Category Archives: oil and gas industry

BP banned from government contracts in U.S.

The Environmental Protection Agency took the action of barring the petroleum giant from doing any contractual bidness with the U.s. in light of the Big Oil company’s dismal record. You can read all about the EPA’s action right here.

Gulg spill harmed small fish, studies indicate

The bad results of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continue to unravel, as this article notes.

Oil drilling off the coast of Virginia?

Sure, sure. Let’s despoil Virginia Beach, the Eastern Shore, more, more. A few million tar balls? No problem. Just pretend they don’t exist. And, best of all, we can keep motoring. Walking? Are you kidding? Read a nice letter to the editor on this whole notion.

Dumping of toxins on Native Americans’ land OK (?)

NPR reported this story. Check out the lovely, scenic photo that accompanies the on-line version of the reporting. Wow.

When it comes to ‘energy,’ politicians can’t see through the smog

The energy world portrayed in the debates – one in which coal is ‘clean’ and oil and gas companies will lead the US to a new era of energy abundance – is an illusion carefully crafted by the fossil fuel industry. Oh, and be sure and look over the muddy filth contained in the photograph accompanying this feature-length article from today’s Christian Science Monitor. That, my friends, is what is happening to our natural heritage, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Shell delays Arctic oil drilling until next year

Aw, shucks. Big Oil (and its moneyed supporters in Congress) had to have been salivating over Shell’s push to sink a well in the Arctic Ocean. Too damn bad the first plans didn’t work out. Here’s a report.

Yes, new Gulf ‘oil spill is BP’s petroleum

Tests performed on Thursday confirmed that the oil found on the Louisiana shoreline after Hurricane Isaac was in fact from the BP spill in 2010. This piece offers some details.

Isac churned up leftovers from the BP spill in Gulf of Mexico

The area that was among the hardest hit by the BP spill has led to Louisiana state wildlife officials announcing the emergency closing of some coastal waters to commercial fishing. It’s the gift that, you know, keeps on . . . Read more.

Interior grants permission for Shell to drill in Arctic

I can’t help but feel that this gambit by Shell is all about politics on the part of the Obama presidency – i.e., proof that the Obama camp wants to find and use domestic petroleum. What a joke.

Natural gas drilling front lines move to highway billboards

This is my latest newspaper conservation column.

The ongoing battle between the pro-natural gas drilling people and conservationists who see and realize more value in a natural landscape not punctured by drill rigs and drill pads and heavy-equipment roads hacked out of former wildlife habitat have taken their respective campaigns to roadside billboards.

This is, coincidentally, something that would never happen in the Green Mountain State (where I sit) because nearly a half-century ago the people of Vermont wisely voted to permanently outlaw billboards and impose stringent limits on the size and height of business ID signs and such.

One recent billboard – the space bought and paid for by anti-drilling folks – makes its point with a collage of photos. One shows a drill rig and concrete drill pad, labeling the scene as a roadside “attraction.” And that spurs memories of a PennDOT placard on the southbound side of I-81 telling motorists of an attraction we know as “Humboldt Industrial Park.”

But back to the drilling biz. Punching holes into Earth across the Marcellus shale region is akin to bulldozing and paving more roads across Penn’s Woods. Sure, a handful of native wildlife continue doing alright population wise afer their habitat has been fragmented by roads, sprawl, cul de sacs, drill pads, and even airport runways. These include critters like the white-tailed deer and eastern cottontail. And skunks, raccoons and European starlings, too. Most of our native wildlife, though, suffers and their population numbers decline until, someday, the federal Endangered Species Act comes into play and a given species is approved for listing as a threatened or endangered one.

Naturalists don’t need a science degree in order to put the principles of “citizen science” to work and help gather the data showing such downward population trends. I have countless hours and days myself walking along the shoulders of rural roads – in Pennsylvania, Virginia and elsewhere – and counting the roadkill specimens found along the way.

A five-mile hike one year along the southern Delmarva Peninsula reach of Highway 13 sticks in mind for the horrendous slaughter I found; a toll most motorists are oblivious to as they race on to their next appointment, gas station, or motel room. On that day, my field notes remind, I found 15 dead turtles, many of them the species we know as the eastern painted turtle, their carapaces crushed by car or truck tires. Terrestrial wildlife like amphibians and reptiles seem, more often than not, to be the roadkill targets. But that’s only because they can only crawl, walk or slither so fast.

Here in Vermont, there is no shale formation underground, its rocks harboring natural gas. There is no danger lurking of a drilling rig suddenly showing up one day to start punching a hole into terra firma outside the front door. But through much of the mid-Atlantic region just the opposite is the case. And like much else these days, many people whose lives are disconnected from wild nature see only money when a drilling company rep knocks on the door.