Posted on October 12, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds targeted for restoration
A NASA satellite image shows the oil slick from the Deepwater Horizon disaster spreading across the northern Gulf of Mexico in late May, 2010.
FRISCO — Nearly four years after BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling operation disastrously failed and spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, NOAA and its partners have finalized a $627 million restoration plan. The formal record of decision released last week authorizes 44 projects to restore barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds.
This announcement marks the largest suite of Gulf early restoration projects selected thus far in the wake of the 2010 oil spill. The projects aim to address a range of injuries to natural resources and the subsequent loss of recreational use. Details of restoration efforts are outlined in the Final Programmatic and Phase III Early Restoration Plan and Early Restoration Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, BP Gulf oil spill, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Deepwater Horizon, Environment, Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Mexico restoration, oil pollution, oil spills | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 10, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
‘From space, there are no hiding places …’
The Four Corners area (red) is the major U.S. hot spot for methane emissions in this map showing how much emissions varied from average background concentrations from 2003-2009 (dark colors are lower than average; lighter colors are higher).
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Michigan.
FRISCO — The Four Corners region is a methane hotspot, producing the largest concentration of the heat-trapping greenhouse gas methane seen over the United States. Atmospheric concentrations of the gas are more than three times the standard ground-based estimate, according to a new study of satellite data by scientists at NASA and the University of Michigan. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, energy, Environment, gas drilling, global warming, oil drilling | Tagged: climate change, energy, Environment, Four Corners, greenhouse gases, methane, methane hotspot | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 7, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Central Valley groundwater tainted by illegal injections of oil and gas industry wastewater
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — All those warm-n-fuzzy fossil fuel industry ads showing clean-cut techs in lab coats with clipboards may play well on your plasma screen, but reality is a little different.
Rather than being upstanding corporate citizens looking out for the country’s best interests, some energy companies operating in California have been illegally injecting huge quantities of oil and gas wastewater into central California aquifers that supply drinking water and farming irrigation. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, energy, gas drilling, oil drilling, water, water quality, fracking | Tagged: California, Central Valley, Environment, fracking, wastewater injection, water pollution | 4 Comments »
Posted on October 7, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Methane emissions: up, up … up.
EPA report shows the greenhouse gas dragon is far from tamed
FRISCO — The EPA may be putting lipstick on the methane pig by claiming that methane emissions dropped during the past year, according to watchdog groups who say the numbers put forth by the federal agency are misleading.
Overall, the EPA reported Sept. 30 that greenhouse gas emissions from large industrial facilities climbed by 20 million metric tons in 2013, up 0.6 percent from the previous year. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, global warming, oil drilling | Tagged: climate change, EPA, greenhouse gases, methane emissions | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 1, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Oil and gas drillers must to more to protect the airsheds they operate in.
Air quality worsening in rural areas affected by fracking
FRISCO — Dangerously high levels of winter ozone pollution in parts of Utah can be traced directly to chemicals released into the air by oil and gas exploration. The volatile organic compounds, common byproducts of fossil fuel exploitation, get trapped under atmospheric inversion layers and sunlight reflected by snow sparks the chemical process that forms the corrosive gas.
For example, in 2013, ozone in Ouray, Utah, exceeded the national air quality standards 49 times during the winter season. By contrast, in the densely populated, urban area of Riverside, California, the standards were exceeded about half that amount that same year, but during the summer. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, Environment, Fossil fuel, fracking, ozone | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 27, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
U.S. Geological Survey researchers have linked a surge in earthquakes in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico with injection of fracking wastewater.
Scientists say it’s almost certain that massive injections of waste water caused recent quakes in the Raton Basin, including a 5.3 tremor in 2011
FRISCO — A surge in earthquakes in southern Colorado and New Mexico has almost certainly been caused by the injection of fracking wastewater deep into the ground, U.S. Geological Survey scientists reported last week.
The study details several lines of evidence directly linking the injection wells to the seismicity. The timing and location of the quakes is clearly linked with the the documented pattern of injected wastewater.
Detailed investigations of two seismic sequences (2001 and 2011) places them in proximity to high-volume, high-injection-rate wells, and both sequences occurred after a nearby increase in the rate of injection. A comparison between seismicity and wastewater injection in Colorado and New Mexico reveals similar patterns, suggesting seismicity is initiated shortly after an increase in injection rates.
For example, two injection wells near the epicenter of a 2011 5.3 earthquake had about 5 million cubic meters of wastewater injected just before the quake — more than seven times the amount injected at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal well that caused damaging earthquakes near Denver, Colorado, in the 1960s. The August 2011 M 5.3 event is the second-largest earthquake to date for which there is clear evidence that the earthquake sequence was induced by fluid injection.
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Colorado, earthquakes, energy, fracking, New Mexico, Raton Basin, wastewater injection | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 2, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Impacts likely to persist for decades
Oil: Can’t live with it, can’t live without it.
FRISCO — Oil-eating microbes in the Gulf of Mexico may have helped break down some of the pollution from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, but some of the most toxic constituents of BP’s oil probably remain, most likely at the bottom of the sea.
Two new Florida State University studies in a deep sea oil plume found found that a species of bacteria called Colwellia likely consumed gaseous hydrocarbons and perhaps benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene compounds that were released as part of the oil spill — but not the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are a group of semi-volatile organic compounds that are present in crude oil and can cause long-term health problems such as cancer. Continue reading
Filed under: BP Gulf oil spill, energy, Environment, oil drilling | Tagged: Deepwater horizon oil spill, Environment, fossil fuels, Gulf of Mexico, PAHs | Leave a comment »