Legal issues and shale gas boom

The shale gas boom and fracking revolution are having a significant impact on the economies of states like Ohio. Some environmentalists are also seeing the positive side despite the drinking water controversy as natural gas burns much cleaner that coal.

But many legal issues remain and loom on the horizon.

Ohio’s anticipated energy boom from hydraulic fracturing of shale deposits has oil and gas companies, investors and property owners scrambling for a piece of the action.

On the way to digging up the expected treasure, though, are legal sand traps that could slow or even stop production. They go well beyond the basic issue of who owns the buried oil and gas rights, disputes hashed out in courts since the start of the Utica shale rush in 2010.

Emerging battles concern possible threats to endangered species, Clean Air Act violations and claims that oil and gas drilling in Ohio is abnormally dangerous.

The Utica shale layer, centered in Ohio but stretching from Quebec to Tennessee, has been touted as holding hydrocarbons worth tens of billions of dollars — maybe $500 billion worth, if you believe the prediction of Aubrey McClendon, chief executive of Chesapeake Energy Corp., the top driller in Ohio.

The Ohio Shale Coalition estimates that almost 2,000 fracking wells will be drilled in the state by the end of 2014.
Recent fracking-law discussions at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and the McDonald Hopkins law firm in Cleveland, as well as interviews with energy-sector attorneys, suggest a boom of another sort — in legal questions that riddle the shale play.

Stay tuned as this issue develops.


The Standard for Fuel Efficiency

Modern technology has come a long way to produce vehicles with better fuel economy, and with new government regulations, auto manufacturers could be facing drastic changes. You have seen some of those changes with smaller and safer cars with higher MPGs. There has been a demand for greener alternatives for some time now, but it’s only recently that the government has had to step in.

American Fuel Efficiency

If you’ve been around for long enough or have purchased a newer car, you’ll have noticed a steep increase in the number of fuel efficient cars. The government has set updated regulations that aim to set forth a plan that would increase fuel efficiency for all newly manufactured vehicles. The popularity of larger cars in America will not stop the government’s attempt to raise the bar.

Average MPG standards for cars and trucks in the U.S. combined is as follows:

2012 29.7
2013 30.5
2014 31.3
2015 32.6
2016 34.1


Gas Price

If you’re out today, you’ll notice gas prices fluctuating, though more than likely not in a direction you’re fond of. Then you probably won’t be surprised to discover that 63 percent of Americans have trouble with their pocketbooks as a result of rising gas prices. Around $2,000 a year is invested in gas alone by the average U.S. citizen.

Above American Standards

Despite Europe struggling financially, they have managed to consistently keep their fuel efficiency standards well above the United States. As far back as 2006, Europeans have set regulations for newly manufactured vehicles to 40 mpg and beyond. Their projected average in 2012 is around 48 mpg, while Japan is only slightly behind them with roughly 46 mpg for new passenger vehicles.

Recent efforts by President Obama have led to an increase in fuel economy of new vehicles, which are projected to be running at 54.5 mpg by 2025.


It may have impacted you a great deal to fill up at the gas pump, and hopefully these standards will lessen the blow in the future. The good news is, analysts predict the price of gas to drop soon. Until then, you might be paying more than $4 per gallon in some areas, which could eventually account for 5% of your total expenditures a year.


Blow to climate change deniers

This is pretty interesting, as all of the global warming skeptics will now have to face this study from a former skeptic.

Climate change deniers thought they had an ally in Richard Muller, a popular physics professor at UC Berkeley.

Muller didn’t reject climate science per se, but he was a skeptic, and a convenient one for big polluters and conservative anti-environmentalists — until Muller put their money where his mouth was, and launched the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, in part with a grant from the Charles G. Koch foundation.

After extensive study, he’s concluded that the existing science was right all along — that the earth’s surface is warming, at an accelerating rate. But instead of second-guessing themselves, his erstwhile allies of convenience are now abandoning him.

“When we began our study, we felt that skeptics had raised legitimate issues, and we didn’t know what we’d find,” Muller wrote in a Friday Wall Street Journal op-ed. “Our results turned out to be close to those published by prior groups. We think that means that those groups had truly been very careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some skeptics of that. They managed to avoid bias in their data selection, homogenization and other corrections. Global warming is real. Perhaps our results will help cool this portion of the climate debate.”

This does not speak to the issue of whether humans are causing the warming, but it’s another persuasive set of data on this issue of warming itself.


How Classifieds are Saving the Planet

Online classified ads are the best thing to happen to the Earth since the hybrid. With a classified ad, resources can be reduced, reused, and recycled with minimal fuss or difficulty. Let’s look at how online classifieds are saving the planet in more detail.

The average item’s lifecycle consists of many stages:
1. Gathering raw materials
2. Shipping materials to a factory
3. Producing a new item
4. Shipping item to stores
5. People taking the item home
6. The item’s usage
7. Item disposal
8. The item being shipped to a junkyard
9. If the item is not biodegradable (think plastic or metal), it will sit in the junkyard indefinitely

When items are sold in classifieds online, or ‘reused,’ their lifecycle is different:
1. Gathering raw materials
2. Shipping materials to a factory
3. Producing a new item
4. Shipping item to stores
5. People taking the item home
6. The items usage
7. Item given to new owner
8. The items usage
9. Item given to new owner
10. The items usage
11. Repeat

The joy and excitement people feel when they crack open the packaging of a new electronic device or open the box that contains a new bed frame is often the only reason people are willing to pay much more to be the first to own an item. Pragmatically, is there a reason to pay 100% more for something ‘new,’ when gently used electronics or furniture serve the same purpose?
Here are some great points to consider before you go to a store to buy something that could be obtained from a website like eBay. Remember: you can always package your gently used item in plastic wrap and open it like a ‘new’ item.

Reducing Waste
Classified ads save tons of waste every single day, literally. Every time someone decides to sell or give away a piece of technology, a bicycle, or an article of clothing, more space in a landfill stays open. While it might not seem like a few sweaters and a laptop computer or two will make any difference, the small things in life add up.

Cutting Down Paper Usage

Paper usage.

Paper takes up a lot of space in a landfill (about 28 percent!), and paper production kills trees. Because the factories and other equipment used in harvesting and processing wood into paper use petroleum-based fuel, using paper is bad for the environment. When you use online classified ads, you save a lot of paper-production pollution.

Saving Fuel
Raw materials have to be delivered, items are produced in pollutant-expelling factories, and then items are shipped to stores (often across the globe) for consumption. That’s a lot of fuel usage for your new iPod!

In Conclusion
The online classified ad is a beautiful thing. With it, you can make friends in the forest by saving paper, and you can save a lot of fuel that’s wasted in the production of new goods. Overall, online classified ads are good for the environment in every possible way. Rather than adding to a landfill when you’re done with an item, pass it on to the next owner who will love it, and find yourself something affordable and gently used in turn!


3 Ways to Go Green without Even Trying

Do you sigh when you think about all of the lifestyle changes that you would need to make in order to truly go green? There’s no reason to fret, though. In fact, these three ways to go green without even trying will make the world a better place without even forcing you to make huge changes in your lifestyle. That’s something worth exploring.

Reduce Your Office’s Paper Use

Offices can waste a lot of paper. All of those receipts, faxes, and printouts eventually have to go somewhere. Even when you take care to recycle your office’s paper waste, you still place a burden on the environment. It does, after all, take a lot of energy to recycle that paper.

You can reduce your office’s impact on the environment by using the new MetroFax mobile app. This app lets you receive faxes on your mobile phone. That means you don’t have to print out the fax to read it. The app is even more convenient than printing faxes because it allows you to search the last 200 documents that you received.

Make Walking Easier Than Driving

Motor vehicles often seem too tempting to avoid. The tendency is to hop in your car for every errand, even if you’re just going down the street to pick up lunch for your colleagues.
The PedNav app appeals to the lazy part of every person by providing the most time efficient way to get from point A to point B without using your car. When you make walking easier by finding the best route, you could find that the car becomes an unnecessary burden, especially when you consider all of the time that you spend looking for parking spots and sitting at red lights.

Find the Greenest Route for Your Vehicle

Motor vehicles spew a lot of carbon into the air. Reducing the amount that you drive could simultaneously reduce your carbon footprint. The truth, however, gets a little more complicated than choosing the shortest route. You have to consider traffic congestion, speed limits, and other factors to choose the greenest route for your vehicle.

Ecorio does all of that for you. This smart phone app uses GPS technology to keep track of how much carbon your vehicle emits. It does more than just make you feel guilty, though. You can also use Ecorio to find routes that will result in decreased carbon emissions. You don’t have to do anything but ask the app to tell you the best route to take. You can even keep track of your daily habits to make long-lasting changes in behaviors that might harm the environment.

These three apps represent some of the latest technologies that can help you go green without even trying. Sure, you could stop using the fax machine or give up your car, but you don’t have to become an extremist to make positive changes in the world. What are some of ways that you have gone green without doing much more than lifting a finger and touching your smart phone?


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