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Fracking Regulations In States Leave Wells Without Inspection, Environmental Group Says
Tom Zeller Jr., Huffington Post
Hundreds of thousands of active oil and gas wells go without government inspection in any given year, and fines for regulatory violations are too small to change drilling company behavior, according to an energy watchdog group's review of regulation and enforcement activities in six states.
The 124-page report, released Tuesday by the Oil & Gas Accountability Project at Earthworks, an environmental and public health advocacy group based in Washington, examined well inspection data, violations, enforcement actions and penalties in Colorado, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.
The analysis suggested that state regulators are often understaffed, underfunded, or otherwise unable to keep pace with rapidly expanding oil and gas exploration and the attending risk of spills, leaks, contamination and accidents that might arise through negligence or deliberate shortcutting. The review lands amid a contentious presidential election that has been animated in part by starkly different views on energy development and the appropriate role of the federal government in ensuring that public health and the environment are protected from industrial activity.
(25 September 2012)
Link to report
Report leaves debate open on contested Wyoming fracking study
Ayesha Rascoe, Reuters
The government on Wednesday released the latest water quality results from a Wyoming aquifer that federal regulators said was contaminated by natural gas drilling, but the data will likely do little quiet debate on the cause of the polluted groundwater.
While the United States Geological Survey report included raw data from samples it collected from a well near Pavillion, Wyoming, in April and May, the agency did not provide any analysis, leaving the information open to varying conclusions.
"Interpretation was not part of the scope of the report," USGS spokesman Dave Ozman said...
(27 September 2012)
The Amazing Confusion Over European Shale
Matthew Hulbert, Forbes
Believe it or not, the European Commission spent a fair chunk of tax payer’s money getting its Joint Research Centre looking into the energy sovereignty question. The result; fully fledged European shale developments could see Europe keeping gas import dependency to 60%, assuming shale plays cover declining conventional production elsewhere. Obviously that’s a highly optimistic ‘best case scenario’ to ramp up shale production to 40% of domestic demand...
Now, the problem is not so much the ‘numbers’ quoted, but that Europe is asking the wrong questions to chimerical energy sovereignty answers. Shale shouldn’t, and indeed can’t, be sold on independence grounds, but merely as a smart move to provide far greater optionality over traditional European pipeline suppliers and enhanced liquidity...
Stick to the optionality / liquidity narrative, and shale becomes a more serious debate. Not just to keep the Russian’s on the straight and narrow, but to increase overall global gas volumes that will eventually put expensive oil indexed gas prices to bed...
(26 September 2012)
Matt Damon’s ‘The Promised Land’ Takes on Natural Gas and Fracking
Joe Romm, Think Progress
I’ve gotten slightly tired of movies in which corporate executives or lawyers who have done dreadful things to people come to conscience, not because I don’t believe that scenario can’t be emotionally and artistically powerful as it was in something like Michael Clayton, but because I tend to think that corporations are generally forced to do things rather than having awakenings that make them change. But I’m intrigued by Matt Damon’s The Promised Land, a movie that grows out of his environmentalist work:
(25 September 2012)