EARTHblog » Aaron Mintzes
October 24, 2012
The debate over disclosure of the harmful chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing has come a long way in the last 12-18 months or so. Back then, the question was: Will companies disclose their special sauce? Industry has mightily attempted to shield from the public which poisons they use to extract methane from deep shale formations. It’s proprietary information, according to their lawyers. Their lawyers still continue to make that argument in a case currently pending in Wyoming. But for the most part the policy debate has shifted. Now, the question is: What should the companies disclose? And what form should the disclosure take? Led by our friends at the Environmental Integrity Project, Earthworks and a number of other organizations are asking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to add the oil and gas industry to the list of sectors required to disclose the toxic chemicals associated with fracking. Section 313(b)(1)(B) of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) confers upon private citizens the right to petition the EPA to add additional industries to EPCRA.
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.