Celebrate the cycle of life with a Hoop Dance accompanied by Jazz music, both unique to this country.
Today’s article is a combination of news items for both Mining and Fracking, beginning with Mining. Next week, it’s back to the usual schedule (Mining on Tuesdays, Fracking on Thursdays).
MINING THE EARTH
*AK. The Pebble Mine is back in the news as a federal judge “temporarily blocked” the EPA’s efforts to stop the mine, following Northern Dynasty Minerals’ objections to the process.
*KY. A judge has ruled that the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet is “so understaffed they can no longer effectively enforce clean-water rules.” He also tossed a “$310,000 proposed agreement” between the E&E Cabinet and the Frasure Creek mining company—and ruled that certain environmental organizations be included in resolutions.
*NY. Hedge funds are reportedly betting on the failure of big coal in the US. 8 major coal companies, on average, were down 29% on the NYSE this year. Hedge funds bet “against the stock and debt of mining firms . . ., then snap . . . up the bonds when their prices fall as low as 40 cents on the dollar.” When/if things improve, the funds will sell the mines at a profit.
*TX. Parts of TX’s clean air plan have been rejected by the US Environmental Protection Agency. which, instead, thinks TX should “require 15 coal-burning generating units at eight Texas power plants to install or improve controls that limit emissions of sulfur dioxide.” TX’s Commission on Environmental Quality had proposed 2155 as the date for TX to have achieved clear skies. Seriously.
*WV. Massey Energy ex-CEO Don Blankenship, pleaded “Not Guilty” last week to federal charges of conspiracy, lying to investigators and not complying with safety and health regulations. He was ordered to not contact family members of coal miners killed in the April 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine. Possibility of 31 years in prison, currently out on $5 million bond. Gag order imposed on Blankenship, mine-worker family members and lawyers.
*Africa. Groupe Forrest International of Belgium “has consistently lied about the bulldozing of hundreds of homes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo . . . and has denied justice to those affected”. Groupe Forrest operated the Luiswishi copper and cobalt mine in Kawama, Katanga until 2012. Apparently there is involvement of the state in the destruction and cover-up.
*Australia. Gina Rinehart, head of Hancock Prospecting, has plunked down $10 billion to develop the Roy Hill iron ore mine. She’s complaining about the “negativity” toward mining which, she says, is “critical to Australia’s future.” Presumably her $10 billion investment means mining is critical to her future, too.
*Australia. Pssst, Gina Rinehart: BIS Shrapnel, an “economic forecaster”, says mining investment in Australia is to take the worst fall ever, and soon.
*Australia. Another mining mogul, Clive Palmer, ran for office in 2013 and allegedly misused in the process $12 million in Chinese-government funds meant for iron mine investment. Why’d he do that? He’s supposedly worth $1.22 billion, and he’s amusing himself these days by building full-sized replicas of Jurassic Park and the Titanic. He’s even named a political party after himself.
*China. Following quickly on the heels of the G20 climate summit, China announced “it would cap coal use by 2020 [at] 4.2 billion tonnes”.
*China. Iron ore’s down 48%, oil down 20%, coking coal down 20%, copper down 7%. What a few months ago looked like great profits now looks like “a billion-dollar black hole” as China’s commodity prices nose-dive.
A QUICK WHIRL AROUND THE FRACKING WORLD
*USA. The US Navy has announced it can turn seawater into fuel—at $3 to $6 a gallon!
*USA. The “state department climate change envoy, Todd Stern, said the world would have no choice but to forgo developing reserves of oil, coal and gas” if global warming is to be stopped.
*USA. Frac sand is all the rage as oil and gas companies race to use more of earth’s resources to extract a rapidly dwindling supply of other of earth’s resources. They’re now doing “wider, shorter fracs, which require twice as much sand”, or about 4 million pounds of it per well. Halliburton and Baker Hughes are reportedly hoarding the stuff.
*USA. TransCanda “is in talks to get into the crude-by-rail business and will probably do so even if its long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline gets its U.S. permits next year”. Getting into the “crude-by-rail business” is apparently occurring simultaneously with TransCanada breaking up its “pipeline and power segments.”
*USA. Big news, as NRG “announced it plans to slash its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, and 90 percent by 2050.” Apparently, there’s an overall two-prong strategy: rooftop solar, mega solar plants, offshore wind energy and energy storage development; and continued reliance on coal but coupled with carbon capture techniques. What brought this on? In part, “pressure from young Americans and investors”. You go, guys!
*CO. Boulder County’s gas and oil fracking moratorium has been extended for another 3-1/2 years.
*GA. Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline proposed: beginning in AL, going 196 miles through GA and on into FL, transporting 1 billion cubic feet of fracked natural gas per day. Many major issues raised and explored, good analysis.
*IL. New fracking rules were challenged by landowners, saying they were “procedurally flawed”. A judge has denied the landowners’ attempts to suspend them, however, so IL will join the fracking fraternity.
*LA. One dead, three injured about 12 miles out in the Gulf when an oil platform exploded. Since the platform was idle at the time, there appeared to be no oil leakage. Fleetwood Energy operation.
*MD. Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) is giving the go-ahead to natural gas fracking in western Maryland, “but only if energy companies adhere to what is described as the most restrictive public health and environmental safeguards in the country.” Next year’s in-coming governor, Larry Hogan (R), is very fracking friendly.
*NC. Among other objections to fracking, North Carolinians are concerned about the big truck traffic over some 60,000 miles of roads in the countryside that were originally built for small trucks and other farm traffic.
*ND. Great NYTimes article. “We’re outgunned, outnumbered and out-suited,” says Brenda Jorgenson, quiet protester, who keeps in her refrigerator 3 jars of black water from her kitchen faucet. She attributes the cause to two fracking wells at the end of her driveway. There’s a noticeable shift now in ND as negative consequences of all the fracking, drilling and transporting of oil mount up.
*NY. A battle underway in the Finger Lakes to halt “two proposed gas storage projects . . . [that would] ‘turn us into an extraction colony for investor profits.’” Local residents, including 86-year-olds, are peacefully protesting and being arrested. Crestwood Midstream, out of Houston, wants to expand its use of salt caverns near the lakes for propane and butane storage.
*OH. Both the industry and state government are filing lawsuits “raising a legal question: Who gets to say where fracking can happen?” Five OH cities now ban fracking which seems to have become a bit of a problem to some entities.
*SD. Greg Grey Cloud on why he sang a Lakota Honor Song in the balcony of the US Senate when the Keystone XL pipeline bill failed.
*TX. “19 U.S. shale regions are no longer profitable”. Nevertheless, Sandridge Energy and Goodrich Petroleum will continue to “pump more oil for less money so they can withstand the rout.” Break-even map included.
*TX. 3.3 magnitude quake struck on the Irving-Dallas border. Fracking-related?
*UK. Oh, dear. Just as the government rolled-out its campaign to convince everybody that fracking is their friend, the Green Party charges that “There’s no justification for using public money to help the fracking industry pull the wool over people’s eyes. It’s another desperate attempt to quell legitimate public concern”, and so on.
*Austria. While we’re gobbling down turkey in the USA, on November 27th, OPEC will be meeting in Austria, “one of the most important OPEC meeting [sic] in years” due to plummeting oil prices. Interesting statements from oil-producing nations included.