By Seth Borenstein, June 30, 2014. Source: AP
Photo from AP
In Pennsylvania’s gas drilling boom, newer and unconventional wells leak far more often than older and traditional ones, according to a study of state inspection reports for 41,000 wells.
The results suggest that leaks of methane could be a problem for drilling across the nation, said study lead author Cornell University engineering professor Anthony Ingraffea, who heads an environmental activist group that helped pay for the study.
The research was criticized by the energy industry. Marcellus Shale Coalition spokesman Travis Windle said it reflects Ingraffea’s “clear pattern of playing fast and loose with the facts.” Continue reading
The shocking water crisis in Detroit: hundreds of thousands of people being denied access to water.
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Over the last decade, Detroit residents have seen water rates rise by 119 percent. Photo by Bigstock/IPS
By Marc Becker, June 17, 2014. Source: Upside Down World
With calls to return power to the bases and to mobilize the grassroots in defense of the rights of community access to water resources, Ecuador’s largest and most powerful Indigenous federation has inaugurated its leadership for the next three years.
At a two-day congress in Ambato on May 16-17, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) elected Jorge Herrera as its new president.
At the end of the organization’s Fifth Congress, Herrera said “we will strengthen the organizational bases of our nationalities in the Amazon, on the coast, and in the highlands.” He vowed to achieve the goals of a plurinational state through unifying the movement by building on the strength of local water boards and youth and women’s organizations.
Herrera was the candidate of Ecuarunari, the federation of Kichwa peoples of the Ecuadorian highlands. He is from the Wintza community in the parish of Toacazo in the central highland province of Cotopaxi. He was previously a leader of the Indigenous and Peasant Movement of Cotopaxi (MICC).
, June 19, 2014. Source: IPS
Over the last decade, Detroit residents have seen water rates rise by 119 percent. Photo by Bigstock/IPS
- When the United Nations reaches out to resolve a water or sanitation crisis, it is largely across urban slums and remote villages in Asia, Africa or Latin America and the Caribbean.
But a severe water crisis in the financially bankrupt city of Detroit in the U.S. state of Michigan has prompted several non-governmental organisations and activists to appeal for U.N. intervention in one of the world’s richest countries.
“This is unprecedented,” said Maude Barlow, founder of the Blue Planet Project, a group that advocates water as a human right.
“I visited the city and worked with the Detroit People’s Water Board several weeks ago and came away terribly upset,” she told IPS. Continue reading
By Sonali Paul and Gyles Beckford, June 15, 2014. Source: Reuters
Photo from http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/04fire/logs/hirez/champagne_vent_hirez.jpg
New Zealand decides this week whether to approve an underwater iron-ore operation that would likely become the world’s first commercial metals mine at the bottom of the sea.
A green light to allow New Zealand’s Trans Tasman Resources Ltd to start iron-ore dredging off the country’s west coast will encourage others looking to mine copper, cobalt, manganese and other metals deeper on the ocean floor but worried about regulatory hurdles.
Along the Pacific Rim of Fire, as deep as 6,000 metres underwater, volcano crusts, “black smoker” chimneys and vast beds of manganese nodules hold promise for economic powers like China and Japan as well as many poor island states busy pegging stakes on the ocean floor.
“A lot of people are watching the Trans Tasman Resources outcome,” said Michael Johnston, chief executive of Nautilus Minerals, which is working on a deep-sea project off Papua New Guinea and is also in talks with New Zealand.
Other countries in the Pacific looking at underwater mining include Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, which have all issued exploration licenses. Cook Islands in the South Pacific plans to put seabed exploration licenses up for bids later this year. Continue reading
By Clayton Thomas-Muller, June 10, 2014. Source: Intercontinental Cry
Photo by Michelle Ann, member of Pictou Landing First Nation
Mi’kmak’i Territory (Nova Scotia) – Jonathan Beadle, member of Pictou Landing First Nation was documenting the major pollution site on his traditional territory around 7:30 pm on June 9, 2014 when discovered that the primary pipeline carrying effluent from Northern Pulp and Paper into Boat Harbour was not operating. This pipeline was built for moving the effluent created by the toxic industrial process of pulping of wood into paper to be dumped untreated into Boat Harbour. Boat Harbour is a historical fishing site to the local First Nations as well as a sacred site due to the proximity of burial grounds located directly under where the mill built the pipeline.
“When we got up to the site yesterday (June 9, 2014) to check on boat harbour, I noticed the mill was not operating at full capacity. My son and I walked in toward Boat Harbour and as soon as we got to the main area where the pipeline comes out into the bay we noticed the effluent pipeline was turned off. This spill had to have been going on for some time. The clean up for the area is going to be incredibly expensive. This situation with Boat Harbour has been going on for a long time, people need to know there is a sacred burial ground underneath were Northern Pulp built their effluent pipe that dumps into Boat Harbour” said Jonathan Beadle, Pictou Landing First Nation member. Continue reading
By Emily Jovais, June 11, 2014. Source: International Rivers
Photo from International Rivers
It’s not every day we celebrate a victory as significant and hard-won as today’s triumph in the eight-year campaign to protect Chilean Patagonia from the destructive HidroAysén dam project!
This morning, Chile’s highest administrative authority – the Committee of Ministers – made a unanimous decision to overturn the environmental permits for the controversial five dam mega-project, which was planned on the Baker and Pascua rivers. This highly anticipated resolution effectively cancels the project, ruling that assessment of the project’s impacts was insufficient to grant project approval back in 2011.
The Committee, which consists of the Minister of Environment, Health, Economy, Energy and Mining, Agriculture, and Tourism, evaluated 35 appeals which were filed by the Patagonia Defense Council and local citizens in response to the project’s Environmental Impact Assessment after it was approved in May 2011. Though it has taken more than three years, with meetings and decisions being repeatedly delayed and eventually passed on to the new administration, today’s decision is a recognition of the technical and procedural flaws surrounding HidroAysén as well as the significant impacts the project would have had on one of Chile’s most iconic regions. Continue reading
June 10, 2014. Source: BBC News
Photo by The BBC
The Chilean government has rejected what would have been the biggest energy project in the country’s history.
The HidroAysen project would have seen five huge dams built on two rivers in a beautiful part of Patagonia.
“This project has many aspects that were poorly thought out,” said Energy Minister Maximo Pacheco.
Environmentalists celebrated the decision, saying the project would have had a devastating impact on the area’s ecosystem.
“These giant dams would have put at risk the wilderness, traditional culture, and local tourism economy of this remarkable region,” said Amanda Maxwell, Latin America project director at the Natural Resources’ Defence Council.
Thousands of people had protested against the HidroAysen project. Continue reading
May 30, 2014. Source: Waterkeeper Alliance.
Photo credit: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
A Utah oil spill has entered the water supply of the Colorado River, raising grave questions about impacts to the water supply of Las Vegas. The oil spill began after 100,000 to 125,000 gallons of oil leaked from a 45 year old oil well onto lands near the Green River, the largest tributary to the Colorado River. The spill occurred about 50 miles north of Moab, UT.
A rainstorm two days later flooded the area, overrunning inadequate containment ponds housing the oil, thereby dumping thousands or perhaps tens of thousands of gallons of oil directly into the Green River. No known sampling of downstream water supplies has been performed, raising criticism from residents across the region.
“It’s offensive to hear the BLM say they’re ‘pleased’ after a large quantity of oil entered the water supply for millions of people,” said Zach Frankel, executive director of the Utah Rivers Council. “The BLM failed the public and it’s high time to acknowledge their mistakes instead of greenwashing this pollution. They should be warning the public about exposure to this oil, instead of pretending its not there.” Continue reading
May 25, 2014. Source: Weekly News Update on the Americas
Dozens of Mexican civilians and police were injured on May 21 in a violent confrontation over water resources in the centuries-old village of San Bartolo Ameyalco, now part of Alvaro Obregón delegación (borough) in the Federal District (DF, Mexico City). Over the past year a group of village residents has fought against a plan that the Alvaro Obregón government announced in April 2013 to run pipes off the natural spring now supplying water to San Bartolo Ameyalco. When workers arrived, with a police escort, in the morning of May 21 to lay down pipes for the project, residents armed with clubs, rocks and Molotov bombs attempted to block the construction. The protesters set up flaming barricades and detained at least two police agents, while the police arrested nine protesters, according to villagers. By the end of the day the village was without electricity and was surrounded by some 2,000 DF police agents, who ensured that the construction could proceed. About 50 police agents and 50 to 70 residents were reportedly injured.
According to delegación head Leonel Luna, the project’s goal is to use the spring to supply potable water to 20,000 area residents—without affecting access to water by the San Bartolo Ameyalco community. DF head of government Miguel Angel Mancera Espinosa, of the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (DF), claimed on May 22 that he’d received reports blaming the protests on water vendors concerned that the increased supply of water would cut into their sales. DF security secretary Jesús Rodríguez Almeida charged that the attacks on police agents constituted what he called “citizen brutality.”
Residents insisted that Leonel Luna’s plan is not to supply water to nearby neighborhoods but to divert the water to the Centro Santa Fe, a huge shopping mall about five miles away. Hundreds of villagers gathered in an assembly in San Bartolo Ameyalco’s main plaza on May 22 and announced that they would prevent the new pipe system from going into operation. They said they no longer recognized Luna as their representative; their only authority from now on would be the village assembly, they decided, and political parties would not be allowed to intervene. (Revolution News, May 21; La Jornada, Mexico, May 22, May 22, May 23)