Posted: 11/05/2012 10:17 am By Albert Appleton and Daniel Moss
EcoWatch 06-28-2012 New York regulators granted natural gas industry representatives exclusive access to shale gas drilling regulations as early as six weeks before they were made public, according to documents obtained by Environmental Working Group (EWG) through requests filed under the New York State Freedom of Information Law. In at least one instance, a representative of Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy Corp., one of the nation’s most powerful drilling companies, used this exclusive access to try to weaken rules restricting discharges of radioactive wastewater... click here to read the full story.
NPR, May 16, 2012 Jon Hamilton A proposed study of people in northern Pennsylvania could help resolve a national debate about whether the natural gas boom is making people sick. The study would look at detailed health histories on hundreds of thousands of people who live near the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation in which energy companies have already drilled about 5,000 natural gas wells. If the study goes forward, it would be the first large-scale, scientifically rigorous assessment of the health effects of gas production. Read More.....
New York Times, May 2, 2012 By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF Scientists are observing with increasing alarm that some very common hormone-mimicking chemicals can have grotesque effects. A widely used herbicide acts as a female hormone and feminizes male animals in the wild. Thus male frogs can have female organs, and some male fish actually produce eggs. In a Florida lake contaminated by these chemicals, male alligators have tiny penises. READ MORE.....
New York Times, April 26, 2012 By Clifford Krauss There is a growing chorus of criticism about the risk-taking management style and compensation of Aubrey K. McClendon, Chesapeake Energy’s audacious chairman and chief executive. On Thursday Chesapeake announced that it was phasing out his contentious compensation plan that allowed him to borrow heavily, with loans currently of $846 million, to finance his participation in an unusual compensation plan that allowed him to invest alongside Chesapeake in every well that it drilled, sharing in both the profits and the expenses. READ MORE....
New York Times – April 18, 2012 U.S. Caps Emissions in Drilling for Fuel WASHINGTON — Oil and gas companies will have to capture toxic and climate-altering gases from wells, storage sites and pipelines under new air quality standards issued on Wednesday by the Environmental Protection Agency. The rule is the first federal effort to address serious air pollution associated with the natural gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which releases toxic and cancer-causing chemicals like benzene and hexane, as well as methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. The standards were proposed last summer in response to complaints from citizens and environmental groups that gases escaping from the 13,000 wells drilled each year by fracking were causing health problems and widespread air pollution….
Texas Drought Cost $2 Billion More than Previously Thought March 21, 2012, Huffington Post HOUSTON -- Agriculture officials say losses from Texas' historic drought are more than $2 billion more than previously thought. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service now estimates crop and livestock losses at $7.62 billion for 2011. The extension service's preliminary estimate of $5.2 billion in August already topped the previous record of $4.1 billion in 2006. Extension service spokesman Blair Fannin gave The Associated Press the data on losses Wednesday before it was publicly released. Texas has a long history of drought. Since 1998, it has cost the state's agriculture industry more than $14 billion. 2011 was the driest year in state history.
In a March 18, 2012 New York Times article, “Mortgages for Drilling Properties May Face Hurdles”, Ian Urbina reported that the Department of Agriculture is considering requiring an extensive environmental review before issuing mortgages to people who have leased their land for oil and gas drilling. This proposal by the Agriculture Department reflects a growing concern that lending to owners of properties with drilling leases might violate the National Environmental Policy Act, known as NEPA, which requires environmental reviews before federal money is spent. For more about the problems homeowners may face when trying to get a mortgage on land with a gas lease, please see our “Mortgage Problems” section.
Low doses, big effects: Scientists seek 'fundamental changes' in testing, regulation of hormone-like chemicals March 15, 2012, Environmental Health News Maria Cone
Small doses of chemicals that are endocrine disruptors, which have been identified as being present in fracking fluid can have big health effects. That is a main finding of a new report, three years in the making, published on March 14, 2012 by a team of 12 scientists who study hormone-altering chemicals. Dozens of substances that can mimic or block hormones are found in the environment, the food supply and consumer products, including plastics, pesticides and cosmetics. One of the biggest controversies is whether the tiny doses that most people are exposed to are harmful. Researchers led by Tufts University’s Laura Vandenberg concluded after examining hundreds of studies that health effects “are remarkably common” when people or animals are exposed to low doses. "Fundamental changes in chemical testing are needed to protect human health," they wrote.
America’s Fossil Fuel Fever March 19, 2012, The Nation Michael T. Klare This article explains why our nation’s push to use unconventional methods such as hydraulic fracturing to get fossil fuels will actually make us more vulnerable in the long run because it will postpone the ineveitable transition to a postcarbon economy. It says, "sooner or later, the economic, environmental and climate consequences of intensive fossil fuel use will force everyone on the planet to abandon reliance on these fuels in favor of climate-friendly renewables. This is not a matter of if but of when. The longer we wait, the more costly and traumatic the transition will be, and the greater the likelihood that our economy will fall behind those of other countries that undertake the transition sooner. By extending our dependence on fossil fuels, therefore, the current oil and gas revival is not an advantage but, as Obama said in 2008, a threat to national security.”