News-in-Transition

4 December 2016

© Andrew Cullen / Reuters - A North Dakota oil drilling company has agreed to pay a $2.1 million fine imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency for causing air pollution on a Native American reservation.

Slawson Exploration Co, the largest oil producer in the Midwest, was hit with the fine for air pollution arising from 170 oil and gas wells, the majority of which were on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

The EPA said that the company failed to adequately design, operate and maintain vapor control systems on its storage tanks which contributed to pollution, specifically smog. This pollution can increase susceptibility to respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia and bronchitis, and exacerbates diseases such as asthma.

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5 September 2014

 - Natural gas fracking operations use massive amounts of water.

In addition to contaminating groundwater supplies and destabilizing fault lines, fracking is exacerbating water scarcity worldwide. Close to 40 percent of the world's shale gas and tight oil resources are in areas that are either arid or under high to extremely high levels of water stress, according to a report released Tuesday by the World Resources Institute.

As other nations begin to exploit these resources as the United States already has, "limited availability of freshwater could become a stumbling block," the report says — a consequence environmentalists can only hope will come to fruition.

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14 March 2014

- South Africa is possibly moving forward with a plan to allow Shell Oil Company to explore and develop natural gases through the highly controversial ‘Hydraulic Fracking’ technology in the region of Karoo.

The South African based company that produces liquid fuels, chemicals and electricity, ‘Sasol’, is optimistic that that the shale gas industry would develop under the current government. Australia’s Sunbird Energy has been exploring and developing oil and gas projects in South Africa, notably the Ibhubesi Gas Field in the West coast.

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2 January 2014

 - Two-thirds of the UK's land will be available for fracking companies to license, a government map published on Tuesday shows, with new areas opened up in the Midlands, Cumbria and Wales.

Ministers said major energy companies had expressed interest in new shale gas licences and up to 150 applications are expected, which could cover about 15% of the UK.

Almost £1bn of financial incentives and revenues could be injected into local communities that accept fracking, according to a new assessment of the impact of a largescale shale gas industry on the UK, published the same day.

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2 April 2013

 - There has been an ongoing battle between researchers and the natural gas and oil industries over whether or not hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is definitively leading to an increase in earthquake activity.

Since late 2010, nearly 1,000 earthquakes have rattled Arkansas and the area around the New Madrid Fault Line. Previous to this, Arkansas had a total of 38 quakes in 2009. Yet two cities, Greenbrier and Guy had a swarm of 30 small earthquakes in a four-day period in early 2011, which paralleled fracking activity in the same area.

This uptick was echoed next-door in Oklahoma, where during roughly the same period, the state saw an increase in earthquakes from 50 per year to over 1,000 in 2010. The accumulating present-day data is also mirrored by earlier government research, as you will see below.

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