Water: Fracking sucks more than you think!

By Sharon Wilson

July 7, 2011

Photo: Car Lust

When I was sixteen, I announced my intention to buy a new VW Beetle for a monthly payment of only $125. That s when I first learned about associated costs. It was several years before I could finally afford a new, red, VW Beetle and all the associated costs.

Did you think that industry was telling you the whole story about the amount of water they use to frack a natural gas well?

In the Barnett Shale, estimated frack water usage ranges between 2.5 to 9 million gallons per frack. The Eagle Ford Shale average, according to the Texas Water Development Board, is 7.5 million gallons per frack. We don t know exactly how much water they use because most of the estimates come from industry. We do have the little dab of information from the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District that revealed industry used 1,146,598,272.73 gallons of groundwater in 2009. But that only considers the metered sources. There were many cases where industry took water from unmetered sources with no enforcement action or fines.

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Tagged with: fracking, hydraulic fracturing, texas, water usage, sand mining

New USFS study demonstrates fracking waste should be treated as toxic waste

By Alan Septoff

July 7, 2011

Just in time for Friday's hearing on the fracking in National Forests, this came yesterday from our friends at Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER):

A new study has found that wastewater from natural gas hydrofracturing in a West Virginia national forest quickly wiped out all ground plants, killed more than half of the trees and caused radical changes in soil chemistry. These results argue for much tighter control over disposal of these fracking fluids, contends Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

The new study by Mary Beth Adams, a U.S. Forest Service researcher, appears in the July-August issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Environmental Quality. She looked at the effects of land application of fracking fluids on a quarter-acre section of the Fernow Experimental Forest within the Monongahela National Forest.

The explosion of shale gas drilling in the East has the potential to turn large stretches of public lands into lifeless moonscapes, stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that land disposal of fracking fluids is common and in the case of the Fernow was done pursuant to a state permit. This study suggests that these fluids should be treated as toxic waste.

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Tagged with: fracking, hydraulic fracturing, natural resources committee, forest service, waste, moratorium, house of representatives, hearing

House Republicans Threaten Grand Canyon Protection

By Lauren Pagel

July 6, 2011

House Republicans released a spending bill today that would prohibit the Interior Department from withdrawing 1 million acres around the Grand Canyon from mining. This anti-environmental rider is just one in a long list of amendments that are unrelated to spending, yet have been put into appropriations legislation to thwart attempts by the Obama Administration to protect our air, land and water. 

This action comes in response to last month s announcement from the Department of Interior that withdrew the lands around the Canyon from mineral entry for another 6 months while the environmental impact statement is finalized.  Secretary Salazar spoke at the Grand Canyon, and indicated the administration s preferred alternative is to withdraw the full 1 million acres from mining. 

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Tagged with: congress, grand canyon, uranium, department of interior, appropriations

Yellowstone Oil Spill Underscores the Need for Better Protection for Western Waters

By Bonnie Gestring

July 6, 2011

This week s Exxon pipeline leak of 42,000 gallons of oil into Montana s famed Yellowstone River demonstrates just how quickly inadequate regulations translate into real harm to western waters, and the communities and businesses that rely on them. 

The Environmental Protection Agency is currently taking public comments on new guidelines that will determine which western waterways are considered waters of the U.S. and therefore protected under the Clean Water Act.

Some recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have muddied the water, and these guidance documents will go a long way towards clarifying this important issue.

The EPA estimates that more than 117 million Americans get their drinking water from public supplies fed in whole or in part by intermittent or ephemeral streams vulnerable to pollution thanks to current confusion.

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Tagged with: epa, clean water act, oil spill, pipeline leak, exxon, waters of the u.s.

Costco's customers flood Facebook to tell company NO to dirty gold.

By Nick Magel

July 5, 2011

[UPDATE with Press Release] Costco s Facebook page is flooded with messages from their customers asking Costo to sign on to the No Dirty Gold Campaign s Golden Rules . Here are a few from just the last hour:

"What does it cost in human health and conditions to save a few dollars on your gold jewelry? Think of the profits when you can proudly boast Fair Trade?? Walmart cheated-- Here's your edge." - Facebook user

"It is deplorable to support human rights violations. I will not shop for Jewelery at Costo until such time as it signs on to the No Dirty Gold Campaigns Golden Rules. I will not renew my membership unless Costco takes this action" - Facebook user

Costco, show me you care about human rights, ending child labor, and protecting the environment. Sign the Golden Rules! And then--here's where it gets tricky--FOLLOW THEM. (We'll find out if you don't.)" - Facebook user

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Tagged with: gold, no dirty gold, golden rules, costco, social media, take action

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