Today’s Essential Reads
Last spring, President Obama asked Energy Secretary Steven Chu to assemble an advisory board to review the practice of hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as “fracking,” which is used to extract natural gas buried deep underground. Rather than critically evaluate the dangers of fracking, however, the panel sought to appease an angry public with scant suggestions about how to make extraction as safe as possible.
Last week, environmental watchdog groups including the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), Riverkeeper, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and the Columbia Environmental Law Clinic filed a lawsuit against the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) and the Army Corps of Engineers. The suit argues that the DRBC and Army Corps are violating the National Environmental Policy Act by proposing gas drilling regulations in the Delaware Basin and not conducting a full environmental review.
The Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG) has invoked the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to obtain information about government’s fracking task team and its report to Cabinet.
Texas is arguably one of the largest beneficiaries of the relatively new practice of fracking in natural gas drilling. It is largely responsible for a boom in the natural gas and oil industries. It is also a major contributing factor in the huge decline in electricity rates in Texas. Much of Texas electricity is generated from natural gas. For Texans, fracking has lead to cheap natural gas and cheap natural gas has lead to cheap electricity.
Don’t frack our neighborhood. That was the message more than 150 River West and Ridge West subdivision residents sent to Ranchers Exploration during a town hall-style meeting Monday night after the Greeley oil company sent each homeowner a lease to sign that would allow it to drill for oil 200 feet from the homes.
BP OIL SPILL:
More than a year after the largest oil spill in U.S. history, researchers studying the Gulf of Mexico are finding that more fish are sick, and they’re trying to figure out exactly why.
If you heard that statement once last summer, you heard it a thousand times as BP’s runaway well pumped 200 million gallons of poison into the richest fishery in the lower 48 states. It was always offered by someone working in the oil industry as a response to those demanding tighter regulations and oversight of drilling in our public waters.
Before President Obama appointed him to administer the $20 billion compensation fund for the 2010 BP oil disaster, Kenneth Feinberg ran two other disaster-related funds. One was for Vietnam veterans sickened by exposure to the toxic herbicide Agent Orange. The other was for victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, including those made ill by pollution from the collapse and burning of the Twin Towers.
The bottlenose dolphin known as “Y-18” lay quietly on a gray cushion mat on the floor of the RV Megamouth as a team of scientists raced through a series of tests aimed at determining whether chemicals associated with the oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill have affected its health.
The Japanese cabinet decided this week to transfer the country’s nuclear safety agency from the trade ministry, where it nestled in a department also dedicated to the expansion of nuclear power, to the environment ministry, where, at least in theory, there is some chance that its operations will not be subverted or manipulated by Japanese energy firms. After nearly half a century of producing nuclear power, Japan has finally separated regulation from promotion, but the move may well have come too late to restore public trust.