May 12, 2011
For decades, gas and oil companies have enjoyed seemingly unshakeable influence over policy and politicians. So it s nice to think that they might be paying attention to recent events, in which citizens have spoken so loudly and clearly that decisionmakers have been forced to listen.
Yesterday, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted unanimously to temporarily table a request by XTO Energy (ExxonMobil Corp.) to withdraw 250,000 gallons of water a day from a stream in Broome County, NY known for its unique trout habitat. It wasn t a full meeting agenda that did it but the receipt of over 7,000 emails and hundreds of letters in just over a week from residents and organizations across the region, thanks to an outreach push by Delaware Riverkeeper Network and its allies.
The key argument made was that issuing the permit would be premature and risky given the current moratorium on drilling permits in the Basin and work now underway to assess the impacts of gas development, including water withdrawal. Hopefully the commissioners will ultimately heed this logic; they'll certainly have another chance to hear it from more residents because they did agree to another citizen ask: to hold a public hearing on the application in the area that would be most impacted by the withdrawal.
May 11, 2011
Industry claims they can water down the millions of gallons of toxic chemicals in frack fluid until they are harmless.
I guess the Texas Legislature thinks watering down also works with disclosure bills. The much touted HB 3328 Texas Disclosure bill that was supposed to set some kind of national standard is now so watered down that no one but industry will mistake it for setting any kind of national precedent.
There is a lot of hype going through the internet today with calls from some environmental groups asking members to call in support of this bill. but, an Inside EPA article by Bridget DiCosmo calls it a gutting (subscription required, excerpts follow).
By Payal Sampat
May 11, 2011
KUTAHYA, Turkey, May 10 Experts are urging residents near a silver mine in Western Turkey to evacuate after the failure of a dam holding back 15 million cubic meters of cyanide-laced mining waste. Heavy rain expected for the next three days could cause the dam to collapse, sending a river of deadly waste toward drinking water supplies and the Black Sea.
The dam, part of the mine operated by Eti Silver Corporation, failed Saturday, once again underscoring the inherent danger in dumping toxic mining waste in pools held back by dams. Hasan G kvardar, a mining engineer who is working with non-government organizations in the region to assess the situation, provided this firsthand report and accompanying photos:
By Alan Septoff
May 6, 2011
In a nutshell, it shows Pennsylvania has permitted well sites within two miles of more than 320 day care facilities, 67 schools and nine hospitals.
This is cause for concern because the state has a very recent history of well blowouts and water contamination that suggests proximity to drilling is a community health risk.
From PennEnvironment's press release:
Pennsylvania s vulnerable populations are often situated near Marcellus Shale gas extraction, which has had a track record of pollution, accidents and violations, according to a new PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center report, In the Shadow of the Marcellus Boom: How Shale Gas Extraction Puts Vulnerable Pennsylvanians at Risk.
By Lauren Pagel
April 27, 2011
Yesterday, the EPA announced that it will put in place guidance to regulate the use of diesel fuel when used in hydraulic fracturing. EPA has already stated that oil and gas companies must get a Safe Drinking Water Act permit if they wish to use diesel fuel when fracking, though the industry has filed a lawsuit around this issue.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson made this announcement at the 2011 U.S. Energy Information Administration conference. Hopefully, this move will clarify the legal issues surrounding the injection of diesel fuel, and will help protect water resources in the 34 states where oil and gas is produced.
Because of a Congressional investigation into the use of diesel fuel used during fracking, we know that companies injected 32 million gallons of diesel fuel between 2005 and 2009 without securing Safe Drinking Water Act permits from the EPA.
I hope that this will be the first of many steps that the EPA will take to regulate oil and gas production.