Environmental protections are under attack on every front and the far North is no exception. Alaska’s senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both Republicans, appear willing to risk fragile ocean environments for a few more petrodollars, so they’ve opportunistically introduced a bill that would expand oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean and Cook Inlet, where a recent gas leak persisted for several months, according to InsideClimate News.
Senate Bill 883 seeks to reverse protections established by President Obama in Dec. 2016 and force the Department of the Interior to quickly approve new oil and gas leasing.
“It’s not possible to drill safely in the Arctic, as we just saw from the leaking oil and gas well on the North Slope,” said Miyoko Sakashita, ocean programs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This legislation’s nothing more than a giveaway to oil companies. It’ll hurt Alaska’s healthy habitat and endangered wildlife.” Continue reading “Alaska’s senators want more offshore drilling in Arctic waters”→
Well density seen as key factor in decline of birds in Wyoming
Limiting the density of new oil and gas drilling rigs in Wyoming may not be enough to stem the decline of greater sage-grouse, according to scientists tracking populations of the imperiled bird.
Berween 1984 and 2008, populations declined by 2.5 percent annually, and the drop is clearly linked with oil and gas development, the new study from the USGS and Colorado State University found. The researchers used annual counts of males at breeding sites for their estimates, comparing those tallies to the the density of oil and gas wells and the area of disturbance associated with these wells. Continue reading “Sage grouse and drilling just don’t mix”→
‘I think it’s really just a matter of time before we start seeing damage coming out of this …’
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”→
‘We urge you to … protect the Arctic Ocean from the dangers of fossil fuel extraction’
Any plans to drill or or explore for fossil fuel resources are morally unacceptable and scientifically unsupportable, a group of female Nobel Prize winners wrote this week in a letter to the Arctic Council.
The letter, signed by members of the Nobel Women’s Initiative (Mairead Maguire, Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi and Tawakkol Karman), highlights the urgency of taking meaningful action on climate change and leaving fossil fuels in the ground. It also calls attention to the serious risks that drilling in such a remote and sensitive region poses to Indigenous communities, wildlife, and the environment. Continue reading “Nobel Laureates urge ban on Arctic fossil fuel exploration”→
Damaged well casings and fractured ground eyed in New York study
Spiderweb networks of abandoned oil and gas wells and cracked rocks may be significant pathways for methane leaks that aren’t being accurate measured, according to University of Vermont researchers who studied well patterns in New York.
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 “National Park Service to update oil and gas drilling rules”→