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U.S. proposal to move fracking wastewater by barge stirs debate

Timothy Gardner, Reuters
The Obama administration is inching ahead with a plan that would allow wastewater from fracking to be shipped on barges, fueling a debate whether it is safer than other transportation modes or risks polluting drinking water.

The Coast Guard last month quietly sent to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget a proposal to allow the barging of fracking wastewater. If the plan is pushed forward, it would become a proposed rule open for public comment and could be finalized sometime in the near future.

Energy analysts say action on the barge issue could be a hint at how the Obama administration will approach fracking regulation in the coming years…
(3 April 2013)

More Financial Worries Coming to Light in Domestic Shale Drilling Industry

Sharon Kelly, DeSmog Blog

More Financial Worries Coming to Light in Domestic Shale Drilling Industry (via Desmogblog)

Virtually anyone who has followed the onshore drilling bonanza knows the name Aubrey McClendon and the company he co-founded, Chesapeake Energy. McClendon was the hard-driving CEO and chairman of one of America’s most aggressive drilling companies, but he was brought down earlier this year after…

(28 March 2013)

Oil Addiction, Not Fracking, Caused the 2011 Oklahoma Earthquakes

David Biello, Scientific American
Earthquakes have become more than 10 times more common in normally quiescent parts of the U.S., such as Ohio and Oklahoma, in the past few years. Given the simultaneous uptick in fracking—an oil and gas drilling technique that involves fracturing shale rock deep underground with the use of a high pressure water cocktail—it’s common to suspect a link. There might be one, but the real culprit behind the largest earthquake in Oklahoma’s recorded history is not what goes down but what comes up with the oil: wastewater.

Oklahoma has long benefited from a robust oil industry. One of the side effects of oil production is that a lot of water flows back to the surface with the petroleum. That flowback water must be disposed of, because it is laced with all kinds of contaminants the liquid solvent has picked up during its long residence deep underground, ranging from trace amounts of radioactive elements to lots of salt…
(27 March 2013)


Matthew Carney and Connie Agius, ABC (Australia), Four Corners
The coal seam gas industry promotes itself as a cleaner carbon-fuel alternative; but how do we know this is true? Until now much of the information used to back this claim has come from the industry itself.

The problem is this "cleaner-greener" claim doesn’t always square with experience on the ground. Next on Four Corners reporter Matthew Carney talks to farmers who’ve seen rivers bubble with methane, their bore water polluted with chemicals, while the reserves of ground water on their property have dropped alarmingly…

But why weren’t these problems picked up in the development approval process? The answer is simple: according to one insider, the approval process is significantly flawed. Four Corners reveals what really happened when two major companies applied to develop thousands of square kilometres of southern Queensland for coal seam gas…
(1 April 2013)

Shale-rich Spanish region vote to ban fracking

Tracy Rucinski, Reuters
Lawmakers in Spain’s northern Cantabria region unanimously voted on Monday to ban hydraulic fracturing on environmental concerns, shooting down the central government’s hopes for a project to boost jobs in a region believed to be rich in shale gas.

Spain, battling a deep recession and high unemployment, imports about 76 percent of its energy needs and the technology to extract shale gas, known as fracking, could help relieve its foreign dependence on oil, coal and gas.

Early estimates indicate Spain has large shale gas reserves, but environmentalists have voiced concerns over the safety of the technique, which involves injecting water and chemicals at high pressure into underground rock formations…
(8 April 2013)

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