Posts filed under ‘Energy’
Geezus Obama, you’re a huge disappointment:
Nine days after announcing new regulations designed to improve oil-by-rail safety, the Department of Transportation quietly weakened the rules for testing rail cars and exempted shippers of bitumen from having to meet the new regulations.
In a Feb. 25 press release, Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said all of the right things:
“Today we are raising the bar for shipping crude oil on behalf of the families and communities along rail lines nationwide —if you intend to move crude oil by rail, then you must test and classify the material appropriately.”
The industry quickly responded with a letter to Foxx letting him know that keeping families and communities safe might require them to shut down oil-by-rail shipping, which would “have an immediate and significant negative economic impact on the nation”.
Apparently this got Foxx’s attention. And the Department of Transportation did the industry’s bidding and relaxed the regulations. This time there was no press release or PR blitz touting the change.
I think this would commonly be known as blackmail.
Like I said, corporations are the government now.
I expected more of you Mr. Prez. I expected you to stand up to these tyrants who think only in terms of profits at any cost, including the lives of We the People.
Oh, and in looking for a photo to add to this post, I came across these inconvenient facts:
January 25, 2014: Accidents Surge as Oil Industry Takes the Train
But, according to the Obama administration: Oh well!
From Seattle’s King5.com:
The state of Washington is preparing to take the most aggressive action in four years against the U.S. Department of Energy for the federal government’s failure to adhere to waste laws and legally binding cleanup schedules at the Hanford ["nuclear reservation"] Site – a sign of state officials’ growing frustration with lack of progress in the decades-long nuclear waste cleanup.
On Friday, the state Department of Ecology ordered a new, faster timetable for pumping out a massive double-shell waste tank — designated AY-102 — that is slowly leaking highly radioactive waste. Next week, the state will communicate to the Department of Energy and the Department of Justice that the government is in violation of the 2010 consent decree governing the Hanford cleanup…
The order issued Friday deals specifically with AY-102, a massive waste tank that has been at the center of a year-long KING 5 investigation, Hanford’s Dirty Secrets. KING 5 exposed the government’s contractor in charge of the tanks, Washington River Protection Solutions, ignored scientific evidence for nearly a year that the tank was leaking.
The thing I find the most outrageous:
According to a plan released on March 7, the federal government said it would not begin pumping the leaking double-shell tank until 2016 at the earliest. State and federal waste laws require leaking tanks to be emptied within 24 hours or whatever is practical.
I guess we’re supposed to believe that, after ten or so years of this Hanford disaster going nowhere, 2016 is as fast as is “practical” to pump out that leaking tank.
You won’t hear about this in the corporate media because the corporate media has unilaterally decided to ignore We the People but an estimated 4,000 We the People demonstrated in Sacramento and surrounded the capitol building today urging Governor Jerry Brown to ban fracking in the state:
My favorite sign? Keep the oil in the soil. Love it.
Wow, Brad Wieners, the Executive Editor of Bloomberg / BusinessWeek is out with an editorial urging President Obama not to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
The first two paragraphs cut to the quick (though I could do without the part about Justin Beiber):
Give Me One Good Reason Obama Should Approve Keystone XL
Really, there could be two:
1. President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and economic growth-focused Washington want China as America’s new BFF and plan to let Beijing know by offering up an energy supply from our friends to the North.
2. Obama, Kerry, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper have worked out a quid pro quo. The Yanks will accept a pipe carrying toxic sludge through America’s bread basket so long as Canada takes over counterterrorism in Afghanistan, sends peacekeepers to Ukraine, and Harper himself places Justin Bieber under house arrest so he can’t tour in the lower 48.
Those are such short-term, short-sighted reasons to approve the pipeline. Just sad.
Ah, yes, We the Little People who live near fracking wells and drink water contaminated by them should be so lucky as to have pockets lined with $1000 bills so we can afford to fight against having our environment trashed by, wait for it, Exxon!
For an example of hyper-elitism, NIMBYism, and the arrogance of the corporatocracy and the 1%ers, you’ve gotta read this:
On Tuesday, February 11, a gas well about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh, PA erupted in flames:
State environmental officials and expert firefighters brought in by Chevron monitored a burning Marcellus Shale natural gas well on Wednesday.
The well, about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh in Dunkard Township, erupted into flames on Tuesday morning, injuring one worker and leaving one still unaccounted for. State Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Jon Poister said Wednesday night that the fire had partly extinguished itself due to moisture from inside the well. It will take time for multiple investigations to determine the cause.
Yesterday, Chevron dropped off coupons for free pizza to their “neighbors” in the area in an effort to placate them (and it’ll probably work):
It isn’t about energy, it’s about money:
If you thought shale gas was a nightmare, you ain’t seen nothing yet. A subterranean world of previously ignored reserves is about to be opened up. These are the vast coal deposits that have proved unreachable by conventional mining, along with gas deposits around them. To the horror of anyone concerned about climate change, modern miners want to set fire to these deep coal seams and capture the gases this creates for industry and power generation. Some say this will provide energy security for generations to come. Others warn that it is a whole new way to fry the planet.
Some 300 metres beneath the plains east of Tashkent, Stalin’s engineers and their successors have been burning a seam of brown coal that can’t be mined conventionally. There are two well heads on the surface: one pumps air down to fan the flames while the other retrieves a million cubic metres of combustion gases a day. Scrubbed of coal dust, cooled and compressed on site, the gases are then sent down a pipeline that snakes across the countryside to a sprawling power station on the outskirts of the industrial town of Angren, where they are burned to generate electricity.
Without a way to capture all the carbon and store it out of harm’s way, it could raise the world’s temperature by 10 degrees or more. Is this burning desire for fossil fuel pushing us towards disaster?
Report: Fracking Raising Aater Supply Worries
The USA’s domestic energy boom is increasing demands on water supplies already under pressure from drought and growing populations, a new report says.
The water-intensive process used to extract oil and gas from shale underground — known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking — has required almost 100 billion gallons of water to drill more than 39,000 oil and shale gas wells in the U.S. since 2011, says Ceres, a green investment group.
More than half of those wells — 55% — were in drought-stricken areas, and nearly half were in regions under high or extremely high water stress, such as Texas, the report says.
Yeah, you read that right. Fracking has consumed “almost 100 billion gallons of [fresh] water” in two years and belched it out as chemical-laden toxic crap.
I guarantee you won’t see this on the corporate media tonight:
Happening today at 6:33 p.m. ET:
And there’s this tidbit about We the People having the right to assemble:
(1) The corporatocracy is out of control and, (2) what price are we willing to pay to maintain our dependence on oil (never mind what fracking’s doing to us).
More crude oil was spilled in U.S. rail incidents last year than was spilled in the nearly four decades since the federal government began collecting data on such spills, an analysis of the data shows.
Including major derailments in Alabama and North Dakota, more than 1.15 million gallons of crude oil was spilled from rail cars in 2013, according to data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
By comparison, from 1975 to 2012, U.S. railroads spilled a combined 800,000 gallons of crude oil. The spike underscores new concerns about the safety of such shipments as rail has become the preferred mode for oil producers amid a North American energy boom.
This morning I came across this:
ALEC Plans Massive Environmental Attack for 2014
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has a big year ahead of them, as they attempt to dismantle a slew of environmental protections from state to state. More specifically, the corporate front group is hoping to pass dirty energy friendly legislation to ease the rules for electric utilities.
From state to state, ALEC is drafting legislation that would cut renewable energy, increase dependence on coal and dismantle energy efficiency standards.
And then I remembered reading about this a few days ago:
[Colorado's "Democratic"] Governor Hickenlooper has chosen Glenn Vaad, a former state representative from Weld County, as the newest of the three-member Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Mr. Vaad is no friend of clean energy for Colorado—his voting record allied primarily with the fossil fuel industry at the expense of Colorado’s clean energy economy. Mr. Vaad is also a former high-ranking member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a powerful corporate lobbying group whose members include Koch Industries and others pushing state legislatures to turn back the clock on adoption of renewable energy in Colorado and elsewhere.
If a so-called Democratic governor is appointing “former high-ranking” members of ALEC to state boards — any board — we’re doomed. Seriously. It illustrates the fact that this isn’t about Republicans versus Democrats anymore — they’re all being corrupted — it’s about the corporatocracy and the monied class against the rest of us.
WELD COUNTY, Colo. – Last month, the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program saw a record number of hawks hit by cars, specifically in one area of Weld County.
Rehabilitation coordinator Michael Tincher told 7NEWS a total of 10 birds were hit by cars. Seven of those were rough legged hawks.
Tincher drives the area routinely and said on any given day there are dozens of trucks using that corridor. While many of the species that live in the area, like the red tailed hawk have adapted, the rough legged hawks have not.
Rough legged hawks migrate south every winter from the Arctic. These hawks are not used to dense populations with heavy traffic.
“Due to their hunting style, they hunt low across the ground and they come from up above Canada, up in the Arctic low grasslands.They don’t have the same type of hazards that we have down here, like vehicular traffic.”
For the past three decades, Oklahoma averaged about 50 earthquakes a year. But that number has skyrocketed in the past few years. In 2013 — the state’s most seismically active year ever — there were almost 3,000.
The quakes are small, and they’re concentrated in the central part of the state, where the Erwins live.
Amanda Erwin says that even on a clear day, she knows something’s up when the thunder begins: The chandelier swings, and the walls and bed start rumbling. Her husband, Keith, says the earthquakes remind him of the artillery he used to hear growing up near a military base. And when the sound and shaking fade, the game starts.
“That doesn’t mean that there’s going to be a large earthquake tomorrow, or next month, or next year even. But those probabilities are up very substantially,” says , senior science adviser for earthquake and geologic hazards at the USGS.
He says there’s linking Oklahoma’s earthquakes to the state’s large oil and gas industry. When they drill, toxic fluid from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and other types of drilling is injected deep underground. That can change pressures near fault lines, says , a seismologist at Cornell University.
“We can show that it’s quite reasonable that water flowing from these wells is actually triggering these earthquakes,” Keranen says.
And there’s this:
At next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Ford will be displaying a solar-powered concept car that the company says can get the same performance from using a day’s worth of sunlight as the plug-in hybrid gets in a four-hour battery charge.
According to Ford, the vehicle’s estimated combined city-highway mileage is 100 mpg, and an average driver will be able to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by about four metric tons. With a range of 620 miles, including 21 electric-only miles, Ford said that three-quarters of all trips made by normal drivers could be powered by the sun.
Tongue-in-cheek but dead serious:
The growing fracking industry is “yielding gushers” of campaign donations for congressional candidates—particularly Republicans from districts with fracking activity—according to a new report from the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
The report, “Natural Cash: How the Fracking Industry Fuels Congress,” examines data compiled by MapLight covering a period spanning from 2004 to 2012. In that time, CREW finds, contributions from companies that operate hydraulic fracturing wells and fracking-related industry groups rose 180 percent, from $4.3 million nine years ago to about $12 million in the last election cycle.
Rep. Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas, was head and shoulders above his fellow candidates in donations from the fracking industry. Barton accepted more than half a million dollars—$100,000 more than any other candidate. In the past, he chaired the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and he sponsored legislation in 2005 to exempt the fracking industry from the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Check out Barton’s Wikipedia page. Scroll down and read the paragraph titled: “Barton Family Foundation.” What a piece of work this guy is. He probably thinks of himself as a good Christian too.
Liz Sidoti, AP’s National Political Editor, Moving to BP to Become Head of (Ahem) “US Communications”
The folks at British Petroleum (BP), you know, the people who destroyed the Gulf of Mexico, think Liz Sidoti, the Associated Press’s national political editor is so good at spin, they’ve hired her to be the head of “U.S. communications.”
Got that? Sidoti is supposedly in the news business, you know, as in honesty and facts. But BP, which has launched a massive operation to demonize victims of its calamitous 2011 Deepwater Horizon disaster, thinks she’s so good at what she does — BP isn’t into honesty and facts — she caught their eye and they offered her a job. Oh, and she took it.
Ah yes. Liz Sidoti: A Dedicated bearer of the truth? Clearly not. If she were, (1) BP wouldn’t have offered the job and (2) she wouldn’t have accepted.
P.S. This is the first time I’ve seen Liz’s Twitter photo. Unprofessional or what? I mean, is this acceptable at the AP too?
The most destructive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico ever, after which people and animals are still suffering is mesmerizingly beautiful?
Really? Is that where we are? Is that what we’ve become? People who see beauty in oil spills?
New White House Adviser Forced to Recuse Himself From the Keystone LX Pipeline Issue Because He’s AGAINST It
The Big Question: If a newly-appointed adviser to President Obama is forced to recuse himself from the Keystone XL pipeline issue because he’s against it, why aren’t advisers and others who are for it made to recuse themselves too?
(I met John Podesta in July, 2004 at the premiere of Outfoxed at The New School in New York City. I don’t think the guy has an ounce of fat on his body. He must be a runner.)
The electricity has been off at my house for roughly three hours today. (That’s what it’s like in Baghdad.)
This is Al waiting for it to come on:
Xcel’s gas was out at my brother’s house for roughly 48 hours over the weekend. The temps were in the below zeros.
Xcel doesn’t want to invest in infrastructure and nobody’s saying it should. It wants to steer its profits to the execs and shareholders and our tax laws are structured such that they can; they encourage them to do that (thanks bought-and-sold congress).
Meanwhile, Al and I wait…
Pray tell I’ll have time to look into the subsidies I’m paying for this piece of shit “public utility.”
Love how that label has stuck.
What a lie.
Imagine spending $8 trillion on solar power here in the U.S. which we wouldn’t have to spend billions “guarding” every year:
It has cost the United States $8 trillion to provide military security in the Gulf since 1976. According to Roger Stern, a Princeton economist, the US has spent as much on Gulf security as it spent on the entire Cold War with the Soviet Union! In recent years through 2010 it has been $400 billion a year, though the US withdrawal from Iraq at the end of 2011 and the gradual withdrawal from Afghanistan this year and next presumably means that the figure is substantially reduced. Still, we have bases in Kuwait, Qatar and elsewhere, and a Naval HQ in Bahrain, none of which is cheap. If it were $200 billion a year, that is a fair chunk of the budget deficit the Republican Party keeps complaining about. And if we could get that $8 trillion back, it would pay down half of the national debt.
And shame on our so-called leaders for not talking about cutting some of this expense instead of food stamps for the poor.
Oh, and this is what just one trillion dollars looks like. Multiply this by eight and you have an idea how much we’re spending guarding our oil.
Oh, brother (throws up arms, faces the ceiling and shakes her damn head):
The man in charge of the clean-up at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant says growing stores of contaminated water from the site will eventually have to be dumped into the sea.
In an exclusive interview with the ABC, the chairman of the Fukushima Monitoring Committee, Dale Klein, has also admitted there are likely to be more blunders and slip-ups at the plant in the months and years to come.
“I think the best word to use with Fukushima is challenging,” the former chief nuclear watchdog in the US said.
Since the 2011 earthquake and ensuing tsunami sparked the nuclear disaster, TEPCO has been pouring millions of litres of water onto Fukushima’s reactors to try and keep them cool.
That radioactive water is now being stored in tanks at the site but already thousands of litres have leaked into the Pacific Ocean.
Mr Klein says the biggest challenge for TEPCO is dealing with these ever-growing volumes of contaminated water being stored at Fukushima.
He believes that after the water is treated and stripped of most radioactive elements, it will be safe to dump into the Pacific.
Riiight. If you’ve been following this story like I have, you know TEPCO is just about the most incompetent company on the face of the Earth. That said, I smell a scandal brewing as in, 15 years from now, oops, what? We forgot to “strip” 95% of the radioactivity from that water?
So, the oil and gas industry thinks what citizens want — and vote for — doesn’t much matter:
A mandatory recount on Broomfield’s anti-fracking measure confirmed voters approved a five-year moratorium on the oil and gas drilling practice, but the future of the measure still hangs in the balance because of a lawsuit filed Tuesday night by a pro-fracking group. The suit alleges Broomfield did not correctly conduct the election.
Meanwhile, on the same day suit was filed against Broomfield for the way the election was conducted, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association brought suits against Lafayette and Fort Collins for fracking bans passed by voters in those communities.
Another reason to loathe these corporations who think the planet itself is theirs to be mined and sold off in bits and pieces for their private gain.
Geezus can we please, please, please ween ourselves off of oil already:
BP is leading an industry-wide push to develop technology that can retrieve oil from formations that are so deep under the sea floor, and under such high pressure and temperature, that conventional equipment would melt or be crushed by the conditions.
One BP field in the Gulf of Mexico, called Tiber, makes the Macondo field that the Deepwater Horizon rig was probing look like simple puddle of oil. It is thought to hold twenty times the amount of oil as Macondo. At 35,000 feet below the sea floor _ 6.6 miles into the earth’s crust _ it is about twice as deep.
There’s an extraordinary amount of oil in similar discoveries around the world, several of which are controlled by BP. But BP first must figure out how to get it. New equipment, including blowout preventers far stronger than the one that failed on the Deepwater Horizon, must be developed. Then BP must convince regulators it can tap this oil safely.
Another disaster could threaten BP’s existence, but success could restore the company’s fortunes _ and perhaps its reputation. “There’s 10 to 20 billion barrels of oil just for BP in this,” says Kevin Kennelly, who runs BP’s global technology operations. At today’s prices, that’s worth up to $2 trillion.
$2 trillion and the potential destruction of the environment but oh well, money’s all that matters.
We are insane.
Republicans at work, killing stuff, which they’re so good at:
Usually when energy development moves into deeper waters to harness marine energy resources, coastal residents have nightmares of risky technology and oil spills.
But not when that development means floating wind turbines.
Statoil, the Norwegian-based oil and gas company, received approval from the United Kingdom’s Crown Estate to build five floating wind turbines in 100 meters of water off the coast of Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Combined, they will generate 30 megawatts of energy, and the planned hub will be the largest in Europe.
Offshore wind is big in Europe, but turbines are limited to shallow waters (around 60 meters) because the pylons that support them have to be blasted into the seabed. Floating turbines, however, just require a few cables to keep the floating shaft in one spot, and they can be installed in water as deep at 700 meters.
Statoil successfully demonstrated the world’s first floating turbine off the coast of Norway in 2009. In October, Statoil pulled the plug on a $120 million project off the coast of Maine due to regulatory uncertainty. Republican Governor Paul LePage had long opposed the project, which would have made his state a center of global offshore wind innovation, and pushed a law through the legislature that forced a delay in the negotiations over Statoil’s contract.
Wow. Astonishingly shortsighted on LePage’s part but of course he’s got to be loyal to his oil energy masters. Not only that, I’m sure this project would have created a lot, lot, lot of jobs and isn’t that what Republicans are always squawking about?
Remember back in late March when an Exxon oil pipeline burst and spilled gooey oil all over a residential neighborhood in Mayflower, Arkansas? Here are some pics.
Fast forward seven months and man-oh-man, the once tight community has been torn apart:
Eight months after an ExxonMobil pipeline leaked Canadian oil across an Arkansas subdivision, a cloud of uncertainty looms large over the young families, singles and retirees who chose the affordable, decade-old Northwoods neighborhood to establish roots. Nearly half of them have put their houses up for sale in search of a fresh start they never wanted.
“The area is blanketed with ‘For Sale’ signs,” said April Lane, a community health advocate who has worked with the spill victims. Twenty-nine of the development’s 62 homes have either been sold to Exxon under its buy-out program or are on the open market.
Some people were forced to sell because oil settled in their homes’ foundations, where removing it is nearly impossible. Others chose to leave because of fears about potential health effects and the marketability of their properties. Those who are staying aren’t necessarily doing so by choice: Many don’t have enough equity to afford a down payment on a new home in another suburb, according to local real estate brokers.
The upheaval has torn at the fabric of the once tight-knit central Arkansas neighborhood, where barbecues were regularly held and neighbors watched after each other’s kids, who played in Northwoods’ three cul-de-sacs and five streets. Ryan Senia, a 30-year-old bachelor who bought his Northwoods home in 2009, said it was either sell to Exxon now or risk “holding onto that thing forever.”
“It’s like selling a salvaged car—nobody wants to buy it.”
The subdivision was thrust into this position on March 29, when 5,000 barrels of oil spewed out of Exxon’s 65-year-old Pegasus pipeline. Twenty-two homes were evacuated, almost one-third of the Northwoods development.
The leaked oil was from Alberta’s tar sands region, similar to the diluted bitumen (dilbit) that would flow through the controversial Keystone XL project, if it’s built.
Really sad and entirely avoidable. Who the hell approved the construction of a subdivision on top of an oil pipeline?
Few if any even knew that an oil pipeline was buried under their lawns.
SMDH. This is really upsetting. It’s a case of the House of Representatives voting 100% against the interests of We the People and in favor of corporations that pollute the planet:
On Wednesday, the House passed a bill that will block the Department of the Interior (DOI) from regulating fracking in states that already have regulations in place. The bill, H.R. 2728, passed the House in a 235 – 187 vote. Twelve Democrats voted in favor of the legislation and two Republicans voted against it.
“Hydraulic fracturing has been safely and effectively regulated by states for decades,” said Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), according to The Hill. “So the Obama administration’s proposed regulations are unnecessary.”
On Tuesday, Hastings added a last-minute amendment to another piece of oil and gas industry-friendly legislation that was also passed by the House on Wednesday. His amendment to the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act cuts government funding for renewable energy projects by 50 percent.
If there is a God and if there is a Heaven and a Hell, Rep. Hastings will go to hell. He wants to cut government funding for renewable energy projects by 50 percent (as do his 234 colleagues who voted in favor) when we’re on the cusp of tipping into irreversible global warming? I don’t think God takes kindly to people who want to destroy our lovely planet and everything on it.
Here’s a graph showing the number of minutes the cable “news” outlets devoted to climate change between April 1 and August 13 this year. Note the stars on O’Reilly’s and Hannity’s shows. Those stars mean the coverage was dismissive of climate change (natch - hey, we’re talkin’ Fox).
Oh, and CNN is supposedly a flaming liberal channel, right? It looks like Erin Burnett’s show, OutFront, devoted about four minutes to the issue while Anderson Cooper didn’t touch it. Liberal? What a joke that is.
What a sorry state of affairs.
SAN FRANCISCO, Ca. (November 21, 2013)–The public is outraged more indigenous wild horses will be rounded up and permanently removed from public land to grab water and frack the land. Protect Mustangs is calling for protests to stand up for the American mustang and a tourism boycott targeted at Wyoming who promotes ”Roam Free” in their marketing yet ignores the wild horse. 700 Adobe Town and Salt Wells herds will be rounded up from the public-private land known as the “Checkerboard” starting this week. The majority will live in captivity, be at-risk for going to slaughter and forever lose their freedom to roam.
“Fracking for oil and gas is polluting the environment and wiping out America’s wild horses,” states Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “It’s time for clean energy that can coexist with wildlife.”
Amen, amen, amen to that.
After watching this video — Fukushima: Beyond Urgent — I’d say what’s happening at Fukushima these days should be reported on way more than it is, as in not at all (thanks “liberal media!”).
Words from the last frame:
Nothing like this has ever been attempted. All of humanity will be threatened for 1,000s of years if rods in Unit 4 pools touch during removal process.
See links to more info about Fukushima here (scroll down).