Posted on October 17, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A fracking boom near national parks has already degraded air quality and fragmented wildlife habitat around some of the country’s most cherished public lands. @bberwyn photo.
Agency acknowledges potential for adverse impacts to park values
The recent surge in fossil fuel exploitation on public lands near national parks has raised serious concerns about air quality, wildlife and scenic values — to the point that the National Parks Conservation Association outlined threats in a report a few years ago.
Now, the National Park Service wants to tackle some of the concerns by updating drilling regulations. The proposal would revise current rules that are 36 years old, predating the modern fracking area. The agency hopes the update will give the fossil fuel industry more certainty, improve the agency’s ability to protect park resources and the values for which the parks were set aside, and protect visitors from potentially adverse impacts associated with fossil fuel development. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, national parks, oil drilling, public lands, Uncategorized | Tagged: fracking, National park fracking rules, national parks, oil and gas drilling, public lands | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 16, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Arctic Ocean oil and gas drilling is off the table for now.
Feds also deny requests for extension of current leases
Drilling for oil and gas in the U.S. slice of the Arctic Ocean is a no-go for the foreseeable future, federal officials said this week, canceling plans for future lease sales and denying extension requests for existing leases.
Citing market conditions and low industry interest, the U.S. Department of the Interior said it’s canceling two potential Arctic offshore lease sales scheduled under the current five-year offshore oil and gas leasing program. The decision comes on the heals of Shell’s announcement to halt exploration in the Chukchi Sea. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate change, energy, Environment, gas drilling, global warming, oil drilling | Tagged: Arctic, Arctic Ocean drilling leases canceled, climate change, energy, Environment, oil and gas | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 8, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Finding common ground on proposed new oil and gas drilling rules won’t be easy based on initial comments. @bberwyn photo.
Industry, community groups both criticize meek draft regulations
New rules proposed by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission are drawing fire from both the industry, which says the proposed regulations go far beyond what was recommended by an advisory panel that met last summer, and by some citizen groups, who claim rules leave the door wide-open to large-scale fracking operations near homes and schools.
The proposed rules specifically address recommendations made by the Colorado Oil and Gas Task Force related to the size of oil and gas extraction and processing facilities, requirements for advance disclosure of drilling plans and the ability of local communities to help determine locations through a consultation process. The proposed rules are posted here. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Colorado, energy, Environment, fracking, oil and gas | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Regulatory hurdles cited as part of the reason for decision
Shell Oil is giving up on drilling for oil in the Chukchi Sea.
One of Shell’s Arctic mishaps came in 2012, when a drilling rig escaped its tow ships and ran aground. Photo via U.S. Coast Guard.
By Bob Berwyn
Shell Oil’s hotly contested Arctic oil-drilling operation will shut down for the foreseeable future, the multinational fossil fuel company announced today, drawing sighs of relief from environmental advocates who had described the exploration efforts in apocalyptic terms.
The company’s efforts have been stop-and-go for a long time. In 2013, for example, Shell announced a temporary pause in the program after a string of incidents, including failed tests of oil spill containment gear, runaway ships and notices for violations of environmental regulations. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, energy, Environment, oil drilling | Tagged: Chukchi Sea, climate change, energy, Environment, Shell Arctic drilling | 2 Comments »
Posted on September 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Increasing U.S. oil exports seen as environmental threat by conservation groups.
Conservation groups say recent increases may be illegal
Conservation activists want to know why U.S. oil exports have been increasing despite a Congressional ban. According to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and ForestEthics, exports increased from 44,000 barrels per day in 2009 to 351,000 barrels per day in 2014.
The lawsuit challenges the Bureau of Industry and Security, an agency within the Department of Commerce, for withholding documents related to its oil-export approval process. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, global warming, oil drilling | Tagged: climate change, Environment, oil drilling, oil exports | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 5, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Mule deer populations in northwest Colorado have taken a bit hit from energy development
‘Just pointing fingers at the energy industry is not a helpful solution to this difficult issue’
FRISCO — A recent study showing that energy development in northwest Colorado significantly affects wildlife habitat drew national attention, and a curious reaction from Colorado’s wildlife agency, which seemed to be apologizing on behalf of the energy industry.
The study showed that the region’s dwindling mule deer population shies well away from active drilling, to a distance of at least 800 meters. Deer displayed more nuanced responses to other infrastructure, avoiding pads with active production and roads to a greater degree during the day than night.
When they added up the impacts, the researchers found that the responses equate to alteration of mule deer behavior by human development in more than 50 percent of the critical winter range in the study area during the day and over 25 percent at night. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: Colorado, energy, fossil fuels, fracking, habitat fragmentation, Mule deer | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 30, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Marine conservation advocates say new seismic airgun blasting in the Arctic Ocean threatens whales and other marine life. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Seismic blasting east of Greenland raises concerns about impacts to marine mammals
FRISCO — The Arctic Ocean north of Alaska isn’t the only area increasingly at risk from oil and gas exploitation. Oil companies are exploring the seabed off the eastern coast of Greenland, and the seismic blasting is likely harm whales and other marine life.
Oil companies use seismic equipment to map underground oil and gas reserves with airguns that emit 259 decibel blasts, a sound intensity would be perceived by humans as approximately eight times louder than a jet engine taking off. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, energy, Environment, gas drilling, Marine biology, ocean conservation, oil drilling | Tagged: Arctic Ocean, energy, Environment, marine mammals, narwhals, seismic blasting | 1 Comment »