Two months in, Porter Ranch [California] gas leak compared to BP Gulf oil spill: More than 1,800 families have been relocated by the gas company and more than 1,000 remain on a waiting list. Some say they can’t remember a displacement of residents this large since the Northridge earthquake in 1994, when 20,000 people were left homeless. Two local elementary schools have been impacted, with nearly 2,000 schoolchildren and staff slated to be moved to other schools in January. Enough methane gas is being released to fill the Empire State building each day, state officials have said, and the concern has even reached the Federal Aviation Administration, which issued temporary flight restrictions over the area for small aircraft and helicopters. [more inside]
The Yamal Crater (previously) mysteriously appeared on the Yamal Peninsula in northern Siberia sometime in early 2014. Thought to be the result of methane accumulation in thawing permafrost, when first discovered the giant hole was too dangerous for people to enter. Now that the ground has frozen, scientists have explored the hole and released a a set of otherworldly photographs documenting their expedition.
An enormous hole has appeared (YouTube, 0:34) in Russia's Yamal Peninsula, near the Bovanenkovo natural-gas field. 'We can definitely say that it is not a meteorite. No details yet,' said a spokesman.
2013 Science Journalism Award winners from the American Association for the Advancement of Science:
- Large Newspaper: Deep Trouble, about invasive Asian Carp, sewage, the Chicago River and Lake Michigan
- Small Newspaper: Warning: Quake in 60 Seconds, about why California doesn't have a decent early warning system for earthquakes
- Magazine: Attack of the Mutant Pupfish, about genetic integrity vs. genetic restoration in the fight to preserve endangered species
- Television (20 minutes or less): NOVA's profile of computer scientist Adrien Treuille and Foldit, a crowd-sourced protein-folding game
- Television (more than 20 minutes): Smithsonian Channel: Killer in the Caves, about bats and the deadly white-nose fungus
- Radio: NPR and The Center for Public Integrity - As Mine Protections Fail, Black Lung Cases Surge and Black-Lung Rule Loopholes Leave Miners Vulnerable
- Online: An environmental scandal that’s happening right underneath your feet, about the hidden cost of natural gas leaks in pipelines underneath cities
- Children's Science News: Cold Water Corals: Paradise on the Seabed [pdf]
When Connie Jones arrives home from her job as an information technology manager in Chandler, Arizona, she parks her car in her garage and fills it up with natural gas.
Chesapeake, the largest natural gas producer in Pennsylvania, is losing money. The current low price of gas will leave the company around $4 Billion in the red this year. Part of their response is to use a recent state Supreme Court ruling to justify charging landowners for the drilling and transportation expenses involved in extraction, reducing or eliminating all royalties. What was once a windfall to Pennsylvania communities is now becoming a burden, with Chesapeake now retroactively billing landowners for previous expenses. StateImpact Pennsylvania has written and recorded a thorough report on the issue.
On the relationship between energy companies and the Amish
[E]xtraction companies are buying up the rights to drill on private property with unprecedented speed. At stake are geysers of money. And in the thousands of cases in which the landowner is of the Amish faith, their business partner would never dream of taking them to court should things go awry. This, obviously, has enticed some companies to take advantage of Amish farmers—who are finally figuring out how to fight back.
Charles C. Mann writes for The Atlantic:
This perspective has a corollary: natural resources cannot be used up. If one deposit gets too expensive to drill, social scientists (most of them economists) say, people will either find cheaper deposits or shift to a different energy source altogether. Because the costliest stuff is left in the ground, there will always be petroleum to mine later. “When will the world’s supply of oil be exhausted?” asked the MIT economist Morris Adelman, perhaps the most important exponent of this view. “The best one-word answer: never.” Effectively, energy supplies are infinite.[more inside]
Described as the path to a new golden age of energy, hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking' is marketed as an economical, safe, and environmentally sustainable method. An investigation by the NY Times may suggest otherwise. Meanwhile, people throughout the country are faced with the prospect of drilling in their back yards. What are small communities to do? Ask the BLM to withdraw the leasing or perhaps just be ignored. Maybe its time to map the fight.
Just off the trail in Chestnut Ridge Park, New York, there is a small waterfall called the Eternal Flame Falls. Natural gas wells up from the earth and escapes just underneath the waterfall. Once in a while, it goes out and is re-lit by the next hiker that comes along.
Pennsylvania has adopted what may be the most anti-democratic, anti-environmental law in the country, giving gas companies the right to drill anywhere, overturn local zoning laws, seize private property and muzzle physicians from disclosing specific health impacts from drilling fluids on patients. This American Life on fracking in Pennsylvania. Fracking: Anatomy of a Free Market Failure. Previously in Pennsylvania. [more inside]
A commercial. But a commercial featuring two of MetaFilter's favorite things: knitting and stop motion animation. Also, there's a cat. The making of.
One year after BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, a hydraulic fracturing operation in northern Pennsylvania experiences a blowout resulting in the release of fracking liquids. The use and chemical content of fracking liquids is a point of contention when debating what role natural gas will play in the future of energy.
Since last fall central Arkansas has experienced a mysterious swarm of earthquakes. It's clear that Arkansas has shaken in the past. But the sheer numbers are largely unprecedented and have been dubbed an earthquake swarm by the USGS. The Arkansas Geological Survey says that the quakes have nothing to do with hydraulic fracturing of the Fayetteville Shale. So do energy companies. Not everyone is convinced. [more inside]
In 2006, gas developers offered Josh Fox a hundred thousand dollars for the rights to seek natural gas below his land via the process of hydrolic fractioning. Curious as to what this entailed, he checked out what had happened in places where it had been practiced before. It caused him to make the documentary Gasland. He's been talking it up since then here and there. [more inside]
One spring afternoon more than 70 years ago, an East Texas teacher turned on an electric sander. The subsequent explosion caused the New London School to lift into the air and then smash into the ground, ultimately leaving some 300 students and teachers dead in the rubble. It remains the worst school disaster in American history. [more inside]
Pickens Plan -- oilman T. Boone Pickens has a plan to reduce America's oil dependency problem: exploit the country's massive windpower potential for domestic energy, replacing natural gas, and then use natural gas to power cars instead of foreign oil. Some problems with the plan.
64-year-old Frank Pringle has figured out a way to extract oil and natural gas out of nearly anything.
Natural gas provides a quarter of our nation's energy. Most of it is produced domestically as well. One arid region of Wyoming finds itself in the middle of this boom.
The East Timor/Australia rift over the Greater Sunrise natural gas field in the Timor Sea is the latest struggle for the world's newest nation.
Short Supply of Natural Gas Raises Economic Worries (NYT link) and Canada Cannot Solve Our Natural Gas Problem. More to come at the forthcoming Natural Gas Summit on June 26. At least I live in a country which is among the firsts in the line to the Algerian natural gas.... which buys me some tranquility, although depletion and the peak of oil and natural gas will hit us, sooner or later, globally. (via the energyresources list)
Compressed Natural Gas is much more cleaner than diesel, the dual-fuel engines run quieter and you get lower operating costs. It's certainly very promising, and the technology is already widely implemented from busses to vans to trucks. However, changing a truck to this system can be costly, especially for small fleets. With this and the lack of fueling stations across the nation, do you still think this might be a good option for the future?