American Environmental Research Scramble


America has been dead to me since election night. Self preservation prescribed absolute avoidance of U.S. media. Hearing his voice, seeing that orange face, reacting to Trumpish ascension without blind rage, perfectly good reasons to wash hands of the sordid affair. All well and good until ambushed by CBC radio this afternoon. But for missing that last green light, I might have been out of the vehicle when “U.S. scientists are scrambling to archive environmental research in Canada before Trump inauguration” shot resolve to smithereens. Oh crap! I knew Trump appointed climate denier Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, now I had to look into the impetus of a news bomb.

Oh man, if knowledge were power America wouldn’t be facing the likes of Scott Pruitt. Ponder Pruitt’s environmental legacy below, followed by a link to “Meet Scott Pruitt”-

May 2011: As Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt sues the EPA, alleging that the federal agency violated its own procedures in rejecting a state plan to reduce regional haze at three coal plants. In May 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review Pruitt’s challenge of the EPA’s plan for reducing haze. The EPA’s plan is designed to reduce pollution from coal-fired power plants and industrial sources to improve visibility at federally managed wilderness areas such as the 59,000-acre Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton.

It would target coal-fired power plants operated by Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. at Red Rock and Muskogee and another operated by American Electric Power-Public Service Company of Oklahoma at Oologah.

September 2011: Oklahoma joins other states in challenging an EPA regulation of power-plant air pollution that crosses state lines. In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the cross-state air pollution rule, which is scheduled to take effect in May 2017.

July 2013: Pruitt and his counterparts in 11 other states sue the EPA in federal court, alleging violations of the Freedom of Information Act. The states sued after the EPA denied a request for communication records between the federal agency and nonprofit environmental groups. Pruitt claimed that the agency encourages certain types of lawsuits by nonprofit environmental organizations, such as Greenpeace, Defenders of Wildlife, WildEarth Guardians and the Sierra Club. The EPA then settles the suits by entering consent decrees that contain obligations not found in federal law, Pruitt claimed.

A district judge dismissed the lawsuit in December 2013, siding with the EPA’s claims that the records request was overly broad and vague.

April 2014: Pruitt sent a letter to the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General, questioning plans to evaluate how the agency and states have done in regulating hydraulic fracturing.

“I am concerned that this project is politically motivated and ignores the EPA’s three previous failed attempts to link hydraulic fracturing to water contamination,” Pruitt wrote. “The U.S. Department of Energy has investigated hydraulic fracturing’s potential harm to water supplies and found no evidence linking the drilling technique to groundwater contamination.”

August 2014: Pruitt joined 11 other states in a suit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gases. Filed in the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, the suit specifically seeks to throw out a 2011 settlement in a lawsuit brought against the EPA by 12 states, the District of Columbia and three environmental organizations. In the settlement, the EPA agreed to begin regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

July 2015: Pruitt sues the EPA in Tulsa federal court over the agency’s plan to rein in pollution from coal-fired power plants. In a news release, Pruitt described the EPA’s Clean Power Plan as “an unlawful attempt to expand federal bureaucrats’ authority over states’ energy economies in order to shutter coal-fired power plants and eventually other sources of fossil-fuel generated electricity.” The lawsuit was later dismissed by a judge on jurisdictional grounds.

July 2015: Pruitt files a lawsuit in Tulsa federal court challenging the EPA’s new rules governing pollution controls on waters governed by the Clean Water Act. A judge later dismissed the lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds. An appeal is pending.

October 2015: Pruitt joins 26 other states in challenging the EPA’s Clean Power Plan rules just after they became effective. The new rules require states to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Each state has a customized target and is responsible for drawing up an effective plan to meet its goal. All but two of the state challenges were filed by Republicans. The case is still pending in U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

August 2016: Pruitt joined a dozen other states in a lawsuit challenging federal regulations for methane emissions from new equipment at oil and natural gas sites. The rules are part of the Obama administration’s goal to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry more than 40 percent from 2012 levels by 2025.

http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/green-life/meet-scott-pruitt-man-picked-lead-epa

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/scientists-copy-climate-data-fearing-trump-raze-article-1.2909960

Scott Pruitt is buddies with James Inhofe, fellow Okkie and Republican chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the genius who tossed a snowball on the senate floor as proof God exists, climate change is a hoax, the politician who declared “God is still up there, and He promised to maintain the seasons and that cold and heat would never cease as long as the earth remains.” https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/senate-snowball/

Scott Pruitt is why U.S. climate researchers scramble to preserve data before Trump’s buffoons assume positions of power.

 

 

Holy Fracking Earthquake


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a report on April 23, 2015 outlining evidence of “sharply increased” seismic activity due to human activity – “fracking” to be precise.
DEFINITION of ‘Fracking’

A slang term for hydraulic fracturing. Fracking refers to the procedure of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting fluid into cracks to force them further open. The larger fissures allow more oil and gas to flow out of the formation and into the wellbore, from where it can be extracted.

Slick assertions by fracking advocates, paint rosy pictures of harmless and inconsequential necessity. Common sense dictates otherwise. Last year Oklahoma had more magnitude 3 or greater earthquakes than California. Oklahoma, by far the banner state for “human” triggered seismic activity, went from an average of 1.5 shakes per year in 2009 to 2.5 a day in 2014.

Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado and Ohio all reported increased seismic activity associated with industrial activity – translation, fracking.

Contained in the USGS official announcement…

“Earthquake activity has sharply increased since 2009 in the central and eastern United States. The increase has been linked to industrial operations that dispose of wastewater by injecting it into deep wells”

Fracking involves more than increased seismic activity – much more than an estimated 72 trillion gallons of water a year. Ponder 360 billion gallons of chemicals – formaldehyde, methanol, hydrochloric acid to name a few. Roughly half of this chemical sludge is recovered, taken by tanker or pumped into open pit pools to evaporate. Final “disposal” requires nothing more than a burial – groundwater, wells, agriculture of little consequence.

An article posted last September on conservative website American Thinker made me laugh. The headline – “The Science Is Settled:Fracking Is Safe” illustrates the sorry state of right wing wisdom. The first paragraph, managed in a few short sentences to take a jab at climate change, declare fracking safe, followed by “end of discussion”. Citing the National Science Foundation, Duke University and “others”, the article stated extensive research examined 130 wells, concluding that only a “subset of cases” – 7 wells in Pennsylvania and 1 in Texas (faulty construction or cement) polluted groundwater. There are over 500,000 wells in America – using the ratio of 7/130, that’s over 26,000 environmental disasters. The rest of the article just made me mad – linked below if you can stomach nonsense about how over 1 million frackings resulted in an infinitesimal 7 screw ups – they “examined” 130 wells, holy crap.

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2014/09/the_science_is_settled_fracking_is_safe.html

If the world was perfect, each and every one of these nincompoops would be forced to live in a community beside a fracking site.

 

https://i2.wp.com/en.es-static.us/upl/2015/04/earthquakes-manmade-USGS-20151-e1429813354755.jpg

http://earthsky.org/earth/usgs-more-earthquakes-due-to-human-activities?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=2810865bda-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-2810865bda-393970565

What The Frack


Fracking is the name given to the process of fracturing underground shale to release natural gas. This is achieved by drilling wells and pumping them full of high pressure water and chemicals. Hundreds of nasty chemicals; methanol, formaldehyde, hydrochloric acid to name a few go into the fracking liquid. In a year, the approximately 500,000 gas wells in America  require 72 trillion gallons of water, and 360 billion gallons of chemicals. Of this, only half is recovered – pumped or taken by tanker trucks to open pit pools, and left to evaporate. The concentrated sludge is then “disposed of” by burying it in the ground. Not biodegradable; groundwater is compromised every step of the way. Well water in close proximity to fracking operations have up to 20% higher concentrations of Methane. Hundreds upon hundreds of claims are on record; reporting increased sensory, respiratory, and neurological illnesses.

Regulations for fracking vary widely from state to state. Naturally more lenient in areas favourable to production of natural gas. New York state has 10 fracking bills on the go, as well as a moratorium on fracking until 2015 – Texas on the other hand, has half heartedly introduced a number of bills, but none have made it into law. The Obama administration introduced a proposal this May to look at drilling on public land as well as mandatory disclosure of chemicals used. Even if it became law it would only apply to federal land.

Aside from a scene in the first Ghostbusters movie when the character from the EPA shut down the containment unit, I hadn’t given the Environmental Protection Agency much thought. Feeling rather sheepish, it didn’t take more than 5 minutes of scratching the surface on fracking to shatter my naive perception that EPA walked the straight and narrow. The EPA has been taken to court numerous times by individuals as well as states. The state of California sued the EPA for failing to consider  or consult on the effect shale fracturing has on people and the environment before issuing fracking licences to gas companies. According to the author in the link below; the EPA has a policy of “sue and settle” – in effect agreeing in principal with allegations against current regulations or poor practices of gas companies. These “friendly” negotiations settle out of court – completely cutting out any input from residents, businesses, or landowners. Back room deals become law, then it’s business as usual.

http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/06/11/attorneys-general-warn-epa-over-sue-and-settle-fracking-regulations

Ponder the EPA not monitoring methane levels in groundwater or stepping in to force regulations regarding location of gas wells in relation to populated areas or sources of drinking water. Think about all that water being used to concoct a chemical soup while crops wither and families are forced to leave their homes because of poisoned wells. Consider “big oil” out of control, interested only in stock prices and their bottom line. What the frack!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130617111355.htm