Washington, D.C. -- "Earthworks salutes Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) for introducing the FRESHER act today, legislation that would help protect public health by closing loopholes in federal environmental oversight of the oil and gas industry.
If you really want to know the priorities our elected officials have, look how they spend money. Last week, Congress passed the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Bill to fund the Federal Government through September 30- the end of the fiscal year. Now, appropriators can fund the programs and agencies that help protect our communities and precious resources. A welcome improvement I think, since not too long ago, Congress shutdown the government and raised the specter of a debt default.
March 14th, Washington, D.C. -- "Earthworks salutes Representatives Jared Polis and Matt Cartwright for introducing the BREATHE and FRESHER acts today, legislation that would help protect public health by closing loopholes in federal environmental oversight of the oil and gas industry."
The Haile Mine near Kershaw, South Carolina first struck gold in 1827. Back then, the Carolinas lead the nation in gold mining until California’s 1849 Gold Rush drove our Manifest Destiny westward. Since then, most hardrock mining has occurred in the Mountain West where large tracts of public land allow mining companies to remove America’s precious metals for free under the 1872 mining law.
CORRECTION: An important part of this blog post is incorrect. One fracking company, Chesapeake Energy, has volunteered to take part in a prospective (before drilling/fracking and after) case study with EPA.
The AP ran a story yesterday titled EPA's Fracking Study May Dodge Water Contamination Frequency Issue. That title is misleading.
Because if EPA’s final draft doesn’t address the frequency of water contamination, it will be fracking companies -- not EPA -- that did the dodging.
Study of Hydraulic Fracturing and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources, is the first extensive federal scientific inquiry into the impacts of fracking. Earthworks applauds it.
As part of that study, EPA wants to test groundwater quality near an oil or gas well drill site, before drilling/fracking and after. It’s only common sense that a study of fracking’s impacts on water would involve testing whether fracking impacts water.
Federal loopholes still allow oil and gas industry to hide its hazardous chemicals from the national Toxics Release Inventory
Jan 6th, Washington, D.C. -- Yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency released its complete analysis of the most recent Toxics Release Inventory data. The analysis – of data publicly released in October 2011 – indicates that, as with every year since the metal mining industry was required to report in 1997, the metal mining industry is the nation's largest toxic polluter: 41% of all reported toxics in 2010, or 1.6 billion pounds.
But perhaps the most significant toxics releases are those not included – across metal mining and oil & gas production.
Earthworks Oil & Gas Accountability Project (OGAP) cheers the activists who spoke out yesterday challenging the STRONGER review of Colorado s hydraulic fracturing rules. Citizen engagement of all types will only improve the process.
STRONGER (State Review of Oil and Gas Environmental Regulations) was created by federal agencies to review and validate state regulations as a means to fill the void left by oil & gas industry-won loopholes in federal environmental law. It should not exist. For decades, we have worked to close the loopholes that created it. And, in the absence of strong federal oversight, we continue to work diligently at state and local levels to enact strong safeguards because federal regulations continue to fall short.
Earthworks participates Wilma Subra, our board member and Bruce Baizel, our senior staff attorney in STRONGER because we work through all available avenues to protect communities and the environment from the destructive impacts of mining, digging and drilling. STRONGER is an imperfect process in need of improvement. But it will exist with our participation or not. Without our presence, communities would have little or no voice at all.
Earthworks OGAP believes that hydraulic fracturing should only be permitted if it can be done safely. Whether that is possible remains an open question and will remain so as long as industry and its allies stonewall those who wish to answer it.
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