Fracking in the Bakken comes with a high human cost
The United States has surpassed even Saudi Arabia in oil and gas production, in part because of fracking technology, which allows energy companies to reach oil and gas deposits they could never access previously. One of those deposits lies in the Bakken oil fields, which stretches 170 square miles from North Dakota to Montana and into Canada . An estimated 7.4 billion barrels of undiscovered oil are sitting under the U.S. portion of the Bakken, and thanks to fracking, the industry now has the technology extract that oil. Workers have flocked to the Bakken for jobs with six-figure salaries that don’t require advanced degrees. But a new investigation from Reveal, a public radio program from the Center for Investigative Reporting, finds that those high-paying jobs come with a high price. In the first comprehensive analysis of its kind, Reveal found that, on average, a worker dies about every six weeks from an accident in the Bakken, with at least 74 deaths in the oil fields since 2006. Jennifer Gollan, a reporter with Reveal, led the investigation. She says that the top energy firms may be championing speed over safety — something that was seen in September 2011 after a well owned by Oasis Petroleum exploded in North Dakota . “The supervisor on this well was congratulated for working quickly and setting a new drilling record” months before the explosion, says Gollan. “She went on to call this record-holding well a ‘pace-setter.'” Oasis offered workers daily bonuses of $150 for drilling quickly — those who drill slower and safer are only offered $40 a day. “Safety is tantamount at Oasis,” spokesman Brian Kennedy told Gollan. “Bonuses should not have been paid, and we regret that they were.” The day before the explosion in 2011, Gollan says a crew of four men were brought on site to get the well to produce more oil. According to documents from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a supervisor had pumped heavy salt water into the well to prevent volatile gases from escaping before the crew set to work the next day. But the well wound up erupting into a fireball. http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-06-18/fracking-bakken-comes-high-human-cost
Supercharged injection wells triggering more earthquakes, study finds
The more oil and gas companies pump their saltwater waste into the ground, and the faster they do it, the more they have triggered earthquakes in the central United States , a massive new study found. An unprecedented recent jump in quakes in America’s heartland can be traced to the stepped-up rate that drilling wastewater is injected deep below the surface, according to a study in Thursday’s journal Science that looked at 187,570 injection wells over four decades. It’s not so much the average-sized injection wells but the supercharged ones that are causing the ground to shake. Wells that pumped more than 12 million gallons of saltwater into the ground per month were far more likely to trigger quakes than those that put lesser amounts, the study from the University of Colorado found. Although Texas , Arkansas , Kansas and other states have seen increases in earthquakes, the biggest jump has been in Oklahoma . From 1974 to 2008, Oklahoma averaged about one magnitude 3 or greater earthquake a year, but in 2013 and 2014, the state averaged more than 100 quakes that size per year, according to another earthquake study published Thursday. Since Jan. 1, the U.S. Geological Survey has logged more than 350 magnitude 3 or higher quakes in Oklahoma . Unlike other studies, this new University of Colorado study looked at 18,757 wells that were associated with earthquakes within 9 miles of them and the nearly 170,000 that didn’t have any quake links. Looking for the difference between the two groups, researchers determined that it was how much wastewater was pumped and how fast, lead author Matthew Weingarten said. Even though quake-associated wells were only 10 percent of those studied, more than 60 percent of the high-rate wells — 12 million gallons or more — were linked to nearby earthquakes, the study found. And of the 45 wells that pump the most saltwater at the fastest rate, 34 of them — more than three out of four — were linked to nearby quakes, the study found.
WY Commission declines to add energy industry regs.
CHEYENNE – Nearly 100 local landowners packed the Laramie County Commission chambers Tuesday to request that the commissioners draft new regulations to mitigate the negative effects of nearby oil and gas production. The commissioners politely declined. Led by organizers with the Cheyenne Area Landowners Association, the residents argued that state agencies don’t do enough to protect them from the light, noise and dust created by the energy companies that operate in the county. Alex Bowler said the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which regulates the energy industry, “only has two priorities”: preventing the waste of oil and gas resources, and maximization of mineral-related tax revenues. “The health and safety of local residents … and the potential devaluation of property are not really on the (agency’s) radar.”
Texas: Pipeline rupture released thousands of pounds of gas vapors
A massive blaze caused when a natural gas pipeline burst released thousands of pounds of gas vapor. Officials are still investigating what caused the pipeline to rupture and explode Sunday near Cuero. No one was injured when the more than 3-foot-wide pipe burst, but the fire melted power lines and a section of roadway and triggered an air emission that is also being investigated. Energy Transfer Partners reported to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that as much as 165,732 pounds of volatile organic compounds may have burned before the company was able to isolate the line. Volatile organic compounds can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat; headaches; loss of coordination; nausea; and damage to the liver, kidney and central nervous system, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Many organic compounds are suspected of causing or known to cause cancer in humans. Energy Transfer Partners blocked in the affected pipeline segment and collaborated with local officials to secure the area and ensure the safety of the public, according to the company’s initial report to the state environmental agency.
‘Alarming’ study shows dangerous water along Barnett Shale
What’s being called one of the most comprehensive groundwater studies ever done in the U.S. was published Wednesday, and, according to the lead scientist, some of its findings are “incredibly alarming.” The tests were performed over the past two years in the Barnett Shale and purport to show a growing link between fracking and groundwater contamination. The study is published in the trade journal Environmental Science and Technology. Dr. Zac Hildenbrand, one of the lead authors of the study who collaborated with the University of Texas at Arlington , collected samples from 550 water wells in 13 counties along the Barnett Shale. “When you find a BTEX compound with a chlorinated compound with an anti-corrosive agent all in the same water well, it’s pretty shocking evidence that there’s been a problem,” said Hildenbrand. “The only industry that uses all of those simultaneously is the oil and gas industry.” The study is quick to point out that it does not establish fracking as a source of contamination, but it does provide a strong association. “The conclusion we can make is where there is more drilling there is more abnormalities in the water,” Hildenbrand said.
Fracking’s Problems Go Deeper Than Water Pollution
Even when it isn’t burbling unbidden to the surface (Arlington-like accidents are exceedingly rare), things like burning faucets in Pennsylvania show that injection isn’t always permanent. In this case though, it would be wrong to focus on fracking’s waste water disposal problem—a single barrel of oil produces ten barrels of waste water. “The appropriate response is to figure out better well casing and surface handling procedures for all oil and gas,” writes Danny Reible, a chemical engineer at Texas Tech University in Lubbock , in an email. Another solution is treating the water, either so it can be recycled and used again for other oil or gas projects, or clean enough for drinking or agriculture. The biggest hurdle to both options is logistics. Relying on treated water means a frack or oil play might not have water on demand. And shipping waste fluid to a treatment plant takes trucks, pipes, or trains. Infrastructure like that costs big money. Also, trucks can crash, pipes can burst, and trains can spill. It seems like water flows to places that are very inconvenient for gas industry public relations people. And filthy water isn’t the only thing these wells belch out. Groundwater injection has also been linked to earthquakes. So far most have been relatively small—though some have reached up to 5.7 moment magnitude—but they happen in places where people are unused to the ground shaking. “In a few places because there have been earthquakes bigger than 4.5 and 5.5 caused by humans. The codes here aren’t used to them,” says Cliff Frohlich, a seismologist at the University of Texas in Austin . “The sensible approach would be to have zoning where you’re not doing injection disposal in the middle of cities like Dallas or Oklahoma City .” Frohlich nominates the vast empty spaces of west Texas , where a 5.5 earthquake would shake like a tree falling in a forest with no one around to hear it. But, he points out, shipping the water to be injected elsewhere has the same logistical problems as does treating it. “You have to ship it, it spills, you’re dealing with chemicals,” Frohlich says. “People are probably more exposed to the water if you treat it than if you pump it into the ground.” Then there’s the methane problem. Despite all the worries over fracking, natural gas is clean-burning. In the climate change-worried world of environmentalism, this has been the trump card. The issue is with methane that escapes before it can be burned. Over the past four years, a series of research papers have shown that fracking has very likely caused a huge increase in atmospheric methane. http://www.wired.com/2015/06/frackings-problems-go-deeper-water-pollution/
PA DEP plans new fracking chemical disclosure site, promises more transparency
Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection is developing several tools to make information on natural gas drilling more accessible to the public. This includes a new fracking chemical disclosure site, a web portal for information on each natural gas well, and opportunities for the public to comment on proposed DEP policies. DEP Secretary John Quigley says the effort is part of the Wolf administration’s commitment to “collaboration, transparency and integrity.” He spoke Wednesday night at the annual dinner of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council in Philadelphia .
“Our department first has a commitment to collaboration, second it will be driven by science, and third we will show the work,” Quigley said. The remarks signal a change in tone at the environmental agency, which under Corbett was criticized by some residents and environmentalists as opaque and inaccessible.The state’s gas drilling law, Act 13, requires producers to post a list of chemicals used to frack each well on the disclosure website FracFocus. But until recently, FracFocus.org posted individual PDF documents for each well, making it difficult to organize the data in a searchable manner. The law directs DEP to find or create an alternative if the FracFocus site was not searchable by January 1, 2013. FracFocus did upgrade its site last month, creating a method for users to download the data into searchable databases. Act 13 also requires gas producers submit to DEP detailed chemical information through the well completion reports 60 days after a well is fracked.
US has more oil spills than you think
The US has more oil spills than we thought and the number doubled after production increased six years ago. Richard Stover, PhD, and the Center for Biological Diversity counted nearly 8,000 significant incidents, between 1986 and 2014, in records of the pipeline safety administration. By “significant” they mean causing injury, death, damages exceeding $50,000 in value, a loss of 5 barrels of highly volatile substances, 50 barrels of other liquids or there was an explosion. There have been more than 500 human deaths and 2,300 injuries through-out that period. The number of plant and animal casualties is much higher. Though most pipeline failures occur where there is a long history of development, they occur through-out the Lower 48. Texas is the worst offender, with 1657 incidents. California had 621 and 48 deaths. The leading causes of incidents are excavation damages (24.3%), corrosion (18.2%) and equipment failure (17.1%). Kristen Monsell, from the Center for Biological Diversity said the possibility of a spill “doubles after a pipeline is 20 years old.” In the case of the recent Santa Barbara spill, for example, “the pipeline was 28 years old” and had corroded to the point the wall was only 1/16 of a inch thick. http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/48677
Environmental movement making a real impact in the US , study finds
States with strong green voices perform better on cutting emissions whereas those with climate skeptic views fare poorly. The environmental movement is making a real difference in the US , according to a new research that shows states with strong green voices have significantly lower emissions of the gases that drive global warming. The study is one of the first to quantify the real impact of green politics on the environment. It reveals that more environmentally-friendly states, such as New York and Vermont , have cut their greenhouse gas emissions despite rising population and affluence. But other states like Texas and Wyoming , where scepticism about climate change is much stronger, have seen emissions rise. The work, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, compared greenhouse gas emissions of each state going back to 1990 with the level of environmentalism. The latter was measured using the environmental voting record of the state’s congressmen and congresswomen as rated by the League of Conservation Voters. Previous work has shown voting records are a good indicator of voters’ opinions.
Britain: Government ordered to publish redacted fracking report in full
Heavily redacted report on the impact of fracking in the UK should be released in full, information commissioner tells environment department. A heavily-redacted government report on the impacts of fracking on house prices, businesses and services in rural areas must be published in full, the UK’s information commissioner has ruled. The report was released in July 2014 in response to a freedom of information request from Greenpeace but with 78 redactions, including 16 in the conclusion chapter. The information commissioner upheld Greenpeace’s appeal against these redactions on Thursday: “There is a strong public interest in understanding the full detail of the research that has been carried out and how it has been considered.” The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs must now publish the report within 35 days or mount its own appeal. A spokeswoman said: “The Information Commissioner’s Office informed us of his decision which we will now consider in full.” A county divided: is Lancashire ready for its fracking revolution? The development comes at a sensitive time as the go-ahead for the country’s first full scale shale gas drilling could be given next week. Lancashire county council (LCC) will vote on applications from fracking company Cuadrilla to drill up to four wells at each of two sites on the Fylde. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/18/government-ordered-to-publish-fracking-report-in-full
Bulgaria: Petrol spills into Bulgarian lake after pipeline rupture
Up to 40 tonnes of petrol spilled into a lake near the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas after a product pipeline of LUKOIL’s Neftochim Burgas refinery ruptured late on Wednesday, the environment minister said. A spokeswoman for LUKOIL Bulgaria confirmed the leak, adding that it was now under control and rescue teams were working to clean up the damage. She said the incident was being investigating and that LUKOIL estimated the spillage was about 10 to 30 tonnes of petrol. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/17/us-bulgaria-lukoil-spill-idUSKBN0OX2F020150617
Chevron hits out at British documentary on oil pollution in Ecuador
Company upset over short film that uses Pablo Neruda’s famous poem on how US corporations treated Latin American countries as empty ‘banana republics.’ The US oil giant Chevron has attacked the British makers of a short art-house documentary film about oil pollution in the Ecuadorean Amazon featuring the actor Julie Christie reading a Pablo Neruda poem for ignoring the environmental record of the country’s own state oil producer. The 13-minute film, follows the unresolved, 22-year-long series of legal fights in the US, European and Latin American courts over the dumping by US oil company Texaco of 18bn gallons of toxic wastewater and crude oil in the forest near the town of Lago Agrio between 1964 and 1992. It has no commentary except for Neruda’s 42-line poem recited by Christie and the words of some “afectados” – people affected by the historic spills.
Pumped up to rumble. Scientists have documented an astronomical rise in seismic activity across the central and eastern U.S., linking it to wastewater pumped into the ground from burgeoning oil and gas production. Now, new research suggests that high rates of fluid injection may be the root of the problem. Science. 19 June 2015.
New study reveals potential Texas fracking contamination. A new peer-reviewed study reveals potential groundwater contamination in the Barnett Shale, a geological formation that underlies 17 counties in North Texas, including Denton County. But the cause is still under debate. Denton Record-Chronicle, Texas. 19 June 2015.
Another arrest was made at the fracking site on Nail Road during “Frack Free Friday” protests this morning. Officer Ryan Grelle, spokesman for Denton police, confirmed the arrest of…
… You, Florida’: Rick Scott’s Public Service Commission Hey, you! Yeah, you, the one who didn’t vote in 2014. If you gag when you see your electric bill, wonder why the Sunshine State barely…
fracking has become a negative term to some Americans – it was even labeled as a “remarkable obscenity” recently in the Los Angeles Times. But the California drought brings urgency to solid…
Honda announced this week it would stop producing the Civic model that runs entirely on compressed natural gas — the only mass market consumer vehicle of its kind in the U.S. Vehicle sales never took…
natural gas continues to spew onto a golf course in Lambton Shores, though in lesser amounts, municipal officials said Friday. The localized state of emergency for the Indian Hills Golf Course on… There are no natural gas pipelines in the area, Union Gas confirmed, and the only other man-made source of methane gas—a sewage treatment plant—has been ruled out by an Ontario Ministry of Environment review. As such, the best guess is the gas leak is naturally occurring. If this is the case, it is a very uncommon event because natural gas is usually found deep in the ground. There has only been one case in the last 15 years of a naturally occurring gas leak within the area that Union Gas services, Andrea Stass, the utility’s manager of media relations, said Thursday.
… Health) – Many petroleum accidents that can cost lives and cause injuries involve utilities, and the culprit is often homeowners or construction workers damaging or cutting lines, a U.S….
Construction crews hit a gas line in downtown Hamilton, forcing an evacuation of downtown businesses. The incident happened around 1:30 p.m. Friday at the intersection of Old Corvallis Road and…
GRANGER, Ind. (AP) – Authorities say an explosion at a suburban South Bend house caused minor injuries to three people who were inside. Clay Fire Territory Assistant Chief Jaren Kilian says a St..
… area near Poplar and Exeter Roads. According to a post on the department’s Facebook page, a natural gas leak has shut down all lanes of Poplar Avenue between Exeter Road and Brierbrook…
A 16-inch high pressure natural gas main was ruptured Friday afternoon, prompting the closure of Route 412. According to UGI, the rupture was reported at 11:45 a.m., said UGI workers were on the…
Increasing oil transport threatens orcas with extinction, Vancouver conference told. Increased transport of oil in the Salish Sea – including from the planned expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline – is putting endangered southern resident killer whales at risk of extinction from a spill, a Washington state official said Thursday. Vancouver Sun, British Columbia. 19 June 2015.
HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Gulf LNG Liquefaction Company (GLLC) and Gulf LNG Energy (GLE), today collectively filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) pursuant to…
… a pickup in demand, according to Reuters. Oklahoma City-based SandRidge Energy is an oil and natural gas company that focuses on exploration and production activities, operating businesses and..
Saetre said. “The big transformation stuff is challenging.” Norway’s government agrees. “It’s natural and necessary that Statoil, as the biggest company on the Norwegian shelf and a large…
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said after Friday’s talks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that a prospective Russian natural gas pipeline should help Greece…
Gazprom is building a global strategic alliance with energy major Royal Dutch Shell that will include asset swaps and allow the Russian gas giant to penetrate new markets, its chief executive told…
By Philip Lloyd, Cape Peninsula University of Technology fracking presents a better alternative to coal mining. Finding a way to produce the gas economically is the first challenge to getting…
Long road to travel before Paris climate targets reached. The nations of the world are preparing to strike a global agreement on climate change for the post-2020 period. Yet six months away from the Paris conference, their objectives differ markedly and even Switzerland’s are being greeted with scepticism. Swiss Radio International. 19 June 2015.
Climate aid key to Paris deal, says Amber Rudd. Climate aid to developing countries is likely to be the biggest sticking point hindering a global deal at the UN climate talks in Paris later this year, according to the UK’s energy and climate secretary. The Guardian. 19 June 2015.
CO2 emissions stall thanks to China’s passion for renewables. New energy policies in China are being heralded as the source of a potentially historic break in the link between global economic growth and rising carbon dioxide emissions. New Scientist. 19 June 2015.
Papal encyclical heartens proponents of fossil-fuel divestment. The word divestment is nowhere to be found in the papal encyclical, but by addressing the threat of climate change in such a forceful way, Pope Francis is likely to add momentum to the movement to sell holdings tied to fossil-fuel stocks. New York Times. 19 June 2015.
Will Pope Francis’s climate message break through where others have failed? The leader of the world’s largest Christian faith might succeed in doing something that many experts have failed to achieve: communicating the urgency of global warming. Science. 19 June 2015.
Pope Francis’ climate message yields little GOP response. Pope Francis’ call for dramatic action on climate change drew a round of shrugs from congressional Republicans on Thursday, while many of the party’s presidential candidates ignored it entirely. Associated Press. 19 June 2015.
US Catholics ready to follow Pope’s ‘marching orders’ on climate change. Leaders of the Catholic church in America took their “marching orders” from the pope’s encyclical on Thursday, fanning out to Congress and the White House to push for action on climate change. The Guardian. 19 June 2015.
In the footsteps of popes seeking worldly change. Pope Francis has set off an uproar over his encyclical. Once again industrialists, politicians and critics are fuming, contending that the pope should stick to religion and stop meddling in matters in which he has no competence. New York Times. 19 June 2015.
Excerpts from Pope Francis encyclical on the environment. Pope Francis on Thursday issued a major encyclical on the environment, called “Laudato Si (Praise Be), On the Care of Our Common Home”. Reuters. 19 June 2015.
Pope Francis warns of climate change’s human causes and ‘grave implications’ in landmark encyclical. In a historic document addressed to “every person living on this planet,” Pope Francis warns that climate change and other forms of environmental degradation have reached a crisis point. ClimateWire. 19 June 2015.
Papal message pivots to politics of warming. Almost the moment the Vatican released Pope Francis’ much-anticipated encyclical this morning calling for urgent action and sacrifice to deal with climate change, the conversation in Washington, D.C., pivoted to how it would play out politically. Greenwire. 19 June 2015.
Pope’s climate change encyclical tells rich nations: pay your debt to the poor. Pope Francis has called on the world’s rich nations to begin paying their “grave social debt” to the poor and take concrete steps on climate change, saying failure to do so presents an undeniable risk to a “common home” that is beginning to resemble a “pile of filth”. The Guardian. 19 June 2015.
Republican presidential hopefuls on the hot seat, thanks to Pope Francis. For more than half a century, Catholic politicians in the United States have regularly been put in awkward positions on the question of how closely they would — or should — follow the dictates of the Vatican. Washington Post. 19 June 2015.
Championing environment, Francis takes aim at global capitalism. The encyclical on the environment that Pope Francis released on Thursday is as much an indictment of the global economic order as it is an argument for the world to confront climate change. New York Times. 19 June 2015.
Pope attacks emissions trading as a possible ‘ploy.’ Pope Francis attacked one of the major policy initiatives in the fight to combat climate change, warning in his encyclical published on Thursday that the trading carbon credits could merely reward speculators instead of controlling global greenhouse gas emissions. Reuters. 19 June 2015.
Pope blasts California’s cap-and-trade system. In its brief history, California’s cap-and-trade system to fight global warming has faced many foes, including oil-company executives and manufacturing magnates. On Thursday, it came under fire from a new quarter: the Vatican. San Francisco Chronicle, California. 19 June 2015.
Decisions After Mitt Romney’s disastrous performance with Latino voters in 2012, some election observers have suggested Jeb Bush is the obvious…
Global warming deniers unimpressed with pope’s climate encyclical. Prominent climate deniers pushed back against the pope’s long-awaited environmental encyclical Thursday, claiming the debate over man-made global warming has yet to be settled. USA Today. 19 June 2015.
Republicans split on climate, social science spending. Republicans control both houses of Congress, but they don’t speak with one voice on funding research at the National Science Foundation, NASA, and other agencies. Science. 19 June 2015.
O’Malley pushes aggressive climate change platform. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley says that if he is elected president he will phase out the use of fossil fuels by 2050 and convert the United States to clean energy only. The Hill, District of Columbia. 19 June 2015.
… against growing economic inequality, the corporate media, millionaires and billionaires, global warming, Barack Obama’s Pacific trade deal and the Iraq war. The Vermont senator promised..
GOP-run Senate panel takes on Obama environmental rules. Republicans controlling a powerful Senate committee moved Thursday to block Obama administration initiatives to curb global warming, issue new clean water rules and regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal land. Associated Press. 19 June 2015.
Senate panel advances $30B bill that targets EPA rules. The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday advanced a $30.01 billion spending bill that takes aim at President Obama’s environmental regulations. The Hill, District of Columbia. 19 June 2015.
The government is not merely determined to strip away the rights of its citizens on grounds of terror, it is also delivering powerful new rights to corporations on…
Proposed rule for big trucks aims at cutting fuel emissions. The Obama administration is set on Friday to unveil a major climate change regulation intended to rein in planet-warming carbon pollution from heavy-duty trucks. New York Times. 19 June 2015.
Paris smog obscuring Eiffel Tower threatens diesel-car dominance. Famed Parisian landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower have been increasingly obscured in recent years by an oppressive smog. City officials have placed the blame chiefly on diesel exhaust, widening a Europewide attack on the fuel. Bloomberg Business. 19 June 2015. .
Belgium and Bulgaria in the EU dock over poor air quality. EU regulators are referring Belgium and Bulgaria to the bloc’s top court over the quality of their air, which poses a major risk to health, the European Commission said on Thursday. It has also issued a final warning to Sweden that it needs to take action. Reuters. 19 June 2015.
A stunning photo of a village in Transylvania buried under toxic sludge. The aim of the annual awards is to demonstrate “the dynamic link between environmental and social issues in a way that makes us think differently about the world around us”. Here’s a selection of more of the thought-provoking images. Business Insider, Australia. 19 June 2015.
Portsmouth officials concerned about Pease test results. City Councilor Stefany Shaheen called for a “full-court press” to get a treatment system up and running to remove even low levels of “a contaminant of emerging concern” from the city’s wells at the Pease International Tradeport. Portsmouth Herald, New Hampshire. 19 June 2015.
EPA defends controversial biofuels program at Senate hearing. The U.S. environmental regulator on Thursday defended its handling of the nation’s controversial renewable fuels program at a congressional hearing, the first since its new biofuels targets last month provoked a furor among corn farmers and oil refiners. Reuters. 19 June 2015.
Radioactive leak reported at Peach Bottom plant. Radioactive material was detected in a monitoring well in April at an Exelon-owned nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania about 40 miles from Baltimore, according to nuclear regulators. Baltimore Sun, Maryland. 19 June 2015.
Renewable energy shows record growth in power sector, but few gains in heating and transport. The growth of renewable energy outpaced that of fossil fuels in the electricity sector last year, with a record 135 gigawatts of capacity added from wind, solar, hydropower and other natural sources, a new study shows. Canadian Press. 19 June 2015.
This 20-year-old inventor said he could clean up the ocean—now he’s really doing it. Boyan Slat first proposed his giant marine cleanup machine three years ago when he was just 17 years old. During a TED talk, he sketched a vision for a massive floating boom that would collect trash using the ocean’s own currents. Fast Company. 19 June 2015.
This photosynthetic furniture can grow you dinner. A new line of photosynthetic furniture is filled with spirulina—a tiny, edible bacteria—that the designers imagine could help feed us without the incredible environmental footprint of conventional agriculture. Fast Company. 19 June 2015
How this library paid $1 to install its solar panels. In West Virginia, Solar Holler helps nonprofits install solar panels for less than the price of a cup of coffee. Yes! Magaziine, Yes! Magazine. 19 June 2015.
TUCSON, Ariz.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Tucson Electric Power (TEP) plans to file a request later this year for new 2017 rates that will include fair-market pricing for the excess energy produced by rooftop…
The cars making the streets of Singapore green. An electric taxi has taken to the streets of Singapore in a bid to make the already green city more eco-friendly — and it’s tailored to the tropics. CNN. 19 June 2015.
There’s a giant, toxic algae bloom stretching from Southern California to Alaska. A toxic algae bloom off the US West Coast that began earlier this year has grown into the biggest and most severe the region has seen in more than a decade. Quartz. 19 June 2015
Toxic algae bloom threatens shellfish. Climate change, shifting ocean chemistry and a warm Gulf of Alaska are giving Southeast fishermen and shellfish harvesters a new biotoxin to worry about. Juneau Empire, Alaska. 19 June 2015.
Drought devastates cherry crop, puts some growers out of business. A winter heat wave, late frosts and marauding ravens and bark beetles devastated much of this year’s cherry crop; then came monthly irrigation bills of up to $900. Los Angeles Times. 19 June 2015.
Warm water causes concern on Carson River watershed. The Carson River watershed is in hot water. That’s what happens when the Sierra Nevada snowpack that normally feeds the system is way below normal – just 7 percent of average this year with peak spring runoff finished two months early. Carson City Nevada Appeal, Nevada. 19 June 2015.
Master-planned community at risk of losing all water within days. An upscale master-planned community of 15,000 residents in San Joaquin County is facing the loss of all water supplies within days — prompting a frantic search for new sources. Los Angeles Times. 19 June 2015.
Study: Global warming won’t cut winter-related deaths. Even though winters may become warmer as climate change ramps up, it probably won’t result in a big reduction of winter deaths, says a new study that contradicts the conventional wisdom on health impacts of climate change. Summit County Citizens Voice, Colorado. 19 June 2015.
2015 is likely to beat 2014 as the warmest year on record. The Earth just had its warmest May on record, hottest spring and mildest year-to-date, according to new data released Thursday. The climate statistics indicate the year is on course to set another milestone for the warmest year on record, surpassing the previous warmest year, set in 2014. Mashable. 19 June 2015
Climate change projects in poorest nations lose out in battle for funds. Urgent plans to help the world’s poorest people become more resilient to extreme weather and rising seas are on hold because of a lack of cash in a U.N. climate fund set up for least developed could…
Bare slopes leave Chile’s ski resorts feeling like California. Haydee Pereira should be worked off her feet by this time of year serving clients at the Valle Nevado ski resort near Santiago. As it is, she has a lot of time to contemplate the mountains out the window — and the absence of snow. Bloomberg Business. 19 June 2015.
Handle with humor: Why we want you to laugh about climate change. Is the topic of climate change too hot for people to handle? Maybe we need to throw some humor into the mix. The Guardian. 19 June 2015
Rome — New book assesses climate challenge and ways of coping with it global warming will have profound consequences on where and how food is produced, and also lead to a reduction in the nutritional…
… because of climate change, warns expert Writer David Auerbach has highlighted the danger of global warming In 2010 a prominent scientist said humanity would be gone by 2100 The recent G7…