While the natural gas industry maintains that stronger regulations aren't needed, its track record continues to prove otherwise.
Yesterday, the House Natural Resources Committee held the second of two hearings on Chairman Nick Rahall's bill H.R. 3534, the "Consolidated Land, Energy and Aquatic Resources Act", which contains a number of modest reforms to the federal government's oil and gas programs.
The oil and gas industry, all too predictably, can be expected to fire back that any reform directed at their business is unnecessary, prohibitively costly to this multi-billion dollar industry, and could severely limit our nation's gas supplies.
A recent U.S. Geological Survey revealed pervasive mercury contamination in nearly 300 streams nationwide. While national attention has focused primarily on establishing mercury pollution limits for coal-fired power plants, another major source of mercury pollution to our Western waters has been largely overlooked: gold mining.
As I blogged earlier, Richard Bass, owner of the world-famous Snowbird ski resort, is bankrolling a coal strip mine proposal in the watershed of Alaska's Chuitna River. It would be Alaska's biggest coal mine. The mine could destroy, beyond hope of recovery, one of Alaska s most productive salmon fisheries, damage the watershed, and threaten the livelihoods of local fishermen.