Monday, August 30, 2010

Gas Shale News for the Keystone state

Since I was away last week, I did not post the weekly rouns-up on Friday. Let's get to it:

Not quite PA, but the Albany Times-Union reports on proposals to sequester greenhouse gases in the Marcellus Shale.

Another story on the vulnerability of PA state parks to Marcellus development and more on the pooling issue. I predict that in Pennsylvania these two issues will be as big as contamination from fracking.

Speaking of which, Senator Bob Casey called for full disclosure of all chemicals used in hydrofracking.

State pols claim that unlike resource rushes in the past, this time Pennsylvania is going to get the gas rush right.

A consortium of community colleges plan to start programs to provide training for working in the gas industry, thanks to a $4.9 million grant form the U.S. Labor Dept.

The Gerson Lehrman Group includes the Marcellus in a summary of various unconventional "plays", neatly ignoring the environmental and property rights issues. Guess those are not part of cost analysis for professional investors.

SM Energy may be selling off its Marcellus assets. I wouldn't read too much into this yet, other than routine business wheeling and dealing, buying and selling.

The Norwegians are coming....

One apparent beneficiary of the gas boom has been shortline and regional railroads.

The state DEP is now enforcing stricter waste-water rules, although the gas industry feels it is being unfairly targeted. Meanwhile, over half the drillers have missed the DEP deadline for reporting their production.

Thomas Gentzel, the executive director of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, is pushing the idea that Marcellus play will provide a windfall for PA schools. The labor unions want in as well.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

More of random odd, surreal and pathetic happenings

You might say "I ain't afraid of no ghost!", but watch out for the train.

Sex parties?!? Well, its not what you think and is actually a bit more disturbing.

I was wrong, there is new life in the 'burbs.

Over in Britain they know how to stop the spread of "radical violent" Islam, just like the way they did it back in 1600s.

Ahh Delaware, I hate it when this happens.

Courtesy of CNN - the unbridled excitement of the Beckapalooza

Damn, people are on to the latest HAARP attacks.  Interesting that the U.S. Army and Navy are apparently using a project run by the AIR FORCE. Very sloppy conspiracy whackos.

And I didn't forget another account on the growing CHUPACABRA scourge, they have even spread to Ukraine! These look nothing like any feral or wild dogs.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Age of McMansions over? Thank God

Pssssst Southern Chester County PA and New Castle Co. DE - your McMansions that you love and that you destroyed many a farm field to build are now going the way of the dodo.

And all the Teabag Parties in the world ain't gonna save them!

Pennsy Gas Shale Update

Every Friday from here on out, I will be posting a roundup of the past week's news on the Marcellus Play gas shale in Pennsylvania.What I find amazing is that unlike the Gulf oil spill, climate change, and the possibility of Peak Oil, the public appears much more fired up over drilling for Marcellus gas.

"A Pennsylvania drilling company has a lease that would permit it to drill for natural gas beneath some Pittsburgh cemeteries, though no drilling is currently under way, a cemetery official said." Lebanon Daily News 

In Tioga county, people are opposed to a pooling law for the Marcellus Play. Full story is on the Wellsboro Gazette subscription site. A pooling law basically means an individual landowner has to agree to the terms for an entire mineral lease pool, providing less flexibility.In effect landowners give up their mineral rights to private drilling companies who have similar rights nearby. Supporters say it helps protect the environment, while opponents claim that it infringes upon their property rights.

The Tri-County Sunday Courier Express (whew, that's a mouthful!) has an editorial about the state not owning mineral rights under state parks. Possible consequences could include pipelines running through state parks, at least according to the op-ed.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato stopped by Penn College to see and praise their program to train gas-field workers. Meanwhile, Congressional candidate Michael Pipe attended a town meeting in Clearfield, where among other things he discussed the hydrofraking issue.

Wilkes University is creating a water quality database for NE PA, something that could be useful  in determining whether any contamination from drilling has occurred.

As reported in the Inquirer's Business Briefs, "Pennsylvania State University has established an education and research center devoted to natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. ..."
Ed Rendell now says only 100 state workers will be laid-off. He is counting in part on revenue generated from a yet to be approved severance tax for natural gas drilling on the Marcellus Play.
 A site called NewsInferno reports on water contamination and health issues arising from hydrofraking. A bit vague on the citation, but if I link to business pages I will give equal time to alternative-advocacy sites. The site does appear to be of the "world will kill ya and THEY don't want you to know!"variety.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hottest Month Ever at Great Blue Hill

This is an  update of sorts to the August 6 post on a simple way to see warming.
The Blue Hill Observatory reports that July '10 was the hottest month in their 125 years of record keeping. Keep in mid that one hot summer or colder winter in one location alone proves nothing about global climate, but it is one local story consistent with the long term trends and  warmer global average T this year.  However,  some even use this story to support their denials. Yeah Tim, lets dismiss the longterm trends and global averages by picking a few cooler spots and claim to be rational and scientific. That's like saying, "OK I see the surgeon general's stats on smoking and lung cancer, but I'm still smoking my Camels and I feel fine. So I refuse to believe there's a connection."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Old and new climate

Chris Rowan and Anne Jefferson over at Highly Allocthonous have a nice summary of climate and paleoclimate news, check it out.

Over at the Old Gray Lady there is an interesting piece on whether the current weather extremes relate directly or indirectly to warming.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Unbalanced economy and taxing the rich.

Dealing with problems from the way use energy (emissions causing global warming, over dependence on a single substance -oil- that is hitting supply limits) requires not only a functioning higher education system, but a stable economy and a fair distribution of the tax burden.

Today the Wall Street Journal of all sources discussed how destabilizing modern American wealth distribution is. Meanwhile, over at FiveThirtyEight Nate Silver does what he does best, a statistical analysis of how much needed revenue a tax increase on incomes over $1 million would raise. It is useful to compare the tax rates and brackets in the past when we hear the screams from the wealthy that they are being taxed to death.

Think about the worst cases of this scenario in the past, such as France in 1788 and Russia in 1917.  We're nowhere near that yet, but those societies didn't start out that way. Maybe the wealthy should think about a little civic contribution now, 'cause it works out badly for them otherwise if we stay in this slash and burn economy.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A simple way to see warming

Anyone who's spent a day on the beach has noticed the water level changing minute by minute as waves swash in and out. But spend enough of the day there and you'll see that the water level inevitably trends higher or lower depending on which way the tide is flowing:

Tide time-lapse from Protar on Vimeo.

No one would be foolish enough to say the water level was rising or falling based on one or two individual waves.

Now look at this plot of temperature data from the Blue Hills Observatory, located on Great Blue Hill south of Boston. This station has been collecting weather data for over a century. The individual data points (blue diamonds) are the averaged temperature at BHO for every year between 1895 and 2009:
Click for a larger image.

The black line is a moving 10 year average and the red line is the linear trend for the whole set of data. Just like the waves and the incoming tide, the average temperature goes up and down from year to year, but over a century the trend is inexorably upward. No one would be foolish enough to say the climate at BHO is warming or cooling on a year to year variation, right? It only makes sense to look at the long-term.

Tide's comin' in folks.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Aurora tonight?

Bit of activity on the sun on Sunday that may cause activity today here on Earth, though it was not a particularly large solar storm. Might be too cloudy to see anything in my neck of the woods.

The sun is expected to hit max activity (Solar Max) in 2013. In addtition to aurora and possible disruptions to satellites and power grids, expect to see Solar Max used to "prove"
- a 2012 Apocalypse
- any upticks and volcanic/seismic activity
-that global warming is natural and due to sunspots.

I'm sure the HAARP conspiracy loons will somehow jump onboard as well.