Archive for the ‘oil & gas’ Category

By Jonathan Romeo / The Durango Herald

A BP pipeline running along Sauls Creek in Bayfield was discovered ruptured last week, spilling coal-bed methane produced water into the creek and forcing the emergency construction of an earthen dam to prevent contamination downstream.

According to state reports, a 6-inch fiberglass gathering line was found leaking around 7 a.m. Dec. 13, about four miles west of Bayfield on National Forest Service land off County Road 527, also known as Forest Service Road 608.

BP reported the creek was dry on Dec. 13, but the next day a state oil and gas inspector found Sauls Creek “contained runoff from snow melt.” An early estimate shows the produced water traveled 2,300 feet along the channel bottom.

However, BP on Monday could not say how long the spill had been occurring, how much was released and what the contents of the product were.

The cause of the spill, too, remains unknown.

A Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission representative wrote in an emailed response that more information will be included in supplemental reports and through ongoing water sampling.

After discovering the spill, BP crews immediately closed the line, shut down 17 wells and constructed a temporary earthen dam to contain the produced water from spilling further downstream.

A Dec. 15 follow up report indicated hydro-evacuation trucks were removing the standing water in the creek bed, recovering a total of 150 barrels – about 6,300 gallons – of produced water mixed with snowmelt.

The pipeline repair required that County Road 527 be restricted to one lane of traffic for four days last week as BP crews partially excavated the road, according to U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Ann Bond.

Brett Clanton, a BP representative, did not address several of The Durango Herald’s questions about the incident. He wrote the spill was isolated within two hours of discovery, the produced water contained no hydrocarbons and that no residents in the surrounding area were affected.

“With safety as our highest priority, we will continue to coordinate with relevant agencies to complete any further remediation efforts as warranted,” Clanton wrote.

Produced water is a briny fluid captured in the rock of oil reservoirs that is extracted along with oil and gas. It is considered the largest toxic byproduct of extraction operations, and can contain salt, chemicals, residual oil and heavy metals, though the contents vary from well to well.

Although the chemical makeup of the substance released into Sauls Creek is unknown, a preliminary sampling showed the water contained 4,000 milligram per liter of total dissolved solids, compared to background values of less than 300 mg/L.

Total dissolved solids are a measure of all dissolved substances in water, and is generally used to gauge salinity. Salinity, in turn, can be an indicator for concentrations of chloride, sodium, magnesium, bicarbonate and sulfates, among others.

BP operates about 30 gas wells in the Sauls Creek area that produce coal-bed methane gas and produced water that is transmitted by pipeline to a processing facility in Bayfield.

BP likely faces “some kind of enforcement action due to impact on waters of the state,” oil and gas commission spokesman Todd Hartman wrote in an email.

The company must continue further remediation efforts and water sampling. The temporary dam remains in place as these actions continue, Hartman said.

As of Dec. 19, there have been 19 reported spills in La Plata County in 2016 accounting for approximately 350 barrels of spilled substances, mostly produced water.

BP has accounted for 12 of those incidents, spilling about 165 barrels, according to COGCC data.

Two spills (including this recent one) did not have estimates for amounts leaked.

Advertisements

(Don’t miss the coverage of last year’s event from Unicorn Riot!)

“The whole earth is in jail and we’re plotting this incredible jailbreak.”

Online fundraiser live!

We are very happy to announce that, for the 8th year running, the Wild Roots Feral Futures (WRFF) eco-defense, direct action, and rewilding encampment will take place in the forests of Southwest Colorado this coming June 18-26, 2016 (exact location to be announced). WRFF is an informal, completely free and non-commercial, and loosely organized camp-out operating on (less than a) shoe-string budget, formed entirely off of donated, scavenged, or liberated supplies and sustained through 100% volunteer effort. Though we foster a collective communality and pool resources, we also encourage general self-sufficiency, which lightens the burden on communal supplies, and which we find to be the very source and foundation of true mutual sharing and abundance.

We would like to begin by acknowledging that Wild Roots Feral Futures takes place on occupied/stolen indigenous territory, primarily of the Nuutsiu (occasionally spelled Nuciu or Nuchu, aka “Ute”) people, as well as Diné [“Navajo”], Apache, and others. In recognition of this reality and as a first step in confronting it, we seek to establish proactive working relationships with those whose stolen land we gather upon, and open the space we temporarily gather in to the centering and amplification of indigenous voices and struggles. Our understanding is that any community of resistance that doesn’t center the voices of indigenous people and put their leadership in the forefront is a movement that is part of the problem. [Read more here…]

We would like to invite groups and individuals engaged in struggles against the destruction of the Earth (and indeed all interconnected forms of oppression) to join us and share your stories, lessons, skills, and whatever else you may have to offer. In this spirit we would like to reach out to frontline community members, local environmental groups, coalitions, and alliances everywhere, as well as more readily recognizable groups like Earth First!, Rising Tide North America, and others to come collaborate on the future of radical environmentalism and eco-defense in our bio-regions and beyond.

We would also like to reach out to groups like EF!, RTNA, and the Ruckus Society (as well as other groups and individuals) in search of trainers and workshop facilitators who are willing to dedicate themselves to attending Wild Roots Feral Futures and sharing their skills and knowledge (in a setting that lacks the financial infrastructure to compensate them as they may have come to expect from other, more well-funded groups and events). We are specifically seeking direct action, blockade, tri-pod, and tree climbing/sitting trainers (as well as gear/supplies).

Regarding the rewilding and ancestral earth skills component of WRFF, we would like to extend a similar invitation to folks with skills, knowledge, talent, or specialization in these areas to join us in the facilitation of workshops and skill shares such as fire making, shelter building, edible and medicinal plants, stalking awareness, tool & implement making, etc. We are also seeking folks with less “ancestral” outdoor survival skills such as orienteering and navigation, etc.

Daily camp life, along with workshops, skill shares, great food, friends, and music, will also include the volunteer labor necessary to camp maintenance. Please come prepared to pitch in and contribute to the workload, according to your abilities. We encourage folks who would like to plug in further to show up a few days before the official start of the event to begin set-up and stay a few days after the official end to help clean up.

Site scouting will continue until early June, at which point scouts and other organizers will rendezvous, report-back their scouting recon, and come to a consensus regarding a site location. We are also planning on choosing a secondary, back-up site location as a contingency plan for various potential scenarios. Email us for more info on getting involved with scouting and site selection processes.

WRFF is timed to take place before the Earth First! Round River Rendezvous, allowing eco-defenders to travel from one to the other. Thus we encourage the formation of a caravan from WRFF to the EF! RRR (caravans and ride shares can be coordinated through our message board at feralfutures.proboards.com.

We are currently accepting donations in the form of supplies and/or monetary contributions. Please email us for details.

Please forward this call widely, spread the word, and stay tuned for more updates!

For The Wild,

~The Wild Roots Feral Futures organizers’ collective

Email: feralfutures(at)riseup(dot)net

lynx_rendezvousimagesmall squared

For the sake of comprehensiveness, we are including below our original call-out as used in years past, which is a living document, changing and evolving as we ourselves learn and grow:

We are looking for folks of all sorts to join us and help facilitate workshops, talks, discussions, skill shares, direct action and medic trainings, wild food walks, conflict transformation, and much more! We will be focusing on many things, including but by no means limited to anarchist theory and praxis, unpacking privilege, decolonization, rewilding, ancestral skills, indigenous solidarity, direct action, forest defense, earth liberation, animal liberation, security culture, civil disobedience, hand to hand combat, survival skills, evasion tactics, green anarchism, anti-civ, post-civ, star watching and navigation, maps and orienteering, shelter building, permaculture, and whatever YOU care to bring and provide. But we need everyone’s help to make this as safe, positive, and productive a space as it can be. Our own knowledge, skills, and capacities are limited. We need YOUR help!

(more…)

Join us this summer as we take direct action to stop tar sands mining in Utah and work to heal the land.

With seeds, shovels, and hands we will rewild a site that had been condemned to fossil fuel development. Come regrow the mine June 17-19!

We will be physically replanting land on the East Tavaputs Plateau that is part of an ongoing tar sands strip mine. In doing so, we will cultivate resistance, biodiversity, and beauty in a space that has been destroyed by strip mining. The gathering will celebrate life, water, and resistance on the Colorado Plateau through music, storytelling, art, and action. Each day we will share the skills and techniques needed to continue building the world we want to see. The events are being hosted by the Tavaputs Action Council, a regional alliance of grassroots activists.

Join us as we fight for an immediate start to PR Springs mine reclamation, an escalation of mine clean up efforts along the Colorado River watershed, and  a just transition away from fossil fuels.

Lace up your boots, bring your shovels, and let’s get to work this June.

Sign up HERE to help us in this great restoration effort.

Greetings!

The attached PDF file is an Action Camp Feedback Questionnaire for the last three years of action camps resisting tar sands mine development on the Tavaputs Plateau in southeastern Utah, which were organized, in varying capacities, by Peaceful Uprising and Utah Tar Sands Resistance. Autonomously crafted by camp participants to foster the growth of our movements and communities of resistance, this is a lengthy, information-dense survey created with a unique format that includes an Outline, Security Culture, Healing and Emotional Support, About, and Feedback Form. This format may be confusing with a few imperfections, so please ASK questions to minerals [at] riseup [dot] net and seek out another action camp participant to find clarity with.

Please seek out the full version before answering the feedback form. Within the full version please skip around based on your own unique personal needs.

From the many experiences shared we will create a summary presentation of the responses outlining patterns, major and minor accomplishments/areas of improvement, creating transparency of experiences, and help organizers create future focal points for their on-going efforts. The presentation will be open source and available to all interested in an effort to foster wider community growth.

This is an accountability and transparency process giving you the opportunity to express your honest personal experiences. This process seeks diversity of responses. Please include experiences of feeling safety/endangerment, uplift/hinder, compassion/anger, value/disdain, wisdom, and much more. Please understand that prioritized intentional space is needed to read, comprehend, reflect and then reply to the feedback form.

If you are interested in being emotional support FOR individuals engaging in this process and/or helping create a neutral factual examination of participant experiences, email minerals [at] riseup [dot] net

It is vital that you forward this survey on to anyone you know that has participated in a Utah tar sands action camp..

We are all wounded, we are all healing! To Shadow, the neglected or repressed parts of our being, which are both essential, consistent places of struggle, and our magnificent potential. Acknowledging and honoring Shadow as a guide for how to heal, move towards vulnerability, and compassion with insight as our ally. Giving visibility to Shadow we become mirrors for ourselves and for each other, energizing prayers for releasing those patterns and creating new neural pathways of our beings and our togetherness.

I want to Thank EVERYONE who helped and is helping in this process, We are awesome!

This accelerating journey is in need of more helpers!

Reply to minerals [at] riseup [dot] net for EVERYTHING regarding the Action Camp Feedback Questionnaire.

Action Camp Feedback Questionnaire [PDF]

For more information about this year’s action, click here…

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is considering allowing a private company to build a 130 mile pipeline and greatly increase drilling near Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Chaco is a World Heritage Site known for magnificent architecture built 1000 years ago by the ancestors of today’s Pueblo Indians. There is concern among archaeologists that damage could occur to the wider cultural landscape around the canyon, erasing part of the legacy of these fascinating ancient people. Mike Eisenfeld of San Juan Citizens Alliance takes us on a tour of the exploratory drilling already underway.

A group of Diné on the first day of a 200-mile walk through their ancestral homeland. (Photo: ©2015 Julie Dermansky)

A group of Diné on the first day of a 200-mile walk through their ancestral homeland. (Photo: ©2015 Julie Dermansky)

By Julie Dermansky, DeSmogBlog

Beneath a giant methane gas cloud recently identified by NASA, the oil and gas fracking industry is rapidly expanding in northwestern New Mexico. Flares that light up the night sky at drilling sites along the stretch of Route 550 that passes through the San Juan Basin, which sits on top of the oil rich Mancos Shale, are tell-tale indicators of the fracking boom.

Much of the land being fracked belongs to the federal government. The rest is a mixture of state, private and Navajo Nation land.

The region is known to the Diné (Navajo) as Dinétah, the land of their ancestors.  It is home of the Bisti Badlands and Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a World Heritage Site.

Click here to read the full article…

Photo courtesy of Skytruth

Drilling in the Uinta Basin near the town of Ouray. Drilling locations appear as bright spots and are connected by a network of roads and pipeline corridors. / Photo courtesy of Skytruth

By Robin Cooley, Earth Justice

The people living in the Uinta Basin in eastern Utah are the unwitting participants in a massive scientific experiment.  What happens when you put more than 11,000 oil and gas wells in a geologic basin and then seal off the air for days or weeks on end?  And the initial results are alarming—smog pollution that exceeds the federal standard set to protect public health by a whopping 89 percent.

During wintertime inversions, when cold air is trapped near the ground by warm air above, the Uinta Basin suffers from a thick blanket of smog that rivals Los Angeles on a bad day. In its recent State of the Air Report, the American Lung Association gave Uintah County an “F” for ozone pollution, the key ingredient of smog. Scientists have compared the effects of ozone pollution to getting a sunburn on your lungs. It is most harmful to children, seniors, and people with heart and lung problems.

In the Uinta Basin, fracking is the primary culprit. A recent study shows that oil and gas development in the Uinta Basin is responsible for smog-forming emissions (volatile organic compounds) that are equivalent to the amount coming out of the tailpipe of 100 million cars and trucks.

The EPA, the state of Utah, and the energy companies are spending millions to study the problem. The Utah Department of Health is also investigating after a local midwife raised concerns about a possible increase in infant death rates.

But studying this problem is not enough to protect people living and working in the Uinta Basin. EPA must take the steps necessary to ensure that the air is clean. In 2012, the EPA refused to designate the Uinta Basin as a “nonattainment area” for ozone, which would trigger the state’s obligation to develop a clean-up plan under the Clean Air Act. On October 21, 2014, Earthjustice went to federal court in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, WildEarth Guardians and Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, to argue that it is time for the EPA to stop dragging its feet and start protecting public health. Given the ongoing oil and gas boom in the Uinta Basin, there is no time to waste.

(EnviroNews Utah) — Jan. 8, 2015, Salt Lake City, Utah — 25 activists from the group Utah Tar Sands Resistance (UTSR) were finally sentenced today in a Vernal courtroom in Uintah County, Utah. Most of the individuals sentenced were arrested on July 23, 2014 after chaining themselves to mining equipment inside of America’s first approved commercial tar sands mine operated by Canadian company U.S. Oil Sands.

Click here to watch the video interview…

Five more UTSR members were arrested in September of 2014 adding to the total of individuals being prosecuted, and these protestors had been waiting in the limbo of the criminal justice system for the last several months. Six of the 25 were slapped with felony rioting charges and were potentially facing long terms of incarceration.

Click here to read more…

A new oil pipeline that would quadruple oil production in New Mexico’s San Juan Basin threatens the internationally recognized Chaco Cultural area and the Lybrook Badlands wilderness.

From The Sierra Club

Denver-based SaddleButte LLC has applied to the Bureau of Land Management for a permit to build the 130-mile Piñon Oil Pipeline that would cut between Chaco National Historical Park and outlier Pueblo Pintado from Lybrook down to I-40.

The pipeline would permanently cut through federal, state, Navajo, and private lands, opening the floodgates to thousands of new oil wells, millions of gallons of contaminated groundwater, damaged archeological sites, diminished recreation economy, dangerous accidents and further climate disruption.

The BLM has agreed to hold additional public meetings and extend public comment on the proposed Piñon Pipeline.

Make your voice heard by using this form to ask the BLM Farmington Office to reject the Piñon Pipeline permit. Please edit the subject line of the sample note and, if you can, edit the note with your own first sentence — personalized messages are often taken more seriously.

Share this action on Facebook | Share this action on Twitter

EF! Note: We have little faith in online petitions and public appeal processes. Direct action gets the goods!

We had prepared and arranged for one of the defendants to give a customary statement to the court on behalf of the defendants about why they did what we did, why we do what we do, and why we must continue.  The judge denied us his audience.  Instead this statement was read to the news media outside the courtroom.

The Moral Imperative to Halt Tar Sands Mining

Last summer, twenty-five people were arrested for participating in acts of civil disobedience to halt construction of U.S. Oil Sands’ tar sands mine. We felt we had no choice but to take such action because of the blatant human rights violations that tar sands mining causes.

Tar sands is essentially naturally occurring asphalt. Extracting a low-grade oil out of it demands a tremendous amount of energy and water, making it a massive contributor to climate change as well as water and air pollution. Separating the bitumen from the rock mobilizes dangerous toxins that are present in substantial amounts, like mercury and arsenic.

In Canada, where tar sands mining has destroyed an area the size of Florida, it has polluted the Athabasca River with substances causing cancer, birth defects, and mutations in parts per trillion.

Indigenous people in the community downriver are getting rare cancers at an alarming rate, with cases occurring at a 30% higher rate than expected. Marginalized communities typically face the most severe environmental injustices, and we fear that this will be the case for indigenous communities who rely on the Colorado River and live downstream from the tar sands mines.

These communities are already dealing with many violations of their human rights from uranium extraction, water depletion, and a multitude of other issues. Their right to health, along with that of the 40 million water drinkers who rely on the Colorado, is being sacrificed for corporate profit. The same will happen to those in the airshed of the mining area and the refineries in Salt Lake City where the bitumen is expected to be processed.

Tar sands mining also uses copious amounts of water. The state of Utah takes at face value U.S. Oil Sands’ claims that it will use minimal water, when every tar sands project in existence uses massive amounts of water. Meanwhile, U.S. Oil Sands is already using precious deep aquifer water for its operations—water that should be reserved for sustaining life in a drying world. It has been well-documented that the Colorado’s flow is steadily dwindling, due to catastrophic climate change, which tar sands mining itself exacerbates. We can’t allocate more water to industrial use when the river has less water to give every year. We need to think of all the people downriver who rely on that water for sustenance. Because 15% of our nation’s food is grown using Colorado River water, giving more of our water to industry would endanger our food security as well.

Further, catastrophic climate change is real. Virtually all of the scientific community accepts it, yet our government continues to permit and subsidize projects that send us further toward climate collapse. Tar sands has a more detrimental climate impact than just about any other project, producing three times as much greenhouse gas as regular crude. It doesn’t matter if the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) manages to raise 2% of the public school budget this year if we’re leaving our children with a doomed world.

Once the land is strip-mined, its complex ecosystems will take perhaps centuries to return. We believe we must not leave a vast area of the East Tavaputs Plateau a tar sands wasteland. Despite U.S. Oil Sands’ claims, there is no way they can bring the land back with anything close to the complexity of this diverse high desert and canyon ecosystem. We maintain that corporations have no right to destroy places like Utah’s Book Cliffs forever.

On June 12, 2014, the EPA issued a directive to U.S. Oil Sands saying that USOS needs additional permitting because the strip mine is on traditional Uintah and Ouray Reservation land.

Nobody has held U.S. Oil Sands to this requirement—on the contrary, the company has continued clear-cutting, blasting, and bulldozing the land without securing the required permits.

After careful consideration, we came to the conclusion that we have the moral imperative, as residents who rely on the air, water, and land of this region, to protect these resources when our government refuses to serve as steward of them on behalf of the people.

We believe we must protect this land and these resources for future generations. SITLA is entrusted with managing this land for the long-term benefit of the public schools, but instead is sacrificing it for short-term gains, which stands in diametrical opposition to its mission. Over the past several years, we and various other organizations have pursued legal solutions such as a challenge to U.S. Oil Sands’ wastewater dumping permit, discussions with SITLA, and public rallies, to no avail. Our government’s insistence on looking the other way as tar sands strip mining in Utah jeopardizes our future led us to take civil disobedience in order to persuade our government to protect human rights over corporate profits. Only after serious deliberation did we choose to jeopardize our own liberty by using the age-old tactic of nonviolent civil disobedience for the sake of our future and all the generations to come.