Tuesday, August 19, 2014

33 Fracking Companies Accused of Ignoring Law and Using Diesel Fuels

(graphic: Steve Straehley, AllGov)
ALLGOV | Aug 18, 2014 | Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley

More than 30 drilling companies have been caught breaking federal environmental laws by using diesel fuel in their fracking operations, according to a new report.

Using information compiled by industry, the Environmental Integrity Project discovered that 33 drillers had used diesel fuels in at least 351 wells, and in the process, violated the Safe Drinking Water Act over a four-year period from 2010 to 2014.

Furthermore, about 30% of the companies tried to hide their use of the fuel by changing their filings, which went into an industry-run database, FracFocus.

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, drillers are required to obtain permits if they wish to inject diesel fuel into underground wells. They also have to notify nearby residents of their plans and perform other mandated reporting procedures.

“What’s problematic is that this is an industry that is self-reporting and self-policing,” Mary Greene, senior managing attorney for Environmental Integrity Project, told ProPublica. “There’s no federal or state oversight of [filings with FracFocus].”

The report said the use of diesel in fracking is probably underreported because of well operators’ claims of trade secrets, companies such as Halliburton produciing fracking fluids containing diesel that might not be disclosed to operators, and other reasons.

Use of diesel fuels in fracking is discouraged because it contains cancer-causing chemicals like benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, which can easily pollute groundwater supplies.

If fracking's so great, why is it a state secret?

RT | Aug 18, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

We're ill-prepared if the iceman cometh

© Eric Lobbecke | Aug 15, 2014 | Maurice Newman

What if David Archibald's book The Twilight of Abundance: Why Life in the 21st Century Will Be Nasty, Brutish, and Short turns out to be right? What if the past 50 years of peace, cheap energy, abundant food, global economic growth and population explosion have been due to a temporary climate phenomenon?

What if the warmth the world has enjoyed for the past 50 years is the result of solar activity, not man-made CO2?

In a letter to the editor of Astronomy & Astrophysics, IG Usoskin et al produced the "first fully ­adjustment-free physical reconstruction of solar activity". They found that during the past 3000 years the modern grand maxima, which occurred between 1959 and 2009, was a rare event both in magnitude and duration. This research adds to growing evidence that climate change is determined by the sun, not humans.

Yet during the past 20 years the US alone has poured about $US80 billion into climate change research on the presumption that humans are the primary cause. The effect has been to largely preordain scientific conclusions. It set in train a virtuous cycle where the more scientists pointed to human causes, the more governments funded their research.

At the same time, like primitive civilisations offering up sacrifices to appease the gods, many governments, including Australia's former Labor government, used the biased research to pursue "green" gesture politics. This has inflicted serious damage on economies and diminished the West's standing and effectiveness in world ­affairs.

University of Pennsylvania professor of psychology Philip Tetlock explains: "When journal reviewers, editors and funding agencies feel the same way about a course, they are less likely to detect and correct potential logical or methodological bias." How true. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its acolytes pay scant attention to any science, however strong the empirical evidence, that may relegate human causes to a lesser status.

This mindset sought to bury the results of Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark's experiments using the Large Hadron Collider, the world's most powerful particle accelerator. For the first time in controlled conditions, Svensmark's hypothesis that the sun alters the climate by influencing cosmic ray influx and cloud formation was validated. The head of CERN, which runs the laboratory, obviously afraid of how this heretical conclusion would be received within the global warming establishment, urged caution be used in interpreting the results "in this highly political area of climate change debate". And the media obliged.

But Svensmark is not alone. For example, Russian scientists at the Pulkovo Observatory are convinced the world is in for a cooling period that will last for 200-250 years. Respected Norwegian solar physicist Pal Brekke warns temperatures may actually fall for the next 50 years. Leading British climate scientist Mike Lockwood, of Reading University, found 24 occasions in the past 10,000 years when the sun was declining as it is now, but could find none where the decline was as fast. He says a return of the Dalton Minimum (1790-1830), which included "the year without summer", is "more likely than not". In their book The Neglected Sun , Sebastian Luning and Fritz Varen­holt think that temperatures could be two-tenths of a degree Celsius cooler by 2030 because of a predicted anaemic sun. They say it would mean "warming getting postponed far into the future".

If the world does indeed move into a cooling period, its citizens are ill-prepared. After the 2008 fin­ancial crisis, most economies are still struggling to recover. Cheap electricity in a colder climate will be critical, yet distorted price signals caused by renewable energy policies are driving out reliable baseload generators. Attracting fresh investment will be difficult, expensive and slow.

Only time will tell, but it is fanciful to believe that it will be business as usual in a colder global climate. A war-weary world's response to recent events in the Middle East, Russia's excursion into the Crimea and Ukraine and China's annexation of air space over Japan's Senkaku/Daioyu Islands has so far been muted. It is interesting to contemplate how the West would handle the geopolitical and humanitarian challenges brought on by a colder climate's shorter growing seasons and likely food shortages. Abundance is conducive to peace. However, a scenario where nations are desperately competing for available energy and food will bring unpredictable threats, far more testing than anything we have seen in recent history.

During the past seven years, Australia has largely fallen into line with Western priorities and redistributive policies. It is reminiscent of a family that has inherited a vast fortune constantly fighting over the legacy but showing little interest in securing the future.

However, a country that is so rich in nature's gifts should not be complacent or assume that in other circumstances there will not be adversaries prepared to take what we have.

But, in times of peace and when government debts and deficits are growing daily, it is hard to persuade voters to trade off immediate benefits for increased defence spending, let alone prepare them, after all the warming propaganda, that global cooling is a possibility.

Yet the global warming pause is now nearly 18 years old and, as climate scientist Judith Curry says, "attention is moving away from the pause to the cooling since 2002". Anastasios Tsonis, who leads the University of Wisconsin Atmospheric Sciences Group, talks of "massive rearrangements in the dominant pattern of the weather".

But the political establishment is deaf to this. Having put all our eggs in one basket and having made science a religion, it bravely persists with its global warming narrative, ignoring at its peril and ours, the clear warnings being given by Mother Nature.

Voltaire was right when he said: "Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy, the mad daughter of a wise mother. These daughters have too long dominated the Earth." Indeed.

Maurice Newman is chairman of the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Council. The views expressed here are his own.

Source: The Australian

History Secrets: The Sphinx, Gobekli Tepe, Ancient Catastrophes - Dr. Robert Schoch

Suspicious0bservers | Aug 17, 2014
Help Support the Educational Information:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

This Secret to Massive Yields Could Rock the Farming World

Activist Post | Aug 15, 2014 | Heather Callaghan

According to a new study, it lies in an unpatented technique...

 What will ultimately feed the world? Is it really genetic engineering? Is it biodiversity?

What can maintain and stoke that diversity - I mean, make it really flourish with bountiful food using less land?

Of course, using this discovery might mean severing ties with monolithic Big Ag and chemical corps whose actions could block this dream from becoming reality. Monoculture fans need not apply.

Typical pollination from species like honeybees might be enough to generate a crop, but can we do better? Yes!

New research from North Carolina State University demonstrated that blueberries produced more seeds and larger berries if they were visited by more groups of different bee species. In other words - not just honeybees. Combining their power with that of other species led to astounding results.

Amazingly, this allowed farmers to harvest significantly more pounds of fruit per acre.

The researchers looked at blueberries in North Carolina because it is an economically important and well-understood crop that relies on insect pollination.

Dr. Hannah Burrack, an associate professor of entomology at NC State and co-author of a paper on the research said:

We wanted to understand the functional role of diversity - And we found that there is a quantifiable benefit of having a lot of different types of bees pollinating a crop. [emphasis mine]
And for each bee group introduced, the yield growth and profit appeared to be exponential.

First, the researchers zeroed in on the five different bee species in the regional blueberry fields: honeybees, bumblebees, southeastern blueberry bees, carpenter bees and a functionally similar collection of species that they termed small native bees.

They even tested a mathematical algorithm that found an increase of $311 worth of yield per acre for each additional new species of pollinators. Example: one group would be typical yield, if two bee groups pollinated the field it would boost the yield by $311 per acre; for three bee groups, the boost becomes $622 per acre and so on!

So what is the sum value of each bee group to North Carolina blueberries?

Burrack says:
For North Carolina blueberries as a whole, we calculate the benefit of each group to be approximately $1.42 million worth of yield each year.
Holy blueberries, Batman! Holy bees, more like it. Then again, maybe that's not a lot of dough in ag terms, but think of the yield for the farmer, and think of all the extra food. Not to mention, what it could do for beekeepers and farmers markets.

Colleague and co-author Dr. David Tarpy said:
We think the benefit stems from differences in behavior between bee groups, in part depending on the weather.
Different bees for different weather - an important factor during difficult changing weather patterns.

For example, southeastern blueberry bees work well regardless of inclement weather, whereas honeybees only perform at their best on calm, warm, sunny days.

Burrack adds:

This can make a big difference, since blueberries bloom in March and April in North Carolina. That means the weather can swing from great to awful, as we saw this year. 
We've shown that there is a real financial benefit associated with biodiversity. The next step is to figure out how to foster that diversity in practical terms.
Some research allegedly points to having native, flowering plants near blueberry fields to increase native bee populations over time, but the researchers wish to see what role crop management can play in fostering bee diversity at crop sites - whatever that entails...

This is incredibly good news but more and more studies, including this one from Harvard, are demonstrating that neonicotinoid pesticides are largely responsible for major bee declines. So in order for this bee-diversity finding to rock the world, their health needs to come first - and as you can see, the bees pay it forward to us many times over.

Could this secret be why giant biotech and chemical corps like Monsanto, Bayer and Syngenta undermine studies that implicate their pesticides in Colony Collapse Disorder? And...why they rush to pull the strings behind more studies to "help the bees"? To make matters worse, they blame the farmers when their seeds and chemicals finally show negative consequences - but the farmers are left holding the empty bag.

Do we really want to live in a shriveling monoculture where patented robobees are the only ones able to pollinate - for the right price? Knowing the above would rock agriculture because it would decentralize the monopolistic power system and place it back in the right hands. It would breathe new life into local agriculture and the local economy.

The paper, "Bee species diversity enhances productivity and stability in a perennial crop," was published May 9 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE. Lead author of the paper is Shelley Rogers, a former graduate student at NC State who received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to support this work.

Image credit

Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at and Like at Facebook.

Ebola and Climate Change: How Are They Connected?

In light of the recent Ebola outbreak, some researchers are
connecting deforestation in countries such as Liberia to
the disease, noting that the change in landscape is
bringing wildlife in closer contact with humans.
Creative Commons: Stefan Koopmanschap, 2007
EcoWatch | Aug 14, 2014 | Ziona Eyob

As the Ebola virus is ravaging parts of West Africa, recent reports are linking the outbreak to past studies holding climate change accountable for the uptick in viral diseases.

In 2006, a study published in the journal Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene revealed that Ebola, a “violent hemorrhagic fever that leads to internal and external bleeding,” would be more frequent with global warming due to its intermittent connection to wildlife and climate. In 2008, another study reiterated the same fears, noting that Ebola outbreaks would be among a cluster of other diseases gaining momentum, such as bird flu, cholera, plague and tuberculosis.

“We are calling for increased attention and action in developing global monitoring networks to look at a wide variety of infectious diseases in a wide variety of wildlife since they are such sensitive indicators of the health of the systems in which they live,” said veterinarian William Karesh, Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) vice president of global health programs, back in 2008.

In light of the recent outbreak, some researchers are connecting deforestation in countries such as Liberia to the disease, noting that the change in landscape is bringing wildlife in closer contact with humans. According to researchers, the virus is typically found in wildlife, and transmission from animals to humans occurs through contact with infected bodily fluids, causing a “spillover” in species. The virus can also be contracted from another human being when a person is in direct contact with infected blood, vomit or feces during contagious periods, putting health workers in West Africa primarily at risk.

Among other causes, “seasonal droughts, strong winds, thunderstorms, landslides, heat waves, floods and changed rainfall patterns,” are also accused of instigating wildlife migration away from their natural habitat to human proximity. WCS affirms that Ebola outbreaks typically occur after “unusual downpours or droughts in central Africa—a likely result of climate change.” Climate change would in turn amplify food insecurity, and prompt even more remote West African communities to eat virus-carrying animals like bats.

“We already know climate change is weakening crop yields,” explains Kristie Ebi, professor of global health at the University of Washington. “When there’s high food insecurity, how will people go about making sure that they have enough food for their families?”

Thus far, the virus has claimed nearly 1000 lives in West Africa with 1800 currently suffering from the illness. According to reports from the CBC, there are no vaccines or antiviral drugs available to treat the disease, and the mortality rate is estimated at 60 percent.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Coming Solar Cycle(s)

Suspicious0bservers | Aug 15, 2014

Our Website:
Chilly Temps in Maunder Minimum:
The Recent Solar Maximum:
Chilly 17th Century:
Choudhuri 2013:
Sunspot Number:
Sun Weakening Quickly:

Rosetta Mission Findings and The Myth of Dirty Snowballs | Space News

ThunderboltsProject | Aug 15, 2014

The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission to the Comet 67P is attracting worldwide attention to comet science. While months remain until the team attempts to land a probe on the comet's surface, astonishing revelations are already confronting scientists on Earth.

Story, Three Surprising Facts About Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko:

Fukushima Radiation Fallout Causing Serious Biological Effects on Plants and Animals

Activist Post | Aug 15, 2014

Following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant meltdown, biological samples were obtained only after extensive delays, limiting the information that could be gained about the impacts of that historic disaster. Determined not to repeat the shortcomings of the Chernobyl studies, scientists began gathering biological information only a few months after the disastrous meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan in 2011. Results of these studies are now beginning to reveal serious biological effects of the Fukushima radiation on non-human organisms ranging from plants to butterflies to birds.

A series of articles summarizing these studies has now been published in the Journal of Heredity. These describe widespread impacts, ranging from population declines to genetic damage to responses by the repair mechanisms that help organisms cope with radiation exposure.

"A growing body of empirical results from studies of birds, monkeys, butterflies, and other insects suggests that some species have been significantly impacted by the radioactive releases related to the Fukushima disaster," stated Dr. Timothy Mousseau of the University of South Carolina, lead author of one of the studies.

Most importantly, these studies supply a baseline for future research on the effects of ionizing radiation exposure to the environment.

Common to all of the published studies is the hypothesis that chronic (low-dose) exposure to ionizing radiation results in genetic damage and increased mutation rates in reproductive and non-reproductive cells.

 One of the studies (Hayashi et al. 2014) documented the effects of radiation on rice by exposing healthy seedlings to low-level gamma radiation at a contaminated site in Fukushima Prefecture. After three days, a number of effects were observed, including activation of genes involved in self-defense, ranging from DNA replication and repair to stress responses to cell death.

"The experimental design employed in this work will provide a new way to test how the entire rice plant genome responds to ionizing radiation under field conditions," explained Dr. Randeep Rakwal of the University of Tsukuba in Japan, one of the authors of the study.

Another team of researchers (Taira et al. 2014) examined the response of the pale grass blue butterfly, one of the most common butterfly species in Japan, to radiation exposure at the Fukushima site. They found size reduction, slowed growth, high mortality and morphological abnormality both at the Fukushima site and among laboratory-bred butterflies with parents collected from the contaminated site.

 Multiple sources of exposure were included in the butterfly study. "Non-contaminated larvae fed leaves from contaminated host plants collected near the reactor showed high rates of abnormality and mortality," explained Dr. Joji Otaki of the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan. Some of their results suggested the possible evolution of radiation resistance in Fukushima butterflies as well.

A review of genetic and ecological studies for a range of other species at both Chernobyl and Fukushima (Mousseau 2014) revealed significant consequences of radiation. Population censuses of birds, butterflies, and cicadas at Fukushima showed major declines attributable to radiation exposure. Morphological effects, such as aberrant feathers on barn swallows, were also observed. The authors suggest that long-term studies at Chernobyl could predict likely effects in the future at the Fukushima site.

All of these studies highlight the need for early and ongoing monitoring at sites of accidental radiation release. "Detailed analyses of genetic impacts to natural populations could provide the information needed to predict recovery times for wild communities at Fukushima as well as any sites of future nuclear accidents," Mousseau said. "There is an urgent need for greater investment in basic scientific research of the wild animals and plants of Fukushima."

Press from American Genetic Association.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fracking Operators Illegally Injecting Diesel Fuel, Study Finds

(Photo: Bosc d'Anjou)
Common Dreams | Aug 14, 2014 | Deirdre Fulton

“The public deserves more disclosure and transparency about the toxic chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing,” attorney says.

Fracking companies have continued to illegally inject diesel fuel into the ground over the last four years, despite repeated denials by the drilling industry, according to a report by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) released Wednesday.

EIP’s report, “Fracking Beyond the Law,” uses self-reported data from drilling companies and federal records to document at least 33 companies fracking at least 351 wells across 12 states with fluids containing diesel from 2010 through early August 2014. Diesel fuels were used to frack wells in Texas, Colorado, North Dakota, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, Kansas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Montana without required Safe Drinking Water Act permits.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reconfirmed as recently as February of this year that drilling operators are prohibited from from injecting diesel fuels into oil and gas wells unless authorized by such a permit. In fact, the controversial Energy Policy Act of 2005 — also known as the "Halliburton Loophole" because it was championed by then-Vice President Dick Cheney, a former CEO of Halliburton— exempted fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act except when diesel fuel is used.

"We thought this problem was a thing of the past," EIP senior attorney Mary Greene said in a teleconference. "That's what we've been told by industry for the last decade."

The report also found that companies like Halliburton are still supplying companies with diesel — a potential threat to drinking water supplies and public health because diesel contains toxic chemicals, such as benzene, that cause cancer or other serious health problems, even at low doses — and that the privately-run fracking chemical disclosure registry FracFocus does little to actually protect the public, allowing operators to change or replace previous disclosures, at any time, without leaving any record of or justification for the change.

In addition, "nearly 80 percent of the total volume of fluid injected across all 351 wells identified in this report was marked either as trade secret, confidential business information, proprietary information, or with a non-identifying notation, and was therefore not disclosed or the contents were ambiguously described," the report reads.

This is a problem, it continues, because:
Without access to trade secret information, or the chemical composition of contaminated water used as base fluid (known as “flowback” or “produced water”), there is no way for the public or regulators to quantify, monitor, or curtail the unpermitted injection of diesel fuels under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
“The public deserves more disclosure and transparency about the toxic chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing,” Greene said in a statement.  “The current reporting system must be improved.”

In an email, EPA spokesman George Hull told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that because the Energy Policy Act of 2005 did not define the term “diesel,” EPA didn’t enforce the Safe Drinking Water Act’s permitting provisions for nine years while it sought a “scientifically-supported definition.” After receiving more than 97,000 comments and consulting with industry and petroleum experts, it finalized a diesel definition in February, he said.

Industry groups argue that until February, the definition of diesel did not include kerosene, which was used by a majority of the operators identified in EIP's report. The pro-fracking group Energy In Depth likened the EIP report to a situation in which "officials reduced the speed limit, and then accused drivers of speeding because of how fast they drove before the change."

Meanwhile, the LA Times reported earlier this week that energy companies are fracking for oil and gas at far shallower depths than widely believed, sometimes through underground sources of drinking water.