By The Associated Press, January 5, 2013. Source: The Patriot News/Penn Live
Photo: AP Photo/Keith Srakocic
In at least four states that have nurtured the nation’s energy boom, hundreds of complaints have been made about well-water contamination from oil or gas drilling, and pollution was confirmed in a number of them, according to a review that casts doubt on industry suggestions that such problems rarely happen.
The Associated Press requested data on drilling-related complaints in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Texas and found major differences in how the states report such problems. Texas provided the most detail, while the other states provided only general outlines. And while the confirmed problems represent only a tiny portion of the thousands of oil and gas wells drilled each year in the U.S., the lack of detail in some state reports could help fuel public confusion and mistrust.
The AP found that Pennsylvania received 398 complaints in 2013 alleging that oil or natural gas drilling polluted or otherwise affected private water wells, compared with 499 in 2012. The Pennsylvania complaints can include allegations of short-term diminished water flow, as well as pollution from stray gas or other substances. More than 100 cases of pollution were confirmed over the past five years.
Just hearing the total number of complaints shocked Heather McMicken, an eastern Pennsylvania homeowner who complained about water-well contamination that state officials eventually confirmed.
“Wow, I’m very surprised,” said McMicken, recalling that she and her husband never knew how many other people made similar complaints, since the main source of information “was just through the grapevine.”
By Emilio Godoy, December 31, 2013. Source: Inter Press Service
Bird covered with oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: Susan Keith/IPS
The Terra 123 oil and gas well in the southeastern Mexican state of Tabasco was in flames since late October, just 1.5 km from a community of 1,500 Oxiacaque indigenous villagers, who were never evacuated.
The gas leak, which Pemex only managed to get under control on Dec. 21, caused irreversible damage, said Hugo Ireta, an activist with the Santo Tomás Ecological Association, dedicated to working with local populations in Tabasco that have suffered environmental, health and economic impacts of the state-run oil company’s operations.
The reform of articles 25, 27 and 28 of the constitution, approved by Congress in December, paved the way for private national and foreign investment in the oil industry.
The government will now be able to grant private companies permits for prospecting and drilling – a mechanism used in several countries of Latin America, such as Argentina, Ecuador and Peru, where conflicts with local communities are frequent.
December 5, 2013. Source: The Pachamama Alliance
The Ecuadorian government should immediately reverse their illegal and arbitrary effort to dissolve Fundación Pachamama, the organization’s San Francisco based sister group said today. Yesterday, December 4th, plain-clothes police officers in Quito, Ecuador, appeared at the offices of Fundación Pachamama and proceeded to shut down their facilities. The action was backed up by a resolution from the Ministry of Environment ordering the dissolution of the organization for “interference in public policy” and “threatening the internal security and peace” of the country.
The government’s action comes on the heels of indigenous protests last week against Ecuador’s plans to open some 2.6 million hectares of rainforest to new oil drilling. The oil auction only received three offers, and was widely deemed a failure. President Correa lashed out in a weekend television address, falsely accusing Fundación Pachamama of fomenting violence during a demonstration in front of the Ministry of Hydrocarbons, though no members of the organization were involved. Fundación Pachamama plans to appeal the government’s decision before the Ministry of the Environment.
“The real reason the government has targeted Fundación Pachamama is because of the effectiveness of their work,” said Bill Twist, CEO and co-founder of The Pachamama Alliance, their sister organization based in San Francisco. “This is an attempt to keep them from doing their work, and chill their rights to free speech and assembly,” he continued.
This dissolution is considered an arbitrary act that seeks to repress Fundación Pachamama’s legitimate right to disagree with the government’s policies, such as the decision to turn over Amazonian indigenous people’s land to oil companies, in direct violation of their constitutional rights.
Note: For more photos and accounts of oil and gas contamination from flooding in Colorado, click here: Is there a Media Blackout on the Fracking Flood Disaster in Colorado?
-The GJEP Team
By September 15, 2013. Source: The Marcellus Effect
The rain pummeling Colorado this past week caused epic flooding. Photos show miles of devastation: homes lost, crops underwater, surviving livestock on flooded pastures, people in shelters.
In addition to rescuing stranded people, emergency crews have also had to contend with broken oil and gas pipelines – and those that haven’t broken yet are exposed due to eroded ground.
According to reports from the Denver Post
, “Oil drums, tanks and other industrial debris mixed into the swollen river flowing northeast. County officials did not give locations of where the pipeline broke and where other pipelines were compromised.”
Weld County is home to about 20,000 oil and gas wells, and companies have been drilling on the flood plains. Once the gas and oil companies were notified of the threats, they began shutting down drilling operations and transmission pipelines. Even so, that still leaves wells, tanks, gathering lines and transmission lines in the path of raging waters.
Note: Take action to ban fracking on federal lands here.
- The GJEP Team
By Gloria Flora, August 5, 2013. Source: AlterNet
As a Forest Supervisor with the U.S. Forest Service in the 1990s, I put a 15-year moratorium on oil and gas leasing in Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front. I made this controversial decision because the ecosystems on the Front are irreplaceably rich and diverse, and because I’d witnessed first-hand the cultural connections (in spirit, mind, and body) that countless people both near and far had to this extraordinary place. The towering limestone cliffs, the wealth of wildlife, and the sheer wildnessresonate deeply with the human psyche, and have done so for countless generations for over ten thousand years.
I thought I’d seen the worst of the oil and gas industry during that battle: its death-grip on public agencies, its demand for ever more leases, and its running roughshod over drilling regulations with impunity. But some years later I learned about an insidious new threat from the fossil fuel industry—hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” In fracking, fluid is injected into underground shale formations to break them apart and release trapped natural gas (and increasingly, oil). Unfortunately, fracking fluid contaminates our water, fracked gas escapes into the atmosphere, and the breakneck pace of drilling for these low-quality wells wreak havoc on wildlife habitat and human communities alike.
In the early 2000s, fracking was mostly confined to the Southwest and seemed little more than a crazy, expensive, last-ditch effort to squeeze the last bits of gas out of old fields. But as the easy-to-get fossil fuels have been depleted, and as government subsidies for fossil fuels have increased, such last-ditch efforts have become the industry standard. Today, the battle I fought over the Rocky Mountain Front seems small in comparison to what the fossil fuel industry aims to do across the entire country with fracking, including on public lands.
Note: Well, so much for the Rights of Mother Earth…if major energy corporations are now seen as “partners” in Morales’ Bolivia, maybe Morales’ Bolivia isn’t quite the dream world for which so many fought.
-The GJEP Team
August 1, 2013. Source: Latin American Herald Tribune
Russian gas giant Gazprom and French energy major Total plan to invest $130 million to explore the Azero block, a highly promising area in Bolivia’s southeast.
State-owned Bolivian energy company YPFB, Gazprom and Total signed the contract Thursday in a ceremony presided over by Bolivian President Evo Morales, who expressed the country’s “deep satisfaction” over the deal and said foreign companies now operate in the Andean nation as partners not “bosses.”
Morales noted that the Bolivian government took in just $300 million in oil and gas revenue in 2005, a year before his government nationalized the sector, while last year those revenues climbed to more than $4 billion.
“Those are the results of the nationalization,” he said.
By David Hill, February 11 2013. Source: The Guardian
Pluspetrol’s Pagoreni-B gas well, part of the Camisea project in the Amazon jungle near Cuzco, Peru. Photograph: Cris Bouroncle/AFP
An energy company is eyeing up the gas reserves of a national park in the Peruvian Amazon whose biodiversity Unesco says “exceeds that of any other place on Earth” and is home to indigenous people who have no regular contact with the outside world, leaked documents seen by the Guardian show.
The revelation about Manú national park follows rumours and reports circulating in Peru that the government will create a gas concession bordering or including parts of the park, but which have not been publicly confirmed.
The document, Research Plan for Geological Exploration and Surface Geochemistry in the Manú National Park and its Buffer Zone, was written by Lima-based consultancy Quartz Services for company Pluspetrol, which operates an existing gas concession in the region, Lot 88, known as the Camisea project.
“It’s shocking. This is the first time we’ve seen evidence for plans to expand hydrocarbon activities into Manú,” said anthropologist Daniel Rodriguez, who has worked with Peruvian indigenous federation Fenamad for years. Continue reading