Posted on November 24, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Greater sage-grouse need buffer zones to reduce impacts from human activities. Photo via USGS.
New USGS report details conservation needs of dwindling western birds
FRISCO — It may seem like there are a lot of wide open spaces remaining in the interior West, but when you add up impacts from roads, highways and pipelines; oil, gas, wind and solar energy development; tall structures such as electrical, communication and meteorological towers, it’s just too much for sage grouse.
The birds — at the heart of a classic endangered species political battle, need quiet areas to breed and fledge their chicks. In most cases, they seem to need at least a three-mile buffer from the most impactful activities, the U.S. Geological Survey concluded in a new report. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, fracking, Greater sage-grouse, sage grouse buffers | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 11, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Can walruses survive global warming and Arctic oil drilling? Photo courtesy NOAA.
Conservation groups challenge federal rules on ‘incidental take’
FRISCO — Conservation groups this week opened another front in their ongoing battle to block irresponsible fossil fuel exploitation in the Arctic. Represented by Earthjustice, wildlife advocates and Native Americans went to court to block a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule that would allow oil companies to harm Pacific walruses.
According to the lawsuit, the rule puts the at-risk mammals under more environmental pressure by allowing drilling in key walrus foraging areas in the Chukchi Sea, where walruses depend on the ice for resting, raising their young, feeding, and avoiding predators. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Arctic oil drilling, biodiversity, Environment, walruses | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 30, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
New oil and gas drilling set to start in National Petroleum Reserve. Map courtesy BLM.
Conservation groups say new road will hammer wetlands, tundra and wildlife
FRISCO — A new Bureau of Land Management plan for fossil fuel exploitation in Alaska has spurred criticism from environment groups, who say that a road included in the proposal will permanently damage the Western Arctic’s sensitive wetlands and tundra, with impacts to wildlife and subsistence values.
The BLM plan covers the Greater Mooses Tooth Unit 1 project in the 23 million acre National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, also known as the Western Arctic Reserve, more than half of which is potentially open to oil and gas leasing. Conservation advocates are calling for more careful study of drilling impacts to ensure that the wildlife, subsistence and wilderness character of our nation’s largest parcel of public land are balanced with energy development. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Alaska, BLM, Bureau of Land management, Environment, Mooses Tooth Unit 1, National Petroleum Reserve, public lands | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 28, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A NASA satellite view shows oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster spreading across the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.
“Oily particles were raining down around these deep sea corals …’
FRISCO — More than four years after the disastrous failure of BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig sent about 5 million barrels of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, a team of scientists said they’ve found a 1,250-square mile fallout zone, where some of the oil settled to the sea floor in a thin layer.
The researchers, from the University of California, Santa Barbara, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of California, Irvine sampled 534 locations during 12 expeditions in Gulf and collected more than 3,000 samples, finding that the oil is concentrated in the top half-inch of the sea floor. Continue reading
Filed under: BP Gulf oil spill, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Deepwater horizon oil spill, Environment, Gulf of Mexico | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 25, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Feds finalizing oil and gas development plan for 100,000 acres of public land
FRISCO — If it sometimes feels like fracking is closing in wherever you look, it’s because it is. One of the latest arenas for fossil fuel exploitation is on the Pawnee National Grasslands, in northeastern Colorado, described by the U.S. Forest Service as the country’s last remaining shortgrass prairie. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Colorado, fracking, oil and gas drilling, Pawnee National Grasslands, public lands, split estate, U.S. Forest Service | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 22, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Signs of oil and gas development are visible on a landscape level from 35,000 feet in the air.
Stable tracers can help pinpoint ground and surface water contamination
FRISCO — There’s more and more evidence that fracking wastewater can — and sometimes does — pollute ground and surface water, but it’s not always easy to trace the pollution, especially since drillers often keep secret their fracking fluid recipes.
But after field tests at a spill site in West Virginia and downstream from an oil and gas brine wastewater treatment plant in Pennsylvania, scientists say they can reliably identify hydraulic fracturing flowback fluids that have been spilled or released into the environment by using stable boron and lithium tracers that distinctive chemical fingerprints. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Environment, fracking, groundwater pollution, water quality | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 21, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
EPA challenged on decision to designate polluted region as unclassifiable
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Environmental advocates and the EPA are facing off in a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. today over air quality in Utah’s remote Uinta Basin, where ozone levels often exceed standards set to protect human health.
In a weird twist to the case, the fossil fuel industry is claiming that its own air pollution data is of poor quality and unreliable, and shouldn’t be used by the EPA to designate the Uinta Basin as a nonattainment area, despite the fact that the area regularly sees some of the highest ozone pollution levels in the country.
At issue in the oral arguments is the EPA’s refusal to designate the Uinta Basin as a nonattainment area despite monitoring showing serious air quality degradation in northeastern Utah. The EPA’s decision to designate the area as unclassifiable is a clear violation of the Clean Air Act, according to WildEarth Guardians, one of the groups involved in the case. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, fracking, oil and gas drilling, ozone, public health, Uinta Basin | 1 Comment »