Saturday, October 12, 2013

France’s Ban On Fracking Is ‘Absolute’


France’s ban on fracking was finally completed Friday, as its constitutional court upheld a 2011 law prohibiting the practice and canceling all exploration permits. The decision posted on the court’s website said the ban “conforms to the constitution” and is not “disproportionate,” effectively protecting it from any future legal challenge.
U.S. driller Schuepbach Energy brought its complaint to the court after two of its exploration permits were revoked due to the ban. Schuepbach attempted to argue that since no study had established fracking risks, there was no cause for the ban, and that since fracking isn’t banned for geothermal energy projects, it was unfair. The court didn’t find that convincing, citing the differences between geothermal and shale gas exploration.

Friday, August 9, 2013

U.S. approves natural gas exports from third terminal

Wed Aug 7, 2013 6:13pm EDT
* Export terminal wins approval to export 2 bcf a day

* Nearly two dozen applications waiting for export decision
* Lawmaker calls for swifter action on applications
* Industrial group warns of price spikes from exports
By Ayesha Rascoe

WASHINGTON, Aug 7 (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Wednesday approved natural gas exports from a third U.S. facility, the second permit issued in about three months, triggering debate over whether the review of a long backlog of export applications is picking up steam.
The export terminal in Lake Charles, Louisiana, was given a conditional license from the Department of Energy to ship liquefied natural gas to all countries. The terminal is backed by BG Group Plc and Energy Transfer Partners LP's Southern Union Co.
The department's order gives the Lake Charles terminal permission to export up to 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day for 20 years. The approval is contingent upon the Lake Charles terminal receiving a permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for construction of the facility.

More ...

Oil companies frack in coastal waters off Calif.

Updated 1:25 pm, Saturday, August 3, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Companies prospecting for oil off California's coast have used hydraulic fracturing on at least a dozen occasions to force open cracks beneath the seabed, and now regulators are investigating whether the practice should require a separate permit and be subject to stricter environmental review.
While debate has raged over fracking on land, prompting efforts to ban or severely restrict it, offshore fracking has occurred with little attention in sensitive coastal waters where for decades new oil leases have been prohibited.

Revealed: EPA Fracking Study Rebukes Agency's Own Safety Claims

DeSmog Exclusive: Censored EPA PA fracking water contamination presentation published for first time

by Steve Horn

DeSmogBlog has obtained a copy of an Obama Administration Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fracking groundwater contamination PowerPoint presentation describing a then-forthcoming study's findings in Dimock, Pennsylvania. 
The PowerPoint presentation reveals a clear link between hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") for shale gas in Dimock and groundwater contamination, but was censored by the Obama Administration. Instead, the EPA issued an official desk statement in July 2012 - in the thick of election year - saying the water in Dimock was safe for consumption.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Efficiency Drove U.S. Emissions Decline, Not Natural Gas, Study Says

 inside climate news 

Conventional wisdom says switching to natural gas is why CO2 fell last year, but a recent analysis found a different explanation.

Jul 30, 2013

Aggressive energy efficiency efforts by households, companies and motorists led to the decline in carbon dioxide emissions from energy use in the United States,according to a recent report. The controversial finding contradicts recent studies that say the power sector's shift away from coal to cheap natural gas caused the bulk of reductions.

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Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Enforcement - Violations


Click chart for larger version
Drilling and Violations
Between 2005 and 2011 more than 24,000 oil and gas wells were drilled in Pennsylvania. During that time, there were more than 15,000 violations. Interestingly, since 2008 the number of wells drilled per year has decreased, yet the number of violations per year has more than doubled – from 1,500 in 2008 to 4,069 in 2011.

More ...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fracking Bill could Take the ‘Public’ Out of Federal Lands

It’s about local control, say members of Congress who want the states, not the federal government, to regulate fracking on federal lands — those public lands that belong to all Americans.
The House Natural Resources Committee is considering a bill that would bar the feds from enforcing any “Federal regulation, guidance, or permit requirement regarding” fracking in states that have their own rules or guidance.

More ...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Former Mobil VP Warns of Fracking and Climate Change


Friday, 19 July 2013 00:00By Ellen CantarowTruthout | Interview
Few people can explain gas and oil drilling with as much authority as Louis W. Allstadt. As an executive vice president of Mobil oil, he ran the company's exploration and production operations in the western hemisphere before he retired in 2000. In 31 years with the company he also was in charge of its marketing and refining in Japan, and managed its worldwide supply, trading and transportation operations. Just before retiring, he oversaw Mobil's side of its merger with Exxon, creating the world's largest corporation.
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Ohio activists, eco-groups write to Kasich with concerns about radioactive shale drilling wastes

Akron Beacon Journal

By Bob Downing 
Beacon Journal staff writer
Published: August 1, 2013 - 09:39 PM

A coalition of Ohio activists on Thursday asked Gov. John Kasich to get answers to questions about radioactive drilling wastes.

In their letter, the activists urged Kasich to personally direct the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to answer questions on shale drilling wastes from Ohio and out-of-state companies that are coming into Ohio.

House GOP panel curbs fracking role for feds

Times Union
Democrat Tonko says vote another giveaway to big oil, gas producers
Updated 11:02 pm, Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday approved legislation that would effectively block the federal government from regulating the hydraulic fracturing process that is unlocking previously unrecoverable supplies of gas and oil.

New Hinkley plume map shows growth on western edge

The chromium 6 pollution made public in "Erin Brockovich" has not been cleaned, and is in fact worse than when it was discovered.


By Jim Steinberg, Staff Writer
Posted:   07/31/2013 07:25:53 PM PDT

HINKLEY -- This town's contaminated groundwater plume has expanded on its western boundaries, reinforcing water regulators' fears that Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s efforts to create a barrier are floundering, a map made public Wednesday shows.

"This is definitely a concern," said Lauri Kemper, assistant executive officer of the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, the state agency that overssees the cleanup and containment of Hinkley's water, contaminated by chromium-6, a carcinogen.
More ...

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Kalkaska company that spread toxic solvents on some Benzie County roads that were a thousand times stronger than state limits

August 2, 2013

TRAVERSE CITY — A Kalkaska company that spread toxic solvents on some Benzie County roads that were a thousand times stronger than state limits learned its fate following a review by Michigan regulators:
Do a self-investigation, don’t do it again, and clean up the mess.


For Immediate Release July22, 2013  Kalkaska, Michigan
Submitted by and
Contact: Jacque Rose,, 517-410-8959

Flames soar above treetops in Kalkaska County
Gas Flare off the Garfield 1-25, July 20, 2013. Photo courtesy of
More photos and video

The Encana State Garfield 1-25 HD 1 well is located in Garfield Township, Kalkaska County, Michigan. Situated amid state forests and palatial wetlands, the natural gas well was completed via the controversial hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” process, in December of 2012, using 12,539,639 gallons of water. The well originates in Section 36 of Garfield Township and the horizontal portion continues into Section 25.

Garfield Wetlands
Garfield Well being Drilled

 (Photos courtesy of

Pipeline construction from the Garfield well site. 
Photo courtesy of

and Encana has begun flaring gas from the well in a big way.

The pipeline is currently under construction from the well site:

Daylight aspect of Garfield flare. 
Photo courtesy of 
More photos and video

The Garfield Fire Department responded to a call at 11:00 p.m., July 20, 2013 from a local resident alarmed by the flames. Fire Department officials state they had not been informed prior to flaring by Encana, nor have they received any specialized training in connection with fire suppression on a frack pad—which may contain hazardous chemicals, some of which are deemed to be “proprietary” and are not disclosed—even to first responders. There is a high fire danger rating for Kalkaska County, and  burning permits are prohibited at the present time in Garfield Township.  

Fire trucks going into well site. 
Photo courtesy of
“Encana needs to ensure that our Kalkaska County EMS and firefighters are properly informed, properly trained and properly equipped to deal with all potential  emergency situations which could develop on their well pads”, states Paul Brady, Kalkaska County resident. “Large amounts of volatile hydrocarbons and chemicals are present on these sites.   Protection of our first responders should be top priority”. 

Encana plans an additional 500 wells in Michigan, and a second well in Garfield Township, to originate in Section 23. The well is permitted and staked but construction of the pad has not yet begun.  An additional thirteen wells are currently permitted or applied for on Sunset Trail in Oliver and Excelsior Townships.

Expansion of drilling prompts deep fears


Lansing — A new environmental fight looms over a huge natural gas harvesting project opponents claim will industrialize northern Lower Peninsula forests and drain billions of gallons of water from aquifers that feed treasured trout streams.

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Fracking Boom Threatens Health Across America

T he reports are as ominous as they are wide-ranging: Students at a high school outside Fort Worth begin complaining of nosebleeds, chest pains and a sense of disorientation while at school. A group of mothers in a Denver suburb demand answers after their families are struck with a host of mysterious illnesses ranging from asthma and migraines to nausea and dizziness. The well water of a family in northeastern Pennsylvania suddenly turns brown, and their son develops sores up and down his legs from showering in it.

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Oil and gas leases being signed across Barry County

The Hastings Banner

Since December, people with job titles of “independent landmen” from companies with names such as Pteradon Energy, Michigan Basin Resources, Bishop Land Service and West Bay Geophysical have been canvassing Barry County selling oil and gas leases. 

But state officials and lawyers are warning sellers to beware of unknown details in the agreements they sign and of possible dire environmental consequences from their decision to sell.

More ...

State forest proposed as fracking site

Columbus Dispatch

By  Spencer Hunt
The Columbus Dispatch Tuesday July 30, 2013 8:18 AM

A federal agency has plans to open most of Blue Rock State Forest in Muskingum County to fracking.
The proposal, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management website, would open 4,525 acres of mineral rights beneath the 4,578-acre state forest and two townships for bids from oil and gas companies during a Dec. 12 public sale. The sale has environmental-advocacy groups questioning why neither federal nor state officials took any additional steps to inform the public.

Warren ralliers told Portage County ranks No. 1 in Ohio for drilling waste disposal

Akron Beacon Journal

By Bob Downing 
Beacon Journal staff writer

WARREN: Nearly 7.9 billion gallons of drilling waste have been injected under Ohio since 1978.This includes 27 million barrels under Portage County, making Portage County No. 1 in Ohio for such wastes, activist Teresa Mills told a crowd of 250 people Monday protesting Ohio injection wells.

Stark County ranks No. 2 with more than 17 million barrels.

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Is natural gas more climate-friendly? Researchers map thousands of leaks in Washington, D.C.

E & E Publishing

Stephanie Paige Ogburn, E&E reporter

Bob Ackley may be the only person who has driven up and down every single street -- 1,500 miles total -- in Washington, D.C.
While Ackley, a plain-speaking New Englander, enjoyed exploring the nation's capital, which he described as "beautiful," this was serious business. He was measuring leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is also the main component of natural gas. Measured in terms of warming the atmosphere, methane is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Pa. Landowners Feel Cheated By Royalty Payments From Fracking

All over Pennsylvania, people have been signing natural gas leases, knowing that they are legally entitled to a certain cut of money from the driller. State law sets the minimum royalty payment at 12.5 percent. But in Bradford County, some landowners think they're being swindled.

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San Antonio Considers Shale Drilling's Effect on Ozone

For years, San Antonio has touted itself as the largest American city that is in compliance with federal ozone standards, and therefore not subject to extra regulation and enforcement from the EPA. That will soon change. Today, San Antonio is violating the Clean Air Act based on its ozone scores, the highest of which are far above the maximum acceptable value of 75 parts per billion.

More ...

Workers' Silica Exposure at Fracking Sites Far Exceeds OSHA Limit, NIOSH Study Finds

The concentration of silica in the air workers breathe exceeded occupational health criteria at all 11 hydraulic fracturing sites tested by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the American Industrial Hygiene Association announced July 31.
In some instances, the samples exceeded OSHA's PEL by a factor of 10 or more.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The first rule of fracking is: Don’t talk about fracking

The Hallowich children were just 7 and 10 years old when their family received a $750,000 settlement to relocate away from their home in Mount Pleasant, Penn., which was next door to a shale-gas drilling site. By the time they’re grown up, they may not remember much about what it was like to live there — the burning eyes, sore throats, headaches, and earaches they experienced thanks to contaminated air and water. And maybe it’s better if they don’t remember, since they’re prohibited from talking about the experience for the rest of their lives.

The Silent Partner Behind the Shale Energy Boom – Taxpayers

Since 2011, Alex Trembath, a tireless and talented energy analyst at nonprofit The Breakthrough Institute, has been digging into the complicated history of public and private initiatives and investments that unlocked the vast gas and oil resource contained in layers of shale rock.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

GOP advances bill to block federal fracturing rules

Posted on   by  Jennifer A. Dlouhy 

The House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday approved legislation that effectively would block the federal government from regulating the hydraulic fracturing process that is unlocking previously unrecoverable supplies of gas and oil.
On a mostly party-line vote of 23-15, the panel sent the measure to the full House of Representatives, which is expected to debate the legislation later this year. Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., bucked Democratic colleagues in supporting the bill; Rep. Jon Runyan, R-N.J., broke with Republicans to vote against it.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ohio anti-fracking measure looks like it’s heading to ballot

Measure may face legal challenges
By David DeWitt
Photo Credits:
Photo Caption: This graphic, created by the Bill of Rights Committee, shows what would be the geographic range of a fracking ban if a number of area communities adopt an aquifer protection ordinance.

A group of local anti-fracking activists has announced that a proposed citizens initiative banning the controversial oil and gas drilling activity is heading to the ballot for citizens of the city of Athens this November.

But the Athens County Board of Elections has reported that a number of concerned citizens, including attorneys in town, have approached them questioning the propriety of a ballot initiative that seems to contradict Ohio Revised Code.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Gangplank to a Warm Future

New York Times

Published: July 28, 2013

ITHACA, N.Y. — MANY concerned about climate change, including President Obama, have embraced hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. In his recent climate speech, the president went so far as to lump gas with renewables as “clean energy.”

As a longtime oil and gas engineer who helped develop shale fracking techniques for the Energy Department, I can assure you that this gas is not “clean.” Because of leaks of methane, the main component of natural gas, the gas extracted from shale deposits is not a “bridge” to a renewable energy future — it’s a gangplank to more warming and away from clean energy investments.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

'Nowheresville' USA gets rich quick from fracking...but at what cost?

JUST a decade ago most Americans would probably never have heard of Williston, a quiet agricultural town in North Dakota nestling close to the border with Canada.

A workman lines up a pipe while drilling in the Bakken shale formation
Now Williston is not only on President Obama’s radar but is under the microscope of the nation in its almost unique place at the heart of the fierce debate about the gas and oil drilling process known as fracking.
While the rest of America struggles with a lack of jobs and cities such as Detroit file for bankruptcy, unemployment in Williston is virtually zero.

More ...

Groundwater Contamination Higher Near North Texas Gas Wells

Texas Observer

by  Published on 

Brian Fontenot, who earned his Ph.D. in quantitative biology from UT Arlington, worked with Kevin Schug, UT Arlington associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and a team of researchers to analyze samples from 100 private water wells
Brian Fontenot, who earned his Ph.D. in quantitative biology from UT Arlington, worked with Kevin Schug, UT Arlington associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and a team of researchers to analyze samples from 100 private water wells
Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington have found elevated levels of arsenic and other heavy metals in private drinking water wells near natural gas wells in North Texas’ Barnett Shale. The scientists analyzed samples from 100 wells, both inside and outside of the Barnett Shale. Their results were published online today in Environmental Science & Technology.

Internal EPA report highlights disputes over fracking and well water

Los Angeles Times

An EPA staff report suggests methane from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, contaminated wells near Dimock, Pa., but the agency says the water's safe to drink.

Fracking near Dimock, Pa.
A natural gas fracking operation on leased farmland near Dimock, Pa. The EPA says water from most wells in the area is still safe to drink, but critics and an internal EPA report suggest that the drilling method is causing methane contamination. (Caroline Cole / Los Angeles Times / December 27, 2011)

WASHINGTON — One year ago, the Environmental Protection Agency finished testing drinking water in Dimock, Pa., after years of complaints by residents who suspected that nearby natural gas production had fouled their wells. The EPA said that for nearly all the 64 homes whose wells it sampled, the water was safe to drink.
Yet as the regulator moved to close its investigation, the staff at the mid-Atlantic EPA office in Philadelphia, which had been sampling the Dimock water, argued for continuing the assessment.
In an internal EPA PowerPoint presentation obtained by the Tribune/Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau, staff members warned their superiors that several wells had been contaminated with methane and substances such as manganese and arsenic, most likely because of local natural gas production.

Fracking can happen to any of us

Guest opinion

By Rep. Jared Polis

For more than a decade now, I have had a small farm and weekend escape near Berthoud, north of Longmont. I really enjoyed having a quiet, private place with pristine acreage about 40 minutes from Boulder. I have grown alfalfa, tomatoes and corn, and I have even raised bees for six years, giving the honey to friends and colleagues every holiday season.

Our beautiful country house, with a pond inhabited by turtles and frogs, is a peaceful place for our family. Our two-year old son runs joyfully through the fields and "turtle" was one of his first words. A majestic crane visits us every year and nests near the pond. My Berthoud home in unincorporated Weld County has been part of our family's Colorado dream.

Jared Polis represents the 2nd Congressional District. including most of Boulder County, in the United States Congress.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ballot initiative to ban fracking garners enough signatures to move forward


Measure would ban oil and gas extraction in Lafayette, CO could invite lawsuit
Posted:   07/26/2013 01:46:16 PM MDT
Updated:   07/26/2013 06:16:05 PM MDT

Oil and gas opponents in Lafayette have collected enough valid signatures to put a fracking ban in front of voters on the November ballot, the city confirmed Friday.

Contact Camera Staff Writer John Aguilar at 303-473-1389, or

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pollution worries abound in frac sand waste streams

Article by: TONY KENNEDY , Star Tribune Updated: July 13, 2013 - 6:38 AM

In Wisconsin, frac-sand mines in Trempealeau, Buffalo and Barron counties are creating unstable piles of sand waste and illicit wastewater runoff.

In Minnesota, state health officials are studying two chemicals widely used in frac-sand processing as contaminants of “emerging concern.”

More ...

Tony Kennedy • 612-673-4213

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fracking industry cleanup workers exposed to benzene in Colorado, feds allege


Parachute Creek, Colorado
Parachute Creek

By John Upton

We told you about the drawn-out spill of 241 barrels of natural gas liquids earlier this year at a Williams Energy plant that handles fracked gas in Colorado. It turns out that Parachute Creek and its wildlife weren’t the only things exposed to cancer-causing benzene because of the accident.

John Upton is a science fan and green news boffin who tweets, posts articles toFacebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants: