A Quick Whirl Around The Fracking World:
*USA. “A two-year Senate investigation of the financial sector has found that banks can meddle with the economy in new and frightening ways”. Deregulation resulted in banks buying commodities, owning mines, a “fleet of 100 oil tankers”, “31 power plants” and more.
*USA. The Alberta Clipper pipeline, larger than Keystone XL, is also supposed to cross US-Canadian borders, filled with Alberta tar-sands oil. The US State Department’s intention to issue Enbridge a permit for the Alberta Clipper “prior to completion of an Environmental Impact Statement” has resulted in a lawsuit by Honor the Earth, the White Earth Nation, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity and Indigenous Environmental Network.
*USA. More Americans now oppose fracking (47%) than support it (41%), according to Pew Research Center’s Nov 2014 survey. Americans’ support for the Keystone XL pipelne has slipped, too, from 66% in 2013 to 59% now.
*USA. What a deal! Canada’s Keystone XL pipeline might create 50 or so US jobs (post-construction), the Canadian tarsands oil (owned in part by China) will be refined mainly at a TX facility “half-owned by the state-owned oil company of Saudi Arabia” and shipped from there to other countries. Part of the pipeline is planned to run atop the Ogallala Aquifer, which is located at relatively shallow depths under the Great Plains (map).
*US. FWIW, Halliburton, “the world’s second-biggest oilfield services company” is buying Baker Hughes, the world’s third-biggest oilfield services company.” $34.6 billion involved.
*CA. Almost 3 billion gallons of fracking wastewater was pumped into aquifiers that were “supposed to be off-limits to that kind of activity”.
*CA. Whistleblower at work: BP had a $250-million annual contract with CA for natural gas, though BP may have overcharged CA “as much as $300 million over eight years” by billing the state 10 times what others were billed. CA’s Attorney General has joined Los Angeles County, University of California and California State University in a suit over this.
*CA. In February, the Los Angeles City Council voted to draft rules banning fracking. City planners raised questions about the ban, citing legal and other uncertainties. Two City Councilmen responded by urging the planners to draft regulations as soon as possible.
*CA. About 5 million people “who live within a mile of an oil or gas well have a poverty rate 32.5 percent higher than that of the general population” and 69% are “people of color.” There are also health and other issues.
*CO. Animated maps from the Center for Western Priorities lets you see the proliferation of oil and gas wells in the state from 1990 to 2013.
*Gulf of Mexico. New documentary of the Deepwater Horizon oil explosion, how it happened and the longer-term aftermath: “The Great Invisible” or what happened after the cameras went away.
*IA. Energy Transfer Partners wants to build a pipeline through IA, from northwest to southeast (map). Energy Transfer Partners funded a study to assess the impact of the pipeline, with positive results. However, an Iowa State University economist is “‘very skeptical’”, saying, “these types of estimates are typically much higher than careful analysis or reality can confirm”. He then offers his analysis.