In this week’s Fracked Earth News: Shell abandons Arctic drilling plans. Reclaiming public waters from Cochabamba, Bolivia to Berlin. A glowing sea turtle.
Puppeteers transport Aurora, the double decker bus sized polar bear, from in front of Shell HQ in London as Greenpeace activists celebrate Royal Dutch Shell’s decision to stop Arctic oil drilling. Tuesday Sept. 29, 2015. Now Shell has announced its Arctic exit, the bear will be transported to Paris where the nations of the world will soon gather to negotiate a deal on climate change. See PA story ENVIRONMENT Shell. (Anthony Devlin/PA via AP)
A Fracked Earth News report.
Arctic oil and other resources
__Yay! Not finding any oil in the Arctic, Shell “is abandoning the region ‘for the foreseeable future.’”
__Shell’s abandoning the Arctic “does not mean offshore drilling is dead or that the Arctic Ocean has any greater protection now than it had last week.” Environmentalists argue for a “binding policy so that these decisions are not up to oil companies.»
__The Arctic Council—Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden, the US—will be chaired by the US from 2015-17. The Council promotes “cooperation, coordination and interaction among … Arctic states” and their communities, including indigenous communities. Wonder if they’ll cooperate in exploiting the Arctic’s abundant resources, now that global warming is conveniently melting the ice.
Kinder Morgan Protest, November 18, 2014
__Are you ready for some Keystone XL pipeline? TransCanada’s abandoning condemning property which makes property owners mad. Instead, it’s shifting its approach to getting “its pipeline through the Nebraska Public Service Commission.” Bold Nebraska and other pipeline opponents are prepared.
__Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain (TMX) pipeline expansion project is the latest great hope for getting Alberta tar sands bitumen to West Coast terminals via pipeline. This was the reception Kinder Morgan received last year:
Oil pumps work at sunset on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, in the desert oil fields of Sakhir, Bahrain. Across a Mideast fueled by oil production, low global prices have some countries running on empty and scrambling to cover shortfalls, even as more regional crude is on tap to enter the market.(AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)
____Oil prices down to $45.11/barrel in New York at 1:00 pm, $47.97 Brent.
__Oil companies keep shelling out $s to find more oil, but they’re not finding that much; the price of oil keeps declining; and people are demanding more alternative energy sources. Think they’ll start investing in alternatives?
__Interest grows in RICO investigations of Exxon and its alleged suppression of its own evidence about climate change decades ago.
__Saudi Arabia has withdrawn somewhere between $50 – $70 billion in investments over only six months due to their war with Yemen and declining oil prices. They still have about $661 billion, though, and are looking at investment opportunities—including renewables, and there is a plan for that thanks to the Bank of Abu Dhabi.
In this March 25, 2014 photo, a worker oils a pump during a hydraulic fracturing operation at an Encana Corp. well pad near Mead, Colo. The first experimental use of hydraulic fracturing was in 1947, and more than 1 million U.S. oil and gas wells have been fracked since, according to the American Petroleum Institute. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Fracking and extracting
__Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming are demanding “urgent attention [to fracking-related earthquakes] from regulators and others to protect public safety.” Industry says states can use differing ways “for detecting and managing the quakes.” Managing quakes?
__Nexen Inc. was duly licensed to draw “millions of cubic meters of water from Tsea Lake” for its shale gas fracking operation in the Horn River Basin, British Columbia. Fort Nelson First Nation challenged granting of the license—and won. h/t sheila muxlow
«Frakka Hakka,» a fracking song
__UK’s PM David Cameron’s government has now issued 159 fracking licenses for “293 sites of special scientific interest … comprising 1,000 square miles of land home to rare wildlife.”
__Jury selection underway in the criminal trial of Don Blankenship, former Massey Energy CEO and owner of the Upper Big Branch Mine where 29 miners died. The press reportedly excluded from the courtroom. h/t EE
A sign that reads «NO Fracking» appears in front of an old-fashioned red farmhouse. (Flickr / Not An Alternative)
Fracking bans and counter-bans
__Stokes County, North Carolina commissioners have voted for a three-year moratorium on oil and gas fracking. Chatham County has also imposed a moratorium and Lee County is working on a draft moratorium. Much community support.
__No fracking in Northern Ireland, either. The ban can only be lifted if “there is sufficient and robust evidence of its safety on all environmental impacts.”
__The mighty Florida legislature, or at least its Republican component, is hot to ban bans on fracking in the state, making the ban on banning fracking retroactive which will render moot Bonita Springs’ new anti-fracking ordinance. The Legislature’s actions have also awakened a lot of resistance to stifling of local initiatives.
Toxic chemicals from a nearby Duke Energy coal ash dump stain water a myriad of colors about 500 feet from a dumping pond. It contains high levels of boron, chromium, iron, lead and manganese that range between 1.5 to 562 times higher than the NC ground water standards. (Flickr / Waterkeeper Alliance / Dot Griffith)
Whatever happened to «mess it up, clean it up»?
__Duke Energy’s got friends. “North Carolina regulators … agreed to dramatically slash a fine initially imposed on Duke Energy for its coal ash pollution” at one site—and amnesty for any dumps at its other 14 locations.
__Chevron continues to refuse to pay for the large-scale contamination Texaco (which Chevron subsequently purchased, along with Texaco’s liabilities) left in Ecuador, including dumping “18 billion gallons of toxic waste into Amazon waterways, abandoned more than 900 waste pits, burned millions of cubic meters of gases … and spilled more than 17 million gallons of oil” decades ago.
__Ooops! Childers Oil Co. is a repeat offender in “contaminating the North Folk of the Kentucky River.” Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet was agreeable to accepting $48,057 for one diesel fuel leak and to forever remain silent. Since no attorney signed the agreement, however, the judge rejected it—and then rejected the state’s and Childers Oil’s request to keep things secret.
__Under new EPA air standards, oil refineries must install benzene monitors on refinery boundary fences and take appropriate action when benzene levels exceed “standards.” Earthjustice and the Environmental Integrity Project had to sue to get this much done. h/t EE
Tiny plastic fragments are seen in a close-up photo of «microplastics» collected from the Chesapeake Bay. (Flickr / Chesapeake Bay Program)
Making ourselves and others sick
__Around 52% of agricultural land is “moderately or severely degraded,» meaning there’s less soil to absorb greenhouse gas emissions, decreased crop productivity, increased drought and human migration in search of food and water—altogether, a loss of “trillions of dollars of nature’s benefits each year.”
__Microbeads and microplastics are now so ubiquitous in Earth’s oceans that “around 90% of seabirds have plastic in their bellies.” Tiny sea creatures eat the plastic, thus beginning its migration up the food chain and eventually onto dinner plates. California is first to attempt to outlaw them—but by 2020. Microplastic saturation in the San Francisco Bay is “nine times worse than Lake Erie … and 330 times worse than Lake Huron.” Washington, DC is getting interested in their own ban.
__Record numbers of malnourished seabirds are at the International Bird Rescue Center in Fairfield, California. El Niño, with its warmer ocean waters, is a suspected cause.
__42 fur seals found dead on California’s coast this year, with another 40+ “alive but half-starving.” Some 1,300 sea lions have also been rescued this year. Ocean warming has led to food scarcity.
Froth Catches Fire On Bellandur Lake
__Bellandur Lake in Bangalore, India appears to have snow floating on its surface, Actually it’s a ghastly-smelling white froth, thanks to all the toxic chemicals and sewage that’s been pumped into Bellandur since who-knows-when. At times, the Lake even catches fire.
__They’re still eyeing Yucca Mountain in Nevada as the place to bury “77,000 tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste” which potentially could leach into groundwater. The Western Shoshone and Timbisha Shoshone are calling such a plan “environmental racism.”
The Monsanto Corporate Affairs Team: «Food ‘n’ Health ‘n’ Hope»
__Two investigators, through FOIA, secured documents about “Monsanto’s complete glyphosate research.” They say that “claims about glyphosate’s safety are patently false.” Lots of info in the article.
River rapids flow over rocks in Cochabamba, Bolivia. (Flickr / Mauricio Frias)
Restoration and rescue
__Since 2000, several places have reclaimed their water from private owners (here and here), ranging from Cochabamba to Atlanta to Berlin, with efforts underway in France, Ireland and Nigeria. Local initiative is required since the IMF and World Bank encourage privatization by providing private companies with loans for water projects.
__Brazil has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 37% by 2025 (43% by 2030).
__Seabirds, whales, dolphins, sea-going turtles “and thousands of species of fish and other marine life” are now being protected as New Zealand provides “an ocean sanctuary in a landmark deal.” It’s in the Kermade region to the northeast. No mining, no fishing. Wow!
__From “remote communities” of Australia’s Northern Territory,» on foot and horseback, accompanied by their Elders, they came to confront a mining minister about shale gas fracking. Fracking and mining are “a direct threat to our water, our lives, our future, our food,” they said, demanding renewable energy.
A man leans with his bicycle against a stone wall by the edge of the Atlantic Ocean at sunset. (Flickr / driver Photographer)
Oceans of water
__There’s a very cold spot up in the northern Atlantic that is worrying since it indicates a slowing of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation which we often refer to, somewhat inaccurately, as the Gulf Stream. There’s a possibility of temperature changes in Europe if AMOC does slow.
__Did you just drink some water that a dinosaur drank? Great water facts.
__A turtle that glows: