Seeing Red in Hungary | The Secrets of the Sludge, Dragoman, Gyorgy , The New York Times, (2010)

The Opinion Pages


A Hungarian soldier, wearing protective gear, cleans a house flooded by toxic mud in Devecser, Hungary, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)

Red tire marks line the roads leading up to the extinct Somlo volcano, home to Hungary’s smallest wine region and only a few miles from the worst environmental disaster in the country’s history.

It has been almost two weeks since a concrete dam holding back millions of gallons of toxic sludge burst, sweeping two villages along with it and killing nine people. The fields are still red, eerily outlined in chalky white — the gypsum that emergency crews used to try to neutralize the caustic grime...

...What exactly is this sludge stored in reservoirs across this part of Hungary by the hundreds of millions of cubic feet?

...The sinister sound of the sludge sloshing around the edge of the shovel blade lingers in the ear, and makes the initial lack of reliable information more painful.

Soon after the spill, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences declared that the red sludge was nontoxic. The chief executive of MAL went on camera to say it was a completely harmless substance, that it could simply be washed away with water.

They were quickly proved wrong. The first responders suffered severe burns; apparently no one warned them that the sludge had a pH of 13, as caustic as lye.

The gap between the official statements and the reality of people dying seemed to widen the crack in the wall. For many, it brought to mind the time, thought long past, when so much of life in Hungary was defined by rumors and lies, when everything was a game of pretend and make-believe.

See: Onshore Drilling Disasters Waiting to Happen: An Interview With 'Gasland' Director Josh Fox | The Nation

Schlumberger, Schlumberger , Schlumberger, (2010)



Schlumberger is one of the large companies being investigated by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee to see if the gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a hazard to groundwater drinking supplies.

Schlumberger employs over 77,000 people of more than 140 nationalities working in approximately 80 countries.

Reuters reported on May 19, 2010 that personnel from oilfield giant Schlumberger left BP’s Deepwater Horizon only hours before it exploded. Read the article here.

Although "Flaring" was used extensively in the Gulf of Mexico aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion in April, 2010, Schlumberger published a 2002 report that recommends zero flaring in the Middle East.

The World Bank estimates that over 150 billion cubic metres of natural gas are flared or vented annually, an amount worth approximately 30.6 billion dollars, equivalent to 25 percent of the United States’ gas consumption or 30 percent of the European Union’s gas consumption per year. See World Bank, December 14, 2009. "World Bank, GGFR Partners Unlock Value of Wasted Gas".

See: Renee Schoof and Marisa Talylor. June 11, 2010. McClatchy. "Plan to burn excess oil from BP well raises health questions."

See: Energy & Commerce Committee Investigates Deepwater Horizon Rig Oil Spill

"Schlumberger Mississippi Canyon Block 252 Timeline". (PDF)

On April 18, 2010, a Schlumberger wireline cased hole crew arrives on Transocean Deepwater Horizon. Specifically, BP contracted with Schlumberger to be available to perform a cement bond log and set a bridge plug and/or cement retainer, should BP request those services.

At approximately 7:00 a.m., BP informs Schlumberger crew that no wireline cased hole services will be requested and BP sends Schlumberger crew home.

At approximately 11 :15 a .m., on April 20, 2010, the day of the BP well explosion, the Schlumberger crew departed Transocean Deepwater Horizon on regularly scheduled BP helicopter flight.

At 10:56 EDT, the fire on Deepwater Horizon started. It burned for more than a day and sank April 22, leading to 11 deaths and the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Schlumberger failed to advise public officials on how BP's actions, declining a wireline cased hole service might have prevented this disaster.

How can government regulators require that private contractors in the oil and gas industry blow the whistle on potentially global disasters? (Neil Zusman, 2010-08-13.)

See: Publication: Middle East & Asia Reservoir Review
Volume: No. 3, 2002
Publication Date: 01/01/2002

Download: Towards Zero Flaring (1.41 MB PDF)

An important issue in protecting the environment of the Gulf, which is no less fragile than elsewhere in the world, is the effect of hydrocarbon flaring from oil production operations. This causes many forms of pollution – noise, toxic gases, soot, acid rain and the production of carbon dioxide, the latter is one of the primary causes of global warming. In this article, Alp Tengirsek and Nashat Mohamed explain the progress of a project in Abu Dhabi that has already eliminated oil flaring during testing and production, with the ultimate aim of eliminating all hydrocarbon flaring within a year.

See: Stanley Reed. "The Stealth Oil Giant: Why Schlumberger, long a hired gun in oil-field services, is becoming a major force and scaring Big Oil". Business Week. 2008-01-03

Scalise: Cap-and-Trade Hinders Job Growth, Scalise, Steve , Congressman Steve Scalise Representing the 1st of Louisiana, (2010)


Congressman Scalise serves on the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. Cap-and-Trade Hinders Job Growth, By Rep. Steve Scalise, Published in Roll Call February 8, 2010.

"...our state has seen success onshore by using safe, responsible and environmentally sound energy production technologies such as hydraulic fracturing.

Recently, this new technology was used to produce oil and gas from shale rock in Haynesville, La. This project helped create 32,742 new jobs within the state and added $3.2 billion to our economy through lease and royalty payments."

Sanjel Corporation, Sanjel , Sanjel Corporation :: A Specialized Energy Service Company, (2010)

Sanjel is one of the companies the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce is investigating on the potential environmental impacts from hydraulic fracturing.

"Sanjel Corporation is a privately owned, Canadian-based, international oilfield service company with over two and a half decades of industry experience. As a major competitor in the global oil and gas market and the largest privately owned oilfield service company in Canada, Sanjel offers five specialized service lines including Acidizing, Cementing, Coiled Tubing, Fracturing and Nitrogen."

Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) | Safe Drinking Water Act | US EPA, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) , U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, (2010)


The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the main federal law that ensures the quality of Americans' drinking water. Under SDWA, EPA sets standards for drinking water quality and oversees the states, localities, and water suppliers who implement those standards.

SDWA was originally passed by Congress in 1974 to protect public health by regulating the nation's public drinking water supply.

The law was amended in 1986 and 1996 and requires many actions to protect drinking water and its sources: rivers, lakes, reservoirs, springs, and ground water wells. (SDWA does not regulate private wells which serve fewer than 25 individuals.)

Web Article contains links to legal, scientific, and contact information.

See: Safe Drinking Water Act 101 | Online Training | Drinking Water Academy

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. tells the Colorado Oil and Gas Association that Wind and Solar Plants are Gas Plants, Adams, Rod , Atomic Insights Blog, (2010)



On July 8, 2010, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. gave a lunchtime speech at Energy Epicenter, the annual conference of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. That speech provides a number of insights that are useful to those who are concerned about energy issues, concerned about the environment, and interested in the activities of power brokers who stand to make a great deal of money if important energy decisions favor their particular industry.

I wonder what he tells his ardent supporters in the environmental community who have been taught to believe that wind and solar energy are actually replacing fossil fuels? Does he tell them that utility scale wind and solar installations are simply a means to shift some of the market demand and profits away from the coal industry and to natural gas suppliers? Does he mention just how much natural gas is produced by the same large multinational companies that import most of our foreign oil and who pay little in the way of US taxes?

See: Crimes against nature: how George W. Bush and his corporate pals are plundering the country and high-jacking our democracy

Riverkeeper - NY's Clean Water Advocate, Riverkeeper , Riverkeeper - NY's Clean Water Advocate, (2010)


Riverkeeper is an independent, member-supported environmental organization founded on the premise that citizens themselves must roll up their sleeves to defend our waterways.

Riverkeeper’s mission is to protect the ecological integrity of the Hudson River and its tributaries, and to safeguard the drinking water supply of New York City and the lower Hudson Valley.

See: Gas Driling - Fracking photos on their Flickr site.

Republicans for Environmental Protection (REP America), REP America , Republicans for Environmental Protection, (2010)


We are Republicans. We share a deep concern for the environment.

We know that a healthy environment and a sound economy are both essential to our nation’s prosperity.
We believe that by working together, we can preserve both our environment and our economy
for current and future generations of Americans.

We Want:
Clean air and water
Food free from harmful chemicals
Clean, efficient businesses & industries
A high quality of life in our cities & rural communities
Strong, results-oriented enforcement of environmental laws
Economic development for communities without the ravages of sprawl
High priority for funding of natural resource stewardship & environmental protection
Protection for posterity of our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, wild lands & waters
Effective legal protection for threatened & endangered plants & animals in their native habitats

We support and vote for Republican elected officials and candidates who share these values and concerns.

Red Lodge Clearinghouse - Oil and Gas Resource Development, Red Lodge Clearinghouse , Red Lodge Clearinghouse: Inspiring Natural Resources Collaboration...and More, (2010)


The mission of the Red Lodge Clearinghouse is to support, connect and inform the partners of collaborative efforts and others addressing natural resource challenges in their community.

This blog features a page on Oil and Gas Resource Development that has many links to primary legal documents.  It is based in the U.S. Western States.

Here is a link to their Staff listing:

Range Resources, Range Resources , Range Resources, (2010)


It was reported by Lowell Brown of the Denton Record Chronicle on April 23, 2010 that Range Resources had a spill of drilling mud in Denton, Texas.  "Rayzor spill raises a stink. Residents cry foul; officials say mud dump an accident."

Sharon Wilson, Bluedaze blogger, has called this incident "Doodygate".  The postings are listed with most recent on top, so to follow the postings, scroll down to the bottom and work your way up.  At Bluedaze, click on the keyword, "Range Resources" to read more of her postings.  Range is becoming more active, investing more money to acquire leases and develop drill sites in the Marcellus Shale.

Range Resources is an independent oil and gas company operating in the Southwestern, Appalachian and Gulf Coast regions of the United States.  "The past five years, however, have represented a period of un- precedented growth.  Our reserves have tripled, while our stock price has increased almost 1,000% on a stock-split-adjusted basis."

Christopher Helman. "Range Resources Is King Of The Marcellus Shale". Forbes Magazine. August 09, 2010.

The BP oil spill has created its share of victims, but it's creating opportunities for others. Among them, Range Resources ( RRC - news - people ), the Fort Worth, Tex. company that owns a big chunk of the gas-filled Marcellus Shale rock formation that stretches from New York across Pennsylvania and into West Virginia. With offshore drilling costs sure to go up and with spill liabilities unlimited, oil and gas finders are already looking to redirect capital spending to onshore plays. Range shares have doubled in five years, outpacing even Google but Chief Executive John Pinkerton says, "The bloom hasn't even opened yet."

Rancho Los Malulos | A satirical view from the McGill Brothers Lease, Burns, Elizabeth , Rancho Los Malulos, (2010)


Elizabeth Burns, 2008-2010. Texas blog updated frequently.

Covers a broad range of environmental topics related to mining and minerals.  Her observations about her legal battles with Exxon Mobil are a must to read.

"This blog is a satire about life on a 38,000 acre ranch in the South Texas oilfield. ExxonMobil's eco-friendly tv commercials during the 2008 olympic games provoked me into action."

See personal video:  Depraved Indifference. Jan. 3, 2010.

Chevron, Texaco and Exxon Mobil have left pits of burned chemical sludge across South Texas.

Rainforest Action Network, Rainforest Action Network , Rainforest Action Network, (2010)




The Rainforest Action Network and its blog, The Understory, have focused on issues that will intersect the concerns people have about gas drilling.

Their campaign to end mountaintop removal in West Virginia and their demands to protect Appalachia's drinking water in the face of the pressure of the mega-business in coal production, signals that the post-Bush era EPA may still be in the pockets of the Oil and Gas Industry.  RAN activists  Sit Down so EPA Will Stand up to King Coal.

With the nation’s eyes on the BP disaster, the EPA, without publicly announcing the action, recently gave the green light for a major new mountaintop removal coal mining permit in Logan County, West Virginia. The permit would allow the destruction of nearly three miles of currently clean streams and 760 acres of forest, in a county where at least 13 percent of the land has already been permitted for surface coal mining. This was despite EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s promise last April to enforce new rules to end the reckless practice of mountaintop removal mining.

Public Supports Consumer and Environmental Protections, Polls Show, OMB Watch , OMB Watch, (2010)


Americans overwhelmingly support government protection of the environment and consumers, a series of new polls shows. The findings come as efforts to enforce and expand regulation face increasingly hostile rhetoric from conservatives and industry representatives in Washington.

A new Society for Human Resource Management/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll (National Journal poll) found wide public support for legislation intended to limit climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions and to reform U.S. energy policy.

Sixty-five percent of poll respondents said they would support a bill that would cap greenhouse gas emissions. The same poll, conducted from July 29 to Aug. 1, found that 78 percent favor requiring utilities to produce more energy from renewable sources.

The House passed a climate and energy bill in June 2009. Senators have introduced several climate bills, but prospects for passage in 2010 appear dim.

See: Climate Science Watch

See: Food and Water Watch

Protect the Endless Mountains of Northeastern PA, Protect the Endless Mountains of Northeastern PA , Protect the Endless Mountains of Northeastern PA, (2010)


Frequently updated (daily) Pennsylvania blog by Michelle.

See: Wednesday, May 12, 2010. "New blog telling our stories"

Elizabeth Berkowitz, blogger for "How Should We Do The Mountain?" (and whom Protect the Endless Mtns recently joined forces with us on our Facebook page), has a fantastic new blog entitled "Faces of Frackland." Her new blog tells the stories of 20+ people and growing--stories documenting how the natural gas industry which has invaded our state is affecting actual local residents.  For her efforts, Elizabeth was recently interviewed on WENY.

Proposed gas drilling ban in city wins friends, foes such as Tom Ridge, Smydo, Joe , Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, (2010)



Former Pennnsylvania Governor Tom Ridge speaks at the Pittsburgh Business Times Energy Conference about Marcellus Shale drilling.

Diametrically opposed viewpoints on the Marcellus Shale boom competed for attention Tuesday with Pittsburgh City Councilman Doug Shields seeking a citywide ban on natural gas drilling and former Gov. Tom Ridge hailing the industry's "transformative opportunity" for Pennsylvania.

Despite questions about the legality of a ban, Mr. Shields unveiled a bill that would prohibit gas extraction anywhere in the city, even if drilling companies have already acquired leases from property owners. Speaking at a morning news conference at the City-County Building, Mr. Shields said drilling hearkened a return to Pittsburgh's polluted industrial past...

Last month, Mr. Ridge and his two consulting firms received a one-year, $900,000 contract to serve as strategic advisers to the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a Cecil-based trade group. However, the former two-term governor said he was approaching the job with the interests of his former constituents in mind...

...Mr. Shields described drillers as "quick-buck artists"; criticized their "paid mouthpieces," including Mr. Ridge; and said the city wouldn't be treated like a "colony" of a state government that puts the drilling industry's interests ahead of the people's. He also lashed out at Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who opposes a citywide ban because of the economic development potential of gas extraction.

"I understand every government is strapped for cash, but that's not a reason to degrade the quality of life in our city and in our neighborhoods," he said.

See: Know Your Enemy | John Cole Cartoons

See: Pa. Governor Apologizes for Tracking Enviro Extremists, but Questions Remain - ProPublica