Today’s Essential Reads
Limited, minimally-regulated hydraulic fracturing could begin in New York State as early as 2013, according to a weekend report by Albany’s Times-Union. Select environmental groups are now being privately briefed on a plan set to be unveiled “in a couple of weeks.” The plan would permit 50 wells next year, doubling to 100 the next and draw the Legislature into the fractious debate over fracking.
The Cuomo administration appears to be close to taking a multi-billion-dollar gamble with New Yorkers’ drinking water, health and home values by moving ahead with shale gas drilling before Labor Day. This would be a mistake. The administration ought to take the time to conduct badly-needed research to answer critical questions such as: How close to water supplies can natural gas drilling be done safely, especially when industry studies show that well casings routinely leak? What risks does radon in natural gas pose to drilling workers and consumers? How can millions of gallons of toxic wastewater be safely disposed of?
Fracking may cause more earthquakes than initially thought, according to an article in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Fracking involves pumping a mixture of water, sand and other chemicals deep underground at high pressure to fracture rocks and access the resources trapped inside.
BP OIL SPILL:
Citing continued doubts about the effect of nearly 2 million gallons of chemical dispersants used during the 2010 BP oil spill, a coalition of environmental and public health groups filed suit Monday to force the Environmental Protect Agency to develop new standards for future use. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
In a simulated crisis staged by the federal government two weeks ago, it took a nonprofit response team just under five days to deploy and attach capping equipment to a wellhead 7,000 feet deep in the Gulf of Mexico.
One vocal environmental attorney who has been actively involved in the BP oil spill case has taken off the muzzle after officials closed down a four-mile section of highway near swampland that became sinkhole on Friday.
The oil that poured into the Gulf of Mexico from the BP well two years ago is only part of the pollution from that disaster; exploring the long-term effects of chemical dispersants is also critical.
On Monday, Tokyo Electric Power Co. for the first time released footage taken inside its command centers during last year’s devastating accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.