Earthworks

In the News

Lawsuit over fracking near schools in Mars School District could have statewide legal impact

Pittsburgh City Paper | Ashley Murray

July 29, 2015
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On a hot afternoon along a backed-up, rush-hour-plagued two-lane road, parents rally in the front yard of a school, holding cardboard cut-outs of children that bear written phrases like “Don’t Frack My Future” and “Your Job is to Protect Me.”

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Tagged with: fracking, pennsylvania


Controversial mine proposed near Smith River

NBC Montana | Paige Sedgewick

July 17, 2015
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The Smith River that runs through White Sulphur Springs in Montana is known to many people as a secret gem.  It's the only river in Montana where people have to get a permit to float.

Now a controversial proposal on a possible mine going in near the river is raising some concerns.

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Tagged with: mining, montana, smith river, tintina


Old mines still plague Montana’s Clark Fork

High Country News | Kindra McQuillan

July 10, 2015
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Cold, rapid and icy blue, the Clark Fork is Montana’s largest river. It begins its journey as Blacktail Creek, tumbling down from the Continental Divide at Pipestone Pass, near Butte, and threads its way between the Flint Creek, Sapphire and Garnet ranges on its way to Missoula. A century ago, one of North America’s largest copper booms rattled the river’s headwaters in Butte. Several hundred mines burrowed beneath the city, and in 1908, a flood washed tons of contaminated sediments from those mines into the river. Arsenic, copper, zinc, lead and cadmium contaminated millions of tons of sediment along 120 miles of the river’s banks — all the way to Missoula. The river’s legendary but struggling trout all but vanished.

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Tagged with: mining, abandoned mines, montana


Oil and gas industry may one day reap a fracking whirlwind

Star-Telegram | Adam Briggle and Sharon Wilson

July 8, 2015
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The battle has begun to restore Texas communities’ right to decide whether and how hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells should occur within their boundaries.

Ironically, the battle’s beginning is signaled by the city of Denton’s repeal of its fracking ban.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, denton, local control, hb40


Oklahoma Case Could Open Doors to More Earthquake-Fracking Lawsuits

InsideClimate News | Zahra Hirji

July 2, 2015
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Nearly four years after Prague, Okla., became the unlikely epicenter of three earthquakes of at least magnitude 5.0 and sent a fireplace and chimney tumbling into Sandra Ladra's living room, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has stepped in and offered her a surprising ray of hope.

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Tagged with: fracking, lawsuit, earthquakes, frackquakes, oklahoma


Plea for international review of B.C. mine dismissed at company’s AGM

The Canadian Press | Cara McKenna

June 25, 2015
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An Alaskan tribal government says a Canadian company has rejected its last hope for stopping a mine on a colossal gold reserve that borders its territory and is located in northwestern British Columbia.

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Tagged with: mining, investor risk, agm, ksm, seabridge


Concerned Alaska Native, First Nation representatives attend Seabridge Gold annual meeting

Juneau Empire | Mary Catharine Martin

June 25, 2015
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Alaska Native and First Nation representatives had some questions for a Canadian mining company at its annual meeting, concerned about a project’s potential effects on their ancestral lands

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Tagged with: mining, alaska, canada, investor risk, ksm, seabridge


KSM mine targets richer ore while seeking investors

KTOO | Ed Schoenfeld

June 23, 2015
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A Canadian mining company says it’s found richer deposits of gold and copper ore at its controversial KSM project. It’s spending $16 million to continue to explore for more at its site, upriver from Ketchikan, this summer.

The company, Seabridge Gold, is holding its annual meeting in Toronto this week. Tribal representatives from Alaska and British Columbia plan a protest.

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Tagged with: mining, canada, investor risk, ksm, seabridge


Report questions the safety and economics of proposed KSM mine

Mining Innovation | James Perkins

June 23, 2015
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Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell’s proposed gold and copper mine threatens the environmental safety in the region and would not be profitable, a report from two environmental groups has claimed.

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Tagged with: mining, alaska, canada, investor risk, ksm, seabridge


What’s Killing the Babies of Vernal, Utah?

Rolling Stone | Paul Solotaroff

June 22, 2015
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I heard some version of that tale all over town. Avery Lawton, a radiant redhead, was pregnant that winter with her second child, but the fetus wasn't growing. It was so frail at 30 weeks that an obstetrician told her it could die during labor, and she should deliver at the hospital and not at home. Defying him, she went for a second, and third, opinion; her daughter, almost two now, was born with a rare and profound vision disorder, for which she wears Coke-bottle goggles.

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Tagged with: fracking, public health, utah


Cancer-Causing Chemicals Found in Drinking Water Near Texas Fracking Sites

EcoWatch | Anastasia Pantsios

June 22, 2015
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On June 4, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report on how frackingfor oil and gas can impact access to safe drinking water. Although the report claims not to have found any “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States,” a new study in Texas provides more evidence that contamination of drinking water from fracking might be occurring.

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Tagged with: fracking, public health, texas, cancer


Environmental groups: KSM a bad investment

Juneau Empire | Mary Catharine Martin

June 22, 2015
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Two organizations have collaborated on an analysis questioning the profitability and feasibility of Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell, the largest of the mines planned in watersheds that start in British Columbia and empty into Southeast Alaska.

Salmon Beyond Borders, a coalition of Southeast Alaskans concerned about transboundary mines, and Earthworks, an environmental group, produced a report which says KSM, which would empty into the Unuk River watershed, is a risky investment for several reasons.

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Tagged with: mining, alaska, ksm, seabridge


Red Chris mine gets environmental permit

Mining.com | Andrew Topf

June 21, 2015
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The Red Chris copper and gold mine in British Columbia has received a full operating permit from the provincial government.

Imperial Metals (TSX:III) announced on June 15 that an amended permit under B.C.'s Environmental Management Act was issued by the Ministry of Environment. The permit allows the mine to discharge tailings into the tailings storage facility (TSF) and discharge water from the TSF subject to water quality guidelines.

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Tagged with: mining, canada, british columbia, red chris mine


UT-Arlington Study Links Fracking To Groundwater Contamination

Ft. Worth Weekly | Jeff Prince

June 18, 2015
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Yesterday’s News Roundup told you about the puckering sound coming from Fort Worth’s Range Resources, a gas drilling company facing an $8.9 million fine from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection. (The agency said the drilling company’s repeated failure to repair a gas well led to groundwater contamination.)

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, water pollution, texas, lipsky


Mounting financial challenges seen for KSM mine

The Cordoba Times | Margaret Bauman

June 18, 2015
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A new mining report says an analysis by Toronto-based Seabridge Gold of the economic feasibility of its proposed Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell mine in northwest British Columbia, near the Alaska border, is based on unrealistic metals prices.

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Tagged with: mining, alaska, canada, investor risk, ksm, seabridge


Heavyweight enviro group targets world’s largest gold project

Mining.com | Frik Els

June 18, 2015
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During the final days of 2014 Canada's minister of the environment gave the green light to Seabridge Gold's KSM project in northern British Columbia, the world's largest undeveloped gold-copper project by reserves.

The joint harmonized federal and provincial environmental assessment process took nearly seven-years and KSM was only the second metal mine in five years to receive approval by Canada and BC.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, canada, ksm, seabridge


Ban on hydraulic fracturing repealed

Denton Record-Chronicle | Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe

June 17, 2015
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Denton’s seven-month-old ban on hydraulic fracturing fell early Wednesday morning in what city leaders dubbed a “strategic repeal.”

The City Council voted 6-1 to pull down the citizens initiative after three hours of public testimony and deliberations late Tuesday night. In moving to repeal the ban, council member Greg Johnson called the option the least of three bad choices in two lawsuits against the city. He urged fellow members to join him, saying that it was too risky to consider the matter much longer.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, denton


‘Alarming’ study shows dangerous water along Barnett Shale

WFAA | Brett Shipp

June 17, 2015
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What's being called one of the most comprehensive groundwater studies ever done in the U.S. was published Wednesday, and, according to the lead scientist, some of its findings are "incredibly alarming."

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, water pollution, texas


Study finds elevated levels of metals, chemicals in Barnett Shale water samples

http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/barnett-shale/article24830848.html#storylink=cpy

June 17, 2015
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Researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington have found elevated levels of numerous metals and chemical compounds associated with the hydraulic fracturing process in public and private water wells throughout the Barnett Shale

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, water pollution, texas, lipsky


Environmental groups sue over proposed Cabinet Mountains mine

Missoulian | Rob Chaney

June 17, 2015
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After failing to win stronger protections for threatened bull trout and grizzly bears in the Cabinet Mountains, a coalition of environmental groups has sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to block a proposed mine there.

Save Our Cabinets, Earthworks and Defenders of Wildlife filed their challenge in U.S. District Court in Missoula on Wednesday.

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Tagged with: mining, montana, grizzlies, montanore, cabinet mountains wilderness


Montana takes action on mine waste after B.C. dam failure

Vancouver Sun | Gordon Hoekstra

June 7, 2015
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The pollution caused by last summer’s dam failure at the Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley and the recommendations from an expert panel this January are having effects in the United States.

Six weeks ago, Montana changed its laws in response to the B.C. mine disaster, entrenching in statutes design standards for mine waste-storage facilities, qualifications for engineers and requirements for independent review panels.

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Tagged with: mining, mining waste, canada, tailings dam, mt polley


Fracking Study Undercuts Environmentalists’ Calls for Regulation

Bloomberg | Mark DrajemJim Snyder

June 5, 2015
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It was always a longshot that the Obama administration or Congress would crack down on the golden goose of hydraulic fracturing.

The chances shrunk further Thursday with the release of a landmark U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study that found the drilling method had no widespread impact on drinking water.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, regulation, water pollution


EPA: No widespread harm to drinking water from fracking

AP | Matthew Daly

June 4, 2015
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Hydraulic fracturing to drill for oil and natural gas has not caused widespread harm to drinking water in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday in a report that also warned of potential contamination of water supplies if safeguards are not maintained.

A draft study issued by the agency found specific instances where poorly constructed drilling wells or improper wastewater management affected drinking water, but said the number of cases was small compared to the large number of wells that use hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, regulation, water pollution


EPA: Fracking has no broad impact on drinking water

USA Today | Melanie Eversley

June 4, 2015
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A controversial method for extracting oil and gas resources from the environment does not have a broad impact on drinking water, according to a report released Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency.

But the EPA's nearly 1,000-page report on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, did also conclude that there is a potential for some pollution on a local scale. Congress commissioned the study in 2010. The report is based on a four-year study.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, regulation, water pollution


EPA Study of Fracking Finds ‘No Widespread, Systemic’ Pollution

Bloomberg | Mark Drajem and Jim Snyder

June 4, 2015
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Hydraulic fracturing has contaminated some drinking water sources but the damage is not widespread, according to a landmark U.S. study of water pollution risks that has supporters of the drilling method declaring victory and foes saying it revealed reason for concern

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, regulation, water pollution


The true price of gold

Al Jazeera America | Laura LeBlanc

June 4, 2015
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Lately, I seem to be getting the same message from a variety of different stories I’m pursuing.  That message is about the disconnectedness of the consumer – that everyday, we buy, use, consume and throw away things without any idea of the true cost, beyond the money we actually shelled out. Were the workers who picked these strawberries exposed to dangerous pesticides? Did the wood in my bedside come from a forest that was clear cut, destroying the habitat of untold creatures? Could the light I just switched on in the kitchen be contributing to asthma rates among children in a neighborhood next to a coal fired power plant?

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Tagged with: mining, no dirty gold, gold mining, peru


Breaking: No Action Taken on a Proposal to Repeal Denton, Texas Fracking Ban

DeSmogBlog | Julie Dermansky

June 3, 2015
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Denton's city council decided not to vote on a repeal of the city's fracking ban, after almost six hours of discussion on the topic at a public meeting last night. 

The vote to repeal the ban was called for shortly after Texas Governor Greg Abbott singed HB40 into law, making Denton’s fracking ban illegal. 

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Tagged with: fracking, ban, denton, hb40


HB40 Switcheroo

Ft. Worth Weekly | Peter Gorman

May 27, 2015
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On Monday, May 18, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a bill that eliminates many local restrictions on gas drilling and fracking in the state. Called the Denton Fracking Law by many of its critics, HB40 says that if an ordinance is not “commercially reasonable” –– defined as “a condition that would allow a reasonably prudent operator to fully, effectively, and economically exploit, develop, produce, process, and transport oil and gas” –– then it can be overridden by oil and gas companies. Authored primarily by Texas House Representative Drew Darby from San Angelo, the law preempts local gas ordinances by giving exclusive jurisdiction to the state to regulate oil and gas operations. Specifically, the law makes the Texas Railroad Commission the arbiter when questions of whether or not an ordinance is commercially reasonable for drillers arise.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, local control, hb40


Texas ban on fracking bans criticized

UPI | Daniel J. Graeber

May 20, 2015
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AUSTIN, Texas, May 19 (UPI) -- The governor of Texas has seized control of the energy narrative in the state by passing a ban on local measures against fracking, advocacy groups said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that prevents city-level ordinances against hydraulic fracturing. Abbott said the bill does a "profound job" of protecting property owners from the "heavy hand" of local regulation.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, hb40


New Texas Law Makes Local Fracking Bans Illegal

NPR | Wayne Goodwin

May 20, 2015
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Texas is home of the American energy industry. It is also the home of local efforts to stop fracking. Denton, outside Dallas, became the first Texas city to ban hydraulic fracturing. Other cities have restricted that method of fossil fuel extraction. And now the state has struck back. A new state law largely strips cities and towns of the power to impose limits. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said it was necessary to protect the oil and gas industry from, quote, "the heavy hand of local regulation." Here's NPR's Wade Goodwyn.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, denton, hb40


Energy rich US states move to quash local limits on drilling

AP | Emily Schmall and Will Weissert

May 5, 2015
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MANSFIELD, Texas (AP) — Lawmakers in Texas and energy producing states across the nation are rushing to stop local communities from imposing limits on oil and gas drilling despite growing public concern about the health and environmental toll of such activities in urban areas.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, local control, hb40


Earth Day Texas has sharper edges this year

Dallas Morning News | Randy Lee Loftis

April 23, 2015
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This weekend’s Earth Day Texas festival, like its predecessors, includes lots of things for kids to do and adults to learn. And lots of corporations will be promoting their own environmental performance.

But there are also new twists on the free-admission activities at Fair Park, which start Friday. They include an enhanced look at earth science, including climate change and oceans, with presentations by federal research agencies and others.

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Tagged with: texas, earth day


150,000 Stand With Peruvian Woman in Fight Against World’s Largest Gold Mine

EcoWatch | Erik Hoffner

April 23, 2015
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Community activists from Cajamarca, Peru appeared at the annual shareholders’ meeting of Denver-based Newmont Mining Corporation this week to deliver a petition bearing 150,000 signatures protesting the company’s practices in the region, and demanded that it live up to its own goals for human rights and sustainability.

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Tagged with: mining, international, newmont, peru, conga, agm, maxima acuna de chaupe, maxima


Small north Texas quakes likely linked to oil, gas operations - study

Reuters | Marice Richter

April 21, 2015
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A series of earthquakes that rattled a small community northwest of Fort Worth, Texas, more than a year ago were linked to oil and gas operations, according to a scientific study released Tuesday.

The study published in the science journal Nature Communications concluded that the 27 earthquakes that occurred in Azle, Texas, were the result of high-pressure injection of drilling wastewater injected into the ground and other industry activity.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, earthquakes, frackquakes


State records miss half the waste pumped into injection wells

Johnstown Tribune Democrat | John Finnerty

April 15, 2015
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HARRISBURG – State environmental officials didn’t account for half of the waste pumped into injection disposal wells last year, a comparison with federal data shows.

The state’s injection wells took 330,000 barrels of waste left over after natural gas drilling last year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That’s about six truckloads a day.

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Tagged with: fracking, waste


Fracking Waste Puts Public at Risk, Study Says

InsideClimate | David Hasemyer

April 15, 2015
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Weakness in state regulations governing hazardous oil-and-gas waste have allowed the leftovers to be disposed of with little regard to the dangers they pose to human health and the environment, according to a recent study by the environmental organization Earthworks.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, waste, rcra, hazardous waste


The oil and gas industry helped develop a camera that can show you things they insist aren’t there.

Upworthy | Alisha Huber

April 9, 2015
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The gas industry helped to develop a magic camera to find leaks in their pipelines.

It makes invisible Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) visible.

Some concerned citizens in Colorado got one of these cameras.

They pointed it at a fracking operation that was right near a high school.

This is what they saw:

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Tagged with: fracking, air pollution, citizens empowerment project, cep


Regulators outpaced by gas industry waste, report says

State ImpactPA | Jon Hurdle

April 3, 2015
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Pennsylvania’s environmental regulators are failing to keep pace with a growing volume of liquid and solid waste generated by the natural gas industry, and are allowing risky practices like open-air waste storage to continue, according to a study issued on Thursday.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, waste, hazardous waste


Committee defeats bill tackling long-term mine pollution

Great Falls Tribune | Karl Puckett

March 25, 2015
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Lawmakers defeated a bill Wednesday that would have given authority to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to deny permits for metal mines if it was shown that the mines would require long-term treatment of polluted water after they closed.

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Tagged with: mining, montana, pollution, copper, smith river


Bad Romance

Fort Worth Weekly

March 25, 2015
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The oil and gas folks talk a big game about havingbromances. They promise big royalty checks to communities and in return give money to libraries, parks, schools, and cultural events. It’s so sweet! They attend town hall meetings and say the right things. You just want to pick them up in your arms and nibble their cheeks.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, railroad commission, local control, home rule


Convergence of Local Control and Fracking Lights Up the Lege

Texas Observer | Priscila Mosqueda

March 24, 2015
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Even before voters in Denton passed a measure that made their city the first in the state to ban fracking, state lawmakers were talking about filing legislation to block the ban. On Monday, more than four months after the Denton vote, a House committee discussed two bills that would derail local efforts to curb fracking. House Bill 40 would generally block cities from regulating oil and gas activity, and House Bill 539 would make cities and municipalities that do ban fracking pay for it—literally.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, denton, local control


Interior Releases First Federal Fracking Rule, Requires Chemical Disclosure, Safeguards

BNA | Tripp Baltz

March 23, 2015
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March 20 — The Interior Department released a final hydraulic fracturing rule designed to require the oil and gas industry to engage in “safe, responsible drilling” on federal and tribal lands.

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Tagged with: fracking, regulation, blm


The Texas Legislature Wants to Charge Towns That Ban Fracking

Vice News | Meredith Hoffman

March 23, 2015
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Fumes that smelled like "a skunk dissolved in acetone" and vibrating noise "like a constant bass" penetrated Maile Bush's Texas home for months after a fracking company started drilling across the street in 2013. About 250 fracking wells popped up in Bush's quaint town of Denton over the course of a few years — in subdivisions, near parks, and by schools.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, legislature, denton


The Texas Legislature Wants to Charge Towns That Ban Fracking

Vice News | Meredith Hoffman

March 23, 2015
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Fumes that smelled like "a skunk dissolved in acetone" and vibrating noise "like a constant bass" penetrated Maile Bush's Texas home for months after a fracking company started drilling across the street in 2013. About 250 fracking wells popped up in Bush's quaint town of Denton over the course of a few years — in subdivisions, near parks, and by schools.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, legislature, denton


Obama administration releases first major rules on fracking

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Stephanie Ritenbaugh

March 20, 2015
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The Obama administration on Friday released the first major regulations on hydraulic fracturing, the drilling technique that has allowed the United States to rival the Middle East and Russia in oil and gas production but has also stirred controversy over its environmental and health impact.

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Tagged with: fracking, regulation, blm, pollution, methane


New Federal Fracking Rules Draw Swift Response

InsideClimate News | Lisa Song

March 20, 2015
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The Interior Department released long-awaited rules today for oil and gas wells on federal and tribal lands. Four years in the making, the regulations take aim at the environmental risks of hydraulic fracturing, an extraction technique used on 90 percent of the nation's wells.

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Tagged with: fracking, regulation, congress, frack pack


Oil industry says new rule will lower use of freshwater

New Mexican | Staci Matlock

March 18, 2015
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A new rule approved by the state Oil Conservation Commission will allow oil and gas producers to reuse water produced during drilling.

Industry officials say the rule, which allows companies to store drilling water in open pits, will lead to a reduction in the use of fresh water for drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

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Tagged with: oil and gas, water pollution, new mexico, water, water usage


Petitions seek more protection for trout, grizzlies near Rock Creek Mine

Missoulian | Rob Chaney

March 17, 2015
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Opponents of the proposed Rock Creek Mine near Noxon have filed petitions for new protections of bull trout and grizzly bears they believe will be threatened if the mine opens.

Earthjustice associate attorney Katherine O’Brien said new information from the nearby Montanore mine environmental impact statement showed the Revett Minerals Inc. Rock Creek project could do serious damage to the Bull River and Rock Creek. Those two waterways are essential spawning areas for bull trout, which is protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

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Tagged with: mining, montana, rock creek mine


Fault Lines

Fort Worth Weekly | Peter Gorman

March 11, 2015
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The first time Cathy Wallace felt an earthquake was last Dec. 15. She was sitting with her husband in their Irving home discussing retirement when “the whole house started swaying,” she said. She thought the house might collapse. It didn’t, and in a few minutes things calmed down — for a while.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, earthquakes


Colorado land impact of oil and gas boom: scars spread and stay

Denver Post | Bruce Finley and Joe Murphy

March 1, 2015
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Oil and gas companies have yet to fully restore land around half of the 47,505 inactive wells in Colorado, and 72 percent of those un-restored sites have been in the process for more than five years, The Denver Post has found.

The state requires oil and gas companies to restore all sites completely — to reduce erosion, loosen compacted soil, prevent dust storms and control invasions of noxious weeds.

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Tagged with: fracking, colorado, cogcc


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