Fracking companies are dying, and leaving leaking wells behind

So much for the vaunted Free Enterprise system:

The day the debt-ridden Texas oil producer MDC Energy filed for bankruptcy eight months ago, a tank at one of its wells was furiously leaking methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. As of last week, dangerous, invisible gases were still spewing into the air.

By one estimate, the company would need more than $40 million to clean up its wells if they were permanently closed. But the debts of MDC’s parent company now exceed the value of its assets by more than $180 million.

Had another discussion recently about "flaring," wherein the oil/gas drillers burn gas in a spectacular display of sometimes 30 ft flames. I agreed that it was wasteful, but it's what you can't see that is the problem. Venting that gas without flaring it does much more damage than burning it off, and there is not nearly enough attention paid to this problem. Or the irresponsible behavior of the companies who should be forced to cap those wells:

Monday News: Falling like dominoes

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CONFEDERATE STATUE IN CLINTON PULLED DOWN, REMOVED: A bronze Confederate statue outside the Sampson County courthouse in Clinton, found bent and teetering on its pedestal Sunday morning, has been removed, according to the county sheriff’s office. The statue was vandalized Saturday night, according to the Sampson Independent. Clinton City Council member Darue Bryant organized a protest at the monument last Monday, he said, after Sampson commissioners did not put the relocation issue on their agenda. The Sampson board of commissioners chairman could not be reached Sunday. A change.org petition Bryant sponsored calling for the statue’s removal had more than 2,700 signatures as of Sunday afternoon.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/rebuild/article244175652.html

What Is Thom Tillis Running On

What is Thom Tillis running on?
So far this election season I have seen one ad by the Thom Tillis campaign and I keep wondering what it is that justifies his re-election for six years.
What I take from that ad is that he is going to bring home protective mask manufacturing from China. Really, really?

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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SERIOUSLY, JUST WEAR YOUR MASK: But please, just don’t think about it as so many Republicans do. “Mask-wearing has become a totem, a secular religious symbol,” Alex Castellanos, a longtime Republican strategist, told The Washington Post. “Christians wear crosses, Muslims wear a hijab, and members of the Church of Secular Science bow to the Gods of Data by wearing a mask as their symbol, demonstrating that they are the elite; smarter, more rational, and morally superior to everyone else.” This is a bizarre way to talk about people who are guided by facts, science and reason. It’s not about making a political point or asserting moral superiority; it’s about saving lives and protecting one another — which should be a basic element of citizenship in any democracy. Why turn a straightforward public health issue into a political one? The virus doesn’t care whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat. It ravaged blue states in the spring, and now it’s plowing through red ones. All it cares about are finding open mouths and nostrils. It’s crazy that we are having this debate after all. Dozens of countries have already mandated mask-wearing in public. It’s not a coincidence that the United States remains the world’s coronavirus hot spot.
https://www.wral.com/seriously-just-wear-your-mask/19172519/

Saturday News: It was inevitable

REPUBLICAN DANNY BRITT TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS: A Republican state senator has tested positive for coronavirus, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said Friday. Sen. Danny Britt, R-Robeson, later identified himself as the one testing positive and apologized to his colleagues. Masks became a very partisan issue over the course of the session. "Why are you not wearing a mask? Why are you putting me and all of us at risk by not wearing a mask?" Rep. Graig Meyer, D-Orange, demanded of a Republican colleague during a debate on the House floor in June. Meyer and other Democrats sent letters to Republican House and Senate leaders three weeks ago asking for more safeguards. "We’ve petitioned for mandatory masks at the legislature, asked to only have essential personnel there, asked for testing," Meyer said Friday. "But the leadership and the administration of the legislature building have refused all of those requests."
https://www.wral.com/coronavirus/nc-lawmaker-tests-positive-for-coronavirus/19183154/

SCANA lawsuit may signal the death of (new) nuclear power plants

A scam this big can only last so long:

A civil fraud class action lawsuit brought by shareholders against SCANA and its former top executives over the failure of its $9 billion nuclear power plant project in Fairfield County was settled Thursday for $192.5 million.

The lawsuit was filed in 2017, several months after SCANA and its junior partner in the ill-fated nuclear venture, Santee Cooper, a state-owned utility, announced on July 31 of that year they were abandoning the project that they had been promoting for years as a successful effort on the way to completion. The utilities also had been charging customers in advance for the unfinished nuclear reactors.

Bolding mine, because justice may not have been served yet. That last sentence refers to CWIP (Construction Work In Progress), a process that was shunned 30+ years ago, but utilities brought it back because nobody would loan them money for new nuke plants anymore. The shareholders got their settlement, but I have yet to see anything about ratepayers being reimbursed for their money collected. There should also be some criminal charges on deck, because this behavior is definitely fraudulent:

Friday News: Same old song & dance

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REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS PUSH FOR VOTER ID IN NOVEMBER: Legislative Republicans called on the courts Thursday to lift an injunction and require voter to present photo identification at the polls this November, saying a bill they passed earlier this year should satisfy the last arguments against the rule. "It is past time for activist courts to stop blocking another commonsense elections policy that is required by North Carolina's constitution and a strong majority of other states," House Speaker Tim Moore said in a statement. There are two lawsuits seeking – so far, successfully – to block the state's voter ID requirement: one state and one federal. Republican lawmakers filed a motion in the state case Thursday, asking judges to drop their injunction against the state's voter ID law. They argued that a provision included in House Bill 1169 earlier this year should satisfy the court.
https://www.wral.com/republicans-press-again-to-require-photo-id-at-nc-polls-this-year/19181945/

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