Weird Bird Friday – In the spirit of Homo Sapien being an Omnivore

Thank God It’s Weird Bird Friday. I spent the last couple of days comtemplating a disrupted foodchain and chewing on field corn. YUCK! Hand me my shotgun ma I’m going to shoot me something.…/vegarian_restaurant.asp


Dedicated John Martin and Susan Kay who blog about all things Denver and the up coming Democratic Convention.

Its a little know fact that John collects political pins fiercely and very competitively. Susan has tried to get him to stop to no avail. This is a picture of a small portion of his collection:


If she can’t get him to stop where will they have room to store them?

Gasoline Hits $100 A Gallon – The world ends

Well actually it doesn’t. But it will definitely change our lifestyles and our foodchain. But not really the way either the right or the left think or at least want you to believe. Believe me I am not being callous when I simply say that lots of people will die. There is no denying that and if we let it CHAOS could insue. But I don’t it will happen that way. One way or another we will either very quickly get a lot more renewable energy sources in place or we as a nation will be forced to return to a small farm society. The Saudi’s know for sure what is coming because they just anounced another huge solar project. Something like this:

TWO years ago, this village of 3,000 people, only 20 miles from Riyadh, the capital of this kingdom, had no electricity. Today, villagers proudly display their televisions, toasters and other accouterments of an electrified society.

But when Saudis here turn their lights on at night, they are using energy generated not by their country’s vast oil reserves, but by the sun.

This village and two others nearby are the first in the kingdom, or anywhere, to be powered continuously and primarily by solar power.



I realize that yesterday I gave sort of a short shift to the Peak Oil people. I kinda acted like everyone in the audience would know what that is. So here are some of their more promenant sites:

Energy Sites


Please note the bell shaped curve above. That is their arguement in a nutshell. In other words demand has exceeded the ability of the oil producers to provide oil. That ability to produce will eventually “fall off” as the supply ends and prices will go through the roof (read: become prohibitive). So what does that mean for the now Industrialized Foodchain?

In Michael Pollan’s 2006 book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, he lays out huge problems with our corporate food chain:’s_Dilemma


Pollan begins with an exploration of the food-production system from which the vast majority of American meals are derived. This industrial food chain is largely based on corn, whether it is eaten directly, fed to livestock, or processed into chemicals such as glucose and ethanol. Pollan discusses how the humble corn plant came to dominate the American diet through a combination of biological, cultural, and political factors. The role of petroleum in the cultivation and transportation of the American food supply is also discussed.

A fast food meal is used to illustrate the end result of the industrial food chain.


In fact a scientist said that if humanity quit using nitrogen fertilizer it would be like taking EVERY automobile in the WORLD off the road.

However its interesting that he actually fails in what he sets out to do. His goal was actually to grow throught the progression of Industrial—> Small Farm—> Vegan—>Make my own meal. He wanted to make the point that Vegatarion was the way to go to save the planet from us humans. His thought being that he would make up a giant tofu salad at the end of the book. It did not go that way, because he quickly discovered that going meatless is tougher than he thought AND that it would take MORE energy inputs than we currently use to take the whole USA vegatarian. In other words we omnivores by DESIGN (duh) and we can’t change that by wishing it to be so. In the end he makes his meal and includes fish in it to show that heh you can “eat locally”.  Hunting animals is a lot tougher  than fishing. But heh he does not say how long it took to catch the one he shared.

Next – On to King Corn.

Food And Oil – We are all gona die

Since the Peak Oil people have managed to scare the begeezus out of the whole world. I though that it was time to engage in a meditation on the Relationship between Food and Energy. Having sat through similar meditations on Religion and Energy Conservation (18 posts) and Energy Policy and the Presidential Candidates (17 posts) I can assure you this will not take more than 3 or 4 posts and will probably include Weird Bird Friday.

But let’s start with  Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Delimma and a film, King Corn, by Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, to take an initial pass at the problem.

But before we do let’s do a little thought experiment because King Corn and the Omnivore’s Dilemma both ultimately fail in what they hope to accomplish.  In fact, I think that the high price of oil right now is being manipulated by the producers, the futures market and the refiners and it will come down. But as I have said to the Peak Oil people all along, we are maybe at the “oil Plateau”, but we are not at the “decline” part of the curve. It WILL COME. Thus, it is good to think about the situation to see what may happen.

As an aside here for another second. I have actually thought about farming for alot of my life because I believe that the world is warming because of our release of greenhouse gases, and that warming will destabalize our weather. That in effect would disrupt the farmers and thus the food supply. Under the “Peak Oil” senario what would happen is that all of the energy inputs into our industrial linear monocultural food chain would be withdrawn. This means no fertilizers, and no transportation for the food grown. Or maybe foods that can travel less distances. But eventually this would leaves us with no fuel to drive the tractors to plant the seeds and a loss of refrigeration. Or at least the type of refrigeration we are used to. If you believe their worst case senarios this could happen rather quickly. Think, as one of their leading bloggers recently said, about the impact of gasoline that costs 100$$ a gallon. I live about 6 or 7 miles from Springfield and I can tell you I would be walking to town at that point.

Still would we all die? If you mean ALL as Humanity, yes many of us would die if the worldwide food chain were disrupted. But think about it in another way, food would become trapped in the producing and exporting nations. So those countries would be awash in the foods that they produce. As we have seen in this last round of oil price increases the poorer countries of the world would face food riots, mass starvation, disease and death. In a moral cataclysm, the question for the 3rd world would be what to do with the bodies. Burying them would be dumb, burning them even worse…but should we recycle dead humans? Maybe we need to think about that.

In much of the world and even in parts of the third world what would happen is that we all would have to become hunters and gathers again. I am not saying that lives would not be lost, and that tremendous tumult would not result but at least initially we all would have to become small plot croppers like we did during WWII. When I mention Victory Gardens to the PO (peak oil) folks they go ballistic. They jump up and down and shout, “It’s the population stupid.”


So if the ALL in We Are All Going To Die is we folks in the US of A then let’s look at it. In 1940 there were 133 million people in the US, now there are roughly 280 million people. So a simple analysis could say that 150 million people here would die. That is to die back to the point where Victory Gardens were effective. But I have my doubts about that. Looking at the worst disaster to hit this country, the Flu Pandemic of 1918 the US suffered a net loss of population of 60 thousand people. That was .06% of the population.


I also am intellectually opposed to “science fiction” posturings where the rich rule the world and the poor eat Solent Green. Nonetheless I am not naïve enough to assume that millions won’t die here. The Pandemic actually wiped out a birth rate producing 1.5 million people a year before it “went negative”. Would we survive as a capitalist democracy? That is a much bigger question. It would be imperative in that first farming year that fuel prices spiked that every scrap of food grown is preserved. Capitalists might not be willing to pay the cost of that. Would many of us end up eating field corn or something made out of it. Heck yes. Would our livestock have to get by on grass? Oh yah. Would the megacities empty. I don’t know, but again the problem is corporate land ownership. That land would have to be expropriated to put small producers on it. Is democracy up for the test? It may have no choice.


Would I survive as a country boy living in the middle of Illinois? Yes, I believe I would. Country Boys Will Survive. God, I have always wanted to say that.

Georgia Power and The Southern Companies Make A Huge Mistake – Nuclear power is expensive

I feel sorry for the electric customers in Georgia. While everyone else in the nation is busy implementing the new Carbonless Economy or going green; Georgia Power is going (pick a color, say) BLACK. With estimated cost ranges of 4 – 8 billion $$, are they, what (?), shocked they got no bids. You can see the future in your little 8 Ball…Let’s see, cost overruns, construction delays, and by the time it comes to fuel it – no uranium. Alberta just banned the mining of it. Australia is on its way to doing the same. Australia has seen the future and it is Hot Rocks. Drilling down to the Earth’s core. Not putting hot rocks in a reactor.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Georgia Power nuclear proposal rolls along

Atlanta Business Chronicle

eorgia Power reported Wednesday it has garnered no bids from its 2016-2017 base load capacity request for proposals.

Two weeks ago, it signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract with Westinghouse Electric Co. and The Shaw Group Inc.‘s Power Group. At that time, Georgia Power said it would submit a nuclear self-build option for consideration. Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) rules require market bids to be compared with self-build proposals, but no market bids were received, Georgia Power said.

Georgia Power, a unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co. (NYSE: SO), said the self-build nuclear proposal will be reviewed by the Georgia PSC’s independent evaluator before the company submits a final recommendation to the Georgia PSC on Aug. 1 for approval. A final certification decision is expected in March 2009.

If certified by the Georgia PSC and licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the two Westinghouse AP1000 units, with a capacity of 1,100 megawatts each, would be built at the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant site near Waynesboro, Ga., and would be placed in service in 2016 and 2017.

“Demand for electricity continues to grow in the Southeast and in Georgia,” said Mike Garrett, Georgia Power president and CEO. “While we will continue to increase our emphasis on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, we must also add large-scale base load generation to meet growing energy needs. While nuclear power plants cost more to build, they now have lower fuel and operating costs than fossil fuel plants. Nuclear energy would add needed diversity to Georgia Power’s fuel mix at a time when fossil fuel prices are increasing significantly.”


Once you decide to be bad, I guess you might as well be very bad:



  • Energy efficiency and renewable energy protect against increasing fossil fuel and natural gas prices
  • Hedge against energy supply shortages and disruptions
  • Avoid a growing dependence on natural gas
  • Reduce harmful air pollution and excessive water usage
  • Create local energy markets and increase employment
  • Avoid the high costs of building new conventional electric supplies.

Our Energy Security and Reliability is at Stake.

Currently, most of the energy used to power our homes and businesses comes from outside Georgia and the Southeast. There are no petroleum, natural gas, or uranium mines and reserves in the Southeast. According to the Energy Information Administration, Georgia’s electric power sector spent approximately $1.5 billion buying out of state coal and natural gas in 2003.(1)

Businesses and the Public Pay the Heavy Price.

Georgia and its utilities lag behind much of the country in investments in energy efficiency.  There is a lot of wasted energy that all utility customers must pay for when the utility builds more transmission lines and power plants than are necessary.  As fuel costs increase, consumers pay even more for this wasted energy.

Air Quality and Human Health Suffer.

Our current energy supply causes a great deal of damage to our health. Here are a few examples of the effects:

  • Soot and smog-forming nitrogen oxides are created from fossil fuel plants and engines.  These can harm children’s lung development and lead to asthma attacks, heart attacks and stroke.
  • Coal fired power plants release air-borne mercury that ends up in lakes, rivers and streams.  Neurological damage is linked with eating mercury-laden fish.
  • Tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that is produced at all nuclear reactors, acts like water in the body and can pass across the placenta to affect a developing fetus.

Water for Coal and Nuclear Plants Competes with Cities, Businesses and Farms.

Coal and nuclear power plants are heavy water users.  In 2001 nuclear Plant Vogtle used approximately 64 million gallons of water a day from the Savannah River and only returned 21 million gallons per day.  Coal plant Scherer withdrew 59 million gallons of water a day from Lake Juliette (2).  These and other fossil fuel and nuclear plants compete with local industries—from the carpet industries of Dalton to the peach growers in Tifton—for much needed water.  The burden that our energy system places on the state’s water supplies will become even more severe if Georgia Power’s proposed plans for new power plants are carried out.


Georgia law requires that Georgia Power submit an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) every three years for approval. The PSC is charged to review the company’s plan and to approve it or require revisions.

The centerpiece of the Georgia Power plan:

  • Build new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta which would divert massive amounts of water away from the Savannah River, competing with other needs, as well as create more radioactive waste that cannot be disposed of safely; 
  • Expand and upgrade its transmission lines to support several new power plants and increased electricity demand;
  • Build a new gas pipeline through properties from Union City to Smyrna.

The secondary part of the plan includes:

  • Minimal energy efficiency measures through “pilot programs” with limited investment;
  • Develop only about 200 MW of new renewable energy that amounts to less than 1% of Georgia Power’s current energy capacity (most of the company’s “green power” is currently landfill gas).

To view Georgia Power’s proposed plan and responses by independent experts, go to (enter #24505 in the docket search box, and view documents filed on Jan. 31, 2007 by the company and documents filed by other parties on May 4 and May 7). 

Where Will Coal to Liquids Go? Maybe up in the air

This has been widely reported but I think people have overlooked the broader implications. This could actually work and be good for the environment:

Air Force Begins Testing Synfuel Blend in Fighter Engine

30 April 2008

Engineers at the US Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) have begun testing a Pratt & Whitney F100 engine, the power plant for the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon, with a blend of alternative synthetic fuel in the J-1 simulated altitude jet engine test cell. Once testing and evaluation is complete, this will be the first fighter jet engine to use the synthetic blend.

Since 2006, AEDC has taken an active role in its support of the US Air Force’s Alternative Fuels Certification Office in the evaluation and certification of the synthetic paraffinic kerosene (SPK) alternative fuel, which is derived from natural gas or coal using the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process, for use in all Air Force aircraft.

Testing at AEDC on the GE F101 engine, the power plant for the B-1 Lancer bomber, was the first series of testing of a high performance, afterburning engine with FT fuel for a combat aircraft. (Earlier post.) This engine was also tested in the center’s J-1 high altitude jet engine test cell.

The Air Force has already certified the engines for the B-52 Stratofortress bomber to operate on FT fuel and the C-17 Globemaster III transport has flown on SPK fuel.


U.S. Military Launches Alternative-Fuel Push Dependence on Oil Seen as too Risky

The U.S. military consumes 340,000 barrels of oil a day, or 1.5% of
all of the oil used in the country. The Defense Department’s overall
energy bill was $13.6 billion in 2006, the latest figure available —
almost 25% higher than the year before. The Air Force’s bill for jet
fuel alone has tripled in the past four years. When the White House
submitted its latest budget request for the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan, it tacked on a $2 billion surcharge for rising fuel

Do you wonder why the Navy thinks nuke is a good idea?

U.S. Military Launches
Alternative-Fuel Push
Dependence on Oil
Seen as too Risky
B-1 Takes Test Flight
May 21, 2008; Page A1

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. — With fuel prices soaring, the U.S.
military, the country’s largest single consumer of oil, is turning
into an alternative-fuels pioneer.

In March, Air Force Capt. Rick Fournier flew a B-1 stealth bomber code-
named Dark 33 across this sprawling proving ground, to confirm for the
first time that a plane could break the sound barrier using synthetic
jet fuel. A similar formula — a blend of half-synthetic and half-
conventional petroleum — has been used in some South African
commercial airliners for years, but never in a jet going so fast.
[Major Expense]

“The hope is that the plane will be blind to the gas,” Capt. Fournier
said as he gripped the handle controlling the plane’s thrusters during
the test flight. “But you won’t know unless you try.”

With oil’s multiyear ascent showing no signs of stopping — crude
futures set another record Tuesday, closing at $129.07 a barrel in New
York trading — energy security has emerged as a major concern for the

The U.S. military consumes 340,000 barrels of oil a day, or 1.5% of
all of the oil used in the country. The Defense Department’s overall
energy bill was $13.6 billion in 2006, the latest figure available —
almost 25% higher than the year before. The Air Force’s bill for jet
fuel alone has tripled in the past four years. When the White House
submitted its latest budget request for the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan, it tacked on a $2 billion surcharge for rising fuel

Synthetic fuel, which can be made from coal or natural gas, is
expensive now, but could cost far less than the current price of oil
if it’s mass-produced.

Just as important, the military is increasingly concerned that its
dependence on oil represents a strategic threat. U.S. forces in Iraq
alone consume 40,000 barrels of oil a day trucked in from neighboring
countries, and would be paralyzed without it. Energy-security
advocates warn that terrorist attacks on oil refineries or tankers
could cripple military operations around the world. “The endgame is to
wean the dependence on foreign oil,” says Air Force Assistant
Secretary William Anderson.

Some Pentagon officers have embraced planning around the “peak oil”
theory, which holds that the world’s oil production is about to
plateau due to shrinking resources and limited investment in many of
the most oil-rich regions of the Middle East. Earlier this year, they
brought Houston investment banker Matthew Simmons to the Pentagon for
a presentation on peak oil; he warned that under the theory, “energy
security becomes an oxymoron.” House Democrats have proposed creating
a new Defense Department position to manage the military’s overall
energy needs.


Many Readers might be suprised that I might support this idea…But Why? Well, what if the military did it right. My main objection to Coal to Liquid Programs in Illinois  is that they either involve bogus methods of carbon sequestration (untested deep well injection into sandstone) or they don’t. Which would amount to just more global warming when alternatives are available. Using the end product of Liquid To Coal processes as jet fuel for The Defense Department makes excellent sense because there is no alternative. If the Liquid To Coal plant is on a military base there is no environmental ruckus, the US Goverment becomes liable for the Risks and the Cleanup. In addition, if they sited them near one of the depleted secure oilfields , like in OHIO or OKLAHOMA, the sequestration option is viable because they could build a pipeline and pump the effluent to the oil fields. They would in effect be waste free. But Mr. CES you say, will the military do things right? I know, but maybe this time they will.


Then There Is What We Do To The Soldiers

Depleted Uranium Death Toll among US War Veterans Tops 11,000

Nationwide Media Blackout Keeps U.S. Public Ignorant About This Important Story

Global Research, October 29, 2006

American Free Press

The death toll from the highly toxic weapons component known as depleted uranium (DU) has reached 11,000 soldiers and the growing scandal may be the reason behind Anthony Principi’s departure as secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department.

This view was expressed by Arthur Bernklau, executive director of Veterans for Constitutional Law in New York, writing in Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter.

“The real reason for Mr. Principi’s departure was really never given,” Bernklau said. “However, a special report published by eminent scientist Leuren Moret naming depleted uranium as the definitive cause of ‘Gulf War Syndrome’ has fed a growing scandal about the continued use of uranium munitions by the U.S. military.”

The “malady [from DU] that thousands of our military have suffered and died from has finally been identified as the cause of this sickness, eliminating the guessing. . . . The terrible truth is now being revealed,” Bernklau said.

Of the 580,400 soldiers who served in Gulf War I, 11,000 are now dead, he said. By the year 2000, there were 325,000 on permanent medical disability. More than a decade later, more than half (56 percent) who served in Gulf War I have permanent medical problems. The disability rate for veterans of the world wars of the last century was 5 percent, rising to 10 percent in Vietnam.

“The VA secretary was aware of this fact as far back as 2000,” Bernklau said. “He and the Bush administration have been hiding these facts, but now, thanks to Moret’s report, it is far too big to hide or to cover up.”

Terry Johnson, public affairs specialist at the VA, recently reported that veterans of both Persian Gulf wars now on disability total 518,739, Bernklau said.

“The long-term effect of DU is a virtual death sentence,” Bernklau said. “Marion Fulk, a nuclear chemist, who retired from the Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab, and was also involved in the Manhattan Project, interprets the new and rapid malignancies in the soldiers [from the second war] as ‘spectacular’—and a matter of concern.’ ”

While this important story appeared in a Washington newspaper and the wire services, it did not receive national exposure—a compelling sign that the American public is being kept in the dark about the terrible effects of this toxic weapon. (Veterans for Constitutional Law can be reached at (516) 474-4261.)

 Global Research Articles by James P. Tucker Jr.

They Died For You – Energy Warriors


The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is a part of the US Public Health Service (PHS). The PHS and NIOSH have conducted a series of studies since 1950 on the health of uranium miners. The following has information about the results of the latest study.


The PHS began the study in 1950 because of concerns that uranium mining causes lung cancer. (We know that miners were not informed of these concerns at the time). We call it a mortality study because it looks at whether miners have been dying of certain diseases at a higher than normal rate.

NIOSH researchers took over the study in the 1970s, and it has been “updated” several times. The following describes the results of the most recent update.

How the Study Was Done

The mortality study did not include all uranium miners. The study group was only made up of uranium miners who worked underground for at least one month. Also, each miner must have taken part in at least one of the medical exams conducted by the PHS between 1950 and 1960.

First we obtained miners’ work histories. We obtained smoking histories from the medical exams. Next we used death certificates to find out what miners died from. Then we compared the death rates in miners to death rates in the general population of the mining states. The rates in the general population gave us the number of expected deaths in miners. When the number of deaths in miners is greater than the expected number, then an association with mining is suspected.

Because death rates are different for people of different races, we did one study on 3,238 white miners. We did a second study on 757 Native American, African American, and Asian miners. (All but 4 of the 757 miners were Native Americans, mainly Navajo). The following will review the results from each study.

Radon Gas and “Radon Daughters”

From the start, radioactive radon gas and radon “daughters” in the air were suspected as the cause of the lung cancer. Radiation can be thought of like invisible radio waves (only radio waves are harmless) or like specks of dust so tiny they are invisible. We estimated how much of the radon daughters each miner was exposed to by a unit called the working level month. We then looked to see if death rates increased with higher working level months.

This exposure-response relationship is strong evidence of an association between disease and exposure. It is used to show that the longer a miner is exposed to radon gas, the greater may be the risk of lung cancer.

Results for White Uranium Miners

The study looked at all causes of death. Only the causes of death listed below were significantly above normal. The results for all other causes of death were within the normal range.

  • We found strong evidence for an increased risk for lung cancer in white uranium miners. We expected about 64 deaths, but found 371. This means we found about 6 times more lung cancer deaths than expected.There was an exposure-response relationship with exposure to radon daughters in the mines. When radon daughters are breathed in, they decay radioactively in the lung. This can cause lung cancer.
  • We also found strong evidence for pneumoconiosis, a type of lung disease (other than cancer) which is caused by dust. We expected less than 2 deaths, but found 41. There were about 24 times more of these deaths than expected.This category includes silicosis, a disease caused by breathing in a particular mining dust, silica. Silicosis causes scarring of the lung and severe breathing problems. The risk of these lung diseases was greater the longer miners had worked in the mine.
  • We expected to see about 3 ½ deaths from the infectious lung disease tuberculosis (TB), but we saw 13. This is about 4 times more deaths than expected. This could have been related to the silicosis. People with silicosis are more likely to get TB.
  • We expected to see about 22 ½ deaths from emphysema but found 56. This is 2 ½ times more deaths than expected. Some of this result could have been related to cigarette smoking. People who smoke are more likely to get emphysema.
  • We expected to see about 68 deaths from injuries and found 143. This is over 2 times more deaths than expected.
  • We also saw a greater risk of deaths from the categories “benign and unspecified cancers” and “diseases of the blood”. Both of these categories had small numbers of deaths. Therefore, it is possible that the increased risk may not be due to mining.
  • Finally, we saw a greater risk for “all deaths combined”. We expected 986 deaths and found 1,595. This is 1 ½ times more deaths than expected.

Results for Non-White Miners

The study looked at all causes of death. Only the causes of death listed below were significantly above normal. The results for all other causes of death were within the normal range.

  • We found strong evidence for an increased risk for lung cancer in non-white uranium miners. We expected about 10 deaths, but found 34. This means we found over 3 times more lung cancer deaths than expected.There was an exposure-response relationship with exposure to radon daughters in the mines. When radon daughters are breathed in, they decay radioactively in the lung. This can cause lung cancer.
  • We also found strong evidence for pneumoconioses and other lung diseases (other than cancer). We expected about 8 deaths, but found 20. This means there were about 2 ½ times more of these deaths than expected.This category includes many different diseases. They include silicosis. a disease caused by breathing in a particular mining dust, silica. Silicosis causes scarring of the lung and severe breathing problems. The risk of these lung diseases was greater the longer miners had worked in the mine.
  • We expected to see about 4 ½ deaths from the infectious lung disease tuberculosis (TB), but we saw 12. There were about 2½ times more of these deaths than expected. This could have been related to the silicosis. People with silicosis are more likely to get TB.

They Died For You – Energy Warriors

Fatalities in the energy fields: 2000-2006

At least 89 people died on the job in the Interior West’s oil and gas industry from 2000 to 2006, in a variety of accidents, including 90-foot falls, massive explosions, poison gas inhalations and crushings by safety harnesses. Some states choose to have the federal government handle worker safety regulation, and some create state agencies to handle it; all the agencies tend to go by the nickname OSHA, after the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Some fines in the cases listed below are not directly related to fatalities; sometimes investigators notice unrelated safety violations when they visit workplaces where workers have died.

This list is almost certainly incomplete, due to loopholes in requirements for reporting fatalities.

The list below includes the victims’ names, age at time of death, date of the accident, company(s) involved, a description of the accident, and fines, if any. Names with hotlinks connect to .pdf’s of complete OSHA incident reports.


Ricky Erb, 19 11/27/06 Schneider Energy Services
Head injury, blown out of 5-foot hole when a reportedly 40-year-old pipeline Pending ruptured. He and rest of crew were using a cutting tool to open the pipeline, and they didn’t expect it to contain pressurized gas.

Jacob Farmer, 19 11/16/06 Leed Energy Services Inc.
Struck by falling pulley on a well-servicing rig. The victim’s father works in oil and gas. Pending

Phillip Smith, 44 11/6/06 Easy Street Crane Service
Crushed by truck. Pending

Joshua Arvidson, 24 1/25/06 Calfrac Well Services Ltd.
Engulfed by 40,000 pounds of sand in a storage bin. $27,825

Zac Mitchek, 42 11/25/05 Patterson-UTI Drilling Co.
Electrocuted while doing maintenance on a light plant for a drill rig. $11,900

Larry Hill, 42 11/7/05 Union Drilling Inc.
Fell 55 feet from platform on drill-rig derrick while handling hoisted drill pipes. OSHA said the company did not ensure that the worker was using proper fall-protection gear. $19,990

Randall Taylor, 62 8/14/04 Wolverine Drilling Inc.
Crushed by pulley system that collapsed from top of derrick while rig was trying to lift 270,000 pounds of drill pipe from a hole 8,400-feet deep. OSHA issued violations for unrelated problems. $4,560

Scott Nelson, 26 6/1/04 Union Drilling Inc.
Crushed when the top of a drill rig collapsed. OSHA estimated the rig was built in the 1970s and said a faulty weld failed under the strain of more than 300,000 pounds of drill pipe. $18,225

They Died For You – Energy Warriors

Fatalities Occurring at Underground Coal Mine Disasters Since 1980


Date Company and Mine State/City No. Killed    


09/15/80 Ziegler Coal Co.
Spartan Mine
IL, Sparta 3    
10/27/80 Frank Crawford Coal Co.
No. 1 Mine
KY, Woodbine 3    
11/07/80 Westmoreland Coal Co.
Ferrell No. 17
WV, Uneeda 5    
04/15/81 Mid-Continent Resources, Inc.
Dutch Creek No. 1
CO, Redstone 15    
06/03/81 Grays Knob Coal Co.
No. 5 Mine
KY, Grays Knob 3    
12/03/81 Elk River Sewell Coal Co.
Stillhouse Run No. 1
WV, Bergoo 3    
12/07/81 Adkins Coal Co.
No. 11 Mine
KY, Kite 8    
12/08/81 Grundy Mining Co.
No. 21 Mine
TN, Whitewell 13    
01/20/82 RFH Coal Co.
No. 1 Mine
KY, Craynor 7    
08/24/82 Island Creek Coal Co.
VA Pocahontas Mine
VA, Oakwood 3    
06/21/83 Clinchfield Coal Co. VA, McClure 7    
07/04/83 Helen Mining Co.
Homer City Mine
PA, Homer City 1    
02/16/84 Penna. Mines Corp.
Greenwich Collieries No. 1 Mine
PA, Green Township 3    
09/12/84 Bon Trucking Co.
Berger No. 2 Mine
KY, Evarts 4    
12/19/84 Emery Mining Corp.
Wilberg Mine
UT, Orangeville 27    
08/19/85 R & R Coal Co.
No. 3 Mine
KY, Woodbine 3    
12/11/85 M.S.W. Coal Co.
No. 2 Slope
PA, Carlstown 3    
02/06/86 Consolidation Coal Co.
Loveridge No. 22 Mine
WV, Fairview 5    
07/09/86 Freeman United Coal Co.
Orient No. 6 Mine
IL, Waltonville 3    
01/04/89 Cumberland Valley Contractors
CV-2 Mine
KY, Middlesboro 3    
09/13/89 Pyro Mining Co.
William Station Mine
KY, Sullivan 10    
07/31/90 Granny Rose Coal Co.
No. 3 Mine
KY, Barbourville 3    
02/13/91 J & T Coal, Inc.
No. 1 Mine
VA, St. Charles 4    
03/19/92 Consolidation Coal Co.
Blacksville No. 1 Mine
WV, Blacksville 4    
12/07/92 Southmountain Coal Co.
No. 3 Mine
VA, Norton 8    
07/31/00 RAG American Coal Holdings, Inc.
Willow Creek Mine
Helper, Utah 2    
09/23/01 Jim Walter Resources
No. 5 Mine
AL, Brookwood 13    
01/22/03 McElroy Mining CompanyContractor: Central Cambria Drilling

WV, Cameron 3    
01/02/06 International Mines Corp.
Sago Mine
WV, Tallmansville 12    
01/19/06 Massey Energy
Aracoma Mining Co.
Alma Mine No. 1
WV, Melville 2    
05/20/06 Kentucky Darby LLC
Darby Mine No. 1
KY, Holmes Mill 5    
Genwal and Murray Energy Corp.
Crandall Canyon Mine
UT, Huntington 6
Total 197    

Weird Bird Friday – Thanks Harry

My Friend Harry Haynes likes Weird Bird Friday and he sent this obviously photoshopped image. Its funny so TGI(WB)F.



As always dedicated to Susan Kay and John Martin who blog about all things Denver and are listed in our Blogroll. It is a widely kept secret that they are expert Flautists who entertain small poor children in Boulder on the weekends. Way to go!