By Nick Magel
July 7, 2011
On May 16, Change.org, in support of EARTHWORKS No Dirty Gold Campaign, released a multipronged social media action against Costco. Change.org redeveloped an online petition calling for Costco to sign onto the Golden Rules principles that has since garnered over 27,000 signatures. Accompanying the morning s petition blitz was a creative bomb of Costco s Facebook page, where responsible gold mining activists changed their profile pictures in order to spell out No Dirty Gold on Costco s Facebook homepage.
July 7, 2011
Photo: Car Lust
When I was sixteen, I announced my intention to buy a new VW Beetle for a monthly payment of only $125. That s when I first learned about associated costs. It was several years before I could finally afford a new, red, VW Beetle and all the associated costs.
Did you think that industry was telling you the whole story about the amount of water they use to frack a natural gas well?
In the Barnett Shale, estimated frack water usage ranges between 2.5 to 9 million gallons per frack. The Eagle Ford Shale average, according to the Texas Water Development Board, is 7.5 million gallons per frack. We don t know exactly how much water they use because most of the estimates come from industry. We do have the little dab of information from the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District that revealed industry used 1,146,598,272.73 gallons of groundwater in 2009. But that only considers the metered sources. There were many cases where industry took water from unmetered sources with no enforcement action or fines.
By Alan Septoff
July 7, 2011
Just in time for Friday's hearing on the fracking in National Forests, this came yesterday from our friends at Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER):
A new study has found that wastewater from natural gas hydrofracturing in a West Virginia national forest quickly wiped out all ground plants, killed more than half of the trees and caused radical changes in soil chemistry. These results argue for much tighter control over disposal of these fracking fluids, contends Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
The new study by Mary Beth Adams, a U.S. Forest Service researcher, appears in the July-August issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Environmental Quality. She looked at the effects of land application of fracking fluids on a quarter-acre section of the Fernow Experimental Forest within the Monongahela National Forest.
The explosion of shale gas drilling in the East has the potential to turn large stretches of public lands into lifeless moonscapes, stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that land disposal of fracking fluids is common and in the case of the Fernow was done pursuant to a state permit. This study suggests that these fluids should be treated as toxic waste.
By Lauren Pagel
July 6, 2011
House Republicans released a spending bill today that would prohibit the Interior Department from withdrawing 1 million acres around the Grand Canyon from mining. This anti-environmental rider is just one in a long list of amendments that are unrelated to spending, yet have been put into appropriations legislation to thwart attempts by the Obama Administration to protect our air, land and water.
This action comes in response to last month s announcement from the Department of Interior that withdrew the lands around the Canyon from mineral entry for another 6 months while the environmental impact statement is finalized. Secretary Salazar spoke at the Grand Canyon, and indicated the administration s preferred alternative is to withdraw the full 1 million acres from mining.
July 6, 2011
This week s Exxon pipeline leak of 42,000 gallons of oil into Montana s famed Yellowstone River demonstrates just how quickly inadequate regulations translate into real harm to western waters, and the communities and businesses that rely on them.
The Environmental Protection Agency is currently taking public comments on new guidelines that will determine which western waterways are considered waters of the U.S. and therefore protected under the Clean Water Act.
Some recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have muddied the water, and these guidance documents will go a long way towards clarifying this important issue.
The EPA estimates that more than 117 million Americans get their drinking water from public supplies fed in whole or in part by intermittent or ephemeral streams vulnerable to pollution thanks to current confusion.