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DC Stands with Texas Tar Sands Blockade

By Hilary Lewis

October 15, 2012

Today a few dozen DC activists added their voices to the ongoing fight agains the Keystone XL Pipeline.

In support of the Tar Sands Blockade Tree Sitters, we brought a big ugly pipeline to the American Petroleum Institute headquarters in DC and called for clean energy and an end to the pipeline project.

Tar Sands Blockade is a coalition of Texas and Oklahoma landowners and climate justice organizers using peaceful and sustained civil disobedience to stop the construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The Tar Sands Blockade is the continuation of Tar Sands Action, one of the biggest environmental actions in US history that took place last year at the White House.

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GAO report supports Earthworks’ fracking enforcement findings

By Alan Septoff

October 12, 2012

Last month the Government Accountability Office issued a new report Unconventional Oil and Gas Development: Key environmental and public health requirements.

Regarding obstacles to enforcement, GAO’s findings – which they drew from interviews with pertinent federal and state agencies – corroborate several of Earthworks’ findings in our recent report, Breaking All the Rules: The crisis in oil & gas regulatory enforcement. Although the GAO report is more federally focused, the findings highlight themes common across state and federal regulatory agencies. Including:

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Water and Shale Gas: Increased demand and decreased availability

By Bruce Baizel

October 12, 2012

Increased demand and decreased availability are pushing water quantity to the forefront of public discussion.

The main variable for the volume of water used in fracking is the geology of the basin being fracked. 

What do we know about actual volumes of water used in different states to frack the shale formations?  Very little, until recently, when a number of states began requiring that water volumes used in hydraulic fracturing operations be reported on the FracFocus website.  Colleagues of mine just recently collected the data reported there.

 

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Senate Appears Eager to Pass Comprehensive Critical Minerals Legislation

By Aaron Mintzes

October 11, 2012

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee is in recess this month. About a third of its members are either running for re-election or looking forward to retirement. One piece of their remaining business is to create an effective strategic and critical minerals policy. Prized for their electrical and chemical properties, these minerals are essential for many high-tech, military, and clean energy applications. And China, which produces some 90% of our domestic needs, has squeezed their production output creating an antsy marketplace for investors and a squabble in international trade circles. What are they looking for? The bill under consideration is the Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2012 (S. 1113/HR 4402). Earthworks opposes this bill because it burdens community groups seeking to add their voice to the permit review process. Section 115 spells this out with great specificity. This provision directs the Interior Department to meticulously examine every step in the mining permitting process. What are they looking for? Time intervals.

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Prescription for the gas patch: protect first, drill later

By Nadia Steinzor

October 5, 2012

No matter how much our world changes, one saying reminds every generation about what matters: “If you have your health, you have everything.” Which is why for so many people living in the nation’s oil and gas patches, so much is at stake when air and water quality decline and a mix of symptoms set in.

Reports of health problems from these communities keep increasing—alongside the wells drilled, impoundment pits, and equipment like compressor stations. There’s a big timing mismatch underway, with the pace of oil and gas activities far outstripping the science, regulations, and policies needed to safeguard communities and the environment.
 

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