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Guidelines Issued for Diesel Fuel Used in Hydraulic Fracturing

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued guidelines on the use of diesel fuel in oil and gas hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a method that involves pumping water containing chemicals into shale formations to unlock trapped energy resources. The EPA defines five substances as diesel variations and outlines guidelines and “technical recommendations” for their use.…

Insatiable Thirst? The Fracking/Water Collision in South Texas

Fifty miles south of San Antonio on Route 181, signs of the hydraulic fracturing boom taking place in the Eagle Ford Basin are everywhere. New hotels are popping up. Trucks endlessly barrel down roads. Restaurants can’t find enough workers. And then there are the potted country roads lined with artificial ponds, water stations and miles…

Fracking in Water-Stressed Zones Increases Risks to Communities – and Energy Producers

Even as concerns arise about the threats hydraulic fracturing poses to water quality and human health, a new study released yesterday finds that the water demands of the “fracking” process are adding considerably to localized water depletion, especially in parts of Texas, Colorado, and California. Nearly half of the fracking wells in operation since 2011…

Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals Linked to Fracking Found in Colorado River

This week, more evidence came in that hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) poses potentially serious risks to drinking water quality and human health. A team of researchers from the University of Missouri found evidence of hormone-disrupting activity in water located near fracking sites – including samples taken from the Colorado River near a dense drilling region…

Proposed Rules to Limit Power Plant Emissions Expected This Week

In a move initiated by the Obama administration to address global changes in climate, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected this week to release a proposal for regulations to reduce carbon emissions from new power plants. Although details about the regulations remain confidential, the New York Times reports the proposal could contain standards different for coal…

U.S. Energy Production Linked to Earthquakes

As U.S. production of crude oil continues to grow, new studies in the journal Science say the very methods used to extract the resource could be behind some U.S. earthquakes. The studies find that the gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing can cause some small earthquakes and that the disposal of wastewater following this and other energy production methods can produce…

The Fracker’s Quest: More Water

By Peyton Fleming, Ceres DENVER – Hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) has recast the U.S.’s energy future, but it’s also shining a light on fragile water supplies, which could crimp the industry’s growth. The pinch is especially strong on shale energy producers and state regulators who are scrambling to find ways to keep the water flowing…

Water Protection Gets Shortchanged in Proposed Fracking Rules

By Monika Freyman, water program manager at Ceres Proposed standards that the U.S. Department of Interior announced last week for hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) on federal and Indian lands are hugely important, especially in the arid West where water is gold. Unfortunately, water protection gets short shrift in the rules that, once finalized, will apply to…

Carbon Dioxide Milestone Revised by NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced last week that carbon dioxide concentrations at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii surpassed the milestone 400 parts per million for a sustained period. NOAA has since revised the figure—on the basis of computer analysis—saying its May 9 readings actually remained fractions of a point below the historic level, coming in at…

South African Anti-Fracking Activist Calls for Global Alliance

“We’ve got to stop doing this,” said Jonathan Deal, with a sense of urgency tinged with discomfort. Deal could well have been talking about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the oil and gas drilling practice he has tirelessly fought to stop in his native South Africa. But at this moment, he was talking about the energy-guzzling…

As Oil and Gas Drilling Competes for Water, One New Mexico County Says No

In drought-plagued New Mexico, water is gold. And this week, Mora County in the northern part of the state took a firm stand to protect its precious liquid:  it banned all oil and gas extraction from county lands.  It is believed to be the first county in the nation to take such action. Big oil…

U.S. Oil Reserves Higher Than Previously Thought

According to a new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) assessment, two formations in the central United States hold three times the amount of natural gas and two times the amount of oil than the federal government previously estimated. Concentrated in the Dakotas and Montana, the Bakken and Three Forks formations are expected to hold 7.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil and…

Mixing Oil and Water: Scenes From the Texas Oil Boom

By Monika Freyman, Manager, Water Program, Ceres This post is the first in a two-part series from Monika Freyman, Manager in Ceres’ water program on hydraulic fracturing, water supplies and energy development. Boarding a puddle jumper in Dallas, I picked up a copy of USA Today and opened to the headline“Wealth Rises in the USA’s Heartland.” It was a fitting…

Climate Change Concern Slipping as Scientists Ponder Link between Recent Events

A new poll says climate change is no longer first on Americans’ list of the most critical environmental problems. About three in 10 people, or 29 percent, believe water and air pollution to be the top issue. Meanwhile, 19 percent saw climate change as a threat, down from 33 percent in 2007. Even with the decline, three-quarters of those polled thought…

Reach of BP Oil Spill Still Strong Two Years Later

BP has made headlines again, two years after the Gulf oil spill. For the spill, the company stands to pay billions of dollars in environmental fines under the Clean Water Act; a new study indicates thousands of jobs could be created along the coast if those funds were used for coastal restoration. Specifically, if $1.5 billion per…