jueves, 25 de mayo de 2017

Clinton Transition Head Now Runs PR for Oil Company After Deadly Explosion

Former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. Alex Wong/Getty Images

By Michael Sainato

Former Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar is deeply embedded in oil and gas

Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar was briefly considered as Hillary Clinton’s potential running mate. After the Clinton campaign opted for Sen. Tim Kaine, Salazar was appointed as chair of Clinton’s transition team in August 2016. The Intercept reported at the time that Salazar was a major advocate for the oil and gas industry, favored the Trans Pacific Partnership, the Keystone XL pipeline, and has argued in favor of fracking and against environmental regulations. He would have led the team in charge of nearly 4,000 presidential appointments.

Now that the Clinton White House never came to be, Salazar is running public relations for the oil industry. According to documents and emails obtained by IBTimes and MapLight, Salazar is working on behalf of Anadarko, Colorado’s largest oil and gas producer, after a deadly explosion of one of its wells on April 17 has put the company in a politically compromised position. Salazar, working through the law firm Wilmer Hale, is not formally registered as a lobbyist for the company.

IBT and MapLight reported, “On April 26, authorities investigating the Firestone blast confirmed they were looking at an Anadarko well near the home that exploded. That day, Anadarko General Counsel Amanda McMillan contacted Hickenlooper Chief Legal Counsel Jacki Melmed about the situation. ‘I understand that you’ve spoken with Ken Salazar, who suggested that I reach out and connect with you,’ McMillan wrote in an email.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who has been floated as a potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, also has close ties to the oil industry, noted the IBTimes/MapLight report. Anadarko successfully lobbied to stop a bill that would have forced the company to disclose to homeowners how close they live to oil and gas lines, a bill that Hickenlooper has been on the fence in opposing. “Jacque Montgomery, a spokeswoman for Hickenlooper, told IBT/MapLight that Salazar ‘identified himself as Anadarko’s counsel.’ She said Salazar was alerting the office that the company would be issuing a news release to explain the actions it had taken after the explosion.”…

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Provincia argentina de Entre Ríos, contra el fracking por daños al acuífero Guaraní

Por Ana Delicado Palacios
22 de mayo de 2017

BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) — La provincia argentina de Entre Ríos se convirtió en la primera en prohibir por ley la prospección y explotación de hidrocarburos no convencionales a través de la técnica conocida como fractura hidráulica ("fracking" en inglés).

Asimismo, otros proyectos ponen en riesgo el acuífero Guaraní, un reservorio regional de agua compartido por cuatro países, explicaron a Sputnik tres fuentes.

"Esta ley se aprobó porque hubo una respuesta social muy importante, aunque hay otras iniciativas que amenazan lo conseguido", afirmó a esta agencia la exdiputada provincial y abogada Emma Bargagna, que presentó el proyecto consagrado en ley.

Entre Ríos es una provincia agrícola ganadera, explicó Bargagna, "sostenida sobre todo por el acuífero Guaraní", tercera reserva mundial de agua dulce que se extiende por debajo de la superficie de parte de Argentina, Brasil, Paraguay y Uruguay.

La normativa que en un principio se aprobó en la Cámara de Diputados provincial "intentaba relativizar la prohibición de la fractura hidráulica a través de su redacción, al dejar en manos del Poder Ejecutivo la capacidad de definir si el método que se podía utilizar era o no peligroso", recordó Bargagna.

Como el endeudamiento de Entre Ríos hacía depender a la gobernación del dinero que le enviara el Gobierno central "se temía que una norma de esta naturaleza pudiese crear alguna fricción que condicionara la ayuda económica", explicó la exdiputada socialista.

A raíz de la presión social, el Senado provincial modificó, en diciembre de 2016, el artículo 2 del texto para consagrar la "protección de las aguas pluviales, superficiales y subterráneas" y envió el proyecto final a la Cámara Baja, que lo sancionó el pasado 25 de abril.

"Hoy existe una prohibición absoluta para explorar o explotar hidrocarburos líquidos y gaseosos por métodos no convencionales y ya no decide el Poder Ejecutivo si la metodología puede o no causar perjuicios", sostuvo la exlegisladora.

Durante sus cuatro años como diputada, hasta 2015, Bargagna recorrió el territorio junto con organizaciones sociales y ambientales para alertar sobre el riesgo que corría la provincia…

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miércoles, 24 de mayo de 2017

Fracking campaigners express ‘outrage’ at Conservative Party manifesto

Sylvia May shares this latest news from Frack Free Isle of Wight. Ed

ON THE Wight
By Sylvia Knight
22nd May, 2017

Frack Free Isle of Wight are calling on every Conservative Party member, supporter, donor, Councillor, MP, prospective MP and voter to demand Theresa May rescind the proposed planning policy for non-fracking wells with immediate effect.

Frack Free Isle of Wight members have expressed dismay and outrage after reading the 2017 Conservative Party manifesto(a).

Firstly, it promotes the belief that the UK could replicate the US ‘Shale Gas Revolution’ despite there being no evidence to substantiate this. It is already widely accepted that factors such as geological differences and an obvious lack of vast expanses of sparsely populated areas support the contrary opinion that a UK shale gas revolution is far from likely.

Shale gas in UK completely oversold

In fact, the UK Energy Research Council, an academic consortium covering 30 institutions, produced a report on the future of gas in the UK and suggested that shale gas in the UK has been completely oversold.

Prof Jim Watson, UKERC research director told BBC News in 2014(b)

“It is very frustrating to keep hearing that shale gas is going to solve our energy problems – there’s no evidence for that whatsoever… it’s hype.

“It’s extraordinary that ministers keep making these statements. They clearly want to create a narrative. But we are researchers – we deal in facts, not narratives. And at the moment there is no evidence on how shale gas will develop in the UK. Shale gas has been completely oversold. Where ministers got this rhetoric from I have absolutely no idea. It’s very misleading for the public.”

Stripping away protection

We share Professor Watson’s frustration. Not only is the current ruling party persisting with their pledge to go all out for shale, they are now adding insult to injury by promising to strip away yet another layer of protection for local communities, stating ‘We will legislate to change planning law for shale applications. Non-fracking drilling will be treated as permitted development’…

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How a Small Town Is Standing Up to Fracking

Stacy Long, on her property in Grant Township (right), has been fighting to stop her town from being used as a toxic waste dump. Mike Belleme for Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone
By Justin Nobel
22 May, 2017

Grant Township, Pennsylvania, population 741, has became the front line of a radical new environmental movement – and they're not backing down

On October 24th, 2012, several agents from Pennsylvania General Energy, an oil-and-gas exploration company, met privately with local officials from the rural western Pennsylvania community of Grant Township. Fracking was booming in Pennsylvania, and PGE had been trucking tens of thousands of gallons of fracking wastewater to faraway injection wells in Ohio. Developing an injection well somewhere in Pennsylvania could save the company around $2 million a year, and Grant Township, a swath of woods and hayfields slightly larger than Manhattan and populated by a mere 741 people, seemed like an especially good spot.

Most of the meeting's attendees – which included the three Grant Township supervisors, a rep from the local state senator's office and an official from the county's office of planning and development – will not speak about the event. But about 10 months later, one of the supervisors passed along a notice to a retired elementary-school teacher named Judy Wanchisn. In lettering so small "you need a magnifying glass to read," says Wanchisn, the notice declared that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency "plans to issue an Underground Injection Control (UIC) permit to PGE ... to construct and operate one class II-D brine disposal injection well." Wanchisn had no idea what that meant, but she could tell it was bad.

Wanchisn, now 74, lives about a mile from the proposed injection-well site, in a modest white ranch house overlooking East Run, a creek that's popular with anglers and home to an ancient salamander species called the hellbender. She was born and raised in Grant Township and taught elementary school for 20 years in the neighboring community of Purchase Line. When she received the EPA announcement, she was enjoying her retirement, spending days with grandkids and girlfriends, gardening and taking care of her husband, who has a heart condition. But she soon found herself spending more time in front of the computer, researching injection wells.

Fracking involves sending millions of gallons of chemical-laden pressurized fluid into deep layers of rock, creating fractures that release trapped oil and gas. In the past decade, Americans have been enjoying the cheap domestic energy resulting from the fracking boom, which now produces two-thirds of the country's natural gas and half of its oil. But fracking has also created its share of unwanted byproduct. Some 36,000 oil-and-gas wastewater-injection wells – disposal sites for the fluid that seeps to the surface after a well is fracked – lie sunk across our land. Pennsylvania presently has only eight active injection wells, but several are in the process of being permitted. And as the incredibly gas-rich Marcellus shale layer is developed, along with another massive shale layer a few thousand feet beneath it called the Utica, there will surely be more to come.

Fracking wastewater is a toxic brew containing some of the carcinogenic and flammable chemicals left over from the fracking process, as well as heavy metals and radioactive elements like radon and radium that seep out of deep rock layers. Between 2005 and 2014, America pumped approximately 189 billion gallons of fracking wastewater down injection wells, the equivalent of letting the full force of Niagara Falls gush directly into the earth for 14 and a half days. "They started drilling without having any idea what they are going to do with the waste," says Penn State ecologist William Hamilton, who writes a blog about western Pennsylvania. "To me, pumping it into the ground seems like a very foolish way to dispose of a toxic material. There are going to be gigantic, unknown and long-term consequences to this."…

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martes, 23 de mayo de 2017

Diputados presentan proyecto para prohibir el “fracking” en Uruguay

Ilustración. Instalación de "fracking" EFE

El Espectador
23 de mayo de 2017

Los legisladores nacionalistas Gerardo Amarilla y Alejo Umpiérrez, presentaron un proyecto de ley unificado para prohibir la técnica de fracturación hidráulica, también conocida como “fracking”, en la exploración y explotación de hidrocarburos.

Amarilla explicó a El Espectador que, de acuerdo con la declaración de interés general de la protección del ambiente y demás bienes ambientales establecida en el artículo 47 de la Constitución de la República, los parlamentarios nacionalistas proponen la prohibición del “fracking” por ser “un perjuicio grave al medio ambiente y, en particular, a los acuíferos subterráneos”.

El diputado señaló que esta práctica supone “introducir en el subsuelo productos químicos o explosivos para poder fracturar la roca y extraer el petróleo o el gas”.

Según indicó el legislador, cuentan con el apoyo de varios partidos para la aprobación del proyecto. Si bien el presidente de la República, Tabaré Vázquez, manifestó en un Consejo de Ministros, realizado en febrero de 2016 en Paysandú, que no se practicará esta técnica, los diputados creen que es necesario “dejar establecida esta prohibición por ley” porque, si no limitan esta práctica, las empresas podrían utilizarla….

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El pozo de Gas Armentia 2 tendrá evaluación de impacto ambiental

Gasteiz Hoy
22 de Mayo de 2017

El gobierno central obliga al Gobierno Vasco a someter a impacto ambiental esta exploración

El pozo de extracción de gas Armentia-2 se ha contado con un obstáculo inesperado. El Ministerio de Medio Ambiente ha reclamado que se someta a Evaluación de Impacto Ambiental ordinaria por tener impactos significativos sobre el Medio Ambiente. Esta decisión contraviene lo decidido hasta ahora por el Gobierno Vasco.

Hasta ahora el Gobierno Vasco había defendido su tramitación por la vía simplificada, sin fase de exposición pública ni alegaciones. Es más, el Gobierno Vasco aseguraba que la afección al medio ambiente iba a ser mínima, pero no lo justificaba con informes completos. Ahora el Estado ha echado atrás esta decisión.

A partir de ahora sí será necesaria la tramitación con las fases de exposición pública y alegaciones, lo que supone un “alargamiento de los plazos y la opción de que todas las personas preocupadas con el proyecto puedan expresar sus dudas”. Desde Berriztu se felicitan por esta decisión, ante el intento del Gobierno Vasco de iniciar la extracción de gas en la Llanada Alavesa con nocturnidad.

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