By Laura McCauley, June 17, 2013. Source: Common Dreams
Colorado farmer: “There is a new player for water, which is oil and gas. And certainly they are in a position to pay a whole lot more than we are.”
The fracking industry is putting the squeeze on water-strapped farmers in the central United States according to a new analysis released Monday by the Associated Press.
Through an examination of industry-compiled fracking data and the US Department of Agriculture’s official drought designations, AP reveals that by driving up the price of water and burdening already depleted aquifers and rivers, the high-polluting and water-intensive shale oil and gas removal process is placing an increasing threat on states currently suffering from ongoing drought.
“There is a new player for water, which is oil and gas. And certainly they are in a position to pay a whole lot more than we are,” said fourth-generation farmer Kent Pepper of Mead, Colo., who has been forced to leave a number of his corn fields fallow this year because he cannot afford irrigation.
This news follows a recent study which found that nearly half of the country’s fracking wells are located in water-stressed regions and 92 percent of wells located in extremely high-water-stress regions, leading to the inevitable escalation of what Grist refers to as “the West’s water wars.”
By Miles Howe, June 9, 2013. Source: Halifax Media Co-op
RCMP arrest Pattles. Photo: M. Howe
About 25 RCMP officers in uniform, along with about a dozen police cruisers, today continued to flank equipment owned by gas exploration company SWN Resources Canada as they proceeded with their seismic testing of highway 126 in Kent County, New Brunswick.
Pushing the scattered crowd of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people back “50 metres distance” from the southward approaching seismic trucks – or ‘thumpers’ – the RCMP first arrested one demonstrator and chased another into the woods before arresting Susanne Pattles.
Pattles, a Mi’kmaq woman, had scattered a line of tobacco between herself and the approaching police, then proceeded to draw a circle of tobacco in the highway, where she then knelt and began to pray. After about two minutes, the police proceeded to arrest Pattles. An officer Bernard noted that she was being charged with mischief.
Today’s two arrests follow another three made last Wednesday, when people again placed themselves in the path of SWN’s thumpers. Residents fear that the tests will lead to hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – of the area.
By Jeff Biggers, June 8, 2013. Source: Yes! Magazine
Dr. Steingraber and allies speak with Mary Morrissey, Deputy Chief of Staff for Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Photo: Corey Mattson.
A new salvo has been fired in the national battle against fracking.
Within hours of the Illinois General Assembly’s vote on its controversial bill on hydraulic fracking last Friday night, the AP’s headline rippled across nationwide newspapers: “Illinois lawmakers approve nation’s toughest fracking regulations.”
Not so fast, says Dr. Sandra Steingraber, the renowned scientist whom Rolling Stone has called the “ toxic avenger.” She returned to her native Illinois last week to join a growing citizens uprising against gas drilling and sand mining operations she defines as “an accident-prone, inherently dangerous industrial process with risks that include catastrophic and irremediable damage to our health and environment.”
With New York readying to rescind or keep in place that state’s temporary moratorium, and high stakes battles taking place across the nation about whether to regulate fracking or place moratoriums on it, Steingraber and a network of citizen groups have viewed Illinois as the staging ground for a fracking rush that will have an extraordinary ripple effect.
By Nicolas Van Praet, June 5, 2013. Source: The Province
An opposition party says the Quebec government has quietly approved hydraulic fracturing on Anticosti, warning that the picturesque island packed with four-legged wildlife will be “devastated” when oil drill rigs arrive and begin exploration work in earnest.
Why is the Parti Québécois government approving the controversial drilling technique there when it has banned it in the St. Lawrence Lowlands under a five-year moratorium? “Because deer don’t vote,” said Amir Khadir, one of two elected members of the Québec Solidaire Party.
The large island is home to just 280 people but thousands of deer, drawing hundreds of hunters every year to its remote location in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Three companies – Junex Inc., Pétrolia Inc. and Corridor Resources Inc. have done initial exploratory work on Anticosti. The estimated oil initially in place, not necessarily recoverably in its entirety, is about 40 million barrels.
June 4, 2013. Source: CBC News
A shale gas exploration company’s service vehicle was surrounded and seized by a group of self-described native warriors near Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick on Tuesday, RCMP say.
The truck driver was confronted at a gas bar along Route 116 during the lunch hour, police said, referring to it as a peaceful incident.
RCMP would not confirm who owns the truck, but it has a Stantec logo on its doors. Stantec is a Fredericton-based engineering firm doing work for SWN Resources Canada, a major industry player in the province.
Elsipogtog Chief Aaron Sock had said earlier in the day his council does not welcome SWN’s seismic testing in New Brunswick. Continue reading
Note: While these newly proposed rules allow the fracking industry to essentially regulate itself, McFeeley’s analysis falls short at the end. While we certainly “deserve better than rules that risk our most treasured places, our environment, and our health,” the health of land and communities won’t be protected without an outright ban on fracking. No regulations will ever make a process that blasts a highly toxic chemical cocktail thousands of feet below the surface of the earth, despoiling millions of gallons of water along the way.
-The GJEP Team
By Matt McFeeley, May 16, 2013. Source: Switchboard
This afternoon, the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released new proposed rules to govern fracking on publicly owned lands managed by the federal government. This includes wild places like National Forests and National Wildlife Refuges. But it also includes places that supply drinking water to millions of Americans – from larger municipal supplies like that of Washington, D.C., to private water wells (in cases where the federal government owns rights to the minerals below the surface of a homeowners’ property).
The new proposed rules are a significant step backwards even from the weak proposal the Administration released in May of 2012, and, if enacted, will allow fracking to continue to pose unacceptable risks to the environment and public health.
The new proposal is weaker than the previous proposal in a number of ways:
Note: After Obama’s visit to Mexico last week, we can rest assured that him and Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto discussed sweeping 21st Century energy reform: Privatize the state owned oil company so multinationals can drill the living hell out of the land and the sea, all the while ensuring American corporations will have access to every last drop of oil and gas on the planet. Now that is some drastic energy reform!
-The GJEP Team
By Nick Miroff and William Booth, May 7, 2013. Source: Washington Post
An engineer opens valves on the Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) Bicentennial deep sea crude oil platform in the waters off Tamaulipas, Mexico. Photo: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg
It has been 75 years since President Lázaro Cárdenas seized the country’s foreign-dominated petroleum industry and placed every drop of oil under the everlasting domain of the Mexican people.
But while it once was a source of national pride, the state-run monopoly he created — known as Pemex — has become a dinosaur, sapped by debt, sagging output and dated technology. The Mexican government siphons off the company’s revenue to cover about one-third of the federal budget, leaving insufficient funds for what has become a critical task: finding more oil.
Mexico remains the third-largest source of foreign oil for the United States after Canada and Saudi Arabia. But the country’s easy-pump crude is quickly running dry, and the company lacks the technology and know-how to drill for the vast stores of tougher-to-reach deposits that are thought to exist beneath Mexico’s deserts and seas.
Fixing the company, Petroleos de Mexico, has become a top priority for Mexico’s new president, Enrique Peña Nieto. With an overhaul plan expected by late summer, U.S. and other global energy companies are waiting to see whether Mexico will once more give outsiders a crack at the country’s hydrocarbon treasures, including the massive, virtually untapped beds of shale gas south of the Texas border.
By Sue Sturgis, May 5 2013. Source: Facing South
Cliffside coal plant in Cliffside, North Carolina. (Photo: Rainforest Action Network)
Clean energy opponents turned to dirty tactics this week at the North Carolina legislature to advance a bill repealing the state’s groundbreaking renewable power program.
In a contested vote that led to an outcry from Democrats, the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday advanced a measure to roll back the 2007 state lawrequiring electric utilities to generate a modest amount of energy from renewable sources including solar, wind, and livestock methane — 12.5 percent of total retail sales by 2021 and thereafter.
The vote brought back to life a bill that appeared near death in the House last week, when the Public Utilities Committeerejected companion legislation sponsored by its own chair, Republican Rep. Mike Hager of Rutherford County, in a bipartisan vote of 18-13.
Though Hager said he would keep bringing up his bill for re-votes in his committee, he didn’t this week, leading observers to assume he still doesn’t have support for passage. But the Senate version of the legislation, SB 365, was taken up later that day in the Finance Committee, whose members include Republican Sen. Andrew Brock of a Mocksville, a political consultant who is the bill’s sole sponsor. Continue reading
By Rebecca Bowe, May 1 2013. Source: San Francisco Bay Guardian
Three bills seeking to impose moratoriums on fracking in California won approval at the California Assembly Natural Resources Committee in Sacramento on April 29, an important milestone for environmentalists who ultimately plan to push for a permanent ban on the practice.
Assembly Bill 1301, introduced by Assembly Member Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), is backed by a host of statewide environmental organizations including the Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch, and Clean Water Action. That bill and AB 1323, similar legislation sponsored by Holly Mitchell of Culver City, seek to halt the controversial oil-and-gas extraction method in California until possible health and environmental impacts have been adequately reviewed.
“It’s an important step,” notes Adam Scow, California campaigns director for Food & Water Watch in San Francisco. “In theory, the quickest timeline the bill could pass is [sometime] this year.” He added, “Gov. Jerry Brown has the power to issue a moratorium now,” but “Brown is repeating industry talking points that fracking can be done safely.”
A third bill, AB 649, would create moratoriums on fracking only nearby sensitive sites such as aquifers or agricultural lands, but that proposal received less support from fracking opponents who believe it should be subjected to a blanket moratorium and ultimately banned. All three bills won approval from the Natural Resources Committee, and are now headed for the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Continue reading
May 1 2013. Source: Associated Press
Photo: AP Photo
ALBANY, N.Y. — Months ago, the Cuomo administration promised a decision within weeks on whether to allow hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.
Now, one of the key officials says there’s “no timetable” for a decision.
“It’s kind of like shooting at a moving target,” said Dr. Nirav Shah, the state health commissioner.
He said he had recently met with officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Marcellus Institute, which is based in Pennsylvania where hydrofracking is well underway. The institute aggregates mainstream and trade news and “is committed to providing unfiltered information and analysis organized for business examination and decision support,” according to its website. Continue reading