It’s looking like a neighborhood in Assumption Parish, La., has been permanently wiped out by a sloppy salt-mining company.
A sinkhole in the area has grown to 15 acres since an old salt mine that was emptied to supply the local petrochemical industry with brine began collapsing in August. Hundreds of neighbors were long ago evacuated, and many of them are now accepting that they will never return to their homes.
The sinkhole isn’t just endangering homes, it is also burping out oil, natural gas, and debris, shaking the area so powerfully that seismic equipment is being used to monitor the site. And brine from the sinkhole is in danger of contaminating local waterways. This thing is so big it even has its own Facebook page.
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For all the harm that the oil and gas industry inflicts on wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, it does offer the marine ecosystem at least one big benefit. Offshore oil-drilling rigs serve as artificial reefs, providing shelter for animals and an anchor for plants, coral, and barnacles. Yet once a well is tapped, the federal government has required the drilling company to uproot its rig to help clear clutter that could obstruct shipping.
Following complaints from fishermen and conservationists, however, the Obama administration is easing those rules. It announced this week that it is making it easier for states to designate abandoned drilling infrastructure as special artificial reef sites.
The move is a win-win. Fish, turtles, and other wildlife get to keep their underwater metropolises — and drilling companies can save on the costs of rig removal. From Fuel Fix:
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The article below reports on the opening up of Greenland for oil and mining exploration.
Frozen Rivers of Oil
I love good news stories concerning the environment, wilderness and the like. We hear plenty about negative subjects – oil pollution, climate change, etc. So good news stories are always good to hear. So today I have another.
It is possible that the blind Indus Dolphin population may be increasing. The following link is to an article on the subject, which is very interesting.
Yet another oil platform has exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. The crew of the platform were all rescued from the sea without serious injury. On this occasion the oil wells were shut down preventing a major oil spill, though there was a small slick in the area caused by the explosion.