Sharon Kelly

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Blog entryHere Are Some of the Climate-Linked Disasters and Rollbacks Trump’s ‘Environmental Leadership’ Speech Didn't Cover Sharon Kelly01 week 4 hours ago
Blog entryPhiladelphia Explosion One in String of 'Near Miss' Accidents at Refineries Using Deadly Chemical Sharon Kelly01 week 2 days ago
Blog entryFormer Shale Gas CEO Says Fracking Revolution Has Been 'A Disaster' For Drillers, Investors Sharon Kelly01 week 5 days ago
Blog entryCEO of Major Shale Oil Company 'Has Second Thoughts' on Fracking Rush, Wall Street Journal Reports Sharon Kelly02 weeks 10 hours ago
Blog entryHouse to Debate Amendment With Big Implications for Expanding Petrochemical Industry Sharon Kelly01 month 2 days ago
Blog entryLouisiana Law Turning Pipeline Protests Into Felonies Violates Constitution, New Lawsuit Alleges Sharon Kelly01 month 1 week ago
Blog entryCourt Throws out Energy Transfer’s ‘Racketeering’ Claims Against Dakota Access Pipeline Opponents Sharon Kelly01 month 1 week ago
Blog entry'Virtually No Risk of Drilling Restrictions,' West Virginia Official Tells Fracking-Reliant Petrochemical Industry Sharon Kelly01 month 1 week ago
Blog entryWill Ohio River Get Optional Pollution Limits as New Fracking-Reliant Plastics Industry Moves in? Sharon Kelly01 month 1 week ago
Blog entryTrump Admin Pushes More 'Clean Coal' Spending as Justice Department Investigates Failed 'Clean Coal' Project Sharon Kelly01 month 3 weeks ago
Blog entryPlastics Industry on Track to Burn Through 14% of World’s Remaining Carbon Budget: New Report Sharon Kelly01 month 3 weeks ago
Blog entryEnergy Regulators May Reconsider Rules Critics Say Fueled America's Oil and Gas Pipeline Glut Sharon Kelly02 months 2 days ago
Blog entryAs Oregon Sends Jordan Cove LNG Back to Drawing Board, Gulf Coast Projects Press Forward Sharon Kelly02 months 6 days ago
Blog entryTeaching Kids About Climate Science Leads to More Climate-Concerned Parents on Right and Left, New Study Finds Sharon Kelly02 months 1 week ago
Blog entryStudy Finds Methane Leaks 1,000 Times EPA Estimates During Marcellus Drilling Sharon Kelly12 months 1 week ago
Blog entryEnergy Transfer Pipeline Projects on Hold in Pennsylvania After String of Violations Sharon Kelly02 months 2 weeks ago
Blog entryIn Some Pennsylvania Pro-Fracking Corners, Name-calling, False Claims, and Swastika-Laden Images Circulate Sharon Kelly02 months 2 weeks ago
Blog entryNew Warnings on Plastic’s Health Risks as Fracking Industry Promotes New 'Plastics Belt' Build-Out Sharon Kelly02 months 2 weeks ago
Blog entryWhy Plans to Turn America’s Rust Belt into a New Plastics Belt Are Bad News for the Climate Sharon Kelly02 months 2 weeks ago
Blog entryCongressman Asks Gas Industry to Join Him as ‘3 Percenters,’ Fails to Mention Movement's Ties to White Supremacists Sharon Kelly02 months 2 weeks ago
Blog entryOil Companies Will Be Bad Investments Within Five Years, Predicts Survey of European Fund Managers Sharon Kelly02 months 2 weeks ago
Blog entryEPA Decides Not to Regulate Fracking Wastewater as Pennsylvania Study Reveals Recent Spike Sharon Kelly02 months 3 weeks ago
Blog entryGas Driller at Center of 2019 Pulitzer-Winning Book on Fracking Still Faces Legal Battles Sharon Kelly02 months 3 weeks ago
Blog entryAs Researchers Tie Fracking and Radon, Pennsylvania Moves to Keep Drilling Radioactivity Data Under Wraps Sharon Kelly03 months 4 days ago
Blog entryAmerica’s Missed Climate Targets Cost Global Economy $1 Trillion, Dublin-based Think Tank Finds Sharon Kelly03 months 1 week ago

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Here Are Some of the Climate-Linked Disasters and Rollbacks Trump’s ‘Environmental Leadership’ Speech Didn't Cover

Read time: 8 mins
Donald Trump

President Donald Trump spoke to “America’s environmental leadership” in an address today, where he lived up to predictions and described the country’s air and water as clean (“crystal clean” even).

The speech started late, and with a reference to the heavy rains that have flooded Washington, D.C., which today's Washington Post noted were unusual and consistent with the changes predicted by climate scientists.

The rest of the world may be forgiven some skepticism about America’s environmental leadership — particularly under Trump. Within six months of taking office, Donald Trump had announced that he planned to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, the world’s framework for coordinating the international response to climate change, which scientists and world leaders have described as the most consequential environmental issue of our time.

Philadelphia Explosion One in String of 'Near Miss' Accidents at Refineries Using Deadly Chemical

Read time: 10 mins
PES refinery protest

Next Friday, July 12, the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery in south Philadelphia is slated to close its doors, marking the end of an era that began in 1866, one year after the Civil War ended, when 50,000 barrels of kerosene and chemicals were first stored on site.

The plant — which continued to struggle financially after emerging from bankruptcy in August 2018 — experienced a major industrial accident on June 21. That morning, a massive fireball lit up the pre-dawn sky over Philadelphia after leaking hydrocarbon gas had ignited. Five workers were injured, all treated on site. Three explosions shook walls in Philadelphia and the blast was reportedly felt as far away as South Jersey.

Emerging evidence suggests that the disaster could have been far more severe — in large part due to a deadly chemical used at the PES refinery and roughly 50 others nationwide.

CEO of Major Shale Oil Company 'Has Second Thoughts' on Fracking Rush, Wall Street Journal Reports

Read time: 6 mins
Permian Basin

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal featured a profile of Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, whose company is known among investors for its emphasis on drawing oil and gas from the Permian basin in Texas using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Back in 2014, Sheffield told Forbes that he expected Pioneer could produce a million barrels of oil a day from the Permian basin by 2024 — up from 45,000 barrels a day in 2011.

Now, Sheffield, who left the helm of Pioneer in 2016 and returned this February, says that those million-barrel-a-day plans are looking increasingly doubtful as the industry has struggled to prove to investors that it’s capable not only of producing enormous volumes of oil and gas, but that it can do so while booking profits rather than losses.

We lost the growth investors,” Pioneer CEO Scott Sheffield told the Journal. “Now we’ve got to attract a whole other set of investors.”

Former Shale Gas CEO Says Fracking Revolution Has Been 'A Disaster' For Drillers, Investors

Read time: 10 mins

Steve Schlotterbeck, who led drilling company EQT as it expanded to become the nation’s largest producer of natural gas in 2017, arrived at a petrochemical industry conference in Pittsburgh Friday morning with a blunt message about shale gas drilling and fracking.

The shale gas revolution has frankly been an unmitigated disaster for any buy-and-hold investor in the shale gas industry with very few limited exceptions,” Schlotterbeck, who left the helm of EQT last year, continued. “In fact, I'm not aware of another case of a disruptive technological change that has done so much harm to the industry that created the change.”

While hundreds of billions of dollars of benefits have accrued to hundreds of millions of people, the amount of shareholder value destruction registers in the hundreds of billions of dollars,” he said. “The industry is self-destructive.”

House to Debate Amendment With Big Implications for Expanding Petrochemical Industry

Read time: 5 mins
Shell cracker

A recent Congressional amendment, which backers say will soon reach the House floor for debate, could have major ramifications for the petrochemical industry’s plan to move into the Ohio River Valley and start manufacturing plastics and chemicals in Appalachia.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is currently considering extending $1.9 billion in federal loan guarantees to the Appalachia Development Group, which submitted an application for loan guarantees through the DOE’s Title 17 Loan Guarantee Program in 2017.

The Appalachia Development Group would use that loan guarantee to build a $3.4 billion storage hub that could store over 10 million barrels of so-called natural gas liquids (NGLs), which can be used to make plastics and petrochemicals and are in high supply due to fracking in the nearby Marcellus and Utica Shales.

Green groups supporting the amendment say that those DOE loan guarantees are meant for energy projects — specifically those that cut down on greenhouse gas emissions — not for the petrochemical industry.

Will Ohio River Get Optional Pollution Limits as New Fracking-Reliant Plastics Industry Moves in?

Read time: 10 mins
Shell's petrochemical and plastics plant in Potter Township, Pennsylvania

Tomorrow, June 6, in Covington, Kentucky, a routine quarterly meeting of the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), an eight-state compact responsible for setting water pollution control standards for the 981-mile Ohio River, is expected to fall under unusual scrutiny from both industry and environmentalists.

ORSANCO is considering a proposal to make its water pollution standards — designed to coordinate pollution rules the length of the river — voluntary amid a brewing battle over the fate of a river that’s both the source of drinking water for 5 million people and central to the petrochemical industry’s plans for a new fossil-fueled plastics manufacturing network.

Louisiana Law Turning Pipeline Protests Into Felonies Violates Constitution, New Lawsuit Alleges

Read time: 7 mins
water is critical infrastructure protest banner

A lawsuit filed today in federal court in Louisiana challenges the state’s “critical infrastructure” law, used to press felony charges against fossil fuel pipeline construction opponents, as unconstitutional.

Louisiana’s critical infrastructure law is unconstitutionally vague and broad, the suit alleges, because it lets “any authorized person” exclude people from public places like sidewalks and roads if the state’s 125,000 miles of mostly unmarked pipelines cross there. The law could even be used to bring felony charges against a landowner for being on their own land, the lawsuit alleges.

And, as more than a dozen arrests of peaceful protesters under the new law demonstrate, its actual aim is to chill, and harshly punish, speech and expression in opposition to pipeline projects,” the complaint adds.

Trump Admin Pushes More 'Clean Coal' Spending as Justice Department Investigates Failed 'Clean Coal' Project

Read time: 8 mins
Kemper power plant

In April, the Department of Justice informed Southern Company that it was under investigation “related to the Kemper County energy facility” in Mississippi, where Southern had spent $7.5 billion, including hundreds of millions in taxpayer funds from the Department of Energy, trying to build a coal-fired power plant that would capture carbon emissions.

Former engineers and officials from the Kemper plant have described evidence of possible intentional fraud at the construction project, alleging that the company knew of design flaws early on but pressed forward with the project in the hopes that costs could be passed on to power customers even if the project ran severely over-budget.

But the while the company remains under investigation, the Trump administration is doubling down by offering new funding — not just millions for more “clean coal” research and development, but also billions more for another construction project, which is also far behind schedule and over-budget, by the same company.

Plastics Industry on Track to Burn Through 14% of World’s Remaining Carbon Budget: New Report

Read time: 9 mins
Plastic jug on a beach

The plastics industry plays a major — and growing — role in climate change, according to a report published today by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL).

By 2050, making and disposing of plastics could be responsible for a cumulative 56 gigatons of carbon, the report found, up to 14 percent of the world's remaining carbon budget.

In 2019, the plastics industry is on track to release as much greenhouse gas pollution as 189 new coal-fired power plants running year-round, the report found — and the industry plans to expand so rapidly that by 2030, it will create 1.34 gigatons of climate-changing emissions a year, equal to 295 coal plants.

It’s an expansion that, in the United States, is largely driven by the shale gas rush unleashed by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Energy Regulators May Reconsider Rules Critics Say Fueled America's Oil and Gas Pipeline Glut

Read time: 4 mins
pipeline construction

A little-noticed Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announcement could have an outsized impact on the oil and gas pipeline industries — if the commission decides to snap shut loopholes that analysts say create financial incentives to build too many new pipelines in the U.S.

The way the rules are currently written can allow unusually high profit margins for new pipeline projects. Since 1997, FERC has allowed certain new pipelines to rake in 14 percent profits — a rate far higher than the returns presently generated by, say, corporate bonds — with little eye to how that compares to profits available from other investments.

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