hydraulic fracturing

The Two-Way
1:30 pm
Fri July 24, 2015

#NPRreads: Electric Dylan, Fracking And The Iran Deal Deconstructed

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom share pieces that have kept them reading. They share tidbits using the #NPRreads hashtag — and on Fridays, we highlight some of the best stories.

This week, we bring you four reads.

From NPR's Washington correspondent Don Gonyea:

It's only rock and roll.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
4:06 pm
Tue July 21, 2015

Stillwater Approves New Oil and Gas Rules, Industry Says They Might Violate New Law

Stillwater resident Tammy Mix's sons play on the sidewalk as a drilling rig peeks above the tree line behind her Stillwater home in 2014.
Credit Tamara Mix

After months of debate, drafting and deferring, the Stillwater City Council on Monday approved a stricter oil and gas ordinance.

The council unanimously approved the new rules, which were crafted with the input of residents, the energy industry and Senate Bill 809 — legislation that goes into effect in August preventing municipalities from enacting ordinances that ban fracking and other oil and gas activities, The Oklahoman‘s Adam Wilmoth reports:

The ordinance applies only to new wells. It imposes a 660-foot setback from the property line of “protected use” properties, including homes, churches, parks, schools, libraries and hospitals. It also forbids new structures being built within 400 feet of oil and gas wells put in after the ordinance becomes effective.

Ambient noise from drilling operations at the setback boundary will be limited to 69 decibels, which is about the same noise level as a vacuum cleaner. The ordinance includes higher variances from that sound level for limited periods of time.

Operators will be required to carry general liability commercial insurance policies of at least $1 million and environmental impairment insurance of at least $2 million. General umbrella liability coverage of at least $5 million also would apply.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
4:32 pm
Fri July 10, 2015

Emails Reveal Fallin Didn’t Want To Face Connection Between Quakes, Oil Industry

Oil-field workers tend to American Energy-Woodford's Judge South well in November 2014 well shortly after the Oklahoma Corporation Commission ordered it temporarily shut-in.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

In November 2011, a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck near Prague, Okla., causing significant damage and injuring two people. Right away, the possibility that the disposal of wastewater by injecting it deep into the earth — part of the hydraulic fracturing process — was to blame came up.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
6:32 pm
Mon July 6, 2015

State Seismologist Austin Holland Leaves Oklahoma For USGS Job In New Mexico

Oklahoma Geological Survey seismologist Austin Holland.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

As Oklahoma’s earthquake swarm developed over the past few years, State Seismologist Austin Holland’s work days got a lot longer. That’s the main reason Holland is leaving his position in Oklahoma to be a supervisory geophysicist at the Albuquerque Seismic Lab.

From The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies:

“I have averaged about 80 hours each week for the 5 1/2 years I’ve been here,” Holland said Monday in an emailed statement. “I want to change my work-life balance, and this opportunity is a good way to do that.”

Since Holland came to the Oklahoma Geological Survey, the state has seen a rapid increase in earthquakes, some of which have been linked to disposal wells used for produced water from oil and gas activity.

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Here & Now
6:24 pm
Mon July 6, 2015

Reforesting After Fracking: Working To Restore Pennsylvania's Drilled Land

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 6:24 pm

While most of the attention on the impacts of fracking has focused on things like drinking water, air pollution and earthquakes, state regulators in Pennsylvania are working on another less-discussed, but no less serious, side effect of oil and gas development: forest fragmentation.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:05 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

Man-Made Earthquakes: Fact or Fiction?

The team at Reveal produced a nifty video on Oklahoma’s earthquake surge that shows, with entertaining visuals, the science of “induced seismicity” — the scientific mechanism that explains how disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry can trigger earthquakes.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
11:12 am
Thu July 2, 2015

As Communities Prepare for New State Fracking Rules, One City Will Wait and See

Sarah Nichols / Flickr

Gov. Mary Fallin signed controversial legislation in May outlawing municipal bans on fracking and other oil and gas activities. Officials in some communities are re-examining their local drilling ordinances to comply with the law, which goes into effect later this summer.

One city in southeastern Oklahoma, however, isn’t budging.

MEET ‘ORDIE’

When McAlester Mayor Steve Harrison first heard state lawmakers were writing a law to end citywide bans on fracking and drilling, he contacted his state representative. He then called local leaders in other cities and, later, penned a protest letter to Fallin.

It didn’t work. The bill was signed into law May 29. Harrison’s final move was writing a eulogy, dubbed “Requiem for an Ordinance: 1974-2015.”

“Ordie, as I like to call him, never caused trouble for anyone while he was here. Leastwise, I never heard a complaint,” Harrison says, reciting the sarcastic ode, which was published in the mayor’s newsletter.

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Environment
6:42 pm
Sat June 20, 2015

Residents Fight To Block Fracked Gas In New York's Finger Lakes

At an October protest, hundreds of "We Are Seneca Lake" members block the gates of Crestwood Midstream to protest against the expansion of fracked gas storage in the Finger Lakes.
PR Newswire AP

Originally published on Sat June 20, 2015 6:45 pm

New York state's Seneca Lake is the heart of the Finger Lakes, a beautiful countryside of steep glacier-carved hills and long slivers of water with deep beds of salt. It's been mined on Seneca's shore for more than a century.

The Texas company Crestwood Midstream owns the mine now, and stores natural gas in the emptied-out caverns. It has federal approval to increase the amount, and it's seeking New York's OK to store 88 million gallons of propane as well.

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Environment
1:33 pm
Mon June 15, 2015

Power Struggle: The Oil and Gas Boom and an Outbreak of Earthquakes in Oklahoma

Lawrence Stasyszen, abbott of St. Gregory's Abbey, stands inside the monastery's condemned workshop in Shawnee, Okla. The monastery and nearby college are still reeling from millions in damage from a 5.7-magnitude quake that struck in 2011.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

In 2014, Oklahoma had more than three times as many earthquakes as California, and this year, the state is on track for even more. A lot of them are small, but some towns are seeing a quake almost every day, and seismologists warn that large and damaging earthquakes are becoming more likely.

The government in the Sooner State has only recently acknowledged the scope of the oil and gas industry’s role in the problem.

Reveal’s Michael Corey and Joe Wertz of StateImpact Oklahoma hop in a car and drive toward the epicenter of two earthquakes that had just struck near the town of Guthrie, Oklahoma, to see the after-effects for themselves and talk to the people who live in the area. Are residents troubled by or numb to the earthquakes?

In this story, the reporters travel throughout the state speaking to experts, helping us gain a better picture of Oklahoma’s man-made earthquakes.

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Economy
5:02 am
Thu June 11, 2015

America's Next Economic Boom Could Be Lying Underground

Pump jacks and wells work in an oil field on the Monterey Shale formation in California. Economist Michael Porter says that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a "game changer" for the U.S. economy.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 11, 2015 2:42 pm

There's a serious problem in the American economy: Big corporations are doing well, but real household income for average Americans has been falling over the past decade — down 9 percent, according to census data.

"That's not good for America," says Harvard economist Michael Porter. "That's not good for America's standard of living. That's not good for our ultimate vitality as a nation."

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