Mind the Fracking Data Gap, Study Says

Courtesy of Climate Central.org:

Scientists have long expressed concern about how a lack of data and access to drilling sites prevents a complete scientific assessment of how hydraulic fracturing and oil and gas production affect the climate, environment and public health.

A new University of Texas-Austin analysis of natural gas drilling and fracking in urban areas near Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, not only criticizes state and federal regulatory agencies for dismissing public concern about the health and environmental impacts of shale oil and gas development, but illuminates the large gap in understanding about what shale oil and gas production mean for public health and the environment in Texas and beyond.

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An oil and gas field near Odessa, Texas.
Credit: Dennis Dimick/Flickr

Shale oil and gas production, which is expanding rapidly across much of the central U.S., is likely to be a driver of climate change, not only because burning petroleum products produced there emits vast amounts of carbon dioxide, but because natural gas production and distribution systems are likely to leak methane, a gas about 35 times more potent than carbon as a greenhouse gas.

But the gap in scientists’ understanding of what shale oil and gas development means for the environment and human health is significant, said Susan Brantley, a Pennsylvania State University biogeochemist studying the impacts of shale gas development in Pennsylvania. Brantley, unaffiliated with the UT-Austin study, is among the scientists who have spoken out about the fracking data gap. Continue reading

Radioactive Cesium Recorded at 10 Spots in Pacific Ocean After Fukushima

The mainstream media seems to have forgotten the Fukushima disaster as it continues to spew forth radioactive material into the Pacific Ocean. The nuclear plant was not fixed, not by a long shot and now it is silently polluting the Pacific Ocean with little international outcry. This is just ludicrous, why is there no international pressure on Japan to completely seal the system? If they can’t the people have a right to know! If you want to see how the radioactivity will contaminate the Pacific, please click here for a 10 year time lapse…it’s worrying. People of the world have a right to know that their oceans and food systems are being infected!

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From Common dreams.org:

Radioactive cesium from the Fukushima plant was found at 10 points in the Pacific Ocean, including a location as far as 1300 miles from the plant, less than a year after Fukushima nuclear disaster began, scientists revealed on Tuesday.

The Japan Times and Kyodo News reported that the findings were announced by researchers with the Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology at the Japan Geoscience Union meeting.

At each of the 10 points, located between Japan’s Hokkaido island and Guam, cesium 134 and cesium 137 were detected in the plankton and seawater samples taken by the scientists between January and February 2012, the news agencies report.

The researchers found the highest density of cesium in seawater around latitude 36 to 40 degrees north, while plankton with the highest concentrations of cesium were found around 25 degrees north and 150 degrees east.

“Plankton are thought to play a key role in the dispersion of the cesium because they are eaten by bigger fish. We want to study further what is influencing the accumulation of radioactive cesium,” The Japan Times reports Minoru Kitamura, a marine ecologist and senior researcher at the Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology, as saying.

The high levels cesium found in the plankton around 25 degrees north presented a “concern,” Kitamura added, saying, “we don’t know why the level got high around that area.”