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Friday, December 13, 2013

The handwriting is on the wall

The link between induced seismicity and the disposal of wastewater from unconventional oil and gas development is neither a theory nor a surprise, despite recurring media reports and seeming official uncertainty. It's as obvious as it is preventable.

More stringent regulations - on the siting of disposal wells, on wastewater injection, and of the volumes disposed - and tougher enforcement are needed in light of the nation's hydraulic fracturing-driven oil and gas boom. 

What's perhaps more obvious is the need to drive to waterless, chemical-free fracking technologies that minimize or avoid this risk entirely.

When will industry practice and state/Federal regulations catch up to the obvious? When will society demand it?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fixing leaks in U.S. natgas infrastructure requires $82 billion

As I wrote here, leaking natgas infrastructure is an existential threat not only to the climate and the world as we know it, but to the natgas industry.

What will it take to fix the problem of methane leakage from our aging infrastructure?

Besides political will and vastly tougher regulations, about $82 billion.

Our nation has failed to tackle the issue of crumbling infrastructure generally. Will we have the will to invest in this fix - or enact the measures necessary to make natgas customers pay for it? Will the natgas industry flex its considerable political muscle to advance this urgent effort - even if it raises the cost of their product closer to its true cost to society?  The natgas industry has so far has failed to advance its long term stake in our energy mix.  Will it be smarter here?   

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Quoted in Inside Climate News report on PA's pipeline boom

Inside Climate News has published this must-read story: Gas Pipeline Boom Fragmenting Pennsylvania's Forests and an accompanying must-see slideshow.  I’m quoted extensively in the piece. 

I’ve blogged frequently about the issues discussed in the report: pipelines, landscape industrialization, habitat fragmentation, cumulative impacts, the need for landscape planning in unconventional oil and gas development, impacts on charismatic species, public lands conservation and the industry's social license to operate.  As the growing spider web of gas infrastructure continues to be spun across Penn’s Woods, the issues are assuming ever-greater importance and urgency.