Trump administration takes key step to open Alaskan wildlife refuge to drilling by end of year

Trump administration takes key step to open Alaskan wildlife refuge to drilling by end of year

SOURCE: The Hill DATE: September 12, 2019 SNIP: The Trump administration announced a key step toward opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas exploration Thursday, rolling out a plan that would see lease sales occur by the end of the year. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its finalized Environmental Impact Statement, which favors the option to offer lease sales across 1.56 million acres of Alaska’s coastal plains. “After rigorous review, robust public comment, and a consideration of a range of alternatives, today’s announcement is a big step to carry out the clear mandate we received from Congress to develop and implement a leasing program for the Coastal Plain, a program the people of Alaska have been seeking for over 40 years,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement. Under law, the BLM now has a 30-day waiting period before it can open up calls from fossil fuel companies for tracts to bid on and file its finalized Notice of Decision. Officials say they anticipate holding lease sales before the end of the year. Critics warn that oil and gas development in ANWR would wreak havoc on populations of Porcupine caribou, polar bears and migratory...
US set to open nearly 200 power plants

US set to open nearly 200 power plants

SOURCE: USA Today [I don’t like to link to USA Today but it’s an exclusive report from them. Tread carefully; they are an extremely biased source.] DATE: September 9, 2019 SNIP: Utilities and energy companies are continuing to invest heavily in carbon-polluting natural gas. An exclusive analysis by USA TODAY finds that across the United States there are as many as 177 natural gas power plants currently planned, under construction or announced. There are close to 2,000 now in service. All that natural gas is “a ticking time bomb for our planet,” says Michael Brune, president of the Sierra Club. “If we are to prevent runaway climate change, these new plants can’t be built.” An analysis by the Rocky Mountain Institute published Monday [also take this with a huge grain of salt: there is no such thing as “clean” energy] looked at 88 gas-fired power plants scheduled to begin operation by 2025. They would emit 100 million tons of carbon dioxide a year – equivalent to 5% of current annual emissions from the U.S. power sector. USA TODAY compiled its own list of 177 planned and proposed natural gas plants through August, using data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, which tracks power plants that have been officially announced, and the Sierra Club, which tracks proposed plants. Of those, 152 have a scheduled opening date of between 2019 and 2033, though only 130 have specific locations chosen. An additional 25 are part of companies’ long-term planning processes and don’t have estimated opening dates yet. The plants are a mix of large-scale installations meant to provide lots of electricity much of...
Oil Seen Leaking From Hurricane-Hit Facility On Grand Bahama Island

Oil Seen Leaking From Hurricane-Hit Facility On Grand Bahama Island

SOURCE: NPR DATE: September 6, 2019 SNIP: A major oil storage terminal on Grand Bahama Island was damaged by Hurricane Dorian and has leaked oil into the surrounding environment, raising concern that the oil could damage local reefs and wildlife. The South Riding Point facility sits on the shore of the island’s eastern side and is home to 10 giant storage tanks capable of holding up to 6.75 million barrels of crude, according to Equinor, the company that runs the facility. When Dorian struck Grand Bahama late Sunday, the terminal had 1.8 million barrels on site, according to Erik Haaland, a spokesperson for Equinor. It’s not clear how much oil has...
North Sea oil rigs set to be abandoned while still full of crude oil and chemicals

North Sea oil rigs set to be abandoned while still full of crude oil and chemicals

SOURCE: Independent DATE: September 4, 2019 SNIP: Thousands of tonnes of hazardous waste including crude oil could be abandoned in decaying North Sea rigs by Shell with the permission of the UK government, prompting growing concerns among other European countries. Due to the cost and difficulty of dismantling the structures, the oil giant has proposed leaving the vast concrete legs from three oil rigs standing in the waters. These could remain for up to 500 years after the platforms have been decommissioned. There is an estimated 11,000 tonnes of oil and toxins mixed with sediment held within the Bravo, Charlie and Delta structures, which were built in the Brent oil field, to the East Shetland Basin, in the 1970s. Hundreds of other enormous rigs, which can be as tall as the Eiffel Tower and weigh as much as the Empire State Building, are due to be decommissioned over the next three decades. Now there are fears UK government support for Shell’s plans to abandon the structures on the sea bed could set a precedent for how the oil platforms are dealt with in future. In June this year, Shell removed the 25,000 tonne platforms from the three oil rigs, leaving the enormous leg, 20m wide, structures. However, returning to remove the legs and the hazardous substances held within would be too expensive and too risky, they have...
The toxic waste threat that climate change is making worse

The toxic waste threat that climate change is making worse

SOURCE: Politico DATE: August 26, 2019 SNIP: More than 100 storage sites for coal-burning power plants’ toxic leftovers lie in areas that federal emergency managers have labeled a high risk for flooding, according to POLITICO’s examination of government and industry data. That finding comes as scientists and pollution experts warn that coal ash — a multibillion-dollar liability problem for communities across the country — may become an even greater danger because of heavier rains triggered by climate change. Already, federal agencies warn that the government’s flood maps most likely understate the risks of deluges in much of the country, including the Southeast, where at least 42 storage sites in POLITICO’s analysis are located. The ash, left behind when coal is burned for power generation, contains arsenic, selenium, lead, mercury, boron and other contaminants known to cause cancer, neurological damage or heart ailments. Electric utilities usually store it in massive landfills or unlined ponds that are at a risk of spilling when nearby lakes and rivers flood — as happened in a $1.2 billion disaster that damaged dozens of homes in Tennessee in 2008, as well as two breaches that fouled a river and lake in North Carolina last year after Hurricane...