Tag Archives: fracking

I Worked in a Strip Club in a North Dakota Fracking Boomtown | Mother Jones

16 Oct

Around the same time, the Pentagon issued a warning that climate change, caused by unchecked fossil-fuel extraction, “will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions—conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.” A subsequent report issued by the CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board, a government-funded military research organization, went even further, stating that the effects of climate change—food insecurity and massive forced displacement, just to name two—”will serve as catalysts for instability and conflict.”

via I Worked in a Strip Club in a North Dakota Fracking Boomtown | Mother Jones.

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A Snapshot of Drilling on a Park’s Margins – NYTimes.com

3 Mar

The Anschutz Exploration Corporation has been drilling exploratory wells for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, immediately east of Glacier National Park, for over two years.

Now a subsidiary of the company, Xanterra Parks and Resorts, is bidding on a contract to operate all concessions in Glacier National Park for 16 years.

That Anschutz could gain another foothold in Glacier has rattled environmentalists and concerned tribal groups and citizens, who already worry that the drilling next door could permanently alter the landscape. Glacier is home to three of the nation’s largest watersheds and to endangered species, including grizzly bears.

via A Snapshot of Drilling on a Park’s Margins – NYTimes.com.

Report Sees U.S. as Top Oil Producer, Overtaking Saudi Arabia, in 5 Years – NYTimes.com

13 Nov

The United States will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading oil producer by about 2017 and will become a net oil exporter by 2030, the International Energy Agency said Monday.

That increased oil production, combined with new American policies to improve energy efficiency, means that the United States will become “all but self-sufficient” in meeting its energy needs in about two decades — a “dramatic reversal of the trend” in most developed countries, a new report released by the agency says.

And when we’ve ruined out water supply with all that fracking, what are we going to drink?

via Report Sees U.S. as Top Oil Producer, Overtaking Saudi Arabia, in 5 Years – NYTimes.com.

Struggle for Water in Colorado With Rise in Fracking – NYTimes.com

6 Sep

GREELEY, Colo. — A new race for water is rippling through the drought-scorched heartland, pitting farmers against oil and gas interests, driven by new drilling techniques that use powerful streams of water, sand and chemicals to crack the ground and release stores of oil and gas.

A single such well can require five million gallons of water, and energy companies are flocking to water auctions, farm ponds, irrigation ditches and municipal fire hydrants to get what they need.

That thirst is helping to drive an explosion of oil production here, but it is also complicating the long and emotional struggle over who drinks and who does not in the arid and fast-growing West. Farmers and environmental activists say they are worried that deep-pocketed energy companies will have purchase on increasingly scarce water supplies as they drill deep new wells that use the technique of hydraulic fracturing.

via Struggle for Water in Colorado With Rise in Fracking – NYTimes.com.

Wastewater Jitters in New York – NYTimes.com

5 May

As I report in Friday’s Times, disposing of the waste produced by natural gas drilling will become a larger and more contentious issue if New York State gives the go-ahead to horizontal hydraulic fracturing, which uses millions of gallons of fluids per well to release gas from the Marcellus Shale.

New York already deals with waste from about 6,800 active vertical and horizontal gas wells upstate. Although these wells require just a fraction of the water that would be needed for fracking in the Marcellus, they still produce waste that needs to go somewhere.

via Wastewater Jitters in New York – NYTimes.com.

Middle America Is Experiencing a Massive Increase in 3.0+ Earthquakes – Alexis Madrigal – Technology – The Atlantic

7 Apr

A new United States Geological Survey study has found that middle America between Alabama and Montana is experiencing an “unprecedented” and “almost certainly manmade” increase in earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater. In 2011, there were 134 events of that size. That’s six times more than were normally seen during the 20th century.

Whoops! But you can guess where this is going, can’t you? Anthropogenetic earthquakes. We’re causing this because we’re walking too heavy on the earth. At least, that’s one view.

The conclusion that at least one environmental group has drawn from this data is that fracking, in one way or another, has caused these earthquakes. The Environmental Working Group notes that more than 400,000 wells were drilled between 2001 and 2010, a 65% increase over the previous ten-year period. They also note that the new extraction techniques require vast amounts of water to be injected into the ground: major producer Chesapeake estimates that it uses about 5 million gallons of water per well. Lots of wells plus lots of water injected underground could change the subterranean conditions and lead to more earthquakes.

While we’re at it, why not set off some nuclear power plants?

via Middle America Is Experiencing a Massive Increase in 3.0+ Earthquakes – Alexis Madrigal – Technology – The Atlantic.

America’s Fossil Fuel Fever | The Nation

10 Mar

The Obama administration is pursuing an energy policy that will just accelerate environmental destruction. Extracting oil and gas from unconventional sources (shale, tar sands, deep sea) is risky and uncertain, degrades the environment directly, and wastes energy and water in the process.

All drilling activity requires energy, which produces GHGs [greenhouse gasses]; producing unconventional oil and gas, however, usually requires far more energy than drilling for conventional fuels and so emits a correspondingly greater amount of GHGs.

Conventional oil and gas supplies are usually carried to the surface by natural forces once a well is drilled, whereas unconventional fuels are too dense to move by themselves (as in the case of tar sands) or are embedded in rock (as in the case of shale oil and gas) and so must be extracted using energy-intensive techniques. Hence, in addition to all the emissions we can expect from the prolongation of the fossil fuel era, we will experience a GHG increment from the growing reliance on unconventional hydrocarbons. Based on this sort of reasoning, the EIA calculates that global emissions of carbon dioxide will rise by 43 percent between 2008 and 2035, jumping from 30.2 billion to 43.2 billion metric tons. Such an increase will erase any hope of averting the apocalyptic consequences of planetary warming.

via America’s Fossil Fuel Fever | The Nation.

Ohio Agency Says Fracking-Related Activity Caused Earthquakes – NYTimes.com

9 Mar

An Ohio state agency said on Friday there is evidence that the high-pressure injection of fluid underground related to fracking caused a series of Ohio earthquakes culminating in a New Year’s Eve tremor in any area not known for seismic activity.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which overseas the oil and gas industry, said in a report that the state should pass a new law prohibiting drilling at what is called the Precambrian basement rock level (a depth that begins at 9,184 ft) and would require companies to “review existing geologic data” before drilling.

via Ohio Agency Says Fracking-Related Activity Caused Earthquakes – NYTimes.com.

Fracking: The new front of Occupy – Environment – Salon.com

23 Jan

While most anti-fracking activists have been responding to harms already done, New York State’s resistance has been waging a battle to keep harm at bay. Jack Ossont, a former helicopter pilot, has been active all his life in the state’s environmental and social battles. He calls fracking “the tsunami issue of New York. It washes across the entire landscape.”

Sandra Steingraber, a biologist and scholar-in-residence at Ithaca College, terms the movement “the biggest since abolition and women’s rights in New York.” This past November, when the Heinz Foundation awarded Steingraber $100,000 for her environmental activism, she gave it to the anti-fracking community.

Arriving in the state last October, I discovered a sprawl of loosely connected, grassroots groups whose names announce their counties and their long-term vision: Sustainable Otsego, Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes, Chenango Community Action for Renewable Energy, Gas-Free Seneca, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, Catskill Mountainkeeper. Of these few (there are many more), only the last has a paid staff. All the others are run by volunteers.

via Fracking: The new front of Occupy – Environment – Salon.com.

Fracking: Anatomy of a Free Market Failure « Real Climate Economics

16 Jan

Right now everybody knows that energy sources are key to our economic future, but nobody knows what sources will turn out to be the “winners” or “losers” in the short, medium, or long-run. Unless renewable sources dominate in the long-run, most knowledgeable observers believe we are in a lot of trouble. But what energy sources will dominate in the medium and short-run is very much up in the air. Again, scientists may tell us that unless renewables are playing a dominant role in the medium-run, and a much more important role in the short-run than they currently do, we are in more trouble than we should find comfortable. But betting odds on whether that will prove to be the case are much less certain than scientific opinion about what needs to happen.

What role does natural gas play in this scenario? To make a long story short: Oil has peaked, coal is plentiful but most likely to lead to cataclysmic climate change, and natural gas is cleaner than coal but a fossil fuel nonetheless. Which is what makes betting odds on the role natural gas will – as opposed to should play – in our energy future so difficult to predict. If wise political forces seize control over energy policy it will play a limited role, and only as a “bridge technology” as renewables replace all fossil fuels ASAP. If the fossil fuel industry continues to exert as much political power as it has over the past hundred years, natural gas may become the new “king” for many decades.

via Fracking: Anatomy of a Free Market Failure « Real Climate Economics.