What We Do In The Dark

Almost everything about fossil fuels, by definition, happens in the dark. The organisms that form coal, gas and oil form in the dark; they are extracted from deep dark places that are under water, under mountains, beneath broad plains. From well to tank, most oil never sees the light of day unless there’s a leak,…

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Arctic Oil Hubris

The U.S. government has approved plans by Royal Dutch Shell to begin drilling for oil off the Alaskan coast this summer. This comes after years of industry lobbying to explore what some estimate to be major oil deposits in the Chukchi Sea. Some estimates run up to 15 billion barrels. On the one hand, the…

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The Shape of Absence

Absence of information has the curious characteristic of being innocuous as long as it goes unnoticed, and undeniably intriguing once it becomes apparent. Once you notice something is missing, you can’t stop looking at the hole where it should be and wondering what should actually be there. For example, a recent report published by the…

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Submerged Lines

We humans are visual creatures. It’s in our nature to focus on what we can see, it’s in our nightmares to focus on the unseen and the hidden because we just aren’t very good at preparing ourselves for what isn’t readily visible. Even within our own bodies, some of the most dangerous illnesses are the…

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Oil Koan

Looks small, doesn’t it? Just a black patch in a vast sea of brown soil. A couple of days ago, a Greenpeace photographer flew over the site of one of the largest onshore oil spills in United States history. It had taken over a week for the Tesoro spill near Tioga, North Dakota, to be…

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Views: Below, Surface, Above

The image above shows a schematic of the Bakken Formation,, which lies along the U.S.-Canadian border, beneath the prairies of North Dakota and Montana. It is considered to be the largest reserve of oil in the lower 48 U.S. states. North Dakota separates property ownership of land surface from ‘bottomland’, what lies beneath the surface.…

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