September 12, 2011
On Friday, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Minerals and Energy had a hearing on the job creation effect of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
I remember the Energy Policy Act of 2005 as the controversial legislation negotiated behind closed doors with Halliburton on one side and Vice President Cheney on the other. One of the reasons why many of us felt like that law carried the specter of a sweetheart deal for Vice President Cheney’s former employer is Section 390- the provision describing categorical exclusions (CXs). That is, drilling activities that are exempted from the standard environmental review process.
By Nick Magel
September 12, 2011
Youth Demonstrating at Yayaso
Photo: Ghana Chronicle
Wikileaks recently released a new batch of cables that expose Denver-based Newmont Mining’s negligence before and after a cyanide spill at their Ahafo gold mine on October 8 2009. The cables reveal that Government of Ghana went as far as to accuse Newmont of an attempted cover up, and criticize the company for a series of “blunders” following the spill.
What does this mean for Newmont, which is looking to push through another major mine in Ghana?
By Alan Septoff
September 8, 2011
Count U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research researchers among those questioning the value of switching to natural gas as a "bridge" fuel from greenhouse-gas-intensive coal to a clean energy future.
[NCAR researcher] Wigley's computer simulations indicate that a worldwide, partial shift from coal to natural gas would slightly accelerate climate change through at least 2050, even if no methane leaked from natural gas operations, and through as late as 2140 if there were substantial leaks. After that, the greater reliance on natural gas would begin to slow down the increase in global average temperature, but only by a few tenths of a degree.
September 8, 2011
I just caught a train, hoping to reach upstate New York before Amtrak shuts down more lines due to flooding. The tail of Tropical Storm Lee is whipping the Northeast even as the region struggles to recover from Hurricane Irene. And on the other extreme, Texas is drying out and burning.
Mother Nature (that is, the natural and climate systems the concept represents) certainly has cause to be furious, like the insatiable human appetite to burn energy and pollute. But at least she’s not alone—as was clear from the gathering of several hundred people for Shale Gas Outrage in Philadelphia over the last two days.
At a rally and march yesterday, landowners spoke about the toll that gas development is taking on their properties and health. Elected officials called on their colleagues to be influenced more by citizens and less by campaign-contributing corporations. Musicians rocked the crowd with tunes about the air and water we all need, now and for the future.
September 1, 2011
A couple days ago, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) issued its proposed new rules purporting to regulate the disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. Sunlight is the best disinfectant and Earthworks Oil and Gas Accountability Project is closely monitoring state and federal efforts to reveal the hazardous ingredients contained in fracking fluids.
The Texas rules are terrible. Let me list the ways:
- covered chemicals
- trade secret loophole.
To begin, these rules have only prospective application. Just last year, the RRC issued 15,466 permits of which 85% use hydraulic fracturing. This means that the roughly 13,000 wells permitted in 2010 do not have to disclose anything. Next, the industry only need disclose chemicals initially and intentionally placed in the fracking fluid. This absolves them from any additional toxic substances absorbed in to the fracking fluid as it travels underground or gets swept up in the flowback. Part of our concern is not just what Halliburton wants to put in the fracking fluid, but how those chemicals react with the hazardous or radioactive elements already in the ground that are disturbed by these high pressure injections.