Wyoming fracking disclosure falls short

By Aaron Mintzes

August 26, 2011

Last week I had the great pleasure of attending a screening of Josh Fox s Oscar nominated documentary Gasland . The film describes the public health problems associated with the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing or fracking and contains powerful images of the spontaneous combustion of household tap water.

The words natural gas belies the hazardous process used to procure it. In fracking, toxic chemicals are injected in to the ground designed to break apart the geological formations and release the gas within. The oil and gas industry is the only industry in America that can inject hazardous materials in to underground drinking water supplies. This is because they benefit from the Halliburton loophole created by former Vice President Cheney s energy task force that exempts fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act.

A number of states have passed disclosure laws requiring these companies to report which chemicals they use. Wyoming, the first state to require disclosure, appears now to be bowing to industry s desire to keep 146 fracking chemicals secret citing their proprietary interests. According to the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, regulators have granted disclosure exemptions to 11 different companies that frack in Wyoming.

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Tagged with: fracking, wyoming, halliburton loophole

Big Step: Peru's Congress passes community consultation law.

By Nick Magel

August 26, 2011

Intag No MinaThere s big news from Peru this week: the Peruvian congress passed a new right to consultation law. Once signed into law by President Humala, who has staed his support of the law, this will require all mining and oil projects to acquire full consent from Indigenous communities that would be impacted by their projects. This puts Peru in compliance with the U.N. convention on Indigenous peoples, which it signed in 1989.

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Tagged with: gold, newmont, peru, indigenous, fpic, copper, humala

How much natural gas is in the Marcellus Shale? Or, unspinning fracking advocates' distortion of the new USGS estimate.

By Alan Septoff

August 26, 2011

UPDATE, 08/26: Associated Press corrects itself, acknowledges USGS estimate represents reduction in Marcellus gas resources.

UPDATE 2, 08/26: Washington Post blog indicates that USGS estimate may address a subset of resources estimated by EIA.  If so, it means that Marcellus Shale gas resources are approximately 50% of what they were a week ago (as opposed to 20%).  I'm contacting the EIA study author to get to the bottom of this.

Yesterday, the U.S. Geological Survey updated its 2002 estimate of natural gas resources contained within the Marcellus Shale.

The new estimate:

84 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas and 3.4 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas liquids according to a new assessment by the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS). 

These gas estimates are significantly more than the last USGS assessment of the Marcellus Shale in the Appalachian Basin in 2002, which estimated a mean of about 2 trillion cubic feet of gas (TCF) and 0.01 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.

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Tagged with: fracking, hydraulic fracturing, regulation, disclosure, halliburton loophole

Green Scissors 2011: Trimming the budget while protecting the environment

By Aaron Mintzes

August 26, 2011

Lately, those of us who are news and political junkies have been preoccupied with the debate in Washington, D.C. over raising the debt ceiling.

After all the hue and cry, legislators agreed to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for the creation of a super committee that is tasked with reviewing mandatory and discretionary spending as well as potential revenue sources with an eye toward solving our long term debt and deficit problems.

To this end, our friends at Taxpayers for Common Sense, the Heartland Institute, Friends of the Earth, and Public Citizen today issued their annual Green Scissors report. Turns out, marrying environmental sustainability and fiscal responsibility is remarkably easy.

I just joined Earthworks a couple weeks ago and I was blown away with all the hand outs, subsidies, tax expenditures, tax breaks, federal loan guarantees, and other mechanisms funded by the public to support polluting industries. Among the worst offenders is the 1872 Mining Law that allows extraction companies to mine our precious metals on public lands for free.

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Tagged with: ursa, super committee, green scissors, budget

Take Action against Brazil's Belo Monte dam and mining blitz.

By Nick Magel

August 20, 2011

Intag No Mina

Today, August 20, groups in Brazil are staging a massive day of action against the proposed Belo Monte Dam in over 20 cities across Brazil. Groups such as Amazon Watch and others around the world are coordinating an international solidarity day of action on August 22 outside Brazilian embassies around the world. If built, the Belo Monte dam on the Xingu River would be the 3rd largest dam in the world. The project would flood 668 km2 of forest and arable land, and  displace over 20,000 people. Another, less talked about piece of this project is its connection to massive mining projects in the Amazon region.

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Tagged with: mining, indigenous, take action, brazil, dam

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