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New York Shale Play Gets Major Downgrade

Peter Mantius, DC Bureau
The real reason New York State has not allowed high-volume hydrofracking for natural gas in its Marcellus shale is that there is almost no gas that can be economically extracted, according to four retired professionals turned fracking analysts.

Their argument contradicts the gas industry’s narrative – widely accepted as fact by many landowners, investors, politicians and state regulators – that shale gas is a potential economic “game-changer” for poor, rural upstate New York.

For the past four years, two governors have repeatedly extended the state’s de facto moratorium on fracking while they tinkered with the rules. Since last fall, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he is waiting for the results of a vaguely defined health study, frustrating pro-gas groups with his apparent lack of urgency.

But the four analysts now argue that it’s geology – not health – that best explains Cuomo’s foot-dragging. In the governor’s cost-benefit analysis, they say, meager potential economic gains from drilling are not worth the environmental and political risk…
(28 October 2013)

America’s natural gas revolution isn’t all it’s ‘fracked’ up to be

Richard Heinberg, Christian Science Monitor op-ed
Americans are being subjected to a massive public relations assault attempting to persuade them that “fracking” for natural gas and oil is the key to America’s energy future and that this change will free them forever from the bondage of oil imports.

What has really changed is the nation’s energy conversation. Until recently, it was about how the United States should reduce its dependency on climate-changing fossil fuels. Now the “conversation” has become a harangue about the energy, jobs, and tax revenues the industry insists will flow from fracking and how these outweigh environmental concerns.

The data do not adequately support these claims. Though the fracking revolution is only a few years old, it’s already losing steam. There are several reasons why…
(23 October 2013)

Scientists Wary of Shale Oil and Gas as U.S. Energy Salvation

Staff, Science Daily
After 10 years of production, shale gas in the United States cannot be considered commercially viable, according to several scientists presenting at the Geological Society of America meeting in Denver on Monday. They argue that while the use of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling for "tight oil" is an important contributor to U.S. energy supply, it is not going to result in long-term sustainable production or allow the U.S. to become a net oil exporter.

Charles A.S. Hall, professor emeritus at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York, Syracuse, is an expert on how much energy it takes to extract energy, and therefore which natural resources offer the best energy return on investment (EROI). He will describe two studies: one of the global patterns of fossil-fuel production in the past decade, and the other of oil production patterns from the Bakken Field (the giant expanse of oil-bearing shale rock underneath North Dakota and Montana that is being produced using hydraulic fracturing)…
(28 October 2013)

Shale gas firms to be brought under ‘robust’ new EU law

Staff, Euractiv
Shale gas companies operating in Europe will soon have to respect a muscular legislative package which the European Commission is preparing to publish in December or January, EurActiv has learned.

This will almost certainly take the form of an unconventional fuels directive, similar to other EU laws covering wastewater and environmental impact assessments.

“We will be proposing a legal framework for shale gas in Europe to minimise its risks,” a well-placed EU source said, speaking on condition of anonymity…
(21 October 2013)

Lock the Gate Webisodes

Lock the Gate Alliance
We are very proud and excited to be launching our webisode series after the recent release of our two ground-breaking new films: Undermining Australia and Fractured Country.

The films expose the scary realities of invasive industrial gasfields and coalmines and the harm they cause to families, landscapes and communities.

Over the next two months, we’ll be releasing a new ‘webisode’ every Monday, so that you can follow the amazing stories of courage and loss told firsthand by farming families as they face a rapacious and uncaring industry.

Lock the Gate presents – Undermining Australia Webisode 04 ECONOMY from Lock the Gate Alliance on Vimeo.


Hundreds of North Dakota spills went unreported

James MacPherson, AP
North Dakota, the nation’s No. 2 oil producer behind Texas, recorded nearly 300 oil pipeline spills in less than two years, state documents show. None was reported to the public, officials said…
(26 October 2013)

Underground Truths: Shale Won’t Save Us

Daniel L. Davis, Jeremy Leggett, The National Interest
On October 16, Foreign Policy published an article written by Ed Morse and Amy Jaffe entitled “The End of OPEC,” in which they argued that emerging technology and American production of tight oil and gas is revolutionizing the energy industry. This transformation, they argue, will allow the United States to “use its influence to democratize global energy markets” and as it does so, “the United States becomes an energy exporter—at competitive prices—[and] that should seal the deal.” The views contained in this article reflect a growing body of published works over the past two years that claims to herald the dawn of “energy independence” for the United States. The fundamentals of global oil supply and demand, however, suggest a very different scenario to us: a supply-constrained future. The consequences of such an occurrence could have severe economic implications for the U.S. and global economies…

(28 October 2013)

Romanian farmers choose subsistence over shale gas

Luiza Ilie, Reuters
The small hilly town of Pungesti in eastern Romania could be sitting on vast reserves of shale gas and U.S. energy major Chevron wants to find it.

But the people of Pungesti want nothing to do with it.

Though most of them live off subsistence farming, social aid and cash from relatives working abroad, they would rather stay poor than run what they say is the risk of ruining their environment.

"Our kitchens are filled with homemade jams and preserves, sacks of nuts, crates of honey and cheese, all produced by us," said Doina Dediu, 47, a local and one of the protesters.

"We are not even that poor," she said. "Maybe we don’t have money, but we have clean water and we are healthy and we just want to be left alone."…
(27 October 2013)