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The wheels come off shale oil

  A flurry of coverage about the gloom and outright calamity in the shale oil business appeared last week. Low prices continue to dog the industry. But so does lack of investor interest in financing loss-making operations for yet another season. Plunging stock prices portend more bankruptcies if circumstances don’t change. I received considerable pushback last January when I asked whether U.S. shale oil had entered a...

Utilities reaping financial benefits from coal pla...

Power generators across the U.S. are not only sticking to plans to retire coal-fired power plants despite the pro-coal Trump administration, they are touting the cost savings of doing so while pushing a further transition away from the fuel. Several utilities with the largest planned coal plant retirements confirmed they are not changing course after the administration finished the Affordable Clean Energy in mid-June,...

Report: ‘No Evidence That Fracking Can Operate Wit...

In 2010 when I first started writing about hydraulic fracturing — the process of blasting a cocktail of water and chemicals into shale to release trapped hydrocarbons — there were more questions than answers about environmental and public-health threats. That same year Josh Fox’s documentary Gasland, which featured tap water bursting into flames, grabbed the public’s attention. Suddenly the term fracking — little...

Trump drilling leases could create more climate po...

US has offered close to 378m acres of public lands and waters for oil and gas leasing since Trump took office through April 2019 Donald Trump’s leases of public lands and waters for oil and gas drilling could lead to the production of more climate-warming pollution than the entire European Union contributes in a year, according to a new report. The Wilderness Society estimates heat-trapping emissions from extracting and...

Natural gas leaks are a much bigger problem than w...

Natural gas has been touted as a green energy source by some because, when burned for fuel, it emits less CO2 than coal. But before that happens, leaks from across the natural gas supply chain — from the drilling process to gas stoves — can unintentionally vent methane into the atmosphere. That’s especially bad news, since methane is roughly 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2. And, according to a new study in...

BUT AT WHAT COST? -To many, the pipelines are a li...

The first signs of change came to Belmont County several years ago, as natural gas extraction company trucks rumbled over the roads. Next came drilling rigs and pipelines for hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. To many, the pipelines are a lifeline in impoverished Appalachia, bringing in jobs and money. Despite the economic boom, environmentalists and some residents are questioning the health and safety of...

The ‘war on coal’ myth

Environmental regulations aren’t the reason that coal is falling off the map. Is environmental extremism causing the decline of the American coal industry? A look at the economics shows that coal has been beaten fair and square in the marketplace by cheaper and cleaner alternatives. The best way to support coal communities is to confront these economic realities, rather than creating a divisive and false narrative...

Fracking in Ohio: State law gives energy companies...

Deciding what happens on private property might seem like a basic right. But when it comes to fracking, Ohio and other oil and gas-producing states have laws that can force landowners to lease their underground mineral rights to energy companies. That’s what happened to Patrick Hunkler and his wife, Jean Backs. It began in 2010, when a landman for an energy company knocked on their door. Hunkler didn’t know much about...

Former Shale Gas CEO Says Fracking Revolution Has ...

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,”...

Trump Admin Argues No Constitutional Right to a Sa...

Almost exactly two years after President Trump announced his plans to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, a groundbreaking youth climate change lawsuit challenging the federal government’s promotion of fossil fuel energy was back in court for a long-awaited hearing. Before a three-judge panel in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Trump administration, which has tried numerous times to derail the suit, argued that...

GE bet on fossil fuels, lost nearly $200B in misju...

General Electric’s profitability collapse over the past few years can be largely attributed to the company’s inability to judge the accelerating pace of the global energy transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewables, a new study claims. The analysis comes from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), which says that “GE made a massive bet on the future of natural gas and thermal coal, and...

As Ohio Valley Ponders Plastics Growth, Report War...

As a new plastics industry emerges in the Ohio Valley, a report by environmental groups warns that the expansion of plastics threatens the world’s ability to keep climate change at bay. The report released Wednesday by the Center for International Environmental Law, Environmental Integrity Project, FracTracker Alliance, and others used publicly available emissions data and original research to measure greenhouse gas...

Warren Buffett, Fear, and Greed in Fracked Oil Fie...

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...

Millions of abandoned wells spark climate, safety ...

A couple of years ago, Charlie Brethauer started to smell gas in the backyard of his home. Figuring it was a leak from the service line that heats his garage, he grabbed a shovel and started digging in a patch of blackened soil about 20 feet from the back door of his rural home in Richland Township, Pa., 15 miles north of Pittsburgh. The shovel struck a plastic bucket covering the end of a vertical steel pipe. As he widened...

Clean investments in U.S. doing far better than fo...

Fossil fuel never had a better friend in the White House than Donald Trump. So why, two years into his presidency, are investors favoring public companies devoted to renewable energy and giving the Bronx cheer to the coal, gas and oil crowd? Trump campaigned against the scientific consensus on climate change and promised to repeal any regulation that impeded the exploration, drilling, mining and burning of traditional...