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Recent In The News

Below are select, recent articles in the press covering The FracTracker Alliance and/or our work.

Proposed School to Be Steps Away from Dangerous Pipelines

November 22, 2021 – NBC Philadelphia

After a year of being cooped up in their Philly rowhome, Cameron and Brianna Stevens decided to buy a house on three acres in Delaware County. “I wanted to raise our kids in an environment that was healthier and calmer and peaceful,” Brianna Stevens said. The couple is expecting their first child. So, when they heard that a new elementary school was being proposed right across the street, they saw that as a positive. “We were like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s great.’ You know, that’s convenient. That’s nice,” she said. That is, until they learned about the two gas transmission pipelines running through a corner of the proposed school property. The Rose Tree Media School District wants to build a new elementary school on a 36-acre plot in Edgmont to address a growing population. And so far, the district has paid $1.25 million for one parcel on the 1500 block of Middletown Road and is currently under agreement with the owner of the second parcel next to it. Read More.

In California, an effort to protect frontline communities from environmental health risks

November 20, 2021 – PBS News Hour

More than seven million Californians live within a mile of an oil or gas well, which studies show can create silent health hazards. Now, there are efforts to put more distance between people and pollutants. NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Tom Casciato has the story, beginning in the small city of Arvin. This story is part of our ongoing series, Peril and Promise: The Challenge of Climate Change. Listen Here.

New report: CA oil industry consumed 4.6 billion gallons of freshwater for extraction in 3 years

November 10, 2021 – Daily Kos

FracTracker Alliance has released a new report on water use by the oil and gas industry in California — and the data is alarming as a severe drought continues in California, despite the recent storms: www.fractracker.org/… “We found that the oil and gas industry consumed over 4.6 billion gallons of freshwater for extraction operations in California during the 3 year period from 2018-2020,” said Kyle Ferrar, author of the report. “In total, California oil and gas operations consume upwards of 280 billion gallons of water per year for extraction and refining.” The report includes data summaries and maps that highlight the need for water conservation by California’s oil iand gas industry, the most powerful corporate lobby in the state. Read More.

Nalleli Cobo: the young activist who led her LA neighborhood against big oil

November 10, 2021 – The Guardian

At the age of nine, Nalleli Cobo started getting nosebleeds so severe that she had to sleep sitting up so as not to choke on the blood. Then there were the stomach cramps, nausea, headaches and body spasms, which made walking difficult. For a time she wore a heart monitor as doctors struggled to understand what was wrong. But it wasn’t just Cobo. The nine-year-old was growing up in University Park, a low-income, majority-Latino neighborhood in Los Angeles, the smoggiest city in the US, which ranks highest in the country for deaths linked to air pollution. She and her three older siblings were raised by her Mexican mother, grandmother and two great-grandparents. (Her father was deported to Colombia when she was three.) And suddenly, almost her entire family was ill – including her mother, who developed asthma at 40, as did her grandmother at 70. Read More.

“Responsibly Sourced Gas” (RSG) is Still Natural Greenhouse Gas (GHG)

November 5, 2021 – FrackCheck WV

The fracked natural gas industry has never been the most responsible or efficient consumer of resources. Drillers are using ever-increasing amounts of water and sand in order to produce the same volume of gas, with a corresponding rise in the levels of solid and liquid waste created. Nevertheless, the industry has begun a new wave of branding around “Responsibly Sourced Natural Gas,” or RSG. But what does RSG really mean? We argue that right now it’s an inadequate and ill-defined measurement of the overall ecological and social burden imposed by fracking. Instead, we suggest a new ratio for more accurately calculating fracked gas’s full impacts so that the fossil fuel industry can’t use RSG standards as a thin green veil for continuing its polluting practices. Read More.

The US is a plastic mismanagement leader

November 5, 2021 – GreenBiz

In recent years, countries across the globe have implemented laws to mitigate plastic production and pollution. In the past two years, both large developed nations such as Australia and smaller developing countries such as Sri Lanka and Belize have passed ambitious national laws to phase out a number of plastic products such as bags, cutlery and straws. But the U.S., a leading producer and consumer of plastics, remains woefully behind, even as it stands as one of the world’s biggest polluters. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the country produced 35.7 million tons of plastic waste in 2018, more than 90 percent of which was either landfilled or burned. The U.S. ranks second in the world in total plastic waste generated per year, behind only China — although when measured per capita, the U.S. outpaces China. In 2019, the U.S. also opted not to join the United Nations’ updated Basel Convention, a legally binding agreement aimed at preventing and minimizing plastic waste generation that was signed by about 180 other countries. Read More.

When offshore oil rigs shut down, taxpayers could get stuck with a bill

November 2, 2021 – Orange County Register

While the October oil spill near Huntington Beach is fueling calls to end offshore pumping, operators of aging West Coast wells may be delaying closures in an effort to avoid the huge expense of plugging and dismantling their rigs, according to industry observers. The cost of shutting down the 23 platforms that connect to 734 wells in federal waters off the coast of California would run $1.6 billion, according to federal estimates. And decommissioning consultant John B. Smith said final costs could end up being twice that. While all but one of those platforms is connected to a dozen or more wells, few if any currently are taking advantage of that capacity. Companies that keep even a portion of their pumping operation active can avoid closure costs. “Operators have an incentive to keep at least one well producing … due to the high cost of decommissioning and the negative effect it can have on a company’s balance sheets,” said Smith, who spent more than 35 years administering offshore oil and gas leases for U.S. Department of the Interior. Read More.

Plastics set to overtake coal plants on U.S. carbon emissions, new study shows

October 27, 2021 – South Africa Today

Plastics will outpace coal plants in the U.S. by 2030 in terms of their contributions to climate change, according to a new report released Oct. 21 by Beyond Plastics, a project at Bennington College in Vermont. Yet policymakers and businesses are not currently accounting for the plastics industry’s full impact on climate change, allowing the industry to essentially fly “under the radar, with little public scrutiny and even less government accountability,” the report says. Judith Enck, president of Beyond Plastics and a former regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), says the report was intentionally released in the lead-up to the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland, when world leaders will gather to discuss strategies for tackling climate change. “There’s a little discussion on waste, but not much,” Enck told Mongabay in a video interview. “But plastics’ contribution to climate change is not on the agenda.” Read More.

Consumer Watchdog Praises Governor Oil Setback Rule, Says More Needs To Be Done To Phase Out Oil Drilling In California

October 21, 2021 – MarketWatch

Consumer Watchdog today called Governor Newsom’s draft rule creating a first-of-its-kind 3200-foot setback between oil wells and communities a “historic moment for California and the nation, but one that needs to followed with immediate denial of oil and gas permits as part of a full phase out plan for drilling in this state no later than 2030.” “California’s oil boom went bust a long time ago and the oil that is left is dirty crude oil that is energy-intensive to refine,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog. ”Oil refineries that make our gasoline in California run on a majority of crude oil from OPEC and South America that is lighter and less energy intensive to refine. It’s a no brainer to stop oil companies from drilling that poisons communities.  Next, we need a plan to stop all existing drilling in the state and plug those wells. The fact that offshore drilling permits are still being renewed by the state of California after the recent Orange County oil spill is a sign that much more needs to be done to protect the public and our land. Governor Newsom took a big historic step today, but he now needs to follow Los Angeles County’s lead in phasing out all oil drilling in a reasonable time.” Read More.

California moves to ban oil wells within 3,200 feet of homes and schools

October 21, 2021 – CNBC

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday proposed a statewide 3,200-foot buffer zone to separate homes, schools, hospitals and other populated areas from oil and gas wells. The draft rule, released by the state’s oil regulator California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM), would not ban existing wells within those areas but would require new pollution controls. California is the seventh-largest oil-producing state in the country but has no rule or standard for the distance that active wells need to be from communities. More than 2 million state residents live within 2,500 feet of an operational oil and gas well, and another 5 million, or 14% of the California’s population, are within 1 mile, according to an analysis by the non-profit FracTracker Alliance. Read More.

Activists urge CALDEM to reject fossil fuel and law enforcement money, will march to Capitol Friday

October 20, 2021 – Daily Kos

Activists from the youth-based Sunrise Movement throughout California will march from CalSTRS in West Sacramento to the State Capitol in Sacramento on Friday, Oct. 22 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m to demand that the California Democratic Party (CADEM) Executive Board vote to ban fossil fuel and law enforcement contributions to the Party. California politicians constantly portray the state as a “green” and “progressive” leader despite the fact that the state’s oil and gas regulatory agency, CalGEM, has approved over 9,000 new and reworked oil and gas wells since January 2019 and still doesn’t require health and safety setbacks around oil and gas wells like those other states mandate. These pro fossil fuel policies continue because of Big Oil and Big Gas capture of regulators, ranging from Governor’s Office, to the Legislature, to the regulatory agencies, panels and commissions. Read More.

We told you so – California’s ocean waters and coast still aren’t protected from big oil spills!

October 19, 2021 – Elk Grove News

I wrote the below article in 2010 warning of the consequences of not protecting the ocean from oil spills, oil drilling, pollution and all human impacts other than fishing and gathering in the “marine protected areas” created under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative. This article warned of the consequences of allowing a Big Oil lobbyist and other corporate operatives to oversee “marine protection” in California in a classic example of Deep Regulatory Capture. As Sara Randall, then the program director of the Institute for Fishery Resources and Commercial Fishermen of America, said so eloquently at the time, “These marine protected areas, as currently designed, don’t protect against oil spills. What’s the point of developing marine protected areas if they don’t protect the resources?” Read More.

Oil wells in Bolsa Chica reserve could jeopardize wetlands

October 15, 2021 – The Orange County Register

A steward of the Bolsa Chica wetlands, Kim Kolpin describes her panic earlier this month when she heard that oil was spilling offshore of the habitat-rich park she has worked at since 1996. The 1,400-acre Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach is home to 23 species that are endangered, threatened or of special concern. It’s treasured by birdwatchers for the nearly 300 feathered resident and migratory species, many of which lay their eggs there. All told, there are an estimated 900 species of critters, including turtles, rays and octopuses. In the end, the spill made landfall mostly south of the wetlands. And a quickly installed boom at the reserve’s tidal inlet has, so far, helped prevent any sign of oil entering the ecosystem. But while that’s been a huge relief to Kolpin and others, the biggest ongoing oil threat to the wetlands might come from within the preserve itself. Read More.

Danger of Cryptocurrency

October 15, 2021 – Sri Lanka Guardian

In capitalism every few years or decades something new comes along that causes rapid creation of wealth — think microwaves, electronics, and military weapons expansion during the Cold War; semiconductors; the rise of venture capital as an industry; the personal computer craze of the 1980s; the rise of the Internet and hedge funds in the 1990s followed by Internet commerce, genomics, nanotechnology, and the commercialization of information gathering and surveillance (data mining) to benefit corporations and investors. One of the latest “innovations,” as they’re known in the financial sector, is cryptocurrency, which has exploded since its public introduction in 2013. Related to data mining, cryptocurrency mining has taken off like wildfires in a windstorm — and like those deadly events can accelerate climate chaos in ways we couldn’t imagine just a few years ago. Read More.

Cryptocurrency: A New and Dangerous Climate Disruptor – Resilience

October 15, 2021 – Business Mayor

The get-rich-quick scheme, banned in China and elsewhere, is invading U.S. communities unchecked, posing as an “equalizing, democratizing” currency. It’s not. In capitalism every few years or decades something new comes along that causes rapid creation of wealth — think microwaves, electronics, and military weapons expansion during the Cold War; semiconductors; the rise of venture capital as an industry; the personal computer craze of the 1980s; the rise of the Internet and hedge funds in the 1990s followed by Internet commerce, genomics, nanotechnology, and the commercialization of information gathering and surveillance (data mining) to benefit corporations and investors. Read More.

Concerned Ohio River Residents Group Demonstrates in Wheeling and Moundsville, Urging Shift From Petrochemical Facilities

October 13, 2021 – O&G Links

Photos by Eric Ayres Protesters display banners from the Wheeling Suspension Bridge on Wednesday as part of an effort aiming to urge the Biden Administration to stop permitting new and expanding petrochemical facilities, including the proposed PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker plant in the Ohio Valley. A group of regional activists made stops in Wheeling and Moundsville on Wednesday to speak out against future fracking, the creation of residual plastics and the expansion of petrochemical facilities in the Ohio Valley and beyond. The events in the area were just one part of a nationwide effort under the banner “Break Free From Plastics Actions Against Extraction.” Organized by the group Concerned Ohio River Residents, the protests drew activists of all ages and from all walks of life to the Ohio River area to march and speak out for their cause. Read More.

Environmental Justice Advocates Respond to Oil Spill: End Neighborhood and Offshore Oil Drilling Now

October 13, 2021 – CounterPunch

Since 2019, Governor Newsom’s state oil and gas regulatory agency, CalGEM has issued over 9,000 onshore drilling permits while state lawmakers have repeatedly killed legislation that would have directly protected frontline communities from serious adverse health effects from oil and gas drilling next to homes, schools, prisons, and healthcare facilities, according to the groups. Governor Newsom’s oil and gas regulators have continued granting offshore oil well permits also. As of October 1, 2021, there have been a total of 150 reported permits issued for offshore wells since January 1, 2019, according to a new analysis of permits approved through October 1, 2021 and posted at www.NewsomWellWatch.org by Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance. Read More.

Report: Drilling spills ruined wells and polluted streams in Westmoreland, across Pennsylvania

October 12, 2021 – Honest Columnist

It has been more than four years since Edward and Alice Mioduski of Loyalhanna Township have been able to drink water from their well near Loyalhanna Lake. Drilling mud mixed with the mineral bentonite leaked from the hole that Sunoco Pipeline L.P. was boring underneath the lake in May 2017. It bled into the aquifer that their 95-foot-deep well had tapped into for decades. The crystal-clear water turned cloudy gray with little white blobs floating around. “Within a short time, it went to hell,” Alice Mioduski said. Before that, their water was “the nectar of the gods. We never ran out of water.” Now, they have a 1,500-gallon plastic tank in their backyard that provides water for showering and washing clothes — when it doesn’t freeze in the winter — paid for by Sunoco. A filtration system inside the house provides water for drinking and cooking. Read More.

Western States Petroleum Association launches lawsuit against ‘defacto moratorium’ on fracking in CA

October 11, 2021 – Elk Grove News

As a massive oil spill kills fish and birds off the Orange County coast, the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying group in California, today launched a lawsuit against what it called “a defacto moratorium” on well stimulation (fracking) permits in California by the Gavin Newsom Administration. Under intense pressure from environmental justice advocates that have pushed for a ban on fracking for the last 10 years, the Newsom administration this year began to deny fracking permits while continuing to issue hundreds of other oil production well permits employing other methods of extraction. Fracking only amounts to 2 percent of oil production in California, according to the state’s oil and gas regulatory agency, CalGEM. The agency has approved 12 fracking permits to date, compared with 48 fracking permits last year to date, a 75 percent decrease from 2020, according to the Newsomwellwatch.com website operated by Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance. Read More.

We told you so – California’s ocean waters and coast still aren’t protected from big oil spills!

October 10, 2021 – Daily Kos

I wrote the below article in 2010 warning of the consequences of not protecting the ocean from oil spills, oil drilling, pollution and all human impacts other than fishing and gathering in the “marine protected areas” created under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative. This article warned of the consequences of allowing a Big Oil lobbyist and other corporate operatives to oversee “marine protection” in California in a classic example of Deep Regulatory Capture. As Sara Randall, then the program director of the Institute for Fishery Resources and Commercial Fishermen of America, said so eloquently at the time, “These marine protected areas, as currently designed, don’t protect against oil spills. What’s the point of developing marine protected areas if they don’t protect the resources?” Read More.

Report: Drilling spills ruined wells and polluted streams in Westmoreland, across Pennsylvania

October 10, 2021 – Yahoo! News

It has been more than four years since Edward and Alice Mioduski of Loyalhanna Township have been able to drink water from their well near Loyalhanna Lake. Drilling mud mixed with the mineral bentonite leaked from the hole that Sunoco Pipeline L.P. was boring underneath the lake in May 2017. It bled into the aquifer that their 95-foot-deep well had tapped into for decades. The crystal-clear water turned cloudy gray with little white blobs floating around. “Within a short time, it went to hell,” Alice Mioduski said. Before that, their water was “the nectar of the gods. We never ran out of water.” Now, they have a 1,500-gallon plastic tank in their backyard that provides water for showering and washing clothes — when it doesn’t freeze in the winter — paid for by Sunoco. A filtration system inside the house provides water for drinking and cooking. Read More.

California pipeline deal may keep oil pumping for 20 years, despite disastrous spill

October 10, 2021 – Salon

A little more than a year before an underwater pipeline leaked 144,480 gallons of crude oil, tarring Southern California beaches and killing fish and wildlife, the city of Long Beach signed a lease with Houston-based Amplify Energy that could extend the pipeline’s life through 2040, according to government records. A subsidiary of Amplify, the oil company responsible for the leak, is paying the city $84,449.83 a year for 37,430 square feet of property, according to a lease agreement signed on June 17, 2020. Since 1979, offshore oil drillers have leased an area now known as the Beta Pump Station from the city of Long Beach. The pump station is located at the Port of Long Beach’s southeast basin, where there are also active oil wells. Read More.

‘Ground Zero for Pollution:’ In This L.A. Neighborhood Surrounded by Oil Refineries, Residents Grapple With Health Issues

October 9, 2021 – CNBC

Stepping out of a coffee shop near Interstate 110 in the Wilmington neighborhood of Los Angeles, you’re immediately hit by a foul odor. Magali Sanchez-Hall, 51, who’s lived here for more than two decades, is used to the smell of rotting eggs wafting from the hundreds of oil wells operating in the neighborhood. She’s used to her neighbors describing chronic coughs, skin rashes and cancer diagnoses, and to the asthma that affects her own family, who live only 1,500 feet from a refinery. “When people are getting sick with cancer or having asthma, they might think it’s normal or blame genetics,” she said. “We don’t often look at the environment we’re in and think — the chemicals we’re breathing are the cause.” Read More.

Western States Petroleum Association launches lawsuit against ‘defacto moratorium’ on fracking in CA

October 8, 2021 – Daily Kos

As a massive oil spill kills fish and birds off the Orange County coast, the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying group in California, today launched a lawsuit against what it called a “a defacto moratorium” on well stimulation (fracking) permits in California by the Gavin Newsom Administration. Under intense pressure from environmental justice advocates that have pushed for a ban on fracking for the last 10 years, the Newsom administration this year began to deny fracking permits while continuing to issue hundreds of other oil production well permits employing other methods of extraction. Fracking only amounts to 2 percent of oil production in California, according to the state’s oil and gas regulatory agency, CalGEM. The agency has approved 12 fracking permits to date, compared with 48 fracking permits last year to date, a 75 percent decrease from 2020, according to the Newsomwellwatch.com website operated by Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance. Read More.

Before oil spill, Long Beach approved 20-year pipeline pump station lease

October 7, 2021 – Daily Press

A little more than a year before an underwater pipeline leaked 144,480 gallons of crude oil, tarring Southern California beaches and killing fish and wildlife, the city of Long Beach signed a lease with Houston-based Amplify Energy that could extend the pipeline’s life through 2040, according to government records. A subsidiary of Amplify, the oil company responsible for the leak, is paying the city $84,449.83 a year for 37,430 square feet of property, according to a lease agreement signed on June 17, 2020. Since 1979, offshore oil drillers have leased an area now known as the Beta Pump Station from the city of Long Beach. The pump station is located at the Port of Long Beach’s southeast basin, where there are also active oil wells. Read More.

Should oil and gas companies be exempt from Pennsylvania’s hazardous waste laws?

October 7, 2021 – Environmental Health News

In the wake of growing concerns over the oil and gas industry’s handling of radioactive waste, activists and policymakers are working to change laws that exempt the industry from safety regulations. For decades, national environmental organizations have tried unsuccessfully to close federal loopholes that exempt the oil and gas industry’s radioactive waste—which has been linked to elevated cancer rates—from regulation. Industry and government reports indicate that these exemptions persist because the cost of treating the waste as hazardous would be tremendous. Meanwhile, other industries that generate radioactive waste—like nuclear energy, research, and pharmaceutical industries—are meticulously regulated by multiple federal agencies. Read More.

Related: How joining a climate program could save Western Pennsylvania kids’ lives and lungs

“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) doesn’t get involved unless you’re operating under an NRC license,” Flyer explained. “The oil and gas industry isn’t generating radioactive materials for commercial use or disposing of [waste] regulated under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, which would require an NRC license, even though their operations pick up naturally occurring radioactive materials—it’s just incidental to their operations.”

CA Dangerously Close To Approving 10,000 Oil Drilling Permits since Newsom Assumed Office; Groups Demand Gov. Deliver On Putting Oil Drilling Into Rear View Mirror

October 6, 2021 – PR Newswire

Governor Newsom’s oil regulators have approved 9,728 oil drilling permits since he assumed office in 2019, according to a new analysis of permits approved through October 1, 2021and posted at www.NewsomWellWatch.org by Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance. The groups said Newsom should immediately cease approval of more oil permits to avoid hitting the 10,000 mark. As of October 1, 2021, there have been a total of 150 reported permits issued for offshore wells since January 1, 2019. Five of these permits were for new drilling and the remaining 145 for reworks (including sidetracks and deepening operations). Half of the total were issued for idle wells that should be plugged and properly abandoned to reduce the risk of blowouts, leaks, and other accidents. Over the first three quarters of 2021 there have been 17 offshore permits issued. Read More.

CA Oil Permit Approvals Close to 10,000 Since 2019 As Oil Spill Fouls SoCal Beaches

October 6, 2021 – Daily Kos

Governor Newsom’s oil regulators have approved 9,728 oil drilling permits since he assumed office in 2019, according to a new analysis of permits approved through October 1, 2021 and posted at www.NewsomWellWatch.org by Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance.  The groups said Newsom should immediately cease approval of more oil permits to avoid hitting the 10,000 mark. As of October 1, 2021, there have been a total of 150 reported permits issued for offshore wells since January 1, 2019. Five of these permits were for new drilling and the remaining 145 for reworks (including sidetracks and deepening operations).  Half of the total were issued for idle wells that should be plugged and properly abandoned to reduce the risk of blowouts, leaks, and other accidents. Over the first three quarters of 2021 there have been 17 offshore permits issued. Read More.

Newsom assails ‘those damn platforms’ in new fight against oil drilling

October 5, 2021 – Politico

California Democrats are seizing on a massive oil spill that has sullied popular beaches in Orange County and killed sea life to pursue long-sought bans on offshore drilling. They’re seeking action in both Washington and Sacramento, where lawmakers are pushing to unilaterally prohibit drilling-related activities in waters off the California coast. The 144,000-gallon slick has newly galvanized California lawmakers and environmental groups, who have struggled to convince leaders even in this blue state to restrict oil production in recent years. Newsom on Tuesday excoriated fossil fuels’ contribution to climate change and got in a dig at former President Donald Trump before throwing his support behind a congressional effort to ban new offshore drilling on the West Coast. Read More.

Why do we still have offshore oil wells? How do they work?

October 5, 2021 – Los Angeles Times

The oil spill that’s fouling Southern California beaches has many Californians wondering why the state still has offshore oil wells more than 50 years after the state declared an end to new drilling, and more than 35 years after the federal government stopped issuing new leases. The reason is that once a lease is issued and permits are granted, they remain in use until they are revoked or a well is no longer generating profits. And the decades-old wells continue to produce, contributing thousands of barrels of crude oil each day to the U.S. output. Here are the answers to some basic questions about offshore wells and the role they play in the larger energy picture. The simple answer is that there’s oil. Although sizable reserves remain on land, Alexei Milkov, a professor of geology and geological engineering at the Colorado School of Mines, said people have been searching onshore for oil fields for 150 years, “so any large accumulations onshore have been found and exploited.” Offshore, there’s still the chance to find big new fields. Hence the interest in offshore development. Read More.

CALIFORNIA OIL SPILL FUELS DEMOCRATS’ CALLS TO LIMIT PRODUCTION

October 5, 2021 – Huffman.house.gov

The massive oil spill spreading across the Orange County shoreline is already reaching Sacramento. The 144,000-gallon slick, coming weeks after Gov. Gavin Newsom handily fended off a recall attempt by Republicans, has galvanized progressive California lawmakers and environmental groups around a renewed push to limit petroleum production. Newsom on Tuesday excoriated fossil fuels’ contribution to climate change and got in a dig at former President Donald Trump before throwing his support behind a congressional effort to ban new offshore drilling on the West Coast. “Those damn platforms, fossil fuels. It’s not very complicated. We need to grow up, grow out of this dependency and this mindset, this mindset that we can’t do more and do better,” he said at a press conference in Huntington Beach. “I want the Trump administration folks, all those folks out there, all those Republicans out there who still think the answer to the problem is more offshore drilling to just know: Not in our backyard. It won’t happen.” Congressional Democrats are also looking to the spill to press their advantage. Read More.

Gavin Newsom Slammed for Issuing 138 Oil Permits as California Cleanup Continues

October 5, 2021 – Newsweek

Energy industry watchdogs have called on California governor Gavin Newsom to stop issuing oil permits in state waters, as the cleanup from a spill in the south of the state continues. Local wildlife habitats and beaches have been hit hard by the estimated 100,000-gallon oil leak about five miles off Huntington Beach in Orange County. The cause of the leak reported on Saturday is not yet known and oil removal efforts have continued apace following the spill to an estimated 3,000 barrels, CNN reported. Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in Orange County and said in a statement on Monday that his state would “mobilize all available resources to protect public health and the environment.” Read More.

End oil drilling permits? + Equality California union breakthrough + Group seeks Newsom vetoes

October 4, 2021 – The Sacramento Bee

After an oil pipeline spilled more than 100,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean in federal waters off the coast of Orange County this weekend, the group Consumer Watchdog is re-upping its call for Gov. Gavin Newsom to cease issuing both offshore and onshore oil drilling permits. “This current spill makes it clear like never before that there is no such thing as safe proximity to oil drilling,” said Consumer Watchdog’s Liza Tucker in a statement. “Governor Newsom must stop issuing both offshore and onshore permits immediately and set a barrier of 2,500 feet between vulnerable communities and oil operations if his own oil and gas supervisor won’t.” The group points out that since taking office, Newsom has dispensed 138 oil permits for operations in state waters, including five new drilling permits and 133 permits to perform work on existing offshore wells. Read More.

Nobody could have been surprised by this spill. Now here’s what has to happen

October 4, 2021 – Los Angeles Times

The people who devote themselves to protecting the California coast have been saying it for years: It’s virtually impossible to prevent an oil spill like the massive crude slick that is now fouling beaches and marine habitats along the Orange County coast. “There is no way to assuredly prevent human error or mechanical failure,” Richard Charter, senior fellow at the Ocean Foundation, told me in 2018 when the Trump administration was angling to open six regions off the California coast to drilling. In the Orange County spill, one theory is that a ship anchor clawed and maybe dragged a pipeline, but if so, that’s just one more example of what can go wrong in the process of extracting oil from the ocean. Read More.

Newsom Administration issued 138 offshore well permits in CA waters prior to big oil spill!

October 4, 2021 – Daily Kos

As birds, fish and other wildlife die from the 126,000 gallons of crude oil unleashed by the devastating oil spill off Huntington Beach, the oil and gas regulatory agency under Governor Gavin Newsom has issued 138 oil permits for operations in state waters since he assumed office, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance revealed today. And while “marine protected areas” created under the leadership of a Big Oil lobbyist are currently threatened by the massive oil spill, the two groups said the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) is 278 days late in delivering Newsom a rule setting a barrier between oil operations and vulnerable communities. Read More.

Alan Lowenthal, other local elected leaders renew calls for ban of offshore drilling

October 4, 2021 – Long Beach Post

Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, who chairs the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, called for a “multi-agency Biden administration investigation” into the oil spill in Huntington Beach. Lowenthal is planning to hold a hearing about the leak and the mop-up effort. “It is absolutely critical that we determine the cause of this spill and determine what steps Congress can take to prevent such spills in the future,” Lowenthal said in a statement. “For far too long, the offshore drilling industry has hidden behind adhering to the bare minimum of safety measures—prioritizing profits over safety, public health and environmental protection. This has to end.” Read More.

Governor Newsom Must End Oil Permits In State Waters And Order 2,500-Foot Barrier Between Communities And Oil Drilling, Consumer Watchdog And FracTracker Alliance Say

October 4, 2021 – PR Newswire

While an oil spill in federal waters damages Southern California beaches, wildlife and habitat, oil regulators under Gov. Gavin Newsom have issued 138 oil permits for operations in state waters since he assumed office and are 278 days late in delivering Newsom a rule setting a barrier between oil operations and vulnerable communities, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance said today. “This current spill makes it clear like never before that there is no such thing as safe proximity to oil drilling,” said consumer advocate Liza Tucker. “Governor Newsom must stop issuing both offshore and onshore permits immediately and set a barrier of 2,500 feet between vulnerable communities and oil operations if his own oil and gas supervisor won’t.” California banned the dispensing of new oil drilling leases in state waters up to two miles from shore in 1969 after the devastating Santa Barbara oil spill. But new drilling and other work on wells in existing leases in state waters was never banned. Though advocates urged Jerry Brown to halt this practice, he never did. Neither has Newsom. Read More.

Another Major Oil Spill Hits the Southern California Coast

October 4, 2021 – CounterPunch

It was only inevitable that another oil massive spill would hit the California coast, as offshore oil drilling continues off Southern California and Big Oil continues to capture the Governor’s Office, Legislature and state regulatory agencies and commissions. The inevitable happened Saturday when a major oil spill off the Orange County coast reportedly dumped at least 126,000 gallons of oil into coastal waters and local wetlands. The source of the 13-square mile spill was apparently from a leak from a pipeline connected to Platform Elly, located five miles off the Huntington Beach and just over 7 miles off Long Beach. The offshore rig is one of three operated off the coast by Beta Offshore, a Long Beach, California-based unit of Houston-based Amplify Energy Corporation. Royal Dutch Shell PLC installed the platforms in 1980. Read More.

Huntington Beach Oil Spill: Local Elected Leaders Renew Calls For Ban Of Offshore Drilling

October 4, 2021 – CBS Los Angeles

Rep. Mike Levin, D-Dana Point, ramped up his calls Monday to ban offshore drilling in light of the oil spill in Huntington Beach. “Obviously, I’m quite concerned for my constituents and beaches,” Levin said. “My belief is we need to end all offshore drilling and phase out existing offshore drilling.” Levin has introduced legislation to do just that, and similar language is included in the Biden administration’s Build Back Better infrastructure bill. “On page 984 is our language that would ban new drilling off the California coast and other parts of the country as well,” Levin said. Levin recalled meeting with former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on the issue during the Trump administration. Read More.

The US falls behind most of the world in plastic pollution legislation

October 4, 2021 – Environmental Health News

In recent years, countries across the globe have implemented laws to mitigate plastic production and pollution. In the past two years, both large developed nations like Australia and smaller developing countries like Sri Lanka and Belize have passed ambitious national laws to phase out a number of plastic products like bags, cutlery, and straws. But the U.S., a leading producer and consumer of plastics, remains woefully behind, even as it stands as one of the world’s biggest polluters. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the country produced 35.7 million tons of plastic waste in 2018, more than 90% of which was either landfilled or burned. The U.S. ranks second in the world in total plastic waste generated per year, behind only China — though when measured per capita, the U.S. outpaces China. Read More.

Another Major Oil Spill Hits the Southern California Coast!

October 3, 2021 – Daily Kos

It was only inevitable that another oil massive spill would hit the California coast, as offshore oil drilling continues off Southern California and Big Oil continues to capture the Governor’s Office, Legislature and state regulatory agencies and commissions. The inevitable happened Saturday when a major oil spill off the Orange County coast reportedly dumped at least 126,000 gallons of oil into coastal waters and local wetlands. The source of the 13-square mile spill was apparently from a leak from a pipeline connected to Platform Elly, located five miles off the Huntington Beach and just over 7 miles off Long Beach. The offshore rig is one of three operated off the coast by Beta Offshore, a Long Beach, California-based unit of Houston-based Amplify Energy Corporation. Royal Dutch Shell PLC installed the platforms in 1980. Read More.

Santa Barbara Co. Planning Commission rejects ExxonMobil’s hazardous oil trucking proposal

September 30, 2021 – Daily Kos

In a victory for community and conservation groups, the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission on September 29 voted to deny ExxonMobil’s proposal to transport oil by tanker trucks along a hazardous California highway so it can restart three drilling platforms off the Santa Barbara Coast that have been shut down since the Refugio Oil Spill of 2015. “The 3-2 initial vote came unexpectedly Wednesday, during the first of two days of scheduled public hearings on the project, and is expected to be followed Nov. 3 with a formal vote and findings recommending the Board of Supervisors deny the project,” according to a press release from a coalition of groups. Read More.

Company planning a second shale wastewater injection well in Plum

September 27, 2021 – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

With Allegheny County’s first oil and gas waste injection well less than a year old, the Delmont-based company behind it has already filed for a permit for another one in Plum Borough. Penneco Environmental Solutions has asked federal regulators to convert another oil and gas well on the same property into an injection well to store the briny brew that comes out of oil and gas wells. The operating well, called Sedat 3A, was converted in the same way. The well pad that holds it has three other old oil wells on it. Read More.

Advocates Say Governor’s $15 Billion Climate Package Fails to Deliver Action on Fossil Fuels

September 23, 2021 – Daily Kos

Against a backdrop of trees at the site of the KNP Complex Fire in Sequoia National Park as wildfires rage across California, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the California Comeback Plan’s $15 billion climate package — the largest of its kind in the country. Although climate justice and environmental advocates described the package as “impressive,” Food and Water Watch said the package lacks the “ultimate fire prevention method”: halting new permits for the drilling of oil and gas in California. The Governor signed legislation outlining investments in the package to “build wildfire and forest resilience, support immediate drought response and long-term water resilience and directly protect communities across the state from multi-faceted climate risks, including extreme heat and sea level rise.” Read More.

Sand Control Solutions Insights by Leading Companies, Future Growth, Revenue and Demand Forecast to 2025

September 22, 2021 – MarketWatch

The sand control solutions market is projected to reach USD 3.2 billion by 2025 from an estimated USD 2.1 billion in 2020, at a CAGR of 8.9% during the forecast period. The continuous development from unconventional reservoirs and efforts to increase reserve to production ratio from the wells are the key factors driving the growth of the sand control solutions market. Likewise, the increasing offshore exploration & production as well as subsea activities are expected to offer lucrative opportunities for the sand control solutions market during the forecast period.However, fluctuating crude oil prices, and challenging operations in high-pressure high temperature well hinder the growth of the market. Read More.

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Approves Motions to Phase Out Oil and Gas Drilling

September 16, 2021 – Daily Kos

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved two companion motions that will put Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the nation, on a path to ban existing oil drilling and transition fossil fuel workers to careers in clean energy and other climate-friendly industries. There are approximately 1,600 active and idle oil wells within unincorporated communities of LA County. Over half of those wells are within the 1,000 acre Inglewood Oil Field, the largest urban oil field in the nation, located in Los Angeles County’s Second Supervisorial District. Sentinel Peak Resources, a Denver based Quantum Energy Partners portfolio company, owns and operates the oil field. Read More.

Two years ago, Andrew Weaver revealed he ripped up Liberal party membership; today, he’s a Trudeau supporter

September 15, 2021 – The Georgia Straight

This week, former B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver was in Richmond with Justin Trudeau touting the Liberal climate plan. The UVic professor called it “bold and thoughtful.” “This is the plan that I’ve been dreaming of for most of my life,” Weaver declared with Liberal candidate Joyce Murray standing behind him. Murray, who’s seeking reelection in Vancouver Quadra, focused on climate emissions when she sought her master’s degree in the early 1990s. She’s running against one of the Green party’s climate scientists, Devyani Singh, who’s doing postdoctoral work focusing on methane emissions. It’s a remarkable political turnaround for Weaver. In 2019, he expressed exasperation to the Straight about the federal Liberals’ inaction on the climate. In fact, he confessed at the time that he quit the party because of Trudeau’s handing of this issue. Read More.

GUEST APPEARANCE: Protecting our air, water: We’re all in it together

August 28, 2021 – Finger Lakes Times

Several local publications recently printed another public relations statement by Greenidge Generation. The bitcoin mining operator along the western shore of Seneca Lake in Dresden is trying hard to convince the community that its business model is a net benefit for the region — that is, burning massive amounts of fossil fuels and discharging oceans of heated water into Seneca Lake to ultimately power banks of computers to produce bitcoin. The company says that the carbon offsets it has purchased make it the “first fully carbon-neutral bitcoin mining operation of its kind in the United States.” What Greenidge won’t mention, is that under New York state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, stationary electric sources like power plants cannot avail themselves of offsets; they are not a substitute under state law in moving us to a cleaner, carbon-neutral future. Read More.

Advocates tell DOE that the cost of Appalachian petrochemicals too great

August 24, 2021 – Pittsburgh Business Times

Environmental advocates made their case for environmental justice and the health and economic impacts of ethane and petrochemical development in Appalachia during a public hearing Tuesday convened by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. DOE has been tasked by the U.S. Congress to produce a report on the potential value of Appalachia-produced ethane, a byproduct of natural gas, production and use in industry domestically as well as its transport internationally for manufacturing. DOE convened Tuesday’s session to get advocates’ and residents’ opinions about the development in a report that will be published by the end of the year. Read More.

Residents in a densely-populated Pittsburgh suburb are demanding public hearings on two proposed fracking wells

August 19, 2021 – Daily Climate

Residents in two Pittsburgh suburbs are demanding public hearings on a proposal to drill two new fracking wells within a mile of an elementary school. The wells, proposed by Apex Energy, would be within one mile of Level Green Elementary School and within two miles of 12,733 residents in Penn Township and Trafford Borough (about 17 miles east of Pittsburgh). The wells would be near several environmental justice communities, which are defined as, which is defined in Pennsylvania as any census tract where 20% or more of the population lives at or below the federal poverty line, and/or 30% or more of the population identifies as non-white. Environmental justice communities often face disproportionately high levels of pollution and negative health impacts caused by the overlapping effects of poverty, racism, and pollution. Read More.

California denies 42 new fracking permits, but approves 1,019 oil and gas permits in 2021

August 8, 2021 – Daily Kos

Less than a month after denying all of Aera Energy’s 21 applications for fracking permits, the Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) denied 42 of California Resources Production Corporation’s applications for fracking operations that the company submitted for review in 2019 and 2020. These wells are located in the Elk Hills, Jerry Slough, Kettleman North Dome, and North Shafter fields in Kern County, the center of oil production in California. The corporation, the largest oil-producing company in California, was formed in April 2014 as a corporate spin-off of Occidental Petroleum. In July 2020, the company filed bankruptcy with $5 billion in debt. It emerged from bankruptcy in October 2020. Food and Water Watch and other advocates noted that the agency cited missing application materials for the denial, making no mention of risks to public health and safety, environmental quality and climate change cited in the previous fracking permit denials for Aera Energy. Read More.

REPORT: The Oil and Gas Leasing Pause Has Minimal Impact

August 5, 2021 – Natural Resources Defense Council

In a newly released report—commissioned by NRDC in partnership with the Center for Western Priorities and eight other groups—the Conservation Economics Institute (CEI) finds that the temporary moratorium on leasing public lands for oil and gas development has negligible economic effects and that oil industry claims of doom was nothing but hyperbole. On January 27, 2021, President Biden issued a sweeping executive order aimed at reinvigorating the United States’ response to the climate crisis. As part of that order, the administration suspended federal oil and gas leasing on public lands and ocean waters temporarily, pending a Department of the Interior (DOI) review of the onshore and offshore federal oil and gas programs. That review process kicked off with a public forum on March 25, 2021, where representatives from Indigenous tribes to industry to front line community members presented their perspectives on the oil and gas programs. Read More.

Rekha Basu: Jessica Reznicek is no terrorist. But the longtime activist is going to serve time as one

August 3, 2021 – Star Tribune

On Aug. 11, 39-year-old Jessica Reznicek will report to a federal women’s prison in Waseca, Minnesota, to begin an eight-year sentence for damaging pieces of machinery involved in construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. She was indicted in September 2019 on nine federal charges related to her 2016 pipeline vandalism — or civil disobedience, as she prefers — pleading guilty eventually to one count of conspiracy to damage an energy facility. She did it, as she told the court, because she feared oil would leak from the pipeline and further contaminate Iowa’s drinking water. She was sentenced in June, four years after she and fellow climate activist Ruby Montoya publicly announced what they had done. (Montoya has also taken a plea but has yet to be sentenced.) After her release, Reznicek will live under federal supervision for three years. She and Montoya also have been ordered to make $3.2 million in restitution to pipeline owners Energy Transfer LLC. Read More.

Radioactive, for 1,600 years

August 1, 2021 – Sandusky Register

It might be that it’s just not something people want to think about. But the fact is radioactive waste from fracking getting shipped to loosely regulated landfills in Ohio has the potential to poison the environment for 1,600 years. Despite efforts from environmental organizations to educate the public about the radioactive risks created by the boom in shale gas fracking since the early 2000s, or documentaries from Public Herald like “Triple Divide” (2013), “Triple Divide (Redacted) (2017),” and “INVISIBLE HAND” (2020) that covered radioactive waste, some Ohioans remain unaware that it is piling up, in many cases, in their own backyards. Sil Caggiano, senior battalion chief for the Youngstown Fire Department, blames the lack of awareness on the state’s protection of the industry. “It’s the third rail of politics here in Ohio,” Caggiano said. “You don’t screw with the fracking.” Caggiano contends his fellow first responders and civilians are not being given the knowledge owed to them by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, also known as SARA Title III. The act requires that states “organize, analyze and disseminate information on hazardous chemicals to local governments and the public.” Read More.

EPA Approval of PFAS for Fracking May Spell a New Health Crisis for Communities

July 30, 2021 – Truthout

For over a month, noxious wastewater has been leaching across the ground on Ashley Watt’s family ranch in the Permian Basin in West Texas where she lives and raises cattle. It started in mid-June, when a well Chevron Corps drilled in the 1960s (and plugged with cement in the 1990s before abandoning it) burst open. The well spewed what Watt described on Twitter as “super concentrated brine and benzene” into her water supply, the Pecos River Basin alluvial aquifer. After a month on site, according to Watt, Chevron plugged the well on July 16, but it failed a pressure test and continued bubbling brine at the surface again just over an hour later. Two calves and four cows have died, as Bloomberg News reported, and the well continues to spray onto the sandy land, where the water table is just over 50 feet below ground. “Anything poured on the surface will be in the water table shortly,” Watt wrote. “This is a desert, and without clean water there is no ranch nor home.” Read More.

CA Permit Approvals For New Well Drills Are Down 64% For The First Six Months; Consumer Watchdog Urges Governor To Seize Golden Opportunity To Move From Fossil Fuels

July 26, 2021 – Yahoo! Finance

Permit approvals to drill or rework new oil wells fell by 64% in the first six months of 2021 over the same period last year, giving Governor Newsom an excellent opening to more decisively transition off of fossil fuels, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance said today. The number of permit applications filed by oil and gas companies also fell by 52%. The overall number of oil and gas permits approved under Newsom now totals 9,014 since he took office in January 2019, according to NewsomWellWatch.com, which is run by the groups and maps all California oil wells, with just 1,019 permits approved, by comparison, in the first six months of 2021. Read More.

Rekha Basu: Jessica Reznicek is no terrorist. But the longtime activist is going to serve time as one.

July 22, 2021 – The Hawk Eye

On Aug. 11, 39-year-old Jessica Reznicek will report to a federal women’s prison in Waseca, Minnesota, to begin an eight-year sentence for damaging pieces of machinery involved in construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. She was indicted in September 2019 on nine federal charges related to her 2016 pipeline vandalism — or civil disobedience, as she prefers — pleading guilty eventually to one count of conspiracy to damage an energy facility. She did it, as she told the court, because she feared oil would leak from the pipeline and further contaminate Iowa’s drinking water. She was sentenced last month, four years after she and fellow climate activist Ruby Montoya publicly announced what they had done. (Montoya has also taken a plea but has yet to be sentenced.) After her release, Reznicek will live under federal supervision for three years. She and Montoya also have been ordered to make $3.2 million in restitution to pipeline owners Energy Transfer LLC. Read More.

Radioactive Material in the Oil and Gas Industry

July 21, 2021 – National Resources Defense Council

Oil and gas extraction activities, including fracking, drilling, and production, can release radioactive materials that endanger workers, nearby communities, and the environment. Radioactive elements are naturally present in many soils and rock formations, as well as in the water that flows through them. Oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) activities can expose significant quantities of these radioactive materials to the environment. Read More.

The Truth About RuPaul’s Relationship With His Husband

July 16, 2021 – The List

If there is one person who dominates the world stage, it’s RuPaul. Not only does the queen of drag need only one name to be identified, but Mama Ru has defined the artistry that is drag in a groundbreaking way. To use his words, “We’re all born naked and the rest is drag.” If one thing is clear, it’s that RuPaul has excelled in a way that many of us only dream of. To be synonymous with an entire industry is a feat that few of us dare to achieve, but RuPaul is a living legend with a pretty massive net worth. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has made Mama Ru a household name — he has, without question, expanded and redefined the boundaries of drag and has pushed the artistic form into the mainstream.  Read More.

Whistleblowers say ‘bad seeds’ undermine pipeline safety

July 15, 2021 – E&E News

Two former pipeline inspectors say they were fired for reporting hazards on a volatile liquids pipeline to Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s massive new petrochemical plant northwest of Pittsburgh. The inspectors, Frank Chamberlin and Susan D’Layne Carite, said they warned Shell managers and even federal regulators in 2019 that the anti-corrosion coating was defective on the company’s Falcon pipeline. That could increase the threat of corrosion, a leading cause of pipeline ruptures. A representative of the coating manufacturer told Chamberlin the protective layer was “unacceptable,” and another person on the project told him it peeled from the pipe during installation. Rather than fixing the problem, he says, Shell ordered them off the project and the contractor fired the two inspectors, who live together in a rural part of upstate New York. The couple’s allegations are contained in their whistleblower complaint they filed with the Labor Department. Read More.

Heart Attack Risk Tied to Drilling/Fracking Operations

July 11, 2021 – Frack Check WV

Doctors have criticized fracking (hydraulic fracturing), a drilling method used to extract natural gas or oil from the earth, for contributing to health issues like asthma, birth defects, and even cancer. Now, a new study is linking the practice to heart attacks. Researchers reviewed data from 2005 to 2015 on unconventional natural gas development and acute myocardial infarction — a heart attack — in counties in New York, where fracking is banned, and Pennsylvania, where it is not. The researchers found that heart attack rates were higher in Pennsylvania residents. Areas with higher fracking activity were associated with 1.4% to 2.8% increases in heart attack hospitalizations, varying a bit per age group and per level of fracking activity. Read More.

CA oil industry has used 1.8 billion gallons of freshwater for drilling operations since Fall 2018

July 7, 2021 – Daily Kos

In a new report, Food and Water Research reveals that since Governor Newsom was elected, from Fall 2018 to June 2021, the oil and gas industry used 1,804,566,792 gallons of freshwater, nearly 2 billion gallons, for drilling operations that could otherwise have supplied domestic systems. For a comparison of what that looks like, the nearly 2 billion gallons of water used to drill oil and gas wells in the state would fill about 2,732 Olympic-sized pools or supply local California households with over 72 million showers, according to the report. It also exceeds the amount of water that Californians are recommended to use on a daily, per capita basis during drought, 55 gallons/day. Read More.

Pipeline & Process Services Market Worth USD 4.90 Billion at 5.4% by 2028 Backed by Presence of a Large Number of Oil & Gas Fields in North America

July 7, 2021 – Yahoo! Finance

The global pipeline & process services market size is expected to gain momentum by reaching USD 4.90 billion by 2028. Fortune Business Insights, in its report titled “Pipeline & Process Services Market, 2021-2028.”, mentions that the market stood at USD 3.30 billion in 2020 and is likely to exhibit a CAGR of 5.4% between 2021 and 2028. This is attributable to the rising oil & gas trade activities and the presence of stringent regulations regarding oil & gas pipelines globally. In May 2021, Saudi Arabia reported a 428% surge in overall factory investments. It is termed to be a 27.92% year-on-year growth. The country aims to develop several industries such as petrochemicals, oil & gas, chemicals, mining, and others. Read More.

Newsletter: How many abandoned oil wells threaten your favorite national park?

July 1, 2021 – Los Angeles Times

June has barely come to an end, and parts of California and the West are already suffering through unprecedented heat, punishing drought and rapidly spreading wildfire — a harrowing preview of life on a planet that is only getting more chaotic. In Vancouver, police responded to 65 sudden deaths over four days as temperatures soared. A town even farther north obliterated Canada’s all-time temperature record with a 121-degree reading, which also would have shattered the record high in Las Vegas. Portland broke its heat record three days in a row, ultimately reaching 116 degrees. In Seattle, where fewer than half of homes have air conditioning, the mercury hit 108 degrees, also an all-time high. There are at least 80 deaths being reported as potentially heat-related in the Pacific Northwest, and I’d be stunned if that number didn’t grow. Pay close attention to Spokane, in eastern Washington, where thousands of people lost power as the heat forced an electric utility to implement rolling blackouts. Read More.

US national parks plagued by 31,000 abandoned oil and gas wells leaking potent greenhouse gas methane

June 25, 2021 – Independent

America’s national parks are plagued by tens of thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells, according to new analysis. These orphaned wells, for which the owners have long since vanished or are now insolvent, spew super-potent greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere, along with leaking brine into the groundwater at parks and nearby communities. Dealing with abandoned wells and mines, some which have been unattended for decades, gets support from both Republicans and Democrats along with environmentalists and some industry bodies. Methane is powerful but short-lived compared to fellow planet-heating carbon dioxide, the former lasting about a dozen years while CO2 hangs around for centuries. But in its relatively brief life span, methane traps dozens of times the heat of CO2. Tackling its release is crucial in battling the climate crisis. Read More.

Ohio EPA Extends Air Permit for Proposed PTT Global Cracker Plant

June 23, 2021 – The Intelligencer and Wheeling News Register

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency extended a permit that is necessary for PTT Global Chemical America to move ahead with plans to build an ethane cracker plant in Belmont County. The air pollution permit-to-install, which was granted more than two years ago, initially was set to expire Tuesday; however, PTTGCA sought and received an extension that makes the permit valid through Feb. 24, 2022. PTTGCA filed for the extension on Feb. 19 of this year and received a letter dated Feb. 23 granting approval. The document explains that the extension is due, in part, to the fact that issuance of the permit was appealed. Read More.

G7 LEADERS: STOP PUSHING ALL FOSSIL FUELS & INVEST IN THE CLEAN ENERGY TRANSITION

June 9, 2021 – The Council of Canadians

Joint Letter
As governments gather for the G7 Summit to discuss how to build a “strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive recovery,” it is critical that G7 governments put “global ambitions on climate change and the reversal of biodiversity loss at the centre” of their plans1 and stop financing fossil fuels. We are at a pivotal moment in the climate emergency. The devastating local, regional, and global impacts of climate change are already disproportionately affecting frontline communities, Indigenous people, women, youth, social movements, workers, unions, urban movements, and farmers in the global South. The longer action is delayed, the harder it will be to avoid the worst climate impacts and ensure a just transition for workers, communities, and countries. At the same time, the economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, combined with the increasing impacts of climate change, have created devastating situations for countries in the global South. Read More.

PA needs protective buffers from fracked gas development | PennLive letters

June 4, 2021 – PennLive

Shale gas and petrochemical infrastructure has been harming Pennsylvania residents for years. These industrial projects are being built far too close to where people live, work, and gather. Fracked gas is extracted next to schools and homes. Human health suffers. Natural resources are threatened. Air pollution flows from shale gas wells and related facilities (e.g. compressor stations, processing plants, etc.), causing adverse health effects, especially in vulnerable populations like children and the elderly. Fracking chemicals are showing up in blood samples from children living in shale gas regions. Rare cancer clusters have surfaced in fracked areas. Study after study shows an increased risk of negative health outcomes with increased proximity to oil and gas development, most notably when it’s within a half mile. Read More.

Spills are threat to surface water in Ohio

June 4, 2021 – The Bargain Hunter

Once again Ohio’s politicians are promoting another set of bills that will harm the health of the residents of the state and contribute to long-term contamination of the environment. HB 282 and SB 171 “would enact section 1509.228 of the Ohio Revised Code to establish conditions and requirements for the sale of brine from oil and gas operations as a commodity and to exempt that commodity from requirements otherwise applicable for brine.” The main benefactors of this legislation would be the owner of the company that sells AquaSalina, a substance made from waste brine, and the oil and gas industry that generates millions of gallons of toxic brine that will be used to make a deicer or a substance to control road dust. Read More.

Recent Press Releases

Below are select, recent press releases by FracTracker Alliance and/or our partners.

Straight Talk on the Future of Fracking Jobs in Pennsylvania

September 28, 2020 – FracTracker Alliance and The Breathe Project

The Breathe Project and FracTracker Alliance released a fact sheet today refuting the conflated numbers being touted by pro-fossil fuel organizations and political candidates regarding fracking jobs in Pennsylvania. In some cases, the natural gas jobs in the state have been inflated by 3500 percent. Read the full press release, and get the fact sheet.

Two Advocacy Groups Challenge California Oil Regulator To Correct The Record On True Oil Drilling Permit Numbers

September 22, 2020 – Consumer Watchdog

Consumer Watchdog and the FracTracker Alliance challenged the state’s Oil and Gas Supervisor Uduak-Joe Ntuk “to be honest with the public about the data” on oil drilling in the state. They stated his refusal to acknowledge data published by the Department of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) “sullies CalGEM and reflects poorly on an Administration that claims desperately to want to stem the cruel tide of climate change.” Read the full press release and the full letter to Ntuk.

Falcon Pipeline Construction Releases over 250,000 Gallons of Drilling Fluid in Pennsylvania and Ohio

June 17th, 2020 – FracTracker Alliance, Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services – Pittsburgh, PA

An investigation by FracTracker Alliance and Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services reveals that construction of Shell Pipeline Company LP’s Falcon Ethane Pipeline System has caused over a quarter million gallons of drilling fluid to be spilled in at least 70 separate incidents in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The total amount could be much larger. Read the full press release.

Prizio, Fitzgerald announce critical oil & gas lease data to be made publicly available

December 4, 2019 – FracTracker Alliance, Pittsburgh, PA

Allegheny County Council Member Anita Prizio announced today that the county government’s Real Estate Division will provide public access to digital data regarding parcels subject to oil and gas leases in the county. Read the full press release.

FracTracker to host 5th Annual Community Sentinel Award for Environmental Stewardship event opposite major US shale energy conference in Pittsburgh

October 2, 2019 – FracTracker Alliance, Beaver, PA

 On October 22nd, 2019, FracTracker Alliance will host an award ceremony and reception in Beaver, Pennsylvania that honors environmental stewards working in the United States. Four individuals will be presented with the Community Sentinel Award for Environmental Stewardship along with a cash prize. Read the full press release.

New Interactive Online Map Tracks 380 Million Barrels of Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Waste: Report Finds Increase in Transportation and Disposal of Dangerous, Radioactive Waste

September 11, 2019 – Earthworks, Pittsburgh, PA

new report by Earthworks, with mapping support by FracTracker Alliance, documents a massive 1,500 percent increase in the volume of toxic, often radioactive waste generated by Pennsylvania oil and gas operations between 2003 and 2018. Earthworks calculates that in 2018 alone, the fracking boom generated 69 million barrels of liquid waste and 1.4 million tons of solid waste, a 20 percent increase in liquid and 35 percent increase in solid waste from 2017. Read the full press release.

FracTracker Releases Six New Maps Detailing the Petrochemical Build-out in the Ohio River Valley

July 11, 2019 – FracTracker Alliance, Pittsburgh, PA

FracTracker Alliance released six new maps using over 16,000 data points. The maps reveal the vast network of natural gas and petrochemical infrastructure currently in the Ohio River Valley, as well as proposed facilities and storage sites that connect to petrochemical processing. FracTracker’s accompanying analysis, found here, provides in-depth context to this nascent buildout that threatens to turn the Ohio River Valley region into a massive petrochemical hub. Read the full press release

Watchdogs Call For Resignations & Permit Freeze As California Oil Regulators Approve Surge In Well Permits While Personally Invested In Oil Companies

July 11, 2019 – FracTracker Alliance and Counterpunch

Los Angeles—A review of state conflict of interest forms shows that eight regulators managing the state’s oil and gas well approval and inspection process have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the oil companies they regulate. One of the regulators is among the top three in command at the State’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR). Read the full press release

Sweeping New Report on Global Environmental Impact of Plastics Reveals Severe Damage to Climate

Study Recommends Solutions, Including Phasing Out Single-Use Plastics

May 15, 2019, FracTracker Alliance, CIEL, Environmental Integrity Project, GAIA, 5Gyres

Washington, DC — In 2019 alone, the production and incineration of plastic will add more than 850 million metric tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere—equal to the pollution from 189 new coal-fired power plants, according to a new report, Plastic & Climate: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet. The rapid global growth of the plastic industry—fueled by cheap natural gas from hydraulic fracturing—is not only destroying the environment and endangering human health but also undermining efforts to reduce carbon pollution and prevent climate catastrophe. Read the full press release

Delaware Riverkeeper Network Releases New Hydraulic Fracturing Reports

Experts Examine Impacts of Fracking on Health and Economics in Pennsylvania

May 13, 2019, Delaware Riverkeeper Network

Bristol, PA – Two new reports are being issued today by Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) examining the impacts of unconventional gas drilling (employing hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”) in Pennsylvania. The commissioned reports are entitled “Categorical Review of Health Reports on Unconventional Oil and Gas Development; Impacts in Pennsylvania”, authored by Fractracker Alliance (linked here: https://bit.ly/30kqe4u) and “The Economic Costs of Fracking in Pennsylvania”, authored by ECONorthwest (linked here: https://bit.ly/2JCO7yz). Read the full press release