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A Whirl Around The Fracking World: 29 Aug 2014

By: KateCA Friday August 29, 2014 12:52 pm

 

Video: Sylva, North Carolina says No to Fracking.

*USA. There are some 240,000 miles of oil and gas gathering lines across our fair country and you’ve probably never heard of them. They are relatively small, underground and unrecognized, moving oil and gas in predominantly rural areas “from wells and nearby storage areas to processing plants and transmission lines.” Projections are for 414,000 additional miles of gathering lines by 2035. Federal regulations do not apply to gathering lines in many rural areas, and few states regulate them. Guess which industry is resistant to such regs.

*USA. Research results on fracking’s impact on health are trickling in, accompanied by calls for further research. There appear to be “potential health risks” for babies born near gas wells in CO, possibly in PA and UT.

*USA. Earthquakes tend to get people’s attention. OK usually had 3 quakes a year, but that number jumped to 109 in 2013 and to 238 so far this year. Now TX is experiencing increases in earthquakes, as are AR and OH—interestingly, all “in the vicinity of wastewater injection wells.” Scientists who initially pooh-poohed suggestions that fracking was related to earthquakes are increasingly paying attention.

*AK. Oil companies lost on their big investment in a referendum measure that would have changed how the industry is taxed in Alaska. It was “hard-fought” and “by a narrow margin”, but it failed.

*AK. “Over the last eight years, Shell’s Alaskan Arctic [drilling] efforts have been plagued by blunders and accidents.” Who can forget their oil rig  floating around up there off the Alaskan coast until it finally ran aground on Kodiak Island a few years ago? Yeah, well, they’re now trying to get permission to “explore” in the Alaskan Arctic, aiming for 400,000 barrels/day in the Chukchi Sea.

*CA. Great news from the Land of the Dusty Cars (most everyone is trying hard to conserve water, you see). Unanimous approval of “a [Senate] bill requiring oil companies to report how much water they use in their drilling operations and the water’s source.” It’s on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown (D)’s desk for signature.

*CA. One place in the state is welcoming those oil trains carrying highly flammable crude: Kern County. Looks like they’re going to have “the state’s largest crude oil rail terminal”, in addition to a big one currently being built. The terminals are expected to handle “three 100-car crude oil trains a day.” The city of Berkeley got into the act, sending “Kern a letter contending its [environmental] review is inadequate,” which Kern doesn’t seem to appreciate, somehow. Bringing in volatile crude by rail is becoming an equally volatile issue in the state.

*FL. The feds have approved use of “sonic cannons [off the Eastern seaboard from FL to DE] to discover [oil] deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through water shared by endangered whales and turtles.” The “detailed information” from this endeavor, which must be costing the taxpayers a tidy sum, will be for energy companies’ use in applying for possible future oil leases. The acting director of the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management somehow sees this as a “path forward” which protects “marine life and cultural sites.” Tell that to the whales, turtles and other creatures trying to migrate and give birth while getting blasted day-in and day-out by sonic cannons.

*ILDraft rules for fracking have been sent to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. There was major negative reaction to the draft rules released last year and the IL Department of Natural Resources is being mum about whether they were modified in the interim. Interesting, too, that “Oil producers, drilling companies and geologists frustrated with the slow process” are piling bucks into Republican Bruce Rauner’s campaign chest for governor.

*INBP has a large refinery in Whiting, IN which leaked 1,638 gallons of oil into Lake Michigan in March. Seems that same refinery caught on fire this week, resulting in an explosion, but BP claims all is ok now. However that may be, BP’s still facing a lawsuit by Chicago residents allegedly suffering from Koch Industries’ petroleum coke, produced by BP and stored “in huge piles along the Calumet River,” which gets carried by the wind into their neighborhoods and homes.

*MDThe second of three fracking reports ordered by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) in 2011 is now available. Oil and gas companies are eager to begin fracking in the Marcellus Shale, specifically in MD’s Garrett County. In their second report, the University of Maryland warns of air pollution, impact on workers’ health and even “adverse birth outcomes.” Should fracking be ok’d,  the report urged “strict police and state agency monitoring of fracking operations.” We can only hope.

*MI. Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is putting together “an expert panel to review how low-activity radioactive materials are disposed following criticism of the state’s waste-handling policies.” Or lack thereof.

*NC. Legislators seem damned and determined to have fracking. They’re even considering forcing “landowners to submit to fracking whether they wanted to or not if just one neighbor signed a drilling lease.” Open hearings are now being held in the state by the NC Mining and Energy Commission. The meetings are causing so much discomfort to the pro-frackers on the Commission that they’ve threatened to shut the meetings down.

*ND. “More than a month after a million gallons of briny wastewater leaked from an underground pipeline on the Fort Berthold [Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara] Reservation  in North Dakota, a tribal environmental official said he’s still seeking confirmation that the spill did not enter the reservation’s water supply.” The huge saltwater spill flowed for about two miles and “left a swath of dead grass, brushes and trees.” Meanwhile, there seems to be a hide-the-data game going on at the reservation pertaining to the effects of the spill. Stay tuned. Update (already!): A second leak of 126,000 gallons has been reported.

*NDNatural gas flares, a direct result of the fracking frenzy on-going in the Bakken, seem to be everywhere these days as gas spews from the earth along with the crude.  Too often, drillers have nowhere to direct the natural gas since “existing pipelines . . . already are at full capacity.” But, not to worry, “regulators are cracking down” and new standards now exist requiring better capture of the gas. Meanwhile, the “loss” of all that natural gas is estimated to be worth about $100 million/month.

*NYCommunity and environmental organizations’ representatives  converged in Albany, urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to ban “trains carrying oil from entering New York state.” They cited recent National Transportation Safety Board recommendations and a statement from Karl Alexy of the Federal Railroad Administration that “oil tank cars cannot be built robust enough to withstand puncture in derailments at speeds of more than 30 miles per hour.”

*TX. As earthquakes begin to rattle folks in north TX, the Texas Railroad Commission is proposing “tightening regulations for injection wells while scientists explore a potential ink between high-pressure wastewater disposal” and quakes. ‘Induced seismicity’ is the term and the role of fracking wastewater injections in that phenomenon is becoming harder to ignore—just last January the Commission’s Chairman told reporters that quakes were “not linked to fracking.”

*Nova ScotiaAn independent panel headed by the president of Cape Breton University has released a report urging Nova Scotia’s ban on fracking remain in place “until there is more research and a way is found to give local communities a say in the process.”

*Argentina is moving ahead with fracking. A deal has been signed with Petronas, a Malaysian firm, to drill about a dozen wells which, if successful, will lead to 1,000 more. Chevon is already in Argentina in the Loca Campana field, producing “in excess of 25,000 barrels from 245 wells.” Argentina’s shale is also gas-rich, second only to China.

*Colombia will be opening its National Agency of Hydrocarbons in 2015,  consisting of professionals charged with “close supervision of the [oil] industry.” They’re also contracting with the Universidad de los Andes to conduct on-going seismic studies.

*Britain. The founder of “the UK’s largest solar solutions company” discusses the shale boom bubble which is “waiting to burst as economics of extraction falter and the trickle of bad environmental news starts to swell.” Wishful thinking or insightful analysis? Definitely worth a read.

*Norway. Imagine using oil wealth in support of the people! Norway is doing just that and, while longer-range plans haven’t crystallized, they are refreshingly realistic about the future of oil.

*Lebanon. It’s doubtful the transpo portrayed here will be reducing oil consumption significantly, even should it catch on, but the music and charm just might usher in a pleasant weekend for you.

 

Obama: “Russia Is Responsible For The Violence In Eastern Ukraine and Pigs Can Fly”

By: Synoia Sunday March 20, 2011 11:10 am

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. I want to say a few words on a number of topics and take a few questions before the long Labor Day weekend.

A winged pig toy flaps its toy wings

One of America’s drones on its way to make another “precision” strike.

True so far.

First, beginning with the number one thing most Americans care about — the economy. This morning, we found out that our economy actually grew at a stronger clip in the 2nd quarter than we originally thought. Companies are investing. Consumers are spending. Over the past four and a half years, our businesses have now created nearly 10 million new jobs. So there are reasons to feel good about the direction we’re headed.

10 Million Part Time Jobs with what average pay and benefits?

But as everybody knows, there’s a lot more that we should be doing to make sure that all Americans benefit from the progress that we’ve made. And I’m going to be pushing Congress hard on this when they return next week.

Good luck with that, you lost that battle when your Abominable Care Act was executed with all the alacrity of melting Ice, and demotivated all your supporters with lack of Single Payer, following Look Forward not Backward — as if there were any future crimes to prosecute. Or, maybe that was the plan; if so we were poorly served.

Second, in Iraq, our dedicated pilots and crews continue to carry out the targeted strikes that I authorized to protect Americans there and to address the humanitarian situation on the ground.

Wonderful. More precision bombing.

As Commander-in-Chief, I will always do what is necessary to protect the American people and defend against evolving threats to our homeland. Because of our strikes, the terrorists of ISIL are losing arms and equipment. In some areas, Iraqi government and Kurdish forces have begun to push them back.

Yes, but where did ISIL get their arms? From US supplies for Syrian Rebels? You need a new tool, that military one is looking shopworn, shoddy, and does not produce good results.

And we continue to be proud and grateful to our extraordinary personnel serving in this mission.

Killing our young again. When will this end?

Now, ISIL poses an immediate threat to the people of Iraq and to people throughout the region. And that’s why our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader, comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners who are taking the fight to ISIL. And that starts with Iraq’s leaders building on the progress that they’ve made so far and forming an inclusive government that will unite their country and strengthen their security forces to confront ISIL.

True, and they are funded by whom? Saudi Arabia and Quatar? Any sanctions against those states?

Any successful strategy, though, also needs strong regional partners. I’m encouraged so far that countries in the region — countries that don’t always agree on many things — increasingly recognize the primacy of the threat that ISIL poses to all of them. And I’ve asked Secretary Kerry to travel to the region to continue to build the coalition that’s needed to meet this threat. As I’ve said, rooting out a cancer like ISIL will not be quick or easy, but I’m confident that we can — and we will — working closely with our allies and our partners.

What, no Syria is the existential threat? What happened there, have you discovered the people who want Assad out are worse than Assad?

John Kerry Makes a Deal

By: David Swanson Tuesday June 21, 2011 10:56 am

Oh, damn it all. Barry, it’s not my fault.

Barry! Barr -er Mr. President, I got Congress out in the parking lot looking at the new SUVs. I’m pushing the missile strikes on the Syrian government hard, but just a few little ones, and then ka-blam we get em with the whole package deal, 800 vehicles plus fuel and maintenance, a little shock, a little awe, a little razzmatazz, and we reel em right in.

Ataboy, John, go get em.

Tick.

Tock.

Tick.

Oh, damn it all.  Barry, it’s not my fault. They were on recess and listening to people at town hall meetings. And AIPAC is totally AWOL. And the lousy stinking pacifist Brits voted it down when I never even asked them. Apparently the entire House of Representatives is going to ride bicycles from now on.

That’s all right, John. That’s all right. They can’t hold out long. You’ll get em next time.

It makes no sense, Mr. President. We rolled right over them on Afghanistan and Libya and all the drone strikes and all the bases, and here they go saying No to bombing Syria. And I told them Assad was Hitler. And you told them it was this or support poisoning children. But nothing. What are we missing? What if we throw in free GPS and hands-free telephoning. Plus, that way we can keep a close eye on them while they pay us for the favor. Huh? Huh?

You see, there’s the old spirit. Now, listen, what we don’t want is for them to go rogue and get desperate and pick up an old wreck from down in the back lot.  You steer them away from that broken down Iranian convertible, OK?

Yes, Sir! John Kerry reporting for duty, Sir!

Oh, cut the shit, John, I’ve told you 18 times I’m not taping everything like Nixon.

Nixon didn’t have the technology to . . .

LET ME BE CLEAR, the problem with the missile strikes on Syria last time wasn’t the human cost or the financial cost or any of that crap. People didn’t want to join a war on the side of al Qaeda rebels and terrorists. We’d told them those were the Enemy for over a decade. So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to find a war where we can jump in on the side of the government, against the Islamic Extremists. Congress loves governments. The media loves governments. Everybody hates extremists. And guess where we’re going to find this war?

Israel?

Good guess. Try again.

Iraq?

Getting warmer. Try again.

Well, I don’t . . .

Try again, that’s a direct order.

Ukraine?

Now I’ll tell you: Syria.

Syria?

Think about it, John. It’s genius, if I do say so myself. Look, people forget that Syria was our ally a few years back, but Congress remembers. We just flip back. We have to, or we’re fighting both sides of a war in Iraq and Syria. The key on Syria is to do something. Well what counts as doing something? Blowing shit up, that’s what. And nobody wants us blowing up the government. Well, we’ll blow up the rebels. Either way, we’re destroying U.S. weaponry on the ground, which is much smarter than giving it to local police as a means of creating demand for more. You think they won’t go for it because we’re flip-flopping, right? You’re always so damn terrified of flip-flopping.

You don’t know. You didn’t go through what . . .

Oh hell, they stole the votes in Ohio, John, and you bent over and said “Thank you sir, may I have another?” We’re not flip-flopping. We’re blowing up evil, evil people, lots of them. That’s the story. We’ve been funding and arming all sides in all of these wars for some time now, payments to the Taliban, weapons to ISIS. You know, the troops on the ground in Libya three years ago could have exchanged parts — they had the same U.S. guns.

Mr. President, there are hundreds of Americans who listened to us last year and have gone off and joined the rebels in Syria.

They can provide information, switch sides, or pay the price, John. Now, are you ready to go out there and make the pitch? I see the leadership on the curb there.

Mr. President, in all good faith, we’ve sold humanitarians on the need to bomb Assad, not bomb in defense of Assad.

Mr. Secretary, I’m giving you an order.

Mr. President, with all due respect, you keep saying there’s no military solution, there’s a million other approaches that don’t create this sort of SNAFU, that just . . .

Mr. Secretary, Hillary would not hesitate.

I’m on it.

Over Easy: Your Location For Sale

By: msmolly

Map symbol-pinOn Sunday, the Washington Post published a startling report that described how private companies who sell surveillance systems are marketing them to governments around the world, providing the means to track the movements of anyone who carries a cell phone — here or abroad.

A set of network protocols known as Signaling System No. 7 (SS7) allows cell phone carriers to collect location information from cell phone towers and share it with each other. So a US carrier can find a customer even if he or she travels to another country. From Wikipedia, 

Inasmuch as SS7 was not designed with security in mind, surveillance technology within the capabilities of non-state actors can be used to track the movements of cell phone users from virtually anywhere in the world with a success rate of approximately 70%

The Washington Post article says that marketers of surveillance systems also now have access to SS7, so that purchasers of these systems can home in on cell phone users’ locations as precisely as within a couple of city blocks (or in rural areas, a couple of miles). These systems can even detect how fast a person on a city street is walking, or the speed a person’s car is traveling!

According to Mother Jones, the carriers’ privacy policies aren’t protecting us very much, if at all.

Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T each promise their customers that their location is protected (with exceptions for emergencies and complying with court orders). AT&T’s privacy policy states, “We’ll give you prior notice and ask for your consent when your location is used or shared.” Verizon’s reads, “Verizon Wireless services that use mobile device location data provide you with notice about the collection and use of this data.” Sprint and T-Mobile make similar promises, although some of these companies include the caveat that they cannot protect data that is collected by third parties while a customer’s phone is roaming.

But telecommunications networks have become so complex that it would cost billions to install new security measures to defend against these surveillance systems, and these measures might negatively impact functioning of basic services like routing calls, text messages, and Internet access to customers.

The tracking systems use queries sent over the SS7 network to ask carriers what cell tower a customer has used most recently. Carriers configure their systems to transmit such information only to trusted companies that need it to direct calls or other telecommunications services to customers. But the protections against unintended access are weak and easily defeated, said Engel and other researchers.

By repeatedly collecting this location data, the tracking systems can show whether a person is walking down a city street or driving down a highway, or whether the person has recently taken a flight to a new city or country.

An anonymous industry representative reveals that dozens of countries have either bought or leased this technology in recent years, demonstrating clearly how the surveillance industry has made super-spying technology available around the world. Needless to say, it is a very profitable industry these days, and it could easily be in use by some pretty bad actors — or it already is. NSA, I’m looking in your direction!

Companies that market SS7 tracking systems recommend using them paired with International Mobile Security Identity (IMSI) catchers, surveillance devices that use signals collected directly from the air to intercept calls and Internet traffic, send fake texts, install spyware — and determine precise locations. (IMSI is a unique identifying code on each cellular phone.) IMSI catchers are often called by a trade name, “Stingray,” and are produced by several major surveillance companies and widely used by police and intelligence services around the world. From WaPo:

The FCC recently created an internal task force to study misuse of IMSI catchers by criminal gangs and foreign intelligence agencies, which reportedly have used the systems to spy on American citizens, businesses and diplomats.

U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler with questions about the vulnerability of cellular networks to interception and hacking, prompted by news reports in the Washington Post, Newsweek, and the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology [PDF].

“Americans have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their communications, and in information about where they go and with whom they communicate,” Grayson wrote to Wheeler in July. “It is extremely troubling to learn that cellular communications are so poorly secured, and that it is so easy to intercept calls and track people’s phones.”

Gee, ya think?

Thursday Watercooler

By: Kit OConnell Thursday August 28, 2014 7:24 pm

 

Tonight, the Firedoglake Watercooler is in solidarity with Unist’to’ten Camp’s #EvictChevron campaign which shut down gas stations in Vancouver in an act of First Nations’ civil disobedience.

The morning of August 21st 2014 we took action to shut down 4 Chevron stations including 80 individual gas and diesel pumps in Vancouver. More will follow if Chevron continues to push through the Pacific Trails Pipeline without the consent of the Unist’ot’en people.

Also:

A man offers a roach (small end of a joint) to the camera, and French inhales smoke in two separate photographic panels.

It’s more fun if you share.

A new study suggests that married couples who smoke cannabis together have a lower incidence of domestic violence. From The Independent:

Researchers from Yale University, University of Buffalo and Rutgers followed 634 married couples for nine years.

They found that when couples used cannabis three times or more each month reported the lowest number domestic violence incidents (intimate partner violence) over the first nine years of marriage. Intimate partner violence (IPV) was defined by the researchers as acts of physical aggressions, including hitting, beating and chocking.

The couples completed regular questionnaires throughout the study on how often they used the drug and other substances, such as alcohol. They were also asked to report violence from their spouse within the last year, and any violent acts that had occurred during the year before marriage.

The study concluded that the more often both spouses smoked cannabis, the less likely they were to engage in domestic violence.

Lead researcher Kenneth Leonard, director of the UB Research Institute on Addictions, said the findings suggest cannabis use is predictive of lower levels of aggression towards a person’s partner, but only over the course of a year. ‘As in other survey studies of marijuana and partner violence, our study examines patterns of marijuana use and the occurrence of violence within a year period,’ he said. ‘It does not examine whether using marijuana on a given day reduces the likelihood of violence at that time.’ [...] The study was published in the online edition of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors in August.

Bonus: LGBTQ Board Games from the 70s and 80s from World of Wonder

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VIDEO: Jon Stewart on Race (& Ferguson in the Media)

By: Kit OConnell Thursday August 28, 2014 6:13 pm

 

Jon Stewart returned from a brief hiatus with a brilliant take down of the racially charged Ferguson coverage in the media, primarily on FOX News.

Not that they are the only offenders:

But there’s no denying Fox’s work is especially egregious, as called out by Salon in Joan Walsh’s recent piece “Ferguson’s booming white grievance industry: Fox News, Darren Wilson and friends:”

Why, besides racism, are Wilson’s supporters so convinced of his innocence? Well, any good grift will involve a hoax or two, to gin up the sense of outrage. First there was ‘Josie,’ a purported friend of Wilson’s who called in to a radio show helmed by gun-loving wingnut Dana Loesch to tell Wilson’s side of the story. ‘Josie’ insisted that Brown attacked Wilson, grabbed his gun, and the terrified cop shot only in self-defense. The problem? The details were almost identical to those shared on a fake Facebook page set up to look like Wilson’s own. But before the tale could be debunked, not only Fox but CNN had reported on ‘Josie’s’ tale with some credulity. As karoli notes over at Crooks and Liars, it’s not clear whether Loesch was punked, or was in on the punking.

Then we saw right-wing blogger Jim Hoft, named ‘the dumbest man on the Internet’ by Media Matters, peddling a phony X-ray or CT scan purporting to show that Wilson suffered a fractured eye socket scuffling with Brown. Unfortunately, a little sleuthing revealed the image in question came from a facility at the University of Iowa and had nothing to do with the Ferguson case. Oops. Of course Fox ran with the story, but ABC News also reported that Wilson had suffered a ‘serious facial injury,’ claiming its own local source.

Of course Ferguson’s white grievance industry is getting major help from Fox News, the grievance industry’s biggest grifters. It’s funny, a couple of weeks ago Attorney General Eric Holder spent a few days as Fox’s favorite administration figure, with Bill O’Reilly and the crew at ‘The Five‘ piously instructing Ferguson protesters to trust the attorney general, who had taken over the inquiry into Mike Brown’s shooting. No more. On Friday’s ‘Five’ Andrea Tantaros declared that Holder ‘runs that DOJ like the Black Panthers would,’ while the whole team endorsed her claim that the attorney general is ‘race-baiting.’

Fox has peddled every allegation of wrongdoing by Mike Brown from the beginning of the story. On Fox and Friends Monday morning, Linda Chavez argued that the media should stop calling the teenager ‘unarmed’ because ‘we’re talking about an 18-year-old man who is 6-foot-4 and weighs almost 300 pounds, who is videotaped just moments before the confrontation with a police officer strong-arming an employee and robbing a convenience store.’ So Mike Brown can’t be considered unarmed because … he had arms?

Street Art shows a silhoutte of a man in an American flag throwing teargas back on police against a background that says FILM THE POLICE

But only independent and citizen journalists told the real story.

And Dex Digital, writing for Medium, offered the provocative “Face it, blacks. Michael Brown let you down:”

Obama Opened Floodgates for Offshore Fracking in Recent Gulf of Mexico Lease

By: Steve Horn Thursday August 28, 2014 12:22 pm
An offshore oil platform glows in the dark

Is widespread offshore fracking in America’s future?

In little-noticed news arising out of a recent Gulf of Mexico offshore oil and gas lease held by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the floodgates have opened for Gulf offshore hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”).

With 21.6 million acres auctioned off by the Obama Administration and 433,822 acres receiving bids, some press accounts have declared BP America — of 2010 Gulf of Mexico offshore oil spill infamy — a big winner of the auction. If true, fracking and the oil and gas services companies who perform it like Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Schlumberger came in a close second.

On the day of the sale held at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, an Associated Press article explained that many of the purchased blocks sit in the Lower Tertiary basin, coined the “final frontier of oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico” by industry analysts.

“The Lower Tertiary is an ancient layer of the earth’s crust made of dense rock,”explained AP. ”To access the mineral resources trapped within it, hydraulic fracturing activity is projected to grow in the western Gulf of Mexico by more than 10 percent this year, according to Houston-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc., which operates about a third of the world’s offshore fracking rigs.”

Unlike other Gulf oil and gas, Lower Tertiary crude is located in ultra-deepwater reservoirs, industry lingo for oil and gas located 5,000 feet — roughly a mile — or deeper under the ocean.

Just over a week before the lease, the Mexican government passed energy reform legislation that will prop open the barn door for international oil and gas companies to sign joint ventures with state-owned oil company Pemex, including in Mexico’s portion of the Gulf of Mexico.

Baker Hughes Fracks the Tertiary

The May edition of World Oil explains that Baker Hughes has lead the way in technology innovation to tap into Lower Tertiary oil and gas, described as existing within “harsh HPHT conditions,” or high pressure, high temperature conditions.

Using offshore fracking techniques, Baker Hughes has aided Petrobas in developing a test well in the Cascade offshore field. The company believes the recent Gulf acreage sale by the Obama Administration will serve as a boon for further offshore fracking in the months and years to come.

“We expect that there will be more offshore stimulation in coming years,” Douglas Stephens, president of pressure pumping at Baker Hughes, told the AP in the lease’s aftermath.

Baker Hughes maintains roughly one-third of the world’s offshore fracking operations.

Fracking as “Next Frontier for Offshore Drilling”

Two weeks before the lease, Bloomberg published an article declaring that fracking could serve as the “next frontier for offshore drilling.” That next frontier will come at a steep cost: $100 million spent per well, according to Bloomberg.

Even Halliburton, key innovator of onshore fracking technology and the force behind the “Halliburton Loophole” within the Energy Policy Act of 2005, admits offshore fracking is risky business.

“It’s the most challenging, harshest environment that we’ll be working in,” Ron Dusterhoft, an engineer at Halliburton, told Bloomberg. “You just can’t afford hiccups.”

The article further explained that the oil industry at-large, and not just Baker Hughes and its fellow oil services companies, stand to win big from the push to frack the Gulf of Mexico.

“Those expensive drilling projects are a boon for oil service providers such as Halliburton, Baker Hughes Inc. and Superior Energy Services Inc. Schlumberger Ltd., which provides offshore fracking gear for markets outside the U.S. Gulf, also stands to get new work,” Bloomberg reported.

“And producers such as Chevron Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc may reap billions of dollars in extra revenue over time as fracking helps boost crude output.”

According to lease statistics made public by BOEM, 42 of the 81 blocks of oil and gas auctioned off on August 20 sit in water depths of over 1600 meters (roughly a mile, or 5,280 feet).

“All of the Above”

BOEM press release declared the Gulf lease falls under the broad umbrella of President Obama’s “all of the above” energy policy, which critics point to as a form of climate change denial.

Killer Kop Kleinert Trial Started this Week in Austin

By: wendydavis Monday October 1, 2012 8:49 am

For the first time in at least a decade, a Killer Kop was indicted in Austin for the extrajudicial murder of a person of color. Okay, the charge is actually manslaughter, but still, it’s a Good Thing, considering that so few cops are ever charged, indicted, or found guilty if they almost miraculously had been. Pre-trial motions are underway, but you’d scarcely know it by the lack of coverage.

The grand jury indicted Charles Kleinert on May 12, ruling: “… that Kleinert:

“did then and there recklessly cause the death of Larry Jackson by striking and by attempting to strike Larry Jackson with the defendant’s hand while holding a loaded firearm.  The indictment also said that Kleinert created a “substantial and unjustifiable risk” in his attempt to seize Jackson while holding a loaded firearm.” Manslaughter is a second degree felony. If found guilty, Kleinert faces prison time of 2-20 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000. More on that strangely worded indictment later.

On July 26, police were investigating a robbery at the Benchmark Bank during business hours.  When Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr. tried to enter the bank, he discovered the doors were locked.  Dicktective Kleinert, smelling a rat, fled after the pre-suspect, but falling behind, he commandeered a citizen’s car in the process.  Under a nearby bridge, Jackson and Kleinert struggled, and according to Lucian Villaseñor  at SocialistWorker.org, Kleinert:

pursued Jackson and beat him, breaking his ribs and perforating his colon. He then placed his gun to the back of Larry’s neck and pulled the trigger.

Larry was supposed to return home that day in order to take his three visiting children back to their mother in Mississippi. Instead, Larry’s mother Billie Mercer filed a missing person’s report with the Austin Police Department. Despite the police knowing full well that they had killed her son, they made her wait over a day before informing her, so they could get their stories straight and come up with a narrative to frame Larry as a criminal.

!cid_6447852D-F332-401D-99BD-0F2C8751E343

by Anthony Freda via wendydavis @flickr

Jackson’s family and justice seekers in Austin kept up the pressure for Kleinert’s arrest with a campaign of vigils, press conferences, rallies, and public talks for the next ten months.  No weapon was found on Jackson, but just to be sure that he was smeared after his murder, according to the Statesman again:

‘Jackson, who was not suspected in the robbery, walked away but returned a minute later and tried to open the door again, drawing the attention of a bank manager. After speaking to Jackson, police have said the manager told Kleinert that Jackson had attempted to use the name of a bank customer employees knew wasn’t Jackson. Sources have told the American-Statesman that Jackson had the identification of at least one person that didn’t belong to him, and police have said that Jackson had possibly gone there to pass a forged check.’

Kleinert turned himself in to the police the day of his indictment, where his bail was set at $100,000; he paid his own bond.

Soon after ‘the shooting,’ Kleinert had quit the department, thereby insuring that his employment records would be sealed, and no action could be taken by the Austin police review board, and enabling him to ‘retire’ with full pension compensation. The American-Statesman did say that nothing they’d found in their records search found anything but glowing reports of Kleinert’s police work.

Now we don’t know what evidence the grand jury heard, including Kleinert’s, but in another piece from the Statesman:

Sources have told the Statesman that Kleinert told internal affairs investigators that he unintentionally fired the shot that killed Jackson. His weapon was drawn as part of his effort to subdue Jackson, according to sources, and Kleinert said a single round accidentally went off when he lost his balance and fell over.

Quite a different story; it’s called testilying, of course, but IA and grand jury testimony is secret secret secret stuff.

By fall of 2013, Larry Jackson’s family had filed a wrongful death claim in federal court.  From AUSTIN (KXAN):