Pennsylvania based blog. Includes a quotes page unique to blogs on the environment, highlighting the struggle between citizens, corporations, and government regulations, providing a larger historical context.
It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. ~Ansel Adams
“In the woods we return to reason and faith”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
See: Fracked Dry
Over the next thirty years, given the present technology, 500 billion gallons of water will be retired underground in Pennsylvania through the process known as horizontal fracturing. This is according to email discussions I have had with Penn State’s Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research
500B is equivalent to 68 Harvey’s Lakes, or 263 Huntsville reservoirs, or 200 Wallenpaupacks (a relatively shallower but more expansive body of water).
This water will no longer be available for human use. It will lurk in the shattered caverns below. This dispersed sea will be waiting for a flaw, a break, an errant burst of pressure…
...Recently, EnCana Corporation was given permission to drill three “exploratory” natural gas wells in the Back Mountain, near Herb Baldwin's property.
"Northern Rockies Rising Tide is a chapter of the international, decentralized, grassroots movement Rising Tide. We are based out of Missoula, Montana, USA and work primarily on issues concerning the northern Rocky Mountains bioregion.
Rising Tide is an all-volunteer network of groups and individuals who promote local, community-based solutions to the climate crisis and take direct actions to confront the root causes of climate change. Rising Tide was born out of the conviction that corporate-friendly “solutions” to climate change will not save us and that most government efforts are half-measures at best. We organize through decentralized, local groups that support one another through shared resources, ideas, fundraising and training.
Northern Rockies Rising Tide is committed to stopping the extraction of more fossil fuels and preventing the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure. Equally important, we believe that we must make a just transition to sustainable ways of living.
Rising Tide’s tactics are diverse and creative, taking a bottom-up approach to connecting the dots between colonialism, corporate power, social justice, biocentrism and the environment. The systems that are destroying the planet are systems rooted in oppression. Combating climate change is not solely a matter of carbon emissions, but of confronting the institutions that destroy communities, cultures and the Earth."
The way natural gas promoters talk about their pet fuel, you’d think it was green as clover and safe as baby oil. After the deadly San Bruno, California, gas line explosion, however, hawkers like natural gas billionaire T. Boone Pickens have gone silent. No more calls to action and pleas to phone your member of Congress to demand bigger subsidies.
The quiet is welcome. Let’s use that space to talk about all of the drawbacks. We know how explosive plain old natural gas is (the photo here is of a 2007 blast–they’re not so rare), and we know that we have no idea where those big, aging pipelines are. National security and all that.
But it doesn’t stop there. The current rage in natural gas extraction is deep-drilling in shale formations, mostly in the Northeast and the West. Its dangers have been soberly reported, mostly by the online investigative website ProPublica. But even reports of flammable gas instead of water coming out of kitchen faucets in drilling areas doesn’t fire the imagination like 100-foot flames and victims so incinerated they can’t be found.
The deep drilling, called “fracking,” puts drinking water supplies at risk. It trashes the landscape, and uses vast amounts of fresh water, most of which cannot be reclaimed, to force the gas upward.
If, as Mr. Pickens hopes, Americans will take to automobiles powered by heavily subsidized natural gas, your local “gas” station would be a big potential neighborhood bomb. Some of that natural gas would have to be imported (yep, just like oil), in the form of heavily compressed liquefied natural gas, stored in gigantic tanks near shore or onshore until it’s warmed up and sent through a pipeline.
Native Americans like the Onondaga, a member nation of the Haudenosaunee Iroquois Confederacy and long leaders as healers of the environment face a new threat: hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Complaints have soared as fracking has expanded across the country. “Every state where this is going on, people’s water is contaminated,” said Joseph Heath, general legal counsel to the Onondaga Nation.
“The permanent disruption of peoples’ homes, lives, and communities is heartbreaking,” said Jeanne Shenandoah, Eel Clan elder and member of the Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force who, with several HETF representatives and Onondaga members visited communities impacted by fracking.
“It impacts huge amounts of land and creates roads through forests and fields. Spills and waste ponds pollute the surface of the land, and the water. Drilling accidents allow gas to migrate into peoples’ water wells and homes. Hundreds of trucks speed down narrow roads every day.”
Shenandoah said when the air coming from these sites gives people headaches and health problems, “you know it’s being polluted too. This cannot be allowed, for the sake of all living things.”
Change.org, the website that allows users to create petitions for social change, received a legal threat from Peabody Energy after Coal Kills Kids (CKK) -- a group that partnered with the Yes Men to unveil a faux Peabody charity initiative earlier this week -- continued the hoax with a mock petition.
The petition was titled, "Stop Peabody Coal's Outrageous Coal Cares campaign," in mock outrage over the Coal Cares website that CKK developed in tandem with the Yes Men. The website claimed that Peabody had created a charity to "make asthma cool" by giving away free designer inhalers with themes like My Little Pony and The Bieber.
Peabody's lawyers contacted Change.org on May 12 and threatened to file suit if the fake petition against the fake website wasn't removed within 24 hours. "The lawyers seem as serious as an asthma attack," said Ben Rattray, founder of Change.org. The website agreed to remove the petition in order to avoid legal entanglement.
"I think Peabody probably made a mistake doing this," noted Change.org spokseperson Brain Purchia. "Because now it's drawing more attention to the problems that coal-burning power plants are causing."
The Yes Men and Coal Kills Kids received their own legal threat from Peabody, and they issued a response early this morning.
Here's what they wrote:
Dear Andrew Baum, Foley Lardner LLP, and Peabody Energy,
Your threat, although entirely baseless (see ... the EFF's blog post), did make us realize one thing: that Peabody, despite being our country's largest coal producer, and one of the largest lobbyists against common-sense policy, accounts for a mere 17 percent of U.S. coal production. The remaining 83 percent comes from 28 other companies, who are, every bit as much as Peabody, giving kids asthma attacks and other illnesses.
As even you may agree, the root of the problem is not Peabody, but rather our system of subsidies, regulations, and lobbying that lets your whole industry continue its lethal work. To make this clear, we have changed every instance of the word “Peabody” on www.coalcares.org to a rotating selection of the names of other large U.S. coal producers who, like Peabody, also need to be stopped from killing kids.
Very truly yours,
Coal is Killing Kids and the Yes Lab
See: The Yes Men
06/22/2007: "The Icing on the Cake".
"In 2007, our analysis of the impact of the Barnett Shale indicated it was like ‘icing on the cake’ for the already healthy Fort Worth-area economy. This year, we found that activity in the Barnett Shale is making an even bigger difference, with expansion in benefits surpassing expectations." (Perryman, 2008, p.5.)
-Dr. M. Ray Perryman.
See: The Perryman Group. "Drilling for Dollars: An Assessment of the Ongoing and Expanding Economic Impact of Activity in the Barnett Shale on Fort Worth and the Surrounding Area." ( PDF 1.2MB, 2008)
Exploration, drilling, and production in the Barnett Shale natural gas field have transformed the Fort Worth-area economy with thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in investment.
...This huge surge in economic activity is generating sizable gains for local taxing authorities. The fiscal impact of the Barnett Shale stems from two primary sources: property taxes paid on oil and gas properties and enhanced retail sales and real estate development due to the economic impact of the Barnett Shale. Our analysis indicates that the total direct and indirect revenue to local governments in the region (excluding royalty and lease payments) was about $227.7 million as of 2006, and will likely increase in the future.
A follow-up to the prediction Perryman offered in 2007 for Ft. Worth did not look as rosy. Read this report from the Ft. Worth Business Press, September 21, 2009. Dan McGraw. "Cut Out." Ft. Worth Weekly. September 2, 2009. (Neil Zusman, 2010-08-20.)
See: ECONOMIC BENEFIT? REALLY?
As the horrific truth about the dangers of fracking continue to come to light, economist (and Catskill Citizens member!) Jannette Barth, Ph.D., continues to deconstruct the myth that drilling will be a boon to local communities and the state. Her latest report points out distortions and misstatements in the industry- funded studies that tout the economic benefits of fracking.
Wyoming's Powder River Basin is experiencing the largest mineral boom in Wyoming history. Coalbed methane (CBM) gas development in the Powder River Basin has been characterized by industry as the "hottest natural gas play" in North America, making CBM development the greatest environmental and cultural threat Wyoming has faced in decades.
This "gold rush" style pursuit of CBM is presenting enormous challenges for urban and rural citizens, ranchers and farmers, and impacted municipalities.
The Powder River Basin Resource Council has responded by providing landowners with information on how to protect their property through surface access and damage agreements (See Help for Surface Owners).
We have joined forces with other groups and landowners to oppose the damaging discharge of billions of gallons of water. EPA is now requiring additional evidence and signatures from landowners to ensure that discharges are truly beneficial.
Our appeal of discharge permits has halted the discharge of any new water into the Powder River drainage or the Tongue River drainage. Industry's "quick fix" solution has been to build large waste pits to store the water can lead to salt and sediment buildup, potential contamination of shallow aquifers and acreage out of production.
See C-Span Book TV Oct. 2, 2004. Bushwacked: Life in George W. Bush's America. Chapter: "Dick, Dubya, and Wyoming Methane." (152)