform, though, as the situation continues to be a “serious problem.”
__Western Australia’s mining minister making major noise: “The Great Western Woodlands, largest remaining temperate woodlands in the world, will not be supported if it impinges on mining.”
Land of Breath, the great crossroads … Altai, where so much began so long ago.
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