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How much natural gas is in the Marcellus Shale? Or, unspinning fracking advocates' distortion of the new USGS estimate.

By Alan Septoff

August 26, 2011

UPDATE, 08/26: Associated Press corrects itself, acknowledges USGS estimate represents reduction in Marcellus gas resources.

UPDATE 2, 08/26: Washington Post blog indicates that USGS estimate may address a subset of resources estimated by EIA.  If so, it means that Marcellus Shale gas resources are approximately 50% of what they were a week ago (as opposed to 20%).  I'm contacting the EIA study author to get to the bottom of this.


Yesterday, the U.S. Geological Survey updated its 2002 estimate of natural gas resources contained within the Marcellus Shale.

The new estimate:

84 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas and 3.4 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas liquids according to a new assessment by the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS). 

These gas estimates are significantly more than the last USGS assessment of the Marcellus Shale in the Appalachian Basin in 2002, which estimated a mean of about 2 trillion cubic feet of gas (TCF) and 0.01 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.

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Tagged with: fracking, hydraulic fracturing, regulation, disclosure, halliburton loophole


Green Scissors 2011: Trimming the budget while protecting the environment

By Aaron Mintzes

August 26, 2011

Lately, those of us who are news and political junkies have been preoccupied with the debate in Washington, D.C. over raising the debt ceiling.

After all the hue and cry, legislators agreed to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for the creation of a super committee that is tasked with reviewing mandatory and discretionary spending as well as potential revenue sources with an eye toward solving our long term debt and deficit problems.

To this end, our friends at Taxpayers for Common Sense, the Heartland Institute, Friends of the Earth, and Public Citizen today issued their annual Green Scissors report. Turns out, marrying environmental sustainability and fiscal responsibility is remarkably easy.

I just joined Earthworks a couple weeks ago and I was blown away with all the hand outs, subsidies, tax expenditures, tax breaks, federal loan guarantees, and other mechanisms funded by the public to support polluting industries. Among the worst offenders is the 1872 Mining Law that allows extraction companies to mine our precious metals on public lands for free.

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Tagged with: ursa, super committee, green scissors, budget


Take Action against Brazil's Belo Monte dam and mining blitz.

By Nick Magel

August 20, 2011

Intag No Mina

Today, August 20, groups in Brazil are staging a massive day of action against the proposed Belo Monte Dam in over 20 cities across Brazil. Groups such as Amazon Watch and others around the world are coordinating an international solidarity day of action on August 22 outside Brazilian embassies around the world. If built, the Belo Monte dam on the Xingu River would be the 3rd largest dam in the world. The project would flood 668 km2 of forest and arable land, and  displace over 20,000 people. Another, less talked about piece of this project is its connection to massive mining projects in the Amazon region.

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Tagged with: mining, indigenous, take action, brazil, dam


IFC adopts FPIC standards, but will mining corporations implement?

By Nick Magel

August 12, 2011

Intag No Mina

Last week the International Financial Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, updated its Sustainability Framework and the Performance Standards within that framework.

The IFC is the largest multilateral source of loan and equity financing for private sector projects in the developing world. The Sustainability Framework sets forth a number of baseline performance standards that projects they fund (oil, gas, mining, etc) must adhere to in able to receive funding.

Now, these 8 standards leave a lot to be desired, they:

You can go to the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman website to see a long list of officially disputed IFC backed projects.

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Tagged with: mining, peru, indigenous, fpic, world bank, ifc, corporations


DOE shale gas report: a potential blueprint for action

By Lauren Pagel

August 11, 2011

Energy Department logoToday the Department of Energy's shale gas advisory panel formed at the request of President Obama issued its interim report.

Frankly, it s better than we expected. Given the lack of community representation amongst the panel, we were concerned that the panel would ignore the obvious negative impacts of natural gas in favor of industry rhetoric.

Instead, the panel recognized the serious impacts that shale gas production has on water, air and public health.

We hope that this report is a wake up call to the Obama administration, and that they begin to pay attention to both the panel recommendations and the recent history of inadequate state attempts to regulate natural gas production. This report should serve as a blueprint for responsible oversight of shale gas drilling.

Three of the most important recommendations of the interim report:

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Tagged with: fracking, hydraulic fracturing, regulation, energy department, shale gas panel


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