UK fracking measures could make exploratory drilling "as easy as building a garden wall"

May 17, 2018 by  
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The United Kingdom ‘s government has come under fire from fracking opponents after releasing measures that could fast-track shale gas projects. Under these measures, explorers could drill test sites without first applying for planning permission, The Guardian reported . Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas said, “Britain’s fracking experiment was on life support and now the government is trying its best to shock it back into life.” Shale gas, a natural gas extracted via hydraulic fracturing or fracking, is a controversial energy source. On one hand, it produces less carbon emissions than oil or coal ; on the other, it’s still a fossil fuel polluting the planet more than renewable  resources like solar or wind. According to Greg Clark, the UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, gas has an important role in helping the country meet carbon budgets laid out in its Climate Change Act, as well as international obligations. In a written statement , he said, “Gas still makes up around a third of our current energy usage and every scenario proposed by the Committee on Climate Change setting out how the UK could meet its legally-binding 2050 emissions reduction target includes demand for natural gas” — but “recent decisions on shale exploration planning applications remain disappointingly slow.” Related: New study finds that fracking chemicals could harm the immune system In addition to allowing shale explorers to drill test sites, the measures would allow for the categorization of fracking sites as nationally significant infrastructure , which means approval would come from a national level instead of a local one. Clark also announced a £1.6 million shale support fund that would let planning authorities accelerate fracking applications in the upcoming two years. Fracking opponents were furious. Greenpeace said, “Exploratory drilling will be as easy as building a garden wall or conservatory.” According to MP Rebecca Long-Bailey, “Fracking should be banned, not promoted.” Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons (1)

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UK fracking measures could make exploratory drilling "as easy as building a garden wall"

Episode 109: Coke and McDonald’s war on waste; Davos dispatch

January 26, 2018 by  
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In this week’s episode, the fast food industry’s war on waste, the end of natural gas and the sustainability scene in the Swiss Alps.

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Episode 109: Coke and McDonald’s war on waste; Davos dispatch

Nuns build open-air chapel to protest natural gas pipeline on their land

July 10, 2017 by  
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Battles against fossil fuel pipelines aren’t limited to North Dakota. In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania , a group of Catholic nuns is fighting against a natural gas pipeline that would run beneath land they own. They’re protesting the pipeline in a unique way by building an open-air chapel for people to visit and reflect on “just and holy uses of land.” The nuns, part of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ order, own land in West Hempfield Township that stands in the path of the Atlantic Sunrise Project, a pipeline for natural gas being pursued by Williams Partners to extend the Transco pipeline system that already runs from Texas to New York. Even though the nuns have not wanted their land used for the pipeline, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved the pipeline, pointing to eminent domain. Related: Trump approves new pipeline that will go “right under” the US-Mexico wall The nuns are working against the pipeline, which they say goes against their land ethic, with the group Lancaster Against Pipelines . Protester Ann Neumann told CNN, “They see the pipeline as a violation of their faith,” saying 20 members of the order reside on the land. In a visible symbol of protest, the nuns allowed Lancaster Against Pipelines to construct this outdoor chapel, intended for people of all faith backgrounds. The nuns hope the chapel will draw people to come and pray at the location. They said in a statement they know the pipeline company might call for the chapel’s removal, but “believe that having this structure on their land, for however long, gives tangible witness to the sacredness of Earth.” The chapel was dedicated over the weekend, and according to Lancaster Online, around 300 people showed up for the ceremony. A Williams Partners spokesperson referred to the chapel as a “blatant attempt to impede pipeline construction.” Via CNN , Adorers of the Blood of Christ , and Lancaster Online Images via NoPipelinesLancaster on Twitter and Adorers of the Blood of Christ

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Nuns build open-air chapel to protest natural gas pipeline on their land

House Republicans move to make methane pollution great again

February 6, 2017 by  
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Congressional Republicans are attempting to quickly dismantle former President Barack Obama’s environmental regulations to combat climate change . On Friday, the GOP-controlled House voted 221-191 to overturn an Interior Department rule that aims to limit “fugitive” methane emissions from oil and gas drilling operations on public lands. The natural gas is wasted through leaks, intentional venting, or burning off the gas — a process known as flaring. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global warming potential of methane (CH4) is 34 times stronger than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year time scale and 86 times more potent than CO2 over 20 years when climate carbon feedbacks are included. Three Democrats — Jim Costa (CA-16), Henry Cuellar (TX-28) and Collin Peterson (MN-7) — voted in favor of repealing the rule, while 11 Republicans opposed repeal. According to Open Secrets , a guide to money in politics from the Center for Responsive Politics, Costa received $94,525 from the oil and gas industry during the 2015-2016 campaign cycle, Cuellar received $165,305 in campaign funds from the oil and gas industry, and Peterson received $38,075 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry. Related: Aliso Canyon natural gas facility could reopen despite unresolved issues over leak “The rollback gives companies permission to waste $330 million dollars of public assets a year, and generate huge amounts of avoidable pollution that contaminates our air and has a devastating effect on public health,” said Elizabeth Thompson, president of the Environmental Defense Action Fund, in a statement . “We call on the U.S. Senate to protect the interests of the American people, and not cast a vote for business as usual for the oil and gas industry.” The legislation next goes to the Republican-majority Senate for a vote. In addition to allowing unchecked gas flaring again, House Republicans last week voted to repeal an Obama era rule designed to keep coal waste from contaminating streams and waterways. According to the Interior Department, the regulation protects 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests, preventing coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby waters. Via The Washington Post Images via Flickr 1 , 2 Save

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House Republicans move to make methane pollution great again

Green walls and textured surfaces breathe new life into an abandoned row of shop offices

February 6, 2017 by  
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Singaporean firm L Architects transformed a row of abandoned half-built shop offices into a visually striking developer’s head office and gallery in Johor, Malaysia. The architects preserved the gable roofs and metal-framed structures, relying on material textures and patterns to give new life to the old buildings. The modern adaptive reuse project harmoniously combines a mix of hard concrete, metal decking lines, patterned brickwork, glass, and porous green walls. Located near the Johor Straits across from Singapore, the Series of Barns comprises eight three-story structures built on the grid facing the water. To blend the renovated buildings into the rural landscape, L Architects used natural materials to create a textured tapestry-like facade that’s both eye-catching and well matched with the surroundings. Currently half of the gabled structures are occupied. The unused four structures are kept as spares for future use with their front facades covered in green creepers grown on tensioned wires. The lobby and reception is housed in the gabled structure that protrudes slightly from the rest of the buildings and was built with a large glass curtain wall . The remaining three structures feature brick facades. Related: HHF Architects’ renovated a group of crumbling buildings to help revitalize an entire neighborhood L Architects write: “In this project, we wanted to experiment with various ways how we can use a seemingly modular material like brick to create a texturized façade. An attempt to break the monolithic flat surfaces of the barns. When the sun’s strength is mitigated it creates interesting shadows formed by the playful arrangement of the protruded bricks.” The eight gabled structures are elevated off the ground, providing space for shaded parking spaces underneath. In addition to the lobby, the Series of Barns contains exhibition areas, a small theater room, a conference room, office space , and an outdoor deck. + L Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Muhamad shafiq bin samsuri

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Alison Canyon natural gas facility could reopen despite unresolved issues over leak

January 18, 2017 by  
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In a troubling decision , California state regulators could allow the Aliso Canyon natural gas site near Los Angeles to reopen, despite the fact that the cause of 2015’s massive gas leak has never been determined. In October, a pressurized gas well blew out and released a massive plume of natural gas for five months before it was sealed permanently with cement, forcing thousands of nearby residents to evacuate their homes. It’s unclear exactly when the site will reopen, and there are still two public hearings in February before regulators make a final decision. So far, only 34 of the remaining 114 wells on the site have been tested for safety. While those particular wells have passed pressure tests, there are indications that some may have below-ground leaks. The extent of them, however, is unknown. Even more disturbing is the fact that the Santa Susana Fault runs through the gas field, yet seismic testing has yet been completed verifying the safety of the facility in the event of an earthquake . Geologists tapped by the state in December 2016 warned regulators that a significant earthquake is likely to hit the area sometime in the next 50 years. Related: Damage report reveals LA methane leak is one of the worst disasters in US history Despite this, there is some good news: the state is requiring Southern California Gas Co. to take new safety precautions that weren’t in place before the leak. For one thing, the utility is required to monitor wells for leaks now. Regulators are capping the production of the field – while it has a capacity of 83 billion cubic feet, it’s only going to be allowed to operate at 29 billion cubic feet going forward, with surface pressures nearly 20 percent less than what the gas company has requested. While reopening the facility still poses risks, it seems the state is doing what it can to reduce them in the future. Via Los Angeles Times Images via SoCalGas

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Snhettas luxury cabin with Aurora Borealis views opens at Treehotel

January 18, 2017 by  
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If a room with Aurora Borealis views sounds like the perfect getaway, you’ll love what’s popped up at Sweden’s Treehotel . The boutique hotel, which comprises designer treehouses near the Arctic Circle, just welcomed its first guests to the 7th room, a luxury elevated cabin designed by architecture firm Snøhetta. Hovering ten meters off the ground, the elevated dwelling is a contemporary take on the traditional Nordic cabin and comfortably immerses guests in the beautiful Lapland landscape. Nestled within the evergreen canopy of a tall pine forest, Snøhetta’s 7th room offers stunning views of the Lapland treetops and the Lule River. The cabin is clad in dark-colored pine and thrust into the air by twelve columns. The architects blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living by adding large panoramic windows , a netted terrace suspended above the forest floor, an opening for a tree to pass through the cabin, and even an optical illusion: the cabin’s bottom surface is covered with a large black-and-white print of pine trees to make the cabin appear invisible from below. The elevated cabin is accessible via a staircase and a small lift. In contrast to the dark facade, the 55-square-meter interior features light-colored ash wood floors and birch plywood walls. Built to accommodate five, the cabin comprises two bedrooms, a living room, bathroom, and terrace spread out across two floors. The bedrooms are located on the upper level. Ample glazing allows copious amounts of natural light to pour in and frame landscape views. Expansive, openable skylights in the bedroom as well as a north-facing floor-to-ceiling window in the living room offer prime viewing opportunities of the Northern Lights. Related: Stunning Swedish Treehotel Opens This Weekend! “The design of the 7th room aims to bring people and nature closer together, extending the cabin’s social spaces to the outside and further blending the distinction between indoor and outdoor,” writes Snøhetta. “With its wooden characteristics and unique location in the treetops, the 7th room is a celebration of the Nordic cabin and the pine tree forest.” + Snøhetta Images © Johan Jansson

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Snhettas luxury cabin with Aurora Borealis views opens at Treehotel

Massive Los Angeles methane leak declared permanently sealed

February 19, 2016 by  
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Since October, an underground natural gas storage well in Aliso Canyon , California has been belching up thousands of pounds of methane into the atmosphere every hour while the Southern California Gas Company desperately scrambled to close up the leaky pipe casing. Last week, it seemed the leak had finally been plugged , and today SoCal Gas confirmed that the leak has been permanently sealed . Read the rest of Massive Los Angeles methane leak declared permanently sealed

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LA’s Aliso Canyon methane gas leak has been plugged – for now

February 12, 2016 by  
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The Southern California Gas Company announced yesterday that the massive methane leak plaguing the suburbs of Los Angeles has finally been plugged , at least temporarily. The Aliso Canyon well leak, which was first reported October 23, put the area’s environment and residents in danger and forced thousands to evacuate their homes to escape illness. The utility hopes to seal the leak permanently within the next few days. Perhaps then, nearby residents will finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief. Read the rest of LA’s Aliso Canyon methane gas leak has been plugged – for now

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This tiny home on wheels lets you change your Vista on a whim

February 12, 2016 by  
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