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"

UK fracking company proposes to dump wastewater into the sea

June 15, 2016 by  
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As public concern continues over the environmental costs of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking , one United Kingdom company said they would toss wastewater from their operations into the sea . Fracking demands huge quantities of water , up to six million gallons per well, but anywhere from 20 to 40 percent comes back to the surface as “flowback” filled with metals, salts, and naturally occurring radioactive materials. While they said the wastewater would be treated, some experts have expressed unease over how effective treatment would be. Chemical company INEOS said in the past they would like to be the largest player in the shale gas industry. They already hold 21 shale licenses . In North Yorkshire, where councillors approved fracking tests, one resident received an email from INEOS in March that described how they plan to deal with flowback. INEOS Upstream Director Tom Pickering said , “We will capture and contain it, treat it back to the standards agreed…with the Environmental Agency and discharge where allowed under permit, most likely the sea.” Related: Is fracking to blame for this crazy river fire? Treated wastewater perhaps sounds slightly less bad than wastewater, except that experts don’t know how safe such treatment would be. The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management told the Environmental Agency (EA) in March , “…we are concerned about the ability to treat flowback fluid at the present time.” The Natural Environmental Research Council released a report last year stating there was a “huge uncertainty” regarding regulatory mechanisms around cleaning the wastewater. They also noted that since fracking is still a relatively young industry, there’s not much information on just how much wastewater fracking will produce. A North Yorkshire council approved fracking tests even though they received 4,375 objections. The Greenpeace Science Unit’s Dr. Paul Johnston said, if the flowback water is dumped into the sea, it would be “a retrograde step” for environmental protection. Via The Guardian Images via INEOS Facebook and DAVID HOLT on Flickr

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UK fracking company proposes to dump wastewater into the sea

Australia smashed a wind energy record last month

June 15, 2016 by  
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Australian wind energy enjoyed a record month in May as wind farms supplied 1,299 gigawatt-hours of renewable electricity to the country’s main power grid, the National Electricity Market (NEM). Wind accounted for 8.5 percent of the country’s electricity demand, according to a report by energy consultants Pitt & Sherry . The record was 22 percent higher than the previous record set in July 2015 and came without any new capacity added in more than a year. The Australian Wind Alliance reports that the record amount of wind energy generated temporarily halted rising carbon emissions from the electricity sector. Four states smashed records last month, led by South Australia where 49 percent of electricity demand was sourced from wind farms. Wind supplied 13 percent of electricity used in Tasmania, 12 percent in Victoria and 4.8 percent in New South Wales. Across the NEM, wind farms have 3.9 GW of capacity. In May, they operated at 49 percent, taking advantage of blustery conditions that more than doubled the efficiency rate compared to March. Related: Australian wave energy project sets a new world record with 14,000 operating hours According to Pitt & Sherry, since former Prime Minister Tony Abbott repealed the country’s carbon tax in July 2014, emissions have increased 5.6 percent from the electricity sector. However, while current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has a mixed record on climate change action, it was reported that the Turnbull government will not publicly fund Australia’s largest proposed export coal project. South Australia has a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050 and to make Adelaide the world’s first carbon neutral city. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) also is aiming to become carbon neutral by 2050, with a 100 percent renewable goal by 2020. Victoria just joined South Australia and the ACT in committing to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Via CleanTechnica Images via Flickr

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Australia smashed a wind energy record last month

Fracking suspect in Oklahoma’s third-strongest earthquake

February 15, 2016 by  
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The third strongest earthquake ever reported in Oklahoma struck Saturday morning. Registering a 5.1 on the Richter scale, the quake was followed by several aftershocks, including one with a magnitude 3.9, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. There has been an increase in seismic activity in the state in recent years, matched by a flurry of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Seismologists warn that fracking could be the direct cause of the earthquakes . Read the rest of Fracking suspect in Oklahoma’s third-strongest earthquake

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Surge of earthquakes in Oklahoma puts fracking under fire

February 26, 2015 by  
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There were more earthquakes with a magnitude 3.0 or greater in Oklahoma last year than anywhere else in the continental United States. Whereas Oklahoma used to feel one or two tremors a year, it now experiences two to three per day. This spike parallels the state’s boom in shale gas production, and scientists and environmentalists are pointing their fingers at fracking. Read the rest of Surge of earthquakes in Oklahoma puts fracking under fire Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: earthquake , earthquakes , fracking , Fracking earthquake , fracking earthquakes , hydraulic fracturing , oklahoma , Oklahoma Corporation Commission , oklahoma earthquakes , Oklahoma fracking , Oklahoma fracking earthquakes , Oklahoma oil industry , shale gas production , us geological survey , wastewater injection

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Keystone XL battle should be about food security and climate change, not economics

February 24, 2015 by  
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As we await President Obama’s veto of the Keystone XL  pipeline, expected later today, news outlets far and wide are recapping the evolution of the debate. Unfortunately, the headlines often focus on the economy and only mention some vague connection to the environment. In reality, the Keystone XL battle isn’t just about money. It is about reducing fossil fuel emissions and protecting the land necessary for our food and water supplies. Read the rest of Keystone XL battle should be about food security and climate change, not economics Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: action , activism , ban fracking , capitalism , climate , Climate Change , climate chaos , Climate Disaster , congress , conservatives , creativity , drilling , earth , ECO:nomics , economy , Environment , Facebook , fight , Fossil Free , fossil fuels , fracking , frontlines , Future , future generations , gas , green , Grow , hydraulic fracturing , keystone pipeline , keystone pipeline climate change , keystone pipeline food security , keystone pipeline policy , keystone politics , keystone xl , KXL , Love , money , movement , natural gas , NOKXL , obama , oil , Op Ed , peace , pennsylvania , politics , protests , renewable energy , renewables , republicans , revolution , shale , shale gas , shalefields , skills , social media , XL Dissent

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New York’s fracking ban is the cue for eco-activists to mobilize

January 14, 2015 by  
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The ban on fracking in New York State is a great catalyst to inspire  grassroots environmental groups to come together. Shortly after Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to ban fracking due to health and safety concerns of residents, clean air, and drinking water, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued a response that said he was opposed to a ban and would make sure fracking was “ safe .” A big piece of Wolf’s election promise was to slap a severance tax on dirty shale gas and use it to pay for schools, transportation , budget-balancing, etc. That sounds attractive from the sidelines, but it’s actually really scary how much new drilling will occur. Now is the time to reallocate resources from coast to coast, and get mobilized to stop fracking across the USA. Read the rest of New York’s fracking ban is the cue for eco-activists to mobilize Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: action , activism , andrew cuomo , ban fracking , capitalism , climate , Climate Change , climate chaos , Climate Disaster , congress , conservatives , ECO:nomics , economy , Environment , Facebook , fight , Fossil Free , fossil fuels , fracking , frontlines , Future , future generations , gas , governor andrew cuomo , hydraulic fracturing , keystone xl , KXL , money , natural gas , new york city , new york state , New York. , NOKXL , NY , obama , oil , Op Ed , pennsylvania , protests , renewable energy , renewables , republicans , revolution , shale gas , shalefields , social media , Tom Wolf , XL Dissent

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Study confirms Ohio experienced the largest fracking-related earthquake ever

January 8, 2015 by  
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A  new study has confirmed that recent earthquakes in Poland Township , Ohio in March of 2014 were caused by hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. According to the study, the fracking has caused “scores” of small earthquakes including one, a magnitude 3.0, that was the largest fracking-related earthquake ever recorded. The oil and gas wells operated by Hilcorp Energy that caused the earthquake were shut down two days after the earthquakes were felt. Read the rest of Study confirms Ohio experienced the largest fracking-related earthquake ever Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: earthquake , earthquakes caused by fracking , fracking , fracking regulations in ohio , hydraulic fracking , hydraulic fracturing , OHIO , ohio earthquakes , ohio fracking , Ohio fracking earthquakes , Ohio hydraulic fracking , oil and gas , petroleum , poland township

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Study confirms Ohio experienced the largest fracking-related earthquake ever

The Everglades were fracked and you didn’t even hear about it

January 7, 2015 by  
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Earlier in 2014, Texas-based Dan A. Hughes Co. was fined $25,000 for acid fracking near the everglades. Though the method of using hydrofluoric acid to loosen limestone bedrock has been used for a while in Floridian oil drilling operations, injecting acid under pressure, or “acid fracking” is something new. In December, Dan A. Hughes Co. tested those waters Naples, Florida on the Western edge of the Everglades. Yeah, you read that correctly—they fracked the goddamned  Everglades National Park;  the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. And when State regulators asked them to stop? They ignored them. Read the rest of The Everglades were fracked and you didn’t even hear about it Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: acid fracking , acid-fracked , ban fracking , capitalism , climate , Climate Change , Climate Disaster , conservatives , Environment , everglades , florida , fossil fuels , fracking , gas , groundwater , hydraulic fracturing , keystone xl , KXL , marco island , Naples , natural gas , oil , Op Ed , politics , renewables , republicans , revolution , shalefields , water contamination , water issues

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