Oklahoma teachers will walk out en masse this coming Monday, despite a historic agreement from the ailing state legislature to give them a long-overdue pay raise which will be paid for by increasing taxes on the state's previously untouchable oil and gas industry.
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In 1992, Oklahoma passed a ballot initiative saying that the state could only raise taxes with a three quarters majority in the state assembly, creating a one-way ratchet where every tax cut becomes effectively permanent, including the sweetheart deals cut for frackers and the deep cuts to taxes on the wealthiest residents of the state.
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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is suing Breitling Energy Corporation of Dallas, Texas, and its CEO, "Frack Master" Chris Faulkner, for fraudulently spending $80 million dollars of investors' money on fancy dining, luxury cars, strippers, sex workers, and all the other fixins of a jet-setting sociopath's lifestyle. Read the rest
Jeremy Buckingham, a Green Party MP, took a dingy out on Queensland's Condamine River, about 220km west of Brisbane, and set the river on fire with a barbeque lighter. Read the rest
Pumping all that waste water into the ground has really helped Oklahoma and Texas catch up to California! Man-made earthquakes in those regions are now as likely as the real ones in some of California's riskiest zones. These new maps from the USGS tell the tale pretty well.
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USGS scientists have now published the first maps of these new quake zones, and they're an eye-opener. An eye-opener because 7 million people are now, suddenly, living in quake zones. There are 21 hot spots where the quakes are concentrated. They're in places where, historically, noticeable earthquakes were rare: Texas, Colorado, Arkansas, Kansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Ohio and Alabama have also experienced some induced quakes.
A decade ago, an Oklahoman could count the number of noticeable quakes on her fingers. "In this past year, we had over 900," says USGS seismic hazard expert Mark Petersen. "So the rates have surged."
Petersen says induced quakes have become more frequent because there's more wastewater from oil and gas operations around the country that has to be disposed of. Companies pump it down into underground wells, and sometimes that water raises pressure on underground faults that then slip and cause small quakes.
The doyenne of punk design drove the tank to the UK prime minister's house in Chadlington, Oxfordshire to carry out a spoof "chemical attack" in protest over new fracking licenses in 27 residential areas (but not near David Cameron's home). Read the rest
This morning's ruling from New York State's highest court, holding that towns can ban fracking in city limits, is a huge setback for petrocratic rule.
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Boing Boing pal Ejival in Tijuana, Mexico points us to this political parody video, "Frack U."
"It’s absolutely funny and sad, because its true," Ejival says. "Mexico passed legislation last week that opens the energy sector to foreign investment, and of course the capitalist media was very happy. God help us."
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There are many downsides to hydraulic fracturing and the natural gas it's used to harvest, but for the people who work in America's booming oil and gas fields there's a positive that outweighs a lot of the problems other people worry about. At High Country News, Jonathan Thompson writes about the financial benefits fracking holds for families, especially those where the people working don't have a college degree. With fewer and fewer well-paid manufacturing jobs, hydrocarbons are one of the few industries left where your job can improve your kid's chances of reaching a higher income bracket. Read the rest
Tom writes, "Arizona is poor in natural gas, so you'd think it would escape the fracking controversy. Maybe not.
The Copper State is one of the best places in the world to find helium, which has been in short supply.
The catch is, it takes fracking to mine it. The pipeline company Kinder Morgan paid $30 million last year for fields rich in helium, and also CO2, which is used to pump the last drops of oil from old wells in Texas and New Mexico.
Arizona may have rich, frackable deposits of shale oil, too. The Navajo Oil & Gas Co. has applied for a permit to do some exploring." Read the rest
Here at BoingBoing, we've talked before about the fact that earthquakes can be triggered by things humans do — everything from building particularly large reservoir to, most likely, injecting wastewater from fracking operations into underground wells. After a 5.7 earthquake hit Oklahoma in 2011, researchers there began gathering evidence that is making the link between rumbling earth and oil-and-gas discovery a lot stronger. At Mother Jones, Michael Behar has a story about this research and and how it is (and isn't) affecting the industry. Read the rest
A documentary and PSA from Yoko Ono and Artists Against Fracking.
NPR's Robert Krulwich circled this bright spot on a night-time satellite image of the United States. As Krulwich points out, this cluster of lights is new — it wasn't there in 2005. And it's not a city.
Instead, that bright spot is a shining reminder of the natural gas boom. What you're seeing are the lights from drilling rigs and flares burning gas. Read the rest
CBS Outdoor via Rolling Stone
Yoko Ono and Sean Ono Lennon launched "Artists Against Fracking" earlier this year, and have received no response from NY gov. Andrew Cuomo to their request to meet and talk about the idea of a ban of fracking in New York. Now, Ono and Lennon have launched a billboard campaign on a route where the governor often passes. “Governor Cuomo: Imagine there’s no fracking,” the sign reads.
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BURN: An Energy Journal, the radio documentary series hosted by former NPR journalist Alex Chadwick, has a 2-hour election special out. It's the most powerful piece of radio journalism I've listened to since—well, since the last episode they put out. You really must do yourself a favor and set aside some time this weekend to listen to “The Power of One.”
Energy policy, defining how we use energy to power our economy and our lives, is among the most pressing issues for the next four years. In this special two-hour edition of BURN, stories about the power of one: how, in this election season, a single person, place, policy or idea can — with a boost from science — affect the nation’s search for greater energy independence.
The documentary examines how "individuals, new scientific ideas, grassroots initiatives and potentially game-changing inventions are informing the energy debate in this Presidential Election year, and redefining America’s quest for greater energy independence." It was completed and hit the air before Hurricane Sandy, but the energy issues illuminated by that disaster (blackouts, gas shortage, grid failure, backup power failure at hospitals) further underscore the urgency. Read the rest
In the New York Times, an eloquent op-ed by Sean Lennon that serves as a manifesto of sorts for Artists Against Fracking, an organization started with his mother, Yoko Ono. Snip:
Natural gas has been sold as clean energy. But when the gas comes from fracturing bedrock with about five million gallons of toxic water per well, the word “clean” takes on a disturbingly Orwellian tone. Don’t be fooled. Fracking for shale gas is in truth dirty energy. It inevitably leaks toxic chemicals into the air and water. Industry studies show that 5 percent of wells can leak immediately, and 60 percent over 30 years. There is no such thing as pipes and concrete that won’t eventually break down. It releases a cocktail of chemicals from a menu of more than 600 toxic substances, climate-changing methane, radium and, of course, uranium.
Video: THE SKY IS PINK by Josh Fox and the GASLAND Team.
Fracking and earthquakes: The real risk is injecting liquid ...
Life in a fracking boomtown: man-camps, meth labs, strippers, and ...
EPA to fracking-polluted village: here's some clean water! 24 hours ...
The Fracking Song: "My Water's On Fire Tonight"
Woman lights fracking-polluted tap water on fire Read the rest