Hello Canada. Are you paying attention?
March 12, 2014: Cochrane Interpipeline Gas Plant NW of Calgary (where polluter CEOs and deregulators at AER live and breath)
Rhode Island vs 21 Oil & Gas Companies: Judge William Smith characterized operations “leading to all kinds of displacement, death (extinctions, even), and destruction….Defendants understood the consequences of their activity decades ago…. But instead of sounding the alarm, Defendants went out of their way to becloud the emerging scientific consensus and further delay changes – however existentially necessary – that would in any way interfere with their multi-billion-dollar profits.”
“By any responsible account,” Chief Justice Castille wrote, “the exploitation of the Marcellus Shale Formation will produce a detrimental effect on the environment, on the people, their children, and the future generations, and potentially on the public purse, perhaps rivaling the environmental effects of coal extraction.”
New Study: Alberta’s tar sands leading source of air pollution in North America, Tens of thousands of people living within reach breathing elevated levels of fine particles linked in previous studies to lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes No surprise diabetes is sky rocketing in Indigenous communities in Canada, many are severely oil, gas and frac polluted.
Los Angeles bans new oil wells, plans to close existing ones, “When this ordinance goes into place, there will be no new oil and gas production whatsoever,” said LA Councilmember Paul Krekorian. “That’s a pretty monumental step that we’re taking.” by Anne C. Mulkern, Dec 5, 2022, Energy Wire in Politico
The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Friday to ban new oil and gas wells in the city and eventually close existing ones, part of an oil phaseout trend in California.
Los Angeles officials called the move necessary to protect the health of residents who live near oil wells. It’s also aimed at curbing climate change. The nation’s second-largest city wants to achieve 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2035.
“When this ordinance goes into place, there will be no new oil and gas production whatsoever,” Councilmember Paul Krekorian said during the council meeting. “That’s a pretty monumental step that we’re taking.”
Los Angeles is one of the biggest sites of oil drilling in the nation’s most populous state, along with Kern County in the California Central Valley.
The new ban takes place as the Golden State seeks to cut oil drilling and eventually end oil consumption. The California legislature voted this year to *ban new oil wells near homes, schools, parks and other sensitive locations *
The California Air Resources Board last month released its updated “Scoping Plan,” a blueprint that lays out how the state aims to achieve carbon neutrality in 2045. The analysis identifies a desired drop in petroleum consumption of 94 percent by 2045. It also outlines a plan to phase out natural gas use in buildings
Several local California governments have passed or are considering oil drilling bans — including Los Angeles-adjacent Culver City, Los Angeles County and the cities of Antioch and Brentwood in the San Francisco Bay Area.
An oil drillers’ association criticized the ban as harmful from a climate change perspective. Oil consumption in California isn’t dropping, said Rock Zierman, chief executive of the California Independent Petroleum Association.Polluters and their propagandizing health-harming enablers can stuff themselves along with Putin and Trump.
That means, he said, that “every barrel we don’t produce you have to tanker in from a foreign country. They’re just moving to increase imports from foreign countries into our crowded ports.”Nope. You are wrong. Non deadly alternates will move into position quickly. Today’s youth are not as ignorant, lazy and greedy as the old (racist misogynistic) white guys currently fast ruining the earth’s ability to sustain life, human and other.
It’s more expensive oil, which will drive up the cost of gasolineFantastic! The higher the prices go, the quicker the alternatives move in, bringing with them healthier safer jobs and healthier happier safer communities!, he said. It also will cut in-state jobs and “probably lead to costly litigation.”Take your threat and stuff it up your evil ass. Satan’s waitin’ for you and your ilk, notably the enabling regulators, lawyers and judges.
Faster oil well phaseout possible
The council vote approved a plan to shut down existing wells within 20 years. Additionally, it directed the city to study whether LA has the legal grounds to shorten that term for some oil and gas wells.
It also includes a commitment to help transition oil industry workers. There are an estimated 31,000 industry workers earning roughly $95,000 to $105,000 annually, according to a study by Occidental College.
The plan offered recommendations on how to help those workers shift to new employment, such as with the renewable energy economy.
The council billed the new oil well ban as a significant step towards helping communities with residents of color, and those with lower incomes. Many of the oil fields are located near those neighborhoods.
Affected residents include Wendy Miranda, 26, who grew up in Wilmington, an LA suburb. Her apartment sits less than a mile from an oil field, she said.
Miranda said when she was younger she loved running. But then at 15, she started having trouble breathing while exercising and was diagnosed with asthma.
Her mother also has asthma, Miranda said, and has to use a breathing assistance machine several times a day. Watching that is “heartbreaking,“ Miranda said.
“Doctors have told her that it’s because of the environment that she lives in that is causing all her health [and] respiratory issues,” Miranda said.
She praised the City Council‘s vote.
“It’s definitely a win for the community,” Miranda said. “This was definitely a community-led victory. It’s something that we’ve been fighting for for years.”
Refer also to:
Best letter to the Editor: “Fracking must be stopped. It poisons our drinking water and pollutes our air. … Health hazards cannot be prevented. … Laws do not protect people. No regulations protect people. The process is not safe. Fracking must be banned.”
Elevated Cancer risks surround oil & gas drilling. Fracking is bad for your health says Israel Health Ministry official; Frac flowback stage causes greatest air pollution; WORLD-WIDE STUDY: One in three strokes caused by air pollution
New study by Yale School of Public Health researchers: Kids born within two km (1.24 mi) of frac sites were two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia between ages 2 and 7. A known cause is benzene, released by oil and gas activities into air and water. Dr. Cassandra Clark: “The magnitude of the elevated risk that we observed was fairly striking.”
Largest inland spill in history: U.S. Dept Justice files criminal and civil charges against Summit Midstream Partners LLC, $36Million in fines for discharging (dumping?) 111,284,642 litres frac waste over 5 months, contaminating land, groundwater, and 30 miles of tributary waters with crude oil, chloride, sodium, ammonia, aluminum, arsenic, boron, copper, nickel, selenium, zinc, barium, benzene, thallium and more. When will cowardly AER and Canada’s Dept Justice charge/fine Encana/Ovintiv for illegally frac’ing and contaminating Rosebud’s aquifers and diverting water without the mandatory permit under Alberta’s Water Act?
Brilliant courageous Justin Nobel to PA DEP’s Bureau of Radiation Protection at “Policy Hearing on Closing Hazardous Waste Loopholes” about oil & gas companies “screwing their own workers.” Critical issue in frac fields, including in Canada, because of the massive volumes of radioactive waste generated (Radium 226 persists for 1,600 years)
America’s Radioactive Secret: Oil & gas wells produce nearly a trillion gallons of toxic waste a year in America. It could be making workers sick and contaminating communities (in Canada too). “Us bringing this stuff to the surface is like letting out the devil … It is just madness.”
Resource Guide and videos for all sessions now available: 9th Annual Shale & Public Health (Dec 10, 2021) Conference by Halt the Harm Network and Physicians for Social Responsibility: “Cradle to Grave: The Reverberating Health Hazards of Oil and Gas Industry.” Focus on workers’ exposure to PFAS chemicals, radioactivity, and effects on their families, communities and beyond.
New Report: “Nightmare Contaminant” Forever Chemicals (PFAS) Use in Drilling & Frac’ing in More than 1,200 Wells in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, Wyoming between 2012 and 2020, including by Encana (in Canada too?). Records obtained from US EPA under Freedom of Information Act. Did Encana now Ovintiv inject PFAS into Rosebud and Pavillion drinking water aquifers?
Living with Encana (Ovintiv) in Pavillion, Wyoming. Sue Spencer, hydrogeologist: “There’s this veil of secrecy about everything they do. … The oil industry went nuts. ….[the oil lobby] was just like, ‘you can’t say that groundwater was impacted by the fracking industry.’”
No Canadian Mainsteam Media Reported on Standford Peer-Reviewed Study Proving Encana Frac’d, Contaminated Aquifers at Pavillion, Wyoming. In Germany, Mainstream Magazine, Der Spiegel, Did! How Corrupt Did Harper Frack Canada?
Alberta, Two Hills Co: Fire, explosion *and injuries* at Secure Energy (recently merged with notorious Newalta Tervita) crude oil tank farm. *Area residents evacuated.* How toxic is the oil? Was it frac’d with mystery chemicals, PFAS? Any H2S? Was radioactive waste stored in what exploded? Are taxpayers funding the emergency response, as usual? More than 35 firefighters, and RCMP and EMS attended.
New Film: Blowout: Dimock, Pennsylvania. Who’s Next? Already f*cked in Canada: Wheatley, Norfolk, Indian Hills, Leamington and more in Ontario; Rosebud, Redland, Wetaskiwin, Ponoka, Calgary, Spirit River, Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Fox Creek, Calmar, Lloydminster and more in Alberta; Hudson’s Hope, Farmington, Rose Prairie and more in British Columbia; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Nova Scotia; etc. etc. etc.
Another damning paper by Dominic DiGiulio et al: Chevron oilfield waste “ponds” contaminating groundwater in California. DiGiulio warns the ponds constitute “a potential wide-scale legacy groundwater contamination issue.” Think of Alberta’s toxic tarsands waste lakes, industry’s largest unlined waste “ponds” on earth, leaking into the Athabasca River and groundwater, with AER doing little but deregulate.
Media report: 8,000 acres evacuated/roads shut near Yorkton, South Texas because of Devon Energy’s Natural Gas & Condensate Blowout. Raging Three Days. Record high levels of benzene, 8 ppb, on state air monitor, Karnes City, 30 miles away.
Pennsylvania Senate Hearing: Large, growing, consistent, compelling body of evidence shows frac’ing negatively impacts public health; PA must act. Ten years later, Health Canada still won’t publicly release their frac hazard study. In Canada, frac panel members lie, ignore evidence; authorities refuse to study cumulative harms; “regulators” like AER refuse to enforce the law while engaging in fraud to serve law-violating polluters (most foreign owned) and further abuse the harmed.
Colorado study shows toxic chemicals up to 2,000 feet from frac sites; Benzene (carcinogen), toluene (neurotoxin, notably damages the brain in children) and ethyltoluenes found at up to **10 times** recommended levels 500 feet from frac operations. “Secret exposure to chemicals that our own EPA reports as a potential hazard to human health is unconscionable.”
New Investigation: Fractured: The body burden of living near fracking: Families in western Pennsylvania exposed to harmful chemicals; regulations failing to protect mental, physical, social health. In Alberta, doctors will not investigate if we are poisoned by oil/gas/frac’ing; will not take a blood test without politician permission
New Study on Pregnant Women Living Near Frac’d Natural Gas Sites in Peace River Valley, NE BC Raises Concerns: Benzene biomarker (muconic acid) in urine 3.5 times higher than in women in general Canadian population
Sprocket Energy Corp: Bigger sour gas release – 480,000 litres – by “mechanical failure” (code for frac hit?) at Fox Creek Alberta. People live there, H2S is deadly, damages the brain even at low levels, yet again, media reports nothing. Jason Kenney/Steve Harper have friends on the board?
New Study: Sulfide-producing bacteria dominate hydraulically fractured shale oil & gas wells. “An estimated 70% of waterflooded reservoirs world-wide have soured.”
Sour Gas damages the brain, even at very low levels:
Sour Gas Concentration (ppm)
Odor threshold (when rotten egg smell is first noticeable to some). …
Prolonged exposure may cause nausea, tearing of the eyes, headaches or loss of sleep. Airway problems (bronchial constriction) in some asthma patients.
IT’S A BIG ONE! AER Order against Sprocket Energy sour gas well leak/spill (by frac hit?) six km SW of Town of Fox Creek. Why no media coverage on possibly life-threatening, brain damaging leak near busy Smoke Lake Provincial Park Campground?
Because AER/industry know how bad frac’ing, frac hits & quakes are, how seriously life damaging they are, and what a bad rap they have?
Frac Hit at Fox Creek? Wanna bet industry’s pet lamb, AER, will issue no fine? 460,000 litres fluids & contaminated water spews forth from abandoned Sprocket Energy Corp sour gas well 6 km SW of Fox Creek, Nothing reported in the media!
Harmful Levels Benzene, CO2 Detected at MidWest School Surrounded by 744 Active & Abandoned Oil Wells Within 1 Mile Radius, Including CO2 Injection Wells for Enhanced Recovery by Anadarko, Now Owned by Fleur de lis
New peer-reviewed published paper by Digiulio & Jackson, Pavillion Wyoming aquifers contaminated by fracking: Only one industry is allowed to inject toxic chemicals into underground sources of drinking water – hydraulic fracturing
Encana well blowout after fracking leaves oily mess of spewing natural gas, propane, butane, benzene and toluene, forces 2 dozen families from their homes in Karnes County, Evacuees anxious to see the damage to their homes
How regulators “regulate” to make fracing safe: Let industry inject toxic frac waste into federally protected drinking water aquifers; “Levels of benzene up to 700 times federal standard have been found in waste water from fracking”
Too many judges and lawyers in USA and Canada enable devastating pollution, law violations and health harms by oil, gas and frac companies, and pimp settle ‘n gag to ensure the harms continue. May those judges and lawyers (including mine that betrayed me and the public interest) rot in hell along with ex AEC/Encana CEO Gwyn Morgan and other social, aquifer and environment murdering CEOs and their deregulating regulators.
US EPA Releases Final Frac Report: Rosebud Alberta drinking water aquifers frac’d, water wells contaminated with gas. EPA’s late edits to 2015 draft frac report downplayed the risks, contradicted the evidence, called “bizarre” & “irresponsible.” Like Alberta regulator official, Steve Wallace, secretly editing “independent” drinking water contamination reports to protect illegal aquifer frac’er Encana?
2013: Evidence Presented by Encana to 41st PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION Standing Committee Natural Resources; Encana taking step to stop frac’ing with benzene, diesel, chromium, arsenic, mercury etc I expect Encana was lying, as usual, and that our pollution enabling politicians knew/know it. I also expect that Encana/Ovintiv continues to inject these toxic chemicals, and many more, into and near drinking water aquifers when they frac. No wonder my body is falling apart after bathing in Encana’s frac water for over two years, and breathing the company’s (turned over to Lynx I believe avoid clean up) frac fumes spewing from the many compressors around my home, never mind the massive flares during Encana’s frac-aquifers boom. No wonder Encana changed spots to Ovintiv and ran away to the USA.
Compendium 8 on Harms of Frac’ing & Associated Infrastructure: “The only method of mitigating its grave threats to public health and the climate is a complete and comprehensive ban on fracking.” No evidence was found showing “fracking can be practiced in a manner that does not threaten human health directly or without imperiling climate stability upon which human health depends.”
Frac Science Compendium 8 to be released soon. Sandra Steingraber & Carmi Orenstein: “The more we learn about fracking…the worse it looks. Fracking is a villain, not a hero….” (R. Kennedy Jr., Sierra Club, other NGOs pimped frac’ing for polluters)
Match made in Hell: Calgary-based killer Calfrac supports Putin’s illegal war, rape & pillage in Ukraine; Frac giants Baker Hughes, Schlumberger, Halliburton too. No wonder: invading, rape & pillage is what frac’ers do.
Little Orphan Wells on the Prairies *and* in BC *and* in Quebec *and* in the Maritimes *and* souring and blowing up towns in Ontario … And intentional and accidental fracs, spills and leaks (including fake pollution solution Carbon Capture & Storage) leaking gases and toxic chemicals into groundwater …
Baytex Finally Successful, Gags & Settles Poisoned Alberta Families: Does a lawyer-touted “positive outcome” of displacing and gagging poisoned families, stop the poisoning? “Our house is contaminated…there’s a smell now…Part of the torture of all this is not only abandoning our farm, but the health experts…told us we shouldn’t bring anything (with us).”
At a January hearing on Baytex’s emissions, an environmental health expert hired by the Alberta government testified that many Alberta doctors are afraid to speak out against the oil sands, and afraid to connect it to health issues. A family doctor for the Albertans who live downstream from the tar sands, Dr. John O’Connor, agrees. He was threatened with having his license taken away for talking about cancer rates near the oil sands in 2006. “My experience … strongly suggests to me that government does not want to know [and] is not interested in knowing what’s going on,”
Baytex Gag Order and Can You Silence a Child? Inside the Hallowich Case; Peut-on empêcher un enfant de parler? Le cas des Hallowich Polluters, enabled by judges, do not just gag frac contaminated children and parents, they gag their heirs and their heirs and their heirs and their heirs …
Alberta mother Kimberly Mildenstein. Read about her case in Andrew Nikiforuk’s Slick Water.
A first: Harvard study links frac’ing air pollution to early deaths among nearby residents, both up and downwind of wells. The Guardian: “This would mean thousands of premature deaths linked to the oil and gas boom….”
If you want more galling details, read Andrew Nikiforuk’s award-winning Slick Water
2016 10 29: USA National Science in Society Journalism Awards reception at the Witte Museum in San Antonio Texas:
Andrew Nikiforuk’s acceptance speech:
To San Antonio/National Association of Science Writers
Thank you for this great honor and for inviting me to San Antonio.
In Canada it would be difficult to fill a bus full of science writers—it is reassuring that you can still fill a entire ballroom here in the United States.
The founder of Pakistan once said that there are two powers in the world; one is the sword and other is the pen. But that there is a third power stronger than both, that of women.
So I would like to thank first my Hebredian wife, Doreen Docherty for her continued support and in making my writing possible.
Second, I’d to thank the other woman in my life: Jessica Ernst. She is a scientist and she has worked in Alberta’s oil patch for 20 years. It took her nearly a decade to trust me with her story. Prickly. Fiercely brilliant. Combative. Wedded to evidence. Uncompromising. Meticulous. Pain in the ass. That’s Ernst.
As such Slick Water is really a story about the courage of women—and that courage differs from that of men: it is civil, persistent, strategic and selfless.
Ernst’s story is dramatic. During a messy resource boom Encana, then one of her clients, fracked into a shallow aquifer in her community near Calgary, Alberta and clearly broke the law. Ernst then caught regulators behaving badly and covering up the deed. She has now spent 9 years pursuing justice and accountability in Canada’s byzantine court system.
So I want to thank the Science In Society judges in particular for recognizing her courage and strength of character. Such people can and do change the world.
Let me add a word on the dysfunctional technology of hydraulic fracturing. Politicians and the media often portray more technology as solutions to our problems. But as many science writers know, the thoughtless deployment of previous technologies has multiplied our problems. We have a word for this predicament: complexity.
Industry swore that its cracking rock technology was safe and proven, but science now tells a different story. Brute force combined with ignorance (and that’s how one executive described the technology) has authored thousands of earthquakes from British Columbia to Texas. It has called forth clouds of migrating methane in the Four Corner states. The science is complicated but clear: cracking rock with fluids is a chaotic activity and no computer model can predict where those fractures will go. The regulatory record shows that they often go out of zone; extend into water; and rattle existing oil and gas wells, and these rattled wells are leaking more methane.
The French philosopher Jacques Ellul spoke eloquently about technology and its increasingly dominant role in our lives decades ago. He thought that whenever we abdicate our responsibilities to uphold truly human values and whenever we limit ourselves to leading a trivial existence in a technological society with the sole objective of adapting to more technologies and material comforts, we turn out backs on justice and the human spirit.
My deep thanks to the National Association of Science Writers for shining a light on that spirit tonight.
2014: Fracking Injuries, deaths and dangers for workers and communities This is one of my most popular posts.
During the fracking process, silica sand is mixed with water and other chemicals and pumped into shale formations at high pressure to break up the rock and stimulate well production. Both onshore and offshore fracking can use hundreds of thousands of pounds of silica/sand, which creates airborne dust at the fracking site, and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has found that fracking sites were exposed to dust containing high levels of respirable crystalline silica.
Hydraulic fracking sand contains up to 99 percent silica. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), crystalline silica particles present in the body become trapped, causing lung inflammation and reducing the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen. Even exposure to small quantities of crystalline silica over time can lead to cancer, bronchitis, or silicosis. In a Hazard Alert issued in June 2012 by OSHA and NIOSH, seven areas of exposure to silica for fracking workers were identified:
- Dust ejected from thief hatches (access ports) on top of the sand movers during refilling operations while the machines are running (hot loading)
- Dust ejected and pulsed through open side fill ports on the sand movers during refilling operation
- Dust generated by on-site vehicle traffic
- Dust released from the transfer belt under the sand movers
- Dust created as sand drops into, or is agitated in, the blender hopper and on transfer belts
- Dust released from operations of transfer belts between the sand mover and the blender
- Dust released from the top of the end of the sand transfer belt (dragon’s tail) on sand movers
Because the fracking process is essentially the same for both onshore and offshore operations, all fracking workers face the same types of exposure. … As do families, communities, farms, pets, livestock, wildlife and fish living frac’d.
Encana’s waste, dumped on foodland at Rosebud, Alberta.
Enjoy that with your toast and pasta!