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The Economic Impacts of Shale Gas Drilling, a Case of Irrational Exuberance

By Aaron Mintzes

March 19, 2012

The rosy picture from the natural gas industry: A nearly endless supply of energy, jobs, security, and economic growth. Diving in to the projections provided to us by drilling proponents requires a critical look at their underlying assumptions. Economists and other experts studying how much we have, how much its worth, how many jobs created, and how much economic growth generated use complicated algorithms to provide numbers for each of these values.


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*In Their Own Words* - the fracking chapstick edition

By Lisa Sumi

March 12, 2012

This is the second submission of "In Their Own Words"; a series of recordings from a much ballyhooed industry PR conference in Houston where Texas Sharon recorded industry talking about transparency. Despite their constant use of the word "transparent"; these recordings will show an industry that is anything but

In this second post, we hear Anadarko Petroleum discuss/dismiss the use of fracking polyacrylamides.

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Food Retail Industry Flexes Its Muscle for Alaska’s Bristol Bay

By Bonnie Gestring

March 12, 2012

Salmon consumers everywhere will be happy today!  The Food Marketing Institute (FMI), which represents a whopping 26,000 retail food stores, and $680 billion in annual revenue, has spoken out on behalf of protecting Alaska's Bristol Bay fishery - the world's largest wild sockeye salmon fishery.

In a recent letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), FMI expressed its support for the study currently underway to determine the suitability of large-scale development in Bristol Bay, including the proposed Pebble Mine.

It makes sense.  The Bristol Bay salmon fishery is an important part of our nation's food supplies.

So hats off to FMI and its 1500 members for its support for sustainable fisheries.  The EPA study is expected in late April 2012. So, stay tuned.  This important scientific assessment will help determine future actions to protect Bristol Bay.  

And, go enjoy some Bristol Bay wild salmon.

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Maryland’s Choice on Fracking

By Aaron Mintzes

March 2, 2012

The stage is thus set for how Maryland will respond to the political winds of the shale gale.  According to a new study sponsored by Maryland’s chapter of the American Petroleum Institute (API), Maryland could drill several hundred wells, mostly in Garrett County right next to West Virginia and Pennsylvania.  At a recent API conference in Annapolis, experts estimated Maryland’s drilling capacity somewhere between 1600 and 2000 wells.  While this seems like a relatively small number, two points bear impressing.  First, almost all of those wells will be in just one or two counties.  So, they’d still be sited pretty close together.

Second, and almost more importantly, is the opportunity for Maryland to shape the rules of the road for the fracking industry.  In light of the President’s State of the Union embrace of natural gas, and Pennsylvania’s cart blanche acquiescence to the drilling industry wish list, Maryland must set a proper example for the entire Marcellus play.  In fact, the Mason-Dixon line must become a firewall separating the right way to harness our energy resources from the example set by irresponsible oil and gas development elsewhere.
 

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Troubled Waters – and no bridge to cross them

By Payal Sampat

February 28, 2012

The 313 million people who live in the United States send about 120 million tonnes of trash to landfills every year. That’s a lot of trash  - just think of all the photos you’ve seen of landfills overflowing with mountains of discarded refuse.

But that number pales in comparison with the amount of waste that mining corporations dump into oceans, rivers, and lakes around the world each year, which tops 180 million tonnes. These wastes can contain arsenic, lead, mercury, cyanide and over thirty other dangerous chemicals.

The staff at Earthworks and MiningWatch Canada have spent the past year investigating this egregious - and outdated – practice; we report our findings in a new study, Troubled Waters: How Mine Waste Dumping is Poisoning Our Ocean, Rivers and Lakes.

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