Yesterday, the EPA announced that it will put in place guidance to regulate the use of diesel fuel when used in hydraulic fracturing. EPA has already stated that oil and gas companies must get a Safe Drinking Water Act permit if they wish to use diesel fuel when fracking, though the industry has filed a lawsuit around this issue.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson made this announcement at the 2011 U.S. Energy Information Administration conference. Hopefully, this move will clarify the legal issues surrounding the injection of diesel fuel, and will help protect water resources in the 34 states where oil and gas is produced.
Because of a Congressional investigation into the use of diesel fuel used during fracking, we know that companies injected 32 million gallons of diesel fuel between 2005 and 2009 without securing Safe Drinking Water Act permits from the EPA.
I hope that this will be the first of many steps that the EPA will take to regulate oil and gas production.
In March, Governor Corbett established the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission to study the economic, social, and environmental issues related to natural gas development in the state.
Given what s at stake, this is a great idea. But there s a big hitch. Actually, two:
- The Commission is stacked with drilling companies and Corbett s campaign contributors; and
- Corbett has repeatedly stated that jobs are his top priority when it comes to drilling, over all other considerations.
As a Pennsylvania resident, you know that many communities are already feeling the impacts of under-regulated industrial drilling on their water, health, and quality of life. Yet the Governor s commission doesn t include public health experts, impacted residents, or citizen-based environmental organizations.
What to do?
Lashonda at GreenDC Day sporting a No Dirty Gold t-shirt.
Despite a looming threat of thunderstorms, GreenDC Day took place on Freedom Plaza beneath a nearly cloudless sky and abundant sunshine.
Held on April 20, 2011, GreenDC Day was an Earth Day celebration sponsored by the District Department of Environment. EARTHWORKS attended this event, accompanied by many other green vendors, to educate the public about green living and of course to collect old cell phones to recycle!
I was approached by a myriad of folks, many of whom were clad in the ubiquitous Earth Day shade of green and all of whom were not only interested in our mission but also shared passion about EARTHWORKS campaigns.
More often than not, when I asked people if they had old cell phones they would like to recycle, they responded emphatically.
"Why yes! And I just don t know what to do with them!"
Yesterday was Newmont Mining Corporation s annual general meeting, held in Delaware.
Mass protest in 2004, the last time Newmont proposed expanding its Yanacocha mine into Cerro Quilish. Credit: GRUFIDES
In the weeks leading up to the AGM, reports started to trickle in about the world s second largest gold mining company s activities around Cerro Quilish, a mountain in northern Peru that is of spiritual significance and a water source for thousands of residents in and around Cajamarca.
This news was a turnaround from Newmont s decision to back off from its proposal to mine Cerro Quilish, following weeks of protest by the region s residents in Fall 2004, which temporarily shut down Newmont s operations at the Yanacocha mine near Cajamarca.
In the years since then, Newmont has taken steps that suggest it is trying to improve on this checkered track record with communities:
On May 4th, a comment period ends on a long-fought battle to protect the delicate ecosystem outside the Grand Canyon from uranium mining.
The Grand Canyon, the crown jewel of our National Park system, has been increasingly threatened by mineral development in recent years. Most, if not all, of these claims are for uranium. The Grand Canyon is threatened because uranium mining, like other metals on public lands, is governed by the antiquated 1872 Mining Law -- a law which has no environmental standards; a law which makes mining a priority over all other uses of public lands.
In 2009, over 100,000 public comments caused the Department of Interior to create a two-year moratorium on mining around the Grand Canyon -- a moratorium that is about to end. The Obama administration is poised to issue a decision that will determine whether or not the sensitive ecosystems around the Grand Canyon will be protected for another 20 years.
Our goal is to collect 250,000 comments in support of protecting 1 million acres around the Grand Canyon from mining, and I urge you to take action to help us reach our goal.
Denton Record Chronicle - Group calls for water oversight: new report criticizes gas drilling practices
CBS Dallas-Fort Worth - Report: Texas Not Protecting Residents From Gas Drilling Dangers
Houston Chronicle's FuelFix - Report: Texas nat gas regulators fall down on job
Fort Worth Star Telegram - Texas Oil & Gas Accountability Project seeks more drilling oversight
Dallas Informer - Report: Texas Not Protect Residents From Gas Drilling Dangers
UPDATE: news coverage
Texas has long been the capital of the U.S. oil and and gas industry. But the U.S. natural gas boom has brought a new wave of drilling activity to the state, with thousands of drilling rigs and production facilities puncturing the landscape of the region around Fort Worth, known as the Barnett Shale. The new boom and the state s industry-friendly regulatory system mean that Texas is failing to protect residents from the hazards of gas drilling and production.
That s what the Texas Oil & Gas Accountability says in a new report, Flowback: How the Texas Natural Gas Boom Affects Health and Safety. The report, available online at bit.ly/TXOGAP-flowback, finds that authorities either lack the resources to deal with the air pollution, water contamination and other problems that accompany natural gas production; are limited in their response by inadequate laws and regulations; or continue in the long Texas tradition of favoring the oil and gas industry at the expense of citizens.
Yesterday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on the environmental and health effects of natural gas drilling. As with most hearings on Capitol Hill, each side had it s own view on the impacts of natural gas and how best to mitigate those impacts.
The fact that some still deny the potentially destructive impacts of this industry is still shocking to me. One only has to visit a gasland community to see the very real effects.
I was heartened by two of the statements made by Bob Perciasepe, the Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
First, he firmly stated that companies that use diesel fuel for hydraulic fracturing without a Safe Drinking Water Act permit are breaking the law.
Second, when asked about new data around greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas, he said that the forthcoming report by Cornell researchers is an important piece of information that we need to bring into the discussion.