Today, the Senate is voting on amendments to the Keystone XL Pipeline Act. The bill itself, bill number S. 1, is a bad piece of legislation. It pushes the Keystone XL pipeline through – a pipeline that will harm our climate, threaten aquifers and harm nearby communities. Luckily, President Obama has already threatened to veto this ill-conceived bill.
Rather than accept unfavorable government decisions, such as a permit denial, some companies are suing countries under investment agreements that allow them to “seek international arbitration” in publicly inaccessible World Bank tribunals. Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources, which has the backing of US giant Newmont, is the latest mining company to resort to this tactic. Gabriel is threatening to sue the Romanian government if it does not get approval for its proposed Rosia Montana open-pit gold mine.
This week, the Maryland General Assembly (MGA) began its 435th legislative session.
The political dynamic has changed dramatically since last year. November’s election provided us with dozens of new delegates and senators, as well as a new Republican governor, Larry Hogan.
Yesterday, the Obama administration came out with its plans to regulate methane from oil and gas wells. These rules will be the first of their kind, and underscore two of the most important problems with fracking-enabled oil and gas production -- its impact on the climate and its impact on human health.
Oil and gas operations across the country are a major source of air pollution of all types. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), coupled with nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide (together known as NOx) and sunlight, produce ozone, which is hazardous to human health and can cause premature death. Exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas, found in many shale oil and gas formations, can cause difficulty in breathing and eye and throat irritation. High levels of exposure can be fatal.