Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fracking News

Treatment Plants Accused of Illegally Disposing Radioactive Fracking Wastewater
A Pennsylvania industrial wastewater treatment plant has been illegally accepting oil and gas wastewater and polluting the Allegheny river with radioactive waste and other pollutants, according Clean Water Action, which announced today that it is suing the plant.
“Waste Treatment Corporation has been illegally discharging oil and gas wastewater since at least 2003, and continues to discharge such wastewater without authorization under the Clean Water Act and the Clean Streams Law,” the notice of intent to sue delivered by Clean Water Action reads.
State officials also discovered that the sediments immediately downstream from the plant were tainted with high levels of radium-226, radium-228 and uranium. Those particular radioactive elements are known to be found at especially high levels in wastewater from Marcellus shale gas drilling and fracking, and state regulators have warned that the radioactive materials would tend to accumulate in river sediment downstream from plants accepting Marcellus waste. Read more at EcoWatch.

Fracking Debris Ten Times Too Radioactive for Hazardous Waste Landfill
A truck carrying cuttings from a Pennsylvania fracking site was quarantined at a hazardous-waste landfill and sent back after its contents triggered a radiation alarm showing the load was emitting 96 microrem of radiation per hour; the landfill rejects waste with levels above 10 microrems. The radioactive material from a site in the Marcellus Shale formation was radium 226, a common contaminant from the decay of uranium-238 that tends to accumulate in bone and can get into water. Officials said “everything was by the book in this case" because the alarm went off as designed; the fracking operators can now either re-apply at that landfill or take their deadly waste to an out-of-state facility that accepts it - and yes, they exist. The scariest thing here: Pennsylvania, which is currently studying radiation contamination associated with fracking wells, claims to be the only state that even requires landfills to monitor radiation levels.

Read more at Common Dreams

Radioactive waste rejected by Pa. hauled to Idaho
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection says containers of radioactive drilling waste rejected by a southwestern Pennsylvania landfill have been hauled to a U.S. Ecology site in Idaho for safe disposal.
Read more Here.

Fate of 200,000 public fracking comments unclear 
ALBANY — New York's proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing drew an unprecedented response in January, when more than 200,000 comments were submitted by the public to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Seven months later, the fate of those comments is unknown, with the DEC refusing to say whether it will respond to the concerns raised in the submissions or allow them to sit unanswered.
Read more at Press Connects

Oil and Gas Spills: Many mishaps among drillers, but few fines 
If Kristi Mogen causes a crash on the road, she knows she'll probably get a ticket and have to pay a fine. 
So she's frustrated that Wyoming officials didn't fine Chesapeake Energy Corp. for an April 2012 well blowout near her home outside Douglas, Wyo. The ruptured gas well spewed gas and chemicals for three days, forcing her and her neighbors to evacuate their homes.
Read more at EnergyWire News.

FRAC Act Re-introduced to Senate
Amid widespread fears that the boom in fracking for natural gas poses a growing array of environmental threats, some members of Congress are making a new effort to reverse a 2005 law that exempted the industry from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Read more at Environmental Working Group.

Ohio lawmakers who oppose fracking tax have gotten lots of money from frackers 
Oil and gas companies have been on a fracking spree in Ohio for a couple of years now, but they’re not bringing many jobs to the state, so Republican Gov. John Kasich has been trying to get them to give back in another way: via a fracking tax. Read more at Grist.

Methane leaks may burst natural-gas bubble
President Obama’s climate-change plan calls for a closer look at the scope of leaks from gas wells, pipelines and compressor plants. Depending on what is found, new regulations could be imposed.

Duke University researcher Rob Jackson trolled through Washington, D.C., searching for evidence that natural gas is not quite the climate champion President Obama claimed last month.
He was replicating a study he did in Boston, measuring leaks from creaky natural-gas pipes. In addition to being a possible safety risk, methane, the key component of natural gas, is 25 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide. And leaks may undercut much of the climate benefits of gas.
Read more at The Seattle Times.

Former Mobil VP Warns of Fracking and Climate Change 
Few people can explain gas and oil drilling with as much authority as Louis W. Allstadt. As an executive vice president of Mobil Oil who ran the company's exploration and production operations in the western hemisphere before he retired in 2000.
Allstadt has become an indispensable guide for one of the country's most powerful environmental movements, New York's grass-roots anti-fracking resistance. Recently he was elected a Cooperstown Trustee.
"The fracking that's going on right now is the real wake-up call on just what extreme lengths are required to pull oil or gas out of the ground now that most of the conventional reservoirs have been exploited - at least those that are easy to access," Allstadt said. Read more at TruthOut.

Gas drillers cancel lease with NE Pa. landowners
Two energy companies are pulling out of northeastern Pennsylvania, where a three-year moratorium on gas drilling has infuriated landowners who say it’s now cost them a windfall of more than $187 million. 
Hess Corp. and Newfield Exploration Co. sent a letter to landowners that notified them their leases are no longer in effect, according to the Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance, which negotiated a master lease on behalf of more than 1,300 families and businesses. Read more at Ithaca Journal

Art installation brings you face to face with fracking 
Fracking hell or fracking bliss? Fracking Futures, an art installation at Liverpool's FACT gallery, gives visitors a chance to decide what they think of this controversial gas extraction technique. Its miniaturised fracking "rig" simulates the sounds, tremors and flames that a real one might produce, and appears to drill right through the gallery floor.
Read more at New Scientist.

Videos: Exclusive interviews of Josh Fox on The Daily Show
Part 1, "Gasland Part II" director Josh Fox disputes the idea that natural gas is a boon for the environment.  (06:39)
Part 2, Josh Fox argues that government regulatory agencies are in the natural gas industry's pocket.  (04:25)
Part 3, Fox warns against the natural gas industry's tendency to address engineering problems with PR solutions.  (04:30)

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