Category: oil drilling

Canadian study finds new earthquake-fracking links

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An aerial view of a fracking zone in eastern Utah. @bberwyn photo.

‘I think it’s really just a matter of time before we start seeing damage coming out of this …’

Staff Report

Researchers in western Canada tracking the link between fracking and earthquakes have come to a different conclusion than scientists studying the same issue in the U.S.

Instead of pointing to wastewater injection as the cause of induced earthquakes, the Canadian scientists suggest there may be a direct link between fracking and induced earthquakes.

Research in the central U.S. has suggested that the sharp increase in quakes in places like Oklahoma are caused primarily by massive amounts of wastewater injected back into the ground after oil and gas recovery.

The new Canadian study doesn’t explain why induced seismicity would be linked to different processes in the central U.S. and western Canada. However, some oil and gas fields in the U.S., especially Oklahoma, use “very large amounts of water” in their operations, leading to much more wastewater disposal than in Canadian operations, said Gail M. Atkinson of Western University. Continue reading “Canadian study finds new earthquake-fracking links”

Activists to protest Gulf of Mexico oil and gas leasing

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A NASA satellite image shows oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster spreading across the Gulf of Mexico in May 2010.

Grassroots groups open new front in the battle against fossil fuels and climate change

Staff Report

While conservation groups celebrated the Obama administration’s recent decision to temporarily bar new oil and gas leases off the Atlantic Coast, activists aren’t finished battling the fossil fuel juggernaut quite yet.

Opening a new front in the climate war, hundreds of Gulf Coast residents are joining forces with local and national environmental and social justice groups to oppose a federal offshore fossil fuel lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico — a region that has a long economic dependence on fossil fuel exploitation, so it’s unclear if the protest movement will resonate with a majority of locals. Continue reading “Activists to protest Gulf of Mexico oil and gas leasing”

Obama administration slows offshore oil and gas leasing

“We heard from many corners that now is not the time to offer oil and gas leasing off the Atlantic coast”

Alaska-Program-Areas

Staff Report

Environmental activists are claiming a partial victory in the ongoing battle over offshore oil and gas drilling after the Obama administration declared it will not offer any leases off the U.S. Atlantic coast. However, the federal government will offer new leases in the Gulf of Mexico and also in the Arctic Ocean, where fossil fuel development could lead to utter ecosystem devastation.

In a press release, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said, “This is a balanced proposal that … focuses potential lease sales in areas with the highest resource potential, greatest industry interest, and established infrastructure. At the same time, the proposal removes other areas from consideration for leasing, and seeks input on measures to further reduce potential impacts to the environment, coastal communities, and competing ocean and coastal uses, such as subsistence activities by Alaska Natives.

“We heard from many corners that now is not the time to offer oil and gas leasing off the Atlantic coast,” Jewell said. “When you factor in conflicts with national defense, economic activities such as fishing and tourism, and opposition from many local communities, it simply doesn’t make sense to move forward with any lease sales in the coming five years.” Continue reading “Obama administration slows offshore oil and gas leasing”

Feds eye new methane rules for public lands

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Feds aim to reduce methane emissions from natural gas production on public lands.

Common sense measures to help meet climate targets

Staff Report

Proposed federal rules could help slow the release of potent heat-trapping methane emissions from gas production on public and Native American lands.

Between 2009 and 2014, enough natural gas was lost through venting, flaring and leaks to power more than five million homes for a year. States, Tribes and federal taxpayers also lose royalty revenues when natural gas is wasted. According to a 2010 Government Accountability Office report, taxpayers lose up to $23 million annually in royalty revenue. Continue reading “Feds eye new methane rules for public lands”

Colorado regulators eye new fracking rules

Oil and gas drilling near schools and homes in Firestone, Colorado. Photo courtesy Shane Davis, Sierra Club, Rocky Mountain Chapter.
Oil and gas drilling near schools and homes in Firestone, Colorado. Photo courtesy Shane Davis, Sierra Club, Rocky Mountain Chapter.

State commission will meet Jan. 25 to take action on proposed regulations

Staff Report

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is set to take some modest steps to strengthen its oversight of oil and gas development in Colorado by considering new rules that would require more cooperation between fracking operators and local communities.

The commission will meet Jan. 25 to consider rules that would ensure that fossil fuel companies provide earlier notice to local governments, as well as an opportunity for local officials to work with operators on the location of large oil and gas facilities adjacent to communities. Continue reading “Colorado regulators eye new fracking rules”

Shell wants to hang on to Arctic Ocean drilling leases

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Shell isn’t ready completely give up on the idea of drilling for fossil fuel in the Arctic Ocean.

Company seeks extension from appeals board

Staff Report

*Read more Summit Voice stories on Shell’s ill-fated Arctic drilling program here.

It was big news when Shell Oil in September announced it was shutting down its contested Arctic drilling program, but the company apparently doesn’t want give up completely. Just a couple of months after the big news, Shell sought at least extend the life of its leases in the region.

Without an extension, the company’s Beaufort Sea leases are set to expire in 2017, and its Chukchi Sea leases in 2020. The U.S. Interior Department has already denied the extension, but company is now challenging that decision with the Department of Interior Board of Land Appeals. Continue reading “Shell wants to hang on to Arctic Ocean drilling leases”

Feds to update oil and gas rules for wildlife refuges

A playa lake at the Baca National Wildlife Refuge. PHOTO COURTESY U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE.
A playa lake at the Baca National Wildlife Refuge. Photo courtesy USFWS.

USFWS taking public comment through Feb. 9

Staff Report

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to update 50-year-old regulations for oil and gas development on National Wildlife Refuge System lands.

Last week the agency published a proposed rule and draft environmental impact statement that would require fossil fuel companies to use modern best management practices, especially as they relate to abandoned infrastructure and debris.

According to the USFWS, the new regs would reduce refuge impacts, including habitat loss and degradation, wildlife mortality and displacement, and other risks to ecological integrity. Continue reading “Feds to update oil and gas rules for wildlife refuges”