Blog Archives

How do the candidates stand on America’s energy future? Here’s a radio piece from NCR

Energy policy, defining how we use energy to power our economy and our lives, is among the most pressing issues for the next four years. In this special edition of BURN, stories about the power of one: how, in this election season, a single person, place, policy or idea can — with a boost from science — affect the nation’s search for greater energy independence.

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Fracking: industry vs. Reality

From an article by Walter Brasch over at MyDD:

Barry Russell, president of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, says “no evidence directly connects injection of fracking fluid into shale with aquifer contamination.” Fracking “has never been found to contaminate a water well,” says Christine Cronkright, communications director for the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Research studies and numerous incidents of water contamination prove otherwise.


Research by Dr. Ronald Bishop, a biochemist at SUNY/Oneonta, suggests that

New York State Assemblymembers Robert Castelli...

New York State Assemblymembers Robert Castelli and Steve Katz call for a moratorium on on hydraulic fracturing in the Croton Watershed in October 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

fracking to extract methane gas “is highly likely to degrade air, surface water and ground-water quality, to harm humans, and to negatively impact aquatic and forest ecosystems.” He notes that “potential exposure effects for humans will include poisoning of susceptible tissues, endocrine disruption syndromes, and elevated risk for certain cancers.” Every well, says Dr. Bishop, “will generate a sediment discharge of approximately eight tons per year into local waterways, further threatening federally endangered mollusks and other aquatic organisms.” In addition to the environmental pollution by the fracking process, Dr. Bishop believes “intensive use of diesel-fuel equipment will degrade air quality [that could affect] humans, livestock, and crops.”

So who do we listen to? Executives who depend on Fracking for making themselves rich, or scientists who continue to build up proof from actual experience and related experiments.

The complaints continue to pop up, from the movie “Gasland” to State and Federal committee testimonies:

“Some of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing—or liberated by it—are carcinogens,” Dr. Sandra Steingraber told members of the Environmental Conservation and Health committee of the New York State Assembly. Dr. Steingraber, a biologist and distinguished scholar in residence at Ithaca College, pointed out that some of the chemicals “are neurological poisons with suspected links to learning deficits in children,” while others “are asthma triggers.

What we all need to do is make our feelings heard on all levels – especially at the top… Obama is promoting Fracking in his energy plan without showing any understanding of the procedure’s danger.

BTW, Dr. Walter Brasch’s current book is Before the First Snow, a critically-acclaimed novel that looks at what happens when government and energy companies form a symbiotic relationship, using “cheaper, cleaner” fuel and the lure of jobs in a depressed economy but at the expense of significant health and environmental impact. The book is available at amazon.com and from the publisher, Greeley & Stone.

How has Fracking affected life in Pennsylvania (and how will it affect us)?

The Marcellus Shale

If you didn’t hear This American Life with Ira Glass this weekend, or if you don’t subscribe to its podcast, then you missed an excellent piece on the development of natural gas drilling on the Marcellus Shale. Don’t worry, though. Would Under The LobsterScope not pass on an important program like this?

Here’s the lead-in:

A professor in Pennsylvania makes a calculation, to discover that his state is sitting atop a massive reserve of natural gas—enough to revolutionize how America gets its energy. But another professor in Pennsylvania does a different calculation and reaches a troubling conclusion: that getting natural gas out of the ground poses a risk to public health. Two men, two calculations, and two very different consequences.

Now, to play the program entitled Game Changer, with excellent narration by Sarah Koenig, click HERE.

This is part of our continuing serious of articles and information on Hydraulic Fracturing, or “Fracking” and the effect it will have on our water and land right here in West Virginia (and New York State, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Ohio – all sitting on the Marcellus Shale and all targeted by the unregulated natural gas industry.

The lethal threat of methane in the Gulf (via Coreys Views)

This oil spill gets worse all the time…

SOURCE: News From Underground Gulf oil full of methane, adding new concerns By MATTHEW BROWN and RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI (AP) – 3 days ago NEW ORLEANS — It is an overlooked danger in the oil spill crisis: The crude gushing from the well contains vast amounts of natural gas that could pose a serious threat to the Gulf of Mexico’s fragile ecosystem. The oil emanating from the seafloor contains about 40 percent methane, compared with about 5 percent f … Read More

via Coreys Views