December 1, 2010
Yesterday, the New York State Assembly reconvened in Albany and ended up working late into the night to debate and vote on a time out for gas development. The bill (A. 11443B, sponsored by Assembly Member Robert Sweeney) passed by a wide 93-43 margin and suspends the issuance of permits to hydraulically fracture gas wells in New York State until May 15, 2011.
With a companion bill already passed by the State Senate in August, the moratorium will become law once it s signed by Governor David Paterson, who stated last week that Even with the tremendous revenues that will come in we re not going to risk public safety or water quality, which will be the next emerging global problem after the energy shortage.
The Assembly vote was the culmination of months of hard work by organizations, citizen activists, and forward-looking legislators from across New York. A broad coalition of groups heralded the news as an opportunity to closely examine the true costs of shale gas development that have plagued communities in other states before permits are issued.
November 29, 2010
As more than 230 people from 25 states and Canada gathered last week in Pittsburgh, the EARTHWORKS National People s Oil and Gas Summit shone a bright light on both shared problems and the potential for lasting solutions. As participants listened to presentations by scientists and citizens, held lively discussions, and got busy strategizing, the idea that there is far more that unites than divides us rang true.
Reports of serious health problems in the oil and gas patches of Texas, Wyoming, and Pennsylvania are tragically similar, and bad leasing, drilling, and waste disposal practices are now ubiquitous. As both drilling for and consumption of natural gas spreads across the nation, the true costs of dirty energy development have become harder to ignore the West, with its longstanding energy development, and the East, with its newly exploited shale gas plays, increasingly share common interests and stories. And as climate change and pollution accelerate, only a collective quickening of the pace will win the race for a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.
By Lauren Pagel
November 19, 2010
This past Sunday, Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy, was interviewed on CBS 60 Minutes.
Although he defended natural gas extraction, he also acknowledged that hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) a process that facilities the extraction of natural gas from over 90% of wells drilled in the United States injects the equivalent of Drano through the water table groundwater that provides drinking water for much of America.
Finally, a major energy industry CEO is admitting the truth that fracking chemicals are toxic, like Drano.
November 10, 2010
It didn t take long after the mid-term election last week for winners, pundits, and the media to attribute the results to a rejection of a new reform agenda in Washington. Unfortunately, when it comes to energy policy, the elections did deliver a solid victory for the status quo.
Politicians of all stripes and at all levels of government are loudly calling for more extraction of fossil fuels, including natural gas. But when it comes to the need for stronger government regulation and oversight to protect public health and the environment, political voices remain a mere whisper.
Drillers certainly liked what they heard the day after the elections, when former White House aide Karl Rove prognosticated that legislation to stem climate change and regulate the gas industry will simply be "gone" with the new Congress. (Rove s political group Crossroads Ventures spent $300,000 in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat U.S. Congressman Maurice Hinchey, a lead proponent of the FRAC Act to require companies to disclose the toxic chemicals they pump into the ground.)
November 9, 2010
Clearfield County, Pennsylvania and the Gulf of Mexico don t seem to have much in common. Different landscapes, environments, communities. But now these far-flung locations are linked by accidents that the oil and gas industry insists are unlikely to happen, and the failure of blowout preventers it considers an adequate safeguard.