Posts Tagged ‘human health and environmental impacts’

Chevron makes a well-intentioned faux pas in Pennsylvania

Sometimes a well-intentioned gesture comes off as an inadvertent slight and that could be the case with Chevron’s distribution of gift certificates to people who live near a gas well that blew up February 11. 

On the Sunday following the blast, representatives of Chevron North America distributed upwards of 100 gift certificates for a large pizza and a large drink to residents of Bobtown, the unincorporated community nearest to the explosion.

Chevron said in a note it wanted to give residents an update on the incident and answer questions. “We are committed to taking action to safeguard our neighbors, our employees, our contractors and the environment,” the note also said.

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Looming EU vote draws first battle lines in renewed biofuel debate

Since the European Commission first proposed a number of changes to the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED) last October, both sides of the biofuel debate in Europe have battled their corners ahead of what are likely to be key changes to legislation for the regional and indeed global biofuel landscapes, up to the year 2020 and beyond.

A plenary vote, scheduled for September 11, will see the European Parliament agree on its position on several key components of renewables laws, before heading into three-way negotiations with the Council of Ministers and the EC.

Ahead of the vote, industry bodies, non-governmental organizations and other interested parties have pushed hard to air their points of view on a subject that has wide-reaching economic, environmental and social implications.

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A proposed US rule that could hit fracking indirectly: coincidence or conspiracy?

So, is a proposed federal rule designed to reduce worker exposure to crystalline silica in industrial sands a backdoor assault on the oil and gas industry in general, and hydraulic fracturing in particular?

A blogger for Motley Fool, Rich Duprey, thinks so. “It would seem that when you combine this move with the other efforts of the administration to attack the oil and gas industry, the motto ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’ is the guiding principle at work thwarting future growth,” he said in a recent column.

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Recent crude-carrying train derailments in US heat up crude by rail safety debate

Two trains carrying crude oil derailed in the US this month, making headlines that garnered more attention to a recent debate over the in-vogue shipping method’s environmental impact.

The popularity of crude by rail shipments has opponents of major proposed crude pipeline projects (like Transcanada’s Keystone XL) asking the question: is rail transport safe?

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The ethics of fracking, at a very local level

“The Ethicist” is a column in The New York Times Magazine that handles often tricky questions of morality. It tends not to tsk-tsk, and the issues tend to feature many shades of grey.

Fracking made an appearance in the February 19 issue; here’s the discussion.

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China keen to explore gas hydrates, but is it safe?

Local Chinese media reports have been speculating in recent days that Beijing is expected to include exploration of gas hydrates in the 12th five-year plan’s energy development section, which is expected to be announced by the end of March.

According to a report by the Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey published in early 2011, an expedition team conducted drilling in 11 areas containing gas hydrates in the northern part of the South China Sea. It assessed that the area contains an estimated 19.4 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves.

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For the natural gas business in the US, bad news and trouble

Hardly a day goes by when some new emergency or crisis besetting some aspect of the natural gas industry doesn’t make headlines.

The industry has been barraged by stories alleging potential environmental disasters — hydrofracking fluids polluting groundwater or disposal drilling causing earthquakes — and reporting real disasters, such as interstate and local distribution company pipelines blowing apart, causing death and destruction.

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What’s going on with the Japanese nuclear reactors: a primer

Platts nuclear group, led by Tom Harrison and William Freebairn, published a story early Monday Japan time on just what is and might be happening with the damaged nuclear reactors in Japan. We are publishing it for Barrel readers below.

 

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Don’t look for an OPA 90-like bipartisan spill response from the 112th Congress

Here’s the scenario: a major oil spill happens early in an election year. Congress holds hearings, but takes no action before the election or during the lame duck session. The next year, a new Congress puts aside party differences to pass landmark oil spill legislation based on the lessons learned from the disaster.

This is the story of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which gained overwhelming support in the 101st Congress the year after the Exxon Valdez oil spill and was signed into law by George H.W. Bush. Will a similar spirit of bipartisanship seize the newly-minted 112th Congress when it convenes next year? Not likely.

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Blame the media for Macondo coverage? Not so fast

There is widespread agreement that confusion hampered the response effort in the early days and weeks after the April 20 blowout of BP’s Macondo well. There was confusion over whether there was an oil spill at all and then just how large; confusion over how quickly the gushing well would be capped; and confusion over just who was in charge, BP or the government.

The scale and scope of the confusion is well documented by a report produced by the staff of the National Oil Spill Commission, appointed by President Obama to investigate the Deepwater Horizon tragedy and recommend ways to avoid a repeat. The document, entitled “Decision Making Within the Unified Command,” details some of the problems encountered by government responders in the early days and suggests ways to clarify roles in the future.

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