President Obama has delayed his decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline, many are speculating until after the mid-term elections. This delay is good news, but Obama has yet to decide whether or not to allow the building of a 1700-miles long pipeline carrying tons of carbon-heavy crude into the heart of the United States through Canada. It would move 35 million gallons of tar-sands oil every day, which would take a toll on the environment, species’ habitats, and will create nearly 19 million tons of carbon emissions.
Glenda Besana-Ostman, a seismologist with the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, confirmed the finding is the first in the region to suggest a connection between the quakes and the actual extraction of oil and gas, as opposed to wastewater disposal. A deep-injection well in the same region of Ohio was found to be the likely cause of a series of quakes in the same region of Ohio in 2012.
Under the new permit conditions, all new drilling sites in Ohio within 3 miles of a known fault or seismic activity of 2.0 magnitude or higher will be conditioned on the installation of sensitive seismic-monitoring equipment. Results will be directly available to regulators, Simmers said, so the state isn’t reliant on drilling operators providing the data voluntarily.
If seismic activity of 1.0 magnitude or greater is felt, drilling will be paused for evaluation. If a link is found, the operation will be halted.
“While we can never be 100% sure that drilling activities are connected to a seismic event, caution dictates that we take these new steps to protect human health, safety and the environment,” said James Zehringer, director of Ohio’s natural resources department.
Ohio has also imposed an indefinite drilling moratorium at the site of the March quakes. The state is allowing oil and gas extraction to continue at five existing wells at the site.
This is great news for the Bristol Bay and its community. The Pebble Mine would cause irreversible damage to the environment and fishing communities of Bristol Bay.
“Extensive scientific study has given us ample reason to believe that the Pebble Mine would likely have significant and irreversible negative impacts on the Bristol Bay watershed and its abundant salmon fisheries,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in a statement.
“It’s why EPA is taking this step forward in our effort to ensure protection for the world’s most productive salmon fishery from the risks it faces from what could be one of the largest open pit mines on earth. This process is not something the agency does very often, but Bristol Bay is an extraordinary and unique resource.”
While the announcement does not mean the Obama administration has made a final decision to prohibit Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., a Canadian-based firm, from starting construction on the Pebble Mine project, it will delay it for months and make it much harder for the controversial project to move ahead at all.
A grim report on climate change is out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, suggesting that the effects of climate change are already happening and that the world is ill-prepared for its effects.
The report’s conclusions mirrored those of a much shorter but no less disturbing report issued two weeks ago by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest scientific society. Like the panel, the association declared that the world is already feeling the effects of global warming, that the ultimate consequences could be catastrophic, and that the window for effective action is swiftly closing.
The intergovernmental panel’s report (a companion report later this month will discuss what governments should do) could carry considerable weight with delegates to next year’s climate change summit meeting in Paris, at which the members of the United Nations will again try, after years of futility, to fashion a new global climate treaty. And together, the two reports could build public support for President Obama’s efforts to use his executive authority to limit greenhouse gases, most recently with a plan issued on Friday to reduce methane emissions from landfills, agricultural operations and oil and gas production and distribution.