Monthly Archives: November 2013

Colorado Governor proposes stricter fracking regs

According to the New York Times, Governor Hickenlooper is proposing to crack down on methane leaking from gas wells. The pollution has become so pervasive that Rocky Mountain National Park is experiencing elevated ozone readings.

Gov. John W. Hickenlooper of Colorado proposed on Monday tough new limits on leaks of methane and other gases from well sites and storage tanks. Supporters called the limits, which would exceed existing federal rules, the most sweeping in the nation.

Although the rules would also cover traditional petroleum and gas exploration and production, pollution from fracking — hydraulic fracturing, used to extract gas and oil from rock formations — is the driving force behind the proposal.

The proposal, which would directly regulate emissions of methane, an especially potent greenhouse gas, for the first time, came just after Colorado voters indicated their unease with the state’s booming oil and gas industry in elections this month.

Mr. Hickenlooper developed the proposal in negotiations with three of the state’s largest oil and gas developers — Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Encana Corporation and Noble Energy — and the Environmental Defense Fund, a national advocacy group.

Among other measures, it would require companies to regularly search for and repair gas leaks in their drilling and production equipment and to keep records of their findings. Read more.

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Is Ethanol Green?

The Boston Globe reports on the loss of prairie lands to new corn production–not for food but to run our cars.

ROSCOE, S.D. — Robert Malsam nearly went broke in the 1980s when corn was cheap. So now that prices are high and he can finally make a profit, he’s not about to apologize for ripping up prairieland to plant corn.

Across the Dakotas and Nebraska, more than 1 million acres of the Great Plains are giving way to corn fields as farmers transform the wild expanse that once served as the backdrop for American pioneers.

This expansion of the Corn Belt is fueled in part by America’s green energy policy, which requires oil companies to blend billions of gallons of corn ethanol into their gasoline. In 2010, fuel became the number one use for corn in America, a title it held in 2011 and 2012 and narrowly lost this year. That helps keep prices high.

‘‘It’s not hard to do the math there as to what’s profitable to have,’’ Malsam said. ‘‘I think an ethanol plant is a farmer’s friend.’’

Salem State Goes Green with New Library

Salem State University’s recently opened Frederick E. Berry Library and Learning Commons has provided the university with additional opportunities to develop and maintain a sustainable manner of operation. The installation of geothermal heat pumps to regulate the library’s heating and cooling is just one of numerous ‘green’ features of the new facility. Read more.