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The oil and gas boom has devastated ecosystems across the US

oil and gas destroy ecosystemsDrilling for oil and gas has caused long-lasting damage to ecosystems across Canada and the US, according to a study published today. The findings lend new weight to longstanding concerns over the resurgence in domestic fossil fuel production, as well as the complex land use regulations that make environmental monitoring more challenging.

The paper, published in the journal Science, examines the impact of oil and gas production on terrestrial plant growth, using a metric called net primary production (NPP). NPP can be used to gauge the health of the ecosystem.


Fracking Increases Quakes in 8 States

fracking earthquakesSignificant strides in science have been made to better understand potential ground shaking from induced earthquakes, which are earthquakes triggered by man-made practices.

Earthquake activity has sharply increased since 2009 in the central and eastern United States. The increase has been linked to industrial operations that dispose of wastewater by injecting it into deep wells.

The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a report today that outlines a preliminary set of models to forecast how hazardous ground shaking could be in the areas where sharp increases in seismicity have been recorded. The models ultimately aim to calculate how often earthquakes are expected to occur in the next year and how hard the ground will likely shake as a result. This report looked at the central and eastern United States; future research will incorporate data from the western states as well.


Oklahoma goes from two 3.0 quakes a year to two a day

Oklahoma earthquakesIn November of 2011, a magnitude 5.7 earthquake ripped through the small Oklahoma town of Prague, damaging more than a dozen homes and toppling a turret on a St. Gregory's University building in nearby Shawnee.

In November of 2011, a magnitude 5.7 earthquake ripped through the small Oklahoma town of Prague, damaging more than a dozen homes and toppling a turret on a St. Gregory's University building in nearby Shawnee.


Study Links Texas Earthquake Swarm to Natural Gas Drilling

Texaas fracking linked to earthquakesWith real-time monitors, scientists have linked a swarm of small earthquakes west of Fort Worth, Texas, to nearby natural gas wells and wastewater injection.

"It's what we figured all along, it's not really new news to us," said Azle Mayor Alan Brundrett, "It's just confirming our suspicious that we've had."

In 84 days from November 2013 to January 2014, the area around Azle, Texas, shook with 27 magnitude 2 or greater earthquakes, while scientists at Southern Methodist University and the U.S. Geological Survey monitored the shaking. It's an area that had no recorded quakes for 150 years on faults that "have been inactive for hundreds of millions of years," said SMU geophysicist Matthew Hornbach.


Secrecy shrouds decade-old oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

Gulf Oil SpillA blanket of fog lifts, exposing a band of rainbow sheen that stretches for miles off the coast of Louisiana. From the vantage point of an airplane, it's easy to see gas bubbles in the slick that mark the spot where an oil platform toppled during a 2004 hurricane, triggering what might be the longest-running commercial oil spill ever to pollute the Gulf of Mexico.

Yet more than a decade after crude started leaking at the site formerly operated by Taylor Energy Company, few people even know of its existence. The company has downplayed the leak's extent and environmental impact, likening it to scores of minor spills and natural seeps the Gulf routinely absorbs.


Unlikely allies: Mexican miners and farmers unite over toxic spill

Mexico farmers and miners uniteThe pipes have gone silent. Gone is the hum of water flowing through them to the world’s second-largest copper mine, just south of the U.S. border. Instead, in the normally empty desert here, tents and buses line the highway. Dust and smoke from cooking fires fill the air while hundreds of people listen to speeches and discuss the day’s events.

This plantón, or occupation, which began on March 18, has shut down most operations at the Cananea mine, which consumes huge quantities of water pumped from 49 wells across the desert in order to extract copper concentrate from crushed ore.


PG&E Hit With $1.6 Billion Penalty For 2010 Calif. Pipeline Explosion

PG&E finedPacific Gas & Electric Co.has been ordered to pay a $1.6 billion penalty – the largest ever levied against a public utility – for a 2010 explosion in a gas pipeline it operated that killed eight people and destroyed dozens of homes in a San Francisco suburb.

The five-member California Public Utilities Commission voted 4-0 Thursday, with the commission president, Michael Picker, abstaining, to impose the penalty. Picker, however, called for a larger review of problems at PG&E, a move that The Associated Press says "suggests the energy behemoth could be broken up."


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