Idaho activists are concerned that Alta Mesa Services (AMS) of Houston, TX, could hydraulically fracture rocks almost a mile underground to obtain natural gas and oil. AMS submitted an application to the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) on April 30, for a permit to directionally drill a natural gas well under Highway 52 in Payette County, ID, using a lease to the mineral rights under Smoke Ranch.
Unlike the 11 wells sunk by Bridge Resources in 2010 and 2011 in the shallower, “tight” gas sandstone formation of the Hamilton field under Payette River bottomlands (at about 1,400 to 1,750 feet), this well represents the first incursion into the Willow gas field. This deeper of two potential plays in southwestern Idaho lies beneath the hills and buttes surrounding the agricultural communities of New Plymouth and Fruitland, below the Hamilton sandstone and underlying shale, at depths between 4,500 and 5,800 feet in sands over basalt.
As a dangerous method of oil and gas well stimulation, fracking forces millions of gallons of pressurized freshwater and toxic substances down wells to crack subsurface rocks and release small, substandard pockets of oil and natural gas. In dozens of states across the country, this process has produced hazardous, radioactive wastewater, contaminated air and water, generated cancer-causing pollution, compromised human and environmental health and safety, and released greenhouses gases causing climate change. Earthquakes triggered by fracking’s explosive charges and wastewater well injections could exacerbate Idaho’s fifth greatest amount of seismic activity in the nation and consequently shatter the mechanical integrity of such inherently toxic oil and gas wells.
The proposed Smoke Ranch well would frack Birding Island, within the extensive wetlands and floodplain confluence of the Payette River and Big Willow Creek, only a few miles upriver from the where the City of Fruitland's drinking water intake and the Payette/Snake River converge. The surrounding landscape is full of farms, ranches, livestock and wildlife dependent on clean surface streams and irrigation canals, and aquifers only 660 feet deep perch, without much distance or barriers, over gas-bearing zones in porous layers punctured by drilling activities.
Within one-half mile of this gas well, braided river islands to the southeast and bluffs to the north comprise the two largest sites of the 1,200-acre Payette River Wildlife Management Area (WMA), overseen by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game since 1960. The Payette River WMA maintains a rich Idaho natural heritage supporting year-round residents and migratory populations of raptors, waterfowl, song, water, shore and upland birds and other wildlife. The unique, diverse habitats of the islands and nearby mainland provide prime refuges for waterfowl nesting and brooding and for upland game bird nesting and wintering. Free, popular access to a network of walking trails and canoe reaches through riparian woods, lakes, ponds and marshes benefits the public with bird watching and other recreational opportunities.
Birding Island also hosts the former dwelling and lands of the Lenni-Lenape people, migrating descendants of the Delaware tribe. Between the later-established WMA on the east and the Payette River on the west, the home site next to the water was reached by a road from the north. Leander Creech and Pearl Stephenson Creech inhabited a three-room, log-frame “Big House” with pot-belly and cook stoves and a tar-paper roof, while several dozen tribal members stayed in tents and tee pees around their home. Living close to the land and animals, the extended families nurtured and protected the birds that resided in the riverine area. Gathering and hatching wild eggs or sometimes clipping birds’ wings, they raised birds in an enclosed, screened coup before freeing them on the island. Canada geese, great blue herons, snowy egrets, mallards, and other significant ancestors of WMA birds often returned to their island home of birth. The Delawares left the place that they called “Birdies Island” in 1945, after someone stole jewelry hidden in the walls and burned the house to the ground.
At an Aug. 3, 2012, auction, for the minimum average amount of $2.35 per acre, the IDL leased 1,900 acres of state mineral and surface rights in Payette and Gem counties to the high and only bidder, Snake River Oil and Gas (SROG), for about $4,450. The transferable, ten-year (or indefinite if productive) leases for oil and gas exploration and development cover 44 tracts of public trust lands, ranging from one-third acre to 153 acres, along and beneath the navigable river and lake beds of the Payette River. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game manages 395 acres of these public lands and received about $1,000 of the lease proceeds. Along with other industry-written state laws, rules and regulations, SROG railroaded House Bill 464 through the 2012 Idaho legislative session, essentially undermining local ordinances and control of oil and gas facilities and siting. SROG has since performed seismic tests to gather data and map areas surrounding the river, information that is not available to the public. Lease preconditions disallow drilling on—but not under—the river. Proceeds from the leases and the state’s 12 percent royalty fee on oil and natural gas production revenues could benefit Idaho’s general fund, which will probably be ultimately ravaged by the environmental aftermath of mine-and-run gas companies.
Now that oil and natural gas industry representatives have steamrolled every facet of state and county government, southwestern Idaho’s vital agricultural lands and recreational waters and forests could soon be poisoned by fracking around our rivers. Many of our lawmakers have too readily accepted industry assurances of safety and profitability as well as corresponding campaign contributions. They have neglected to demand studies to ascertain possible drilling impacts to surface, ground and irrigation waters, harm of human and wildlife health, damages to property values and public infrastructure, and costs to agricultural, recreation and tourism sectors. Who will pay for subsequent remediation of these myriad losses? Idaho citizens will, unless we resist this risky, industrial development of state lands, waters and adjacent parcels.
Alta Mesa Services may have already started site preparation of the Smoke Ranch well, although comments about this drilling application for the first potentially fracked well in Idaho are due to the IDF by May 30. Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and our allies ask everyone to comment against permitting this poorly-placed well, while we further investigate these circumstances. WIRT will be distributing regional and national media releases opposing the permit, and coordinate protests at IDL offices throughout the state during the Stop the Frack Attack Week of Action, June 3 to 9. We are planning 3 p.m. demonstrations on Tuesday, June 4, at the IDL office at 3284 West Industrial Loop in Coeur d’Alene, and on Friday, June 7, at the IDL office at 300 North Sixth St. in Boise. WIRT is also instigating similar public participation at IDL units in Deary, Idaho Falls, Kamiah, McCall, Orofino, Priest Lake, St. Maries and Sandpoint.
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Michael Svoboda
The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.
Watchdog Accuses Trump's NOAA of 'Choosing Extinction' for Right Whales by Hiding Scientific Evidence
By Julia Conley
As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.
- Lemurs and Northern Right Whales Near Brink of Extinction ... ›
- Trump Administration Approves Harmful Seismic Blasting in Atlantic ... ›
By Beth Ann Mayer
Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.
How to Rock Your Walk<p>Walking isn't just fun and healthy. It's accessible.</p><p>"Walking is cheap," says Dr. John Paul H. Rue, a sports medicine doctor at <a href="https://mdmercy.com/" target="_blank">Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore</a>. "You can do it anywhere at any time; [it] requires little to no special equipment and has many of the same cardio benefits as running or other more intense workouts."</p><p>Want to up your walking game? Try the tips below.</p>
Use Hand Weights<p>Cardio and strength training can go hand-in-hand when you add weights to your walk.</p><p>A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2019/03000/Associations_of_Resistance_Exercise_with.14.aspx" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that weight training is good for your heart, and <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30167-2/abstract" target="_blank">research</a> shows it reduces the risk of developing a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-metabolism-disorders" target="_blank">metabolic disorder</a> by 17 percent. People with metabolic disorders have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.</p><p>Rue suggests not carrying weights for your entire walk.</p><p>"Hand weights can give you an added level of energy burning, but you have to be careful with these because carrying [them] over a long period of time or while walking could actually lead to some overuse injuries," he says.</p>
Make It a Circuit<p>As another option, consider doing a circuit. First, put a pair of dumbbells on your lawn or somewhere in your home. Walk around the block once, then stop and do some bicep curls and tricep lifts before walking around the block again.</p><p>Rue recommends <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/running-with-weights" target="_blank">avoiding ankle weights</a> during cardio workouts, as they force you to use your quadriceps rather than hamstrings. They can also cause muscle imbalance, according to the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/wearable-weights-how-they-can-help-or-hurt" target="_blank">Harvard Health Letter</a>.</p>
Find a Fitness Trail<p>Strength training isn't limited to weights. You can get stronger by <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/bodyweight-workout" target="_blank">simply using your body</a>.</p><p>Often found at parks, fitness trails are obstacle courses with equipment for pullups, pushups, rowing, and stretches to build upper and lower body strength.</p><p>Try searching "fitness trails near me" online, checking out your local parks and recreation website, or calling the municipal office to <a href="https://calisthenics-parks.com/" target="_blank">find one</a>.</p>
Recruit a Friend<p>People who workout together stay healthy together.</p><p><a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-017-0584-3" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that older adults who exercised with a group improved or maintained their functional health and enjoyed their lives more.</p><p>Enlist the help of a walking buddy with a regimen you aspire to have. If you don't know anyone in your area, apps like <a href="https://www.strava.com/" target="_blank">Strava</a> have social networking features so you can get support from fellow exercisers.</p>
Try Meditation<p>According to the <a href="https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/nhis/2017" target="_blank">2017 National Health Interview Survey</a>, published by the National Institutes of Health, meditation is on the rise, and for good reason.</p><p>Researchers <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29616846/" target="_blank">found</a> that mind-body relaxation practices can regulate inflammation, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/biological-rhythms" target="_blank">circadian rhythms</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/glucose" target="_blank">glucose</a> metabolism, as well as lower <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension" target="_blank">blood pressure</a>.</p><p>"Any form of exercise can be turned into a meditation of some type, either by the surroundings you are walking in, like a park or trail, or by blocking out the outside world with music on your headphones," Rue says.</p><p>You can also play a podcast or download an app like <a href="https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app" target="_blank">Headspace</a> that has a library of guided meditations to practice while you walk.</p>
Do Fartlek Walks<p>Typically used in running, fartlek intervals alternate periods of increased and decreased speed. These are <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workouts, which allow exercisers to accomplish more in less time.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that 10-minute interval training improved <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome" target="_blank">cardiometabolic</a> health, or lowered the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just as well as working out at a continuous pace for 50 minutes.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111489" target="_blank">Research</a> also shows that HIIT workouts increase muscle <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-twitch-muscles" target="_blank">oxidative</a> capacity, or the ability to use oxygen. To do a fartlek walk, try walking at an increased pace for 3 minutes, slow down for 2 minutes, and repeat.</p>
Gradually Increase Pace<p>A faster walking pace is associated with a lower risk of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/copd" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)</a> and respiratory diseases, according to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303933/" target="_blank">2019 study</a>.</p><p>Still, it's best not to go from a stroll to an Olympic-worthy power walk in a day. Instead, increase your pace gradually to prevent injury.</p><p>"Start by walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week," Rue says. "Once you've done this for a few weeks, increase your time by 5 to 10 minutes per day until you get to 30 minutes."</p>
Add Stairs<p>You've likely heard that taking the stairs instead of an elevator is a way to add more movement into your daily routine. It's also a way to step up your walking. Stair climbing has been shown to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335519301123?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">decrease the risk of mortality</a> and can easily add a bit more challenge to your walk.</p><p>If you don't have stairs in your home, you can often find them outside a local municipal building, train station, or at a high school stadium.</p>
Is Your Walk a True Cardio Workout?<p>Not all walks are equal. A walk that's too leisurely may not provide enough burn to qualify as cardio. To see if you're getting a good workout, try to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-check-heart-rate" target="_blank">measure your heart rate</a> using a monitor.</p><p>"A target goal for a good walking workout heart rate is about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate," Rue says, adding that maximum heart rate is <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/fat-burning-heart-rate" target="_blank">typically calculated</a> by 220 beats per minute minus your age.</p><p>You can also monitor how easily you can carry on a conversation while you walk to gauge your heart rate.</p><p>"If you can walk and carry on a normal conversation, that's probably a lower intensity walk," says Rue. "If you are slightly breathless but can still have a conversation, that's probably a moderate workout. If you are out of breath and can't talk normally, that's a vigorous workout."</p>
Takeaway<p>By shaking up your routine, you can add excitement to your workout and reap even more rewards than a basic walk provides. Increasing the pace and intensity of a workout will make it more effective.</p><p>Simply pick your favorite variation to add some spice to your next walk.</p>
- Should I Exercise During the Coronavirus Pandemic? Experts ... ›
- If Meditation Is Not Your Thing, Try a Walk in the Woods - EcoWatch ›
In Major Win for Indigenous Rights, Supreme Court Rules Much of Eastern Oklahoma Is Still a Reservation
Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.
- Federal Judge Orders Trump Admin to Give Native Americans Their ... ›
- Police Were Ready to Shoot Indigenous Pipeline Protesters in ... ›
- Climate Justice, Indigenous Rights Advocates Rally for Wet'suwet'en ... ›
By Tiffany Means
Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.
The coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next, the World Health Organization acknowledged on Thursday, as The New York Times reported. The announcement came just days after 239 scientists wrote a letter urging the WHO to consider that the novel coronavirus is lingering in indoor spaces and infecting people, as EcoWatch reported.
- Airborne Coronavirus Transmission Must Be Taken Seriously, 239 ... ›
- Trump Halts WHO Funding Amidst Criticism of His Own Coronavirus ... ›
- Here's Why COVID-19 Can Spread So Easily at Gyms and Fitness ... ›
- Is the New Coronavirus Airborne? A Study From China Finds Evidence ›
By Angela Nicoletti
The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in central Perú are among the most remote places in the world.
- Global Frog Pandemic May Become Even Deadlier as Strains ... ›
- New Species of Diamond Frog Discovered in Remote Pocket of ... ›
- Frogs Are on the Verge of Mass Extinction, Scientists Say - EcoWatch ›