Mining

Dispatches from the Road: Shale Country Day 3 & 4

The Shale Country crew wrapped up their trip this past weekend, and now are - hopefully! - settling back into their daily routines. They had a whirlwind tour of three states in five days, and returned home with heads full of stories ideas. The last two days of the trip found them in Northeast Ohio, discussing citizen science, NIMBYism, economics, oil & gas regulation, and how to tell environment stories better. They paddled on the Cuyahoga River, and visited a massive fracination plant. They heard from farmers who have benefited from the boom, and those who resent it. They visited a couple at their rural home, where a compressor station has been built across the street - and runs 24/7 at roughly 80 decibels.

Read all about their adventures here, and stay tuned as we share their post-Institute stories!

Shale Country Institute, Day 3 Recap

Shale Country Institute, Day 4 Recap

Dispatches from the Road: Shale Country Day 2 Recap

On Thursday the group traveled to New York to learn about drill-waste disposal, concerned citizens, and the economics of natural gas - among other things. See a complete recap of their day, and learn more about the issues they covered:

Shale Country Institute, Day 2 Recap

Marcellus Shale Sample. USGS hydrogeologist Bill Kappel:  "What you're holding was a swamp before Earth even had dinosaurs."  (Photo courtesy David Unger. )

Dispatches from the Road: Shale Country, Day 1 continued

The Shale Country crew continues their journey near Lake Erie, despite torrential downpours. Yesterday afternoon the group got up close and personal with a well pad in Western Pennsylvania. Read all about it here:

Shale Country Day 1 Undaunted by Deluge

And, check out this post from Fellow and KUNC reporter Stephanie Ogburn, who is reporting from the road:

In Eastern National Forests, Split Estate Means Less Control

Stay tuned for an update this evening about where the group went today, who they met, and what they learned!

2014 Shale Country Institute Preview

We're just two weeks away from the start of our 2014 Shale Country Institute, which will bring 18 journalists from around the country to learn all about fracking in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. As usual, we'll be posting daily dispatches from the road during the Institute, and you can follow along virtually right here on The Nooze. We'll also be tweeting about the program at #IJNR_shale.

Curious about the route we'll take and the topics we'll cover? Check it all out here:

[googlemaps https://mapsengine.google.com/map/u/0/embed?mid=zOb4U1zJNCrY.kKw_PH9aUExA&w=640&h=480]

And, last but not least, we'd like to congratulate and welcome the fine journalists who have been selected to join us on this journey:

Pat Bywater - Meadville Tribune Stephen Cunningham - Bloomberg News Mary Esch - AP John Finnerty - Community Newspapers (PA) Peter Green - Freelance Kalea Hall - The Vindicator Kathi Kowalski - Freelance Martin LaMonica - Freelance Joe Mahoney - Daily Star Stephanie Ogburn - KUNC Steve Orr - Democrat and Chronicle Joanna Richards - WCNP/Ideastream Lonnie Shekhtman - The Boston Globe Lisa Song - InsideClimate News Miranda Spencer - Freelance/Daily Climate Lana Straub - Freelance Dave Unger - Christian Science Monitor Patricia Villone - CTV News

Earth Month, Day 14: Peeing Wolves and Scientific Bling

On today's installment of Earth Month, we bring you the ongoing tale of a wolf named OR7 (lonely no more!) and a bracelet that's helping scientists understand pollution: Cally CarswellFirst, from Cally Carswell with High Country News, a look at OR7's new friend:

Against All Odds, Wolf OR7 May Have Found a Mate

OR7's lady-friend. Photo courtesy USFWS / Oregon Department of Wildlife.

On May 3, a wolf slipped through the frame of a remote camera in southwestern Oregon, a blur of black and brown. The next day, under the cover of darkness, it stared directly at a camera, eyes aglow, and did something ordinary that, under the circumstances, was an extraordinary sight: It squatted and peed. This was a she-wolf.

Her gender had big implications because a famous he-wolf, known as OR7, was right nearby. OR7 rocketed to celebrity in 2011, when he was two years old. He ditched his pack in northeastern Oregon that year and went where no wolf had gone for decades. He traveled south through Oregon, crossing I-84 and four U.S. highways, and became the first wolf known to have been west of the Cascades since 1947. Then, he slipped over the border into California, giving his species a presence in that state for the first time in almost a century... Read more.

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BrianBienkowskiAnd, from Brian Bienkowski with Environmental Health News, the scoop on some new scientific jewelry:

Armed with Arm Candy: Bracelets Can Detect People's Chemical Exposures

Wristbands are the accessory of choice for people promoting a cause. And the next wave of wrist wear might act as a fashionable archive of your chemical exposure.

Researchers at Oregon State University outfitted volunteers with slightly modified silicone bracelets and then tested them for 1,200 substances. They detected several dozen compounds – everything from caffeine and cigarette smoke to flame retardants and pesticides.

“We were surprised at the breadth of chemicals,” said Kim Anderson, a professor and chemist who was senior author of the study published in Environmental Science & Technology.

Beginning with Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong, the cheap, colorful, rubbery wristbands have been a popular fad over the past decade in promoting charities and other affiliations.

Anderson initially tried to use silicone pendants attached to necklaces to test for contaminants. But then, at a football game she saw “all kinds of people, even burly men” sporting wristbands. That’s when the idea hit her.

Silicone is porous and acts similar to human cells, so once chemicals are absorbed by the wristband, “they don’t want to go back to the water or the air,” Anderson said... Read more. 

Bienkowski_Clark_wristbands

Earth Month, Day 11: Fire and Ice

Two stories for your reading and listening pleasure on this Monday morning installment of Earth Month. kirk sieglerFirst, from Kirk Siegler with NPR, a look at how researchers are trying to unlock the mysteries of wildfire, as fire season bears down on the Southwest:

Ahead of Wildfire Season, Scientists Study What Fuels Fires

As fire managers in the drought-stricken Southwest gear up for another long and expensive wildfire season, federal fire scientists are trying to better understand the physics behind what makes blazes spread.

At a U.S. Forest Service fire lab in Riverside, Calif., a team of scientists is conducting daily experiments over the next few months on different fire behavior conditions. They hope to hand off their findings to fire managers, who have to make the quick decisions on where to deploy resources that could protect lives and property.

The centerpiece of the lab is a 30-foot-long, 10-foot-high wind tunnel and inside is a layer of wood shavings meant to mimic a dry, forest floor. Above them, resting on a shelf, are freshly picked green shrubs, the live green trees in this soon-to-be simulated forest fire.

"OK, collect in three, two, one. Start!" shouts lab technician Christian Bartolome, a graduate student at nearby UC Riverside... Read more.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RY-aH1XYoIc?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360]

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Lizzie GrossmanAnd Elizabeth Grossman writes in High Country News about the risk oil spills pose to people living in the Arctic:

The Growing Concern about Arctic Oil Spills

Standing on the snowy  shore of the Bering Sea in the village of Gambell, Alaska (population 681) on a blindingly bright but frigid day, I watched skiffs load and launch for the first whale hunt of 2014. Ice piled high along the shoreline and the horizon was rimmed with sea ice beyond the open water. A cluster of snow-machines was parked above the beach as boat crews arrived and families and dogs watched the action. Life centers on the ocean here so it’s appalling to imagine what would happen if this community that sits on the western edge of St. Lawrence Island were to find itself beset by an oil spill... Read more.