A research team examining water within a five-mile radius of the leaking BP wellhead has found very high levels of methane.
When oil is extracted from the ground, it contains a large amount of methane. Excess methane is usually removed by engineers before the crude oil is refined.
The methane that is gushing from the broken well is dissolving into the seawater. Although methane occurs naturally in sea water, excessive amounts can encourage the growth of microbes. Microbes can deplete water of oxygen needed to support marine life.
“At some locations, we saw depletions of up to 30 percent of oxygen based on its natural concentration in the waters. At other places, we saw no depletion of oxygen in the waters. We need to determine why that is,” said Texas A&M University oceanography professor John Kessler, who is part of the research team.
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Continue reading Reuters: Very high methane levels in the Gulf of Mexico
As Pennsylvania legislators consider new water-pollution rules governing natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has revealed that inspectors found 421 violations between January 1 and June 4. Additional documents reveal many more violations over the past five years.
“It goes from an accident to negligence,” DEP Secretary John Hanger said.
Some violations include a spill resulting from improperly storing 14,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid for 30 days in an unlabeled tank that was not lined to hold such a high concentration of acid, and two 800-gallon diesel spills.
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Continue reading Times-Tribune: Natural gas inspectors find hundreds of violations