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GOP Endorses Nazi Fischer/Tropsch Process

The Man from I.G. Far­ben

COMMENT: The GOP has seized upon the Fischer/Tropsch process as a means of reduc­ing U.S. depen­den­cy on import­ed fos­sil fuels. Devel­oped by the I.G. Far­ben firm and used by the Third Reich to pro­duce fuel, the process was the focal point of the Standard/I.G. Agree­ment of 1929.

Recent­ly, the process has been used to facil­i­tate the pro­cess­ing of nat­ur­al gas into high-qual­i­ty diesel fuel.

Note that the GOP is push­ing leg­is­la­tion that would autho­rize the Pen­ta­gon to use envi­ron­men­tal­ly destruc­tive fuel derived from Fischer/Tropsch. The Pen­ta­gon, to its great cred­it, is push­ing back!

One won­ders what roy­al­ties might accrue to GOP-friend­ly mega-cor­po­ra­tions that ben­e­fit from Fischer/Tropsch?

“Nazi-era Tech­nol­o­gy Embraced by Repub­li­cans in U.S. Con­gress in the Name of Nation­al Secu­ri­ty”  by John Daly; oilprice.com; 6/6/2011.

EXCERPT: . . . The sub­se­quent vicious Allied fight from Nor­mandy to Ger­many saw the Nazis large­ly fueled by a tech­nol­o­gy that is now being pro­mot­ed by the Repub­li­can Con­gres­sion­al lead­er­ship, in col­lu­sion with its munif­i­cent fis­cal cam­paign ener­gy sup­port­ers, as a way to lessen U.S. depen­dence on ener­gy imports.

At issue is the Fishch­er-Trop­sch coal liq­ue­fac­tion process, devel­oped by ener­gy-poor Ger­many in the 1920s and expand­ed by the Nazi regime. Bent on dom­i­nat­ing Europe, Hitler’s war machine suf­fered from increas­ing fuel short­ages, first in Sep­tem­ber 1939 when Britain’s Roy­al Navy clamped a naval block­ade on the Baltic, exac­er­bat­ed in June1941 when the inva­sion of the USSR end­ed Sovi­et ener­gy imports, leav­ing Ger­many large­ly depen­dent on Romania’s Ploesti oil­fields after the fail­ure of Army Group south to cap­ture the Cau­ca­sus and Azerbaijan’s rich Caspi­an resources. FT pro­duc­tion became increas­ing­ly crit­i­cal to fuel­ing Hitler’s war machine from then onwards, giv­en Germany’s immense coal reserves.

By 1944, Ger­many was pro­duc­ing 124,000 bar­rels of syn­thet­ic fuels dai­ly at 25 FT plants. FT was sub­se­quent­ly com­mer­cial­ized by South Africa’s apartheid regime, begin­ning in the 1950s through South Africa’s state ener­gy com­pa­ny Suid Afrikaanse Steenkool en Olie (SASOL), found­ed in 1950, now a pri­vate com­pa­ny and the world’s lead­ing pro­po­nent of FT. In the ear­ly 1980s, as UN sanc­tions against South Africa began to take effect, two large coal to liq­uid (CTL) SASOL pro­duc­tion facil­i­ties were com­mis­sioned and now form the sin­gle largest and most prof­itable asset in SASOL’s glob­al port­fo­lio.

If the ide­o­log­i­cal foot­print of Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch is vile, then its envi­ron­men­tal impact is even worse. Quite aside from the ide­o­log­i­cal con­cerns, fuel derived from the FT process has a car­bon foot­print 118 per­cent greater than that of con­ven­tion­al gaso­line.

Nev­er­the­less, on 12 May the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee vot­ed to elim­i­nate a ban on the mil­i­tary pur­chas­ing high car­bon non-con­ven­tion­al fuels. In con­sid­er­ing the annu­al Nation­al Defense Autho­riza­tion Act, House Res­o­lu­tion 1540, the com­mit­tee vot­ed to exempt the Depart­ment of Defense from Sec­tion 526 of the 2007 Ener­gy Inde­pen­dence and Secu­ri­ty Act, which pro­hibits fed­er­al agen­cies from procur­ing fuels with high­er life-cycle green­house gas emis­sions than con­ven­tion­al fuels, includ­ing liq­uid coal and tar sands oil.

The Pen­ta­gon is push­ing back against being man­dat­ed to use these dirty fuels, backed by the coal indus­try and its Con­gres­sion­al sup­port­ers. On 3 June, Tom Hicks, the Navy’s deputy assis­tant sec­re­tary for ener­gy, tes­ti­fied before a House Ener­gy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee pan­el against Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch fuels, stat­ing, “In addi­tion to requir­ing large new sources of coal, it requires enor­mous quan­ti­ties of water, $5 to $10 bil­lion in cap­i­tal per plant to pro­vide a fuel result that is more than twice as car­bon-inten­sive as petro­le­um,” pro­mot­ing instead new gen­er­a­tion bio­fu­els made from sources like cameli­na crops, corn stover and algae. . . .

Discussion

10 comments for “GOP Endorses Nazi Fischer/Tropsch Process”

  1. Hel­lo, Dave. Look­ing back on it, it’s kin­da inter­est­ing to see this crop up when you men­tioned this as far back as 10, 15, heck, maybe even 20+ years ago!

    In any case, whichev­er Pen­ta­gon source which is fight­ing this pro­mo­tion of FT does deserve some credit........hope they’re on our side! =)

    Posted by Steven | July 2, 2011, 12:07 am
  2. @Doug: I think one of the main issues is{other than the major pol­lu­tion con­tri­bu­tion it would undoubt­ed­ly make}, will the Under­ground Reich and their allies, hench­men, etc. be able to monop­o­lize every­thing? Hon­est­ly, I’d rather just stick to the algae process if coal ever does become an absolute neces­si­ty as a fuel source for any­thing.

    Posted by Steven | July 3, 2011, 1:37 pm
  3. My inter­pre­ta­tion of this news item:

    (1) Demo­c­ra­t­ic Gov­er­nor of Mon­tana Bri­an Schweitzer pro­posed using Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch in 2005 (per­haps tak­ing the Cheney Admin­is­tra­tion by sur­prise?).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Schweitzer

    http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2005/10/6/211910/206

    (2) Using the Pen­ta­gon as “born-again eco-sen­si­tives” (or are the Pen­ta­gon using the GOP for this staged Con­gres­sion­al tes­ti­mo­ny & oper­a­tion?), the GOP are able to “take this option off the table” to pre-emp­tive­ly pre­vent any future Gov­er­nor Schweitzers from rais­ing the Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch option in the future.

    Does any­one real­ly believe the Pen­tagon’s new­found con­cern for envi­ron­men­tal issues? I can name sev­er­al egre­gious Pen­ta­gon vio­la­tions against the envi­ron­ment off the top of my head: the use of HAARP; mul­ti­ple law­suits against Naval sonar use that destroys whale pop­u­la­tions; the use of deplet­ed ura­ni­um in mul­ti­ple the­atres from the Balka­ns to Iraq; the use of per­chlo­rate in rock­ets & missles; the use of trichloroeth­yl­ene, a mas­sive­ly dan­ger­ous water con­t­a­m­i­nant used sim­ply for degreas­ing metal­lic parts.

    Aren’t these Con­gres­sion­al hear­ings mere­ly a trans­par­ent ploy to defuse the future use of Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch?

    Posted by R. Wilson | July 4, 2011, 9:07 pm
  4. @R. Wil­son: Prob­lem is, Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch WAS a Nazi process, and giv­en that the Under­ground Reich is a key com­po­nent of what we could call the world crime net­work, and that they do have their allies all over the U.S. mil­i­tary still, the only con­ceiv­able rea­son­able answers I can think of, is that some non-crim­i­nal fac­tions in the Pen­ta­gon either just real­ized how bad­ly pol­lut­ing this process was, or maybe they not only know about its his­to­ry, but also per­haps may know its true pur­pose, or pos­si­bly even both; in any case, it’s bad news for all of us, and I’d like it to be tak­en off the damn table, PERMANENTLY.

    As for Gov. Schweitzer? I’ve heard of him, and he seems to be decent, but some­body has GOT to edu­cate him on where the FT process came from and the kinds of addi­tion­al dam­age it WILL do to the envi­ron­ment.

    Posted by Steven | July 5, 2011, 11:20 pm
  5. How the Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch process plays out with the cur­rent frack­ing craze will be some­thing to watch going for­ward. That, and the destruc­tion of our drink­ing water sup­plies:

    Learn­ing Too Late of Per­ils in Gas Well Leas­es

    By IAN URBINA and JO CRAVEN McGIN­TY

    After Scott Ely and his father talked with sales­men from an ener­gy com­pa­ny about sign­ing the lease allow­ing gas drilling on their land in north­east­ern Penn­syl­va­nia, he said he felt cer­tain it required the com­pa­ny to leave the prop­er­ty as good as new.

    So Mr. Ely said he was sur­prised sev­er­al years lat­er when the drilling com­pa­ny, Cabot Oil and Gas, informed them that rather than drain­ing and haul­ing away the tox­ic drilling sludge stored in large waste ponds on the prop­er­ty, it would leave the waste, cov­er it with dirt and seed the area with grass. He knew that waste pond lin­ers can leak, seep­ing con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed waste.

    “I guess our terms should have been clear­er” about requir­ing the com­pa­ny to remove the waste pits after drilling, said Mr. Ely, of Dimock, Pa., who sued Cabot after his drink­ing water from a sep­a­rate prop­er­ty was con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed. “We learned that the hard way.”

    Amer­i­cans have signed mil­lions of leas­es allow­ing com­pa­nies to drill for oil and nat­ur­al gas on their land in recent years. But some of these landown­ers — often in rur­al areas, and eager for quick pay­outs — are find­ing out too late what is, and what is not, in the fine print.

    Ener­gy com­pa­ny offi­cials say that stan­dard leas­es include lan­guage that pro­tects landown­ers. But a review of more than 111,000 leas­es, adden­da and relat­ed doc­u­ments by The New York Times sug­gests oth­er­wise:

    ¶ Few­er than half the leas­es require com­pa­nies to com­pen­sate landown­ers for water con­t­a­m­i­na­tion after drilling begins. And only about half the doc­u­ments have lan­guage that lawyers sug­gest should be includ­ed to require pay­ment for dam­ages to live­stock or crops.

    ¶ Most leas­es grant gas com­pa­nies broad rights to decide where they can cut down trees, store chem­i­cals, build roads and drill. Com­pa­nies are also per­mit­ted to oper­ate gen­er­a­tors and spot­lights through the night near homes dur­ing drilling.

    ¶ In the leas­es, drilling com­pa­nies rarely describe to landown­ers the poten­tial envi­ron­men­tal and oth­er risks that fed­er­al laws require them to dis­close in fil­ings to investors.

    ¶ Most leas­es are for three or five years, but at least two-thirds of those reviewed by The Times allow exten­sions with­out addi­tion­al approval from landown­ers. If landown­ers have sec­ond thoughts about drilling on their land or want to nego­ti­ate for more mon­ey, they may be out of luck.

    The leas­es — obtained through open records requests — are most­ly from gas-rich areas in Texas, but also in Mary­land, New York, Ohio, Penn­syl­va­nia and West Vir­ginia.

    In Penn­syl­va­nia, Col­orado and West Vir­ginia, some landown­ers have had to spend hun­dreds of dol­lars a month to buy bot­tled water or main­tain large tanks, known as water buf­faloes, for drink­ing water in their front yards. They said they learned only after the fact that the leas­es did not require gas com­pa­nies to pay for replace­ment drink­ing water if their wells were con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed, and despite state reg­u­la­tions, not all costs were cov­ered.

    ...

    Some leas­es, how­ev­er, also include lan­guage that comes back to haunt landown­ers.

    “I thought I knew what the sen­tence meant,” said Dave Bein­lich, describ­ing a sec­tion that said that “prepa­ra­tion” to drill was enough to allow Chief Oil and Gas to extend the dura­tion of his lease.

    In 2005, Mr. Bein­lich and his wife, Karen, signed a lease for $2 an acre per year for five years on 117 acres in Sul­li­van Coun­ty in north-cen­tral Penn­syl­va­nia. They soon real­ized they had got­ten far less mon­ey than their neigh­bors, so they planned on nego­ti­at­ing a new lease when theirs expired in 2010.

    A day before their lease term end­ed, no well had been drilled on their land, but the gas com­pa­ny parked a bull­doz­er near­by and start­ed to sur­vey an access road. A com­pa­ny offi­cial informed them that by mov­ing equip­ment to the site, Chief Oil and Gas was prepar­ing to drill and was there­fore allowed to extend the lease indef­i­nite­ly.

    ...

    Anoth­er impor­tant lease term is the Pugh Clause, said Lance Astrel­la, a lease lawyer in Den­ver. It is named after Lawrence Pugh, a Louisiana lawyer who start­ed adding it to leas­es in 1947 to ensure that they would not be extend­ed indef­i­nite­ly with­out wells being drilled.

    Few­er than 20 per­cent of the more than 100,000 Texas leas­es reviewed by The Times include such a clause, and very few of the leas­es from Mary­land, New York, Ohio, Penn­syl­va­nia and West Vir­ginia include the lan­guage. While the leas­es col­lect­ed by The Times rep­re­sent a small frac­tion of the more than 8 mil­lion oil and gas leas­es in the Unit­ed States, experts said they illus­trat­ed issues that landown­ers need to under­stand.

    Mr. Astrel­la said that leas­es also typ­i­cal­ly lacked a clause requir­ing drillers to pay for a test of the property’s well water before drilling start­ed, and landown­ers often do not think to do the tests them­selves. If drilling leads to prob­lems with drink­ing wells, landown­ers have few options if they want to prove that their water was fine before drilling start­ed.

    ...

    Mr. Stark, the Cabot spokesman, said that his com­pa­ny was not respon­si­ble for any water con­t­a­m­i­na­tion in the area and that Cabot’s stud­ies showed that the gas seep­age into the drink­ing water was occur­ring nat­u­ral­ly.

    “All the test­ing we have been able to con­duct show the water meets fed­er­al safe drink­ing water stan­dards,” Mr. Stark said.

    ...

    Hmmm...so the indus­try says there’s no prob­lem based on their stud­ies but the landown­ers appear to have poi­soned drink­ing water. It’s a good thing the EPA has stud­ied this issue before. It’s a bad thing they appar­ent­ly for­got they stud­ied it already and found aban­doned wells to be prime cul­prit for group water con­t­a­m­i­na­tion. So it looks like the EPA might need to look into this again:

    EPA Study Prob­a­bly Won’t Prove That Frack­ing is Unsafe, Though It May Be

    by The Inter­sec­tion

    This is a guest post by Jamie L. Ver­non, Ph.D., a research sci­en­tist and aspir­ing pol­i­cy wonk, who recent­ly moved to D.C. to get a taste of the action

    Recent­ly, EPA Admin­is­tra­tor Lisa Jack­son stat­ed that there is no evi­dence that the “frack­ing” process has lead to con­t­a­m­i­na­tion of ground water. In response to a ques­tion from the U.S. House Over­sight Com­mit­tee, she said,

    “I’m not aware of any proven case where the frack­ing process itself has affect­ed water, although there are inves­ti­ga­tions ongo­ing.”

    The term “frack­ing” refers to a process of extract­ing nat­ur­al gas from wells drilled deep below the Earth’s sur­face. The tech­nique is offi­cial­ly known as hydraulic frac­tur­ing and involves pump­ing a water-based flu­id into a well under high pres­sure so as to cause the for­ma­tion of cracks in deep rock lay­ers. The cracks and the chem­i­cal ingre­di­ents in the frac­ture flu­id facil­i­tate more effi­cient extrac­tion of the nat­ur­al gas.

    Crit­ics of the process have made claims that hydraulic frac­tur­ing has con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed aquifers and oth­er water sources with ingre­di­ents from tox­ic frack­ing flu­id in areas where nat­ur­al gas drilling is occur­ring. A doc­u­men­tary enti­tled “Gas Land” recent­ly sen­sa­tion­al­ized the sto­ry by show­ing scenes in which drink­ing water had become flam­ma­ble. Here’s a famous scene from the movie: [video]

    The prob­lem with the crit­ics’ argu­ment is there is insuf­fi­cient evi­dence to prove that the con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed water is indis­putably due to frack­ing. The process has been used for many years and has not been scru­ti­nized until recent­ly. Despite the scruti­ny, no one has car­ried out thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tions to deter­mine whether the process is like­ly to lead to water con­t­a­m­i­na­tion. Sure, there have been cas­es where it is sus­pect­ed that the process has con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed ground water. Indeed, I have blogged about it here at The Inter­sec­tion, but with no analy­sis of the ground water pri­or to drilling, one can­not be sure that the con­t­a­m­i­na­tion is direct­ly caused by the frack­ing indus­try.

    Per­son­al­ly, even though the evi­dence is sparse and incon­clu­sive, I still believe the risks of con­t­a­m­i­na­tion are too high for us to con­tin­ue drilling for nat­ur­al gas with­out sig­nif­i­cant over­sight and reg­u­la­tion. A recent blowout in Brad­ford Coun­ty, Penn­syl­va­nia has con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed the imme­di­ate sur­round­ing areas and three pri­vate wells with chem­i­cal-laced water. I feel strong­ly that frack­ing is unsafe as it is cur­rent­ly being car­ried out.

    For­tu­nate­ly, the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion has made it a pri­or­i­ty to take a look at the hydraulic frac­tur­ing indus­try. On Thurs­day, the EPA announcedthe sev­en nat­ur­al gas drilling sites where it will con­duct case stud­ies. The inves­ti­ga­tions will look at the impact of hydraulic frac­tur­ing on local drink­ing water.

    ...

    Here are my con­cerns about the EPA’s plan:

    First, there is lit­tle or no evi­dence that the tox­ic ingre­di­ents in frack­ing flu­id have con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed drink­ing water direct­ly from the below-ground wells. Dan­ger­ous chem­i­cals like ben­zene and acry­lamide are known to be part of the frack­ing mix­ture, but leg­is­la­tion has pro­tect­ed the indus­try under intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty rights from ful­ly reveal­ing the con­tents. There­fore, inves­ti­ga­tors have been unable to do prop­er test­ing for all the chem­i­cals con­tained in the mix­ture. Regard­less, it seems that the frack­ing flu­id and, in fact, the frack­ing process is not the prob­lem.

    There are numer­ous phys­i­cal argu­ments against the pos­si­bil­i­ty that frack­ing flu­id will find its way into drink­ing water dur­ing the hydraulic frac­tur­ing process. The pres­sures at those depths are so high it is unlike­ly the chem­i­cals will be able to flow upward into the aquifer. Also, the per­me­abil­i­ty of the shale is so low it seems unlike­ly the chem­i­cals will pen­e­trate the rock. Of course, there is the pos­si­bil­i­ty that the cracks cre­at­ed by the process could con­nect with nat­ur­al cracks in the rock for­ma­tions lead­ing to a direct con­nec­tion between the well and the aquifer, but this is sta­tis­ti­cal­ly unlike­ly. My point is that if the EPA focus­es on the frack­ing process alone it is unlike­ly that they will find a con­nec­tion between drilling and con­t­a­m­i­na­tion at the 7 select­ed sites.

    As described in the PNAS paper, the prob­lem of con­t­a­m­i­na­tion is most like­ly due to leaky gas-wells, not the hydraulic frac­tur­ing itself. The EPA inves­ti­ga­tors will need to look at the wells as well as the frack­ing process. How­ev­er, because the sites have been announced ahead of time, the drillers can take spe­cial pre­cau­tions to ensure high qual­i­ty wells are drilled and that the con­crete is poured prop­er­ly so as to avoid any leaks or spills. If so, inves­ti­ga­tors may not find any con­t­a­m­i­na­tion.

    Sec­ond, there are mil­lions of nat­ur­al gas wells across the coun­try. Very few of them have been linked to any con­t­a­m­i­na­tion. Sta­tis­ti­cal­ly, for the EPA to choose only 7 wells, I believe it is high­ly unlike­ly they will find a cor­re­la­tion between drilling and con­t­a­m­i­na­tion.

    ...

    Oh dear, so the EPA may have designed the safe­ty study to specif­i­cal­ly not look at like­ly sources of water con­t­a­m­i­na­tion (cracked wells)? Well, at least one would hope there’s a mora­to­ri­um on new drilling while the study is com­plet­ed. And hope springs eter­nal:

    EPA says fears about frack­ing mora­to­ri­um unfound­ed

    By JENNY MICHAEL | Bis­mar­ck Tri­bune | Post­ed: Tues­day, Novem­ber 29, 2011 11:00 pm

    The Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency said fears a mora­to­ri­um will be placed on hydraulic frac­tur­ing are unfound­ed.

    The agency is in the process of con­duct­ing a con­gres­sion­al­ly-ordered study of hydraulic frac­tur­ing, also known as “frack­ing.” Hydraulic frac­tur­ing is used to retrieve nat­ur­al gas and oil and is wide­ly used in North Dako­ta’s oil fields. Pres­sur­ized flu­ids, which can include small amounts of diesel, are forced into frac­tures to extract the want­ed sub­stances.

    Sep­a­rate­ly, the EPA plans to issue guide­lines for states such as North Dako­ta to issue per­mits for use of hydraulic frac­tur­ing involv­ing diesel. The EPA has author­i­ty under the fed­er­al Safe Drink­ing Water Act to make sure hydraulic frac­tur­ing oper­a­tions do not pol­lute drink­ing waters when diesel fuels are used in the process­es, the agency said.

    The guid­ance doc­u­ment is not intend­ed to be a reg­u­la­to­ry doc­u­ment and would not itself require any state to change its reg­u­la­tions,” Jim Mar­tin, EPA’s region­al admin­is­tra­tor in Den­ver. said in a state­ment to the Tri­bune. “In fact, it is based on exist­ing best prac­tices in use by the indus­try today.

    ...

    Cyn­thia Dougher­ty, EPA’s direc­tor of the Office of Ground Water and Drink­ing Water, said in the call that the agency is work­ing on a def­i­n­i­tion of diesel. Mar­tin, in his state­ment to the Tri­bune, said the EPA will pro­vide addi­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties for states, the pub­lic and oth­er stake­hold­ers to com­ment on its draft guid­ance as soon as it is ready.

    “The Amer­i­can peo­ple do not have to choose between secur­ing an avail­able ener­gy resource and pro­tect­ing its drink­ing water from pol­lu­tion,” his state­ment said. “They can have and deserve both.”

    Umm, so the EPA’s flawed study is mere­ly a “guid­ance doc­u­ment” that will be based on exist­ing indus­try best prac­tices? My hope for some change in pol­i­cy isn’t feel­ing too springy right now. At least it sounds like we’ll have a new def­i­n­i­tion for diesel soon. That should be use­ful.

    Oh well, it’s still bet­ter than coal. At least it does­n’t pol­lute the air!

    Frac­tur­ing-Pol­lu­tion Rule to Bur­den Gas Pro­duc­ers, API Says
    Q
    By Katarzy­na Kli­masin­s­ka — Dec 1, 2011 4:02 PM CT

    Air-pol­lu­tion lim­its pro­posed by the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency for U.S. oil and gas pro­duc­tion, includ­ing hydraulic frac­tur­ing, will be cost­ly and waste time, the Amer­i­can Petro­le­um Insti­tute said.

    The EPA’s plan to cut emis­sions of smog-form­ing volatile organ­ic com­pounds by about a quar­ter, with an almost 95 per­cent reduc­tion from new and updat­ed gas wells using frac­tur­ing, or frack­ing, will require too many tests and reports, said Howard Feld­man, API direc­tor of reg­u­la­to­ry and sci­en­tif­ic affairs.

    “These require­ments will be over­ly bur­den­some,” Feld­man said today on a con­fer­ence call from Wash­ing­ton. “They will waste time and resources of the indus­try and the EPA.”

    Frack­ing is a tech­nique used by com­pa­nies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), Chesa­peake Ener­gy Corp. and South­west­ern Ener­gy Co. that injects chem­i­cals and water into rock for­ma­tions to free trapped gas. It has been tied to an increase in smog pol­lu­tion in rur­al areas such as west­ern Wyoming.

    The emis­sion lim­its, incor­po­rat­ing four air reg­u­la­tions issued on Oct. 28, will trig­ger too much mon­i­tor­ing, and per­for­mance test­ing, and might cause a short­age of equip­ment nec­es­sary to abide by the rules, accord­ing to the indus­try group.

    ...

    The choice is clear: clean air test­ing or clean air test­ing equip­ment short­ages. I think the *cough* prop­er *cough* approach is obvi­ous *cough *wheeze* *gasp*. Breath in, drink up and taste the free­dom Amer­i­ca! And that diesel taste? That’s the free­dom.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 1, 2011, 11:28 pm
  6. Hap­py frackin’ New Years every­one!

    North­east Ohio rocked by 11th earth­quake linked to Youngstown injec­tion wells

    By Bob Down­ing
    Bea­con Jour­nal staff writer
    Pub­lished: Decem­ber 31, 2011 — 05:51 PM

    ...

    The 4.0‑magnitude quake was cen­tered near Youngstown, report­ed the U.S. Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey and the Ohio Earth­quake Infor­ma­tion Cen­ter.

    The earth­quake at 3:05 p.m. was felt as far away as Michi­gan, Ontario, Penn­syl­va­nia and New York, report­ed Michael C. Hansen, state geol­o­gist and coor­di­na­tor of the Ohio Seis­mic Net­work, part of the Ohio Depart­ment of Nat­ur­al Resources’ Divi­sion of Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey.

    ...

    The quake was the 11th over the last eight months in Mahon­ing Coun­ty, all with­in two miles of the injec­tion wells, he said. Saturday’s quake was the largest yet.

    A quake on Dec. 24 mea­sured 2.4.

    There is “lit­tle doubt” that the quake is linked to injec­tion wells that the state and the own­er agreed on Fri­day to shut down, Hansen said.

    James Zehringer, direc­tor of the Ohio Depart­ment of Nat­ur­al Resources, announced the clos­ing of two injec­tion wells in Youngstown Town­ship owned by North­star Dis­pos­al Ser­vices LLC and oper­at­ed by D&L Ener­gy Inc.

    The order to close came despite the fact that the state has been unable to prove that the wells, which are 9,000 feet deep, are the cause of the earth­quakes.

    The wells were used to dis­pose of salty brine wastes from gas and oil drilling by pump­ing them under pres­sure into rock for­ma­tions deep under­ground.

    The wells are among 177 in Ohio. Drilling wastes from Ohio and Penn­syl­va­nia are being pumped in increas­ing vol­umes into the wells for per­ma­nent dis­pos­al.

    Geol­o­gists have long sus­pect­ed that inject­ing liq­uids into under­ground rock for­ma­tions can trig­ger earth­quakes along fault lines. The liq­uids allow rocks to flow more eas­i­ly past each oth­er.

    Earth­quakes have been linked to injec­tion wells in Arkansas, West Vir­ginia, Col­orado and Texas.

    The Ohio clos­ing order took effect at 5 p.m. Fri­day but there would still have been pres­sure inside the two wells that could have trig­gered the quake, Hansen said.

    The lat­est quake appears to have been locat­ed about two- thirds of a mile from the injec­tion wells and about 1.2 miles below ground, he said.

    This quake shows all the sim­i­lar­i­ties of the 10 pre­vi­ous Youngstown quakes in 2011, he said.

    Ohio also worked with sci­en­tists from Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty who had installed four seis­mo­graphs near the site.

    The first two Youngstown earth­quakes occurred on March 17 and mea­sured 2.1 and 2.6.

    The state became sus­pi­cious of the injec­tion wells after the ini­tial quakes, which are unusu­al events in the Youngstown area, he said.

    Earth­quakes small­er than 4.0 gen­er­al­ly do lit­tle dam­age. A 4.0‑magnitude quake would release 40 times the ener­gy of a 2.7 mag­ni­tude quake.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 31, 2011, 7:09 pm
  7. It looks like the New Years fes­tiv­i­ties are already kick­ing in...here’s the cor­rect link to the above arti­cle.:-)

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 31, 2011, 7:10 pm
  8. Oh well, I’m sure we’ll find oth­er rea­sons to poi­son the ground water:

    Mar­cel­lus Gas Reserves Esti­mate Cut by 66% on More Drilling Infor­ma­tion
    By Chris­tine Buur­ma — Jan 23, 2012 11:04 AM CT

    The U.S. Ener­gy Depart­ment cut its esti­mate for nat­ur­al gas reserves in the Mar­cel­lus shale for­ma­tion by 66 per­cent, cit­ing improved data on drilling and pro­duc­tion.

    About 141 tril­lion cubic feet of gas can be recov­ered from the Mar­cel­lus shale using cur­rent tech­nol­o­gy, down from the pre­vi­ous esti­mate of 410 tril­lion, the depart­ment said today in its Annu­al Ener­gy Out­look. About 482 tril­lion cubic feet can be pro­duced from shale basins across the U.S., down 42 per­cent from 827 tril­lion in last year’s out­look.

    Drilling in the Mar­cel­lus accel­er­at­ed rapid­ly in 2010 and 2011, so that there is far more infor­ma­tion avail­able today than a year ago,” the depart­ment said. The esti­mates rep­re­sent unproved tech­ni­cal­ly recov­er­able gas. The dai­ly rate of Mar­cel­lus pro­duc­tion dou­bled dur­ing 2011.

    The esti­mat­ed Mar­cel­lus reserves would meet U.S. gas demand for about six years, using 2010 con­sump­tion data, accord­ing to the Ener­gy Depart­ment, down from 17 years in the pre­vi­ous out­look.

    The Mar­cel­lus Shale is a rock for­ma­tion stretch­ing across the U.S. North­east, includ­ing Penn­syl­va­nia and New York. Shale pro­duc­ers use a tech­nique known as hydraulic frac­tur­ing, which involves pump­ing water, sand and chem­i­cals under­ground to extract gas embed­ded in the rock.
    Geo­log­i­cal Data

    The U.S. Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey said in August that it would reduce its esti­mate of undis­cov­ered Mar­cel­lus Shale nat­ur­al gas by as much as 80 per­cent after an updat­ed assess­ment by gov­ern­ment geol­o­gists.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 23, 2012, 3:20 pm
  9. Well, there’s a first for every­thing:

    Live Sci­ence
    Rare Earth­quake Warn­ing Issued for Okla­homa
    By Becky Oskin, Senior Writer | May 05, 2014 03:30pm ET

    Mile for mile, there are almost as many earth­quakes rat­tling Okla­homa as Cal­i­for­nia this year. This major increase in seis­mic shak­ing led to a rare earth­quake warn­ing today (May 5) from the U.S. Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey and the Okla­homa Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey.

    In a joint state­ment, the agen­cies said the risk of a dam­ag­ing earth­quake — one larg­er than mag­ni­tude 5.0 — has sig­nif­i­cant­ly increased in cen­tral Okla­homa.

    Geol­o­gists don’t know when or where the state’s next big earth­quake will strike, nor will they put a num­ber on the increased risk. “We haven’t seen this before in Okla­homa, so we had some con­cerns about putting a spe­cif­ic num­ber on the chances of it,” Robert Williams, a research geo­physi­cist with the USGS Earth­quake Haz­ards Pro­gram in Gold­en, Col­orado, told Live Sci­ence. “But we know from oth­er cas­es around the world that if you have an increas­ing num­ber of small earth­quakes, the chances of a larg­er one will go up.” [Watch 2500+ Okla­homa Earth­quakes Since 2012 (Video)]

    That’s why earth­quakes of mag­ni­tude 5 and larg­er are more fre­quent in states such as Cal­i­for­nia and Alas­ka, where thou­sands of small­er tem­blors hit every year.

    This is the first time the USGS has issued an earth­quake warn­ing for a state east of the Rock­ies, Williams said. Such seis­mic haz­ard assess­ments are more typ­i­cal­ly issued for West­ern states fol­low­ing large quakes, to warn res­i­dents of the risk of dam­ag­ing after­shocks, he said.

    The geo­log­i­cal agen­cies took action after the rate of earth­quakes in Okla­homa out­paced that of even Cal­i­for­nia for the first few months of 2014. (Cal­i­for­nia regained the lead in April.) [The 10 Biggest Earth­quakes in His­to­ry]

    “The rate of earth­quakes increased dra­mat­i­cal­ly in March and April,” Williams said. “That alert­ed us to exam­ine this fur­ther and put out this advi­so­ry state­ment.”

    While Okla­homa’s build­ings can with­stand light earth­quakes, the dam­age from a magnitude‑5 tem­blor could be wide­spread. Okla­homa’s last major earth­quake was in Novem­ber 2011, when a magnitude‑5.6 earth­quake cen­tered near Prague, Okla­homa, destroyed 14 homes and injured at least two peo­ple.

    “Build­ing own­ers and gov­ern­ment offi­cials should have a spe­cial con­cern for old­er, unre­in­forced brick struc­tures, which are vul­ner­a­ble to seri­ous dam­age dur­ing suf­fi­cient shak­ing,” Bill Lei­th, a USGS senior sci­ence advis­er for earth­quakes and geo­log­ic haz­ards, said in the joint state­ment.

    While sci­en­tists haven’t ruled out nat­ur­al caus­es for the increase, many researchers sus­pect the deep injec­tion wells used for the dis­pos­al of frack­ing waste­water could be caus­ing the earth­quake activ­i­ty. Frack­ing, short for hydraulic frac­tur­ing, is a method of extract­ing oil and gas by crack­ing open under­ground rock.

    Ongo­ing stud­ies have found a link between Okla­homa’s high-vol­ume waste­water injec­tion wells and regions with an uptick in earth­quakes.

    ...

    Woohoo! The first earth­quake warn­ing east of the Rock­ies and we just might be able to thank frack­ing for that grand accom­plish­ment. What oth­er frack­ing-facil­i­tat­ed accom­plish­ments are in store for us? We’ve seen a ‘first’. How about some ‘lasts’?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 8, 2014, 10:14 am
  10. Final­ly, a feel good frack­ing sto­ry that we can all cel­e­brate: sci­en­tists find that the earth­quakes caused by frack­ing don’t cause near­ly as shak­ing as those cause by nat­ur­al earth­quakes. It appears to be due to the fact that the frack­ing-induced earth­quakes occur at much shal­low­er depths than nat­ur­al earth­quakes, lim­it­ing the dis­tance that the shock­waves prop­a­gate. It was­n’t all good news, how­ev­er: the shal­low­ness also meas that you live close enough to the syn­thet­ic quake to feel it the ener­gy can reach your homes and build­ings more eas­i­ly. So it’s real­ly only good news for peo­ple that are liv­ing rel­a­tive­ly far from a frack­ing site and don’t care about the struc­tur­al integri­ty of the homes and build­ings that aren’t so lucky. Maybe it’s more of a feel bad sto­ry:

    Bllomberg
    The Grid
    Did You Feel It? Frack­ing Earth­quakes Are Less Intense
    By Bebe Raupe Aug 20, 2014 2:39 PM CT

    Bloomberg BNA — Earth­quakes and tremors from hydraulic frac­tur­ing shake the ground less than nat­u­ral­ly occur­ring earth­quakes of the same mag­ni­tude, there­fore caus­ing less dam­age, accord­ing to new U.S. Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey research.

    USGS seis­mol­o­gist Susan Hough ana­lyzed 11 induced earth­quakes in the cen­tral and east­ern Unit­ed States from 2011–2013, eval­u­at­ing the ground tremors these events gen­er­at­ed.

    Using a USGS data­base known as the “Did You Feel It?” sys­tem, Hough said the obser­va­tions of those who expe­ri­enced the quakes were “very straightforward—in every sin­gle case the inten­si­ties are low.”

    Hough’s study, pub­lished online Aug. 19 in the “Bul­letin of the Seis­mo­log­i­cal Soci­ety of Amer­i­ca,” con­cludes that the haz­ards of these quakes are low­er than what might be expect­ed, chiefly because induced events are 16 times weak­er than nat­ur­al earth­quakes with the same mag­ni­tude.

    The earth­quakes asso­ci­at­ed with frack­ing also tend to lose ener­gy about six miles from their epi­cen­ter, Hough said, pre­sum­ably because the fault is lubri­cat­ed by the inject­ed waste­water, mak­ing it eas­i­er to slip.

    Earth­quakes have become a con­cern for states expe­ri­enc­ing hydraulic frac­tur­ing, or frack­ing, of their shale reserves, with some report­ing a sig­nif­i­cant increase in seis­mic activ­i­ty, pos­si­bly due to deep water injec­tion asso­ci­at­ed with this type of drilling

    Hough’s study looked at frack­ing-relat­ed quakes in Arkansas, Col­orado, Okla­homa, Ohio and Texas using data from the “Did You Feel It” ques­tion­naires com­plet­ed online by peo­ple who felt the earth­quakes and went to the USGS site to report them.

    She com­pared the induced quakes to 10 tec­ton­ic earth­quakes from 2002 to 2011. The nat­ur­al earth­quakes had mag­ni­tudes between 4.0 and 5.8; the mag­ni­tude of the induced earth­quakes was between 3.9 and 5.7.

    Sys­tem Pro­vides Shak­ing Inten­si­ty Char­ac­ter­i­za­tion

    While instru­men­tal record­ings of injec­tion-induced quakes are scant, the DYFI sys­tem pro­vides an “excel­lent char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of shak­ing inten­si­ties caused by induced earth­quakes,” Hough said.

    The way an induced quake felt was equiv­a­lent, on aver­age, to a nat­ur­al quake that was of a mag­ni­tude 0.8 or less, Hough said.

    ...

    Based upon the USGS scale, a drop in 0.8 mag­ni­tude trans­lates to about 16 times less strength or ener­gy released, she said.

    Force of Ener­gy Called Shal­low

    Along with low­er ener­gy lev­els, Hough said the data sug­gest that the force of ener­gy is shal­low, per­haps due to the pres­ence of frack­ing flu­ids, and the tremor’s force tends to dis­si­pate at around six miles from the quake’s epi­cen­ter.

    Hough’s results sug­gest that dam­age from injec­tion-induced earth­quakes will be espe­cial­ly con­cen­trat­ed in the imme­di­ate epi­cen­tral region.

    Induced earth­quakes may have low­er stress drops than nat­ur­al ones because the flu­ids inject­ed into the ground lubri­cate geo­log­i­cal faults and allow them to slip more smooth­ly, Hough said.

    Well that was some good news. Or bad news. It depends on where you live. And accord­ing to some researchers, you may not need to live par­tic­u­lar­ly close to a frack­ing site in order to feel an earth­quake. Why? Because the inject­ed waste water appears to flow along fault lines, caus­ing earth­quakes as far as 22 miles away from the injec­tion site accord­ing to the research. And as we keep inject­ing more waste water into those fault line, that area of lubri­cat­ed fault lines keeps grow­ing and grow­ing, along with the prob­a­bil­i­ty of trig­ger a major quake:

    stands to get strongerThink Progress
    Okla­homa Gets Hit With 20 Earth­quakes In One Day

    by Emi­ly Atkin Post­ed on August 20, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Oklahoma’s Geol­o­gy Sur­vey record­ed an unprece­dent­ed 20 small earth­quakes across the state on Tues­day, high­light­ing the dra­mat­ic increase of seis­mic activ­i­ty that has occurred there as the con­tro­ver­sial process of hydraulic frac­tur­ing — oth­er­wise known as frack­ing — has spread across the state.

    Though 18 out of the 20 earth­quakes that occurred Tues­day were below Mag­ni­tude 3, ren­der­ing them most­ly imper­cep­ti­ble, the largest one reg­is­tered as a 4.3 near Guthrie, a city of more than 10,000 res­i­dents. And while U.S. Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey sci­en­tists have said that Okla­homa is his­tor­i­cal­ly known as “earth­quake coun­try,” they also warn that quakes have been steadi­ly on the rise; from 1978 until 2008, the aver­age rate of earth­quakes reg­is­ter­ing a mag­ni­tude of 3.0 or more was only two per year.

    “No doc­u­ment­ed cas­es of induced seis­mic­i­ty have ever come close to the cur­rent earth­quake rates or the area over which the earth­quakes are occur­ring,” the Okla­homa Geol­o­gy Sur­vey said in a recent pre­sen­ta­tion address­ing the alarm­ing increase in quakes. By “induced seis­mic­i­ty,” the OGS is refer­ring to minor earth­quakes that are caused by human activ­i­ty, whether that be frack­ing, mass removal min­ing, reser­voir impound­ment, or geot­her­mal pro­duc­tion — any­thing that could dis­rupt exist­ing fault lines.

    One of the most researched human activ­i­ties that could be caus­ing the dra­mat­ic increase in earth­quakes is frack­ing. The process that could be caus­ing the quakes is not the fuel extrac­tion itself, but a process called “waste­water injec­tion,” in which com­pa­nies take the left­over water used to frack nat­ur­al gas wells and inject it deep into the ground. Sci­en­tists increas­ing­ly believe that the large amount of water that is inject­ed into the ground after a well is fracked can change the state of stress on exist­ing fault lines to the point of fail­ure, caus­ing earth­quakes.

    Cor­nell Uni­ver­si­ty geo­physics pro­fes­sor Katie Ker­a­nen is the lat­est researcher to pro­duce a sci­en­tif­ic study show­ing a prob­a­ble con­nec­tion between earth­quakes waste­water injec­tion, find­ing in July that the more than 2,500 small earth­quakes that have hit Okla­homa in the past five years can be linked to it. Keranen’s study ana­lyzed four pro­lif­ic waste­water dis­pos­al wells in south­east Okla­homa City, which col­lec­tive­ly inject approx­i­mate­ly four mil­lion bar­rels of waste­water into the ground each month. The research showed that flu­id from those wells was migrat­ing along fault lines for miles, and Keranen’s team deter­mined the migra­tion was like­ly respon­si­ble for earth­quakes occur­ring as far as 22 miles away.

    The link between earth­quakes and waste­water injec­tion from frack­ing is not defin­i­tive. As Jen­nifer Dlouhy in Fuel Fix notes, the research lacks nec­es­sary data on sub-sur­face pres­sure, which is rarely acces­si­ble.

    The OGS says that as it is now, the chances of a large, dam­ag­ing earth­quake hap­pen­ing in Okla­homa are small. How­ev­er, some sci­en­tists have warned that seis­mic activ­i­ty stands to get stronger and more dan­ger­ous as frack­ing increas­es.

    I think ulti­mate­ly, as flu­ids prop­a­gate and cov­er a larg­er space, the like­li­hood that it could find a larg­er fault and gen­er­ate larg­er seis­mic events goes up,” West­ern Uni­ver­si­ty earth sci­ences pro­fes­sor Gail Atkin­son said at a Seis­mo­log­i­cal Soci­ety of Amer­i­ca con­fer­ence in May.

    ...

    Enjoy the frack­ing-relat­ed exports. And imports.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 23, 2014, 6:16 pm

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