On November 5, 2014, the Texas town of Denton made history by banning fracking in their city limits. It only took a few short hours for Big Oil to sweep in and fight the city’s decision, with the help of Texas Railroad Commission Chairwoman Christi Craddick.
Photo: Mary Crandall
Craddick claims that the 59 percent of Denton’s residents opposed to fracking in their town are simply just misinformed. Surely, her decision to keep business as usual as nothing to do with corporate agendas influencing her ethics (if you notice some sarcasm here, you would not be misinformed).
Texas official ignores voters’ ban on fracking
by Sara Bernard, Grist, 10 November 2015
As predicted, mere hours after the first-ever fracking ban passed in Texas, industry reps took to the courts. By 9:09 a.m. on Nov. 5, both the Texas Oil and Gas Association and the Texas General Land Office had filed lawsuits that aim to prevent the city of Denton from enacting its ordinance on Dec. 2 — and Texas legislators are already drawing up plans to make future fracking bans like this one illegal.
The blowback here, of course, is because Denton is sitting on top of the Barnett Shale — one of the country’s largest natural gas fields — and those who’re doing the drilling would like to continue, thank you very much. The lawsuits argue that a city can’t override the state’s authority to regulate the oil and gas industry.
Get the rest of the story at Grist.com.
Filed under Energy, Fracking
Three Halliburton employees were injured in a blast that occurred as they tried to thaw out a water pipe at an oil well site, the Denver Post reported on 13 November 2014. Two of the workers are being treated for serious injuries, but the third, however, died during the accident.
Fracking uses water pressure mixed with chemicals to break deep into rock to release energy reserves, such as natural gas and brine. The workers were warming the pipe when the rupture occurred.
The Halliburton fracking site where one person was killed and two others were injured Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. Photo: Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post
Fracking blast kills one Halliburton worker, injures 2 in Weld County
by By Jesse Paul and Mark Jaffe, The Denver Post, 13 Nov. 2014
MEAD — One worker was killed and two were seriously injured Thursday when a frozen, high pressure water line ruptured at a Weld County oil well site.
The workers were trying to thaw the line when the accident occurred, officials said.
The Anadarko Petroleum Corp. well was being hydraulically fractured, or fracked, by the Halliburton Co. and the workers were Halliburton employees.
Get the full story here.
Keeping with the financing schemes of the oligarchy which we have posted about this week (here) and (here), another excellent DeSmog Blog post by our friend Steve Horn reveals who is pulling more of the strings.
It seems that the recent overwhelming electoral decision by residents of Denton, Texas to ban fracking in that community is not sitting well with the .01%.
Image Courtesy David Kowalski, Re-Energize Buffalo
Bush Family and Its Inner Circle Play Central Role in Lawsuits Against Denton, Texas Fracking Ban
Steve Horn, DeSmog Blog. 6 November 2014
On November 4, Denton, Texas, became the first city in the state to ban the process of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) when 59 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of the initiative. It did so in the heart of the Barnett Shale basin, where George Mitchell — the “father of fracking” — drilled the first sample wells for his company Mitchell Energy.
As promised by the oil and gas industry and by Texas Railroad Commission commissioner David Porter, the vote was met with immediate legal backlash. Both the Texas General Land Office and the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) filed lawsuits in Texas courts within roughly 12 hours of the vote taking place, the latest actions in the aggressive months-long campaign by the industry and the Texas state government to fend off the ban.
Read the whole DeSmog Blog article here
In a related matter posted by our friend David Kowalski at Re-Energize Buffalo:
Local Groups to Protest Anti-Environmental Keynote Speaker Outside Gas Lobby Meeting in Buffalo
The Independent Oil & Gas Association of NY (IOGA-NY) is the chief oil and gas lobbying organization in New York, spending millions backing fracking and natural gas development in the state and opposing environmental safeguards.
IOGA-NY will hold their 2014 Annual Meeting in Buffalo on November 11th and 12th. This year the keynote speaker is Jack Hubbard who will present a talk titled “Big Green Radicals: Winning Public Opinion, Undermining the Activist’s Credibility and Changing the Debate.”
Hubbard works for a Washington D.C.-based consulting firm, Berman & Co., which specializes in undermining the work of environmentalists on behalf of the natural gas industry.
The New York Times published a secretly recorded a speech given by Hubbard’s colleague, Richard Berman, in which he solicited up to $3 million from oil and gas industry executives to finance the “Big Green Radicals” PR campaign.
Berman said in his speech, that industry executives must be willing to exploit emotions like fear, greed and anger and turn them against the environmental groups. “You can either win ugly or lose pretty,” he said.
Read the whole Re-Energize piece here which details more about what Hubbard says and does and how he is out to hurt you and I.
10 people were arrested Wednesday at the continuing blockade at the gates of the Crestwood compressor station on the shores of Seneca Lake, New York’s largest Finger Lake.
Led by anti-fracking activist Sandra Steingraber, over 400 people have participated in the blockade since it began earlier this month after the Federal Energy Regulartory Commission (FERC) approved the former salt mine cavern located beneath the lake as a compressed natural gas storage facility.
All of the individuals arrested yesterday were released and face a court hearing on November 5.
More than two dozen people put their bodies on the line today in a last-resort protest to stop a major gas storage expansion project on the shore of Seneca Lake, the largest of New York’s Finger Lakes. Photo credit: wearesenecalake.com
Blockade of Seneca Lake Crestwood Gas Storage Facility Continues
Human blockade peacefully opposes recent FERC decision allowing expansion of CNG storage in geologically unstable salt caverns.
ITHACA, N.Y., Oct. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — We Are Seneca Lake, comprised of residents of the Finger Lakes, peacefully demonstrate their determined opposition by continuing to blockade the gates of the Crestwood compressor station on the shore of Seneca Lake, the largest of New York’s Finger Lakes. The methane gas storage expansion project is advancing in the face of unparalleled public opposition and unresolved questions about geological instabilities, fault lines, and possible salinization of the lake, which serves as a source of drinking water for 100,000 people. Inexplicably, a Capital New York investigation just revealed that Governor Cuomo’s DEC excised references to the risks of underground gas storage from a 2011 federal report on methane contamination of drinking water, and has allowed key data to remain hidden.
“Dangerous gas storage in the Crestwood salt caverns is incompatible with the rapid growth of our wine and tourism industries.” Lou Damiani, Damiani Vineyards
“Seneca Lake is a source of economic prosperity for the entire region, not a gas station for fracking operations. It’s a place for tourists, wineries, farms and families. Speaking with our bodies in an act of civil disobedience is a measure of last recourse to protect our home, our water, and our local economy – with our bodies and our voices, telling Texas-based Crestwood to go home!” Sandra Steingraber, PhD, Heinz Award Recipient, biologist, author.
“Crestwood’s business model for this region is flawed. A billion dollar wine and tourism industry fuels thousands of sustainable jobs here in the Finger Lakes. This dangerous operation threatens all of that and more.” Chris Tate, BME, Finger Lakes CleanWaters Initiative.
Find more information here.
For people living in the shadows of oil refineries, simply breathing can be a major health risk. The EPA’s proposed new standards, aimed to reduce cancer risk, still leave a lot to be desired. According to an article on EarthJustice, more than 275,000 public comments, plus a comment letter from about 100 organizations, are not letting the EPA get away with providing the bare minimum of protection.
The ConocoPhillips oil refinery in Wilmington, California. PHOTO: JESSE MARQUEZ
Today, Oct. 28, 2014, marks the end of the public comments period on these new proposals. However well-intended these suggestions are, regulations don’t reverse climate change. They also don’t cure cancer, asthma and death. More than regulations and new standards are needed to create real, sustainable climate change.
COMMUNITIES CALL FOR STRONGER PROTECTION FROM OIL REFINERIES’ AIR POLLUTION; EPA’S PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ENDING
by EarthJustice, 27 October 2014
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has received more than 275,000 public comments supporting strengthening health and safety standards proposed in May that would reduce hazardous air pollution from oil refineries. In addition, EPA received a comment letter from over 100 community, health, and environmental organizations.
Tomorrow, October 28, the EPA’s public comment period on the proposal ends.
Community comments provide support for finalizing a more robust standard by specifically calling for reducing emissions from not only some parts of a refinery, but also leaks and flaring of cancer-causing air toxics. Comments were generated by Earthjustice, CREDO, Sierra Club and many others.
Get the whole story here.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo turned more than a few heads last night at a televised election debate held in Buffalo, New York, when he said that the state’s long awaited public release of its scientific and health analysis of fracking would be done by the end of the year. This, the only planned debate of the campaign, included Republican Candidate Rob Astorino, Green Candidate Howie Hawkins, and Libertarian Candidate Michael McDermott.
Astorino, the Westchester County Executive, aggressively supports fracking in New York because of what he characterizes as a “positive impact” on jobs and “economic development” in the state. He completely dismisses the environmental consequences. Astorino said that one of the “first acts of his administration” would be to kick down the regulatory doors so that fracking and extraction can begin immediately. Both Green candidate Hawkins and Libertarian Candidate McDermott would ban fracking because, they both agree, the science is in and the health consequences are clear.
NYS Governors Election Debate in Buffalo. Empty chairs, mostly empty heads and empty ideas – photo by Jay Burney
NYS White Man’s gubernatorial election debate in Buffalo, 23 October, 2014. Left to right–Republican Candidate Rob Astorino, NYS incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo, Green Party Candidate Howie Hawkins, Libertarian Party Candidate Michael McDermott
The analysis that Cuomo spoke about has been at the center of attention and controversy since the state issued a series of Draft Environmental Impact Statements starting in 2011, and received a tidal wave of public comments focusing on the idiocy of opening up the state to the dangerous fracking industry. Initially Cuomo had promised that the analysis would be completed and released before the initial public comment period but backed down. It has been widely speculated that several generations of both reports indicate that fracking is not a scientifically provable safe technology. The educated public knows that fracking is not safe to water supplies and human health. Subsequently Cuomo promised the release of the reports prior to this election. The reports have not been released and 10’s of thousands of New York citizens have bitterly criticized the lack of transparency involved in the creation of the health and science analyses.
“I am not a scientist” Cuomo, who is a lawyer, stated at the debate, “We have to let the scientists decide this issue.” This may be an entirely disingenuous position, as the fracking debate in New York has been characterized by industry and state government viewpoints that include scientists for hire, academic investments by state funded institutions of higher learning, and well funded disinformation campaigns. We have known that the state decision would not be made until after this election. We have been waiting for the release of the reports. Now we know that if Cuomo wins the election, he says that they will be released by the end of the year.
This press release was sent on Oct. 22, 2014, from Biofuelwatch, Dogwood Alliance, Energy Justice Network, Partnership for Policy Integrity, Save America’s Forests, and Global Justice Ecology Project.
Groups across the country denounce “National Bioenergy Day” as a dirty sham
Groups around the country denounce the Biomass Power Association, Biomass Thermal Energy Council and their industry partners’ designation of this date as “National Bioenergy Day.” Pointing to growing opposition to bioenergy facilities around the nation and the world, they say burning trees, contaminated wastes, and garbage is grossly and dangerously misrepresented by industry advocates as “clean, green, and carbon neutral.” The groups point out that biomass power pumps more CO2 into the atmosphere than even coal, along with comparable amounts of toxic air pollution, while also posing new threats to forests, ecosystems, and our health.
Rachel Smolker, Ph.D., co-director of Biofuelwatch, states: “The biomass industry has perpetrated a series of dangerous myths that they just keep repeating to ensure ongoing subsidies and supports. The Biomass Power Association website, for example, is rife with misleading statements, for example proclaiming to ‘Light America with clean, green biomass power—a natural solution to energy independence.’ This is utter nonsense as we would need several planets worth of biomass to provide any significant portion of overall US energy demand from biomass.” (1)