Monthly Archives: November 2014

OPEC Decision Likely to Crash U.S. Fracking Industry

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.

By Anastasia Pantsios, EcoWatch

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.

Despite a slump in worldwide oil prices due mainly to fracking in the U.S., oil-producing nations left their output targets unchanged.
Despite a slump in worldwide oil prices due mainly to fracking in the U.S., oil-producing nations left their output targets unchanged.

The price immediately declined in response, dropping below $72 a barrel, a price last seen in August 2010. Continue reading OPEC Decision Likely to Crash U.S. Fracking Industry

Waterkeepers Chesapeake: Deep Disappointment in Governor O’Malley’s Decision to Allow Fracking in Maryland

Fracking well in Montoursville, PA. Photo by Wendy Lynne Lee.
Fracking well in Montoursville, PA. Photo by Wendy Lynne Lee.

By Waterkeepers Chespeake

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.

The threats to western Maryland’s economy, water resources, forests and people are very real, even with all of the best management practices in place. Accidents and failures with all aspects of fracking do and will happen. It has become increasingly clear that fracking cannot be done safely, so the safest strategy for drilling for gas in Maryland — and any state — is to not drill for that gas at all. Continue reading Waterkeepers Chesapeake: Deep Disappointment in Governor O’Malley’s Decision to Allow Fracking in Maryland

Court Victory for Activists of FERC Blockade

Above photo: By Diane Wittner of Chesapeake Citizens 

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

Sandra Steingraber: Why I Am in Jail

Protest at Crestwood facility at Seneca Lake, October 24, 2014. Photo by Wendy Lynne Lee.
Protest at Crestwood facility at Seneca Lake, October 24, 2014. Photo by Wendy Lynne Lee.

Author and anti-fracking activist Sandra Steingraber refused to pay a fine and was sentenced to two weeks in jail for trespassing when she protested at the Crestwood Midstream gas storage facility on Seneca Lake in New York.

By Sandra Steingraber, EcoWatch

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.

Sandra Steingraber, photo by Wendy Lynne Lee
Sandra Steingraber, photo by Wendy Lynne Lee

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

Pipeline Fighter/Wica Agli Co-founder Pulled Out of Senate Chambers, Arrested

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.”

Lakota Voice

November 18, 2014

by Ann-erika White Bird

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…

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We Won Keystone XL Fight in Lame Duck Senate. What Happens When GOP Congress Approves It?

Native American march in Washington, DC to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, photo by Resa Sunshine
Native Americans march in Washington, DC to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, photo by Resa Sunshine

By Anne Meador

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.

The Lakota singer proclaimed a warrior’s victory. At the same time, his wail lamented the craven, soulless spectacle of a body enthusiastic to build a “continent-spanning death-funnel.”

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.

A bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline is likely to pass both the House and Senate during the next session, bypassing the president’s authority to approve cross-border pipelines.  President Obama has made hints that he would veto it. But if Obama were to sign such a bill, or if Republican Senator Hoeven attaches Keystone to a bill he would find hard to veto, what would happen next? Continue reading We Won Keystone XL Fight in Lame Duck Senate. What Happens When GOP Congress Approves It?

Senator Trying to Ram Keystone XL Through Congress Gets Pipeline on Front Lawn

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By Anne Meador and John Zangas

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.

Nebraska farmer Art Tanderup, left, watches  Greycloud burn sage
Nebraska farmer Art Tanderup, left, watches Greg Grey Cloud burn sage

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