Weatherford, Texas, homeowner Steve Lipsky has nothing to hide. He is not trying to take down Range Resources, a large oil and gas company with a reputation for bullying its critics, nor is he trying to defame the company as it has accused him of…
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- . Consumer Watchdog
- Alberta Tar Sands
- Andy Cobb
- Big Oil
- Bureau of Land Management
- Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
- Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.
- Canadian oil sands
- Chancellor George Osborne
- Climate Change
- Cold Lake Air Weapons Range
- Department of Environmental Quality
- Dept. of Energy
- Detroit Bulk Storage
- Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands
- Detroit River
- Ecology Center
- Environmental Resources Management
- Exxon Valdez
- Fort McMoney: Remember To Breathe
- Global Warming
- Gulf Coast oil spill
- Gulf of Mexico
- International Agency for Research on Cancer
- Keystone XL pipeline
- Koch Brothers
- Koch Industries
- Last Dive at the Farallones
- Lee Camp
- Marathon refinery
- Marcellus Shale
- Moment of Clarity
- Mt. Pleasant
- National Energy Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh
- Nicholson Terminal and Dock
- North Pole
- Ohio drilling site
- Oil Spills
- President Barack Obama
- President Obama
- Range Resources
- Rep. Dick Durbin
- Rep. Gary Peters
- Rep. Rashida Tlaib
- River Rouge
- Sandusky County
- Senator Carl Levin
- State Department
- Summer Heat
- Talos Energy LLC
- Tar Sands
- TransCanada Corp.
- Walter Oil & Gas Corp.
- Washington County
- Wes Sussex
- Wild Well Control Inc.
- arctic cyclone
- blowout preventer
- carbon pollution
- climate activists
- climate change denial
- compressor station
- consulting firm
- court settlement
- dirty oil
- drilling parts
- drinking water
- environmental impact
- environmental impacts
- federal study
- fossil fuel
- fossil fuels
- gag order
- gas drilling
- gasf flaring
- health impacts
- hydraulic fracturing
- hydrogen sulfide
- ice bar
- increased gas prices
- meltwater ponds
- methane gas
- natural gas well
- non-disclosure agreement
- north pole environmental observatory
- nuisance claim
- oil sands
- petcoke dust cloud
- pipeline ruptures
- respiratory illness
- senator debbie stabenow
- settlement hearing
- tar sands oil
- tax breaks
- underground oil blowout
- unstoppable leak
- vacation paradise
- water contamination
- water pollution
- wildlife fatalities
Photos provided by a government scientist show the site of an oil spill in Cold Lake, Alta. The company that runs the operation says it is effectively managing the cleanup.
'Unstoppable' underground tar sands leak on Canadian military weapons facility: This is a great piece of investigative journalism from Emma Pullman and Martin Lukacs for The Toronto Star. A government scientist leaked documents to help the word get out, and the spill has been going on for well over 6 weeks.
"Oil spills at a major oil sands operation in Alberta have been ongoing for at least six weeks and have cast doubts on the safety of underground extraction methods, according to documents obtained by the Star and a government scientist who has been on site.
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. has been unable to stop an underground oil blowout that has killed numerous animals and contaminated a lake, forest, and muskeg at its operations in Cold Lake, Alta.
The documents indicate that, since cleanup started in May, some 26,000 barrels of bitumen mixed with surface water have been removed, including more than 4,500 barrels of bitumen.
The scientist said Canadian Natural Resources is not disclosing the scope of spills in four separate sites, which have been off bounds to media and the public because the operations are on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, where there is active weapons testing by the Canadian military."
The scientist also said that "Nobody really understands how to stop it from leaking, or if they do they haven’t put the measures into place.”
Also, the Cold Lake operations are located on the traditional territory of the Beaver Lake Cree First Nation, and they are pursuing a constitutional challenge arguing that "cumulative impacts of oil sands industrial development are infringing their treaty rights to hunt, fish and trap." The First Nation also has graves located along the lake affected by the spill, and they are not being permitted to access the area.
Update: "Portions of the Hercules drilling rig that is on fire in the Gulf of Mexico started to collapse Wednesday.
The parts of the Hercules 265 rig that stick out over the Walter Oil & Gas platform and wellhead have been melting and falling, but the integrity of the massive post-like legs and the permanent platform itself appear to still be strong, Walter Oil & Gas spokesman Brian Kennedy said.
Walter is hiring a jack-up rig to start drilling a relief well at the site. The jack-up rig will be towed in next to the Hercules drilling rig, where it will start drilling a relief well into the Gulf of Mexico to intercept Hercules' well.
The federal offshore safety agency reported that beams supporting the derrick and rig floor on the Hercules have folded and collapsed."
Federal officials say fire has broken out on an out-of-control natural gas well in the Gulf of Mexico well just hours after it was evacuated on Tuesday.
"Natural gas continued to leak from the well Tuesday afternoon, creating a cloud around the rig and film on the water, but it was dissipating quickly, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
Walter Oil & Gas Corp., the owner of the well, cited a problem with safety gear known as a blowout preventer, but later said it is still investigating the incident and wouldn't know the cause of the blowout, or why the well continues to flow, for some time.
A blowout preventer is a set of valves that are meant to close down a well in an emergency to stop the flow of oil and gas; in this case, the equipment was located on board the rig.
The failure of a blowout preventer far below the sea was implicated in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, which killed 11 workers and led to the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
Tuesday's incident came after workers lost control of another well earlier this month in the shallow waters of the Gulf, where workers were in the process of plugging an aging well owned by Talos Energy LLC. That well leaked a small amount of gas and light condensate before it was plugged."
From the Associated Press:
"No injuries were reported as a result of the fire, Eileen Angelico, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, told The Associated Press.
She said it wasn't known what caused the gas to ignite. It also wasn't clear early Wednesday how and when crews would attempt to extinguish the blaze. BSEE said earlier Tuesday that a firefighting vessel with water and foam capabilities had been dispatched to the scene.
Wild Well Control Inc. was hired to try to bring the well under control. Angelico said Wild Well personnel approached the well earlier Tuesday night, before the fire, but they determined it was unsafe to get closer when they were about 200 feet away from it."
Officials have stressed that Tuesday's blowout wouldn't be nearly as damaging as the BP oil spill of 2010, although natural gas released into open water can have hazardous consequences.
"Especially dramatic situations developed in the Sea of Asov as a result of two large accidents on drilling rigs in the summer-autumn of 1982 and 1985. These accidents caused long-term releases of large amounts of natural gas into the water accompanied by self-inflaming of the gas. During these events, the levels of methane in surface waters exceeded the background concentrations up to 10-100 times. The air samples also showed very high concentrations of methane. These accidents drastically disturbed the composition and biomass of the water fauna and caused mass mortality of many organisms, including fish and benthic mollusks."
Another component of natural gas - hydrogen sulfide - is water soluble in contrast with methane. It can cause hazardous pollution situations in both the atmosphere and the water environment:
"Pollution by hydrogen sulfide can lead to disturbances in the chemical composition of surface waters. This gas belongs to the group of poisons with acute effects. Its appearance in the atmosphere and hydrosphere can cause serious economic damage and medical problems among local population."
Updates on this situation as information becomes available.
Consumer Watchdog, a nationally recognized nonprofit consumer group, has reviewed corporate, industry and government data and found that pipeline developers and the Canadian government intend to use the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to raise the price of Canadian tar sands oil on the global market by shipping oil directly to the Gulf. This would raise U.S. gas prices in the Midwest by up to 40 cents a gallon.
“Keystone XL is not an economic benefit to Americans who will see higher gas prices and bear all the risks of the pipeline,” said report author Judy Dugan. “The pipeline is being built through America, but not for Americans.”
Key findings from the report:
- Drivers, especially in the Midwest, would pay 20 cents to 40 cents more at the pump if the disputed pipeline were built, as the current discount of up to $30 a barrel for Canadian oil disappears.
- The true goal of multinational oil companies and Canadian politicians backing the pipeline is to reach export outlets outside the U.S. for tar sands oil and refined fuels, which would drive up the oil’s price.
- With U.S. oil production rising fast, any “energy security” benefit for the U.S. would vanish as American oil output exceeds that of Saudi Arabia in about 2020, according to the International Energy Agency.
The north pole, that great bastion of eternal cold and barren ice, is now a lake.
It’s a shallow lake, about a foot deep. It’s a cold lake. But it is, actually, a lake.
According to the North Pole Environmental Observatory, the summer ice is melting away at unprecedented rates. The sea of snow is now meltwater.
"Meltwater ponds sprout more easily on young, thin ice, which now accounts for more than half of the Arctic's sea ice. The ponds link up across the smooth surface of the ice, creating a network that traps heat from the sun. Thick and wrinkly multi-year ice, which has survived more than one freeze-thaw season, is less likely sport a polka-dot network of ponds because of its rough, uneven surface.
July is the melting month in the Arctic, when sea ice shrinks fastest. An Arctic cyclone, which can rival a hurricane in strength, is forecast for this week, which will further fracture the ice and churn up warm ocean water, hastening the summer melt. The Arctic hit a record low summer ice melt last year on Sept. 16, 2012, the smallest recorded since satellites began tracking the Arctic ice in the 1970s."
Sorry, Santa Claus. It may be time to move to one of those ice bars.
Guardian reporter Rob Booth spoke with anti-fracking protesters in Balcombe, West Sussex, on Friday shortly before their demonstration prevented the arrival of essential shale gas drilling parts. The action comes a week after the chancellor, George Osborne, announced major tax breaks for companies extracting shale gas. Protesters fear pollution from gas flaring, disruption from lorries and the possible pollution of local water courses.
Love the children with the "Fracking Sucks" protest signs, and they've even got guitar and bagpipe players on hand.
Fifty-five people were arrested in Washington during a protest Friday against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which opponents contend would encourage exploitation of Canadian oil sands and contribute to environmentally damaging climate change.
The protesters targeted offices of Environmental Resources Management in the 1700 block of I Street NW, a consulting firm hired by the State Department to assess the proposed pipeline’s environmental impact.
Pipeline opponents say ERM’s analysis -- which concluded that the project would have no significant environmental effect -- is deeply flawed.
Organizers said the demonstration was part of a campaign called “Summer Heat,” noting that the last half of July is statistically the year’s “hottest stretch.”
Those massive piles of petcoke that have been stored on the banks of the Detroit River have created yet another concern in the form of thick black clouds of petcoke dust stirred by a recent storm, and floating across the way into Windsor, Canada.
Detroit residents are also worried about their health and that of their children.
"Late last month, Arena wiped a new coating of dust up with a new sponge and provided it to the Free Press, which gave the sample to the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center, an environmental nonprofit that previously tested a sample of pet coke from the Detroit River pile provided by state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit.
Testing confirmed Arena’s suspicion: The dust contains pet coke.
“If it’s on my countertops, it’s going into my lungs,” she said. “It’s going into the Detroit River and affecting the ecology there. Who knows where else it’s going?”'
The state Department of Environmental Quality evaluation of the piles earlier this year found that they “do not pose a significant public health risk for inhalation exposure.”
Ecology Center research director Jeff Gearhart said "But small particles of pollution more easily lodge in people’s lungs and can lead to respiratory problems and worsen asthma."
Range Resources paid approximately $750,000 to Stephanie and Christopher Hallowich of Mt. Pleasant Township for their 10-acre home after a Marcellus Shale wells and compressor station set up shop next door, and the couple became frightened of potential impacts on their children's health. The pair were so concerned that in return for a settlement, they even agreed to a gag order that forbade them -- and their minor children -- from ever discussing the subject in public.
"The non-disclosure agreement prohibiting Chris and Stephanie Hallowich from talking about the 2011 settlement of their high-profile Marcellus Shale damage case in Washington County, or saying anything about gas drilling and fracking, isn't unusual. It happens often in settling such cases.
But the insistence that their two minor children, then ages 7 and 10, are also bound by the "gag order" is."
"Our position is it does apply to the whole family," said James Swetz, the attorney representing Range Resources at the settlement hearing. "We would certainly enforce it."
However, Barbara Miller, a staff writer at the Observer-Reporter now writes that the company has backed off from the lifetime gag claims after they were publicized by reporters: "The kids can say whatever they want."
“The kids can say whatever they want,” Pitzarella said. “We have no objection to it. We’re not happy with many aspects of (the hearing), and we’re happy to put it behind us.”
[Language not suitable for work.]
This is your Moment of Clarity #253: NASA has put out a video showing the increase in global warming if the CO2 in the atmosphere continues to increase at its current rate. And let's just say you won't be needing that jacket in the year 2100. If you feel this issue is important, pass this video on. It doesn't matter if you piss off a friend. They need to know the truth.