Eco-news in brief 8-28
By CG News Editor April Jaynes
Wayne’s unchanged forest plan incites fracking critics
Supervisor Anne Carey of Wayne National Forest announced Monday that the U.S. Forest Service will not revise Wayne’s forest management plan to account for possible impacts of horizontal hydraulic fracturing on the park’s land. Fracking critics like members of the Athens County Fracking Action Network and participants of past anti-fracking rallies are unhappy with the decision. A primary concern about possible horizontal hydraulic fracturing in the Wayne area is potential contamination of the Hocking River due to the fact that horizontal drilling requires more water than vertical. Carey and Wayne spokesman Gary Chancey said the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s ”Reasonably Foreseeable Development Scenario” significantly helped to provide a basis for the decision, which supports the prediction that the amount of land disturbed in Wayne by drilling most likely won’t exceed the estimated amount in the existing forest plan.
Isaac projected to land just before Katrina’s anniversary
Forecasters are predicting Tropical Storm Isaac will develop hurricane strength by evening if its winds continue to increase. A storm reaches hurricane status when winds are at 74 mph and Isaac has sustained winds up to 70 mph. Isaac is expected to reach at least a Category 1 hurricane status before it lands near New Orleans this evening. The storm’s forward movement has also slowed to 10 mph and total rainfall could be as much as 20 inches in places like the Florida panhandle, according to the National Hurricane Center. Forecasters also said the storm could produce tornados along the northern Gulf Coast. President Barack Obama is urging Gulf Coast residents to take the necessary precautions as forecasters are predicting the tornados to develop Tuesday evening as well. If Isaac reaches landfall after midnight, the hurricane will hit on Katrina’s seventh anniversary. Many New Orleans residents told CNN they plan to wait out Isaac, as this hurricane is not expected to have the strength of Katrina in 2005.
Gas explosion may stop production for Venezuela’s largest refinery
Venezuela’s largest oil refinery in Amuay burned for three days after a gas leak caused two fuel storage tanks to explode on Saturday. At least 39 people were killed, many were injured and nearby homes were destroyed. Although Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez told Reuters reporters that production could resume within the next couple days, there is speculation that the refinery will not be able to resume production that soon. Ramirez also told reporters that the company is considering using floating storage while the main tanks are being repaired. There is growing concern that the accident will add to the rising fuel prices already affected by worries of Topical Storm Isaac’s possible suspension of U.S. oil production. This is one of the most severe oil refinery explosions in recent history.