Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Germany’s solar panels produce more power than Japan’s entire Fukushima complex

Germany is the world leader in installed solar photovoltaic panels -- and they also just shut down seven of their oldest nuclear reactors. Coincidence? Maaaaybe... Anyway, it's worth noting that just today, total power output of Germany's installed solar PV panels hit 12.1 GW -- greater than the total power output (10 GW) of Japan's entire 6-reactor nuclear power plant.

Now before the trolls come out, let me just note that 12.1 GW is max power (the output whose name you'd love to touch). The panels generated that much at one instant in time -- when the sun was at its apex -- but of course solar power production varies with the weather and the time of day. To find out how much energy those panels generated today in total, you'd have to calculate the area under that curve in the lower right hand corner. (Which, come to think of it, we should probably use as the CAPTCHA on the comment field on this post.) ....continued.....

Gilbert Armenta's Story of Oil and Gas in San Juan County, NM--Part IV


And then it goes on to say, "Give us this day our daily bread." It is not saying "Give us 10,000 oil and gas wells." Or what is it saying? I get it. We are asking to be fed what we need every day what we need until the day we die.

I was born in 1946.  When I was three months old my mom and dad did a new oil and gas lease for 5 more years. Well, what do you know? They drilled a gas well. Now this oil and gas lease lives on forever. When they drilled the first well, it caught on fire and they had a mess all over the farm trying to put it out. You might ask, "Did they pay for the damage they did?"  You bet they did. A total of $200 'take it or leave it.'

When mom and dad agreed to the lease they were told that all the gas would be gone in 10 years. Well, many 10 years have past and now we have over 12 wells and counting--on just 160 acres. Each well takes over five acres to drill. So, as you see, the oil and gas companies have taken all, most all, of my farm.

Now, to drill a gas or oil well will do them no good. They need to sell their product. That means pipe lines--miles and miles of them.

Yes, on the farm you cannot build or work the land without asking the oil and gas company, first. This is by law, and yes, the gas companies went to the goverment and passed this laws for them.

Next: What happend after the first gas well was drilled in 1950?


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Gilbert Armenta's Story of Oil and Gas in San Juan County, NM--Part III

Part 3

Our father who art in heaven halo be your name thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it in heaven. How many oil and gas wells do you think there are up in heaven? Well here in the San Juan Basin we have about 50,000 or more so it must be a mess up there you think? About 1920 there was a great drought here in the San Juan Basin and there was no crops to sell and the livestock were poor. And then came the great depression of the 1920's and 30,s the land taxes and debts could not be met and those that could not pay lost their lands. Most of those that lost their lands were Spanish.

The white man that had money got the land by paying the taxes that were not paid. That was done because the white man ran the government here and knew what lands were up for sale for lack of none payment of taxes. From the 1920,s to the 1950,s the oil men would come and get a 5 year lease but would not drill on the land they sometimes would pay about $25 for a 5 year lease. Well for not drilling $25 was OK and everyone got used to the little money they were getting. Well what do you think happen next? 

It was not good next.       Gilbert  March 14, 2011

Gilbert Armenta's Story of Oil and Gas in San Juan County, NM--Part II

 Part II:

Oil and Gas what is it? It is dead matter. When God created the heavens and the earth he said it is good and he made man and gave man dominion over all living things.

Well as you see oil and gas is dead and as man we are not to use it. In 1900 or about oil was located in the San Juan Basin down hole about 80 feet. In 1920 Gas was found about 600 feet down. As I said before in 1598 the Spanish came as farmers and herders and for over 250 years that is what they did. They also did a little mineing for gold and sliver with slave labor (native people) but for the most part it was farming and raising livestock. In the 250 years that spain ruled we became a mix blooded people. We had no interest in oil and gas. In 1846 the United States went to war with Mexico a poor country and we were defeated and we lost are lands. That is when the white man came in and started to rape the people and the land. 

The white man are very greedy living in harmony is not there way take take take is. In 1860 a great war was going on here that is when my people came hear to the San Juan Basin to make a new life they came with there livestock and to farm. It was good land and soon they were doing very well. The hispanos controled 86% of the land they were very well off. 

Next:  how we lost our lands and our way of life to oil and gas.     Gilbert Armenta   February 9th 2011

Gilbert Armenta's Story of Oil and Gas, San Juan County, NM-- Part 1

Part 1--Writing at the request of Ian Perrin, South Africa, a citizen group resisting Royal Dutch Shell's natural gas exploration of the Karoo  (www.fractual.co.za):
Ian if you know the history of the new world it started in 1492 and hear in 1598 that is when my story begins. The Spanish government settled hear then. No females came at this time so as you can see we (I) am of Spanish and Native American Blood. For 200 years plus we were part of the Spanish rule. Now Spain received this new World from God as the King of Spain said at that time. Now if you were a Vescino (subject) you could ask the Crown for a Grant (land) and many Grants were given to the her subjects. Many races were sent here by Spain (Spanish Blacks Jews etcs.) The times were hard here. 

When Spain settled here large herds of horses, sheep,goats, cattel, also pigs,ect, came with them and also all kind of plants and trees. next Mexico (1821) my Great Grandfather was born in 1817 four years before Mexico independence from Spain. My great grandfather Jose Armenta came to the San Juan Basin in 1867 his wife died and he bought my great grandmother ( custom of that time) she was Native American. My grand father Romaldo Armenta was born in 1896 USA (united states to over in 1848) and he and my grand mother (also a Native American) had my father in 1916 (new mexico USA became a state in 1912) I was born in 1946. 

Next I will tell you about the start of oil and gas.                Gilbert Armenta , January 22, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fracking Will Cause 'Irreversible Harm': Shale-Gas Extraction After-Affects Will Threaten Drinking Water, Could Jeopardize Agriculture, Expert Says--Montreal Gazette

By Kevin Dougherty
March 4, 2011

QUEBEC - A geological engineering professor whose specialty is rock mechanics and hydrogeology says hydraulic fracturing to free natural gas from shale rock formations will cause "irreversible harm" lasting thousands of years.

And the gas companies will be long gone, leaving behind costly remediation, Marc Durand said in an interview, suggesting the gas producers should be forced to establish a reserve fund.

"The billions required would be much more than all the profits beckoning now," said the retired Université du Québec à Montréal professor.

The circulating gas left behind will threaten the water Quebecers drink and could jeopardize agriculture, he said. The Utica shale field gas deposits between Montreal and Quebec City lie under some of the best farmland in the province.

"Fracking" is the technique of pumping a mixture of water, sand and a cocktail of toxic chemicals under pressure into wells drilled horizontally to liberate the gas from the shale.

But Durand noted that fracking gets out only 20 per cent of the gas, a figure confirmed by Canada's National Energy Board.

After maybe eight years of production, the gas companies will seal - and forget - the wells, Durand said.

The rock formations shattered by fracking will be "thousands of times more permeable," allowing the remaining 80 per cent of shale gas and underground water, 10 times more salty than sea water, to continue circulating, bubbling to the surface through the disused gas wells.

Over time, methane could leak into the groundwater and gas leaks could gush, uncontrolled, into the air...continued....

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Leaked EPA Documents Expose Decades-Old Effort to Hide Dangers of Natural Gas Extraction

Efforts by lawmakers and regulators to force the federal government to better police the natural gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," have been thwarted for the past 25 years, according to an exposé in the New York Times. Studies by scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on fracking have been repeatedly narrowed in scope by superiors, and important findings have been removed under pressure from the industry. The news comes as the EPA is conducting a broad study of the risks of natural gas drilling with preliminary results scheduled to be delivered next year. Joining us is Walter Hang, president of Toxics Targeting, a firm that tracks environmental spills and releases across the country, based in Ithaca, New York, where fracking is currently taking place....click on title to watch full interview from Democracy Now!

Shell takes gung-ho stance on Karoo fracking outrage--The Daily Marverick

"We expected Shell to take on a patronisingly bullish tone on the issue of fracking, and they did not disappoint."

March 10 2011

Royal Dutch Shell, a global corporation the size of a small nation, is facing a growing outcry against its plans to conduct hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo. Still, it took on a  “frack now, deal with any fallout as it happens” stance at a press conference on Thursday. And although compensation promises were made, it is nothing you can take to the bank.
Royal Dutch Shell went to some effort to make the process of hydraulic fracturing seem rather harmless
to a roomful of journalists, with a friendly PowerPoint presentation, full of bullet points and video that explained the process. The process of fracking has received an avalanche of bad press in the US, leading to precautionary banning in some states, and now Shell wants to take the controversial process of mining unconventional gas to the Karoo.

Bonang Mohale, chairman of Shell Oil Product Africa, and Graham Tiley, general manager of New Venture Executions at Shell are hosting press conferences in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg in an effort to allay fears about the process....continued.....

Wyoming Air Pollution Worse Than Los Angeles Due To Gas Drilling--Huffington Post

Wyoming Air Pollution Worse Than Los Angeles Due To Gas Drilling
03/ 8/11

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Wyoming, famous for its crisp mountain air and breathtaking, far-as-the-eye-can-see vistas, is looking a lot like smoggy Los Angeles these days because of a boom in natural gas drilling.

Folks who live near the gas fields in the western part of this outdoorsy state are complaining of watery eyes, shortness of breath and bloody noses because of ozone levels that have exceeded what people in L.A. and other major cities wheeze through on their worst pollution days.

"It is scary to me personally. I never would have guessed in a million years you would have that kind of danger here," Debbee Miller, a manager at a Pinedale snowmobile dealership, said Monday.

In many ways, it's a haze of prosperity: Gas drilling is going strong again, and as a result, so is the Cowboy State's economy. Wyoming enjoys one of the nation's lowest unemployment rates, 6.4 percent. And while many other states are running up monumental deficits, lawmakers are projecting a budget surplus of more than $1 billion over the coming year in this state of a half-million people....continued.....

BREAKING: Quebec BAPE Shale Gas Study Verdict Is In: Drill Baby Drill, But No Fracking For Now

March 8 2011
After keeping Québec’s much anticipated Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE)released the BAPE’s findings to the public. Regrettably, shale gas in the province is receiving a green light or in French “un feu vert” (a green fire translated literally). Ironically, this is exactly what the BAPE’s recommendation will lead to as shale gas expansion means that many of the province’s environmental goals will go up in smoke. For now, the controversial drilling method of hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. fracking) will be halted until a strategic  environmental impact assessment can be conducted.

All in all, the BAPE’s recommendation to proceed is a major blow to environmental and health advocates calling on the Québec Liberal government to heed the many public safety and environmental risks which surround shale gas drilling and fracking....continued....
shale gas development study under wraps for more than a week, Pierre Arcand, Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks just

Collective Bargaining as a Constitutional Right?--Op Ed

By Thomas Linzey And Mari Margil
March 7, 2011
In the ongoing face-off between Gov. Scott Walker and public unions in Wisconsin over collective bargaining, one point seems to have been missed. It has to do with what is and is not a right under our system of law.

Put simply, collective bargaining isn't a right in Wisconsin. Rather, it's a privilege that's been statutorily granted by the state Legislature, which the Legislature may, as it is now considering, take away. Contrast that with constitutional rights, which no legislature can nullify.

It's discouraging, but most of the progress that's been made over the past 50 years by labor, as well as by environmental groups, hasn't been about expanding rights of workers or the environment but has instead focused on convincing legislators to regulate working conditions and terms and to regulate how quickly the natural environment will be developed.

Regulating working conditions doesn't change who's really in control of the workplace. Regulations operate within our current system of law in which private employers can legally strip constitutional rights from workers, replace striking workers and force workers to attend non-work related "captive audience" meetings where failure to attend can result in firing.

While the system affords constitutional rights to those who own the workplace, it relegates workers to a lesser status, grudgingly allowing some regulation of working conditions. That strikingly differential treatment is reflected in how our system of law treats corporations and unions.

Creating a corporation requires only completing a form and paying a fee. Unionizing a workplace, on the other hand, requires jumping through a series of byzantine hoops while the employer retains the power to threaten employees and close the workplace....continued.....

Mountain Lake Park, Maryland, Adopts Community Rights Ordinance That Bans Drilling for Natural Gas

“The people have rights. Corporations can’t be licensed to take them away” – Mayor Leo Martin

Another courageous council and mayor to adopt a prohibitive community rights ordinance that protects the citizens rights to clean water, air, land.......

March 3rd 2011

 Mountain Lake Park in Garrett County, Maryland, has joined Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in adopting a Community Bill of Rights that also “removes legal powers from gas extraction corporations within the Town.”

Ordinance No. 2011-01 was introduced to Council by Mayor Leo Martin for a First Reading of the bill, titled Mountain Lake Park’s Community Protection from Natural Gas Extraction Ordinance, on January 6th of this year, and a public hearing on the measure was held February 3rd.

At the heart of the Ordinance is this statement of law: “It shall be unlawful for any corporation to engage in the extraction of natural gas within the Town of Mountain Lake Park, with the exception of gas wells installed and operating at the time of enactment of this Ordinance.”

The bill also recognizes the right of the people to “a form of governance where they live which recognizes that all power is inherent in the people, that all free governments are founded on the people’s authority and consent, and that corporate entities and their directors and managers shall not enjoy special privileges or powers under the law which make community majorities subordinate to them.”

Following adoption of the ordinance, Mayor Martin commented: "Our town government is responsible for the health, safety, and rights our citizens. When the county, state, and federal governments fail in their duties it is our duty to take action.”

Also included in the ordinance is a local Bill of Rights that asserts legal protections for the right to water; the rights of natural communities and eco-systems; the right to local self-government, and the right of the people to enforce and protect these rights by banning corporate activities that would violate them, through the police powers of their municipal government.

The bill was modeled after the Ordinance adopted on November 16th of last year by the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and drafted by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. “If Pittsburgh can do it, we can do it,” said the Mayor, as he introduced the Ordinance in January, and he indicated that other Maryland municipalities should take a similar stand.

The gas extraction technique known as “fracking” has been cited as a threat to surface and ground water throughout the region, and has been blamed for fatal explosions, the contamination of drinking water, local streams, the air and soil. Collateral damage includes lost property value, ingestion of toxins by livestock, drying up of mortgage loans for prospective home buyers, and threatened loss of organic certification for farmers in the affected communities.

Ben Price, Projects Director for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, applauded the Mayor for taking a stand on behalf of community rights. “The State says Maryland residents don’t have the right to decide whether or not they get fracked and that only the corporate-lobbied members of the legislature have the wisdom to decide how much harm should be legalized through state-issued permits. We don’t have a gas drilling problem. We have a democracy problem. Its symptoms are the State’s refusal to recognize the right to local, community self-government, and the issuance of permits to drilling corporations against the consent of the governed.”

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, headquartered in Chambersburg, has been working with people in Pennsylvania since 1995 to assert their fundamental rights to democratic local self-governance, and to enact laws which end destructive and rights-denying corporate action aided and abetted by state and federal governments.

CONTACT: Ben Price, (717) 254-3233

Pressure Limits Efforts to Police Drilling for Gas--The New York Times

"It was like the science didn’t matter,” Carla Greathouse, the author of the [EPA] study, said in a recent interview. “The industry was going to get what it wanted, and we were not supposed to stand in the way.”

E.P.A. officials told her, she said, that her findings were altered because of pressure from the Office of Legal Counsel of the White House under Ronald Reagan.

March 3, 2011

When Congress considered whether to regulate more closely the handling of wastes from oil and gas drilling in the 1980s, it turned to the Environmental Protection Agency to research the matter. E.P.A. researchers concluded that some of the drillers’ waste was hazardous and should be tightly controlled.

But that is not what Congress heard. Some of the recommendations concerning oil and gas waste were eliminated in the final report handed to lawmakers in 1987.

“It was like the science didn’t matter,” Carla Greathouse, the author of the study, said in a recent interview. “The industry was going to get what it wanted, and we were not supposed to stand in the way.”

E.P.A. officials told her, she said, that her findings were altered because of pressure from the Office of Legal Counsel of the White House under Ronald Reagan. A spokesman for the E.P.A. declined to comment.....continued......

Group Meets to Investigate Pavillion's Bad Water--Casper Star Tribune

March 1, 2011

 PAVILLION, Wyo. — Government officials, the state rural drinking water association and a natural gas firm have banded together to seek the answer to an important question: What is contaminating the drinking water in wells around Pavillion?

 On Tuesday, the representatives hammered out what information they needed to gather and study the issue.

 The main goal of the working group must be to determine where the contamination comes from, said Tom Doll, superintendent of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

 “Otherwise we’ll be here two or three years from now, and I don’t think that’s anyone’s intent,” he said.

 The group is made up of representatives from the federal and Wyoming governments, area water quality groups and Encana, the firm operating wells in the natural gas field around Pavillion.

 The group was assembled after the Environmental Protection Agency determined last year that some residents in the area shouldn’t drink their well water because of contamination, although the EPA didn’t assign blame for the contamination and recommended further investigation.....continued....

NM State Legislature 2011: HB297: Blanket Plugging Financial Assurance Increase

March 2011 
HB297 Sponsored by:  Representative Tomas  Garcia, Ocate, Mora County, New Mexico
The House Energy and Natural Resources Committee substitute for HB 297 would dismantle existing safeguards on inactive oil and gas wells, directing the Oil Conservation Division to promulgate rules according to woefully inadequate guidelines. CVNM had negotiated a compromise on the previous version of HB 297, but the new substitute bill bears no resemblance whatsoever to the carefully crafted compromise. Inactive wells pose significant dangers to our drinking water--and contamination from inactive wells has occurred recently, even under existing safeguards. Any efforts to weaken those protections would only further jeopardize the groundwater on which most New Mexicans depend.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

KSFR Radio: Interview on Hydraulic Fracturing with Drilling Mora County

•  Hydraulic Fracturing and the impacts on drinking water.
•  Mora County baseline water well testing for Mora County.
•  Community Rights Odinance--Water protection and local self governance