January 8, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Federal scientists have developed a system that could help prevent some contamination of wetlands and groundwater from oil development in the booming Williston Basin in Montana and North Dakota, according to a new study. Along with oil extracted from deep underground in the Williston Basin comes naturally occurring water called brine that is 10 times more saline than seawater and is dumped into reserve pits. Brine can contaminate local water sources through leaching from the pits, pipeline spills or accidents. At many area oil wells, 10 barrels of brine are produced for every barrel of oil, making brine disposal a significant issue as Williston Basin oil extraction flourishes.
November 2, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - On a stretch of ranchland nestled in the North Dakota Badlands, under dark, star-filled night skies, serene landscape and solitude, Theodore Roosevelt formed his strong conservationist ideals more than a century ago. But the night skies around the former president's Elkhorn Ranch, referred to as the "cradle of conservation" by environmentalists and historians, now glow orange. From some of the highest points in what is now Theodore Roosevelt National Park, dozens of natural gas flares are visible not far away.
October 23, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - About sundown one Sunday in September, North Dakota farmer Steven Jensen noticed that his combine was running over wet, squishy earth in a wheat field he was harvesting. When he took a closer look, he saw that oil had coated the wheels and that it was bubbling up about 6 inches high in spots. That was Sept. 29; Jensen contacted authorities immediately. At least 20,600 barrels of oil leaked onto the Jensens' land from a pipeline owned by Tesoro Logistics, one of the largest land-based spills in recent history.
October 21, 2013 |
FORT CHIPEWYAN, Canada - In the Cree language, the word "athabasca" means "a place where grass is everywhere. " Here in Alberta, the Athabasca River slices through forests of spruce and birch before spilling into a vast freshwater delta and Lake Athabasca. But 100 miles upstream, the boreal forest has been peeled back by enormous strip mines, where massive shovels pick up 100 tons of earth at a time and dump it into yellow trucks as big as houses. The tarry bitumen that is extracted is eventually shipped to refineries, many in the United States, to be processed into gasoline, diesel and other fuels.
September 26, 2013 |
Oil extracted from massive new fields in North Dakota and other states is rolling into California in growing quantities aboard long-haul freight trains, paralleling a surge in crude moving on rail across North America. More than 200,000 barrels of crude per month were imported into California this summer, a fourfold increase from early 2012, according to data compiled by the California Energy Commission. Though the total amount is still small, it marks a little-noticed departure from the state's reliance on its own declining oil patches, the Alaskan North Slope and foreign nations, led by Saudi Arabia.
September 23, 2013 |
CASPER, Wyo. - These are boom times in the resource-rich Cowboy State, courtesy of an oil explosion whose ripples can be felt across the land. Good-paying blue-collar jobs in the petroleum and natural gas fields are as plentiful as pickups here, and the unemployment rate - 4.6% in July - remains far below the 7.4% national average. But critics worry that the prodigious oil output includes a potential byproduct. Despite such fast-dollar success, heavy reliance on a single industry known for its dramatic downturns could one day help paint the state into a precarious financial corner, they say. Many fear the day when Wyoming's oil market fails, as it last did in the mid-1980s, exposing a fundamental flaw in the state's job picture: The lure of the oil dollar has prompted teenagers to skip college, or abandon high school, for the petroleum fields - many without a Plan B if things go bust.