Biomass Energy in Pennsylvania: Implications for Air Quality, Carbon Emissions, and Forests

PFPI-PA-Biomass-Energy-Report_12_18_12%5B1%5D.pdf.

Biomass Energy in Pennsylvania: Implications for Air Quality, Carbon Emissions, and Forests

70+ pages of analysis – deals with PA specifically but the issues are very general.
Relates also to burning garbage/trash.
“… burning wood and other biological materials for “biomass energy” is widely promoted as a cleaner and low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels. Supported by an array of renewable energy incentives and widely marketed as sustainable and environmentally sound, biomass energy facilities ranging in size from institutional heating boilers to 100 megawatt (MW) electrical plants are being built at an unprecedented rate across the United States. Often missing in the rush to take advantage of renewable energy grants and subsidies, however, is discussion of how biomass combustion may affect air quality, greenhouse gas emissions and forests. Air quality regulators know that biomass boilers emit as much or more key air pollutants as fossil fuel boilers, giving them the potential to affect air quality. Scientists increasingly recognize that biomass energy, which is chiefly fueled with wood, is a significant source of greenhouse gases that could put large new demands on forests if growth continues unchecked. Still, the federal government and many states, including Pennsylvania, have prioritized rapid expansion of biomass energy capacity with little consideration of potential impacts. While pollutant emissions, greenhouse gases, and forest impacts from biomass energy are recognized by many scientists and regulators, they are only beginning to be considered at a policy level.”

US EPA’s study confirms water contamination caused by fracking | Ohio Environmental Council

US EPA’s study confirms water contamination caused by fracking | Ohio Environmental Council.

New Research: USGS In-Depth Study of Fracking from 1947-2010 | Marcellus Drilling News

New Research: USGS In-Depth Study of Fracking from 1947-2010 | Marcellus Drilling News.

 

link to full report inside

American Public Health Association – The Importance of Public Health Agency Independence: Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling in Pennsylvania

American Public Health Association – The Importance of Public Health Agency Independence: Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling in Pennsylvania.

Center for Science and Technology Policy Research

Center for Science and Technology Policy Research.

US Media CoverageWorld Media Coverage

2012 Leak Detection Study – Document – NYTimes.com

2012 Leak Detection Study – Document – NYTimes.com.

Contamination of North America’s Groundwater from Fracking (Hydraulic Fracturing) Revealed in a New Case History Catalogue

B.C. Tap Water Alliance Press Release, June 16, 2013 (English and French)

Contamination of North America’s Groundwater from Fracking (Hydraulic Fracturing)
Revealed in a New Case History Catalogue
 – http://www.bctwa.org/FrkBC-PrRel-June16-2013-NewCatalogue.pdf

(Stop Fracking British Columbia – http://www.bctwa.org/FrackingBC.html)

Vancouver, BC – Alberta-based environmental consultant Jessica Ernst just released the first
comprehensive catalogue and summary compendium of facts related to the contamination of North
America’s ground water sources resulting from the oil and gas industry’s controversial practice of
hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

Based on research collected over many years, the 93-page report, Brief Review of Threats to
Groundwater from the Oil and Gas Industry’s Methane Migration and Hydraulic Fracturing
, looks
to be a game-changer document, providing little ‘wriggle room’ for private industry and
government spokespeople advocating fracking’s immunity from public concern, criticism and
liability.

Ever since the pioneering days of Coalbed Methane fracking experiments in southeast and
southwest United States in the late 1970s, and through subsequent and evolving grandiose technical
stages of widespread experimenting with fracking in the United States and Canada, the deep-pocketed
inter-corporate industry has consistently fought and influenced both government and
citizenry by burying the truth about its cumulative impacts to the environment and human health
through confidentiality agreements, threats, half-truths, and deceptions. This catalogue, devoted
primarily to the theme of groundwater impacts, helps to shine the light upon a behemoth circus of
utter pitch black darkness.

“Jessica Ernst has made a strong case,” notes Will Koop, B.C. Tap Water Alliance Coordinator.
“Her collection provides excellent and technically friendly working tools, enabling the public to
draw their own conclusions from the critical information. This is not just an invaluable document
for North Americans, but for the world.”
                                                                      -30-

For Website Links to Ernst’s Document Catalogue:

http://www.ernstversusencana.ca/links-resources

http://www.frackingcanada.ca/industrys-gas-migration/

http://lesamisdurichelieu.blogspot.ca/2013/06/fracturation-hydraulique-expose-de.html

A Reality Check on a Plan for a Swift Post-Fossil Path for New York – NYTimes.com

A Reality Check on a Plan for a Swift Post-Fossil Path for New York – NYTimes.com.

Water Pollution Risk Associated with Natural Gas Extraction from the Marcellus Shale – Rozell – 2011 – Risk Analysis – Wiley Online Library

Water Pollution Risk Associated with Natural Gas Extraction from the Marcellus Shale – Rozell – 2011 – Risk Analysis – Wiley Online Library.

Pacific Institute: Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Resources: Separating the Frack from the Fiction

Pacific Institute: Reports.

Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Resources: Separating the Frack from the Fiction

 

fracking_cover_small.jpgHydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has generated growing controversy in the past few years. New research from the Pacific Institute finds the real issues around its impacts on water are shared by stakeholders from government to industry to environmental groups – and point to the need for better and more transparent information in order to clearly assess the key water-related risks and develop sound policies to minimize those risks.

Much of the public attention on hydraulic fracturing has centered on the use of chemicals in the fracturing fluids and the risk of groundwater contamination. But the new study finds that while chemical disclosure can be useful for tracking contamination, risks associated with fracking chemicals are not the only issues that must be addressed. The massive water requirements for fracking and the potential conflicts with other water needs, including for agriculture and for ecosystems, pose major challenges. Methane contamination of drinking water wells is also a concern according to some field studies, as are the serious challenges associated with storing, transporting, treating, and disposing of wastewater.

The report Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Resources: Separating the Frack from the Fiction is a detailed assessment and synthesis of existing research on fracking as well as the results of interviews with representatives from state and federal agencies, industry, academia, environmental groups, and community-based organizations from across the United States. Interviewees identified a broad set of social, economic, and environmental concerns, foremost among which are impacts of hydraulic fracturing on the availability and quality of water resources.

“Despite the diversity of viewpoints among the stakeholders interviewed, there was surprising agreement about the range of concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing. Among the most commonly cited were concerns about spills and leaks, wastewater management, and water withdrawals,” said Heather Cooley, co-director of the Pacific Institute Water Program. “In addition to concerns about impacts on water resources, social and economic concerns were identified as well, such as worker health and safety and community impacts associated with rapidly industrializing rural environments.”

Hydraulic fracturing refers to the process by which fluid is injected into wells under high pressure to create cracks and fissures in rock formations that improve the production of these wells. Energy analysts, including the Energy Information Administration (EIA), project that the United States will become increasingly reliant on natural gas, with production projected to increase by nearly 30% over the next 25 years.

The growth in natural gas production is driven by a dramatic increase in domestic shale gas production, and by 2021, the United States is projected to be a net exporter of natural gas ( U.S. EIA 2012). The rapid development of unconventional natural gas resources – such as shale – has been largely facilitated through the use of directional (horizontal) drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

Hailed by some as a game-changer that promises increased energy independence, job creation, and lower energy prices, fracking has led others to call for a temporary moratorium or a complete ban due to concern over potential environmental, social, and public health impacts. The research finds that the lack of credible and comprehensive data and information is a major impediment to a robust analysis of the real concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing.

“Much of what has been written about the interaction of hydraulic fracturing and water resources is either industry or advocacy reports that have not been peer-reviewed, and the discourse around the issue to date has been marked by opinion and obfuscation,” said Cooley. “More and better research is needed to clearly assess the key water-related risks associated with hydraulic fracturing and develop sound policies to minimize those risks.”

Based in Oakland, California, the Pacific Institute is a nonpartisan research institute that works to create a healthier planet and sustainable communities. Through interdisciplinary research and partnering with stakeholders, the Institute produces solutions that advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity – in the West, nationally, and internationally. www.pacinst.org.

Download the full report.
Download the Executive Summary.
Download the press release.