August 3, 2011
American Rivers has designated the Susquehanna River the nation s most endangered river, primarily because of water withdrawals and pollution from gas development. In July, water levels in the river dropped so low that the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) had to suspend all withdrawal permits.
Yet the SRBC continues to move in the wrong direction, continually making it easier for gas companies to get permits and opening the door to more drilling despite all the pollution and violations caused by the gas industry. The Commission s recently proposed rules on water use, re-use, and well permits are unfortunately no different.
Now residents and concerned citizens (especially in Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania, across which the Susquehanna flows) have a chance to tell the commissioners that their job is to protect the Susquehanna and the millions of people who rely on the river for drinking water, farming, tourism, and recreation not to make things more convenient for the gas industry.
By Gwen Lachelt
August 2, 2011
Yellowstone River disaster: Montana groups call for greater oversight of oil pipelines
One month after the ExxonMobil pipeline disaster, which spilled over 50,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River, the Billings Oil Spill Conservation Community (see list of organizations below) released a joint statement calling for greater oversight of oil pipelines and urging citizens to hold ExxonMobil accountable for the cleanup.
Please take a moment to add your voice to this important effort:
From the joint statement:
Call on ExxonMobil (888.382.0043) to clean up their pollution and cover all damages and clean up expenses, including those incurred by the State of Montana and the Environmental Protection Agency.
We also want all existing pipelines in the state re-examined for safety issues. And, of course, we are especially adamant that a State Department decision on TransCanada s proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline across eastern Montana not be rushed, as Congress is attempting to do. This pipeline, which will carry 20 times as much oil as the Exxon Silvertip, must not put at risk Montana land and rivers. - Mary Fitzpatrick, community leader, Billings, Montana.
By Lauren Pagel
July 29, 2011
Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new air rules for oil and gas operations in an effort to reduce smog and toxic airborne pollution linked to oil and gas production, including the first-ever federal air rules for wells that are hydraulically fractured. These cost-effective regulations, including the use of green completions, will reduce air pollution caused by the drilling, processing and transmission of oil and gas while saving the industry nearly 30 million dollars per year.
The EPA s proposed plan will limit air emissions of benzene and other toxic chemicals as well as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) smog-forming pollutants which can cause asthma and premature death. Air toxics, including benzene, can cause cancer and other serious health problems. Communities across the country have long been experiencing significant health impacts from air pollution related to oil and gas production. In some parts of Wyoming, ozone pollution on some days has exceeded what Los Angeles experiences on its worst smog days.
By Nick Magel
July 27, 2011
You may or may not know Tim DeChristopher s story, but you should, whether you agree with it or not.
Yesterday Tim DeChristopher was sentenced 2 years in federal prison for taking action that protected some of America s great wild places and made the oil and gas industry furious. Unfortunately this act came at a great personal sacrifice for Tim. See, Tim didn t accomplish this by lobbying his congressional representatives or posting on his Facebook. There wasn t time for that. Tim saw a critical moment that demanded action and took it.
This blog isn t about civil disobedience, its value as a tactic, or its place in any movement. It s about, once again, how one person s action sheds light on the countless individuals standing up for healthy communities, clean environments, and untrampled wilderness. (If you are more interested in the tactics, Bill McKibben wrote a great Op-Ed this past week looking at Tim s tactic of civil disobedience.)
While sitting in class at university Tim caught wind of a massive land auction; one of the last major give-a-ways from the departing Bush Administration. After hearing about it he turned up at the Bush administration's oil and gas leasing auction in Salt Lake. In the moment, while standing at the registration table and feeling the need to do something to shake up the public lands bonanza, he decided to register as a bidder, Bidder #70.
July 26, 2011
After months of meetings, hearings, and fanfare, the issuance of recommendations by Pennsylvania s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission was underwhelming in its predictability. There was hardly any doubt that the industry-packed Commission would seek to boost drilling s prospects and quell calls for greater protection of health and the environment.
Yet it s hard to not be disappointed anyway, as the Campaign for Clean Water expressed clearly in a press release and press conference yesterday outside Governor Corbett s office. While some improvements on the regulatory front were made, the Commission s ideas pale in comparison to the truly protective recommendations put forth last week by the coalition.