“If the dam had collapsed at night, everyone would have died”.
These chilling words came from Duarte Junior, a mayor of a city downstream from Samarco mine waste dam that failed last month in Minas Gerais, a state in southwestern Brazil.
The newly-minted Paris climate agreement calls for limiting global temperature increase to 2°C, and leaves in the preamble the more aspirational goal shared by many countries of 1.5°C. It’s clear to observers around the world that meeting this goal is going to require steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and leaving most of the world’s remaining fossil fuels in the ground.
And that includes natural gas, particularly fracked natural gas.
Talk about a bitter pill – in exchange for a 5-year extension on the tax credit for renewable energy, Congress has PERMANENTLY lifted the forty-year old crude oil export ban.
This deal lines the pockets of the oil industry at the expense of the global climate. Crude oil from shale regions like the Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in Texas can now be shipped to overseas markets; it’s not even likely to be a good deal for consumers.
One avenue to encourage a more rapid transition from dirty fossil fuels to a clean energy economy is through socially responsible investment, or in this case, disinvestment. If we want fossil fuels to stop dominating the global economy and our political decision makers, then we need to stop buying into them.
So it was great news back in September that the Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced they would divest from fossil fuels.
“Can’t anybody here play this game?” baseball manager Casey Stengel said about his 1962 New York Mets, renowned as the worst team of all time.
Stengel’s famous line comes to mind with the recent publication of a report by the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ investigative arm, showing that the federal Bureau of Land Management, the leading regulator of oil and gas drilling on federal land, wasn’t even inspecting more than 2,100 of 3,702 wells drilled between fiscal years 2009 and 2012 that the bureau, itself, had designated as high risks for water pollution or other environmental harm.
Last week the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Minerals held a hearing entitled, “Energy Independence: Domestic Opportunities to Reverse California’s Growing Dependence on Foreign Oil”. This hearing was a thinly-veiled promotional exercise for increasing oil drilling and fracking in the Golden State.
El 20 de febrero, los senadores Holly Mitchell (D - Los Ángeles) y Mark Leno (D - San Francisco), introdujeron la Legislación de Senado (SB) 1132 a la Legislatura de California, la cual pide una moratoria al fracturamiento hidráulico y otros tipos de estimulación no convencional (como la acidificación).
Yesterday, Senators Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) introduced Senate Bill (SB) 1132 to the California Legislature, which calls for a moratorium on fracking and other types of unconventional well stimulation (like acidizing).
Current law (SB4) requires an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) but there are at least two problems with it:
- Fracking and acidizing is allowed to continue while regulators conduct the EIR – essentially treating Californians’ water and health as fracking guinea pigs
- The current EIR doesn’t assess the full range of impacts of fracking/acidizing.