Environmental Must-Reads – July 9, 2013

West Virginia Fracking Explosion Leaves At Least 5 People Injured

An explosion over the weekend at a natural gas well site in West Virginia operated by Antero Resources injured at least five people, prompting state and federal investigations, local officials and Antero said on Monday.

Explosion Rocks Natural Gas Drilling Well in Marcellus Shale, Workers Seriously Injured

An explosion at a nearby gas drilling well pad jostled John Pitcock awake around 4 a.m. on Sunday morning. Pitcock and his wife Diane moved with their sons from the Baltimore, Maryland area to rural New Milton, West Virginia in Doddridge County nearly a decade ago to enjoy a quiet country life. But when drilling companies began tapping the underlying Marcellus Shale in the area for natural gas reserves using high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing (or fracking), their peaceful country life disappeared.

U.S. well sites in 2012 discharged more than Valdez

It went up orange, a gas-propelled geyser that rose 100 feet over the North Dakota prairie.

But it was oil, so it came down brown. So much oil that when they got the well under control two days later, crude dripped off the roof of a house a half-mile away.

Fracking The Wealthy In The UK

700 million barrels of recoverable shale oil, more than a year’s supply for Britain, has been found in an area south of London known as the “stockbroker belt” due to the high number of wealthy financiers that live there. Well guess what? London’s wealthy don’t want fracking in their backyard either.

Fracking ban halts first shale gas project in Spain

A ban on fracking in a northern region of Spain has crimped Repsol SA’s plans to begin drilling for shale gas in the north of Spain. Repsol had planned to begin seismic studies, with a view to drilling, in July, but the Cantabrian fracking ban, which prevents all hydraulic fracturing activities within the region’s borders, has put a hold on plans.

NC chemical plant blocked in anti-fracking protest

Twelve activists who blocked a North Carolina chemical plant were arrested in a protest against the company’s sale of products used in the natural gas drilling process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Morganton chemical plant blocked in anti-fracking protest

Chopper 9 Skyzoom was there Monday as a protest was underway at Momentive Specialty Chemicals in Morganton. That protest, was centered around two wooden tripods set up outside the company’s gates with a person on top of each. The protestors said they were upset about a product the company makes that is part of the fracking process. They said the wooden tripods were set up to prevent the company from doing business.

“We want to prevent fracking from happening in North Carolina and also to see it end everywhere,” said Maria Rowan, spokesperson for Croatan Earth First.

In a dry year, some New Mexico farmers sell water instead of crops

Faced with an inadequate supply of water needed for a crop or livestock herd, some Eddy County, N.M., farmers and ranchers are selling water they are allowed to pump out of an underground aquifer to oil and gas companies in an effort to survive a third straight year of drought.

BP challenges “fictitious” claims on oil spill

BP PLC is being forced to pay inflated and even “fictitious” claims to businesses because of the way a court-appointed administrator is making payments from a legal settlement following the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, an attorney for the oil giant said Monday.

BP to Urges Court to Reject Costly View of Oil Spill Deal

BP Plc (BP/), with billions of dollars at stake, seeks to lower payments from its partial Gulf of Mexico oil spill settlement by persuading a federal appeals court to order stricter standards for evaluating claims.

The administrator, Patrick Juneau, is approving millions of dollars in “fictitious” payments for business losses based on what BP believes is a flawed interpretation of the agreement reached with victims’ lawyers in 2012, according to BP.

Judges skeptical of BP argument in fight over oil spill claims

BP’s argument that businesses are getting an unfair windfall from its class-action Gulf oil spill settlement was met with skepticism Monday by a federal appeals court panel.

Death toll in Quebec oil train disaster rises to 13

The death toll in Quebec’s oil train disaster jumped to 13 people last night and police said about 37 more people were missing, a sign the derailment and explosion could be the worst accident in Canada since the Swissair crash of 1998.

Train explosion in Quebec stokes debate about oil transport

The latest disaster caused by the transport of oil across North America has wrecked the town of Lac-Mégantic in Quebec. A driverless train loaded with crude from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota derailed and exploded early Saturday in the town’s center.

Oil Train Tragedy in Canada Spotlights Rising Crude Transport by Rail

With authorities still reckoning the death toll from the explosive train derailment that leveled the downtown of the Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, the tragedy cast a spotlight on North America’s sharply increasing use of rail to transport its new wealth of crude oil.

3rd lawsuit filed against Exxon for 2011 Yelowstone oil spill

A third lawsuit has been filed alleging that ExxonMobil ignored warnings about the risk of keeping oil flowing through a pipeline under the Yellowstone River during heavy runoff and then failed to properly respond when the pipe burst and spilled 63,000 gallons of crude oil.

ExxonMobil exec talks about pipeline break, says oil still being found

Three months after the ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline break that gushed Canadian tar sands on a Mayflower subdivision, an executive of the pipeline operator, Karen Tyrone, has given an extensive interview to a reporter for the local newspaper, (link corrected) Courtney Spradlin of The Log Cabin Democrat.

Louisiana sinkhole: Hard choices forced onto neighbors

Louisiana sinkhole: A community is being forced to make difficult decisions, due to a massive sinkhole nearby. The Louisiana sinkhole is located some 40 miles south of Baton Rouge.

Louisiana sinkhole forces wrenching choice on longtime neighbors: Take buyout or stay and sue

Neighbors in tiny Bayou Corne, La., face a wrenching decision after a huge sinkhole opened up near their community: Do they stay put, or should they pack up and move?

The sinkhole resulted from a collapsed underground salt dome cavern about 40 miles south of Baton Rouge. After oil and natural gas came oozing up and acres of swampland liquefied into muck, the community’s 350 residents were advised to evacuate.

Sinkhole threatens Cajun bayou community

Almost a year after a salt cavern collapsed near a scenic south Louisiana bayou, the sinkhole has grown to 22- acres and is still releasing oil and natural gas. Hundreds of residents have evacuated but a few stayed behind despite the dangers

Quebec Disaster Spurs Rail-Versus-Pipelines Debate on Oil

A Quebec train disaster that killed at least five people and left about 40 missing promises to touch off debate over the safety of shipping crude oil by rail or pipelines such as TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL.

Keystone XL Pipeline: Deciding Without Data

The U.S. State Department is in the process of deciding whether the proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline would be in the U.S. national interest, but the determination is being made without Keystone XL’s digital GIS data, such as the longitude and latitude of milepost markers, waterbody crossings and the centerline route.

State Department Admits It Doesn’t Know Keystone XL’s Exact Route

The State Department’s decision to hand over control to the oil industry to evaluate its own environmental performance on the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline has led to a colossal oversight.

Keystone XL’s Petcoke Byproduct Could Single Handedly Wreck the Climate

There are many reasons that the Keystone XL pipeline will clearly exacerbate the problem of climate pollution … but one that is often overlooked (at our peril) is the problem of petroleum coke a.k.a. “petcoke.” Petcoke is a refining byproduct of tar sands oil, and when burned is substantially dirtier than coal and contributes significantly to greenhouse gas pollution.

Enbridge Seeks Exemption to Fast Track Pipeline Before Opposition Builds

It may sound like a familiar story: a proposed pipeline that will carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of Canadian oil sands crude across the Midwest prairies is embroiled in a permit controversy.

One Response to Environmental Must-Reads – July 9, 2013

  1. James Shimon says:

    We have seen enough of the damage and chances of potential damage to know that continuing down the road of oil/natural gas is a detriment to the world. Past problems will only be the tip of the iceberg as we risk other major resources to secure “easy” targets.

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