Justin Mikulka

Primary tabs

Justin Mikulka's picture

Personal Information

Twitter URL
https://twitter.com/JustinMikulka
Profile Info

Justin Mikulka is a freelance writer, audio and video producer living in Trumansburg, NY.

Justin has a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Cornell University.

Trump Praises LNG Exports in Louisiana as His Trade War with China Threatens the Industry

Read time: 6 mins
Trump at Cameron LNG

Today President Donald Trump appeared at Louisiana's $10 billion Cameron Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export facility to promote LNG exports and American “energy independence.”

Trump’s visit to the Cameron Parish terminal comes the day after his escalating trade war, which he called “a little squabble with China,” led China to raise tariffs on U.S. LNG from 10 to 25 percent — a major blow to the U.S. industry, which could slow America's massive plans to expand LNG export facilities.

Warren Buffett, Fear, and Greed in Fracked Oil Fields 

Read time: 7 mins
Oil pumpjack at sunset

Warren Buffett, CEO of investment holding company Berkshire Hathaway, is considered one of the top investors in history and can back up that track record with a personal wealth of around $90 billion. Buffett is known for advising investors to be “fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” 

In the U.S. fracked oil industry, this month can be read like a textbook version of Buffett’s fear and greed adage. The shale industry showed plenty of signs of fear while Buffett made a massive “greedy” bet on the future of the Permian Shale in Texas and New Mexico, assuming it will produce oil profitably and investing $10 billion in Occidental’s purchase of shale producer Anadarko.

With Renewables so Competitive, Big Plans for Oil and Gas Investments Look Risky

Read time: 7 mins
pipeline sections

As the time left to avoid climate catastrophe counts down, the U.S. oil and gas industry is making a massive bet on exporting its products to the rest of the world for the next several decades — a sure recipe for blowing past the 1.5°C (2.7°F) increase in temperatures scientists say would avoid the worst effects of global warming

Pipeline Bubble,” a new report from Global Energy Monitor, a fossil fuel and alternative energy research network, details this planned boom in new oil and gas pipeline infrastructure in North America. These plans not only allow North America to greatly increase oil and gas production, but those brand-new pipelines and related infrastructure are expected to last — and be used — for the next forty years. The report notes that the industry is currently planning $232 billion in new investment in oil and gas pipeline infrastructure. 

Renewables Offset 35 Times More CO2 Every Year Than All Carbon Capture Projects Ever, New Analysis Finds

Read time: 6 mins
Wind turbines in the California desert

A new analysis by Clean Technica found that global investment in carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) adds up to roughly $7.5 billion total. It also examined how much, for that investment, CCS has reduced atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels compared to an equivalent investment in renewable power generation.

The analysis calculated that “wind and solar are displacing roughly 35 times as much CO2 every year as the complete global history of CCS.” Clean Technica's Mike Barnard concluded, “CCS is a rounding error in global warming mitigation.”

Ethanol Train Derails and Burns in Texas, Killing Horses and Spurring Evacuation

Read time: 6 mins
Fort Worth ethanol train fires

Early in the morning on April 24, an ethanol train derailed, exploded, and burned near Fort Worth, Texas, reportedly destroying a horse stable, killing three horses, and causing the evacuation of nearby homes. According to early reports, 20 tank cars left the tracks, with at least five rupturing and burning.

While specific details have not yet been released, it appears to be a unit train of ethanol using the federally mandated DOT-117R tank cars, based on the images showing tank car markings. This is now the third accident in North America involving the upgraded DOT-117R tank cars, all resulting in major spills of either oil or ethanol.

Chevron and Exxon Say They Can Turn Around the Failed Finances of Fracking Industry

Read time: 9 mins
Gas station sign reading 'Exxon' and 'On the Run'

After a decade of the American fracking industry burning through hundreds of billions of dollars more than it earned, this industry previously dominated by shale drilling specialists is entering a new phase. The oil majors — a group of multinational companies that typically have divisions throughout the oil supply chain — now are investing heavily in fracked oil and gas operations.

Trump Order to Allow LNG by Rail Would Expand ‘Bomb Train’ Risks

Read time: 8 mins
Fiery detonation of a propane train in Utah

On April 10, first responders in Durham, North Carolina, responded to a suspected natural gas leak. While they were evacuating people from the area, the gas exploded, killing one person and injuring at least 25.

The same day Durham was dealing with the aftermath of a deadly natural gas explosion, President Donald Trump was issuing an executive order directing federal regulators to create new rules allowing rail companies to transport liquefied natural gas (LNG) by train in the next 13 months, or less.

'Are You Serious?' John Kerry Interrupts GOP Climate Denial Logic in Disbelief

Read time: 6 mins
John Kerry

Congressional discussions over climate change have reached such a low point that during this week’s House hearing on the national security risks of climate change, former Secretary of State John Kerry, who was testifying, broke down and just asked his Republican questioner, “Are you serious?”

Federal Government Foot-Dragging Helps Oil Industry Delay Oil-by-Rail Rules

Read time: 6 mins

In an attempt to reduce the risk of fiery oil train accidents, the state of Washington is working to pass a bill that would limit the vapor pressure of oil on trains to below 9 pounds per square inch (psi). Vapor pressure is a measure of the volatility of flammable liquids and correlates to their likelihood of igniting. Higher vapor pressure means an oil is more volatile and more likely to ignite and burn when a train derails.

If the federal government won’t act to protect public safety and adopt a safer nationwide standard, we will adopt our own,” state Sen. Andy Billig (D-Spokane) said of the bill he sponsored. “There is just too much to lose — for people and our environment.”

Billig's comments point to the federal government's repeated failure to address the volatility of the oil moving by rail in America.

Oil Industry Ponders Getting ‘Dragged into Low-Carbon Future’ While Claiming it ‘Stepped up’ on Climate

Read time: 8 mins
fossil fuel refinery

The fossil fuel industry's faith that the modern world economy will be powered by its products for the indefinite future is usually unwavering. But cracks in that faith recently appeared in Houston at the top annual oil industry conference, known as CERAweek.

The trade publication Platts S&P Global noted that “talk of oil at CERAWeek felt a bit more lackluster this time around,” according to several attendees. Various pressures — from climate-anxious investors to competition from renewables — apparently are tempering the oil and gas industry's usual optimism.

Pages