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Author Topic: Energy Politics & Science  (Read 164194 times)
ccp
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« Reply #600 on: February 03, 2016, 08:00:31 AM »

http://money.cnn.com/2016/02/02/investing/saudi-arabia-oil-madeleine-albright/index.html
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #601 on: February 05, 2016, 02:50:07 PM »

Interesting energy politics and economics going on here:

http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/02/04/lone-star-shale-producers-defy-opec/
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ccp
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« Reply #602 on: February 05, 2016, 04:05:45 PM »

Russia is considering copying the Saudis oil war with US drillers by flooding Europe with cheap natural gas:
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/gazprom-braces-gas-price-war-221041925.html
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ccp
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« Reply #603 on: March 21, 2016, 06:52:20 AM »

Kept afloat by tax dollars?

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/03/20/the-solar-industry-is-dying-good-riddance/
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 10:51:14 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
DougMacG
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« Reply #604 on: March 21, 2016, 12:00:09 PM »


There was another solar financial collapse last week, largest ever, hardly reported, bailed out (again) by the government that made the anti-economic investment possible in the first place.
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2016/03/the-great-solar-epic-fail-of-all-time.php

The large scale solar projects are burning up birds, like wind power is chopping them up, while nuclear power is still carbon free and can now be built to withstand a tsunami.

I like solar energy as an off grid, security and independence-based private luxury that becomes a necessity if and when the grid fails, not as a pretend cost-effective alternative to nuclear, natural gas or newer innovations.

It should be sold that way, as a niche product.  Everyone who can afford it and wants protection against a terror-based grid shut down should buy and install enough solar and other alternatives to survive and function in those times.

Good luck heating your house with solar - at night.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 01:27:54 PM by DougMacG » Logged
ccp
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« Reply #605 on: March 21, 2016, 12:12:55 PM »

 "Everyone who can afford it and wants protection against a terror-based grid shut down should buy and install enough solar and other alternatives to survive and function in those times. "

Every human being has a right to *free* solar protection.

Even the "undocumented" are humans just like us and deserve to be treated like humans beings.    wink

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DougMacG
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« Reply #606 on: March 21, 2016, 01:21:34 PM »

Who knew?  It's an MIT publication (highly respected institution?), but the analysis of this new fact I think is wrong.

In the US at least, emissions are down because of fracking, not because of solar kleptocracies.

China is cutting back on coal because of soot and smog, not because of global conscience or agreements over CO2 that makes crops and forests grow more vibrantly.  The global economy is sick and mostly stagnant, which also slows emissions.  The largest capacity carbon-free fuel is nuclear, still largely untapped.

Still the peak is noteworthy.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601055/global-carbon-dioxide-emissions-have-now-been-flat-for-two-years-running/#/set/id/601047/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #607 on: March 21, 2016, 09:49:37 PM »

Things that make you go "hmmmm , , ,"
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ccp
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« Reply #608 on: March 22, 2016, 07:13:22 AM »

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/could-californias-massive-ivanpah-solar-power-plant-be-forced-to-go-dark-2016-03-16
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #609 on: April 02, 2016, 02:16:12 PM »

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/04/01/1508986/-Stanford-scientists-find-that-fracking-has-clear-impact-on-drinking-water-in-Wyoming?detail=facebook
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G M
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« Reply #610 on: April 02, 2016, 07:24:09 PM »


Daily Kos?   rolleyes
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #611 on: April 02, 2016, 07:55:52 PM »

1)  Sometimes we need to know what the other side is saying.

2) Let's be real-- it's not like there aren't some operators out there capable of cutting corners and fouling the water table.  This is a proper area for regulatory oversight IMHO.
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G M
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« Reply #612 on: April 02, 2016, 08:09:05 PM »

1)  Sometimes we need to know what the other side is saying.

2) Let's be real-- it's not like there aren't some operators out there capable of cutting corners and fouling the water table.  This is a proper area for regulatory oversight IMHO.


Well, hopefully the EPA can break away from from causing it's own environmental disasters and porn to investigate. If the Daily Kos even got 5% of the story right, I would be surprised.
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ccp
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« Reply #613 on: April 06, 2016, 02:29:31 PM »

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Industry/2016/04/06/OMV-makes-drilling-breakthrough-in-Barents-Sea/4451459934525/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #614 on: April 28, 2016, 08:26:06 AM »

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/04/public_university_admits_to_burying_study_finding_no_damage_to_water_quality_from_fracking_because_funders_disappointed.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
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DougMacG
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« Reply #615 on: April 28, 2016, 01:19:35 PM »


"Science" isn't really science when the researchers and publicists put bias above truth.
Readers of the forum have had the facts for a long time:
   
Studies show fracking does not hurt ground water
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1096.msg80439#msg80439
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1096.msg80513#msg80513
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1096.msg73659#msg73659
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1096.msg46669#msg46669

Hydraulic Fracturing –15 Statements from State Regulatory Officials
Babies diapers don't have this clean of a report.
http://www.hydraulicfracturing.com/Documents/Hydraulic_Fracturing_SGEIS_comments.pdf
(I picked these quotes out of longer documents.  I see the detail is now missing at the source link.   - Doug)

"After 25 years of investigating dtizen complainls of contamination, DMRM geologists
have not documented a single inddent involVing contamination of ground water
attributed to hydraulic fracturing
."  - Ohio Department of Natural Resources

After review of DEP's complaint database and interviews with regional staff that
investigate groundwater contamination related to oil and gas activities, no groundwater pollution
or disruption of underground sources of drinking water has been attributed to hydraulic
fracturing
of deep gas fonnations.  - Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

"we have found no example of contamination of usable water where the cause was claimed to. be hydraUlic fracturing."  - New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department

"I can state with authority that there have been no documented cases of drinking water
contamination caused by such hydraulic fracturing
operations in our State."  - STATE OIL AND GAS BOARD OF ALABAMA

"Though hydraulic fracturing has becn
used for over 50 years in Texas, our records do not indicate a single documented contamination case
associated with hydraulic fracturing."  - chief regulatory agency over oil and gas activities in Texas

"There have been no verified cases of harm to ground water in the State of Alaska as a result of
hydraulic fracturing."  - Commissioner Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission

"To the knowledge of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission staff, there has been
no verified instance of harm to groundwater caused by hydraulic fracturing in Colorado."

"There have been no instances where the Division of Oil and Gas has verified that harm to
groundwater has ever been found
to be the result of hydraulic fracturing in Indiana."  - Director
Indiana Department of Natural Resources

"The Louisiana Office of Conservation is unaware of any instance of harm to groundwater in the
State of Louisiana caused by the practice of hydraulic fracturing."

"My agency, the Office of Geological Survey (OGS) of the Department of Environmental
Quality, regulates oil and gas exploration and production in Michigan. Hydraulic fracturing has been utilized extensively for many years in Michigan, in both deep formations and in the relatively shallow Antrim Shale formation. There are about 9,900 Antrim wells in Michigan producing natural gas at depths of 500 to 2000 feet. Hydraulic fracturing has been used in virtually every Antrim well.
There is no indication that hydraulic fracturing has ever caused damage to ground water or other
resources in Michigan."

"No documented cases of groundwater contamination from fracture stimulations in
Wyoming."

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #616 on: May 09, 2016, 01:11:57 PM »

http://ecowatch.com/2016/05/09/radium-lead-fracking/

Thousands of oil and gas industry wastewater spills in North Dakota have caused “widespread” contamination from radioactive materials, heavy metals and corrosive salts, putting the health of people and wildlife at risk, researchers from Duke University concluded in a newly released peer-reviewed study.
North Dakota, Williston—Bakken—Oil and Gas—Missouri River. Photo Credit: EcoFlight
Bakken Oil and Gas in Williston, North Dakota on the Missouri River. Photo Credit: EcoFlight

Some rivers and streams in North Dakota now carry levels of radioactive and toxic materials higher than federal drinking water standards as a result of wastewater spills, the scientists found after testing near spills. Many cities and towns draw their drinking water from rivers and streams, though federal law generally requires drinking water to be treated before it reaches peoples’ homes and the scientists did not test tap water as part of their research.

High levels of lead—the same heavy metal that infamously contaminated water in Flint, Michigan—as well as the radioactive element radium, were discovered near spill sites. One substance, selenium, was found in the state’s waters at levels as high as 35 times the federal thresholds set to protect fish, mussels and other wildlife, including those that people eat.

The pollution was found on land as well as in water. The soils in locations where wastewater spilled were laced with significant levels of radium and even higher levels of radium were discovered in the ground downstream from the spills’ origin points, showing that radioactive materials were soaking into the ground and building up as spills flowed over the ground, the researchers said.

The sheer number of spills in the past several years is striking. All told, the Duke University researchers mapped out a total of more than 3,900 accidental spills of oil and gas wastewater in North Dakota alone.

Contamination remained at the oldest spill site tested, where roughly 300 barrels of wastewater were released in a spill four years before the team of researchers arrived to take samples, demonstrating that any cleanup efforts at the site had been insufficient.

“Unlike spilled oil, which starts to break down in soil, these spilled brines consist of inorganic chemicals, metals and salts that are resistant to biodegradation,” said Nancy Lauer, a Duke University PhD student who was lead author of the study, which was published in Environmental Science & Technology. “They don’t go away; they stay.”

“This has created a legacy of radioactivity at spill sites,” she said.

The highest level of radium the scientists found in soil measured more than 4,600 Bequerels per kilogram [bq/kg]—which translates to roughly two and half times the levels of fracking-related radioactive contamination discovered in Pennsylvania in a 2013 report that drew national attention. To put those numbers in context, under North Dakota law, waste more than 185 bq/kg is considered too radioactive to dispose in regular landfills without a special permit or to haul on roads without a specific license from the state.

And that radioactive contamination—in some places more than 100 times the levels of radioactivity as found upstream from the spill—will be here to stay for millennia, the researchers concluded, unless unprecedented spill clean-up efforts are made.

“The results of this study indicate that the water contamination from brine spills is remarkably persistent in the environment, resulting in elevated levels of salts and trace elements that can be preserved in spill sites for at least months to years,” the study concluded. “The relatively long half-life of [Radium 226] (∼1600 years) suggests that [Radium] contamination in spill sites will remain for thousands of years.”

Cleanup efforts remain underway at three of the four sites that the Duke University research team sampled, a North Dakota State Health Department official asked to comment on the research told the Bismarck Tribune, while the fourth site had not yet been addressed. He criticized the researchers for failing to include any in-depth testing of sites where the most extensive types of cleanup efforts had been completed.

The four sites the researchers sampled instead included the locations of two of the biggest spills in the state’s history, including a spill of 2.9 million gallons in January 2015 and two areas where smaller spills occurred in 2011. The samples from the sites were collected in June 2015, with funding from the National Science Foundation and the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.

Over the past decade, roughly 9,700 wells have been drilled in North Dakota’s Bakken shale and Bottineu oilfield region—meaning that there has been over one spill reported to regulators for every three wells drilled.

brine_fracking_750

“Until now, research in many regions of the nation has shown that contamination from fracking has been fairly sporadic and inconsistent,” Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, said when the study was released. “In North Dakota, however, we find it is widespread and persistent, with clear evidence of direct water contamination from fracking.”

Dealing with wastewater generated by drilling and fracking has proved to be one of the shale industry’s most intractable problems. The industry often pumps its toxic waste underground in a process known as wastewater injection. Every day, roughly 2 billion gallons of oil and gas wastewater are injected into the ground nationwide, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates. Wastewater injection has been linked to swarms of earthquakes that have prompted a series of legal challenges.

The sheer volume of waste generated by the industry—particularly from the type of high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing used to tap shale oil and gas—has often overwhelmed state regulators, especially because federal laws leave the waste exempt from hazardous waste handling laws, no matter how toxic or dangerous it might be, under an exception for the industry carved out in the 1980’s.

This leaves policing fracking waste up to state inspectors and not only do the rules vary widely from state to state, but enforcing those rules brings its own difficulties.

State inspectors have faced escalating workloads as budgets have often failed to keep pace with the industry’s rapid expansion. In North Dakota, the number of wells per inspector climbed from roughly 359 each in 2012 to 500 per inspector last year. In other states, the ratios are even more challenging, with Wyoming oil and gas well inspectors being responsible for more than 2,900 wells in 2015. And now, with the collapse of oil and gas prices, funds earmarked for oil and gas inspection have also nosedived in many states.

Lax enforcement may help explain why wastewater spills are so common across the U.S. More than 180 million gallons of wastewater was spilled between 2009 and 2014, according to an investigation by the Associated Press, which tallied the amount of wastewater spilled in the 21,651 accidents that were reported to state or federal regulators nationwide during that time.

The naturally occurring radioactive materials in that wastewater have drawn particular concern, partly because of their longevity in the environment and partly because the drilling industry enjoys looser federal standards for their radioactive waste than many other industries.

In January, North Dakota regulators further relaxed their standards for the dumping of radioactive materials, allowing many landfills in the state to accept drilling waste at levels higher than previously permitted, citing tough economic times for drillers.

But environmentalists argue that relaxing the rules for radioactive waste disposal could mean that radioactive materials receive less careful handling. “If people think this study points to a building tragedy, just wait,” Darrell Dorgan, who chairs the North Dakota Energy Industry Waste Coalition, told the Bismarck Tribune, when the Duke University research was released. “The new rules allow radioactive waste that is 10 times more dangerous.”

The spills the Duke University researchers identified often resulted from a failure to maintain infrastructure including pipelines and storage tanks. Roughly half of the wastewater spilled came from failed pipelines, followed by leaks from valves and other pipe connectors and then tank leaks or overflows.

But recent floods in Texas’s Eagle Ford shale region also highlight the risks that natural disasters in drilling regions might pose. Texas regulators photographed plumes of contamination around submerged drilling sites, a repeat of similar incidents in Colorado. “That’s a potential disaster,” Dr. Walter Tsou, former president of the American Public Health Association told the Dallas Morning News.

Risks associated with fracking in flood zones have drawn the attention of some federal agencies in the past, but perhaps not in a way that locals in affected areas might find helpful.

In 2012, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program—a program designed to help people move away from areas subject to recurring floods—ran into a series of conflicts over oil and gas leases on properties that would otherwise be offered buy-outs. Some homeowners in Pennsylvania were denied the chance to participate in the program because of oil and gas leases or pipelines on their properties, as DeSmog previously reported.

In other words, it may be harder for those who have signed oil and gas or pipeline leases to abandon flood-prone areas, meaning that homeowners whose properties frequently flood could potentially face battles over cleanup costs without aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

And the newly published research from North Dakota suggests that the less visible brines may ultimately be more of a long-lasting environmental hazard than the spilled oil.

Even though their study included only leaks that were reported to state regulators, the researchers warned that little is currently being done to clean up sites where spills have occurred—or even to track smaller spills, especially on reservation lands, where roughly a quarter of the state’s oil is produced.

This means that the real amount of wastewater spilled is likely even higher than currently reported.

“Many smaller spills have also occurred on tribal lands,” Prof. Vengosh said, “and as far as we know, no one is monitoring them.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #617 on: May 09, 2016, 04:32:08 PM »

We will have to keep an eye on this.  Industrial activity in ND is also up by about 50,000-fold, so of course there are more accidents and more problems.  Banned are pipelines that specifically eliminate most spills.  Not mentioned.  Enforcement no doubt can't keep up; they are busy making their own spills out in Colorado  How do all these combined match up with that one?  No mention made.  Also checked the site, they are 100% negative on nuclear as well, not just fracking, even though it doesn't tend to have these emissions.  Were the spills all a result of the Obama administration refusing to approve a pipeline - that is proven to reduce spills?  No mention of that.  Just that these micro-spills could pose a 'health risk' to wildlife or humans.  But is there a known case of a health issue that came out of this?  No mention of that either.  I assume not, or they don't follow a story all the way like the National Enquirer would.  Enquiring minds want to know!  The levels reported are always the "highest level" recorded.  Three thousand spills were not at that level.  Mixing those measures is what activists do, not what scientists do.  If lead or selenium spills, it has lead or selenium in it at the site of the spill.  It also had lead and selenium in it wherever it was before or without fracking.  What caused the spill, let's stop doing that.  No mention of that.  Highest recorded levels are only compared to a regulatory standard, not to actual levels occurring elsewhere.    What are considered poisons here are minerals from the ground going back into the ground.  The earth is radioactive in places, with or without a spill and contains lead and selenium.  If these are known spills above a regulatory standard, were there known tickets written? Were any regulators fired?  Disciplined? There seems to be a lot missing from this story.  Aren't these minerals that filter out of drinking water quite easily?  Not mentioned.  What did von trappe say to the Nazis, we seem to suffer from a "deplorable lack of curiosity".
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DougMacG
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« Reply #618 on: May 09, 2016, 04:52:44 PM »

From that same publication, "ecowatch", as the fracking scare:

"It [30th anniversary of Chernobyl] also comes as advancing efficiencies and plunging prices in renewable energy remind us that nukes stand in the way of solving our climate crisis."
http://ecowatch.com/2016/04/25/chernobyl-harvey-wasserman/

[What the hell does the Soviet debacle of Chernobyl have to do with 2016 nuclear energy production?]

   - In fact it is because nuclear is so clean, safe, abundant and efficient that nuclear energy is the enemy of the planet. In comparison, nuclear energy makes solar and wind projects look puny, limited, inefficient, helpless and foolish.

The more that we delay or oppose new nuclear capacities, the more fossil fuels we burn, the more radium we spill, the more children will die, and the more we will warm the planet.  We have no time to wait on this...

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DougMacG
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« Reply #619 on: May 09, 2016, 04:59:31 PM »

Spill map from the anti-fracking post:


Very impressive. How many deaths, none?   Nowhere in the history of their publication do they publish a map showing all locations of actual bird deaths from wind energy.  These are cases of actual wildlife deaths, not just 'health risks posed'.  You would think 'ecowatch' (and Duke University) would be all over that, or are birds not wildlife, or are they agenda driven?
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 09:50:54 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
G M
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« Reply #620 on: May 09, 2016, 05:35:13 PM »

Well, when the wind turbines break, or aren't working because of a lack of wind, they aren't shredding birds. Then they only burn taxpayer's money we don't have.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #621 on: May 10, 2016, 09:51:48 AM »

Sorry gents but as best as I can tell neither of you are responding to the assertions of the article.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #622 on: May 10, 2016, 12:35:01 PM »

Sorry gents but as best as I can tell neither of you are responding to the assertions of the article.

Respectfully disagree.  The quality of the reporting is quite suspect, noticeably agenda driven and non-scientific, unlike the actual study to which they refer: http://drcinfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/ND-brine-spill.pdf.  The highest levels could be eyedropper size while the map shows gallons, not contamination levels.  The assertions of the article are badly in need of context, IMHO.

Shock reporting is great, but where are the deaths?  Where are the overflowing hospitals?  Where are the photos of dead wildlife?  Where is one example of this showing up in a city's drinking water?  Is there an instance or data sample of a North Dakota spill issue bleeding over to another state, making the problem federal?  - No.

They show a beautiful photo of the Missouri River.  What are the Radium, Lead and Selenium levels in the Missouri River downstream before and after fracking?  I'm sorry Crafty, but it's just not in there.  What specifically are the allegations to address?

Should fracking be regulated and should spill cleanups be mandated? - Yes.  Should negligence that harms others be subject to civil and criminal actions?  - Yes.  Is there a case of that cited?  - No.

The study itself focuses largely on saline solution (salt).  Where I live, the DOT puts that on every highway, every snowfall in the interest of public safety.  The I-35 bridge that collapsed had a sprinkler system of it - right over the Mississippi River!  http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/13/technology/how-it-works-black-ice-wise-bridge-repelling-the-foe-before-it-forms.html
Of course radiation is a great concern for public safety.  In the study these elements are called NORM, naturally occurring radioactive materials.  At the TSA, radioactive exposure is mandated for every traveler.  Again, context is needed.
http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/airport-scanners-and-12-must-know-radiation-risks/

They are producing a million barrels of oil per day and there have been 3000 incidents of a valve leaking etc. reported over the last decade.  That is terrible, dangerous, and unacceptable, COMPARED TO WHAT?  I'm afraid that understanding this story is ALL about context.  

Here is a compared-to-what story:  http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/09/us/colorado-epa-mine-river-spill/
Three million toxic gallons were "spilled" by the regulators contaminating drinking water and irrigation in 3 states plus the Navajo Nation.  EPA initially denied two million gallons of it and falsely called it unavoidable.  Whatever.

The result of the (federally funded) study above is that further study is warranted.

Should we take more from that than they do?
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 12:45:41 PM by DougMacG » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #623 on: May 10, 2016, 03:15:09 PM »

Now THAT is responsive!!!  grin
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #624 on: May 23, 2016, 04:43:34 AM »

The Sand Mines That Ruin Farmland

By NANCY C. LOEBMAY 23, 2016


Chicago — WHILE the shale gas industry has been depressed in recent years by low oil and gas prices, analysts are predicting that it will soon rebound. Many of the environmental hazards of the gas extraction process, called hydraulic fracturing or fracking, are by now familiar: contaminated drinking water, oil spills and methane gas leaks, exploding rail cars and earthquakes.

A less well-known effect is the destruction of large areas of Midwestern farmland resulting from one of fracking’s key ingredients: sand.

Fracking involves pumping vast quantities of water and chemicals into rock formations under high pressure, but the mix injected into wells also includes huge amounts of “frac sand.” The sand is used to keep the fissures in the rock open — acting as what drilling engineers call a “proppant” — so that the locked-in oil and gas can escape.

Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota are home to some of the richest agricultural land anywhere in the world. But this fertile, naturally irrigated farmland sits atop another resource that has become more highly prized: a deposit of fine silica sand known as St. Peter sandstone. This particular sand is valued by the fracking industry for its high silica content, round grains, uniform grain size and strength. These qualities enable the St. Peter sand to withstand the intensity of fracking, and improve the efficiency of drilling operations.

In the Upper Midwest, this sandstone deposit lies just below the surface. It runs wide but not deep. This makes the sand easy to reach, but it also means that to extract large quantities, mines have to be dug across hundreds of acres.

At the end of 2015, there were 129 industrial sand facilities — including mines, processing plants and rail heads — operating in Wisconsin, up from just five mines and five processing plants in 2010. At the center of Illinois’s sand rush, in LaSalle County, where I am counsel to a group of farmers that is challenging one mine’s location, The Chicago Tribune found that mining companies had acquired at least 3,100 acres of prime farmland from 2005 to 2014.

In the jargon of the fracking industry, the farmland above the sand is “overburden.” Instead of growing crops that feed people, it becomes berms, walls of subsoil and topsoil piled up to 30 feet high to hide the mines.

But the effects cannot be hidden indefinitely. These mines are destroying rural communities along with the farmland. Homesteads and small towns are being battered by mine blasting, hundreds of diesel trucks speed down rural roads dropping sand along the way, stadium lighting is so bright it blots out the night sky, and 24-hour operations go on within a few hundred feet of homes and farms. As a result, some farmers are selling and moving away, while for those determined to stay, life is changed forever.

Quality of life is not their only concern. Silica is a human carcinogen and also causes lung disease, including silicosis. Because of its dangers, silica is heavily regulated in the workplace, but there are generally no regulations for silica blown around from the sand-mining operations. These mines also use millions of gallons of groundwater every day. Local wells are running dry, and the long-term availability of water for homes and farms is threatened.

Because of the recent slowdown in the fracking industry, many of the sand mines stopped or slowed production, providing temporary respite to these rural communities. But with oil edging back up toward $50 a barrel, and projected to go higher, the Midwest farmlands face a renewed threat.

The sand mines do promise jobs. But it’s shortsighted to rely on a new fracking boom when we’ve already seen how vulnerable the business is to cyclical dips. America’s frac sand industry shrank to about $2 billion last year from $4.5 billion after the price of oil plummeted in 2014. As mines were mothballed or shuttered, hundreds of miners and truckers were laid off.

Even assuming a coming recovery, there may be as few as 20 to 30 jobs in a mine covering hundreds of acres — a mine that may operate for only 20 years. When the sand is exhausted, the mine is a hole in the ground and the jobs are gone. The farms that it replaced provided employment and sustenance for centuries.

There are alternatives to this despoliation. Not all frac sand is buried under prime farmland. Texas, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma all have usable frac sand that is not “burdened” by rich prairie earth, and transportation costs there are often lower.
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In the Midwest, we badly need more legal restraints on how frac sand mines operate. People must be protected from blowing silica. Sand piles should be covered and mines set a safe distance from homes, farms, schools and public spaces. At present, such regulations are often lax, and local residents have rarely won the needed protections from local or state governments eager to cash in on the boom.

Groundwater, too, needs stronger safeguards. A good example to follow is LaSalle County, which in 2013 placed a moratorium on new high-capacity wells needed for mining pending the results of a United States Geological Survey study in part funded by Northwestern, where I teach, of the capacity of groundwater supplies to support new mines.

Unfettered frac sand mining is ruining the rural communities of the Midwest. All people are left with are thousands of acres of holes in the ground in place of what was once rich, productive farmland. That is too high a price to pay.

Nancy C. Loeb, the director of the Environmental Advocacy Center, is an assistant clinical professor at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #625 on: May 23, 2016, 09:41:31 AM »

May I  respectfully ask how the news of this health and safety crisis was spread, through Facebook suggested readings?

Quoting a different post, "People think backwards.  They choose the position that makes the emotional statement they wish to make about who they are, then they learn the facts and reasons to justify it. ( - Crafty)

Did this professor come across these facts and develop opposition or do these activists oppose industry and search for facts?  If fracking is so bad, (it has lowered our greenhouse gas emissions enormously), then does same activist professor support no-sand, no CO2, nuclear energy?  I didn't think so.

We weren't polluting the drinking water so now sand coming from the ground put back into the ground is the new pollutant!!
-----------------------------------------------------------------
The Sand Mines That Ruin Farmland (excepted for response)
A less well-known effect is the destruction of large areas of Midwestern farmland...
Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota are home to some of the richest agricultural land anywhere in the world.

   - Is farm production down because of fracking in IL, WI and MN?  Same activists oppose advances in farmland productivity.

In the Upper Midwest, this sandstone deposit lies just below the surface. It runs wide but not deep. This makes the sand easy to reach, but it also means that to extract large quantities, mines have to be dug across hundreds of acres.

    - A huge amount of land is measured in "hundreds" of acres?  In another area of our state, BWCA, we ban production of everything in "millions" of acres.

At the end of 2015, there were 129 industrial sand facilities — including mines, processing plants and rail heads — operating in Wisconsin, up from just five mines and five processing plants in 2010.

    - Sounds like a lot of jobs in areas that were losing jobs!

At the center of Illinois’s sand rush, in LaSalle County, where I am counsel to a group of farmers that is challenging one mine’s location...

    - Neighbors opposing what other neighbors produce.  The definition of leftism - or sand-envy?

The Chicago Tribune found that mining companies had acquired at least 3,100 acres of prime farmland from 2005 to 2014.

    - Looking at average farm size excluding hobby farms, that is roughly one farm acquired in ten years.  OMG!

In the jargon of the fracking industry, the farmland above the sand is “overburden.” Instead of growing crops that feed people, it becomes berms, walls of subsoil and topsoil piled up to 30 feet high to hide the mines.

    - Would also block the wind and minimize the environmental impact.  No?  Again, show us the loss of total crop production.  Meanwhile the fracking industry showed us the only economic growth in the country over a two term presidency.

These mines are destroying rural communities along with the farmland. Homesteads and small towns are being battered by mine blasting, hundreds of diesel trucks speed down rural roads dropping sand along the way, stadium lighting is so bright it blots out the night sky, and 24-hour operations go on within a few hundred feet of homes and farms. As a result, some farmers are selling and moving away, while for those determined to stay, life is changed forever.

    - The ugly sound of economic activity.  Factories open, product shipped. It was so much more peaceful when these communities were losing all their young people and becoming ghost towns.

Silica is a human carcinogen and also causes lung disease...

    - We are taking this poison, sand, out of shallow ground where our food is produced and putting deep in the ground.  Ms. Loeb, how many deaths?  Meanwhile fracking replaced hundreds of millions of tons of far more dangerous and environmentally damaging coal production, also carcinogenic: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Health_effects_of_coal

Because of the recent slowdown in the fracking industry, many of the sand mines stopped or slowed production, providing temporary respite to these rural communities.

    - Sounds like a self-correcting problem.  No need for the highly paid, federally funded activists??

The sand mines do promise jobs. But it’s shortsighted to rely on a new fracking boom when we’ve already seen how vulnerable the business is to cyclical dips. America’s frac sand industry shrank to about $2 billion last year from $4.5 billion after the price of oil plummeted in 2014. As mines were mothballed or shuttered, hundreds of miners and truckers were laid off.

    - "Crisis?  What Crisis?  (Supertramp, 1975)

In the Midwest, we badly need more legal restraints on how frac sand mines operate. People must be protected from blowing silica. Sand piles should be covered and mines set a safe distance from homes, farms, schools and public spaces.

    - Fair enough.

Unfettered frac sand mining is ruining the rural communities of the Midwest.

    - The largest problem today in rural communities is meth.

Nancy C. Loeb, the director of the Environmental Advocacy Center, is an assistant clinical professor at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law.

    - Who knew?  This article was written by lawyer, not a scientist.  70% of research funding at this "private" university comes from the federal government.  We are quickly running out of under-regulated businesses;the activists with their rich research and activism budgets are getting nervous.

This reminds me of the concerns brought forward by the Short Corn Society that the corporate media won't cover.  Tall corn must be banned because small children can get lost in it.  How many children have been lost so far, you ask?  Isn't the possibility of one child lost too great a risk?!!
« Last Edit: May 23, 2016, 09:58:15 AM by DougMacG » Logged
G M
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« Reply #626 on: May 23, 2016, 10:06:47 AM »

Al Gore's TV channels could have done a documentary on this, but he sold it to Gulf Oil Sheiks. Oh well.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #627 on: May 23, 2016, 10:24:56 AM »

Al Gore's TV channels could have done a documentary on this, but he sold it to Gulf Oil Sheiks. Oh well.

Sand-gate.  Is this really all they have left?
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G M
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« Reply #628 on: May 23, 2016, 10:27:50 AM »

Al Gore's TV channels could have done a documentary on this, but he sold it to Gulf Oil Sheiks. Oh well.

Sand-gate.  Is this really all they have left?

Sand and plastic bags.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #629 on: July 21, 2016, 12:19:46 PM »

A Great Line That No-One Noticed At The GOP Convention:

"Every time we can't drill a well in America, terrorism is being funded!"

    - Harold Hamm, credited with discovering the Bakken oil fields
http://www.investors.com/politics/commentary/a-great-line-that-no-one-noticed-at-the-gop-convention/
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DougMacG
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« Reply #630 on: July 21, 2016, 12:49:43 PM »

Some truths see light...

Germany, the leader in renewables, uses 40% coal!  "In Germany, where renewables have mostly replaced nuclear power, carbon emissions are rising, even as Germans pay the most expensive electricity rates in Europe."

In the fight against CO2 emissions, we are phasing out the largest source of emission free power generation.  Dumb, even by liberals (and POTH)  standards.  Nuclear, gas and coal plants don't switch on and off on a dime when the sun and the wind go down. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/20/business/energy-environment/how-renewable-energy-is-blowing-climate-change-efforts-off-course.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

How Renewable Energy Is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course

Is the global effort to combat climate change, painstakingly agreed to in Paris seven months ago, already going off the rails?

Germany, Europe’s champion for renewable energy, seems to be having second thoughts about its ambitious push to ramp up its use of renewable fuels for power generation.

Hoping to slow the burst of new renewable energy on its grid, the country eliminated an open-ended subsidy for solar and wind power and put a ceiling on additional renewable capacity.

Germany may also drop a timetable to end coal-fired generation, which still accounts for over 40 percent of its electricity, according to a report leaked from the country’s environment ministry. Instead, the government will pay billions to keep coal generators in reserve, to provide emergency power at times when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine.

Renewables have hit a snag beyond Germany, too. Renewable sources are producing temporary power gluts from Australia to California, driving out other energy sources that are still necessary to maintain a stable supply of power.

In Southern Australia, where wind supplies more than a quarter of the region’s power, the spiking prices of electricity when the wind wasn’t blowing full-bore pushed the state government to ask the power company Engie to switch back on a gas-fired plant that had been shut down.

But in what may be the most worrisome development in the combat against climate change, renewables are helping to push nuclear power, the main source of zero-carbon electricity in the United States, into bankruptcy.

The United States, and indeed the world, would do well to reconsider the promise and the limitations of its infatuation with renewable energy.

“The issue is, how do we decarbonize the electricity sector, while keeping the lights on, keeping costs low and avoiding unintended consequences that could make emissions increase?” said Jan Mazurek, who runs the clean power campaign at the environmental advocacy group ClimateWorks.

Addressing those challenges will require a more subtle approach than just attaching more renewables to the grid.

An analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, narrowly distributed two weeks ago, estimated that nuclear reactors that produce 56 percent of the country’s nuclear power would be unprofitable over the next three years. If those were to go under and be replaced with gas-fired generators, an additional 200 million tons of carbon dioxide would be spewed into the atmosphere every year.

The economics of nuclear energy are mostly to blame. It just cannot compete with cheap natural gas. Most reactors in the country are losing between $5 and $15 per megawatt-hour, according to the analysis.

Nuclear energy’s fate is not being dictated solely by markets, though. Policy makers focused on pushing renewable sources of energy above all else — heavily subsidizing solar and wind projects, and setting legal targets for power generation from renewables — are contributing actively to shut the industry down. Facing intense popular aversion, nuclear energy is being left to wither.

As Will Boisvert wrote in an analysis for Environmental Progress, an environmental organization that advocates nuclear energy, the industry’s woes “could be remedied by subsidies substantially smaller than those routinely given to renewables.” The federal production tax credit for wind farms, for instance, is worth $23 per megawatt-hour, which is more than the amount that nuclear generators would need to break even.

Nuclear generators’ troubles highlight the unintended consequences of brute force policies to push more and more renewable energy onto the grid. These policies do more than endanger the nuclear industry. They could set back the entire effort against climate change.

California, where generators are expected to get half of their electricity from renewables by 2030, offers a pretty good illustration of the problem. It’s called the “duck curve.” It shows what adding renewables to the electric grid does to the demand for other sources of power, and it does look like a duck.

As more and more solar capacity is fed onto the grid, it will displace alternatives. An extra watt from the sun costs nothing. But the sun doesn’t shine equally at all times. Around noon, when it is blazing, there will be little need for energy from nuclear reactors, or even from gas or coal. At 7 p.m., when people get home from work and turn on their appliances, the sun will no longer be so hot. Ramping up alternative sources then will be indispensable.

The problem is that nuclear reactors, and even gas- and coal-fired generators, can’t switch themselves on and off on a dime. So what happens is that around the middle of the day those generators have to pay the grid to take their power. Unsurprisingly, this erodes nukes’ profitability. It might even nudge them out of the system altogether.

How does a renewables strategy play out in the future? Getting more power from renewables at 7 p.m. will mean building excess capacity at noon. Indeed, getting all power from renewables will require building capacity equal to several times the demand during the middle of the day and keeping it turned off much of the time.

Daily fluctuations are not the end of it. Wind power and sunlight change with the seasons, too. What’s more, climate change will probably change their power and seasonality in unforeseen ways. Considering how expensive wind and sun farms can be, it might make sense to reconsider a strategy that dashes a zero-carbon energy source that could stay on all the time.

A report published last month by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers suggests there is space for more renewable energy on the grid. New technologies — to store power when the sun is hot or to share it across wider areas — might allow for a bigger renewable footprint.

But there are limits. “There is a very real integration cost from renewables,” said Kenneth Gillingham, an economist at Yale who wrote the report. “So far that cost is small.”

In Germany, where renewables have mostly replaced nuclear power, carbon emissions are rising, even as Germans pay the most expensive electricity rates in Europe. In South Australia, the all-wind strategy is taking its toll. And in California, the costs of renewables are also apparent.

Nuclear energy’s fate is not quite sealed. In New York, fears that the impending shutdown of three upstate reactors would imperil climate change mitigation persuaded Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office to extend subsidies comparable to those given to renewables, to keep them afloat. Even in California, where nuclear energy has no friends, Diablo Canyon, the last remaining nuclear plant, is expected to stay open for almost another decade.

Still, both New York and California expect to eventually phase out nuclear power entirely. An analysis by Bloomberg puts the cost of replacing Diablo Canyon’s zero-carbon power with solar energy at $15 billion. This sum might be better spent replacing coal.

Displacing nuclear energy clearly makes the battle against climate change more difficult. But that is not what is most worrying. What if the world eventually discovers that renewables can’t do the job alone? “I worry about lock-in,” Ms. Mazurek said. “If it doesn’t work, the climate doesn’t have time for a do-over.”
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DougMacG
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« Reply #631 on: July 24, 2016, 09:27:57 AM »

Referred to in a previous post, here is a picture of the Duck Chart showing energy production needs at different hours of the day.  We made this giant investment in renewable energy via government subsidy, not economics or environmental forethought.  Once in place, renewables have two main characteristics, they are greatly variable in output depending on weather, time of day, time of year, and they have a nearly zero variable cost, skewing the demand for other sources.  That leaves us with the challenge of filling the large gaps with coal, gas and nuclear on a super large scale, but they don't switch on and off quickly and easily when the sun goes behind a cloud or the wind stills on a hot, air conditioned afternoon.



Natural gas is now cheaper than nuclear and more able to scale up and down to meet the extreme variations in the new grid demand curve.  Putting carbon-free nuclear out of business makes the whole renewable boondoggle a giant step backwards for the environment by all measures.

Who knew?
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