Move by U.S. Bureau of Land Management comes after new study found limited impact from fracking, other enhanced drilling
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will resume issuing oil and gas leases next year for federal lands in California after a new study found limited environmental impacts from fracking and other enhanced drilling techniques, the agency said Thursday.
The move will end a halt that has stood since a federal judge ruled in 2013 that the federal agency failed to follow environmental law in allowing an oil extraction method known as fracking on public land in Monterey County.
The study released Thursday was conducted for the BLM by the state-created California Council on Science and Technology. It concluded the current level of fracking and other so-called well-stimulation techniques by drillers to get more oil out of rock formations did not seem to be poisoning water supplies or increasing earthquake risks in the state.
That is partly because fracking and other methods used in California differ from those in some other states, the researchers concluded.
Fracking involves extracting oil and gas from rock by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals. California drilling typically uses less water and a greater concentration of chemicals in fracking, and drilling is shallower, researchers said. California’s different geology also limits the impacts of fracking, they said.
Researcher Jane Long, who led the steering committee that oversaw the study, acknowledged in a phone call with reporters that researchers had drawn their conclusions while lacking some key information.
The oil and gas industry, for example, is not required to disclose all the chemicals, including toxic ones, used in fracking, although a new state law that goes into effect next year mandates that disclosure.
"The conclusions we reached are based on the data available," Long said. "We recognize the data is incomplete."
The Center for Biological Diversity, one of the environmental groups that sued the BLM over the Monterey County fracking, said it was premature for the government to resume selling oil and gas leases before it had harder data.
"This report raises grave concerns about fracking pollution’s threat to California’s air and water, but it also highlights that government officials have never collected the data needed to determine the risks to our state," Kassie Siegel, director of the center’s climate law institute, said in a statement.
Researchers also cast doubt on projections by the U.S. Energy Information Administration on potential oil reserves in California’s Monterey Shale, a geological formation that’s drawn much interest from oil and gas companies. Early projections of massive amounts of oil in the shell were highly skewed, and more examination is needed before reaching any conclusion, the study said.
To Do - Wendy MacNaughton
Her show Meanwhile in San Francisco is up at the SPUR Urban Center Gallery until mid October.
Makes it quite surprising that the Red Rectangle Nebula really is a rectangle.
Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations. Architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable. Originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery — celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said, ‘It’s not where you take things from. It’s where you take them to.’
New Horizons Flies By Neptune Exactly 25 Years After Voyager 2
In what NASA is calling a “cosmic coincidence” the New Horizons probe makes its flyby of Neptune on the 25th anniversary of Voyager 2’s Neptune encounter. On August 25, 1989, Voyager 2 made its closest flyby of Neptune, making it the first spacecraft to study the planet. During Voyager 2’s flyby, it discovered a massive anticyclonic storm system called the Great Dark Spot, similar to Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.
Today, NASA’s New Horizons probe is embarking on an equally exciting journey to another world never before visited by a spacecraft. When the spacecraft arrives on July 14, 2015, it will provide the first detailed images of Pluto. The dwarf planet is so distant from us that even images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope appear blurry.
Read more about the New Horizons mission and Voyager 2’s flyby of Neptune here: http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/august/nasa-s-new-horizons-spacecraft-crosses-neptune-orbit-en-route-to-historic-pluto/index.htm
I’ve spent the last few weeks writing a script I’ve been dreading for years.
The story of the Passenger Pigeon is a terrifying omen, a nightmarish slow-motion car accident unraveling in front of our eyes. Hindsight is so clear with this issue that it seems nauseatingly preventable - I say this from my position a hundred years in the future. But the reality of this story is that because of human impact, interference, over-hunting and trapshooting, within the span of 4 decades the population of these birds diminished from a booming 3.7 billion individuals to near extinction. They were shot, netted, poisoned, smoked out, burned up, prodded, intoxicated, left to starve, and otherwise eradicated in every sense of the word. It’s a tough reality to face.
We’ll be uploading this video in a few weeks, but I wanted to give you all a heads up to check out this book by Joel Greenberg; A Feathered River Across the Sky was my primary source of information for our upcoming episode. The amount of care and attention to detail Greenberg gave in writing this work is tangible; I had to set it down on more than one occasion to catch my breath and clear my head. The toughest part of reading the book is realizing we are still doing this today, but our excess is no longer isolated to one charismatic species.
It’s time we wake up.