Fracking Dividing Communities Across Colorado

Health, Safety Concerns Remain

Fracking isn’t new to the Rocky Mountains. The oil industry drilled its first fracking well in Colorado near Boulder in 1901. The practice gained notoriety in the state with the infamous oil shale project near Parachute several decades ago, but it collapsed and remained dormant for years. Since then, fracking has become a modern day gold rush for many people in Colorado. It’s been a nightmare for others.

Unfortunately, health and safety concerns continue to take a back seat in public policy and private practice. The debate is gaining momentum again as oil prices and drilling activity rebound at a rapid pace.

Today, oil and gas companies continue concentrating the majority of their drilling in Weld County near Greeley and Garfield County near Rifle. Weld County taps into the Niobrara Shale Foundation, which also covers portions of Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming. The second largest area in Colorado for fracking is in Garfield County, which gets its resources from the Piceance Basin. The Piceance Basin is thought to have one of the richest and thickest oil shale deposits in the world. Because Colorado is isolated from the major refining centers, producers must absorb a $12-$14 per barrel discount to cover transportation costs.

fracking and public health

Dinosaurs vs. Technology

  • Colorado accounts for almost 4 percent of U.S. total crude oil production and also holds about 4 percent of the nation’s proved crude oil reserves;
  • Colorado has the sixth largest natural gas reserves, and 11 of the nation’s 100 biggest natural gas fields are located in the state;
  • Electricity from renewable sources has more than doubled since 2010 to around 20 percent of Colorado’s net electricity generation in 2016, led by increased wind power from the state’s roughly 1,900 turbines;
  • Colorado leads the nation in gross withdrawals of coal-bed methane from producing wells; and
  • In 2016, Colorado was ranked 10th for installed solar power capacity and 11th in the nation for actual solar electricity generation.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Center (EIA), Colorado’s production of crude oil surged in 2010. Since then, production has more than tripled in the last five years–peaking in August 2015 at 357 thousand barrels per day (kbd). Subsequently, there was a decrease in production when oil prices crashed from $100 per barrel to $26 per barrel, but the market is rising fast. EIA’s latest Colorado production data from April 2017 puts production at 352 kbd (up from 317 kbd in 2016). A recent economic report prepared by the Business Research Division of the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado Boulder for the Colorado Oil and Gas Association found that oil and gas development added $31.7 billion to Colorado’s economy in 2014.

Colorado already is dotted with hydraulic fracking wells/ More are on the way. This growth is reviving the turmoil that accompanied the last boom, pitting neighbors against neighbors and communities against corporations. It’s also reviving talk about collusion, corruption and public policy that ignores public opinion, public health and public safety.

Concerned residents who live near these areas are worried about groundwater contamination, chemical exposure, air pollution impacts, and fracking-induced earthquakes. They also have concerns about industrial accidents. As such, fracking is a major issue at the ballot box in Colorado. Both opponents and supporters try to influence the outcomes.

  • In 2012, the city of Longmont passed an initiative that put an indefinite ban on fracking;

  • In 2013, the city of Lafayette approved a similar measure;

  • In 2013, Broomfield, Boulder and Fort Collins passed initiatives that imposed five-year fracking suspensions;

  • In 2014, the city of Loveland defeated an initiative to suspend fracking for two years;

  • In 2016, the Colorado Supreme Court denied local governments the right to make home rules on fracking. So much for decentralized government and citizen-based democracy.

In few places is the tension more evident than along Colorado’s Front Range, where a fracking boom is colliding with a population explosion. Drilling applications in the state have risen 70 percent in just a year, while the area north of Denver is expected to double in population by 2050.

Read The Full Story About Fracking Colorado

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Sewage, Radioactive Waste Polluting Land, Sea

Australia Building Support To End Dumping

Cruise ships would be stopped from dumping waste near the Great Barrier Reef under draft laws to protect Australia’s coastline from dangerous pollutants.

Tonnes of cargo slurry is being dumped from ships in Australian waters, polluting the ocean with sewage, food scraps and even radioactive waste.

There is cross-parliament support for changes to legislation to prevent ships dumping potentially harmful pollutants within specific maritime areas.

whales and prion disease

“Large amounts of toxic liquids including dredged materials, industrial waste, sewage sludge and radioactive waste are illegally dumped in waters near our island home,” government backbencher Jason Falinski said.

Legislation passed the lower house on Wednesday that would require shippers to identify whether their bulk cargo is harmful to the marine environment or not. That would then determine how and where residue can be discharged, including proximity to land.

Labor transport spokesman Anthony Albanese said up to 500 tonne of cargo slurry including residue of the load could be released from a single ship when it’s cleaned at the end of a journey.

 

International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships

“The main reason why tourists say they come to Australia is about our coastline and our marine environment,” Mr Albanese said.

His colleague Steve Georganas said there would always be a risk to Australian ports but regulation should encourage best practice to protect the sea.

The changes come from the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, to which Australia is a signatory.

Read The Full Story About Sewage and Our Seas

U.S. EPA Spending Billions On Lawyers, Guns, Ammo

Whose Profits Are They Protecting With Weapons?

By Stephen Moore, Heritage Foundation

The Environmental Protection Agency spent millions of dollars over the last decade on guns, ammo, body armor, camouflage equipment, unmanned aircraft, amphibious assault ships, radar and night-vision gear and other military-style weaponry and surveillance activities, according to a new report by the watchdog group Open the Books.

The report raises questions about why EPA’s enforcement division employs well-armed “special agents” who appear to be conducting SWAT-type operations on American businesses and households it suspects of wrongdoing.

biosolids land application and disease

Illinois-based Open the Books scanned tens of thousands of checks written by the EPA and totaling more than $93 billion from 2000 to 2014.

The audit discovered hundreds of millions of dollars of questionable expenses, including high-end luxury furnishings, sports equipment and “environmental justice” grants to raise awareness of global warming.

It also revealed that seven of 10 EPA workers make more than $100,000 a year and that more than 12,000 of its nearly 16,000 employees were given bonuses last year despite agency budgets that were supposed to be constrained by budget caps and sequester cuts.

EPA’s $8 billion budget also found room for more than 1,000 attorneys, which would make the agency one of the largest law firms in the nation.

And more than $50 million of EPA funds since 2000 went to international organizations — dollars that flowed to countries such as China and Mexico. These activities appear to have little or no connection to the EPA mandate of safeguarding the air and water here in the U.S.

guns and ammunition bought by EPA

But the eye-grabber in the report is the agency’s ongoing military-type purchases. Some $75 million is authorized each year for criminal enforcement, including money for a small militia of 200 “special agents” that appear to be snooping on industry and preparing to use deadly force to enforce EPA edicts.

“We were shocked ourselves to find these kind of pervasive expenditures at an agency that is supposed to be involved in clean air and clean water,” said Open the Books’ founder, Adam Andrzejewski. “Some of these weapons are for full-scale military operations.”

Those who keep an eye on the agency have also been stunned by such outlays. “EPA has always been primarily an agency that is involved in analysis and regulation. Even its enforcement arm is mainly involved in litigation,” notes Marlo Lewis, who covers environmental issues for the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

“Since when did we start going down this road of allowing agencies of government to engage in military-style operations?”

In 2013, the EPA was involved in what many residents called an armed raid at a small town in Alaska where local miners were accused of polluting local waters. Fox News reported that EPA “armed agents in full body armor participated.”

The Justice Department has reported that there are now 40 federal agencies with more than 100,000 officers authorized to carry guns and make arrests. They include the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Park Service.

EPA has numerous joint projects with the Homeland Security Department. In 1988 the agency’s criminal enforcement division was granted police powers.

The EPA website describes the activities and mission of the criminal enforcement division as “investigating cases, collecting evidence, conducting forensic analyses and providing legal guidance to assist in the prosecution of criminal conduct that threatens people’s health and the environment.” But nothing about the use of lethal force.

Asked for comment on the Open the Books findings, EPA said purchases of armaments are necessary for “environmental crime-fighting. For more than 30 years there has been broad, bipartisan agreement about the importance of an armed, fully-equipped team of EPA agents working with state and federal partners to uphold the law, protect Americans and access potential crime scenes as quickly as possible.”

One former EPA administrator with more than 30 years at the agency says of the Open the Books report: “EPA has been increasingly captured by the environmental left, and the purchases of military-style armaments has increased accordingly.”

The new report comes at a time when the EPA is under fire over a new regulation approved last week by the agency to tighten ozone emission rules. The National Association of Manufacturers calls it one of the most expensive EPA rules ever.

There’s also a fight in Washington over whether federal agencies can withstand another sequester spending reduction without jeopardizing vital services. The White House says further agency cuts would be disastrous.

But reports such as the latest by Open the Books are sure to be promoted by Republicans as evidence of rampant waste and misspending.

Read More At Investor’s Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-perspective/100815-774747-stephen-moore-does-epa-need-guns-ammo-to-protect-environment.htm#ixzz3pDKMEqgL

Alzheimer’s Disease Caused By Food, Water Contamination

Sewage Sludge Spreading Infectious Waste

More than 50 million people around the world have Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It’s the fastest-growing cause of death in the world.

Alzheimer’s disease is a member of an unstoppable family of neurodegenerative diseases known as Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.” Related diseases are killing wildlife and livestock around the world. The TSE epidemic represents an environmental nightmare that threatens every mammal on Earth.

Alzheimer's disease epidemic

In order to understand the threat, one must understand the dynamics of this neurological disease. Alzheimer’s disease, for example, is a member of an aggressive family of neurodegenerative diseases known as Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.”

TSEs are caused by a deadly protein called a prion (PREE-on). As such, TSEs also are referred to as prion disease. The critical factor is that prions are unstoppable. The pathogen spreads through the bodily fluids and cell tissue of its victims. Blood, saliva, mucus, milk, urine and feces carry deadly prions from victims. All tissue is infectious just because of the contact with the contaminated blood. All sewage is infectious.

TSEs also include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, mad cow disease and chronic wasting disease in the deer family. Few, if any, mammals are immune. There is no cure.

Dr. Stanley Prusiner, an American neuroscientist from the University of California at San Francisco, earned a Nobel Prize in 1997 for discovering and characterizing deadly prions and prion disease. President Obama awarded Prusiner the National Medal of Science in 2010 to recognize the importance of his research. According to Prusiner, TSEs all are on the same disease spectrum, which is more accurately described as prion disease. He claims that all TSEs are caused by prions.

prion disease epidemic

Prions are unstoppable and the pathogen spreads through the bodily fluids and cell tissue of its victims. Prions shed from humans are the most deadly mutation. They demand more respect than radiation. Infected surgical instruments, for example, are impossible to sterilize and hospitals throw them away. Prions are in the blood, saliva, urine, feces, mucus, and bodily tissue of its victims. Many factors are contributing to the epidemic. Prions are now the X factor. Industry and government are not accounting for them or regulating them. They are ignoring the threat completely, which violates the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 in the United States. Other nations also are ignoring laws developed to protect food, air and water.

“There is now real evidence of the potential transmissibility of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Thomas Wiesniewski M.D. a prion and Alzheimer’s researcher at New York University School of Medicine. “In fact, this ability to transmit an abnormal conformation is probably a universal property of amyloid-forming proteins (prions).”

A new study published in the journal Nature renews concern about the transmissibility of Alzheimer’s disease between people. A second study by the same scientist in early 2016 adds to the stack of evidence.

treat Alzheimer's disease

Although there are many causes and pathways contributing to the prion disease epidemic, many pathways are being mismanaged around the globe. As such, we are recycling the pathogen that causes Alzheimer’s right back into our food and water. We’re dumping these killer proteins on crops, parks, golf courses, ski areas and school grounds. Rain and irrigation spread them throughout our communities and watersheds. We’re dumping prions into our food and water supplies with foolish sewage management practices.

Prions Found In All Bodily Fluids

A new study confirms that people and animals dying of prion disease are contaminating the environment around them with a deadly and unstoppable protein found in their bodily fluids. Claudio Soto, PhD, professor of neurology and director of the George and Cynthia W. Mitchell Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Brain Related Illnesses at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, and his colleagues recently found prions in urine. The study was published in the August 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The research offers hope for earlier diagnosis among the millions of people impacted around the world, which means earlier intervention and better disease management. It also can help develop screens to protect our blood supplies from donors with prion disease.

The bad news is that prions in urine, mucus, feces and blood underscores the environmental nightmare associated with Alzheimer’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob (CJD), Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and prion diseases among livestock and wildlife. Although there are many causes for prion disease, many people and animals are contracting it from environmental exposure (food, water and soil) and then contaminating the environment even more with their own bodily fluids. Once victims die, carcasses also contaminate soil and water.

“This is the first time that prions have been detected in human urine,” Dr. Soto told Neurology Today.

prions in sewage and urine

Soto failed to reference urine and blood studies performed earlier by Ruth Gabizon in 2001 and Reichl in 2002. These studies also detected prions in bodily fluids. Despite that detail, Soto’s findings can help focus global attention on the exploding prion problem.

Additional research has determined that the prion pathogen spreads through feces, saliva, blood, milk, soil, water and the tissue of infected animals and humans. If a single person with prion disease discharges bodily fluids or feces into a public sewer system, that sewage system is permanently infected and the amount of contamination will multiply and intensify daily. Everything discharged from that sewage system—reclaimed water and biosolids—can spread the contamination even further.

land application sewage sludge

Once a prion reaches the soil, that soil is permanently contaminated and the entire watershed (water) below that point is at risk forever. If your food and water is generated in that watershed, you have a higher risk of contracting prion disease with every sip of water or every bite of food produced locally.

With the help of weather, prions can migrate through wind and water. Rain and snow can rinse them into surface water, groundwater, streams, ponds, lakes, and oceans. Wildlife, livestock and humans can ingest prions from soil, water and food. We can’t afford to take the risk of further contaminating entire watersheds – increasing the pathway to humans, livestock, and wildlife downstream.

chronic wasting disease caused by prions

Because of these factors and others, we have an epidemic of prion disease exploding around the world right now. The epidemic is worse in some regions of the world than others. For example, the death rate for Alzheimer’s disease is higher in Finland than any other country in the world. Iceland and the United States are runners up. In fact, the death rate for Alzheimer’s is higher in Washington state than any other known region in the world. These vast discrepancies can only be explained by environmental factors, including food, water and air pathways. Sewage disposal that contaminates local food and water supplies is likely part of the problem.

The urine and sewage connection helps explain why the global epidemic is exploding. More than 44 million people around the world are known to have these neurodegenerative diseases today. Millions more have the disease, but don’t know it, yet. In addition to these people, millions of infected people around the world have used our sewage systems over the past century. Millions more are using them today. It’s impossible to neutralize or stop prions in even the most sterile environments, including hospitals. It’s ludicrous to think that treated sewage water or biosolids are prion-free. Especially since prions from people are much more infectious than those found in other species (prions become more aggressive as they work their way up the food chain).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that prions are in sewage and that there has been no way to detect them or stop them. As such, the EPA has never issued guidance on prion management within sewage processing plants. This lack of directive allows budget-strapped states and counties to regulate the practices in a variety of ways that best suit local municipalities and industries.

Dr. Soto’s test changes that equation. Now, the EPA can’t plead ignorance to the dangers of prions in biosolids and reclaimed sewage water. Sewage dumped at sea must be reconsidered. Prions should be classified as a select agent again by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Center for Disease Control. Similar measures should be enacted around the world immediately. Failure to act responsibly is suicide.

Read The Full Story About What Is Causing The Alzheimer’s Disease epidemic at http://alzheimerdisease.tv/alzheimers-disease-spreading-faster-via-biosolids-reclaimed-water/

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Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic wasting disease and the prion disease epidemic is an area special expertise. Please contact Gary Chandler to join our coalition for reform gary@crossbow1.com.

Wastewater Reclamation Recycles Alzheimer’s Disease

Risk Assessment Overlooks Prion Pathogen

San Diego City Council approved plans to reuse sewage water as drinking water. The latest toilet-to-tap water project is a possible death sentence for millions of people who will drink the water and contaminate their homes, gardens and offices with a highly contagious pathogen called a prion. The deadly form of protein can cause neurological disorders in mammals, including Alzheimer’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

A coalition of community leaders, business groups and environmental organizations sold the plan to citizens with smoke and mirrors. Environmental groups said that the Pure Water project will mean less sewage dumped into the ocean and less reliance on desalination of that same ocean water. They didn’t explain that citizens would have to drink infected water to realize those benefits.

Alzheimer's disease epidemic

The city recruited some environmental groups to serve as poster children for the project, to help neutralize resistance from more critical environmental and health advocates. Thanks to the slick campaign, taxpayers coughed up $3.2 billion for the right to choke down their own sewage–an idea that does sound sensible on the surface (keep reading).

The Problem With Prions and Prion Disease

If not for one tiny detail, I would be more open-minded and supportive of the practice of recycling wastewater. That microscopic detail is called a prion—the deadly and unstoppable protein behind the exploding Alzheimer’s epidemic, mad cow disease and other neurological disorders that are killing millions of people, wildlife and livestock around the world.

A new study confirms that people and animals dying of prion disease are contaminating the environment around them with a deadly and unstoppable protein found in their bodily fluids. Claudio Soto, PhD, professor of neurology and director of the George and Cynthia W. Mitchell Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Brain Related Illnesses at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, and his colleagues recently found prions in urine. The study has been published in the August 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The good news is that the research offers hope for earlier diagnosis among the millions of people impacted around the world. The discovery can promote earlier intervention and better disease management. It also can help develop screens to protect our blood supplies from donors with prion disease.

sewage treatment plant and disease

Wastewater Recycling Hazardous

Backers of water recycling projects call the issue no-brainers. They’re right. Victims of prion disease die slowly as their brains collapse.

The bad news is that prions in urine underscore the environmental nightmare associated with Alzheimer’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob (CJD), Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and prion diseases among livestock and wildlife. Although there are many causes for prion disease, many people and animals are contracting it from environmental exposure (food, water and soil) and then contaminating the environment even more with their own bodily fluids. Once victims die, carcasses also contaminate soil and water.

“This is the first time that prions have been detected in human urine,” Dr. Soto told Neurology Today.

Soto failed to reference urine and blood studies performed earlier by Ruth Gabizon in 2001 and Reichl in 2002. These studies also detected prions in bodily fluids. Despite that detail, Soto’s findings can help focus global attention on the exploding prion problem.

Dr. Stanley Prusiner earned a Nobel Prize in 1997 for identifying, naming and studying deadly prions. President Obama awarded Prusiner the National Medal of Science in 2010 to recognize the importance of his research.

prion disease epidemic

In June 2012, Prusiner confirmed that Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and even ALS are prion diseases similar, if not identical, to CJD in people, mad cow disease in livestock and chronic wasting disease in wildlife. The variations in disease progression could be due to genetics in the patients or mutations in the prion, not different diseases entirely.

Additional research has determined that the prion pathogen spreads through feces, saliva, blood, milk, soil, water and the tissue of infected animals and humans. If a single person with prion disease discharges bodily fluids or feces into a public sewer system, that sewage system is permanently infected and the amount of contamination will multiply and intensify daily. Everything discharged from that sewage system—reclaimed water and biosolids—can spread the contamination even further.

Once a prion reaches the soil, that soil is permanently contaminated and the entire watershed below that point is at risk forever. If your food and water is generated in that watershed, you have a higher risk of contracting prion disease.

land application sewage sludge

With the help of weather, prions can migrate through wind and water. Rain and snow can rinse them into surface water, groundwater, streams, ponds, lakes, and oceans. Wildlife, livestock and humans can ingest prions from soil, water and food. We can’t afford to take the risk of further contaminating entire watersheds – increasing the pathway to humans, livestock, and wildlife downstream.

Because of these factors and others, we have an epidemic of prion disease around the world right now. The epidemic is worse in some regions of the world than others. For example, the death rate for Alzheimer’s is higher in Finland than any other country in the world. Iceland and the United States are runners up. In fact, the death rate for Alzheimer’s is higher in Washington state than any other known region in the world. These vast discrepancies can only be explained by environmental factors, including food, water and air pathways. Sewage disposal that contaminates local food and water supplies is likely part of the problem.

The scientific name for prion disease is Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.” TSEs include Alzheimer’s, mad cow, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), chronic wasting, Huntington’s, scrapie and possibly Parkinson’s. This transmissible family of disease is unstoppable for many reasons. In addition, once items are exposed to victims of prion disease, they can never be sterilized again.

“There is now real evidence of the potential transmissibility of Alzheimer’s,” says Thomas Wiesniewski M.D. a prion and Alzheimer’s researcher at New York University School of Medicine.

A new study published in the journal Nature renews concern about the transmissibility of Alzheimer’s disease between people. A second study by the same scientist in early 2016 adds to the stack of evidence.

biosolids land application and disease

The urine and sewage connection helps explain why the global epidemic is exploding. More than 50 million people around the world are known to have these neurodegenerative diseases today. Millions more have the disease, but don’t know it, yet. In addition to these people, millions of infected people around the world have used our sewage systems over the past century. Millions more are using them today. It’s impossible to neutralize or stop prions in even the most sterile environments, including hospitals. It’s ludicrous to think that treated sewage water or biosolids are prion-free. Especially since prions from people are much more infectious than those found in other species (prions become more aggressive as they work their way up the food chain).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that prions are in sewage and that there has been no way to detect them or stop them. As such, the EPA has never issued guidance on prion management within sewage processing plants. This lack of directive allows budget-strapped states and counties to regulate the practices in a variety of ways that best suit local municipalities and industries.

Dr. Soto’s test changes that equation. Now, the EPA can’t plead ignorance to the dangers of prions in biosolids and reclaimed sewage water. Sewage dumped at sea must be reconsidered. Prions should be classified as a select agent again by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Center for Disease Control. Similar measures should be enacted around the world immediately. Failure to act responsibly is suicide.

Unfortunately, testing will confirm that every sewage system in the world has served people with Alzheimer’s disease and CJD. As such, prions have been incubating, multiplying and migrating out of these systems for many years. The problem is intensifying within and beyond these sewage systems every day.

biosolids land application LASS

According to the U.S. EPA, “Prions are extremely resistant to inactivation by ultraviolet light, irradiation, boiling, dry heat, formaline, freezing, drying and changes in pH. Methods for inactivating prions in infected tissues or wastes include incineration at very high temperatures and alkaline hydrolysis.” They didn’t mention hydrogen peroxide.

“Since it’s unlikely that the sewage treatment or pellet production processes can effectively deactivate prions, adopting measures to prevent the entry of prions into the sewer system is advisable,” said the Toronto Department of Health, November 2004.

The EPA National Water Research Compendium 2009-2014 lists prions eight times as an emerging contaminant of concern in sewage sludge (biosolids), water and manure.

The Sludge Rule Overrules The Golden Rule

The EPA issued what it calls the “Sludge Rule,” which basically disclaims any responsibility for its questionable risk assessments regarding biosolids. The EPA reserves the right to adjust these risk assessments, however, as the test of time disproves its pseudo-science.

Prion researcher Dr. Joel Pedersen, from the University of Wisconsin, found that prions become 680 times more infective in certain soils. Pedersen’s research also found that sewage treatment does not inactivate prions.

“Our results suggest that if prions enter municipal wastewater treatment systems, most of the agent would bond to sludge, survive anaerobic digestion, and be present in treated biosolids,” Pedersen said. “Land application of biosolids containing prions represents a route for their unintentional introduction into the environment. Our results emphasize the importance of keeping prions out of municipal wastewater treatment systems. Prions could end up in sewage treatment plants via slaughterhouses, hospitals, dental offices and mortuaries just to name a few of the pathways. The disposal of sludge represents the greatest risk of spreading prion contamination in the environment. Plus, we know that sewage sludge pathogens, pharmaceutical residue and chemical pollutants are taken up by plants and vegetables.”

Meanwhile, we’re spreading tons of biosolids (sewage sludge) on farmland every day to produce our food. Organic food operations, including fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy are not immune to prion exposure.

We’re dumping biosolids on parks and golf courses and our backyards where we live and play. Coastal cities and ocean vessels dump their sewage right into the ocean, where prions can enter the food chain again, while washing back on our favorite beaches.

We’re dumping millions of tons of contaminated sewage into the oceans, rivers and on cropland around the world every day. We’re spraying reclaimed wastewater on our parks, golf courses and crops. In some cases, people are drinking reclaimed wastewater that has been recycled to their taps. Municipalities, water companies and sewage districts face new liabilities as never seen before.

The new urine study primarily references what is called variant CJD (vCJD is the supposed strain of prion that causes mad cow disease). I argue that a deadly prion is a deadly prion and all prion diseases should be managed assuming that prions are in the urine of all victims. There is no species barrier. There is no cure. There is no reason to assume that prion diseases referred to as Alzheimer’s, CJD, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and others are different from each other.

Based on this premise, caregivers and family members must arm themselves with facts that can save their lives. Simple acts can expose family and caregivers to the prion contagion. For example, many household items, including utensils and dishes that belong to people who have Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s are likely infected from saliva. It’s unsafe for others to use these items and people should not donate them to charity.

Despite the mass confusion and concern regarding prion disease, protective and sterilization protocols for Alzheimer’s and CJD are not the same and millions of people are being exposed to prion disease because of false securities. CJD is just the tip of a deadly, incurable iceberg and we all should sit up and pay attention right now. We’re recklessly allowing caregivers and stakeholders to expose themselves and others to the problem.

Although there are multiple causes of, and pathways for, prion disease, reckless policies around the world are contributing to the unstoppable epidemic. It’s spreading further every day. Stakeholders must arm themselves with facts that can promote reform because all infected mammals shed infectious prions in their blood, saliva, mucus, urine and feces. Prions also have been found in milk. In essence, the entire body of a victim is contaminated and must be managed accordingly.

With these risks in mind, we need many reforms to safeguard human health and environmental pathways. We are experts on the issue of prion disease and pathway management. Please join us in the pursuit of truth and reform.

Prions are associated with an entire family of neurological disorders that are killing people, wildlife and livestock around the world. These deadly diseases are known as Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.” TSEs include Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, scrapie, chronic wasting disease and mad cow disease. The disease has killed many species of mammals including dolphins. Victims permanently contaminate the world around them with their bodily fluids. Once contaminated with prions, items cannot be sterilized.

Source: http://crossbowcommunications.com/san-diego-should-reconsider-plan-to-drink-recycled-wastewater/

public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic wasting disease and the prion disease epidemic is an area special expertise. Please contact Gary Chandler to join our coalition for reform gary@crossbow1.com.

Prions Not Phased By Sewage Treatment Processes

Deadly Prion Proteins Survive Wastewater Treatment Process

By Michael Woods

Scientists in Wisconsin are reporting in a paper scheduled for the July 1 issue of ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology that typical wastewater treatment processes do not degrade prions. Prions, rogue proteins that cause incurable brain infections such as Mad Cow disease and its human equivalent, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and Alzheimer’s disease are difficult to inactivate, resisting extreme heat, chemical disinfectants, and irradiation. In fact, prions are known to migrate, mutate and multiply.

Until now, scientists did not know whether prions entering sewers and septic tanks from slaughterhouses, meatpacking facilities, or private game dressing, could survive and pass through conventional sewage treatment plants.

sewage treatment plant and disease

Joel Pedersen and colleagues used laboratory experiments with simulated wastewater treatment to show that prions can be recovered from wastewater sludge after 20 days, remaining in the biosolids, a byproduct of sewage treatment sometimes used to fertilize farm fields.

Although emphasizing that prions have never been reported in wastewater treatment plant water or biosolids, the researchers note that existing tests are not sufficiently sensitive to detect the extremely low levels of prions possible in those materials. In other words, they have never been proven to be free of prions or capable of stopping them from being released back into the environment with discharges or sewage sludge.

land application sewage sludge

As such, wastewater treatment plants are spreading this infectious waste far and wide because they are incapable of stopping prions. All by-products and discharges from wastewater treatment plants are infectious waste, which are contributing to the global epidemic of neurodegenerative disease among humans, wildlife and livestock. Sewage treatment plants can’t detect or stop prions. Just ask the U.S. EPA and the industry trade organization—the Wastewater Effluent Federation. Sewage sludge (biosolids) and wastewater reclamation are causing widespread contamination.

Once unleashed on the environment, prions remain infectious. They migrate, mutate and multiply as they infect crops, water supplies and more.

The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. Deer, elk, moose and reindeer are now contracting prion disease from humans. To help cloak the epidemic, it’s called chronic wasting disease (CWD). Deer with CWD are proverbial canaries in a coal mine.

chronic wasting disease caused by prions

When cattle are exposed to prions, it’s being called mad cow disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, which is just a clever way of saying transmissible spongiform encephalopathy). Species barriers are a myth and part of the cover-up.

Unfortunately, prions linger in the environment, homes, hospitals, nursing homes, dental offices and beyond infinitely. Prions defy all attempts at sterilization and inactivation. If they can’t stop prions in the friendly and sterile confines of an operating room, they can’t stop them in the wastewater treatment plant.

biosolids land application and disease

The risk assessments prepared by the U.S. EPA for wastewater treatment and sewage sludge are flawed and current practices of recycling this infectious waste is fueling a public health disaster. Many risks are not addressed, including prions and radioactive waste. They don’t mention prions or radiation because there is no answer. Most nations are making the same mistake. We’re dumping killer proteins on crops, parks, golf courses, gardens, ski areas, school grounds and beyond. Wind, rain and irrigation spread these contaminants and many more throughout our communities and watersheds. It’s time to stop the land application of sewage sludge (LASS) in all nations. Safer alternatives exist.

For more information, read “Persistence of Pathogenic Prion Protein during Simulated Wastewater Treatment Processes,”  http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es703186e

Contact the leading expert on prions in soil and sewage sludge, Joel A. Pedersen. Ph.D., University of Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin
Phone: (608) 263-4971
Email: japedersen@soils.wisc.edu

Prion News via http://engineeringevil.com/2012/09/13/prions-are-not-degraded-by-conventional-sewage-treatment-processes/

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Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic wasting disease and the prion disease epidemic is an area of special expertise. Please contact Gary Chandler to join our coalition for reform gary@crossbow1.com.

Frack Wastewater Radioactive

Frack Waste Poses Risks To Air, Water

By modern definition, anything that threatens the safety of air, food and water is classified as bioterrorism. However, the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing (frac, frack, or fracking), is a legitimate threat to public and environmental health. Yet, the practice is proliferating around the globe. Its contents remain mostly a mystery. But fracking wastewater has revealed one of its secrets: It can be highly radioactive. And yet no agency really regulates its handling, transport or disposal.

The oil and gas industry can’t prove that the practice is safe. Instead, they hide behind ignorance and misinformation. They say that there is no proof of harm. Not so fast, slick. As the following story outlines, the evidence is real, measurable and mounting.

frack and public health

Randy Moyer hasn’t been able to work in 14 months. He’s seen more than 40 doctors, has 10 prescriptions to his name and no less than eight inhalers stationed around his apartment.

Moyer said he began transporting brine, the wastewater from gas wells that have been hydraulically fractured, for a small hauling company in August 2011. He trucked brine from wells to treatment plants and back to wells, and sometimes cleaned out the storage tanks used to hold wastewater on drilling sites. By November 2011, the 49-year-old trucker was too ill to work. He suffered from dizziness, blurred vision, headaches, difficulty breathing, swollen lips and appendages, and a fiery red rash that covered about 50 percent of his body.

“They called it a rash,” he said of the doctors who treated him during his 11 trips to the emergency room. “A rash doesn’t set you on fire.”

Moyer spent most of last year in his Portage apartment, lying on the floor by the open screen door because his skin burned so badly, while doctors scrambled to reach a diagnosis. He says the only thing that has helped ease his symptoms is a homeopathic tea recommended by others in the community who have similar symptoms.

Today, he has a box brimming with doctors’ bills but still no diagnosis. Moyer believes he’s sick from the chemicals in fracking fluid and the ensuing wastewater — and from radiation exposure. And he may be right.

government corruption

Studies from the U.S. Geological Survey, Penn State University and environmental groups all found that waste from fracking can be radioactive — and in some cases, highly radioactive.

A geological survey report found that millions of barrels of wastewater from unconventional wells in Pennsylvania and conventional wells in New York were 3,609 times more radioactive than the federal limit for drinking water and 300 times more radioactive than a Nuclear Regulatory Commission limit for nuclear plant discharges.

And Mark Engle, the USGS research geologist who co-authored the report, said that fracking flowback from the Marcellus shale contains higher radiation levels than similar shale formations.

“There (isn’t) a lot of data but in general, the Marcellus appears to be anomalously high,” Engle said. He said the USGS had agreements with a handful of oil and gas companies to sample the flowback from their wells for this particular report. These companies, he said, did not wish to be identified.

Engle also says that both the Marcellus shale itself and the wastewater generated from fracking are both radioactive, but he doesn’t know just how much radium the shale contains. He said it “may be fairly small, since radium is so soluble.” But he also said this solubility would make it easier for the radium to dissolve into the brine itself — and come to the surface.

The USGS is still studying the issue. They are currently sampling — or testing — produced waters from all types of oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, North Dakota and Montana, including those from the Marcellus shale. A few more reports are in the works, Engle said.

A recent study by an undergraduate student and two professors in Penn State’s Department of Geosciences also found that fracking wastewater contains high levels of radium — and barium.

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The study, written by Penn State alum Lara Haluszczak, professor emeritus Arthur Rose, and professor and head of the Department of Geosciences Lee Kump, describes the radium and barium found in fracking flowback as originating from ancient brines instead of the fracking fluid used by the industry to frack wells. The report, which focused on flowback within 90 days of fracking in primarily Pennsylvania wells, has been approved for publication in the International Association of Geochemistry’s journal Applied Geochemistry.

“Even if it’s (radioactive materials) diluted quite a bit, it’s still going to be above the drinking water limits,” Rose told Penn State Live, the university’s official news source. “There’s been very little research into this.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also has an eye on the issue. In December, the agency released the progress report of a full report studying the effects of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. In it, the EPA says it plans to sample ground and surface water for radium-226, radium-229 and gross alpha and beta radiation, as well as other substances. It also says that hydraulic fracturing can increase the mobility of naturally occurring radioactive material within the Marcellus. The full report is scheduled for a 2014 release.

Another report, issued by the New York-based Grassroots Environmental Education by Ivan White, a career scientist for the National Council on Radiation Protection, came to a similar conclusion as the USGS and Penn State reports, maintaining that fracking can produce waste much higher in radiation than previously thought.

White’s report tested 11 vertical wells that were conventionally drilled in New York and found that levels of radium in those wells averaged at 8,433 picocuries per liter. The EPA’s limit for drinking water is 5 pCi/L for both radium-226 and radium-228 combined.

While the vertical wells tested and horizontal wells used for fracking are undoubtedly different, both White and Engle say that horizontal wells have a higher chance of producing radioactive waste than their vertical counterparts, because horizontal wells’ exposure to the Marcellus is much greater, due to the mile-long horizontal bores coursing straight through the radioactive shale.

White’s report was written in response to proposed fracking in the Marcellus region of southern New York state.

So where does this leave Pennsylvanians? With the state’s 4,500 producing wells, Pennsylvania is already much deeper into the business of fracking than the Empire State.

And that means more potentially radioactive fracking waste to deal with.

A 2011 Penn State Extension report says an average Marcellus well can use from 3 million to 8 million gallons of water in just one week, 10 percent of which — or 300,000 to 800,000 gallons — resurfaces in the next 30 days in the form of wastewater. It also says that according to Pennsylvania’s DEP data, the industry produced about 235 million gallons of wastewater in the second half of 2010. These numbers were self-reported by the industry.

So just where do these millions of gallons of wastewater end up? The water can be treated and used to frack more wells, sent out of state for disposal in injection wells, or in rare cases, treated and released into waterways, officials say.

“Secretary (Michael) Krancer’s call to industry secured, nearly overnight, a sea change in disposal practices,” said DEP spokesman John Poister of the department secretary’s 2011 request to the drilling industry to stop delivering wastewater to treatment plants that would treat the water and release it into public water sources.

“Wastewater from unconventional wells is not being discharged into waterways, (and) recycling of unconventional flowback and brines has never been higher,” Poister said. He also said most of the industry’s fracking wastewater is reused to frack more wells.

But Steve Hvozdovich, Marcellus campaign coordinator for Clean Water Action, isn’t convinced.

media relations and public relations

“I can’t say for certain that there are plants definitely taking wastewater and discharging it,” he said. “Certainly there are discharges happening from facilities that raise concerns, especially among the upper Allegheny (River).” Hvozdovich declined to identify specific facilities.

“Is it possible they are taking natural gas wastewater?” he said. “Yes, but I don’t know that for a fact.”

And Poister does — if reluctantly — admit there could be some fracking wastewater finding its way into waterways.

“It can, but that would be a rarity,” he said. “We believe most wastewater is recycled, and the data on the statewide waste reports bears that out. Drillers would have to pay to have the water treated for discharge into waterways, (so) it’s more cost-efficient for them to recycle. There is some wastewater from other drilling activities and other sources that is discharged after treating, which is why under the state’s Clean Water Act, Pennsylvania’s DEP issues National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits to treatment facilities.”

These permits are required to be issued under the Federal Clean Water Act and establish pollution limits in both household and industrial wastes that are treated at municipal wastewater treatment plants, DEP data says. In order to be discharged, the water must fall within the agency’s 500 mg/L of total dissolved solids regulation and also have a NPDS permit.

But environmentalists say these treatment plants simply aren’t equipped to deal with radioactive wastewater.

“As fracking has rapidly expanded, we’re seeing much more of this radioactive waste, which is a problem, since traditional landfills and wastewater treatment plants aren’t accustomed to handling it,” said Adam Kron, attorney for the Environmental Integrity Project. “In fact, wastewater treatment plants aren’t able to remove radioactivity, and we’re starting to hear accounts of landfills receiving — and sometimes turning away — radioactive cuttings and sand from across state lines.”

And as for Moyer, there are five recently permitted wells near his home in Portage. He plans to leave the area, if not for himself, then for his 7-year-old son. He doesn’t think his body can take more exposure to fracking and its effects.

“It’s time to move if you want to live,” he said. “Stay if you want to die. And I want to live.”

Frack News via http://www.ellwoodcityledger.com/news/local_news/fracking-wastewater-can-be-highly-radioactive/article_38ff256c-35ea-5ac7-9301-f66de358952f.html

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Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic wasting disease and the prion disease epidemic is an area of special expertise. Please contact Gary Chandler to join our coalition for reform gary@crossbow1.com.

Fracking Threatens Public Health

Frack Attack On Land, Water, and  Communities

As the U.S. pushes the frack controversy down people’s throats in pursuit of short-term energy independence, we may find ourselves importing water and food to replace damaged domestic resources. It’s surprising that Homeland Security laws aren’t being imposed to cease the threats of permanent contamination and overall terrorism to people, land, livestock, groundwater and surface water runoff.

The Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2003 is supposed to protect our food and water supplies from terrorist threats. That law should apply to terrorists of all sorts–whether they be from foreign and domestic extremists or capitalists.

frac and water pollution

Compounding the problem is the fact that government regulators have been asleep at the wheel, if not outright influenced by corporations to shade data and remain silent in the face of legitimate, proven risks. Plus, as drought conditions worsen across the U.S., frac operations are consuming incredible amounts of water, while contaminating what is left for families, farmers and ranchers. It seems as though we are willing to risk our long-term survival for short-term energy gains. Most of these wells have minimum long-term potential.

For example, as ProPublica explained in a recent article, drilling has sparked a boom in Jeff Keller’s formerly quiet corner of western North Dakota in recent years, bringing an infusion of jobs and reviving dormant local businesses.

But Keller, a natural resource manager for the Army Corps of Engineers, has seen the downside of the boom: he has observed oil drillers spilling and dumping drilling waste onto the region’s land and into its waterways with increasing frequency. (In some cases, radioactive water has been dumped into public sewage systems, which opens up another can of worms).

Hydraulic fracturing (FRAC) — the controversial process behind the spread of natural gas drilling — is enabling oil companies to reach previously inaccessible reserves in North Dakota (and other regions of the world), triggering a turnaround not only in the state’s fortunes, but also in domestic energy production. North Dakota now ranks second behind only Texas in oil output nationwide.

The downside is waste — tons of it. Companies produce millions of gallons of salty, chemical-infused wastewater, known as brine, as part of drilling and fracking each well. Drillers are supposed to inject this material thousands of feet underground into disposal wells, but some of it isn’t making it that far. Even the waste that is injected as required, poses risks due to seismic shifts and the unknowns of hydro-geology deep inside the earth.

According to data obtained by ProPublica, oil companies in North Dakota reported more than 1,000 accidental releases of oil, drilling wastewater or other fluids in 2011, about as many as in the previous two years combined. Many more illicit releases went unreported, state regulators acknowledge, when companies dumped truckloads of toxic fluid along the road or drained waste pits illegally.

government corruption

State officials say most of the releases are small. But in several cases, spills turned out to be much larger than reported, totaling millions of gallons. Releases of brine, which is often laced with carcinogenic chemicals and heavy metals, have wiped out aquatic life in streams and wetlands and sterilized farmland. Livestock also has been impacted, which should serve as a bio-sensor for human health impacts. The effects on land can last for years, or even decades. Land values can be severely impacted and they could ultimately be condemned as Superfund sites.

Compounding such problems, state regulators have often been unable — or unwilling — to compel energy companies to clean up their mess. In some cases, they have been complicit in a campaign of coordinated silence.

Under North Dakota regulations, the agencies that oversee drilling and water safety can sanction companies that dump or spill waste, but they rarely take such action: They have issued fewer than 50 disciplinary actions for all types of drilling violations, including spills, over the past three years.

Keller has filed several complaints with the state during this time span after observing trucks dumping wastewater and spotting evidence of a spill in a field near his home. He was rebuffed or ignored every time, he said.

stop corruption in America

“There’s no enforcement,” said Keller, 50, an avid outdoorsman who has spent his career managing Lake Sakakawea, a reservoir created by damming the Missouri River. “None.”

State officials say they rely on companies to clean up spills voluntarily, and that in most cases, they do. Mark Bohrer, who oversees spill reports for the Department of Mineral Resources, the agency that regulates drilling, said the number of spills is acceptable given the pace of drilling and that he sees little risk of long-term damage.

Kris Roberts, who responds to spills for the Health Department, which protects state waters, agreed, but acknowledged that the state does not have the manpower to prevent or respond to illegal dumping.

“It’s happening often enough that we see it as a significant problem,” he said. “What’s the solution? Catching them. What’s the problem? Catching them.”

Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, a lobbying group, said the industry is doing what it can to minimize spills and their impacts.

“You’re going to have spills when you have more activity,” he said. “I would think North Dakotans would say the industry is doing a good job.”

In response to rising environmental concerns related to drilling waste, North Dakota’s legislature passed a handful of new regulations this year, including a rule that bars storing wastewater in open pits.

Still, advocates for landowners say they have seen little will, at either the state or federal level, to impose limits that could slow the pace of drilling.

The Obama administration is facilitating drilling projects on federal land in western North Dakota by expediting environmental reviews. North Dakota’s Gov. Jack Dalrymple has urged energy companies to see his administration as a “faithful and long-term partner.”

“North Dakota’s political leadership is still in the mold where a lot of our oil and gas policy reflects a strong desire to have another oil boom,” said Mark Trechock, who headed the Dakota Resource Council, a landowner group that has pushed for stronger oversight, until his retirement this year. “Well, we got it now.”

 

Crazy Energy Policy

Keller’s office in Williston is as good a spot as any to see the impacts of the oil boom. The tiny prefab shack — cluttered with mounted fish, piles of antlers and a wolf pelt Keller bought in Alaska — is wedged between a levee that holds back Missouri River floodwaters and a new oil well, topped by a blazing gas flare. Just beyond the oil well sits an intersection where Keller estimates he saw an accident a week during one stretch last year due to increased traffic from drilling.

Keller describes the changes to his hometown in a voice just short of a yell, as if he’s competing with nearby engine noise. Local grocery stores can barely keep shelves stocked and the town movie theater is so crowded it seats people in the aisle, he said. The cost of housing has skyrocketed, with some apartments fetching rents similar to those in New York City.

“With the way it is now,” Keller said, “you’re getting to the crazy point.”

Oil companies are drilling upwards of 200 wells each month in northwestern North Dakota, an area roughly twice the size of New Jersey.

North Dakota is pumping more than 575,000 barrels of oil a day now, more than double what the state produced two years ago. Expanded drilling in the state has helped overall U.S. oil production grow for the first time in a quarter century, stoking hopes for greater energy independence.

It has also reinvigorated North Dakota’s once-stagnant economy. Unemployment sits at 3 percent. The activity has reversed a population decline that began in the mid-1980s, when the last oil boom went bust.

The growth has come at a cost, however. At a conference on oil field infrastructure in October, one executive noted that McKenzie County, which sits in the heart of the oil patch and had a population of 6,360 people in 2010, required nearly $200 million in road repairs.

The number of spill reports, which generally come from the oil companies themselves, nearly doubled from 2010 to 2011. Energy companies report their spills to the Department of Mineral Resources, which shares them with the Health Department. The two agencies work together to investigate incidents.

In December, a stack of reports a quarter-inch thick piled up on Kris Roberts’ desk. He received 34 new cases in the first week of that month alone.

“Is it a big issue?” he said. “Yes, it is.”

The Health Department has added three staffers to handle the influx and the Department of Mineral Resources is increasing its workforce by 30 percent, but Roberts acknowledges they can’t investigate every report.

Even with the new hires, the Department of Mineral Resources still has fewer field inspectors than agencies in other drilling states. Oklahoma, for example, which has comparable drilling activity, has 58 inspectors to North Dakota’s 19.

Of the 1,073 releases reported last year, about 60 percent involved oil and one-third spread brine. In about two-thirds of the cases, material was not contained to the accident site and leaked into the ground or waterways.

But the official data gives only a partial picture, Roberts said, missing an unknown number of unreported incidents.

“One, five, 10, 100? If it didn’t get reported, how do you count them?” he said.

frack waste disposal and pollution

He said truckers often dump their wastewater rather than wait in line at injection wells. The Department of Mineral Resources asks companies how much brine their wells produce and how much they dispose of as waste, but its inspectors don’t audit those numbers. Short of catching someone in the act, there’s no way to stop illegal dumping.

The state also has no real estimate for how much fluid spills out accidentally from tanks, pipes, trucks and other equipment. Companies are supposed to report spill volumes, but officials acknowledge the numbers are often inexact or flat-out wrong. In 40 cases last year, the company responsible didn’t know how much had spilled so it simply listed the volume of fluid as zero.

In one case last July, workers for Petro Harvester, a small, Texas-based oil company, noticed a swath of dead vegetation in a field near one of the company’s saltwater disposal lines. The company reported the spill the next day, estimating that 12,600 gallons of brine had leaked.

When state and county officials came to assess the damage, however, they found evidence of a much larger accident. The leak, which had gone undetected for days or weeks, had sterilized about 24 acres of land. Officials later estimated the spill to be at least 2 million gallons of brine, Roberts said, which would make it the largest ever in the state.

Yet state records still put the volume at 12,600 gallons and Roberts sees no reason to change it.

“It’s almost like rubbing salt in a raw wound,” Roberts said, criticizing efforts to tabulate a number as “bean counting.” Changing a report would not change reality, nor would it help anyone, he added. “If we try to go back and revisit the past over and over and over again, what’s it going to do? Nothing good.”

In a written statement, Petro Harvester said tests showed the spill had not contaminated groundwater and that it would continue monitoring the site for signs of damage. State records show the company hired a contractor to cover the land with 40 truckloads of a chemical that leaches salt from the soil.

Nearly a year later, however, even weeds won’t grow in the area, said Darwin Peterson, who farms the land. While Petro Harvester has promised to compensate him for lost crops, Peterson said he hasn’t heard from the company in months and he doesn’t expect the land to be usable for years. “It’s pretty devastating,” he said.

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Little Frack Regulation

The Department of Mineral Resources and the Health Department have the authority to sanction companies that spill or dump fluids, but they rarely do.

The Department of Mineral Resources has issued just 45 enforcement actions over the last three years. Spokeswoman Alison Ritter could not say how many of those were for spills or releases, as opposed to other drilling violations, or how many resulted in fines. Ritter said case files containing this information could be reviewed, but only in person in the agency’s office in Bismarck, N.D.

The Health Department has taken just one action against an oil company in the past three years, citing Continental Resources for oil and brine spills that turned two streams into temporary toxic dumps. The department initially fined Continental $328,500, plus about $14,000 for agency costs. Ultimately, however, the state settled and Continental paid just $35,000 in fines.

The agency has not yet penalized Petro Harvester for the July spill, thought it has issued a notice of violation and could impose a fine in the future, Roberts said, one of several spill-related enforcement actions the agency is considering.

Derrick Braaten, a Bismarck lawyer whose firm represents dozens of farmers and landowner groups, said his clients often get little support from regulators when oil companies damage their property.

State officials step in in the largest cases, he said, but let smaller ones slide. Landowners can sue, but most prefer to take whatever drillers offer rather than taking their chances in court.

“The oil company will say, that’s worth $400 an acre, so here’s $400 for ruining that acre,” Braaten said.

Daryl Peterson, a client of Braaten’s who is not related to Darwin Peterson, said a series of drilling waste releases stretching back 15 years have rendered several acres unusable of the 2,000 or so he farms. The state has not compelled the companies that caused the damage to repair it, he said. Peterson hasn’t wanted to spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars it would take to haul out the dirt and replace it, so the land lies fallow.

“I pay taxes on that land,” he said.

At least 15 North Dakota residents, frustrated with state officials’ inaction, have taken drilling-related complaints to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the last two years, records show.

Last September, for example, a rancher near Williston told the EPA that Brigham Oil and Gas had plowed through the side of a waste pit, sending fluid into the pond his cattle drink from and a nearby creek. When the rancher called Brigham to complain, he said, an employee told him this was “the way they do business.”

A spokeswoman for Statoil, which acquired Brigham, said the company stores only fresh water in open pits, not wastewater, and that “we can’t remember ever having responded in such a manner” to a report about a spill.

Federal officials can offer little relief.

Congress has largely delegated oversight of oil field spills to the states. EPA spokesman Richard Mylott said the agency investigates complaints about releases on federal lands, but refers complaints involving private property to state regulators.

The EPA handed the complaint about Brigham to an official with North Dakota’s Health Department, who said he had already spoken to the company.

“They said this was an isolated occurrence, this is not how they handle frac water and it would not happen again,” the official wrote to the EPA. “As far as we are concerned, this complaint is closed.”

Salting the Earth

Six years ago, a four-inch saltwater pipeline ruptured just outside Linda Monson’s property line, leaking about a million gallons of salty wastewater.

As it cascaded down a hill and into Charbonneau Creek, which cuts through Monson’s pasture, the spill deposited metals and carcinogenic hydrocarbons in the soil. The toxic brew wiped out the creek’s fish, turtles and other life, reaching 15 miles downstream.

After suing Zenergy Inc., the oil company that owns the line, Monson reached a settlement that restricts what she can say about the incident.

“When this first happened, it pretty much consumed my life,” Monson said. “Now I don’t even want to think about it.”

The company has paid a $70,000 fine and committed to cleaning the site, but the case shows how difficult the cleanup can be. When brine leaks into the ground, the sodium binds to the soil, displacing other minerals and inhibiting plants’ ability to absorb nutrients and water. Short of replacing the soil, the best option is to try to speed the natural flushing of the system, which can take decades.

Zenergy has tried both. According to a Department of Mineral Resources report, the company has spent more than $3 million hauling away dirt and pumping out contaminated groundwater — nearly 31 million gallons as of December 2010, the most recent data available.

But more than a dozen acres of Monson’s pasture remain fenced off and out of use. The cattle no longer drink from the creek, which was their main water source. Zenergy dug a well to replace it.

Shallow groundwater in the area remains thousands of times saltier than it should be and continues to leak into the stream and through the ground, contaminating new areas.

There’s little understanding of what long-term impacts hundreds of such releases could be having on western North Dakota’s land and water, said Micah Reuber.

Until last year, Reuber was the environmental contaminant specialist in North Dakota for the federal Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees wetlands and waterways.

Reuber quit after growing increasingly frustrated with the inadequate resources devoted to the position. Responding to oil field spills was supposed to be a small part of his job, but it came to consume all of his time.

“It didn’t seem like we were keeping pace with it at all,” he said. “It got to be demoralizing.”

Reuber said no agency, federal or state, has the money or staff to study the effects of drilling waste releases in North Dakota. The closest thing is a small ongoing federal study across the border in Montana, where scientists are investigating how decades of oil production have affected the underground water supply for the city of Poplar.

Joanna Thamke, a groundwater specialist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Montana, started mapping contamination from drilling 20 years ago. She estimated it had spread through about 12 square miles of the aquifer, which is the only source of drinking water in the area. Over the years, brine had leaked through old well bores, buried waste pits and aging tanks and pipes.

In the Poplar study and others, Thamke has found that plumes of contaminated groundwater can take decades to dissipate and sometimes move to new areas.

“What we found is the plumes, after two decades, have not gone away,” she said. “They’ve spread out.”

Poplar’s water supply is currently safe to drink, but the EPA has said it will become too salty as the contamination spreads. In March, the agency ordered three oil companies to treat the water or to find another source.

North Dakota officials are quick to point out that oversight and regulations are stronger today than they were when drilling began in the area in the 1950s. One significant difference is that waste pits, where oil companies store and dispose of the rock and debris produced during drilling, are now lined with plastic to prevent leaching into the ground.

New rules, effective April 1, require drillers in North Dakota to divert liquid waste to tanks instead of pits. Until now, drillers could store the liquid in pits for up to a year before pumping it out in order to bury the solids on site. The rule would prevent a repeat of the spring of 2011, when record snowmelt and flooding caused dozens of pits to overflow their banks.

But Reuber worries that the industry and regulators are repeating past mistakes. Not long before he left the Fish and Wildlife Service, he found a set of old slides showing waste pits and spills from decades ago.

“They looked almost exactly like photos I had taken,” he said. “There’s a spill into a creek bottom in the Badlands and it was sitting there with no one cleaning it up and containing it. And yeah, I got a photo like that, too.”

Keller has grown so dispirited by the changes brought by the boom that he is considering retiring after 30 years with the Army Corps and moving away from Williston. He runs a side business in scrap metal that would supplement his pension.

Still, determined to protect the area, he keeps alerting regulators whenever he spots evidence that oil companies have dumped or spilled waste.

Last July, when he saw signs of a spill near his home, Keller notified the Department of Mineral Resources and sent pictures showing a trail of dead grass to an acquaintance at the EPA regional office in Denver. The brown swath led from a well site into a creek.

If the spills continued, he warned the EPA in an email, they could “kill off the entire watershed.”

EPA officials said they spoke with Keller, but did not follow up on the incident beyond that. The state never responded, Keller said. The site remained untested and was never cleaned up.

“There was no restoration work whatsoever,” Keller said.North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources spokeswoman Alison Ritter submitted the following statement in response to this story yesterday (we have added editor’s notes where appropriate for accuracy).

Frack News via http://www.propublica.org/article/the-other-fracking-north-dakotas-oil-boom-brings-damage-along-with-prosperi

U.S. and Britain Team Up For Geo-Engineering Program

If you have ever wondered what chem trails are all about, take a look at this report from the United Kingdom. It discusses a joint plan with the United States to help mitigate the effects of human activity on climate change.

Chem-Trail Confessions About Geo-Engineering

Geo-engineering describes activities specifically and deliberately designed to effect a change in the global climate with the aim of minimizing or reversing anthropogenic (that is human caused) climate change. Geo-engineering covers many techniques and technologies but splits into two broad categories: those that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere such as sequestering and locking carbon dioxide in geological formations; and those that reflect solar radiation.

chemtrails

Techniques in this category include the injection of sulphate aerosols into the stratosphere to mimic the cooling effect caused by large volcanic eruptions.The technologies and techniques vary so much that any regulatory framework forgeo engineering cannot be uniform. Instead, those techniques, particularly carbon removal,that are closely related to familiar existing technologies, could be regulated by developing the international regulation of the existing regimes to encompass geo-engineering. For other technologies, especially solar refection, new regulatory arrangements will have to be developed.

There are three reasons why, we believe, regulation is needed. First, in the future some geo-engineering techniques may allow a single country unilaterally to affect the climate. Second, some—albeit very small scale—geo-engineering testing is already underway. Third,we may need geo-engineering as a “Plan B” if, in the event of the failure of “Plan A”—the reduction of greenhouse gases—we are faced with highly disruptive climate change. If we start work now it will provide the opportunity to explore fully the technological,environmental, political and regulatory issues.

We are not calling for an international treaty but for the groundwork for regulatory arrangements to begin. Geoengineering techniques should be graded with consideration to factors such as trans-boundary effect, the dispersal of potentially hazardous materials in the environment and the direct effect on ecosystems. The regulatory regimes for geoengineering should then be tailored accordingly. The controls should be based on a set of principles that command widespread agreement—for example, the disclosure of geo-engineering research and open publication of results and the development of governance arrangements before the deployment of geo-engineering techniques.

The UN is the route by which, eventually, we envisage the regulatory framework operating but first the UK and other governments need to push geo-engineering up the international agenda and get processes moving.This inquiry was innovative in that we worked collaboratively with the US House of Representatives Science and Technology Committee, the first international joint working of this kind for a House of Commons select committee. We found the experience constructive and rewarding and, we hope, successful. We are enthusiastic supporters of collaborative working between national legislatures on topics such as geo-engineering with international reach.

Our Report covering the regulation of geo-engineering will now dovetail into a wider inquiry that the House of Representatives Committee is carrying out on geo-engineering. Science, technology and engineering are key to solving global challenges and we commend to our successor committee international collaboration as an innovative way to meet these challenges.

Read More> http://www.scribd.com/doc/98820858/Geo-Engineering-Regulation-House-of-Commons

Brain Disease Recycled Through Sewage Sludge

Biosolids Spreading Brain Disease

Colm Kelleher, the author of Brain Trust: The Hidden Connection Between Mad Cow Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease is a fascinating book that covers al lot of ground quickly. It connects many dots about deadly prion diseases.

One pathway that he doesn’t mention is sewage sludge, which exposes livestock, wildlife and humans to the largest prion pathway in the world. Beef and dairy cattle are raised on land contaminated with infectious waste. The infectious prions also contaminate water supplies from that point to downstream reservoirs, including creeks, ponds, rivers, lakes and oceans.

land application sewage sludge

If you study the rates of AD and its geographical distribution, you will find that rates start to soar when a country becomes meat eating (i.e. Japan and Korea in the 1960s) and rises even faster when it adopts a fast food culture (the US and Western Europe in the 50s and 60s) and remains low in vegetarian countries (India) and those without a processed meat industry or fast foods (equatorial Africa)…Murray “

 

Rendering plants, which yearly process over 1 million downer cows  – the ones most likely
to have with prion disease –  can result in infected feeds. Industrial meat packing vats of hamburger, each containing meat from 50 to 100 animals from multiple states and two to four countries may also promote contamination and infection.

In order to understand the threat, one must understand the dynamics of this neurological disease. Alzheimer’s disease, for example, is a member of an aggressive family of neurodegenerative diseases known as Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.”

TSEs are caused by a deadly protein called a prion (PREE-on). As such, TSEs also are referred to as prion disease. The critical factor is that prions are unstoppable. The pathogen spreads through the bodily fluids and cell tissue of its victims. Blood, saliva, mucus, milk, urine and feces carry deadly prions from victims. All tissue is infectious just because of the contact with the contaminated blood.

TSEs also include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, mad cow disease and chronic wasting disease in the deer family. Few, if any, mammals are immune. There is no cure.

prion disease epidemic

Dr. Stanley Prusiner, an American neuroscientist from the University of California at San Francisco, earned a Nobel Prize in 1997 for discovering and characterizing deadly prions and prion disease. President Obama awarded Prusiner the National Medal of Science in 2010 to recognize the importance of his research. According to Prusiner, TSEs all are on the same disease spectrum, which is more accurately described as prion disease. He claims that all TSEs are caused by prions.

Prions are unstoppable and the pathogen spreads through the bodily fluids and cell tissue of its victims. Prions shed from humans are the most deadly mutation. They demand more respect than radiation. Infected surgical instruments, for example, are impossible to sterilize and hospitals throw them away. Prions are in the blood, saliva, urine, feces, mucus, and bodily tissue of its victims. Many factors are contributing to the epidemic. Prions are now the X factor. Industry and government are not accounting for them or regulating them. They are ignoring the threat completely, which violates the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 in the United States. Other nations also are ignoring laws developed to protect food, air and water.

“There is now real evidence of the potential transmissibility of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Thomas Wiesniewski M.D. a prion and Alzheimer’s researcher at New York University School of Medicine. “In fact, this ability to transmit an abnormal conformation is probably a universal property of amyloid-forming proteins (prions).”

A new study published in the journal Nature renews concern about the transmissibility of Alzheimer’s disease between people. A second study by the same scientist in early 2016 adds to the stack of evidence.

mad cow disease and prions

It’s highly probable that livestock and wildlife are contracting TSEs from humans via sewage sludge, also known as biosolids. Consuming milk and meat from infected animals brings the disease back into the human food chain. In other words, we’re recycling Alzheimer’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease becasue of the mismanagement of infectious waste.

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Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic wasting disease and the prion disease epidemic is an area special expertise. Please contact Gary Chandler to join our coalition for reform gary@crossbow1.com.