Bureau of Land Management moves forward with the sale of sacred land

February 6, 2019 by  
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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is moving forward with the sale of land in the vicinity of New Mexico’s Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The land, which is considered sacred ground by Native Americans in the area, was approved amid heavy criticism from environmentalists and tribal leaders. The land is being purchased to pursue the development of oil and gas, with around 50 parcels of land up for grabs. One of the biggest issues surrounding the sale is that it was approved while the government was partially shutdown , which resulted in limited access of information. Related: Damage to Joshua Tree during the government shutdown could take centuries to repair According to AP News , critics claim that government officials failed to properly inform everyone on the sale of the property. They also asked if the BLM had enough staff members on hand to properly analyze the land and sale requests. In fact, Senator Tom Udall issued a scathing report on the land sale and called out the BLM for not being transparent throughout the process. “It’s a mistake that while critical public services were shuttered for 35 days during the government shutdown, BLM still moved forward with this opaque process,” Udall shared. Critics of the sacred land sale also wondered if the BLM will open a protest period, which is usually standard in these types of transactions. Fortunately, the agency has opted to delay the sale to give tribal leaders and environmentalists a few weeks to protest. The BLM is officially accepting protests beginning on February 11. The land sale is expected to go through at the end of March. If the protests are successful, a portion of the land that is up for sale will be withdrawn. Supporters are hoping that land within 10 miles around Chaco will be deemed off limits. This area, which would serve as a buffer zone, would help protect features that are sacred to local tribes, including kivas and stone structures. Chaco is currently inaccessible by paved roads. Local tribes hope to preserve the remoteness of the area, which has served as a religious and economic center for centuries. The BLM has not issued any comments about the land sale. Via AP News Image via Zenhaus

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Bureau of Land Management moves forward with the sale of sacred land

If you won’t go vegan for yourself, will you do it for Beyonc?

February 6, 2019 by  
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If going vegan to help better the environment does not appeal you, why not try it out for Queen B herself? Beyoncé just announced a new vegan initiative on Instagram, and probably did more for the cause in a single post than anyone has done for in the last decade. Last week, the iconic singer announced the start of The Greenprint Project , which aims to promote veganism with a very special offer from Beyoncé and her husband, JAY-Z. If you try out a plant-based diet through Beyoncé’s program, you have a chance to take home free Beyoncé tickets for the rest of your life. Let that sink in. For all of Beyoncé’s devoted fans around the world, few things would get in the way of scoring such an amazing prize — let alone switching up a diet. The program doesn’t call for a 100 percent vegan diet in order to enter the pool, however, the initiative is to push people out of the norm and to try a plant-based diet for a day or even just a single meal — which is incredible. Related: These are the world’s top vegan cities Even better, allowing people some flexibility in their diet still has tremendous benefits for the environment. Not only is it easier to go vegan for a day or a meal, but millions of people doing this on a weekly basis could really cut down on carbon pollution,  which is precisely what Beyoncé had in mind when she launched the project. “If 100,000,000 of my friends also ate more plant-based meals, we could cut enough carbon emissions equivalent to powering 1,169,169,665 homes for a year,” Beyoncé’s project statement reads. There are a few minor catches to the prize. For starters, the free tickets for life only last up to 30 years, which means you’ll still be able to watch Beyoncé perform until she’s in her late 60s. The lucky winner can also only receive $599 worth of tickets every year. Given how VIP tickets for such events usually cost around $2,000, that won’t get you far. The tickets are non-transferable upon death, but if you are eating a plant-based diet, you probably won’t have to worry about punching out early. Via Grist Image via Shutterstock

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If you won’t go vegan for yourself, will you do it for Beyonc?

All natural? These fracking byproducts could fight water scarcity

July 19, 2018 by  
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Harnessing natural gas to harvest freshwater from the air might solve two big problems at once.

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All natural? These fracking byproducts could fight water scarcity

Thirsty work: Molson Coors and Pepsi-Co announce science-based climate progress

July 19, 2018 by  
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The two beverage giants demonstrate their commitments to Paris Agreement standards.

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Thirsty work: Molson Coors and Pepsi-Co announce science-based climate progress

Celebrating our energy independence

July 4, 2018 by  
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Imports of foreign oil are at their lowest levels since 1967. But there’s a dirty secret underneath those numbers.

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Celebrating our energy independence

France completely bans fracking and oil extraction

December 21, 2017 by  
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The French Parliament recently passed into law a complete ban on the extraction of oil and gas within any of France’s territories. Beginning in 2040, fracking, oil drilling, and other extraction methods will be banned across France . Meanwhile, no new permits to extract fossil fuel in France will be given. Although this law highlights France’s commitment to take action against climate change, it is primarily a symbolic gesture. France imports 99 percent of the oil and gas that it consumes, extracting only a negligible amount from its territory. To put this in perspective, France extracts about 815,000 tons of oil per year, the same amount extracted every few hours in Saudi Arabia . While France’s recent law may not have a large direct impact on greenhouse gas emissions , French lawmakers hope that the move will inspire other European nations to make similar commitments, with Socialist lawmaker Delphine Batho telling the Guardian that she hoped the ban would be “contagious.” Left-wing members of parliament abstained from the vote to ban, while the right-wing Republicans party voted no. The law’s impact will be most felt in French Guyana, France’s South American territory where oil companies had sought to drill. Related: France is the world’s most sustainable food country French President Emmanuel Macron has sought to position France as a global leader on climate change. As the United States has retreated on the world stage, France has stepped forward. Macron has gone so far as to offer grants to climate scientists from American institutions to do research under a government that recognizes the reality of climate change. Internally, France is taking action. Gas and petrol vehicles are to be banned in France by 2040, and the government is working to shift the energy economy away from fossil fuels and nuclear power, and towards clean renewable energy. Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Maryland is about to become the third US state to ban fracking

March 28, 2017 by  
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Maryland’s House of Delegates overwhelmingly passed a bill to ban hydraulic fracturing , or fracking , earlier this month, and now the state’s Senate has also approved the measure. This was the final obstacle for the bill; Governor Larry Hogan has said he will sign it. Once he does, Maryland will become the third US state to ban fracking , and the first state with gas reserves to ban it through legislation. Maryland joins Vermont and New York to ban fracking, or the practice of injecting water, chemicals, and sand into the earth to break up rock, releasing natural gas . Vermont achieved a ban with legislation, New York with an executive order. Maryland’s legislation is historic because the state is the first with gas reserves to ban fracking through legislation. The Senate approved the measure with 35 to 10 votes. Related: Maryland House passes bill to ban fracking According to The Baltimore Sun, many people were surprised when the governor announced his support for the ban this month after the House passed the bill. Hogan said in a news conference, “I urge members of the legislature on both sides of the aisle and in both houses to come together and finally put this issue to rest.” Fracking had the most potential in Maryland’s Garrett and Alleghany counties, according to The Washington Post. Advocates of the practice said fracking offers an energy source cleaner than coal – natural gas doesn’t send as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when burned – but opponents say fracking potentially contaminates water sources and emits greenhouse gas emissions. Maryland’s Sierra Club director Josh Tulkin said the state’s ban is a big step towards a clean energy economy. Senator George Edwards, a Republican of Garrett County, was among the ten who voted against the measure. He suggested an amendment to continue a fracking moratorium to 2027 instead, but lawmakers rejected the amendment. Garrett County resident Ann Bristow told The Washington Post, “This vote confirms the power of participant democracy. Never believe when someone tells you that an organized movement can’t produce change against overwhelming odds. We are proving otherwise.” Via The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun Images via Don’t Frack Maryland Facebook and chesapeakeclimate on Flickr

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Maryland is about to become the third US state to ban fracking

Head of EPA Scott Pruitt calls Paris Climate Accord a "bad deal"

March 28, 2017 by  
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Don’t count on Scott Pruitt , head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , to do much environmental protecting. Weeks after rejecting scientific consensus about the role of carbon dioxide in driving global warming, the nation’s top environmental official doubled down on Sunday by describing a landmark accord to curb the planet’s industrial emissions as a “bad deal” for the United States. “You know, what was wrong with Paris was not just that it was, you know, failed to be treated as a treaty, but China and India, the largest producers of CO2 internationally, got away scot-free. They didn’t have to take steps until 2030,” Pruitt said in an interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos. “So we’ve penalized ourselves through lost jobs while China and India didn’t take steps to address the issue internationally. So Paris was just a bad deal, in my estimation.” There’s plenty to nitpick about Pruitt’s stance, which mischaracterizes the positions of China and India, both of which officially ratified the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change in late 2016. For one thing, China is the world’s No. 1 polluter, but India comes in fourth after the United States and European Union. Neither does the 2030 cutoff give China or India special latitude. All 197 countries that have committed themselves to the pact are legally bound to develop plans to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions through 2025 or 2030. And while there’s no legal requirement that specifies how much countries should cut, they must report every two years on their efforts to mitigate emissions levels, which are subject to technical and peer review. Related: EPA chief says carbon dioxide is not a ‘primary contributor’ to global warming Far from getting away “scot-free,” China and India are making inroads in their energy policies. Although it continues to be bogged down by inefficient coal power plants that contribute to its infamous smog, China has been expanding its renewable-energy capacity at a breakneck pace. Even as President Donald Trump decried climate change as a “Chinese hoax” , the Chinese government announced that it intends to spend more than $360 billion through 2020 on renewable power sources like solar and wind, slashing carbon emissions and creating over 13 million jobs in the renewable energy sector in the same time frame. India, in the meantime, has pledged to obtain at least 40 percent of its electricity from non-fossil-fuel sources by 2030. To nudge itself closer to that goal, the South Asian nation is planning 33 solar parks in 21 states, with a capacity of at least 500 megawatts each—no mean feat for a country where millions still have no access to electricity . Indeed India currently houses the world’s largest solar power plant in a single location , a title once held by Topaz Solar Farm in California. For anyone who has been paying attention, however, Pruitt’s statements shouldn’t be too surprising. The former attorney general of Oklahoma has long boasted close ties to the oil and gas industry. He also sued the EPA—the very same agency he now heads—a stunning 14 times , frequently in tandem with companies that donated money to campaigns he was affiliated to. Related: New EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s emails reveal troubling oil-industry ties Pruitt noted on Sunday that President Trump will soon be signing a new executive order that will halt the implementation of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan , an Obama administration policy designed to, among other things, rein in America’s greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent by 2030. “With respect to this executive order that’s coming out on Tuesday, this is about making sure that we have a pro-growth and pro-environment approach to how we do regulation in this country,” Pruitt said. Pro-growth? Debatable. Pro-environment? Not a chance. + ABC News Via Huffington Post Photos from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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Head of EPA Scott Pruitt calls Paris Climate Accord a "bad deal"

Why water scarcity is a major risk for oil producers

March 9, 2017 by  
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Without water preservation, there will be oil, oil everywhere and not a drop to frac.

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Why water scarcity is a major risk for oil producers

Oklahoma earthquake activity up 4000%, locals sue oil and gas companies

November 22, 2016 by  
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Earthquake activity in Oklahoma has increased by around 4,000 percent over the past eight years, according to Carnegie Mellon University . Concerned about the dramatic rise, Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh researchers published two studies scrutinizing the connection between heightened seismic activity and wastewater injection into the earth after hydraulic fracturing, or fracking . Meanwhile, Oklahoma residents are suing 27 natural gas and oil companies over earthquake damage. Just in 2015, Oklahoma residents experienced 907 quakes with a magnitude of 3 or higher , up from 585 the year before and just 109 in 2013. A spike in earthquakes combined with what researchers call an impressive monitoring network afforded a prime opportunity to study the earthquakes. There are a couple of reasons why wastewater disposal after fracking might be causing all that seismic activity. Related: USGS, EPA investigate link between underground wastewater disposal and Oklahoma’s largest earthquake The report’s lead author, Pengyun Wang of Carnegie Mellon University, said fluid diffusion can reach stressed fault lines, which can slip and cause earthquakes. Or if the wastewater enters an underground reservoir close to a fault line, the new increased weight of the reservoir can stress those fault lines. Wang hoped their findings might be useful for both regulators and Oklahoma residents. He said, “If local residents of the area are experiencing the negative effects of increased seismicity and want to do something about it, without scientific evidence like this, these people might be powerless to argue against the owners of the wells. But if you can somehow give them evidence, I think it can improve overall awareness of the issue.” Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America published the studies online here and here . Pawnee, Oklahoma citizens are taking the issue to court; they’re suing 27 natural gas and oil companies over earthquake damage. The beleaguered town has been racked with almost 800 earthquakes in a year. Many homes have been damaged, but insurance claims have been rejected because homeowners insurance doesn’t always include coverage for earthquakes. The lawsuit says the oil and gas companies have showed “reckless disregard for public or private safety.” Just today, the United States Geological Survey reported yet another earthquake near Cushing, Oklahoma, that measured 4.0 on the Richter scale. Via Phys.org and Grist Images via OakleyOriginals on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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