150 Protest at New York's Schlumberger Frack Facility
More than 150 protesters of all ages blockaded the Schlumberger Limited industrial facility in Horseheads, NY for nearly six hours today stopping operations at this twenty-four-seven plant that provides services and materials, including chemicals and silica sand, to oil and natural gas exploration companies, including hydraulic fracturing. More than 20 protesters were prepared to risk arrest by blockading trucks from entering the single-entry gate into the facility, but the peaceful protest ended in no arrests when the protestors left on their own volition after they reached their goal of closing down the plant for the day.
Schlumberger is the world’s largest oilfield services company with U.S. headquarters in Texas. The company has a revenue of $39.54 billion and currently operates in 85 countries. Schlumberger’s history is fraught with offenses all over the world. One violation occurred in 2009 when 295-gallons of hydrochloric acid spilled at the Chesapeake’s Chancellor well site in Asylum Township, Bradford County.
Schlumberger has refused to disclose the fracking chemicals that are stored at the Horseheads facility. However they not required to do so by law due to the Halliburton Loophole—a 2005 Bush/Cheney energy bill that exempts natural gas drilling from the Safe Drinking Water Act, preventing companies from having to disclose the chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing.
According to organizers, the purpose of today's action was threefold: to physically prevent fracking-related processes from taking place for a period of time, to show the public, industry and legislators that Southern Tier residents will stop at nothing to impede fracking, and to empower one another to use their bodies as a direct means of halting industry that continues to put profits over human health and the environment.
“Direct action is about directly confronting fracking at its source—industrial facilities. We cannot rely on politicians, many of whom are in industry’s pocket, to keep us safe. We have to stand up to this profit-mongering industry and shut them down ourselves. We have the right and responsibility to defend our land, water and communities in every way possible,” said Nell Gagnon, one of the organizers.
Though hydro-fracking has not yet begun in New York, Schlumberger currently operates in neighboring Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania residents spoke at the rally today, sharing stories of how fracking has made them and their families sick.
Reports have suggested that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is considering allowing fracking in five Southern Tier Counties this fall, including Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Steuben and Tioga counties.
Sandra Steingraber spoke at the rally saying, “Fracking is a carcinogen-dependent process that destroys fresh water to blow up the bedrock under our feet in order to extract fossil fuels whose combustion is killing the planet and giving our kids asthma and increased risks for cancer and heart disease. As both a scientist and a mother, it is my job to say that clear air, safe water, and a stable climate are necessary for life. The anti-fracking movement is the civil rights movement of our time. And this action today is our lunch counter at Woolworth’s. This is our Greensboro moment. Governor Cuomo, which side are you on?”
Ruth Young, age 75, of Horseheads told the crowd, “Schumberger is blowing silica dust into the lungs of children in the elementary school, blowing silica dust into the lungs of children in the childcare center, blowing silica dust into the lungs of people in the residences to the north and east. When the wind shifts, [silica dust blows] directly into the center of the village…They store their chemicals here, they wash their vehicles here, they spill their silica dust all over the place here. Their workers are not dressed properly for working with toxic materials. Where was the DEC while this atrocity is going on? Protecting us? I don’t think so.”
A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
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More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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