Drought stricken Lake Travis, Texas. Note the water line in the background. Via
Posts tagged texas.
More severe weather is on the way for the southern Plains on Tuesday as well as parts of the Midwest and the Northeast.
Nearly 75% of Americans and 68% of Canadians indicated they “support” or “somewhat support” the project, which would carry heavy crude from the Alberta oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast for refining, according to the poll conducted by Ottawa-based Nanos Research.
The poll also asked participants—1,007 Americans and 1,013 Canadians—which was more important: reducing greenhouse-gas emissions or having North America free from oil imports? Both a majority of Americans and Canadians, 63% and 55%, respectively, suggested reducing reliance on oil imports trumped environmental policy.
“Energy security, particularly in the U.S., is driving views on energy issues,” said Nik Nanos, president of Nanos Research.
Environmentalists argue that development of the Alberta oil sands for the crude that Keystone would carry will increase emissions of greenhouse gases.
The Nanos poll contacted Americans between March 28 and April 7, and Canadians between April 6 and April 9.
The Obama administration is, for a second time, reviewing TransCanada’s application to build Keystone after rejecting the project in 2012. Keystone faces stiff opposition in the U.S. from environmental groups and key Democratic policy makers.
Nanos Research conducted the poll and they’re pretty legit. Via WSJ.
WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday criticized the State Department’s environmental impact review of the Keystone XLpipeline, saying there was not enough evidence to back up key conclusions on gas emissions, safety and alternative routes.
In a letter to top State Department officials, the agency said it had “environmental objections” to their review, which concluded the pipeline would have minimal impact on the environment. The analysis could complicate efforts to win approval for the controversial $7-billion project.
A State Department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
If approved, Keystone XL would carry crude oil along a 1,700-mile route from the oil sands of Alberta, Canada, to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.
From the Atlantic:
Texas’s Fertilizer Plant Explosion
U.S. Drought Monitor - April 2013
Brutal wildfire year lies ahead for the west and south west.
U.S. farmers converted more than 1.3 million acres of grassland into corn and soybean fields between 2006 and 2011.
Update: This is more about America’s heritage landscapes - grasslands - and less about particular crops. Grasslands provide important habitat for countless species. President Theodore Roosevelt protected millions of acres of grasslands by including them in several National Parks. Converting them to crops destroys habitat for animals, changes and poisons the soil, pollutes rivers, devalues people’s properties, among numerous other environmental harms. Destroying nature for a quick buck is not the right direction for America’s future. The situation is worse when climate change is factored in.
And, the US Forest Service has an excellent overview of how grasslands are threatened by agriculture and climate change.
You’re probably wondering: Why is there a “weekly list” of oil spills? That’s because tens of thousands of gallons of petro-chemicals are spilled each month in the US. And the Federal Government requires oil manufacturers to voluntarily report, contain, monitor, and clean-up spills and accidents.
The key word there is “voluntary.” Fines for oil spills are minimal, often challenged in court, and are difficult to enforce. This is because, basically, the oil and gas industry helped write the reporting and clean-up rules for oil, gas, and chemical spills, but I’ll leave that background for another post.
Oil and gas spills are listed in various databases online. Two of the most popular databases are the National Response Center and the United Steel Workers (USW) union website. The USW database compiles a weekly list of spills from various sources such as the media, Dept. of Energy, the NRC above, and individual state databases.
You may have heard about last week’s 20,000 gallon oil-pipeline spill in Texas (video). The pipeline, owned by Sunoco, cracked and 550+ barrels of raw oil leaked into a river. It is unclear if any fines will be issued, nor is it clear what damage the spill will do to the environment (the spill site is off limits to the press and the public).
20,000 gallons may sound like a big spill, but it’s not. In fact, it’s just one of about 100 spills that occur each and every month in the United States.
Oil, gas, and chemical spills and fires occur in the United States week after week, month after month, for years and years. Here’s a sampling* from just last week:
Shell Reports Fire at Its 329,800 b/d Deer Park, Texas Refinery
Shell Oil Co. reported that operators had quickly isolated and contained a fire in a single, unspecified unit at its DeerPark refinery Tuesday morning. No injuries or offsite impacts were reported.
Pressure Safety Valve Malfunction Causes Butanes Emissions at Citgo’s 163,000 b/d Corpus Christi, Texas Refinery
Citgo Petroleum Corp. reported a pressure safety valve (PSV) at the East Plant Terminal of its Corpus Christi refinery opened and released Butanes to the atmosphere Thursday morning, according to a filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Operators isolated the line connected to the PSV and were investigating the cause of the malfunction.
Tesoro Restarts Hydrocracker after Pipeline Repairs at Its 166,000 b/d Martinez, California Refinery
Tesoro Corp. was restarting a hydrocracker at its Golden Eagle refinery in Martinez today after replacing equipment.
Operators shut the hydrocracker on February 2 after discovering a hole in a line.
Amine System Upset Triggers Flaring at Marathon’s 490,000 b/d Garyville, Louisiana Refinery
Marathon Petroleum Corp. reported liquid hydrocarbon got into the amine system at its Garyville refinery Thursday, and in order to minimize further upset in the system, operators removed the hydrocarbon by routing it to the flare, according to a filing with the U.S. National Response Center.
Phillips 66 Reports Fire at Its 139,000 b/d Wilmington, California Refinery
Phillips 66 reported a flaring event at its Wilmington refinery Thursday, according to a filing with the California Emergency Management Agency. Operators were investigating the incident, which caused more than 500 pounds of sulfur dioxide to release to the atmosphere.
You can read hundreds of weekly reports via USW.
*Note, you’ll see the words “flaring” and “emissions” a lot in these reports. Emissions is code for spills, leaks, or fires. There are two types of “Flaring events.” Flaring events are not the same as regular manufacturing flares. The first type is when unrefined (e.g., raw or dirty) oil or gas is burned in an accidental fire. Sometimes pipelines or refineries catch fire or explode on accident, causing fuel to burn in the open air. The second type of flaringevent occurs when a refiner cannot stop the leak right away. This is an interesting loophole in the emissions law. When there is a spill onto land or into a water body, the manufacturer has the option to divert the fuel and simply burn it into the air. Manufacturers are generally (there are exceptions) not responsible for pollution from flaring events. Burning the fuel avoids expensive land and water clean-up, and the government allows this to happen without additional permits or strict monitoring. It’s a temporary solution for the manufacturer, but is still terrible for the environment. This type of flaring dumps incredibly dangerous chemicals and particulates into the air, for which the manufacturer is (generally) not responsible.
(Sierra Voices) - Texas textbooks determine what children learn nationwide.
“I believe that dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark … somebody’s got to stand up to these experts.” (Don McElroy, former member of the Texas State Board of Education).
Well, no wonder the GOP wants to defund PBS. Where can I send them a donation??!
What is this?
Warning! Severe Tornado Outbreak Expected Christmas Day, Night, and Wednesday in the south
Christmas 2012 will not only feature heavy snow from Winter Storm Euclid. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes will target parts of the South Christmas Day into Wednesday!
Here is the general forecast timing of this event:
Tuesday: Severe weather outbreak may begin before sunrise Christmas morning in east and southeast Texas into Louisiana. The severe storm threat spreads east, taking in the lower Mississippi Valley eastward into Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle by afternoon. Tornadoes, damaging winds of 60 to 80 mph, and large hail are all threats in these areas! Some tornadoes may be strong, long-track tornadoes, as well!
Full story, with tons of maps and surprising history of many Xmas tornadoes at Weather
Bring ‘em on. I’m a United States Marine. I’m not afraid of anyone. I’m not afraid of them,” he said. “When I’m done with them, they will know that they’ve been in a fight. I may not win, but I’m going to hurt them.Texas landowner Michael Bishop, who won a temporary injunction against Transcanada Keystone XL Pipeline. (H/T The People’s Record)
Now, mainstream media is (disingenuously and lazily, imo) drumming up speculation that the President might back out of approving the pipeline.
This is false. He’s already approved nearly half the line, and has clearly stated his intentions on signing the deal. Indeed, half the pipeline is nearly completely built and Obama toured construction and gave a support speech earlier this year:
“Today, we’re making this new pipeline from Cushing to the gulf a priority,” he said, while the northern portion requires additional review.
“But the fact is that my administration has approved dozens of new oil and gas pipelines over the last three years, including one from Canada,” Mr. Obama added. “And as long as I’m president, we’re going to keep on encouraging oil development and infrastructure, and we’re going to do it in a way that protects the health and safety of the American people.” Obama, March 2012. Via NYTimes.
Today, the media is intentionally ignoring his clear statements and unwavering intent. Why? Why is the media creating a false theater? Why would Obama (or any president) back-out of a $7 billion project halfway?
A recent article by USNews sums up the faux issue:
Obama is facing increasing pressure to determine the fate of the $7 billion Keystone XL project, with environmental activists and oil producers each holding out hope that the president, freed from the political constraints of re-election, will side with them on this and countless other related issues down the road.
Environmentalists have had very little success in stopping the line from being built. My best guess of what will happen:
- Obama approves the line quickly. He will restate his past comments, and remind us that the line is necessary. To my mind, this is most likely to happen. He’s simply waiting for an environmental assessment and species conservation reports. Once they’re complete, he’ll sign off on the second half of the line. Environmentalists will balk, and try to sue.
- Delay due to lawsuit. I doubt there is a strong enough case to be made against this pipeline. Despite the length, the project has a relatively small physical footprint. Environmentalists will most likely sue under either the Endangered Species Act or the Migratory Bird Treaty. It’s possible they’ll try to get an injunction against the DOI, but this is real big stretch. There are already thousands of miles of pipelines cross-crossing the US, Mexico, and Canada. So, they’d have to show this line is exceptionally special. Worse, for environmentalists wanting to sue, TransCanada has been working with the USFWS and DOI on bird and other endangered species conservation plans. In fact, a near final draft conservation plan was released in August, 2012 here (PDF).
- Obama may delay, but only to cow-tow to certain states, not environmentalist’s objections. To my mind, this is the least likely of the three scenarios. He’ll accept objections not from environmental groups, but from states like Nebraska worried about the impacts on the Ogallala Aquifer; or Texas, which is (superficially) concerned with giving private property away to a foreign company. However, these states have already filed their objections with the administration, and Obama jumped, delaying the line for up to a year. I do not see that happening again.
The pipeline is going to be built. Don’t let the press fool you.
(Photo: Tony Gutierrez / AP)
KANSAS CITY — The worst drought in more than half a century baked more than two thirds of the continental United States this summer and its harsh effects continue to plague the parched cities and towns of the Great Plains.
Ask the 94,000 people of San Angelo, Texas, who are running out of water. Fast.
The city — once known as “the oasis” of dry west Texas — now says it only has enough water supplies to last one more year. On Oct. 16, it will enforce its highest level of emergency measures to save its water supply.
That first-ever “Drought Level III” declaration will ban any watering of lawns, golf courses and gardens, forbid fresh water use for swimming pools and close commercial car washes.
The city will also push up usage fees aiming to cut water use by at least 30 percent as it awaits a new water pipeline now under construction. The pipeline will not be available for use until mid-2013 or later.
Protests from local businesses has prompted the city to consider some exceptions but those may be temporary, officials say.
“We need to get back to meeting just basic needs,” said Will Wilde, water utilities director for San Angelo. “We don’t want to put people out of business. It may come to that if conditions get extreme in the future. Do you want to keep a green lawn or do you want water to drink?”
Despite recent rains, the drought continues to expand, with severe or worse drought affecting 83.80 percent of the High Plains region, up from 82.81 percent the prior week, according to the weekly Drought Monitor on Thursday.
More than half of Texas is having a drought that is rated severe or worse, and more than 95 percent of Oklahoma is rated as experiencing the more serious category of extreme drought.
The number of West Nile cases in people has risen dramatically in the last few weeks and indicates that we are in one of the biggest West Nile virus outbreaks we have ever seen in this country,” says Lyle Petersen, director of the CDC’s Division of Vector-borne Infectious Diseases.
“The number of West Nile virus cases in the U.S. jumped dramatically in one week, increasing to 1,118, with 41 deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today.
The report marks a substantial increase from last week’s tally of 693 cases and 26 deaths.
Approximately 75% of the cases have been in five states: Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota and Oklahoma, the CDC says.
Texas has been hardest hit, accounting for almost half of all cases.”