EARTHWORKS

Media


Earthworks is the only U.S. environmental nonprofit that focuses exclusively on the destructive impacts of resource extraction.

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Texas House votes against democracy & ordinary Texans, in favor of oil & gas industry

Earthworks

April 17, 2015

"Today’s passage of CSHB40 makes clear that, even when it comes at the expense of democracy, the Texas Legislature works for the oil and gas industry and not ordinary Texans.

Legislators who voted for this bill just voted against democracy. Texas has a proud history of citizens determining their own fate. It’s called local control, and the Texas House just voted to end it. If this becomes law, Texans will be forced to live with whatever the oil and gas industry considers “commercially reasonable”. It imposes state authority where cities should have the right to decide. And Texas regulators’ track record of ignoring community impacts is as long as it is shameful.

CSHB40 is big government at its worst."

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, local control


Fracking Waste Puts Public at Risk, Study Says

InsideClimate | David Hasemyer

April 15, 2015
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Weakness in state regulations governing hazardous oil-and-gas waste have allowed the leftovers to be disposed of with little regard to the dangers they pose to human health and the environment, according to a recent study by the environmental organization Earthworks.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, waste, rcra, hazardous waste


Arlington fracking blowout shows CSHB40/SB1165 would force Texans to remain unsafe in their own home

Earthworks

April 13, 2015

Arlington, TX, Apr 13 -- Saturday a gas well in the heart of West Arlington blew out while being fracked, forcing the evacuation of the surrounding neighborhood. Owned by Vantage Energy anddirectly adjacent to homes and ball fields, the blowout spilled flowback fluid that can contain hazardous chemicals, radioactivity and salts.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, pollution, blowout


The oil and gas industry helped develop a camera that can show you things they insist aren’t there.

Upworthy | Alisha Huber

April 9, 2015
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The gas industry helped to develop a magic camera to find leaks in their pipelines.

It makes invisible Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) visible.

Some concerned citizens in Colorado got one of these cameras.

They pointed it at a fracking operation that was right near a high school.

This is what they saw:

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Tagged with: fracking, air pollution, citizens empowerment project, cep


Regulators outpaced by gas industry waste, report says

State ImpactPA | Jon Hurdle

April 3, 2015
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Pennsylvania’s environmental regulators are failing to keep pace with a growing volume of liquid and solid waste generated by the natural gas industry, and are allowing risky practices like open-air waste storage to continue, according to a study issued on Thursday.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, waste, hazardous waste


States undermine EPA’s argument for exempting fracking waste

Earthworks

April 2, 2015

Washington, D.C., April 2nd -- A new report shows that states ignore the risks of sometimes hazardous oil and gas waste despite EPA’s exemption of such waste from federal oversight based on “adequate” state management. Wasting Away: Four states’ failure to manage oil and gas waste in the Marcellus and Utica Shale examines how Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and New York neither regulate oil and gas development wastes as hazardous, nor can assure the public that they are protected from exposure to hazardous waste.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, oil and gas, regulation, pennsylvania, new york, ohio, rcra, west virginia, hazardous waste


Texas House Energy Resources Committee Approves CSHB40, Guts Community Rights

Earthworks

March 30, 2015

Austin, TX – Today the Texas State House Energy Resources Committee approved a controversial measure that guts the rights of communities to protect themselves from impacts of oil and gas operations within their borders. Ignoring objections from cities around the state, Committee members approved the Committee Substitute for HB40. Rep Anchia voted against, Rep Wu voted present, all others members attending voted for.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, denton, home rule


Committee defeats bill tackling long-term mine pollution

Great Falls Tribune | Karl Puckett

March 25, 2015
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Lawmakers defeated a bill Wednesday that would have given authority to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to deny permits for metal mines if it was shown that the mines would require long-term treatment of polluted water after they closed.

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Tagged with: mining, montana, pollution, copper, smith river


Bad Romance

Fort Worth Weekly

March 25, 2015
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The oil and gas folks talk a big game about havingbromances. They promise big royalty checks to communities and in return give money to libraries, parks, schools, and cultural events. It’s so sweet! They attend town hall meetings and say the right things. You just want to pick them up in your arms and nibble their cheeks.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, railroad commission, local control, home rule


13-Year Old Battling Leukemia Helps Deliver 60,000+ Petitions from Across the U.S. Urging Protection of Nation's Most Popular Wilderness

Earthworks et al

March 25, 2015

Washington, DC (March 25, 2015) –The Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, and its lead group Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, today held a press conference at Environment America to deliver more than 60,000 petitions calling for the protection of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which is currently threatened by sulfide-ore copper mining proposals on national forest lands adjacent to the Wilderness and along waterways that flow into the Wilderness.

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Tagged with: mining, wilderness, minnesota, boundary waters


Convergence of Local Control and Fracking Lights Up the Lege

Texas Observer | Priscila Mosqueda

March 24, 2015
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Even before voters in Denton passed a measure that made their city the first in the state to ban fracking, state lawmakers were talking about filing legislation to block the ban. On Monday, more than four months after the Denton vote, a House committee discussed two bills that would derail local efforts to curb fracking. House Bill 40 would generally block cities from regulating oil and gas activity, and House Bill 539 would make cities and municipalities that do ban fracking pay for it—literally.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, denton, local control


Interior Releases First Federal Fracking Rule, Requires Chemical Disclosure, Safeguards

BNA | Tripp Baltz

March 23, 2015
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March 20 — The Interior Department released a final hydraulic fracturing rule designed to require the oil and gas industry to engage in “safe, responsible drilling” on federal and tribal lands.

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Tagged with: fracking, regulation, blm


The Texas Legislature Wants to Charge Towns That Ban Fracking

Vice News | Meredith Hoffman

March 23, 2015
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Fumes that smelled like "a skunk dissolved in acetone" and vibrating noise "like a constant bass" penetrated Maile Bush's Texas home for months after a fracking company started drilling across the street in 2013. About 250 fracking wells popped up in Bush's quaint town of Denton over the course of a few years — in subdivisions, near parks, and by schools.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, legislature, denton


The Texas Legislature Wants to Charge Towns That Ban Fracking

Vice News | Meredith Hoffman

March 23, 2015
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Fumes that smelled like "a skunk dissolved in acetone" and vibrating noise "like a constant bass" penetrated Maile Bush's Texas home for months after a fracking company started drilling across the street in 2013. About 250 fracking wells popped up in Bush's quaint town of Denton over the course of a few years — in subdivisions, near parks, and by schools.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, legislature, denton


Fracking Bills Denounced as Naked Big Government Power Grab

Earthworks

March 23, 2015

March 23, Austin -- Today Earthworks’ Texas Organizer Sharon Wilson testified at the Texas House Energy Resources Committee public hearing on HB40 and HB539. The bills are part of a legislative suite introduced by oil and gas industry supporters in response to Denton’s successful ballot initiative to ban fracking.

HB40 would eliminate Texas municipalities’ authority to regulate all oil and gas production, replacing it with the industry-friendly state Railroad Commission. It would also vacate existing regulations except those found to be “commercially reasonable”.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, testimony


Obama administration releases first major rules on fracking

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Stephanie Ritenbaugh

March 20, 2015
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The Obama administration on Friday released the first major regulations on hydraulic fracturing, the drilling technique that has allowed the United States to rival the Middle East and Russia in oil and gas production but has also stirred controversy over its environmental and health impact.

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Tagged with: fracking, regulation, blm, pollution, methane


New Federal Fracking Rules Draw Swift Response

InsideClimate News | Lisa Song

March 20, 2015
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The Interior Department released long-awaited rules today for oil and gas wells on federal and tribal lands. Four years in the making, the regulations take aim at the environmental risks of hydraulic fracturing, an extraction technique used on 90 percent of the nation's wells.

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Tagged with: fracking, regulation, congress, frack pack


Obama fracking rule: much improved, but falls short

March 20, 2015

Statement of Earthworks Policy Director Lauren Pagel

In response to over 1 million comments asking the Administration to protect our public lands, air and water from fracking, the White House responded with some concrete steps that will curb some problems with fracking on public lands, but still falls short of the protections Americans deserve. The Bureau of Land Management is the largest manager of mineral rights in the US.

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Tagged with: fracking, regulation, public lands, pits, blm


Obama administration must act to avoid mine waste disasters

Earthworks, et al

March 19, 2015

March 19 - A coalition of more than 40 environmental and community groups today sent letters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) urging they take immediate action to investigate threats posed by mine waste dams and impoundments in the United States.

In the wake of the August 2014 Mount Polley mine waste disaster in Canada which released roughly 24.4 million cubic meters of mine waste into the Fraser River watershed, a government-commissioned independent investigative panel determined that current global standard practice for mine waste disposal is fundamentally flawed and that future failures at other mines are simply a matter of time. To date, U.S. regulators have taken no action to assess the risks posed by mines in the U.S.

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Tagged with: mining, epa, mining waste, tailings, blm, mt polley, usfs


Oil industry says new rule will lower use of freshwater

New Mexican | Staci Matlock

March 18, 2015
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A new rule approved by the state Oil Conservation Commission will allow oil and gas producers to reuse water produced during drilling.

Industry officials say the rule, which allows companies to store drilling water in open pits, will lead to a reduction in the use of fresh water for drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

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Tagged with: oil and gas, water pollution, new mexico, water, water usage


“Frack Pack” bills introduced in House to improve oil and gas development oversight

Earthworks

March 18, 2015

Washington, D.C., March 17 -- Today Representatives Cartwright, DeGette, Polis, and Schakowsky introduced a suite of bills that would close existing oil and gas industry loopholes in several major federal environmental laws.

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Tagged with: fracking, frac act, breathe act, fresher act, shared act


Petitions seek more protection for trout, grizzlies near Rock Creek Mine

Missoulian | Rob Chaney

March 17, 2015
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Opponents of the proposed Rock Creek Mine near Noxon have filed petitions for new protections of bull trout and grizzly bears they believe will be threatened if the mine opens.

Earthjustice associate attorney Katherine O’Brien said new information from the nearby Montanore mine environmental impact statement showed the Revett Minerals Inc. Rock Creek project could do serious damage to the Bull River and Rock Creek. Those two waterways are essential spawning areas for bull trout, which is protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

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Tagged with: mining, montana, rock creek mine


Groups Petition for Endangered Species Review of Rock Creek Mine Threats to Bull Trout, Grizzly Bears

Earthjustice, Earthworks, Rock Creek Alliance, Idaho Council of Trout Unlimited

March 17, 2015

HELENA, MT—Conservation groups today petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take a new look at the harmful effects that the proposed Rock Creek Mine would inflict on imperiled bull trout and grizzly bears in light of recently disclosed information revealing threats to these species that the agency has never considered.

The Rock Creek Mine proposed by Revett Minerals (NYSE MKT: RVM) would extract 10,000 tons of copper and silver ore every day for up to 35 years, affecting over 7,000 acres of wildlife habitat in and adjacent to the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area in northwest Montana. When it analyzed the mine’s effects on protected species in 2006, the Fish and Wildlife Service assumed that the mine would not reduce flows in streams that are critical to bull trout and relied on promised mitigation measures to conclude that the mine will not jeopardize bull trout and grizzly bear populations in the Cabinet Mountains.

Since then, federal and state agencies have developed new data that reveal threats to these species that the Service has not considered.  As the conservation groups’ petition demonstrates, the Rock Creek Mine will reduce flows in Rock Creek and the East Fork of the Bull River, which are vital to bull trout survival. The petition also documents that strategies the Service believed would protect the vulnerable grizzly bear population from increased risks of poaching and lethal conflict with humans have not succeeded in preventing the killing of grizzly bears over the past eight years, despite the fact that mining activities have not even commenced.  In 2014, the Service estimated that only 21 grizzlies remain in the Cabinet Mountains, and transplanting bears from other regions is the only thing that has prevented outright extirpation of grizzlies from the ecosystem.

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Tagged with: montana, rock creek mine, bull trout, grizzlies, rock creek alliance, endangered species act, revett silver


Conservationists Object to "Needlessly Destructive" Mining Activities in Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness

Earthworks et al

March 16, 2015

Boise, ID – A mining company’s plan to deploy bulldozers, dumptrucks and drilling rigs miles inside the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness is needlessly destructive to this nationally treasured landscape, charge conservation groups.
 
The stated goal of AIMMCO’s proposal is to conduct additional mineral sampling to determine if the claims in question are in fact valid mining claims. Validating these claims is a necessary step for the mining company to proceed with any exploration, development, or production plans.

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Tagged with: mining, idaho, 1872


Fault Lines

Fort Worth Weekly | Peter Gorman

March 11, 2015
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The first time Cathy Wallace felt an earthquake was last Dec. 15. She was sitting with her husband in their Irving home discussing retirement when “the whole house started swaying,” she said. She thought the house might collapse. It didn’t, and in a few minutes things calmed down — for a while.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, earthquakes


New Mexico legislature debates legalizing mines that pollute for thousands of years, shifting billions in mine cleanup financial liability to state taxpayers

Earthworks et al

March 6, 2015

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Tagged with: mining, new mexico, perpetual pollution, legislation


Texas communities travel to Austin to tell legislators: Put private property rights before the oil and gas industry

Earthworks

March 2, 2015

Denton/Fort Worth/Austin, Mar 2nd - Today dozens of citizens from fracking-threatened communities in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex, College Station and San Antonio areas are getting on a bus to Austin to protect Texans’ homes and property by urging state legislators to vote down bills that threaten cities’ long standing authority to regulate oil and gas development within their boundaries

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, denton


Colorado land impact of oil and gas boom: scars spread and stay

Denver Post | Bruce Finley and Joe Murphy

March 1, 2015
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Oil and gas companies have yet to fully restore land around half of the 47,505 inactive wells in Colorado, and 72 percent of those un-restored sites have been in the process for more than five years, The Denver Post has found.

The state requires oil and gas companies to restore all sites completely — to reduce erosion, loosen compacted soil, prevent dust storms and control invasions of noxious weeds.

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Tagged with: fracking, colorado, cogcc


Fracking task force failure sets stage for battle over local control

Earthworks

February 27, 2015

"Colorado Governor Hickenlooper’s task force was formed only because hundreds of thousands of Coloradans are outraged that communities cannot protect their homes or control fracking and oil and gas development within their boundaries. Because the task force’s recommendations don’t address these two issues, it must be judged a failure. And now we will see what hundreds of thousands outraged Coloradans will accomplish."

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Tagged with: fracking, colorado, cogcc, task force


Bigger bond for metal mines sought

Great Falls Tribune | Karl Puckett

February 16, 2015
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The Senate Natural Resources Committee heard testimony on a bill Monday that would increase the amount of bonding required for developers of metal mines, a move supported by conservation groups and opposed by the mining industry.

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Tagged with: mining, montana, black butte copper


Gold Jewelry’s Dirty Environmental Secret

Discover Magazine | Karen Emslie

February 14, 2015
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Gold is a modern expression of love, and every Valentine’s Day thousands of shoppers browse boutique windows full of the stuff. Over 90 countries mine the gold that is fashioned into jewelry, with China currently topping the exporter tables (though as illegal exports are rampant in some countries, exact figures are hard to pin down).

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Tagged with: mining, gold, jewelry, valentines day


Grijalva bill wound end billions in mining giveaways, protect communities & scarce western water

Earthworks

February 13, 2015

February 13, Washington, D.C. – House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-3) today introduced the Hardrock Mining Reform and Reclamation Act of 2015 that would rewrite the 19th century law governing the mining of gold, copper, uranium and other hardrock minerals on federally managed lands.

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Tagged with: mining, 1872 mining law, rosemont, grijalva, defazio, save the scenic santa ritas


World's largest jewelry retailer challenged to clean up its supplier of dirty diamonds and gold

IndustriALL, Earthworks, London Mining Network, LabourStart

February 5, 2015

London/Geneva/Washington, D.C., Feb 5th – This Valentine’s Day, IndustriALL Global Union, London Mining Network, Earthworks, and LabourStart are challenging the world’s biggest jewellery retailer Signet to demand that its major diamond and gold supplier, multinational mining company Rio Tinto, clean up its mining practices so that they respect worker rights, indigenous peoples and the environment.

With global sales of US $6 billion annually, Signet’s 1,400 Kay and Jared jewellery shops are in every US State, 1,600 Zales stores are throughout the US and Canada, and 500 H. Samuel and Ernest Jones shops are visible on UK high streets. The National Retail Federation anticipates that twenty-one per cent of US shoppers will gift jewellery to their loved ones on Valentine’s Day this year, fuelling US jewellery sales of nearly $5 billion.

The coalition is calling on Signet to abide both by its own Responsible Sourcing Policy, and its 2006 public endorsement of the No Dirty Gold campaign’s Golden Rules for more responsible mining. Signet’s Responsible Sourcing Policy declares the company “committed to the responsible sourcing of our products and the respect of human rights, and we expect the same from our suppliers around the world.” Endorsement of the Golden Rules, endorsed by over 100 jewellery retailers around the world, commits signers to pressure their suppliers to come into compliance with the Rules -- which are drawn from broadly accepted international human rights laws and basic principles of sustainable development.

But Rio Tinto is a notorious violator of labour rights, communities, and the environment.

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Tagged with: mining, no dirty gold, rio tinto, responsible jewellery council, signet, 2015, industriall, london mining network, valentine's day


Hundreds of mines around world at risk of catastrophic waste dam failure

Earthworks

February 4, 2015

Washington, D.C., Dillingham, AK -- In response to the findings of an investigation of the Mount Polley tailings dam failure in British Columbia, Canada, a coalition of environmental and community groups today called upon the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) to investigate threats posed by similar mine waste dams in the U.S. and around the world, and to reassess existing mine proposals.

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Tagged with: mining, canada, spill, tailings dam


For 1st Time Senate Votes on Halliburton Fracking Loophole in Safe Drinking Water Act

Earthworks

January 28, 2015

Earthworks applauds Senator Gillibrand’s efforts to give a silver lining to the Keystone XL dirty oil stormcloud by working to close the Halliburton loophole for fracking in the Safe Drinking Water Act.

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Tagged with: fracking, water pollution, safe drinking water act, halliburton loophole, senate, 114th congress, gillibrand


Wyoming to Strengthen Fracking Chemical Disclosure in Response to Citizen Pressure

Earthworks et. al.

January 26, 2015

CASPER, WYO.— Under a settlement agreement approved today, the Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission must adopt more rigorous policies for scrutinizing industry requests to keep the identities of fracking chemicals secret.

Under the agreement, the Oil & Gas Commission must require substantially greater factual support for oil and gas industry claims that the identities of fracking chemicals used in Wyoming qualify as trade secrets or confidential commercial information and are therefore exempt from state public disclosure requirements.

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Tagged with: fracking, wyoming, chemical disclosure


Opponents say mine threatens Patagonia drinking water

Arizona Daily Star | Tony Davis

January 24, 2015
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A proposed, $834 million silver mine in the Patagonia Mountains could deplete the region’s dwindling groundwater supplies and is likely to worsen existing acidic runoff into streams, says a new report from two opposition groups.

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Tagged with: mining, arizona, patagonia


Study: Upper Ojai exposed to toxins

Ojai Valley News | Kimberly Rivers

January 23, 2015
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An air study using infrared analysis, air sampling and health surveys has found that Upper Ojai is exposed to at least 15 different toxins linked with oil and gas production.

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Tagged with: fracking, air pollution, california, flir


Environmental group says oil and gas industry hurts air quality

Bakersfield Californian | Courtenay Edelhart

January 22, 2015
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The environmental group Earthworks has released a report that raises questions about possible adverse health effects from living near oil and gas production.

The 56-page report, "Californians At Risk: An Analysis of Health Threats from Oil and Gas Pollution in Two Communities," examined air quality around oil wells in Lost Hills in Kern County and Upper Ojai in Ventura County.

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Tagged with: fracking, air pollution, california, flir


First infrared analysis of oil and gas air pollution shows communities’ health risk

Earthworks

January 22, 2015

Jan 22, Kern County, CA - Today a coalition of citizens and environmental groups released California’s first analysis of air pollution from oil and gas pollution using infrared video analysis in combination with air sampling and health surveys of impacted communities. Making visible normally invisible pollution, the study revealed that the communities of Lost Hills and Upper Ojai are exposed to at least 15 distinct toxics released by oil and gas development.

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Tagged with: fracking, public health, california, flir


In the SOTU on energy & climate, President Obama didn’t face facts

Earthworks

January 20, 2015

“When it comes to fracking, the President has a hard time facing facts.

President Obama promised we wouldn’t frack unless we did it safely. But, after a long investigation of the state of fracking science, the New York State Health Commissioner found it so unsafe he wouldn’t want his children to live, play or study near it.

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Tagged with: fracking, obama, state of the union


Obama Is Planning New Rules on Oil and Gas Industry’s Methane Emissions

New York Times | Coral Davenport

January 14, 2015
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In President Obama’s latest move using executive authority to tackle climate change, White House officials on Wednesday announced plans to impose new regulations on the oil and gas industry’s emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. The administration’s goal is to cut methane emissions from oil and gas production by up to 45 percent by 2025 from the levels recorded in 2012.

The Environmental Protection Agency will issue the proposed regulations this summer, and final regulations by 2016.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, air pollution, obama, methane


Obama administration unveils new methane emission rules

Politico | Erica Martinson

January 14, 2015
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The Obama administration’s new strategy to cut methane emissions from oil and gas operations is too weak to meet even the White House’s goals, let alone slow the changes in the climate, critics charged after the plan was unveiled Wednesday.

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Tagged with: fracking, climate change, obama, methane


Proposed methane rules welcome, but don’t cover existing pollution

Earthworks

January 14, 2015

Today, the Obama administration announced plans to regulate methane pollution from oil and gas production for the first time.

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Tagged with: fracking, air pollution, methane


Increase in COGCC Penalties are a Step in the Right Direction

Earthworks

January 6, 2015

“The increased penalties finalized by the COGCC are a significant step in the right direction.  Because of these new rules, Coloradans can hope that when oil and gas companies are caught violating the law, they’ll actually be punished. And hope that the punishment will be consistent and significant enough to deter other potential violators.

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Tagged with: fracking, colorado, cogcc


New York State to Prohibit Fracking

Earthworks et. al.

December 17, 2014

Today New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joseph Martens, and Department of Health Commissioner (DOH) Howard Zucker announced that the state of New York would prohibit high-volume horizontal fracturing of shale after announcing the results of a state-commissioned scientific review of the health impacts of oil and gas development.
 

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Tagged with: fracking, public health, new york, ban


New York to ban fracking; environmentalists cheer

AP | Mary Esch

December 17, 2014
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Handing environmentalists a breakthrough victory, New York plans to prohibit fracking for natural gas because of what regulators say are its unexplored health risks and dubious economic benefits.

New York, which overlies part of the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation that has led to a drilling boom in Pennsylvania and other nearby states, has banned shale gas development since 2008, when the state began an environmental review of the drilling technique also known as hydraulic fracturing.

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Tagged with: fracking, new york, ban


New York fracking ban reverberates nationally

Al Jazeera | Peter Moskowitz

December 17, 2014
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The news took even the most seasoned environmental activists by surprise: after years of review, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that New York State would ban hydraulic fracturing.

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Tagged with: fracking, new york, ban


New York plans to prohibit fracking

USA Today | Jon Campbell and Rick Jervis

December 17, 2014
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Fracking is out in New York.

New York's health and environmental commissioners Wednesday rejected the prospect for "high-volume hydraulic fracturing" in New York -- better known as "fracking" -- saying that health risks, the potential of local bans and limited available land would outweigh the benefits of the controversial drilling technique.

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Tagged with: fracking, new york, ban


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