December 20, 2012
When the State of California announced with great fanfare back in May that it was going to develop regulations for fracking, many of us assumed that meant some sort of system by which the oil and gas companies would be held accountable to state agencies and the public.
Unfortunately, that was wishful thinking; the state's draft fracking regulations take the public health of Californians and put it in the hands of Chevron (CVX), Occidental (OXY) and other oil and gas companies.
That’s because the state’s draft regs -- released this week by the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), -- do not hold oil and gas companies accountable.
December 12, 2012
Yesterday, New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that he will lead a seven state coalition intending to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for not following through on its obligations under the Clean Air Act. The Attorneys General from New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont take issue with the EPA’s new air rules on hydraulic fracturing in large measure because they do not do enough to curb climate change.
December 7, 2012
Politicians decide policy; scientists help inform policy decisions by explaining the world we live in. So, it’s disappointing to hear politicians accuse scientists of playing politics. The most recent example of this involves a letter a number of senior GOP House members sent to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The letter openly questions the scientific objectivity of a little known agency within HHS called the (I’m not making this up) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
December 5, 2012
Amid much discord in the United States Congress related to all matters fiscal, occasionally there emerge rare moments of cooperation. The Department of Defense (DOD) budget requires reauthorization during the lame duck session providing an opportunity for the Senate to attach policy proposals that would not likely pass were they stand alone pieces of legislation. On the one hand, the Pentagon seems like an awkward place to advance social or environmental policy. But, because its budget is so large, some policy ideas get their first trial at DOD. The United States Senate unanimously passed a number of amendments to the DOD reauthorization bill related to critical minerals and public lands. Among them was a proposal by Senators Kyl, Risch, and Heller that urges the President to coordinate opportunities within a number of agencies to develop a sustainable supply of critical minerals. Helping ensure this supply is an amendment by Senators Casey and Begich that encourages DOD to recycle the rare earth elements found in the Department’s fluorescent light bulbs. Along the same lines, a number of Senators offered additional amendments concerning various forms of alternative and renewable energies the military should exploit.
December 4, 2012
Every year, I take what’s left of my family’s Thanksgiving turkey and make soup. The wishbone always floats to the top of the pot—and I superstitiously save it for when I have an important wish to make. Lately it seems like the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) might be using wishbones to determine next steps on gas development.