Tag Archives: oil and gas industry

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.

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.

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.

Republicans: Drill-now-drill-everywhere legislation

The Republican members of Congress are clearly answerable only to Big Oil and Big Oil’s campaign contributions when it comes to what federal public lands and waters ought to be opened to rapacious oil drilling. Republicans have unveiled a drill-now-drill-everywhere bill to replace Obama’s sensible plan that would allow drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. Never mind the health of fish and wildlife populations and all that other “stuff.” Oil, let’s drill for it now, they say.

Airlien buying refinery at Philadelphia

Well, gosh, is this a smart move or what by Delta? Time, and Peak Oil, will tell. In the meantime, the usual parking lot spills will continue occurring along with non-point-source pollution, the demise of Chesapeake Bay, shrinking fisheries on the Susquehanna River, and more.

True Oil proposes drilling in Bridger-Teton National Forest

Better look now before it’s been industrialized.

Offshore drilling fees pay for new national forest lands

Oh, so this angle means that is OK to punch holes in Earth in offshore places like North Carolina? This is sloppy journalism, among other things, and a dangerous connection for the nation’s conservation policy to become enveloped within.

Big money talks, and talks big, for Big Oil

And the polluters win again as the Senate retains subsidies for an industry thats’ rolling in Big Cash. The ad campaign that Big Oil paid for in defeating the bill ending the subsidies shows how pliable the American voter is, and how naive Americans are when it comes to petroleum prices. But, the big showcase in this mess is once again the power of Big Money in buying votes. Democracy? What? The NY Times offers this shit-kicking editorial. Lou Barletta, the Republican congressman in the Pennsylvania district I just moved from, got a nice pot of cash from Big Oil and Big Coal. His “givers” included ExxonMobil ($10,000), Halliburton Co. ($2,000), and American Petroleum Association of America ($5,000). You can find out how much your own senator and representative got in the last election cycle from Big Oil and Big Coal at this Web site. Happy hunting.

Republicans: Natural born oil/gas drillers

Paul Krugman, the NY Times’s erstwhile columnist, has done us all a favor by laying out the falsity behind the Republican claims of jobs and drilling and jobs and drilling. Read Krugman’s finely honed argument here.

Keystone pipeline will seek renewed permit

The company also said it wanted to move ahead quickly on a portion of the pipeline that would move only domestic oil. This monster will be built; maybe not as its backers had hoped, but it will. And too bad for the planet, which, by the way, is our only home. The latest is here.