10-23-2019  12:43 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Washington State Ecology Director Objects to EPA’s Proposed Clean Water Act Rule

Ecology Director Maia Bellon submitted formal objections in which she calls the proposal ill-advised and illegal

Washington State to Vote on Affirmative Action Referendum

More than two decades after voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one's minority status should be considered in state employment, contracting, colleges admissions is back on the ballot

Merkley Introduces Legislation that Protects Access to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford Bail

Under current law, individuals in custody who have not been convicted of a crime are denied Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits

New County Hire Aims to Build Trust, Transparency Between Community and Public Safety Officials

Leneice Rice will serve as a liaison focused on documenting and reporting feedback from a community whose faith in law enforcement has been tested

NEWS BRIEFS

U.S. Census Bureau Hosts Job Recruitment Events in Portland

There are several opportunities to ‘Meet the Employer’ today through Saturday for more information or to apply for 2020 census...

GFO Offers African Americans Help in Solving Family Mysteries

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is holding an African American Special Interest Group Saturday, Oct. 19 ...

Third Annual NAMC-WA Gala Features Leader on Minority Business Development

The topic of the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors' event was 'Community and Collaboration' ...

Building Bridges Event Aims to Strengthen Trust Between Communities

The 4th Annual Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities: Confronting Hate will be held in Tigard on...

The Black Man Project Kicks Off National Tour in Seattle

The first in a series of interactive conversations focused on Black men and vulnerability takes place in Seattle on October 25 ...

Woman sues Oregon clinic over claims of past abuse by doctor

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A woman who says she was repeatedly sexually abused by her pediatrician has filed a jumi million lawsuit against the doctor's former medical clinic in Oregon.The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Tuesday that the woman says the abuse occurred in the 1980s and early 1990s at...

Police: Body found is missing university student

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police say a body found near the St. Johns Bridge in Northwest Portland is a missing University of Portland freshman.Police on Tuesday evening said that the medical examiner's office had conducted an autopsy and positively identified the body as Owen...

AP Top 25: Ohio State jumps Clemson to 3rd; Wisconsin falls

Ohio State edged past Clemson to No. 3 in The Associated Press college football poll and Wisconsin dropped to 13th after being upset ahead of its showdown with the Buckeyes.Alabama remained No. 1 on Sunday in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank, receiving 24 first-place votes. No. 2 LSU held...

Vaughn scores twice, Vandy upsets No. 22 Missouri 21-14

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derek Mason wants it known he's the best coach for the Vanderbilt Commodores.Riley Neal came off the bench and threw a 21-yard touchdown to Cam Johnson with 8:57 left, and Vanderbilt upset No. 22 Missouri 21-14 on Saturday with a stifling defensive...

OPINION

Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

“Hell No!” That Is My Message to Those Who Would Divide Us 

Upon release from the South African jail, Nelson Mandela told UAW Local 600 members “It is you who have made the United States of America a superpower, a leader of the world" ...

Rep. Janelle Bynum Issues Response to the Latest Statement from Clackamas Town Center

State legislator questions official response after daughter questioned for ‘loitering’ in parking lot ...

Why Would HUD Gut Its Own Disparate Impact Rule?

"You can’t expand housing rights by limiting civil protections. The ’D’ in HUD doesn’t stand for ‘Discrimination’" ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Farewells to US Rep. Elijah Cummings to begin in Baltimore

BALTIMORE (AP) — Constituents, friends and other mourners are set to gather at a historically black college in Baltimore to honor the life of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings in the first of a series of planned services.The Maryland congressman and civil rights champion died Thursday of...

Trump claim brings new pain to relatives of lynching victims

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Willie Edwards Jr., a black truck driver, was killed by Ku Klux Klansmen who forced him to jump off a bridge in Alabama in 1957. Two years earlier, white men had bludgeoned black teenager Emmett Till to death in Mississippi. No one went to prison for either...

Trump 2020 targeting Hispanic vote in nontraditional places

YORK, Pa. (AP) — President Donald Trump's reelection campaign is making contrarian appeals in the most unusual places, trying to win over Hispanic voters in states not known for them, like Pennsylvania.His second campaign, far better financed and organized than his first, is pressing every...

ENTERTAINMENT

Liam Gallagher talks solo rise, family feud and rock music

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Spend a few minutes with Liam Gallagher and it's clear the rocker hasn't lost any of his bravado, right down to counting himself among the greats in rock history.But Gallagher does acknowledge that one band breakup — not, Oasis, but rather the demise of Beady Eye in...

Lori Loughlin, other parents charged again in college scheme

BOSTON (AP) — "Full House" actress Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband and nine other parents faced new federal charges Tuesday in a scandal involving dozens of wealthy parents accused of bribing their children's way into elite universities or cheating on college entrance exams.A...

Celebrities to get drag makeovers in RuPaul's new VH1 series

LOS ANGELES (AP) — RuPaul is giving a dozen celebrities the chance to get drag makeovers for charity and bragging rights.VH1 said Tuesday that "RuPaul's Celebrity Drag Race" will air as a limited series next year.Each of the four episodes will feature a trio of stars competing for best drag...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Is the stethoscope dying? High-tech rivals pose a threat

CHICAGO (AP) — Two centuries after its invention, the stethoscope — the very symbol of the medical...

Trump 2020 targeting Hispanic vote in nontraditional places

YORK, Pa. (AP) — President Donald Trump's reelection campaign is making contrarian appeals in the most...

Pennsylvania's gas politics churn as Trump embraces industry

EXTON, Pa. (AP) — For a second time in three months, President Donald Trump is headed to Pennsylvania to...

Botswana votes as ruling party faces surprising challenge

GABORONE, Botswana (AP) — Polls opened in Botswana on Wednesday as the long-peaceful southern African...

Boris Johnson inches toward securing Brexit but delay likely

LONDON (AP) — For a brief moment Tuesday, Brexit was within a British prime minister's grasp.Boris Johnson...

Canada's Trudeau wins reelection but faces a divided nation

TORONTO (AP) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau begins his second term facing an increasingly divided...

McMenamins
Matt Smith and Thom Patterson CNN

(CNN) -- The use of hydraulic fracturing to open underground natural gas formations has a low risk of triggering earthquakes, federal experts reported Friday, but some scientists say the debate is far from over.

"Fracking," as the process is commonly known, involves injecting a mixture of water and chemicals deep into the Earth. The pressure causes shale rock formations to fracture, and natural gas is released. The fluid is extracted, and the natural gas is mined through the well.

There's a higher risk of man-made seismic events when wastewater from the fracking process is injected back into the ground, according to a report by the National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences. But out of about 30,000 disposal wells nationwide, only a handful of noticeable tremors have been reported, with the strongest equivalent to a magnitude-4.8 earthquake, the panel of engineers and scientists concluded.

Congress requested the study in 2010, as hydraulic fracturing triggered a natural gas production boom that has driven down the price of the fuel by 45% in the past year. Although the boom has fattened landowners' wallets, it has been accompanied by concerns that the practice can harm the environment by contaminating groundwater -- and by triggering quakes.

In the region surrounding Youngstown in northeastern Ohio, where the boom is in full swing, seismic instruments recorded nearly a dozen small quakes in 2011, with a magnitude-4.0 tremor reported December 31.

John Armbruster of Columbia University, who's been studying seismic events and fracking in the Youngstown area for months, said Friday that it's "virtually certain" that an injection of fracking wastewater caused the New Year's Eve tremor.

Depending on its location, "any disposal well that's been pumping stuff into the ground for months can cause earthquakes," said Armbruster, who's studied earthquakes and drilling for 40 years.

The quakes prompted state officials in January to order four fluid injection wells in the eastern part of the state to be "indefinitely" prohibited from opening.

Small quakes also have been reported in Oklahoma, Colorado and Arkansas, and "these events are being examined for potential links to injection," Friday's report states.

"Hydraulic fracturing in a well for shale gas development, which involves injection of fluids to fracture the shale and release the gas up the well, has been confirmed as the cause for small felt seismic events at one location in the world," the report states. It found small seismic events involving "a very limited number" of injection wells, but the long-term effects of the growing number of wells wasn't known.

In general, shifting the balance of fluids underground -- whether taking more out of the ground than is put back in or vice versa -- is likely to trigger seismic activity, the report concludes.

"While the general mechanisms that create induced seismic events are well understood, we are currently unable to accurately predict the magnitude or occurrence of such events due to the lack of comprehensive data on complex natural rock systems and the lack of validated predictive models," it states.

"I don't think it's realistic that this treasure will be sitting underneath us and we won't use it," Armbruster said. "It needs to be heavily regulated." Compared with fracking's money-making potential, he says, "monitoring these wells doesn't cost a lot of money."

The highest potential for man-made quakes may come from the development of carbon-capture technology, an effort to recover the carbon dioxide released by fossil fuels and blamed for an increase in global temperatures. But the report says more study is needed, since no since no large-scale carbon-capture projects are running at this point.

The U.S. Geological Survey, the federal outfit that studies earthquakes, acknowledges that increased seismic activity coincides with wastewater injection. But it does not say there's proof of a direct connection.

"While it appears likely that the observed seismicity rate changes in the middle part of the United States in recent years are manmade, it remains to be determined if they are related to either changes in production methodologies or to the rate of oil and gas production," wrote David J. Hayes, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees the USGS.

"That's too weak," Armbruster said. "In the case of Youngstown, the chance that this is just a random coincidence is like winning the lottery. It's a million to one that it's just a random coincidence."

Analysts say fracking has great potential as a "geopolitical game-changer." They say a domestic gas windfall could cut U.S. reliance on imports from energy-rich "rogue" nations.

Health and safety questions surrounding hydraulic fracturing have spurred battles in several states between neighbors and between farmers and environmentalists. In New York, the governor appointed a panel to investigate allegations that fracking may contaminate underground drinking water.

New York City gets roughly half its water from the Delaware River Basin, a key area for hydraulic fracturing.

Both the Upper Delaware and Monongahela rivers sit on an area called the Marcellus Shale, which lies beneath large parts of Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia at a depth of 5,000 to 8,000 feet, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

The shale is believed to hold trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. Before technological advances in hydraulic fracturing, the natural gas in the region had been considered too expensive for access.

 

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