By Lauren Pagel
July 2, 2010
Yesterday, Representative Arcuri of New York offered an amendment to the Oil Spill Accountability and Environmental Protection Act of 2010 to close a loophole that exempts the oil and gas construction activities from the storm water prevention permit requirement of the Clean Water Act. The amendment was approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and should head to the House floor sometime this month.
The successful repeal of this exemption will be the first in a long list of exemptions that must be repealed to make sure that oil and gas drilling is conducted in a safe, responsible manner than protects communities and the environment.
Oil and gas production is still exempt from the storm water portion of the Clean Water Act. And all of you have heard about the absurd exemption that hydraulic fracturing has from the Safe Drinking Water Act. Oil and gas producers are also exemption from our hazardous waste law (RCRA), the federal law designed to clean up sites contaminated by hazardous waste (also known as Superfund), the National Environmental Policy Act, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (which requires companies to report their toxic releases), and part of the Clean Air Act.
June 25, 2010
Last week the Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC) passed several new oil and gas rules. These new rules are a badly needed step in the right direction and it's important that states move forward with updating their oil and gas regulations.
But, let's not get too carried away with Wyoming's good works. The cozy relationship between industry and Wyoming regulators is still very much alive and protected by a lack of adequate local, state and federal regulation that is consistently enforced.
June 25, 2010
Gasland opens when Filmmaker Josh Fox is offered $100,000 for the drilling rights to the gas under his land in Pennsylvania near the New York border. Many people have signed on the dotted line and regretted it. But not Fox. He took off on a cross-country investigation of America to understand what it would mean to open the door to natural gas drilling on his family s land.
The film that resulted, Gasland, follows Josh as he exposes the environmental effects of drilling and hydraulic fracturing. What he uncovers is nothing new to OGAP members but horrifying to those unfamiliar with what it takes to turn on a light switch or light their stove top: homes with tap water so contaminated you can set it on fire; people with similar chronic illnesses and symptoms in drilling areas across the country; and toxic waste pits that kill livestock and wildlife.
From Dimock, Pennsylvania, to Wyoming s Powder River Basin to DISH, Texas and Aztec, New Mexico, Fox documents the dark side of America s energy policy: an oil and gas industry that is exempt from nearly every one of our federal environmental laws the Clean Air Act, National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act, to name a few. In 2005, Congress, thanks to former Vice-President Dick Cheney and Halliburton, exempted hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking") from the Safe Drinking Water Act.
By Lauren Pagel
June 25, 2010
Today, Congressman Rahall, the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, unveiled a comprehensive bill to strengthen environmental and safety rules for oil and gas drillers on publicly managed minerals both onshore and offshore.
In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, it s nice to see that lawmakers are appropriately coming to the conclusion that fossil fuel extraction needs to occur in ways that protect communities, clean water and public health.
June 23, 2010
Strike three for the Rock Creek mine proposal
It s good news for our ongoing effort to protect Montana s Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area and the area s threatened bull trout and grizzly bear populations from the proposed Rock Creek Mine.
On May 5, 2010, a federal court tossed out the mine permit, saying it fails to minimize impacts to water quality and fisheries.
This is the third time that the court has ruled against this project. The mine must now go back to the drawing board to develop a revised plan. With your support, we will continue our efforts to protect this important ecosystem.
Strike... four? The fisheries challenge in Montana State Court
In 2008, EARTHWORKS and our partners also contested a permit issued by the State of Montana, challenging the large amount of sediment that the mine is expected to discharge into Rock Creek, a lower Clark Fork tributary that supports a crucial population of bull trout, a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. State water quality law prohibits anyone from discharging sediment into state waters at levels that will harm fisheries. That case will be briefed in front of the Court in September.
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