News Release: Trans Energy Inc. to Restore Streams and Wetland Damaged By Natural Gas Extraction Activities in West Virginia/Company will also pay $3 million civil penalty to resolve alleged Clean Water Act violations

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Contact:
Jennifer Colaizzi (News Media only)
Colaizzi.Jennifer@epa.gov
(202) 564-7776

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 2, 2014

Trans Energy Inc. to Restore Streams and Wetland Damaged By Natural Gas Extraction Activities in West Virginia

Company will also pay $3 million civil penalty to resolve alleged Clean Water Act violations

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) today announced a settlement with Trans Energy Inc., requiring the oil and gas company to restore portions of streams and wetlands at 15 sites in West Virginia polluted by the company’s unauthorized discharge of dredge or fill material.

Trans Energy will pay a penalty of $3 million to be divided equally between the federal government and WVDEP. The Clean Water Act requires a company to obtain a permit from EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prior to discharging dredge or fill material into wetlands, rivers, streams, and other waters of the United States.

“As part of our commitment to safe development of domestic energy supplies, EPA is working to protect wetlands and local water supplies on which communities depend,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “By enforcing environmental laws, we’re helping to ensure a level playing field for responsible businesses.”

“Today’s agreement requires that Trans Energy take important steps to comply with state and federal laws that are critical to protecting our nation’s waters, wetlands and streams,” said Sam Hirsch, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We will continue to ensure that the development of our nation’s domestic energy resources, including through the use of hydraulic fracturing techniques, complies with the Clean Water Act and other applicable federal laws.”

In addition to the penalty, the company will reconstruct impacted aquatic resources or address impacts at 15 sites, provide appropriate compensatory mitigation for impacts to streams and wetlands, and implement a comprehensive program to ensure future compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and applicable state law. Among other requirements, the company will work to ensure that all aquatic resources are identified prior to starting work on future projects in West Virginia, and that appropriate consideration is given at the design stage to avoid and minimize impacts to aquatic resources. It is estimated that Trans Energy will spend more than $13 million to complete the restoration and mitigation work required by the consent decree.

The federal government and WVDEP allege that the company impounded streams and discharged sand, dirt, rocks and other materials into streams and wetlands without a federal permit to construct well pads, impoundments, road crossings and other facilities related to natural gas extraction. The government alleges the violations impacted approximately 13,000 linear feet of stream and more than an acre of wetlands.

Filling wetlands illegally and damming streams can result in serious environmental consequences. Streams, rivers, and wetlands benefit the environment by reducing flood risks, filtering pollutants, recharging groundwater and drinking water supplies, and providing food and habitat for aquatic species.

EPA discovered the violations in 2011 and 2012 through information provided by WVDEP and the public, and through routine field inspections. In summer 2014, the company conducted an internal audit and ultimately disclosed to EPA alleged violations at eight additional locations, which are also being resolved through this Consent Decree.

The settlement also resolves alleged violations of state law brought by WVDEP.

The consent decree has been lodged in the Northern District of West Virginia and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval.

For more information: http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/trans-energy-inc-clean-water-act-settlement

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European Space Agency Flickr Update

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Napa Valley quake
02-09-2014 01:47 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Napa Valley quake

The biggest earthquake in 25 years struck California’s Napa Valley in the early hours of 24 August 2014. By processing two Sentinel-1A images, which were acquired on 7 August and 31 August 2014 over this wine-producing region, an interferogram was generated. The two round shapes around Napa valley, which are visible in the central part of the image show how the ground moved during the quake. Deformation on the ground causes phase changes in radar signals that appear as the rainbow-coloured patterns. Each colour cycle corresponds to a deformation of 28 mm deformation. The maximum deformation is more than 10 cm, and an area of about 30×30 km was affected significantly.

Interferograms like these are being used by scientists on the ground to help them map the surface rupture and model the earthquake. This interferogram very clearly shows the fault that caused the earthquake, which had not been identified as being particularly hazardous prior to the event.

Despite this interferogram being computed with images acquired in the satellite’s ‘stripmap mode’, which is not going to be the default mode when operational, this result demonstrates the capability of Sentinel-1A and marks the beginning of a new era for our ability to map earthquakes from space.

Credit: Copernicus data (2014)/ESA/PPO.labs/Norut/COMET-SEOM Insarap study

Bubble trouble
02-09-2014 09:44 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Bubble trouble

The image above shows a perfect bubble imploding in weightlessness. This bubble, and many like it, are produced by the researchers from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland. What makes this bubble so perfect is that it is produced in a weightless environment, which means it is not deformed by gravity. These research bubbles are the most spherical known to science at this time.

The study of bubbles and the way they explode will have ongoing benefits for space and industry. Air pressure ensures that liquids stay just that: liquids. Bubbles are produced when liquids change state into gases. For instance, on mountain tops — where we have considerably less air pressure — water is able to boil, changing state into a gas, at a lower temperature.

In the vacuum of space, there is nothing to slow down the production of bubbles, so in space when liquids experience sudden pressure drops, a process called ‘cavitation’ can occur where bubbles form in the hydraulic systems of machines.

During the very fast and violent collapse of cavitation bubbles, their energy is expelled in jets and shocks, which can cause wear and tear in industrial machines and rocket pumps.

These are just two areas where knowing more about the physics of bubbles would help design better machines. To understand bubbles better, it helps to have a perfect model of them for observation.

On Earth, gravity pushes and pulls liquids, turning round bubbles into ‘egg’ shapes. Parabolic flights allow researchers to escape gravity for around 20 seconds at a time in special aircraft performing rollercoaster-like parabolic manoeuvres.

The team from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne shines lasers on pure water and captures the bubbles on camera as they form and implode in a matter of less than a millisecond.

There is positive potential in the bubbles too. Harnessing the energy that liquid bubbles give off as they implode could be a novel source of energy in the future.

One example that researchers are working on is producing very localised heat on demand by creating and imploding bubbles with ultrasound. This technique could activate heat-sensitive drugs in the future, turning them on in very specific parts of your body, to make sure they work were needed most.

The future is bubbling with potential.

Credit: ESA

Comet 67P NAVCAM image, 31 August 2014
01-09-2014 04:53 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Comet 67P NAVCAM image, 31 August 2014

Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

Comet 67P NAVCAM image, 31 August 2014
01-09-2014 04:53 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Comet 67P NAVCAM image, 31 August 2014

Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

Comet 67P NAVCAM image, 31 August 2014
01-09-2014 04:53 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Comet 67P NAVCAM image, 31 August 2014

Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

Comet 67P NAVCAM image, 31 August 2014
01-09-2014 04:53 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Comet 67P NAVCAM image, 31 August 2014

Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

Comet 67P NAVCAM montage of images taken on 31 August 2014
01-09-2014 04:53 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Comet 67P NAVCAM montage of images taken on 31 August 2014

Four image montage of comet 67P/C-G, using images taken on 31 August. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

Portrait of Georges Lemaître floating in the Cupola of the ISS
01-09-2014 03:09 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Portrait of Georges Lemaître floating in the Cupola of the ISS

Portrait of Georges Lemaître floating in the Cupola of the International Space Station, August 2014.

The fifth Automated Transfer Vehicle has been named Georges Lemaitre as a tribute to the Belgian physicist, father of the Big Bang theory.

Credit: ESA/NASA

Patch celebrating 50 years of European cooperation in space floating in the Cupola of the ISS
01-09-2014 03:09 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Patch celebrating 50 years of European cooperation in space floating in the Cupola of the ISS

This patch celebrates the anniversary of the construction of Europe as a space power and 50 years of unique achievements in space. Here it is floating in the Cupola of the International Space Station, August 2014.

Credit: ESA/NASA

Spiral in Serpens
01-09-2014 02:09 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Spiral in Serpens

This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows a beautiful spiral galaxy known as PGC 54493, located in the constellation of Serpens (The Serpent). This galaxy is part of a galaxy cluster that has been studied by astronomers exploring an intriguing phenomenon known as weak gravitational lensing.

This effect, caused by the uneven distribution of matter (including dark matter) throughout the Universe, has been explored via surveys such as the Hubble Medium Deep Survey. Dark matter is one of the great mysteries in cosmology. It behaves very differently from ordinary matter as it does not emit or absorb light or other forms of electromagnetic energy — hence the term "dark".

Even though we cannot observe dark matter directly, we know it exists. One prominent piece of evidence for the existence of this mysterious matter is known as the "galaxy rotation problem". Galaxies rotate at such speeds and in such a way that ordinary matter alone — the stuff we see — would not be able to hold them together. The amount of mass that is "missing" visibly is dark matter, which is thought to make up some 27% of the total contents of the Universe, with dark energy and normal matter making up the rest. PGC 55493 has been studied in connection with an effect known as cosmic shearing. This is a weak gravitational lensing effect that creates tiny distortions in images of distant galaxies.

Credit: ESA/NASA Hubble

Magnetar discovered close to supernova remnant Kesteven 79
01-09-2014 10:37 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Magnetar discovered close to supernova remnant Kesteven 79

Massive stars end their life with a bang, exploding as supernovas and releasing massive amounts of energy and matter. What remains of the star is a small and extremely dense remnant: a neutron star or a black hole.

Neutron stars come in several flavours, depending on properties such as their ages, the strength of the magnetic field concealed beneath their surface, or the presence of other stars nearby. Some of the energetic processes taking place around neutron stars can be explored with X-ray telescopes, like ESA’s XMM-Newton.

This image depicts two very different neutron stars that were observed in the same patch of the sky with XMM-Newton. The green and pink bubble dominating the image is Kesteven 79, the remnant of a supernova explosion located about 23,000 light-years away from us.

From the properties of the hot gas in Kesteven 79 and from its size, astronomers estimate that it is between 5000 and 7000 years old. Taking account of the time needed for light to travel to Earth, this means that the supernova that created it must have exploded almost 30,000 years ago. The explosion left behind a a young neutron star with a weak magnetic field, which can be seen as the blue spot at the centre of Kesteven 79.

Beneath it, a blue splotch indicates an entirely different beast: a neutron star boasting an extremely strong magnetic field, known as a magnetar. Astronomers discovered this magnetar, named 3XMM J185246.6+003317, in 2013 by looking at images that had been taken in 2008 and 2009. After the discovery, they looked at previous images of the same patch of the sky, taken before 2008, but did not find any trace of the magnetar. This suggests that the detection corresponded to an outburst of X-rays released by the magnetar, likely caused by a dramatic change in the structure of its magnetic field.

While the neutron star in the supernova remnant is relatively young, the magnetar is likely a million years old; the age difference means that it is very unlikely that the magnetar arose from the explosion that created Kesteven 79, but must have formed much earlier.

This false-colour image is a composite of 15 observations performed between 2004 and 2009 with the EPIC MOS camera on board XMM-Newton. The image combines data collected at energies from 0.3 to 1.2 keV (shown in red), 1.2 to 2 keV (shown in green) and 2 to 7 keV (shown in blue).

Credit: ESA/XMM-Newton/ Ping Zhou, Nanjing University, China

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European Space Agency YouTube Update

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02-09-2014 07:17 PM CEST

Join us to talk about the possible landing sites on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for Rosetta’s lander Philae.

The Hangout will also include a live draw for participants who took part in our ‘Rosetta, are we there yet?’ photo contest – watch to see if you win ESA swag!

Our hosts will be joined by: Fred Jansen – Rosetta Mission Manager and/or Matt Taylor – Rosetta Project Scientist [TBC] Andrea Accomazzo – Rosetta Flight Director Barbara Cozzoni and/or Valentina Samodelov – Philae Operations Engineer, +DLR, German Aerospace Center [TBC]

Send us your questions before or during the hangout by posting a comment on this event – or on Twitter using #AskRosetta

#ESAhangout #Rosetta #Philae #hangoutsonair

From: European Space Agency, ESA
Views: 1250

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Time: 01:09:19 More in Entertainment


02-09-2014 07:12 PM CEST

ESTEC, the European Space Research and Technology Centre, is the technical hub of Europe’s space activities and the European Space Agency’s single largest establishment. It is based at Noordwijk in the Netherlands, on the North Sea coast.

Once a year ESTEC opens its gates to the public. Visitors can tour the sprawling site where Europe’s space missions are devised, guided through development then finally tested for space.

The 5 October 2014 ESTEC Open Day will have the theme of “50 years of European cooperation in space – bring on the next 50 years!”

ESTEC Open Day is taking place in conjunction with the Netherlands’ national Weekend of Science and the global World Space Week. ESTEC’s home municipality of Noordwijk will also be joining in the festivities across the entire weekend, its beachfront transformed into ‘the space to be’ with themed open-air exhibits and a space market.

Being obliged to limit the total number of visitors to ensure a great experience for all who do attend, we urge you to book early to avoid disappointment through this link: http://www.esa.int/register

From: European Space Agency, ESA
Views: 164

15 ratings
Time: 01:24 More in Science & Technology


02-09-2014 05:46 PM CEST

An update from ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen as he joins the NEEMO 19 crew in Key Largo, Florida.

NEEMO – NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations – trains astronauts for life in space. Living and working in an underwater base is similar to being on a space station.

NEEMO’s underwater habitat off Florida acts as makeshift a space base for astronauts to make regular ‘waterwalks’ in full scuba gear. Both underwater missions plan sorties for the astronauts to simulate spacewalks.

More about NEEMO: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Astronauts/NEEMO

More about Andreas Mogensen: http://andreasmogensen.esa.int

NASA’s NEEMO website: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/NEEMO/

From: European Space Agency, ESA
Views: 174

15 ratings
Time: 02:15 More in Science & Technology

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Alpbach Summer School produces Venus Mission Concepts

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Alpbach Summer School produces Venus Mission Concepts
02-09-2014 12:30 PM CEST

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Mission concepts to study why Earth and Venus are so similar yet so different have been chosen for further study by the European Space Agency. No big thing for a space agency you might think. But what’s special about these concepts is that they have been designed by teams of students, and newly qualified young scientists and engineers.

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Radar vision maps Napa Valley earthquake

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Radar vision maps Napa Valley earthquake
02-09-2014 10:17 AM CEST

Sentinel-1_maps_earthquake_small.jpg

Sentinel-1A has added yet another string to its bow. Radar images from this fledgling satellite have been used to map the rupture caused by the biggest earthquake that has shaken northern California in 25 years.

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Call for press: Metallurgy Europe investiert eine Milliarde Euro in Metallforschung und -fertigung

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Call for press: Metallurgy Europe investiert eine Milliarde Euro in Metallforschung und -fertigung
02-09-2014 11:07 AM CEST

Semi-metallic_bismuth_crystal_used_in_thermoelectric_compounds_small.jpg

Die europäische Industrie hat beschlossen, in Sachen Metall kräftig aufs Gaspedal zu treten und das weltgrößte Forschungskonsortium im Bereich Metallforschung und -fertigung zu gründen. Auch die ESA trägt ihr Know-how dazu bei. Die Medien sind eingeladen, auf einer Pressekonferenz am 9. September im Londoner Science Museum mehr über das neue Programm zu erfahren.

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Call for Media: ‘Metallurgy Europe’ – investing one billion euros into metals research and manufacturing

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Call for Media: ‘Metallurgy Europe’ – investing one billion euros into metals research and manufacturing
29-08-2014 01:33 PM CEST

Semi-metallic_bismuth_crystal_used_in_thermoelectric_compounds_small.jpg

European industry has decided to ‘put the pedal to the metal’, by creating the world’s largest research consortium in the field of metals research and manufacturing. Media are invited to learn about the new programme in a press conference at London’s Science Museum on 9 September.

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