Note: Extracting oil or gas from shale formations by hydraulic fracturing only became cost-effective about ten years ago. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that about 29 percent of U.S. oil production today comes from so-called tight oil formations.
At its meeting today in Vienna, Austria, the 12 member countries of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) voted to keep their output target unchanged despite a 30 percent slump in the oil price since June, due primarily to the explosive growth in fracking in the U.S. as well as decreasing global demand. While Venezuela made a case for an output reduction, Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading oil producer and exporter, pressured to keep it the same.
Governor O’Malley finally answered the question of if or when to allow fracking in Maryland with his release yesterday of final recommendations for regulating hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in Western Maryland. Maryland did apply the breaks and approach the question of whether or not to frack with caution through analysis by the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, unlike Pennsylvania and West Virginia that have rushed to frack. Unfortunately, the commission’s analysis, especially with regards to public health and risks assessment, is seriously flawed and ignores tens of thousands of Marylanders who oppose fracking.
In a successful court appearance this morning, government prosecutors were unable to proceed with charges against six activists involved in the week-long blockade in early November of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Headquarters (FERC) in Washington, DC. The blockade of FERC is part of a growing resistance movement demanding an end to new fossil fuel infrastructure and an immediate shift to community-controlled renewable energy sources.
FERC is the government agency which regulates the interstate transmission of gas, oil and electricity in the US, and in this role is facilitating an unprecedented build-out of new fossil fuel infrastructure resulting from Obama’s “All of the above” energy strategy. In recognition that this course is disastrous for mitigating the climate crisis, communities across the nation are rising up to fight FERC-approved pipelines, gas storage facilities, compressor stations and fracked gas export facilities. Thus far, FERC has remained unmoved, unresponsive and unaccountable to the devastating public health and environmental impacts created by these projects. Continue reading Court Victory for Activists of FERC Blockade→
Breakfast in the Chemung County Jail is served at 5 a.m. This morning—Friday, November 21, 2014—it was Cheerios and milk plus two slaps of universally-despised “breakfast cake.” Along with trays of food—which are passed through the bars—arrive the morning rounds of meds for the inmates who take them. Now comes my favorite time of day in jail—the two quiet hours between breakfast and 7 a.m. before the television clicks on and we are ordered to make our beds and the loud day begins. Between the end of breakfast and 7 a.m., most women go back to sleep. Now I can hear only the sounds of their breathing—different rhythms all—and, on the far side of the steel door—the occasional voices of the C.O.s (correction officers, a.k.a. the guards) and the walkie-talkie orders they themselves are receiving.
Meanwhile, my bed is already made and I have repurposed my small laundry basket—by flipping it upside down—into a table on which I am writing. And because I am a writer who is writing, I am happy.
I am also happy because I know that, by writing, I am fulfilling a promise to Ashley (not her real name) who brought me last night a sharpened pencil and a stack of inmate medical request forms to use as writing paper. After hearing my story—narrated through the bars of my cell as I am being kept in “keeplock” until the results of my TB screening come back—Ashley said, “I know about you Seneca Lake protesters. I read about that. But only once. You have to keep fighting. You have to write to the newspaper. You can do that from here, you know. You can’t just sit in your cell for 14 days and do nothing. You have to fight.” And then she ran off and found me paper. Continue reading Sandra Steingraber: Why I Am in Jail→
Statement from Wica Agli: “All of us want to make it clear that this honor song was not a political stunt. This was an oppurtunity to honor the hard work and courage shown by the Senators who voted against the tarsands pipeline, Tribal leaders, front line pipe line fighters and especially the courage , direction and support of our grandmothers.”
SICANGU LAKOTA OYATE — Greg Grey Cloud made the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota Nation’s proud when he belted out the unci makawiwayangwacipi song in Senate Chambers today. Grey Cloud is an enrolled member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, co-founder of Wica Agli and an oka wicasa.
Grey Cloud explains the translated song as, “Grandfather look at me, I am standing here struggling, I am defending grandmother earth and I am chasing peace.” He goes on to say that the song was “not just from me, but my brothers in Wica Agli. We’re defending our women and children in our community. The song itself was very influential for why I sang that here.”
From CNN’s video in Senate chambers, Grey Cloud could be heard after the vote failed on the bill that would authorize construction of the KXL pipeline. The bill…
On November 18, the Senate effort to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline fell one vote short of the necessary supermajority. As the last votes were counted and Senator Mary Landrieu’s hopes of proving her undying fealty to Big Oil were dashed, a lone voice from the gallery burst out in song.
Outside the Chamber, in contrast to the noble song, cue the Imperial March played on a kazoo. Senator Mitch McConnell greeted the press, eager to say that Keystone XL will be “early on the agenda” of the next Congress.
More than 50 protestors against the Keystone XL pipeline posed in front of a replica pipeline on the lawn of Senator Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) residence on Capitol Hill, calling for the lawmaker to drop a vote she initiated in the Senate to approve the controversial fossil fuel project.
Native Americans and landowners from Nebraska joined activists from 350.org at Landrieu’s house early on a rain-soaked Monday morning. They held fluorescent signs saying, “Vote No KXL!” and burnt sage in a Native American ceremony.
Art Tanderup, whose farm in Neligh, Nebraska is on the Keystone XL route, said a Nebraska coalition was “prepared to do what we have to” to keep the pipeline from being built. “We’re here to show [Landrieu] is stepping on a lot of people, stepping on the land, stepping on the water throughout this country,” Tanderup said. “And she doesn’t seem to care about what this pipeline will do and how much of a potential disaster it is at this time.” Continue reading Senator Trying to Ram Keystone XL Through Congress Gets Pipeline on Front Lawn→
Soon, a shipping tanker will dock at Dominion’s Cove Point natural gas facility pier in Lusby, MD and bring U.S. fracked gas to Asia. So much for energy independence.
As Marylanders have been pushing for wind energy, installing compact fluorescent lightbulbs and shelling out storm water and ‘flush’ fees to clean the Chesapeake Bay, our federal government approved a massive energy project here in Maryland that couldn’t be farther from “eco-friendly.”
Approval to convert Cove Point, a long idle natural gas import facility, to an export facility came just as the moratorium on fracking in Maryland nears. A coincidence? No one is admitting to a fully fleshed-out fracking plan, but in this pro-fracking administration, it is just a matter of time before one starts, environmentalists believe. When it does, don’t expect the moms in Lusby, Maryland, to take it lying down. Some are already piping mad!
Cove Point’s hidden truths, below, reveal hypocrisy in action. It’s apparent that Cove Point’s approval was decided long ago behind closed doors between top-level government officials and key fossil fuel partners. Marylanders didn’t get a vote in this matter. The 150,000 letters of protest got recycled. The 1,000 protest marchers in Baltimore got sore throats while our elected officials stepped aside and laid out the welcome mat.Continue reading Dominion’s Cove Point: Poised to Open the Door to Fracking in Maryland→
The vast number and dense concentration of oil and gas wells–many of them fracking wells–in Colorado, Wyoming, Louisiana, Texas and Pennsylvania is absolutely shocking. Tour of Pennsylvania wells begins at 14:10. Impoundments are toxic fracking wastewater ponds. There are more than 500 in Pennsylvania alone.
Conservation and tribal groups filed a lawsuit today against the U.S. State Department’s secretive approval of a plan to allow Canadian oil giant Enbridge to nearly double the amount of tar sands oil in the Alberta Clipper pipeline. The approval this summer happened without public notice and without a legally required review that’s meant to protect air, water, wildlife, and public health, in spite of a previous State Department decision that any expansion of Alberta Clipper would require a federal permit.
The pipeline transports tar sands oil from Alberta through Minnesota, with a terminus in Superior, Wisc. From the Canadian border, the pipeline runs 327 miles through North Dakota and Minnesota to Wisconsin, passing through three Native American reservations, as well as the Northern Divide, the Mississippi River, Chippewa National Forest and Leech Lake.