Note: While these newly proposed rules allow the fracking industry to essentially regulate itself, McFeeley’s analysis falls short at the end. While we certainly “deserve better than rules that risk our most treasured places, our environment, and our health,” the health of land and communities won’t be protected without an outright ban on fracking. No regulations will ever make a process that blasts a highly toxic chemical cocktail thousands of feet below the surface of the earth, despoiling millions of gallons of water along the way.
-The GJEP Team
By Matt McFeeley, May 16, 2013. Source: Switchboard
This afternoon, the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released new proposed rules to govern fracking on publicly owned lands managed by the federal government. This includes wild places like National Forests and National Wildlife Refuges. But it also includes places that supply drinking water to millions of Americans – from larger municipal supplies like that of Washington, D.C., to private water wells (in cases where the federal government owns rights to the minerals below the surface of a homeowners’ property).
The new proposed rules are a significant step backwards even from the weak proposal the Administration released in May of 2012, and, if enacted, will allow fracking to continue to pose unacceptable risks to the environment and public health.
The new proposal is weaker than the previous proposal in a number of ways:
May 16 2013. Source: Market Wired
Gitga’at First Nation reminds Enbridge that Northern Gateway pipeline and oil tanker project is not welcome in Gitga’at territory
HARTLEY BAY, BRITISH COLUMBIA - The Gitga’at First Nation has instructed Enbridge to leave its territory after the company and a team of oil spill response surveyors showed-up uninvited, during the nation’s annual food harvesting camp, a time of rich cultural activity and knowledge sharing.
Enbridge representatives were instructed to leave Gitga’at council chambers and Gitga’at territory, Wednesday morning, after councillors voiced their displeasure at not being consulted on an Enbridge oil spill response survey.
The dust-up comes on the eve of final oral arguments before the Joint Review Panel, which is reviewing the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.
“Despite an ongoing review process, Enbridge has entered our territory and begun project work before their proposed oil tanker and pipeline project has even been approved,” said Arnold Clifton, Chief Councillor of the Gitga’at First Nation. “This is disrespectful to the Gitga’at First Nation, the review process, and the people of British Columbia, who oppose oil tankers in our coastal waters.” Continue reading
By Emilio Godoy, May 13 2013. Source: Inter Press Service
Sea turtles are among the larger animal species whose reproduction was hurt by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Credit: Mauricio Ramos/IPS
MEXICO CITY – A group of Mexican citizens are preparing the first civil lawsuit in the Mexican courts against British oil company BP for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The plaintiffs are bringing the class action lawsuit under a 2011 reform of the Mexican constitution that allows a large number of people with a common interest in a matter to sue as a group.
The civil lawsuit encompasses “damages to people living in the area or who own residential and commercial property along the coast, and people indirectly affected” by the spill, lawyer Óscar Preciado, with the law firm Rincón Mayorga Román Illanes Soto y Compañía, told IPS.
“Without a doubt, this will set an important precedent. Class action lawsuits have been brought, but in questions relating to consumer, rather than environmental, rights,” said the lawyer, whose firm is representing the plaintiffs. Continue reading
By Crysbel Tejada and Betsy Catlin, May 8 2013. Source: Waging Nonviolence
From left: Casey, Dwain & Carter Camp at the opening ceremony of the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance Action Camp, near Ponca City, Okla. Photo: Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance/Girard Oz
On cloudy days, heavy smoke fills the air of Ponca City, Okla., with grey smog that camouflages itself into the sky. The ConocoPhillips oil refinery that makes its home there uses overcast days as a disguise to release more toxins into the air. These toxins are brimming with benzene — a chemical that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, can cause leukemia, anemia and even decrease the size of women’s ovaries. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2008 the ConocoPhillips refinery released over 2,000 pounds of this chemical into the air in Ponca City.
“Of the maybe 800 of us that live locally, we have averaged over the last five to seven years maybe one funeral a week,” explained Casey Camp-Horinek, a Ponca woman and longtime activist. “Where we used to have dances every week, now most people are in mourning.”
The refinery is located only 1,000 yards behind Standing Bear Park, which is named after the Ponca chief who, in 1877, led his people on their Trail of Tears, from the Ponca homelands in northern Nebraska to present day Oklahoma. But the park is more than a memorial to the distant past. In 1992, the oil giant’s tank farm spilled and contaminated ground water in a nearby predominantly Ponca neighborhood. As a result, ConocoPhillips agreed to purchase the contaminated land and tear down the 200 homes that were on it. In its place, the company built Standing Bear Park — a bitter testament to the Ponca people’s history of forced relocation and genocide. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Indigenous Peoples, Oil, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Tar Sands
By Scott Learn, May 8, 2013. Source: The Oregonian
A coal mine in Wyoming’s section of the Powder River Basin. Photo: Scott Learn, The Oregonian
Terminal developer Kinder Morgan on Wednesday dropped its proposal to export coal to Asia from a Columbia River port near Clatskanie.
The company’s decision means three of the six coal export terminals originally proposed in Oregon and Washington have gone by the wayside. It also significantly reduces the potential for coal train traffic through Portland.
Together, the three abandoned projects represent up to $550 million in investment, 305 permanent jobs — and nearly 50 million tons of Montana and Wyoming coal destined for Asian ports.
Kinder Morgan spokesman Allen Fore blamed site logistics for stopping the project, not the intense controversy over exporting coal from the green Northwest. Continue reading
By Sue Sturgis, May 5 2013. Source: Facing South
Cliffside coal plant in Cliffside, North Carolina. (Photo: Rainforest Action Network)
Clean energy opponents turned to dirty tactics this week at the North Carolina legislature to advance a bill repealing the state’s groundbreaking renewable power program.
In a contested vote that led to an outcry from Democrats, the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday advanced a measure to roll back the 2007 state lawrequiring electric utilities to generate a modest amount of energy from renewable sources including solar, wind, and livestock methane — 12.5 percent of total retail sales by 2021 and thereafter.
The vote brought back to life a bill that appeared near death in the House last week, when the Public Utilities Committeerejected companion legislation sponsored by its own chair, Republican Rep. Mike Hager of Rutherford County, in a bipartisan vote of 18-13.
Though Hager said he would keep bringing up his bill for re-votes in his committee, he didn’t this week, leading observers to assume he still doesn’t have support for passage. But the Senate version of the legislation, SB 365, was taken up later that day in the Finance Committee, whose members include Republican Sen. Andrew Brock of a Mocksville, a political consultant who is the bill’s sole sponsor. Continue reading
May 3, 2013. Source: Intercontinental Cry
Photo: Amazon Watch
Altamira, Brazil – Some 200 indigenous people affected by the construction of large hydroelectric dams in the Amazon launched an occupation today on one of the main construction sites of the Belo Monte dam complex on the Xingu River in the Brazilian Amazon. The group demands that the Brazilian government adopt effective legislation on prior consultations with indigenous peoples regarding projects that affect their lands and livelihoods. As this has not happened, they are demanding the immediate suspension of construction, technical studies and police operations related to dams along the Xingu, Tapajos and Teles Pires rivers. Shock troops of the military police were awaiting indigenous protestors when they arrived at the Belo Monte dam site, but they were unable to impede the occupation.
The indigenous protestors include members of the Juruna, Kayapó, Xipaya, Kuruaya, Asurini, Parakanã, Arara tribes from the Xingu River, as well as warriors of the Munduruku, a large tribe from the neighboring Tapajós river basin. The indigenous peoples are joined by fishermen and local riverine communities from the Xingu region. Initial reports indicate that approximately 6,000 workers at one of the main Belo Monte construction sites, Pimental, have ceased operations as a result of the protest. The occupation, according to the indigenous communities, will continue indefinitely or until the federal government meets their demands. Continue reading
By Rebecca Bowe, May 1 2013. Source: San Francisco Bay Guardian
Three bills seeking to impose moratoriums on fracking in California won approval at the California Assembly Natural Resources Committee in Sacramento on April 29, an important milestone for environmentalists who ultimately plan to push for a permanent ban on the practice.
Assembly Bill 1301, introduced by Assembly Member Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), is backed by a host of statewide environmental organizations including the Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch, and Clean Water Action. That bill and AB 1323, similar legislation sponsored by Holly Mitchell of Culver City, seek to halt the controversial oil-and-gas extraction method in California until possible health and environmental impacts have been adequately reviewed.
“It’s an important step,” notes Adam Scow, California campaigns director for Food & Water Watch in San Francisco. “In theory, the quickest timeline the bill could pass is [sometime] this year.” He added, “Gov. Jerry Brown has the power to issue a moratorium now,” but “Brown is repeating industry talking points that fracking can be done safely.”
A third bill, AB 649, would create moratoriums on fracking only nearby sensitive sites such as aquifers or agricultural lands, but that proposal received less support from fracking opponents who believe it should be subjected to a blanket moratorium and ultimately banned. All three bills won approval from the Natural Resources Committee, and are now headed for the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Continue reading
Note: Jeff Conant is a good friend and former Communications Director for Global Justice Ecology Project.
-The GJEP Team
Jeff Conant, International Forests Campaigner for Friends of the Earth, discusses the dangers of including REDD forest offsets in California’s Global Warming Solutions Act. Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute each Tuesday and a weekly Earth Watch interview each Thursday.
Filed under Carbon Trading, Chiapas, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Pollution, REDD, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
May 1 2013. Source: Associated Press
Photo: AP Photo
ALBANY, N.Y. — Months ago, the Cuomo administration promised a decision within weeks on whether to allow hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.
Now, one of the key officials says there’s “no timetable” for a decision.
“It’s kind of like shooting at a moving target,” said Dr. Nirav Shah, the state health commissioner.
He said he had recently met with officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Marcellus Institute, which is based in Pennsylvania where hydrofracking is well underway. The institute aggregates mainstream and trade news and “is committed to providing unfiltered information and analysis organized for business examination and decision support,” according to its website. Continue reading