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Posts Tagged ‘Water supply

California fracking uses more than 2 mil gallons of water a day (in a major drought!)

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Photo: According to new analysis by Californians Against Fracking, the California oil & gas industry uses over 2 million gallons per day on activities like fracking, acidizing, and cyclic steam injection. Read more here: http://go.350.org/Y5XxHG Unlike many other water uses -- say, farming for instance -- fracking permanently pollutes water and effectively removes it from the water cycle.  What was that about a drought? Photo: Brooke Anderson Photography: Stills of Our Stories & Struggles

 

According to new analysis by Californians Against Fracking, the California oil & gas industry uses over 2 million gallons per day on activities like fracking, acidizing, and cyclic steam injection. Read more here:

Does an Old EPA Fracking Study Provide Proof of Contamination?

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by Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica   Aug 5, 2011      Thewashingtoncurrent.com  

This post has been updated with the industry’s response.

For years the drilling industry has steadfastly insisted that there has never been a proven case in which fracking has led to contamination of drinking water.

Now Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization engaged in the debate over the safety of fracking, has unearthed a 24-year-old case study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that unequivocally says such contamination has occurred. The New York Times reported on EWG’s year-long research effort and the EPA’s paper Wednesday.

The 1987 EPA report, which describes a dark, mysterious gel found in a water well in Jackson County, W.Va., states that gels were also used to hydraulically fracture a nearby natural gas well and that “the residual fracturing fluid migrated into (the resident’s) water well.”

The circumstances of this particular well are not unique. There are several other cases across the country where evidence suggests similar contamination has occurred and many more where the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing have contaminated water supplies on the surface. ProPublica has written about many of them in the course of a three-year investigation into the safety of drilling for natural gas.

But the language found in the EPA report made public Wednesday is the strongest articulation yet by federal officials that there is a direct causal connection between man-made fissures thousands of feet underground and contaminants found in well water gone bad. The explanation, presented in the EPA’s own words , stands in stark contrast to recent statements made by EPA officials that they could not document a proven case of contamination and a 2004 EPA report that concluded that fracturing was safe.

“This is our leading regulatory agency coming to the conclusion that hydraulic fracturing can and did contaminate underground sources of drinking water, which contradicts what industry has been saying for years,” said Dusty Horwitt, EWG’s senior counsel and the lead researcher on the report.

A spokesperson for the EPA would not directly address the apparent contradiction but said in an email that the agency is now reviewing the 1987 report and that “the agency has identified several circumstances where contamination of wells is alleged to have occurred and is reviewing those cases in depth.”

The contamination debate has intensified as tens of thousands more wells are being drilled in newly discovered shale gas deposits across the country. The EPA and some scientists have long warned that when rock is hydraulically fractured, there is an increased risk of contaminants traveling through underground cracks until they reach drinking water. Many geologists have countered, however, that migration over thousands of feet is virtually impossible.

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The New Politics of Food Scarcity

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Veteran world watcher Lester Brown sounds dire warning of spreading political unrest, conflicts, and deepening division between rich and poor as food prices soar and supply falls further and further behind rising demand, but does not point to obvious solution  Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

June 14, 2011                    The Institute of Science in Society

 

Soaring food prices and political unrest

Soaring food prices were a major trigger for the riots that has destabilized North Africa and the Middle East beginning December 2010 in Tunisia. Political unrest has since engulfed Algeria, Egypt, Jordon, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and spread to Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, and beyond [1-4]. Latin America is said to be at risk [5], and even Britain, if food prices continue to rise [6]. The UN Food Price Index has been hovering above 231 points since the start of 2011, and hit its all-time high of 238 points in February. The May 2011 average was 232 points, 37 percent higher than a year ago [7].

Richard Ferguson, global head of agriculture at Renaissance Capital, an investment bank specializing in emerging markets, told The Guardian newspaper in the UK [1] that the problems were likely to spread. “Food prices are absolutely core to a lot of these disturbances. If you are 25 years old, with no access to education, no income and live in a politically repressed environment, you are going to be pretty angry when the price of food goes up the way it is.” It acted “as a catalyst” for political unrest, when added to other ills such as a lack of democracy.

“Scarcity is the new norm”

Food has quickly become the hidden driver of world politics [8], says Lester Brown, venerated veteran world-watcher, who also predicts that crises like these are going to become increasingly common. “Scarcity is the new norm.”

Historically, price spikes tended to be almost exclusively due to bad weather such as monsoon failure, drought, heat wave, etc., but today, they are driven by trends of both increasing demand and decreasing ability to supply. With a rapidly expanding global population demanding to be fed, crop-withering temperatures and exhausted aquifers are making it difficult to increase production. Moreover, the world is losing its ability to soften the blow of shortages. USA, the world’s largest grain producer, was able to rescue shortages with its grain surpluses in the past, or bring idle croplands into cultivation. “We can’t do that anymore; the safety cushion is gone.”

That’s why “the food crisis of 2011 is for real”, Brown warns, and why it may bring yet more bread riots and political revolutions. Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, may not be the end, but the beginning.

Brown does not mention the huge speculation on agricultural commodities in the world financial markets that not only drives up prices but increases volatility, making it much more difficult for farmers and consumers to cope (see [9] Financing World Hunger, SiS 46). Olivier de Shutter, the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food, has referred to the 2007-2008 crisis as a “price-crisis” not a “food-crisis”, precipitated by speculation and not linked to insufficient food being produced, at least not yet, as Brown elaborates.

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Peak Soil: It’s Like Peak Oil, Only Worse

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010  By Matthew Wild

Peak Generation

Resource collapse is bigger than peak oil, and bigger even than the projected depletion of natural gas, coal and uranium – it encompasses each and every natural resource extracted, exploited or otherwise processed on an industrial scale.

This is not to deny peak oil, or the subsequent decline of all the other hydrocarbons that are essential to our lives and economies; the point is that even if we switched to renewable energy tomorrow, we would still not be out of the mess that we’re in. We’re experiencing problems with our living environment – climate, soil and water – that are more than just energy issues.

Once again, Hubbert’s model can be applied to any finite resource we extract from the Earth. If it’s tragic that we are burning through all available resources with no thought for future consequences, it’s worse still to think that the payback will likely happen all together. We will probably find ourselves dealing with a widespread hydrocarbons collapse right when we have to face a greatly reduced global capacity to grow crops and find people enough water to drink.

The peak debate, although on the surface about energy security, comes back to food supply. So here I’m going to look at peak soil, peak water and peak phosphorous.

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Let Rainforest Action Network Know Global Ecological Sustainability Depends Upon Ending Old Forest Logging

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By Rainforest Portal, a project of Ecological Internet – March 13, 2010

Rainforest Action Network is a key supporter of failed Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) efforts to “sustainably” log tens of millions of hectares of primary and old-growth forests for lawn furniture, toilet paper and other throw-away consumer items. As RAN celebrates its 25th anniversary, let them know old forests will never be fully protected as long as they and others unquestioningly support “certified” yet ecologically unsustainable first-time industrial primary rainforest logging. Demand RAN vigorously defend their support for first-time primary rainforest logging over an area two times as large as Texas, or resign from FSC immediately. Encourage RAN to spend the next 25 years working to protect and expand old forests to maintain a habitable Earth.

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World’s top firms cause $2.2 Trillion of environmental damage

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Report for the UN into the activities of the world’s 3,000 biggest companies estimates one-third of profits would be lost if firms were forced to pay for use, loss and damage of environment

Juliette Jowit   guardian.co.uk,    18 February 2010

Black clouds over the central business district, Jakarta. Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

The cost of pollution and other damage to the natural environment caused by the world’s biggest companies would wipe out more than one-third of their profits if they were held financially accountable, a major unpublished study for the United Nations has found.

The report comes amid growing concern that no one is made to pay for most of the use, loss and damage of the environment, which is reaching crisis proportions in the form of pollution and the rapid loss of freshwater, fisheries and fertile soils.

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Israel bombs Gaza’s agricultural sector to the brink

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One of many destroyed water wells in Gaza’s border regions.
Eva Bartlett, The Electronic Intifada, 15 February 2010

Excerpt:

Israel imposed the “buffer zone” along Gaza’s side of the internationally-recognized “Green Line” boundary nearly ten years ago. Israeli bulldozers continue to raze decades-old olive and fruit trees, farmland and irrigation piping, and demolish homes, greenhouses, water wells and cisterns, farm machinery and animal shelters.

Extending from Gaza’s most northwestern to southeastern points, the unclearly-marked buffer zone annexes more land than the 300 meters flanking the border. Israeli authorities say anyone found within risks being shot at by Israeli soldiers. At least 13 Palestinian civilians have been killed and 39 injured in border regions in and outside of the buffer zone since the 18 January end of Israel’s attacks last year, among them children and women.

A sector destroyed

Farmers in southeastern Gaza take shelter from bullets fired by Israeli soldiers at the border nearly one kilometer away.

The United Nations agency OCHA reports that roughly one-third of Gaza’s agricultural land lies within the buffer zone, its width varying from half a kilometer to two kilometers.

Ahmed Sourani, of the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC), told the Guardian newspaper: “It is indirect confiscation by fear. My fear is that, if it remains, it will become de facto.”

According to PARC, the fertile farmland in and next to the buffer zone was not long ago Gaza’s food basket and half of Gaza’s food needs were produced within the territory.

In 2008, the agricultural sector employed approximately 70,000 farmers, says PARC, including 30,000 farm laborers earning approximately five dollars per day.

One of the most productive industries some years ago, farming now yields the least and has become one of the most dangerous sectors in Gaza, due to Israeli firing, shelling and aggression against people in the border regions.

Of the 175,000 dunams of cultivable land, PARC reports 60 to 75,000 dunams have been destroyed during Israeli invasions and operations. The level of destruction from the last Israeli war on Gaza alone is vast, with 35 to 60 percent of the agricultural industry destroyed, according to the UN and World Health Organization. Gaza’s sole agricultural college, in Beit Hanoun, was also destroyed.

Oxfam notes that the combination of the Israeli war on Gaza and the buffer zone renders around 46 percent of agricultural land useless or unreachable.

More than 35,000 cattle, sheep and goats were killed during the last Israeli attacks, as well as 1 million birds and chickens, according to a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) September 2009 report.

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See also:

U.S. congressman: U.S. should break Israel`s blockade of Gaza:

“We ought to bring roll-on, roll-off ships and roll them right to the beach and bring the relief supplies in, in our version of the Berlin airlift,” Rep. Brian Baird, a Democrat from Washington state said.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1149892.html

Written by laudyms

February 15, 2010 at 3:29 pm

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