Full cost accounting for the life cycle of coal – Epstein – 2011 – Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences – Wiley Online Library

Full cost accounting for the life cycle of coal – Epstein – 2011 – Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences – Wiley Online Library.

Growing in Power, Natural Gas Attracts Enemies – NYTimes.com

Growing in Power, Natural Gas Attracts Enemies – NYTimes.com.

By ANNE C. MULKERN of Greenwire
Published: February 16, 2011

A blog about energy and the environment.

As the fuel grows in market share and political power, several green groups have launched campaigns highlighting potential problems. They raise questions about everything from how natural gas is extracted to how much of a climate benefit it offers over competitors.

“Natural gas, especially newly available unconventional gas, has the potential to dramatically shift the energy landscape in the U.S.,” said Matt Watson, senior energy policy manager at Environmental Defense Fund. “Done right, it could be an important part of de-carbonizing our economy as we ramp up on truly clean energy resources. Done wrong, it could further entrench us on the losing side of the climate equation and do very real damage.”

The efforts build on the buzz of Oscar-nominated “Gasland,” an anti-drilling documentary. The natural gas industry, which calls many aspects of that movie erroneous, argues that the concerns of environmental groups are misplaced.

“We are proud of the extraordinary role that natural gas can play in power generation, transportation and manufacturing to advance cleaner air and improve U.S. energy security,” said Dan Whitten, spokesman for America’s Natural Gas Alliance, the trade group for independent companies. “Our members are committed to the safe and responsible development of this resource.”

Natural gas is surging in use, pushed by record low prices for the fuel.

In 2010, natural gas constituted 24 percent of power generation, from 13 percent in 1996, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

EIA projects that by 2024, natural gas will drop back slightly to 21 percent because of growth in renewable power and because the price of natural gas will start to rise, making coal more competitive.

But it could be buoyed by Congress. Some are talking about including the fuel in a clean energy standard, a requirement that utilities generate a portion of their power from less polluting sources.

President Obama in his State of the Union address said he wanted the country to use 80 percent clean power by 2035. In addition to renewable sources, the White House has mentioned meeting that goal with nuclear power, coal with carbon sequestration and some natural gas.

Groups like the Sierra Club have watched that growth and natural gas’s growing clout, and decided that they needed to seek more federal oversight.

“It became very evident that this was a huge, looming problem and we needed to get it right,” said Bruce Hamilton, director of the Sierra Club’s Global Warming and Energy Program. “We don’t just want to open the floodgates [and] at the same time not address the very, very serious impacts that natural gas has on the human and the natural environments.”

The Sierra Club argues that drilling for the fuel can lead to groundwater contamination and problems with leaks into homes. Natural gas drillers, the green group said, enjoy exemptions from parts of several environmental rules.

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) contends that there are doubts about the widely held belief that natural gas emits half the greenhouse gases of coal.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, meanwhile, is filing lawsuits against developers it believes have violated federal law. NRDC also is also lobbying for beefed-up regulation of the hydraulic fracturing technique used in some drilling.

On Thursday, the cause gets help from Hollywood. NRDC and Environmental Working Group will join “Gasland” director Josh Fox in lobbying lawmakers on the need for more drilling regulation. Mark Ruffalo, an Oscar-nominated actor, also will attend. Ruffalo lives in New York and Fox part-time in Pennsylvania in towns affected by shale gas development.

The natural gas industry said it has plenty of regulation.

“Natural gas is routinely produced safely in communities across the country,” Whitten said. “This is due to the commitment of our industry to responsible development, and credit also is due to the vigilant oversight of state regulators.

Click link above for more.

Policy Brief on Gas Development in NY and PA


Research & Policy Brief Series. ISSUE NUMBER 39/JANUARY 2011

Natural Gas Development:

Views of New York and Pennsylvania Residents in the Marcellus Shale Region


Richard Stedman, Cornell University, Fern Willits, Kathryn Brasier, Matthew Filteau, and Diane McLaughlin, The Pennsylvania State University, andJeffrey Jacquet

, Cornell University.



How much do residents feel they know about the potential impacts?

Department of Development Sociology

Cornell University



Ingraffea vs Siegel, SUNY Cortland, Feb. 20, 2011

Two Scientists Debate the Pros and Cons of Gas Drilling 

Professor Anthony R. Ingraffea
(Cornell University)


Professor Donald Siegel
(Syracuse University)

Sunday, February 20, 2011, 2-4pm

Brown Auditorium, Old Main, SUNY Cortland
Organized by GDACC (Gas Drilling Awareness for Cortland County)



Shell to explore for gas in the Karoo, why Johan Rupert has some concerns.

Shell to explore for gas in the Karoo, why Johan Rupert has some concerns.


ALEC HOGG: It’s Wednesday February 2 2011 and in this special podcast we speak with the chairman of Richemont, Johan Rupert, not about Richemont’s issues but more about what is going on in the Karoo. Johan, your family, in fact, has deep roots into the Karoo, looking through your father’s biography by Ebbe Dommisse, your great, great grandfather came to South Africa in 1858 to a town called Graaff-Reinet and on Friday, Graaff-Reinet was the scene of a discussion or a public meeting that you said some stuff that has been shaking up the oil industry.

JOHANN RUPERT: Good afternoon Alec, good afternoon, listeners. It’s really the whole question of drilling for gas through the Greater Karoo, over 90 000 square kilometers and the method in which the oil companies wish to operate. We’re not against looking for gas, we are not against the methodology if used in the right area, with the right safeguards. So, for instance, if you go into the desert and it’s shallow, there can be containment. What worries us is the unseemly haste with which this whole process is going forward. We don’t think the legal framework was designed for this fracking method and we are very, very scared about the irreversibility of the ecological damage, should it occur.

GHG Howarth update on footprint of gas vs coal — Jan 2011

GHG update for web — Jan 2011 (2).pdf (application/pdf Object).

Assessment of the Greenhouse Gas Footprint of Natural Gas from Shale Formations
Obtained by High-Volume, Slick-Water Hydraulic Fracturing

Robert W. Howarth
David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology & Environmental Biology, Cornell University
(Revised January 26, 2011)
Natural gas is widely advertised and promoted as a clean burning fuel that produces less greenhouse gas
emissions than coal when burned. While it is true that less carbon dioxide is emitted from burning natural
gas than from burning coal per unit of energy generated, the combustion emissions are only part of story
and the comparison is quite misleading. With funding from the Park Foundation, my colleagues Renee
Santoro, Tony Ingraffea, and I have
assessed the likely footprint from
natural gas in comparison to coal.
We submitted a draft of our work
to a peer-reviewed journal in
November, and now have a revised
manuscript under consideration by
the journal. The revision is
improved with input from
reviewers and also uses new
information from a November 2010
report from the EPA. The EPA
report is the first significant update
by the agency on natural gas
emission factors since 1996, and
concludes that emissions –
particularly for shale gas – are
larger than previously believed.
Our research further supports this

Diesel Use in Gas Drilling Cited as Violation of Safe-Water Law – NYTimes.com

Diesel Use in Gas Drilling Cited as Violation of Safe-Water Law – NYTimes.com.

Gas Drilling Technique Is Labeled Violation

Published: January 31, 2011

Oil and gas service companies injected tens of millions of gallons of diesel fuel into onshore wells in more than a dozen states from 2005 to 2009, Congressional investigators have charged. Those injections appear to have violated the Safe Water Drinking Act, the investigators said in a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday.

Ralph Wilson/Associated Press

Workers at a natural-gas well site near Burlington, Pa.


A blog about energy and the environment.

The diesel fuel was used by drillers as part of a contentious process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which involves the high-pressure injection of a mixture of water, sand and chemical additives — including diesel fuel — into rock formations deep underground. The process, which has opened up vast new deposits of natural gas to drilling, creates and props open fissures in the rock to ease the release of oil and gas.

But concerns have been growing over the potential for fracking chemicals — particularly those found in diesel fuel — to contaminate underground sources of drinking water.

“We learned that no oil and gas service companies have sought — and no state and federal regulators have issued — permits for diesel fuel use in hydraulic fracturing,” said Representative Henry A. Waxman of California and two other Democratic members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, in the letter. “This appears to be a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act.”

Oil and gas companies acknowledged using diesel fuel in their fracking fluids, but they rejected the House Democrats’ assertion that it was illegal. They said that the E.P.A. had never properly developed rules and procedures to regulate the use of diesel in fracking, despite a clear grant of authority from Congress over the issue.

“Everyone understands that E.P.A. is at least interested in regulating fracking,” said Matt Armstrong, a lawyer with the Washington firm Bracewell & Giuliani, which represents several oil and gas companies. “Whether the E.P.A. has the chutzpah to try to impose retroactive liability for use of diesel in fracking, well, everyone is in a wait-and-see mode. I suspect it will have a significant fight on its hands if it tried it do that.”

Regardless of the legal outcome, the Waxman findings are certain to intensify an already contentious debate among legislators, natural gas companies and environmentalists over the safety of oil and gas development in general, and fracking in particular.

Oil services companies had traditionally used diesel fuel as part of their fracturing cocktails because it helped to dissolve and disperse other chemicals suspended in the fluid. But some of the chemical components of diesel fuel, including toluene, xylene and benzene, a carcinogen, have alarmed both regulators and environmental groups. They argue that some of those chemicals could find their way out of a well bore — either because of migration through layers of rock or spills and sloppy handling — and into nearby sources of drinking water.

An E.P.A. investigation in 2004 failed to find any threat to drinking water from fracking — a conclusion that was widely dismissed by critics as politically motivated. The agency has taken up the issue again in a new investigation started last year, although the results are not expected until 2012 at the earliest.

The House committee began its own investigation in February last year, when Democrats were in the majority. In Monday’s letter, Mr. Waxman, along with Representatives Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts and Diana DeGette of Colorado, said that they were so far “unable to draw definitive conclusions about the potential impact of these injections on public health or the environment.”

Still, the investigators said that three of the largest oil and gas services companies — Halliburton, Schlumberger and BJ Services — signed an agreement with the E.P.A. in 2003 intended to curtail the use of diesel in fracking in certain shallow formations.

Two years later, when Congress amended the Safe Water Drinking Act to exclude regulation of hydraulic fracturing, it made an express exception that allowed regulation of diesel fuel used in fracking.

The Congressional investigators sent letters to 14 companies requesting details on the type and volume of fracking chemicals they used. Although many companies said they had eliminated or were cutting back on use of diesel, 12 companies reported having used 32.2 million gallons of diesel fuel, or fluids containing diesel fuel, in their fracking processes from 2005 to 2009.

The diesel-laced fluids were used in a total of 19 states. Approximately half the total volume was deployed in Texas, but at least a million gallons of diesel-containing fluids were also used in Oklahoma (3.3 million gallons); North Dakota (3.1 million); Louisiana (2.9 million); Wyoming (2.9 million); and Colorado (1.3 million).

Where this leaves the companies in relation to federal law is unclear.

Mr. Waxman and his colleagues say that the Safe Drinking Water Act left diesel-based hydraulic fracturing under the auspices of E.P.A.’s “underground injection control program,” which requires companies to obtain permits, either from state or federal regulators, for a variety of activities that involve putting fluids underground.

No permits for diesel-based fracking have been sought or granted since the Safe Drinking Water Act was amended in 2005.

Lee Fuller, a vice president for government relations with the Independent Petroleum Association of America, said that was because the E.P.A. had never followed up by creating rules and procedures for obtaining such permits and submitting them for public comment.

The agency did quietly update its Web site last summer with language suggesting that fracking with diesel was, indeed, covered as part of the underground injection program, which would suggest that permits should have been obtained. But Mr. Fuller’s organization, along with the U.S. Oil and Gas Association, has gone to court to challenge the Web posting, arguing that it amounted to new rule-making that circumvented administrative requirements for notice and public commentary.

The E.P.A. said Monday that it was reviewing the accusations from the three House Democrats that the companies named were in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

“Our goal is to put in place a clear framework for permitting so that fracturing operations using diesel receive the review required by law,” Betsaida Alcantara, an E.P.A. spokeswoman, said in an e-mail message. “We will provide further information about our plans as they develop.”

The story behind a deadly typhoid epidemic in Ithaca: (a historical precedent)

The story behind a deadly typhoid epidemic in Ithaca | syracuse.com.

The story behind a deadly typhoid epidemic in Ithaca

Published: Sunday, January 30, 2011, 6:54 AM     Updated: Sunday, January 30, 2011, 11:26 AM
Building the Dam (2)_2.JPGWorkmen pour concrete to build the Six Mile Creek Dam in the summer of 1903. Poor sanitation caused a typhoid epidemic in Ithaca.

In 1903, Americans watched in horror as a typhoid epidemic — born from the greed and stupidity of some prominent Central New York businessmen — raged though Ithaca, striking down hundreds and killing at least 82 people, including 29 Cornell University students. Almost 1 in 10 residents became ill. Award-winning journalist David DeKok has written “The Epidemic,” (Globe Pequot Press, $22.95) a book about an otherwise forgotten public health catastrophe. He spoke with Hart Seely.

How did it start?

A businessman by the name of William T. Morris acquired Ithaca Water Works from the Treman family in Ithaca. Morris, a close friend of Ebenezer Treman, was able to afford the company because Cornell University loaned $100,000, an enormous amount at that time. He paid too much, more than Wall Street valued the deal, so he decided to build a dam to increase the amount of water he could sell. … Strict warnings on sanitation were not enforced by Morris or his people. One or more of the workers were carriers, a concept not really understood at that time, and through bad sanitation, the typhoid spread into the water supply and the town.

You write that at one point, a third of Cornell’s student population was fleeing the city.

IMG_1706.JPGDavid DeKok

It was a terribly scary thing. By the time it was over, one in 10 people in Ithaca was ill. That’s a huge percentage — one of the worst typhoid epidemics, in percentage, in American history. Students were getting on trains and going home. For some, they thought they were getting away from death, but it ended up finding them anyway. A number of them died in their parents’ homes.

OK, let’s talk about the main villain, William T. Morris.

He was from Penn Yan. His father, Daniel Morris, had been a two-term U.S. Congressman during and after the Civil War, a Republican. In fact, he was among the congressmen who passed the 13th Amendment, outlawing slavery. … Daniel Morris sent young Will to Cornell, and he became a lawyer. He came back to Penn Yan and set up a law practice. He did not seem to have a high ethical standard. There’s an incident where he and some of his partners took retainer money from a client and bought new linoleum for their office. … The law firm broke up, and Morris got interested in the utility business. He acquired the Penn Yan Gas Light Company, then started acquiring small-town utilities in New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Eventually, he set his sights on Ithaca.

What was Morris like?

Very narcissistic. Everything was about him. And very clueless. It was not necessarily conscious criminal behavior. He was more reckless.

The story includes many prominent figures. For example Frank Gannett (founder of the Gannett newspaper chain).

William T. Morris-5_2.JPGWilliam T. Morris

He was the city editor on the Ithaca Daily News. It was his first real newspaper job — actually, I believe he was a stringer for your paper in summers during college — working for Duncan Campbell Lee, the (Ithaca) publisher, one of the heroes… Gannett ran a crew of hard-working reporters, out all the time, getting long lists of patients’ names, people who had come down with typhoid. … They reported every little thing that was going on.

The industrialist, Andrew Carnegie.

He was on the Cornell Board of Trustees. He didn’t actually come to meetings often, but Jacob Gould Schurman, the president of Cornell, was more than happy to have him, because he was one of the wealthiest men in the world. He became a hero, at least to some, when he agreed to pay medical and/or funeral expenses of students.

Some references to the name “Vonnegut.”

Obviously, Kurt Vonnegut came much later, but three great uncles from Indianapolis were students at Cornell during the epidemic.

How do Cornell officials come off?

Sage co-eds 1903_3.JPGSix Cornell coeds pose on the balustrade in front of Sage College around 1903.

They had a real problem. They did not handle this particularly well. Schurman, the president, was a prominent intellectual, a very smart guy, but he had to deal with a board of trustees primarily made up of people from the local community. … It was not Schurman who came up with the idea to help Morris buy the water company. It was the Tremans and the Van Cleefs, so conflicts of interest were immense — but overlooked. In the early stages of the epidemic, there was a reluctance to do anything that would offend William Morris, a good friend of the Cornell board.

So they let it spiral out of control?

They did, for a while. There was severe criticism of the university, locally and in newspapers around the state, about the quality of medical care that was being given.

You say the story has a modern legacy.

William Morris got rid of his holdings in 1909, in part because he never really recovered from the costs of the epidemic, and he didn’t want to have the Public Service Commission telling him how to run his business. The company in 1921 was acquired by two fellows, John Mange and Howard Hopson. … It collapsed, went into bankruptcy and emerged in 1946 as the General Public Utilities Corporation, which ran the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant (site of the 1979 accident).

What lessons should we learn?

Certainly, the need to regulate businesses that affect the public interest. In 1903, there was no regulation of water companies, and little litigation if anything happened to you. … I also think the story is a good lesson about what happens when an infectious disease epidemic strikes a town. … With things like SARS or H1N1 flu, something could happen again.

We have a copy of “The Epidemic” to give away. To be eligible, send your name, address and phone number on a postcard or in a letter to CNY, “Epidemic” giveaway, P.O. Box 4915, Syracuse, NY 13221. It must be postmarked by Tuesday. One entry per person, please.

About typhoid

Typhoid fever is a life-threatening disease of the intestinal system caused by the typhoid bacillus, Salmonella typhosa.

It is spread by infected people who handle food or fluids without washing their hands or when sewage carrying the bacteria contaminates water, milk and other foods.


Typhoid was famously spread around the same time as the Ithaca epidemic by “Typhoid Mary,” a cook named Mary Mallon who was quarantined for life against her will after personally causing at least a dozen outbreaks.

Symptoms show up one to two weeks after infection and include sore throat, fever, headache, nausea and loss of appetite and, in severe cases, delirium and death. The bacteria can invade the bloodstream and cause meningitis. The fever generally lasts three to four weeks.

Today, only about 400 cases are reported annually in the US, 70 percent acquired through international travel.

— Source: World of Health, 2007

EPA Gas-drilling/peer-review-panel-for-fracking-study-includes-six-pa-scientists Jan. 18, 2011

List of EPA Peer Review Panel http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabpeople.nsf/WebCommitteesSubcommittees/Hydraulic%20Fracturing%20Study%20Plan%20Review%20Panel

Gas-drilling/peer-review-panel-for-epa-fracking-study-includes-six-pa-scientists-1.1091757.  Times Tribune

Peer-review panel for EPA fracking study includes six Pa. scientists
By Laura Legere (Staff Writer)
Published: January 18, 2011
A panel of geologists, toxicologists, engineers and doctors that will peer-review a high-profile Environmental Protection Agency study of hydraulic fracturing will include six scientists from Pennsylvania, more than any other state.

The panel will review the techniques and analysis the EPA uses to draft a study of the potential environmental and health impacts of hydraulic fracturing – the process used in natural gas exploration of injecting a high-pressure mix of chemically treated water and sand underground to break apart a rock formation and release the gas.

The panel might also be called on to review the conclusions of the study, which are slated for release in 2012.

The board, called the Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan Review Panel, was narrowed to 23 members from a list of 88 nominated candidates, some of whom were criticized in public comments submitted by industry or environmental groups for being biased.

All but four members selected for the panel are affiliated with research universities and none is currently employed by an oil or gas company.

Five of seven members of a previous peer-review panel involved in a 2004 EPA study of hydraulic fracturing in coal-bed methane wells were current or former employees of the oil and gas industry. That study’s findings, that hydraulic fracturing poses “little or no threat” to drinking water aquifers, has been touted by the industry but challenged by an EPA whistle-blower.

In a memo announcing the new panel, the EPA found “no conflicts of interest or appearances of a lack of impartiality for the members of this panel.”

It will be led by David A. Dzombak, professor of environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, and include Michel Boufadel of Temple University; Elizabeth Boyer of Penn State University; Richard Hammack, a Pittsburgh-based roject manager for the U.S. Department of Energy; Jeanne VanBriesen of Carnegie Mellon and Radisav D. Vidic of the University of Pittsburgh.

Contact the writer: llegere@timesshamrock.com

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/gas-drilling/peer-review-panel-for-epa-fracking-study-includes-six-pa-scientists-1.1091757#ixzz1BPnY6jzD

Quebec should ‘go slow’ on shale gas: experts

Quebec should ‘go slow’ on shale gas: experts.