Today’s essential reads
The Challenger Syndrome puts us in a box: we must prove something is unsafe, that it will damage human health or the environment, before we can stop it. For the Challenger crew, that was tragic. For us as a nation, it could be catastrophic.
The expansion of West Virginia’s natural gas industry could open up new battlefronts in the courtroom over the protection of property rights, health and the environment.
I’ve recently written about the moratorium the South African government has imposed on hydraulic fracturing, the polluting and water-intense method to extract natural gas from underground layers of shale rock also referred to as fracking. While I was cautiously optimistic about this development, I also mentioned that the companies involved are unlikely to simply take it lying down.
The Wales Town Board on May 10 voted 4-0, with one councilman abstaining, to adopt a six-month moratorium on the exploration and drilling of natural gas in town through a controversial process known as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. “Hydrofracking” or “fracking,” as it is sometimes called, allow drillers to burrow deep into the earth’s bedrock and then drill horizontally and parallel to the surface, enabling them to inject water, sand and chemicals into the well, forcing the rock sediment to fracture. That, in turn, frees the natural gas, allowing it to rise to the surface through improved technological methods and then to be harvested by energy companies for residential, commercial and industrial use.
BP OIL SPILL:
“Where has all the oil gone?” asked the U.S. Government, 103 days into the spill. The BP oil spill was the second largest accidental release of oil into marine waters, which since the initial explosion on April 20, 2010, took an incredible 87 days to stop.
Since they pay so little in taxes and get billions in taxpayer subsidies, oil and gas companies have unlimited resources at their disposal to run annoying, misleading ads on TV brainwashing dull couch potatoes about their awesomeness. I immediately change the channel when any of them come on. The video above is a very different kind of clip– and not one you’re likely to see on American television.
The BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico was, unfortunately, far from being an isolated incident. Chevron in Ecuador, Shell in Nigeria, Exxon in Alaska – name me a fossil fuel company and I’ll name you an environmental disaster. And they are all responsible for, and complicit in covering up, climate change.
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JAPAN NUCLEAR CRISIS:
Nuclear fuel rods in two more reactors at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan are believed to have melted during the first week of the nuclear crisis, the owner of the facility said Tuesday.
The threat of a catastrophic release of radioactive materials from a spent fuel pool at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant is dwarfed by the risk posed by such pools in the United States, which are typically filled with far more radioactive material, according to a study released on Tuesday by a nonprofit institute.