PITTSBURGH — A landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process moved up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site, the Department of Energy told The Associated Press.
After a year of monitoring, the researchers found that the chemical-laced fluids used to free gas trapped deep below the surface stayed thousands of feet below the shallower areas that supply drinking water, geologist Richard Hammack said.
Although the results are preliminary — the study is still ongoing — they are the first independent look at whether the potentially toxic chemicals pose a threat to people during normal drilling operations. But DOE researchers view the study as just one part of ongoing efforts to examine the impacts of a recent boom in oil and gas exploration, not a final answer about the risks.
Drilling fluids tagged with unique markers were injected more than 8,000 feet below the surface at the gas well bore but weren’t detected in a monitoring zone at a depth of 5,000 feet. The researchers also tracked the maximum extent of the man-made fractures, and all were at least 6,000 feet below the surface.
That means the potentially dangerous substances stayed about a mile away from surface drinking water supplies, which are usually at depths of less than 500 feet.
Statement from the President on the Confirmation of Gina McCarthy as the Next Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
I am pleased that today the Senate took bipartisan action to confirm Gina McCarthy as the next Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. With years of experience at the state and local level, Gina is a proven leader who knows how to build bipartisan support for commonsense environmental solutions that protect the health and safety of our kids while promoting economic growth. Over the past four years, I have valued Gina’s counsel and I look forward to having her in my Cabinet as we work to slow the effects of climate change and leave a cleaner environment for future generations.
New York fire officials say a resident in a Chinatown building set off two rounds of bug bombs to battle an infestation, causing an explosion that injured 12 people.
Fire officials say the woman set off 20 canisters Wednesday. On Thursday, she deployed about two dozen more but forgot to turn off a pilot light. The poisonous flammable fumes exploded, shattering windows on three floors. Three people were seriously hurt.
Bug bombs are also known as foggers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued new warning labels last year reminding people to not use more than one in a room at a time and to turn off all electronic appliances and pilot lights because the pesticides are highly flammable. They cause about 500 explosions annually nationwide.
If the numerous protests against Keystone XL — the proposed TransCanada-operated pipeline that would link production from Alberta’s oil sands to refiners along the US Gulf Coast — haven’t already made clear by now, a lot of environmentalists and other groups are staunchly opposed to the line’s construction.
In addition to their argument that allowing the pipeline to be constructed would lead to accelerated development in Alberta’s oil sands, which would spew materially greater quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, environmentalists are against Keystone XL for two additional reasons.
The first is because of the environmentally sensitive areas the pipeline would cross. One of the key areas pinpointed as the most environmentally sensitive is in Nebraska, where Keystone would cross more than 200 miles of the Ogallala aquifer. Some say that a spill near this region could be far more devastating than a spill in virtually any other area, since it would pollute the region’s groundwater, perhaps irreversibly.
The second cause for concern has to do with the physical qualities of the bituminous crude oil Keystone XL would move. Bitumen is a thick, viscous substance that doesn’t flow unless it’s heated or diluted. For it to be transported via pipeline, it has to be diluted with specialty chemicals that yield diluted bitumen, or “dilbit” crude. Some commentators argue that dilbit crude is much harder to clean up than lighter crude variants, such as those produced in the Bakken or Eagle Ford shales, especially when it spills into water.
For instance, consider the rupturing of an Enbridge pipeline in July 2010, which spilled more than a million gallons of dilbit crude into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River in what was the largest bituminous crude spill into a U.S. waterway.
Enbridge’s woes highlight dilbit cleanup issues Nearly three years later, the cleanup effort isn’t over. When all that dilbit crude was released into the river, the dilutive chemicals rose to the surface and evaporated but left behind bitumen, which began sinking to the riverbed.
Though Enbridge has already been fined $3.7 million for the spill, which it paid in September, according to the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency isn’t satisfied yet. It notified the Canadian pipeline operator in October that further cleanup is required in the Kalamazoo River, upstream of the Ceresco and Battle Creek Dams, as well as in the delta upstream of Morrow Lake.
And last month, it gave the company an additional order, which requires it to dredge submerged oil and oil-contaminated sediment that still exists across some 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River. After factoring in these additional costs, the company now estimates the total costs of cleanup to approach $1 billion. That’s more than the company’s entire net income last year.
Lack of information about dilbit’s interaction within aquifer As Enbridge’s example highlights, bad things can happen when dilbit crude spills into a river. But much less is known about dilbit crude’s interaction
Due to its California Air Resources Board and the regulations imposed by it, Californians pay a premium at the pump to every state that’s not named Alaska. One might wonder why California is able to enforce these standards; it’s because the state-run organization was already in place before the Clean Air Act was passed. Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency is trying to enact the low sulfur and nitrogen oxide standards throughout the country, but there has been some pushback.
Is there any help on the horizon? Those who call California home are certainly hoping so. Increased infrastructure to get cheaper Bakken formation and other mid-continent oil to the West Coast is likely to begin appearing in 2014. One of the state’s biggest refiners, Tesoro , plans on increasing rail capacity to ports on the coast where it can then ship the cheaper, lighter oil to its refineries throughout the state. Couple this with pipeline expansions in Canada, and some, not total, relief could be in sight.
The general partner of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners will likely see some payback, as well It’s easy to forget the necessity of midstream operators that seamlessly transport oil and gas throughout the United States. Kinder Morgan is one of these operators, and one that investors should commit to memory due to its sheer size – it’s the fourth largest energy company in the U.S. — not to mention its enormous potential for profits. In The Motley Fool’s premium research report on Kinder Morgan, we break down the company’s growing opportunity – as well as the risks to watch out for – in order to uncover whether it’s a buy or a sell. To determine whether this dividend giant is right for your portfolio, simply click here now to claim your copy of this invaluable investor’s resource.
Filed under: Automakers aren’t happy about a California mandate that requires manufacturers to sell 1.4 million electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles by 2025. As such, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers have filed a petition with the Environmental Protection Agency to block the state’s mandate. Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, chided car companies for “shooting yourselves in the foot,” while speaking at the SAE International World Congress. Nichols also asked, “Rather than rehashing the same, tired legal battles of our past, why not work together to collectively support and develop this market?”
Of course, as Bloomberg points out, automakers can only comply with the plan if buyers want to bring home zero-emission models in high volumes. So far, that hasn’t happened. “It serves no one, not the state economy or consumers or automakers, to have these vehicles sit unsold on dealer lots,” said Gloria Bergquist, a spokesperson with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
Automakers may turn to an online auction system to buy and sell carbon credits in the near future. As Automotive News reports, the Environmental Protection Agency will soon stop allowing automakers to simply pay fines for exceeding their carbon emission limits and will instead move to a carbon credit system. Under that plan, more efficient automakers will be able to sell the credits they don’t need or use to automakers that want to build less efficient products. Unfortunately, automakers are notoriously competitive and likely won’t be willing to help each other out, even if it means making a little extra cash.
The solution is to use an anonymous market where automakers can buy or sell credits without ever knowing who’s on the other end of the transaction. Several companies have already signed up for accounts with Mobilis Trading, though none have actually bought or sold credits just yet. That may change as the government puts ever more pressure on automakers to reduce emissions.
California has failed to spend $455 million of federal money meant to improve water infrastructure in the state, while thousands of people rely on groundwater laced with nitrates and other contaminants, federal regulators said Friday.
The state has received more than $1.5 billion for its Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund over the past 15 years, but has failed to spend a large part of it in a timely manner, according to a noncompliance letter from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the state’s public health department. The amount is the program’s largest unspent sum in the nation, the EPA said.
The fund gives out loans to public and private water systems for drinking water infrastructure improvements, including treatment facilities, pipelines and other projects. In recent years, California has received an estimated $80 million in federal money annually for the fund. The state provides a 20 percent match and manages the loan repayments which helps replenish the fund.
“It’s really unacceptable,” EPA‘s regional administrator, Jared Blumenfeld, said of the unspent funds. “It’s not like there is a lack of projects. It’s a lot of money in this day and age.”
The $455 million includes money that has been committed to projects but has not been spent because the projects are not shovel-ready, said Blumenfeld. But because the money is already committed, other water systems that are in need cannot apply for it, he said.
The EPA also found that California also lacks a good system of financial oversight and accountability for the fund. As a result, the state did not accurately calculate revenue from ongoing loan repayments into the fund, the EPA said, meaning an additional $260 million is available for water projects.
In response to the EPA, Department of Public Health director Ron Chapman wrote in a letter, “I acknowledge the seriousness of the notice and will take all steps necessary to address the compliance issues identified in the letter.”
The state has 60 days to come up with an improvement plan — or the EPA may suspend future payments.
By the end of 2012, the EPA said California has disbursed 63 percent of its federal safe drinking water funding, while the national average was 81 percent.
Part of California’s struggle to spend the money, Blumenfeld said, is that the state prefers funding projects from medium and large water systems that are years away from being launched. He said the state should make more money available to smaller communities that are in immediate need — especially those struggling with contaminated drinking water.
More than half of California’s population relies on a drinking water supply contaminated by arsenic, nitrates and other contaminants, though most communities blend or treat their water to make it safe, according to the State Water Resources Control Board.
Nitrate contamination of drinking water is one of the most pervasive problems, especially in California’s agricultural heartland and will intensify in coming years, according to a University of California, Davis study released last March.
The study — covering the Salinas Valley and Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern counties — found
(AP)—Internal investigators have faulted the Environmental Protection Agency over years of delays in completing health studies needed to guide the cleanup of a Montana mining town where hundreds of people have died from asbestos exposure.
The Texas fertilizerplant where an explosion killed as many as 15 people late Wednesday was cited by state officials nearly a decade ago for failing to obtain or to qualify for a permit, records show.
West Fertilizer Co. was cited by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in 2006 after it received a complaint in June of that year of a strong ammonia smell emanating from the 1,500-square foot facility in a farming community roughly 20 miles north of Waco. Agency records indicate that the person who lodged the complaint said a lingering ammonia smell was “very bad.”
The plant, which was founded in 1958 and generates an estimated $2 million in annual sales, reported to the Environmental Protection Agency and local public safety officials that it presented no risk of fire or explosion, according to documents cited by The Dallas Morning News.
The company, which employs up to 20 workers, reported having as many as 54,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia in stock in an emergency planning report required of facilities that use toxic or hazardous chemicals. But the report, according to the newspaper, stated “no” under fire or explosive risks. The worst possible scenario, the report said, would be a 10-minute release of ammonia gas that would kill or injure no one.
The second-worst possibility projected was a leak from a broken hose used to transfer the product, which again would cause no injuries, the report indicated.
The plan said the facility did not have any other dangerous chemicals on hand. It says that the plan was on file with the local fire department and that the company had implemented proper safety rules, the newspaper reports.
Advisories on safe handling of anhydrous ammonia typically state that the chemical is not considered an explosion risk when in the air as a gas. They add, however, that it can explode in certain concentrations inside a container.
“Emergency responders should not mix water used for firefighting directly with anhydrous ammonia as this will result in warming of the product, causing the liquid to turn into a vapor cloud,” according to the website of Calamco, a growers’ cooperative in California.
Explosive hazards with fertilizer are more commonly linked to ammonium nitrate, which is widely used in agriculture and as a mining and construction explosive. A mixture of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil was used to construct the bomb that decimated the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.
In 2001, an explosion at a chemical and fertilizerplant killed 31 people and injured more than 2,000 in Toulouse, France. The blast occurred in a hangar containing 300 tons of ammonium nitrate, which can be used for both fertilizer and explosives. The explosion came 10 days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S., and raised fears at the time it was linked. A 2006 report blamed the blast on negligence.
Still, Chevrolet should be proud of its four-door. The car’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine delivers 148 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, bolted to a six-speed automatic transmission. Drivers will also enjoy an overboost function that can crank the engine to 280 lb-ft of torque for brief stints. This all means that the Cruze will be able to travel 700 miles on a single tank of fuel, while achieving a 0-60 time of 8.6 seconds. You can check out the full press release below for more information.
ICF International Awarded $23 Million Contract with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
FAIRFAX, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– ICF International (NAS: ICFI) , a leading provider of consulting services and technology solutions to government and commercial clients, has been awarded a recompete contract by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide technical and outreach support for the Office of Air and Radiation, Clean Air Markets Division (CAMD). The contract has a value of up to $23 million and a term of five years.
Under this contract, ICF will support EPA‘s CAMD across a range of activities, including modeling for the power sector and other industrial sectors; economic and environmental modeling and analysis; statistical, regulatory, policy, and technical analysis; outreach and communications support; and workshop and conference support.
“ICF is very proud of our more than 20 years of support to CAMD. We look forward to continuing our work with EPA and to finding creative solutions to the growing challenge of developing environmental programs and policies for increasingly complex energy and environmental markets,” said Gayle Kline, vice president for ICF International.
ICF International (NAS: ICFI) partners with government and commercial clients to deliver professional services and technology solutions in the energy, environment, and infrastructure; health, social programs, and consumer/financial; and public safety and defense markets. The firm combines passion for its work with industry expertise and innovative analytics to produce compelling results throughout the entire program lifecycle, from research and analysis through implementation and improvement. Since 1969, ICF has been serving government at all levels, major corporations, and multilateral institutions. More than 4,500 employees serve these clients from more than 60 offices worldwide. ICF‘s website is http://www.icfi.com.
How much would electricity cost in the United States if the retail price reflected the health impacts of burning fossil fuels? A paper recently published by researchers at the Environmental Protection Agency finds that accounting for such costs would add an average of 14 to 35 cents per kilowatt-hour to the retail cost of electricity. Nationwide, these hidden health costs add up to as much as $886.5 billion annually, or 6% of GDP. …read more
Providing Capital and Technology, GE is Farming the Wind in America’s Heartland with Enel Green Power
GARDEN CITY, Kan.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Providing capital and technology to farm the wind in America’s heartland with global renewable energy company Enel Green Power, GE (NYS: GE) is investing common equity and supplying turbines for the 250-megawattBuffalo Dunes Wind Project in Kansas.
GE is providing capital and technology for a wind farm under construction in Kansas that will harness the wind in the American heartland to provide clean electricity to the eastern United States. Link to digital rendering: http://bit.ly/Z3p49j (Photo: Business Wire)
This transaction expands GE Energy Financial Services’ and Enel Green Power North America’s portfolio of co-owned wind projects. Last year, the companies invested in the 235-megawatt Chisholm View wind project in Oklahoma, and in the 200-megawatt Prairie Rose wind project in Minnesota. Both projects also feature GE wind turbines. The GE unit and Enel Green Power North America also invested in the 101-megawatt Smoky Hills wind farm in Kansas and the 63-megawatt Snyder wind farm in Texas.
GE unit GE Energy Financial Services now owns 51 percent of the Buffalo Dunes project under construction southwest of Garden City, Kansas in Finney, Grant and Haskell counties. Enel Green Power North America, a subsidiary of Enel Green Power, maintains a 49 percent ownership stake, retains an option to increase this stake to 75 percent if elected during certain periods in 2013 and 2014, and serves as project manager. In addition to capital, GE is supplying 135 wind turbines for the project and will provide operations and maintenance after completion. Alabama Power Company will buy most of the electricity from the project under a 20-year agreement.
“This project is a fresh example of how to harness the strong wind in America’s heartland to power the eastern United States with low-cost, clean electricity,” said Kevin Walsh, Managing Director of Power and Renewable Energy at GE Energy Financial Services. “It also showcases GE‘s ability to provide both world-class technology and flexible financing structures, and advances our long-term partnership with renewable energy leader Enel Green Power.”
Construction, managed by RES Americas, is expected to be completed by December. The wind project is expected to employ 150 construction workers, create 15 permanent jobs, generate enough electricity to power 65,000 homes and – according to Environmental Protection Agency methodology – avoid approximately 800,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year – equivalent to the annual emissions …read more
Canon Virginia Named as the First Manufacturer to Earn Responsible Recycling (R2) Certification
MELVILLE, N.Y–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Canon Virginia, Inc. (CVI), is the first original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to achieve Responsible Recycling Practices for Electronics Recyclers (R2) certification. This certification is a result of an independent audit of CVI’s facilities in Newport News, Va., confirming that it’s facilities meet the R2 Standard, a comprehensive set of best management practices governing the environmental, health, safety and security aspects of the electronics recycling industry.
Electronic manufacturing companies typically employ third-party recyclers, however, the majority of the recycling at the CVI facility is done on site. This practice helps to reduce the environmental footprint of the product and is another example of Canon’s dedication to maximizing efficiency and environmental practices. While other recycling companies have been recipients of the R2 Certification, CVI is the first OEM to receive this distinction.
“Achieving R2 certification is a major accomplishment and supports our commitment to the environment,” said Toru Nishizawa, president and chief executive officer, Canon Virginia. “We work very hard to ensure the recycling side of our business complements Canon’s research and development efforts to help minimize the environmental impact of our products. As an OEM, Canon is combining manufacturing and recycling under one roof to strengthen our profile and offer a unique business value to our customers and society.”
R2 is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-recognized accreditation standard that helps to ensure electronics recyclers remain accountable for their processes while also helping to protect supply chain employees, and others, who are exposed to e-waste. The R2 audit involves a seven-step process that evaluates over 50 areas of operational performance. The certification ensures the highest levels of compliance in environmental practices, procedures and data security and implements strict recycling and material disposal regulations.
This certification, covering the Canon facilities in Virginia responsible for the testing, refurbishment and repair of returned copiers, printers and cameras, is one example of Canon’s dedication to maximizing sound environmental practices while continually looking for ways to reduce consumption throughout all aspects of the business. Recently, Canon U.S.A., Inc. became one of the first electronic equipment manufacturers with qualifying products in the new imaging equipment category of EPEAT®, a global registry for greener electronics. CVI’s R2 Certification helps support Canon’s efforts to promote various environmental initiatives more effectively throughout the product life-cycle, supported by Canon U.S.A., Inc.’s Environmental Management System and ISO 14001 certificate. Canon U.S.A., Inc., and more than 700 additional Canon …read more
In the energy industry, oil spills are more common than one might think. Though media attention tends to focus primarily on the most devastating ones, smaller ones do happen from time to time, despite the industry’s renewed focus on safety measures since the infamous BP Deepwater Horizon incident – the worst accidental oil spill in history.
Just ask ExxonMobil .
ExxonMobil pipeline ruptures On March 29, ExxonMobil’s 940-mile Pegasus crude oil pipeline ruptured near Mayflower, Ark. – a town some 25 miles northwest of Little Rock. According to the Mayflower Incident Unified Command Joint Information Center, the spill has been classified as a major one by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The pipeline, which starts in Patoka, Ill., transports some 95,000 barrels per day of mainly heavy Canadian crude oil to a terminal in Nederland, Texas, that is operated by Sunoco Logistics, now part of Energy Transfer Partners . Exxon reversed the line’s flow in 2006 in order to transport crude to the Gulf Coast refining hub.
Pegasus, which is 20 inches in diameter, serves refineries in the Port Arthur and Beaumont regions. According to Bloomberg, there are four major plants near Nederland – operated by Exxon, Valero , Total, and Motiva Enterprises – that are capable of processing some 1.4 million barrels of crude a day.
At the time it ruptured, the line was transporting Wabasca Heavy Crude from western Canada. Wabasca Heavy is a blend of heavy crude oil produced in Alberta’s oil sands by Cenovus Energy, Canadian Natural Resources , and Suncor Energy. Due to its physical qualities, it is in high demand by U.S. Gulf Coast refiners.
Effect on benchmark crude prices The line’s temporary closure, which will reduce the supply of crude from western Canada and the U.S. Midwest, is likely to worsen the glut of oil in those regions. Due to limited transportation options, crude oil in those two regions has been trading at a substantial discount to the global crude oil benchmark, Brent.
In fact, Western Canada Select (WCS) – the benchmark for western Canadian crude – had been trading at a discount more than $30 even to West Texas Intermediate (WTI) – the primarily U.S. crude oil benchmark – until very recently, due to severe limitations in outbound pipeline capacity from Alberta.
WTI‘s discount to Brent, which narrowed to its lowest level since July on March 28, increased to $14.01 on Monday, as WTI fell $1.22. Meanwhile, WCS slipped by $0.65 a barrel on Monday and was trading at a roughly $15 discount to WTI toward the end of the day.
Exxon’s response Exxon is currently under way with an excavation and removal plan for the damaged portion of the pipeline. In an announcement yesterday, the company said it gathered roughly 12,000 barrels of oil and water from the spill.
Just last week the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, announced plans for cleaning up the nation’s transportation fuels. The new standards would cut the sulfur content of gasoline by 67%, and the content of nitrogen oxides, or ground-level ozone, by 80%. Although the healthbenefits alone could total billions of dollars per year, the refining industry is warning consumers that they’ll have to fork over more money at the pump.
It seems the ongoing spat between the EPA and refining industry over mandatory ethanol credits hasn’t left either side running on empty. The two are now battling over how the new standard will affect gasoline prices. The EPA says prices will rise by one penny per gallon, while a study from the American Petroleum Institute claims the number will be between six and nine cents. In the end, the added costs could easily be swallowed up by several consumer- and industry-friendly trends. In fact, it’s likely that the mandate could actually help boost profits for refining companies.
1. Upgrading domestic infrastructure As a general rule of thumb, oil tends to get “dirtier” as it becomes more difficult to recover. That poses a problem for refineries processing the growing volumes of unconventional hydrocarbons flowing out shale reserves and the Canadian tar sands. The Energy Information Agency, or EIA, has watched the sulfur content of crude oil inputs into American refineries climb in recent years as conventional oil reserves dry up. Here’s a brief comparison of sulfur content of crude oils sourced from various locations:
Despite the heavier crude going into refineries, gasoline prices today are $0.30 lower than they were this time last year. How? One reason: Companies processing the influx of shale oil have already begun responding to changes on the ground and show no signs of slowing. HollyFrontier has raised its budget for capital expenditures from just $140 million in 2011 to an estimated $400 million in 2013. BP spent that much bringing a single refinery in Ohio into the future.
Not all refineries are created equal, but no novel or prohibitively expensive technology is required to comply with the new standards. One senior official said that only 16 of the nation’s 144 refineries would require major capital investments. In other words, the industry has already begun preparing facilities for heavier crudes and cleaner fuels.
The new standards will act as the extra motivation needed to expedite capital projects and revitalize all of America’s refining capacity. That’s great news for investors, since improving infrastructure has been the driving force behind the most profitable trend sweeping the industry: exports.
2. Fanning the flames of exports The proposed rules will normalize the quality of gasoline sold in all 50 states to that of California, Japan, and the European Union — all of which have taken steps to reduce impurities. Currently only 29 domestic refineries can efficiently produce in-spec …read more Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance
Exxon Mobil was working to clean up thousands of barrels of oil in Mayflower, Ark., after a pipeline carrying heavy Canadian crude ruptured, a major spill likely to stoke debate over transporting Canada‘s oil to the United States.
Exxon shut the Pegasus pipeline, which can carry more than 90,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Pakota, Illinois, to Nederland, Texas, after the leak was discovered on Friday afternoon, the company said in a statement. The company did not have an estimate for the restarting of the pipeline.
Exxon, hit with a $1.7 million fine by regulators this week over a 2011 spill in the Yellowstone River, said a few thousand barrels of oil had been observed.
A company spokesman confirmed the line was carrying Canadian Wabasca Heavy crude. That grade is a heavy bitumen crude diluted with lighter liquids to allow it to flow through pipelines, according to the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, which referred to Wabasca as “oil sands” in a report.
The spill occurred as the U.S. State Department is considering the fate of the 800,000 barrels per day Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry crude from Canada‘s oil sands to the Gulf Coast. Environmentalists, concerned about the impact of developing the oil sands, have sought to block its approval.
Supporters say Keystone will help bring down the cost of fuel in the United States.
The Arkansas spill was the second incident this week where Canadian crude has spilled in the United States. On Wednesday, a train carrying Canadian crude derailed in Minnesota, spilling 15,000 gallons of oil.
Exxon expanded the Pegasus pipeline in 2009 to carry more Canadian crude from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast refining hub and installed what it called new “leak detection technology”.
Exxon said federal, state and local officials were on site and the company said it was staging a response for a spill of more than 10,000 barrels “to be conservative”. Clean-up crews had recovered approximately 4,500 barrels of oil and water.
“The air quality does not likely present a human health risk, with the exception of the high pooling areas, where clean-up crews are working with safety equipment,” Exxon said in a statement.
Exxon said that by 3 a.m. Saturday there was no additional oil spilling from the pipeline. Images from local media showed crude oil snaking along the road in a neighborhood.
“Cleanup efforts are progressing 24 hours a day,” said Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers, who added the oil had not leaked into nearby Lake Conway.
Expensive gasoline is a signature of the Obama Era, and it’s going to shoot up another 6 to 9 cents per gallon under new Environmental Protection Agency rules, if the oil industry’s estimates are correct. An estimated additional cost of $130 per car on new vehicles will also be part of the package. The goal of these regulations is to reduce tailpipe emissions by cutting down on the amount of sulfur and nitrogen oxide in gasoline. The cost won’t be easily absorbed by a weak economy struggling to emerge from years of anemic growth.
The EPA, of course, says the gas price increase will be much smaller – only a penny or two per gallon – but as Charles Drevna, head of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, ruefully noted to Fox News, “I haven’t seen an EPA rule on fuels that has come out since 1995 that hasn’t said it would cost only a penny or two more.” For what it’s worth, the American Energy Alliance notes that the price of gasoline in California, where these fuel standards are already in effect, is 38.9 cents per gallon higher than the national average.
It should come as no surprise that much of this proposed gas price increase is a tithe to the bizarre Church of Global Warming, which soldiers on even after the total debunking of “global warming” mythology over the past two years. In fact, according to CNS News, the Obama Administration is now amusing itself by issuing reports that say we were going to have a brutal Ice Age, but “because of humans, the next ice age has been ‘delayed indefinitely.’” That’s how the cult leaders are claiming that global warming is real, despite the utter lack of verifiable evidence that any significant “climate change” is occurring. So… another wing of the Administration wants to spend billions to reduce the very same emissions that are protecting us from a new Ice Age?
But leaving the radical environmental lunacy aside, there could be significant healthbenefits from the new regulations due to reduced sulfur emissions, and the corresponding health care savings might offset, or even outweigh, the increased gasoline cost. Some auto manufacturers think the new standards will also improve fuel efficiency, which would ameliorate sticker shock at the pump.