Burning the rest of Earth’s fossil fuels would completely melt Antarctica

New study looks far into the climate future


Antarctic ice sheets are already melting, but — you ain’t seen nothing yet. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Using the rest of Earth’s fossil fuels is not an option — at least not if humankind wants to avoid 150 to 200 feet of sea level rise, a team of prominent scientists said after trying to project the fate of the world’s ice sheets over the next 10,000 years.

Burning the remaining stores of coal and oil would likely lead to a complete meltdown of Antarctica, which would, over the course of millenia, swamp most of the planets densely populated areas, and them some. Continue reading

Environment: Why are Colorado wildlife biologists apologizing for the energy industry?


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’

Staff Report

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

Coal from the ColoWyo Mine will release 10 million tons of greenhouse gases each year

Feds release new study for embattled Colorado coal mine

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Federal officials have completed a new environmental study for a beleaguered coal mine in northwestern Colorado in a process that will presumably enable the mine to continue operating.

At issue is the ColoWyo Mine in Moffat County, which faced a shutdown after a federal judge found that an existing study didn’t adequately disclose the impacts of digging up and burning the coal. The lawsuit was filed by climate and environmental activists as part of a systematic campaign to highlight the vast amount of heat-trapping pollutants unleashed by the extraction and burning of coal and other fossil fuels. Continue reading

Feds propose new rules for public lands fracking


A fracking rig in western Colorado. bberwyn photo.

Better wells and disclosure, but not enough protection for special areas

Staff Report

*More on public lands fracking in these Summit Voice stories

FRISCO — New fracking rules for federally managed public lands include tighter standards for well-bore integrity, wastewater disposal and disclosure of chemicals, but don’t go far enough to fully protect public health and the environment, according to activist groups, who wanted the Bureau of Land Management to adopt more stringent regulations. Continue reading

Environment: What’s the true cost of fossil fuels?

Can carbon capture help mitigate the climate impacts of carbon dioxide?

Can carbon capture help mitigate the climate impacts of carbon dioxide?

‘We’re making decisions based on misleading costs’

Staff Report

FRISCO — The costs of burning fossil fuels are much higher than official estimates when the environmental and human health toll is factored into the equation, according to Duke University scientists who took a close look at the numbers and published their findings in the journal Climatic Change.

When those costs are factored in, a gallon of gasoline costs about $3.80 more than the pump price. The social cost of a gallon of diesel is about $4.80 more than the pump price; the price of natural gas more than doubles; and coal-fired electricity more than quadruples. Solar and wind power, on the other hand, become cheaper than they initially seem. Continue reading

50-foot section of failed Montana oil pipeline was exposed on bed of Yellowstone River near site of spill

Cleanup hampered by icy conditions

Cleanup crews try to contain oil from a pipeline spill in the Yellowstone River, near Glendive, Montana. Photo courtesy EPA.

Cleanup crews try to contain oil from a pipeline spill in the Yellowstone River, near Glendive, Montana. Photo courtesy EPA.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Sonar surveys show that the failed Poplar Pipeline in Montana is exposed on the river bed for approximately 50 feet near the site of a breach that may have spilled as much as 50,000 gallon of oil into the Yellowstone River.

After the spill, oil sheens were spotted on the river as far as 60 miles downstream, according to the EPA. Residents in the town of Glendive, a few miles from the spill, were warned not to drink their tap water after testing found traces of oil in the town’s water supply, but after additional testing, the town’s drinking water system was deemed safe on Jan. 23.

According to the EPA, the bottom of the river bed is about one foot below the pipeline in one area, though the last official inspection of the pipeline in 2012 indicated that it was buried about eight feet below the riverbed. The EPA said the exposed section of pipeline doesn’t explain how the spill happened, but the information will help investigators determine the cause of the breach. More EPA updates at this web page. Continue reading

Obama unlikely to sign Keystone XL pipeline bill


The White House and Congress are set to clash over the Keystone XL pipeline.

Court rulings, State Department decision still pending on controversial fossil fuel project

Staff Report

FRISCO — Republicans in Congress may be falling all over themselves in their haste to please the fossil fuel industry by passing a bill seeking to force approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, but the White House is saying not so fast.

This week, the Obama administration signaled that it won’t sign a pipeline bill, which would “circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether cross-border pipelines serve the national interest,” and “cut short consideration of important issues relevant to the national interest,” according to a White House statement. Continue reading


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,890 other followers