Today’s essential reads.
Bruce Frasier sweats in the 106F heat at his Carrizo Springs, Tex., farm while stacking 42-pound boxes of cantaloupes bound for Kroger (KR) supermarkets and Wal-Mart Stores (WMT). But he’s turning away all offers for his most prized commodity: water. Texas’s worst drought since record-keeping began in 1895 is fueling a rally in water prices as energy prospectors from ExxonMobil (XOM) to Korea National Oil expand the use of a drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that uses up to 13 million gallons in a single well.
The shale gas extraction industry is still in its infancy in Europe, but in the United States the practice has been going on since the 1990s. And depending upon whom you ask, the enormous deposits of natural gas running underneath the country either represent the future of America’s energy security or a dire threat to the environment.
Natural gas wells are popping up like spring dandelions. Once-empty landscapes in Colorado, Texas, Pennsylvania and Wyoming are now dotted with thousands of wells. But it’s time to calm the frenzy. We need a more balanced look at what’s to be gained – and lost – if we embrace natural gas too heartily. Despite its many positives, natural gas is no panacea for a country with a long history of over-dependence on fossil fuels that still hasn’t come to grips with climate change.
This incident occurred about a year and a half ago in the Eagle Ford shale area of DeWitt County, Texas, but it’s still worth blogging about. I’ve blogged before about blow-outs during hydraulic fracturing operations in Pennsylvania and North Dakota.
BP OIL SPILL:
Protesters lined up Wednesday outside of BP headquarters on Hwy 311 in Schriever to voice concerns for people overlooked by the company’s oil spill claim checks.
The first of its kind under the GCLME project, the Accra meeting is expected to initiate the development of a regional policy on the use of dispersants in the context of oil spill response in the different countries of Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem (GCLME) region when dealing with transboundary pollution incidents.
The Obama administration announced Thursday it would grant one-year extensions of offshore leases delayed by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the administration’s six-month moratorium and implementation of tougher regulatory standards.
In the months during and after the BP oil spill that began April 2010, more than 7,000 birds were collected dead, or died soon after, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. An unknown number of additional birds were most likely exposed to oil and never recovered, either because they died at sea or in remote locations on the coast.
The government has discovered thousands of cases of workers at nuclear power plants outside Fukushima Prefecture suffering from internal exposure to radiation after they visited the prefecture, the head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.
Cell phone radiation is again a topic on the news—in particular, the link between cell phones and cancer. On May 31, 2011 the WHO/International Agency for Research of cancer (IARC) released a study classifying cell phone radiation as a possible carcinogen. This puts cell phone radiation in a category with other carcinogens such as lead, chloroform, and gas exhaustion.