EARTHblog » Nadia Steinzor
September 23, 2013
While driving through eastern Ohio yesterday, I stopped for a stroll along the Cayuhoga. In the language of the First Americans, the name meant “crooked river.” For other Americans born centuries later, the name would come to mean “the river that caught on fire from pollution.”
The famous Cayuhoga fire of 1969 was blamed on heavy oil slicks, and was one of several that afflicted the river during more than a century of unregulated industrial waste dumping. The image of the river burning has been credited with a surge in the environmental movement and the political support needed to pass the Clean Water Act.
Fast-forward to September 2013, as Ohioans turn out in the hundreds to watch different images of rivers threatened and rivers defended—this time in the form of Triple Divide, a documentary about the damage caused by shale gas development.
September 12, 2013
It’s always heartening to see an irresponsible oil or gas operator get caught for wrongdoing. But usually breaking all the rules results only in a reprimand or a fine too small to deter future bad behavior.
So this week’s news was happily surprising: Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Kathleen Kane has brought criminal charges against XTO Energy for the November 2010 release of toxic wastewater from a storage tank into a tributary of the Susquehanna River. And this just two months after the US Environmental Protection Agency decided XTO should pay a $100,000 penalty and $20 million in wastewater management for the spill.