This is ludicrous. Fracking going on near a supervolcano with a shallow magma chamber?
On top of the dormant volcanoes moving out West, on top of over a DOZEN different 4.0M+ events at the fracking operations in the midwest, and on top of the Yellowstone Western-most magma chamber showing movement in Idaho…… now a 3.4 magnitude earthquake has struck fracking operation in Wyoming!
Injecting millions of gallons of water near the worlds largest Supervolcano…. South of Yellowstone ?
Apparently I (we) live in bizzaro world on the edge of the twilight zone, and apparently trained monkeys are in charge of the approval of fracking operations.
Injecting millions of gallons of water (per well in some cases) in a zone where the magma chamber rises VERY close to the surface really seems like a bad idea just waiting to have its moment to go wrong.
Again, for the record, and for the deniers who said there are NO fracking operations in Wyoming. Per satellite view, Wyoming is now CONFIRMED to be fracking for oil, and natural gas….. which has now subsequently produced a 3.4 magnitude earthquake directly below a fairly large pumping operation.
earthquake coordinates from the USGS:
4.9 magnitude strikes Southern California / Salton Sea butte volcanoes:
4.0 magnitude strikes Southern New Mexico near dormant volcanic buttes:
Major fracking unrest in Oklahoma:
Colorado fracking unrest:
Texas Fracking unrest:
Kansas fracking unrest:
Large plume event took place the day before this new movement began:
Dormant volcano movement:
Nine citizen and environmental groups are urging West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to reconsider his plans to let companies drill for oil and natural gas underneath the Ohio River, citing concerns that drilling and fracking could contaminate the drinking water supply and increase the risk of earthquakes in the region.
In a letter sent to the governor this month, the coalition of Ohio- and West Virginia-based groups said Tomblin’s Department of Environmental Protection has not proved that it can adequately protect the Ohio River, which supplies drinking water to more than 3 million people. The groups cited drilling currently taking place in a state-designated wildlife area, which some have complained is unacceptably disrupting the nature preserve, and a chemical spill in January that tainted the drinking water supply for 300,000 people.
“The well-documented deficient enforcement capability of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Oil and Gas has been on public display for years,” the letter reads. “How are we ever to believe that the state has the political will, technical capability and community commitment to guarantee that adequate controls, timely supervision and, when needed, ruthless enforcement would occur on well pads that close to the Ohio River?”
On Friday, Tomblin’s administration opened up the process for companies to bid on oil and gas leases located 14 miles underneath West Virginia’s section of river, which also acts as a natural border with Ohio. The bids would allow for companies to use the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to stimulate the wells.
State Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette told the Associated Press that drilling would be necessary because “budgets are very tight.” Indeed, the AP pointed out that the state has already received a $17.8 million bid from Triad Hunter LLC, which would also include 18 percent in royalties for the state on the oil that’s extracted.
It remains to be seen how big of a risk to the drinking water supply fracking would pose to the Ohio River. As Burdette told the AP, some leases under the Ohio River date back 25 years — though it’s likely that those wells used conventional drilling, and not fracking. Environmental advocates worry that fracking poses a bigger risk to water supplies than conventional drilling because of the chemicals used in the process, and the large amount of contaminated wastewater it produces. Science on the issue has been all but definitive, and the EPA is currently in the process of conducting a study that would clarify the technique’s impact on drinking water.
For the coalition of groups opposing the practice, though, drinking water is not the only concern. In their letter, the groups said that there is a fault line located near West Virginia’s proposed drilling site, and that drilling would increase the risk of earthquakes in the region. Though drilling itself is not linked to quakes, scientists have found evidence “directly linking” earthquakes to wastewater injection, a process widely used during fracking to dispose of large amounts of wastewater underground.
“Where one state decides to drill should never put residents of their own state or another state in harm’s way,” the letters reads. “The exploitation of limited natural gas resources under the river could degrade our water quality, reduce the recreational and aesthetic value of the river, and cause health problems for millions of people.”
After the Ohio River bidding is done, West Virginia commerce officials reportedly said the state would look to other river tracts and a wildlife management area for further drilling.
By Adam Scow and Hollin Kretzmann
Each day, the oil and gas industry uses more than 2 million gallons of water on average in California on dangerous extraction techniques such as fracking, acidizing, and cyclic steam injection. At a time when California is facing the worst drought on record, when farmers and cities are both struggling to find ways to conserve water, the oil and gas industry continues to use, contaminate, and dispose of staggering amounts of precious water resources each day.
Data is beginning to emerge about the alarming amounts of water being used and wasted by the oil industry in California. Below is an estimation of the amount of water used, based on data provided by the oil and gas industry to state and regional agencies.
Cyclic Steam Injection. According to a recent report from the California Department of Conservation’s Divison of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), an average of 480,000 barrels of water per day (roughly 20 million gallons/day) is injected for cyclic steam projects in California. Not all of this water is fresh water because certain operations reuse some amount of water during the process. Because the industry refuses to disclose how much freshwater they use in the process, and they are not required to do so, we looked at the amount of freshwater purchased by the oil industry in Kern County, where over 2/3 of California’s oil reserves are located, to estimate how much freshwater is used in the cyclic steam process. In 2008 about 15 percent of the total amount of water injected in Kern was fresh water purchased from the State Water Project via local water districts.
We based our estimates on the conservative assumption that only 10 percent of the 20 million gallons of water injected per day is fresh water that could otherwise be conserved or used for municipal and agricultural purposes, which amounts to roughly 2 million gallons each and every day. The true number is likely to be higher because some cyclic steam projects recycle far less water. For example, the Indian Pilot Wells Project in San Benito County estimated that over one million gallons of freshwater would be needed for each of 15 separate wells, and that all of the water would be extracted from the Bitterwater Valley Groundwater Basin.
Acidizing, gravel packing, and fracking in Los Angeles Air Basin. In one year of reporting, the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s data show that oil and gas companies in Orange and Los Angeles counties used over 15 million gallons of water for acidizing, gravel packing, and hydraulic fracturing. That amounts to 41,000 gallons per day just in those two counties. Because DOGGR has not collected data on acidizing and gravel packing on other counties, it is difficult to estimate the amount of water used for these techniques in other parts of the state, particularly in Kern County. If acidizing is performed as routinely on wells in Kern County as it is in Orange and Los Angeles Counties, the total water usage attributable to acidizing and gravel packing could be many times higher.
Fracking throughout California. Reports from FracFocus and DOGGR’s website show fracking has occurred over 200 times in 2014. Reports of water use total 12.8 million gallons so far in 2014 (through May, since it takes two months for water use reports to become available). This is equivalent to roughly 94,000 gallons per day.
Total Water Use. In sum, water use by extreme oil and gas production amounts to approximately 2.14 million gallons every day. These numbers are estimates, and they are likely to be conservative due to the unreported well stimulation events occurring throughout the state and the likelihood that water recycling rates are significantly lower at cyclic steam injection projects. The true figures for water use by these extraction techniques are likely far larger.
 California Department of Conservation, Monthly Oil and Gas Production and Injection Report, February 2014, p. 5.
California Drought is No Problem for Kern County Oil Producers, Circle of Blue: http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/2010/world/california-drought-is-n…, ftp://ftp.consrv.ca.gov/pub/oil/annual_reports/2009/0101summary1_09.pdf
 Revised Initial Study, Mitigated Negative Declaration, Project Indian Pilot Wells Program, County of San Benito, Pg. 65.
Photo Credit: Pinedale Anticline DSEIS
By now, many people have heard about the booming Bakken Shale in North Dakota where there is a mad rush for oil, enabled by the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a practice that pumps millions of gallons of water, chemicals and sand underground to break rock and release hydrocarbons.
The Bakken has garnered big media attention and so too has Texas’s Eagle Ford Shale and the gas-rich Marcellus Shale in the Northeast. But more than these big shale plays are on the table. Fracking is happening in 17 states and more than 80,000 wells have been drilled or permitted in the last nine years — some of these in surprising (and alarming) places.
From scenic coastal waters to vital agricultural land, here are five places where fracking could soon be taking off.
1.California’sVital Farmlands.Kern County in California’s Central Valley is part of the heart of the state’s $43 billion a year agriculture industry and it has made headlines frequently as ground zero for California’s crippling drought. Dairy is big in Kern and farmers (mostly large agribusiness) also grow almonds, pistachios, grapes, cotton, carrots, onions, citrus and much more.
Diminished water supplies and overdrawn aquifers have farmers offering big bucks for water this year. But they may have to outbid another heavy weight — the oil industry. Kern County is the top oil-producing county in the state (although production tumbled nearly 50 percent between 1985 and 2011) and its Holy Grail is the Monterey Shale, a deep underground rock formation that was estimated to hold 13.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil – twice as much as North Dakota’s Bakken Shale.
Trying to get at more oil has meant more drilling and not just in Kern’s historical oilfields. In small agricultural towns in the county like Shafter and Wasco, wells are being drilled and now fracked in almond and pistachio orchards. It’s hard to tell exactly how many wells have been fracked – the state hasn’t required regulation of fracking, although that’s in the works.
Maps like this one from FracTracker show clusters of fracked wells along the oilfields that line Highway 33 (also known as the Petroleum Highway) and around Shafter and Wasco. The state’s Department of Conservation shows notices to hydraulically fracture 100 wells in Kern in the span of a month this spring.
Is Kern poised to take off like the Bakken? It’s unclear. Estimates of its vast reserves in the Monterey were recently reduced – drastically. The amount of oil now deemed economically recoverable was cut 96 percent, to 600 million barrels, although that hasn’t yet deterred industry from trying anyway.
2.PacificCoast Waters.A six-month investigation by Truthout revealed last July that hydraulic fracking had occurred off the coast of California in the Santa Barbara Channel and no special permits or environmental review were required. Mike Ludwig wrote:
Truthout reported that an oil company called Venoco had quietly used fracking technology to stimulate oil production in an old well off the coast of Santa Barbara in early 2010. A Freedom of Information Act request recently filed by Truthouthas confirmed the Venoco operation and revealed that another firm had since received permission for fracking in the Santa Barbara channel, which is home to the Channel Islands marine reserve.
This year, federal regulators approved an application by the Ventura-based company DCOR LLC to use fracking technology known as “frack pack” in a sandstone well 1,500 feet from a seismic fault in the outer continental shelf off the California coast, according to the documents released by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), the federal agency that permits offshore drilling.
Industry contends the offshore fracking is a much smaller operation (that uses less water, sand and chemicals) than what is previously done onshore but environmental groups are still concerned about pollution.
KCET reported in February that, “about half of the state’s offshore rigs pump at least some of their wastewater right into the Santa Barbara Channel” and “according to the Center for Biological Diversity, oil rig operators have federal permits to dump more than nine billion gallons of fracking wastewater into California’s ocean waters each year.”
While the Santa Barbara Channel is home to oilfields, it’s also renowned for its scenic beauty, prime beaches, ecological diversity, and the Channel Islands National Park. This map shows the proximity of oil activity and wildlife in the channel.
3.Florida’s Tropics.Is fracking happening in the Everglades? That depends on who you ask. According to the Texas oil company Dan A. Hughes Co., the answer is no. But not everyone agrees with that. The Orlando Sentinel reported that the Texas company, “has been caught using fracking-like blasting methods to drill for oil near the Everglades, raising alarms from state officials and inflaming a long-simmering controversy over energy exploration in the midst of a cherished ecosystem.”
The company was using an “enhanced extraction procedure” which involves pumping acid (instead of a mixture of other toxic chemicals) underground with water and sand to dissolve rock. According to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection the company apparently performed the technique without a permit and in violation of a cease-and-desist order.
The practice is known as acidizing, acid fracking or acid well stimulation. It’s new to Florida but it’s become common practice (although the subject of deep concern) in other states, like California.
Environmental groups in the area are concerned it will open a Pandora’s Box. Marjorie Holt, chairwoman of the Sierra Club Central Florida Group, told the Orlando Sentinelthat, “It opens the door to fracking for oil,” and “it could be an incentive for other companies to start exploration in Florida.”
4.TheGreat Lakes.Fracking is already happening in Michigan and environmental groups are worried that it may expand and threaten their prized freshwater resources.
“The oil and gas industry has leased 84,000 acres of national forest along the Great Lakes—putting our lakes and the waterways that flow into them in harm’s way,” reports Environment Michigan. “Fracking poses a huge risk of water contamination and depletion to the Great Lakes: 95% of our waterways are connected, so fracking anywhere in Michigan can threaten the Great Lakes … In Kalkaska County, a single fracking site contaminated 42 million gallons of water.”
Last year concern over water use by the oil and gas industry grew, as EcoWatch reported:
“Concerns about the impact to local groundwater by massive water use—on a scale never before seen in Michigan fracking operations—are coming to a head, as the plan for Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. to use 8.4 million gallons of water to fracture a single well has been stymied by a lack of water on site.
Instead, the company is trucking water—nearly 1 million gallons of it in just one week—from the City of Kalkaska’s water system to meet its needs. This one fracking operation today is using more water than Kalkaska is using for all its needs over the same time period.”
5. Next to Our National Parks.Fracking can’t take place inside our National Parks, but oil and gas development is getting closer and closer, which is bad news for wildlife that migrate across park boundaries, and for park visitors that hope for clean air and beautiful vistas.
No where is this more apparent than Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, which is enveloped by oil drilling, with gas flares at well sites visible from the park and nearby roads clogged with big trucks and industry-related traffic.
The National Parks Conservation Association reported that, “the impacts from the estimated 45,000 wells due at ‘full build-out’ could seriously impair the park’s mandate to protect its undeveloped lands and wildlife, perhaps most noticeably by severing connections between the park and the surrounding Little Missouri National Grasslands, impeding migration routes and fragmenting habitat for pronghorn, mule and white-tailed deer, elk, and sharp-tailed grouse.”
But the organization reports, Theodore Roosevelt is not the only National Park at risk, Grand Tetons National Park and Glacier National Park both have fracking encroaching near park borders. And public lands, such as state and national forests, across the country — from Pennsylvania to California — are already pocked by fracked wells.
In a test case pitting community rights against the oil and gas industry, the Court ruled that the towns of Dryden and Middlefield can use local zoning laws to ban heavy industry, including oil and gas operations, within municipal borders.
“Today the Court stood with the people of Dryden and the people of New York to protect their right to self determination. It is clear that people, not corporations, have the right to decide how their community develops,” said Dryden Deputy Supervisor Jason Leifer. “This would not have been possible without the hard work of many of my friends and neighbors and our lawyers Deborah Goldberg of Earthjustice and Mahlon Perkins. Today’s ruling shows all of America that a committed group of citizens and public officials can stand together against fearful odds and successfully defend their homes, their way of life, and the environment against those who would harm them all in the name of profit.”
“Heavy industry has never been allowed in our small farming town and three years ago, we decided that fracking was no exception. The oil and gas industry tried to bully us into backing down, but we took our fight all the way to New York’s highest court. And today we won,” said Dryden Town Supervisor Mary Ann Sumner. “I hope our victory serves as an inspiration to people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina, California and elsewhere who are also trying to do what’s right for their own communities.”
Deborah Goldberg, an attorney with the public interest law organization, Earthjustice, represented the Town of Dryden in the case.
“This decision by the Court of Appeals has settled the matter once and for all across New York State and has sent a firm message to the oil and gas industry,” said Earthjustice Managing Attorney Deborah Goldberg. “For too long the oil and gas industry has intimidated and abused people, expecting to get away with it. That behavior is finally coming back to haunt them, as communities across the country stand up and say ‘no more.’ Earthjustice is proud to have stood with, and fought on behalf of, one such community.”
Today’s decision gives legal backing to the more than 170 New York municipalities that have passed measures to protect residents from the impacts of the controversial oil and gas development technique. The news also gives a green light to dozens of other New York towns that have been waiting for today’s decision to pass their own local ban.
“Town by town, New Yorkers have taken a stand against fracking. Today’s victory confirms that each of these towns is on firm legal ground,” said Helen Slottje, an Ithaca-based attorney whose legal research inspired New York’s local fracking ban groundswell and who was honored with the 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize. “The oil and gas industry tried to take away a fundamental right that pre-dates even the Declaration of Independence: the right of municipalities to regulate local land use. But they failed. The anti-fracking measures passed by Dryden, Middlefield and dozens of other New York municipalities are fully enforceable.”
The decision comes as a growing number of local communities in Colorado, Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania and California are opting to exert community control to guard against the environmental and public health threats of a deregulated, fracking-enabled oil and gas industry rush.
“We did it! This victory is for everyone who loves their town and will fight to the end to protect it,” said Dryden resident Deborah Cipolla-Dennis. “I’m proud of my town and I’m proud of the people in Fort Collins, Colorado, Denton, Texas, Santa Cruz, California and all the others who are standing up to the oil and gas industry.”
Dryden’s story began in 2009, after residents pressured by oil and gas company representatives to lease their land for gas development learned more about fracking, the technique companies planned to use to extract the gas. Residents organized and educated for more than two years under the banner of the Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition (DRAC), ultimately convincing the town board to amend its zoning ordinance in August 2011 to clarify that oil and gas development activities, including fracking, were prohibited.
Just six weeks after the town board passed the measure in a unanimous bi-partisan vote, Anschutz Exploration Corporation (a privately held company owned by a Forbes-ranked billionaire) sued the town. Dryden argued that their right to make local land use decisions, enshrined in the home rule provision of the New York State Constitution, applies to oil and gas development. In February 2012, a state trial court judge agreed. In May 2013, a panel of judges in a mid-level, appeals court unanimously sided yet again with the town. Today’s decision by New York’s highest court is the final ruling in the matter.
The case in Dryden has taken on special significance. Through the course of its legal battle, more than 20,000 people from across the country and globe sent messages to Sumner and her colleagues on the Town Board, expressing support for the town in its legal fight, and a video depicting the town’s fight has garnered more than 80,000 views.
- The court decision
- Photos related to this case
- Map feature with the status of similar legal fights across the country
- Video: Dryden: The Small Town That Changed The Fracking Game
- Audio of pre-decision press briefing, held on June 20
If this isn’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what is.
Remember when Dick Cheney brought in George W. Bush to power, and just about his first act as Vice President was to hold meetings with energy corporations behind closed doors? What were they talking about? Were they already planning what’s going on now, back then?
February 5, 2014
by Jon Queally
Almost half (47%) of all U.S. wells are being developed in regions with high to extremely high water stress. This means that more than 80 percent of the annual available water is already allocated to municipal, industrial and agricultural users in these regions. (Source: Ceres)
The irony of fracking: It destroys the natural resource it needs most. The tragedy for those living nearby fracking operations: That natural resource is the fresh — and increasingly scarce — water supply on which they, too, depend.
And not only does fracking — or hydraulic fracturing — demand enormous amounts of fresh water no matter where it takes places, a troubling new study released Wednesday found that a majority of places where the controversial drilling technique is most prevalent are the same regions where less and less water is available.
Overlay the regions where most of the fracking is being done in North American with the places experiencing the most troubling and persistent water resource problems and the resulting picture becomes an alarm bell as politicians and the fossil fuel industry continue to push fracking expansion as the savior for the U.S. and Canada’s energy woes.
According to the report, Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Stress: Water Demand by the Numbers (pdf), produced by the non-profit Ceres investor network, much of the oil and gas fracking activity in both the U.S. and Canada is happening in “arid, water stressed regions, creating significant long-term water sourcing risks” that will strongly and negatively impact the local ecosystem, communities, and people living nearby.
“Hydraulic fracturing is increasing competitive pressures for water in some of the country’s most water-stressed and drought-ridden regions,” said Ceres President Mindy Lubber, in announcing Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Stress: Water Demand by the Numbers. “Barring stiffer water-use regulations and improved on-the-ground practices, the industry’s water needs in many regions are on a collision course with other water users, especially agriculture and municipal water use.”
Richard Heinberg, senior fellow of the California-based Post Carbon Institute and author of a recent book on the “false promise” of the fracking industry, says the irony of the study’s findings “would be delicious if it weren’t so terrifying.”
“Nationally,” according to Heinberg, “only about 50 percent of fracking wastewater is recycled. Billions of gallons of freshwater are still taken from rivers, streams, and wells annually for this purpose, and — after being irremediably polluted — this water usually ends up being injected into deep disposal wells. That means it is no longer available to the hydrological cycle that sustains all terrestrial life.”
Click here to look at Ceres’ interactive map on fracking and water use.
The study drew on industry data detailing water usage from from 39,294 oil and gas wells from January 2011 through May 2013 and compared that information with “water stress indicator maps” developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI).
What it found:
Over 55 percent of the wells hydraulically fractured were in areas experiencing drought and 36 percent overlay regions with significant groundwater depletion – key among those, California which is in the midst of a historic drought and Texas, which has the highest concentration of shale energy development and hydraulic fracturing activity in the U.S.
In Texas, which includes the rapidly developing Eagle Ford and Permian Basin shale plays, more than half (52 percent) of the wells were in high or extreme high water stress areas. In Colorado and California, 97 and 96 percent of the wells, respectively, were in regions with high or extremely high water stress. Nearly comparable trends were also shown in New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
Among hundreds of hydraulic fracturing companies whose water use was evaluated, those with the highest exposure to water sourcing risk are Anadarako (APC), Encana (ECA), Pioneer (PXD) and Apache (APA). Most of the wells being developed by each of these companies are in regions of high or extreme water stress. The top three service providers, Halliburton, (HAL) Schlumberger (SLB) and Baker Hughes (BHI), handled about half of the water used for hydraulic fracturing nationally and also face water sourcing risks.
Although water use for hydraulic fracturing is often less than two percent of state water demands, the impacts can be large at the local level, sometimes exceeding the water used by all of the residents in a county.
“It’s a wake-up call,” Professor James Famiglietti, a hydrologist at the University of California, Irvine, told the Guardian. “We understand as a country that we need more energy but it is time to have a conversation about what impacts there are, and do our best to try to minimise any damage.”
The irony of the latest findings, explained Heinberg in an email to Common Dreams, is based on the fact that “much of the fracking boom is centered in the western United States— Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and California — which just happens to be drying up, likely as a result of climate change. And that climate change, in turn, is happening because we’re burning fossil fuels like oil and natural gas.”
Heinberg observed that the Ceres report is largely written from the standpoint of the oil and gas companies — using much of their data — and directed at those who may be invested or would like to invest in the continuation or proliferation of the industry. However, he indicated, detailing the increasing difficulties the industry and its investors are likely to experience in sourcing water for their operations is still valuable for those opposed to fracking.
“In California, where I live,” he said, “we’re experiencing a 500-year drought. The grape-wine industry here in Sonoma County is facing disaster. Farmers in the Central Valley are weighing whether to plant at all this year. The fact that California’s Democratic governor [Jerry Brown] wants to spend what little water we have on fracking — which will only make our climate problems worse —makes the report frighteningly relevant.”
Elsipogtog, Mikmaqi – Exclusive footage of the RCMP raids against the HWY 134 Blockade in Mi’kmaq territory has just been released. With some of the only video from behind police lines, subMedia.tv witnessed the brutal raid by the Royal Colonial Mounted Police on the Mi’kmaq blockade of fracking equipment.
subMedia’s Franklin López was on the scene from the get-go, “The RCMP tried to kicked me out of the conflict zone and threatened me with arrest to try to obscure the truth about what was going down. Media and other witnesses could have changed the narrative the cops were trying to build.”
For over 19 days, a Sacred Fire was lit at the mouth of the SWN, Southwestern Energy Resources, compound where the company’s seismic testing, or “thumper” trucks were held. SWN is a Houston-based corporation part of the resource extraction industry, specifically involved in the practice known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The Sacred Fire was the main heart of the physical blockade. Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik, and Acadian and other Maritime settlers came together in a Unity Camp to support the assertion of Indigenous sovereignty and to protect the lands, waters and future generations.
The blockade cost SWN over $60, 000 per day. As the company’s trucks were on lockdown they criticized the RCMP for not arresting protestors. On the morning of Oct 17th, the RCMP violently raided the encampment, which was a widely supported grassroots mobilization, in particular targeting the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society. Given the context of RCMP arresting Ilnu youth, and women – including women laying down tobacco and women who are 9 months pregnant – it is little surprise that the RCMP acted with nothing colonial violence on Thursday. The unwavering support and presence of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society was crucial to maintaining the blockade. It is no accident that the Kanadian state and its law enforcers in collusion with corporate interests, targeted the Warriors in hopes of weakening resistance.
Corporate media has painted this raid with Indian Act Heroes, and Land Defenders as criminals. A violent paramilitary attack on behalf of the RCMP was met with grassroots, Indigenous resistance as Warriors stood their ground and fought back. The fierce response of the community in defense of the Warriors was also captured on camera, as supporters broke police lines later that morning. subMedia.tv brings out the real story about what really went down on Highway 134; a story that the corporate media doesn’t want seen. ###
This article was published in partnership with GlobalPossibilities.org .
Watkins Glen, New York made Yahoo! Travel’s top 10  list of America’s coolest small towns. This Finger Lake village is described as having “Award-winning wineries, awe-inspiring gorges and waterfalls, and a racetrack that draws visitors to auto-racing events.” The story mentions hiking, NASCAR and “crisp Rieslings.”
Here’s what it doesn’t say about this dream town: it’s at the heart of the battle over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for unconventional shale gas in the Marcellus.
Companies aren’t drilling for gas here, but they’re drilling into the land in order to store fracked gas. Sandra Steingraber  was among a group of individuals willing to put her body between drilling rig trucks and their destination on shores of Seneca Lake on Monday. Steingraber was arrested for her bravery, which is but one step in her evolving journey as a scientist, writer, and now activist.
Steingraber is a renowned scientist, currently a scholar in residence in Ithaca College. She’s also a lyrical writer, author of four books : Post-Diagnosis (written after being diagnosed with bladder cancer at age 20); Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment (later optioned as a film); Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood; and most recently Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis.
On World Water Day, this is a good time to reflect on the threats of drought and water contamination, in which fracking plays a key role. Steingraber talked with AlterNet about the health effects of fracking, her own personal connection to the issue, and what keeps her up at night. (Spoiler: it’s cement, but more on that soon.)
Tara Lohan: If I’m reading the news correctly, it looks like you were arrested earlier this week.
Sandra Steingraber: Yes, I was.
TL: How did you get involved in that action?
SS: It has an odd trajectory. I was writing about three other people who were arrested for civil disobedience at that same facility last September. One of them, the night before, showed up on my front porch and asked me if I would come the next morning to bear witness to what he was about to do and be available to talk to the press about compressor stations, which was something I was researching. I was happy to talk about the kinds of chemicals that compressor stations put into the atmosphere and what the problem is with this whole project. The whole project being a storage facility for fracked gases that a company called Inergy from Kansas City is trying to build. The plan they have for this part of the world is to use depleted salt caverns where salt mining has been done for probably a century at least, and use it as a storage facility for gas from the fracking fields in Pennsylvania. The idea is that the gas would be pressurized to the point of liquidification, then injected into salt caverns.
So I went last September and served as a sort of science writer/interpreter and witness and what impressed me was that the three people who chained themselves to this fence were not young people. The youngest was my age and I’m 53, she was a nurse. And then there was Rev. Gary Judson who is a retired Methodist minister who is 72 and he spoke eloquently about the underground geology of these caverns, about the history of salt caverns being used to store liquified petroleum products and their terrible track record with catastrophic accidents in other states. And then there was also the moral and ethical issue of using these caverns to store something toxic and explosive knowing that they have cracks and fissures and that this is a source of drinking water for 100,000 people. He, himself was an avid fisherman and he felt strongly that this was a treasure and we are called to defend creation.
So there he was, it was a very hot time and he was uncomfortably chained to this fence while he is talking and when the sheriff came and used bolt cutters to free him, then he was immediately re-manacled with handcuffs and his wife, who is 74 years old, ran up and adjusted his glasses in this very loving way, which were slipping off his face. And I think that’s what broke my heart, to watch the two of them who have been married for so long, to take this step. She wasn’t arrested but she was there with him.
And then I went to his court appearance (I’m a columnist for OrionMagazine). I wrote a column that was originally set in a courtroom and began with this Methodist minister walking down the aisle to face the judge and he walked slowly, with a kind of dignity that made me feel like this must have been how he walked down the aisle every Sunday up to the altar, but now instead of an altar there is the judge’s bench. He declared himself guilty and then was charged a fine and immediately everyone’s wallet opened up and without a collection plate we were doing the Sunday collection. So all this money was immediately sent forward to pay his fine on his behalf. The courtroom was just filled, we had so many people that there were people standing outside watching through the windows and they jimmied open the windows and they slipped $20 bills in the window. And in a minute we had raised twice as much money to pay the fine, which was not inconsiderable.
That became the opening of my essay which led me into a discussion about these infrastructure projects for fracked gas. Fracking means more than just fracturing the shale, there is the pipelines, the sand mining, and where you’re going to put it all.
The other thing for me is that my son was born right next to this facility. There used to be a birth center, which was very popular— my son is now 11 — a place for women to come and they had excellent prenatal care and you got to labor and deliver in this very beautiful place with a view of the lake. I chose to do an all-natural childbirth and for someone who is a cancer patient and leads a highly medicalized life, it was very meaningful to me to be in a natural setting and not a hospital. So the shore of that lake is sort of a sacred place for me. It was the first environment for my son — he was actually born in the bathtub — so he was born in Seneca Lake water.
For me on Monday it was an interesting writerly return to this place where I had once gone to do something physical — give birth — and now I was going to do something physical, namely, let my body speak by placing it between a truck carrying a drillhead and the place where this truck wanted to go.
TL: So is this facility actually open at this point? Are they storing gas there?
SS: Yes and no. There has been gas stored in various parts of this facility for some time. But now with the gas boom in Pennsylvania their intent is to expand it hugely and so permits have been submitted to both to state and federal agencies. And there is a kind of fastracking going on. And Inergy is already going ahead with construction. The drill rigs that drill down into these salt caverns are just like overnight appearing there. It seems to be an attempt to create a kind of fait accompli situation.
I have testified about this facility in the past and submitted comments and feel as though I have pursued all legally available channels for me to object to this facility as a menace to public health, climate and drinking water. And it has all fallen on deaf ears and there is a race to get this thing in the ground.
Having never taken a step toward civil disobedience before, I had to think hard about when it is appropriate. I don’t think you do it as a first resort, it has to be a last resort but on the other hand if you do it when the bulldozers are already there, then it’s kinda too late. There must be a sort of sweet spot where things are tipping forward but they aren’t inevitable yet but perhaps a show of bravery and a show that we intend to defend this place and we’re calling on our government to protect us — maybe civil disobedience can actually change providence, change the outcome here. That was what I was hoping for.
TL: How did you first start getting involved in fracking issues?
SS: It happened when Cornell University invited me to speak in the fall of 2009 at a forum on fracking. I had only barely heard of it. I was asked because I have some knowledge about the actual chemicals they use in fracking fluid, so I’ve been studying the health effects of toxic chemicals, especially endocrine disruptors and carcinogens and reproductive and developmental toxins for some time.
After I delivered my piece I got to hear what the other experts had to say, and the more I listened the more horrified I was. Then I came to learn that much of the land in my own county was being leased in the anticipation that fracking would come to New York and in fact 40 percent of the land is still leased, including land very near to where I live in my village. It became very personal, suddenly.
In the spring of 2010 one of my books, Living Downstream, was re-released to coincide with the film adaptation and that film was being shown in Washington DC at an enviro film festival. During it I wandered into another theater where Gasland was screening and that experience really brought the issue home to me and I began to see it as a human rights issue.
In the summer of 2011, I was researching fracking full-time, looking at the health effects, so I set out on a long two-month tour, going to 20 states interviewing people out West where fracking had been going on for some time when I happened to be in Utah, in Moab which is one of the areas in the crosshairs of the oil and gas industry when word came down that Tim DeChristopher,  the anti-fracking activist, was going to be sentenced. So I decided to jump in the car and drive to Salt Lake City to attend his sentencing. Some local activists asked if I would speak at the rally outside, which I did.
So I was there at the courthouse when he made that now-famous speech to the judge, “This is what love looks like ” and then suddenly was hauled away in chains. I guess it was a week or so later and I was out in the desert and got word that I was a lucky recipient of a Heinz Award for my research and writing on environmental health and the trilogy of books I had written on the topic.
It comes with a $100,000 cash prize and with Tim’s words still in my ears, I knew that I was going to donate this award to the anti-fracking movement, I just felt called to do that. But I didn’t know then what form that would take. That money became the seed money to form the coalition New Yorkers Against Fracking  that has been a bringing together of the tribes of the anti-fracking movement in New York. We have grown to more than 200 organizations and 1,000 businesses and we have different chapters like Faith Leaders Against Fracking and Poets Against Fracking and Chefs for the Marcellus and we have Concerned Health Professionals to Protect NY. It’s not a member of ours but we work closely with Artists Against Fracking represented by people like Sean Lennon and Yoko Ono and also Salman Rushdie and Lady Gaga.
We’ve become the voice of the anti-fracking movement in New York. I guess in those two years I’ve moved my own work, I thought that I was going to do science for the people at the barricades. In other words, research everything I could about the environmental health effects of fracking to be used by people as they made their own decisions about fracking. I’m mostly known for translating science for the public.
Over the years I’ve moved to the barricades myself and now find myself standing arm-in-arm with people who are on the frontlines. And I still believe very much in the power of data and science to inform decisions but it has become apparent to me that all by itself science doesn’t change things and it has to be championed by people and forcefully inserted into the conversation.
TL: With your background in science what are your biggest concerns about fracking?
SS: There are several. First, I think it’s important to say that the word is used in different ways depending on who’s using it. And when I use it, I use it to refer to the whole process of shale gas extraction and delivery. The industry uses it to refer just to the moment when the shale is fractured using water as the sledgehammer to shatter the shale. With that as the definition they can say truthfully that there are no cases of water contamination associated with fracking. But you don’t get fracking without bringing with it all these other things — mining for the frack sand, depleting water, you have to add the chemicals, you have to drill, you have to dispose of the waste, you have drill cuttings. I refer to them all as fracking, as do most activists.
When you look at the whole shale gas extraction process the problems begins with the mining of the sand. The sand is necessary because water all by itself can’t hold the crack open, it can create the cracks, but as soon as you release the hydraulic pressure the weight of the earth will close all the cracks back up, and so the water is used as a firehose to shoot silica sand grains into the cracks to prop them open from here until eternity and that allows these bubbles of gas that have been trapped these many years to flow out along with everything else the shale can contain and that includes radon, benzene, all these other vapors that are very toxic. So I worry about the mining of silica sand. That really turns the earth inside out; there is no way to do that in a sustainable way. You’re creating these big holes and risking groundwater contamination just from the mining process.
Silica sand is a known carcinogen, like asbestos. It causes lung cancer and silicosis. And so in some of these places where silica sand is mined, including not far from where I grew up along the Illinois River valley, when you go to these places, you can’t go without your car being covered in what looks like unbleached flour. It is highly respirable and very dangerous.
We’ve never exposed the general population to silica dust. It has almost exclusively been considered an occupational hazard for people who work as sandblasters or in the glass industry but now we are doing this in human communities — if not mining than the transport in open trucks, train cars or barges. And then we have to process it all and add chemicals. We have no data all about what happens when we expose, let’s say, a four-year-old child or a pregnant woman or an older person. The fact that we don’t have data doesn’t mean it’s safe, we just have never conducted this human experiment before.
I have a lot of concern about the well casings themselves. The things that really keep me awake at night are thinking about cement. It is a strong substance — it can stand a lot of compression. But if you use it as a casing in the wall of the bore hole that you drill all the way down a mile down into the earth, then that casing has to stand forevermore as an unbreachable barrier between all the toxic neighbors that you’ve just liberated from the shale and the groundwater that lies above. Cement is not immortal — it cracks, it shrinks, it gets small holes in it. Now you’ve just opened a pathway for these vapors to find their way up — either into our air or groundwater — and there is really no fixing it.
When you frack, you’re not only sending water down with incredible force, you are inducing small-scale seismic events, you’re creating motion that’s not just compressive, but is three-dimensional movement and that causes torque and stress and shearing force on cement and it’s not a material that can take that without cracking.
When these well casings age and they’re fracked and refracked on nearby wells, because you have six to eight wells on a well pad, and all these constant vibrations and explosions are happening, I worry a lot about the integrity of the casings and what happens over time.
We know from data in Pennsylvania that 6 to 7 percent of wells leak immediately and it looks like over 30 years you get about half of them leaking. Well, how many leak after 100 or 200 years? We don’t know because we’ve never run the experiment long enough. But it occurs to me that we’re burying time bombs in the earth that future generations will have to do deal with and there will be no fix for the problem if our water gets contaminated.
Another problem I have is climate change. When I look at the greenhouse gas footprint of fracking and take a look at the whole life-cycle analysis, it’s very leaky and some percentage of methane is lost — and it’s lost at every step from the point the dril hits the shale, you’re still drilling so you don’t have the ability to hook it up to a pipeline yet and the methane starts pouring out. Methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas then CO2 in terms of being able to trap heat. It looks like anything above 2.5 percent leakage means that gas is just as big a climate killer as coal.
Well, some of the data coming out of Colorado shows that it’s leaking at 9 percent and even if that is extreme and not typical, it really frightens me to think that we’re swapping out one thing that we know is really bad, namely coal, for one thing that is at least as bad and maybe even worse. And it’s happening just at a time in our earth’s history that we’re so close to catastrophic disaster that the only thing that will save us is immediate decarbonization and rapid drawdown. So at the very best, fracking is a terrible distraction from what we need to do and at the worst we’re going from the frying pan into the fire.
TL: I hear a lot of stories of people whose health is impacted when they live near fracking operations. You certainly know a lot about the chemicals that are in the toxic soup down there. How do we begin to scientifically link illnesses and especially cancer to pollutants in operations like fracking?
SS: This is one of the trickiest parts of public health and especially with cancer, there’s a long lag-time between the onset of exposure and the onset of disease and during that time people move away from the area and other people move in. That being said, we have some emerging data that are really troubling, there is some data in the pipeline showing mothers who live near drilling and fracking operations in Pennsylvania have on average, babies born with lower birth weight and Apgar scores — a measure of new-born responsiveness. And there is some corroborating data coming out of Colorado. The differences are quite big. So we have those data. We have data out of Texas showing higher rates of asthma for kids who live near the gas patch and so on.
So the question is how much data do you want before you take precautionary action? I’m a big believer that you don’t just guinea pig out these kinds of studies, you don’t conduct human experiments on people without their consent by unrolling an industry that uses our land as their factory floor. It’s the only industry that I know where there’s no fenceline, there’s no zoning. It just comes in, leases our land, and sets up shop right where people live. And so there is all kinds of potential pathways for exposure. And those need to be studied.
I’m of the opinion that in the states where fracking has not yet arrived it needs to not arrive. And in the states where it already exists it needs to be phased out as soon as possible and in the meantime we need to be studying the health effects very intently.
TL: With a president right now who seems intent on an “all of the above” energy strategy that includes fracking, what should we be doing?
SS: Here in New York we have not begun to frack, so I think our challenge is to keep it out and so far we’re doing a really good job of that. When you look at the poll data, and there is a new poll out this week, it clearly shows that there is a clear margin now that more and more New Yorkers are opposed to fracking.
It shows very clearly now that the more New Yorkers know about fracking the more opposed they are. So in states where fracking has not yet happened, I think the thing to do is to do a lot of public education and outreach. It shouldn’t be that the only knowledge people have about fracking is these rosy commercials they see on television that are highly misleading.
I myself have spend the last two years, every Friday night in some church basement somewhere or in some chamber of commerce or in some junior high school auditorium being part of some town meeting or teach-in talking about the health effects of fracking and often someone else talks about the economic effects and so on. And I really believe in that. I believe in taking data right into people’s communities — they are hungry for it and asking for it.
So far, we have done that work and people have come to the conclusion that it’s not worth it. It’s not worth unrolling this carcinogen-dependent, accident-prone industry over the top of this landscape which is an agricultural landscape but which is also densely settled. There is too much to lose. We are the nation’s number-three dairy state and then we’re also the nations’s number-three producer of organic products and finally we’re the number-two producer of wine in the nation next to California. Industrializing wine country makes very little sense to most people I know, including people who voted a straight Republican ticket. The wine industry is more than just wine; it also is bed-and-breakfasts, it’s wine tastings, it’s destination weddings, it’s part of a whole tourism economy that we’re very proud of. We’re jeopardizing the goose that lays the golden egg here.
TL: Anything else you’d like our readers to know?
SS: I would just say that the climate issue around fracking is not independent of the health effects issue. Climate change has been identified by the World Health Organization as the number-one threat to human health. And so moving us off fossil fuels altogether is an imperative need for reasons of public health and not for future generations, for the generation my children are a part of.
Of the three forms of fossil fuels — the hard lumpy stuff (namely coal), the goopy stuff (namely oil and tar sands) and the invisible vapor of natural gas — of the three, natural gas has this reputation of being the cleanest, the least evil. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. It’s an urban myth. The data show it’s just as bad, if not worse.
The idea that we’re locking in infrastructure and capital investment into natural gas exploration when we should be getting away from natural gas altogether is such folly that I think fracking has a kind of danger associated with it that is different than tar sands. I’m not diminishing that struggle but it seems to me that everybody knows that tar sands is dirty. “Tar” sounds dirty — but natural gas doesn’t.
As a writer I have a bigger narrative problem. And I don’t have a visual image, like one giant pipeline. I have thousands of pipelines and thousands of wells. But because it happens where so many people live, the health effects issue looms really large to me. I prefer to look at it as a human rights issue. It doesn’t make sense to me that we would be investing in blowing up the bedrock of our nation with what appears to be four to 16 years of gas. By the time my kids are my age, the gas will be gone, the jobs will be gone, and they’ll be left with this incredible toxic mess.
Jim’s doing some great work , get on over there and check out his interactive geo-engineering citizen reporting website…get involved!
Published on Feb 17, 2013
ClimateViewer Reports – https://climateviewer.crowdmap.com/
And it feels great!
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
~ Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
The Radiation Database: About Jim Lee:
The ResoNation: WordPress Blog by Jim Lee
CONNECT3D.net – The Future of ClimateViewer 3D
How bad could it possibly be?
“My name is Jim, I watch the sky. I’m the ClimateViewer Guy.
And I don’t want it all to die, so I say, let it grow!”
The Radiation Database (RadDB) began as a Keyhole Markup Language (KML) project, geolocating Weather Modification projects and devices that may be able to alter the weather. The RadDB is a Google Earth KML network link file, which you can download and view in Google Earth, or view online in my own custom built browser, ClimateViewer 3D. The project is growing exponentially, expanding to cover many areas of interest/concern. Exploring the RadDB & ClimateViewer 3D will help you to see the scope of the problems we face, and hopefully spur you to action. Our world needs a hero, are you the one? If so, get involved.
ClimateViewer 3D contains Google Earth real-time data overlays, images, and links regarding climate pollution, nuclear test/power/storage, radar and laser locations all around the globe, as well as real-time climate monitoring. While focusing on climate change and pollution, the database covers data ranging from Star Wars to Climate Gate.
This project is a labor of love. I’m fascinated with all things radiant, resonant, and electromagnetic. I love science and find these topics intriguing, I hope you will as well.
Photo: Days of man-made earthquakes at Louisiana’s Napoleonville Salt Dome Disaster area: Seismic array, 5 Feb. 2013 Image credit: Assumption Parish Police Jury
A Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI) scientist has confirmed above-normal seismic activity for several days in the Louisiana’s giant collapsing salt dome area Bayou Corne “sinkhole” disaster site where thousands of quakes have rocked nearby Cajun communities since May.
Experts are researching the cause of days of recent quakes near Louisiana’s historical collapsing 1-mile by 3-Napoleonville Salt Dome’s “sinkhole” in Assumption Parish, according to “news” reports.
Experts have been researching the cause of these quakes in that began late May over the fossil fuel industry salt dome storage facility where the sinkhole is.
While sinkhole events are occurring throughout the world, the Bayou Corne “sinkhole” has risen to the title of Mother of All Sinkholes. It is unprecedented in its composition of fossil fuels. It is also irreparable, according to some officials. A global call for expertise has yielded no solution to stopping the expanding disaster.
On The Wings of Care recent “sinkhole” flyover showing oil slick entering nearby swamps and waterways about a half a mile from it, including Grand Bayou. Credit: On The Wings of Care, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, YouTube
In mid-August, seismologist Dr. Steve Horton told human rights reporter Deborah Dupré that over a thousand quakes had occurred within the first few months of the Bayou Corne disaster, made official on Aug.3 when it prompted a declared state of emergency and a mandatory evacuation.
These quakes have continued, with fluctuating intensity. So has expansion of the “sinkhole,” now approximately nine acres large.
At the time, Horton was the lead seismologist on Louisiana’s Bayou Corne disaster case. His work at University of Memphis involves monitoring the New Madrid fault line for the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
Horton attributed the quakes to the fossil fuel industry, manmade.
“Have fossil fuel industries in Louisiana, through their ENMODs caused today’s geological instabilities that have resulted in this disaster?” this author asked Horton.
“Possibly – I think that’s a real possibility,’ Horton responded.
“DNR (Department of Natural Resources) – they’re the big players here,” Horton said. “They don’t think the sinkhole caused the bubbles. The bubbles were there before the sinkhole.”
So were the thousands of quakes before the sinkhole developed, according to Horton, who said officials choose to call the small quakes “tremors.”
“On July 24th, the number of quakes went up hundreds or thousands or so a day until August 2nd when they stopped,” said Horton. “The next day, August 3rd, the sinkhole occurred – that morning.”
Since then, a published report showed that drilling wells can cause earthquakes, human-made quakes, the strongest of such quakes associated with deep-injection wastewater disposal wells.
Drilling even simple water wells is directly linked to man-made seismic activity, according to the study.
“Understanding how human-made activity triggers quakes” is important, Cornell University geophysicist Rowena Lohman said, referring to what the UN calls ENMOD techniques.
“‘Environmental modification techniques’ refers to any technique for changing – through the deliberate manipulation of natural processes – the dynamics, composition or structure of the Earth, including its biota, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, or of outer space,” states the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques. (United Nations, Geneva: 18 May 1977)
Humans dump hazardous waste into Class II injection wells to save money for companies, changing dynamics, composition and structure of the Earth.
Near Louisiana’s Assumption Parish giant expanding sinkhole, Texas Brine company had been authorized by Louisiana’s DNR to inject hazardous waste, including radioactive waste from oil and gas industry operations, into the company’s leased storage well in Napoleonville Salt Dome.
That well had problems in early 2011, was sealed and abandoned. After two months of locals experiencing seismic activities and observing methane bubbles percolating in their beloved nearby bayous last spring, a large sinkhole emerged and has been expanding almost weekly, with chunks of land and swamp trees falling into it.
For decades. the fossil fuel industry has drilled, extracted and piped the oil- and gas-cursed area, devastating the once pristine and peaceful bayous of south Louisiana, Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou.
In Nov., public outrage erupted after learning that only two weeks after the sinkhole appeared and triggered a declared a state emergency, Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources had issued a permit for deep oil drilling near the sinkhole.
Drilling wells are more likely to cause quakes than fracking, according to Mark Engle, a U.S. Geological Survey research geologist.
By October, scientists were investigating whether Louisiana state-ordered removal of crude and natural gas through hydraulic fracturing of Texas Brine’s failed storage cavern in the Napoleonville Salt Dome might be connected to the quakes that had been more pronounced in the area at that time.
The state Office of Conservation had ordered Texas Brine to pump brine into the cavern to push out the crude oil, that’s now been leaking for six months or more. That pumping process was similar but not the same as fracking.
The outer edge of the salt dome, not just the breached cavern in it, had collapsed due to what Dr. Gary Hecox called a “frack-out,” then saying that it was “just like fracking.”
BP Gulf of Mexico oil catastrophe on land
“Because of the logistical challenges of taking images thousands of feet underground, scientists do not know with certainty the condition of the ground under the sinkhole or if other voids exist under the surface that could cause the hole to grow or another hole to form,” reports Houma Today.
Only a few months ago at a public meeting, after a local Homeland Security official said there was justified fear of another sinkhole forming, locals were told that another hole forming was less likely than the existing one to continue expanding.
Officials anticipate that the “sinkhole” could become a chemical lake the size of 30 football fields.
On Aug. 3, the “sinkhole” above the salt dome was reported. Its size was approximately an acre. Today, it is approximately 9 acres.
State officials attribute the disaster to one failed cavern owned by Houston-based Texas Brine LLC that has two storage caverns in the salt dome facility. There are 52 such oil and gas industry caverns in the dome.
Chris Knotts, a Louisiana DNR civil engineer, who was coordinating the science group studying the sinkhole, had said just over three weeks after the sinkhole appeared that, “If it’s a cavern fracture, failure, whatever, there’s little that you can do.”
The cavern is fractured. Little done in the area has succeeded in stopping the catastrophe in the making.
Today, not only the salt dome cavern, but also the western edge of the 1-mile by 3-mile Napoleonville Salt Dome is collapsing. That western edge extends 7000 feet below ground, where gas and voids lurk.
Texas Brine’s contracted geophysicist Kevin Hill is creating a three-dimensional seismic image of the ground below the area. To do this, Hill is employing a network of 2,500 devices: air-guns, various vibrating devices and firecracker-sized explosives underground.
These devices will “thump” the area, yet another concern for locals. Can the vulnerable area be thumped much more without catastrophic results?
Previously, the company was ordered to drill investigation wells: “Texas Brine has been ordered to implement these steps as soon as possible and move full-steam ahead,” stated Commissioner of Conservation Jim Welsh in August.
One of those well-drilling missions was aborted after geological events occurred there. Texas Brine had warned that its new drilling as ordered might worsen the situation.
The unstoppable oil and gas industry’s collapsing dome, gulping part of Assumption Parish with it, has been referred to as a BP Gulf of Mexico oil catastrophe on land.
As in other communties across the nation, the human toll of this historical fossil fuel event is immense and hidden.
For over six months, innocent locals caught in the state-declared emergency area have been under a mandatory evacuation. Many of these energy refugees continue working for their rights to health, security and safety they once knew at home.
Alicia Heilig, a nearby resident, has established and maintains a Bayou Corne Sinkhole Facebook Page. There local concerned citizens are learning and organizing. Most of them agree that government and industry are not protecting them adequately, according to their messages on Facebook and conversations with this author.
Aside from thousands of quakes shaking the ground beneath their homes over the past six months, and gas bubbling nearby, children and parents are reportedly ill from chemicals belching out of the sinkhole area. Little to no medical monitoring is being offered to the bayou residents, despite their pleas for help.
Demonstration of Bayou Corne sinkhole disaster response failing adequate medical monitoring of locals impacted by hazardous chemical release and of inadequately observing right to self-determination. Retired neuroscientist and professor Dr. Paul Brown addressed residents and officials at a public meeting in Nov. after a boat tour of the disaster area. Brown asserted that the level of chemicals being released in the area is posing a human health risk. Credit: Deborah Dupré, YouTube
Natural gas bubbling in those two bayous is now seen in over 30 spots. After recent heavy rains, the gas was bubbling in the yards of some homes. A bus route was changed late last year after methane was discovered below the neighborhood.
Not only is methane being released. So is hydrogen sulfide. Since at least Oct. 2, other hydrocarbons have also been leaking into the bottom of the cavern in the collpasing salt dome.
Carcinogenic crude oil has now spread as far as half a mile outwards, into the swamps, bayous and communities, as Louisiana Environmental Action Network proved with photographic evidence this week. Its flyover in the video above shows more destruction than recent state official flyovers posted on the parish website dedicated to the disaster.
The possibility of a giant explosion is one reason these refugees remain under the mandatory evacuation, although some choose to remain.
“The hole has also sent naturally occurring petroleum and gas toward the surface, with natural gas accumulating in the area’s aquifer. This creates the potential for the gas to dangerously accumulate in enclosed spaces above the surface.”
At least insurance companies will not cancel the policies of the evacuation resisters, as companies are threatening some who did abide by the evacuation order.
Two or more evacuated residents and parish officials in the past two weeks have said some insurers were not renewing or had threatened not to renew their policies due to their homes being vacated over 30 days.
The Louisiana Department of Insurance is investigating those reports.
Officials will meet with the disaster site locals again Wednesday at 6:00 P.M. at Assumption Parish Community Center, 4910 Highway 308, Napoleonville, LA. There, residents will be updated on this ongoing, man-made environmental and humanitarian catastrophe-in-the-making.
Copyright 2013 Deborah Dupré
Title: VIDEO: Unsafe conditions at fracking site
Source: Times Online
Date: Jan 25, 2013
Source: Times Online
Randy Moyer, who trucked brine from wells to treatment plants and back to wells, now suffers from dizziness, blurred vision, headaches, difficulty breathing, swollen lips and appendages, and a fiery red rash that covered about 50 percent of his body. The Portage resident believes he’s sick from the chemicals in fracking fluid and from radiation exposure. […]
Ed. note: Let me get this straight…people who are concerned about toxic chemical exposure or radioactive contamination are considered “Treehuggers”??? Typical good ole’ boy attitude works real good with these guys to keep’em dumbed down workin’ the chain gang. Guess it isn’t surprising that workers who suspect they’re being poisoned on the job, don’t have the right to ask questions or take precautionary measures to avoid toxic exposure for fear of losing their jobs. This is nothing less than slavery and it’s not only risking the lives of workers, the fracking, oil and nuclear industry’s are also responsible for destroying the earth and threatening the survival of humanity.
Regardless of how much money you make, if you work the energy industry you would be wise to quit your job for employment that may pay less but won’t endanger your life or the environment. In the very least educate fellow workers and begin initiating strikes to demand stricter safety requirements and proper HAZMAT gear. It’s not worth the MASSIVE paycheck if your trading in your life, while destroying the planet for your children and future generations.
Corporate terrorism against workers who question safety standards MUST BE STOPPED, this is corporate criminal negligence and class warfare at it’s finest!
Published on Nov 16, 2012
IMPORTANT: Check your playback button on bottom of screen. This video is in HD. You most likely need to change it to HD. Or however close you can view it at.
I remixed this video with a remix button via permission from youtube channel cajunmiracle. He lives in the area surrounding Parrish Assumption and has many problems associated with local fracking and floating airborne toxins. He is within 80 miles of the uncontrolled growing sinkhole.
This remixed video was originally Published on Nov 16, 2012 by cajunmiracle
Being a long term Alaskan resident we are having the same basic problems here as with all other states in the USA, that we are being bombarded with leaking nuclear plant radiation near and afar, fracking, weather modifications happening here and in almost all USA states, runaway pollution to the point we have major damage, toxic waste created daily that will be here longer than mankind has even been on the earth. The point of remixing this video is to inform others of the seriousness and present danger to all life, human and animal on this earth. This is no joke! We need simple creative solutions now and in the near future to save whats left of the wildlife in Southern Louisiana as well as the very lives of all the victims who have paid a dear price just for being in the way of the NWO’s so called, progressive new world, they are terra-forming to create. These environmental problems are man-made, although some may say the devil was involved, just follow the money trail and all will be more transparent.
For the people of Louisiana, the time I spent there, at friends and families houses, there are those of us out there that do care and are speaking out in your defense. It is not OK what is happening in Southern Louisiana! That we, in Alaska, are having the same problems with runaway oil/gas/mining fracking operations and all of the obvious tracks that go with such endeavors such as using local water aquifers not as a public drinking water sources but as a main ingredient that is used in Fracking, hence, all the water shortages and pollution of our aquifers.
CORRECTED PDF link: NOTE: NEED TO REVERIFY AGAIN – LOSING LINK –
http://www.edsuite.com/proposals/proposals_280/effectofearthquakefaultmovemen… CORRECTED PDF link: See below Original – posted by Mike – it does work!
Published on Nov 15, 2012 by cloversweed
“The Coast In Louisiana Is Sinking 11-10-2012″ by Mike: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheGrowingAwareness
ORIGINAL VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxEvSfDxtXM
I as well, sherri99516’s channel Alaska as well as cajunmiracle’s channel are similar that:
– I am not the speaker, narrator, editor, videographer or uploader in any part of this video.
But, like cajunmiracle’s channel do have a vested interest and concerns with similar fracking problems here in Alaska that is why I also am also mirroring a video to share Mikes reserach and findings that are listed below.
cajunmiracle’s channel: I am a resident of the State of Louisiana.
I do have interest where it concerns the Bayou Corne Sink Hole, hence, a mirrored video to share Mike’s research and findings.
– Please see my FEED as I do post current Bayou Corne Updates:
– PDF File: Effects of Earthquakes, Fault Movements, and Subsidence on the South Louisiana Landscape
– NOV 15 UPDATE:
New sinkhole image shows ‘original edge’ of Napoleonville salt dome may be gone — Section thousands of feet tall (PHOTO)
– NOV 15 UPDATE:
Official mentions possibility of “another major opening” related to Louisiana sinkhole — Wants monitoring system to give people warning (VIDEO)
– NOV 14 UPDATE:
Official: Calls to my office ‘going crazy’ about tremors in areas far away from giant sinkhole — Resident: “A lot of big quakes everywhere, like big ones” — USGS says it’s not happening
Category: Science & Technology
License: Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)
created this video with the YouTube Video Editor (http://www.youtube.com/editor)
RSOE – Emergency and Disaster Information Service
All up to the minute earthquakes and any kind of disaster worldwide – FREE TO PUBLIC
RSOE – Climate Change events – up to the minute worldwide – FREE TO PUBLIC
Quakes Live Earthquakes Map – FREE TO PUBLIC
Editors Note: There’s not one word mentioned on the highly toxic chemical nature of “wastewater” fluids that are contaminating wells and aquifers for thousands of years. Water holds memory, they are literally destroying the memory of the planet by injecting toxins into the Earth’s water storage systems which took millions of years to develop. The politicians that are allowing this to happen are betraying the trust of the voters when they accept kickbacks from energy company’s to overlook environmental crimes, therefore they should be fired and replaced with leaders who will honor their sacred stewardship granted to them over the Earth.
By Joe Romm on Dec 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm
Two new papers tie a recent increase in significant earthquakes to reinjection of wastewater fluids from unconventional oil and gas drilling. The first study notes “significant earthquakes are increasingly occurring within the United States midcontinent.” In the specific case of Oklahoma, a Magnitude “5.7 earthquake and a prolific sequence of related events … were likely triggered by fluid injection.”
The second study, of the Raton Basin of Southern Colorado/Northern New Mexico by a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) team, concludes ”the majority, if not all of the earthquakes since August 2001 have been triggered by the deep injection of wastewater related to the production of natural gas from the coal-bed methane field here.”
Both studies are being presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union this week (program with abstracts here).
These studies, together with other recent findings, make a strong case that we need national regulations on wastewater injection to prevent induced earthquakes.
As hydraulic fracturing has exploded onto the scene, it has increasingly been connected to earthquakes. Some quakes may be caused by the original fracking — that is, by injecting a fluid mixture into the earth to release natural gas (or oil). More appear to be caused by reinjecting the resulting brine deep underground.
In August 2011, a USGS report examined a cluster of earthquakes in Oklahoma and reported:
Our analysis showed that shortly after hydraulic fracturing began small earthquakes started occurring, and more than 50 were identified, of which 43 were large enough to be located. Most of these earthquakes occurred within a 24 hour period after hydraulic fracturing operations had ceased.
In November 2011, a British shale gas developer found it was “highly probable” its fracturing operations caused minor quakes.
In March 2012, Ohio oil and gas regulators said “A dozen earthquakes in northeastern Ohio were almost certainly induced by injection of gas-drilling wastewater into the earth.”
In April, the USGS delivered a paper at the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America that noted “a remarkable increase in the rate of [magnitude 3.0] and greater earthquakes is currently in progress” in the U.S. midcontinent. The USGS scientists pointed out that ”a naturally-occurring rate change of this magnitude is unprecedented outside of volcanic settings or in the absence of a main shock, of which there were neither in this region.” They concluded:
While the seismicity rate changes described here are almost certainly manmade, it remains to be determined how they are related to either changes in extraction methodologies or the rate of oil and gas production.
Now the USGS is building on that work in an invited paper presented this week, “Present Triggered Seismicity Sequence in the Raton Basin of Southern Colorado/Northern New Mexico.” Here is the abstract:
The occurrence of an earthquake of magnitude (M) 5.3 near Trinidad, CO, on 23 August 2011 renewed interest in the possibility that an earthquake sequence in this region that began in August 2001 is the result of industrial activities. Our investigation of this seismicity, in the Raton Basin of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, led us to conclude that the majority, if not all of the earthquakes since August 2001 have been triggered by the deep injection of wastewater related to the production of natural gas from the coal-bed methane field here. The evidence that this earthquake sequence was triggered by wastewater injection is threefold. First, there was a marked increase in seismicity shortly after major fluid injection began in the Raton Basin. From 1970 through July of 2001, there were five earthquakes of magnitude 3 and larger located in the Raton Basin. In the subsequent 10 years from August of 2001 through the end of 2011, there were 95 earthquakes of magnitude 3 and larger. The statistical likelihood of this rate increase occurring naturally was determined to be 0.01%. Second, the vast majority of the seismicity is located close (within 5km) to active disposal wells in this region. Additionally, this seismicity is primarily shallow, ranging in depth between 2 and 8 km, with the shallowest seismicity occurring within 500 m depth of the injection intervals. Finally, these wells have injected exceptionally high volumes of wastewater. The 23 August 2011 M5.3 earthquake, located adjacent to two high-volume disposal wells, is the largest earthquake to date for which there is compelling evidence of triggering by fluid injection activities; indeed, these two nearly-co-located wells injected about 4.9 million cubic meters of wastewater during the period leading up to the M5.3 earthquake, more than 7 times as much as the disposal well at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal that caused damaging earthquakes in the Denver, CO, region in the 1960s. Much of the seismicity since 2001 falls on a 15km-long, NE-trending lineation of seismicity dipping steeply to the SE. The focal mechanisms of the largest earthquakes since mid-2001 are consistent with both the direction of the seismicity lineation and the regional tectonic regime of east-west extension centered on the Rio Grande rift.
A key point is that these aren’t just micro-quakes we are talking about. A Magnitude 5.3 can do real damage.
The second paper being presented at the AGU is “Fluid injection triggering of 2011 earthquake sequence in Oklahoma.” Here is the abstract:
Significant earthquakes are increasingly occurring within the United States midcontinent, with nine having moment-magnitude (Mw) ≥4.0 and five with Mw≥5.0 in 2011 alone. In parallel, wastewater injection into deep sedimentary formations has increased as unconventional oil and gas resources are developed. Injected fluids may lower normal stress on existing fault planes, and the correlation between injection wells and earthquake locations led to speculation that many 2011 earthquakes were triggered by injection. The largest earthquake potentially related to injection (Mw5.7) struck in November 2011 in central Oklahoma. Here we use aftershocks to document the fault patterns responsible for the M5.7 earthquake and a prolific sequence of related events, and use the timing and spatial correlation of the earthquakes with injection wells and subsurface structures to show that the earthquakes were likely triggered by fluid injection. The aftershock sequence details rupture along three distinct fault planes, the first of which reaches within 250 meters of active injection wells and within 1 km of the surface. This earthquake sequence began where fluids are injected at low pressure into a depleted oil reservoir bound by faults that effectively seal fluid flow. Injection into sealed compartments allows reservoir pressure to increase gradually over time, suggesting that reservoir volume, in this case, controls the triggering timescale. This process allows multi-year lags between the commencement of fluid injection and triggered earthquakes.
This paper explains one of the mysteries of how these earthquakes could be tied to injection but only start years after the injection started.
It is time for regulations on unconventional drilling and wastewater injection aimed at preventing induced earthquakes.
People traveled by plane, car, bus, bicycle, and on foot from across the United States and the world to Washington, DC on Saturday, July 28 for the 2012 Stop the Frack Attack Rally . The rally demanded that Congress take immediate action to protect public health and water from the now EPA-documented harmful effects of hydro-fracturing for gas and oil. Sponsored by 136 local and national organizations, citizens already impacted by fracking in their communities united with those under imminent threat to create this declaration of protest. In the three days leading up to the rally, leaders were lobbying and educating elected officials while others led workshops on organizing against the escalating abuses of the fossil fuel industry. In addition to demanding an end to fracking, an emphasis was directed toward a green energy future.
Maria Pena of Long Eddy, New York said, “I’m here because I want to stop the environmental terrorism that fracking will cause.” Deanna Petula, a mother from Carlyle, Pennsylvania added, “I’m very upset about what’s happening. It’s awful. As a mother of three young children I’m concerned with their future. How will I explain this, what we let happen to our state 20 years from now, leasing state forests, water withdrawals from the Susquehanna River where we live downstream from it and depend on that water?”
Millie Cassese, a court reporter in New York City and a mother who has roots in upstate New York said, “I became concerned four years ago. I’m concerned about water, air, my environment and the way of life that we have. I think what’s happening with big oil and gas here is happening all over the country. Big money and the corporations are taking over. We need a grassroots effort to stand up and make these voices heard. If we don’t we’ll be in trouble and so will our kids. The whole country is being taken over by money. We have no power, except ourselves, going in a bus and being united. This is an opportunity for everyday people to come together; the whole country should be waking up to what’s happening. So many people don’t know what this will do to their lives. As a court reporter for 32 years I have been in the middle of corporate litigation and have seen what the corporations have gotten away with and how much the country has changed in the last 30 years.”
The rally started at 2pm on Saturday on the West Lawn of the Capitol. Rally speakers included Calvin Tillman, the former mayor of Dish, Texas; Doug Shields, former Pittsburgh council member; Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org ; Josh Fox, director of the documentary Gasland ; Wes Gillingham, program director of Catskill Mountainkeeper , and numerous other community leaders and residents of states affected by fracking.
Bill McKibben said, “As this summer proves, between drought and wildfire and heat wave we’ve got to keep carbon in the ground. There’s too much up there already so we can’t be fracking for more or drilling or mining for more. Our job is to keep it underground. We’ve got to take our real swing now.”
Tim Ruggiero, who now lives in Pilot Point, Texas, introduced himself as formerly of Decatur, Texas where he had to leave because of drilling in the Barnett Shale. He traveled to the rally with the former mayor of Dish, Texas, Calvin Tillman, who was also forced to flee his home and constituency because of the dangers to his family living in close proximity to drilling.
Ruggiero said, “I’m here with former Mayor Calvin Tillman, we’re representing shaletest.org , a non-profit set up to help as many people as we can to provide baseline water testing for people that have been negatively impacted to test their water and their air for the people who are not financially able to afford such testing.” Ruggiero continued, “All I can share with you now is that my family and I are victims of the shale and we were fortunate enough to be able to get off the shale, but I’m here because there are hundreds, if not thousands of other people that are trapped by shale gas drilling.”
When I brought up water issues, he said, “We need to have an abundance of caution when it comes to our fresh water. It’s not an unlimited supply and we’re going through it faster than it can be replenished … we as a species, including Mother Earth are going to be in some serious trouble… If industry isn’t contaminating ground water, you’re trying to tell me that it’s providing drinking water [water buffaloes] out for people out of the generosity of your heart or do you have a vested interest in not exposing the dangers that are actually in the water that you the industry are actually creating and putting in there?”
Chip Desimone of Damascus, Pennsylvania said to me, “It’s a direct threat to the water, property values and my health. I’m so upset, as a veteran of Vietnam; it feels like we’re fighting another war.”
Jill Wiener, of the Delaware River Basin in upstate New York and an organizer with Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy  who was on the advisory committee for the Stop the Frack Attack Rally, chanted over the roar of the crowd, “Do we want clean energy now? Yes! Clean air now? Yes! Clean water now? Yes! That is solidarity and that is what we have with our friends across the shale. These connections that we’ve made mean that when Texas calls us we will answer, when Oklahoma calls we will answer, when Wyoming calls, we will answer and when New York calls they will answer and we have to stand together!”
Drew Hutton, from Queensland, Australia is the president of the Lock the Gate Alliance , the Australian umbrella organization for all of the community-based groups opposed to fracking in Australia. He informs me that the mission of the movement is “the refusal by land owners to negotiate any kind of access to their land by mining companies. It’s a dire situation back home. We’ve got farmers, some of the most conservative people lining up at blockades, getting arrested and refusing access to their land despite the fact that the law says that they have to.” According to Hutton, up to 20,000 landowners have refused to permit access to industry with their rapidly growing national movement. In response to why the Australian organization was participating in the rally Hutton said, “It’s often the same companies and we learned from you what not to do.” The direct action tactics have been very effective. “If they [the mining companies] can’t get on the land, they can’t drill for gas, if they can’t drill for gas they can’t meet their contract, their projects fall over. We’ve already seen one of the biggest ones fall over, backed by Shell and Petro China, they announced [July 27] that they aren’t going ahead with investment.”
Josh Fox, the director of the documentary film Gasland joined us and said about the significance of being at the Capitol, “The oil and gas industry are treating governments as if they are subsidiary wings of their corporations. We often think of the government as the highest power but actually at this moment the government is just underneath where the oil and gas world is and are just an expense. You can funnel $747 million to get an exemption to a single law, three-quarters of a billion dollars spent on the Safe Drinking Water Act exemption. That’s not democracy anymore. That’s the government as a subsidiary of oil and gas. That’s what we’re trying to fight against and a lot of people in Congress know it.”
Sharon Wilson, aka Texas Sharon , had to move from Wise County in North Texas where, “Mitchell Energy experimented and learned how to get oil and gas out of shale,” she said. “It was literally born in my backyard. It cost me a great deal because I too lost my American dream.” Wilson adds, “The impacts to health are the same all across the globe. Frequent bloody noses, headaches, heart palpitations; many, many health problems that people experience. Water, soil and air are contaminated, but industry keeps saying that there’s no proof that they’re contaminating our water. But what they do when there is a contamination is they offer them some cash in exchange for a non-disclosure agreement which means those records are forever and permanently sealed from reporters, from our scientists and from our lawmakers. That allows them to say there’s no proof of harm, but the truth is they’ve been covering up their trail of pollution with these non-disclosure agreements.”
I traveled to DC on a bus sponsored by Catskill Mountainkeeper , an environmental organization charged with protecting the Catskill region of New York and one of the organizing groups of the rally. On the bus were friends, acquaintances and strangers. Members of the volunteer citizens group, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy  (also part of the rally coalition) held up a sign in the parking lot of the Elks Lodge in Liberty, New York in the Sullivan County Catskills at 5am in solidarity to document this important moment in the movement to stop fracking before departing for the six-hour drive to the protest. Neil Fitzgerald, a farmer, said, “I irrigate from the Delaware River. I’m an organic farmer in New York. When they poison the river, I’m out of business. There’s a neighbor who leased upstream of the brook and when they pollute that brook which runs into the river my water supply will be destroyed. Anyone that leases in the basin upstream from me threatens my farm.”
Brandi Merolla, an artist in Narrowsburg, New York, responded to my question about participating in the protest, “For me this is a human rights issue. Industrializing our residential communities is unconscionable. I’ve been part of this movement for three years and this protest is the culmination of our works. I don’t want to be exposed to carcinogens and neurotoxins in my residential community.” Alice Zinnes of Milanville, Pennsylvania said, “I don’t want it to happen anywhere. It’s part of my terror, terrified of the end of life as we know it. I’m very aware of global climate change and I’m scared. The health impacts are terrifying. With the environment we don’t have a second chance. If you kill an aquifer it’s dead for generations.”
Also from Milanville, 12-year-old Annabelle Brinkerhoff said, “About a quarter-mile from our house is a test well [Crum Well] and it’s freaky that it’s so close, it’s eerie that it’s so close to people and there’s a stream near it. It’s on a gorgeous one-lane back road. It seems so pristine for something like that. I think it’s good that I’m educated about it. It’s better to get more young people involved because it’s going to affect our future. Young people have a big voice if we can be educated, we’d be listened to, so I’m going to learn more, keep going to protests like this and keep telling my friends about it.” Her cousin, Ruby Brinkerhoff, 20, of Galilee, Pennsylvania adds, “I don’t trust people who are pro-fracking. I don’t trust them with my well being or that of my community because they’re not seeing the other options. They are gaining something by taking risks with other people’s lives.”
New York is of particular importance to the fight because of the current threat to the fracking moratorium with Governor Cuomo’s recent statement that fracking would be permitted in the Southern Tier of upstate New York in the coming weeks. New York is not alone. The story of fracking, the controversy and the increasing complaints of devastation is one being amplified throughout shale oil and gas regions. I looked for pro-fracking supporters to talk to, but surprisingly none were to be found that day. The name of the rally is telling as the word “attack” is one that embodies infiltration and violence, describing the combination of fear and anger so many of the participants feel as they face fracking in their neighborhoods.
The 90-minute rally was followed by a march to the headquarters of America’s Natural Gas Alliance  and American Petroleum Institute  where participants converged at 5pm. At the headquarters of the Natural Gas Alliance, organizers dressed in hazmat suits delivered six containers of contaminated water, followed by the grand finale where a mock oil rig was smashed to bits. This first national protest against fracking presented a unified voice as approximately 5,000 people met on the Capitol lawn from communities large and small, urban, suburban and rural, spilling out in busloads demanding the stop to the destructive extractive method to capture oil and gas called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Why are thousands of people taking their time, and resources on an extremely hot and muggy mid-90 degree weekend day to participate in this protest? The determination and the multitude of people from Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, West Virginia, Arkansas, Texas, Montana, Colorado, Maryland, California, Australia, and South Africa among others, demanding that their voices be heard, make the urgency and mobilization of this movement clear. As these modern-day warriors took to the streets, the future of communities is unknown. As the global initiative to extract gas expands globally so do the stories of heartbreak and loss, anger and resistance. Directly under my home in the Sullivan County Catskills are the desired Marcellus Shale gas reserves the oil and gas industry has targeted for drilling and extraction. Shale rock formations, including Utica, Eagle-Ford, Barnett and Monterey, are either being fracked or are targeted throughout the United States and globally for this form of extreme shale gas extraction.
The movement to examine, and reveal the risks caused by this form of extreme fossil fuel extraction is building with a focus on the United States where the fracking technology developed and is exported globally. The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimated in 2010 that “70 to 140 billion gallons of water are used to fracture 35,000 wells in the United States each year.”
The shale gas “play” is rapidly expanding both locally and internationally with cases of contaminated water and air and adverse health impacts being reported by hundreds and even thousands of people across the United States. The exact number is difficult to obtain as numerous non-disclosure agreements are made between citizens and the oil and gas industry where problems have been reported in drilling zones. So many people shared their stories on Saturday, whether from the stage or with me in person that it is apparent that the movement to stop fracking is building in the United States. Robert Finne from Heber Springs, Arkansas was asked to attend because he is on the advisory committee of the Oil and Gas Accountability Project  (OGAP) to address grassroots needs and represent the hard hit state of Arkansas with so few people speaking out. Finne told me, “One day I woke up and realized I lived in gas land. I have compressor stations surrounding my house, I’ve got at least half a dozen frack sites all within a mile of my house and constant traffic that wasn’t there before, so I knew I needed to get involved.”
Rancher John Fenton from Pavillion, Wyoming says, “We got hit really hard by natural gas drilling; it began to affect our water and our way of life and disrupt the agriculture. The biggest impact for us are the health impacts our family has seen, our youngest son having seizures, my wife losing her smell and taste, our neighbors becoming sick but it’s also we’re losing our way of life.”
After the industry ignored his complaints about the water, he and community members contacted the EPA . Fenton continues, “After over three years of studying they’ve come back with a draft report saying that the hydraulic fracturing has impacted the deep aquifers in the Pavillion area.”
He adds, “I am here today because I think that if instead of one person at a time speaking, we can get all of these voices across the nation, they’re going to have to pay attention to us.”
The Frack Attack Rally was the national launch for the movement to stop fracking by raising awareness, building coalitions and to put pressure on elected officials as a reminder that they represent the people and not corporations. Events and additional trainings will continue in Albany and New York City on August 24, 25 and 26, and in Pennsylvania on September 20 for Shale Gas Outrage, followed by actions throughout communities affected by fracking in the coming months.
WordPress has made following embedded links difficult, you may need to follow this link to learn more and take action. Thank you for caring about future generations and our home, planet Earth:
Thousands of people fighting to protect their communities from fracking are coming to Washington, D.C.
“Water is everything. The single most necessary element for any of us to sustain and live and thrive is water,” says Brockovich as her voice plays over clips of water abundance — gushing rivers and streams. “I grew up in the midwest and I have a father who actually worked for industry … he promised me in my lifetime that we would see water become more valuable than oil because there will be so little of it. I think that time is here.”
The film then cuts to images of water-scarce populations in the world: crowds of people at water tankers, stricken children, news reports of drought in the Middle East, Brazil, China, Spain.
The images are heart-wrenching and alarming … and so are the ones that come next, which are all in the U.S. Water parks, golf courses, car washes, triple shower heads, outside misters — all point to our folly when it comes to water.
We live with a false sense of water abundance and it may be our great undoing. Even though the film opens with Brockovich’s prophecy that water is more valuable than oil, Last Call at the Oasis mostly focuses on how we’ve yet to grasp this news. The film, which is the latest from Participant Media (Inconvenient Truth, Food Inc., Waiting for Superman), delves into our addiction to limitless growth, our blindness to pressures from global warming, and the free pass that industry and agriculture get to pollute.
The narrative of the film, which is directed by Jessica Yu, is driven by interviews, historical footage and some outstanding cinematography. We’re taken to Las Vegas, so often the starting point for discussions of our impending water crisis. We see a receding Lake Mead, learn that Hoover Dam may be close to losing its ability to generate power as water levels drop, and that the intake valve for Las Vegas’ water supply may soon be sucking air.
We hear from Pat Mulroy, Las Vegas’ infamous water manager, about a plan for the city to pipe water over 250 miles from a small agricultural community. The town of Baker, population 150, looks to be on the sacrificial altar for Sin City. As Mulroy says, it is a “project out of sheer desperation.” But that will be little consolation to the folks in Baker. Or to the rest of us. Because what we learn next is that “we’re all Vegas.”
Phoenix and LA also face water pressures, as the Colorado River strains to meet growing demands. The film shows hotspots like the California’s Central Valley, where 7 million acres of irrigated agriculture have turned near desert into the source of one-quarter of the nation’s food — at a steep environmental price.
California is often warned it will be the next Australia, where a decade of drought has devastated the agricultural sector. At the peak of Australia’s drought, the film tell us, one farmer committed suicide every four days. We meet families who are struggling to save their farms, faced with having to slaughter all of their animals. The scenes of heartbreak in Australia are one of the few times in the film the narrative ventures outside the U.S. Mostly the storyline is focused on America’s own evolving plight.
We see Midland, Texas where a community is stricken by cancer from hexavalent chromium in its drinking water. A reoccurring voice throughout the film is Brockovich, who works as a legal consultant all over the U.S. for communities that often find themselves powerless in the face of industry pollution. “There are 1,200 Superfund sites the EPA can’t deal with,” says Brockovich. “The government won’t save you.”
For all our clean water laws, we aren’t very good at enforcement. From 2004 to 2005 an investigation found that the Clean Water Act was violated more than half a million times. It’s not just industry, but pesticides like atrazine, which we learn can be detected in the rain water in Minnesota when it’s being applied in Kansas. In Michigan we see another awful side to Big Ag, the liquid waste from factory “farming,” known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. These CAFOs threaten drinking water with chemicals, antibiotics and growth hormones.
So what do we do in the face of these threats to our drinking water? Apparently we buy bottled water — which the film details is not only potentially less safe (it has different regulations from tap water) but is environmentally destructive as well.
There are a few bright spots in the film, including strides that have been made in Singapore and other places to recycle water for drinking. (We could at least start in the U.S. by recycling water for re-use in toilet flushing, irrigation and other non potable uses.) And we get to see a hilarious behind-the-scenes look at an advertising company trying to come up with a campaign to pursuade Americans to drink recycled water. Porcelain Springs anyone?
If you don’t know much about water issues, the film is an essential wake-up call. And judging from the way Americans use water, this film looks like it should have a large audience. It covers a lot of ground, but how well?
“Last Call offers a few solutions but — except for a segment on recycled wastewater — little about how to traverse the tangled political, social and economic pathways to achieve them. In fact, at times its ‘stars’ show the exasperation and resignation that comes from years spent seeing the tires spin in the same wheel ruts,” writes Brett Walton at Circle of Blue. “With so many problems to choose from, some worthy candidates are excluded and some issues are insufficiently explored, but the writers make good use of the material they have selected. They explain technical issues, while never losing sight of the lives that are affected.”
Overall the film is beautiful and compelling but misses the mark in one important place — it fails to address energy in any meaningful way. There are split-second clips of tap water being lit on fire (fracking!) and what looks to be a flyover of a mountaintop removal mining site, but the filmmakers never talk in depth to any of the people who live in our energy sacrifice zones in this country. What about the devastation in Appalachia and the growing threats from fracking and tar sands extraction?
The issues of energy and water are inextricably linked. It takes energy to move and treat water and it takes water to keep our lights on and our cars running. The more we ignore the reality of our fossil-fuel addiction, the more we become tethered to a future of climate chaos — droughts, floods and more turbulent storms. It’d be nice to see a film about U.S. water issues that starts in West Virginia, Pennsylvania or Nebraska instead of Las Vegas. This is the most significant lost opportunity in a film that will hopefully have a large reach across the country as it imparts its other important messages.
Look for a screening near you and check out the trailer below.
Tara Lohan is a senior editor at AlterNet and editor of the new book Water Matters: Why We Need to Act Now to Save Our Most Critical Resource. You can follow her on Twitter
Uploaded by JoeyB613 on Mar 3, 2012
aging american nuke plants