Environmental Issues

Pipelines or Rail for Fossil Fuels are False Choices

The so called “train bombs” are gaining public attention, mainly due to the media reporting. We have to keep in mind the first rule of reporting news – If it bleeds, it leads.

A train derailment with a spectacular fireball is more “entertaining” than a pipeline leak.

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Proposed Gas Pipelines Would Emit More Greenhouse Gases Than Keystone XL

by Chip Northrup on January 9, 2015

A large natural gas pipeline can have to equivalent greenhouse gas impact as Keystone XL. A large natural gas pipeline can enable the same GHG emissions (CO2 equivalent) as Keystone XL. Here’s how:

 A large gas pipeline can require 300 new fracking wells annually just to fill it

If all 57 proposed Marcellus/Utica region pipelines and expansions are approved by FERC and built, they will:

  • Enable additional emissions equivalent to 15 Keystone pipelines
  • Require an additional 4,420 new fracking wells each year, and
  • Deplete proved Marcellus/Utica natural gas reserves in just 7 years

Click Here  to visit the site and view the full article

Let’s admit it  -pipelines leak

Pipeline Leak Taints River With Wastewater

Repost from: WSJ  |  By Chester Dawson | January 23, 2015

Salty wastewater from oil – wells has contaminated a creek and flowed into the Missouri River after a huge pipeline leak in North Dakota, state officials said Thursday.

The state said the leak of 3 1 million gallons is its biggest ever spill of brine, which in addition to high concentrations of salt often contains trace amounts of heavy metals that can be radioactive.

Such spills, which can kill vegetation and ruin farmland, have been increasing in Western North Dakota as the state has become a leading oil producer, pumping more than a million barrels of crude a day from the Bakken Shale.

After a shale well is drilled and hydraulically fractured, or fracked, briny wastewater is extracted from deep underground along. with oil and gas and must be disposed of, usually by injecting it back into the ground at separate wells drilled specifically for that purpose.

The state is investigating the cause of the leak, which doesn’t currently pose a threat to public health or drinking water, North Dakota officials said. The area where the spill occurred is sparely populated and officials in surrounding Williams County said they weren’t concerned about the impact on water supplies, which are. miles downstream from the area affected.

The Bakken region also is cleaning up from an unrelated oil spill over the weekend in the Yellowstone River, a tributary of the Missouri. An oil pipeline under the river burst, releasing about 960 barrels of crude near Glendive, Mont., and contaminating the local water, treatment plant.

In North Dakota, about 2.7 million gallons of wastewater have been collected from Blacktail Creek in a rural area about 15 miles north of Williston, N.D.

The cleanup effort has been complicated by winter weather that has made it more difficult to track the spread of the contamination and pump out the wastewater from the ice-covered creek, said Dave Glatt, chief of the state health department’s environmental section.

The wastewater leak was first detected two weeks ago when the Texas based pipeline operator, privately held Summit Midstream Partners LLC, said that an “undermined amount” of brine had spilled out of the line, which was installed in June.

The company’s “full arid undivided attention is focused on minimizing and remediating any environmental impacts, ensuring cleanup efforts, and addressing the needs of impacted landowners, regulators and government officials,” said Jonathan Morgan, a Summit spokesman.

The Summit Midstream pipe”‘ line collects water from 40 well pads and ships it to a disposal facility operated by a third party, the company said.

The state has faced a number of challenges handling the surge in wastewater, ranging from spills by tanker trucks and ruptured pipelines to storage tanks filled with the salty water that have been struck by lightning.


Cove Point LNG Thu 1/8 23 KB  

Environmental Impact Statements (EISs)

FERC staff issues Final Environmental Impact Statement on Dominion Cove Point Expansion Project (Docket Nos. CP05-310-000 et al.)
Issued: April 28, 2006

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has prepared a final environmental impact statement (EIS) on the natural gas facilities proposed by Dominion Cove Point LNG, LP and Dominion Transmission, Inc. (collectively referred to as Dominion) in the above-referenced dockets. Dominion proposes to expand the existing Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Calvert County, Maryland; construct 48 miles of new natural gas pipeline in Maryland; and construct 113 miles of natural gas pipeline and associated facilities in Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and New York. The purpose of the Cove Point Expansion Project is to deliver new gas supplies to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states. The proposed facilities in Maryland would bring additional winter supplies to the Mid-Atlantic region; and the proposed facilities in Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and New York would allow additional supplies to be stored in the summer and moved to the Northeast for use during periods of peak need in the winter.

Chemical Valley

Chemical Valley

The coal industry, the politicians, and the big spill.

When a chemical leaked at a facility in Charleston, West Virginia, lawmakers at the State Capitol were close enough to smell it.

From The New Yorker |

By Evan Osnos | April 7, 2014

On the morning of Thursday, January 9, 2014, the people of Charleston, West Virginia, awoke to a strange tang in the air off the Elk River. It

smelled like licorice. The occasional odor is part of life in Charleston, the state capital, which lies in an industrial area that takes flinty pride in the nickname Chemical Valley. In the nineteenth century, natural brine springs made the region one of America’s largest producers of salt. The saltworks gave rise to an industry that manufactured gunpowder, antifreeze, Agent Orange, and other “chemical magic,” as The Saturday Evening Post put it, in 1943. The image endured. Today, the Chemical Valley Roller Girls compete in Roller Derby events with a logo of a woman in fishnet stockings and a gas mask. After decades of slow decline, the local industry has revived in recent years, owing to the boom in cheap natural gas, which has made America one of the world’s most inexpensive places to make chemicals.



Fracking Across the United States

The United States is in the midst of an unprecedented oil and gas drilling rush—brought on by a controversial technology called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Along with this fracking-enabled rush have come troubling reports of poisoned drinking water, polluted air, mysterious animal deaths, industrial disasters and explosions. We call them Fraccidents.



EPA’s Study of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources

At the request of Congress, EPA is conducting a study to better understand any potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas on drinking water resources. The scope of the research includes the full lifespan of water in hydraulic fracturing.

The full report is expected by 2015. Please follow the link to view the full EPA website page related to this report.


Tiny Virginia subcommittee tasked with deciding future of bills related to EPA’s Clean Power Plan; meeting set for December 17

By Ivy Main

The EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan could reshape Virginia’s energy future for the next fifteen years, and possibly permanently. If the state takes advantage of this opportunity, it will reduce carbon pollution, improve human health, save money for consumers, drive job creation in the fast-growing technology sector, and make our grid stronger and more secure.

If the state doesn’t act, EPA will design its own plan for Virginia, ensuring reduced carbon emissions but without the flexibility the state would have by doing it for itself.


What’s Wrong With Fracking?

The entire process of fracking — from drilling a well to transporting waste — endangers our water and the health of our communities. There is clear evidence of the growing damage caused by fracking:

  • Some people who live near fracking sites have become seriously ill from drinking contaminated water. Others can light their tap on fire due to the amount of methane in their water.
  • The oil and gas industry isn’t required to disclose the chemicals they use in the fracking process, but many are known endocrine disruptors and carcinogens.
  • Communities with fracking have seen declines in property values, increases in crime, and losses in local tourism and agriculture. 
  • Methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, leaks from fracking industry sites.
  • http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/fracking/


Do you want this in your drinking water?

Chemicals Uses In Hydraulic Fracturing

Chemicals serve many functions in hydraulic fracturing.  From limiting the growth of bacteria to preventing corrosion of the well casing, chemicals are needed to insure that the fracturing job is effective and efficient.

The number of chemical additives used in a typical fracture treatment depends on the conditions of the specific well being fractured. A typical fracture treatment will use very low concentrations of between 3 and 12 additive chemicals, depending on the characteristics of the water and the shale formation being fractured. Each component serves a specific, engineered purpose. For example, the predominant fluids currently being used for fracture treatments in the gas shale plays are water‐based fracturing fluids mixed with friction‐reducing additives (called slickwater).  The addition of friction reducers allows fracturing fluids and sand, or other solid materials called proppants, to be pumped to the target zone at a higher rate and reduced pressure than if water alone were used. In addition to friction reducers, other additives include: biocides to prevent microorganism growth and to reduce biofouling of the fractures; oxygen scavengers and other stabilizers to prevent corrosion of metal pipes; and acids that are used to remove drilling mud damage within the near‐wellbore area.


Why Chemicals are Used?


What Chemicals Are Used


As previously noted, chemicals perform many functions in a hydraulic fracturing job.  Although there are dozens to hundreds of chemicals which could be used as additives, there are a limited number which are routinely used in hydraulic fracturing.  The following is a list of the chemicals used most often.  This chart is sorted alphabetically by the Product Function to make it easier for you to compare to the fracturing records .

Chemical Name CAS Chemical Purpose Product Function
Hydrochloric Acid 007647-01-0 Helps dissolve minerals and initiate cracks in the rock Acid
Glutaraldehyde 000111-30-8 Eliminates bacteria in the water that produces corrosive by-products Biocide
Quaternary Ammonium Chloride 012125-02-9 Eliminates bacteria in the water that produces corrosive by-products Biocide
Quaternary Ammonium Chloride 061789-71-1 Eliminates bacteria in the water that produces corrosive by-products Biocide
Tetrakis Hydroxymethyl-Phosphonium Sulfate 055566-30-8 Eliminates bacteria in the water that produces corrosive by-products Biocide
Ammonium Persulfate 007727-54-0 Allows a delayed break down of the gel Breaker
Sodium Chloride 007647-14-5 Product Stabilizer Breaker
Magnesium Peroxide 014452-57-4 Allows a delayed break down the gel  Breaker