Bump in corn grown for ethanol has polluted water and wiped out 5 million acres of conserved land, AP finds
Five million acres of land — more than in Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite national parks combined — have been pulled from conservation on Obama’s watch, according to Agriculture Department figures.
What’s more, from 2005 to 2010, corn farmers increased their use of nitrogen fertilizer by more than 1 billion pounds. More recent data isn’t available from the Agriculture Department, but because of the huge increase in corn planting, even conservative projections by the AP suggest another billion-pound fertilizer increase on corn farms since then.
Some of that fertilizer has seeped into drinking water, contaminating rivers and boosting the growth of enormous algae fields in the Gulf of Mexico; the algae eventually decompose, sucking oxygen from the water and leaving behind a huge dead zone, currently covering 5,800 square miles of sea floor where marine life can’t survive.
That dead zone is just one example of a peculiar ethanol side effect: As one government program encourages farmers to plant more corn, other programs pay millions to clean up the mess.
The oil sands industry is in the throes of a major expansion, powered by C$20 billion ($19 billion) a year in investments. Companies including Syncrude Canada Ltd., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp. affiliate Imperial Oil Ltd. are running out of room to store the contaminated water that is a byproduct of the process used to turn bitumen — a highly viscous form of petroleum — into diesel and other fuels.
By 2022 they will be producing so much of the stuff that a month’s output of wastewater could turn an area the size of New York’s Central Park into a toxic reservoir 11 feet (3.4 meters) deep, according to the Pembina Institute, a nonprofit in Calgary that promotes sustainable energy.
To tackle the problem, energy companies have drawn up plans that would transform northern Alberta into the largest man-made lake district on Earth. Several firms have obtained permission from provincial authorities to flood abandoned tar sand mines with a mix of tailings and fresh water.
One big concern surrounding end-pit lakes is that the contaminated water will spread through the boreal ecosystem, the tract of trees and marshland that stretches around the top of the world from Canada to Russia and Scandinavia. Boreal forests store almost twice as much carbon as tropical forests.
In the meantime, be wary of the anti-fracking propaganda. The real action is with the new head of the DOI, Sally Jewell. Jewell (who was celebrated by enviros) is aggressively seeking to expand fracking and oil drilling on public, park, and conservation lands. She is an Obama pick, and former CEO of REI. She used to frack wells and is, in my view, one of the most dangerous leaders in the current administration.
“It is inconsistent with BLM’s position as a public agency and steward of our public resources that it continues to put up such a fight to withhold information about the corporations interested in extracting public resources.”
More fracking shenanigans from the Obama admin. National parks and public lands, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, are slated to be aggressively fracked for short-term gain. And the BLM’s policies aim to hide information from the public.
The federal government has proposed a new set of national fracking rules that would weaken disclosure requirements. The proposal allows ‘trade secrets’ to remain unknown from the public, which has distressed environmental groups.
I called it. Last month, environmental groups were doing handstands and backflips over Sally Jewell, who is Obama’s pick to lead the BLM (US Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management).
She used to frack wells for Mobil oil company long before she was CEO of REI.
…the bigger story is about the left’s environmental heroine, Sally Jewell, who used to frack wells. As new head of the Dept. of Interior, she will (with Obama’s encouragement) - will - allow aggressive fracking on more public lands, possibly much more in our National Parks.
A new study by scientists at Duke Univ. and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) found no evidence of groundwater contamination from shale gas production in Arkansas.
“Our results show no discernible impairment of groundwater quality in areas associated with natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing in this region,” says Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.
Josh Fox, the filmmaker behind Gaslandand Gasland II is the guest on Andrew Sullivan’s Ask Me Anything series this week. Yesterday, he discussed how he got involved in this fight. Today, he has a great answer to the question of whether natural gas is a necessary evil.
The United States has double the amount of oil and three times the amount of natural gas than previously thought stored deep under the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana, according to new data the Obama administration released Tuesday.
In announcing the new data in a conference call, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell also said the administration will release within weeks draft rules to regulate hydraulic fracturing, technology that has come under scrutiny for its environmental impact but that is essential to developing all of this energy.
“These world-class formations contain even more energy-resource potential than previously understood, which is important information as we continue to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of oil,” Jewell said in a statement.
This article is circulating among the anti-peak oil crowds. To me, the bigger story is about the left’s environmental heroine, Sally Jewell, who used to frack wells. As new head of the Dept. of Interior, she will (with Obama’s encouragement) - will - allow aggressive fracking on more public lands, possibly much more in our National Parks. To forgiving environmentalists, she’s Obama’s replacement for the DOI and former CEO of REI.