@VannevarB      About      Pittsburgh Murals
Showing posts with label fracking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fracking. Show all posts
February 27, 2014

A Question of Fracking Priorities

February 23, 2014

Drilling Is Just The Beginning

October 30, 2012

Fracking Trifecta: Nuclear Accident, Toxic Coal Ash Spill, Frack-Induced Earthquake

March 9, 2012 (NBC News)
A dozen earthquakes that struck Ohio in 2011 appear to have been induced by the workings of a fracking wastewater well, the state Department of Natural Resources said Friday, as it announced new rules for the disposal of a fracking byproduct because of its apparent link to the tremors.

The Youngstown, Ohio, area experienced the quakes – ranging from 2.1 to 4.0 magnitude – starting in March 2011. A 4.0 quake on Dec. 31 prompted Gov. John Kasich to order a moratorium that is still in place on six Class II deep injection wells.

Oct 20, 2012 (Beaver County Times)
Permit to drill is only a mile from nuclear plant

SHIPPINGPORT -- Chesapeake Energy has a permit for hydraulic fracking just one mile from the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station in Shippingport. Whether that is cause for alarm, experts can’t say.

DEP spokesman John Poister said there are no required setbacks specifically relating to a required distance between unconventional wells and nuclear facilities, just a blanket regulation requiring a 500-foot setback from any building.

A New Type of State Gambling in Shippingport, PA

Which is more foolish? Building a new nuclear power plant in a known earthquake zone, or building a new earthquake zone under a known nuclear power plant, just because somehow we don't have any rules against it? Yes, these are the people who say we need to deregulate industry and take the shackles off the job producers.

But wait, there's more!

It's not only that they're going to pulverize the ground 1.06 miles from a nuclear power plant. I've written about this elsewhere, but then so has National Geographic: Largest U.S. Coal Ash Pond to Close. Fracking Trifecta: Nuclear Accident, Toxic Coal Ash Spill into Ohio River, Fracking-Induced Earthquake

The pretty blue lagoon 4.5 miles west of the drilling site where Chesapeake Energy is going to be pulverizing the earth, is a containment pond filled with arsenic, selenium, cadmium, lead, mercury, sulfates and chlorides - all the poisons accumulated from the nearby coal-fired power plants. The State is forcing First Energy to stop adding sludge to the pond because - well, because it's leaking into nearby water supplies. Oops.

Here's an interesting picture of the earthen dam that's keeping all that nasty stuff from pouring into the Ohio River and ending up in the Mississippi River:

Here's a funny little thought experiment. Take a poisonous lake that's leaking, with a dam holding all that poison back from a major national waterway. Start a bunch of earth-shattering explosions underground that the state of Ohio has determined to cause significant earthquakes in the same geological region. See how that works out for you.

July 02, 2012

TdF Tour De Frack

April 10, 2012

Frack Jobs for Generations by Range Resources (Supplemental Resources)

As discussed here, and in support of ShaleComm 2012, this first series of value-added material supplements the Range Resources "Jobs for Generations" (J4G) propaganda public awareness campaign designed to keep you in-the-loop and up-to-date about the economic benefits of Marcellus Shale development.

Concerned parents, guidance counselors, clergy and community leaders are welcome to use these materials to help increase public understanding of what the energy industry can do to for our children. Job opportunities are presented in pairs, along with titles, standard 600x80-pixel banner graphics, and powerpoint slides.

If you have any questions about the Jobs for Generations campaign, or any feedback about invoking your children to motivate your support, please use these links to email key program leaders:

J4G-01: Remediation Engineer, Forensic Seismologist

Jobs For Generations: Range Resources Banner Graphic RR-J4G001.gif
Jobs For Generations: Range Resources Powerpoint Slide RR-J4G-001.ppt
Range Resources Power Point: Jobs for Generations

J4G-02: Oncology Cluster Analyst, Hydro Volatility Tech

Jobs For Generations: Range Resources Banner Graphic RR-J4G002.gif
Jobs For Generations: Range Resources Powerpoint Slide RR-J4G-002.pptRange Resources - Shale Frack Jobs: Oncology Cluster Analyst, Water Volatility Tech

J4G-03: Water Tanker Crew, Hospice Liaison

Jobs For Generations: Range Resources Banner Graphic RR-J4G003.gif
Jobs For Generations: Range Resources Powerpoint Slide RR-J4G-003.pptRange Resources - Marcellus Shale Jobs - Water Tanker Crew, Hospice Liaison
April 09, 2012

Toxic Tectonics: Is Man-Made Seismicity the new Global Warming Debate?

When I was young there was a lot of attention paid to The Bomb, and I have a particular memory of a bunch of young boys talking big, as if we knew what we were saying, each outdoing the other in explaining a particular type of Bomb. Aw, the atom bomb ain't nothing, you should see a "thermonuclear bomb". Nah, that ain't shit, my dad says there's a hydrogen bomb and that's the biggest thing the Russians have. My old man says we have a cobalt bomb, and that'll crack the continent in half.

I had been staying quiet because I didn't have the terms to play this game and was waiting for the talk to turn to something else, but this was simply too much. "Crack the continent?", I asked. "That's crazy; nobody can do that." This deteriorated into a continuous verbal loop of "can-too, can-not" that was only broken by one of the guys saying that a kid around the corner had found a Playboy and then we set upon a new misadventure. I've always remembered thinking - cracking the continent, they can't do that, can they? Ah, the concerns of a happy childhood.

Recently when BP-Halliburton's oil spill was in progress in the Gulf of Mexico, there was great difficulty in plugging the well. Some geologists expressed concern that they'd stuck a straw into a deep, high-pressure region and maybe they'd never be able to plug it - and maybe they had, in fact, broken part the planet. That took me back to the conversation about the Bomb(s); could They could We, break part of the planet?

Today, Alexis Madrigal writes: Middle America Is Experiencing a Massive Increase in 3.0+ Earthquakes, with the subtitle: Earthquakes are striking the heartland from Alabama to Montana at an unprecedented rate -- and human activity is probably to blame.

There's new research being published (online abstract). The scientists take pains to note that while there is a correlation with the fracking timeline, there is no established causation yet; further study is warranted (which is, of course, the key finding in any research report).

This, too, shall pass

I think about the great lost societies - the Minoans of Crete, the people of the Indus Valley Civilization in Pakistan, the Anasazi in New Mexico, the Olmec civilization in Mexico, the Aksumite Empire in Ethiopia - and I wonder, will this be our denouement? Can They, can We really be breaking the continent (and ruining the water)?

I suspect this discussion will follow the pattern of our unproductive discourse on global warming - we've always had (warming/quakes), this comes and goes in waves and this is a normal cycle, the science isn't conclusive - people (from both sides) will argue the data, charge conspiracy, conflate cause and correlation; people will jaw while industry takes, and perhaps we will learn if our process is smart enough, quick enough, and adept enough; perhaps we will learn if our wisdom exceeds our technology.

March 30, 2012

Frack Whack: Jobs for Both, Right Here

Range Resources is running a propoganda public education campaign on local billboards and websites containing images of diverse children, titles of desirable jobs, and the promise that these jobs will be available. In the future. Right here. Just get out of the way and let them do their thing. Good jobs for your grandkids. You got a problem?

Jobs For Generations fracking propoganda

You could go to their website: Range Resources: Jobs For Generations to see the flash movie (which is just awesome, it touched me down deep) or to read the inspiring text:
At one time, parents in Pennsylvania could watch their children grow up and pursue the career of their choice right here at home. That hasn't been the case for many decades now, but opportunity is returning to our state and jobs related to natural gas drilling are leading the way. Soon new industries will come here to take advantage of our newfound, affordable energy, bringing even more jobs. Before long there will be almost unlimited career choices in Pennsylvania. Best of all, it’s a trend that could last 100 years or longer. That’s good news for our children, our grandchildren … and even their children.

When I was a kid there was a preacher named Rev. Ike Eikerenkoetter II but known as Rev. Ike, an evangelist who used to pack armories and the old Madison Square Garden, the Pat Robertson of his day. The Rev. Ike's newspaper ads were a marvel to me and they used the headline, "You can talk all you want about the pie in the sky and the sweet bye and bye, but what about the good ol' now and now?!" (There is a Joe Hill verse that uses the same phrase. Also, read Pittsburgh's Tony Norman on Ike's death).

I have always appreciated the Rev. Ike for his contribution to my awareness, the identification of the transaction type (some call it swindle) that involves my pain now, your profit now, and my longterm profit; and whenever anybody promises me future/downstream ethereal benefits coupled with immediate and allegedly transitory pain and loss for me coupled with profits for them, I think fondly of the Rev. Ike. He taught me some lessons.

I don't think Range Resources would like Ike; their ad campaign is all soft promises in the bye-and-bye - your children will have great jobs here with... somebody... later on! while in the now-and-now, your water is flammable, your kids have migraines, your land is worthless, and they've cut down all your trees. Sorry about the earthquakes.

The best thing about being the target of a propaganda campaign, is knowing that you're the target of a propaganda campaign.

This blog will support Range Resource's public education campaign with supplemental material. Our first contributions:

Range Resources Power Point: Jobs for Generations

March 27, 2012

Informed Consent for PA Fracking Healthcare

From Mother Jones:
Under a new law, doctors in Pennsylvania can access information about chemicals used in natural gas extraction—but they won't be able to share it with their patients.

Pennsylvania law states that companies must disclose the identity and amount of any chemicals used in fracking fluids to any health professional that requests that information in order to diagnosis or treat a patient that may have been exposed to a hazardous chemical. But the provision in the new bill requires those health professionals to sign a confidentiality agreement stating that they will not disclose that information to anyone else — not even the person they're trying to treat.

The provision was not in the initial versions of the law debated in the state Senate or House in February; it was added in during conference between the two chambers, said State Senator Daylin Leach(D).


The latest move in Pennsylvania has raised suspicions among the industry's critics once again. As Walter Tsou, president of the Philadelphia chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, put it, "What is the big secret here that they're unwilling to tell people, unless they know that if people found out what's really in these chemicals, they would be outraged?"


Gov. Tom Corbett's spokesman says this interpretation of the law is inaccurate and doctors will still be allowed to share information with their patients. Doctors could share the information with their patient, but would not be able to relay information about the specific formula used in fracking fluids more broadly.

However, the actual terms of the confidentiality agreements have not yet been drafted, and there seems to be pretty wide confusion in the state about what exactly the bill as signed into law would mean.

I could Tell You, But I'd Have to Kill You.
If I Don't Tell you, you Might Die.

It's interesting in a few ways. Nobody voted for it, but somehow it's the law. It's finished business, but nobody knows what it says. You're supposed to "own" your own treatment, but if you don't have a doctor you won't know anything. Before you go in for the operation, you'll sign a form indicated that you gave informed consent.

Eventually, living in Pennsylvania will qualify as a pre-existing condition, and we can skip the troublesome and time-consuming intermediate process.
March 15, 2012


A really excellent article in Rolling Stone magazine, The Big Fracking Bubble: The Scam Behind the Gas Boom by Jeff Goodell.

Kind of interesting that New York has a moratorium on new fracking operations, and this week in Ohio the Republican governor has called for increased regulation and taxation (he said, normalized taxation but he means more) of the fracking industry. Also in Ohio, they've banned pumping poisonous, proprietary fracking fluids underground since they seem to be causing earthquakes.

Pennsylvania? Nothing to see here, move along.
July 10, 2011

Pexas, Fracking, Hacking, and Dick Cheney's Heart

Worth Listening To: This American Life, Sunday 6pm

If you missed "This American Life" about Pennsylvania fracking, the role of Penn State, and the hardball that industry plays with local government, the show will be replayed on WDUQ 90.5 at 7pm Sunday. (Listen online here: http://www.essentialpublicradio.org/listen )

Best Line: Pennsylvania is becoming Texas. Texsylvania? Pexas? (NTTAWWT)

While the content of the show is significant and worthy, it's also a refreshing reminder of the public service that the media and journalism was is supposed to play in American civil society. Remarkable that it comes from NPR and not commercial radio, isn't it?

Murdoch's Hacking, Democracy, and Atom Bombs

Rupert Murdoch's London newspaper has been found violating journalistic ethics (and the criminal code) by hacking cellphone voice mail functions.The trenchant point, it seems to me, is that in an information economy, hacking information is economic theft; it's playing with the currency. It's a major issue in the digital shift.

Slightly OT: We now process American elections through digital systems. The person who wins the big election gets the nuclear button. Presidents have been chosen based on Florida elections, and there's a guy in Florida who keeps hacking Florida election servers.

At the root of it all, it's still all Greek: at one time, media organizations (the fourth estate) were obligated to render a service by informing the polis.

Dick Cheney, Wall Street Journal, and the progress of American health care

Dick Cheney does have a heart, and American progress in medical care seems to him, on consideration, to be a good thing. (see article)

Saying, "Dick Cheney has a heart" is a counter-intuitive assertion, and here's another one: it's good to spend money on health care.

Some wags say, It's a crisis! Look at all the money we're spending on health care! I say, spend more money on keeping me alive. Isn't it a sign of a civilized country that we spend (invest) in the quality of our citizen's physical lives? What else might displace that as a priority?

(We do recognize that spending money on medicine is not the same as investing in demonstrated metrics of improvement, but the question of efficiency is constant at any funding rate.)
July 08, 2011

WDUQ Saturday : Fracking is a Game Changer

Saturday at Noon, Sunday at 6pm, WDUQ 90.5 or wduq.org

I'm a fan of National Public Radio (NPR), and also of an NPR show called This American Life (TAL). TAL's main driver is Ira Glass, and he's excellent.

This week's TAL is about fracking in Pennsylvania. Here's the intro text:
A professor in Pennsylvania makes a calculation, and the result blows his mind. The numbers say that his state is sitting atop a massive reserve of natural gas—enough to lead a revolution in how America gets its energy. But another professor in Pennsylvania does a different calculation and reaches a troubling conclusion: that getting natural gas out of the ground poses a risk to public health. The story of two men, two calculations, and two very different consequences.

The show will air Saturday at noon and Sunday at 6pm. The show's website will have the audio available Sunday after 7pm.
June 28, 2011

Fracking Weltanschauungs; Poor New York Missed Out

When information presents a blizzard, it's important to have multiple sources of information and to have some context in which to frame those sources.

The New York Times writes about the fracking industry: Insiders Sound an Alarm. The article presents GMail strings from industry insiders arguing that Marcellus Shale is the Next Big Bubble and that it is both a gas bubble and also another real estate bubble.

“Money is pouring in” from investors even though shale gas is “inherently unprofitable,” an analyst from PNC Wealth Management, an investment company, wrote to a contractor in a February e-mail. “Reminds you of dot-coms.”

“The word in the world of independents is that the shale plays are just giant Ponzi schemes and the economics just do not work,” an analyst from IHS Drilling Data, an energy research company, wrote.

The Wall Street Journal presents The Facts About Fracking, and from their perspective it's all good.

Yes, there are some complaints that fracking has polluted drinking water with methane gas. The story explains, "Methane is naturally occurring and isn't by itself harmful in drinking water, though it can explode at high concentrations." The stories of Pennsylvania residents who are able to set their tapwater on fire are apparently outliers and not statistically significant.

As a regulatory model, consider Pennsylvania. Recently departed Governor Ed Rendell is a Democrat, and as the shale boom progressed he worked with industry and regulators to develop a flexible regulatory environment that could keep pace with a rapidly growing industry. As questions arose about well casings, for instance, Pennsylvania imposed new casing and performance requirements. The state has also increased fees for processing shale permits, which has allowed it to hire more inspectors and permitting staff.

New York, by contrast, has missed the shale play by imposing a moratorium on fracking. The new state Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, recently sued the federal government to require an extensive environmental review of the entire Delaware River Basin. Meanwhile, the EPA is elbowing its way into the fracking debate, studying the impact on drinking water, animals and "environmental justice."

There is no commonality between the two Weltanschauungs presented; you would think the WSJ and the NYT are from different planets.

It's not the basis for good decision making or good democracy.
June 04, 2011

Connect The Fracking Dots

From The Guardian:

From The Philadelphia Enquirer:
March 14, 2011

Alternative Energy: A Call for Help, Looking for a 12-Step Plan

When people once capable of rational thought persist in counter-productive and even self-destructive behavior over long periods of time, there are a few possible explanations:
  • insanity
  • addiction
  • greed
Often, family and friends wonder: what will it take to change this? Which 12-Step program is best?

People with experience say that (1) they have to hit bottom, and (2) they have to want to change. (and: nobody ever wants to change)

Thinking globally and citing locally

Coal is dangerous to mine and hazardous to the environment. Black lungs and acid rain. (see, Upper Big Branch and Quecreek Mine)

Oil is dangerous to store (see, Ashland), hazardous to the environment (see, Deepwater Horizon), and most of it belongs to other people who are disinclined to share (see, OPEC).

Natural Gas is dangerous to store, and collecting it through hydraulic fracturing is an ecological disaster. (see, Dimock, PA)

Nuclear power works real well unless until there's a problem and then it's a catastrophe. (see, Three Mile Island)

Hydroelectric. Works in Nevada. And Pennsylvania.

Solar. Works in Philadelphia and on the North Side.

Wind mills. Work in the Netherlands. And Somerset.

Geothermal. Works in Iceland. West Virginia's thinking about it.

What will it take?

What will it take to get us moving to alternative energy sources? Do we have to wait until Corporations figure out how to sell the wind?

If people don't start acting smart about this (and pretty quickly) I'm going to have to become an environmentalist, and that's really not my self-image. And it's all about me.
June 28, 2010

Football, Fracking, Folly: stupid things we keep doing.

Three stories in the overall category, "why do we do such stupid things?"

Football and Brain Injuries

The brain of the late Cincinnati receiver Chris Henry contained so many signs of chronic disease... that it shows a football player can sustain life-altering head trauma without ever being diagnosed with a concussion.

Dr. Bennet Omalu: "I'm not calling for the eradication of football; no, I'm asking for full disclosure to the players. Like the surgeon general considers smoking to be dangerous to your health, repeated impacts of the brain are dangerous to your health and will affect you later in life. Period. The players need to know this.

"I think it's an epidemic. It's beneath the radar. We simply didn't identify it [early and properly].

"The NFL wants us to believe that documented concussions are the issue. I've always believed that it's not about documented concussions. It's about repeated impacts to the head ... sub-concussions," Dr. Omalu said. "The issue is repeated impact, repeated blows to the head."
Encouraging children to play football is so reckless that it makes soccer and the World Cup seem rational.

What a fracking mess

Today's Vanity Fair presents an account of fracking operations in Damascus, PA and Dimock, PA in order to exploit the natural gas found in the Marcellus Shale. Both towns are in the Delaware River basin watershed.

The story tells about one family whose (post-fracking) well-water eroded their plates in the dishwasher, made their children dizzy after they took showers, and eventually could be set on fire as it came out of the faucet.

Folly: Losing Afghanistan

Today's Economist (reg. req'd) talks about our failure in Afganistan. Although we're ostensibly fighting the Taliban and al Queda, the corrupt Karzai government has announced plans to seek a diplomatic rapprochement with them. Karzai is also manuevering with Pakistan to cement his Pashtun tribe's power.

Even Henry Kissinger (the godfather of American Realpolitik) says that what we're doing and saying is a formula for failure. I'm all for killing bad guys over there, but I'm not convinced that we're not creating more bad guys than we're killing.

I really, really, really hate to quote John Kerry, but his rhetoric fits this situation perfectly. How do you ask somebody to be the last man to die for a mistake? How can we tell a grieving parent that the loss was justified, when the Afghan president and congress are both cutting deals with the purported enemy?