Category Archives: Energy

Why US fracking companies are licking their lips over Ukraine

By Naomi Klein, April 10, 2014. Source: The Guardian

A large field of fracking sites in a Colorado valley. 'The industry’s singular solution to the climate crisis is to dramatically expand an extraction process that releases massive amounts of climate-destabilising methane.' Photograph: Ted Wood/Aurora Photos/Corbis

A large field of fracking sites in a Colorado valley. ‘The industry’s singular solution to the climate crisis is to dramatically expand an extraction process that releases massive amounts of climate-destabilising methane.’ Photograph: Ted Wood/Aurora Photos/Corbis

The way to beat Vladimir Putin is to flood the European market with fracked-in-the-USA natural gas, or so the industry would have us believe. As part of escalating anti-Russian hysteria, two bills have been introduced into the US Congress – one in the House of Representatives (H.R. 6), one in the Senate (S. 2083) – that attempt to fast-track liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, all in the name of helping Europe to wean itself from Putin’s fossil fuels, and enhancing US national security.

According to Cory Gardner, the Republican congressman who introduced the House bill, “opposing this legislation is like hanging up on a 911 call from our friends and allies”. And that might be true – as long as your friends and allies work at Chevron and Shell, and the emergency is the need to keep profits up amid dwindling supplies of conventional oil and gas.

For this ploy to work, it’s important not to look too closely at details. Like the fact that much of the gas probably won’t make it to Europe – because what the bills allow is for gas to be sold on the world market to any country belonging to the World Trade Organisation. Continue reading

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Filed under Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Fracking

Two log jail time to stop logging, strip mine expansion in Illinois

By James Anderson, April 2, 2014. Source: TruthOut

Police escort to their cars, two Ohio activists under arrest for a blockade intended to stop logging along Rocky Branch Road, a precursor to Peabody Energy's strip mining expansion and the closure of the road planned by the company. (Photo: James Anderson)

Police escort to their cars, two Ohio activists under arrest for a blockade intended to stop logging along Rocky Branch Road, a precursor to Peabody Energy’s strip mining expansion and the closure of the road planned by the company. (Photo: James Anderson)

Activists courted arrest recently in Harrisburg, Illinois, to stop Peabody Energy from continuing logging operations related to strip mine expansion.

Police arrested two activists at a blockade set up on Rocky Branch Road in Harrisburg, Illinois, early on March 28, 2014, to stop Peabody Energy from continuing logging operations as part of the company’s strip mine expansion.

Daniel Goering, 20, and Alice Fine, 19, laid down a tarp on the road to block the route to be used for logging that day. Along with other environmental activists and with the support of community residents directly impacted by Peabody’s operations, the two tried to forestall and possibly prevent further strip mining and the proposed closure of Rocky Branch Road.

Goering and Fine – a self-identifying “radical power couple” – are students at Oberlin College in Ohio who joined with other activists intent on stopping Peabody, the largest private-sector coal company in the world. It has been active in mining operations around Harrisburg since 1999. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Mining

US energy consumption, CO2 emissions up in 2013, new analysis shows

Note: More renewable energy.  More fossil fuels.  More CO2 emissions.  In America (sic), we just want more of everything, planet be damned!

-The GJEP Team

April 2, 2014. Source: ScienceDaily

Natural Gas, frackingAmericans used more renewable, fossil and even nuclear energy in 2013, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Each year, the Laboratory releases energy flow charts that illustrate the nation’s consumption and use of energy.Overall, Americans used 2.3 quadrillion thermal units more in 2013 than the previous year.

The Laboratory also has released a companion chart illustrating the nation’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Americans’ carbon dioxide emissions increased to 5,390 million metric tons, the first annual increase since 2010.
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Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Hydroelectric dams, Hydrofracking, Nuclear power, Oil

Biomass expansion project scrapped in Washington state

By Paul Gottlieb, April 4, 2014. Source: Peninsula Daily News

Port Townsend Paper is scrapping plans for a $54 million project to improve the mill’s biomass cogeneration plant. Photo: Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

Port Townsend Paper is scrapping plans for a $54 million project to improve the mill’s biomass cogeneration plant. Photo: Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Port Townsend Paper Corp. has abandoned a much-disputed $54 million project that would have upgraded the mill’s biomass cogeneration plant.

Company President Roger Hagan told the Peninsula Daily News on Wednesday that the company’s construction permit will not be extended beyond the 18-month June deadline for the improvements.

“It’s not a financially viable project,” said Hagan, who took over at the mill May 1, succeeding Roger Loney.

“It is not our intention to proceed with the project or ask for another extension.”

He attributed the decision to environmental challenges that delayed the project, an overwhelmingly strong market for cheap natural gas compared with biomass and the expiration of federal tax-credit incentive programs despite a $2 million state grant for the project that the company received in 2009. Continue reading

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests

Are Brazil’s dams to blame for record floods in Bolivia?

By Emily Achtenberg, March 31, 2014. Source: NACLA

San Antonio Dam. Photo: La Razón

San Antonio Dam. Photo: La Razón

In recent months, Bolivia’s Amazonian region has experienced the most disastrous flooding of the past 100 years. In the Beni department, 7 of 8 provinces and 16 of 19 municipalities are under water, with 75,000 people (more than one-quarter of the population) affected. Economic losses from the death of 250,000 livestock heads and destruction of seasonal crop lands, estimated at $180 million, are mounting daily.

While seasonal flooding is common in Beni, experts agree that climate change has added a threatening new dimension to the cyclical pattern, bringing record rainfall to most of Bolivia this year. Deforestation, exploitation of cultivable land, and loss of infrastructure through the breakup of traditional communities are other factors contributing to soil erosion and increased vulnerability to flooding.

In the past weeks, attention has focused on the role played by two recently-inaugurated Brazilian mega-dams—the Jirau and the San Antonio—in Bolivia’s floods. Located on the Madeira River, the largest tributary of the Amazon which receives its waters from rivers in Bolivia and Peru, the dams are just 50 and 110 miles, respectively, from Brazil’s Bolivian border. Continue reading

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Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Hydroelectric dams, Latin America-Caribbean, Water

Cleaning dirty gas enabling CO2 sales to dirtier oil producers

Note: This sentence pretty much sums it all up: “He’s betting hydrocarbon consumers will increasingly opt to trap emissions from natural gas, if not to help the environment then to duck potential government sanctions — or to sell CO2 at a profit.

Capturing carbon from gas used to extract tar sands–and using that gas to extract more tar sands!  We wish this one was for April Fools.

-The GJEP Team

By John Lippert, April 1, 2014. Source: Bloomberg

Drillers burn off the natural gas that surfaces with oil on a farm in North Dakota. Photo: Spencer Lowell/Bloomberg Markets

Drillers burn off the natural gas that surfaces with oil on a farm in North Dakota. Photo: Spencer Lowell/Bloomberg Markets

Andre Boulet, chief executive officer of Inventys Thermal Technologies Inc. in Burnaby, British Columbia, holds up a 6-inch piece of charcoal, showing how light passes through toothpick-sized air shafts. He says the crevices in this filter offer a cheap way to capture carbon dioxide before it ascends into the atmosphere and haunts future generations.

Boulet, who has spent $12 million on his seven-year-old company, predicts Inventys’s sales may reach hundreds of millions of dollars in five years — driven in part by North America’s natural gas boom, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its May issue.

President Barack Obama calls gas a bridge fuel for the U.S. economy. Power plants, factories and refineries are jumping onboard, lured by a 73 percent plunge in U.S. prices from 2005 to March 31. The country generated 28 percent of electricity with gas in 2013, up from 22 percent six years earlier, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Buoyed by gas, the fossil-fuel industry is trying to bask in a newfound green image.
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Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Hydrofracking, Tar Sands

Duke Energy shareholders want probe of coal ash spill

By Michael Biesecker and Mitch Weiss, March 27, 2014. Source: Citizen-Times

Photo: Rick Dove, AP

Photo: Rick Dove, AP

Duke Energy shareholders called on the company’s board on Thursday to launch an independent investigation into issues surrounding a massive coal ash spill that coated 70 miles of a North Carolina river in toxic sludge.

A letter sent to Duke’s board of directors by a coalition of more than 20 large institutional investors says their confidence has been shaken by the Feb. 2 spill into the Dan River. The letter also expresses concern about an ongoing federal criminal probe and what the investors characterize as the company’s inadequate response to the environmental disaster.

The letter comes as North Carolina’s environmental agency was forced to admit state inspectors twice missed a large crack in an earthen dike holding back millions of tons of ash at a different Duke facility near the Cape Fear River.

Federal prosecutors have issued at least 23 subpoenas as part of a grand jury investigation into the spill and whether the company has received preferential treatment from state officials. Gov. Pat McCrory worked at Duke for more than 28 years, and the company and its executives have been generous political supporters of his campaign and Republican groups that support him.
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Filed under Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Mountaintop Removal, Pollution, Water

Ohio: Fracking blockaders plead to reduced charges

Note: Support direct action for community and eco-defense!  In a different action, last Thursday, five blockaders (and friends of ours) were arrested blocking the entrance to a frackpad in Tiadaghton State Forest, PA, and have been held since then on $57,500 bail.  Click here to learn more and offer financial support!

-The GJEP Team

By Jim Phillips, March 24, 2014. Source: The Athens News

Gilbert "Kip" Rondy, far left, reads a statement in court on behalf of the eight protesters.  Photo:  Jim Phillips  Photo Caption:

Gilbert “Kip” Rondy, far left, reads a statement in court on behalf of the eight protesters. Photo: Jim Phillips

Eight protesters who last month briefly shut down an eastern Athens County injection well for oil-and-gas drilling wastes took a plea bargain in Athens County Municipal Court this morning (Monday).

The eight, whose individual cases were handled by the court en masse, had all been charged with criminal trespass, a fourth-degree misdemeanor. All agreed to plead no contest to a lower charge of disorderly conduct, a minor misdemeanor, and each received a fine of $150, with $100 of that amount suspended.

As a condition of the deal, the protesters must remain law-abiding citizens for one year, and have no contact with the well site where the demonstration took place.

Arrested Feb. 1 for their involvement in a protest at an injection well near Torch, Ohio, operated by the West Virginia firm of K&H Partners, LLC, were More (Smiles) Welch of Athens; Sean Pavlac of Cleveland; Caprice Huffman of Sunbury, Ohio; Gilbert (Kip) Rondy of Amesville; Michelle Ajamian of Millfield; Christine Hughes of Athens; Timothy Fultz of Athens; and Elizabeth Florentino of Athens.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Fracking, Pollution, Waste, Water

Oils spill cleanup impedes major Texas ship channel

March 24, 2014. Source: Associated Press

A barge loaded with heavy oil was partially submerged Saturday, March 22, 2014, in the Houston Ship Channel in Texas after colliding with another ship.  Photo: US News and World Report

A barge loaded with heavy oil was partially submerged Saturday, March 22, 2014, in the Houston Ship Channel in Texas after colliding with another ship. Photo: US News and World Report

TEXAS CITY, Texas (AP) — A barge that once carried some 900,000 gallons of heavy tar-like oil was cleared of its remaining contents Sunday, a day after the vessel collided with a ship in the busy Houston Ship Channel and leaked about a fifth of its cargo into the waterway.

Coast Guard officials said that up to 168,000 gallons were dumped after one of the barge’s tanks ruptured and that oil had been detected 12 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico as of Sunday afternoon.

“This is a significant spill,” Capt. Brian Penoyer, commander of the Coast Guard at Houston-Galveston, said.

But he said the emptying of the barge Sunday, a process known as lightering as contents are transferred to other vessels, was an important step as it had eliminated the risk of additional oil spilling.

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Filed under Energy, Oil, Pollution, Water

Exxon Valdez: What lessons have we learned from the 1989 oil spill disaster?

By Martin Robards, March 24, 2014. Source: The Guardian

Staining the vista of the Chugach Mountains, the Exxon Valdez lies atop Bligh Reef two days after the grounding on 25 March 1989. Photograph: Natalie B Fobes/NG/Getty Images

Staining the vista of the Chugach Mountains, the Exxon Valdez lies atop Bligh Reef two days after the grounding on 25 March 1989. Photograph: Natalie B Fobes/NG/Getty Images

Even after the recent Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico— a much larger accident in terms of the amount of oil released — the spectre of Exxon Valdez remains fresh in the minds of many Americans old enough to remember the wall-to-wall media coverage of crude-smothered rocks, birds, and marine mammals.

In the quarter century since the Exxon Valdez foundered, changing economic and climatic conditions have led to increased Arctic shipping, including increasing volumes of petroleum products through the Arctic. Sadly, apart from a few areas around oil fields, there is little to no capacity to respond to an accident – leaving the region’s coastal indigenous communities and iconic wildlife at risk of a catastrophe.

Local Alaskans and conservationists like myself – who witnessed the Exxon Valdez impact at close range – will never forget the damage. The wake of oil spread far from Bligh Reef, devastating life in Prince William Sound, killing over a quarter of a million seabirds at the large colonies in neighbouring Cook Inlet, before moving along the coast of Kodiak and to a point on the Alaska Peninsula 460 miles to the south. Continue reading

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Filed under Biodiversity, Energy, Oceans, Oil, Pollution, Water