Category: Drilling

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Statoil: Oil spilled in North Sea

Spill associated with loading of oil onto a tanker.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Oct. 8, 2015 at 8:48 AM
 Statoil reports oil spill in North Sea, though it’s too early to issue an estimate on volume. Photo courtesy of Statoil.


Environment Pollution Other North Sea, [Statfjord oil field] Damage level Details


RSOE EDIS Event Report

Environment Pollution in Other on Thursday, 08 October, 2015 at 14:28 (02:28 PM) UTC.

Norwegian energy company Statoil reported on oil leak Thursday near the Statfjord oil field in the North Sea, though it’s too early to guess on volumes. The company said sheen was observed during the loading of oil from the Stratfjord onto the Hilda Knutsen tanker. Loading was halted, though operations at the field are proceeding as normal. “It is also too early to say how much oil has leaked,” the company said in a statement. Statoil said equipment was on hand to address the spill and relevant authorities had been notified. There was no word on the spill from the nation’s Petroleum Safety Authority. Statoil shut down its Statfjord C rig in January 2014 after emergency systems detected an oil leak. The 270 members of the Statfjord C crew were evacuated to lifeboats but returned to their living quarters later in the day. No injuries were reported. Statoil said the weather in the area at the time of the Stratfjord C incident was “harsh.” Statoil said the region is producing an average 80,000 barrels of oil per day.


Fracking-linked earthquakes likely to worsen – seismologists

Published time: May 02, 2014 03:40

David McNew / Getty Images / AFP

David McNew / Getty Images / AFP

Ongoing hydraulic fracking operations will only exacerbate seismic activity, leading to heightened earthquakes in areas where wastewater is injected deep underground, according to new research.

To unleash natural gas, hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – requires large volumes of water, sand, and chemicals to be pumped underground. Scientists attending the Seismological Society of America (SSA) annual meeting said Thursday that this storage of wastewater in wells deep below the earth’s surface, in addition to fracking’s other processes, is changing the stress on existing faults, which could mean more frequent and larger quakes in the future.

Researchers previously believed quakes that resulted from fracking could not exceed a magnitude of 5.0, though stronger seismic events were recorded in 2011 around two heavily drilled areas in Colorado and Oklahoma.

“This demonstrates there is a significant hazard,” said Justin Rubinstein, a research geophysicist at the US Geological Survey (USGS), according to TIME magazine. “We need to address ongoing seismicity.”

Not all of the more than 30,000 fracking disposal wells are linked to quakes, but an accumulating body of evidence associates an uptick in seismic activity to fracking developments amid the current domestic energy boom.

The amount of toxic wastewater injected into the ground seems to provide some clarity as to what causes the earthquakes. A single fracking operation uses two to five million gallons of water, according to reports, but much more wastewater ends up in a disposal well.


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Hmmmm,  alert the presses and  let  everyone  know  that in spite of the  facts that  :

Oil spills are  never  properly  cleaned up and the  side effects of  the  chemicals  and  toxins  left  behind linger  for  years.

Energy Companies  responsible  for the  spills are  never  truly  held  accountable  for  all the  damage  done  due to carelessness and  cost  cutting to fatten their  bottom line

Sea life , Coral Reefs, and  the  food chain  in  oil spill damaged  areas face  death at  every turn.  While the  culprits shrug their  shoulders and  say   “Oh Well”

Coastlines are negatively impacted.  Damaging  not  only the  ecology but the livelihood  of  those  who depend  on  a clean and healthy ocean to sustain themselves  and  their families.

The  Energy Companies walk away  after THEY feel they  have  done  enough when in  reality  they  fall  woefully  short  and the   corrupt  government taking   corporate  kickbacks   allows  them to  get  away  with  their  crimes  with a slap on the  wrist.


In spite of all this  destruction ……..Oil Spills create  jobs.


Would that  also be the case  for oil spills caused  by,

oh let’s say, pipeline leaks and  train derailments in populated  areas where  not only  people  are affected, but  their  ground water  and lands are  poisoned with chemicals and toxic oil that  can never  truly be completely removed?

Yes indeed, that  certainly  is worth  the  jobs   created  alright……NOT!!


~Desert Rose~


Kinder Morgan: Oil Spills’ Economic Effects Are Both Good And Bad

The Huffington Post Canada  |  Posted: 05/01/2014 1:41 pm EDT  |  Updated: 05/01/2014 1:59 pm EDT


kinder morgan

There is at least something of a bright side to oil spills, pipeline company Kinder Morgan says.

In a recent submission to the National Energy Board, the company says marine oil spills “can have both positive and negative effects on local and regional economies” thanks to the economic activity generated by cleanup operations.

“Spill response and clean-up creates business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions, and clean-up service providers,” the company says.

The comments appear in a 15,000-page application to the NEB to triple the capacity of its Trans Mountain Pipeline, which carries oil from Alberta to Port Metro Vancouver.

Environmentalists fear an increase in oil shipments through West Coast waters would increase the risk of oil tanker accidents.

Kinder Morgan’s submission doesn’t ignore the negatives; it points out that oil spills are devastating to fishing and tourism industries, and notes the negative impacts on human health, damage to property and harm done to “cultural resources.”

But it cites a 1990 research paper looking at the economic impacts of the Exxon Valdez oil spill to argue there are positive elements as well.


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It’s in the cards; spread of possible oil spill tracked by ‘drift card’ study

  • Apr 1, 2014 at 12:00PM updated at 2:33PM

Jennifer of Victoria and a friend show off a drift card that she found on Vancouver Island.  - Contributed photo/Friends of San Juans

Jennifer of Victoria and a friend show off a drift card that she found on Vancouver Island.

— image credit: Contributed photo/Friends of San Juans

Journal staff report

Conservation groups from Washington and British Columbia commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill by launching 650 ‘drift cards’ along Salish Sea oil tanker routes.

The event, organized by Friends of the San Juans in Washington state and by Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Georgia Strait Alliance in Canada, is part of a study mapping the path that an oil spill might take in the Salish Sea.

The cards were dropped at two locations: off Turn Point, Stuart Island, where Haro Strait intersects with Boundary Pass, and near Bird Rocks in Rosario Strait. They carry a simple message: This Could Be Oil.

This research responds to a sharp increase in fossil fuel export projects proposed in British Columbia and Washington state. The proposed Gateway Pacific coal terminal at Cherry Point north of Bellingham and Kinder Morgan’s increase in tar-sands shipping from Vancouver, and other projects, would add an additional 2,620 ship transits per year to the waters of the Salish Sea, making the region one of North America’s busiest fossil fuel shipping corridors.Drift card

“The increased risk of a major oil spill in the Salish Sea is real,” said Stephanie Buffum, executive director of Friends of the San Juans. “Anyone with a cultural, environmental or economic interest in our region should get engaged with Coast Guard rulemaking; familiarize themselves with effects of cargo traveling through our waters; and ask decision makers to ensure diluted bitumen (oil sand) is classified as a petroleum product that is taxed to fund oil spill clean-up efforts.”

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Here are some of  those  job opportunities Kinder Morgan was referring to  :


BP pipeline sprays ‘oily mist’ over 33 acres of Alaskan tundra

Published time: May 01, 2014 03:15

Reuters / Suzanne Plunkett

Reuters / Suzanne Plunkett

Alaska state officials confirmed Wednesday that an oily mist sprung from a compromised oil pipeline and sprayed into the wind without stopping for at least two hours, covering 33 acres of the frozen snow field in the oil well’s vicinity.

The discovery was at the BP-owned Prudhoe oil field on Alaska’s North Slope, the northernmost region of the state where a number of profitable oil fields sit beneath the tundra. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) revealed that BP officials found the mist during a routine inspection on Monday.

Initial reports said that 27 acres had been covered, although that figure was updated later on Wednesday. The cause is still under investigation, according to the Associated Press, but officials know that the mist was made up of a mixture of gas, crude oil, and water. They also reported that while the noxious mist was distributed over such a wide area by 30 mph winds, no wildlife was impacted.

BP spokeswoman Dawn Patience said the company is “still assessing repairs” and will soon know what, if any, long-term effects the spill could have.

The Prudhoe Bay region, like elsewhere in the North Slope, is home to a great number of migratory birds and caribou, as well as other animals, such as a massive porcupine herd. Clean-up efforts are expected to be complete before birds pass through the region again in the coming weeks.

The company was at fault in at least two oil spills in the same region since 2006. That year, an estimated 267,000 gallons of oil seeped through a quarter-inch sized hole in a corroded BP pipeline. That accident went unnoticed for five days, until an oil worker smelled the aroma of crude when driving through the area, according to Think Progress.


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Lynchburg, Virginia Train Derailment Sparks Fire, Fills Air With Plumes Of Black Smoke

Posted: 04/30/2014 2:57 pm EDT Updated: 04/30/2014 5:59 pm EDT



A CSX train derailed near downtown Lynchburg, Virginia around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, prompting evacuations and calls to avoid part of the city as flames and a plume of black smoke rose into the air. There are no immediate reports of injuries.

The City Of Lynchburg announced that the train was carrying crude oil and three or four of its 13 to 14 cars were breached.

“There is some spillage in the river of crude oil,” Lynchburg city spokeswoman LuAnn Hunt told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Richmond primarily draws its water from the James River, downstream from Lynchburg. Another official said the city is making plans to tap an “alternative water supply.”

The train’s tankers may be from a class of rail cars deemed an “unacceptable public risk” by a member of the National Transportation Safety Board in February. These black, pill-shaped cars, known as DOT-111s, have been involved in recent notable oil train derailments in North Dakota and Quebec.

“We are very clear that this issue needs to be acted on very quickly,” National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman told reporters last week. The Transportation Department is currently working on stricter standards for rail tank cars used to transport hazardous materials. “They aren’t moving fast enough,” Hersman said.



Explosive Virginia Train Carried Fracked Bakken Oil, Headed to Potential Export Facility

Posted: 05/01/2014 1:50 pm EDT Updated: 05/01/2014 2:59 pm EDT

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Platts confirmed CSX Corporation’s train that exploded in Lynchburg, Virginia was carrying sweet crude obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale basin. CSX CEO Michael Ward has also confirmed this to Bloomberg.

Photo Credit: Erin Ferrell – ABC 13 News | Twitter

“Trade sources said the train was carrying Bakken crude from North Dakota and was headed to Plains All American’s terminal in Yorktown,” Platts explained. “The Yorktown facility can unload 130,000 b/d of crude and is located on the site of Plains oil product terminal.”

In January, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a Safety Alert concluding Bakken crude is more flammable than heavier oils. Hence the term “bomb trains.”

At least 50,000 gallons of the oil headed to Yorktown is now missing, according to ABC 13 in Lynchburg. Some of it has spilled into the James River, as previously reported on DeSmogBlog.

A map available on CSX’s website displaying the routes for its crude-by-rail trains offers a clear indication of where the train was headed.

Map Credit: CSX Corporation

Formerly a refinery owned by Standard Oil and then BP/Amoco, Plains All American has turned the Yorktown refinery into a mega holding facility.

Yorktown may become a key future site for crude oil exports if the ban on exports of oil produced domestically in the U.S. is lifted. 

Yorktown: Future Oil Export Mecca?

In February, Plains CEO Greg Armstrong said on the company’s quarter four earnings call that Yorktown is ideally situated geographically to become an oil export mecca if the ban is lifted.

When asked by an analyst from Bank of America about the ongoing debate over lifting the crude oil export ban, Armstrong discussed how Plains could stand to profit from exports.


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Holding BP Accountable: Environmental Justice Struggle Continues in Gulf Region After 2010 Spill



Published on Oct 1, 2013 – The oil giant BP is back in court for the April 2010 accident that caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, killing 11 workers and leaking almost five million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. On Monday, the second phase of the trial began with lawyers accusing the oil company of lying about how much oil was leaking, failing to prepare for how to handle the disaster, and for not capping the leak quick enough. We’re joined in New Orleans by Monique Harden, co-director of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights and an attorney who specializes in environmental justice concerns in New Orleans. In the aftermath of the BP spill, Harden’s organization exposed how the oil giant had contracted with a claims processing company that promoted its record of reducing lost dollar pay-outs for injuries and damage caused by its client companies. We are also joined by John Barry, vice president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority — East, which has brought a lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies for destruction of the Gulf coastline, making the area more at risk from flooding and storm surges.

Democracy Now!, is an independent global news hour that airs weekdays on 1,200+ TV and radio stations Monday through Friday. Watch it live 8-9am ET at


Deepwater Disaster BP Oil Spill Documentary

Published on Feb 24, 2014

BP oil spill redirects here. For the 2006 oil spill involving BP, see Prudhoe Bay oil spill. For other uses, see The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (also refe.

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On the three year memorial of the BP Oil Spill disaster I wanted to share with you one very important fact. BP has been lying to you! Due to decades of abuse.

Visit to find out how you can help! On April 20, 2010, the largest environmental disaster in US history began when the Deepwater Horizo.

A documentary that examines the April 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico following the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. News Feeds on the issue ht.

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This video covers many environmental results of the BP Oil Spill, which originated from a rig explosion on April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico, placing an e.

Footage about the greatest oil disaster of all times (2010 Gulf) Watch at our Planet like it would be your Child! dont close your eyes! do your part!



The 14,000 Oil Spills Nobody is Talking About | Brainwash Update


Published on Feb 11, 2014

Abby Martin goes over updates to the chemical spill in West Virginia and the coal-ash spill in North Carolina, exposing the human and environmental impact as well as the lack of accountability that accompanies tens of thousands of similar ecological catastrophes that occur in the US every year due to the US’ addiction to fossil fuel.



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Collapse of the Industrial Civilization | Interview with Michael Ruppert


Published on Feb 28, 2013

Michael Ruppert let’s fly with both barrels as he speaks on Peak Oil, who the media are serving, and the truth behind Pat Tilman and Christopher Dorner. Ruppert’s candor is so strong that it is clear to see why he has been persecuted for his journalism, and he also shows why he is resilient enough to keep on speaking his truth.

Michael Ruppert is an investigative journalist and author of two books, Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil and Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World. In the 1970s, Ruppert was a narcotics officer for the LAPD. While there, he discovered evidence that the CIA was complicit in the illegal drug trade. He alerted his superiors with this information and soon found himself dismissed even though he had an honorable record. These events spurred Ruppert to begin a new career for himself as an investigative journalist. He was the publisher/editor of the From The Wilderness newsletter which, until its closure in 2006, examined government corruption and complicity in such areas as the CIA’s involvement in the war on drugs, the Pat Tillman scandal, the 2008 economic collapse and issues surrounding Peak Oil. Ruppert has lectured widely on these topics and was the subject of a documentary,Collapse, in 2009 which was based on one of his books. Currently, he hosts the radio show, The Lifeboat, on the Progressive Radio Network.


00:01 Coming up on Media Mayhem.
00:50 Welcoming Michael Ruppert
01:44 Getting persecuted as a journalist over Pat Tilman.
04:35 Bringing down the Bush administration.
08:55 The Pat Tilman cover-up.
15:01 Getting push back from controversial stories.
23:14 Media red herrings and distractions from the Right and Left.
27:54 Collapse, peak oil and the Iraq War explained.
36:17 The cognitive dissonance swirling around Christopher Dorner.
45:04 Investigative journalism appears through the cracks.


Part 2



Published on Mar 5, 2013

Collapse mastermind Michael Ruppert joins Media Mayhem to continue his conversation about the dirty secrets of the US government. This time he pulls out the big guns when discussing 9/11, the Bush administration, and why Dick Cheney was such an important (and nefarious) figure.
He also gives his thoughts on President Obama, and the overwhelming force that keeps the machine of US government ticking in the direction of criminality.

Michael Ruppert is an investigative journalist and author of two books, Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil andConfronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World.In the 1970s, Ruppert was a narcotics officer for the LAPD. While there, he discovered evidence that the CIA was complicit in the illegal drug trade. He alerted his superiors with this information and soon found himself dismissed even though he had an honorable record. These events spurred Ruppert to begin a new career for himself as an investigative journalist. He was the publisher/editor of the From The Wilderness newsletter which, until its closure in 2006, examined government corruption and complicity in such areas as the CIA’s involvement in the war on drugs, the Pat Tillman scandal, the 2008 economic collapse and issues surrounding Peak Oil. Ruppert has lectured widely on these topics and was the subject of a documentary, Collapse, in 2009 which was based on one of his books. Currently, he hosts the radio show, The Lifeboat, on the Progressive Radio Network.


00:01 Coming Up on Media Mayhem
00:41 The Collapse network of outside media.
03:34 30 years of experience in skepticism.
05:24 Osama Bin Laden and the truth.
09:44 9/11 was orchestrated by Dick Cheney.
11:24 Evidence for his case.
16:33 How Cheney consolidated power so effectively.
20:56 The excuse for the Iraq War, and the connection to Pearl Harbor.
26:12 Halliburton and the C.I.A.
31:44 Working with the LAPD and C.I.A. and coming from a background related to security.
34:34 The C.I.A. drug shipment conspiracy.
36:35 Has the LAPD changed since Rodney King?
40:14 Obama and the machine.
43:52 The balance of power and the executive.


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By Reuters

Earthquakes rattled residents in Oklahoma on Saturday, the latest in a series that have put the state on track for record quake activity this year, which some seismologists say may be tied to oil and gas exploration.

One earthquake recorded at 3.8 magnitude by the U.S. Geological Survey rocked houses in several communities around central Oklahoma at 7:42 a.m. local time.

Another about two hours earlier in the same part of the state, north of Oklahoma City, was recorded at 2.9 magnitude, USGS said.

Root issue: Seismologists believe the quakes may be tied to oil and gas exploration

Root issue: Seismologists believe the quakes may be tied to oil and gas exploration


Those two were preceded by two more, at 2.6 magnitude, and 2.5 magnitude, that also rolled the landscape in central Oklahoma early Saturday morning.

A 3.0 magnitude tremor struck late Friday night in that area as well, following a 3.4 magnitude hit Friday afternoon.

The quakes have set record levels of seismic activity through the state

The quakes have set record levels of seismic activity through the state


Austin Holland, a seismologist with the Oklahoma Geological Survey who tracks earthquake activity for the USGS, said the earthquake activity in the state is soaring.

‘We have had almost as many magnitude 3 and greater already in 2014 than we did for all of 2013,’ Holland said.


Last year’s number of ‘felt’ earthquakes – those strong enough to rattle items on a shelf – hit a record 222 in the state. This year, less than four months into the year, the state has recorded 253 such tremors, according to state seismic data.


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Oil firm agrees to abide by EPA monitoring arrangements for five years, allowing it to bid for drilling contracts in Gulf of Mexico

BP is still awaiting a US court ruling about whether it was grossly negligent over the Deepwater Horizon blowout in 2010. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

BP is closer to restoring its operations and reputation in the US after agreeing a deal with environmental protection authorities that it will enable the oil firm to bid for new drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico.

The British-based group had started legal proceedings against the US environmental protection agency (EPA) which had banned BP from new contracts on the grounds that it had failed to correct problems properly since the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.

BP said it had now dropped its law suit after resolving outstanding problems with the EPA but the firm will have to abide by monitoring arrangements with the agency for the next five years.

“After a lengthy negotiation, BP is pleased to have reached this resolution, which we believe to be fair and reasonable,” said John Mingé, head of BP America. “Today’s agreement will allow America’s largest energy investor to compete again for federal contracts and leases.”

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March 18, 2014

Huffpost Business

Government Declares BP a ‘Responsible’ Contractor: Workers and Taxpayers Beware

A scant five days before the Department of Interior opens a new round of bids for oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico, the EPA has blinked, pronouncing BP, the incorrigible corporate scofflaw of the new millennium, once again fit to do business with the government.

To get right to the point, the federal government’s decision that BP has somehow paid its debt and should once again be eligible for federal contracts is a disgrace. Not only does it let BP off the hook, it sends an unmistakable signal to the rest of the energy industry: That no matter how much harm you do, no matter how horrid your safety record, the feds will cut you some slack.

Back in 2012, the agency’s intrepid staff had finally gotten permission to pull the trigger on the company, de-barring it from holding any new U.S. contracts on the grounds that it was not running its business in a “responsible” way. Undoubtedly under pressure by the Cameron government and the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, BP’s most loyal customer, the EPA settled its debarment suit for a sweet little consent decree that will try to improve the company’s sense of ethics by having “independent” auditors come visit once a year.

To review the grim record: BP, now the third-largest energy company in the world, is the first among the roster of companies that have caused the most memorable industrial fiascos in the post-modern age.

  • Its best-known disaster, the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon, a drilling rig moored in the Gulf of Mexico that BP had hired to develop its lease of the Macondo well, killed 11 and deposited 205 million gallons of crude oil along the southern coast of the United States — the worst environmental disaster in American history.
  • In a troubling precursor, another explosion killed 15 and injured 180 at the company’s Texas City refinery in July 2005. This incident happened even after the plant manager there had gone on bended knee to John Manzoni, BP’s second in command worldwide, to plead for money to address severe maintenance problems that jeopardized safety at that plant after a consultant surveying refinery workers reported that many thought they ran a real risk of being killed at work. Those fears were warranted, it turned out.
  • Also in 2005, 200,000 gallons of oil spilled from a BP pipeline on Alaska’s North Slope.


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missingsky102 missingsky102


Published on Mar 7, 2014

Fracking fluids dumped into the ocean
Environmentalists are trying to convince the EPA to ban the dumping of fracking fluids, in federal waters off the California coast. The Center for Biological Diversity claims that at least a dozen off shore rigs in Southern California are dumping wastewater right into the Pacific. RT’s Ramon Galindo has the story.
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RT’s Ramon Galindo talks about a recent legal petition by environmental groups in California calling for the Federal government to force an end to the practice of offshore fracking, and the dumping of hundreds of millions of gallons of fracking waste in the ocean every year.

Abby Martin calls out Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson for his blatant hypocrisy after filing a lawsuit against a fracking water tower being built near his property.

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Fracking for oil and gas will not be happening in Los Angeles any time soon after City Council members unanimously voted to ban the practice within city limits today. The vote passes the motion to the City Attorney’s office where it will be rewritten as a zoning ordinance before returning to City Council for a final vote.

L.A. is now the largest city in the U.S. to refuse the dangerous extraction process. Local bans have become an effective protective measure against fracking, and are in place in numerous jurisdictions worldwide including Vermont, Hawaii, areas of New York State, Quebec, and France among many others.

The Los Angeles ordinance prevents the use of fracking until effective governmental oversight and regulation is in place at the local, state and federal levels.

“I think we can all agree unregulated fracking is crazy,” said Councilman Paul Koretz, co-author of the motion.

California is in the midst of a devastating drought, raising concerns over access to fresh water supplies. Fracking uses approximately 5 million gallons of water per frack job.

Image from Gizmodo shows Folsom lake near Sacramento in July 2011 and again in January 2014.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, there are still 9 Californian counties where fracking is in use, including Colusa, Glenn, Kern, Monterey, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Sutter, Kings and Ventura.

The Center also notes

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– Jon Queally, staff writer

Almost half (47%) of all U.S. wells are being developed in regions with high to extremely high water stress. This means that more than 80 percent of the annual available water is already allocated to municipal, industrial and agricultural users in these regions. (Source: Ceres)The irony of fracking: It destroys the natural resource it needs most. The tragedy for those living nearby fracking operations: That natural resource is the fresh—and increasingly scarce—water supply on which they, too, depend.

And not only does fracking—or hydraulic fracturing—demand enormous amounts of fresh water no matter where it takes places, a troubling new study released Wednesday found that a majority of places where the controversial drilling technique is most prevalent are the same regions where less and less water is available.

Overlay the regions where most of the fracking is being done in North American with the places experiencing the most troubling and persistent water resource problems and the resulting picture becomes an alarm bell as politicians and the fossil fuel industry continue to push fracking expansion as the savior for the U.S. and Canada’s energy woes.

According to the report, Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Stress: Water Demand by the Numbers (pdf), produced by the non-profit Ceres investor network, much of the oil and gas fracking activity in both the U.S. and Canada is happening in “arid, water stressed regions, creating significant long-term water sourcing risks” that will strongly and negatively impact the local ecosystem, communities, and people living nearby.

“Hydraulic fracturing is increasing competitive pressures for water in some of the country’s most water-stressed and drought-ridden regions,” said Ceres President Mindy Lubber, in announcing Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Stress: Water Demand by the Numbers. “Barring stiffer water-use regulations and improved on-the-ground practices, the industry’s water needs in many regions are on a collision course with other water users, especially agriculture and municipal water use.”

Richard Heinberg, senior fellow of the California-based Post Carbon Institute and author of a recent book on the “false promise” of the fracking industry, says the irony of the study’s findings “would be delicious if it weren’t so terrifying.”

“Nationally,” according to Heinberg, “only about 50 percent of fracking wastewater is recycled. Billions of gallons of freshwater are still taken from rivers, streams, and wells annually for this purpose, and—after being irremediably polluted—this water usually ends up being injected into deep disposal wells. That means it is no longer available to the hydrological cycle that sustains all terrestrial life.”

Click here to look at Ceres’ interactive map on fracking and water use.

The study drew on industry data detailing water usage from from 39,294 oil and gas wells from January 2011 through May 2013 and compared that information with “water stress indicator maps” developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI).

What it found:

Over 55 percent of the wells hydraulically fractured were in areas experiencing drought and 36 percent overlay regions with significant groundwater depletion – key among those, California which is in the midst of a historic drought and Texas, which has the highest concentration of shale energy development and hydraulic fracturing activity in the U.S.


In Texas, which includes the rapidly developing Eagle Ford and Permian Basin shale plays, more than half (52 percent) of the wells were in high or extreme high water stress areas. In Colorado and California, 97 and 96 percent of the wells, respectively, were in regions with high or extremely high water stress. Nearly comparable trends were also shown in New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Among hundreds of hydraulic fracturing companies whose water use was evaluated, those with the highest exposure to water sourcing risk are Anadarako (APC), Encana (ECA), Pioneer (PXD) and Apache (APA). Most of the wells being developed by each of these companies are in regions of high or extreme water stress. The top three service providers, Halliburton, (HAL) Schlumberger (SLB) and Baker Hughes (BHI), handled about half of the water used for hydraulic fracturing nationally and also face water sourcing risks.

Although water use for hydraulic fracturing is often less than two percent of state water demands, the impacts can be large at the local level, sometimes exceeding the water used by all of the residents in a county.

“It’s a wake-up call,” Professor James Famiglietti, a hydrologist at the University of California, Irvine, told the Guardian. “We understand as a country that we need more energy but it is time to have a conversation about what impacts there are, and do our best to try to minimise any damage.”

The irony of the latest findings, explained Heinberg in an email to Common Dreams, is based on the fact that “much of the fracking boom is centered in the western United States—Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and California—which just happens to be drying up, likely as a result of climate change. And that climate change, in turn, is happening because we’re burning fossil fuels like oil and natural gas.”

Heinberg observed that the Ceres report is largely written from the standpoint of the oil and gas companies—using much of their data—and directed at those who may be invested or would like to invest in the continuation or proliferation of the industry. However, he indicated, detailing the increasing difficulties the industry and its investors are likely to experience in sourcing water for their operations is still valuable for those opposed to fracking.

“In California, where I live,” he said, “we’re experiencing a 500-year drought. The grape-wine industry here in Sonoma County is facing disaster. Farmers in the Central Valley are weighing whether to plant at all this year. The fact that California’s Democratic governor [Jerry Brown] wants to spend what little water we have on fracking—which will only make our climate problems worse—makes the report frighteningly relevant.”


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ThinkProgress | January 3, 2014 11:52 am


By Emily Atkin


Exxon Mobil Corp. subsidiary XTO Energy will have to face criminal charges for allegedly dumping tens of thousands of gallons of fracking waste at a Marcellus Shale drilling site in 2010, according to a Pennsylvania judge’s ruling on Thursday.




Following a preliminary hearing, Magisterial District Judge James G. Carn decided that all eight charges against Exxon—including violations of both the state Clean Streams Law and the Solid Waste Management Act—will be “held for court,” meaning there is enough evidence to take the fossil fuel giant to trial over felony offenses.


Pennsylvania’s Attorney General filed criminal charges back in September, claiming Exxon had removed a plug from a wastewater tank, leading to 57,000 gallons of contaminated water spilling into the soil. The Exxon subsidiary had contested the criminal charges, claiming there was “no lasting environmental impact,” and that the charges could “discourage good environmental practices” from guilty companies.


“The action tells oil and gas operators that setting up infrastructure to recycle produced water exposes them to the risk of significant legal and financial penalties should a small release occur,” Exxon said at the time.


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