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Ohio fracking photo tour

David Beach  |  08/23/13 @ 4:00pm  |  Posted in Clean energy

The shale gas drilling boom is not just a theoretical possibility for the 28,587 people of Carroll County, OH. They are already living with dramatic changes to the county’s woods and fields and rolling hills. This photo tour provides a glimpse of what it looks like when fracking comes to rural Ohio.

Epicenter of Ohio shale gas extraction<br />The rolling countryside of Carroll County is a mosaic of farms and woods -- and a rapidly growing number of sites of the oil and gas industry. Preparing to frack<br />A drilling pad being constructed in the middle of the countryside. There are about 15 such pads now in Carroll County. Soon there could be around 60 pads, since more than 300 wells have been permitted in the county and about five wells are typically drilled from each pad using directional drilling methods to frack for shale gas.Drill sites<br />This and the next two photos show a variety of drill pads in the Carroll County area, providing a sense of the contrast between the bucolic farm country and the industrial development.<br />Drill pad in Carroll County.<br />Drill pad in Carroll County.Permits<br />A sign outside a drilling site in Carroll County with information about the wells permitted at the site. Active drilling site<br />This is a close-up view of an active drilling site in Carroll County. It's a noisy industrial place, full of the roar of diesel engines and clanking machinery. The work is episodic -- drilling for a few weeks then operations to frack the well by pumping frack fluids under high pressure to prop open cracks in the shale to allow gas to flow.Water quality issues<br />Many concerns have been raised about the large volumes of water used to frack wells. Another problem is water running off the drill pads and polluting local streams. This well site had to install barriers to stop a run-off problem.Warning sign<br />A warning about the possibility of poisonous hydrogen sulfide gas at a drill site. Trucks are not supposed to enter if the flag is yellow or red. On the day this picture was taken, the flag was green to indicate safety.Air quality impact<br />Kicking up a fine, white dust, a backhoe appears to be blending drill cuttings with silica. The cuttings from the bore hole often contain radioactive elements and must be diluted in order to reduce radioactivity to a level permitted at Ohio landfills. Disposal at hazardous waste landfills would cost much more. Portable lives<br />Drill sites are self-sufficient operations, with diesel power, mobile offices, and satellite communications. Equipment is modular and made to be easily transported by truck. Steel products<br />A line of trucks delivers pipe for the casing of a well. The fracking industry uses a lot of steel products, which is a reason why boosters of Ohio manufacturing are excited about the growth of fracking for shale gas. No Chesapeake Traffic<br />Fracking operations require many truck trips to haul equipment, pipe, chemicals and water. The drilling companies, like Chesapeake Energy, have improved roads in Carroll County to provide access to drill pads. This sign marks the end of the road access at one pad. Industry comes to the Ohio countryside - 1<br />This photo and the next four show the development of new shale gas storage and processing facilities in and around Carroll County. Some of these facilities represent investments of several hundred million dollars, and their size is an indication of the scale of fracking anticipated in Ohio. Industry comes to the Ohio countryside - 2<br />Industry comes to the Ohio countryside - 3<br />Industry comes to the Ohio countryside - 4<br />Industry comes to the Ohio countryside - 5<br />Linear impacts<br />One of the biggest impacts to the rural landscape and wildlife habitat is the construction of gas and oil pipelines. Carroll County is already seeing pipeline construction to connect wells to processing facilities.Sights along the road<br />As the number of wells grows, sights like this container storage yard are becoming more common in Carroll County.The Ohio that will change<br />Carroll County could have 2-3000 wells in the future. The agricultural countryside will be dramatically altered.

Cleveland energy aggregation deal gets green power and low rates

David Beach  |  07/12/13 @ 3:00pm  |  Posted in Clean energy

The City of Cleveland’s climate-friendly aggregation program offers 60,000 electricity customers a real win-win: lower rates and renewable power.

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Fearsome global warming milestone: Carbon dioxide at 400 ppm

David Beach  |  05/02/13 @ 2:00pm  |  Posted in Clean energy

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere is about to reach 400 parts per million. Many scientists believe the "safe" level to reduce the risk of cataclysmic climate disruption is 350 parts per million.

Inexorably rising risk<br />The Keeling Curve of atmospheric CO2 level measured at Mauna Loa Observatory. (Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

Cleveland plans for a changing climate: Public input meeting April 11

David Beach  |  04/03/13 @ 4:00pm  |  Posted in Clean energy, Transform

Cities are at the front lines of climate change. Many of the actions needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the risks of climate change must be implemented at the local level. And many of the effects of climate change that are already occurring—from heat waves to severe storms—directly impact the life of cities.

Clean power to mitigate climate change<br />Cleveland Public Power's solar photovoltaic concentrator demonstration project at the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse uses parabolic mirrors to focus sunlight and produce electricity and thermal energy to heat the greenhouse.

Where the frack is Ohio?

Marc Lefkowitz  |  03/04/13 @ 3:00pm  |  Posted in Clean energy, Clean air, Clean water, Land

In the 2012 movie, Promised Land, a prospector for an oil and gas company arrives in a small, Midwest town with a briefcase full of royalty checks. The charming young man played by Matt Damon expects the locals to get all starry eyed at the promise of riches. The only hitch is—and this is where Hollywood may be accused of...

Going deep<br />Fracking permit sites in Ohio. Image: FrackTracker Alliance.

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