Category: Hydraulic Fracking


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the guardian

Botswana sells fracking rights in national park

Licences for more than half of the Kgalagadi transfrontier park, one of Africa’s largest conservation areas, have been granted to drill for shale gas

The Kgalagadi transfrontier park straddles Botswana and South Africa and is home to the cheetah and black-maned Kalahari lion.
The Kgalagadi transfrontier park straddles Botswana and South Africa and is home to the cheetah and black-maned Kalahari lion. Photograph: Jeffrey Barbee/Alliance Earth.org

 

The Botswana government has quietly sold the rights to frack for shale gas in one of Africa’s largest protected conservation areas, it has emerged.

The Kgalagadi transfrontier park, which spans the border with South Africa, is an immense 3 6,000 sq km wilderness, home to gemsbok desert antelope, black-maned Kalahari lions and pygmy falcons. But conservationists and top park officials – who were not informed of the fracking rights sale – are now worried about the impact of drilling on wildlife.

Prospecting licences for more than half of the park were granted to a UK-listed company called Nodding Donkey in September 2014, although the sale has not been reported previously. That company changed its name earlier this month to Karoo Energy.

Park officials said that no drilling has yet taken place, but the Guardian found oil sediment on the ground near a popular camp site. There was an overwhelming smell of tar and a drill stem protruded from an apparently recently drilled hole. It is not known who had carried out the drilling or when.

Scientist Gus Mills worked and lived in Kgalagadi for 18 years studying cheetahs and hyenas. He said he is worried about the impact on wildlife and environment.

“The development that is going to have to go on there, with infrastructure that has to be moved in, seems to be yet another nail in the coffin of wild areas in the world.”

Dr Peter Apps, who studies large predators for the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust , said drilling could have a range of impacts, notably on water sources in the park.

 

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the guardian

Shell and Exxon’s €5bn problem: gas drilling that sets off earthquakes and wrecks homes

Groningen has been one of Europe’s richest gas fields for 30 years, and thousands of people say their homes have been damaged by the tremors that drilling sets off. Now a class action may finally bring them compensation – and force a rethink of European energy security

Annemarie Heite, whose home in Groningen has been scheduled for demolition after earthquakes caused by oil drilling.
‘Nobody is taking this seriously, not the school or the mayor, no one’ … Annemarie Heite, whose home in Groningen has been scheduled for demolition after earthquakes caused by oil drilling. Photograph: Hans Knikman/Demotix

Five years ago, Annemarie Heite and her husband, Albert, bought their dream home; a traditional 19th-century farmhouse in Groningen province in the northern Netherlands. The couple planned to raise their two young daughters in this charming corner of the Dutch countryside. “Then, the living was still easy, and affordable,” Annemarie says, her tone bittersweet and nostalgic. Today, their house is scheduled for demolition.

Hundreds of earthquakes have wrecked the foundations of the Heites’ home and made it unsafe to live in. Annemarie’s biggest fear is the safety of her daughters. She points to a room. “This is where my children sleep,” she says, “and everyday I’m just picking up pieces of bricks and stuff from the ceiling.”

Heite fears that her children may not be any safer at school. Her daughter Zara goes to a local primary school that has not been structurally reinforced to withstand strong earthquakes. “I feel powerless. It feels like I can’t do anything,” Heite says. “It’s not like I’m a frantic, hysterical person, but nobody is taking this seriously, not the school or the mayor, no one.”

Next door, Heite’s neighbour’s farmhouse is already a pile of rubble, which yellow JCBs are clearing away. “It’s collapsed. It’s gone,” Heite says. “They lived there for 30 years … and over there behind the trees, they demolished another house.”

Farmhouses like Heite’s are disappearing across the Groningen countryside as a peculiar, profound environmental crisis grips the province. At the heart of it are two oil companies, Shell and Exxon Mobil, and a government that, for two decades, denied responsibility for its actions and ignored the voices of citizens and scientists. The scandal has already cost the oil companies €1.2bn [£880m], but last month a landmark court ruling gave the victims fresh hope that their voices could be ignored no longer. And if they are right, the consequences could be profound: a compensation bill that could stretch to more than €5bn in Holland, an energy security headache for Europe, and an invocation for the world to think about the real cost of burning fossil fuels.

Annemarie Heite’s earthquake-damaged family home in Groningen
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‘Everyday I’m just picking up pieces of bricks and stuff from the ceiling’ … Heite’s earthquake-damaged family home. Photograph: Hans Knikman/Demotix

 

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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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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.

GUEST BIO:
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.

ADD’L LINKS:
http://www.fromthewilderness.com/
http://www.collapsenet.com/
http://www.thelip.tv

EPISODE BREAKDOWN:
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

 

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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.

GUEST BIO:
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.

ADD’L LINKS:
http://www.fromthewilderness.com/
http://www.collapsenet.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MediaMayhem
https://twitter.com/ahopeweiner
http://thelip.tv/

EPISODE BREAKDOWN:
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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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.
Find RT America in your area: http://rt.com/where-to-watch/
Or watch us online: http://rt.com/on-air/rt-america-air/

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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Earth Watch Report  –  Hazmat

N.D. filter socks

 

Casper Star-Tribune Online

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February 22 2014 06:10 PM HAZMAT USA State of North Dakota, Watford City Damage level Details

 

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HAZMAT in USA on Saturday, 22 February, 2014 at 18:10 (06:10 PM) UTC.

Description
Federal and state health officials are investigating leaking trailers loaded with thousands of pounds of potentially radioactive filter socks and debris parked on rural property southwest of Watford City. A special agent with the Environmental Protection Agency criminal investigations unit is assigned to the case and a radiation control team from the state Health Department was on scene Friday. Brad Torgerson, with the state Health Department’s waste management division, said the team determined that radiation levels “do not appear to present any public health hazards.” He said the company, RP Services, of Riverton, Wyo., was told to put the waste in proper containers and submit a plan for cleanup. A formal enforcement action is possible, Torgerson said. EPA special agent Dan O’Malley contacted state health officials about the waste; when contacted by the Tribune, O’Malley said he could not confirm his agency’s investigation. The RP Services trailers are parked on property owned by Russ and Mary Williams, whose separate company was involved in an illegal filter sock disposal that led to a $27,000 fine at the McKenzie County landfill operation last summer.

The filter socks are a notorious source of radioactive material because they concentrate naturally occurring radiation from geology down the well hole. The Health Department says the filters should not be landfilled anywhere in North Dakota and instead, should be handled by certified companies for disposal at hazardous waste sites in other states. The trailers loaded with the leaking material and filter socks were reported Thursday to McKenzie County landfill director Rick Schreiber. Schreiber has adopted a tough policy and his is the first landfill in the country to install radiation detection pedestals that monitor every load coming into the landfill. The Health Department is awaiting results of a study on radioactive oil field and other waste before deciding whether to raise its allowable limit of radiation and how disposal sites would be constructed. Because landfills won’t take the socks and levy fines when haulers are caught bringing them in, they sometimes end up in community Dumpsters around towns and roadside ditches. Jerry Samuelson, McKenzie County’s emergency manager, said the JP Services incident illustrates how oil development stretches local governments.

 

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Riverton company’s trailers found leaking toxic material in N.D.

 

MCKENZIE COUNTY, N.D. — Federal and state health officials are investigating leaks from trailers loaded with thousands of pounds of potentially radioactive filter socks and debris parked on rural land in North Dakota.

The trailers are owned by a Wyoming company, RP Services. A North Dakota Health Department official said the Riverton company had been instructed to dispose of the waste in proper containers and submit a cleanup plan.

A special agent in the Environmental Protection Agency criminal investigations unit was assigned to the case, and on Friday, a radiation control team from the state Health Department showed up at the property, which is southwest of Watford City, N.D.

Brad Torgerson, of the state Health Department’s waste management division, said the team determined that radiation levels “do not appear to present any public health hazards.” Formal enforcement action is possible, Torgerson said.

 

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Published time: February 19, 2014 00:53
Joe Raedle / Getty Images / AFP

Joe Raedle / Getty Images / AFP

With one person missing and presumed dead in an explosion at a natural gas well in a small Pennsylvania town, the company responsible is now under fire after apparently apologizing to the local community by handing out vouchers for free pizza.

It took five days for emergency crews to safely extinguish a fire that was set by an explosion that shook the small town of Bobtown, located in the far southwestern corner of the state. The blast gave off a loud hissing noise that could be heard from hundreds of yards away.

One resident told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the explosion in a shale formation where Chevron Corp. has spent time fracking “sounded like a jet engine going five feet above your house.” John Kuis, 57, of nearby Dilliner said his dog started growling unusually at 6:45 a.m. on February 11 “then the house just sort of shock and there was a big loud bang.”

At least one employee who was working on the rig has not been found and is widely thought to have been killed – either in the initial explosion or during the five days the flames burned. Another worker was injured in the event.

Chevron has denied any knowledge of what caused the explosion. Company spokesman Ken Robertson told the local ABC affiliate that workers were preparing to run tubing, which is done when wells are being readied for production, and that “there is not enough fuel being emitted to sustain combustion, and with the cooling of the crane, the ignition source has been removed.”

The Philadelphia Daily News has since discovered that residents of Bobtown – a census-designated community of fewer than 1,000 people that revolves mostly around coal mining – have started receiving coupons for one free pizza and a two-liter of soda from the local Bobtown pizza.

Chevron recognizes the effect this has had on the community,” the company said on its website. “We value being a responsible member of this community and will continue to strive to achieve incident-free operations. We are committed to taking action to safeguard our neighbors, our employees, our contractors and the environment.”

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Green Fade-Out:Europe to Ditch Climate Protection Goals

By Gregor Peter Schmitz in Brussels

Europe may be backing away from its ambitious climate protection goals. Zoom

DPA

Europe may be backing away from its ambitious climate protection goals.

The EU’s reputation as a model of environmental responsibility may soon be history. The European Commission wants to forgo ambitious climate protection goals and pave the way for fracking — jeopardizing Germany’s touted energy revolution in the process.

The climate between Brussels and Berlin is polluted, something European Commission officials attribute, among other things, to the “reckless” way German Chancellor Angela Merkel blocked stricter exhaust emissions during her re-election campaign to placate domestic automotive manufacturers like Daimler and BMW. This kind of blatant self-interest, officials complained at the time, is poisoning the climate.

ANZEIGE

But now it seems that the climate is no longer of much importance to the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, either. Commission sources have long been hinting that the body intends to move away from ambitious climate protection goals. On Tuesday, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported as much.

At the request of Commission President José Manuel Barroso, EU member states are no longer to receive specific guidelines for the development ofrenewable energy. The stated aim of increasing the share of green energy across the EU to up to 27 percent will hold. But how seriously countries tackle this project will no longer be regulated within the plan. As of 2020 at the latest — when the current commitment to further increase the share of green energy expires — climate protection in the EU will apparently be pursued on a voluntary basis.

Climate Leaders No More?

With such a policy, the European Union is seriously jeopardizing its global climate leadership role. Back in 2007, when Germany held the European Council presidency, the body decided on a climate and energy legislation package known as the “20-20-20” targets, to be fulfilled by the year 2020. They included:

  • a 20 percent reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions;
  • raising the share of EU energy consumption produced from renewable resources to 20 percent;

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