Today’s essential reads.
Natural gas is increasingly dominating the energy business and marketed as “clean energy” by energy companies. These days, however, natural gas has been gaining notoriety for the process through which it is extracted – horizontal hydraulic fracturing.
As far as the County of Santa Barbara was concerned, “fracking” was a potential problem plaguing nearly every other oil and gas harvesting community in the nation except ours. That is until now. With the recent discovery by county energy’s Doug Anthony that the common yet controversial oil-and-gas-extraction technique is, in fact, being used by the folks from Venoco Inc. on two separate leases in the North County, 3rd District County Supervisor Doreen Farr took the matter public at the start of this week’s supervisors’ hearing.
Imagine: You’re a small activist group, just a few months old and relatively unknown. You’re up against a multinational oil company with limitless resources and a formidable spin machine. What to do? Turn to a diverse, irreverent group of advertising students switched on to the power of social media for advice, of course. Treasure the Karoo Action Group (TKAG) did just this as one aspect of the fight against Shell’s plans to use hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ to uncover natural gas deposits in the pristine Karoo
At first glance this sticker I spotted on a water fountain appears to be from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, telling citizens that they’ve checked out the water and it’s probably safe. If you have any doubts about there being chemicals in there that seeped in because of hydraulic fracturing, don’t worry, just turn on the spigot and do the ‘ol match test and see if it bursts into flame. Wait, what?
BP OIL SPILL:
Two Southern Miss researchers are getting almost half a million dollars to continue their research comparing the effects of Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
On Tuesday, it was announced that BP would pay $25 million and spend another $60 million implementing a state-of-the-art monitoring system to guard against North Slope oil spills under a proposed settlement reached with the federal government over a 2006 spill. Since 2000, BP has been fined and criticized for cutting corners and not properly maintaining Prudhoe Bay. BP operates the Alaska oil field on behalf of itself, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp. and other companies.
The Republican-controlled House passed the first of three bills Thursday aimed at speeding up offshore oil and gas drilling a year after the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
The BP oil spill is the subject of a discussion course to be offered by Sustainable Gulf Coast/350 Pensacola next week. The course, “Just Below the Surface,” will help participants connect the spill to energy policies and lifestyles.
JAPAN NUCLEAR CRISIS:
The big yellow Ferris wheel sits idle; the bumper cars look frozen in suspended animation, as if they were abandoned mid-collision. So does the nearby school, whose cafeteria is littered with the detritus of dusty gas masks in case of nuclear war, its classrooms strewn with Cyrillic math textbooks and Soviet newspapers from the 1980s. A sign warns schoolchildren to save energy and heat.
A dozen workers with full protective gears entered for the first time Thursday one of three reactors of a Japanese nuclear power plant damaged by tsunami on March 11 to start repairing the facility’s cooling system.