Fracking: New aerial research to track pollutants above western fossil fuel development zones

GR:  As always, we study the consequences of our actions after we act. We often do not attempt to determine effects before we act, and if we do try to predict consequences, the attempt is usually feeble and inadequate. Even more disappointing, the companies and government agencies involved rarely do any kind of follow-up research. And if they do, their results usually justify the action. For mining and energy development, the U. S. Bureau of Land Management is the biggest failure.

Summit County Citizens Voice

Sensitive instruments to track methane, VOCs and other airborne toxins from New Mexico to North Dakota

The Four Corners area (red) is the major U.S. hot spot for methane emissions in this map showing how much emissions varied from average background concentrations from 2003-2009 (dark colors are lower than average; lighter colors are higher). Image Credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Michigan. The Four Corners area (red) is the major U.S. hot spot for methane emissions in this map showing how much emissions varied from average background concentrations from 2003-2009 (dark colors are lower than average; lighter colors are higher). Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Michigan.

Staff Report

FRISCO — A recent study of satellite data showing a hotspot of potent heat-trapping methane pollution over the Four Corners region makes it clear that we’re digging an ever-deeper global warming hole by fracking every last corner of the country.

As NOAA put it, “Vast regions west of the Mississippi River are under development for oil and gas extraction … but while one focus is on what comes out of the ground, NOAA and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences researchers and their colleagues are studying what escapes…

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Study shows challenges of restoring fracking sites

‘Wildlife habitat goals cannot be realized by merely establishing grasses …’ Staff Report FRISCO — Restoring areas after drilling and fracking requires more than just spreading out some dirt and …


GR:  There are important differences in habitat restoration, reclamation, and stabilization.  Mining destroys habitat, so mining companies should pay for its restoration.

U.S. Interior Department: Still All About Fossil Fuels

55,000 acres of public lands are slated to be auctioned off for fracking in southern Utah. The prospect of more fossil fuel development portends disaster both for our climate and our public lands.


Even as scientists are confirming that it’s time to keep fossil fuels in the ground, the U.S. Department of the Interior continues to open the door for extensive coal, oil, and gas development on o…  Source:

GR:  The U.S. Department of the Interior has never behaved as if the public lands belonged to American citizens.  They have always put the interests of harvesters–loggers, grazers, and miners–ahead of ordinary people.  Because when they don’t, Congress gives them the boot.

Colorado toughens fracking penalties

“New rules eliminate penalty cap.  Penalties for fracking leaks and spills, or other environmentally dangerous accidents associated with fossil fuel development will go up to as much as $15,000 per day in Colorado, under new rules adopted this week by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.The beefed-up penalty structure also does away with a $10,000 penalty cap for each violation.”


GR:  We applaud attempts to hold the mining industry accountable for environmental impacts.  Fracking can be the worst source of environmental degradation.  In the pursuit of profits, the energy industry is unconcerned with the effects of their actions (look at the photo below).  Other governments should begin forcing responsible behavior.

(Tar Sands’ hellish landscape of ruined Earth and toxic tailing ponds. Image source Occupy.)

(Tar Sands’ hellish landscape of ruined Earth and toxic tailing ponds. Image source Occupy.)

World to Oil Producers — “We Don’t Want Your Fracking Crude”

“World oil prices routed to 49 dollars per barrel today amidst weak global demand. It’s a sea change in the oil and energy markets that is now in the process of rattling many previously well established oil ventures to their foundations. A shot across the bow that may well signal the beginning of the end of crude due to a combination of expensive production, competition by renewables and efficiencies, and a widespread recognition of ramping hazards from human-caused climate change.  Photo:  Fracking Pads stretch as far as the eye can see in North Dakota’s Bakken Formation (Image source: Greenpeace).

“Within 5-10 years the next price war on marginal oil may well be spear headed by renewables themselves. And that is a good thing, because in order to prevent the very worst impacts of human caused climate change that geological firewater needs to remain where it belongs — in the ground. In other words, there’s good reason not to want that fracking crude.”


GR:  This is an excellent review of the current global oil market.  As Scribbler points out, there has been a huge sacrifice of nature for oil profits.  Scribbler also included the photo below in his article.

(Tar Sands’ hellish landscape of ruined Earth and toxic tailing ponds. Image source Occupy.)

(Tar Sands’ hellish landscape of ruined Earth and toxic tailing ponds. Image source Occupy.)

LA Planners Do Not Want City Council to Ban Fracking

Anne C. Mulkern, E&E Reporter: “Los Angeles planners after a nine-month review are advising their City Council not to attempt a ban on fracking and other unconventional oil drilling.” (Source:

GR:  The photograph:  Smart Growth joins Sustainable Development in the Urban planner’s arsenal of deceptive terms.  They don’t realize how oxymoronic they are.

GR:  Planners are always on the side of growth and development.  Society’s “progress” syndrome prepares young people for their final brainwashing in college.  Imaginations constrained by courses, teachers, and fellow students, planners can’t conceive of a world without growth.  Quality planning becomes full utilization of space for human benefit.

Fracking’s Impact on Wildlife Remains Unknown

“A decade into North America’s fracking boom, the impact on wildlife and the environment remains largely unknown, according to a new study.

“We’re conducting a giant experiment without even collecting the important data on the water, air, land or wildlife impacts,” said Sara Souther, an ecologist at the University of Wisconsin, one of the co-authors of the peer-reviewed research examining the environmental impacts of shale gas development in the US and Canada.

“Although the technique of hydraulic fracturing shale has been used for at least 20 years, there is “surprisingly little research” on impacts, found the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.”



 GR: When the U. S. Bureau of Land Management, U. S. Forest Service, and most State land management agencies permit fracking, they are required to assess effects. However, these agencies tend to ignore or make only feeble attempts to monitor the consequences of their decisions. This is despite the fact that most agencies have adopted the principles of Adaptive Management that call for monitoring so that future actions can be improved. Adequate monitoring would often indicate the need for major changes that would not be approved by special interests outside the government. This is why the millions of acres of public land in the U. S. are in such poor condition.

Support for fracking has declined to 24 per cent, energy department finds – Telegraph

By , Energy Editor

Less than a quarter of the public now supports shale gas extraction, energy department research suggests, contradicting findings from an industry-backed poll.

Support for fracking in the UK has fallen, with less than a quarter of the public now in favour of extracting shale gas to meet the country’s energy needs, according to official government polling.

The latest Department of Energy and Climate Change public opinion tracker, published on Tuesday, shows that public support and opposition is now evenly matched at 24 per cent, while almost half of respondents said they were neutral on the issue.

The findings stand in contrast to those of a poll published on Monday by the UK Onshore Operators Group, which represents fracking firms, which found that 57 per cent were in favour and just 16 per cent against.


GR:  Cameron’s support for fracking is typical of governments everywhere that are willing to sacrifice the environment for economic benefits.  Cameron is going to find it more and more difficult to support fracking as negative public attitudes increase.


Fractured Fracking Tails: Self-Destruction of an Industry on the Ropes

GR:  This story accuses frackers of ignoring environmental responsibilities. It sounds like some of the stories we hear about the coal, oil, and gas sectors of the energy industry–Hey wait, it also sounds like the GMO, pesticide, fertilizer industry, the military arms industry, the transportation industry, the financial industry, the building industry, the logging industry, the grazing industry, the politics industry, . . . .  Too much.  Is human industry inevitably destructive?  Perhaps Jesus and Marx were simply naïve about human nature and in reality inequity and materialism will always rule.  How will nature survive us?

As Denton seeks to become the first city in Texas to ban fracking, the industry is trying to frame the fight in economic terms. But that turns out to be a poor choice.

Fracking is the only industrial activity in the city of Denton, Texas that is allowed in residential areas (sometimes less than 200 feet from homes). Not even bakeries are allowed there. Fracking is also the only industry allowed to emit non-disclosed chemicals into the environment. That’s why I am helping to lead Frack Free Denton, a citizens’ initiative that takes the oh-so-radical step of prohibiting the most toxic, under-regulated and secretive industry from operating the closest to places where children live and play.

Normally, this would be the stuff of sane and rational, even boring, adjustments to the city code. But because we are talking about the natural gas industry, lots of rich and powerful folks are tarring us as extremists.

By Adam Briggle, Truthout | Op-Ed:

Fracking’s Unlikely Opponents: German Breweries

GR:  In the United States, people have begun filtering and drinking their urine.  How can the beer makers complain about recycling filthy water; the issue has been discussed ever since indoor toilets were invented.

Brewers say that contaminated groundwater would ruin a centuries-old tradition and industry.

“When the Bavarian Purity Law was first declared in 1487, not a single European had stepped on the land above the Marcellus Shale in the Eastern United States. The First Nations of Canada weren’t fighting natural gas pipelines, because as far as natural resources go, the Alberta tar sands were centuries away from being in the picture—as was the internal combustion engine.

“Yet the law, the Reinheitsgebot, which strictly dictates the ingredients that can be used in making beer, is giving the powerful German brewing industry historic ammunition against the creeping potential for new natural gas exploration.