October 31, 2013
From the very beginning of the shale gas and oil boom, water use and pollution rose to the top of key concerns. Maybe it’s because it takes millions of gallons just to frack a well. Or the special exemptions industry enjoys from the Safe Drinking Water and Clean Water Acts. The era of climate change, when long droughts and intense floods highlight drilling’s impact. And the tens of thousands of rivers and streams nationwide that are already impaired.
So it’s no wonder that questions are being asked—by advocates, communities, researchers, and even industry analysts—about the “energy-water nexus.” This week, we got some answers with the release of a new report by researchers at Downstream Strategies and San Jose State University. Developed in collaboration with Earthworks, the report provides the most comprehensive investigation to date of water used and waste generated by Marcellus Shale gas operations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well as where it all ends up.
October 31, 2013
A recent state report showed that oil and natural gas producers in North Dakota were flaring (burning it at the wellhead) 29 percent of the approximately 31 billion cubic feet of natural gas produced in the state in August. That’s about nine billion cubic feet of natural gas that never made it into people’s homes to provide heat or into factories to produce goods. To put this figure in perspective, the nine billion cubic feet of natural gas flared in a single month (more than $30 million at August natural gas prices) is enough to supply residential customers in North Dakota for most of an entire year. The state’s residential customers used 9.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas in 2012 according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Nor will private landowners collect royalties or the state collect production taxes on the flared gas. Nationally, only one percent of natural gas is flared.
October 24, 2013
The No Dirty Gold campaign calls on retailers, from large department stores to small businesses, to sign the “Golden Rules,” pledging to commit to more responsible metals sourcing. Thus far, 94 retailers have signed on to the Golden Rules, and the list continues to grow. This is one of a series of occasional interviews in which we ask retailers about why they signed the pledge and how they work to implement the Golden Rules in their business. Note that the views expressed by retailers do not necessarily reflect the view of Earthworks.
By Lauren Pagel
October 22, 2013
This weekend, Earthworks Eastern Program Coordinator, Nadia, and I attended Power Shift, a gathering of thousands of students and young people dedicated to fighting dirty energy and promoting a just transition to a clean energy future.
Over 6,000 people gathered in Pittsburgh, PA for 3 days of inspiration and education, followed by a march through the streets calling for an end to our dependence on fossil fuels. Fracking was a huge part of the discussion at Power Shift this weekend, with many impacted community members profiled as part of panel discussions and events.
October 21, 2013
On October 19, citizens all over the world came together to call for a moratorium on fracking, as well as other oil and gas stimulation activities that threaten human health and the environment.
In California, recently passed SB4 aims to regulate this kind of oil and gas development. But with Global Frackdown, citizens are instead calling for a moratorium on fracking -- perhaps because the track record of state enforcement across the country has shown state regulation is tantamount to no regulation at all. So with their call for a moratorium, communities are demanding their health be protected as a first priority, ahead of corporate profits.