AND PUBLIC HEALTH IN IDAHO
Development’s Risks vs. Rewards
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GOOD FUEL TECH NEWS: "Researchers have developed a standalone device that converts sunlight, carbon dioxide & water into a carbon-neutral fuel, without requiring any additional components or electricity. ...The carbon-dioxide converting cobalt-based catalyst is easy to make & relatively stable. While this technology will be easier to scale up than the artificial leaf, the efficiencies still need to be improved before any commercial deployment can be considered. The researchers are experimenting with a range of different catalysts to improve both stability & efficiency."
"Parsley Energy CEO: ‘I don’t think I’ll see 13m barrels a day again in my lifetime’" - he's only 37. "'Our industry is the industry of mobility & comfort,' he said - referring to fuel for car & air travel & for heating & air conditioning - '& mobility is being drastically rethought & there will be new innovations on comfort.' ...Capital markets have largely closed to shale producers in the past year as investors fled a sector that became famous for...an inability to repay debt. ...The shale sector...has often been led by mgt. teams who 'put up very little personal risk & had very lopsided upside reward based on growth'.
"Flares, which can burn for weeks at a time, have been shown to release chemicals such as benzene as well as fine particle pollution, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, heavy metals & black carbon. Several of these combustion-related pollutants have been associated with a higher risk of preterm birth & reduced birthweight in other contexts. ...10.6% were preterm, occurring before the 37th completed week of pregnancy. Preterm birth is associated w/complications such as immature lungs, difficulty regulating body temperature, poor feeding & slow weight gain." - 50% higher odds of this w/flaring
"The grand jury concluded the DEP’s responses to such problems amounted to sending the message: 'Leave fracking alone.' “Sadly, too many DEP employees listened,” [A.G.] Shapiro said. And the agency’s leadership, he said, is 'too cozy' with the industry. ...The grand jury report also criticized the Department of Health as being 'unable to meet the challenge' of understanding how the chemical-intensive process of fracking could affect human health [and] ...outlines political pressure at the agency to allow gas drilling to proceed."
"...From 1998 to 2011, the results show that women who lived near wells in the first and second trimesters were 8-14% more likely to experience a spontaneous preterm birth - one that would otherwise be unexplained - at 20-31 weeks. Spontaneous preterm birth, in which a pregnancy ends before 37 weeks of gestation, is the leading cause of infant death in the U.S." -- NOTE no differentiation between fracked or conventional wells, just in active stages ("most wells in California are drilled using conventional methods").
"As it headed toward bankruptcy, Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. took advantage of a little-noticed provision in the stimulus bill Congress passed in March to get a $9.7 million tax refund. Then, it asked a bankruptcy judge to authorize the same amount as BONUSES TO 9 EXECUTIVES. ...Dozens of oil companies & contractors [are] now claiming hundreds of millions of $$ in tax rebates... employing a provision of the $2.2 trillion stimulus law, called the CARES act, that gives them more latitude to deduct recent losses."
Getting real in the courts, at least in this case:
"BLM had issued a 'finding of no significant impact' prior to issuing the leases, but judge Morris said the BLM ignored WildEarth’s claims that the hydraulic fracking would affect groundwater.
"Judge Morris said the BLM did a poor job of explaining how cumulative effects of all of the oil and gas leases in the package would affect the environment – something that the Ninth Circuit consistently requires."
I am happy to support the Idaho Statesman for all their excellent coverage of this, and other crucial community issues over the years. They worked hard to get accurate numbers on this virus, how many healthcare workers have been infected, etc. I encourage others to support them too.