TagPennsylvania

How fracking is turning America’s great rivers radioactive and spreading cancer risks to anyone exposed

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It sounds almost too impossible to believe: Radioactive, toxic waste — ounce for ounce, one of the most dangerous substances known to man — dumped into major sewage plants, screwing up the works and then flowing into some of America’s most scenic and important waterways, passing through highly populated areas. But that is exactly what is happening across the state of Pennsylvania...

Billionaire’s death exposes the hubris of the fracking industry

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Roughly a decade into the fracking boom in America, the unconventional drilling process has pretty much been exposed for all the world to see. To be sure, the advances in drilling technology that allowed Big Oil and Gas to tap the fossil fuels once trapped inside shale formations has helped to lower the cost of energy in America, and created some jobs (although never nearly as many as promised)...

Yet another health worry from fracking: Radon

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It seemed like we’d run out of new environmental and public health problems caused by the fracking boom. Since folks started paying attention to the surge in unconventional gas drilling across the United States, we’ve seen neighbors lighting their tap water on fire with a match, tainted well water, leaks and spills into once-pristine streams, foul-smelling air pollution, increasing...

When will fracking’s other shoe drop? Cancer

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The process of fracking is a relatively new one. In fact, sometimes I think we forget just how new it is. It was just mid-2000s that word spread among industry officials about a new technology to affordably free up oil and natural gas trapped in tiny pockets within shale formations — and Congress and the Bush administration enacted favorable energy legislation. In those early years...

Inside Big Oil’s sleazy secret spin machine

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There’s been a lot of talk in recent weeks about how Big Oil uses public relations, or PR, to achieve its political goals and try to steamroll its environmental opponents. One such episode played out recently in an unusually public fashion, as Politico, the website that’s popular with Beltway insiders, ran what amounted to a free ad for BP (not so coincidentally, one of its own...

How much more evidence do we need that fracking is harmful?

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They held a Democratic primary election in New York State this Tuesday, and an upstart candidate for governor with the unlikely name of Zephyr Teachout — who was outspent about 50-to-1 by the incumbent Andrew Cuomo — did surprisingly well given the obstacles. She got about 34 percent of the vote overall, but she actually defeated the powerful, well-known Cuomo in about 20 counties in...

Republican ex-Pa. health chief on fracking risks: “Don’t BS the public”

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The fracking health scandal in the state of Pennsylvania just keeps getting worse. It was just last month that I told you that former mid-level workers in the Pennsylvania state Health Department had admitted to a reporter that they started getting unusual directives on fracking not long after the state’s pro-Big-Oil Republican governor, Tom Corbett, took office in 2011. They received a...

Fracking doesn’t reduce global warming — it makes it worse

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So the original take on fracking for natural gas was that it was good for the environment, for one simple reason — natural gas is a cleaner fuel than what it normally replaces, particularly coal which is rich in carbon emissions. In other words, they told us that more fracking meant fewer greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. Even with a flood of disturbing reports that...

Other than toxic air, earthquakes and explosive oil, what’s so bad about fracking?

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There are reports that the federal government is thinking about allowing the export of American oil again. The U.S. used to be a large oil exporter, decades ago, but that stopped in 1973 as crude production on domestic soil reached a peak and an Arab oil embargo threatened our economy. But then came fracking, which has been a game changer for producing oil and natural gas, from Pennsylvania to...

Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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